Hey guys, listen up:
You play an important role in your children’s lives, their children’s lives and so on — even without any of the kids being born yet!
That’s according to an opinion piece in The New York Times.
We’ve all known how genetics play an important role in a baby’s life — from height to hair and eye color to the risk of heart disease and other potential health issues.
The choices made today play an affect on choices children and future generations can make. Pretty powerful stuff. Especially when you consider how stressful pregnancy is for women — or so I’ve been told.
Let’s be honest, most men assume they’re in the clear after they’ve done the deed. They wait nine months and then prepare for little league football or cheerleading in a few years.
The NYT story says genetics goes beyond our high school biology class to include something called “epigenetic,” which essentially is the study of heritable changes.
Genes essentially can be turned on or off thanks based generally on three environmental factors: what goes into our bodies; our life experiences; and how long we’re going to live.
So basically, don’t eat poorly, don’t stress and live long. No pressure, guys.
What’s important about the NYT opinion piece, though, is that as the research moves forward, scientists are learning that our genes and how we develop might not necessarily be evolutionary. Instead, scientists are discovering that our life right now is what affects our potential offspring.
This piece of information could be huge if taken seriously by the masses, especially considering our environmental concerns — air and water pollution; our stresses in life over money, work; and our mostly poor intake of food.
Maybe more research will lead folks to want to change their surroundings and their life.
What’s a little scary is knowing that, according to the NYT opinion piece, there could be a chance what guys eat during their pre-pubescent years could help to determine how strong his sperm might be.
So if you didn’t necessarily eat healthily growing up, but later became conscious of such decisions, it might be too late.
I stressed reading the opinion piece, knowing that my choices today could be such an important part of my kid’s lives.
Women stress over so much during a pregnancy — don’t smoke, don’t eat certain things, don’t drink, get enough rest, don’t be around cleaning products, get fresh air, eat right, get some exercise. That’s enough to worry anyone, especially when their friends, family, co-workers and perfect strangers all offer some type of “You’ll want to do this...” advice.
What’s also disconcerting is knowing that our grandparents could actually be to blame for health problems and other issues facing us today.
Researchers didn’t know then what they do now, so harsh chemicals were used on foods, in cleaning products and to make items — things that we’re trying to get away from today (though, admittedly, not as much as we should).
This all is a lot to consider for men, who really don’t stress about pregnancies — generally speaking.
If for nothing else, it doesn’t hurt to think of these issues even if you’re not thinking about having children right now. Eating right, learning how to manage stress and living in a clean environment are good for us right now — let alone for future generations.
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Like this article? Check out other great commentaries on every day life from our weekly columnist, Bobby Cherry: