Monday, July 18, 2011

Vision Impact

This article is scary..


Fox news likes to pit two hot heads against each other usually in order so we can see a fight regardless of what the news is, but it is scary that we would get to this point of even asking these questions.  I have an issue with many analysis of behavioral problems, like in this clip.  We have relied so heavily on modern psychology and psychiatry to solve our problems that the choice of a human being is ignored, exchanged for environment, genetics, treatment, and a pill as the answer in some sort of a behavior modification program. 

I used to mentor kids through a residential treatment center.  I would go into homes of “at-risk” youth and  spend time with the kid in the community finding new recreational activities while working on certain goals in their life.  I did this for about 7 years.

It was during this time in their lives the kids were developing a philosophy on life, what they see their purpose as, and the Tribe A.K.A. “click” or crowd they associate within.  I am not just pulling this out of thin air, making up my own little theory of child development.  I studied this intensely and even did a couple presentations on this while pursuing an EDU major…Anyways…This helps to define their philosophy.  These sub-cultural tribes have a common bond of purpose with some ritual of behaviors.  The problems I was to address in behavior were always attached to the values upheld by the tribe they associated within.  Meaning and purpose in life, what is the meaning of who they are, this is what drove their behavior and eventually forms a lot of their character throughout life.  Almost every situation I came into had a lack of role-models, like a Father figure missing or parents with backwards values…I was present to offer a choice to change what they valued.  It was very difficult to make the choice attractive as I was only present 4-6 hours a week and an outsider, but if I was “cool” enough and able to present some purpose in life that they wanted to identify with, sometimes it would work or at least plant seeds we would see grow to fruition later in their life as they reasoned through the choices.

The point of bringing all of this up is, in order to change the behavior of our culture when it comes to level of activity and nutritional choices, we must give a purpose, meaning, and value for activity and healthy eating. We must give a reason which makes a choice attractive while also adding a value and purpose behind the choice which becomes a part of a persons philosophy in life.  In order to get the best results we need to help people with their internal government rather than creating more external government  to help them with choices in activity and food.  This is especially true  in the upcoming generation where we see this increase in obesity and decrease in activity.  This is partly due to other opposing values and purposes being inadvertently taught through increases of technological assistance and entertainment to human activity level, obvious points in case being computers, video games, and motorized transportation, but there is an endless list of taken for granted technologies which have assisted us both in ease of  work, weight gain, and bad nutrition. 

So what is missing in the behavioral analysis is changing values, what people find as their purpose.  In one of my classes this past semester we studied a definition of religion that I slightly agree with, but would tweek a bit to include our perceived purpose as part of the definition.  The definition pretty much said religion is whatever we do because our ancestors or those before and around us did, whatever is the “tradition”.  If this is so, then being a Green Bay Packer fan is religious along with many other things we value because of tradition…The point being, it is something highly valued and effects the ritual and behavior of people.  The effect sports tradition has is so great we have huge marketing systems built around sports related behaviors, generating billions of dollars every year.  It is an investment that can be counted on, because traditional/religious behavior is something that does not die easily.  So I asked myself why do we have so many traditions/”religions” around all of these other sports and not cycling, simple…The same reason we have certain religions we do of the spiritual nature, it is what we were mentored and taught to be our purpose as we grew up.  One problem…the sports traditions we have now do not seem to be having the effect on nutrition or activity levels that we need.

In the State of Wisconsin we have major epic centers of “worship” for each of the major sports, Brewers Stadium, Lambeau Field, Bradley Center, and obviously this can be said for the rest of the Nation.  We also have small discipleship structures for the training of our youth and families into the cultural tradition of the sports we value, such as governmentally funded little league baseball fields, basketball courts, football fields etc..  I enjoy all of these sports, but they are not training our generations to grow up into the activity of those sports they value but rather mostly to sit and spectate.  This is due to the short shelf life and talent requirements of those most highly valued sports.  They are not life long participatory sports being taught to the culture.


This is where Vision has an impact, through its number one value of making cycling a household sport, a tradition of our culture.    This is where Vision’s 4 values come from 1. Youth Development Programs (Instilling tradition and values) 2. New Local Cycling Infrastructure/Trails (value training centers) 3. Public Health and Wellness 4. Energy and Environmental Sustainability. 


The first two values, while being a benefit in and of themselves, are a setup to reap the greater cultural benefits of the last two values. 

The energy, resources, and fervency put into our traditional sports has a definite effect on the choices of behavior within our culture…Vision looks to help by providing choices that create life-long active participants.  The current traditional sports tend to fail to provide life-long activity. This is due to their nature.  The human body tends to not be able to participate in them for much more than 10-15 years of life, plus they do not have the same effect on health, wellness, and sustainability.  I am not in anyway saying we should stop loving and doing those sports, but they usually end up creating life-long passive spectators, no matter how fervent that spectating may be, the health and wellness effects are not there. 

All of this is to say we should at least start putting a spec of the energy, resources, and fervency into cycling that we do into current traditional sports since cycling has so much potential and see what huge benefits can be reaped from a small investment.

More to come…

That was a long one without any of those fancy picture thingys..

Thanks for reading,


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