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Getting older; getting better

February 6, 2014 Liberty Tribune The Kearney Courier Gladstone Dispatch The SmitHVille Herald

Power your heart Getting in the game with a

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Older Better


Aging has its benefits

By Saralee Jamieson

The conventional wisdom about aging has changed — probably because so many Americans are discovering first hand that getting older is not all that bad.

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In fact, according to Susan Scarf Merrell, writing in American Demographics, “The wondrous news is that getting older is a generally positive thing. We don’t just accumulate years, we also gain wisdom which enables us to make decisions with less of the fussing and wheel spinning that marked our teens and twenties.” Here are some of the other benefits cited by Merrell: Older people have learned a lot about themselves and the world. They’re more able to focus and they have better attention spans. Most older people are reasonably happy with their lives. They have high self-esteem and an overall sense of well-being. Rates of depression tend to decline after the age of 45, for both men and women (Though there’s a temporary blip in men’s rates around the time they retire). Older people have learned to adapt. They’re more flexible and have a better understanding of their own resilience. Studies have found that older people actually think fewer negative thoughts. Older people seem to have figured out what makes them happy. Their lives become simpler. Their priorities shift. They care less about how they look and what others think and more about their relationships with the people they love. Sex roles start to blur. Men become more helpful and accommodating. They learn to talk about their feelings. Women, on the other hand, become more assertive and more active in meeting their own needs. This adds up to greater contentment and openness with each other. No more sleep problems. Contrary to what we’ve all heard, you might actually sleep better the older you get. Findings from research at the Center for Sleep and Circadian


Neurobiology at the University of Pennsylvania published in the journal Sleep found that people in their 70s and 80s had the fewest sleep complaints and complained the least about being tired during the day. The biggest culprits in sleep disturbances: health problems and depression. While younger people may feel their chronological age, older people feel younger — a lot younger — than they really are. The Pew Research Center study on Growing Old in America found that 60 percent of the study’s participants age 65 and older said they felt 10 to 19 years younger than their age. Guess there’s something to the saying, “It’s all in your mind!” No one is claiming that getting older is all roses — just ask someone who’s tried to keep up with a 2-year-old grandchild or who is ill. But, aside from slowing down and having a less-efficient memory, one of the worst aspects of getting older appears to be workplace ageism and intolerant attitudes of younger people. Merrell also makes the point that it’s difficult to generalize about older people because they are as heterogeneous as any other far flung group of people. Saralee Jamieson is a human development specialist with the University of Missouri Extension.

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The Accidental Parent Getting in the game By Betsy Lee Plodding away from the soccer field, I settled myself into a soft patch of grass. From there, I figured, I could keep an eye on my son, sitting forlornly on the bench, and be close to my daughters, frolicking in a nearby field of dandelions. Also, being away from the field help quell the flood of irritation rising in my chest. “Thank goodness, it’s his last game,” I said, out loud to no one in particular. “Because I can’t take this anymore.”

I’d lost it that morning. After a bad night of sleep, I was already annoyed when I asked my son if he planned on actually playing in his last soccer game. And when he responded with a flippant negative, I got angry. “You asked to do this,” I said, my tone fierce. “But I don’t like it!” my nearly 6-year-old whined. “You can’t say that,” I tossed back.“You haven’t played.You can’t say you don’t like something you haven’t even tried. J,


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you haven’t played one minute of one game!” Then, I got uglier. He mentioned the medal handed out at the end of the season. “A medal?” I said.“Dude, you haven’t even played.” He got quiet. Then I got quiet too. This whole thing started weeks ago, when he sat down and started playing catch with a pair of folded socks.

Continued on Page 15

Betsy Lee is a Kansas City journalist and columnist who lives in a perpetually messy house with her husband, three children and two pets. She can be reached at

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Fuel, fill and build There are three ways to power your heart, according to Registered Nurse Christopher Johnson of the Liberty Hospital Cardiac Rehabilitation Department: Fuel it, fill it and build it. “When we look at overall heart and body health through these three different ways, we see that each provides the necessary elements to power your heart,” Johnson said. Overall health and wellness doesn’t just begin with going to a gym.“It starts with a change in the mindset of the individual,” he said. The cardiac rehabilitation team recommends the following ways to begin powering your heart.


