Go Away! And other good advice parents should give kids

A pilot made a very rough landing, skidding the plane on its belly across the runway. As part of his job he was required to stand at the terminal door and say goodbye to the passengers as they disembarked. He was afraid of what they might say about his landing. But nearly everyone passed by without saying a word until the last few people were exiting and one little boy asked, “Did we land, or were we shot down?” AJokeADay

Sum Ting Wong? Yes.

Ho Lee Fuk. What’s up?

Wi Tu Lo. Our scores need to go up.

The US spends more $15,000 per student annually. This is more per student than any other country. OECD.

Ho Lee Fuk.

And here’s what we get for our money . . .

How is it that something like this can make national news in America? Did you know that the US has been slipping behind in the global report card for years? Even smart people who work at places like news agencies can be duped by an intern or Dum Gai.

It doesn’t take a PhD to see the DOE deserves a D in education

According to the OECD, the US falls well below the global average for the percentage of students graduating from high school. The NO Child Left Behind policy obviously doesn’t apply to ALL children. If you want to increase your child’s chance of graduating from high school, you’re better off in Slovenia, Finland, Japan, Korea, the UK, or more than a dozen other countries that outperform the US.

Wi Tu Lo.

But if you have the money, you can move to an upscale suburban neighborhood where higher property taxes help to ensure that your child gets a better than average education.

Watch Waiting for ‘Superman’ to see if you have enough money to play education roulette with your kid’s future. I don’t cry easily, but this film had me sobbing over the fact that American leaders are neglecting the education of millions of children, instead choosing to imprison them as young adults, causing them to fall into a life of poverty where they scrape by in less than desirable neighborhoods. And become a financial burden to all Americans. The wrong people are going to jail in this case! Go KIPPsters!

Sum Ting Wong?

Apparently some children are more important than others.

Ho Lee Fuk.

Bang Ding Ow.

Do you believe everything you hear on the evening news? I don’t either and I urge you to start looking for second and third opinions elsewhere. And teach your kids to do the same. If you and your kids can get news in other languages, all the better. Languages act like firewalls. If you can’t speak a language, you miss out on a lot of information on the other side of the wall.

Powerful corporations act like firewalls too. A Canadian poll recently revealed that 90% of scientists are afraid to speak openly to the media about the work they do. Tyee. The survey also found that 24% were asked to exclude or alter information for non-scientific reasons and 37% were told not to respond to questions by the public or media. Media Matters! Watch the War on Whistleblowers to learn more about Hu Yu Hai Ding. PL

Big corporations buy out news organizations, politicians and scientists to ensure that we only hear what they want us to hear. And they pay off citizens to keep their mouths shut.

So Su Mi. GLP

Smart people with ethics don’t last long under these circumstances. They eventually lose something: their ethics, conscious, job, home, health or life.

Sum Ting Wong!

The Union of Concerned Scientists represent 400,000 scientists and citizens from all walks of life who believe that we should be making decisions based on science without obstructions from politics, the media or corporations. UCS is working on some of the world’s most daunting problems such as global warming, how to feed, power and transport the world’s growing population, and how to reduce the threat of catastrophic war.

Bang Ding Ow.

Watch Collapse to get an idea of how we got where we are and for tips on what you can do to help prepare for the future.

Survival of the fittest applies to both animals and people. The country with the smartest and healthiest people has the best chance of surviving. According to the OECD, Asian students make up 53% of foreign students enrolled in universities worldwide. The largest numbers of foreign students are from China, India and Korea, and these numbers continue to grow. Europe is the top destination for students enrolled in college outside their country of origin. Although foreigners are still enrolling in American universities, it’s on a downward trend. Wonder why?

Talk to Wi Tu Lo and Wi Tu Phat.

Yang Mythos France Eiffel Tower

Yang Mythos students from China sketching the Eiffel Tower

An American man struck up a conversation with a woman from Switzerland while on a Mediterranean cruise. They seemed to be hitting it off fairly well so he invited her to go for a dip in the sea followed by dinner when they docked in Rome.

“Can you speak Italian?” she asked.

“I’m American. I only speak English,” he responded.

“Don’t worry,” she said. “I speak Italian, so I can order dinner for us.”

