Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Hope and help

Radio Commentary

Addiction plays no favorites. It assaults individuals of every walk of life. Every color. Every socioeconomic group. Almost every age.

It seduces people with short-term euphoria and trades that off for lifelong agonies. It is an illness that victimizes not only the addicts but also everyone who loves them, works with them, teaches them, or cares about them in any way.

And addiction doesn’t just happen to “other people.” It happens to our friends, our neighbors, our children, and our loved ones.

If you, a relative, or a friend has a problem, remember that you are not alone. Help is available. Never give up on anyone.

Here are some phone numbers that could help. Call:

  • The Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, 963-1433; 
  • Alcoholics Anonymous, 962-3332; 
  • The Daniel Bryant Youth and Family Treatment Center adolescent program, 730-7575.

Many people say their agony was prolonged because they didn’t know where to turn for help.

It’s essential to know that thousands of county residents and relatives have received referrals for the treatment they needed through these organizations, and they remain ready to help anyone in need.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

No child left inside

Radio Commentary

It’s hard to believe it has come to this, but childhood is no longer synonymous with outdoor play.

Children are spending an average of 45 hours a week in front of a screen – televisions, computers, computer games. They are not spending time outdoors.

Children know how to build websites at a very early age, but not necessarily forts or tree houses.

Nature is becoming something on a television channel, not something in their backyard.

Research has confirmed what our grandmothers always said: “Go play outside. It’s good for you.”

It turns out that nature is important to children’s development in every major way —intellectually, emotionally, socially, and physically.

Playing in nature is especially important to help children increase their capacities for creativity, problem-solving, and intellectual development.

For children’s sake, parents need to be sure they play outdoors at least some of the time.

Leave No Child Inside is the name of a nationwide movement aiming to do just that, but parental encouragement is still the best way to reconnect kids with nature.

It’s an easy way to make a positive difference in children’s development in so many areas. Just send them outside in a safe area to play. They’ll figure out what to do. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Listening ladder

Radio Commentary

Listening is a critical skill for success. It is often in short supply, which makes it all the more valuable.

In fact, becoming a better listener is beneficial to anyone who wants to communicate effectively.

Listening well helps build stronger relationships, and is useful in resolving disputes. Most importantly, listening is the real key to acquiring knowledge.

Here are six steps that can help anyone become a more skilled listener and climb the ladder of success. The six steps spell out L-A-D-D-E-R.
  • For “L”: Look at the person who is speaking to you.
  • For “A”: Ask questions to make sure you understand.
  • For “D”: Don’t interrupt.
  • For the next “D”: Don’t change the subject.
  • For “E”: Empathize with the speaker. Try to feel what they are feeling.
  • For “R”: Respond verbally and nonverbally, with nods, smiles, and spoken responses.
Going through these steps can help anyone become a better listener, and for students that is an especially helpful tool. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Social skills

Radio Commentary

The skills required in a classroom are many and varied.
  
Children need to know how to take turns, make compromises, approach unfamiliar children, obey those in authority, and be generally nice to others.
  
Only then are they are socially ready to learn. But no one is born with these skills. They come from repeated interactions with other children at an early age.
  
Keep in mind that not all the interactions must be positive and pleasant. Children need to understand that others can be unfair and unkind, but that they should not act that way in return.

If young children are never exposed to adversity, they will be much less prepared to deal with it when it arises in situations both inside and outside the classroom.
  
We like to protect our children from unpleasantness, but at some point they must be able to deal with life’s adversities as well.

So let your children interact with others, and don’t be too quick to intervene in the normal squabbles that can arise.

As long as all seems within normal bounds, let them work it out. They will learn valuable lessons in the process.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Boating, sun safety

Radio Commentary

Summertime usually involves water recreation, which can be a source of great family fun. It also poses some dangers.

So it is important to teach your children water safety rules, to help protect them when boating, swimming, or enjoying other water sports.

First, have children learn to swim, but never alone — use the buddy system.

They should know the items that can be used to help save someone in trouble — a rope, an oar, a branch, or a life preserver, for example.

They should never swim where there is no lifeguard on duty. When on a boat, they should always wear a life jacket and stay seated.

Another great danger associated with water sports has to do with the sun. Many people believe that a tan looks healthy, but prolonged exposure to the summer sun can be very dangerous.

In fact, excessive sun exposure during the first 20 years of life is a key risk factor for all skin cancer. And young children are especially vulnerable
.
To help protect your children, keep infants up to six months old out of the sun or shaded from it. For young children, use sunscreen liberally, at least 30 minutes before exposure, and reapply often.

Use extra protection in areas with reflective surfaces such as water.

And beware: A cloud cover only partially reduces radiation. Skin won’t feel warm until it is already too late.

With the right precautions, summer can be a time of fun and enjoyment for all ages.