One Father’s Power

by Chris Marchioni, MD, a fan of Fathers


Almost 50 gathered with no idea of what to expect.  Some doctor was talking about how kids learn.  Do doctors really understand what helps kids learn?  After all, aren’t schools the experts when it comes to learning for kids?

True or false:  nutrition is important for healthy brain development in kids.  “Overwhelmingly true,” shouted the audience.  True or false:  Nutrition helps kids do better in math.  “Of course this is false,” laughed the audience.

Do you agree?


Healthy nutrition feeds and grows a healthy brain for a child.  Healthy nutrition helps a child perform better in math, reading, writing, science, and even peer relationships.  Yes, this is true.  This is why a doctor is an expert when it comes to learning for kids.  A child’s health has a huge impact on the success of a child’s learning.

Filled with questions, hands in the room popped up like kernels of popcorn sizzling in hot oil.  One concerned mom had a point to make, “Poor families can’t eat healthy.  It’s too expensive.”   Some in the room nodded in agreement, while others went to work using their problem solving skills.  One by one courageous parents shared solutions.  “I buy fruits and vegetables that are on sale and in season.  Wednesday is the best sale day at my grocery store.  I buy frozen fruit and veggies in the winter that don’t have added sugar or salt.”

The concerned mom insisted loudly, “Look, I work at a grocery store.  There is no way poor families can afford to eat healthy.”

Do parents who are poor have the right to make their own decisions?  Do parents who are poor love their children just as much as anyone else?  Of course they do.  Wealth does not measure love or caring.  Even parents who have limited resources love their children and want the best.  In fact, these parents work hard and make sacrifices for the health and education of their kids.  Parents who are poor have the right to make their own decisions.  None of us have the right to take away their power.

At the end of the discussion, a father waited patiently in line to speak to the doctor.  When he approached the doctor, there was a tear rolling gently down his cheek.  In a strong voice, he shared, “Thank you for what you said.  I am one of those poor fathers who does not earn much even though I work very hard.  I love my children and care deeply about their health and learning.  No one has ever explained to me how important nutrition is for learning and development of my children.  This was the best program that I have ever experienced.  I will make changes now that I understand what my children need.  I am grateful.”

In that room of 50, at least one father refused to give away his power and that made all the difference.
Happy Father’s Day!