“Can you swim?” he asked.

“No,” she said, “but I can scream for help in six different languages.” HBBB

If you want your children or grandchildren to have a better understanding of the world, encourage them to travel and study abroad. There are so many things they’ll never see or comprehend if they never leave the country or learn another language.

You can’t see your country when you’re too busy driving between your home in the suburbs to your job, to strip malls scattered all over the place and to gas stations to keep filling up your tank. And the growing number of less fortunate who don’t have a car or home, are too busy trying to figure out how they can safely eat and sleep each day. Have you found your Escape from Suburbia yet?

Every good artist knows that you have to step back and look at your creation from a distance. Only then do you gain a true perspective on the whole.

This is when you gain new insights and come up with innovative ideas. That’s what a democracy is about, right? Education for all and freedom of speech for all. We educate our people so they have a fair shot at the American dream and a say in shaping our country, making it a better place for everyone.

A great time to live abroad is to take a year between high school and college or a year between a bachelor’s and master’s degree, or a year between completing a college degree and getting a job. If you’re like most people and don’t have the funds to lay on the beach for a year, look for a work opportunity in another country. You’ll learn a whole lot more that way any how and build a resume line that may help you for years to come. New York Times Gap Year

You don’t have to wait until your kids or grandkids are in college. Students can participate in exchange programs in middle school or high school. When I was living in Shenzhen, China, I had the opportunity to befriend and become language partners with Yang Mei Hong, the founder of Yang Mythos, of one of the most amazing intercultural schools I’ve ever seen.

Yang Mythos - Lorraine & Mei

Dr. Lorraine Haataia & Yang Mei Hong at Yang Mythos Center at Children’s Palace in Shenzhen, China

Yang Mythos Art Education Center isn’t only about art, fashion, dance and travel. It’s so much more. Students have the opportunity to attend local art classes with many talented foreign, bicultural or bilingual teachers as well as participate in international exchange programs. These real-life experiential programs give them hands-on opportunities to practice creativity, happiness, wisdom, enlightenment, and much more. The teachers, parents and students all have fun while building relationships and bridges among people and across cultures.

Yang Mythos has more than a dozen exchange centers throughout the world, in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Canada, France and Germany. And they just recently opened a new center in Washington, DC.

Yang Mythos Berlin WallThis Chinese boy is writing on the Berlin Wall. Who knows how this experience might affect his future? Perhaps he will tear down Nefarious walls and free people. The writing is on the wall.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” asked the teacher.

“Possible,” said the boy.

“What do you mean by that?” the teacher asked.

“My mom keeps telling me I’m impossible. When I grow up, I want to be possible.” AHD

Don’t let money stop you. Look for funding through organizations like the Institute of International Education.

Just one international trip can change many lives forever. Take a look at the Touch A Life Foundation to see what one trip to Vietnam did for Pam and Randy Cope and the countless lives they’ve affected through this organization they founded.

When was the last time you told your kid to go away?

AFS Intercultural Programs

There’s no such thing as bad habits

Sarah Palin’s big gulp bad habit

You don’t have any bad habits. Think about it. You’re good at all of them. FJRC 

But you probably have some habits that you’d like to reinforce and others you’d like to escape. Wouldn’t it be nice of you could ward off some of your stress and pain by adjusting some of your habits? You’ll be happy to know that there is a natural remedy with positive side effects. The treatment involves two simple steps.

Step 1: Become a poet.

Make up affirmations that can help you maintain habits you want. Affirmations are easiest to remember when they’re short phrases that rhyme. Here are a few examples to consider.

I need an hour to shower. For some men, marriage is a three ring circus: engagement ring, wedding ring and suffering. CJ. Women often underestimate how much time it takes to get ready. They’ll tell their husbands 10 times that they’ll be ready in about 5 minutes.

If you’re always rushing around at the last minute or showing up late, then you may want to create some kind of affirmation so that you can avoid this extra stress in your life. If your husband says he wants to leave the house by 6 pm to go out for dinner, for example, this affirmation will remind you that you need to be stepping in the shower by 5 pm.

Have a tangerine instead of caffeine. How do you know if you’re addicted to coffee?