Take control of your diet and nutrition by using portion control, adding fresh fruits, vegetables and protein to your meals. The American Heart Association offers diet goals, heart-healthy shopping tips and recipes at Tips to get started: Change your chips — one serving of regular Lay’s chips has 10 grams of fat, but Baked Lay’s has only 2 grams; and change your salad dressing — regular ranch has 14 grams of fat in 2 tablespoons. Try low fat or fat-free dressing.



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Make lifestyle changes that include rest and relaxation. Take on a hobby or an activity that helps you relieve stress, spend time with loved ones, write in a journal or practice deep breathing. “Having a positive outlook on life can make you healthier,” Liberty Hospital Exercise Physiologist Karla Hall said. “Practice using positive self-talk daily. When you get stressed, tell yourself, ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff.’ Take some low breaths and relax your muscles.”


Exercise enhances overall strength and endurance. This includes energy expended doing everyday activities, such as walking. “You don’t have to belong to a gym to get a cardiovascular workout,” Hall said. “We all know the many benefits of regular physical activity. Start with 10 minutes and increase your time gradually until you reach 30 minutes. You should feel like you are exercising between fairly light and somewhat hard.”

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Just 2.5 hours of moderate intensity physical activity — including walking — per week is the American Heart Association’s recommendation to reduce your risk of heart disease. That is only 30 minutes a day for five days. Start by taking a 10-minute walk on your break at work or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. When you follow a heart-healthy lifestyle, it is important to note that it benefits the entire vascular system, said Liberty Hospital Cardiac Rehabilitation Manager Michelle Cochran. “Simply put, every blood vessel in your body will be impacted by lifestyle,” she said. “Heart health also is good for your brain, kidneys, gastrointestinal system and so much more.” How much power the heart has depends on each individual. It’s a choice. “You can live a life of chronic disease or disability from stroke, diabetes, heart failure, etc.,” Cochran said. “Or you can take the path of prevention to decrease the risk of chronic disease and live a much greater quality of life with independence.” — Liberty Hospital

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The heart as an organ is relatively ing the left heart ventricle small in size. It is about the size of a is called the aorta, while fist and weighs only 11 ounces on the main artery leaving the average. Although diminutive, the right ventricle is known as the pulheart is responsible for pumping 2,000 monary artery. Blood traveling back gallons of blood through 60,000 miles to the heart flows through veins after of blood vessels each day. It accomit has passed the lungs to pick up plishes this by beating oxygen. The thumping 72 times a minute in noise that is heard Although having a healthy adult. All of while the heart is a big heart the cells in the body beating is actually the receive blood except colloquially means chambers of the heart for the corneas in the closing and openthat a person is eye. ing as blood flows The heart works through. loving and goes harder than any other While the heart may muscle in the body. out of their way for not be the cornerIn a fetus, it begins stone of emotions, it others, physically beating at four weeks can be affected by after conception and feelings. Studies have speaking, a big will not stop until a shown that a “broken heart is unhealthy. heart” is a real occurperson’s time of death. Even then, sometimes rence, according to the heart can be revived. A heart can Live Science. Bad news or a breakup also continue to beat outside of the with a loved one can put a person body provided it has an adequate at increased risk for heart attack. This oxygen supply. type of trauma releases stress horAlthough many people refer to all mones into the body that can stun of the blood vessels in their body as the heart. Chest pain and shortness “veins,” they’re actually a combinaof breath ensue but can be remedied tion of veins and arteries. Veins carry after some rest. fresh, oxygenated blood to the body Conversely, laughter and positive through arteries. The main artery leav- feelings can be beneficial for the

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heart. Research has shown that a good laughing fit can cause the lining of the blood vessel walls — called the endothelium — to relax. This helps increase blood flow for up to 45 minutes afterward. Although having a big heart colloquially means that a person is loving and goes out of their way for others, physically speaking, a big heart is unhealthy. An enlarged heart can be a sign of heart disease and compromise the heart’s ability to pump blood effectively. Left untreated, it can lead to heart failure. There is good reason to get amorous with a loved one on Valentine’s Day or other times during the month.

