SPRINGFIELD — Father’s Day is just around the corner, the time of year when we appreciate those special dads in our lives, along with all the fatherly advice they have imparted over the years.
Five physicians and pediatricians from Baystate Medical Center and Baystate Children’s Hospital — all of them fathers — took the time to share some fatherly advice when it comes to being physically and mentally fit.
Dr. Nico Vehse, chief, Pediatric Pulmonology, Baystate Children’s Hospital: “You should never smoke! Smoking is highly addictive, and once you start, it is very hard to stop. Smoking is very bad for your health, and vaping is just another form of smoking.”
Dr. Stephen Boos, medical director, Family Advocacy Center, Baystate Children’s Hospital: “The world seems to pay great attention to people who are loud, powerful, and obsessed with winning. I would point out to my kids that sometimes it is more important to listen quietly, to be kind and flexible, and to play fair even if you lose. I believe the world would be better if more of us acted this way, and I think my kids will be happiest if they spent their time with people who act this way.”
Dr. Michael Klatte, Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Baystate Children’s Hospital: “I remind my children to always wash their hands after they’ve been playing outdoors. I also tell them to always remember to wash their hands after going to the bathroom!”
Dr. Barry Sarvet, child psychologist and chair of Psychiatry, Baystate Health: “One of the most important principles of parenting I’ve ever heard is from the celebrated American poet Maya Angelou: ‘People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’ Parents can’t always control how our kids feel, but we should always try to help our children feel valued and proud of who they are. This is easy to do when they are successful, but all the more important when they make mistakes. A related idea is to model and teach kids to be kind to themselves. Compassion for oneself is one of the most important foundations for healthy relationships with others, as well as personal well-being.”
Dr. John O’Reilly, chief, Baystate General Pediatrics, Baystate Children’s Hospital: “General pediatricians like me help families raise their children to be healthy, thriving adults. There are a few simple things that parents can do for and with their children. Raise them in an environment of love and support, so that they can learn to love and support others in their lives. Build their self-esteem and resiliency, so that they can overcome the difficulties that will arise throughout their life. Foster their natural curiosity about the world, and read to them every day. That will build their brains and get them ready to be the students and scholars who will solve the problems of the future. Teach them healthy eating habits when they are young, and you will help prevent obesity, diabetes, and chronic disease when they are adults. Encourage your child’s natural love of playing and dancing, and help them to include exercise that they love into their daily lives. That will help them build strong hearts and brains for their entire life. Parents are the ultimate teachers and role models for their children. Your kids will imitate how you act, so by demonstrating how one can be a kind and compassionate adult, parents may be giving their children the best gift possible.”