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What is it really about?

I was recently thinking of a time a couple of years ago. We delivered gifts to one family on a Friday evening, over in Minneapolis.  They lived on the upper floor of an older duplex.  2 of the kids met us at the door at the bottom of the stairs and we carried the first arm loads upstairs.  At the top of the stairs was the very nice woodwork, wood flooring, wooden archways you’re accustomed to seeing in those early 20th century homes.  Immediately at the top of the stairs was a large living room and another large living room space in the middle of the house.  Aside from the old radiator heater, there was an old loveseat and a couch in the first room overlooking the street.  No rugs, no curtains, no end table, coffee table, pictures… nothing.  A 4-year-old slept on the couch and didn’t wake up as we came thru chatting.  Through the wonderful old dark wood arch was the second, nearly identically sized large room with 2 closed doors on the left wall with a good space between them. I suppose these went to a bath and a bedroom.  There was one open doorway on the far end of the room which I suppose went to the kitchen as it had no door.  In this spacious room was only a 3 foot tall pine tree on the floor between those two doors on the left.  No decorations, just a tree.  No rug again, no chair, couch, table, end table, pictures, curtains…. nothing in the room… just that tree… which at that size it would’ve fit on a table, but there was no table, so there it was, on the floor.

Standing between the rooms with my hands full of gifts, it didn’t seem necessary to ask where to put them, but I did just the same.  The pre-teen kids made a couple trips back downstairs with us to get the rest.  When we were done, the pile of gifts eclipsed the small tree.  You couldn’t see it anymore.   It was a stark picture.  The empty room with now a pile of Christmas gifts on the floor on the left side of this big empty room.   I turned around to face the first large room and the two couches, the 4-year-old was still sleeping somehow.   She’s gonna wake up and truly think Santa was there while she slept.

This was the family where the grandmother had just “rescued” her grandkids from a tough situation out of state and was now caring for them.  They had nothing.  I made a comment on the t-shirt the boy was wearing, a band name on the front he couldn’t possibly know of as it was from my era.  I was excited and asked where he got the shirt thinking it would come with a story about some uncle or someone he knew who saw the band.  I don’t remember if it was his grandma or him that offered “WalMart.  4 dollars.”  Oh, yes, of course.  The kid was wearing clothes, not making a statement.  He really didn’t have the luxury of making a statement.  They were just clothes…. from WalMart.

I couldn’t think of anything else to give them so I gave the boy who helped us the Santa hat I was wearing.  Juli gave hers to the girl.  Maybe THAT will be a story he tells someone when he’s older and can return the favor to someone else.  Meanwhile, the 4-year-old never woke up.  Grandma was in tears, thankful.  As an aside to this story, grandma didn’t sign up to be on the list to receive gifts, someone had done it for her.  She was surprised and beyond grateful.  The families are without exception, blown away by the generosity of strangers to them.  It ultimately, IS what Christmas is about.

These people have nothing.  Most of us have cell phones, cable tv, cars and we don’t think twice about it and worry about what vacation we’d like or boat or whatever toy… we are so fortunate that way.  We worry about wants.  This family literally, has almost nothing.  It is, like every year, humbling and gives me a sense of how blessed we are and makes me feel guilty for complaining about anything.

I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been around so long now or because it really was a more difficult year this year for families here losing loved ones.  I’d also like to say a few words to those families who’ve lost a loved one, because sadly, that person won’t be here to gather over the holiday.  It is the toughest time of year for you.  It feels like there’s nothing left in your tank.  It’s hard to feel merry and like celebrating when it feels like there’s a big hole right in the middle of your Christmas wreath.   Well, the same spirit that was gift giving for those families we ‘adopted’, is in all the people around you.  Everyone really wants to help.   Even though you don’t feel like it, please allow others to ‘gift’ you with a visit and their presence.  It will not fill the hole.  It will build a bridge over it so you can carry on.  You won’t forget.  The hole is still there.  This won’t be the last holiday you work at celebrating without them.  Let your friends and family carry you.  We got this one.

Wishing you all a wonderful Holiday Season,

Sincerely,

Back To School

 

 

 

                                               

 

 

 

Back To School

Depending on the age of your Back To Schooler, you will have different concerns and activities.

