Today is the birthday of James Weldon Johnson. He lived from 1871 to 1938 and was an author, teacher, lawyer, diplomat, civil rights activist, and songwriter. In fact, he wrote the famous song, “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing.” I found that this quote from him still applies today, not only for African American young people, but all young people. “You are young, gifted, and Black. We must begin to tell our young, There’s a world waiting for you, Yours is the quest that’s just begun.”
I am always so impressed by strong, independent people. I found this type of person on the GLSEN website. The young person featured in the video speaks so eloquently about their experience and the stigma they face.
That’s 2 days in a row that I meet young people who have belly pain when they eat Hot Cheetos. Have they stopped eating Hot Cheetos? No!. Why haven’t they stopped? Well, Hot Cheetos like most junk food is made so that we have a hard time not eating it once we get started. But you must stop because these foods, or whatever they are, are so unhealthy and can even make you sick.
Here’s a close-up of a Hot Cheeto. Yuck!
Many people know that tomorrow the World Cup for soccer begins, but have you heard of blind soccer? I hadn’t until I found this video from the New York Times. Enjoy the World Cup and use that and blind soccer as inspiration for you to get out and play also.
It’s beginning to feel a lot like summer which means that it’s Lyme disease time. Here’s more information about Lyme disease and how to protect yourself.
Recently a young person told me that she had decided not to have sex until she was older. I told her that I was happy that she had taken the time to think about it and made a decision. This is what I hope for all young people-that they decide whether and when they plan to have sex. I think that if they are thoughtful they will be less likely to have sex to early, have sex without using condoms, or risk getting pregnant.
Someone told me about this young man in Folsom California who despite having a difficult upbringing has done so well in high school that he is going to Princeton on a full scholarship. Learn more about him here http://www.sacbee.com/2014/06/04/6455551/folsom-student-finds-path-through.html#mi_rss=Our%20Region.
I had the pleasure of hearing James West speak this weekend. He, along with Gerhard Sessler, developed the type of microphone that is the most widely used now-almost 2 billion are made annually. West has also been a mentor to many minority scientists and an inspiration to all. This weekend West spoke about everyone’s responsibility to help others. He advised, “do not be afraid to ask for what you know can make life better for everyone.”
Yesterday I posted a quote from Yoda because I saw Star Wars movie characters in a parade yesterday. Here’s another Star Wars quote with the life lesson that caring and compassion offers the greatest chance of happiness and success.
“Fear is the path to the Dark SIde. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.”
Yoda, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
“The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.”
Roots for the Home Team partners with youth garden programs in Minneapolis and St. Paul to develop and sell salads at some Minnesota Twins’ games. Here’s their salad lineup, when they’ll be selling salads, for the 2014 season.
There was a great opinion piece in the New York Times by two high school journalists who have depression. Initially, they wanted to interview other students with depression for their school newspaper, but the school authorities wouldn’t let them do this. Despite this limitation, these young women have shown real bravery. I applaud them.
Most of you have probably heard of Madam C. J. Walker the first female self-made millionaire in the U.S. After a difficult early life she worked hard to become a successful entrepreneur. She said, “I got my start by giving myself a start.” At one time or another we probably all needed to give ourselves a start.
Recently, I heard someone give a great reason for why we should try to achieve something new, try to stretch ourselves to accomplish something. He said that even if you have only a 50% chance of success, so a 50% chance of failure, there is probably a 100% chance that you’ll learn something. Those sound like good odds to me.
I read about the STOP, BREATHE & THINK app for iPhones and iPads that can help you mediate and remain calm. You can even track your progress as you work to remain calm and mindful.
Orthorexia is unhealthy obsession with healthy eating so that food choices become so restrictive that one’s health suffers. I found the following questions on the National Eating Disorders site that can help someone figure out if they have orthorexia. The more you answer “yes” to, the more likely it is that you have orthorexia. But, if there is an chance you have orthorexia, you should talk with your healthcare provider and get help.
I heard this hockey phrase that applies to life I think. It goes like this, “You have to do the hard work in the corners before you can put the puck in the net. ” If you’re not a hockey fan you may not know that this means that success requires hard work. It’s Stanley Cup playoff time now, watch one of those games and see what I mean.
A while ago I read an article about the different ways young people use to cope when their parent has cancer. The article was written by the coauthor of “My Parent has Cancer and it Really Sucks.” Apparently, teens may have a harder time dealing with having a parent with cancer than younger children, so I suggest that young people get help at such a tough time. They can ask their healthcare provider for help, or perhaps a counselor at school. Either way, as a parent with cancer is getting the help they need, a teen needs to make sure they take care of themselves.
