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Archive for September, 2011

Religion & Science: Huston Smith and Greg Tropea’s Views

 

Which religion is true or most true? Trever, 12, New Mexico

Gayle Kimball’s answer:

Professor and author Huston Smith taught about world religions for decades and wrote about them in numerous books. In his CD “The Big Picture,” he said all religions share a belief in a higher dimension. Mystics and people who have experienced near-death experiences report the other side is blissful and loving with helpful guides.

The Bible and the Koran talk about heaven and earth, Buddhism contrasts samsara (this world) and nirvana (which can’t be described in words), and Hinduism contrasts maya (this world of illusion) with Brahma (god). Much older tribal religions, which date back 30,000 years–compared to only 6,000 years for historic religions, agree a superior world exists beyond this plane. Religions also agree humans were made in the image of God and there will be a happy ending, usually with the coming of a prophet (for Christians, the second coming of Jesus, while Muslims believe Mohammed was the last prophet).

Smith believes the advent of the scientific method in the 16th century, with its use of controlled experiments and proofs, led to unbelievable technological advances, like walking on the moon. But “the critical mistake of modernity” is that science denies the possibility of another world, keeping many from exploring it. Science ignores meaning, values and purpose. We’ve lost a great deal in dismissing these dimensions, Smith concludes.

Greg Tropea comments:

I think your answer provides a nice focus for the question, and bringing in Huston Smith—who would respond to any claim beyond the most mundane with the question, “But is it true?”—strikes me as a good move that is right in tune with the question.

 

For accuracy, I would include in the near-death and mystical reports the minority experiences of demonic presences and hellish situations.  That these accord in one way or another with teachings that occur in all of the major traditions, even if not always in the “official” texts, adds sufficient motivation in my view.

 

I would be more restrained in my characterization of science as denying the existence of higher dimensions.  Philosophical materialists, some of whom are scientists, will make this scientifically nonsensical (because it is untestable) claim, but the more sophisticated scientists have always said that what cannot be measured is outside the purview of science to decide.  Additionally, we have a large literature documenting the sometimes beautiful and sometimes embarrassing efforts of scientists to come to terms with Western or Eastern religions.

 

From Smith’s perspective, the idea that religions teach us to define our values wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) quite work.  The reason is that religions themselves deliver the values and demand of us that we come to understand them.  Smith does believe in a “real” truth that essentially carries its definition within itself, so for him there is a truth to be discovered that has already been defined by God.

 

In the philosopher’s way, one of my first impulses was to reflect back on the question.  When the boy asks which religion is true or most true, we have to wonder what his understanding of truth is.  Would it be decided by which religion’s writings has the largest number of statements that correspond with observed phenomena?  The smallest number of statements that are contradicted by observation or history?  And then we have wonder what a standard of truth like that has to with all of the claims about unseen realities that show up in the texts of religions.  In this philosophical vein, one can go on and on.

 

Of course, the Bible raises the issue of truth in a number of ways, most traditionally philosophically in John 18:38, when Pilate demonstrates a complete absence of spiritual discernment in the face of Jesus’s assertion of the specificity of his message by asking rhetorically and in a general way, “What is truth?”  As high as the stakes are, Jesus realizes that you can’t say much about color to a blind man.

 

I like how your answer moves in the direction of understanding religions as ways to truth, but wish for a stronger assertion of this.  Maybe it is my Christian bias showing or maybe my personal eccentricity.  When I hear Jesus say, “I am the way, the truth, and the life…” I hear a list of four synonyms, not a set of different things.  So I am far away from a correspondence theory of truth when it comes to religion.  Because my experience of spiritual life has been more characterized by surprises than fulfillment of dreams or expectations, one other thing I would want to emphasize in the thought of higher dimensions is that when we are aware of our participation in them, we encounter possibilities that overflow the categories of our 3-D world at noontime.

 

Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda, my notes

 

Autobiography of a Yogi. Paramhansa Yogananda, 1946, notes on what sparked my interest:

Words for the word:

*Aum (om): Vedas

Amin: Koran

Hum: Tibetan Buddhism

Amen: Christians “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God….”

 

Einstein: the velocity of light dominates the whole. The Theory of Relativity is the only constant. …Einstein has banished from the cosmos every fixed reality except that of light.

266. The masters who are able to materialize and dematerialize their bodies or any other object, and to move with the velocity of light, and to utilize the creative light-rays in bringing into instant visibility any physical manifestation, have fulfilled the necessary Einstein an condition: their mass is infinite.

 

269 Just as the motion picture images appear to be real, but are only combinations of light and shade, so is the universal variety a delusive seeming [sic].

 

His guru Sri Yukteswar died and assumed a new body and explained: 400 “From the cosmic atoms I created an entirely new body, exactly like [my previous one] I am in truth resurrected—not on earth but on an astral planet….there are many astral planets, teeming with astral beings. The inhabitants use astral planes, or masses of light, to travel from one planet to another, faster than electricity and radioactive energies.”

The ordinary astral universe—not the subtler astral heaven of Hiranyaloka—is peopled with millions of astral beings who have come, more or less recently, from the earth, and also with myriads of fairies, mermaids, fishes, animals, goblins, gnomes, demigods and spirits, all residing on different astral planets in accordance with karmic qualifications.

 

Commenting on his visit to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi: Gandhi had an appendectomy without anesthetics, chatting cheerfully with his disciples. His family was Jain, who revere ahimsa as the root virtue. Hence, vegetarianism. He also was a celibate. He said about his wife, “She moves me as no other woman in the world can. …the feeling of an indissoluble bond is there,” Gandhi said I believe like every Hindu in God and His oneness, in rebirth and salvation.

It takes a fairly strenuous course of training to attain a mental state of nonviolence. It is a disciplined life, like the life of a soldier.  …a man who applies the laws of love with scientific precision can work greater wonders ….The law of love is a far greater science than any modern science.

I would wait, if need be for ages, rather than seek the freedom of my country through bloody means.

Jesus, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: but I say unto you, that ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

Global Youth Relationship Issues

 

Global Youth Relationship Issues

Relationships are top priority for youth, hanging out with their family and friends.

 

Young people consistently search for fulfillment in relationships, drugs, alcohol and anything else that makes them feel special. We need to concentrate on what really matters. Allie, 17, f, Ohio

 

I would change parents’ attitude to children. Because attention to a child is the most important thing for us. Many parents do not pay much attention to their children because they are ALWAYS busy!!! Why do adults want to have children if they don’t have enough time to play a game, to talk about everyday problems or to walk with a child? Yaroslav, 13, m, Uzbekistan

 

Contents: Change About Adults, Dating, Love, Family, Gender, Irritating People, Marriage, Parents, Peers, Sexual Preference, Siblings

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In a 70-year study of Harvard University male graduates, Dr. George Vaillant reported, “The only thing that really matters in life are your relationships to other people.” [i] Teens know this: When Elissa Moses asked global teens about the principles of highest importance, relationships are top of the list:

1. Relationship with family, 56%. About 44% enjoy spending time with their families. Most (79%) trust their parents more than anyone else, more than their friends, girl or boyfriend, teachers, and religious or political leaders.

2.    Accomplishing as much as I can, 46%

3.    Relationships with friends, 42%

4.    Having fun, 34%

5.    Having the power to get what I want in life, 29%

6.    Being accepted as an individual, 28%

7.    Making the world a better place, 26%

8.    Never being bored, 25%

9.    Fitting into society, 22%.  Most agreed with the statement “It’s up to me to get what I want our of life.”

10.  Upholding traditions, 12%[ii]

 

Change about Adults (their bad habits, lack of understanding and judgmentalness, bossy, disrespectful, and materialistic


Bad Habits

I want them to stop smoking in the house. Gamabunta, 8, m, Japan

 

I don’t them to drink so much beer. Laiziemon, 8, m, Japan

Most of them drink (alcohol), and I’d like to stop it. Joaquin, 9, m, Brazil

I would change their bad ways of drinking beer and smoking dagga [marijuana].

Mulenga, 10, m, Zambia

I wish they would not fight a lot and have less evil hearts. In Seong, 13, m, Korea

The fact that people in the world do things that they know are bad for themselves and the environment, like smoking and wars. Sam, 14, m, New Zealand

I would have them stop cheating on their wives or husbands.

DeeDee, 15, f, California

They have to stop drinking alcohol much because it isn’t going to benefit anything. Editha, 15, f, Tanzania

They always think that they know everything when us kids get in trouble or do drugs and get caught. They talk to us like they’ve never done drugs before.

Mac, 16, m, California

 

The things I’d like to change about adults are their loaning behavior, greed, lust for sex, and the behavior to make kids stupid (and themselves of course).

Nara, 15, m, Indonesia

 

Adults think that taking drugs, smoking, dancing in the clubs etc. is the most important thing that they need to live, even more than the breath they take. Usama, 16, f, Pakistan

Shehroz points out, “Alcohol and Clubs are illegal in Pakistan. Alcohol is prohibited in Islam. And so is clubbing,” but it still occurs.

 

If there was one thing I could change about adults, it would be their pessimism as it is a thing that will get them nowhere. Dessislava, 17, f, India

The bad habits of my parents because they are drunkards. Flari, 17, m, Nepal

How they use too much of a drug. Lillian, 18, f, California

Their bad habits: gamble, smoke, and so on. Jin, 18, m, China

I would try to stop bad behavior like rape, unnecessary drunks, and all illegal business like selling drug abuse. Sarrwatt, 19, m, Tanzania

To make adults do not smoke and they should keep studying until they pass away. He Ran, 19, m, China

Their bad habits like sleeping late in the morning. Sova, 19, f, Nepal

Listen, Be More Understanding and Less Judgmental

So they would understand first, then judge and punish. Sasha, 11, m, Russia

 

Adults cut us off before knowing the whole story and don’t see it from your shoes. Madlen, 11, f, British Columbia

 

I would like adults to allow us not to listen to them.  Sometimes we do not know why we always have to listen to adults.  Certainly their advice, suggestions, or ideas are good, but why don’t they listen to us or let us do what we think is also possible in their eyes?  Enoch, 11, m, Hong Kong

 

I would want them to listen us a lot. Bahar, 12, f, Turkey

 

I would want them not to watch TV. Feyzanur, 12, f, Turkey

 

I want them to listen to children’s opinion more because they don’t listen to me at all. Taro, 12, m, Japan

 

Many adults underestimate children completely, or they pretend to understand them when they sometimes don’t and they make “wise” statements about it. Enya, 12, f, Germany

 

Adults should break the rules more. They should be willing to stand up for what they believe in. Also, they shouldn’t judge anyone, especially teenagers.

Meg, 13, f, Quebec

I wish they’d have an off switch. Tom, 14, m, New Zealand

They have to understand that it is the present; it’s harder than the past when it was easier. Shay, 14, m, Lanai, Hawaii

They always have to make a comment about what you do, what you wear or how you act; they can never keep a negative comment to themselves.

Lindsey, 14, f, Belize

Sometimes they really underestimate the younger ones and sometimes do not understand what we try to say. I would like to change them by making them think they we can do much more than what they think and they should try to understand our viewpoint. Zamina, 14, f, Tanzania

Adults automatically assume that they know everything, and children still believe that they do. Adults should try and listen to what we, as teenagers, are saying. They shouldn’t jump in or cut us off. Teenagers like me tend to speak in metaphors, and adults should understand that. Didn’t they go through the same thing and vow never to be like adults when they were young?

Verena, 14, f, California

I’d like to change their outlook. I want them to understand me. I can’t tell them everything, I can’t relieve my feelings, and they won’t get me. Vera, 15, f, Ukraine

They are so close-minded. I just want everyone to be heard, and listened to, cause we all have something to say. Anabel, 15, f, California

Adults think that they have lived so many years and they know everything and we youngsters don’t know as much they know. But the real fact is the problems we face to in our day-to-day life and the way we manage differ a lot from those they have faced in their life. We are maturing and we have all potential to face our own problems. Alexander, 15, m, Romania

Listen to the problem first before yelling at someone. Mukta, 15, f, India

Be less anal and more open. Deanna, 15, f, Quebec

I would change their blithe attitudes. Sometimes I need some one to console me over something petty, and I don’t want to hear the “When I was your age” stuff. I just want to hear an, “I’m here for you, things will be okay.”  It’s nice to hear that every once and a while. Sara, 15, f, North Carolina

I feel like adults aren’t as empathetic as they could be. Yeah, we all know that you guys were kids once, you did the same things as us, but can you guys remember how you felt when your parents talked to you, and why you did the things you did? Shauna, 15, f, New York

 

I wish they’d understand and wouldn’t be so damn confused or shocked by us! Vienna, 15, f, New Zealand

 

I would change their attitude to the hobbies of modern teenagers, like listening to music that seems strange to them. Sometimes adults judge teenagers because they still live in the past. Alexander, 15, m, Romania

 

They should listen to you more and do things our way.

Yojta, 16, m, Czech Republic

 

They think just because I did, you will too. We’re not all alike, or they think if one kid made this mistake, we all will. Danit, 16, f, British Columbia

 

I would give them back all the insights they’ve forgotten since childhood–all those feelings that they no longer understand because they’ve grown up. This would be the best gift/change that I could give to the adult world, because it would lead to a better understanding of younger people, and better relations between people in general. Bethany, 16, f, Washington

 

I would make adults more understandable and would like them to be more attentive to their children. Gregori, 16, m, Ukraine

 

Sometimes adults seem to be really judgmental towards teenagers’ looks and I think if some adults were more open-minded, they’d learn that the teens are actually really nice people. Devon, 16, f, British Columbia

 

I would change their need to always know what’s going on in their children’s lives. Sometimes kids don’t want to talk to their parents; maybe they’d rather talk to their friends. Most parents don’t understand this and they need to let their kids be kids! Kristian, 16, f, Manitoba

 

I would like adults to understand young people’s taste in music.

Tatiana, 16, f, Ukraine

They decide something important without saying to us. Tomomi, 16, f, Japan

The sole quality about adults that really irks me is an arrogant nature. The haughty claim that they are always in control, always correct, when in fact most are so insecure that they will never admit to a mistake. Austin, 17, m, California

How do you keep an open mind and the magic of the world as you grow older? Sarah Louise, 17, f, British Columbia

 

Adults don’t treat children the way they should be treated. There is no equality and everyone ignores them. Small children are not given much freedom to decide what they want to do. Thus adults become a hurdle between success and individuality of youngsters. Raza, 17, m, Pakistan

 

Adults think that they have lived so many years and they know everything and we youngsters don’t know as much they know. But the real fact is the problems we face to in our day-to-day life and the way we manage differ a lot from those they have faced in their life. We are maturing and we have all potential to face our own problems. Edith, 17, f, India

 

Take time in a day, to put you in the mind of us (kids/teenager). Imagine what will you feel when things that happened to us happened to you. Things that happened to you back then are different than what happened to us now. Seriously, when something happens to us, please don’t judge us. Even though you are dying wanting to say, ” I told you so,” just don’t. Those bad experiences are the one that will teach us the most about life.   Melinda, 17, f, Indonesia

 

They think they know anything. Ariel, 17, m, Israel

 

I wish they would stop talking to us like we don’t know what we’re doing, or we don’t know what is in store for us in the future. They think that just because they went through the same thing that they are an expert on the issues of the “real world.” Yes, they have gone through it, but they should leave those experiences and difficulties that may come with it for us to see and discover for ourselves and stop trying to tell us what will happen and what we should do. Everyone has to live with the consequences of actions, including the next generation of America. Jess, 17, f, Georgia

 

To change their attitude towards traditional Chinese culture–they don’t pay attention to it. Luefeng, 17, m, rural China

 

To make them believe science, not superstition, and change their education model. Jixuehai, 18, m, rural China

 

Every adult should have more understanding of kids’ behavior and humor.

Carea, 18, f, Germany.

 

I would like more adults to be able to remember what it was like being a teenager—identity crisis, etc., so they can understand better.

Willo, 18, f, British Columbia

Communication is the secret to success in any relationship. I’d ask the adults in your life about their experiences as teenagers so you demonstrate and teach understanding for them. Part of communication is asking for a specific solution to something that bothers you, putting it on the table for negotiation, and letting the other person know you understand what he or she is feeling and why. You don’t have to agree; just understanding each other goes a long way. So does humor.

To get adults to listen, use active listening skills where you let the person know what you understand her to be saying and feeling. Also, set aside regular time to talk as a family. The meeting rules are to really listen, repeat what you think you heard, and stay positive, letting family members know what you appreciate about each other. End the meeting with a fun activity so people want to continue having them. Useful books are listed in the endnote.[iii]

 

Less Bossy and Rigid, More Fun

I would make it so that they have a child inside them, so they would be more interesting. Alexa, 10, Sudan

They control our time. Eartha, 11, f, British Columbia

I want my mom to be gentle. ?, 11, f, Japan

Adults are too serious and never have any fun. Kylee, 12, f, New Mexico

 

I would want them to do whatever I want. Deniz, 12, f, Turkey

 

We should enjoy our childhood as much as we can because when we become adults we can’t have as much fun. Augusto, 13, m, Brazil

 

They should not be so uptight and just slow down to see the beautiful things in life. Corey, 13, m, Australia

 

[I think that] you can decide when you want to get a piercing done or when you want to smoke; it is your own life. Roos, 13, f, Netherlands

 

All adults want to control us all the time and everywhere! Our grandparents and parents, teachers and neighbors want to make our lives like they have planned! They push us to work the same way like THEY do, to achieve what THEY want for us! This thing bothers me very much! I want to make my own mistakes, to build my dreams and make my life myself!!! Yaroslav, 13, m, Uzbekistan

We started out as dependent, helpless babies. Parents get used to taking care of little kids. It’s not easy to get used to your children growing up. It helps if you talk things over with them and gradually ask for more freedom as you prove your good sense.

 

I would make them more pure, as in make them more of who they are, not who they are forced to be. Also, I would make them more imaginative and creative.  Sally, 14, f, New Zealand

 

I don’t like the way most stop dreaming when they get older, losing sight of their own personal goals. Not everyone stops, but those who do, well, most feel lost somehow. Namine, 14, f, Australia

 

When they get old, they become stubborn like a mule. Simone, 14, f, Switzerland

 

They need to look at the little things more, the flowers growing in sidewalk cracks, dew on spider webs in the morning, saying good morning to strangers, and walking barefoot in the grass. To stop worrying about money, materials, jobs, and themselves. I wish adults weren’t so afraid to be children. People always say teenagers are bad, or create trouble; this is what people have created. We are told we have no wisdom and that we have nothing to say. If people would just let us speak, they would find the optimism and love we all carry. We want to be heard. Let us. Chauncey, 15, f, Oregon

 

They should retain some wonder and respect for the world and for life.

Caroline, 15, f, United Kingdom

 

I want adults not to ask everything carefully before I am going to do something. I want them give me more freedom. Annabel, 15, f, China

Discuss this with them, suggesting some areas you’d like to have control over so you can learn responsibility and decision-making.

 

They should stop being so serious and telling us to grow up. Why should we when you’re grumpy for being old! I don’t want to grow up; I want my childhood forever. Brooke, 16, f, United Kingdom

 

If there were one thing I could change about the adults it would be their psychology. It drives me crazy when they always worry about such things like the mess in the flat or grades in school. Diana, 16, f, Ukraine

 

Intolerance, and a lot of adults can’t see the elephant in the room.

Casper, 16, m, California

 

They always say they’re adults, they always let me do this, but not do this.

Weik, 16, f, China

 

I would like to stay up as long as I want at night, sleep as long as I want in the mornings, play my computer games as long as I want and eat whatever I want :). (I have to have a diet because I was sick.) Fateyev, teen, m, Turkmenistan

 

Just because they pay for us they tend to get too bossy at time. I would really want them to stop ordering kids about what to do all the time.

Samana, 16, f, Pakistan

 

Adults should realize what teenagers go through and should not impose their decisions on them. Instead they should let the teenagers make their point and look for a solution that is the most desirable one. Sadif, 17, f, Pakistan

 

They always want to have the last word; they always want to be right.

Charles, 17, m, France

 

They are too serious, should get weird sometimes. Staebel, 17, m, France

 

If I could change adults, it would be their constant quest of projecting their insecurities into their children and having them suffer because of it.

Arias, 18, m, California

 

Their feeling of being superior and dominant due to wanting their juniors to do what, when and how they want. ?, 19, f, Nepal

I wish that after 30 they don’t die inside. Bill, 18, m, British Columbia

I’d like it if adults could get out from marriage and enjoy life as they did before marrying. Wen Zhen, m, 19, Chin

 

I wish that they didn’t lose their passion and individuality and willingness for change and difference. Kara, 18, f, Northern Ireland

 

Hypocrisy levels–if an adult does something in their past they always forbid their kid to do it. You should let them experience things for themselves. Like I got a piercing this weekend and I love it, while my dad got one when he was a kid and he hated it. It doesn’t mean it will be the same for me and he should let me do what I want and learn for myself. Amanda, 18, f, South Dakota

 

When I am an adult, I want to keep a child heart, so I will feel happy everyday. I like childhood. I like playing with my friends. That is wonderful.

Zheng, 20, m, China

 

More Respectful

I would ask my father, and if he was busy, I would ask my mother, “I would like to know why bigger kids or adults sometimes mistreat kids by being rude, ignoring them etc. Also, why are kids sometimes disrespectful to adults, for example if an adult says “hello” they do not reply. Mohammad, 9, m, Saudi Arabia

 

I know the saying “respect your elders,” but what about “respect your youngsters?” Vilma, 9, f, Belize

 

I’d change that they see me just as a kid and thought of me as just the same as them, only they’re a little farther down the road. Bunny, 12, f, California

 

I don’t like to be called a kid. I’m 14. You can call me a young person. Don’t call me a kid. I, personally, find it degrading.  Maybe that’s just me, though.

Cherry, 14, f, North Carolina

 

Society barely gives teens a voice. They doubt our ability to actually understand something and constantly use our age as a reason to keep stuff from us. What they don’t realize is that if they just gave us the opportunity we could actually accomplish a lot. Kirby, 15, f, Rhode Island

 

Sometimes I ask an adult if I can do something with them, and more than half the time, the answer is “No, you’re too young.” I think adults use that as an excuse and think we’re stupid enough to believe it. I don’t know why but they think it’s okay to lie, but it hurts. Does it mean we can lie too? Aren’t they supposed to be the role models? Maybe it’s time for the youth to be heard for a change.

Anabel, 15, f, California

 

I wish they would think more about what they did when they were young and don’t lie, saying they never did things we do now. Lea, 15, f, Germany

 

They always think of teenagers as rotten kids. We aren’t all disrespectful and we aren’t here to cause trouble. It’d be nice if they could treat us like normal human beings instead of as if we were always below them. Michelle, 15, f, Washington

 

For them to take you seriously instead of just anything you say they think it’s a joke, cause you’re a kid. Talia, 15, f, Australia.

 

Their idea of being always right and never bothering or concentrating a lot on what the young have to say. Also I don’t like it when they interfere with kids’ businesses. Bright gal, 16, f, Tanzania

 

The way they lie to kids because they think they won’t understand.                                    Ami, 16, f, United Kingdom

 

All adults think that we teenagers, 16-years-old, are very small children. I want they change their opinion. Evgeniy, 16, m, Uzbekistan

 

Just because you’re older, it doesn’t mean you’re better than I am. Although you’ve seen more and have experienced more, I am the same as you and I deserve to be treated like a human, not some freak in a circus.

Rachel-Claire, 17, f, Scotland

 

I actually like the majority of adults.  But, there are always the few adults who tend to treat kids like children without giving them a chance to show their worth.  I hate adults who talk to me as if I were still eight-years-old. I believe all people should be treated the way they act, and it’s wrong to just assume every teen acts like… a teen. Jessica, 17, f, New Mexico

 

I think our generation gets a bad rap for being “wild.” The excessive partying that is supposedly a new and horrifying trend has been around since (at least) the 60s. It’s completely unfair and illogical for some adults to act like the youth of America’s morals are disintegrating. Laurel, 17, f, California

 

I’d make all adults more laid back, act like kids again, not all stuck up, and not to look down on us.  Scott, 17, m, British Columbia

 

Don’t be too up to themselves just because they are older than us!!
Chi, 18, f, New Zealand

 

Adults cannot believe youthful persons enough. So I would make them believe us enough so that can find our first jobs easily. Xiaotang, 19, m, China

 

The constant arrogance that if you aren’t old, then you do not know anything about life. Experience can come at any age, and adults often forget that. Some kids are quite mature, and even if not, everyone has powerful personal experience. Usually adults forget about this until they run into someone who can surprise them enough. Marine, 20, f, France

 

Stop Meanness

I want them to be kind to me. Tomo, 9, m, Japan

 

I’m happy during the Spring Festival, because adults won’t lose their temper easily at that time and they try to be very nice. Manqi, 9, f, China

 

I hope that adults should stop giving exams to us and stop shouting us so that we (children) could be happy all the time.  We do not want to have too many exams because exams are great pressure to us.  We are also unhappy about adults shouting at us. We would like to be happy all the time and live happily.

Winnie, 11, f, Hong Kong

Don’t shout back. Be a good example by speaking in a normal voice and ask if the adult will sit down and talk with you about what is bothering him or her. You can’t do anything about the exams but change how you think of them, like scoring on a video game. Read the section on how to do well in school in the school chapter.

 

I would change all the terrible adults into babies. Some adults are good but some adults are bad. In order to stop bad adults doing bad things, it would be nice to change them into babies.  Then no more bad things happen any more.

Kieran, 11, m, Hong Kong

That they wouldn’t get annoyed when kids do some things and that they would be interested (like, really interested) in lots of things kids do (not 3-year-olds of course). Elisa, 11, f, Canadian in Belize

Adults cut us off before knowing the whole story and don’t see it from your shoes. Madlen, 11, f, British Columbia

I would tell adults not to shout at their kids because shouting at their kids is not a good way of teaching them to be good and also it scares them and even affects their personality and emotional development. Jonathan, 11, m, Hong Kong

I would change the adults to be more gentle.  They are rude in my eyes and they don’t listen to children’s words attentively and closely. Henry, 11, m, Hong Kong

The bad moods and the vulgar vocabulary some adults have.

Christian, 12, m, Columbia

 

That they would not fight a lot and have lesser evil hearts. Shen, 13, m, Korea

 

I want them to like us. Ebru, 13, f, Turkey

Don’t be mean to children oralways think they are wrong. Ko-Yun, 15, f, Taiwan

[I wish they would care more about the children than money, sex, and drinking. Dan, 15, m, Florida

 

I feel the only time I can make them happy is if I am ranked the best in class, then both parents definitely are happy. It is not the only time my parents take pity on me, but I felt in the heart that is the only time that I can feel [their love].

