Tag Archive for children

A Right, Fair Mandate

In today’s Thursday Thought quote, John Lewis reminds us of our obligation to our children.

Lego Braille Bricks

What an interesting idea. Leg has created a set of their bricks with Braille dots on them for visually impaired and blind children. The kids use them to learn and play. Check out this video —

Let a Dog Teach Reading

Have you heard about “Listening Dogs”?  It’s a simple, yet effective, concept.  Back in 1999, R.E.A.D. (Reading Education Assistance Dogs) came to be. They train therapy dogs to work with children, some with learning disabilities.  A dog’s job is to help a child learn English or reading skills in a loving, non-judgmental atmosphere. Kids have no worry about mispronouncing words or overcoming shyness in speaking in front of a class, thus resulting in health benefits, as well (lower blood pressure, pain control).  The dogs are attentive listeners, rewarding the children’s efforts with soulful looks and maybe an occasional sneaked-in lick.

Kids thrive. Dogs are happy. What more can we ask for?   For additional information, go to https://www.kqed.org/mindshift/47522/how-reading-aloud-to-therapy-dogs-can-help-struggling-kids

For a Healthy Marriage

“AFTER the kids are grown and we retire, THEN we’ll have time for us!” Too many couples put their relationship last.  Wouldn’t it be better if our kids grew up with a different outlook, that Marriage, as the heart of Family, is important enough to nourish?  We can do this in our own homes and among friends.  Find out about Marriage Encounter weekends and couples’ group activities. Do a date-night exchange, taking turns watching the kids while one couple goes out on a date—or just goes back home alone for a few hours.  Give that extra set of tickets to friends who need a night out.  Or take their kids with yours to the Children’s Discovery Museum and turn over your pool or hot tub to the parents for an afternoon.  All these things are inexpensive or free to you but priceless to your friends.  Your reward comes when they return the favor, and the community benefits from healthier marriages, both yours and your children’s!

Pets & Your Health

If you don’t own a pet, maybe you should get one. A pet offers a whole bunch of health benefits to you:

  • Buffer stress
  • Lower heart rate
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Give social support
  • Help you stay in shape
  • Prevent certain sicknesses

And to your children:

  • Cognitive stimulation
  • Improved behavior in children
  • Heightened understanding of others
  • Increased immunity
  • Lower anxiety levels

You can read why pet ownership gives you these benefits by reading this Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center’s short article Health Benefits of Pet Ownership.

By the way, Feb. 20 is National Love Your Pet Day. So, love your pet…or get one.

Take a Bite Out of Poverty

Think about it: over 37 million people of all ages in our country are suffering from the ravages of poverty.  These are men, women, and children off all ethnic backgrounds.  They are healthy or unhealthy, mentally unstable or perfectly stable, families or individuals, unable to work or have been “downsized” and can’t find work.  In short, poverty can strike anyone at any time–and it has.  We can’t fix our economy overnight, but those of us who are fortunate enough not to be part of the 37 million can help through our donations not just of money but of time. Everyone has a little time to give.  If serving at a soup kitchen takes more than you have, how about spending a few extra minutes while you grocery shop to shop for food items for those kitchens, or bake extra cookies for a shelter while you’re baking for your family.  If you don’t have time to help a local charity pack sack lunches for the homeless, you probably do have a minute to smile and say “Hi” to the homeless man outside the store, thus letting him know that he’s recognized as a human being rather than an objectionable object. After your daughter’s softball game, when you go with the team to pizza, you have a second to invite along as your family’s guest the girl who can’t afford to go.  In other words, poverty can be fought on the human level–one human being to another.  And you fight the battle in little ways.  As I always say, Small things really DO count!

Teaching Charity

A fellow parishioner decided when her kids were very young that they needed to learn charity.  She taught them to give something to every person who asked.  Each time that they were approached by the disabled vet outside the drug store, the homeless man on the street, the uniformed woman from the food-providing agency, the Salvation Army man with the Christmas kettle—anyone asking for help or for their aid in helping others—they would give a little something.  I asked, “What if the person’s a fake or will spend the dollar on alcohol or drugs?”  Her answer was another question: “What if they really do spend it on food for themselves or their family?”  This woman was teaching her children an important fact.  That is, it’s our job to be charitable; it’s God’s job to decide who He sends our way and why.

Love, Criticism, & Kids

Parenting is hard! We want our kids to grow up right. But, because we’re human, we get tired of repeating the same things again and again–like how dirty their room is, they forgot to do their chores, why we constantly have to remind them to do their homework, that they broke their promise to do something…. Today’s Thursday Thought quote gives us good reason to try to be more patient with our precious children.

Child Health–a Good Day

It’s the First Monday in October, meaning it’s National Child Health Day.  It’s a day established in 1928 to promote our children’s physical health, but why not focus on their mental and emotional well-being, too? We can play a few active games with them, take a walk or bike ride together, or team up to clean up the garden. We can also spend some extra time with them, maybe having a little picnic in the backyard, doing some chores together and complementing them on their help, giving them a few extra hugs, talking to them, one-on-one, about friends, school, activities they’re involved in or a movie you saw together or an incident when you both saw someone acting as a bully. Yes, these are things we should be doing every day with our children. But this is a great day to redouble our efforts–for the good of our children.

For Our Kids–Arm Everyone

I’m all for having armed guards in every school.  In fact, they should be anywhere children gather.  That includes churches, synagogues, temples, and mosques; Scout meetings; children’s birthday parties (disguise the guard as a cowboy); family reunions (never know when there will be a drive-by shooting); the zoo and children’s discovery museum; even political events where politicians kiss babies.  And hire only babysitters who pack pistols. Nothing is too extreme to safeguard our children.

These should be trained guards, required to take a two-hour gun safety course.  Some may be volunteers (I’m sure the NRA will recruit willing volunteers from their membership).  But many will be professional peace officers, fire-fighters, and school principals.

Expensive?  Not really.  The  Kids Are Our Concern (CROC) program can easily be paid for by money saved by revamping our penal system.  First, execute all the roughly 725  people currently on Death Row–they’re taking up space and using too much court time and money on appeals.  Maybe a few will be executed for a crime they didn’t commit, but if they’re on Death Row they must have done something else terrible enough to be taken out of society permanently.  Then, within two weeks of having been sentenced to death, execute newly convicted felons.  Next, sentence to death anyone using a gun that causes, intentionally or unintentionally,  any kind of bodily harm (except to animals, of course).  Think of all the money we’d save on housing and feeding these monsters AND we’d free up space in our prisons–maybe close down a few, thus saving even more money.

And all that savings would be earmarked for the CROC program.

I urge you to write your members of Congress (once they climb up from the bottom of the cliff) and urge that they adopt the CROC program at once!

[To my shocked readers: Remember that irony is one of the tools I use to make my point.]