A recent post by Brandon Dutcher on the Choice Remarks blog again highlights the growing concern about the effects of bullying in our schools. You can read Dutcher’s post here. We at All American Martial Arts share the concern about the safety of our children while in school.
If you have not researched this issue, the numbers can be quite startling. Below are the results from research conducted by various organizations both nationally and in Oklahoma:
- Nearly 50% of students are bullied at least once in elementary or middle school
- Nearly 1/3 of all students ages 12 – 18 reported being bullied in 2007
- “Pack” bullying is more common in high school and lasts for a longer period of time
- 160,000 students miss school each day due to fear of being bullied
- 282,000 students are attacked each year in secondary schools
- 46% of males and 26% of females report being in a physical fight during school
- 1/3 of Oklahoma students report being involved in incidents of bullying
- 12% of Oklahoma elementary and middle school students admitted to bullying other students
- 60% of middle school bullies have at least one criminal conviction by age 24
- 71% of school shooters identified bullying as a motivating factor
From the Oklahoma Department of Health
- 69% of 7th graders, 54% of 5th graders, and 40% of 3rd graders reported that bullying occurred daily or weekly in their school
- Most common places bullying occurs: 1. Playground, 2. School Bus, 3. Halls, 4. Bathrooms, 5. Classrooms
- 20% of Oklahoma elementary and middle school students worry often about bullying
- Only 34% of Oklahoma elementary or middle school students reported assisting someone who was being bullied.
Although June is just now ending, school will begin for many children in slightly over a month. What can you do to protect your child from bullying? Here are some quick suggestions:
- Help your child build a strong self-confidence (children with a healthy self-confidence are less likely to be bullied than others)
- Help them develop effective conflict resolution skills
- Teach them to become aware of their surroundings and how to avoid a potential conflict before it occurs
- Enroll them in a self-defense program – No child should be taught that fighting is good. However, they should not expected to simply be a victim either.
Bullying is a real issue our school children are facing. And its impact our our children’s lives is becoming more costly. Parents should provide their children with the knowledge and skills to handle bullying before their child becomes a victim.
James Davenport is c0-owner of All American Martial Arts, located in Del City.
A couple of days before the long Fourth of July holiday weekend and a few reminders that just might help you have a safe time and save some time.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol, along with county and municipal law enforcement, will be watching closely for those who have been drinking and are driving. That extends past the highways and into Oklahoma lakes as well. So, boaters beware.
Also, on the roadways, you had better have your seat belt on, and, in the water, have your life preserver.
As far as travel, check The Oklahoman and NewsOK for roadwork sites to be aware of, and be especially patient on south Interstate 35 north of the Red River.
In a news release Wednesday afternoon, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation said: “Officials with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation report significant weekend traffic backups on I-35 this summer at Marietta near the Texas border, particularly Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons. Tie-ups are much less frequent during non-peak times, such as mornings and weekdays.
”In addition to the caution normally expected of drivers in and near work zones, motorists are asked to expect delays of at least one-half hour during peak travel times in this area. Delays are often longer in the event of collisions.
“The construction zone can be avoided by using an alternate route such as U.S. 77, which runs parallel to I-35 throughout most of the state. Other possible alternates include U.S. 69/U.S. 75, U.S. 81 and U.S. 377.
“A six-mile stretch of highway is being reconstructed in the area. The $13 million project is expected to continue until mid-October. However, incentives are being offered for early completion. All ramps remain open.”
ODOT is not kidding, folks. I traveled through that area a couple of weeks ago and it was just as described.
Weatherwise, it should be hot, so have plenty of water and plenty of sunscreen. You’re going to need it.
And lastly, be careful, with fireworks or any other activity. Make it a happy, safe celebration.
For a list of holiday activities, go to wimgo.com and entered a date and/or location. For additional information, go to:
Have a great holiday.
In one of my other “lives,” I write the Traffic Talk column for The Oklahoman. I had a special request for a reprint of one of those columns recently, one regarding the Fourth of July and dumb things people do with fireworks.
These are dumb, for sure, but they also are dangerous. So here is my column from July 3, 2006. Please don’t try these at home.
Examples of why fireworks and vehicles don’t mix. Please don’t try these yourself.
• From an Oklahoma Lake Patrol officer: Three party enthusiasts decided to launch a large aerial display from a boat on one of our state’s largest lakes. This came after drinking from a keg of beer.