Febri, 17, f, Indonesia

 

Adults have anger issues I think. They get angry and rule the kids just because they ARE ADULTS and they think by talking to them in a loud voice and don’t giving them a chance to speak will earn them respect in the kid’s hearts, as well as some fear which will make them the real TYPICAL ADULTS. This is wrong. They should have a healthy and strong relationship with kids. I know the kids are in their learning stages and they need to study and learn the social standards of life, but by bursting your anger at them so they lose all their confidence and boldness, is definitely wrong and unfair.

I believe one of the issue adults get angry about is their life. Sometimes they don’t have enough money to pay the tuition fees for their kids. And they feel their kids as a burden. So they yell at their kids for none of a reason. Thus, the kids grow in such kind of circumstances and have the same attitude as their parents did and the same amount of anger. I am not blaming parents or anyone. Anger is a part of nature. We should control on it because the person who can control his anger is brave in true sense. Hassan, 17, m, Pakistan

 

I would like adults to take more care of the old. Yuan, 20, m, China

Most religions teach the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” We all would like to be taken care of if we’re old and weak, but some elders are neglected and abused. It’s difficult to care for an infirm elder who needs their diapers changed, because unlike babies they don’t usually get better, and may complain rather than being thankful. This problem is going to get more common as people live longer, and fewer babies are being born to grow up to be workers who pay into social programs to help the elderly. The elderly will outnumber children for the first time in 2045 (22%), increasing the burden on working people, according to A United Nations report in 2010. Governments need to provide programs to care for impoverished elderly.

Shehroz tells us: I think the Older/Younger relationship is a more of a cultural factor. Through my observations, I have seen that Kids in USA respect elders a lot less than kids in Pakistan on a general basis. For example, we would never call anyone older than us by their name. We would always use words like ‘mister’ or ‘uncle’ (even though he is not out real uncle) or some words in our language which show a sign of respect. For example, in schools and colleges, the student would always call his teacher by SIR or MADAM and never by name. In Pakistan, a kid would get up and leave his chair when an elder enters the room. We are taught to do that. Pakistani lifestyle is all about raising the kids in such a way that when the parents get older, the kids would take care of them financially as well as practically. Most people in Pakistan will never let their parents live alone in their old age.

 

Dating

Why do women date/marry men with a lot of money (not all women)?

Jon, 14, m, California

Remember that most of the 130,000 years of homo sapien history we’ve been nomadic hunters and gathers. We settled down to do agriculture only about 10,000 years ago. If you were pregnant, or nursing and protecting a baby, as women were most of their short lives, you’d want a successful mate to help protect and provide protein for you and your kids. You can think of many other influences from our past, as in men liking football (fighting over and hunting the game/ball) and women liking to gather (shop). But with technology, birth control, and living much longer, we’re moving towards equality. Today about 25% of wives in US dual-earner families earn more than their husbands. Gender roles are changing as women become independent and men are allowed to be more sensitive.

 

When I actually like someone, I’m afraid to be myself. Tasha, 15, f, Quebec

Focus on learning about the other person, rather than on yourself.

 

My dream is to live as a bachelor so what bothers me is falling in love. I don’t want to end up in a relationship except for commitment in my work.

Anas, 15, m, Pakistan

 

How do I get girls? Smokey, 16, m, California

The same ways as you get guy friends. Look for people with similar interests, show interest and concern, and get to know them as people. The main misconception I see with men is the belief they should monologue about themselves to try to impress a woman. Lack of dialogue–showing interest in learning about her–comes across as self-centered. Instead of being a standup comedian, imagine you’re a reporter interviewing her for a story, finding out what she likes and values, enjoys doing for fun, thinks about current issues, her background, etc. Focus on what she is saying rather than how you’re reacting. Let her know what you appreciate about her. Smile and make eye contact and enjoy getting to know a new human being. Practice on women you’re not attracted to romantically, but might find interesting. Men I talked with regard this practice as “working my way up.” (Friends of my son.)

Think about your positive qualities before an encounter with the other sex so you come across as confidant, the trait that my male informants view as most important. Why should she like you if you don’t like yourself? The men suggested being aware of your nonverbal body language (50-80% of the way we communicate), making eye contact, smiling, and leaning forward towards her to show you’re interested and at ease.

It also takes confidence to take risks like asking a woman you’re attracted to out for lunch. The worst that can happen is that she could say no. My guys suggested thinking of this as batting a baseball; you probably strike out many times before batting a homerun, but you don’t stop playing. Also, ask yourself, “What’s going to change in my life if she turns me down?”

In Between Days is a 2006 film directed by So Yong Kim about a young girl from Korea, a recent immigrant to Canada, and her friendship with a guy named Tran. Their relationship is a good example of what not to do: They don’t communicate directly, lie to each other, expect the other to know what they’re thinking, then punish the other with passive aggression such as flirting with someone else. As a result, they drift apart and Aimie is very lonely.

Shehroz says, “My friends always ask me that why I am so easily able to talk to girls and make friends. My answer is that I NEVER THINK OF THEM AS GIRLS WHILE CHATTING. I always talk to them the way I talk to my guy friends. Plus, one thing that I have learned is that girls like to be “listened.”

 

My boyfriend is the best person I know, who knows me better than anyone, and he can take me as I am, no matter what I do; he’s just like my giant spotlight! Avina, 16, f, Indonesia

 

I’m dealing with a breakup amongst other things right now. I think it’s such a cliché, but I miss my boyfriend and I hope that me and him can eventually work things out. Felicia, 16, f, Wisconsin

Breakups are hard, even if we outgrow each other. We build emotional connections to people we’re close to and it’s painful to sever them. Instead, think of connecting to nature, the sun, moon, and beauty around you. Think of romantic relations as boy/girl school. We learn from experience in grade 1, 2, 3. . .  and partner 1, 2, 3, like moving from freshman, to sophomore, to junior to senior. It’s hard to leave elementary school, to go to middle school and so on, just as it’s difficult to end a relationship. But it can be a graduation to a better relationship based on what we’ve learned.

Few of us in the West are mature enough to grow together with our first love, although many arranged marriages between young people (as in India) do succeed. Shehroz observed: Arrange marriages are a cultural element of Pakistan too. And I must say that there is something about it that divorce rate in Pakistan is far far far less than that of USA or European countries. I think that maybe parents understand their kids better and thus find a girl perfect for him. Or maybe the cultural pressure as well as peer pressure stops a couple from getting divorced. Moreover, in Pakistan, families are so closely knit that whenever a couple is in a serious fight, the family would try to patch them up and finish their fight. If things are not working out at all then divorce is inevitable.

            Most of us in the West will not stay with our first loves, which is wise because people who marry when they’re young are more likely to divorce. So, think of each relationship as an opportunity to expand your horizons, to learn about another human being and his or her family. Carl Jung, the famous psychoanalyst, observed that relationships are one of the best ways to become aware of our unconscious issues, our shadow self, jealousy, fear of being controlled or abandoned, etc. When you suffer from a breakup, remind yourself it’s a graduation to the next boy/girl, one door shutting so the other can open.

Next “boy or girl school” event, hold a little of your heart in reserve at first as the half-life of romantic love is 90 days. After that, the real people start to come into view past the projections onto the blank screen of the new person. It’s also very important to analyze your parents’ patterns, as we tend to repeat them or react against them.

 

There are a lot of things that bother me–meeting new people at school and my love life (oh, it so embarrassing to me), like how my crush feels about me.

Febri, 17, f, Indonesia

I asked Hassan to comment on the Islamic view of dating:

Dating in Islam is NOT allowed in any case. Quran never allows a man or a woman to meet each other before marriage. It’s considered bad. Women have certain rules to follow in Islam like purdah, etc. They have to follow those regulations strictly when they go out to public places. Now for men, there are some orders from Quran as well, because it will be unfair with women if Quran implements rules on women and not men, and Islam is a fair religion. Quran says, “Oh men, save your eyesight for goodness.” It means that men should not walk around and stalk at the women. They should keep their eyes down once they see a woman or walking by them. That’s even more respectful and considered the best thing to do in Islam. So, there is no concept of dating in Islam. Men and women should not be in ANY physical contact before marriage.

Humans are very weak and we have Satan (devil) with us all the time as well. He makes us do bad things. So in the case, the person should pray and ask for forgiveness. Allah will definitely forgive him/her. But Islam has a straightforward rule about dating—NO DATING!

It’s true that boys and girls do not interact so openly here in most parts of the Middle East due to the religious restrictions on us. Also, we have separated schools as well. However, this concept is erased now after youth getting attracted so much to the modern technology. Almost every teen has cell phone and access to Internet. So boys and girls do talk and they interact. Dating is not allowed, but still teens do. Boys and girls actually do talk freely in Pakistan now. A few days earlier, I went out of town to see my friends. Those friends include girls as well. We hung out, ate at a restaurant, had a dance party, had fun. And our parents were all good with it. They trust their kids and they know their kids very well. So they have given their kids some sort of freedom considering the interaction of boys and girls in Pakistan just for friendship! Teens might convert this friendship into relationships, and it is possible.

I met my girlfriend like this. We were good friends and then we converted this into a relationship, a commitment. It’s not that we have forgot our values and traditions. No, we do remember everything. I never touched that girl. We used to talk on the phone and I saw her, but never touched her. We respect our values and traditions, but we are developing as an open-minded state now. We want to erase that concept of girls considered unequal to boys and being harassed and under estimated. We want them to be equal to us and give all sorts of opportunities to them.

Teens in rural areas have access to cell phones and Internet, but they are under more restrictions by their parents because villagers are not so open minded. They are simple and decent people and they stick to their traditions no matter what. They do what they are told and that’s it. Hassan, 17, m, Pakistan

 

Another Muslim point of view about dating:

Free gender mixing has long since been discouraged by people on the name of Islam! Islam discourages looking at a girl with an evil eye or with sexual intentions. But when you grow up with no barrier between male and female genders, this is less common. In Pakistan for example, if a boy meets a girl, he will definitely see her with a different intention than a boy in America meeting a girl. My point here is that if you keep something away and hidden from a human, his curiosity for that thing is way higher than if that thing is openly made available to that human. In America, it is normal for girls and boys to hug each other and no bad intentions are formed there. But if the same thing happened in Pakistan, bad intentions will kick in immediately because this was not something common for them since the beginning.

Moreover, to compete on a global level, free mixing between girls and boys is necessary. Just imagine that a Pakistani is given a job offer in a multi-national company but his boss is a female. How the heck would he be able to talk to her if he has never had much interaction with females? Islam is not about girls and boys; it is about getting successful in the world and making a name for Muslims. Work for the greater good. Shehroz, 17, m, Pakistan

 

My first real love just dumped me. I thought we were going to get married and live happily ever after. How can I cope with this pain? Anna, 18, f, California

The idea of the passive girl marrying the Prince on a white horse who rescues her is a fairy tale kept alive by Hollywood movies like “Pretty Woman” and “Ever After” (although the heroines do some rescuing of the prince in these modern stories). Marrying your first love worked when people died at age 50 in 1900, but now we have more time to go to “boy school” or “girl school.” It’s a rare Western person who can make it work forever with the first love. Think about what you learned about your partner and yourself and what habits you’d like to change in your next boy school. Set goals and be active in working towards them.

Here’s what a girl your age responds:

Being as young as I am, I do not possess a large amount of relationship experience. I’ve only been in two serious relationships, one I am currently in. My ex boyfriend was my first real boyfriend, first love, and a plethora of other “firsts.” We were only together for six months, and now have been broken up longer than we were together, but I am still upset about that breakup to this day. So I know how hard it is to be heart broken. The only advice I feel qualified to give to those who have had similar experiences is do not give up hope. Initially, a breakup can be the single most excruciatingly painful experience. But, if you hold on and persevere, the pain will subside to a manageable amount. And eventually it diminishes to a point where it is virtually nonexistent. Also, you might discover that the breakup was for the best, and you may meet someone new who is altogether better for you, as I did.  Kim, 18, f, California

Because there are exceptions to every rule, I interviewed a happily married couple who met in high school and have been married almost 40 years. Joe and Terry are the only married couple in his medical school class that didn’t get divorced, despite the challenges of long hours at work, raising three kids, moving 12 times in 14 years, and two bouts of cancer. They’re also unusual in that they’ve been a couple since high school who married when they were Seniors at UC Berkeley 39 years ago. Why did they stay happily married when others succumbed to stress? The words they used most frequently in our interview were commitment, flexibility and being in love; not a love of lust, but deep love, says Joe. Like other couples I interviewed for my book 50/50 Marriage, they married their best friend.

Joe admired the smart pretty girl who sat up front in his Sophomore math class but didn’t think she’d like a guy like him who fooled around in class. A friend invited both of them to go to a presentation on careers in medicine in a two-seater Thunderbird, so Terry had to sit on Joe’s lap. That’s how they met, but Terry was the one to ask Joe out to a TWERP dance because he was so attractive and smart. They both majored in zoology in college, but complemented each other with Terry’s knowledge of the humanities. “I could never be as smart as she was,” Joe noted.

The need for flexibility came up while Joe was in medical school. They agreed they’d have a 50/50 marriage, sharing the chores and child care, but that had to change because Joe didn’t get home till 7:30 or 8:00 PM. Terry would sit down with him and talk without TV for about 20 minutes as he ate dinner, then Joe would play with the kids. Joe made a point to be at the kids’ special events, such as a birthday parties and performances. If he had to work on Thanksgiving, they’d celebrate as a family on the weekend. In a letter to her daughter-in-law, Terry said it’s important to be your own person, to do the things that are meaningful to you, to not just be Mrs. Dr. Doug (he’s a surgeon like his dad). To her son, she wrote, “No one else can be the dad, but someone else can be the doctor for your patients.”

A turning point for their marriage was when they honed communication skills on a Marriage Encounter workshop for couples after their first son was born. They believe in being honest with each other, and figuring out how to apologize in difficult times when they are frustrated with each other—often around time problems. As Joe said, “I have a wife plus a mistress in my medical practice.” He cut way back on his leadership roles and took a year off from being a trauma surgeon when Terry was diagnosed with cancer 15-years-ago. It turned out to be the happiest year of her life because of the time they made to focus on each other, a new beginning. She understood her illness as a message to cut back on her stress level, to schedule in time for exercise, leisure, and ballroom dancing. She thanks God for her unexpected recovery.

 

How can I be happy with myself or how do I trust a person again, if they've already broken my trust before? Justine, 17, f, Australia

In terms of trust, as long as you’re centered in your own strength, what someone else does can’t rock your boat very much. Expectations are the key; know that no one is perfect. If you’ve learned someone can’t keep a secret, then yes, I wouldn’t tell him or her a secret again. Wait until he or she earns back your trust.

 

As much as I hate to admit it, I cheated on my boyfriend once, and regret it whole-heartedly, and wish I could take it all back. I came to realize that he is the one I really care about and that he didn’t deserve that to be done to him. I made a mistake and I learned from it. Chelsea, 17, f, New York

 

I recently decided to breakup with my girlfriend but I’m painfully jealous about her dating other men. I see guy’s cars at her house when I drive by.

Jack, 18, m, California

Intellectually you know why the romance couldn’t work, so now I’d clean out the emotional and chemical ties and attachments. Love triggers brain chemicals. Prairie voles are rodents who form pair bonds of loyalty. The brain maintains these bonds with brain chemicals including CRF (coricotropin-releasing factor) in both humans and voles. When researchers separated the prairie voles they became depressed after four days apart.[iv]

One way to be more objective is to write about what you’ve learned from the romance, what you’d like to do differently next time, and what you’re missing about the highs and lows. Tear up the note and burn it. You can think about ending your attachment, using a rock as a symbol, conduct a ceremonial funeral by throwing the rock into a creek and saying goodbye. What kind of relationship do you want to create now? And don’t drive by her house; take another route. Stay involved in school and other activities.

I know many girls are loving me all the time. Although they imply [it to] me all the time, I don’t want to admit it. After all, I’m a student and studying is my commission. Dong, 19, m, China

I hurt a boy’s heart deeply, but I can’t do anything except feel sorry. I don’t expect he will forgive me, I just want him to be more happy from his inner world. I want to know how to rebuild the friendship between us. Jing, 19, f, China

All you can do is let him know how you feel and that you care about him. It may be difficult for him to be around you if he still is in love with you. Be patient.

The average, nice guy like me who is sincere, having being rejected for being too nice, knows that to a lot of women the “bad boy” is more exciting. One reason men do not open up to women is fear of being thought of as weak, fear of being boring. Fear of rejection is the number 1# reason why men do not open up to women and show their feelings. So why do women say they want sensitive men but prefer bad boys to nice guys? Howie, 19, m, California

That’s the most common complaint I’ve heard from men in US workshops I’ve co-led with a man. We’re bombarded with media tough guys: the Marlboro Man, James Bond, Rambo, Hulk, Russell Crowe, Eminem. You can add a multitude of other examples of film stars, musicians, and advertising images. In the same way, men are brainwashed into finding airbrushed Playboy Bunnies sexy. Let’s hope your comment reminds female readers to be conscious of media programming and to focus on the human qualities of the men in their lives rather than an unhealthy image of masculinity. Ben adds, “My experience is if I am a bad boy, I get a bad girl. It may be fun in the short run but it’s going to be pain eventually.  If only 10% of women like you, that’s still more than you can deal with.” So, be yourself and look for a smart girl.

Shehroz comments, This is so true. I once asked a female friend of mine that what kind of guys does she prefer and her words were: Hot, Wild, Crazy, Macho. Therefore, a guy friend of mine transformed himself from the nerdy top student to the stylish crazy macho and failed his 10th grade. He used to be the highest achiever of the school but then his consciousness for girls ruined him. Girls like him now but he doesn’t realize the consequences he will face in the future.

 

We’ve been together around a year, but I’m not sure I want to stay with my boyfriend. Amber, 18, f, California

Your childhood issues may be surfacing now with some discomfort. Harville Hendrix explains in How to Get the Love You Want that we’re attracted to a “soul mate” because of the similarity of our childhood family patterns. We know how to relate to each other, and it feels comfortable, even if unhealthy. In the second stage of relationships, romantic love and sexual excitement wear off and we feel disappointment as reality surfaces past fantasy. At that point, we can go off and start stage one again with someone else, although stage two will pop up with the daily realities of roommate hassles.

The third stage is to become conscious of our unconscious behavior habits and sub-personalities (such as the inner child or inner critic) and work through them with the beloved. Hendrix provides useful exercises in his book. I suggest doing the work before you give up because you care about each other. You will need to do the emotional exploration in order to have a consciousness relationship with anyone.

 

My boyfriend hasn’t called for a week and I’m worried. Miko, 19, f, Japan

It makes it easier for someone to think clearly and take action if you pull your energy out of his space. If someone invades your personal space by standing too close to you, your natural tendency is to move away. If someone moves away from you, you’re likely to step towards her. The same is true of obsessive thoughts about someone. Marilyn Schultz, Ph.D., showed in her lab studies that a person whose vital signs are monitored reacts when someone in another room thinks about him or her.[v] (This and other research is reported on in my Essential Energy Tools book.)

Keep your focus in your own space so he’ll have room to move towards you. Focus on enjoying your time together, not what he’s feeling about you. If you find yourself obsessing about him, think of something else to obsess about; such as, “I’m an independent woman, enjoying my daily progress.” So the best plan is to focus on enjoying your own life and on achieving your goals.

 

I’m a single woman interested in finding a guy and want to know what men want. Erica, 19, f, California

Men want to feel appreciated and successful in pleasing their partners, according to John Grey, therapist and author of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. If a woman comments, “I’d love to live in a mansion like that,” the man personalizes it and figures since he can’t fulfill her dreams, he’d better find another woman.

Illustrating Grey’s point, a teenager told me, “I want to feel like her existence would be much more difficult if it weren’t for me, that other guys don’t measure up, that I’m smarter, kinder, and more handsome. I would want to feel that whatever I provided her with was enough, and that despite our need for a separate time from each other, she would relish our time the most.” I asked Mike Peavy, Chico bike storeowner, who is as likely to have people come in for relationship advice as for bikes, what he’s looking for in a woman. “Play (fun and laughter), compatibility (the small things), communication (deep and often) and passion” are his top priorities and love is the glue that pulls it all together, he concludes. A professor said, “It boils down to feeling supported; we want someone to get on our rocket ship and support our dreams, hopes and desires. If someone can love someone for their flaws I think that is a winner too.”

 

How a person can know the good girl to get marriaged with? What are criteria you have to look when choosing a good wife? Sarrwatt, 19, m, Tanzania

She should be like a best friend, someone you respect and with whom you share similar values and goals. It should be enjoyable and easy to talk with her. Get to know her parents and their relationship, as we often repeat our family patterns.

 

My boyfriend is very logical and I’m very emotional so sometimes we drive each other nuts. Anna, 19, f, California

Understanding an issue is half the solution. He’s not trying to irritate you; emotions seem messy and uncomfortable to him. I’d work out a plan to use when you have a conflict. Maybe he could agree to listen to you without feeling any pressure to solve your problem. Then when you’ve discharged your upset, you can discuss the issue rationally. Understand that his thought process is linear; he needs one thought to follow from the other in a sequence, A to B to C. Together you can teach each other a lot; he can be encouraged to explore his feelings little by little without fearing they’ll submerge him. You can think through what bothers you, analyze it so it makes sense to both of you and he has a handle on what to do or not do in response to a clearly defined problem.

 

I can’t find a guy who can make a commitment. Petra, 20, f, California

Only three percent of mammals pair bond for life, so humans aren’t hard wired for lifelong monogamy. It requires a conscious commitment to be faithful. The problem is not men as a group, as there are many loyal and committed men. The issue is your selection process, the way your antenna is tuned to men who fit your pattern. If there’s any pattern in your relationships, it’s a teaching device, a mirror to your unresolved unconscious issues. Take some time to explore your childhood, your parents’ relationship(s), what level of intimacy you’re comfortable with, what you believe you deserve. Analyzing your dreams helps understand the motivation for your choices in men. We usually need a therapist to help with this awareness. As you change your awareness, the men you’re attracted to will improve. It’s you who must change first. Also, don’t expect to be able to change someone else. If a guy says he’s a playboy, believe him.

 

Every moment I feel loved by my family, but from someone else, still not. I’m hoping to feel love soon. First, I should meet my dream guy. Sanee, 20, f, Nepal

 

I don’t have a girlfriend, so I feel lonely. Xiang, 21, m, China

Eric Fromm, in The Art of Loving, observed that humans seek oneness and unity in ecstatic and mystical experiences, creativity, falling in love, and other ways to not feel lonely. Personally, I never feel alone if I get centered and ask for guidance. I’m also never bored; I think boredom feeds loneliness, so make sure you’re learning daily. Cultivate friends with similar interests. If you want to meet girls, got to university activity groups, join the ballroom dance group, chat online, and let your friends and family know what you’re looking for in a girlfriend.

 

Family, Marriage

Family is a big deal for today’s youth. Don Tapscott. Grown Up Digital. “Spending time with family is more important for Gen Y, except in Central Europe and Japan where family and friend are about equal.”[vi]

 

Why do people get married? Probably because they’re in love and the girl is pregnant and she wants it to keep her safe. She might also want a lot of money if the boy has a lot. Julie, 10, f, California

I adore my parents and uncles and aunts they way they are and someday I’ll be like them. Tiago, 12, m, Brazil

My family has got many interesting traditional celebrations on the New Year’s day. All our family decorate our house and the New Year tree. Grown-ups and the children dress up and wear masks and costumes. On December 31 we make presents ready for our relatives and friends. Usually we give sweets or souvenirs as presents. Until 5:00 pm we cook New Year supper. The traditional New Year dish is chicken grilled with potatoes. Then I go to my friend’s place and come home at 9:00 p.m. Until 12:00 pm we celebrate at home and give presents. Then we go to a “snow city,” a little town made of ice. There is a New Year tree, icy attractions, a skating rink in the snow town. We have fun, go skating and tobogganing and then we all go to our friend’s place. The New Year’s Day is the most popular celebration in Russia and I think New Year celebration with my family is great!

Anastasia, f, teen, Russia  /www.iearn.org.au/kindred/highkb/sdb/indexfla.htm

 

Whether it is an Indian, Pakistani or American teenager, youth of the same age group have similar traits, like peer pressure, look conscious. They have the same problems such as misunderstandings with parents where parents aren’t understanding the new trends and cultures. Most teenagers want the same things by high school like cell phones, iPods or maybe cars. These desires, problems and feelings may vary according to the child’s social status.

Maham, 13, m, Pakistan

I would want adults to stop the regulation of divorce. It changes children’s lives if their parents are divorced. Muhammad, 13, m, Tanzania

The problem of divorce of parents are hurts me very much. I have a friend–her name is Lola. Some months ago there was a big quarrel between her parents. As the result they go apart. Lola was a girl who always got only 5 marks. But after this she became calm girl, she is not talking and smiling. Even if somebody says jokes she is not smiling but only thinking about something. Everybody sorry her, but nobody could help her. The problem of divorce troubles me very much. She wants her parents to love each other, to live friendly together, but it is impossible .I think she gives everything for this. I want to help her, but how? I know that thousands of such kinds of children in the all parts of the world are suffering from this problem. Nigina, 14, f, Tajikistan

 

I would make it so everyone thought marriage over more. Adults get divorced all the time, and most of them have children. If you’re not sure about it, don’t do it, and DON’T bring kids into the picture if you’re not always going to be there for them. Cherry, 14, f, North Carolina

You’re giving good advice; couples should wait until they have a solid foundation. No one should have a baby to try to hold a problematic marriage together.

 

[I wish] that my parents didn’t get a divorce.  Micah, m, 14, Lanai, Hawaii

Kids are not responsible for their parents’ divorce, although sometimes they blame themselves. Youth I surveyed for my book Kids’ Advice to Kids: How to Survive Your Parents’ Divorce reported that they do fine if they maintain contact with both parents and the parents don’t argue in front of their kids. Some studies show children of divorce have lower emotional well-being than other children but would develop the same even if their parents had stayed married.[vii] High conflict parents who stay married produce the kids with the most behavior problems. Kids who regularly eat meals with their families get better grades in school and have lower rates of drug use and depression, according to a 2004 study published in The Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. Reading together is very important for school success and language skills, so single parents must schedule in family time, despite their busy schedules.

How can you prevent divorce in your own future? What factors lead to a successful marriage of mutual happiness and fulfillment? University of Washington researcher John Gottman developed a 95% accuracy rate in predicting whether a couple will stay together, after only an hour interview. Couples with at least a ratio of 5 to 1 positive supportive comments such as “uh huh” and “you’re right,” are likely to stay together. Contempt–feeling superior, is the single most significant sign of disaster, followed by defensiveness, criticism, and stonewalling (holding back your feelings). These negative interactions are also associated with frequency of colds. Gottman didn’t find a gender difference in who was likely to express contempt, but women are more likely to be critical and men to stonewall. If you want to stay together in your future marriage, focus on the positive. In my interviews for 50/50 Marriage and 50/50 Parenting, couples often said they married their best friend and they enjoy talking with each other.

