Posted on February 9, 2006
The children are jumping for joy and loving every skip and hop. As participants in the Jump Rope for Heart this Friday, they will be raising money for the American Heart Association and increasing their awareness of heart problems. But the more important goal is teaching our children that living a healthy, active lifestyle through a balanced diet and daily exercise throughout their lives will help prevent heart disease. When I was growing up, my neighborhood pals and I played a lot of rope jumping just because it was so much fun (and color television wasn’t yet a household commodity). Now as the faculty and I walk through the campus, it’s really exciting to see kindergartners through fifth graders rope skipping during recess and enjoying this activity as much as we did when we were growing up. Parents, thanks for your donations of bottled water and fresh fruit for the event. See you in the gym at 12:30pm tomorrow (Friday).
We deposited in the bank jarfuls of coins and currency that the children raised in the Pennies for Aloha United Way project — $766.30! — so far. We still have two more containers that came in this week, so I’ll have the final total next week.
Several teachers attended a session on Wednesday afternoon by Dr. Michael Thompson, author of Best Friends, Worst Enemies: Understanding the Social Lives of Children, Raising Cain, and many other articles on childhood relationships. His central thesis is that children’s friendships are critical for the development of their emotional well being, and that children are at risk in later life if they don’t experience good friendships in childhood. Moreover, children learn about moral values, leadership, effective communication, and sexual socialization through their friendships. Another interesting note: at about third or fourth grade, children’s friendships share the same characteristics as adult friendships. Loyalty becomes an expectation in the relationship; friendship is an emotional resource; relationships serve as a buffer against negative events; friendships are a source of continuity and stability. For these reasons, it’s important to empathize with our children’s social pain but keep it in perspective, that is try not to get personally involved in your child’s social ups and downs (p. 255 in Best Friends, Worst Enemies.) I encourage you to pick up Dr. Thompson’s invaluable book. A page-turner of a different kind.
Today, a number of teachers and I attended an all-day workshop on the topic of fostering strength and optimism in our children. Dr. Robert Brooks, author of Raising Resilient Children, provoked our thinking about the expectations or mindsets we have when relating to children. To quote from the first chapter of his book: “Resilience embraces the ability of the child to deal more effectively with stress and pressure, to cope with everyday challenges, to bounce back from disappointments, adversity, trauma, to develop clear realistic goals, to solve problems, to relate comfortably with others, and to treat oneself and others with respect.” This capacity to cope is what we want for all children, and parents and teachers can teach their children to develop this inner strength. The teachers will be sharing what they’ve learned with their colleagues. Brook’s book is another excellent resource for all parents to read.
I hope I’ll be seeing some of you at MPI’s M Club silent auction and dinner to support the athletic program tomorrow night, Friday, 6:00pm, at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Coral Ballroom.
Thank you, parents and children, for collecting almost 300 pens for the “Pens for Promise” project. Our men and women in the military will distribute these pens to the children in Iraq — the tools for literacy development can empower citizens to assume responsibility for shaping their political future.
We collected 150 children’s books and two bags of gently-used sports equipment for the NFL’s donation project. Items will be distributed to the various Boys and Girls Clubs in Hawaii.
Thank you, families, for your warm support.
For our children,
Edna L. Hussey