Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sharing thoughts

Radio Commentary

The teen years can be tricky, both for those living through them and for the parents who are guiding the journey.
Communicating with young people at this stage can be equally tricky, but there are a few basics that parents have found helpful.
First, when speaking to young people, always be as specific as you can. Strive to use simple, specific terms. This will help prevent misunderstandings. 
If you keep your comments too general, your teen might miss the point. Worse, he or she might misconstrue your intentions. 
It’s also a good idea to help your teen empathize by expressing your own feelings very clearly. 
Try to reveal some of your inner thoughts. Let your child know you are also an individual and can be hurt by others. 
It’s helpful for teenagers to know that even their parents can sometimes be confused in their thinking or fearful in certain situations. 
These emotions are universal and shared by all. They do not arise exclusively during adolescence.
It can be especially helpful for teenagers to hear their own parents express these emotions. 
Best of all, these talks can be a real aid in communication between parent and child by showing how it is possible —and painless— to share thoughts and ideas.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Loving discipline

Radio Commentary

Punishment is a negative consequence of bad behavior that already occurred. Discipline is a positive way to focus future behavior.  
Here are rules for loving discipline that many parents have found helpful. 
Change misbehavior by setting positive goals to strive for, rather than negative ones to avoid.  
Say what you mean and mean what you say. Children have an uncanny way of knowing the difference. 
Involve your youngsters in solving problems to show you value their judgment. 
Talk less; do more.  
Ask what happened to cause a certain misbehavior. The cause may be very different from what you suspected. 
Make clear what you want from your children and praise them when they do it.  
Impose logical consequences for any misbehavior. Be sure the cause and effect link is clear. 
Give your children choices — but make sure you can live with them. If not, discuss the issue and explain why another choice might be better. 
Focus on what’s good about your children, and expect their very best.  
Always show your love. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Making decisions

Radio Commentary

How can parents help children learn how to make good decisions? 
Here are some suggestions from the national PTA:
• Give children practice in making decisions. They could help choose the site of a family outing, or help choose a restaurant if the family is eating out.
• Show your children how to weigh their options, gather necessary information, and consider the alternatives that are available and the outcomes that could result.
• Help children understand that decisions have consequences for themselves and others. 
• Show your children that NOT making a decision when one is needed can be as bad as making a wrong decision.
• Lay ground rules for making decisions. If children want to do something that’s unacceptable, explain to them why you can’t allow them to act on that decision. 
Then help them make a better one.
Remember, children who can exercise some control over their lives are being prepared to be responsible and happier adults. 
Much of that positive result comes from knowing how to make good decisions.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Building good citizens

Radio Commentary

To build good citizens, good character, and good discipline among our young people, we need to have high expectations for every student.  
We must teach students the skills they need in order to contribute in an ever-changing global economy. 
Though teen drug use has been leveling off, and in some cases even decreasing, for several decades, it is still far too high. Drugs still ravage too many young bodies and destroy too many futures.
We need to give young people many opportunities to say “yes” to learning and most particularly to say “yes” to living a safe and drug-free lifestyle.
Television and computer games are also things we must deal with as adults.
The average child spends 40 hours a week in front of the television or computer screen. That’s 40 missed hours of reading, playing the guitar, sharing a hobby, or getting extra help with a hard subject in school.  
It’s 40 missed hours of living and learning.  Over a young lifetime that’s far too many days to lose.
Let’s take some of that time to give our children something far better to do.  
Let’s make sure all homework assignments come first, and that reading for pleasure is encouraged and rewarded.
Let’s make sure that wholesome activities are also rewarded and encouraged: sports of all sorts, music lessons or performances, and recreational activities with friends and family. 
Let’s make sure we talk more to each other and involve our young people in the details of family life. That’s what makes for healthy lifestyles. 

