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Tags: Character, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceCharityEat Less-Move MoreExercisePersonal ResponsibilityValues
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05/13/2010
IconI was asked the other day what New Year's resolutions I'm making.' I couldn't come up with any, not because I'm in denial about having to change anything about my life, but because it's just that I live each week, much less each day, already making those changes that I choose.'I like the idea of frequent "small course changes," rather than abrupt, major alterations in one's life.' I find that the latter kinds of changes are harder to keep, since they are such a divergence from normal reality and routine.So, I'm not trying to talk you out of losing that 100 pounds, or finishing the roof on your house all by yourself.' I just believe that it's unrealistic to put yourself in front of a 100-foot-tall pile of whatever with a spoon and told to "go at it."If it's weight that you want to lose, forget about that, and just decide not to have salad dressing loaded with fat calories, and just decide to walk 1 mile with music in your ear - iPod-style.' When that gets too familiar (or starts to feel "old"), then decide that you have to eat smaller portions and ride your bike for 1 mile each day (but I recommend doing that without the iPod, in order for you to hear traffic).'Get it? Small things are easier to stay with, because you get instant gratification, which we all love.The weight?' Don't get on the scale more than twice a month.' Just revel in those small changes.' The weight will take care of itself.' And then, you can go shopping for new clothes (yay)! More >>

Tags: Character, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceCommitmentEat Less-Move MoreExerciseHolidaysNew YearNutritionPersonal ResponsibilityValues
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05/13/2010
Icon"Stupid is as stupid does." Those are sage words from the fictional Forrest Gump.And stupid does some interesting things in America.' Here are two great recent examples of stupidity:Before I tell you the first story, I want to preface it with a memory from my middle school years.' We Long Island neighborhood children took the bus to school.' I walked two blocks to the bus stop.' In the winter, it was freezing, but fortunately, one of the kids I went to school with lived in that corner house right where the bus picked us up.' The mom would leave the garage door open (the cars were already gone) so we could all huddle out of the wind and chill until the bus came.' It was very kind of her.Now, to today's story:' A mom in Michigan allows the kids from three families to hang out before school at her house for about 1 hour before the school bus comes.' She's not getting paid, although I sure hope she's getting appreciation from the families who have to go to work before they can get their kids off to school.'Believe it or not, she receives a letter from the Michigan Department of Human Services warning her that if she continues, she'd be violating a law aimed at the operation of unlicensed day-care centers.' She's not getting paid!!' And she's doing the neighbors a favor!!This law says no one may care for unrelated children in their home for more than four weeks each calendar year unless they are licensed day-care providers.' The Department of Human Services warned her without even finding out the facts.' This is stupid.' Never mind that these kids, if left by themselves for an hour without adult supervision could be food for predators.' It seems also that this stupid stretch would preclude regular baby-sitting when parents go out to dinner and the movies.There is good news here, though.' After the news media got hold of this story (and embarrassed the heck out of the state of Michigan), Governor Jennifer Granholm instructed the agency's director to work with the state legislature to change the law.'Since when is simply being a good neighbor a criminal activity?' Some neighbor (and we've all had this kind of neighbor) made a complaint, and started this non-common sense ball rolling.The second stupid story is from Saratoga Springs.' Adam Marino, a 12 year old in seventh grade, and his mother are defying Saratoga Springs school policy by biking to Maple Avenue Middle School.' The school has a rule that kids can't walk or ride a bike to school.' Adam's mom and other parents want their kids to be less sedentary and to get exercise by walking or riding to school as a fitness activity.'After Adam's mom thought she had an understanding with the school board on this issue, she rode a bike with her kid to school, only to be met by a state trooper and school administrators.' You'd think she had been beating her kid or helping him play hooky.' Sheesh!In reaction to this, other parents joined them in riding and walking their kids to school.' Once again, this got the attention of the news media, and the Board of Education is going to vote to amend this policy this week.These arbitrary rules are just stupid, and frankly, ignoring the bigger picture of neighborhood safety and exercise for children.' Fortunately, however, thanks to the media spotlight, it's all going to change. More >>

