Friday, June 29, 2012

Good Citizens

Radio Commentary

In a few days, when we celebrate our nation’s independence, it’s good to remember that home is every child’s first community. What children see there influences greatly how they interact in the broader communities of their neighborhood, school, and ultimately the world.
Parents can have an enormous impact in helping young people become good citizens of their communities. Here’s how:
First, stay informed. Keep up with community concerns, beginning in your own neighborhood and extending to global issues.
Let your child see you using a variety of sources for your information: friends and neighbors, newspapers and magazines, radio and television, and responsible sites online.
Explain why it is important to vote in local, state, and national elections, and that at age 18 he or she will have this right and responsibility.
Find at least one cause in the community where you can volunteer to help. Let your children know why you think it is important and how you are trying to help. Let them join you if they want.
Opportunities range from helping other children or seniors, to helping animals or an environmental project. Share success stories with your children.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed by problems in the community or the world, but individuals do make a difference.
Talk about the importance of joining forces for the greater good. That’s what has always made this nation great.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Childhood Stress

Radio Commentary

Many adults think of childhood as a happy, stress-free time. However, experts in child studies say that in many ways childhood is as stressful as any other age.
Young people also report that stress can make some of their days miserable. Fortunately, the following activities have been found to help stressed-out children at any age:
Help them get exercise. Learning good exercise patterns can help them release negative stress.
Teach them to breathe deeply and slowly. This can help them calm down if they feel themselves tightening up.
Have them get involved in an activity that’s just for fun.
And, probably the most effective stress-reducer for children is for parents to reduce the stress in their own lives. Studies show that the ways parents deal with stress, influences their children’s ability to cope.
Parents can model good coping skills by keeping themselves in control at all times.
Parents should set aside time every day to do a stress-reducing activity with their children, like taking a walk, gardening together, playing cards, or cooking.
And, parents can help relieve children’s stress just by listening. Children need to be able to tell someone when they are worried, scared, or angry.
These steps can go a long way toward helping children manage stress.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mother's Degrees

Radio Commentary

High standards and accountability are critical to school reform, and I strongly support both these areas.
I do worry that using test scores as the sole measure of progress can mask the fuller picture. Here’s a quiz we often use to illustrate the point:
Which of the following factors is the most accurate predictor of a school’s standardized test scores?
A.  The quality of the teaching staff
B.  The percentage of students receiving free or reduced lunches
C.  The number of children who moved from another school during the year
D.  The average weekly volunteer hours
E.   The number of mothers who hold a college degree.
Interestingly, the answer is E.
Nationwide, schools with the highest number of mothers with college degrees, have the highest test scores. No other factor correlates as highly.
But the answer is also ‘all of the above,’ because ALL the factors correlate with test scores as well.
Everyone agrees we must have a means to evaluate how well a student has grasped the subject matter that’s been taught, and good tests do just that.
But sometimes it is hard for students to show on a test what they really know quite well. The problem is dealing with the way a question is asked, not the information itself.
We need to know which students are truly falling short in knowledge so that we can help them succeed. The correlating factors remind us that when it comes to achievement, test scores can’t ever tell us the whole story.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Childproof yards

Radio Commentary

While exploring the outdoors this summer, curious youngsters can sometimes face hazards in their own backyards.
            So take a look at the yard where your child plays and check very carefully for any danger spots.
            Make sure wading pools and buckets are emptied after use to prevent drowning or bacteria growth.
            Make sure all pools are surrounded by a fence and a self-latching gate. Check all locks and latches to make sure they are functioning properly.
            Also check that the spaces between railings in a fence are narrow enough to prevent children from getting their head stuck between them. 
            Check also for thorny or poisonous plants. And make sure clotheslines are out of reach. They are appealing play items but have proven harmful.
It makes sense to store all lawn tools and chemicals out of reach of young hands.
            Make sure deck stairs have child guards and all furniture is kept away from deck railings to prevent young climbers from getting into trouble.
            Finally, make sure wooden decks or chairs are free from splinters. What might not affect an adult can be quite painful or even harmful against young skin.
Using common sense is the best rule of all.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Communications don'ts