  • You’ll drive miles out of your way to get your fix.
  • You’re disappointed when you accept an offer for a brew, but get a beer.
  • You sleep with your eyes open.
  • You have a kid named Joe. Funny2.

I had most of these symptoms for years, but I finally got over my coffee addiction last year.

My husband and I moved to China where it’s easy to find tea, but difficult to find coffee. I remember a day when we went to China Folk Culture Village. Instead of enjoying the park and the shows, I became increasingly agitated because I couldn’t get coffee. My afternoon irritation turned into a throbbing headache by the end of the day. That’s when I decided I’d better switch to tea if I wanted to survive in China. Not only did I make the switch to a healthier choice, tea, I also discovered the benefits of starting the day with lemon water and fresh citrus instead of caffeine. Health Ambition

I do not wine or dine after nine. When I eat or drink late in the evening, I always regret it. I don’t sleep well and I end up feeling sluggish the next morning. If you have an affirmation like this, you might be thinking, it doesn’t apply when you’re at a party, right?

Yes, it especially applies when you’re out late at night with friends or family! You know why married women are heavier than single women? In the evening single women check the fridge and decide to go to bed. Married women check the bed and decide to go to the fridge. RD

It’s my choice to feel happy or crappy. Although it’s possible to feel more than one emotion at a time, you usually have one that’s dominating. As soon as you recognize that you’re feeling crappy for whatever reason, immediately begin to think about something that will help you shift to positive thoughts.

“Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory.” Albert Schweitzer

Turn off the light before midnight. If you’re staring at electronic devices until late in the evening, it will have a negative affect on your sleep. Your body needs darkness to produce melatonin which helps you sleep. Bright screens do the opposite.

The day is officially over at midnight, so unless you work the night shift, make sure you’re in bed well before midnight. But what if you just traveled through a few time zones? Then it’s even more important. You’re better off getting in bed before midnight to help you body adjust to local time. Good sleep isn’t a waste of time. It builds your immune system. It’s a necessary part of a long and healthy life. Sleep is the best of both worlds. You get to be alive and unconscious. JOL

Step 2: Train your brain the way you train a dog.

Steven Covey wrote about The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People. You know the the habits: be proactive, begin with the end in mind and so on. But there’s one habit he forgot to mention: treat yourself like a dog.

Remember Pavlov’s dogs? Ivan Pavlov won a Nobel Prize in 1904 for his research with dogs. He showed he could train them to salivate by giving them some type of stimulus before they got fed. Whether he rang a bell or gave the dogs an electric shock, they quickly became conditioned to associate the stimulus with the food and they would drool even when the food didn’t follow.

People are like dogs. And advertising agencies know how to take advantage of this. They show you pictures of beautiful people having fun as they drink addictive high-fructose caffeinated soda, or sport overpriced designer clothes made in factories where employees are underpaid. You want to be a beautiful person having fun so you pull out your wallet for the soda and expensive clothes. But deep down you know you’re being duped.

My friend, Thomas Caddy, incorporates hypnosis into training programs he conducts through his company National Marketing Associates. Several years ago I took one of his classes and to this day I remember one of the great lessons he taught me.

He told me to imagine a habit I wanted to eliminate. Then he told me to picture something I feared or found completely repulsive and disgusting. He told me to incorporate all my senses. What did I smell, hear, see, taste and touch? In his captivating calm voice, he weaved connections between the two just like Pavlov did with the bells and the dog food. He taught me the tremendous tranquilizing power of association, regardless of whether it’s positive or negative.

Now when I consider of ordering a cup of coffee, I remember that throbbing headache I had in China and it’s easy to resist. Now that I’m decaffeinated I sleep better and I have more energy.

When I think about getting ready to go out with my husband, I think about how distressed I feel when I see him pacing around asking me if I’m ready to leave. Well, in that case, I assure him that I’ll be ready in five minutes.

Some people are lively, friendly and always on time. Some aren’t. Keep your habits in check. Some of them may become addictions. Some can destroy you, while others foster health and prosperity.