The Pew Research Center asked a sample of 2,020 adults what makes a good marriage (in 2009). In this order they replied: faithfulness, a happy sex life, sharing household chores, an adequate income, good housing, shared religious beliefs, shared tastes and interests, and children. A helpful bibliography is www.stayhitched.com/books.htm. I’d add my 50/50 Marriage.

 

All the members of my family play a big role in my life because they love me. We live a happy and joyful life. My mom is the best in the world. My dad is good too, but very strict. My younger brother likes playing jokes to everybody.

Dunya, 15, f, Turmenistan

 

I’m not sure what I would tell a fellow adoptee. It doesn’t bother me, I’m perfectly happy with being adopted because I know that the life I have now is way better than any orphanage. Naturally I wonder what my biological parents were like in China, but I really couldn’t have asked for better parents, that is until they annoy me to death (just kidding). It does sometimes bother me that someone may not have wanted me, but I think compared to a lot of people, I’ve been very lucky in life.

Brodie, 14, f, Alabama

 

If an American comes to Pakistan and lives with my family, there would be a lot of adjustments and shocks he would need to take and experience. TRADITION and VALUES: Normally we give a lot of respect to our elders and don’t talk to them in a louder voice, which I never experienced when I was in US. Even we don’t sit in our chairs while our elders are standing. Same is in the public transport busses and trains. So this would be a shock he’ll experience.

The traffic system will also be very surprising to the new kid. People don’t follow the traffic rules so correctly and this is very concerning. The most adjustment he would need to take is LANGUAGE. Language is very important in order to be interactive and social. There are a lot of languages spoken in Pakistan. So he would need to learn at least 2-3 of them in order to adjust well to the new environment.

Dress won’t be that big shock. It depends upon each city and their values. In Peshawar, he would need to wear SHALWAR QAMEEZ, but normal jeans works as well. Attending religious seminaries, activities, and going to mosque–these would be the places he would need to wear the dress strictly and he will have to get used to the idea of wearing what kind of dress to which kind of activity. Hassan, 17, m, Pakistan

 

The Pakistani family system is somewhat like what you would have observed in the Mexican family system. Our families are really close to each other and would step in to help and support any time required whether financially or morally. We remain in touch with all our blood relations. When the parents get old, one of the sons would take them in his own house or move in with them to take care of them. While in my USA family I saw that the grandparents lived alone. Most often the children of the parents would try to settle down in a house nearby so as to be near their parents mostly. That is why most part of my extended family is in Peshawar and some are around it. I mean to say that the whole family including cousins and uncles and all members of extended family are near to each other in the same city. When someone gets seriously sick a lot of people would come to pay him/her a visit. If someone dies, a lot of people would come to pray. And by a lot I mean in hundreds.

When there is a marriage, all the family people as well as all the friends are invited–including neighbors, which often raise the number to more than 200. Weddings go on for three days, with different ceremonies on each day and a complete feast after that. Each day about 200 or 300 people would come. My cousin’s wedding had 400 people coming on one day and 300 on the other and 200 on the other. Imagine a full-fledged dinner to feed 200 people.

We are very social, and that means we visit our friends and family quite frequently. In USA, my family did not even know their own neighbors and except for their immediate family members, they rarely met their extended family members unless there is a huge reunion. There are many families here who still live in a “joint family system” which means all the uncles and aunts and cousins live together in one big house. I have four friends living like that and it is a different experience. This used to be very common long ago before I was born but as the society got modern, people chose to move out after their marriages.

Families here are really informal and really inter-connected with each other. If someone paid you a visit, we have to show generous hospitality especially in my province, the “Land of Hospitality,” and it is due to the Pashtun code of conduct of treating your guests well (Pakhtunwali). After their visit, we have to return them the favor by paying them a visit some time later on. Kids here don’t move out of the house after. The parents would make sure that their child has completed his education. Then often the son would get married and live in his parents house (unless he has a job in a different city) with his wife till they are financially strong enough to afford a house of their own. Even then they would try to stay close to the area. It’s just that friends and family are really involved with one’s personal life. They mean a lot here. In Peshawar, everyone knows everyone. Even if someone doesn’t, it is not difficult to make a connection and get acquainted. There is also a lot of interference of family members in one’s personal life, which is quite useful and often annoying. Shehroz, 17, m, Pakistan

 

I hope parents can understand their children, because divorce is a big hurt to the kids. Guan, 18, m, rural China

 

I feel like I was raised in the perfect family. Not perfect because of any material items, but moral items. I was raised going to church and being very, very loved. We don’t have a lot of money and we aren’t church-freaks. My family is very loving and very supportive and I wish that everyone could experience this. Even if you can’t, you need to make the most of your life and enjoy every moment given to you. I like to look through my old photos and photos of my family. Sometimes these photos make me remember some funny events in my early childhood. I feel happy to remember the nice things I did if they are funny.

Serr, 18, f, Pennsylvania

 

It’s important to have a good relationship/marriage with respect, no jealousy, responsible. It’s common in Brazil for non-traditional people to have many marriages. Joao, 19, m, Brazil

 

Arranged Marriage

It’s the world’s most common form of marriage, especially in Asia and the Middle East. Nujood Ali Mohammed Hassan Al Akhtar lives in the Yemeni capital Sanaa. Although the law says a girl must be 17 to marry, many girls are married by age 15. Nujood was surprised to find herself married at age nine. She left her 30-year-old husband’s home and went back to her parents’ house and told them she wanted to finish school and not be married. Her father said no, but her stepmother told her about divorce court. She took a bus and a taxi to the court to tell the judge her story in 2009. He put her husband and father in jail and gave her a divorce. She’s back in school and hopes to go to university, assisted by aid groups who learned about her story.

Hassan tells us about marriage in Pakistan. Normally dating is not considered a good thing here in Pakistan. And you are not allowed to date a girl before you get married. It’s for the betterment of the kids. Here, 90% of the marriages are arranged One of the usual questions against an arranged marriage is that how can you marry somebody you don’t know? They claim that knowing somebody before marriage allows partners to have better respect and understanding for each other’s needs and desires. Thus, with such perceptions, they have cursed arranged marriages all the way and have made a demon out of it.

In Pakistan, an arranged marriage does not mean that someone else has to make a decision for the life of others. An arranged marriage is different from a forced marriage. Arranged marriages mean bringing everyone on board, including the boy and the girl who are getting married. Their consultation is an important part of the marriage decision. The usual custom is that the boy’s parents ask for the girl’s hand that they and their son finds suitable. If the girl’s family finds the boy fulfilling all the important considerations for their daughter, such as earning potential, behavior, background etc., then they will ask for the daughter’s opinion. If she agrees, the decision is made. Yet if she vetoes, it is time to consider someone else for her. Thus the marriage is not imposed in any way. [Shehroz adds, Often there would be many “suitors” for the girl and the girls’ family as well as the girl have a choice.”]

I believe that there are more chances of a happy life in an arranged marriage. If a couple in arranged marriage face problems, there would be many people (their families) who will stand by them and support them. But if they are on their own, then perhaps at difficult times, they may not find someone in times of need. There are also higher chances of a mature and a long lasting relation as parents play an important part in the decision-making. They have seen the world more than their children and they can make much better decisions.

When it comes to marriages, many eastern families go for arranged marriages. Everyone is more supportive and caring of each other whereas love marriages are more focused towards individualism, where self-interest is more important than caring about what others have to say. Marriage is not just a contract between two individuals, but between two families. If a couple is happy after getting married, their parents are also happy. But if they are sad, so are their parents. So how can only a boy and a girl make such an important decision that affects the life of so many different family members? For sure an informed and a collective decision is a good choice. Hassan, 17, m, Pakistan

Shehroz adds, “It is important to remember that in Pakistani social system, families are really close together and each individual is really “connected” with his other family members. Arranged marriage doesn’t mean that the guy and girl have no say in their marriage. For example, one of my cousins got married to a girl he had been dating for a long time. He informed his parents and then the parents looked into the matter, did their research and agreed to it. Then they went to the girl’s family and asked for the “girl’s hand” and the girl told her parents that she wants to get married with his guy. Thus, it was an “arranged love marriage.” But it is important to not forget that in rural areas, there are still marriages which can be called as “forced marriages.””

[I asked Hassan how young people get to know the other gender, other than their siblings.]

Well, it’s not that we get to know our sisters only. We have schools that contain co-education and parents send their kids to it. I studied at a school that had co-education till 6th grade, but then we got separated. I never lost any contact with my friends (girls). And we hang out in groups all the time. Dating, hanging out alone and all that kind of stuff is not acceptable. [Shehroz points out, “Dating and hanging out is getting more common in bigger and urbanized cities. The province of N.W.F.P. is more conservative in this regard.”]

Let’s talk about my relatives. I have a cousin who got married to a girl he loved. Their parents were alright with it. Now they are living a happy life with a cute little son. This is one side of the story. On the other hand, my uncle also had love marriage, but his parents were not fine with it. They didn’t think that the girl was good for my uncle and had all the qualities a good wife should have. But instead, my uncle married her anyways. Now, they are divorced. It didn’t work out at all for any of them because the families from both sides were not supporting them. Let me make a point here. I HAVE’NT SEEN ANY ARRANGED MARRIAGE THAT GOT BROKEN IN MY LIFE! NONE! I have observed both sides of the story. It’s all about trust you need to have and respect you need to show to your parents.

I will definitely want an arranged marriage. I don’t think they are that bad and my parents will definitely make the right choice for me. But don’t forget, agreement from both me as well as that girl is a MUST. There is no force. That girl should be beautiful, intelligent, very nice, respectful, trustworthy, honest and well brought up. If I find a girl like that, then she is the one!

 

Fact is arranged marriages from India are way more successful than the love marriages. Divorcing is something that is considered evil thing to do, and if such scenario arises all the close ones won’t hesitate to intervene to settle down the issue. Second, a high percentage of the lifetime earning is spent in Indian marriages. Lol: this could be the one of the reason, that no one is willing to spend the same again. Its not that arranged marriages don’t see extra marital affairs. They do, but still divorcing doesn’t come into the picture for some strange reason. Personally me, I had many love affairs, but I know I would get married, arranged style. ?, 24, m, India, /www.worldnewsforum.net/speak-out-heard/3489-arranged-marriage-vs-love-marriage.html

Many educated Indian young adults are using the Internet to find marriage partners, since it’s not easy to meet singles in public places. Check out a popular site, www.bharatmatrimony.com. You’ll see people look for caste, religion, mother tongue, occupation, education, and location.

 

Gender
I want to be a girl tomboy. Julia, 6, f, North Carolina

Now girls can do whatever boys can do, so enjoy being a girl who might grow up to be like Angela Merkel (Chancellor of Germany) or US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai (a professor and environmentalist who leads a movement to plant trees in Africa) or tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams, or the first Australian Supreme Court Judge—Rona Mitchell.

There’s more opposition to a boy acting like a girl than a girl being a tomboy. Bruno, is a film made in 2000 about an 8-year-old boy who has a dream about an angel and concluded that like angels, he should wear dresses. He calls his dresses holy vestments, and wears them even in spelling bees. There’s lots of resistance from the nuns at his Catholic school and from his police officer father, but his mother and grandmother back him up and he wins the national bee wearing a skirt. The movie shows how upset people get when a boy does something considered feminine.

 

Boys, we love ’em we hate ‘em, but hey we just can’t live without ’em.
Katie, 12, f, Idaho
[What bugs me] are my friends who are boys. They never stop making jokes! Also, when girls pretend to be your friend when they’re really not.

Kristen, 12, f, New Jersey

 

My gender bothers me. I cannot jump around or run around the class. I can’t even play soccer well, due to my body build. Fatemazahra, 13, f, Tanzania

 

What do women want? Natalie, 15, f, California

The same thing as men, except some want to give birth.

 

I want to become a boy. I have three reasons. Firstly, I think boys always live in happiness. Secondly, they usually are very tall. They can reach the top of the bookshelf in the library. That’s very cool. And they can play almost every kind of sports. Last, they are very brave. Sometimes they are brave enough to fall in love and express their love. “Sissi,” 17, f, China

The biggest gender gap is in China, which will have 30 million more men of marriage-age than women in the future; in 2005 the gap increased to 120 boy babies for every 100 girl babies. A 2009 study reported 32 million more boys under the age of 20 than girls, creating “an imminent generation of excess men,” The Chinese government is openly concerned “about the consequences of large numbers of excess men for social stability and security,” the researchers said.[viii]

 

I am a boy. I think I’m not a tough guy now but in the future I must.

Sheng Hua, 19, m, China

 

Why do boys think so differently from girls? Summer, 20, f, Northern Ireland

Some is different hormones and brains, most is how we’re socialized y family, school, peers, and media. A study of language use by American men and women found they talk about the same amount, but women are more likely to talk about their feelings and men to talk about sports and technology .[ix]

To research The Secret Lives of Boys, Malina Saval talked with 30 boys over a period of time from 4 months to two years. She reported,

Despite the various media outlets available to teens to air their feelings, many of the boys I spoke with felt steeped in loneliness. When the boys expressed how lonely they felt at times, it was because they didn’t believe there was anybody out there who understood them. They felt “different” from everyone else and lacked soul mate figures with whom they could share their innermost thoughts. They didn’t always feel like they had close friends to talk to, and their parents, they told me, didn’t always want to know the truth — about their children or about themselves. They weren’t intentionally elusive when it came to what they told their parents; rather, their parents just weren’t ready to hear what they had to say. They want you to hear what they have to say, and they are inviting responsive conversation.[x]

This is a good time to be alive because women are gaining more equality and men are encouraged to spend time with their children, not just work. The spirit or soul isn’t male or female, just like God isn’t limited by gender. US males, aged 18-21, report that 60% of their friends are female and 49% from a different racial or ethnic background.[xi] P. 33 Boys and girls, men and women, are much more alike than different. Some boys and young chimps are more likely than females to engage in rough and tumble play and be directly aggressive. Look at the gender differences in the next section and in Women’s Issues section in Chapter 3.
Irritation

I surveyed children and teens for two previous books. You might want to guess the top issues before reading the answers.

Elementary School Students

Elementary school kids surveyed or interviewed for How to Survive Your Parents’ Divorce were asked what bugged them the most. Hundreds of surveys were distributed around northern California by my college students and by teachers I knew. The most common responses were, in order of frequency:

*Brothers and sisters tease, pick on me, get into my things, and do annoying things.

*Friends tease me, fight, are mean, and won’t let me play with them.

*Parents won’t let me do what I want, make me do chores.

Other things that bugged kids were not doing well in school and their dogs.

 

Teenagers

Teens (US and Canadian) surveyed and interviewed for The Teen Trip: The Complete Resource Guide (1,289 teens) reported their main problems (in order of frequency):

Girls: 
 *peer pressure

*sex, pregnancy

*getting along with parents

*getting along with peers

*school

*drugs

Boys:

*school

*drugs

*peer pressure

*getting along with parents

*sex

*sports

 

When you think you could be in a better place or when someone is doing what you want to do but you can’t. Maxwell, 12, m, Belize

 

Rude people, irritating people, people who pick at me, people who cheat on examinations, people who are proud, people who swear, and people who are not playful. Fatemazahra, 13, f, Tanzania

 

How can I live a life without being bothered by anyone?

Yong Gook, 13, m, Korea

People who try to fit stereotypes to be cool. And those icons that people have about cutting. And the fact that after school, I have to become part of the work force. Stupid people. Shallow people. People who don’t appreciate great things like art because it’s not “cool” to do so. Cherry, 14, f, North Carolina

What bugs me the most is everyone who always starts drama with me [when] I didn’t do anything. Morgan, 15, f, North Carolina

What bugs me? Staying organized, school, work, rugby, friends, and understanding girls. Kyle, m, 15, Nova Scotia

I get upset with even the slightest criticism from my boyfriend. How can I relax and enjoy him? Diane, 16, f, California

Notice where you react in your body; probably you feel it in your gut. Shift to your intellect, your forebrain, by simply asking yourself each time, “What can I learn from this?” Change the habitual response from pain to intellectual curiosity.

When people think that the whole world evolves around them and also how they are blind to things that are really simple. I also hate when people have to think up things to get mad at you about. And when people don’t say ‘hi’ to you, ignore you, or hang up on you. My most-biggest pet peeve is when people don’t give you respect. Ashley, 16, f, Alberta

People who walk slow, chew gum loudly, lack humility, degrade others, and ugly people. I also do not like hearing my brother play his guitar because he sucks. Laura, 16, f, Massachusetts

 

People with bad manners, fast food, fat people, people who let their children become obese, people who don’t try to achieve anything with their lives, arrogant people, meeting new people, guys who really don’t care about you, fizzy drinks, child abusers, rapists, drinking whiskey on its own, when the sun gets in my eyes and really cold biting wind. Careen, 17, f, United Kingdom

 

Skirts over top of pants, girls with short hair, my car, and Vancouver Canucks.

G. R., 17, m, British Columbia

 

People who think the world should just hand something over to them and grammar mutilation and ‘ganstas’ with their jeans off their arse.

Rachel-Claire, 17, f, Scotland

 

I think the thing that bothers me the most is how little people actually care for people other than themselves. It’s all about them, even if a friend is in need and they don’t bother to give out a helping hand. Jess, 17, f, Georgia
Sometimes people irritate us because we have similar characteristics. See if you have traits in common and use your irritation to light up a problem area of your own to clean out. As Shakespeare said, we’re all actors on a stage: We attract people into our lives to learn and teach. For example, I may be irritated by people who interrupt me but my impatience leads me to do the same thing.

 

My mother and I fight a lot. She seems to try to irritate me. What can I do? Vickie, 19, f, California

Focus on changing your expectations and reactions rather than changing her. When she’s tense and starts to vent, breathe from your diaphragm, and ground yourself by imagining a deep taproot from the base of your spine, descending deep in the earth supporting you. Imagine being behind your eyes in a peaceful room in the center of your head, sitting in a throne where you’re in charge of your reactions. You can also ground her, but keep your energy out of her space. Intend that she ground with her own energy. Think about what you love about her, rather than matching her tension, so she can feel calm around her. Direct the conversation to what’s really bothering her so she can vent about the source rather than dump on you. You may need to leave the room until she gets herself together. Do you need to do your share of family work so she doesn’t feel irritated about doing an unfair share of necessary tasks?

Amusement helps diffuse many problematic situations, because it keeps us centered. You can think of a game where you silently rank her ability to push one of your buttons: “Excellent job, that was an 80. I felt shame and anger in my heart,” or “That was only a 10, you’re slipping.” Also use this as an opportunity to become more aware of your emotional sore spots so you can bring them to the surface and clean them out. Instead of retaliating, tell her in a calm moment that you don’t want to fight with her, and that you’ll make the Time Out sign when you feel you’re loosing control of your temper and take a time out. Shehroz uses this smile technique: Whenever someone is taking out all their anger dump on me, I look at the person and think “this person looks so cute when angry.” Then I simply give a plain smile which makes the angry person forget all the anger or just relax and calm down.

Also, use “I feel ___ because ___ when you yell at me” rather than any blaming “You always yell at me” communication. The same communication principles apply to any personal conflict. Use effective communication, “I feel ___ because ___ and would like to suggest __as a solution.” For example, “I feel sad when we fight. What do you think about us going to a counselor to learn how to resolve our differences?” Listen to her perspective and repeat it to make sure you do understand. Ask her what she needs from you in order to live together peacefully. Spend some enjoyable time together doing what you both enjoy so you can bond as friends.

 

Love

Feel Most Loved

I felt most loved at night when my mom tucks me in (don’t laugh).

Vilma, 9, f, Belize

I felt the same way when my mom sat on my bed and gave me a backrub as she sang old songs.

 

When my teacher took me in her arms last year when I passed my exams. Golden, 10, m, Liberia

Shehoz adds, “Small acts of kindness are enough to make the world beautiful for others. All I want to know is that there are people who care about me.”

 

I feel more loved by someone when they buy me something, because then I don’t feel invisible. Kyla, 10, f, Belize

 

I felt most loved by my mom and dad when they cried for me. You know someone loves you a lot when they cry for you or about you.

Elisa, 11, f, Canadian in Belize


When I had a girlfriend in kindergarten. Lewis, 12, m, Sweden

 

To have a really good/powerful feeling for someone, to care for someone.

Qin Yin, 12, m, Singapore

 

I always feel loved. Mostly I feel most loved when someone in my family says, “I love you” at random times, like when I’m going to bed and they say “I love you.” Storm, 12, f, Belize

 

When my little sister was sad and wanted only me. Angela, 12, f, Switzerland

 

When I got a bad grade on a test and I thought my dad would be disappointed in me. Instead he told me that it was okay and he could never be disappointed in me. Bryana, 13, f, Belize

 

When my parents hugged me and made me eat when I was disappointed and was crying for something they didn’t give me. In fact I came to realize later that what they did was the best for me. Sarah, 13, f, Tanzania

 

When that person comforts me in my sorrows and tries to put herself into my shoes and realizes what I’m going through. Rabia, 13, f, Tanzania

This adult in a supermarket paid for my stuff and wished me to have a good life.  Jeremy, 14, m, California

When I talk to my imaginary friend, Roxas. He’s a good buddy, my conscience, with heaps of advice. Namine, 14, f, Tennant Creek

When someone said, “I love you,” and I could see that in that person’s eyes.

Yae Ram, 14, f, Korea

 

I felt most loved when my mother still worried about my fever even when I was very rude to her. I felt most love when I was preparing a surprise anniversary party for my parents. Chacha, 14, f, Korea

 

When I know that I have made him or her proud of me. Before I would try to get people’s attention by doing bad things because in a way I would see that they cared. But as I grew older I realized that I didn’t have to do negative things. I could actually do things that help the community and people would really appreciate it. Many people at my age confuse the two. They think that doing bad things will get people’s attention but as much as it does, it makes them look bad. Kirby, 15, f, Rhode Island

 

When someone else sacrificed something just for my benefit and has showed me that they truly care. Casey, 15, f, South Carolina

 

When I had both my parents together. When my best friend told me I was so great and she couldn’t imagine life without me. Talia, 15, f, Australia.

 

After a bad day, having my mom be right with me and talk to me.

Athena, 15, f, Michigan

 

When I really feel that they mean it when they say they love me.

Alex, 15, f, Sweden

 

When I walk alone in the rain, while other children go home by bus, my mother picked me up with an umbrella though her clothes were wet, and she persisted in walking me home. Chunsun, 16, f, rural China

 

When someone said to me “you are my friend“ or  “I love you“ or  “I need you“… and even friends or my family don’t say that… I see it from their eyes… when they are with me… I can feel it…Rita, 16, f, Columbia

 

I have felt most loved when I was in junior high school, someone (boy) had very care for me, and he always was asking my condition and then me and him are falling in love and then we are in relationship. He’s very kind boy and nice and stylish; well, in my eyes he’s perfect. Annisa, 16, f, Indonesia

 

I have always felt most loved by my only sister and best friend because she always seems to be there for me whether times are good, bad, happy or sad. Alesia, 16, f, South Carolina

 

When my dad said, “Wherever you are in the world, if you are in trouble, I will come and get you.” ?, 16, f, UK

 

I felt most loved by my brother when he came home from college. He is one of my best friends and he walked in the door, dropped everything, and gave me a huge hug. It’s great that he didn’t forget me. Cassady, 16, f, North Carolina

 

Sometimes when I become unsuccessful in my path, my parents give me support. That time I feel like I am loved by my parents. Susmita, 16, f, Nepal

 

When I am with my family around a table, sharing a good meal, speaking and laughing. Steph, 16, f, France

 

When I was gifted a rose flower from my girlfriend. James, 17, m, Tanzania

 

When I am feeling extremely low and my boyfriend comforts me and tells me that even though I am facing a difficult situation he loves me more than life itself. Nancy, 17, f, South Africa

 

When I passed my grade nine exam, everybody was so happy and I felt to be loved. Belita, 17, f, Zambia

 

If I get ranked the best in class, both parents are definitely happy with my results. It is not the only time my parents take pity on me, but I felt in the heart that is the only time that I can feel it. Febri, 17, f, Indonesia

 

I was in a serious relationship with a boy who was a grade above me for about two years. There wasn’t a particular moment that I felt the “most” loved by him but when we were together it felt like a whole day could go by in a blink of an eye. I felt loved because he always devoted all of his attention to me when we were together. Becky, 17, f, California

 

When I do work for other person. Flari, 17, m, Nepal

 

As the age increased, the younger ones felt loved mostly by their parents, but as they grew older, the felt loved mostly by their friends or girlfriends/boyfriends or people around them. Shehroz, 17, m, Pakistan

 

When I got sex with my girlfriend for my first time. Bwalya, 18, m, Zambia

I’m a very sad person; I didn’t love by any one. Shantosh, 18, m, Nepal

When I was with someone who I believed truly understood me.

Andrew, 18, m, California

 

When someone gives me some help and treats me like a brother.

Jun, 18, m, China

 

When I drank a lot, I recalled many sad things in my life. I was feeling worse, but my best friends are around me forever, they never forget me.

He Ran, 19, m, China

 

When I have been able to have a true and candid conversation about me and my feelings, knowing full well that I was being understood and listened to without prejudice. I feel loved when I feel I can talk about anything, or similarly that they feel they can talk about anything with me.  Michael, 19, m, England

 

My heart was hurt, the friend and my parents all looked for me. I was comforted and I felt most loved by them. HePeng, 20, m, China

 

Definitions of Love

Love has been written about since the Indian Vedas 6,000 BC. Supposedly Sanskrit has almost 100 words for different kinds of love. The Old Testament Song of Solomon described romantic love and sexual attraction 1000 BC. Jesus taught to love your neighbor as yourself. St. Francis prayed, “Grant that I not so much seek to be loved, as to love.” And the Beatles sang, “All you need is love.”

Love is when you unconditionally care about someone. You stand up them if someone insulted them and you always take their side. Of course, it can cause the worst feeling in the world—rejection, or give you the best day of you life. It’s strong when you’re going through a rough time and need some comfort, but it’s fragile if you say something hurtful to someone you really care about. I felt most loved when my dad said how much he loved me while we both cried. Bunny, 12, f, California

 

Someone who would sacrifice for someone is true love. In Seong, 13, m, Korea

 

If I love someone, it means that I want to give something and I think they’re more important than my life. Shin, 14, f, Korea

 

Why is it when you love someone, and no matter how much they hurt you, you will always love them, and run back to them? Dan, 15, m, Florida

There’s a difference between addictive attachment and true caring. Love is healthy, but always returning to pain doesn’t sound wise.

