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Posts Tagged ‘schools’

         A very sad news story this past week has brought to mind how important it is to have integrity in all that you do.  Thousands have been made sick in China due to the greediness of milk producers who added the chemical melamine to the raw milk used to produce milk, yogurt, and baby formula.

         Adding the chemical to the raw milk used to produce the powdered baby formula appeared to fool the quality checks as to the content of the milk.  This chemical can cause kidney stones, irritation to the eyes and to the skin, and it can also cause ulcers in the urinary tract of the individuals who ingest the tainted dairy products.  There have been over 4 deaths to babies and well over 6,000 are ill from the effects. 

           These concerns are in the short term…what about long term effects?  What about people who will discover health problems down the line from kidney stone formation or other effects?  China’s population has been devastated in the past year by the severe earthquake, flooding from the after affects of the earthquake, the collapse of schools during the earthquake; and now this tainted milk disaster.   The future impact on China remains to be seen from all of these losses. 

           Parents have a right to be angry and fearful for the well-being of their children.  Adults are being advised that drinking 2 liters of milk a day or less will not produce ill affects in healthy adults.

           We used to talk about the milk of human kindness…lately, we seem to see more of the greediness in individuals; and, it isn’t limited to China.  People need to exhibit integrity in their day- to- day actions; and, realize that what they choose to do affects others around them.  There have been arrests in this recent disaster relating to the tainting of the milk.  Those involved in the decision to add the chemical could actually face the death sentence for the choices that they have made. 

            In the meantime, the tainted products have been pulled from the shelves in China…but, some of the products have been exported to other countries.  It is imperative to check the labels of any products that used milk products, that have come from China, at this time for the safety and well-being of those who would consume the products purchased.

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       Ok, here we go…a few months ago, i heard about a lawsuit on one of the ABC news programs between Mattel, the makers of the Barbie doll empire, and MGA Entertainment, Inc the makers of the Bratz doll line.  The issue seemed to spring from Mattel’s allegation that the designer Carter Bryant was working for them when he came up with the concept for the Bratz doll line; and therefore, they felt that it infringed upon their copyright since he was under contract to them at the time of the design; the jury seemed to agree.

         The jury awarded Mattel $100 million dollars in compensation today.  Wowie…that would pay for a whole lot of Barbie cars, Barbie swimming pools and certainly alot of Barbie mansions.   Now that $100 million, was nowhere near the amount that Mattel was seeking; it was more in the area of $1Billion dollars that they felt MGA should owe them with the success of the Bratz dolls,  toys and other assorted items MGA endorsed with the Bratz line. 

          I don’t know if you have ever seen the Bratz dolls but their heads are large…and they wear exceedingly seductive outfits and they have long hair and heavy makeup on these dolls.  They are very sensualized dolls that have been marketed to young girls and preteen girls as the heighth of fashion dolls.  In comparison, Barbie has been a mainstay in the toy market for years..but, since the sales began on the Bratz line…Barbie sales have fallen.  The competition seemed to pit the “good girl image” with the “bad girl image”…what image do you think young girls in a hurry to grow up wanted mom and dad to buy them?  Their choices are influenced by the things they see in our culture as “grown up”.   With growing concerns about body image and a healthy attitude towards their self concept…we need to understand the connection that takes place in a child’s world view and how that affects their emotional development! 

           Teaching young girls to value their bodies as something more than window dressing to get attention used to be the norm; that is no longer true.  Experts have been dealing with an increased awareness that young women are not happy with their bodies and will go to extremes to try to achieve the “look” that is in vogue.  We have young women (and young men) who are tortured with anorexia, who are struggling with obesity, who pay for plastic surgery to get their bodies to fit a certain mold, putting foreign substances such as botox into their bodies, breast augmentation, etc.   Educating them to the truth that the images they see in magazines and on television are adjusted with the magic of photo retouching and airbrushing techniques…that no-one has a perfect face or figure.  It is time to stop and teach young people the importance of self acceptance.  Stop allowing them to think that they don’t measure up to someone else’s standards of what is the ideal.

           We really need to examine the culture that we expose our children to from magazine articles, to television shows, to media advertising, to fashionable clothing lines that seem to say it is ok to dress our young girls in clothing meant for older teens or young adult women.  Everything is sexualized or sensual in it’s design…this marketing technique needs to be addressed.  We are allowing this, when we purchase these types of products for our children and then wonder why behaviors seem so out of synch with the type of behaviors that should be appropriate to their ages.

           Parents are the ultimate stop gap for their children…it is their money, for the most part, which purchases these items.  If we raise the bar on what we expose our children to…then, the industries that our dollars support will have to adapt to the demand for a more traditional age appropriate level of decency in the children’s clothing, toys, accessories, music, television programing, advertising, etc. 

            In an age where we try to protect our children from predators on the streets, in our schools and in every other area of life; we need to understand that if we send the children mixed messages about what is appropriate role modeling; how can we expect them to know when someone inappropriately crosses the line in their conduct?  Children learn their boundaries from the adults in their lives who set limits…so we need to re-examine how we condition our children by the choices that we make. 

