Yes means yes

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 8.39.51 PM

I just read about California’s “yes means yes” bill. It calls for shared responsibility so that sexual consent isn’t implied if someone is quiet or doesn’t say “no”. Consent means that someone has to say “yes”. By the way, this goes for both males and females because rape can happen to anyone. So, unless there is an active “yes”, it is “no” to sex.

Short-term pain, long-term gain

I hope all of you student athletes who have begun your sports are finding success. I am always impressed with how you balance school work and your sport. It can be hard though, so please get the help you need. For example, successful student athletes I know work with their teachers to manage the work. I don’t mean they don’t have to do the same classwork as other students, they just work with their teachers and coaches to make all of their responsibilities fit. Also, most student athletes have to limit some or a lot of their social activities. This is a good definition of the phrase “short-term pain, long-term gain” when it comes to high school and college sports.

Go Ask Alice sleep quiz

Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 10.09.31 PM

Go Ask Alice has a great quiz about sleep. I found that I took it and learned more about sleep and some sleep disorders. You should give it a try.

The freshman 15 is a myth

Apparently most freshman college students do not gain more weight than the same age young people who are not in college. So, it’s a myth that college students will gain 15 extra pounds their first year. Despite this, it is important that they eat healthy and make exercise a regular part of their lives. Students should eat 3 meals a day, limit unhealthy snacks and exercise several times a week. Many college students drink a lot of beer which is many empty calories which can cause them to gain weight. I’m encouraged that college freshman aren’t at greater risk than other young people for gaining weight.

Thoughtful and planful about birth control

Screen Shot 2014-09-06 at 12.08.03 AM

I was advising a young person about her birth control options recently. Of course we visited to look at what methods could work for her. It was helpful to show her pictures of the different types and she seemed to appreciate that not every method works for everyone and she had to figure out what was best for her. In the end she decided that she would restart birth control because she knew that she was going to have sex and knew that she didn’t want to be pregnant. If only everyone was as thoughtful as she is!

How to change a roll of toilet paper

This is a funny video for parents. What “instructional video” do you want to make for your children?

A new school year can bring stress

Someone asked me today about the stress some children and young people experience with the start of school. Starting a new school year is a huge transition and those of any age can feel stress even with positive transitions. When a young person is stressed they may feel physically sick, they may get irritable, and they may have trouble sleeping. Parents can figure out what is going on by doing what parents do best-providing love and attention. If the problem is stress, parents can help their child by spending time with them and listening to what they say. It also helps to make sure that the child or young person is eating a healthy diet, has downtime to read for fun or play outside, and is getting enough sleep. Remember, children 5-12 years old need at least 10 hours of sleep, while those over 12 years old need 8.5-9.5 hours of sleep each night.

Stop the texts, stop the wrecks

They’re cooking

Screen Shot 2014-08-28 at 10.19.54 PM

Some schools have started already and already I’ve heard young people complaining about the school food. I don’t know what they are complaining about-the food served in many of the schools I’m familiar with is healthy and delicious. Don’t believe me? Check out the Minneapolis Public Schools menus found here:

Starting school early is unhealthy for teens

Screen Shot 2014-08-26 at 10.25.47 PMI wonder when all schools are going to change the start of school until 8:30 or later. This week the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended this because natural sleep cycles change when someone becomes a teen so that adolescents need to go to bed later and get up later. This is because their sleep cycles can shift up to 2 hours later from childhood to adolescence. Increasingly, it is clear that it is unhealthy for teens to start school at 7:30 or earlier.

Can’t breathe, can’t live-but even knowing this doesn’t change behavior

I don’t know what to say to young people who have asthma and allergies, but don’t do what they need to do to control their illnesses. For example, I know many young people who will continue to expose themselves to cats and dogs, even though this causes their asthma and allergies to act up. It so curious how they jeopardize their health and their life. I explain why they need to stay away from animals, but often this doesn’t make them change their behavior. If they can’t breathe, they can’t survive-but even hearing this isn’t enough. I’m puzzled.

Admitting ignorance

School is starting for many young people tomorrow and I have advice for them, actually this advice would work for everyone. My advice is to be comfortable admitting when you don’t know something. But, don’t stop there-if you don’t know something, make sure you find the answer. There is one thing I say almost every day, and it goes like this, “I don’t know, I need to look it up.”