 

What does it really mean to be in love? Tessa, 15, f, Alberta

 

Is there such love on Earth that has no tests and no lies? Is there sincere love from the side of a man and of a woman? Gregori, 16, m, Ukraine

We’re all imperfect so there’s no perfect love. We have tests throughout our lives, just like a school, so we can learn. A big test for a married couple is having a baby, because a baby is selfish and doesn’t care if it wakes up the parents every three hours and so on. Even if love is sincere, people make mistakes and aren’t always totally honest about their feelings. Couples can be sincere but they still will have tests because we’re imperfect. We can work at being a good partner by being introspective and practicing effective communication. See The Art of Loving by Eric Fromm.

 

The abstract concept of love is something I don’t understand at all.

Matthew, m, 16, Nova Scotia

How can we be sure we have found the love of our life?  GG, 16, m, France

About happiness, about love, passion, devotion, friendship–what is it? Does love really exist? How can I find it? How should I live and what should I do for not making mistakes? Nargiza, 16, f, Uzbekistan

What is love? X, 16, m, Germany

If I meet my fate (my husband) will he accompany me my whole life?

Ksenia, 16, f, Ukraine

 

Love people and show kindness; you never know you may be an epitome for others and start a chain reaction which will change the world one day!

Raza, 17, m, Pakistan

 

How do you know if you’re in love?  Ruth, 17, f, United Kingdom

 

Why is love so difficult? Jessica, 17, f, Georgia

It’s because we’re not perfect and two sets of imperfections coming together in an emotionally charged relationship brings up unconscious complexes we need to work through.

 

Can love truly overcome everything. Do soul mates exist? Julie, 18, f, Texas

 

What’s the connection between love and sex, how people fall in love, what’s the difference between love and lust? Jay, 18, m, Quebec

 

[Romantic love] is like a game. I don’t have free time for such games. I believe in other kinds of love when somebody says, “I love my mother,” or “I love flowers.” Maybe I will fall in love in the future and it will be the first time and forever. But now I have to build my own career. Shahnozai, 18, f, Tajikistan

 

Is love a real thing, or is it just chemical, just something to get us through life? Willo, 18, f, British Columbia

Love is deep caring, joy in being around who you love, warm feelings. It’s complicated because we use the one word for such a variety of meanings, like “I love to eat rice and beans,” or “I love my parents or God or my dog or swimming,” or “I’m in love.” Love is about heart warmth and feels good. Love for people usually includes respect and similar values and interests. Our hearts expand and feel bigger. We care so much about the person we love, we may put their needs above our own, as when a parent puts his or her own body in the way of danger to protect a child.

Sometimes we fall in lust, because of a strong sexual chemistry with a person, even if we don’t like him or her.  Notice the difference between (1) lasting love—which we can feel for a family member or friend or pet, (2) falling in love/infatuation that includes sexual attraction, and (3) sexual attraction without love. It’s easy to confuse the intensity of the chemistry or of being uncertain and anxious about whether the other person likes you as deep caring, but it’s just sex or anxiety. Love lasts over time, while the half-life of romantic love is often 90 days. It takes a while before who the beloved really is gets past our fantasies, projections and ideals. That’s why it’s wise to not hurry into becoming physically intimate or getting married.

What makes us fall in love? Scientists discovered we’re attracted to individuals who are like our parents and ourselves, but whose pheromones (smells) are least like our own. Different immune systems ensure healthy offspring.[xii] Oxytocin is the hormone of monogamy leading to bonding between mother and baby and lifelong pair bonding in prairie voles.

When we fall in love, therapist and author John Bradshaw explains we repeat the stages of child development. In the baby stage–cupid is a baby, we baby talk, and lovers gaze at each other like a baby at its mother. In the toddler stages, lovers engage in power struggles, express anger, and ask for what they want. It is partly hormonal and chemical. Helen Fisher, author of Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love, explains we have three different brain systems for mating and reproduction: the sex drive, romantic love with elation and obsessive thinking, and then attachment with calm and security. Kissing exchanges testosterone that can help trigger the sex drive. If it’s exciting and new, it’s likely to stimulate dopamine associated with romantic love. In long-term partners, it stimulates oxytocin that leads to attachment. Kissing drops cortisol stress levels. More than 90% of human societies kiss. (About two-thirds of humans tilt their heads to the right when kissing.) Chimps kiss and makeup after a fight.

Combining love and marriage is a new idea, as historically marriage was arranged by parents for the good of the family, not the couple. The majority of marriages in the world are arranged, especially in India. When I was there, I talked with two brothers who were conducting the search for husbands for their sister, a US educated doctor. They developed a point system to rate the candidates who came for interviews, such as points for a nice smile, or minus points for new shoes—looking too eager. Their sister had the last say on the finalists of course.

Indian families also advertise in newspapers, often including education, earnings, caste (I think that’s what high status refers to in the ad below), and skin color. Reading the ads, I couldn’t understand why a young woman would describe herself as “homely,” until I found out this word means domestic to Indians, rather than not pretty to an American. Here’s an example of an ad: “very handsome, tall, fair, engineer son” with an MBA, a Masters in Business Administration. Girl must be tall, beautiful engineer or doctor, not more than 28-years-old, from status family.”[xiii]

It’s worth noting that the Indian divorce rate is very low; since divorce is frowned upon, people stay together in unhappy marriages. Shehroz asks, In Pakistan rarely have I heard people say they are unhappy with their marriage. When things get bad, they couple automatically learns to change and adjust to keep the marriage going. Don’t you think it’s a better system for the greater good of the society? Our perception of “love” is strongly molded by famous stories like Romeo and Juliet? Teenagers therefore idealize that love which is sometimes far from reality.

The Western idea that love should be the motive for marriage is only around 200 years old and only 150 years ago did wives have equal property rights over their own money. English common law said, “Husband and wife are one, and that one is the husband.” As late as the 1970s, many states had “head and master” laws that gave husbands the right to control property and where the family lived. Author Stephanie Coontz points out that today 49% of parents say they share childcare equally; an improvement since 25% in 1985, but still the majority doesn’t share family work equally as women are still seen as the homemaker despite working outside the home. Marriage roles in the West are slowly becoming more equal. The Scandinavian governments provide a social framework for this to happen, as by providing both parents with parental leave.

 

Parents

A survey of parents in the San Francisco Bay Area asked what issues affecting their teens were they most concerned about: stress (mostly about school but also family problems), weight, depression, use of drugs and alcohol and school discipline problems were the top of the list.
[I wish] that they were mostly at home. Maximilian, 8, m, Singapore

Ask for regular time with your parents, such as a relaxed dinner together, reading together before bedtime, and having a fun family outing every weekend such as a hike or picnic.

 

My mom hits me every time and it is not polite. Toola, 10, m, Tanzania

 

Don’t let mothers and fathers fight with each other.

Mohammed, m, 10, Saudi Arabia.

Fighting between them is their responsibility, not yours. In any close relationship between two imperfect people, conflict exists. If people work through conflict in a fair and healthy way, it’s good. Some people feel better if they yell, but if it bothers you, leave the room. Can you go in your room when they fight?

Also, realize that you are not responsible for your parents’ relationship. If something about the way they argue bothers you, let them know. You can watch to see what starts off the fights so you can learn what not to do in your own relationships.

 

That they really paid more attention to what you said to them.

K-J, 11, m, Belgium

A 2007 survey of European countries by UNESCO found the percentage of parents who spend time just talking with kids several times a week ranges from about 90% in Hungary and Italy to less than half in Canada and Germany.[xiv]

 

I would change their saying “I experienced this when I was your age.”

Zachary, 11, m, Belize

When I come home and I finally want to tell a story and they don’t listen to me. Janine, 11, f, Switzerland

Some adults work like 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM. This is bad for kids because the adults can’t spend time with their kids. Ramon, 12, m, Belize

When they’re mad at you, they yell and spank you. I just think it’s not fun. Elizabeth, 12, f, Belize

My parents can never agree and are always fighting. Kylee, 12, New Mexico

Why do parents think they have so much control over their child, making them think they have the final word on every argument/quarrel? There are many restrictions within the house and what I can do. I would reduce the number of times they would say ‘NO’ to something you wanted to have or do.

Ping, 13, m, Singapore

Rules [bother me], because I can’t play, fight, or bounce the ball on the wall in my house. Validmar, 13, m, Belize

Parents have to punish their children because punishment is the way of learning. Mwanaima, 13, f, Tanzania

Adults should not beat their juniors.  Azharul, 13, m, Bangladesh

To plan their life, especially family planning, or to bear children by planning according to their ability. Nisembia, 14, f, Tanzania

To be more relaxed because some parents scream at their kids for really small reasons. Mark, 14, m, Quebec

How to get rid of the quarrel and fighting between my parents.

Dong Mei, 14, f, rural China

Do not ignore children!  Ha Rim, 14, m, Korea

I wish they could remember more about when they were young and don’t make so many rules. I believe it’s better to take each thing as it comes.

Brigit, 15, f, Sweden

 

I wish they would understand teenagers’ feelings more and not tell us our dreams are farfetched and that we should just get a nice business degree.

Morgan, 15, f, North Carolina

 

If your children do wrong bad things, what will you do to teach them?

Yin Ming, 16, f, Shanghai, China

Instead of yelling or hitting, discuss the problem with them to figure out why the child made the wrong choice.  As many youth have said in this book, adults need to listen to young people. People learn best from consequences, rather than nagging or hitting. If the family rule is that dirty clothes are put Iaundry baskets in order to be washed, the consequence of leaving clothes in your room is they don’t get washed. If dinnertime is at 6:00 PM and the child is late, dinner is cold. It’s also important to reward and reinforce good behavior, giving children daily praise and appreciation. Behavior modification psychology teaches the importance of reinforcing good behavior and not giving much attention to bad behavior.

I would change their seriousness. My mom loves to be serious and scream. I wish sometime she’d be a little more carefree. AmyMarie, 16, f, Illinois

Their carelessness about what their children are doing and who they are friends with. Kat, 17, f, Indiana

Their ability to fully listen to what their children have to say. Sometimes they have selective hearing and don’t truly understand us kids, but if they listened then they would know. Erin, 17, f, Michigan

I would change the fact that some adults do not take the time to talk to their kids. I believe firmly that if a child is showed affection and understanding from an adult, then they can prosper with that love later on in life. Felice, 17, f, Illinois

Parents are very busy or working, so they often neglect the growth of their kids. “John,” 19, m, China

 

My father is a good father, but he is easy to anger. I hope he doesn’t angry every day and is happy. Zhu, 20, m, China

 

I really don’t like my family. I live with my mum and I think my grandparents don’t like me. I feel very sad about my family, so I don’t want to live in this family. Sometimes I want a boyfriend, but when I decide to get a boyfriend, I am afraid of a lot of things. Yao, 20, f, China

It is very difficult to not feel comfortable with your family. Friends of both genders can provide some of the acceptance all of us need.

 

Peers

When I ask a person if they want to sleepover and they say ‘no’, but sleep over with another person. Eli, 8, m, North Carolina

 

The way my friends act like I am not even there sometimes. Katie, 12, f, Idaho

 

Gossip HURTS and everybody DOES it. Even adults do it. And even your friends do it too maybe the talk about YOU. And you don’t know it, and you may get the feeling to do it back to them, but just remember what comes around goes around. And it’s called karma. SO DON’T DO IT! Mikayla, 12, f, California

 

I would change my decision-making so I wouldn’t go through so many problems with making friends. Karli, 12, New Mexico

Take time to get to know new friends. Focus on how you feel about them rather than if others consider them popular. Bring them home to have dinner with your family so your parents can give you their feedback. Arrange for one-on-one sleepovers and outings like going skating together. Joe, 17, adds, “It is always better to have only a few friends you can rely on and trust, than to be popular and know everyone not very well. Try and use bonds you have already with your friends and try to build on them. Also don’t be willing to rule out anyone as a friend just because they may be quite or unpopular with other people.”

 

People tease you because you are so little for your age. Johana, 13, f, Belize

You can’t control other people, but you can control your own behavior. You can be a model of kindness to others; your example may create gradual change. Teasers like getting a reaction, knowing that they have the power to bother you. The secret is to not react and ignore them or to be positive, like saying “it’s quality that counts, not quantity. Luckily, I have a big brain,” or “good things come in small packages.” You can just smile and say “thanks” or “thanks for noticing,” or “good eyes.”

I live on a small island called Lana’i where everyone knows each other. I wake up each day and wonder if any rumors have spread about me. Leina, 14, f, Hawaii

Why are there conflicts between friends? Why cannot there be pure friendship? Zhouhai, 14, m, rural China

To have perfect friends would require perfect people and none of us are. We can grow better by learning from our conflicts about our personal “hot button” issues that need to be brought up to the conscious mind to resolve. Know that disagreements will surface in any close relationship and look at them as an opportunity to learn more about yourself and your friend.

I do not like communication with others, so I have a bad relationship. The classmates didn’t elect me as class leader, but I really want to be a leader, but had no chance. Hey, how can I do it? Yunsheng, 14, m, rural China

To be a leader, sit with various students at lunch and ask them about their interests and concerns. Listen and let them know you understand. When you find a popular issue, develop a plan for how to deal with it. Let’s say students don’t like the cafeteria food. Get together a group of students to figure out better food choices.

Each day I wonder if any rumors have spread about me. Leina, 14, f, Hawaii

How do you tell if people are lying to you? Kelly, 15, f, North Carolina

Look at their eyes when they’re talking, trust your intuition, and wait for the truth to come out. It usually does.

 

Why do people make fun of people who are different, why do they pick on beautiful girls and handsome guys and make them feel fat and ugly just because they like to walk to the beat of their own drum? Morgan, 15, f, North Carolina

Jealousy can be a powerful emotion. I’d consider it a complement if people want to try to put you down. People who stand out or take a visible stand often get fired on. It’s good practice to learn how to deal with it by not responding, being amused at immature behavior, and realizing that the attacks are about the attacker, not you. Whenever someone makes fun of me, Shehroz reports, I just smile or laugh and say to myself that these people are so immature and so childish. Or just say to myself, I have a greater purpose in life than to worry about these unimportant and false remarks.

How to deal with people who don’t make you happy, but you feel you need. Life always feels held back by people, and people always hold back situations in life. At least I think so. Shauna, 15, f, New York
As to how to deal with unpleasant people, have realistic expectations. Don’t expect to get needs met by someone who should be but is not helpful. Think about how to create your own fulfillment. Sometimes we expect that because someone is an adult they should behave like one, when in fact emotionally they’re 12 or so. We’ll continue to be disappointed until we change our expectations to be more realistic. You may need to look for new friends and re-think your “needs.”

People usually do backbiting and create uproar situations, and don’t care about their words. I try my level best to stay calm by being proactive and trying to give a sweet smile or spend time in nature. Azba, 16, f, Pakistan

Empathy is key. If you plan on finding the real problem with anybody, you have to relate with them on some kind of level. Mouse, 16, f, California

How can we keep friendship? Rafeef, 16, f, Palestine

Don’t talk about someone behind her or his back or share their secrets, so friends can trust you. Do fun and helpful activities together. Do “active listening” where you let your friend know you understand what she is feeling and why. Tell your friends what you appreciate about them.

I don’t want to be so trustful, because I don’t like to be tricked and fraud. Konstyantyn, 16, m, Ukraine

Should I be myself or the one everyone likes? Sally, 16, f, China

Sometimes our inner child-self may feel grumpy, critical, selfish and unkind, so we don’t want to “be myself” if it means being unkind. If the popular group likes people for the way they dress and look, there’s no satisfaction in being liked by everyone. Look for friends who have similar interests and values and like you for deep reasons; probably there are only a few friends like this, which is OK.

I like to go places with my friends. Those times that I am with them are always my most fondest and happiest. Brittany, 16, f, Massachusetts

When I talk to my friends, it helps me a lot to calm down. Akib, 17, m, India

It bugs me when people change their opinion or their personality to fit the person or group they are with at that particular moment because they are uncomfortable in their own shoes. Enzi, 18, f, Minnesota

Adolescence is the time when you’re most like to feel alienated, because you’re not a child nor are you an adult. During this stage we form our identity with the help of cliques and subcultures; clothes and music are a central way of identifying your group,[xv] i.e., reggae, hip hop, pop rock. People explore their identity with their peers as they separate from their parents. I don’t know of any other time when people are so identified by their group: athletes, brains, drama, Goth, or whatever cliques are in your school.

 

Sexual Preference

US students fear being labeled gay, “the ultimate insult” and “a powerful tool to control you” say students filmed in “Straightlaced: How Gender’s Got Us All Tied UP,” by Debra Chasnoff. Resources for youths include www.plag.org and http://www.the trevorproject.org.

 

I’m gay. I told a girl and she spread it around to the whole school. Some people pick on me, actually a lot of people do. And some people defend me from them, God bless them! My mother knows and she’s OK with it. But I have not a single gay friend. I want a gay male friend who I can hang around with and talk about what guys are cute and relationships. Abel, 13, m, California hbofamily.com/about_hbofamily/ Middle School Confessions

 

I don’t know if I should come out to any more friends at school because I already almost got killed because someone found out I am bi [-sexual]. I live in a town filled with gangs. I am looking for GLBT [gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered] youth groups in my area that won’t concern my parents because they’re irresponsible and too close-minded. Trevor, 13, m, California in hbofamily.com/about_hbofamily/ Middle School Confessions

 

What really bugs me is all racial and discrimination like gays because I think that every one should be happy whether they’re gay or straight. Also, what really bugs me is all the animal cruelty and how a lot of animals do not have homes.

Katie, 14, f, Pennsylvania

 

Why do people turn gay? Tyler, 14, m, Hawaii

Scientists think we’re born with our sexual preference, just like which hand is dominant.

 

I don’t think that people should discriminate against others just because of their belief system. It’s just prejudice, no different than religious, race, and social intolerance. Some argue that it’s against their religion, and take more offense from homosexuals than people who adhere to a totally different religion. I don’t understand why homosexuals are not allowed the same rights as every one else in the United States (like marriage). They are people and they live in The United States of America, what other qualifications are there?  It says in the constitution that all men are equal and have certain “unalienable rights;” wouldn’t committing to the person you love be one of them?

Even though it’s a lifestyle that I wouldn’t choose, I wouldn’t hold it against someone just because they are different. The thing is, people always talk about how much we’ve advanced, but it seems as though some prejudices are considered horrible, while others are accepted, encouraged. One quote I like is “Why is it that, as a culture, we are more comfortable seeing two men holding guns than holding hands?”  ~Ernest Gaines Brodie, 14, f, Alabama

 

[I’d wish for] the acceptance of difference—complete equality—gays and women, etc. Also, put an end to animal testing and farm breeding cruelty.

Kara, 18, f, Northern Ireland

Some homophobes are insecure about their own sexuality. Some people have religious beliefs about homosexuality being sinful, although research suggests that we’re born with our sexual preference, with some difference in brain patterns. The sex researcher Alfred Kinsey said there’s a continuum of sexual preference, with some people at the extremes of homosexuality or heterosexuality and some in the middle, like a bell curve. Most gays don’t choose to be attracted to the same sex. Middle School Confessions reported that 26% of 12-year-olds are unsure of their sexual identity.

MRI—magnetic resonance imaging of the brain–found that gay men tend to have brains more like those of heterosexual women than straight men, while gay women and straight men tend to have a slightly larger right side of the brain. Positron emission tomography (PET) scans of a brain part called the amygdala that’s involved with emotions, found that gay men and straight women have a stronger link between the amygdala and other regions involved in emotions, while gay women and straight men have stronger connections to motor functions of the brain. These findings suggest that sexual orientation is something we’re born with.[xvi] Some European countries permit gay marriages, including Sweden, The Netherlands, Norway, Belgium and Spain. Iceland’s first female prime minister, Johanna Sigurdardottir is also the world’s first openly gay prime minister.

Siblings
My brother bothers me because he’s a tattle teller. He messes up the room and tells my mother that I did it and it’s annoying. Haya, 8, f, Sudan

My brother beats me all the time. Joaquin, 9, m, Brazil                                                                                                                                         `            Read the section about how to deal with a bully in the school chapter. Your parents might want to set up rules with consequences for breaking them, such as “Use your words, not your fists. If you hit, you’re grounded and can’t leave home for a day to play, or no TV.” You can suggest family meetings where you can all brainstorm about how to get along better.
My brother and I fought growing up, but now I’m very happy to have him as a special friend. When my dad called to tell me my mother was very sick, the first thing I did was call my brother to get on a plane. Also, I really enjoy his daughters, my nieces. Holidays are more meaningful with family traditions and my brother. So, please try to remember that you will become good friends with your siblings when you grow up.

My teenage sister yells at me and complains a lot—I get so ticked off. What can I do? Devjon, 10, m, California

 Separate yourself by imagining the words coming out of her mouth turning into duck quacks, butterflies, or fish swimming away. This will keep you amused and less reactive. Try listening to her for 10 minutes or so and letting her vent as your good deed for the day. Also imagine putting up a protective force field around you as if you were in a science fiction movie, so you don’t match her negativity.

Shehroz says, Whenever my younger brother annoyed me I would complain to my mom who would say JUST IGNORE HIM AND IT WILL AUTOMATICALLY GET LESS. I did exactly that and then my brother wouldn’t annoy me further. I have two brothers. One is older and the other is younger. You can imagine what would be happening if we all three fight with each other. We would get so aggressive that we would start fighting each other physically, throwing things at each other and even threatening to kill each other or break each other’s limbs. But that was long ago. Now we are older and more sensible and we love each other so much that we would sacrifice our life for each other. We do have our occasional skirmishes but that is inevitable. We love each other and that is what makes my family stronger. We are wild and we are smart and we lack the feminine touch since the only female in my family is my mom. Once kids grow up, they get mature and fight less, but parents’ involvement and upbringing is also an important factor in creating love between siblings. Parents should avoid comparison or discrimination.

 

My sister bothers me almost every two seconds. Zachary, 11, m, Belize

 

My brother bothers me in my daily life as he is always naughty and plays naughty tricks; certainly I have to bear the duty to take care of him.

Tiffany, 11, f, Hong Kong

Younger siblings may bother older ones to get attention. Try to figure out what your little sister or brother really wants. It helps if they know they’ll have regular time with you where you give them your total attention, playing a board game, reading a story, taking a bike ride, or just sitting and talking over the day.

My elder sister seems to have a problem in everything I do, in every view I put forward. It seems like she wished I never existed. I would like to be someone else but with the same parents, because some people make my life a living hell. Sakina, 12, f, Tanzania

 

I get compared to my sister all the time and I’m treated as if I’m not good enough to be related to her. Morgan, 15, f, North Carolina

Don’t expect fairness and you won’t be disappointed for the next three years you’ll be at home. Focus on creating and defining who you are as an individual. Don’t compare apples and oranges; they’re both fruit but they taste really different. Talk to your school counselor because she can ask your teachers not to compare siblings.

 

I like to play with my smallest sister. She is very talented. Once she played with my hair and made a huge house on my head. Ksenia, 16, f, Ukraine

 

My little brother doesn’t know how to express his feelings, so he gets very frustrated. Annie, 16, f, California

Mirror feelings for him, as in,” It seems you’re feeling frustrated now because  ___. Is that right?” Think of communication as a skill that needs to be learned and practiced. Also be an example of the behavior you want by talking about what you’re feeling and why.

Getting along with siblings is the most common problem kids report in my surveys for How to Survive Your Parents’ Divorce and The Teen Trip: The Complete Resource Guide, and a big issue for younger kids in this book. Like chimpanzees, we struggle for power. Chimps fight and do favors and build groups of friends to get to be the bosses of their group. Some kids also try to be the bosses using the same techniques, which isn’t fun for the younger and smaller ones who get picked on. Chimps get help or run away if a stronger one attacks them. You can do the same thing by getting help from a teacher, a parent, or an older friend and trying not to be around a bully. We have something chimps don’t have, which is the ability to talk and think through problems.

Try using your intelligence to solve conflicts. You can suggest weekly family meetings where you can all brainstorm about how to get along better.

Our teens are interested in spiritual questions such as what happens after death and the meaning of life, to be discussed in the last chapter.

 

 ***


[ii] [ii] Elissa Moses New World Teen Study. John Wiley & Sons, 2000. A survey of 34,000 teens in 44 countries. The respondents were mainly middle class high school students in urban and suburban areas.

[iii] A useful book by a teen is The Teen Code: How to Talk to Us About Sex, Drugs, and Everything Else—Teenagers Reveal what Works Best by teen author Rhett Godfrey. How to Talk So Children Will Listen and Listen So Children Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish and How to Talk So Teens Will Listen and Listen so Teens Will Talk.

[iv] neuroscientist Larry Young, Emory University, 2008

[vi] Don Tapscott. Grown Up Digital. McGrawHill, 2009, p. 33, p. 314

[vii] Analysis of data from the “Children of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth” by Jui-Chung Allen Li in 2007.

[ix] Richard Slatcher and other researchers, also see books by Deborah Tannen.

[x] Malina Saval.The Secret Lives of Boys. Basic Books, 2009.

[xi] Don Tapscott. Op. Cit, p. 33.

[xii] Lee Ann Obringer, “How Love works” http://people.howstuffoworks.com/love.htm

[xiv] “Child Poverty in Perspective: An overview of Child Well-Being in Rich Countries.” February 14, 2007. http://www.unicef-irc.org/datasets/data_sets_int.html

[xv] Johanthon Epstein, ed. Youth Culture: Identity in a Postmodern World. Blackwell, 1989, p. 4.

[xvi] Research by Simon LeVay and later Ivanka Savic and Per Lindstrom

PFLAG: Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays: www.pflag.org

Trevor Helpline, crisis phone line for youth: www.thetrevorproject.org

Physical Health Issues for Global Youth

 

Physical Health  Issues for Global Youth

Gen Y may be the first generation not to live longer than their parents, because of too much sitting in front of screens and eating junk food. An estimated 22 million children under five are estimated to be overweight worldwide, yet the obesity epidemic is coupled with lack of food for the poor and about 25% of kids under age 5 are underweight.[i] Bill Gates reports 9 million kids die each year.[ii]

 

For fun, I scream, read, kiss, write, laugh, eat, walk around, and smoke cigarettes. Rachel, 17, f, Scotland

 

The increase of young people taking drugs [bothers me]. Trust, 18, m, Zambia

 

In Chapter 5 we’ll discuss: Addiction, Brain Health, Disease, Drugs, Energy, Food, Longevity, Obesity, Sexuality, Sleep, Sports Performance, and Violence. Students realize they can be addicted to behaviors, such as video gaming, as well as substances like drugs.

