The summer is here, school’s out, and now you are wondering how to keep your child active mentally and physically. There are a variety of quality summer programs available to help ensure your child is spending the summer on the couch with the XBox, or hanging out with kids you’d prefer he or she not be around. But how do you choose the best, from so many options?
Here’s a quick checklist we’ve developed of items to consider when choosing the right summer program for your child:
- Physical Exercise - Child obesity is at epidemic levels both in Oklahoma and across the country. If your child isn’t involved in an organized sports activity or regular exercise program, don’t let the summer be a time of physical inactivity. Find a program that will help keep them healthy physically.
- Mental Exercise – Just because school is out, your child’s brain shouldn’t go on vacation. In fact, students who keep active mentally over the summer tend to have an easier time transitioning back into school in the fall and need less “review” time. This doesn’t mean that your child should be sitting at a desk and doing math and English, but it does mean a good summer program that keeps their mind active and engaged will produce great results once school resumes.
- Character Development – As parents, we all know the importance of our children developing the right character traits. Self-confidence, respect, courtesy, self-discipline, and integrity are important in every aspect of our lives. Finding a program that will actively reinforce the values you are trying to instill in your child will help them learn and practice those traits at home, school, and on the playground.
- Convenience – You want a program that fits your schedule. If it is a struggle to get your child to it each day, it will be far to easy to abandon it. Finding one that is near your home or place of work will also help keep you committed to keeping your child in the program.
- Professionalism of Staff – Are they friendly? Do they interact with your child well? Do they keep you informed of the activities your child is participating in?
- Enjoyment – Does your child have fun while they are there? Learning doesn’t have to be boring. When you pick your child up, are they excited about what they did that day? Do they have a smile on their face. Or do they look bored or feel like they didn’t receive enough attention? If your child isn’t having fun, you’re going to find it a battle to get them to keep participating in the program.
- Cost – Of course, the price of the program will have an impact on whether or not your child can participate. In today’s economy, people are still looking for a good deal. But don’t just look at the price alone. Evaluate what you and your child are getting in return. A good program that is fairly priced and provides most of the elements listed above, will be well worth the money you invest in it.
We hope you and your child have a happy, safe, and fun summer. Help your son or daughter keep active mentally and physically by finding a program they will enjoy and benefit from. Doing so will ensure they enjoy their summer break and are prepared to return to school in fall.
We’re well into the tornado season, that time of year when superstorms, often producing tornadoes, strike. Even with the most advanced forecast and warning systems, cities and communities experience death and destruction when these monsters form.
There are those who believe that some day in may be possible for man to have more control over weather. But for now, it’s best to respect it and be aware of its potential. Learn how to survive it.
The damage resulting from Sunday’s tornado in southwest Missouri and the surrounding area resembles a war zone, a common description when an area sustains such a hit from a powerful storm. The death toll continues to rise as rescue and other emergency personnel find victims under the debris left by the tornado. Local officials estimate as much as 40 percent of the city of 50,000 had damage.
It wasn’t that there was no warning. The Joplin city manager said storm sirens sounded at least 20 minutes before the twister touched down on the west side, then tore a six-mile-long, half-mile-wide slice through the center of town. Among the buildings in its direct path: a hospital.
Some witnesses have said the Joplin tornado was “wrapped in rain” and hard to see. This is not unusual. It’s also not unusual that a tornado can be almost transparent until it picks up debris.
Tornadoes can have winds of up to 300 mph and can destroy everything in their path for 50 miles or so. They strike quickly, sometimes with little warning. So how can you prepare to survive one?
Have a plan, don’t panic.
If the sky is dark, often greenish; if there is large hail; if you see a large, dark, low-lying cloudy; and if you hear a loud roar (often described as similar to a freight train), you are witnessing conditions that may accompany a tornado.
Though a house of any kind rarely can withstand a direct hit from a severe tornado, good construction can help if your home is on the edge of the tornado’s path. A home can get a little extra protection with impact-resistant window; at least three hinges on doors and a deadbolt with a bolt at last an inch long.
Homebuilders may recommend installing permanent wood or metal stiffeners on garage doors. Some temporary supports are available that you can attach and remove easily when weather threatens. It isn’t my preference, but anything might be beneficial.
Weather officials say that if weather conditions are right for a tornado in your area, take precations.
If a tornado warning is issued, get everyone to shelter. If you have a basement, move everyone there. Otherwise, find a closet, a small room or a hallway away from windows. The more walls between you and the outside, the better.
Lean a mattress against the wall of the room you’re in, don’t open windows (you want the wind and rain to stay outside). If you can, turn off your utilities.
If you live in a mobile home, find shelter elsewhere.
Some other tips:
* If you are in a vehicle and a tornado is approaching, get out and try to find shelter inside a sturdy building. If there is nothing nearby, a ditch can provide shelter. Obviously, don’t lie down in water, however.
* Don’t make the mistake of taking shelter under a bridge or overpass. These structures may be destroyed. They also offer very little protection from debris.