Tags: Common SenseEat Less-Move MoreEducationExerciseFamily/Relationships - ChildrenMorals, Ethics, ValuesParentingSchoolValues
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05/13/2010
IconAccording to the Wall Street Journal (March 14, 2008) restaurant owners have identified a "worrisome" long-term trend: "The number of harried working moms isn't growing the way it was." What??' This is a worrisome trend for marriages and children?' I think not!' Instead, this is a worrisome trend for businesses built on the virtual dissolution of family bonding and togetherness.Since the percentage of women in the work force has been dropping, the result is less money in the family budget for eating out.' Fatty, salt-laden, hyper-caloric, oversized meals will have to go by the wayside for warm, home-cooked meals filling the home with luscious aromas and bringing a family together around their own kitchen table.Ahh....not to worry!' Restaurants are coming up with ideas to undermine all that syrupy "homey" stuff:' offering children's books, Etch-A-Sketch toys and handheld video games to appeal to children who might drag in their parents; and also coming up with ideas of pre-cooked meals moms can buy at the grocery.There is always hope that the disgusting new television program, "The Secret Life of A Soccer Mom" will simply succeed in seducing moms and wives away from their families to go back into some "dream" job..... More >>

Tags: Eat Less-Move MoreexerciseHealthParenting
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05/13/2010
IconA recent essay in the New York Times (December 2, 2007) talked about the growing popularity of social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, and others where the word "friends" is used to describe email relationships with folks we barely know.' Humans are gregarious creatures and fare better belonging to networks of family, community, spiritual groups, clubs, and so forth - all of which are sustained through face-to-face contact.The bottom line is that the more time we spend online, the less time we spend having true relationships complete with challenges, vulnerability, risks and profundity.' These are not real-world relationships with depth.' These on-line relationships are shadows and facsimiles which ultimately amount to little more than casual, superficial experiences.One mother, Jene, who listens regularly to my radio program, sent me this letter her 21 year-old son wrote to Facebook.' I suggest you show this to all your children and read it twice yourself if you are hooked to on-line pseudo-friendships: "As a mother of two young adults, I've witnessed their obsessive involvement with the many electronic forms of communication that are all the rage in recent years...email, instant messaging, texting, and the several web-based social networks like Facebook and MySpace.' All are useful communication tools, but often counterproductive in really getting to know people. It came to my attention that my 21 year-old son took a bold step recently and closed down his Facebook account by writing a breaking-up letter and posting it as a good-bye.' When he shared it with me, I was touched, relieved, and very proud of his stand.' I asked him if I might share this with you.' His grin, soft laugh and nod of his head spoke volumes: 'Facebook, we need to have a DTR (defining the relationship) talk...It's not all your fault, it's mostly mine...This is the end of you and me, Facebook.' I'm leaving you because I have spent more time browsing your pages than I have been spending in the pages of The Good Book.' And I can't live like that anymore.' I've let you become a monster...you've taken too much of my time and my thoughts.' Maybe it's just my lack of self-control or discipline, but you're addictive to me.' I'm ashamed of the number of times I check you daily.' If I were able to grasp how much time I have spent swimming though your endless ocean of profiles, I would be able to bear the guilt. Here's why: because of your profiles, I've become lazy.' Because of you I found myself talking with person after person, asking them questions that I already knew the answers to.' On many levels I've substituted and even avoided personal interactions with people because of your artificial and superficial means of communication.' You have diluted my perception of true social interaction. You've made me a coward.' There's a difference between a Facebook friend and an actual friend.' Everyone knows the difference, but when one tries to reach across the barrier from Facebook friends to actual friends it just isn't the same. Facebook, you're not all bad.' You have your benefits.' I must admit, you allow me to network and keep in touch with people with whom I normally wouldn't have been able to...but at what cost?' Wasting time Facebooking people I'll never meet has distracted me from meeting the person sitting next to me in class, or has kept me from calling up and hanging out with an old friend because Facebooking is just as good?' I beg to differ. In some form or another, you've hindered my investment in the relationships with those genuine people hiding behind the idealistic profiles they've made of themselves.' Let's face it, I don't perceive myself in the same way someone else perceives me.' From now on, I only want to know people for whom they truly are; not for what you (Facebook) says they are.' I just can't trust you. 'This might seem radical, but I have to make up for lost time.' This hurts me just as much as it hurts you, but I have to take a stand.'Logging out for good, Kyle.'" I am so very impressed with Kyle's maturity and good sense. More >>

Tags: Eat Less-Move MoreExerciseHealthInternet-MediaInternet/MediaMySpaceSocial Networking
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