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Addiction

I am the average American teenager, wasting away in front of my computer. I hate being a statistic, but I just can’t help myself. If I’m not at the computer, I’m probably reading. I love books, especially the classics and science fiction. Verena, 14, f, California

Up to 90% of American kids play video games and as many as 15% of them—more than 5 million kids—may be addicted.2 Of China’s 18.3 million teen Internet users, more than 2 million are addicts. “Good kids who impress their parents and teachers” are the most vulnerable to the affliction, the China Daily said, citing a study by the Communist Youth League.[iii] Addiction to the internet and video games is recognized as a public health problem in China, especially for teenagers. In the US the first center to treat the addiction opened in 2009 in Fall City, Washington. Therapists are concerned that the Net gets in the way of real relationships and can reduce attention span and the ability to be quiet and centered. Resources are available online.[iv]

 

 

[It bothers me] when I’m sober. Mike, 15, m, California

Fewer than 15% of European young people report being drunk on two or more occasions, but in the Netherlands the figure rises to over a quarter and almost one third in the UK.[v]

 

For fun I go to parties, drink, smoke, dance, and Internet: msn messenger, myspace, sitdairy. Taryn, 15, f, Australia

 

I am really bothered by the addictions people have to their gadgets, including cell phones, ipods, and computers. Of course I am one of these people, but I always wonder if people would have more meaningful interactions with each other if they weren’t constantly “tuning out.” I also feel like because of people’s strong ties to technology, more people are desensitized to horrors on the news, objectification of women in advertisements, and things like that.

Becky, 17, f, California

I agree with Becky because as more and more people interact through cell phones and internet, the weaker they get in their social life. Now kids cannot read the signs of facial expressions and body language compared to older people, since the new generation interacts mostly through media and less through direct and face-to-face means. Moreover, so much violence is shown on television that people are less sensitive to blood and killing and are more prone to be violent themselves. Shehroz, 17, m, Pakistan

My little sister looks very very thin and her bones are revealing more than ever. My friends have been telling me this for a while and I sometimes thought she was doing drugs but now I have seen her eat and I think she has an eating disorder. She is obsessed with portion control and won’t eat anything she used to.

How can I help her without worrying about her? I have noticed I worry when I’m around her, so I take deep breaths and try to kindly offer healthy food and role modeling. Anyway, it’s one of my new guilt issues and fears.

Jacqueline, 20, f, California

She does sound anorexic. Your mom should insist on getting her to a counselor who specializes in eating disorders. She may have to go to a treatment center. Eating disorders have long-term health consequences, including death. Your sister must get professional help now. You can’t solve her problem except to encourage your mother to take action. Guilt doesn’t do anyone any good; focus on the intention of a healthy outcome.

For someone who is bulimic, as for any addictive bad habit, identify the trigger that sends you to the bathroom to purge. Change all the behaviors around the trigger and the associated habits; when you feel the desire to vomit, go for a walk outside the house or put on music and dance. Put a calming picture on your bathroom door that reminds you to take care of your body and walk away. Reward yourself with something fun everyday you treat your body well. Acupressure tapping (www.emofree.com) can help to relieve the underlying tension and frustration. Counseling will help get at the underlying reasons for the desire to purge and figure out healthier ways to be in control of your life.

 

I’m a compulsive thief, I think because I was raised in foster care and group homes, then was on my own when I turned 18. Any hope for breaking this habit that gets me into trouble? I’m writing from a prison cell and don’t want to come back to this cage. Mark, 19, m, California

People are addicted, not just to drugs and alcohol, but to gambling, sex, food, shopping, stealing, work, or computer games. If you’re addicted you lose control, are preoccupied with getting more, obsessed, compulsive, and dependent. Robert Sarmiento, Ph.D. says it’s what you do with an urge that counts, rather than the urge itself. He has these suggestions: Separate yourself from the compulsion by thinking of the habit as “it” or give it a name, analyze its strength on a 1-10 scale, or think of the urge as a thought going in one ear and out the other. Focus on something else by doing something active or imaging a relaxing beautiful place in nature. Visualize feeling good about not giving in to “it,” and think about how you’ve resisted other urges like when you wanted to yell at someone and didn’t.[vi]

To change any habit, be aware of your reaction, just observe when it surfaces. Praise yourself for noticing, thinking about it, taking time for deep breaths before acting in your habitual way. Keep a journal where you document the triggers that evoke the old habit, so that you’ll be especially mindful when a trigger occurs. If I tell you, “Do not eat candy,” you’ll want to do it, so avoid telling yourself “don’t.” Focus on what to DO. Also avoid judging yourself. Stick to positive programming such as “I honor my body by eating healthy food when I’m hungry.” Think about ways you can positively fulfill the need which generated the habit; for example, coping with stress by taking a walk, and using positive self-talk (the conversation you have internally about how you’re doing), instead of ingesting something unhealthy.

Identify the triggers for the craving, such as after dinner or when bored, and substitute new rituals, such as a walk or calling a friend. I’d dialogue with the inner child and ask her what she really wants when she thinks she wants to smoke, for example. If the craving wins for a while, really focus on your addiction, not doing or thinking about anything else than the cigarette or eating, etc. Notice when it stops being gratifying and stop there. Use positive reinforcement and praise yourself when you stick to good behaviors. Most addicts need a support group to stay on task, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Weight Watchers, or the local Lung Association to find out about their groups for smokers.

The child sub-personality is the addict, who is running the show from the unconscious mind. When the child demands unhealthy action, call on your wise self to treat it as you would any child. Distract it with a fun activity or exercise. Gratify it with something enjoyable and healthy to keep the mouth busy. Tell it firmly and simply, “NO, that’s bad for me and I’m not going to do it anymore. What would you like to do instead?” It doesn’t work to simply say no because then the child really gets determined to get its way, so give the inner child a substitute like a parent gives a child a toy and takes away a dangerous tool. Use positive reinforcement and praise your inner child when it sticks to good behaviors.

To change habits with Neuro Linguist Programming techniques—interrupt or scramble your patterns. See the problem as a movie, watch it, then turn it into a cartoon, run it backwards, and change it into black and white. Create new habits with deep breathing, exercise, etc. Imagine healthy behaviors, rehearsing them in your mind. Rehearse a future trigger and imagine using new ways of coping using your visual, auditory, and kinesthetic senses as you visualize the healthy behavior. Plan something enjoyable every day to reward yourself.

Pick one or two important goals at the most. Find a buddy to remind you, praise you, reinforce good behavior and you do the same for your partner. Post reminder notes with positive present time statement like “I exercise every day.” Schedule your goal on your calendar such as regular time to jog or for meditation/prayer.

Shehroz adds, “To do all this, a person needs strong will power and determination. Most people fail because they don’t have a strong will. Positive reinforcement and ‘token economy’ is a good way.” Token economy involves rewarding desired actions with chips, points, or other markers that can be exchanged for a treat such as a fun outing.

 

Brain Development and Health

Why can’t you see the mind or heart? ?, 8, m, Japan

You can see the brain and heart (including instruments that measure their waves that radiate around ten feet from the body in the case of the heart) on scans or during an operation, but you wisely imply there is more than the physical, which is true. The Institute of HeartMath has done many interesting experiments on the heart, which you can read about at their website (heartmath.org).

 

What bugs me the most is having to put up with everything changing, I mean I get settled into something I like, a comfortable relationship or just a good mood and then it all changes. Christina, 15, f, California

 

Why our brains can hold so many knowledge? “George,” 16, m, China

 

My crazy, ass-backward emotions–I want to somehow rein them in without taking the passion out of my life. Julie, 18, f, Texas

Most of the brain (95%) is formed by age five, but the prefrontal cortex behind the forehead grows again before puberty. Its function is to be the CEO of the brain, planning, organizing, reasoning, and controlling impulses. Some teens tend to be risk takers because their CEO isn’t fully formed, starting smoking, drinking and other addictions. Around age 11, the brain starts reorganizing in the prefrontal cortex, the area behind the forehead associated  with problem-solving, planning, and regulation of emotion, and governs impulse control and social behavior. Not many other animals have a cortex, but dolphins do. Pruning of nerve cells happens after puberty to make the network more efficient. Throughout the teen years the brain prunes out neuronal connections it’s not using, so it’s not wise to spend this time mainly watching TV and playing videogames.

The adolescent brain has a greater ability to do abstract thinking in terms of understanding patterns and categories and concepts like fairness, but teens may tend to think in terms of black or white, right or wrong. Their needs come first, so they may not think of other people’s needs at the same time. In early- and mid-adolescence, the brain undergoes growth and pruning. The prefrontal cortex develops better connections with other parts of the brain, including areas associated with emotion and impulses. “The brain regions linked to attention, emotional intelligence, impulse control, and goal-directed behavior change between age 12 and 24, so teens may appear to be disorganized, have poor impulse control, and have difficulty making long-term plans.”[vii] P. 100

Intense emotions triggered by hormones at puberty makes teens easily aroused, seeking emotional intensity from risk-taking and excitement. The hormonal changes also bring increased sensitivity to alcohol and other drugs and changes in mood hormones. The human brain doesn’t reach full maturity until at least the mid-20s with continued adding and pruning of neurons.[viii] Adolescence is associated with increased rates of accidents, depression, alcohol and substance use, violence, reckless behaviors and erratic behavior. In a computer simulation of risky driving—running yellow lights, when tested in a group of friends adolescents increased risky decisions. Steinberg et. al. Animal studies show similar increase in looking for new activities among adolescences. Spear, 2000 Adolescent rats show more interest in strange objects than adults and start spending more time with peers, exploring their surroundings.[ix] The adolescent rats’ brains are also more susceptible to brain damage from alcohol and nicotine.

Joel Rothfeld, MD, Ph.D., explained in a lecture that the brain contracts muscles or activates glands to drip. Early childhood is critical as a major burst of new synaptic connections occur in the prefrontal cortex during second half of the first year, corresponding to peak of bonding to the child’s family. Children develop their brains through creative play, not as “efficient machines” as corporate culture would like.

The brain is the most complex matter Dr. Rothfeld knows of, made of billions of neurons that can be four feet long. It weighs about three pounds and is 78% water, 10% fat, 8% protein, and 4% other. It communicates with electrical charges (created by sodium and potassium) to other neurons like a battery, to about 10,000 other neurons at one time and up to 900 times a second, and then to bundled nerve cells and motor cells along the spinal cord. Einstein had more connections and gial cells than most people. Messages from the sensory cells travel up to the cortex, transformed into electrical signals the brain can read. For example, cells in the eye absorb light and start an electrical signal to the brain, where visual areas of the brain interpret them. The brain is very plastic, changing, and is kept healthy with aerobic exercise and learning new information. Mental stimulation increases synaptic connections. In Alzheimer’s disease, placs and tangles kill nerve cells due to inflammation caused by waste proteins. Medications can slow the rate of decline.

Professor Penelope Khun, Ph.D., is a brain researcher. At another lecture I heard, she made these suggestions for keeping your brain active. It’s a sensation and novelty-seeking organ, scanning for information and change. It prunes unused connections, so use your brain by learning something challenging and rewarding, or changing your routine, such as going home by a different route, or using your non-dominant hand for a while. Kids who aren’t stimulated with new and rich environments will always lag behind. When the brain is active, it stimulates the release of BDMF growth factor that develops new growth in the neurons. Omega 3 oils help increase BDMF, as does exercise, fasting every other day, meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy, and reducing stress. For short-term memory problems, practice memorizing things. After age 50, the brain loses spines along the dendrites, up to 40% of them.

Dr. Khun said it’s a myth that we only use 10% of the brain, as it’s on or off. We’re born with three times as many brain cells as we need because some don’t receive BDMF and die. The 100 billion neurons look like trees with many types and sizes; some axons can be three feet long. They are electrochemical and structural, with most mental illnesses being chemical problems. In schizophrenia the neurons can’t maintain appropriate connections. Anti-depression drugs increase the growth factors. Low levels of serotonin do not cause depression. Autism involves errors in pruning too much of the long axons, with too much connectivity on the short ones. Addictions are difficult to treat because the connections are hard-wired. The drug ecstasy is especially bad for pruning too many connections. The concluding message is use your brain or loose it.

 

Disease

Around 25,000 children die every day from preventable causes like diarrhea and measles due to lack of health care in their countries, according to Caryl Stern of UNICEF.  Malaria is the biggest cause of death for the world’s children: Every 30 seconds a child dies from malaria, over one million children each year. Death could be prevented with a $10 mosquito net. Global health leaders created a Global Malaria Action Plan in 2008 with the goal of getting rid of the disease in seven years. The World Bank, the Gates foundation, and the United Nations Foundation, and others pledged more than a billion dollars to the plan.[x]

 

Where has AIDS come from? Angela, 12, f, Zambia

What bothers me is the issue of HIV/AIDS. I abstain from sex and am honest in my dealings. ?, f, teen, Kenya

HIV/AIDS is killing many of us. Amos, teen, m, Sudan

Can you advise us anything about AIDS? Elly, 16, m, Tanzania

Young people (ages 15-24) comprise half of the new HIV infections, 2.5 million a year, with females especially at risk. In most of the world, young people are reaching puberty at earlier ages and marrying later than in the past, so premarital sexual relations are increasing.[xi] Sub-Saharan Africa is worst hit by HIV/AIDS infection and deaths. Almost two-thirds of the victims are women. Globally, over 25 million have died due to AIDS and about 40 million people are living with the virus—nearly half are women. Teens and young adults make up about half of the new HIV infections. India has one of the largest HIV-positive populations in the world. 30,000 babies are born HIV positive every year in India and nearly two million are AIDS orphans. Globally, In developing countries, only about 7% of people with HIV/AIDS receive treatment receive antiretroviral medication.[xii] Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, estimates it will cost $13 billion a year for AIDS medication.[xiii] He pledged $500 million to assist in providing them.

More than 2 million children are infected with HIV/AIDS. One new case of AIDS occurs every 15 seconds. An estimated 40.3 million people have HIV/AIDS around the globe, twice the number from a decade ago. In South Africa, the country with the highest rate of the disease, every day 1,000 people die of AIDS. UNAIDS estimated that 1.4 million South African children were orphaned by AIDS in 2007. It doesn’t help that the president, Jacob Zuma, said in court in 2009 that after having sex with an HIV positive woman, he took a shower because this “would minimize the risk of contracting the disease [HIV].”[xiv] A shower does not prevent contacting HIV or any other STD.

Global spending on AIDS was $8.3 billion in 2006, but only one in seven receive antiretroviral medication.[xv] Over 15 million orphans had parents who died of AIDS. Two-thirds of the kids with AIDS get medication funded by Bill Clinton’s Global Initiative Foundation, which also provides training for youth and encourages community activism.

UNFPA gives us a prevention model: Senegal has a national sexual education curriculum, developed by the Senegalese government and UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund. The courses in sexual and reproductive health, or Education in Family Life as they are officially called, have become as integrated into the typical school year as mathematics. Every Senegalese public school student must take them, beginning in primary school and continuing through to the final levels of high school.

“This is a Muslim country, and Islam forbids sex before marriage,” explains Dr. Cheikh Ba, the head of UNFPA’s office in Kolda. “So we focus on abstinence, but with the understanding that people are also human, that some make mistakes, and that we need to look after the health of those that do.”

The Government’s actions to prevent the spread of helped maintain Senegal’s very low infection rate: less than 1% of the population is HIV-positive. Extracurricular Education in Family Life clubs are student-run and voluntary. Members meet after school or during free periods to discuss issues ranging from female genital mutilation/cutting to HIV to early pregnancy. The informational movies are popular with students.[xvi]

 

My diabetes, the responsibility, the food [bothers me]. Max, 11, m, UK living in Belize

 

My father got a terrible disease, but we have no money to afford his medical fee. If I don’t find a job, I cannot support my family. Chengwei, 16, m, rural China

 

When will the medicine for cancer be found? Tatiana, 16, f, Ukraine

We all have cancer cells in our body, so it’s best to focus on prevention, starting now. Cancer is caused by changes in cell DNA. As we age, the cell replication can make mistakes or a genetic problem can cause the mutation–not the cause of most cancers. Chronic inflammation and free radicals is associated with cancer as it interferes with cancer-protective genes. Mostly the malfunction is caused by toxins in our environment including electromagnetic and radioactive contamination like cell phones and computers, food (high sugar and fat, omega-6s, processed, irradiated, MSG, pesticides, antibiotics), smoking, household products, plastic bottles and other phthalates), etc. Toxins deplete respiratory enzymes so cells can’t utilize oxygen, says Dr. Stephen Sinatra. Viruses are also problems, as in Hepatitis B nd C and its association with liver cancer or HPV and cervical cancer. These toxins silence protective genes. To prevent cancer we need to reduce pollutants and strengthen the immune system. Also, cancer cells feed on simple sugars so it makes sense we shouldn’t eat sweets—read labels to see how many products contain corn syrup. Certain foods, herbs, and enzymes kill cancer cells.

Suzanne Somers interviewed doctors who are having success in beating cancer and gives specifics in her book Knockout.[xvii] What’s clear from reading the book is that pharmaceutical companies control research, the US Federal Drug Administration, and medical school curriculum. They’re interested in medicine that can be patented and sold at a high price. Chemo and radiation make the medical establishment rich ($200 billion a year) so there’s not just apathy but organized opposition to treating with vitamins, herbs, etc.

Doctors mainly use radiation and chemotherapy to attack the out-of-control cancer cells. Researchers are working on ways to target the cancer without attacking the whole immune system and on ways to cut off the blood supply to a tumor. Tanya Harter Pierce discusses alternative remedies in How to Outsmart Your Cancer. To avoid cancer don’t eat white sugar and flour as they fuel cancer growth and inflammation,[xviii] avoid alcohol, and eat omega-3 as in fish and walnuts, berries, green tea, and pomegranate juice. The goal is to strengthen the immune system, reduce inflammation, and reduce the growth of cancer blood vessels. Herbs and spices that fight free radicals include clove, oregano, cinnamon, sage, peppermint, thyme, rosemary, coriander, basil, ginger, garlic, and pepper. (Free radicals are “electronically unstable atoms or molecules capable of stripping electrons from any other molecules they meet in an effort to achieve stability. In their wake they create even more unstable molecules that then attack their neighbors in domino-like chain reactions.”[xix] They may be involved in cancer and the aging process). See the Longevity section below.

Eating junk food and being obese contribute to the increased rates of cancer. A report from the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2007 indicated that cancer would become the leading cause of death worldwide by 2010, beating out heart disease. Dr. Andrew Weil researches alternative remedies (The National Institutes of Health created an Office of Alternative Medicine in 1992, later called National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.[xx]) Weil  reports, “Research suggests that about one-third of cancer deaths in the U.S. are related to poor diet–another third are due to cigarette smoking.”[xxi] He recommends eating lots of fresh vegetables and fruits. Don’t cook veggies in a microwave and eat them soon after purchase or grow them yourself—they can be grown in pots.

A note about cell phones: an Israeli study (researcher Rony Seger, et. al) exposed human cell cultures to much less radiation than given off by cell phones, which resulted in the formation of free radicals, which activated an enzyme linked to cancer. Get a hands-free headset, keep the phone away from your body when not in use, and limit talk time.[xxii]

I have chronic pain in my lower back/wrist/knee. How much of illness has to do with your attitude? Marta, 29, f, California

When a patient believes a placebo will relieve pain, the body releases endorphins that do reduce pain.[xxiii] Parkinson’s patients given fake surgery or fake drug treatments produced dopamine they might have received in a real intervention. Pain can be blocked by doing something else to involve the placebo effect (doctors often see similar effects with patients using sugar pills called a placebo or prescription drugs when neither knows which of the two they’re taking). We automatically apply the principle of distraction when we rub a bump on the head. Other possibilities for pain reduction are acupuncture, acupressure tapping (emofree.com), deep tissue massage, and understanding the psychological influences. You might want to check out acupuncturist Michael Turk’s book Pain’s Healing Secret showing acupressure points.

From what I’ve observed, every physical problem has both a physical and an emotional component (see Candace Pert, The Molecules of Emotion for the physiology of how emotions effect the body through the cell receptors on the outside of cells.) Stress, like an argument, lowers the immune system and slows wound healing. A study tracked nearly 100,000 women over eight years and found optimists had a 16% lower risk of having heart attacks.[xxiv] A Mayo Clinic study that looked at more than 800 patients over 30 years found that pessimists had a 19% higher risk of early death than optimists. An optimist will take action to correct a health problem while a pessimist might helplessly view it as unchangeable.

Here’s Sheheroz’ story about an illness solely based on belief: Some of my father’s patients [in Pakistran] are convinced they are really sick and will die but in reality nothing is wrong with them. For example, my father received a patient who said he has an insect flying in his stomach and it is annoying him. He said that while riding his bike, a flying insect flew in his mouth and down his throat and he can feel it in his stomach. My father tried to explain him that the insect would have died but he was stubborn and wanted my father to do an endoscopy. My father asked his assistant to bring an insect from outside in a small paper bag. My father performed the endoscopy and while taking out the pipe from the patient’s throat, he pretended as if he also took out the insect and threw it in the paper bag. When all was done, the patient was completely relaxed and his words were: “Doctor, see I told you there was a live insect in my stomach and you did not believe me and now I feel perfectly fine. Now I can’t feel anything in my stomach and am fine.”

To use the power of your brain, try positive visualizations. Imagine a grounding pipe in the middle of the pain and see it sucking pain out and down into the earth to recycle. Use a Neuro Linguistic Programming technique: Ask yourself what’s the shape, size, color, odor, and sound of the pain. Then change each of those senses, so that a yellow green screechy square becomes a blue circle with classical music and the fragrance of your favorite flower.

Every illness has a physical and emotional component. When you feel afraid, angry, or tense, act on it by exercising, taking a walk, speaking up about injustice, or some other corrective action. Don’t stuff your feelings. Osteopath and author Dr. John Upledger dialogues with problematic body parts and also instructs them on healthy processes with visualization. It’s helpful to touch your thymus and praise the immune system, telling it to attack foreign invaders and not healthy organs and joints. John Diamond, MD, recommends tapping the thymus near the heart each day and praising the immune system Studies show love and gratitude are especially powerful emotions, so evoke them when you talk to your immune system.

Andrew Weil, MD, in a Sounds True CD, suggests that sound is an under-utilized healing aid since everything vibrates and is singing in its own way. The earth has its own pulse frequency, called the Shulman resonance. He reports that sound therapy has aided autistic kids to be more connected and stroke patients to have better recovery, and it can reduce chronic pain. The body is 70% water, which is receptive to sound waves. He mentioned Dr. Emoto’s photographs of frozen water crystals comparing the effect of classical and heavy metal music, and positive and negative emotions shown in the crystal formations. Ancient peoples have used Tibetan copper bowls, flutes, and didgeridoos in their rituals, which has an effect on slowing brain waves to produce more relaxation. Dr. Andrew Weil likes to combine music, relaxing sounds of nature, and chanting with deep breathing.

Imagine a small gold sun or bubble in your hand. Keep your own energy out of the bubble and send it to the person you’d like to give a blessing to, including yourself. You can put your hand over the sore place, and pat it and talk to it like you would a puppy or kitten, “Good tummy, calm tummy.” Imagine a time-release Band-Aid over a sore place, with the instruction to release healing energy for a day. Also try drawing 8s with your fingers over a sore spot to help make it feel better.

Drugs

Illegal Drugs

I would ask the wise person if it is possible to solve the problem of drugs among young people and how to do that. Yaroslav, 13, m, Uzbekistan

 

Why does everyone like to smoke marijuana? Gilbert, 14, m, Lanai, Hawaii

 

I do drugs because it’s fun. You shouldn’t judge someone for doing drugs; we have one life to live, so you should live it up. It’s your life. Dan, 15, m, Minnesota

 

People who abuse drugs and alcohol bother me. There are so many such people in my community. Perman, 16, m, Turkmenistan

 

I would change adults’ style of thinking that life is about enjoyment only, to do whatever you want rather its good or bad. They think that taking drugs, smoking, dancing in the clubs, etc., is more important than the breath they take.

Azba, 16, f, Pakistan

 

If your friends ask you to take drugs or bad things what will be your response? Dhankula, 17, f, Nepal

 

Some steps taken by our government  in Bhutan for the betterment of youth are:

*Created awareness about substance abuse and its effects like gang fight etc,

*Organized many coaching camps during the breaks so that the youths will not misuse their time.

*Launched Youth Police Partnership to improve relationship and cooperation between the police and the youth to solve youth problems. Goma, 17, f, Bhutan

 

Today more children take drugs and smoke. Some don’t know the meaning of family and home. But there are still things that haven’t changed for years: We three [sisters] are not indifferent to people’s tears. Like them, I know what’s moral, love and hope, Like them, I don’t exactly know where next to go. Anastasia, 17, f, Russia http://www.iearn.org.au/kindred/highkb/sdb/indexfla.htm

 

Nowadays many adults fall into drug abuse. Wishg, 19, f, Nepal

Nepali Indira Ghale explains, “Most of the youth in the Nepal are addicts of the drug nowadays because of the frustration of the situation, lots of unemployment and misunderstanding in the family, which is huge problem. They afford it because most of the parents have been to England for the British army. They send money to the children.  There is local hysis, which they can find very cheap. Also the young people use very local drug, which is found very easily with in the village.

 

The increase of young people taking drugs [bothers me]. Trust, 18, m, Zambia

 

I would like to stop doing drugs and start focusing on the things I love to do.

Ed, 18, m, Lanai, Hawaii

 

We’re a small school and on educational basis, we’re well prepared; however, the students aren’t all that great. A lot of the younger students are involved with drugs and alcohol and it’s very very disturbing.

Ser, 18, f, Pennsylvania

 

Mumbai is a city that’ s very cosmopolitan, almost everything is accepted here so long as you are part of the crowd that accepts it. Let’s face it, Indian culture is not exactly the way it used to be, there are so many more variations. if you are amongst people who share the same views as you, girls smoking is accepted. Popular teen hangouts have the aura of ‘anything goes’ because it’s more of an urban area and you will find girls and women smoking and not being self- conscious. But in other areas, if a woman lights a cig, than they are followed up by horrified and disgusted glances by other people. Sad, but women in this continent are still held back, though barriers are breaking. I think today we youths are so globalized that we can bring change to any level and to any extent in however rigid system we are. Cecza, ?, f, India http://clubjam.ning.com/forum/topics/what-is-the-image-of-

 

I’ve made very poor choices recently that involve substances and sex, that I regret, and I’m so overwhelmed with all the emotions that are coming up that I feel disabled. I feel like a terrible person for the things I done. I feel like I’m so much better and smarter and wiser than this. I’m so ashamed. Then I have moments of thoughts that this all happens for whatever reason and the lessons may not come right at the moment but they will. I want to work through this one quickly and gently, and become stronger, rather than what I have done in the past with painful experiences–I’ve shoved them deep down from being so afraid of them. Jane, 20, f, Hawaii

This is a time to become more aware of the unconscious attitudes and beliefs that lead to self-sabotage. Please really pay attention to and write about the feelings that led you to make unwise decisions. Think of the most shameful one, and write about the circumstances, the feelings and thoughts. What do the sub-personalities say; such as, “I deserve to be humiliated and punished because___?” Write down your first thoughts and feelings, without censoring. Let’s counter confusion with simplicity with two firm rules of conduct: no drugs and no sex without the foundation of mutual love and respect.