The group anchored, set up the shot, then lit it. When the fuse burned to the ignition point, the display launched, showering the boat — and the group — with sparks.
The overhead display was beautiful, the officer said, but the brightest “display” was created by the fire on the boat — clothing, paper sacks, and anything else that could burn.
The group was rescued by those on a boat nearby. The smoldering vessel was towed to shore.
• From a deputy sheriff: A carload of teenagers filled with the holiday spirit, or “spirits,” drove county roads, using the vehicle as a mobile launching platform for bottle rockets. Those in the back seat would light a rocket, then launch it from a pop bottle or by hand.
Everything worked well when the little rockets went skyward. But two steered into a pasture, igniting dry grass.
The resulting fire spread quickly. By the time the nearest fire department could get to it, the fire had consumed several acres.
• From a police officer: Four young people (about 10 or 11, the officer said) were taking turns lighting mini rockets and firing them at passing cars within the city limits of a mid-size Oklahoma community. The group moved frequently from one hiding place to another so as to avoid detection.
One mini-rocket sailed through an open window, striking the driver, who was startled and steered into a parked car.
Luckily, the driver was not injured. But two vehicles were damaged heavily.
• From an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper: On a state turnpike, a father and his three children were transporting three bags of fireworks to their home near Tulsa when the father tossed a cigarette out the driver’s window.
The cigarette blew back in through the driver’s-side passenger window and landed in one of the bags. Within seconds, the back seat was filled with exploding firecrackers, which in turn lit additional fireworks.
Two of the three children were injured.
In each instance, there was illegal activity, and someone had loss and/or injury.
By the way …
These stories come from those who have seen firsthand what can happen. Please don’t let that happen to you.
If you’re in a location where you legally can use fireworks, exercise caution. Otherwise, leave the displays to those trained to use them.
Have a happy Fourth. Enjoy your week and drive safely.
It’s going to be another hot one today, at least the highs 90s. And I didn’t need a professional weather forecaster to tell me that. It’s simple observation.
Here were the clues:
* The ponds nearby resemble paintings. In fact, if it weren’t for the ducks and geese swimming slowly and making tiny — if any– ripples, there would be no movement at all.
* Smoke plumes on the horizon from controlled burns are rising straight into the sky, for what looks like hundreds of feet.
* There is no swaying of tree lims. They are perfectly still.
* A construction crew doing dirtwork is not stirring up much dust, and what does rise as the crew’s vehicles quickly dissipates.
* A lone bicyclist, who appears soaked with perspiration, stops to take a sip of water, then douses himself.
* The heat from the sunny side of the building has warmed up the room early in the morning.
* Clouds appear to be many miles — and hours — away.
* It is summer in Oklahoma.
These are but a few of the signs that say “hot day ahead” in this part of the country, where temperatures already have reached 100 degrees or higher and you can be assured will do so again.
Those who enjoy this time of year and the heat can be happy. Those who prefer cooler weather will have to be patient. Your turn is coming.
Learn more about Oklahoma’s weather and how to live in and with it by going to http://knowit.newsok.com/severe-weather-oklahoma and looking through the various stories, photos and resource material.
“Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” – Vince Lombardi
At All American Martial Arts we have four current students who have earned the title “National Champion” from the Amateur Athletic Union’s National Taekwondo Championships. One has earned that title twice. However, they will be the first to tell you it was a team effort that made that accomplishment possible.
Instructors, family, sparring partners and others all contributed to the effort that allowed them to compete and win at the highest level. But the same is true of every other area of our lives. Author and leadership expert John Maxwell has said, “No great accomplishment has ever been achieved by an individual.” We all have teams around us.
In visiting with young students, we often remind them that their families are teams also. We help emphasize the importance of being a good “teammate” at home. The same is true for adults as well.
Whenever we hear the word “team” it is natural to think of our favorite sports team. However, the same principles that help those teams to win championships are necessary for us to achieve success at home, at work, and in society.
Personal sacrifice, commitment to a common goal, dedication to improve, accountability, and perseverance are all attributes we see in championship teams, whether they be a football team, a major corporation, a community organization, or a family.
How well your team performs will be determined by the integrity each teammate displays towards achieving team goals. What kind of teammate are you? Do you display the characteristics of a champion in your daily life? Or do you just try to get by, only worrying about how to improve your personal position in the organization?
The first step in building a good team is dedicating yourself to being a good teammate. Want to create a winning team at home, at work, and in your community? Commit yourself to being the best possible teammate. Doing so will inspire others to do the same. Before you know it, you will have achieved those goals, too. And you can truly lay claim to the title “Champion.”
