Teaching Parenting- The Future of Hospital Wellness- Learn Your ACE score!

Teaching Parenting- The Future of Hospital Wellness- Learn Your ACE score!

As I sit here in Nashville, the nation’s capital of Healthcare, I have been trying to start a dialogue in the hospital world, where hospitals begin to realize that many illnesses are caused by stress.

There was a dramatic moment for me two weeks ago when I heard as NPR radio series related to some clinical research done by a doctor from Kaiser Permanente years ago in San Diego that established a scorecard of early life experience of his patients. It is called an ACE score…Adverse Childhood Experience. He discovered that when he asked his obese patients more about their childhoods, not just their medical history, he found to his great amazement the high percentage of abuse in their lives. Abuse comes in a number of forms and he established a grid of ten questions outlining those various manners of abuse. He found that if his patients scored four or more yes answers to life events, the percentage of increase in MANY bad health outcomes was staggering.

Much to his amazement, the research done and the significant trail of illnesses discovered fell on deaf ears. After hearing the NPR radio shows related to this, I found that there is starting to be a wave of interest in the subject once again. There are a number of groups like ACE Connection and ACE’s TOO HIGH that are promoting the idea that it has to be only a matter of time before the healthcare world incorporates this data into their mainstream strategy of approaching WELLNESS.

Everyone agrees that children are showing up for school less prepared for learning than ever before. I read yesterday that many believe that many of our ADD and ADHD cases could simply be those children who are at risk at home and are suffering from the onslaught of ACE issues. If you haven’t seen or heard of the dramatic number of kids on drugs like Ritalin in early school years, it would stun you for certain. I have been saying out loud for years that you can tell pretty much right away which children are getting the proper help at home and those who aren’t. I used to help edit my wife’s 1st grade report cards and just from her comments about a child’s behavior and learning skills, you could hear in her voice clearly how often after the first parent conference, she could tell why a child was struggling with their learning.

We all see the tide turning worse in the primary education world. So where is the strategy to make the changes necessary to turn the tide in a better direction. Where and who are we going to look to help reduce the number of social services and steadily increasing costs of healthcare that are a result of high ACE scores? The only pragmatic place I see is the hospital. When a mother shows up for a pre-natal appointment, why not have an ACE questionnaire be part of the initial screening. Without that first effort, we will continue to pass on dysfunctional behaviors simply because they don’t know what a good environment looks and feels like.

Billions of dollars are being wasted in healthcare costs and social services because we are not that focusing on prevention of ACE, instead we treat the symptoms that show up as a result of poor parenting. We know that parents will dedicate some time in pre-child care…like Lamaze classes. Yet, we are still in the dark ages of nervousness about being honest about our childhood experiences. Candor in the hospital community about these issues needs to be addressed.

Funny thing, an old client of mine, Richard Umbdenstock, is now CEO of the American Hospital Administration. I had a brief conversation with him a few months ago regarding my efforts to help change the tide of childhood painful life. I read one of his latest speeches and it said the AHA was going to focus on reaching out this year for more Community involvement. Why not start by doing a bit of research on ACE scores for ALL of their patients. Once the community sees that they are not alone in their shame of a dark childhood past, we can begin to address the issue by inviting the parents to a meeting where someone like me, only because I had the proper support as a child, to share a template of what a functional family looks and feels like.

I beg for the opportunity to speak in a lighthearted way about the joy of good parenting and family happiness. I know people are hungry for that connection. Imagine looking forward to Thanksgiving for a change!!! So, join me in learning more about ACE research and finding a way for hospitals to be the true WELLNESS resource they have to be to turn the tide of sadness into a life of joyfulness and comfort for each child born into our crazy world.

You wouldn’t buy a plant and not feed it or nurture it would you? You wouldn’t expect a new computer that is fed a virus on the first day to work properly would you? It works the same for our pets and our children…only YOU can start a child’s life with all the advantages that love can bring to a new heart and mind!


If you believe stress can cause illness…you might want to read further!

If you believe that stress can cause illness…you may want to read further.

I have been told that there are incentives in the Affordable Care Act for healthcare institutions to become a place that promotes wellness as a way of doing business, as opposed to exclusively being a place where the sick are treated.

My name is John Trayser and I am known around the country as The Greatful Dad. In my 65 years of life, the hard truth I see on an almost daily basis, is how sad and unhappy people are from the way they were raised by their parents. The stress that causes in their daily lives is the source of most alcohol and drug abuse I believe. Those key formative first five years of life are crucial to the core of belief that they are loved and supported, which allows each of us to have the opportunity to become comfortable in our own skin. Without that support, life can be fraught with hardship. The hard truth is that is just as easy to pass on dysfunction as a way of life as it is to pass on kindness, guidance, love, support and happiness.

I am trying to change the world today and every day by inspiring people to see the hope that we can find ways to better connect with not just our families, but everyone we meet by watching over others. It is what my three sons do best. That is why I write books about the subject. Teachers in grade school years constantly pointed out how unusual it was to watch my children watch over other children on a daily basis. At a critical 3rd grade conference of my son Jared, a teacher begged me to write down what I had done to create that behavior. And I did.