Do you have a habit you want to break? One you want to adopt? Or one you want to expand? Habit Factor

Not long ago, I told one of my friends about this technique. She said that everyone in her family got involved. Her six year old son came up with one for his little sister, “you’re a good tot when you poo in the pot.” And one for his dad, “we give a hoot when you toot in the car.” But she said that she and her husband were still trying to work out ones they could agree on. She didn’t like the first one her husband came up with, “mom should mop instead of shop.” And her husband didn’t like the first one she came up with on a Saturday afternoon, “do a chore instead of lay on the couch and snore.”

Be persistent. It may take several weeks or even months for you to change a habit. But you can make adjustments and continuously improve your life little by little each day, as long as you remember these two simple steps. Become a poet, and train your brain the way you train a dog.

NEDA logo

Advice From The Scarecrow: Take Up Gardening

Food for Thought

Food for Thought

You’re walking on a dirt path and you come to a fork. To the left you see a NO TRESPASSING sign. There’s a fence surrounding a cornfield that extends into the horizon far as you can see. You see gigantic tractors driven by men wearing masks. They’re spraying a mist on the crop. It smells bitter. You start coughing.

You turn to the right. Through the distance you spot a house. A woman is pulling weeds near the front porch. You smell roses and hear birds chirping. As you walk toward the house a dog greets you, wagging his tail.

“Don’t mind Lucky, he’s harmless,” a man wearing a straw hat says as he pops a cherry tomato into his mouth. “They’re delicious, want one?” he asks as he extends a handful of tomatoes.

“What do you get if you cross a collie with a rose?” the man asks you.

“Don’t know,” you respond.

“A collie-flower,” he says as he pops another tomato into his mouth.  Jokes4Us

You’re at this fork in the path every time you buy food. Which is more appealing to you? The factory farm to the left or the organic approach to the right?

Look to the left. Conventional produce contains synthetic pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, insecticides, and petroleum based fertilizers, which are known to pose health risks to all living beings, especially children and wildlife. These chemicals and processes strip top soil of nutrients, depleting the nutritional value of the produce. The runoff from this industrial agriculture wreaks havoc as the poisons travel downstream.

Even our government is starting to take things more seriously. The White House recently confirmed the use of chemical weapons in Syria. They say the government has been feeding Monsanto sandwiches to rebels.  JokeBlogger

Gardening is easy when you do it one foot at a time.

Gardening is easy when you grow plants one foot at a time.

Look to the right. The food tastes better and has more nutritional value. When you buy from farmers who work in harmony with the local environment, you help protect the community, environment, and food supply for future generations. Buying or growing organic helps to reduce toxins in the air, soil and water. And most importantly, it minimizes the number of toxic critters swimming around in your body.

Feel the difference. Fresh organic produce is more effective at building your immune system, protecting your liver, and supplying you with life-sustaining energy. Experience the health benefits for yourself.

Although organic foods typically smell and taste better, you can’t always tell the difference. Your stomach and organs, however, know the difference. They work hard on your behalf to sort out the good from the bad.

But why do organic foods cost more?

“It’s quite simple,” George Carlin says,”McDonald’s breakfast for a dollar doesn’t factor in the cost of the coronary bypass surgery.”  ManWalksIntoaJoke

You get what you pay for. I decided long ago that it’s worth paying more for organic products to increase the nutritional value of food for me and my family, and to reduce our exposure to toxins. I’d rather give a few more dollars to my local farmer today, than tens of thousands of dollars to a hospital later.

Gardening is easy when you grow plants one pot at a time.

To help keep your food costs down, support local farmers who use sustainable farming methods, join a local food coop, or take up gardening as a hobby. A little extra effort today may save you from discomfort or disease later.

Gardening is easier than you think. Adopt an edible plant today. If you have questions, these guys can help:

Mel Bartholomew, Author of All New Square Foot Gardening

Edward Smith, Author of Vegetable Gardener’s Container Bible

Give the gift of life. Next time you pick up a gift for a friend, take a rosemary or an oregano plant. Not long ago I gave a plant to one of my friends who knew nothing about gardening.

“Anytime I need help,” she told me, “I put on short-shorts and bend over to pull weeds. My neighbors are always willing to come over and give me a hand.”  Funny-Jokes

Would you rather buy from the guy wearing the mask or the one wearing the straw hat? It’s not a hard question. You can always purchase things later, but even if you’re Steve Jobs, you can’t buy a new body . . . now or later.