If a tornado watch is issued rather than a warning, you should have time to move anything in your yard that may become flying debris inside your house or garage. But if a thunderstorm is in progress, with lightning especially, don’t go out in it.
Have emergency supplies at the ready (flashlights, cell phones, snacks, clean water, blankets … those things that can be used immediately).
Listen to weather reports and be prepared to act.
For more stormy weather safety information, go to http://knowit.newsok.com/severe-weather-oklahoma.
“You’ve just won a new BMW!”
“You have been chosen to receive $1,000,000!”
“We have a check waiting for you!”
“Your name came up … ”
“No strings attached!”
“Free ocean cruise!”
“The world is yours!”
Wait a minute. The whole world? So, what’s the catch?
Never mind. We all know if it sounds too good to be true, it is. Uh, it isn’t. You know what I mean. It’s bunk.
It’s amazing to see what kind of garbage makes it through the filters these days, no matter what we put on our computers (“Spam Busters: Guaranteed to Stop That Spam”), our phone lines (Join the No Call List and Avoid Those Sales Calls), or doors (No Soliciting: “This’ll Stop ‘Em”).
They seem to always find a way to get through.
I believe strongly in advertising, particularly that of the legitimate variety. What I have is a problem with is those such as mentioned at the top of this piece, the items that promise things that simply cannot be true.
Of course, you might say they really DON’T promise anything. There’s always something in the fine print that gives the sender a legal escape.
SPAM or SCAM, it’s still a four-letter word to me.
I got seven emails from individuals claiming to be U.S. military personnel currently stationed in Iraq or Afghanistan who had come across thousands … no, millions of dollars over there and all they needed was a bank account to send it to so we could split it.
“Sure. Would you like my Social Security number, too, so you can make the proper withholding?”
I have had several emails from people saying my name is on an account in another country awaiting my instructions on how to disperse it.
“Great. Here’s where I want you to put that.”
And the sad stories of those in need who only request a few thousand dollars to help them get here, so they can gladly repay me.
“Oh, I will be glad to send you money so you can .. Wait. If you don’t owe me yet, why would I want to … ?”
It’s almost entertaining to see what kind of shill comes next. Almost. Not quite.
But now about the world being mine …
One of the most difficult challenges of modern life is the ability to focus. We often hear about the importance of multi-tasking – doing more than one thing at a time. However, so much of life today seems to be a constant multi-task it is often difficult to get anything accomplished well.
Latin writer Publius Syrus wrote, “To do two things at once is to do neither.” Grandmaster James Ray of
All American Martial Arts reinforces this thought with his students when he often says, “The brain can only focus on one thing at a time.” This is an important element to the self-defense strategies he teaches.
Technology has increased the speed of communications in our society, and many have come to believe it should also increase the number of tasks we are able to complete at once. However, the lost art of concentration is a critical ingredient to success. To devote our entire attention to the task at hand, to the goal of most importance, is what allows us to accomplish it successfully.
The Martial Arts are a great way of re-learning or reinforcing the skill of concentration. Katas, board breaking, basic movements, as well as a variety of other activities help focus the mind and clear away distractions. They strengthen the practitioner’s ability to achieve the exceptional by harnessing the mind’s complete attention on the object in front of it.
The next time you are tempted to fallinto the trap of multi-tasking, remember the words of Arnold Palmer: “The secret of concentration is the secret of self-discovery. You reach inside yourself to discover your personal resources, and what it takes to match them to the challenge.”
As the countdown continues toward the end of the school year, it’s time for honors to be bestowed upon those who, for whatever reason, accomplished something.
The annual Awards Assembly (what it is called may vary, but what it is rarely does) is that special time when students receive recognition and parents get a measure of validation.
It may be for achievements such as: perfect attendance, academic excellence, athletics, citizenship, musical skills, safety patrol, student newspaper, yearbook, home economics, math challenge, debate, class officers, physical fitness, reading challenge, office assistant, film assistant, library helper, student athletic manager … (add your own here).
The honors seem to increase as the student ages and moves forward through mid-high (or, junior high as it was in my era) and high school. Especially in high school, you see some that have monetary value: scholarships.
In my high school, there were more than 500 awards, including scholarships, presented during the specia assembly my senior year. That was to a large extent due to having a major corporation in town that was very community-oriented and education-minded.
All the awards were important. Students enjoyed the praise and recognition. Parents also enjoy seeing their children honored. It’s a mark of success, an indication that something was done right and all can be proud of it.
So if you’re sitting there in the audience as Little Susie get her certificate for straight A’s, or Little Johnny picks up the Outstanding Basketball Player Award before your child’s name is called for his or her honors, just be patient and enjoy the moment.
Those memories are worth the wait.
See more about being a parent at knowit.newsok.com/parenting-oklahoma.
“When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.” – Roy Disney
Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to make important decisions if you are unclear on your priorities? If you are having trouble choosing between various courses of action, you may want to reexamine your values. It may be a situation in which you simply need to remind yourself what is most important to you. Or, it may be that you need to revise those priorities based on new information, an important experience, or changing circumstances.
