Parents Put Your Mask on First OR Your Children Suffer

by Kevin Cosmo

Published: Sun, 3 Aug 2014


I distinctly remember my first flights on an airplane; the feelings of wondrous thrill and excitement, along with seat gripping fear coexisting within me for take-off, flight, and landing. Especially those first few times flying, I gave immense attention to the stewardess, as she laid out the instructions on what we needed to do in the case of an emergency landing. I recall my surprise when she adamantly instructed that the parents place oxygen masks on themselves first, before putting the mask on their little children. It seemed cruel and backwards. The little children have smaller lungs and less capacity to hold their breath and sanity in a crash situation. But, no, she insisted. The parents put their masks on first. I turned to the woman with long gray hair sitting beside me, “Are you hearing what I’m hearing? I don’t understand why adults wouldn’t help the kids first. It seems selfish.” After a smiling momentary pause, “Yes, it is the most beautiful expression of selfishness,” the woman warmly replied, “It is not that adults would not or should not help the children and babies first, but rather that adults cannot properly help children without helping themselves first.”

Now, being the father of two children I have ample opportunity to experience the truth of this wise woman’s words, and the strongest example that comes to mind occurred in the following few months after having discovered The 80/10/10 Diet. My health was abysmal and my understanding of health creation and maintenance was equally so. At this very same time, my partner was seven months pregnant. Soon I was going to be caring for and managing the health of a newborn, as well as my own. This was daunting, to say the least. Though I wanted to experience great health and I desperately wanted to give the gift of great health to my son, I could still see and sense the lack of experiential understanding, even with all the reading I was doing.

My son, Dakarai and I sharing a zucchini sub sandwich; with little Tulani watching on.
“$5,000!” Meagan whisper-yelled, trying to express her shock while still allowing our now 2 month old son to continue sleeping, “And 6 weeks!” It was a few hours after sun down, and I had been on the web researching Dr. Graham’s Costa Rica Retreats. “Yes, it’s the cost of the internship, and it will be more than worth it over the span of our lifetime. I need to experience what optimal health looks and feels like, so that I can pass it on to our son.” To add a little perspective, $5,000 is what I made in 3 months at that time. This internship was going to be a huge investment in myself and my capacity to foster and manage health.

5 years have passed since I made my initial investment. Sitting here now, with two aberrantly healthy children (Dakarai, 5 and Tulani 16 mo.) and 4 years of superb health and fitness, I can easily say that the $5,000 investment was a pittance for the return gains and the future gains ensured.

When we get healthier, our children get healthier. When we develop healthy patterns of behavior, our children develop healthy patterns of behavior. It is a fantastic guarantee of nature. Remember, be sure to put your mask on first.

Here are some ways you can “Put Your Mask On First”

  • Get enough sleep. (Or whatever you possibly can. Go to sleep early.)
  • Find moments of rest and relaxation. (Sneak a 15 minute cat nap if you can.)
  • Listen to 10 minutes of your favorite music.
  • Read a chapter from an interesting book.
  • Start your day off right, with a meal of fresh fruit.
  • Get outside and play vigorously.
  • Grab 5 minutes of silence.
  • Start a Gratitude List with 5 things you are grateful for.
  • Watch 10 minutes of stand up comedy.
  • Call a dear friend or family member.
  • Write a list of 3 outcomes that you want to have happen by the end of the year.

Share your favorite way of “Putting Your Mask on First” in the comments on our Facebook page…