Radio Commentary

When communicating with teenagers, keep this sentence mind: 
“Please think about what you just said to me.”
Sometimes that simple statement can diffuse a lot of emotion and distractions.
            Here are some important, teen-tested statements that will kill off communication and should be avoided at all costs:
•  “Who do you think you are talking to?”
•  “Why did you do that?”
•  “What were you thinking about?”
•  How could you be so foolish or selfish?”
•  “Don’t use that tone of voice with me.”
            Communication is critical. It helps to know these “killer” phrases when attempting to keep those lines of contact strong with a teenager.
            Focusing on the positive is always the most effective way to go, though it can take great self discipline on the part of a parent, who sees so clearly what needs to be changed.
            If you can take the time to listen carefully, move the conversation in a positive direction, and avoid phrases that can turn a teenager stone cold in an instant, you’ll find it is much easier to keep the lines of communication open.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Communications do's

Radio Commentary

In these times when everyone is very rushed, it’s more important than ever to take the time to talk with your children. 
This is especially the case with teenagers who may be going through some challenges. 
            Timing your talk is critical. Choose a time when your child seems most receptive. 
            Here are some quick, practical, teen-tested phrases for adults to use to communicate positively with adolescents:
•  First, say nothing for a while — just listen.
•  Then say:  “I’ve heard you say…” and paraphrase your child’s point. 
Ask: “Is that accurate?”
•  “Say:  “What were your options or choices of action?”
•  Ask:  ‘How were others affected by your actions?”
•  Then ask:  “How could you have handled things differently?”
            This sequence of comments – listening, paraphrasing, confirming, asking about options, focusing on others, and then reaching a good conclusion— are all positive ways to communicate with a teenager.  

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Reducing gun violence

            Radio Commentary

           Sadly, firearms are second only to motor vehicle accidents in their claim on young lives. 
Research indicates that educational efforts aimed at persuading young people to behave responsibly around guns are limited in their effectiveness.
Parents must monitor children’s exposure to guns and protect them from unsupervised use. Any stored guns in a home should be locked, unloaded, and separated from ammunition.
Community leaders can also help. They can promote young people’s safety by sending unequivocal messages that gun violence is not an acceptable way to resolve conflict. 
It’s also been shown that requiring safety features on guns could reduce unintentional shootings among children and youth.
In addition, emerging technologies will enable manufacturers to personalize guns and prevent unauthorized users from operating them.
Most important, as a society we must limit the flow of illegal guns to youth. Federal and state laws regarding guns sales should be tightened so that fewer weapons are accessible to young people.
The physical, economic, and emotional toll of gun violence against young people is unacceptable, regardless of one’s position on adult ownership and use of guns.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Children of addicts

Radio Commentary

Research shows that one in four young people lives in a family where a person abuses alcohol or suffers from alcoholism.
Children in such situations need to know they are not alone. Addiction to alcohol or drugs is a disease. When one member of the family has this disease, all family members are affected.
Children need to know it is not their fault. They didn’t cause the disease and they can’t make it stop. They need and deserve help for themselves.
It is critical to know that young people with addicted parents are four times more likely to become addicted if they choose to drink alcohol or use illegal drugs.
They need to keep firmly in mind that they can’t get addicted if they don’t drink or use drugs.
Children in these situations should talk with an adult — a teacher, school counselor, or nurse, a friend’s parent, a doctor, grandparent, or neighbor — anyone who will listen and help them.
They can also ask a school counselor or social worker to recommend a support group. 
These are great places to meet other young people struggling with the same problems at home. 
Children should know it is important to find caring adults who can provide the guidance and support they need to stay healthy. 
They will feel better and have a safe and productive life. It’s in their power if they understand these facts and act. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Roth named 2012-13 Santa Barbara County Distinguished Educator

“I believe to this day that a teacher’s impact can carry over to all aspects of a student’s life. This is the approach I use every day. I work hard to make a positive and meaningful impact on my students.”  —Brian Roth