Here are some Tips and Thoughts.

 

Backpacks

No more than 10% of their body weight.   So, your 105lb, 7th grade girl should have no more than 10lbs total.  That’s not much.  Put it on the scale to check it because the backpacks that I see on many kids are seriously over the limit for child size.  Even if the weight is within limits, make sure they’re using both shoulder straps too.  Not slung over one shoulder like a heavy purse.  The damage that will occur affects their upper back and neck.  The upper back damage will not present itself as back pain like in an adult, it presents as exercise induced asthma, respiratory infections and the very common teenage “slump” posture.

 

Sleep

This is HUGE.  The body uses sleep time to recover, grow and regenerate.  Kids are doing a lot of growing.   Research has shown that high school kids need even more sleep at that age.  9-11 hours.   In fact, the research shows they should be going to school later, not earlier than younger students.  The earlier start times for high school frequently results in sleep deprivation symptoms for students.   It has been impossible to get school districts to go along with a later start time despite the evidence that the early start times in high school are harming health of the students.    It’s going to be difficult, but for high schoolers, 9pm would be ideal, but 10pm is absolutely it.  Earlier would be better, but having had a couple of high schoolers myself, I know that’s just not going to be practical for most.  Settle for what’s possible here and save the friction for another topic.

Younger kids can go to bed at 9-9:30 and not give you too much grief.  That’s going to keep them much healthier than their night owl classmates.    Kindergarten / 1st grade?  8-8:30 isn’t a bad idea.  This takes discipline throughout the summer though.  Lest, they will associate this “punishment” with school.

 

Lunch

Large institutions such as schools and corporate daycares as well as hospitals and nursing homes, are the worst for nutrition.  They count calories but they don’t count quality.  For my kids, quality was and is the goal.  We would use the school’s lunch program a couple times per month if we were in a bind and didn’t get food made ahead of time.  Like getting home Sunday night from a trip and already… it’s Monday morning.   Really, you have to figure out how to sidestep what they’re serving at schools.  There’s a couple in the country that are figuring this out with good, healthy foods… but I haven’t heard of that in Minnesota yet.  They’re still serving what they served when I went to school.  Lots of carbs, fruit cocktail, pizza, burgers ( I have no idea what’s in those, do you?).  It’s not the end of the world to eat this stuff… but not on a daily basis.   Two things happen.  It makes your kid sick and, when you try to teach your kids about healthy foods or heaven forbid, NOT have Doritos or energy bars (candy) in your house… you will have a mutiny on your hands.

 

Vaccines

The law requires you to hand in the form.  The Superintendent of the district must report the overall student body’s vaccine status to the state’s Commissioner of Health.   That’s it.  It never HAS been “No Shots No School” for any individual child.   In addition, for the last 20 years, there is a law that requires schools to include your right to opt out of any and all vaccines, on any communication they print or email you.  The law requires this be done in “equal font size”, so it’s not in the fine print and one can miss it.   I’ve seen evidence that school districts are not up to speed on this or intentionally ignoring this law.   Just know, whether you vaccinate or not, it is up to you.  Not the school.

 

Keep your child healthy

Going back to school exposes them to all kinds of new germs that they didn’t “see” last year.  So, plan on them dealing with something in the first month.  The best way to make sure they don’t end up on antibiotics is by making sure their nervous system is working as well as possible.  That means regular adjustments.   Summer has camp and vacations, which can get things off track.    Once school starts, that’s the perfect time to regroup and get back on track with adjustment schedules.

If your kid is an athlete, they really need to be checked regularly.  The most significant sports for damaging the spine are hockey, football and wrestling.  These are contact sports with significant lifelong consequences for those kids who are not being checked regularly.   Other sports such as soccer, tennis, basketball, swimming, lacrosse and track are definitely easier on the spine and less damaging but can still cause issues with their alignment.  Certainly, kids benefit from some kind of exercise and sport to learn about their talents and teamwork.   But, not at the cost of their health.  So, getting kids adjusted regularly, to keep them at their best is the easiest and smartest thing to do to stay ahead of any residual illnesses or negative effects.

Sincerely,

 

Call us to get your child scheduled.

651-777-3611 (Oakdale)  Or  952-835-0006 (Edina)