How your plate should look

Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 10.00.47 PM

Put sleep on your calendar

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 11.01.50 PM

I’ve noticed that so many young people don’t get enough sleep. Many young people prioritize almost every other aspect of their life-school, work, friends, everything-over sleep. Why not give make time for sleep? You know how important sleep is for doing well in school, work, with friends, everything. Do what you need to do to get enough sleep-maybe you need to put sleep on your calendar.

Watch for bee stings and outdoor poisons

School may be starting soon, but there’s still warm weather left. Head outside and enjoy the rest of summer, but watch for bee stings and outdoor poisons. Here’s a video with more information.

Build a lucky life-put as many steps between you and guns as possible

I once heard a successful businessman tell the story of how, as a teen, he got really angry about how he was treated. He was so angry that he grabbed the only weapon he could find, a sharp screwdriver, and went after the person who treated him badly. Luckily, he didn’t find the guy. It was also lucky that the businessman did not have a gun-he could have killed someone before he had a chance to think about the consequences. So, build a lucky life for yourself by not reacting in anger, and by putting yourself as far away from a gun as possible.

Real voyage of discovery


The answer is right here

I speak to young people and their families about many vaccines, but the vaccine parents have the most questions about is the HPV one. Below is a graphic that shows why this vaccine is so important, it shows that the HPV vaccine can prevent genital warts and many types of cancers. The answer is right here.

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 9.47.38 PM

Let’s Cook with Richard Sherman

It’ll be football season soon. I found this video of Richard Sherman of the champion Seattle Seahawks cooking a healthful lunch. Enjoy.

Suicide is preventable

Suicide is preventable. There are many people and organizations that are able to help keep you safe if you are thinking of killing yourself, including the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. They are always available at and 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Screen Shot 2014-08-12 at 10.22.37 PM

Your brain on marijuana-risking addiction and IQ

A recent Columbia University study found that more teens admitted to drug treatment programs were addicted to marijuana more than any other drug. The researchers also say that teens who start smoking marijuana are at particular risk of getting addicted. Also, smoking marijuana as a young person can lower IQ and cause learning, memory, attention and concentration problems. So, I ask you, why risk addiction and your IQ by smoking marijuana? It’s not worth it.

Healthy teeth needed for overall health

I’m amazed at how many young people I meet who do not brush their teeth every day. Healthy teeth are so important for overall health, so do the work of keeping them healthy. Brush and floss everyday, and visit the dentist regularly.



Avoid the enemy of the good

I know that I have to organize the posts on this blog a little better because, if I did, different topics would be easier to find. Oh well, one day. But, for now I keep writing-I’m not going to stop just because all of my work isn’t perfect. It should be the same for many things, don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. Do what you need to do, get things done-they may be good, maybe very good, but not perfect and that’s probably okay.

It’s a jungle out there

It’s like a jungle out there. The roads are dangerous because so many people are distracted by their phones. This morning, again, someone almost hit me as they veered into my lane. When I drove past the car I saw that the guy was looking at his phone. It’s a jungle out there and I’m the innocent prey about to be killed by a predator who keeps looking at his phone as he drives by me!

James Brady, 1940-2014

Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 10.04.41 PM

Today James Brady died. He was President Reagan’s press secretary in 1981 when he was shot in the head. After he recovered, he and his wife, Sarah, founded the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. This organization has truly led to “Millions marching to end gun violence.” Lend your voice of support today.

Genesys Works revisited

I met a young intern this week who is part of Genesys Works. I have written about this organization before, but this work training program is worth revisiting. They do such good work. Here’s a video about them.


It’s school and sports physical time

Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 10.07.47 PM

I refer to August and early September as school and sports physical time because so many of these are done at this time of the year. I have two pieces of advice for parents and teens-first, if you need a physical, make an appointment soon because appointments fill up. Second, use that visit with your healthcare provider to get what you need to remain healthy. Get your shots, your medication refills, your STD checks, whatever you need. If you do this, you will start the school year, your sports season ready to go.

Help making yourself stupid

I heard John Hickenlooper, the Governor of Colorado on the radio today. You probably know that Colorado recently legalized the use of marijuana. Anyways, Governor Hickenlooper was asked why he and his staff don’t smoke marijuana. He said, “We don’t need any help trying to make ourselves stupid.” Do you need any help making yourself stupid? I don’t need help doing this either, so I don’t smoke.