            Brian Roth, a 9th–12th grade physical education teacher at San Marcos High School, was named 2012-13 Santa Barbara County Distinguished Educator by County Superintendent of Schools William J. Cirone at the monthly meeting of the county board of education June 14.
The Distinguished Educator is a category formed to acknowledge outstanding teachers in the Teacher of the Year awards program. “Brian Roth exemplifies what is best in our profession,” said Superintendent Cirone. “We created the Distinguished Educators award as a means of paying tribute to the successes and the dedication that truly outstanding teachers display every day.”
            The award was created as an outgrowth of the annual county Teacher of the Year award.  This year, the selection committee, which included representatives of teachers, administrators, PTAs, and school boards, expressed strong feelings that the application and credentials of Roth were clearly Teacher-of-the-Year caliber.
The committee members could only select one teacher to represent the county for the State Teacher of the Year award; but members felt strongly they should also acknowledge the excellence of this outstanding educator.
            “This is our way of publicly announcing how very grateful and proud we are of his efforts and successes,” said Mr. Cirone.
            Riccardo Magni, a science teacher at Pioneer Valley High School in Santa Maria, was named County Teacher of the Year in May. 
Brian Roth has taught 9th—12th grade physical education, specializing in swim instruction and water safety, for 15 years, the last eight at San Marcos High School in Santa Barbara.
“I think a successful teacher must be invested into teaching the whole person,” he wrote. “It is our job to teach about the ups and downs of life, the feelings, disappointment, and rewards that come from self sacrifice and perseverance. Therefore, no two students are the same and each student needs to be taught on an individual personal level…I create a classroom environment that is accepting, motivating, and positive so that each student feels safe and comfortable to reach for his or her individual goals.”
Roth earned an associate of arts degree from Citrus College and a bachelor of arts degree in history from UC Santa Barbara, with minors in exercise health science and athletic coaching. He earned a masters degree in education from Azusa Pacific and his teaching credentials from National University.
He began working at UCSB as assistant men’s and women’s water polo coach and was promoted to associate head coach of the women’s program. He also served as head coach of the Santa Barbara Water Polo Club, before being offered a job at the high school he had attended, Temple City High School, where he taught Sheltered U.S. and World History and coached boys and girls water polo and swim teams. In 2004 he accepted a job teaching physical education at San Marcos High school, where he has taught U.S. History, driver training, 9th–12th grade physical education, and where he coached the girls swimming and water polo programs. He also teaches beginning, intermediate, and advanced water polo at Santa Barbara City College, and has worked with the Santa Barbara Water Polo Club coaching boys and girls.
“I start each lesson with energy and enthusiasm. Discipline, hard work, and respect are three common themes I work hard to instill in each of my students,” he said. “Perhaps my biggest impact at San Marcos is teaching socio-economically disadvantage youth how to swim…The survival swim unit has become one of the favorite activities of the year. Students learn how to enter the water fully clothed, disrobe, and tie the clothing up to form life buoys.”
Roth has served as a mentor with the Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment program (BTSA), was Big West Scholar Athlete three years in a row, was named U.S. Water Polo Coach of the Year, CIF Coach of the Year, and San Marcos High School Teacher of the Year, to name just a few of his many honors.
“We initiated a curriculum that focused on non-traditional sports such as Ultimate Frisbee, badminton, street hockey, pickle ball, and more. Playing the non-traditional sports helped address the apathy because it leveled the playing field between students,” he said. “I work hard to create opportunities that build and develop self confidence in my students so they are able to carry this confidence and apply it to all aspects of their life.”
            Wrote principal Ed Behrens: “Brian Roth is one of those rare individuals that is hugely inspirational to all of us…He has a profoundly positive impact with all levels of students, from Advanced Placement to remedial and special education students…Brian is the embodiment of rigor, relevance, and relationships…He always goes the extra mile to help, motivate, and assist all students by relating to them in a positive, collaborative way…Many of our most challenging students enrolled in his course and thanks to Brian it was a huge success…He is a unique and special individual.”
Wrote parents Peter Alex and Judi Koper: “Brian is an incredible asset to our entire community and has enriched the lives of so many with his leadership, guidance, kindness, friendship, and untold hours of work on our behalf. He has been pivotal in the development of our physical education and aquatics programs at San Marcos…he has worked tirelessly to rewrite the PE curriculum and has included electives such as handball to meet the needs of the entire student population at San Marcos…He changes lives and motivates with heartfelt passion. He helps to develop every student to his or her fullest potential, athletically and academically, and has very high standards. Under his leadership, our water polo and swim teams have won the CIF academic championships for the highest collective GPA out of over 500 schools, and last year our swim team won the academic championship for the entire state…He promotes confidence, self esteem, and mental toughness, and measures success not just by performance in the pool or on the field, but by how students choose to live their lives as part of a team, as students, as part of their families and as members of our community.”
Wrote parent and Santa Barbara Aquatics Club board member Peter Neushul: “Roth’s program yielded some of Santa Barbara’s most outstanding athletes including Olympic Bronze Medalist Thalia Monroe…Over the past three years he coached my daughter. Under his leadership, SBAC’s team is now the most successful in the United States. In 2011, Roth’s team went undefeated and won both the National Club Championship and National Junior Olympic Championship. Roth is among the most gifted youth water polo coaches I have encountered in over 30 years in the sport. He motivates youngsters by creating a challenging environment that inspires hard work and builds the character and integrity necessary to succeed in one of the most difficult team sports in the world…Brian Roth is impacting the lives of numerous youngsters in our community and deserves to be recognized.”
As Santa Barbara County’s Distinguished Educator, Roth is available to speak at events and can be reached at San Marcos High School at 967-4581. Further information is available from Petti M. Pfau at the Santa Barbara Education Office, 964-4710, ext. 5281.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Learning on trips