            Children may still want the Bratz dolls over the Barbie dolls…who knows…children don’t always know what is in their best interests; however, the adults who care for them should know…shouldn’t they?

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        You know what…i don’t know much about foreclosures on a home; but, my family came closer to it than i want to think about this past winter.  I know that foreclosure is happening to more and more people.  I live in a state where the economy is all but paralyzed.  People are loosing their jobs, left and right.  The cost of living is skyrocketing.  I know people who are working two jobs and still are struggling to survive.   I also know people who have gone to donate blood and plasma just so that they had gas money to drive back and forth to work.  This puts the quality of life into the depression era, as far as I am concerned.  Foreclosure can happen to anyone because, right now, the economy stinks.

         This past week, we have heard about a couple of high profile people, Evander Holyfield and Ed McMahon, who are possibly loosing their homes to foreclosure.  One of them, Ed McMahon seems an unlikely candidate to loose his home to foreclosure…however, Ed explains his situation.  He says that he wasn’t paying attention to how his money was managed by business people.  He also says some personal difficulties such as divorce and a broken neck decreased his finances and his ability to work.  He says that he worked hard all of his life.  Alot of people are in the same situation…maybe they can’t even retire or pay for their child’s college because of their financial situation and the possible loss of their home.

           Ed McMahon talks about the million, or so, people in the United States that are now facing foreclosure and says that he understands how people are working hard and due to their personal circumstances they could lose their homes.  Many of them, Ed says, didn’t do anything wrong…maybe they lost their jobs or face medical, financial difficulties…but because of those situations…they are being forced out of their homes that they worked so hard to have.  He says he would like to tell them to find the best help available and to not give up. 

         Those explanations are real life for alot of people.  It has been recently estimated that 1percent of home mortgages have gone into foreclosure from January- March of this year alone; that is around 447,723 families.  Divorce, job downsizing, health issues and the economy are putting more and more people in jeparody of loosing their homes.  For most people, their home is one of their biggest assests or investments.  How does this concern you?   Let’s take a look… 

          The problem is…as the economy worsens…more people loose their homes and that means that more homes are on the market.  Say you want to sell your home…how are you going to do that with all of the houses sitting empty on your street, in your neighborhood, or your town or state?  And if you are lucky enough to find someone who wants YOUR house….will they give you what you have to have financially for it?   Housing that is devalued further complicates the issue.  Propety values plummet in areas where there are many foreclosures.   When people owe more on their house then it is worth, because of the devaluing of it…they can’t sell it without taking a huge financial loss; not to mention coming up with the money to move somewhere else.  The stress and the emotional toll it takes is devastating.  It is a bit like a chain reaction…because then their credit is damaged…and finding another place to live is difficult, relationships take a beating in times of financial crisis too.  Other people can be quite judgmental and often people feel ashamed of what they are going through.  The changes that a family has to go through in a foreclosure has a far reaching impact on schools, jobs, relationships, health and emotional well-being.  I heard a random number tossed about in a news report of between 7-8,000 people enter into foreclosure procedures a DAY!  Those numbers are staggering…and devastating to our economy.

         There are those who say…well, those people shouldn’t have tried to live outside of their means.  That may be true in some circumstances; but, many of those in foreclosure had good paying jobs when they bought that home in good faith, they may have been in perfect health when they bought their home, the economy might have been healthier at the time of the home purchase.  Life is full of changes; foreclosure can happen to anyone!

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         With Barack Obama getting the nod from the Democratic party on Tuesday evening as the Democratic nominee in the bid for the office of President of the United States…Oprah is celebrating.  She has said that she has been doing the happy dance all day.

         Oprah also allegedly said, she is ready to go door-to-door for Barack Obama if he so desired her to; which brought to my mind a vision of Oprah becoming a modern day salesman (woman).  Is Oprah starting a new career? 🙂

            Is she ready to start a new career as a pitch person for the political movers and shakers?  Her influence is quite powerful.   After all, Oprah has conquored the television talk show circuit, produces movies, she is a book club afficionado, and she is an advocate for initiating education; by planting a school for young African girls.  Oprah is a magazine owner… she is a successful business woman, as well as, an expert at branding herself in any area that she wishes to explore.  She is a smart woman…a beautiful woman… a seasoned business person; and, she connects with people in extra-ordinary ways. 

            She appears to accomplish what she sets out to do.  She definately did her best to bring attention to Barack Obama’s campaign.  Between television, her magazine, interviews and the campaign trail…Oprah definately has the platform to draw potential voters to the election process.  She also has a powerful impact in the areas that she makes a commitment to.  Oprah is nothing but passionate about the things that she chooses to spend time doing.

          People either love her or they don’t…but, most people do have an strong opinion one way or the other.  How will this opinion affect the vote for the President of the United States, come time for the actual election?  Time will tell.

