Breathing begets breathing
The other day I observed children in a preschool class listening with rapt attention to a teacher who was telling a story of a young man from Scotland. The young man and his uncles were competing over who could play the bagpipes the best. As the story goes, the three uncles could not muster enough breath to make the thunderous sound. However, when their young nephew takes his turn, he plays strong and loud. The reason, everyone agreed, was because all during his early life, he had to call so loudly to the sheep and the cows to come home that he had built his lungs to be mighty strong and breathing in deeply was a skill he had honed.
This story reminded me that practice is what is important for helping young children become adolescents who become adults who first breathe before choosing a "wiser" choice over another "less wise" choice. The telling of the story reminded me that it is through practice that we become accustomed to the beautiful option of breathing. Deliberate teaching, intentional teaching and repeated teaching in many forms with many people and with many examples is what it takes. We cannot expect children to simply absorb the manner of deep breathing through osmosis over one time, two times or even a dozen times. It is a daily practice. I am reminding myself of this as much as you, the reader.