Radio Commentary

            Summer is often a time for family vacations and trips. But going away doesn’t mean learning has to stay at home. Try these activities to help keep young minds active:
            Put reading skills to practical use whenever the opportunity arises.
            Gather bus route maps and schedules to places like the zoo, a museum, a baseball stadium. Let your children plan a portion of a trip, figuring out the travel time required, the cost, and the best time to go. Let them write out a schedule to follow.
            You can also help sharpen their math skills while on a trip.
            When filling your tank, ask your children to compute the gas mileage for your car.
            On the highway, ask your children to read the signs and check the different speed limits. They can check off license plates from different states. Have them estimate distances between cities and check the estimates on a road map.
            Of course, one of the most important parts of a summer vacation is the valuable time spent interacting with your children in a setting different from you home, without the normal interruptions.
             Showing your children you love them and are proud of them is the best teaching tool of all.
            Combine this with activities that stimulate the mind and you will teach your children to appreciate life and lifelong learning.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Managing stress

Radio Commentary

     Stress is the reaction of our minds and bodies to unsettling experiences. Too much stress can have negative consequences and can even make us ill.  

     For this reason, the things that cause stress in children should be taken seriously before they cause much harm.
     What are the signs of a distressed child? Anger, aggressiveness, anxiety, crankiness, bedwetting. Crying too easily, overeating, increased clumsiness, hair twisting, teeth clenching. Fighting with other children, or withdrawing from them. Failing at school.
     Causes of stress can lurk anywhere. They include pressure from home or school; being too busy with over-loaded schedules.  
     Family changes such as divorce or remarriage can also be a cause, along with  feeling unloved or misunderstood.  
     Children cannot analyze and control stress-causing events as well as adults can, so they need guidance from adults.
     Family support is a vital antidote to stress,  so be sure to relax and talk together.   
     Curb access to violent TV shows and movies. Keep daily life calm. Pets are often a good buffer and an emotional refuge.  
     Relaxed parents, who cope positively with their own stress, pass on these skills to children. It also helps to maintain a network of friends and activities outside the home.  
     The support and acceptance plays a very helpful role. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Summer schedules

Radio Commentary

            In most households, summertime means a change of schedule from the usual routine. When children are involved, this change can get tricky to navigate, because children tend to be creatures of habit.
            Here are some suggestions to help make the transition as smooth as possible:
If children will be home alone for a while, discuss your expectations and household rules. Tell children what they can do, what they can’t do, and when they can do it.
Be very specific and try to cover as many contingencies as possible.
Stage a practice run before you leave children alone. Let them rehearse the routine while you’re away but nearby.
They can call you if they run into any snags and you can help show them how the situation should be handled in the future.
Make sure your children know that you trust them and that letting them stay alone is helping them become even more responsible. But be sure to warn them that if they can’t follow the rules, they will lose the privilege of caring for themselves.
Post the rules on the refrigerator door where they will be easily accessible.
As an example, many families allow snacking but no cooking. Children should not be allowed to have visitors except for those you have approved in advance.
Rules of this sort protect your children’s safety and give them a sense of importance and responsibility for their own actions. It’s never too early to start on that important road.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Reading over the summer