Far too many of you dying

I heard the Marvin Gaye song, “What’s Going On” recently and thought of the lyrics when reading about the shooting of young people. This song is really appropriate today.

“Mother, mother
There’s too many of you crying
Brother, brother, brother
There’s far too many of you dying
You know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some lovin’ here today, yeah”

Marvin Gaye, “What’s Going On”

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 11.24.27 PM


Distracted riders-foolish and dangerous

Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 11.04.21 AM

The other day I saw a young person with headphones on, typing on his cell phone, while riding a bike on a freeway overpass. Was he a stunt person? No. Was he doing something foolish and dangerous? Absolutely. I suppose those of us driving by were in danger because we were distracted as we stared at him in horror, but he was the person most at risk. I hope he arrived where he was going safely, and I hope that he and others distracted by their electronic devices learn that the text, the Facebook message, the phone call can wait.

No rule against that

I often tell young people that the time to start birth control is before they have sex so that they can find the birth control that works for them safely. What I mean by safely is that they are safe from having a pregnancy. For sure, if you wait until after you are having sex to think about birth control you could be in trouble. Also, you can be on birth control even if you’re not having sex-there’s no rule against that.

Wear your birth control proudly

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 11.01.36 PM

I once saw a young lady whose contraceptive patch, Ortho Evra, was visible on her bare arm. Do you know what I thought? I thought, “Good for you. Wear your birth control proudly!”

Guy’s guide to birth control now has a guy’s guide to birth control. Here’s a funny video introduction.

Training your taste buds

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 10.58.37 PM

I didn’t know that people need to taste a new food between 14-21 times before they start to like that food. I’m not a picky eater, but this is helpful to know if you are a picky eater, or know some one who is. It really is about “training your taste buds” like Dr. John Anderson, a pediatrician who works with me wrote recently. Here’s more advice from him for picky eaters,

To be or not to be

I was talking today with a young person about the Hamlet soliloquy that begins “To be or not to be” today. I then remembered that great video last year of this soliloquy that was made of snippets from performances students submitted via Instagram. Here’s the link

The Drum Major Instinct


Try getting a little extra sleep and see how you feel

“Why not do an experiment, go to bed early and see how you feel?” This is the question I asked a young person I know. He didn’t answer-he just shrugged and walked away. Why not try getting a little extra sleep when you can? You never know-you may actually like it.

My best advice for college students

Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 10.35.04 PM

The best advice I can give a new college student is to make sure that they get enough sleep. I have found that many college students give up on sleep even though they need sleep to do their best in school. I’m happy to report that a young person I know who is beginning college in the fall won’t become sleep deprived. She said that she needs 8 to 10 hours of sleep now and doesn’t plan to change her sleep habits when she gets to college.

Chew it

 I have always admired the ability to bite off more than one can chew and then chew it. ”

— William DeMille

The choice

In honor of the new Harry Potter story:

Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 10.19.17 PM

It makes too much sense

A young person I know told me recently that he feels tired in the morning if he gets up at a decent hour, and he feels guilty if he sleeps in late. I asked him why he didn’t try going to bed earlier so that he would get up early enough and not be tired. He said that wouldn’t work. Of course, why would this work? It makes too much sense.

Vamping all night

Screen Shot 2014-07-05 at 9.01.48 PM

Have you heard about vamping? I think there are different definitions, but the one I’m referring to is where someone stays up late, texting or being online and not getting enough sleep. There is an article about vamping on the New York Times website, Sleep is so important for everyone, especially young people, that sometimes I advise parents to lock up cell phones and turn off the internet at night just to try to get their teen to get some sleep. This may be a harsh solution, but it is what some young teens need until they know how to regulate their media use.

What is trichomoniasis

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 10.26.10 PM

Human drama of athletic competition

“..the thrill of victory… and the agony of defeat… the human drama of athletic competition…”

Why do people play sports when defeat is possible? Because the opportunity to compete and the possibility of success is so alluring. Anyway, no matter what your ability, you too can push yourself to improve athletically. Get up, get out, get active, get strong!

Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 11.19.47 PM

Like a girl

A young period told me about a new commercial that, even though it’s a commercial, explores well why it’s okay to be told you do something like a girl.

