While in secondary school, one of my favourite subjects was PE (physical education)—and at around 12/13 years old, I didn’t really care about the theory side, I just wanted to do the practical stuff. I was full of energy and all I wanted to do was play sport.
We only had 2 hours of practical PE on a weekly basis, so our PE time was a precious resource.
Annoyingly, our Head of PE at the time, Mr O’Shaughnessy, would occasionally have a rant and lecture us about something.
On one particular occasion, he was babbling about health and nutrition, and then he dropped this amazing line:
“You wouldn’t pour crap into your car, so why would you pour crap into your bodies?”
A lot of kids were eating junk food (including myself), so this was relevant. It was a holy smoke moment. My ears perked up and my eyes affixed to the source of wisdom. On this one occasion, I was actually paying attention to Mr O’Shaughnessy.
I’d perceived what he’d said as: people treating the objects that they’d bought better than their own bodies. Think of it this way—If an object breaks down, you could buy another, but you can’t do the same for your body. Although, the active ones among us weren’t seeing the bodily changes from our unhealthy diets (because of fast metabolism and an active lifestyle), I realised that as we’d age, this way of being will not be sustainable.
This teacher was trying to tell us to change our mindsets.
On that day, in one line, and in a single breath—this teacher was able to impart me with wisdom to live by.
I decided to be grateful for my health and to not take it for granted.
Mr O’Shaughnessy, thanks to your ranting and lecturing, you got through to at least one of us. Those 10 seconds of magic have given me more value than all of those practical PE sessions put together.