Radio Commentary

Summer provides a good break for children from the stresses of academic assignments and tests during the school year.
But it is important to keep some skills active so that children don’t completely lose the drive to learn and to read.
Studies show that children who read during the summer gain in their reading skills. Those who do not read over the summer can experience learning losses.
Here are some ways to help keep your child learning and reading throughout the extended break from the classroom.
First, have plenty of reading material around your home.
Storybooks aren’t the only thing that young people can read for fun. Be sure to have newspapers, magazines, and informational material on hand that might spark the interest of a young reader.
Continue to read aloud with children. Take them to see a local storyteller or be one yourself.
Don’t forget to improvise different voices or wear a silly hat to make the story that much more interesting.
What’s important is keeping reading skills active. 
It’s also critical to reinforce for young people the idea that reading can be fun and exciting. It can cure boredom and expand the mind. It can provide great adventures and have you meet really interesting people. 
It’s a great way to spend your time. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Advising Preteens

    Radio Commentary

     I’ve heard some parents express concern that their preteens don’t listen to them. 
     This is because preteens may adopt an oblivious attitude or appear to “tune out.”
     But parents should not underestimate their influence. Preteens want to know their parents’ opinions and values. They only tune out when parents lecture, preach, or scold. 
     So, a helpful tool for communication with preteens is to express your opinions indirectly. 
     For example, you might comment on the behavior of a television character to get a point across. 
     If a character is driving recklessly, you could say, “It seems he’s being awfully irresponsible about his friend’s safety.” 
     This kind of statement is usually more effective with preteens than a direct statement like “How could he be so reckless!” or “Don’t you ever drive like that!” 
     Along the same lines, if your preteen wants to see a movie that you consider controversial, you might go see it with her and then ask her opinions about it. 
     Instead of lecturing about how bad the movie was, ask what she thought about the characters’ actions and decisions. 
     This will not only give you insight into her thinking, but can help you get your values across. 
     Finally, modeling the way you want your children to act can be a very useful way of  ‘giving advice’ silently. It works. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Building motor skills

Radio Commentary

            Children’s work is play. Much is learned through simple games and activities.
In fact, play is important in helping children build basic motor skills like running, jumping, throwing, and catching.
            Play helps build muscles and aerobic capacity in young bodies. It allows children to release energy and tensions.
            Play also teaches social skills. It can increase self-esteem, help strengthen and build attention spans, and improve physical coordination.
            To help your child develop basic motor skills during playtime you might consider the following activities:
            Use bright, colorful balls when playing ball games because these are easy for children’s eyes to follow.
It helps keep their attention and makes it easier for their eyes to follow the motion.
            Use slow, consistent pitches when tossing to your child. Practice makes perfect—for them and for you!
            Practice the same skill in different ways to keep your child interested. Run races today. Play tag tomorrow. The skills are the same but the game seems very different. This helps prevent boredom or distraction.
            Give brief instructions that are easy to follow, like “watch the ball.” Long-winded explanations about why it’s important to watch the ball can lead a child’s mind to wander.
            Remember that children tire easily, so keep periods of vigorous activity short. It’s always better when children are young to try to schedule several short activities rather than one long one.
It helps keep you fresh as well.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Solving Problems

        Radio Commentary

        Decision-making and problem solving are important skills to teach your child. 
Talk with children about challenges they face. Helping them create lists of possible responses to a variety of situations can be a great learning tool. 
Set up scenarios where children tell you how they would handle or deal with a certain situation or problem. Come up with an outline or show them how to take steps to tackle an obstacle.  
       It will allow them to feel confident about solving the problem or making the decision.
      Be sure to follow through when you are confronted with a problem and show children the approach you use. Or tell them a story about a tough decision you had to make.
      Realizing that everyone faces similar experiences makes children feel less frightened and become better prepared. 
      When you've handled something you never thought you could, you really feel stronger and more self-confident. Young people who experience these feelings are much more likely to continue to try new challenges.
      Remember: Don't just handle problems for your children or make their decisions for them. Teach them the skills they'll need to solve problems by themselves.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Making decisions