 

Drugs rewire the brain, so drug addiction is a disease of the brain. Drugs alter neurotransmitters such as dopamine in the brain. Abuse of prescription drugs is a teen problem, for 2.3 million teens. In 2007 fewer US teens reported illegal drug use and more are turning to prescription drugs such as OxyContin, a powerful narcotic drug, or to over-the-counter cough and cold medications used to get high. Among 10th-graders, 28% reported illegal drug use, down from 39% in 1997.[xxv]. About 2.3 million US teens abuse prescription drugs, according to with the rate of abuse increasing 212%.[xxvi]

Over two million teens are abusing prescription drugs in “pharming” or “pill parties” where they exchange drugs they’ve taken from home, bought on the streets or from the Internet. They use pain relievers, antidepressants, stimulants and steroids and risk getting addicted and side effects. Adderall, Ritalin, OxyContin, Vicodin and Xanax are the fourth most abused substance in the US, behind alcohol, marijuana and tobacco. The stimulants like Adderall and Concerta can cause risks for heart attacks and stroke.[xxvii]  (Listen to the Bee Gees’ classic song “Stayin’ Alive” because has a beat that’s almost exactly 100 beats per minute needed if you need to do CPR (push hard on the chest and let the chest recoil in between beats).

Part of the problem is the increased number of television ads for legal drugs; a study found that one-third of medical procedures are unnecessary, often fueled by patients asking doctors for drugs they see advertised on TV.[xxviii] For example, Dr. Aldebra Schroll told me she’s concerned about young women with normal weight who ask her for weight loss pills. She continues, “The Michael Jackson fiasco [a healthy man, he died of a drug overdose given by his doctor to help him sleep] is a good example of why saying no is an important part of medical care. I think medicine has become too customer oriented where patients want to order drugs as if they are another commodity. As I tell my staff, “We’re not selling ice cream here.”

Nearly 5% of US teen boys and 2% of girls have tried steroids to increase muscle strength.[xxix]  In a 2004 survey, 29% of 10th-graders and 42% of seniors reported that steroids were easy to obtain. Steroid abuse can lead to major mood swings, lack of energy, loss of appetite, acne, halt growth, and eventually cause liver problems and heart disease, as well as rapid gains in muscle size and strength. Withdrawal can cause depression and suicide.[xxx]

Building Blocks for Kids is a Richmond, California initiative that helps combat alcohol and drug use among teens, including parent-student training and after-school activities. Agencies work together including the YMCA, Youth Service Bureau, and Opportunity West.[xxxi]

 

Legal Drugs

Aaron White, a neuroscientist at Duke University, reports, “The adolescent brain is in a state of constant flux, and we know that when the brain is developing like that, alcohol does nasty things to it,” as does smoking.[xxxii] The earlier the teen started smoking, the worse their memory performance since nicotine is a neurotoxin. It kills cells in brain areas critical for learning and memory. Binge drinking by teens of four to five drinks reduces by about 10% the ability of boys to concentrate and girls’ spatial ability (as needed in math).[xxxiii] Dings in the white matter of the brain indicate poorer quality of cell communication in binge drinkers (photos available on npr.org). They also have abnormal functioning in the hippocampus, important for memory. Teen drinkers did more poorly on learning verbal material.

More than 40% of the US population is taking at least one prescription drug, plus one person in six takes three or more. The drug companies have great influence on health care. (PloS Medicine is a journal that doesn’t accept drug company advertising). Almost 11 million prescriptions for antidepressants were written for children ages 1 to 17 in the US in 2002 (2.7 million for those for children between 1 and 11). Over 4 million children diagnosed with ADHD were treated with stimulants like Ritalin (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in kids; they have trouble sitting still, paying attention, and controlling their impulses). By 2004, one in nine 11-year-old boys were taking the drug Ritalin for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Syed notes, “Drugs are not used for purposes like hyperactivity or depression for kids in Pakistan.”

In the US, anti-psychotic prescriptions for children ages 2 to 18 increased five times from 1995 to 2002 to about 2.5 million, without enough research on the side effects in children. (The mental illness of psychosis interferes with reality and can include seeing things that are not there and unreasonable fear or fantasies). Marketing by drug companies is probably a cause of the increase in legal drug use.

The drugs are given in the US to treat: hyperactivity and attention deficit disorder (29%), depression and bipolar (23.5%), non-psychiatric (13.8%), schizophrenia and psychosis (13.5%), anxiety and other psychiatric conditions (7.7%), autism, mental retardation, and developmental disorder (7.5%), and Tourette Syndrome (5%).[xxxiv] Generation Rx is a documentary on psychiatric drugs by Kevin Miller. It reports on children who committed suicide while on Prozac.

Cuba is a model for health care in developing nations. It has over 40,000 doctors who serve their neighborhoods, on call 24-hours-a-day. They only earn $25 a month. They teach preventative health and use “green medicine,” alternatives to drugs, stimulated by the US blockade of Cuba, which makes some prescription drugs hard to get.

 

Cigarettes

Cigarettes poison the environment of children, and so does pollution. Marie-Pierre, 11, Quebec.

 

For fun, I drink, smoke, make fun of people and run amuck.

Rockstar, 14, m, Nevada

 

The smoke from cigarettes isn’t only bad for smoker but also for the people who are near him. Diana, 14, f, Uzbekistan

 

I’d do away with the smoking ban in cafes, because now you only smell sweat and that is disgusting. I want less ground rules (laws). Larissa, 15, f, Netherlands

 

Thing that bothers me in my daily life is smoke. I don’t like smoke. If I am at my house and someone is smoking, I will go away from her/him but right now EVERYWHERE we can find smoke, including in crowded place that we can’t go away to avoid smoke. Findy, 16, f, Indonesia

 

I want adults not to compare their children with other children who are better than us and stop the smoking thing. Mila, 16, f, Indonesia

 

A study of 14,000 US high school students in 2007 reported that 20% had recently smoked a cigarette and used marijuana. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death, and poor diet and physical inactivity is not far behind in America.[xxxv] In China, every day 40-50,000 teens light up a cigarette for the first time; 63% of adult men smoke. One-third of all the cigarettes in the world are smoked by Chinese people and each year 800,000 of them dies from tobacco-related illnesses. WHO said in 2005 of all the children in China, around 50 million will die early because of tobacco-use. Tobacco use is up 13% in developing nations, fueled by gifts of free cigarettes and branded clothes to youth, and sponsorship of youth festivals, billboards equating smoking with success. In Africa, tobacco companies like Philip Morris and British American Tobacco sponsor concerts and give away free cigarettes. Very young children are smoking. Many are unaware that tobacco causes diseases and that nearly 10,000 deaths occur per day due to tobacco. A program to quit smoking uses Emotional Freedom Technique acupressure tapping and other tips are available.[xxxvi]

Author David Wolfe suggests that, “Cigarettes become addicting because, due to stress (psychological) and poor nutrition (lack of vitamins and amino acids) vitamin B3 becomes deficient. Vitamin B3 or niacin is very closely related to niacinamide, nicotinamide, and nicotine. Nicotine from tobacco has the ability to “substitute” for Vitamin B3 in our metabolism. When we get Vitamin B3 back into our diet, this helps alleviate the desire for tobacco. (Eatingforbeauty.com)

Ask yourself if there is any “secondary gain” from the bad habit that needs to be changed, such as using smoking to take a break or be with friends. Also use behavior modification, rewarding good behavior (doing something enjoyable and healthy) and discouraging bad habits (as by wearing a rubber band around your wrist and snapping it when you feel the urge to smoke).

Instead of saying to yourself, “don’t smoke,” give yourself a substitute, such as sucking on a piece of a straw to gratify the oral need to suck and feel air going down your throat or eating celery and carrot sticks. Syed notes, “I have seen people chew on things like cardamom to avoid cigarettes, but more people smoke in Pakistan than in the US.”  Instead of turning to your addiction as a pacifier when you’re anxious, replace it with a new coping technique. Instead of smoking after dinner, take a walk. When you feel the addictive craving, take a deep breath from the diaphragm. While changing to a new healthy habit, avoid tempting situations such as friends who smoke. To quit smoking, write about why you want to be smoke free, set a quit day, identify your triggers such as stress or friends who smoke, and reward yourself.

Success rate is higher for those who join a support group. Support groups usually pair you up with a partner you can call when you feel yourself slipping back into the addiction and are worth checking out to learn their tools for getting healthy. It helps to have a buddy to report to about your progress.

 

Drinking

I know I am a potential alcoholic, sometimes I do abuse when it’s convenient for me, and I had a chance, I would probably be having sex every single day. I know that might sound horrible coming form the mouth of a 15-year-old girl, but it’s the truth, and it hurts me to even think about it. Snoogie, 15, f, Arizona hbofamily.com/about_hbofamily/ Middle School Confessions

 

I really dislike how much pressure there is from people and the media to “get cranked” on the weekends to have fun. Just be yourself and have fun.

Devon, 16, f, British Columbia

 

I want to seek therapy because I don’t let myself be happy. I’ve hurt people that way; that hurts me too. This country (and maybe the rest of the world, I’m not sure) has become so selfish and they don’t take the time to sit down and see what they have in front of them. I fell off the wagon and I hate myself for it. I’ve also learned that you can’t please anyone unless you please yourself. Unfortunately, some people take that to extreme and become self-centered. I don’t like that. Felicia, 16, f, Wisconsin

The point is two steps forward, one backward, and to think one day at a time. Sometimes sensitive people drink to protect themselves from the pain around them. Try this visualization: imagine a beautiful bubble around you, surrounded by roses that catch other people’s energy. When they get filled up, imagine blowing them up and creating new ones. Try it and see what happens.

Fun to me consists of clubbing, art, shows (bands), alcohol consumption, Hollywood, driving, going to the beach and creating laughs for everyone else. Piggytron, 18, f, California

 

For fun: drinking, trying to find a girlfriend,, and watching the moon. Basheer, 19, m, Saudi Arabia

“Partying,” meaning getting drunk, seems to be considered a sign of adulthood, but it’s irrational. It’s toxic for the body, leads to hazardous driving, risky sexual inhibitions, and acting foolish. You can walk around at a party with a cup of water if you want to look like the others. For those hooked on alcohol, Alcoholics Anonymous and other support groups is effective treatment. Join a support group for teens to learn how to stay sober and find healthy ways of having fun.

Shehroz tells us, “Alcoholic consumption is really low in middle-eastern countries because of Islam. In my time as an exchange student in USA I saw many underage teenagers getting alcohol by one means or the other. Even in existing laws, they could easily break it. Alcohol advertisement makes it more TEMPTING for teenagers to try it and get addicted. For example, beer advertisements make it look like so refreshing and cooling that one feels like trying it. Some take it as a sign of entering ADULTHOOD.”

 

More Energy

I wish that adults could be faster running and walking. I wish I had more energy. Nathan, 9, m, California

 

I have too many extracurricular lessons and get tired.  Kazuto, 10, m, Japan

 

I’m always loosing stuff, being clumsy, and I sometimes can’t talk straight. My family acts like I’m stupid because of it. Allie, 14, f, California

Stress can get us unbalanced, so we become clumsy and can’t think clearly. It’s called    becoming homolateral, when the body is connected up and down rather than crossing. A healthy body is bilateral, where the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body. Author Donna Eden (author of Energy Medicine) writes, “to change homolateral patterning, a simple and pleasurable technique, is to turn on music you like and move your hips rhythmically. You will find that they sway quite naturally in a figure 8, which helps the crossover pattern.” Just moving your eyes in figure 8s can help get balanced.

You can muscle test (MT) to see if you are homolateral. (For how to MT see http://www.holistichealthtools.com/muscle.html.) Look at a picture of an “X”-MT should be strong. Then look at a picture of two parallel lines-MT should be weak. If the results are opposite, they are homolateral. Ms. Eden suggests doing 12 repetitions of lateral crawl, where you touch right elbow to right knee and left elbow to left knee, then switch to about 24 cross-crawls where your right elbow touches your left knee, and your left elbow touches your right knee. You can see her website or Energy Medicine book to learn how to do other balancing exercises.[xxxvii]

 

It bugs me that I have no energy. Rose, 17, f, California

 

I get very sleepy during major examinations and tests or during the days when I have a lot of homework. And a friend of mine told me: “Whenever I try to stay on task and finish all my work, I get sleepy within five minutes of doing that work. What is wrong with me? In other words: I AM LAZY and I KEEP GETTING MORE AND MORE LAZY. At night I get sufficient sleep but still I am sleepy the whole day.” Why? Shehroz, 17, m, Pakistan

When we need to do something mentally challenging, we think of distractions like “I need to clean my room,” or call someone. Sleep is another way out. It helps to know the inner child is going to try these distracting tricks so we don’t fall in the trap, but also give the inner child a reward by taking a break every hour and taking a walk or stretching. But if your friend feels this way daily, he should see his doctor and read about chronic fatigue syndrome.

 

Sometime I feel so tired, maybe it just because there are so many works to complete. Zheng, 20, m, China

Fatigue can be a symptom of a physical problem. Low blood sugar or low thyroid function can decrease energy. Check thyroid hormone levels, as hypothyroidism causes fatigue, as well as intolerance to the cold. Anemia and eye strain can also contribute to tiredness. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) may have multiple causes including viruses, herpes, candida albicans yeast, and parasites. Its symptoms include severe fatigue for six months or longer, tender lymph nodes, muscle pain, joint pain without swelling, sore throat, and headaches. Fibromyalgia has similar symptoms of fatigue and pain, plus stomach discomfort.

Fatigue is a common problem and people turn to caffeine and sugar to get going, but these drugs drain energy over the long run. Exercise daily to keep your endorphins happy and oxygenate your body. We know daily exercise, adequate sleep, healthy natural foods, meditation or prayer or other quiet time, positive thinking and social support maintain health and vitality.  Eat unprocessed fresh food that your great-grandparents would recognize. Avoid white foods like white flour, sugar and rice, and other refined foods you might crave, as remember we often want what we’re allergic to. Use spelt flour instead of wheat and stevia or rice syrup instead of sugar in baking and you’ll have more energy. Eat apples, bananas, cabbage, citrus, and okra as they contain pectin to remove toxins and metals. Gary Null’s book Power Foods lists these as top on his list (Dr. Weil would add wild salmon): Almonds, oranges, bananas, blueberries, onions, garlic, ginger, legumes like black beans, carrots, peppers, shiitake mushrooms, tomatoes, leafy greens, soy, and whole grains.

The main causes of fatigue I see are procrastination, self-criticism, trying to do too much, eating junk food, and not enough fun and exercise. When we put something off, we feel overwhelmed and powerless. If we do a little bit each day, we feel empowered, which strengthens the immune system, while fear drains it into defense. Make a commitment to praise yourself and others, at least as much as you criticize or judge. If you didn’t do something well, make a point to learn from that effort rather than blaming.

Procrastination robs us of lots of energy, so make a list of your responsibilities and prioritize them. Do a little each day on a big task, say a half hour of work, then reward yourself with a break, such as a walk or stretching. For items low on your list, give up expectation that you should do it, delegate it to someone else, or trade someone to do it for you. Schedule in time for fun and nurturance on your calendar so it doesn’t get pushed aside by more pressing demands. You must recharge your batteries or you won’t have zest to do your schoolwork and nurture others.

Prioritize, thinking about what’s really important. Keep your values to the forefront, such as the belief that people are more important than things or a neat desk. Time for a bubble bath, reading for pleasure, exercise, and other activities that make you happy need to be scheduled on the calendar. Look at yourself as a well and fill it with what renews your vitality. If the well runs dry, it can’t offer water to thirsty people. Ask yourself what you’ll remember at the end of your life, what you value.

The main energy robbers include trauma, grievances, physical pain, living with a low-energy person, critical self-talk, negative beliefs, repressed feelings, and criticism, according to Tucson therapists Masci, Barker, and Beck.[xxxviii] Draw what’s depleting your energy to contact your unconscious mind; don’t think, just ask what’s making you tired and then draw the colors and patterns. Draw arrows pointing to a particular body part, person or situation. Draw in a healing color.

 

Physical Ways To Increase Your Energy

*Get enough sleep and try to rise and shine at about the same hours (www.circadian.com).

*Spend sometime in the sun and use full-spectrum light bulbs.

*Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration. You’re Not Sick, You’re Thirsty by Dr. Batmanghelidj explains how this leads to chronic diseases.

*Eat protein such as spirulina algae, fish, or poultry. When digested, protein releases tyrosine, an amino acid that increased alertness, while complex carbohydrates (whole grains, root vegetable, squash, etc.) are calming and stimulate serotonin. Eat protein earlier in the day rather than before bedtime for restful sleep.

*Get a physical checkup including your thyroid hormones.

*Be positive, as optimists have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

*Relax and avoid chronic stress, which damages the adrenal glands. Ask if a current upset will matter in three months.

*Rest when you’re tired instead of being a martyr and pushing yourself to do too much for the sake of others.

*Regularly do deep breathing exercises; breathe in on the count of six, hold six, and blow out six. Tai chi exercises help generate and move qi/energy. Blow out any fatigue, as if blowing out a candle, and breathe in an energizing color. Disease doesn’t thrive in oxygenated areas, so breathe from your diaphragm to increase oxygen intake, not your upper chest.

*Traditional Chinese medicine suggests ginseng and Angelica (also called Dong Quai) to strengthen adrenal glands.

*Avoid stimulants such as coffee, soft drinks, and chocolate.

*Eat healthy food such as the Mediterranean or Japanese diets.

*Supplement with the antioxidant Coenzyme Q10. It acts as a natural energy “spark,” explains Dr. Susan Lark, who adds that pregnant and lactating mothers should not use it. She also recommends the herb Rhodiola Rosea to support energy level, mood, and concentration. Dr. Lark also supplements with calcium, magnesium, potassium and zinc, and vitamins B, E and C.

*Avoid toxins in mercury, aluminum, lead, and drinking and shower water. *Remove dental fillings with mercury and make sure vaccinations don’t contain mercury called Thimerosal.

*Exercise daily.

 

Food

I will make food prices to go down and I will give free education to children who are willing to go to school. I will build clinics, and I will help the poor.

Mercy, 14, f, Liberia

 

Why isn’t everyone in this world eating? Evan, 14, m, Quebec

One-third of the children under five–nearly 200 million children–in developing countries are stunted.[xxxix] This means they don’t get enough nutrients to develop their intelligence and grow properly; they are shorter and less intelligent than kids with a good diet. Half of the children in Afghanistan and Pakistan children are stunted, 62% of the kids in North Korea, and 2% in the US. The only agency working on this terrible problem globally is the United Nations’ World Food Program and of course it can only feed a small percent of the hungry children. We’ll need 70% more food as the world’s population is projected to reach 9 billion by 2050, states the Food and Agriculture Organization.[xl] In 2009, almost 200 countries agreed to increase aid to farmers in poor countries but rejected a UN request to commit $44 billion a year to develop agriculture. “Our job is not just to feed the hungry, but to empower the hungry to feed themselves,” said UN head Ban Ki-Moon. Even in wealthy USA, about 49 million people struggled to have enough food in 2008, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

 

Americans are mostly used to eating fast food. But in Pakistan we eat full meals and eat it together with all the family members mostly every time, while Americans are so busy that sometime they forget to eat or they stop by a drive-through and grab a sandwich. I believe this was my biggest shock [as an exchange student in the US]. Besides that, I was also shocked to see how teenagers behave with their parents. Most of them are not respectful and I was not happy about it. Hassan, 17, m, Pakistan

Shehroz adds, “Hassan is telling the complete truth. Maybe that is the reason why Pakistani exchange students gain a lot of weight while in USA. Plus, American food contains a lot of cheese and fat, while in Pakistan, the meals are pretty high in fiber which is really good.

 

The junk food industry tries to brainwash kids through media ads to eat high fat, high corn syrup, and salty foods. One out of every 5 calories in the US diet is soda. The main sweetener is fructose corn syrup. An average American child eats about 22 teaspoons of sugar (88 grams) a day, often from fast foods and sodas high in sucrose and corn syrup. In The Packard Pediatric Weight Control Program kids sign contracts to reduce the number of unhealthy red-light foods they eat. Kids learn to tell the difference between red light foods like hamburgers that are not OK, yellow light foods like meat which can be eaten a little bit, and green light for vegetables and water that should be eaten a lot. Kids scoop out spoons of Crisco fat to see that hamburgers have about six to eight spoons of fat or measure a 12-ounch tube of sugar to see how much sugar is in one can of soda.

Use foods as tonics. Gary Null’s book Power Foods lists these as top on his list (Dr. Weil would add wild salmon): Almonds, oranges, bananas, blueberries, onions, garlic, ginger, legume like black beans, carrots, peppers, shiitake mushrooms, tomatoes, leafy greens, soy, and whole grains. He uses spelt flour in his recipes. The super foods identified by nutritionist Phyllis Balch in Prescription for Dietary Wellness, are garlic, mushrooms, yogurt, sprouts (you can grow them yourself in a jar), and soy foods. I also recommend her husband’s book Prescription for Natural Cures, by James Balch, MD, and Mark Stengler, ND. It includes information on healing food, herbs, homeopathy, acupressure, flower remedies, etc.

I start out each day with a quick and nutrient-packed blender drink: I use multi-grain drink as a base with banana, apple, and carrot, adding chlorophyll, acidophilus, aloe vera, lecithin, nutritional yeast, Hawthorne herb, bee pollen, kelp, cayenne pepper, cardamom, green vegetable powder (barley grass is the most complete, according to James Balch, MD), and ground flaxseed. Avoid wheat, sugar, and other refined foods you crave, as we often want what we’re allergic to. = Eat apples, bananas, cabbage, citrus, and okra that contain pectin to remove toxins and metals. Food can also be used for beauty aids.[xli]

Food can be used to deal with pimples. Pure water is necessary to make ice to put on clean inflamed skin. Honey and yogurt are good for skin, also a paste of almond meal as a cleansing mask. Avoid scrubbing the skin too hard and overdrying it. [xlii] Hot showers tend to activate the glands so watch out for that too.

Students complain about the quality of school food. I’ve heard two main excuses: Kids won’t eat fresh fruits and vegetables and high fat processed spaghetti, pizza and hamburgers are less expensive, but there is no excuse for jeopardizing the health of future adults. If you want to become an activist for organic fresh food at school, check out the Berkeley School Lunch Initiative inspired by chef Alice Waters’ Edible Schoolyard program. Here are some websites to start you out.[xliii]

Progressive programs for school health are being developed by NBA basketball star Shaquille O’Neal’s Big Challenge and film director Steven Spielberg’s Starbright Foundation that makes instructional videos on teen health. In Philadelphia and Los Angeles elementary schools are developing healthy food programs, encouraging exercise at recess, and are teaching parents and kids about good nutrition. Texas passed laws requiring more physical education, less junk food in schools, and parent education about nutrition.

Our food system causes as much as one-third of the world’s human-made greenhouse gas emissions, including one-fifth of emissions from livestock production. A UN panel says we need to cut emissions by 50 to 85% by 2050. What can we do? Eat fresh whole foods without packaging and processing, cut back on meat from feedlots, and buy locally at farmers’ markets.[xliv]

It’s sad that both malnutrition and obesity are problems for the world’s children. The Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that in 2008, 40 million more people were added to the rolls of the world’s hungry.[xlv] Every minute we lose 10 children due to hunger and malnutrition; that’s six million preschool kids who die every year because they don’t have the basics. Malnutrition contributes to more than half of the nearly 10 million deaths each year among children under age five, according to UNICEF. When you’re weakened by hunger it’s easy to die from diseases that industrialized nations consider minor such as diarrhea. (Earth Institute Columbia University)

Infant diarrhea is the worst child killer of all time–10, 000 children die from it daily. It can be cured with pennies worth of salt, sugar, and clean water. In 2006, close to 9.7 million children died before their fifth birthday, mostly from preventable causes such as malnutrition, unclean water, malaria, and childhood diseases like measles that could be prevented with vaccines. Every 15 seconds, a child dies because of lack of clean water and sanitation.[xlvi] Each year 2.2 million children die because they are not immunized and 270 million don’t have access to health care.

I recommend the DVD The Future of Food, about such a basic part of life.[xlvii] It begins with the so-called Green Revolution, based on the use of pesticides, fertilizer and herbicide, that evolved into the GMO (genetically modified organism) biotech Revolution in the 1990s. Toxins such as PCBs, dioxin, and DDT were said to be safe, as in ads stating,” DDT is good for me.” Monsanto company created “Roundup (RU) ready plants” that don’t die when sprayed with weed killer chemicals. Corn was genetically engineered to be a bacterial poison. To insert the altered genes, scientists used ecoli bacteria that were RU resistant and also inserted viruses to enter the plant’s DNA.

Monsanto’s goal is to patent its seeds that can’t be saved from the plant for reuse the next growing season, so farmers will have to buy new GMO seeds every year. The US Patent Office said live things couldn’t be patented, but the Supreme Court overturned this decision. Monsanto is buying up seed companies and owns about 11,000 patents. It even sues farmers who have Monsanto corn plants blown on their fields by the wind, etc. A Canadian farmer took his case all the way to the Supreme Court and lost. Monsanto also created GMO Roundup Ready cotton and soybeans, used in infant formula. The DVD ends by telling us that six large companies will control the world’s food production in the future. In 2009, Monsanto tried to get the US. House of Representatives to pass bill HR 875 to prevent organic farming “make sure there is no danger to the public food supply,” so farmers would have to buy their chemicals.

 

Longevity

Why do humans age? Setchan, 9, m, Japan

 

How long can a human being live? Gabriela, 10, f, Columbia

 

What’s the oldest age a human can live? Yukarin, 10, f, Japan

 

What would we have to do to keep human life go on much longer?

KJ, 11, m, Belgium

 

When is the hardest time in life? Sung Mo, 12, m, Korea

When you’re aware that you’ve lost control of your life, like when someone gets really sick or injured or old and dependent on someone to care for him or her. I asked a group of adults to identify the most powerful transformational experiences in their lives. They replied, the birth of a child, death of a loved one, divorce, and hearing the Dhalai Lama speak (www.dalailama.com). So, hard times can make us grow.