Jookin for good

I hadn’t heard about jookin, a type of dance, until today, but I’m now really impressed. I’m impressed by the artistry and I’m impressed by the artist Lil Buck. Here’s a video from the New York Times about him. I like how he describes using his gift for good.

Stick with love

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

Iron Kids

Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 9.17.04 PM

Iron Kids is a strength training app for iPhones and iPads from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Iron Kids is a safe way for young people to build strength, balance and fitness. The app contains a workout program and instructional videos. The app is only $3.99, so it’s an inexpensive way to become an Iron Kid.

Between every action and reaction

It’s soccer’s World Cup and one well-known soccer player appeared to lose his mind. He bit another player! What was that about I wonder? To me it appears that this player got angry about something and doesn’t know how to control his anger. Have you heard the saying, “Between every action and reaction is a space, you must control that space.” That soccer player doesn’t know how to manage that space, so that he controls his reaction. If you have this problem, if you’re easy to anger, your probably need the help of a counselor so that you can control the space and your reaction.

Athletic and strong or a like a model and weak? The choice is clear (to me)

Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 9.42.18 PM

With Wimbledon starting soon, I posed the following question to a young woman I know, “Would you rather have the body of an athlete and be strong, or have the body of a model and be weak?” The young woman said that she would rather have an athlete’s body and be strong. I then asked her “Would you rather have Serena Williams’ body, which is obviously strong and powerful, or the model Giselle’s body (she looks like she needs a good meal)?” The young woman answered that she would rather have Giselle’s body. I don’t get it-why is a weak-appearing, too-skinny woman preferred? For me, I would love to have Serena’s body, a body that can beat you at tennis and probably any other sport.

Powerful water

This video shows how powerful water can be. You won’t be swimming in falls, but all water can be dangerous, especially if you don’t know how to swim. To be safe, everyone needs to learn how to swim. The Red Cross website can help you find swim lessons in your area.

Super Smile team


If everyone brushed twice a day for 2 minutes-they’d have a Super Smile also.

There’s a world waiting for you

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 9.53.04 PM

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.”

What it’s like to be transgender

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.

Raise strong children

Screen Shot 2014-06-13 at 10.59.39 PM

Close-up of a Hot Cheeto. Yuck!

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!

Screen Shot 2014-06-12 at 11.13.57 PM


It’s World Cup time, go out and play soccer

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 Lyme disease time

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.

Decide when sex is right for you

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.

Won’t let his circumstance define him

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

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 9.48.19 PM

James West, scientist and inspiration

Screen Shot 2014-06-03 at 9.35.00 PM

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.”

Hate leads to suffering

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

Wisdom from Yoda

Screen Shot 2014-05-31 at 10.14.33 PM


Where the fight is won

“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.”
Muhammad Ali

Roots for the Home Team 2014 lineup

Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 10.26.36 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 10.25.23 PM


“Depressed but Not Ashamed”

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.

Give yourself a start

Screen Shot 2014-05-23 at 11.28.17 PM

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.

It’s not so simple

I thought it was so simple, that teens who drive with other teens were more likely to get in an accident than teens who drive by themselves. Of course it’s not so simple, teens with friends in the car are less likely to get in an accident-maybe their friends help them drive properly. But, if the teens in the car are acting foolish, pushing each other or doing other rough things, well of course accidents are more likely to happen. So, I guess the message is that it may be a good thing for teens to drive together, but only if they’re not doing goofy things.

Formula for a healthy lifestyle



Formula for a healthy lifestyle from Nemours Children’s Hospital:

Screen Shot 2014-05-21 at 9.07.20 PM

100% chance of learning something

Screen Shot 2014-05-20 at 7.42.30 PM

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.

Stop, Breathe and Think app

Screen Shot 2014-05-16 at 11.40.38 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2014-05-15 at 11.22.54 PM


Screen Shot 2014-05-14 at 10.53.41 PM

Today, the US federal government recommended that people at risk for HIV take a once-a-day pill, Truvada, to prevent the infection. Truvada is pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP and has been shown to be 99% protective. A lot of health insurances cover it, so ask your doctor about it. Remember, Truvada doesn’t protect against other STDs, so keep using condoms.

The greatest gift is your own development

I saw this great poster that I think shows the importance of being healthy so that you can help others.

Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 11.02.15 PM