Operation Pull Your Own Weight (OPYOW) is a practical childhood obesity prevention strategy that's laced with a heavy dose of personal responsibility taking behavior.
OPYOW is based on the common sense observation that kids who can do pull ups are never obese. Furthermore, given access to a height adjustable pull up bar and a technique called leg assisted pull ups (jumping and pulling up at the same time) almost all kids can learn to do pull ups in a predictable amount of time. That being the case, almost all kids can learn to immunize themselves against obesity for life by learning and maintaining their ability to do pull ups.
It's simple. It's affordable. It's safe. It's been proven to work in a four year application with real live kids at Jefferson Elementary School in Davenport, IA. And it's the part of the program that hardly ever get criticized or challenged because it's so easy to see. The personal responsibility part of the program however, often takes some in depth explanation before it's fully accepted.
The question that arises is, “How does learning to do pull ups translate into personal responsibility taking behavior for its participants?" The first answer is found in OPYOW's seven habits of highly effective kids. . . the things kids must do in order to become stronger on the pull up bar. They include. . .
1. Working out regularly (twice a week)
2. Eating right
3. Getting sufficient sleep
4. Avoiding tobacco
5. Avoiding alcohol
6. Avoiding drugs
7. And taking responsibility for doing all these things because nobody else can do them for you.
One of the most interesting things about OPYOW's seven habits is that when they're applied to other more abstract challenges like reading, writing, and arithmetic for example, they help kids grow a little stronger every week, every month, and every year in those activities too. And as the seventh habit indicates, choosing to work regularly, eat right, get enough rest, and avoid tobacco, alcohol, and drugs are choices that participants must make for themselves. Nobody else can do it for them.
Implicit in these 7 habits is the realization that failing to work regularly, eat right, get enough rest, and avoid tobacco, alcohol, and drugs makes you weak and dependent instead of strong and independent. And there's not one kid on Planet Earth who wants to be weak at anything. Bad, yes! Weak, NEVER! Weak, after all, is uncool.
A Hands-On Model to Identify With
Wrestling week in and week out, month in and month out, with learning to do pull ups for as much as a full year, gives kids lots of hands on experience with making the choices necessary to become stronger on the pull up bar. And once this hands-on experience has been fully cultivated, the participating students also develop a strong, concrete sense of what's required to make a little progress in life every week, every month, and every year.
Post Schooling Applications
The next question that's often asked is, “How does this concrete experience with pull ups translate into personal responsibility taking behaviors after a student's schooling is over? Let me say this much in that regard. If a company of 100 people is hitting on all cylinders it will be dramatically more productive than one in which the 80/20 rule applies. . . where 20% of the employees are doing 80% of the work, and the other 80% are just going through the motions in order to collect a weekly paycheck.
To apply personal responsibility taking behaviors to a nation I'd like to ask what happens to a democracy when its citizens become frustrated, disenchanted, and demoralized (the demoralized majority as they've recently been called) over the vast corruption they see in the state house or in Washington, DC? What happens when the lions share of our people stay home on election-day? What happens when they lose all hope, and they just stop trying?
Isn't that precisely what the bad seeds need to allow a handpicked few to control the future lives of the many? Democracy requires strong individual citizens who are willing and able to actively participate, to dig in and take a stand. And kids can start learning these kinds of lessons early on when they learn to pull their own weight on the pull up bar. Once completed the OPYOW experience naturally expands and overlaps into other parts of student's lives. Pulling Your Own Weight is a really great habit to cultivate.
Rick Osbourne is a Chicago based writer who currently serves as Executive Director of Operation Pull Your Own Weight, an informational web site that's dedicated to naturally immunizing kids against obesity for a lifetime without pills, shots, or special diets. If you're interested in childhood obesity prevention, then check out either http://www.pullyourownweight.com , or http://www.pullyourownweight.net any time. Osbourne is also a public speaker, and he's recently published a book entitled “Operation Pull Your Own Weight: A Radically Simple Solution to Childhood Obesity, " (on the web site) that provides practical minded parents and educators with a simple, functional, affordable, and infinitely measurable antidote to childhood obesity. Osbourne can be reached by email at Osbourne. email@example.com