Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

If You Give a CHILD a Cookie…

posted by Linda Mintle

A friendly elderly man brings cookies and candy to the Y every day.

As soon as the children walk in the door, he offers the treats. Again, on the way out the door, the same treats are offered. And he makes it really hard to say NO.  I’ve seen some of the children say NO THANK YOU, only to be pressured to take the cookies.

Maybe this behavior seems harmless to you and you are thinking, cut the guy a break, he is just trying to be nice.

I think he is trying to be nice.

However, I sit on a community coalition that works hard at changing eating habits in children. With record rates of childhood obesity, we don’t want children associating exercise at the Y with unhealthy snacks as rewards. Those children then grow up to be adults who reward themselves with empty calorie food. The seemingly harmless behavior is teaching children the wrong eating habits. And some of the parents do not want the cookies offered by a stranger.

People have complained. I’ve suggested a compromise. How about if he brings small oranges, grapes, bananas or nuts and seeds instead. Or the money he spends on cookies and candy could be spent on stickers, sugar-free gum or something else if he is wants to engage the children. Or make a policy that junk food is not offered when you walk in the door.

Nothing has changed.

You might think, what is the big deal? Aren’t there more important issues to face in life?

The big deal is that so many people I work with have to change their relationship with food and stop rewarding themselves with treats every time they do something that requires physical discipline. This “food as reward” habit is often learned in childhood and carries over to adult life. Praise, activities, stickers, high five, anything else can be used to reward behavior without teaching bad eating habits.

Being nice to kids doesn’t have to include giving them daily cookies and candy at a place trying to promote healthy habits in kids and adults.

If we change these small unhealthy habits, they lead to bigger changes.

 

 

 

 

Dogs at Work: A Surprise Benefit!

posted by Linda Mintle

When I say goodbye in the morning and see those sad black eyes looking up at me, I want to tell my dog to get in the car–she’s heading out with me. I’ve often wished I could take my dog to the workplace. She would be great. She rarely barks, is very obedient and would sit most of the day and watch me work. At noon and at breaks, the two of us would motivate each other to get up and take a quick walk. Seems like a win win. This is how it works when she is in my home office. Well, apparently my fantasy has merit!

A new study by Dr. Barker (I am not kidding, that is his name) at Virginia Commonwealth University, published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management  found that dog owners who brought their pet to work, lowered their stress. And that stress stayed low throughout the day. In contrast, those pet owners whose dogs stayed home, not only increased their stress during the day, but doubled it by day’s end. It turns out that man’s best friend is also a stress reducer!

Some of the dogs in the study were noisy (imagine the routine barker), not so clean, and at times, destructive. So the idea of the quiet pup who sits by your side lovingly gazing into your face is not always reality. But some employers might institute the take your doggy to work day when they learn that workers felt more productive. And the people who came in contact with the dogs at work were more satisfied on the job.

Try talking about increasing productivity, workplace satisfaction and stress reduction and see if your employer invites Fido to join your morning coffee!

An Unusual Wish for a Child With Brain Cancer: How You Can Help

posted by Linda Mintle

It’s hard to imagine what the family of nine-year-old Ryan Kennedy is going through these days. Ryan has a rare form of brain cancer that has required multiple surgeries, rounds of chemotherapy and radiation. Despite all the medical efforts,  the tumors continue to attack his brain. Young Ryan has decided to stop the treatments, knowing that this will most likely end his life. He is currently at home with his family in hospice.

Like many kids who know they are dying, Ryan has a wish. But Ryan’s wish is unusual-he wants to trend on Twitter. When this wish was made public, several celebrities tweeted their followers to make the wish come true. Ryan’s wish is getting noticed. We can all help fulfill it.

Just tweet #RyanKennedy.

With so many well-wishers, Ryan’s mom says he feels cared about and loved. What a fabulous use of Twitter–bring awareness to a killer disease and support a child facing death unless a miracle occurs.

Ryan, I not only tweeted you, but my prayers are with you and your family. You are not only loved by all who see your brave fight, #RyanKennedy God loves you too.

Disturbed by the Cover of Time Magazine?

posted by Linda Mintle

First let me say, I am a huge advocate of breast feeding. I have worked on committees that target business to establish breast feeding rooms for nursing moms and breast fed both of my children. So when TIME magazine brought attention to the topic this past issue,  I was glad. But I was disturbed by the cover photo.

Were you?

Maybe I have seen too many pathological people in therapy over the years but that cover (see the photo) feels like it sexualizes  children. The photo looks too sensual and distracts from the message. I kept thinking of all the child predators who love that photo and the pre-teen boys who see it in the grocery store and aren’t sure what to make of it. And looking at the Twitter comments, I am not the only one who felt this way. The x rated jokes will follow that poor child into the classroom in a few years.

According to the Center for Disease control,  fewer than 15% of babies are breast fed through the first six months (CDC). “The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that breastfeeding continue for at least 12 months, and thereafter for as long as mother and baby desire. The World Health Organization recommends continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond. Breast feeding is good for mother and baby. ”

Dr. Bill Sears,well-known pediatrician,, is an advocate of “attachment parenting” which includes breast feeding until the child weans. The approach is controversial.

If the point of this cover was to get our attention, it did just that.

So what did you think?

Will it forward the cause of breastfeeding?

Will it make breastfeeding more accepted in public?

Or will this do more harm than good?

 

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