Insecurity can begin at a young age. Whether it’s because another kid pointed out your birthmark in the playground, or you looked in the mirror and realised you don’t look like the people on TV - insecurity can be a tough hurdle for both children and adults to overcome.
Often we don’t quite realise how amazing our bodies are until something goes wrong with them. It’s so important that kids are taught to appreciate the things our bodies are doing, even whilst they're complaining about that mole they don’t like. How our body looks becomes less of a priority once we focus on what it’s doing for us - after all it’s keeping us alive!
When I’m teaching a class about micro monsters, the kids get excited about the prospect of a fight raging inside their bodies to protect them. If we cut ourselves on something, our body goes into protection mode - it sends out it’s best troops; the white blood cells and the platelets run to the battle front (the cut) and begin to fight any incoming bacteria from the outside world and create clots to close the infiltration. Captain WBC (White Blood Cell) and Wonder Platelet are the heroes of our bodies that get very little attention in our lives - they do their jobs and carry on, and they’re the reason we’re able to climb a tree, scrap our knee and carry on playing, none the wiser.
Human biology can be a fascinating topic, it just needs to be packaged in a way that kids can understand and get excited by. You don’t have to sit down and teach a lesson about it, but the next time your child complains about brushing their teeth, tell them there are about 20 billion bacteria in your mouth - that it’s made up of helpful and harmful bacteria and that we need to help our body fight off the harmful bacteria so they don’t eat our teeth and cause holes (cavities). It’s our job to support our body to keep running smoothly - it’s a big responsibility but someone’s got to do it! It doesn’t hurt to wear a cape whilst you’re doing it either.
Geni McCallum is the Marketing Manager and Community Educator for Science Alive! She lives in Christchurch with her partner, step-daughter and cat.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Science Alive!