It seems that some people get lucky when it comes to health, but it’s not all due to chance. If I were a betting person and had to pick which guy would outlive the other, I’d put my dollar on the guy wearing the straw hat.



3 Yummy Books Under $13 for 3-Year-Old Kids

Say YES to Watermelon

How many times have you seen a picture of a kid with cake and icing smeared all over his or her face? It’s a classic American shot. Parents proudly display to their friends and family that their boy or girl is one year older, so it’s time to eat cake.

“I can’t get my kids to eat vegetables,” some parents say. It’s usually for one obvious reason. The parents are feeding their kids other things. When you go to a Farmer’s Market, you see kids gnawing on carrots or apples. When you go to a mall, you see kids sucking up soda from straws or chewing on giant cookies that are too big for their little hands.

Whether you’re the parent, grandparent, nursery school teacher, uncle or nanny, you play an important role in what that 3-year-old eats. Let’s face it, most of them aren’t tall enough to reach stuff on shelves or get through the checkout line. They eat what you eat.

Here are three great books that will help toddlers get excited about fruits and vegetables:

Now I Eat My ABCs

You have an opportunity to teach children to eat their ABCs in the form of  fruits and vegetables. Fresh organic produce is packed with vitamins just the way nature designed it to be. When kids develop good eating habits at an early age, parents save money on vitamins and doctor bills. When kids develop a taste for whole foods at an early age, they benefit the rest of their lives.

Fast Food

America is known as the Fast Food Nation. And we all know how SAD that is! I love the image on the front of this book. What little boy wouldn’t want to eat the wheels off this hot rod? Cucumber slices make great snacks. Health-conscious moms know it takes very little time to chop up some vegetables or fruit. It’s the best kind of fast food. This book is full of fun illustrations that will entice and inspire both kids and adults.

Eating the Alphabet: Fruits & Vegetables from A to Z

A few years back, I  remember reading the findings of a study that showed American kids could recognize hundreds of logos and labels, but couldn’t come up with names for produce such as ginger root, yams or sprouts. When prompted with images or logos, they could call out “Tony the Tiger” or “Tootsie Pop” but very few could come up with the right name for a tangerine.

Imagine the face of that innocent 3-year-old you’ve been thinking about. Wouldn’t you rather have him or her ask for mangos instead of M&Ms?

Are you afflicted with diabetes, vegetarianism or superstition?

It's delicious. Why aren't you having some?

It’s delicious. Why aren’t you having some?

Are you afraid of things like walking under ladders, seeing black cats, breaking mirrors, or having dinner with vegetarians?

Consider the following advice from Grammy Award winning Stevie Wonder in his popular hit Superstition (Single Version):

“When you believe in things that you don’t understand, then you suffer. Superstition ain’t the way! No, no, no.”

Do you do things like: knock on wood to ward off trouble, cross your fingers for good luck, throw rice at weddings, or say “bless you” when someone sneezes? If so, why?

If you get nervous about Friday the 13th, you’re probably from a Western Country. But if you’re more concerned about Tuesday the 13th, you’re probably from Greece or a Spanish-speaking country. It’s all relative, and borderline ridiculous.

If you’re not familiar with celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or lactose-intolerance, you may avoid these unfamiliar topics. Next time you eat with a diabetic, a Kosher Jew, or a vegan, don’t clam up. Instead, ask questions. Topics like “vegetarianism” can spur interesting conversations. People’s diets evolve around their cultural, financial, physical and spiritual existence. Our food becomes us, literally.

For better or worse, we get accustomed to the plants, creatures, and packaged stuff we’ve been eating year after year. Families, culture, and the media brainwash us with traditions and beliefs about what’s ok, or not ok, to eat. Our food is our daily supply of fuel that keeps us running (or perhaps dragging) through our days.

It’s no wonder that some people get nervous or avoid discussions about what someone else eats or doesn’t eat. It’s a natural, superstitious, and fearful reaction that reminds us there may come a day when our “comfort foods” are no longer comfortable, and we need to eat different foods for one reason or another.

Next time someone starts talking about what they eat or don’t eat, halt your aversion and carry on with the conversation. Who knows, you may learn something. Instead of floundering in superstition, take the time to learn more about the foods you’re putting into your own body.