Monday, February 15, 2010


U.S. News recently reported that 40% of college students admitted cheating on exams. While some of that will be smart talk that big number tells us something is not right.

The temptations in college are great but well grounded kids don't cheat. And, we know that well-grounding begins at home.

So what at home could shake the grounding? Here is a short list:

  • Excuses when late from work
  • Fiddling on our taxes
  • 15 clicks over the speed limit
  • Half truths like - "I just had one beer"
  • "Not my fault - He caused the accident"
  • "The devil made me do it"

Our problem is that young children have X-ray vision and supersonic hearing. They often know what's going on more than we parents do. We have learned from long experience how to fog things. In fact, we get to the point where we no longer see our own fogs.

How do we safeguard our children? We need some practice to defog:

  • Daily goals clear the air and focus on good things
  • Find one OOPS you know you can change now
  • Make a deal with the mate to check up each other regularly
  • Watch others to see how straight they can be

Do this for a while and suddenly an issue will come up from one of the children. "Are you getting sticky because you are getting old?"

This is a chance to be straight, like "Son, I realized that sometimes I was being less than honest".

It will take few such exchanges before the kids start to believe it.

Not a bad goal: "Today I will start to fix one OOPS"

If we are not careful, cheating can get seriously nasty!

Let's hear your views on this FAMILY CHALLENGE!

Saturday, February 06, 2010


Dr. Leigh Venicur, quoted on the Fox Channel, says allergies have gone from 1% to 5% in just a decade. she claims that the biggest difference comes from the indoor life rather than the outdoor life.

We spend most of our time indoors where we worry about things being sanitary. Her point is that natural exposures bring us immunities. Unnatural environments make us more vulnerable. We try to make indoors safer by spraying stuff from cans.

When we think about it, we humans are beings who come into a world of rain, frogs, birds, snakes, worms, streams, trees, bugs, grass, dirt and rocks. Children don't need programs to learn about these. We have built for ourselves a civilization that keeps us away from natural things. We are closeted in houses, offices, shops and stores which are unnatural.

There is more than an allergy problem with how we live. There are social and psychological problems. We spend a lot of time dealing with problems we create because we are housed together most of our lives. We make life complicated by trying to be junior psychiatrists - analyzing our most subtle body languages. We shelter our children from "unhealthy" people and places.

Take the case of the school principal. One of her problems is that the kids don't know how to do recess outside. There are no machine games; there are no organized programs. They stand around waiting for class to start again. The big exception is bullying which they learned from video and TV.

These children don't live outside. They don't know how to make up games on the grass, use sticks as bats or play tag. They are not learning good peer social skills. Their bodies are not being immunized naturally.

The good doctor knows that allergies are complex, like everything else in our world. He simple fact is that our lifestyle is a big factor. There doesn't seem to be anything being organized by the government for this.

Maybe our families need to rediscover the old fashioned family picnic. What about a family hike? New trails are opening up. What about cancelling that drive to the sports arena? what about turning off all the machines leaving us with only the backyard or the park?

It may be that the message about allergies is the message that we need for a lot of good things.

Let's hear your opinion on this latest FAMILY CHALLENGE.