Tag Archives: Kids

Holiday Love

A Christmas/Kwanzaa holiday note

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Walking through the mall this afternoon, there were alot of men wandering around, looking a little glassy-eyed.  Most of them looked  to be between 32 and 48 years old and they looked tired. Some of them were in work clothes. They looked lost. One man approached me holding a very tall pair of women’s boots in his hands. “Will these work? Do you think my wife might like these? They look pretty good, huh?” The man was short. I asked him, “Does she have really long legs? Because if she doesn’t, those might not work.” “Oh”, he said, “This is too hard. I’ll just give her the money and she’ll have to pick her own boots.” (How easily we are discouraged.)

Christmas is supposed to be fun

Love is a gift you can give for free. We shouldn’t feel that love will be rejected or deemed false if it is not accompanied by an adequate gift. After all, most men hate shopping. It seems to be a little overwhelming for them, if not in the decision-making, then in the range of prices and sizes. Some folks make up a very specific gift list (not a bad idea, except it seems like you’re putting in an order).  The really detailed folks send a text or email with  mistake-free links to accomplish the ordering and shipping. Some folks want it fancy wrapped. Some folks just want your clearly spoken words of love. And that’s a good thing because I think what I saw in some men’s eyes reminded me of what I see when folks start talking about their student loan debt: Fear.  Remember, unless you’ve been skipping out on the basics despite having the ability to provide, no gift can replace real love. If that’s all you really have, give that. Be open and honest and if your partner is worthy of you, that’s what they will give back. But if you have a few bucks, most will probably appreciate a gift card.

Feel-Good Food That’s Good for your Brain

Let’s face it,,,,,everytime you feed your body, you feed your brain. A well-fed brain can think clearly, make great decisions, handle stress and remember well.

A poorly-fed brain can’t remember, is impatient, is stuck in a cloud and can’t make decisions. Everything you eat affects you, so don’t you want to pick the best foods?

What’s really the best food?
Who knew that the best foods for you, now that you know the food pyramid misses the mark, are, u name it:  good ole greens, beans and veggies as close to fresh picked as you can get them. Organic produce is important because pesticides are potent cancer causers. With the widespread marketing of GMO foods (genetically-modified (Frankenfood) fruits and vegetables), it is doubly important that black folks and urban neighborhoods don’t become dumping grounds for pesticide-laden, old, poorly regulated and nutrient poor foods.

Food distributors know that they can unload lower quality foods in urban and immigrant neighborhoods. (Check the expiration labels on the food products that you buy. For unpackaged foods use your eyes and your nose. If you can smell the fish counter or the meat section from the front of the store, maybe you should go somewhere else. )

What to look for
Now is the time to look for the stickers on fresh produce that says “Organic” or has a five digit code that begins with a number 9.  Let the manager at your local market know that you want high quality, organically grown, fresh produce. If a few people ask, they can order it for their produce section. Look for farmers markets with produce that is often picked the same day or the day before. Pay a little bit more or check out your local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) to buy a “farm-share” where you’ll get weekly deliveries of freshly harvested veggies from May to November for a lump sum payment. Check the prices of several farms but this usually averages $40 a week for the growing season for a family of four. They usually deliver to a drop off point like a church,  school or farmers market.

In the end, it’s less expensive
Fresh produce can be quickly cooked into a meal for 25% of the cost of processed, prepared foods and have four times the nutrition because it hasn’t been processed, baked, boiled, colored, preserved and sometimes, dried for packaging.

Follow health-conscious sister/brother bloggers
Vegan and healthy food bloggers, like Tracye McQuirter, will give you the details, recipes, facts and motivation for cooking up delicious, nutritious, “skintastic” and age defying meals!

Adequate Sleep May Improve Learning and Behavior in ADHD Teens and Kids

Sleep insures better learning & behavior for teens & kids






Dr. Harriet Hiscock, a pediatrician at Murdoch Children’s Research at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Victoria in Australia, found that many of the problems associated with ADHD – poor behavior, school readiness, irritability and impulsiveness, declined with increased sleep.

When parents are taught how to establish night time routines, clear bed times and the removal of electronic equipment from childrens’ rooms, children were able to achieve better sleep. Their behavior was improved during the day as well as at home in the evening. Researchers noted that parents are so exhausted in the evening and may need to make a concerted effort to implement changes but noted that the results were often positive.

Researchers are examining the effect of blue light from computer screens on brain stimulation and the body’s signaling system. It has been suggested that this light overstimulates the brain making it difficult for people to fall asleep..

Gangs are online & coming “tweetly” to your kids

In a January 24th, 2013 article in The Cutting Edge, Desmond Patton, a University of Michigan researcher on young African American men and gang culture,  we are made aware that gangs are using social media to make threats that sometimes result in homicide.  This is called “Internet banging.”

What his studies show
Patton says that it’s the assertive voice of urban youth as heard in hip-hop music, “it’s this identity, along with unemployment and poor educational opportunities, that fuels the behavior of some African-American men?
A slow, steady growth
 Twenty years ago, I was hearing that schools on the south side were being invaded during the day by gang members who climbed into classroom windows and pulled young boys out while teachers stood by helplessly. That was the beginning of my understanding of how pervasive the gang culture had become in Chicago.  That also seemed to be the beginning of the perfusion of drugs into middle class neighborhoods on the south side. It was the beginning of the destruction of a culture that had previously extended parenting rights to nearly every adult on the block. It was the slow and steady transformation of safe neighborhoods into a network of crack houses and turf wars.
The substitute baby sitter
Since then, gangs seem to have replaced family structure in their capacity to raise our young men. And they have raised them in the art of war – war against themselves – and one that can’t be won. The very essence of gang life is one that cannibalizes its’ young –our young. Where did the parents go? How might things have changed if our sons with learning problems and diminished self-esteem were properly diagnosed, adequately supported and helped to develop their innate strengths into employable skills?
Do you know where your child is?
Friends in Chicago note that parents are unable to be effective in challenging local gangs, but gang members are someone’s grandson, or cousin or classmate from elementary school. They come from somewhere. Most Chicago blacks are the grandchildren of the Great Migration of blacks from the South. People used to ask us, “Who are your people?” The answer was presumed to tell them something about our character. It’s been a long time since then and over that time we’ve become disconnected from our people. We have lost our attachment to values that were passed down – values that held our lives securely in the family web. A beehive of disenfranchised, disregarded young men have eaten away that web while we adults have become again the slaves of the economy.
Just soldiers in a battle for the neighborhood/economy?
As with the slavery (better understood as our manpower) that brought America to economic greathood, this new voluntary slavery leaves us without control of our children’s destiny – and therefore without control of our own destiny.  Only that’s not happening just through gang members crawling into school windows. Now gangs can extend their reach right into your home, through the Internet. What can you do?
To learn more about Desmond Patton’s research, check out these articles:
Patton, D., Woolley, M., & Hong, J. (in press). Community violence, student fear and low academic achievement: African American males in the critical transition to high school. Children and Youth Services Review. Patton, D., & Johnson, D. (2010).
Community violence and social capital: African-American students in the critical transition to high school. Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy. Patton, D., & Garbarino, J. (2009).
The hurting child inside the black man. In K. Vaughans & W. Spielberg (Eds.), The psychology of black boys and adolescents: Practical and applied psychology.
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