Tag Archive for family

A Plea to My Readers on the Road

PLEASE BE CAREFUL!  A recent tragedy brought home how a couple of non-actions can cause heartbreaking outcomes.  Family of a close friend of mine was driving home from a visit to their dying father in Denver.  An 18-year-old rammed his SUV into the back of their van, causing both vehicles to spin and flip.  My friend’s 3 uncles, an aunt, and a cousin were killed.  The tragedy deepens: my friend’s father had lost one of his brothers a year ago, and now his remaining 3 are gone.  Further tragedy: my friend’s grandfather, under all the stress, had a stroke.

What are the non-actions involved?  One was a common one.  The people killed were stretched out in the van at 3 AM while another person drove, and they, like many of us, stretched out to get more comfortable, then did not re-buckle their seat belts.  The two in the van who kept their seat belts on survived.

The other non-action was on the part of the teen driver who hit them.  He had been drinking and was drunk, and he did NOT give the keys to someone else to drive.  Thus the disastrous accident that will forever touch so many lives.

So, please be careful out there.  Use common sense.  Think of yourself, others on the road, and all those whose lives are a large part of theirs.

A Thank-Full Day

Often a “thank you” isn’t needed.  Why thank a person for doing what he is supposed to do?  Here’s a thought: a “thank you” may encourage someone to do the right thing the next time he’s in that situation, or it might be the only bright spot in his otherwise-depressing day.  I thank the driver who stops for me in the crosswalk, the bicyclist who sees me coming in my handicap scooter and moves from the sidewalk to the street, the woman who notices me pulling into a disabled parking spot and moves the shopping cart she’d blocked me with in the cross-hatch section, the teen who turns down his loud music when he notices that we at the next picnic table are being bothered by it, the delivery man for being gentle with my package, the child who puts his trash into the can without being told.  Why?  Because we are responsible for each other, including nourishing each other’s spirits, fostering actions that inspire others to care about members of the human family. Such is the power of a simple “thank you.”

Something to think about — and practice — on this International Thank-You Day.

Family Relationships

Family is the most complicated relationship on earth.  They’re the people we most love, yet the people who irritate us the most.  And they’re right there at home, handy for us to take out our rotten day on.  Sociologists say that how we treat each other in our family reflects how we treat everyone else.  If we’re loving and forgiving within our family, we’ll likely extend that not only to our friends but into our attitude toward strangers across the country and in other hemispheres.  If we’re ready to fight within our family, we’re eager to get into conflicts and wars elsewhere.  You get the idea.  Then, what small step can you take, what little change in your patience, attitude, or treatment of family members? Only you will know the answer.  Look at your family and yourself and decide.  The relationship with your family–and with others–is worth the effort.

Barking Up the RIGHT Tree with Your Preschooler

(CNN)With our busy schedules and reliance on technology for entertainment, it’s hard for little ones to get enough of the outdoor physical activity that’s crucial for healthy development.

And during a pandemic when parents are especially crunched for time, it’s even harder to ensure that happens.

But one solution could be lying right at your feet, said a study published Sunday in the journal Pediatric Research. Owning, walking and playing with a family dog could encourage your toddler’s social and emotional development.

In fact, toddlers from dog-owning families who participated in the study were 30% less likely to have conduct and peer problems in comparison to preschoolers from families who didn’t own dogs, the researchers found. Even at this age, toddlers could indeed benefit from interacting with a pet while supervised.

READ MORE AT A family dog could help your preschooler learn social and emotional skills, study finds

You Don’t Need Worms for Success

SUNSHINE! Time to care for our traumatized yards. This year, grow vigorous plants without chemicals, prevent wind/water erosion, and use less water while decreasing the chance of plant-disease.  It’s easy.  Just start composting.

Hate worms?  No problem.  You don’t need the squiggly creatures, or even a container.  Start small, with a compost trench.  Rake those leaves into trenches between flower beds and forget them.  They’ll turn into mulch which you can spread around plants or mix into their soil. 

Compost pockets are easy, too.  They’re 18” deep holes into which you place scraps, like fruit, vegetables, and coffee grinds, then fill with dirt.  In a month, plant something there and watch it thrive. 

Consider this: by composting, most communities could reuse 50% of the waste they produce.  Give it a try and have some family fun.

Some Good in the Midst of Anguish

Although I’m deeply saddened by the daily news of even more people’s lives being taken by the coronavirus, I’m heartened by what is suddenly NOT in the news–shootings, small and large. Until the last few months, shootings were a daily occurrence.

In my fantasy world, when we come out of this pandemic, that particular lack of news will continue. In my perfect civilian world, guns will be used for sport only–target shooting and humane hunting. I’d like to think this virus has killed off another virus, that of hatred and bigotry that leads us to taking up guns to kill each other. I’d like to think that this experience we’re sharing reminds us that, despite our differences, we are all part of and responsible for the human family.

Charity on a Budget

Yes, you’d love to give more, but what can you do on such a tight budget?  The answer: always keep others in mind.  Use coupons and set aside the savings until you have, say, $20 to donate to a charity.  Recycle often, keeping the money in a baggie in your purse—and give what you have to the next homeless person you meet.  Watch for good 2-for-1 sales and donate that second box of cereal or sack of flour to a food bank, the food collection at your place of worship, or a family you know who needs it.

If you go to garage sales, pick up clothing and household items in good condition to give to a shelter for battered women or an organization helping disaster victims.  Cashing in on a great sale on yarn?  Get extra and make items for layette programs sponsored by many churches. We don’t need to be rich to make a difference; we just need to watch for opportunities to help make life better for others.

Sweet–and Fair–Fundraising

There’s a knock at the door.  It’s a youngster with chocolate bars.  You buy because you want to support the soccer team.  Warning: in your eagerness to help one group, you may be harming another.  Do you know where the cocoa beans came from?  Were the growers paid fairly for their work?  Enough to feed their families and meet basic needs?  Most likely, the workers, including very young children, are living in poverty in another country, and their hard work doesn’t earn them enough to climb out of hardship. 

Meanwhile, fundraisers enjoy big profits, passing on a tiny amount to your soccer kids.  Next time your group wants to raise money, suggest a compassionate alternative, Fair Trade Chocolate.  For example, there is Divine Fair Trade Chocolate, the first brand in the world to be farmer-owned (www.divinechocolate.com).  Or try one of these which are fair to the growers and kind to the earth: www.equalexchange.com, www.sweetearthchocolates.com,www.ChocolateBar.com, or www.VosgesChocolate.com.  Some offer discounts for fundraisers. 

What a deal — the kids raise money, social consciousness, and quality of life for families all at the same time!

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!

Are You Making Yourself & Family Sick?

Where’s the germiest place in your home?  No, it isn’t the bathroom.  Where does E. Coli lurk, waiting for you to apply it to your face, which you will do daily? Why does the old argument about PUT THAT LID BACK DOWN matter to your health? How can cutting up your salad and veggies in your kitchen sink be a health hazard?  Should you be concerned about your kids’ toys? These and similar questions are answered in this CNN Health article, The germiest place in your home and the best way to combat those microbes.