Friday, February 22, 2013


Radio Commentary

There is great virtue in old-fashioned stick-to-it-ive-ness. ‘Smart’ students don’t always know the answers on tests. But they are resourceful.
When they realize they don’t have enough time or information to give a correct answer — they don’t give up. They give it their best shot.
Here are some ideas you can suggest your children try the next time they get stuck on a test question:
• Politely ask the teacher to clarify the question or the kind of answer expected.
• Skip over the question and allow the sub-conscious mind to work on it. Sometimes this will trigger a thought and help with earlier questions.
• Rephrase the question.
• Start writing something — anything — that relates to the topic. Other ideas might start to flow.
• Replace the question with a related one you can answer. Let the teacher know you’re aware that you’re not answering the question asked, but that you are demonstrating your knowledge. The process might trigger the answer to the original question as well.
• When you don’t know what something is, write down what it isn’t. This will show you have at least learned something.
• If there is not enough time to finish, write “Short of time!” and finish the answer in outline form. Sometimes a student can earn partial credit.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Enjoy reading

Radio Commentary

It is important that children read well, and that they also like reading.
Experts say the best way parents can encourage this is to read to children often and show how much they enjoy reading.
Start reading when children are very young. Take time to find interesting books. Nursery rhymes and fairy tales are good starters.
Some television shows can be helpful by introducing children to letters and words. However, TV programs generally use sentence structures that are not very complex, which isn’t as useful for learning language patterns.
That’s why it’s important to read good literature to children. Children who are read to will often try to read a little on their own or sound out words.
Remember:  there is no precise time or age when children should begin to read on their own.
For most children, reading readiness is a gradual process. It starts when they develop an awareness of print — like print on cereal boxes or store signs. Children want to read when it becomes important to them.
Most children will be more eager to read if they see it is something you enjoy. So set aside time for your own reading and become a good role model for your children. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Freeway driving

Radio Commentary

Teens need to know that freeway driving demands special skills. 
Statistics show that fewer crashes occur on modern freeways, but the collisions that do occur are more severe due to higher speeds and increased traffic.
Freeway driving requires drivers to make complex but quick decisions at critical moments.
Identify for teens the correct procedures for entering and exiting a freeway.
Make sure they understand the need for advance route planning, and the factors that influence speed and lane selection.
Talk about the challenges involved with lane-changing maneuvers.
Have them use space-management techniques such as looking ahead and maintaining time gaps between vehicles.
Remind them that driving at the speed used by most other cars can reduce conflicts. This means they should choose a legal speed that matches the speed of other traffic. Have them consider visibility, traffic, weather, and road conditions.
Drivers can lose their sense of speed during extended freeway driving. They may start going much faster than they intended. Suggest that drivers look frequently at the speedometer and make corrections accordingly. 
All these actions help minimize the risks associated with freeway driving.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Career and Ed Tech

Radio Commentary

In recent times, a dangerous idea emerged that a purely academic education is the only good road for all students.
This approach it is harmful to some very talented young people, and illustrates the one-size-fits-all thinking that does not work.
Our schools must provide a strong academic program to all, but we must remain aware that some students’ passions and skills lie in technical areas and career paths that need support.
Our schools must serve those who will be architects and those who will use their hands to turn blueprints into structures of steel and stone. We must serve engineers who will design ever-more-efficient and safer automobiles, and those who will build them and repair them. 
We must provide an excellent education to those who will research agricultural production methods and those who will do the planting and the reaping. Our homes must be well designed and energy-efficient, and we will also need those to wire and plumb them well.
Though the future will hold high tech jobs in fields we cannot yet imagine it will also support a service industry for those who find dignity in working with their hands. We need their skills, too.
My office has always been committed to career education. We promote new programs and strengthen career and technical programs, particularly through the highly successful Regional Occupational Programs (ROP), which are the vehicles for delivering career and technical education, in partnership with others.
These efforts bear fruit in many ways, and provide job skills and training that can literally alter lives. Career and technical education can be a lifeline.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Black History Month

Radio Commentary

February has been proclaimed Black History Month, saluting Americans of African-American descent who helped develop our nation in countless ways, including those recognized, unrecognized, and unrecorded.
In a recent proclamation, the state board of education cited Black American history as reflecting a determined spirit of perseverance by Black Americans in their struggle to equally share in the opportunities of a nation founded on the principles of freedom for all.
It also speaks of Black American citizens who have taken part in every American effort to secure, protect, and maintain the essence and substance of American democracy.
The nation has recognized black history annually since 1926.
For more than 90 years Black History Month has been celebrated in February because it is the birth month of two individuals who had a great influence on black Americans, Frederick Douglas and Abraham Lincoln.
It is always a meaningful recognition, especially with our first African American president.
California’s history and social science frameworks for public schools urge that the curriculum reflect the experiences of different racial, religious, and ethnic groups.
Black History Month is a time to explore these issues further, examining where we were as a country, how we have progressed, and where we need to go to live up to our principles of freedom and equality for all. Our local schools always take part in this important effort.