Saturday, December 17, 2011

Surfin' Saturday ~ 12.17.11

It's a shame I haven't done this feature in a few weeks, as I've read and seen some really interesting things lately! Here are a few...

BPA Rises by 1200% After Eating from Cans ~ Food Renegade
I love how the FDA has admitted that BPA is dangerous, and we've recognized that it's enough of a problem that all the baby-product manufacturers make a big deal of advertising that their bottles, sippy cups, etc are BPA-free...yet most canned goods are still loaded with BPA and the FDA isn't doing anything about it.

For the record: bisphenol A (BPA) is "an endocrine-disrupting chemical pervasive in our food supply thanks to its use in lining canned goods. Over the years, studies have linked it to breast and prostate cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, reproductive failures and behavioral problems." In the study this article references, participants ate a single serving of canned or fresh soup for five days. And those who ate the canned soup had 1,221 percent higher levels of BPA.

I want to scream when I think about the unbelievable things our government wastes time regulating, and then things like this that they simply ignore.

Completely unrelated, two posts that confirm the perspective on education which I read and found persuasive in Leonard Sax's excellent book Boys Adrift:

“When we instruct children in academic subjects at too early an age, we miseducate them; we put them at risk for short-term stress and long-term personality damage for no useful purpose. There is no evidence that such early instruction has lasting benefits, and considerable evidence that it can do lasting harm."

"Infants and toddlers have much more valuable things to be doing with their time: finger painting, running in circles, jumping on couches, pot-and-pan beating, and annoying their siblings (to name just a few). Children, especially at this young age, learn through everything they do. Playing with dirt and water inspires scientific discovery and dipping their fingers in yogurt to smear across the freshly washed table motivates undeveloped artists. There will be plenty of time for them to learn i before e, except after c when they are sitting in school desks for the next seventeen plus years of their lives."

Finally, some food for thought as I constantly think through discipline and how to handle Elijah's wrongdoing:

"Over the years I have heard many of these forced apologies. I understand the parent’s need for them, but I have to admit they always make me squirm. To truly apologize requires empathy, and empathy develops in its own way and time, at a different pace for each child. So, often the child is not developmentally ready to understand, much less own the words she’s saying.

"What worries me most is the child who, because his caregiver has pushed him to always say ‘sorry,’ receives the message that apologizing fixes everything. He punches another child, but as long as he says, “I’m sorry,“ he’s excused and can move on, or even do it again. We are wrong to believe we teach empathy by forcing an insincere apology."


Danielle said...

I'm excited to read "Boys Adrift." It's on my list for reading next year.

The forced apology article was interesting. My mom and I actually got into an argument on this subject, because although I teach my children to say sorry, if they say they aren't sorry, I don't force them to fake it. I keep talking to them about it and why they aren't sorry. My one son in particular is not quickly repentant while another one is more so. He's more like me. He holds grudges, as I did very much as a child and still can do.

Also, the saying "hi" and "good-bye" has proved to be a challenge. Part of that we've discovered has been fear, now that they're older and can verbalize their feelings. My boys just don't show fear the expected way, cowering behind mom's legs and looking down. They show it in a more aggressive way, but it comes down to the fact they don't want the attention saying "hi" means for them. They "don't want people to look at them," as they put it. Now this isn't all the time or with people they generally know, but in certain circumstances.

Good food for thought as I continually evaluate these issues and how I communicate to the boys about them.

Zoanna said...

We've handled the apology similarly to Danielle. Sometimes I have felt "forced" by another parent to make my child say it, even though I knew they weren't. They were sorry they got CAUGHT, but they would do it again if they could (at times). We have spent a lot of time talking about what "sorry" really means. "I have sorrow over my actions" is sometimes a very slow thing in coming to my heart, let alone my lips--or theirs. We have said, "If you're not sorry, at least tell (the other child) you should not have done that because that's the truth. It was wrong." They will agree to it being wrong long before agreeing they're sorry!

Amy said...

Thanks for your thoughts!

One thing that's been helpful to me in thinking through this stuff is to distinguish between apologizing (words) and making amends (actions). I want to teach my kids that words mean something, so like this article is saying, I don't want to force an "I'm sorry" that isn't true. On the other hand, even if you *aren't* sorry at the moment, you still need to make it right--give your brother a kind and gentle touch instead of hitting or pushing; help the person up; give the toy back; etc.

I've been encouraged at times when Elijah realizes, without my prompting, that he needs to apologize, and if I don't force it in the moment, he will even do it later of his own accord!