James Davenport is co-owner of All American Martial Arts which is located in Del City.
A photo, a name, a memory. I looked at the group again on the computer screen.
In all, there were 24 young, smiling faces. They were shown as soon-to-be high school graduates, with hopes and dreams of successes and happiness ahead of them.
Some had big plans and often talked about them. I remember one who was planning on eventually taking over his father’s business, a successful construction operation. Another also was in line to inherit the family store. One was intent on following his parents, brothers and sisters into agricultural enterprises.
There were others who were planning to attend college, then venture into business or scientific endeavors. Some were inclined to use strong backs and minds to build homes or highways. Others were just hoping to have happy families and live normal lives, staying relatively close to the home where they grew up.
Now, some 40 years after those photos were made, every member of that group is gone. But they won’t be forgotten. In fact, those attending the high school reunion this weekend in Ponca City will honor their memory.
They were members of a class of more than 500 (555. as I recall). Not everyone was close friends with everyone else. It would be rare for that to happen in a class of that size, even though many schools today have much larger groups. But, all things considered, I remember there was a feeling of unity because we saw or interacted with most of our class during any given week, particularly during the school year.
Losing 24 of 555 in four decades might not seem like that high a number (4 percent, by my figures) to most people. But these were individuals we knew well, people we shared many experiences with, dated, or had as teammates.
As I glanced again at the screen, I thought about what the photos didn’t show, but that some — many — of us knew. Some of those classmates already were facing major challenges when those photos were taken. For example, at least two were fighting serious health issues and both eventually died of their illnesses.
At least two others faced life issues they could not overcome. Some were lost to accidents, some were victims of violence. There are others I have no idea about, yet.
The group included athletes, dancers, singers. There were those who were skilled with their hands, those who were skilled with their minds.
I can remember some thing, some event relating to most all of them. Some were close friends; some were just friends. But all were our classmates.
We will remember them.
Having GOOD neighbors can sure make life better. But having GREAT neighbors makes it downright enjoyable.
We’re fortunate in that we have some GREAT neighbors, and we try to be the same for them. They’ve been there for us when things have been tough and we’ve helped them when times were tough as well.
We’ve all pitched in when we there has been a need, large or small. Sometimes it’s something as small as helping move a heavy piece of furniture, while other times it might be car repairs.
It’s even enjoyable taking turns mowing each other’s front lawn, though we do limit the patterns of the mowing to reasonable and acceptable ones.
We’ve taken turns preparing meals to share, or gone together to reduce the load. I can’t remember a one of them that wasn’t delicious. Sometimes we go to a restaurant together and we’ve treated each other on occasion.
We’ve taken turns being driver and passenger on excursions together. Sometimes, we have a backseat driver, who usually is reminded — with respect, of course — that he or she fails to signal from time to time, too.
We’ve attended events together through the year, from recitals to sports events to concerts and beyond. Sometimes they are close to home; sometimes they require a drive (see taking turns being driver and passenger above).
Sharing lives is definitely a key part of the relationship.
We’ve shared special memories with our neighbors, particularly when they involved our children. We’ve watched the children grow and reach various milestones. Only parents, family and close friends know just how important it is when a little one can “go poddy” on their own.
We’ve had holiday get-togethers for years, from block parties to family events that we are invited to, because we’re considered family. We know we are.
There have been sad times, particularly when one family of the other has lost a loved one. Great neighbors give support when it’s needed.
But there have been good times. Many of them. There’s a comfort, a warmth, a secure feeling that comes from knowing you’re with those who want to be with you.
Rain or shine, cold or hot … makes no difference when you have family and friends … and great neighbors.
At All American Martial Arts, we pride ourselves on teaching real-world, practical, and effective self-defense techniques. While we hope none of our students ever have to use them, we recognize that some will. We want them to be prepared and have the knowledge and skills to protect themselves. Regardless of age, we teach our students to avoid a physical confrontation if possible, but don’t be a victim.
However, the reality is that the most effective self-defense tools you have are your eyes, ears, and brain. Knowing when danger is present, finding a route to escape or avoid it, and paying attention to your surroundings can keep you out of harm’s way more effectively than your hands and feet.
Awareness is just as much a skill as executing a a roundhouse kick or a
backfist. And you can develop it with practice just like those physical skills. Awareness can be developed at the store, the park or the office.