In Taekwondo we have five chief tenets: 1) Courtesy; 2) Integrity; 3) Perseverance; 4) Self-Control; and 5) Indomitable Spirit. These are our values. They guide us not only in how we conduct ourselves on the training mats, but also in how we conduct ourselves at home, at school, at the office, or anywhere else we find ourselves. These tenets serves as anchors for our actions.
When these values are at the forefront of our minds, making hard decisions becomes easier. Will the proposed action confirm, affirm, or reinforce those five values? Then it is easier to choose it. If the proposed action doesn’t conform to these priorities, it is also easier to avoid it. Regardless, having this clear set of values makes decision making more efficient and effective.
If you are finding it difficult to make a particular decision, examine your core values and determine how your decision will interact with them. If you haven’t specifically defined your core values, spend some time doing so. You’ll find it makes your ability to accomplish your goals much easier.
A little help can go a long way when you’re fighting hunger. We all have a prime opportunity to make that come true Saturday, May 14, during the 19th Annual Letter Carriers Food Drive.
It’s easy, it’s inexpensive and it will help our fellow Oklahomans who are struggling to feed their families and/or themselves during difficult economic times by joining in the Stamp Out Hunger effort.
All you need do is put nonperishable food items in the plastic bag your letter carrier leaves at your mailbox this week, and place the bag near that spot by 7 a.m. Saturday. Any plastic bag with a handle will work as well.
The carriers will pick them up and take them to post offices, where the items are sorted and delivered to food pantries and the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma for distribution.
So what kinds of food items are needed? Those like canned meats; rice and beans; vegetables and fruits; even peanut butter.
The goal this year is to get 900,000 pounds (450 tons). That may sound like a lot, but it really isn’t when you consider that thousands of Oklahomans go hungry each day, or barely get by. A few canned items can make a big difference in their lives.
If you would prefer to make a money donation, you can go online to regionalfoodbank.org, or text “CAN” to 27722 to do a $10 gift. Organizers say each dollar donated provides seven meals to a hungry person, and all donations stay in Oklahoma.
For more information about how you can help our disadvantage residents, go to knowit.newsok.com/charity-oklahoma or to knowit.newsok.com/homless-oklahoma and check the resources locations.
Here’s your opportunity to help and feel good about doing so.
They’re boosting my appreciation for professional athletes.
I’ve heard that it’s in the contract of each NBA player and coach that he must do community-oriented things, such as promotions and charity work, in the city where he plays.
Well, it may be a “have to” situation, but it sure seems Oklahoma City Thunder team members are contributing time and effort happily.
I’ve seen numerous video and photo images of these guys working on local projects, such as repairing or building homes, visiting disabled individuals, working with underprivileged children, or taking part in activities in areas of our metro area where celebrities are rarely seen.
I would much rather see these images rather than some high-paid superstar who has gotten in hot water for stealing jewelry at a shopping mall, beaten up someone, or become mixed up in drugs.
Sure, these things happen to all segments of society. But the negative images have an effect on those who idolize celebrities, particularly, it seems these days, on athletes.
These who do help out in their communities, who contribute time and effort, who care about those who support them are viewed as heroes as much as they are on the court.
If you want a good recent example, see the story on Serge Ibaka in “know it: Charity.” Here’s a man who has scored big with children, teachers and his community.
For that, we should say, “Thank you.”
Consider yourself warned.
If you’re planning on getting your kicks Friday on Route 66, you had better have your seat belt fastened.
The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office says law enforcement officers from more than 50 Oklahoma agencies are joining forces that day to crack down on seat belt violators along Oklahoma’s “Mother Road.”
They will have a 24-hour effort, beginning at midnight, with the theme of “Get Your ‘Clicks’ on Route 66.”
This is labeled “high visibility enforcement” and will run all 400 miles, border-to-border, on Oklahoma’s portion of the famed highway. There will be “saturation patrols” and various checkpoints along the route.
You say this all sounds familiar? It should. This is the fourth in an ongoing series of crackdowns, scheduled at least once a quarter, on Route 66 (now labeled State Highway 66).
Among those agencies participating will be sheriff’s offices, municipal police departments, tribal agencies and, of course, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
In a news release announcing the latest crackdown, Patrol Lt. Garrett Vowell, who organized the program, said: “We’re looking forward to another great event. This is one way of bringing Oklahoma’s seat belt law to everyone’s attention on a regular basis, and that’s a good thing. We want all drivers and passengers to be as safe as possible.”
You also should be aware, Vowell said, that officers will be watching for child passenger seat violations and educating drivers about appropriate child restraints. If you don’t know the law, you will learn.
State law requires all drivers and front-seat passengers to wear safety belts. The driver also is responsible for ensuring that children age 12 and under are restrained in accordance with Oklahoma’s child passenger safety laws.
“We want everyone to buckle up — every trip, every time, day and night, all across the state,” Vowell said, “and if drivers forget, we will be there to remind them that seat belts save lives.”
Count on it.