Today at 29 years old, Jared is that same person. His boss took me aside this year and asked what I had done to create such an unusually caring young man…and that his behavior had actually changed his business in a way that he never knew existed. All three of my sons (I had a little girl who lived 13 days) and the children of my brothers as well, carry that same behavior and DNA that was given to us so unconditionally by our parents. I believe that this is something that can be shared and learned if presented in the right manner and at the right time…the early formative years.

Here is why I want to challenge you to create a paradigm shift in parenting. Your hospital connection is the RIGHT PLACE to begin a wave of change in helping create more safe and happy children. Most parents are willing to invest 6 or more blocks of time for Lamaze classes in order to have a good chance of a great birthing experience. For that amount of time, they get their child in usually one day right? Who, when, how and where do we invest time from that point on in ensuring the safety and emotional care of that child? Stop now and try and answer that for me.

My third book about these formative years is ready to be published…and yet, my brother Dave always very simply says, “You know what you know.” I KNOW he is right! But what if what you know is dysfunction and unhappiness? Is that what is passed on? Alarmingly yes, that is what is being passed on. And NO ONE says it is getting better.

To clarify, I am not a clinician, a psychologist or any type of trained parental expert. I am simply a GREATful Dad. All of my success in the financial services world, I was the founding member of Franklin Templeton Funds Institutional Group 30 years ago, was achieved by treating all of my clients like family. I often was accused of being more like family than my client’s own families. And to the chagrin of my competitors was often a guest overnight in their homes. I am still Uncle John on many refrigerators around the country. My boys are finding happiness and success sharing that same appreciation for the extra joy that comes from changing hearts one at time by watching over others.

I speak around the country in a variety of places. Schools, corporations, associations and the like find my message inspiring. Yet, you hold the key to the future welfare of our society. You can hold the banner of WELLNESS high and get the attention of the parenting world like no other institution. You are there from the very first day. I even talk about your institution at the very beginning of my presentations…

My core belief is this. When the father goes to the maternity ward to wheel Mom down to the front door of the hospital…God, whichever one you believe in, goes to the trunk of your car and puts a load of bricks in your car. When you get home…you have two very distinct choices as to what you do with those bricks. You can either build a path between your hearts for your child to walk safely on each day…or you can build a wall between your hearts.

The simplicity and honesty of that statement stops people in their tracks…because EVERYONE knows if they had a path or a wall. For the last ten years of my life I have been very busy trying to build paths and knock down walls with my daily effort. I was making just short of a million dollars a year in the finance world. Yet, when I started speaking and touching hearts, my world changed almost overnight. People would stand in line for almost 2 hours to talk and hug me after a presentation. But the real change came from people who tracked me down at home and called to say they took my advice and read my book out loud with their children. The first caller said she got up the courage to read the book out loud with her two teenage daughters. She said it took 3 1/2 hours to read the first two chapters because they were sitting on the floor in their room crying, laughing and hugging because conversations had started with the words that had been left unsaid for all those years…and that I had changed their family forever. FOREVER!

I quit the financial services business in the next few months. It had become unimportant in my life. I had built a fishing resort in The Bahamas, Bonefish Beach Club of Andros and hoped that it would allow me the financial freedom to change hearts for the rest of my days.

Someone sent a copy of my book to NPR Radio in Milwaukee and it started a chain of 8 years of Father’s Day call in shows. The host was suffering from a distant relationship with his own father and he called from time to time for help in knocking down his own brick wall. Business people are not sure what to make of my message until they stop looking at quarterly numbers and realize that creating a “Family at Work” culture is where sustained growth and long term success is where real value can be found. Almost every one of the Best 100 Companies to Work For List in Fortune magazine has created the feeling of being a family. Same goes for successful sports franchises…you hear it at the end of EVERY Super Bowl interview right? That’s why my core presentation is called “Does it feel like Family.”

I moved to Nashville last July because the people at The Renaissance Center in Dickson, the place where they produce the local PBS shows, offered me a TV show based on all my work. As will happen, things have changed and the center was sold to a college and my original sponsor had a change in management. So I have been trying to make efforts to find a way to change hearts more than one at a time…I am running out of time. I am absolutely certain that I was put on this earth to touch hearts.

I am reaching out to you after meeting and talking with an attorney that does acquisitions for HCA and loved my message. I also had an advocate at Centennial (F. Clarke Holmes) who was helping me with a torn muscle in my elbow, who tried to get me an appointment with the head of marketing. He loved the book I gave him and read it with his children. I am asking you for an audience as a group or individuals to see if we can find a common ground in creating a new wave of hope for parents who NEED A TEMPLATE when the day arrives for creating a path to their child’s heart. My son Jared has the same DNA of belief that he can touch hearts as well and we have been looking for an organization that would allow us to share our message together in a format that will inspire others to believe that paths can be created…and walls can be knocked down.

Please excuse the length of my letter, yet I write like I speak…with passion and caring right out front. I am looking for advocates who might help the hospital world hear my voice. Help me help others!

John Trayser… The Greatful Dad!