 

Worldwide, women live for an average of 65 years and men live for 61 years. Your life span depends where you live, if you’re male or female, rich or poor. If you’re Japanese, you can expect to live to be 81. If you live in the US, to 78. But, if you live in Africa, your life expectancy is only to your 30s, such as 38 in Sierra Leone. AIDS has reduced life expectancy in 34 countries, most in Africa. Youth may be the first generation not to live longer than their parents because of obesity and lack of exercise. About 8.8. million children die every year before their fifth birthday; 40% of them live in India, Nigeria and Congo, according to UNICEF data in 2009.

A 2008 University of Cambridge study found four keys to living longer (14 years on average than people who didn’t follow these keys): don’t smoke, don’t drink too much alcohol, eat lots of fruit and vegetables, and exercise regularly (researcher Kay-Tee Khaw, etc.). Half the deaths in the US are caused by behaviors such as smoking, alcohol abuse, and lack of exercise, according to the Centers for Disease Control. “How To Be 16 Years Healthier” cited in Dr. Weil’s free newsletter (drweil.com) reports the “secret” is vigorous exercise. A study of Americans age 100 plus found that our genes were influential, as was avoiding smoking, obesity, inactivity, diabetes and high blood pressure. The 2008 study by Boston University researchers was based on 500 women and 200 men who reached age 100. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) evaluates the leading causes of death and found about half of US deaths are due to smoking, lack of exercise, and alcohol abuse.

Some scientists believe that our human genetic system is designed to let us live to be about 120 years old. Dr. Mark Liponis advises to eat a Mediterranean diet which is low in meat and processed foods, keep learning, drink tea, stay slim, be happily married, and have a spiritual belief. Dr. Joseph Mercola believes the key to longevity is to keep insulin levels and blood sugar low by avoiding sugars. Excess insulin stores calories from the carbohydrates in the form of fat (which is why so many are overweight), and the excess insulin also suppresses essential hormones and your immune system, leading to premature aging.[xlviii]

Aging is linked with bad free radical byproducts of oxidation, glycation that alters proteins (sugars kind of caramelize in the body), and chronic inflammation that is linked to many diseases.[xlix]

Antioxidant foods to fight free radicals include: blueberries, cranberries (also prevent cavities) sesame seeds, green tea, red grapes, uma plums, olive oil, tomatoes, broccoli (fights cancer tumors along with shitake and rishi mushrooms), chlorophyll, turmeric and sea vegetables; avoid sugar. Also, resveratrol—an antioxidant–slows down the aging process in mice.

Blood sugar regulation: fiber foods, cinnamon, fenugreek seeds, green tea, and chromium.

Lessen inflammation: Fish: wild salmon, sablefish, mackerel, herring, sardines. Vegetables: onions, garlic, chives, leeks, greens (spinach, chard, collards, broccoli, kale), tomatoes, bell peppers, green beans, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, beans, nuts, and seeds.  Fruit: berries (especially blueberries, raspberries and Hawthorne). Spices: ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, clove. Herbs: rosemary, thyme, oregano, parsley, cilantro, fennel, mint, dill, tarragon, and turmeric.

 

Obesity

For fun: eat all the chocolate I can see. Maximilian, 8, m, Singapore

 

Zero body, zero size figure is the new craze among girls. They think it’s sexy to be thin. They may be right but it is highly harmful for health. A normal body of normal size and weight is enough to look good and sexy. Shehroz, 17, m, Pakistan

 

People commented on my Internet diary and asked me how to get an eating disorder, as if it were the new diet craze. If I could change something about myself, I would be a beautiful person instead of the fat monstrosity that I am today.

Kitty, 18, f, North Carolina.

 

I try to heat healthy, organic food, but no matter how hard I try, I still gain weight. OK, actually I realize as I write this, its really about self-control. I need more self-discipline. Llisa, 18, f, British Columbia

 

I would be as skinny as could be. Iveey, 18, f, California

With “globesity” the world is getting fatter. Fat is one of the causes of metabolic syndrome associate with a large waist, high blood pressure, high levels of blood fats called triglycerides, low levels of good cholesterol and insulin resistance, that leads to many diseases. It’s as big a threat as global warming says Australian professor Paul Zimmet, who reports there are more overweight people than undernourished.[l] He believes obesity will overwhelm every medical system in the world.

The obesity epidemic in developed countries happened fast, in one generation. Now China worries about its chubby kids. One in five four-year-olds are overweight in the US. More than 9 million US children over five are overweight, leading to an increase in diabetes and low self-esteem. The average child sees up to 40,000 ads a year selling junk food. Their health problems will cost their country an estimated $11 billion in the future.[li] Over 17% or nine million children over age six in the US are obese, as are around one-third of American adults which leads to heart disease, cancers, and joint diseases. This rate has increased four times since the 1960s. At least one in five US teens has abnormal cholesterol levels—much more true of obese kids, increasing the risk of heart disease.[lii]

About 30% of school children are overweight (a broader category than obesity), as kids get less exercise and restaurants are serving bigger sizes. Shehroz tells us, “One of my shocks in USA were the serving sizes and free refills as well as free French fries at many places.” Most young children get exercise, but by age 15 fewer than 3% get over two hours of exercise most days. Boys are more active than girls at every age, according to a 2008 study headed by Dr. Philip Nader. Some schools have large exercise balls to sit on instead of chairs and substitute healthy food for junk food.

Kids are spending more time watching TV, playing video games, and using the Internet. About one-third of high school students watch more than three hours a day, including about 63% of black students, 43% of Latino students, and 27% of whites.[liii] A lot of TV viewing is associated with more aggressive behavior and weight gain. The average child sees up to 40,000 hits of advertising every year, and the ads are not selling health. Every one-hour TV program you sit through increases the chances of premature death caused from Disuse Syndrome, raising your odds for dying from heart attack or stroke by 18%, from cancer by 9%, and from other health problems by 11%.[liv]

Many US schools have cut physical education programs: Illinois is the only state that requires PE for grades K-12. As many as 40% of elementary schools don’t set aside time for play and exercise.[lv] A study of California teens reported that 25% don’t exercise enough.[lvi] A junior at Berkeley High explained, “Teenagers don’t have time to exercise. It’s like the last thing on your mind.” “I like to play indoors better ‘cause that’s where all the electric outlets are,“ said a fifth-grader. Exercise and healthy natural foods keep us at a healthy weight, but many city kids don’t exercise. We need more programs The Sierra Club’s Inner City Outings program brings inner-city youth to the wilderness.[lvii]

Shehroz adds, Parents should take the responsibility of controlling their kid’s diet and making sure they get enough exercise. In my childhood, I was really fat and I remember my grandfather not letting me eat fatty foods. He would make me run to a nearby shop to get him something from there and when I would return he would say that I brought the wrong thing and would make me run again. Later in life I realized that he wanted me to just run and get some outdoor exercise. Furthermore, he would get me involved in activities that required physical exertion. Now I am slim and no one can believe that I was once so fat and chubby. Parents play a very vital role in all this. They are responsible if their child gets obese.

Treating overweight kids in hospitals costs over $127 million a year. Ross Brownson estimates that today’s obese kids will cost the US around $11 billion in the future.[lviii]  Being overweight can also be depressing and lower self-esteem. Obesity can lead to later health problems: diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and breast cancer. These illnesses cost a lot to treat, $147 billion in 2008 in the US.[lix] Doctors say you’re as old as your arteries. Fat children as young as 10 have the rigid arteries of 45-year-olds, with cholesterol deposits and an enlarged chamber of the heart—the left atrium.[lx]

Overweight children are much more likely to develop heart disease, even if there were just a little chubby as kids. Four million have above-normal blood pressure, 27 million have high cholesterol and more than a third don’t exercise. . As the childhood obesity rate doubled in the last ten years, it caused a 10 times increase in childhood diabetes. We’ve also seen an increase in Type 2 diabetes, which used to be called adult-onset diabetes. Even in the 1970s type 2 diabetes was rare, but now it’s so common that one-third of the children born in the year 2000 are expected to develop diabetes in their lifetime and it’s now one of the most common childhood diseases.

Dr. Ludwig’s Ending the Food Fight: Guide Your Child to a Healthy Weight in a Fast Food/Fake Food World (2007) reports on what he learned from the 5,000 children who have participated in his Optimal Weight for Life (OWL) Program.[lxi] When Dr. Ludwig taught the children visiting him at his clinic to eat low-glycemic foods, they experienced weight loss even without limiting the number of calories they ate. Food that increase blood sugar and weight include bread, pasta, candy, soda, and other refined foods with white flour and sugar. Dr. Ludwig teaches children to choose “real foods” instead of “fake foods.” A simple way to explain this is by pointing out the nutritional differences between an apple and something that comes from a vending machine.

Diets don’t work, as most people regain their weight. I asked a Dietetic Professor how to lose weight.[lxii]

In a nut-shell, people need to learn how to take the focus off of weight and put the focus on improving fitness and start eating a variety of enjoyable foods and accept their body however it turns out. An individual can be healthy regardless of their size. The media tells us how we’re supposed to look. We have to tell the media that beauty can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Dieters, obsessed with their weight, often label food as ‘good’ and ‘bad’ which sends them into a vicious guilt-repent cycle. This leads to yo-yo dieting which causes both physiologic and psychologic damage. Food is meant to be enjoyed, not the bad guy! I encourage people to read Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program that Works.

If you’re overweight, avoid judging yourself. Stick to positive programming such as “I honor my body by eating healthy food when I’m hungry.” Think about ways you can positively fulfill the need which generated the habit; for example, coping with stress by taking a walk, using positive self-talk, and asking “Will this be important two months from now?”

Ask yourself what need overeating satisfies-feeling protected, feeling gratified, coping with anxiety, etc. Think about a healthy way to satisfy the need and reassure your unconscious mind it’s safe to change. Set a goal such as loosing a few pounds a month and reward yourself when you achieve your goal. Imagine that you have a hungry hole in your heart that can’t be filled with food, no matter how much you eat. You can do a visualization like wearing a beautiful heart necklace that radiates beams of love into your heart. The unconscious mind doesn’t distinguish between reality and belief, as evidenced in the very different health issues for multiple personalities in Disassociate Identity Disorder.

Don’t have fattening unhealthy foods in your house. Fill your stomach with vegetables and fruits. Don’t eat out of a container. Put small portions on your plate and stop eating when you’re full or it doesn’t taste good anymore. Shehroz reports, “A fat friend told me that he has started dieting–when it is fifteen to twenty minutes left to lunch time, he would eat a carrot at that time. So when the lunch is served, he doesn’t feel so hungry and eats very little.” Eat your big meal early, not close to bedtime. Most addictive behaviors need a support group with a buddy to strengthen your resolve to be healthy. For more resources, see this endnote.[lxiii]

As the gap between the rich and poor increases, there are more obese people in the world than hungry people, reports author Raj Patel. Developed countries struggle with obesity and developing nations with food shortages. World poverty is worse than any time in history, as for every well-fed baby in the north, five die of malnutrition in the south. Since the early 1970s, the numbers of malnourished children have risen by more than 75% to 33 million today. “Nothing is more degrading than hunger, especially when man-made,” stated UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in 2008.

In developing countries poor people spend over half of their money on food. For the 160 million people who survive on less than 50 cents a day, increases in food costs is a disaster. Food prices jumped 39% from 2007 to 2008, reported the International Monetary Fund. At least 100 million people in 22 countries are threatened by the global food crisis. Food prices are rising because of increasing fuel costs, more demand for fuel from India and China, biofeul production using corn for cars rather than for food, droughts, and–especially in Africa—scarcity of fertilizers, irrigation, and transportation to get food to markets. In Pakistan, Sheroz tells us, “Last year there was a shortage of wheat in my country and due to that, prices of flour rose sky high. Later, a lot of factories were found hiding the flour so that they could sell it on high prices. Wheat is the staple diet of the people. The same thing happened this year with sugar.”

 

Sexuality

I know of girls aged nine and ten who have gotten pregnant. It’s very common. It’s very hard to take care of a child at that age. I think they don’t know about the facts of life. They don’t want to get married, just to have sex. In Buzios, most kids wait until 17 or 18, but in Rio it’s often younger. I haven’t heard of rape in Buzios. Some kids do get abortions. Eva, 11, f, Brazil

 

I would educate them on family planning to avoid unemployment, overcrowding and scarcity of resources. ?, f, teen, Kenya

 

Why are sexy girls so sexy? D-Dogg, 14, m, Hawaii

Different historical periods and different countries are conditioned to have different views of what’s attractive—thin or full-figured. Media shapes what you think is sexy now, as well as your personal history and preference, and what the girl feels about you.

 

Why do females have to hold a baby for 9 months, have our period, and give birth and go through a lot of changes? Courtney, 14, f, Lanai

Girls start to menstruate at age 12—the median age in developed countries. Factors that lead to earlier menstruation are being overweight, chemical exposure, and living in a family without the father present. Having a period and female hormones is one of the reasons women live longer than men in developed nations, as they protect against heart diseases. Giving birth is the most exciting thing I’ve done in my life and I’ve traveled from Tibet to Tahiti and talked to million of people on national television shows. A German psychoanalyst named Karen Horney believed that men have “womb envy” because they can’t give birth.

About half of women in developing countries give birth without access to appropriate care and a skilled attendant. Every year, more than half a million women die and many more suffer complications from childbirth. When complications arise, as they do in approximately 15% of all births, there is no one available to treat the woman, leading to disabling injuries like fistula (the woman leaks urine or feces leading to much discrimination),[lxiv] and even death. Most of these young women are in developing countries, about 2-3 million worldwide. An estimated 30,000 to 130,000 new cases of fistula occur every year in Africa.[lxv] P. 97 You can give money to help fund operations to repair the damage so young women can return to normal life at fistualafoundation.org. See the film “A Walk to Beautiful” about five Ethiopian young women with fistula.

. Around 122 million women want birth control but can’t get it.[lxvi] P. 134 The best population control is educating women and reducing child mortality. About one in five pregnancies end in abortion. About 42 million abortions were performed in 2005, with 35 million in the developing world. About half of all abortions are unsafe, and most of them take place in poor countries. Nicaragua is one of 35 countries that ban all abortions, even to save the life of the mother. Little progress has been made in helping women survive pregnancy and birth.[lxvii]

An extensive report is available online about global adolescent girls’ health.[lxviii]

 

I believe that if woman do not want to become pregnant, they should take the necessary steps to prevent a pregnancy (birth control, used properly). Besides, if the woman finds herself unwillingly pregnant by an accident or even rape, she can always choose to give her child a chance at life with a family who would love to have her, by choosing to have her child adopted. In short, I believe that a fetus is a human, not an unwanted growth like a tumor, as some would say. The fetus is meant to develop into a human, capable of great and horrible things, but a tumor will always remain a tumor. Kristen, 14, f, Florida

 

[What bothers me is:] School. Emotions. Boys. When you care about a certain boy who only wants to get in your pants. And [how there’s] not enough time in a day. Taryn, 15, f, Australia

When is the proper age to have sex? Patrick, 15, m, Quebec

A study of sexual behavior in 59 nations found multiple sexual partners were more commonly reported in industrialized nations. Despite stereotypes, singles in Africa were less sexually active. The pattern globally is people first have sex in their late teens—from 15 to 19 years old, a little younger for girls. In regards to numbers of sexual partners, there is greater equality between women and men in industrial counties.[lxix]

Having sex because of peer pressure and everyone else says they are makes for a shallow and unsatisfying sexual experience. Casual “hook-ups” are dangerous in terms of sexually transmitted diseases. Western media and marketing use sexy young models to sell goods. Take a look at girls’ and women’s magazines: The message is to be sexually attractive at a very young age. Don’t be hurried by the media into being sexually active. The right time is when you have a well-established loving relationship based on friendship and mutual respect as well as sexual attraction, and when it fits with your moral values. Some religions believe that sex should occur only in the committed and socially recognized bond of marriage. However, the average age for marriage in industrial nations is mid-20s or older, so that’s a long time to wait.[lxx] Some sex educators like Dr. Ruth suggest the partners help each other achieve orgasms without penis penetration of the vagina and the resulting risks of pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease.[lxxi]

 

I would like to thank HBO for airing MIDDLE SCHOOL CONFESSIONS. It was an eye opening experience for me. I am now very comfortable with my sexual orientation. I am bisexual and I know that I am not alone. CeeCee B. 15, f, Pennsylvania http://www.hbofamily.com/about_hbofamily/ Middle School Confessions

 

Why is it that girls are insisted to be virgin unlike the boys? ?, f, 16, Kenya

It’s unfair, but it’s because boys don’t get pregnant.

 

[For fun I enjoy] Having sex, drinking, smoking, and smoking marijuana. I had sex in school and didn’t get caught. Why is my special someone a meany and a dummy? Zempan, 17, m, Lanai, Hawaii

 

What really happens in puberty? How can teens prevent pimples? If I lift weights, will it keep me from growing tall? Shehroz, 17, m, Pakistan

How tall we grow depends on our genes and the nutrition we get as children. Acne is also partly genetic and is triggered by hormonal changes, which cause the skin to make more sebum oil, which can clog pores and get infected with P. bacteria.[lxxii] For healthy skin: eat a healthy diet with vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, drink lots of water (if your urine is dark yellow you need to drink more water), and get plenty of sleep. Avoid sugary food, which stimulate hormones, as well as trans fat and milk (because of the hormones in cow’s milk or check on the package to see if the mild is hormone-free), and sodas and diet drinks. Exercise increases the blood flow to help clear skin and helps cope with stress that increases sebum secretion. For skin care, my doctor recommends, “A gentle daily cleanser. Avoid scrubbing the skin too hard and over drying it. Hot showers tend to activate the glands so watch out for that too. I asked a demotologist and he recommended exfoliating the skin (removing dead skin) with a cleanser that includes salicylic acid and an antibacterial. Here’s a website for boys about puberty.[lxxiii]

 

Why isn’t there a cure for certain for certain STDS? Monique, 17, f, California

There are 12 million sexually active teens in the US. Each year a quarter of them get a sexually transmitted disease (STD). In the US, the Centers for Disease Control estimated in 2008 that 25% of teenage girls have an STD. Half of the new HIV/AIDS cases occur in teens. The most common infections are in this order: human papilloma virus (HPV), Chlamydia, trichomoniasis and herpes. Other STDS are gonorrhea, syphilis, and hepatitis B. Herpes, AIDS, and genital warts, all caused by viruses, have no cure. Some teens think that oral sex is safe—not “real sex,” but most of the STDs can be transmitted orally, including AIDS, herpes, syphilis, and gonorrhea. Doctors in the US are told to watch out cancers in the throat and rectal area because of oral sex and HPV. Sometimes warning signs indicate something is wrong, but many don’t show up early on. Symptoms include discharge, itching or irritation, sores, blisters, rashes, warts or lumps, and pain on urinating or with intercourse. See the endnote for the best websites about sexual health for teens.[lxxiv]

 

I feel that our generation is quite open about sex and virginity comparatively. I know my male classmates don’t care about virginity. Girls I know, if think they find the right person, they wouldn’t care that much. But some insist to keep their virginity until they find the one, which includes me. About premarital sex, I read an article “Love, Caution” in China Daily, which talks about premarital sex among young Chinese people. Here is some data:

Percentage of people who had premarital sex, by age group.

18~21            15%

21~24           39%

24~27         58.7%

Although people are trending to be more open, there are still people who hold a traditional view of premarital sex. They somehow regard sex as an item after marriage.  Some think virginity is holy, should save it for the people that they love. I am one of those people. But not necessarily after marriage, for me sex has nothing to do with marriage, if I find the person. Yuan, 19, m, China

 

As a Muslim, Shehroz’s view is, “Sex should be linked as an important component and final level of a serious relationship and life-long commitment and not some fun activity because then it destroys the morals of a human.”

 

Sleep

I can’t sleep when I need to. Like if something’s going to happen the next day, so I need sleep. Especially on Sunday night. So I often go to school on Mondays with 2 or 3 hours of sleep.

I am a huge band geek. I mean beyond huge. It’s all I ever do really. But most people would be bored with a book about a band geek…so I guess it’s OK to tone that down a bit. I am pretty much a loner by nature. I have friends, but I’m not really comfortable around people. I’m happiest by myself minus people. I like fire. And my parents and I get along pretty well. I get all As without ever studying. I’m actually really smart. I just took the SATs in 8th grade and got 1790/2400. I used to cut myself. But I don’t anymore. I’m a goody-goody. I never do anything wrong (besides try to date a senior, but that was totally harmless and I got caught) I never go anywhere. I love to read. I write in my sit diary obsessively because I have a strange need to write down my thought and other brain vomit. My dad’s really funny. And likes good music. And that’s all I can think of. I’m pretty borin! Rachel, 14, f, Pennsylvania

 

When you start to worry, write down your to-do list. Before you go to sleep, imagine a chalkboard. Write down what’s on your mind and erase them one by one until the board stays clear of worries. (You can also use this technique with a negative belief, like “I can’t pass this test.”) If you’re buzzing with anxiety or thoughts, arch them off to the corners of the room as if releasing electricity down lightning rods.

Think about the most relaxing place you can imagine, perhaps a warm tropical paradise. Imagine taking the worry tape out of your tape recorder and substitute a wonderful fantasy tape, like being in lovely, green Ireland. To go to sleep, use the old trick of counting sheep or your in and out breaths, repeating a word like peace or serenity. It may help to listen to soothing classical music before bedtime and the herb Valerian helps some people sleep. A sesame oil foot rub also help us to relax. When you get in bed, keep your awareness behind your eyes and count your inhalations and exhalations from your belly to do deep slow breathing and you’ll nod right off. Shehroz reads a boring book and goes right off to dreamland.

Also check to make sure your bed is in the proper position in terms of Feng Shui (not in line with the door) and the earth’s energy lines. (Feng Shui is the “Chinese art of arranging buildings, objects, and space in the environment in order to achieve energy, harmony, and balance.” It uses concepts of balancing yin and yang and proper energy flow.) It also helps to have a regular sleep schedule, avoid bright lights or stimulating TV about two hours before bedtime

Some view sleep as dead time, but in fact it’s very productive time when the body and mind are renewed, although about 70 million Americans generally don’t get enough sleep. Many scientists, like Thomas Edison, tell stories of waking up with the solution to a puzzling problem. A German study at the University of Luebeck discovered that problem solving and new ideas occur during deep sleep that usually takes place in the first four hours of sleep. The unconscious mind works out solutions to emotional issues as well. It’s wise to clean out any irritations of the day before bedtime in order to be able to use sleep time to generate new ideas. Shehroz adds, “I often write small stories in my diary and many times I am inspired by a dream I had.”

 

Sports Performance

What’s the easiest way to get fit? Keenan, 13, m, Australia

Exercise daily, make it a routine like brushing your teeth. Take a physical education class at school. If you watch TV, also lift weights, use an exercise/resistance band available on the Internet, do situps, and other exercises.[lxxv] If possible, ride your bike for transportation.

 

I’m on a track team for my school. I’ve never won a meet although I’ve beaten every one of the other guys in other events. Suggestions? Tom, 17, m, California

 

I think someone who stands out as an athlete is someone who commits every aspect of his or her life to that specific sport. For example, when I run cross-country, I adjust my eating habits (big, healthy breakfast is KEY, healthy snacks throughout the day to maintain energy), liquid consumption (no carbonated drinks and 2+ gallons of water per day), amount of sleep I get (8 hours+), and focus on winning.  This year, I adjusted these things in addition to practicing hard and ended up making it to the state meet.

One thing that I see truly dedicated athletes do is focus on winning; practice should be taken seriously, like a race or game would be. If I want to beat a certain teammate, I practice beating them by keeping up with them and beating them at every practice. Too many young athletes screw around at practice and just “complete the workout” rather than going above and beyond by pushing themselves.  The truly talented athletes are the ones who are dedicated to practice and winning.

Perhaps a good piece of advice for people who are not the most naturally gifted athletes is to focus on self-improvement. For example, if a person running cross-country is running 20:00 5ks, work on getting down to 19:30. Setting unrealistic goals of 14:45 would be ridiculous. If a person sets an achievable goal, they will reach it, but also learn what it takes to improve. These skills will help them improve even further. It’s much like weight loss; if a person says they are going to lose 100 pounds, then having a candy bar here or there would seem alright because they know it will take a long time to get to their goal, but if a person says they want to lose 5 pounds, they will adjust their lifestyle to lose the weight.  Once that person has lost it, they know how to lose weight and can lose more if they wish. Cory, 17, m, California

 

Instead of thinking of winning as putting yourself above the others and being conceited, think of it as being an example to others of how to be successful. You can complement the other runners on their performance. Also, visualizations help focus your bodymind. Imagine a pulley connecting you to the finish line, pulling you faster, effortlessly. Athletes like golf champion Tiger Woods spend a lot of time mentally rehearsing their movements. Think about where you plateau in terms of your fastest time, and then use energy psychology to raise the limit (for Emotional Freedom Technique, see emofree.com).

Instead of watching and judging yourself, put all your attention on the ball. Think of owning it as yours, loving it as if it were your child. Connect invisible lines from the ball to where you want it to go and command it to go there. You can also increase concentration by imagining zooming in a camera, focusing on the ball. Martin reports, “I felt a greater concentration for the soccer game and the ball since I made an effort to use roses to encapsulate me and the ball during games.” You can imagine beautiful flowers surrounding you, protecting and energizing you.

Ashley, a softball player, came to me because she was anxious about batting after a wrist injury. She recovered, but her anxiety remained. We used acupressure tapping to dispel the anxiety. She focused on owning the ball, and was delighted about her batting the next day. Imagine the goal for your sports performance, moving it a step up, and observe if any tension or doubt occurs; if so, tap on acupressure points while focusing on that tension.

Tyrone, a basketball player, was anxious about being guarded while dribbling the ball. He told me his older brother used to slap him on the face when he was a boy. We used EFT tapping on that experience to clear it out and decided on visualization techniques. He now imagines flames around him as he moves down the court to keep guards away from his face, as well as the lines connecting the ball to where he wants it to go.

Before a performance, use kinesiology exercises, explained in the Increase Energy section above, to balance the right and left brain and the different sides of the body. Breathe deeply, rub your ears, tap and thump acupressure points and your thymus, and cross-crawl, touching opposite elbow to opposite knee. Make an amusement scrapbook with your favorite cartoons, photos, and jokes; view funny videos to use humor to relax. “My friend always watches funny videos on youtube before every sports meet or any major examination,” Shehroz adds.

Drew wanted to improve his running performance. Before a run, he does the bilateral polarity balancing exercises and then stretches, picturing the muscle he is stretching. He reports, “I listen to my body to find the areas that need more attention. As I run, I concentrate on taking breaths from deep in my abdomen and exhaling completely. The difference in my performance is amazing, as I can run for a longer time at a constant, steady pace.”

 

Violence

The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

Something that bothers me just about every day: violence. It’s in wars, streets, and everyday regular places, where people live in fear regularly.

