June 04, 2008

The Earth Runneth Over - Musings on Birth, Death, Nature and Population Control Two Sundays ago we had the first beautiful day we have had in a long time...sunny and warm and just about perfect. So we packed a picnic lunch, piled in the car and drove to Salt Springs State Park. Salt Springs is a rather rustic park in Northeastern Pennsylvania. It's full of old growth Hemlock's, a variety of wildlife and some moderately challenging trails. As we hiked, we paused occasionally to catch our breath as the beauty of nature (and some pretty steep trails) threatened to steal it away. Then, tired and hungry, we sat by a lovely creek and listened to the sounds of water tumbling over rocks as we ate lunch. All-in-all it was a beautiful day. I hope to spend more of my days in this way...exploring our beautiful natural world and having fun with my family. There are still so many scenic, unspoiled places out there, but they are disappearing and rather quickly. Can we continue to take them for granted? Dare we assume that they will still be there for my children to bring their children to? I wonder. While we were hiking we stopped to read the few educational plaques that were posted along the trails. I already knew that when this country was settled, most of what is now the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was covered with forests much like the one I was standing in. William Penn named the Commonwealth Pennsylvania for a reason ( it means Penn's Woods). What I didn't know was that in the last 100 years of human progress, population growth and industrialization, the forests of Pennsylvania have been reduced to 1/10th of 1 percent of their original size. Think about that for
Parents and Children - How Much Influence Do We Really Have? As parents, we often worry about how our kids will handle things as they grow up. We try to teach them all that we know in the hope that what we are telling them will get locked away in their brains and that, when faced with temptation or a difficult choice, our words will be recalled and a wise choice made. But how much influence do we really have on our children's behavior? There is some good news here. Research has shown that throughout our children's lives, we parents really are the strongest influence on our children's behavior. Our kids are listening and learning from us. They do consider what we have to say about issues and when they are confused or unsure, we are often the first ones to whom they turn for advice...until high school, that is. When our kids become teenagers, we parents lose our power. Teens still hear our voices if only faintly, but there are new voices – those of their peers. Parent's voices simply cannot be heard over the din. The voices of our children's peers are far more piercing and persuasive. What problems can this create for our kids? Well, at a time when our children are beginning to grow up and are faced with many more temptations and life-altering choices than we might like, they are taking there cue from their friends. Peers are their primary counsel when it comes to whether or not to become sexually active, to use condoms, to drink, to take drugs, or to smoke. Should they wear their seat belts? Should they wear helmets? Should they use sunscreen? The list of important decisions that our children are faced with in their teens is endless.

Lori Jewett

I'm an overly educated stay-at-home mom with two kids and the need for adult conversation.

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