Radio Commentary

American children today are influential members of their families.
They exert their influence on a wider range of household decisions than was true of children in earlier generations, according to a Roper study.
            Parents report that a majority of children have a say in routine family decisions, including the clothes they wear, the TV programs they watch, the food the family eats, and what family members do together for fun.
            More than half of today's young people have a voice in selecting family vacation choices and restaurants. One third influence their own bedtime, their allowance, and the brands of food the family buys.
            More than two-thirds of the parents surveyed said their children are more involved in making family decisions than they were as children. 
            One suggested reason for this change is the rise of dual-earner couples and single-parent families where, by necessity, children assume more responsibilities and more independent roles.
            Another possible reason is the gradual shrinking of the basic unit of society. 
The clan or the tribe was once the fundamental unit of allegiance. This gave way to the extended family, and then to the nuclear family. 
Today, the individual has arguably rivaled even the nuclear family as the basic unit of society.
            This trend demonstrates, once again, that children arrive in today's classrooms with a different set of expectations than those they carried one short generation ago.
            Attitudes and learning styles are constantly changing. This is neither bad nor good. It is modern reality. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

IQ Scores Up

Radio Commentary
           The Partnership for a Drug-Free America provided good suggestions for parents to help their children stay off drugs.
The ideas deserve parents’ consideration.
For example, parents were urged to make sure the information they offer fits their children’s age and cognitive level.
When a six or seven-year-old is brushing his teeth, parents can say, “There are lots of things we need to do to keep our bodies strong and healthy, like brushing our teeth. But there are also some things we shouldn’t do because they can hurt our bodies, like smoking or taking medicine when we are not sick.”
An eight-year-old can understand a simple lesson about specific drugs, like marijuana or alcohol.
If marijuana is mentioned on TV, take advantage of the chance to ask your child if he knows what it is. Say it’s a bad drug that can hurt your body.
If your child has more questions, answer them. If not, let it go. Short, simple comments, repeated often enough, will get the message across.
For older children, you can add more details. Explain to a 10 to 12-year-old what marijuana and crack look like, their street names, and how they can affect the body.
Don’t be afraid to talk tough. Cocaine and crack are very dangerous and illegal drugs that can kill a user, sometimes if taken only once. Say so.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Drug Advice

Radio Commentary
            The Partnership for a Drug-Free America provided good suggestions for parents to help their children stay off drugs.
The ideas deserve parents’ consideration.
For example, parents were urged to make sure the information they offer fits their children’s age and cognitive level.
When a six or seven-year-old is brushing his teeth, parents can say, “There are lots of things we need to do to keep our bodies strong and healthy, like brushing our teeth. But there are also some things we shouldn’t do because they can hurt our bodies, like smoking or taking medicine when we are not sick.”
An eight-year-old can understand a simple lesson about specific drugs, like marijuana or alcohol.
If marijuana is mentioned on TV, take advantage of the chance to ask your child if he knows what it is. Say it’s a bad drug that can hurt your body.
If your child has more questions, answer them. If not, let it go. Short, simple comments, repeated often enough, will get the message across.
For older children, you can add more details. Explain to a 10 to 12-year-old what marijuana and crack look like, their street names, and how they can affect the body.
Don’t be afraid to talk tough. Cocaine and crack are very dangerous and illegal drugs that can kill a user, sometimes if taken only once. Say so.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Decrease in biking

Radio Commentary
           Just a few generations ago, in the 1950s and 60s, half of all children bicycled or walked to school. Today, only one in 10 does so.
In fact, even among school-age children who live within two miles of the school they attend, only about two percent ride bicycles to get there. These figures have implications for health, fitness, and safety.
The Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition cites several major reasons for the decline:
• As we widened roads for cars, we decreased safety for bikers and walkers, leading to a lack of area for children to walk and bike safely.
• Excessive media stories about the dangers of child abductions, gun violence, drugs, and other real-but-overblown-concerns add to a sense of danger and worry for parents.
The truth is that automobiles are by far a bigger threat to children than all these other potential threats combined.
• With both parents working, for longer hours, many try to compensate through the perceived gift of driving children around.
These changes have contributed to increased rates of obesity among young people.
They have also helped foster a loss of independence that comes from bicycling.
As was the case with recycling and smoking, it will take shifts of awareness and attitude to change the current condition. We should all try to help.