Not Sharing? Good!

20 08 2010

It’s Personal (Part Three)

How not to share

Makeup:

  • When girls hang out together at somebody’s house, makeup usually gets passed around.  This is hard to avoid, but if one of your friends wants you to try some makeup on, try saying, “Can’t do it.  Most of that stuff makes me break out.” Girls can usually relate to that and won’t push it.  If she keeps at it, just say no using the same reason.
  • Change the focus of the conversation. Tell her how that eyeshadow makes her eyes look so pretty, or that lip gloss looks good on her, or whatever.
  • Avoid having to share your makeup by not bringing any.
  • Use the “blame your mom” approach.
  • If all else fails, just put some on the back of your hand (unless you have cracked/dry/wounded skin) to try the color on your skin, then wash it off with soap and water.

Earrings and other piercing jewelry:

  • Sharing these items is a very bad idea. There is a high likelihood that these have come into contact with blood or body fluids, which can carry serious diseases that you could be stuck with for the rest of your life, so never borrow someone’s piercing jewelry.
  • If someone insists on borrowing yours, say you can’t and blame your mom. If you just can’t say no, at least clean it with disinfectant before wearing it again.

Sharing food or drinks:

  • If your friend offers you a bite of her cheesecake, hamburger, etc, use a clean fork or other utensil to cut off a bite from an uneaten portion. Or, better yet, say, “That looks so good, but I just can’t eat any more!” or something similar. If someone comes after your food with their dirty utensil, and you don’t want to stop them, just leave the part they ate off of on your plate.
  • If someone offers you a drink from their cup/can/bottle, say, “That looks good, I’m going to get one too, be right back!” or “No thanks, I don’t like ____.” If someone wants some of your drink, you can say, “I think I might be getting a cold or something—let me get one for you.”  If they insist and you don’t want to refuse them further, or they look really thirsty, let them have the rest of your drink and get a new one for yourself. They’ve been warned. 😉
  • Make it cool to keep drinks personal! Attach bling to drinking glasses. You can make your own from old jewelry and earring loops purchased from the craft store. Make each item unique in some way. For glasses without stems, get a sheet of plain/blank static cling vinyl. Design your own reusable stickers and cut them out.

Things to remember

  • Lots of people who are infected with serious diseases like HIV don’t know they have a disease.
  • People can pick up and pass on less serious infectious germs before they even feel sick.
  • You can end up with a cold, a skin infection, diarrhea or any number of nasty things if you share personal stuff.
  • Our fingers and hands can be “vehicles” for germs to hitch a ride from one place to the next. So by not sharing, you’re helping protect yourself and others from these germs.
  • Friends will respect your viewpoint if they feel you care about them and aren’t “judging” them.
  • Anyone who makes fun of you for practicing healthy habits isn’t someone worth your time.

There we are.  Now, go forth and be (semi) germ free!

Curious about Part One?

How about Part Two?





School Lunches: What Can YOU Do?

7 05 2010

On the ladder of cuisine jokes, school cafeteria food is probably the biggest target around, edging out horrifying airline meals and bland hospital fare.

Apologies if your child’s school has a good chef in the house, but most of us remember our school lunches for what they were: nightmarish concoctions of mystery meat and formless flavors garnished with a spork.

After a couple of weeks at school, you learn the menu and act accordingly: reach for the favorites and avoid the scary stuff. It’s no wonder kids get hooked on fatty burgers, cheesy pizza, and sugary soft drinks.

A man you might have seen on TV recently aims to halt the trend (and before you read on, in the interest of disclosure, no, we do not have any financial interests in anything connected to him, but we think he’s doing a heck of a job). His name is Jamie Oliver, a TV celeb, chef, and restaurateur who gained fame in Britain for pushing healthier eating habits on Britain’s children.

Bringing his bold form of nutrition intervention stateside, he can be seen coaxing children to identify various vegetables and demonstrating what really goes into those tasty chicken nuggets (put chicken leftovers in a blender and press a button) on ABC’s Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.

And, he’s not the only one on a crusade to see what goes into the morsels our kids eat at school. One teacher pledged to eat each school lunch, just as her students did each day.

Others see it as a cultural studies opportunity, comparing U.S. school lunches to those served around the world.

Even if cafeterias aren’t award winning bistros, some families depend on school food programs. Sometimes it’s the only meal kids get all day.

Making quality meals with nutritional ingredients can spike the food bill—something cash-strapped school districts don’t have the luxury of fixing quickly.

So, what can you as a parent do?

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation suggests:

  • Meet Over Lunch: Read the school menu with your child and look for the healthiest choices.
  • Pack a healthy lunch: Fill your child’s lunchbox with healthy, tasty foods–like whole grain bread, fresh fruits and veggies, lean meats, low-fat (1%) or fat-free milk and 100% juice.
  • Get Growing: Get a group of parents together, pick a place, and design the perfect garden for students. Then set a budget, raise a few dollars and start digging!
  • Study: Find out whether your kids can get healthy foods in the cafeteria or vending machines. And see if the school is selling healthy foods at fundraisers.
  • Appreciate: Tell teachers and school staff that you value their efforts to provide healthy foods and beverages at school.
  • Work with your school principal, district school board or food service department to adopt nutrition standards like the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Guidelines for all food and beverage sales outside of school meals, including through vending, a la carte, school stores and fundraisers.

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Haitian Children in Need

12 04 2010

Why are our most vulnerable so often our least protected?

Haitian pastor Jean Guillaume, determined to help the children of Haiti, moved some orphans to a mountainous region outside of Port-au-Prince to save them from that city’s sexual predators, thugs, and imminent flooding. About 200 children will live in his tent encampment, but without funds, it’s hard to say how long he can keep them sheltered, fed, and out of harm’s way.

Courtesy Marco Dormino

Those 200 children are, for now, the lucky ones. They have a temporary reprieve from the daily fear they felt in Port-au-Prince, and from the floodwaters that will soon hit the capital’s tent cities.

Various governing bodies from around the world, including the United States and the European Union, have pledged $9.9 billion in aid to Haiti. More than half of that will be laid out over the next 18 months to rebuild Haiti’s infrastructure, reform the agriculture industry, and rebuild hospitals, schools, and government buildings. The projects will also provide jobs for thousands who are out of work.

This is good news, in a 30,000 foot level sort of way. But, we’re still left with the vulnerable—those who in any society should not be expected to care for themselves—the children.

Almost half of Haiti’s population is under the age of 18.

The children of Haiti are psychologically and physically worn down. What do they need right now? They need to feel safe again. They need to be safe again. They need three square meals a day, shelter from the storms, working toilets and running water, an education to lift them out of illiteracy and poverty, and someone to tuck them in at night.

This is an opportunity for Haitians and the world community to change the status quo in in this weary land.

Find reputable agencies that have been working in Haiti for several years and give money to them, directing that your donations be put to use in Haiti. It’s easy to pass off tragedy of this scope as a societal or governmental problem, something that can’t be solved by you or me, but ask any changemaker what it takes. He or she will tell you that it takes one person, or a small group of friends, or a family, to decide. That’s it, they just have to decide, and then they do.

We’ve decided to make a habit out of Haiti this year. We hope you do the same.

We’ll post any stories or pictures you have about your Haiti habit. It’s going to be a great year.

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