It doesn’t take a black belt to increase your awareness and recognition skills. It simply takes effort and diligence. And these skills can help keep you from having to use the more physical skills taught by the
martial arts. Howevere, if you do have to use physical techniques, well-developed awareness and recognition skills will still provide you an advantage.
When the heat is on, it can be downright dangerous.
High temperatures and directly sunlight can cause extreme health problems, especially for those who aren’t used to them.
Here is a collection of tips from various health agencies that can help you survive during hot weather:
Cool down: Remember to close curtains and windows in the morning to keep the sun and heat out of your home. Opening windows and doors at night can help cool inside temperatures. Turning off electric lights, or turning them down, will save money, as well as reduce the heat. In extreme heat, if you don’t have air-conditioning, leave your home and go to a cool, safe place, such as a senior center or shopping mall.
Avoid the heat: If any way possible, stay out of direct sun and heat. Try to spend as many hours as you can in a cool location. Minimize your physical activity. Cool baths or showers can bring body temperature down. Use cool towels. Whenever possible, wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water and/or natural juices. Health officials advise that cool drinks help to replenish fluid losses due to increased perspiration in high temperature. You should drink at least six to eight glasses of fluids daily. But avoid alcohol and caffeine, which cause the body to lose more water. Health officials advise keeping a few bottles of water in your freezer or freezer compartment. If you should lose power, move them to the refrigerator and keep the doors shut.
Eat right: When preparing food, fix easy, cool, light meals. Health officials recommend fresh vegetable salads, tuna and meat salads, fresh fruit mixtures, whole-grain products and cheeses, all of which can produce cool, nutritious summer meals. Remember that hot foods, such as soups, casseroles and other products served hot, can make you warmer. You should avoid using your oven during high heat, if any way possible.
Buddy up: Family, friends, or neighbors can be life-savers in high heat. Develop a personal support network, a buddy system of people who will check in with you at least twice a day during extreme heat periods. Work with them on how you can help each other in an emergency.
Be prepared: Most medicine will be OK in a closed refrigerator for at least three hours, so ask your doctor about any prescription medicine you keep refrigerated. Avoid using salt tablets, unless directed to do so by a physician.
Pet help: Dogs, cats and other pets affected by high temperatures need shelter and water. They also should have proper food.
Other items: Keep a battery-operated radio on hand to hear news reports. Have a flashlight handy for lighting and con’t forget extra batteries. Don’t use candles. They are fire hazards. Also remember that cordless phones may not work during power outages. Keep a corded phone nearby or plugged in to another jack.
Watch for signs: Heat stroke and/or heat exhaustion can come on quickly. Call 911 if you or anyone you know needs medical attention.
For as long as I can remember, our trips to the Dallas Metroplex have been adventures. It seems like it doesn’t matter if it’s visiting family in Hurst, seeing friends in Plano, being entertained in Arlington, attending a wedding in Irving, or catching the sights and food in Fort Worth or Dallas, we enjoy ourselves.
It’s a beautiful area, with lots to do and see. But as I grew from passenger to driver, I realized just how little I get to see and enjoy as the person behind the wheel because of the volume of traffic and the interchanges, twists and turns, all pretty much at high speed.
Last weekend, while roaming between Irvin, Plano and Dallas, I saw traffic at its worst and, sometimes, at its best. Like anywhere else, things go well when other drivers are paying attention and exercising courtesy.
I even saw a couple of guys pull in front of a stalled car, then come back to help the couple inside the disabled vehicle. And get this. No one honked, yelled, or otherwise expressed their displeasure at being “inconvenienced” by the incident.
A tip of a 10-gallon hat to those people.
I also applaud those who used their turn signals when switching lanes in front of me, and those who allowed me to change lanes without a complaint.
I also noted there was a great deal of cell phone use among drivers, just like most everywhere else I’ve driven the past five to 10 years. Surprisingly, I didn’t see a lot of texting drivers.
Speed is a key point, it seems, on the Dallas interstates. You get all you can get, regardless of the speed limit. But, I understand, you best be aware of areas where those limits are enforced. It can be very expensive.
Overall, my driving experience in Dallas was comparable to my trips on Interstates 35 and 40, with fewer bumps and a bit slower. Sorry. That’s just how it felt to me.
On a scale of 1 to 10, the drivers I encountered on this trip got a solid seven. In an area that large, that’s pretty good.
Now if they could just convince the Texas highway department to do something about that bottleneck on Interstate 635 eastbound out of Irving to Highway 75 …