Ryan, 12, m, Belize

 

I have to deal with people fighting and stealing around me.

Quenny, 12, m, Columbia

 

I like to read, go to the market downtown, shop at health food stores, and exercise. I would probably do more things, but my mother doesn’t like to drive me many places. I don’t feel safe walking/biking/skating anywhere by myself.

Kristen, 15, f, Florida

People feel that a girl is meant to be used—either as a doormat, a maid, a birth-giving machine or as a source of physical pleasure. Something CONCRETE seriously needs to be done to change the current scenario because now a girl does not feel safe even in her own house, let alone the streets. ?, 16, f, India

www.unicef.org/voy  Voices of Youth, March 5, 2006

 

I like hanging out with my friends and walking around uptown, doing insane things. I’ve gotten rides home from complete male strangers; I’ve streaked across a park in broad daylight. I love doing out-of-the-normal stuff. I write poetry to express my feelings, and have had a few professionally published. I love to sleep and dream about the future, about things that will never happen, wondering what if? Amy Marie, 16, f, Illinois

Read the section about the brain and teen risk taking! There are better ways to find excitement.

 

Adults should not beat their juniors. Azharul, 17, m, Bangladesh

 

We’ve created a culture of violence since commercial TV became available in 1946, maintains Professor Michael Nagler.[lxxvi] Kids are bombarded with violent images from television, video games, and rap music. Violence results from wars, crime, racism and sexism. Children experience violence in too many ways, in wars, as child soldiers and youth-headed militia groups (as in Nigeria’s Niger delta region where the foreign oil companies operate), as immigrants to foreign countries, in school bullying and exclusion, as the victims of murder, suicide from untreated depression, AIDS and rape (some believe that having sex with a virgin will cure AIDS), street children who commonly use drugs like glue sniffing and crack, and I would include kids who die from lack of food and medical care.[lxxvii]

Each year an estimated 2 million girls undergo some form of genital mutilation where parts of their labia or clitoris are removed. (The clitoris is the female organ with similar nerve endings to the penis.) Female genital cutting is practiced in 28 African countries and parts of the Middle East and Asia. An estimated 135 girls and women have suffered from cutting, according to CARE.[lxxviii] In China and India millions of baby girls are killed or abandoned. “Honor killings” by other family members murder thousands of women in Middle Eastern and South Asian countries who are judged to have violated sexual norms. Middle Eastern girls who engage in premarital sex and can afford it may have an operation to replace the hymen, a membrane in the vagina. In the Middle East sexual honor leads to violence–including rape as a way to punish a girl’s family by dishonoring them and honor killings–over 5,000 a year, estimates the UN Population Fund.[lxxix]  Honor killings happen in the US too. An Iraqi immigrant in Arizona ran over his daughter with his car because he felt she’d become too Westernized (October 20, 2009)

Domestic violence is too common. In the US, at least 5 million children are either victims of or see physical abuse, domestic violence by their parents, or violence in their neighborhoods. They also frequently see violence on TV. Violence against women by their husbands or partners ranges from a low of 15% in Japan, to up to a quarter in the European Union and the US, to a high of 71% in rural Ethiopia, according to interviews with nearly 25,000 women in 10 countries by the World Health Organization in 2006. An estimated two to four million American women are abused by their partners, as are about five percent of men. These injuries are more frequent than those caused by auto accidents, rapes and muggings combined. Almost one-third of female murder victims were killed by their lovers or husbands. In the US a victim of domestic violence can call a national hotline (1-800-799-SAFE). The victim should leave the perpetrator, as it’s unrealistic to expect him or her to change.

For self-defense, women shouldn’t wear high heels so they can run. Keep keys in your hand with the keys sticking out of your fist. If attacked, hit your knee into his groin, use your head to butt the attacker, stomp on his foot, hit under the nose or chin, use your knees and elbows, and your voice–YELL. Don’t accept drinks without seeing them poured to avoid drugs that make you unconscious.[lxxx]

Model programs to reduce violence are found globally. The Guy-to-Guy Project by Instituto Promundo in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, organizes young men who live in poor areas to do outreach to other guys with a play about reducing violence against women, provide educational materials, etc. A similar group in Mumbai, India, called Men Against Violence and Abuse teaches young men through street plays, essay and poster competitions, wall newspapers, radio plays, and discussion groups.

Scientists know the interconnection of mind and body, as with the power of the placebo effect. When a patient gets a sugar pill, but believes it’s medicine, it’s effective around 40% of the time. In the next chapter we’ll delve into mental health issues.

***

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_31921.html ch, 2006, Ambulatory Pediatrics journal)


2TheAmerican Psychiatric Association council 2007 report

[iv] Virtual-Addiction.com; NeAddiction.com; netaddictionrecovery.com.

[v] Child Poverty in Perspective: An overview of Child Well-Being in Rich Countries.” February 14, 2007. http://www.unicef-irc.org/datasets/data_sets_int.html http://www.unicef-irc.org/datasets/data_sets_int.html

[vii] Don Tapscott. Grown Up Digital. McGrawHill, 2009, p. 100

[viii] MIT Young Adult Development Project  http://hrweb.mit.edu/worklife/youngadult/index.html

[ix] Matt Crenson, “Brain Changes, Not Hormones, Explain Many Adolescent Behaviors,” December 31, 2000  http://www.s-t.com/daily/12-00/12-31-00/e05li27.htm

[xi] www.unfpa.org/swp/2004/english/ch9/page8.htm

[xiii] Editorial, “A new Target in the AIDS War,” San Francisco Chronicle, August 20, 2006, p. E6.

[xvi] http://youth.developmentgateway.org/Content-item-view.10976+M5a79bd4590d.0.html

Youthaidscoaltion.org Global Youth Coalition on HIV/AIDS

Dance4Life uses dance to educate youth about HIV/AIDS in secondary schools in over 10 countries.

[xvii] Suzanne Somers. Knockout: Interviews with Doctors who are Curing Cancer and How to Prevent Getting It in the First Place. Crown, 2009.  www.suzannesomers.com  www.lef.org The Life Extension Magazine is available online. This is Somers’ favorite source of info.

[xviii]  Dr. Andrew Weil explains, Normally, inflammation occurs in response to injury and attack by germs. It is marked by local heat, redness, swelling, and pain, and is the body’s way of getting more nourishment and more immune activity to an area that needs them. But inflammation isn’t always helpful. It also has destructive potential. We see this when the immune system mistakenly attacks normal tissues in such autoimmune diseases as type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus. And we now know that inflammation also plays a causative role in heart disease, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, as well as other age-related disorders, including cancer.

The anti-inflammatory diet gives you a healthy balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Most people consume an excess of omega-6 fatty acids from which the body synthesizes hormones that promote inflammation. These fats are found in oil-rich seeds and the oils extracted from them, which are used in almost all snack foods and fast foods. Omega-3 fatty acids have an anti-inflammatory effect and are found in oily fish, walnuts, flax, hemp, and to a smaller degree in soy and canola oils and sea vegetables. In addition to correcting the balance between omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, the anti-inflammatory diet eliminates consumption of margarine, vegetable shortening and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils–all of which promote inflammation.

Carbohydrate foods also influence the inflammatory process. In the body, chemical reactions between the sugars and protein produce pro-inflammatory compounds called AGEs (advanced glycation end products). You can moderate this process by keeping blood sugar low and stable. That means eating less bread, white potatoes, crackers, chips and other snack foods, pastries, and sweetened drinks, less refined and processed foods, and by avoiding fast foods and products made with high fructose corn syrup. Instead, eat more whole grains, beans, sweet potatoes, winter squashes and other vegetables and temperate fruits such as berries, cherries, apples, and pears instead of tropical fruits such as bananas, pineapple, mango and papaya. http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/id/QAA359518

[xx] Nccam.nih.gov

[xxi] /www.drweil.com/drw/u/id/ART00667  For more about food: http://www.foodincmovie.com/hungry-for-change-cafeteria.php

[xxiii] Robert Moss, “Thoughts Can Heal Your Body, Parade, March 9, 2008, p. 6. Center for spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota, Integrative Medicine program at the M.S. Anderson Cancer Center

[xxiv] Lead researcher Dr. Hilary Tindle, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. The Mayo Clinic study report was in 2000.

[xxv] monitoringthefuture.org

[xxvi] A report by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University

[xxvii] Resource: Should I Medicate My Child, Lawrence Diller, MD, 2002.

[xxx] taylorhooton.org steroid education. Steroidabuse.org

Who.int/child-adolescent-health:  The World Health Organization provides information on health issues faced by youth

Sadd.org: Students Against Destructive Decisions information about drinking and drugs.

[xxxiii] Susan Tapert of the University of California, San Diego http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=122765890

[xxxiv] March, 2006, Ambulatory Pediatrics Journal

[xxxv] Mokdad AH, et al. Actual causes of death in the United States, 2000. JAMA Mar 10; 291:1238-45

[xxxix] Joel Brinkley, “Stunted Outlook on Neglect of Kids,” San Francisco Chronicle, August 30, 2009, P. E8. /www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats

[xli] Eating for Beauty. David Wolfe.    Eatingforbeauty.com

Read about Ayurvedic Beauty Care using foods like oil and yogurt, as in Beauty Secrets of India by Monisha Bharadwaj.

[xliii] Rethinking school lunch: ecoliteracy.org/programs/rsl.html

Growing food at school: ediblesschoolyard.org/howto.html

Farm to school program: farmtoschool.org (as in Marin County, California)

Healthy Vending Machines: stonyfield.com/menuforchange

“Two Angry Moms” is a film about improving school food. Their website has many resources. http://www.angrymoms.org/inner/resources.html

[xlvi] water.org is working on providing clean water (co-founded by actor Matt Damon)

[xlix] Andrew Weil, MD, www. drweil.com and Healthy Aging

Norman Shealy, MD, Ph.D. Life Beyond 100, Penguin. and http://www.normshealy.net.

[li] Ross Brownson, St. Louis University School of Public Health, 1 of 19 authors of a report “Preventing Childhood Obesity: Health in the Balance,” 2005. www.nap.edu/openbook.php?isbn=0309091969

[lii] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, published in 2010, CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report based on 3, 125 teens.

[liii] 2007 survey of about 14,000 students by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

[liv] A mortality follow-up (over 6.6 years) on the original 11,000 study participants by Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia, 2010. www.technewsworld.com/story/69108.html

[lv] Actionforhealthykids.org offers resources to increase PE in schools.

[lvi] 2003 California Health Interview Survey

[lvii] Sierraclub.org/youth

[lviii] sciencenewsforkids.org/articles/20041027/Feature1.asp

[lix] “Obesity Crushing Weight on Health Care,” San Francisco Chronicle, August 16, 2009, p. A10.

[lx] Dr. Geetha Raghuveer, Children’s Hospital in Kansas City, 2008 study

[lxii] Dawn Clifford, PhD, RD, Assistant Professor and Dietetic Program Director

Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences, California State University, January 27, 2010 email.

[lxiii] Americanheart.org/healthierkids or clintonfoundation.org

Overeatersanonymous.org

Live It! A program to help sixth-graders to exercise and heat healthy foods.  Kids are encouraged to take at least 10,000 steps a day. Liveitprogram.com

Actionforhealthykids.org

Americanheart.org/healthierkids

Clintonfoundation.org

[lxiv] www.fistulafoundation.org. See the film “A Walk to Beautiful,” (2007) about village women in Ethiopia who receive an operation so they can return to normal life. It shows the young women in their villages and in the hospital, a glimpse into village life.

[lxv] Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. Alfred a. Knopf, 2009

[lxvi] Ibid

[lxvii] Study by the Guttmacher Institute and the World Health Organization, published in the Lancet medical journal in 2007. http://www.gatesfoundation.org/topics/Pages/maternal-newborn-child-health.aspx#

[lxviii] “Start with a Girl: A New Agenda for Global Health” recommends eliminating marriage for girls under age 18, HIV prevention for girls, and completion of high school, etc. http://www.cgdev.org/content/publications/detail/1422899/

[lxix] Study by Professor Kaye Wellings and other professors. “Sexual behaviour in context: a global perspective.“ Lancet, 2006; 368(9548):1706-28

[lxx] /www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/childrenandteenagers.html

[lxxi] Dr. Ruth Talks to Kids: Where You Came From, How Your Body Changes, and What Sex Is All About by Ruth K. Westheimer. Toni Weschler. Cycle Savvy: The Smart Teen’s Guide to the Mysteries of Her Body, 2006.

[lxxii] Myra Eby. Clear Skin. Active Interest Media, 2009.

[lxxiv] Go Ask Alice, a question-and-answer service maintained by Columbia University; the Center for Young Women’s Health; TeensHealth, a part of KidsHealth.org; and Teen Wire, an educational site for teens maintained by Planned Parenthood. Sophia Yen, MD also recommends the book Our Bodies, Ourselves (by The Boston Women’s Health Book Collective) to her teen patients. Myths about birth control, sexually transmitted diseases and Pap exams are not dispelled even on several sites reviewed by doctors, the research from Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital and the Stanford University School of Medicine study found.

[lxxvi] “A Conversation with Michael Nagler” by Russell Schoch. http://www.quaker.org/chestnuthill/nagler.htm

[lxxvii] Ed. C. Daiute, Z. Beykont, C. Higson-Smith, and L Nucci. International Perspectives on Youth Conflict and Development. Oxford University Press, 2006.

[lxxix] Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, op.cit, p. 182.

Psychological Freedom using Voice Dialogue with Selves

Psychological Freedom using Voice Dialogue with Selves

Hal and Sidra Stone, founders of Voice Dialogue therapy, identified our primary and disowned selves, how they impact our relationships, and how to balance them. http://www.voicedialogue.org: their article “The Basic Elements of Voice Dialogue” is very interesting reading. See also Miriam Dyak’s The Voice Dialogue Facilitator’s Handbook. Primary selves make up operating ego, disowned selves are the opposites, and aware ego separates from the selves with perspective.

Identify one of your primary selves. What qualities are you proud of having?

Could be the pusher, the critic, the judge, the protector/controller, the rational mind, the “entitled” or “not-entitled” voice, the rebel, child, responsible mother or father, the pleaser, perfectionist, teacher, spiritual self, earthy self, etc.

(www.voicedialogue.org, www.bonniebernell.com/handvoice.html)

The facilitator connects, matches, or makes linkage with the primary self, getting to know it and its energy field. The selves are honored as they are, not corrected or changed. The selves don’t interact with each other.

Move your chair where you meet your center energetically. I’d like to meet your primary self, the ___.

What do you like?

What do you do for ….

When did you first come in?

Where did you learn how to be what you are?

How much of your room is filled by this self?

What do you worry about?

How would things be different if you were in charge?

Anything you’d like to tell the center (your name)? 

 

Go back to center. What are 3 things you see or hear?

How do you feel differently? What do you notice?

 

The disowned self can be identified by thinking about people you judge, who irrigate you a lot or whom you revere to reveal your disowned self.

 

Is there any issue in your life you’d like to work on? Or, is there a common theme in your dreams? They reveal the disowned selves that need separation from the primaries. Or talk with a disowned self that you feel is there. Note that primary selves don’t care about their opposites, were developed to protect them, feel doing their job.

Be in the observer–the aware ego process develops as separation from the primary self and its opposite disowned self. The Aware Ego is like an orchestra conductor. Take time to think and feel with this self. Make eye contact with each other. Deep breathes. Repeat the line of questioning. Aim is to get at the vulnerable selves who aren’t defensive, who allow intimacy, and separate from the primary self to a middle place between it and the disowned self, the opposites with the aware ego.

 

PS Also think about bonding patterns in relationships like approving mother and proud son (positive where negativity isn’t expressed) or negative bonding like abandoned daughter and cold father. The goal is to move to flexibility. Also, linkages where you get a lot of juice—can include computer, TV, pets, as well as people. The selves that enable linkage or connection include the vulnerable child, the sensual self, the soul self, and the spiritual self, heart-based. The aim is to “access greater choice by moving beyond dualistic thinking and embracing opposites.”

 

 

Daily Health Practices


Check List for Easy Health Action

1.       Start the day with kinesiology and acupressure tapping to balance the body. When toweling off after a shower, balance the meridians by rubbing down the    backside of limbs and back and outer sides of limbs, up the inside and front of limbs.

2.       Use reflexology on your hands and feet (rub your hand points in meetings). The web in-between the fingers and toes corresponds to the lymphatic system and the spine is located along the side of the thumb down to around mid-point of the wrist and the other organs follow from top of fingers down. Feet are similar.

3.       You can do reflexology while sitting on the toilet; should eliminate about three times a day. Use psyllium seed every once in a while to really clear intestines which some believe are the seat of health. Chinese Traditional Medicine suggests rubbing the belly every day, up your right to left in concentric circles, pushing in on inhalations.

4.       Apply essential oils instead of cologne. Some useful blends by Young Living include Longevity, Brainpower, Peace and Calming, Grounding, Joy and Valor. Essential Oils Pocket Reference Guide is organized by health problem, very useful (800 336-6308) Also try flower essences and homeopathy; since they’re vibrational; they have no adverse side effects.

5.       Wear gemstones and crystals, for example a pink quartz crystal or emerald to enhance love. Wear a magnet bracelet on your computer mouse wrist.

6.       Avoid toxins and radiation from electric blankets, clocks, cordless phones, TV, microwaves, etc—especially by your bed. Avoid toxins in mercury fillings, aluminum cookware, lead, and water.

7.       Wear natural fiber clothes and wear uplifting colors rather than black and gray.

8.       Drink lots of pure water. Write the quality you want to enhance and put on a sticker on your water container and glass. The Japanese researcher Masaru Emoto’s photographs of water crystals show differences when imprinted by words, sound, or intention. For photos see his website. Dr. Batmanghelidj, You’re Not Sick, You’re Thirsty, maintains that dehydration causes many illnesses.

9.       For skin care, dry brush your body before bathing, get oil massages and facials, sweat, drink lots of water, and avoid toxic chemicals and mineral oil in skin care products. Bathe in Epsom salts, baking soda, herbs, and essential oils such as lavender and geranium, depending on what your skin needs. Eat avocado, blueberries, olive oil, and other fruits and vegetables.

10. Exercise daily outside. Use your lunch break to walk so you’ll get some sunshine for vitamin D and get endorphins activated. Use full-spectrum light bulbs.

11. Breathe slow deep breaths from your diaphragm. Add color, imagining breathing in the color you respond to now. Blow out stress through the mouth. Breathe 1-6, hold 1-6, exhale 1-6, hold 1-6—or hold these steps longer.

12. Think about what you love and are grateful for during the day. Studies show these emotions are helpful for healthy DNA replication and attracting healthy ligands to cell receptors to keep us well. Know that challenges and difficulties are teachers that we attract into our lives to grow, rather than bad luck.

13. Set your intention; visualize how you want your day to progress. Be amused.

14. Take time to appreciate beauty around you: the clouds, the stars, flowers, and a great smile. Really look at nature as you move about your day.

15. Have fun and laugh. Collect cartoons, jokes, and funny videos and view them frequently. If you start to worry, ask will matter a month from now? Remind yourself the past is water under the bridge, all you can do is learn from it and remind yourself we learn by making mistakes.

16. Studies show healthy people have a support group of caring friends and/or family. (People who write to my Lotus Guide advice column frequently link depression to not feeling supported.)

17. Set aside regular quiet time to listen to your inner guidance. Use your commute time to relax to soothing music to unwind your busy thoughts and slow down. Allow time for regular sleep according to what your body requires to rebuild.

18. Eat healing foods, slowly and relaxed, chewing thoroughly. In a nutshell, avoid white, processed, and deep-fried foods. Start the day with a smoothie with raw ingredients. Use olive oil and avoid other fats (especially deep fried and margarine), sugars, salt, white flour and white rice and other processed foods. Season foods with garlic, onions, ginger, and turmeric.

Aging is linked with bad free radical byproducts of oxidation, glycation that alters proteins (sugars kind of caramelize in the body), and chronic inflammation linked to many diseases.

a. *Antioxidant foods to fight free radicals include: blueberries, cranberries (also prevent cavities) sesame seeds, green tea, red grapes, uma plums, olive oil, tomatoes, broccoli (fights cancer tumors along with shitake and rishi mushrooms, chlorophyll, turmeric and sea vegetables; avoid sugar).

b. *Blood sugar regulation: fiber foods, cinnamon, fenugreek seeds, green tea, and chromium.

c. *Heal glycation with carnosine.

d. *Lessen inflammation: Fish: wild salmon, sablefish, mackerel, herring, sardines. Vegetables: onions, garlic, chives, leeks, greens (spinach, chard, collards, broccoli, kale), tomatoes, bell peppers, green beans, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, beans, nuts, and seeds.  Fruit: berries (especially blueberries, raspberries and Hawthorne). Spices: ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, clove. Herbs: rosemary, thyme, oregano, parsley, cilantro, fennel, mint, dill, tarragon, and turmeric.

www.imagkenews.com/vitalchoiceseafood/e_article) www.ultraprevention.com/tools/top_ten_to_cool_the heat_of_inflammation.htm

e. *Supplements: Andrew Weil, MD, emphasizes taking fish oils and flax seed for the omega 3 and avoiding omega 6 in hydrogenated oils such as margarine. (See drweil.com and Healthy Aging)

John Upledger, DO, recommends one supplement in his book Cell(f) Talk—COQ10. (Mind boggling explanation of intelligent cell physiology.)

Norman Shealy, MD, Ph.D., emphasized the importance of magnesium applied on the skin, which he sells, as explained in his book Life Beyond 100 and on normshealy.net.

See past issues of EarthHaven free newsletter at yahoogroups.com for my updates on what I’m learning about wellness.

$6 trillion on recent wars, US poverty increasing

Agree with these priorities?

The US has 4.5 % of the world’s population and around 20% of its income. It’s the developed world’s most unequal major nation, with the rich getting richer and the middle class declining. By 1995, 1% of the population owned 47% of the nation’s wealth and the wealth gap between whites and blacks quadrupled from 1984 to 2007.[i] The child poverty rate is over 20% in the US.[ii] Census Bureau data for 2010 indicated the poverty rate climbed to 15%, or 47 million people, including almost 50 million without health insurance. [iii] Young people are hard hit, with 45% of those 25-to-34 year-olds living below the poverty line and survive by living with family or friends. The gap between the rich and poor is the highest its been in 70 years, according to Robert Reich, former US Secretary of Labor.

He points out the crash of 2008 was caused by Wall Street excesses and, more fundamentally, recession is caused by so much income going to the very top so the majority don’t have the money to spend to get the economy back on its feet. The superrich like the Koch brothers use their billions to corrupt politics and enlarge their fortunes. He warns that “the politics of anger” over increasing inequality fuels the rise of politicians like Sarah Palin who “offers pure snark and promises revenge—‘We’re going to take America back.’” Reich suggests balancing the budget with a small percent surcharge on incomes over $2 million and a 0.5 tax on all financial transactions.[iv]


[ii] Kids Count Data Book, Annie E. Casey Foundation, July 27, 2010.

[iii] “Poverty Up,” Syracuse.com, September 19, 2011

http://blog.syracuse.com/opinion/2011/09/poverty_up_sobering_census_bur.html

[iv] Robert Reich. Afterschock: The Next Economy and America’s Future. Knopf, 2010

Despite recession, world military spending is increasing; it almost doubled to reach $1.53 trillion in 2009. The US is the biggest spender—more than the combined defense spending of all other countries,[i] followed by China ($119 billion) and the UK ($59.6 billion).[ii] US spending increased to $720 billion in 2010, more than half of federal discretionary spending in 2010 and more than any year during the Cold War, adding to the national debt of about $1.5 trillion.[iii] The cost of one soldier for a year in Afghanistan was $1 million in 2010.[iv] The cumulative cost of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is over $4 trillion, including spending for veterans and foreign aid, but not counting interest payments on the debt—mostly deficit spending on the wars—or continuing medical expenses fro wounded veterans.[v] These two countries are among the most corrupt nations, so it’s not clear what the $6 trillion achieved. The world’s second largest expenditure is probably on the illegal drug trade, estimated to be worth $400 billion a year.[vi]

The US spent $450 billion on the military but only $15 billion on global poverty in 2004—the percentage of US aid has decreased for decades although it remained less than 1% of the US spending in 2011.[vii] In America, 37 million people live in poverty and don’t have enough to eat; yet estimated $860 billion dollars were spent on the Iraq by 2009[viii] and the US has the most overweight population in the world. It costs about $1.2 million a year to send one US soldier to Afghanistan.[ix] Shehroz, in Pakistan, suggests, “Watch a movie named Charlie Wilson’s War. In this movie, it is shown that America spent so much money in cold war yet very little money in rebuilding and rehabilitating Afghanistan, thus giving rise to Talibans and the current situation in Afghanistan.”

A Pakistani teacher, Saifur points out that literacy is the key to alleviating poverty and terrorism:

In our region people want education, but they are not given chances for being literate and to have a voice against the so-called lords and Khans of the area. Literacy is a torchlight and people of the area can be empowered to explore many ways of getting livelihood and to alleviate their poverty. It’s is a curse leading to the prevailing unrest and Talibanization, thus flaming the region. They will also learn how to stay healthy and happy by maintaining their hygienic level high through cleanliness, which is also a part of our faith, but they don’t know, as they are illiterate.

Cancel nuclear bombs; invest more money in other stuff instead of security, suggests Ariel, 17, m, Israel. At a UN organized World Youth Conference in 2010, the NGO Global Meeting of youth-led organizations asked governments to invest at least 5% of their national defense budgets in development programs for young people. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell explained, “The war against terror is bound up in the war against poverty.” In his study of Islamic terrorism and suicide bombers, journalist Lawrence Wright found that young men’s despair, humiliation and rage fuels AlQaeda and its theme of death and martyrdom, despite the Koran’s prohibition of suicide or killing innocents.[x] With no hope of a good life on earth, martyrdom has appeal: Wright explains, “We think of al-Qaeda as a terrorist organization. Young people think of it as a suicide machine” and embrace death over life.


[iii] Gordon Adams and Matthew Leatherman, “Five Myths About Defense Spending,” The Washington Post, January 19, 2011, p. 12.

David Woods, Politics Daily, February 2010

http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/01/13/defense-spending-700-billion-a-year-and-were-still-not-safe/

[vii] M.  Berman, Dark Ages America the Final Phase of Empire, 2006

[ix] Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, March, 2011. http://demilitarize.org/category/fact-sheets/

[x] Lawrence Wright, HBO special My Trip to al-Qaeda, September 7, 2010.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129697986

www.usatoday.com/news/military/2010-05-12-afghan_N.htm

www.reuters.com/article/idUSN1415708320100114

“Costs of War Since 2001,” Eisenhower Study Group at Brown University, 2011. http://costsofwar.org

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/09/04/IND61KTNOF.DTL

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