Remember the feeling of sharpening a brand new pencil or opening a new notebook for the first few weeks of school? I do. What’s sad is that many kids in America don’t have that feeling as they can’t afford school supplies, and, their schools have lost the funding to provide them. Consequently, American teachers are shelling out their own money to purchase supplies for their classrooms. Most parents appreciate how hard teachers work and how little they are paid for their dedication to our kids. It feels extremely unfair that they find themselves using their own wages to provide classroom necessities.
Take Part even estimates that American teachers collectively are spending a grand total of 3 BILLION dollars out of pocket in a year. Naturally, Take Part is starting a campaign to help change that. You can help too, by clicking here and donating. Every donation counts. If your kids do some charitable giving of their own this would be a cause that may resonate with them too.
I am always torn about how much to try to protect my children from the evil, madness and tragedy that exists in the world. Yet I also don’t want to shelter them so much that they won’t have the tools to handle life’s tragedies when they do eventually have to face one head on. When is the right time to bring horrific events up? And how do we level with them in a way that they can digest? Can we tell them the truth but not fill them with fear about the unknown unimaginables that could actually happen, and do sometimes happen? The senseless movie theatre shooting in Colorado is one such moment that has made me wonder.
My kids have not heard about the shooting. They are enjoying a blissful summer of sunshine and bike riding and days at the beach. I have not volunteered the information. Yet, I noticed, at a local church last Sunday, the minister brought up the event up at the children’s service. (I was there, but my kids were not, instead they were eating pancakes with cousins.) I saw many mothers’ cringe that the minister spoke about the tragedy in front of so many kids. Yet, in a way church is a good place to try to address such horrors. But, secretly I was happy that my kids weren’t there, pleased that that they could be ignorant and innocent a little longer.
Betsy Brown Braun, my favorite parenting expert, has a great article here on what to say should your kids bring up the shootings in Colorado. She has also written several great parenting books, filled with practical advice which are incredibly insightful specifically in terms of what age appropriate language to use when talking to your children during difficult times. Here’s an excerpt from her article and a link to her piece in The Huffington Post.
“The horrific tragedy in Colorado has left us all speechless, shaking our heads in disbelief. How could this have happened? Could anything really have been done to stop this mad man? And what can we possibly tell our children…if they ask?”
Click here to read Betsy’s full Huffington Post piece.
Click here to buy Betsy’s Book.
Last week I had the honor of attending Healthy Child Healthy World’s annual awards ceremony at the SLS Hotel hosted by Jennna Elfman. Healthy Child Healthy World is a non-profit organization dedicated to spreading awareness about protecting children from environmental toxins. The organization was founded in 1991 by James and Nancy Chuda, after their four year old daughter died of cancer. After their daughter’s tragic death The Chudas searched for answers. Four years later a study was released that revealed the likely connection between maternal exposure to pesticides and Wilms’ Tumor Cancer, the disease that their daughter suffered from. Since then the Chudas have dedicated their lives to spreading the word about the hazards of environmental toxins. Healthy Child Healthy World is a wonderful on line resource for parents full of informative information to help us all to make informed choices for our families.
Here are five basic steps that they recommend all families strive for:
1) AVOID PESTICIDES
2) USE NON TOXIC PRODUCTS
3) CLEAN UP INDOOR AIR
4) EAT HEALTHY
5) BE WISE WITH PLASTICS
One of the award winners honored that evening was pediatrician and author Dr. Allen Greene. His book, Feeding Baby Green, focuses on childhood nutrition. Dr Greene also started a movement called, “White Out,” which encourages parents not to feed their children rice cereal as a first solid food. (This was the first food my I gave my kids. Eeek!) He believes feeding your baby rice cereal is like feeding them a spoonful of sugar, as it is processed white rice which metabolizes to sugar. This book is full of great advice for feeding your young child and I wish that I had been privy to this information when my kids were younger.
Also honored that night was tenacious mom Tamara Rubin, of Oregon, whose children suffered lead poisoning during a routine home renovation. Tamar won the Healthy Child Award for 2011’s Mom on a Mission, as she founded Lead Safe America to promote protective policies regarding lead exposure.
It is inspiring to know that there are so many thoughtful parents taking action to help inform us all. We need to be vigilant about assessing the products that our kids are exposed to. Healthy Child Healthy World makes that daunting task so much easier with their on-line resources. They are always looking for volunteers to become involved, and also for donations. For more information about Healthy Child Healthy World check out their website.