There are some really interesting programs for youth and Full Cycle in Minneapolis is one of them. Full Cycle is a nonprofit bicycle shop that offers paid internships to homeless youth. The young people not only learn about bike repair, they also learn business skills. Additionally, Full Cycle has a Free Bike Program where youth build or repair a bike for themselves. Here’s more about Full Cycle from their 2013 annual report.
In my state chlamydia rates have risen. One reason for this is that sexually active teens are not getting tested for chlamydia because they don’t want their parents to find out. Well, in many states teens can get care for sexually transmitted infections without parental permission. This means that the care has to be confidential. So, there really isn’t any reason a teen shouldn’t get tested.
A recent study found that people are more likely to remember a lecture if they take note by hand versus on a laptop. Apparently, when you type notes you are just transcribing them, but when you write out notes you are more likely to think about what you are hearing.
I really believe that we can stop rape because of the work of many groups to fight against sexual assault and violence of any sort. Men Can Stop Rape has been around since 1997 and their motto is “Creating Cultures Free from Violence.” Here’s a poster from Men Can Stop Rape that explains how to step in to protect someone.
There was a lot of news about ways to decrease sexual assaults, with a focus on college campuses. Here is a public service announcement just released that asks all of us, but men in particular to step in, step up, to keep sexual assaults from happening.
MakeItOK.org aims to educate about mental illness and remove the stigma surrounding mental illness by encouraging people to talk more about it. This site can help with this because it has ideas about what to say and not to say about mental illness.
I had the good fortune to meet some of this year’s winners of the Princeton Prize in Race Relations, the goal of which is “To promote harmony, understanding, and respect among people of different races by identifying and recognizing high school age students whose efforts have had a significant, positive effect on race relations in their schools or communities.” One young man was one of this year’s winners for doing several things in his community including fostering conversations between people of different cultures. If you are doing this type of work in your community, you should apply for the Prize. The deadline for 2015 isn’t until January 31, 2015, so you have a lot of time.
I read an article today that explained why sleep is so important to athletes. Apparently, sports teams are learning that giving players time to sleep is important for winning, even when it means giving up a practice. Sleep seems to help athletes stay aggressive, among other things. So again we have evidence that if you want to perform well, academically or athletically, make sure to get many good nights of sleep.
It turns out that if you want to encourage children and young people to eat healthy you should not, I repeat, not restrict what they eat. On the contrary, you should provide healthy foods and encourage them, and people of all ages, to learn how to listen to their what their bodies are telling them. What that means is someone has to learn when they have eaten enough and what is healthy and is not healthy. But, hiding food and telling someone they must only eat certain foods will not lead to a healthy diet, in fact it may lead to someone who eats too much unhealthy foods.
Sparkling juices can be loaded with sugar and calories. Here’s a great recipe for low-calorie sparkling juice I found on the Harvard School of Public Health website: Mix 12 ounces of sparkling water with 2 ounces of juice. Add sliced fruit for extra flavor. Of course, water is best when you are thirsty, but this is a nice alternative.
Many young people have high cholesterol, so I was happy to find a great article about high cholesterol from the Center for Young Women’s Health. You can find it here http://www.youngwomenshealth.org/cholesterol2.html. This article has this table of good, lower cholesterol food choices. In the end though, most people can lower their cholesterol by cutting out crap like Takis, Hot Cheetos, and that kind of stuff.
I have met many young people who are successful in school, work, or sports not because of talent, but because of hard work. Yes, they may be talented, but more than anything they know that they have to spend hours studying, learning a job or practicing their sport in order to be successful. I have seen over and over again that hard work beats talent every time.
Oh, honestly-why couldn’t e-cigarette companies do the right thing and only target those people who need help quitting smoking. Why are they targeting young people in order to get them to start smoking? These companies say that they aren’t doing this, but increasingly this seems like what’s happening. Well, hopefully the Food and Drug Administration will step in and regulate e-cigarette companies so that they cannot target young people. Until then, young people need to be as smart with e-cigarettes as they are with regular cigarettes and not get tricked into a tobacco addiction.
Today, I have been thinking about how hard it is for gay athletes to be open about their sexuality and I wonder when this will change. I mean, if I was a coach or player, I’d be more concerned about someone’s ability on the field or court, not whether they were attracted to men or women. As a fan, if this is not the case and whether someone is gay or not is what matters, you have lost my support.
You Can Play is an organization that wants athletes to be judged on how they play, not on whom they love. Their motto is, “If you can play, you can play.” Here’s more from You Can Play.
You probably heard that Derrick Gordon, a University of Massachusetts sophomore who plays basketball, came out this week. Tyler Bergantino, one of his teammates, said that Gordon “looked happier, stress-free, like that was the real him,” before he told his team he was gay. I guess when you don’t have to hide your true self you look happier because you’re free. Here’s the link to Gordon’s interview with ESPN, http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=espn:10750463. Please watch it, you’ll see that Gordon is a remarkable young man.