American Heart Month and lessons from the Tin Man

Photo: AP Photo

SAN DIEGO / WASHINGTON D.C.“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” is a classic tale by American author Frank Baum in 1900 and it has delighted many of us for over a century.

One character in particular, the Tin Man, lacking a heart, wildly pined for one, earnestly lamenting:  “If I only had a heart.”

When discovered on the road to Oz by the heroine of Baum’s story, Dorothy, the Tin Man had been severely rusted by exposure to the elements.  Dorothy cleverly used oil and saved him.  The Tin Man readily became Dorothy’s protector who was ever-poised with his ready axe in hand.

Oddly, he appeared to exhibit compassion and empathy for the world around him (in spite of his lack of a heart).

The Tin Man, therefore, may very well have been Baum’s expression of the impact of industrialization occurring at that time in American history, expressing the inherent contradiction between mechanization and humanity.

In our current and fast-paced information-hungry society, technology has taken on a new meaning.  We find ourselves ever-increasingly responding in “real-time” with our capacity to utilize and exchange information.  We use our bodies less in the performance of work and tasks and we have become dependent upon computers, iPads, smart phones, and other technological conveniences, which now seem like necessities.  We are also communicating more and more through devices and communicating much less with each other in person.

As we celebrate American Heart Month, let’s also remember our own humanness as we acknowledge our fundamental need to take care of our health.  Our heart is our body’s engine, and our ability to keep it healthy and prevent disease is paramount to preventing heart attacks, strokes, and other illnesses which compromise our overall health, well-being, and quality of life.  In fact, the Mayo Clinic, in its online, “Heart-healthy diet:  8 steps to prevent heart disease,” brings to the fore an unusual question by asking its reader:  “Do you have ‘sitting disease’?”

The following tips, “Develop heart healthy habits” provided in LegacyER and Urgent Care’s online commentary:  “There’s More To American Heart Month Than Just Valentine’s Day,” may be helpful to you:

  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes, four days a week
  • Choose lean meats and poultry products without skin
  • Select fat free, 1% fat and low-fat dairy products
  • Cut back on food containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils
  • Cut back on foods and drinks with added sugar
  • Reduce your salt intake to less than 2,300 mg of sodium a day
  • Limit alcohol to no more than one drink  day
  • If you smoke, quit

In the song “Tin Man” by the band America, the lyrics state “Oz never did give to the Tin Man, nothin’ that he didn’t already have.”

AP Photo


Though the Wizard of Oz eventually honored the Tin Man with his coveted heart, which was proudly displayed on his chest, it would seem wise for the rest of us to appreciate the gift that our own heart truly is.  Nurturing our heart, and our overall health, just might help prevent us from rusting!

Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!

Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, is President and CEO of At Your Home Familycare in San Diego, California. In addition to her positions as entrepreneur, health care executive, educator, media guest and contributor, Edwards-Tate is also a wife, daughter, and dog lover. Read more LifeCycles in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow At Your Home Familycare on Facebook and on Twitter @AYHFamilycare.

Copyright © 2013 by At Your Home Familycare

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Laurie Edwards-Tate

Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, President and Founder of At Your Home Familycare in San Diego, California, was among the first to recognize the growing need for services allowing individuals to remain independent created by the aging of America including the Baby Boomer generation, now being called the “Silver Tsunami.” It is the Baby Boomers who are rapidly redefining what aging and growing older means and looks like in America today.

Now celebrating its 28th year in business, AYHF is among San Diego County’s Top  Women-Owned Businesses and Fastest Growing Businesses, and enjoys a reputation for upholding the highest possible standards among its employees and its emphasis on customer service.  Edwards-Tate is a valued contributor to the public dialogue on current issues and challenges in the home care industry, and serves in leadership roles on the Home Care Aide Association of America Advisory Board and Private Duty Home Care Association Advisory Board, as well as the Home Care Aide Steering Committee of the California Association for Health Services at Home.

Edwards-Tate is frequently interviewed in the media on healthy aging, caregiving, and health care topics. 

 Follow Laurie and AYHF  at; on Facebook at, and Twitter at @AYHFamilycare

Contact Laurie Edwards-Tate


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