Bracelet makes him run faster

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 1, 2011

“Aunt Michele, Aunt Michele, do you have a sports balance bracelet?”

It was the excited voice of my 7-year-old nephew and the first words out of his mouth at Thanksgiving. I answered in the affirmative.

“I KNEW you would have one,” he said. “Will you get me one for Christmas?”

He already knew the answer to that one, too. But I had a few questions. Like what made him think I’d have one?

“Because you like to exercise. Will you get me one? Please?”

And why did he need one?

“All my friends have one and Momma won’t buy me one. They’re on sale today at ….”

I resolved a few years ago to stop buying him and his older sister so much “stuff” and to give them interesting experiences instead. There was already going to be a gift certificate for a trip under the tree, but … he was just so darned cute when he asked, and he had been studying a newspaper sales flier. Of course, I put each of them a “bracelet” under the tree.

Christopher immediately donned his, then went on to the next present. Later, we were outside and I sent him to ask his uncle a question. In a flash he was across the backyard. At the door, he suddenly stopped and turned around.

“Aunt Michele, did you see how fast I ran?” he asked, grinning from ear to ear. When I nodded, he held up his arm to show remind me why: he had harnessed the power of the bracelet. An hour later, he was showing off his “powerful” biceps, another side effect of his new bracelet, he was certain.

I couldn’t help being amused. I don’t dispute that the popular bracelets offer positive benefits, although I’m quite certain they don’t work as quickly as young Christopher asserted. It would be easy to laugh off his “speed” and “strength” as the innocence of youth if I didn’t recognize a universal truth in his actions.

All of us can do more if we believe we can do more. Whether we count on a balance bracelet or a placebo, a special remedy or a prescription drug, any of them are more likely to work if we make up our minds that they will.

I’d love to find a ring that would control my appetite, a gadget that would make me more likely to exercise every day, or a pill that could protect me from the crud and flu.

I’d like a cream to erase some fine lines, an organizer that would truly keep me organized, and I’d like that bracelet to keep me perfectly balanced.

But the truth is, unless, like Christopher, I truly believe these gadgets help me, they won’t.

Imagine what he’ll teach me when he’s 8.