Posts Tagged ‘kids’

I was reading an article the other day.

Its title?

Six things that can help keep you young.

That caught my eye. Let me state, for the record, that I am aware of the attention grabbing numbers in an article’s title. A marketing thing that seems to work quite well. I’m guilty of succumbing to it. And then cruising through lists.

5 foods that will guarantee weight loss.

Top 20 universities in the world.

10 spots you must visit before you die.

20 best places to retire.

Bloggers are told if you want more “hits” use numbers and lists.

It’s nothing new. Because it has proven to be successful through the years. Most likely because of our limited attention spans and also knowing that we’ll be able to skim through the list in a timely manner. Without wasting too much time.

I don’t usually use it when writing. But I fall for it when reading.

Anyway, this one grabbed my attention and I thought it was a pretty good list.

Six things that can help keep you young. All doable.

Keep moving. Go for a thirty minute walk. Clear out a cupboard. Work in the garden. Don’t have to do everything all at once. But choose something every day to keep active.

Friends. Friends. Friends. Being connected is good for your health. It just is.

Quit smoking. This article stated that smoking one cigarette a day impairs cognitive ability and fifteen cigarettes hinders critical thinking and memory. Okay, I did not know that. If this is true it’s just one more reason that I am glad I stopped. Because my memory is not that great.

Eat like a Mediterranean. Fruits, vegetables, mixed nuts, fish, olive oil and whole grains.

Play games and puzzles. Whip out the daily crossword puzzle and also challenge yourself to some problem solving exercises.

I love, love, love this last one.

Revisit old favorites. Think about what made you feel good when you were young. Not sure why we abandon the things that once made us feel fabulous.

For example. I met a neighbor last Sunday and she brought me to her home. Her kids had friends over and they were playing in the living room. They built this fort with blankets draped over the chairs and sofas. Like I did when I was young. Like my kids did. Because it was soooo fun.

These children were having a blast. Smiles galore. I was happy just looking at them and I told them, “Oh my gosh! What fun! I did this when I was a kid. And so did my kids!”

Now, I’m not saying go grab blankets and build a fort in your living room. Or climb a tree.

But do something. Try to remember what brought you joy.

Ride a bike. Fly a kite. Listen to music. Go to the airport and just watch planes. Picnic with your friends.

Have a great week and I hope you all feel super young!








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Remember in my last posting when I stated that my father didn’t have a mean bone in his body?

Well, that was the truth.

But when I was young there were many times when I thought he was mean. Like when I wasn’t allowed to do things that other kids were doing.

I would exclaim, “But Diane is allowed to go!”

He would say, “I don’t care. You are not Diane. Your name is Mary Beth.”

After he died in March, my two brothers and I spent the day on Cape Cod. No kids, spouses or other distractions. Just his kids. We went to all the places he used to bring us when we summered there every July. A pilgrimage of sorts. It was a “Big Chill” reunion minus the pot, drama and cool soundtrack. Because we didn’t have any of those three things with us.

We usually stayed in a house for two weeks-sometimes at his uncle’s place- but there were a few days we stayed at a hotel. Maybe until the house was vacant. I can’t remember.

Anyway, we went by the hotel and my younger brother said, “I wonder if the pool is the same. I remember when we would get out of the car I’d get so excited that I would make a bee-line for the pool. Mom and Dad were still unpacking the car and Dad would yell at me to stay right where I was. As a parent of two little ones I totally get it now.”

I agreed and thought of a gal that I used to work with at the phone company. In 1999, I had read in the newspaper that she had experienced a tragedy beyond comprehension.

Not long after arriving at a R.I. beach, on a summer’s day, her eight year old baby girl went into the water and drowned. She could not be revived even though there were doctors and emergency personnel on the beach that day.

I had a baby that year and was the mother of a six year old. I was absolutely devastated for her and her family. I couldn’t imagine.

These things can happen in an instant. No judgement. Ever.

This is not to even compare the situations. Of what happened or what could have happened.

Just this point. It is what I thought of that day when my brother said he now understood. My Dad wasn’t being mean when he said I couldn’t do things I wanted to do. Or when my brother wanted to run to the pool alone.

He only wanted to protect us. That was his job.

We totally get it, Dad. And we will always love you for it.

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I taught CCD when I lived in Texas. Okay, I’ll wait until you all get up from the floor and stop laughing.

I didn’t think I was up for the job when one of the boys (on the first day) asked, “Why did God make mosquitoes?”

I replied, like any good CCD teacher would, “Move it along, buddy. You’re in the wrong class. Beat it!”

But I enjoy a good challenge. I loved the young people so much and had so many learning and spiritual moments. Where I thought, “Wow.”

One week that stands out was with my class of middle-schoolers. Tough age. No one would dispute that.

We had asked all the parents of these students to hand write a letter to their child. Not a letter that told them to clean up their rooms or to get good grades. But a letter telling them how they felt about their child.

We could not complete the exercise unless the parents of every child in the classroom participated. They all did.

At the beginning of class we asked some questions like, “How many of you know your parents love you?” There was such hesitation. Because it’s middle school and for many other reasons.

My daughter, Rory, immediately shoots up her hand. The first one. I always thought if we could just bottle her confidence we would all be rich.  But the group, as a whole, did not raise their hands.

We dimmed the lights, lit some candles (because we’re Catholics) and passed out the parents’ letters to each child. And told them they could go ahead, open them up and read them.

Total silence.

It was one of the most special nights. A lot of the kids cried while reading their parents’ letters. Not sobs. But they cried. Boys and girls. Very emotional.

No words spoken.

As parents we tell them we love them. We also tell them to walk the dog, take out the trash, get decent grades, be good, don’t do this and don’t do that. Gets lost in the monotonous telling of it. It’s not special. “I love you” can sometimes lose its impact along the way.

It just happens.

I bet some of those kids still have those letters. To this day.

If you are a parent take a few minutes to write a letter to your child. Once you get started you might even get writer’s cramp. If you have living parents take the time to write down how important they are to you.

And once you are done with that? Go ahead and write to the other important people in your life.

It’s so very powerful. And it’s the write thing to do.

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