So far we have looked at physical and mental food and exercise.
We know how important it is for children to get nourishing physical food. Each day they need breakfast, lunch and dinner; and we also know that they need to get fresh air and exercise to turn that food into a healthy body for life.
And mentally it is the same. Children need good, useful, factually correct information; and then they need to work with those facts to turn information into understanding, knowledge and wisdom for life.
What about emotional and spiritual food and exercise?
Emotional food comes through exposure to the beauty, the wonder, the majesty, the mystery, and the brilliance of art, music, drama, architecture and poetry. In short, human creativity in all its many magnificent forms. Surrounding a child with the riches of his or her culture and heritage, feed and nourish a child with delight and inspiration.
The artefacts of other cultures can also do this, as well. We all need to know where home is, and most of us feel a warmth and comfort with the familiar and the well-known. We have found that children are inspired by the stories and traditions of their own culture, but they can then experience equal delight in spreading their wings into the stories and traditions of other cultures as well.
So the food for the heart, for the emotional centre of a child, is in beauty, and wonder, and magnificence.
They turn this emotional food into exercise when they themselves stand with a choir and sing, when they pick up a pencil and draw or a paintbrush and paint, when they learn their part and step out onto the stage and perform; and when they take up their pen, allow the Muse of Creative Imagination to flow, and they begin to write.
When they create their own beauty, they add their contribution to the rich store of beauty in the world, and become an inspiration for others.
Next time we will consider Spiritual Food and Exercise.