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         Are you safe and warm; do you have food to eat and clean water to drink where you are?  You are blessed.  China is in the middle of a mass of miracles and mourning after the earthquake this past week.   Families are suffering; and, grieving losses of people and possessions.  Many are without a safe place to live.  This devastation is large scale and overwhelming to those in need as well as to the aid workers. 

         Getting clean water, food and shelter to all those who have need is no easy task.  Adding the additional strain of flooding from rivers, streams and lakes that have been blocked by debris and backed up water flow; only makes getting aid supplies into remote areas more difficult.

         In a country that encourages a family practice of having one birth child, it has a significant impact because, the earthquake has taken the future from many families.  Many have honored the Chinese government’s policy to only have one birth child to cut down on the over-population problem.  Since this earthquake brought down many schools, hospitals and other institutions that housed children…the impact has devastating, life-long consequences on China’s infrastructure.

           Those most vulnerable are the elderly and the young children.  The future can be bleak for those who only had one child to care for them in their elder years.  If they are past the age of child bearing…this can bring an end to their family line. 

          In the center of all of this madness, the Olympics are to be held in China in 81 days.  The International Olympic Committee has decided to pause the torch relay out of respect for the victims.  There will also be three days of national mourning, starting on Monday.  

           There have been stories of miracles; people who have been buried, under debris and rubble since the quake, who have overcome the circumstances and survived.  There will be many such stories as communications improve and time goes on.  One man in particular survived 139 hours trapped in rubble from a hospital and came away with minor bruising.  

           Each miracle brings hope to the hearts of those who have missing loved ones; as experts have said that, a person could survive in these conditions for up to a week as long as they had some access to water and the temperatures were at a survivable level. 

      

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         China is the place of the most recent earthquake…there are over 10,000 people dead.  Many were buried under rubble; children were trapped as school buildings came tumbling down.  Landslides closed roads needed to allow access to receive help; phones became disabled, electricity lines were disrupted causing power outtages.

       Chaos is ensuing with rail lines broken, running water that is scarce, hospitals with patients who are leaving in a panic, the streets are covered with many people who know not, where to go, or what to do.  The military is trying to get to those in need; but navigating the roadways is difficult at best.

       As China continues to acess the damage the death toll will continue to rise, as will the number of people who are injured and displaced.  It seems that the very bowels of the earth are churning to and fro and we the residents of it’s surface will be tossed around much like kernels of corn.  We must pray for those around the world who are in need and offer assistance where we can be effective.

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       Hatred is a sickness…it needs tending.  To maintain a good solid hatred, a person has to work at it.  It needs constant time and attention.  It starts to consume a person’s thoughts day and night.  It is destructive.  Hatred can start from a misunderstanding, from hurtful words or actions, it can start from the simplest thing.  But, to build to a point where it starts to destroy…someone really has to invest themselves into it.

        It is sad…but hatred can actually be contagious.  Hatred has claimed another soul…news reports today tell of a young man consumed with hatred.  He has been nurting a hatred for people different from himself allegedly.  The reasons why are on video…to be learned by the public later.   He lives in Chesterfield, South Carolina.   I don’t want to name him…as i think by doing so, sometimes it encourages others who think that they will become famous by following in the footsteps of others who seek to destroy.  That needs to stop. 

        This young man’s parents turned him in to the police.  That had to be one of the most difficult things they have had to do in their lives.  I admire their courage…we need to pray for them. He is still their son.  As a parent we dont have to understand or agree with the things our children do…but we still have to love them and be there for them.   Unfortunately, their son had ordered some ammonium nitrate (10 lbs of it).   The parents had been notified by the Postal Service of an impending delivery and they called the police when they realized what he had done.

         It was then discovered that the young man had a journal where he documented his hatred of others for the last year.  This young man seemed to perform successfully in school and was one of the school’s top students.  He has not been in serious trouble before.  How could this hatred have been bubbling under the surface, without anyone knowing it existed?  Or is there more to the story?  It will unfold in time.

         It seems the young man may have made maps of his school that he intended to blow up.  The young man made a video to be played after his “death”.  He planned for it to be shown after the destruction of his school by his bomb attack.   It has been reported that he had plans to create several bombs; and, he was planning on styling his “attack” to be modeled somewhat after those who implemented the Columbine High School murders in Colorado nine years ago…the anniversary of that horror will be observed this coming sunday.  How close were we to another such national tramatic school attack?  There was no time frame in the young man’s journal…but the nitrate was being delivered just before the anniverary of Columbine High School shootings.  Coincidence…probably not when he already said in his journal that he admired the shooters from the Columbine attack.

          I think the parents of this young man have potentially saved many lives by doing the right (and difficult) thing by contacting the authorities.  Certainly, all of the details are not yet known…the investigation has just begun. 

          However, I am glad that this time, hatred was stopped in it’s tracks.  I am sorry for the parents of the young man.  I am sad at the waste of this young man’s life…as he will most certainly be spending some time behind bars or institutionalized.  However, I am also glad that there is not another “role model” of hatred to be held up and admired by others who are consumed with the need to hate, to destroy and to grab their 15 minutes of “fame” in the media, by trying to kill as many innocent lives as they can with their violence.

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