Being intimate can provide a physical workout, in some instances doubling a person’s heart rate and burning up to 200 calories. That’s the equivalent of a brisk 15-minute run. Also, a study of 2,500 men aged 49 to 54 found having an orgasm at least three times a week can cut the likelihood of death from coronary disease in half, according to The New England Journal of Medicine. The heart is an amazing organ responsible for sustaining life. Although it is not directly tied to love and emotions, without the heart such feelings wouldn’t be possible. — Metro Creative

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How to make flossing easier for kids It is well known that a combination of brushing, flossing and periodic dental checkups are essential to oral health. Some parents teach their children to brush thoroughly early on, even taking them for dental visits at young ages so youngsters can become acclimated to the dentist’s office. But flossing is one component of oral hygiene that may be overlooked because many kids simply don’t enjoy it. Flossing is one of those tasks that people understand they must do regularly, but many still do not. According to Humana Dental, flossing cleans bacteria and trapped food from between the teeth. Brushing only reaches the surface of the teeth, but floss is required to get into the small crevices to prevent bacteria from turning into plaque buildup. The American Dental Association recommends flossing at least once per day. It is far better to floss once a day and do a thorough job rather than several times a day and miss areas of the mouth by doing it quickly. Children should be urged to floss regularly in addition to brushing. However, flossing can be cumbersome for youngsters who have yet to develop the dexterity needed to manipulate dental floss. There are many products available and techniques that can be used to assist children with cleaning between their teeth. The following are some flossing tips for kids. Begin the introduction to floss

early. The younger children are introduced to floss, the more likely they are to embrace flossing as part of their oral hygiene routine. Show visual proof of the benefits of flossing. Oftentimes, children are more likely to respond to something they can see. Show pictures of dental decay and what occurs when proper oral hygiene is not followed. This may help make the concept of flossing more attractive. Get the proper tools. Kids cannot floss unless they have floss products on hand. There are various age-appropriate flossers and types of dental floss available. Children may not be able to use dental floss properly because of a lack of dexterity. However, floss picks are much easier to hold and work between the teeth, particularly for kids with small hands. Floss should always be on hand, whether at home or when you go on vacation.

Benefits of flossing

Removing bacteria and trapped food from teeth has a number of ben-

Let kids choose. Take kids down the dental aisle at the store and let them pick and choose which products they want to use. They may be more excited to brush and floss if they’re using something they picked out themselves.


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Lead by example. Children will be more likely to floss if they see their parents flossing. That means adults should floss regularly and let their children watch and learn.

Dr. Marx provides excellent care for your entire family. Some of the services our office provides include: For Children: • Cleanings • Fillings • Sealants • Orthodontics For Adults: • Implants • Zoom Whitening • Lumineers • Invisalign • Crowns & Veneers in a Single Visit Dr. Marx uses the latest technology to make your visit pleasant. There is no need to make multiple appointments at multiple offices. For your convenience, we do it all in our office!


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efits. Bacteria can cause bad breath, but flossing and brushing helps to keep breath smelling fresh. Dirty teeth can lead to dental carries. Children may be more inclined to floss if they know they’ll be preventing cavities and avoiding potentially painful trips to the dentist. Plaque trapped between the teeth and along the gum line that leads to periodontal disease puts a person at a greater risk for heart disease. There are some studies that show bacteria from the mouth can end up in the bloodstream. Flossing is a necessary component of good oral hygiene. Everyone should floss, no matter their age, and children should begin flossing as soon as their mouth starts to fill out with pearly whites.

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Celebrate with kids in tow Romantic nights out on the town are how many couples celebrate Valentine’s Day. Restaurants and resorts book quickly come Valentine’s Day, while movie theaters tend to be packed as well. Even babysitters cash in come Feb. 14, as parents look to enjoy a romantic night away from the kids. Parents who do not secure a babysitter well in advance of the holiday will have to spend Valentine’s Day with kids in tow. Many parents actually prefer to spend Valentine’s Day with their children, and there are plenty of family-friendly activities to keep everyone occupied. Dessert spree — Valentine’s Day is the one day of the year to fully engage your sweet tooth. And what child doesn’t enjoy sampling plenty of sweet treats? Create a sundae station after dinner, complete with different flavors of ice cream and various toppings. Include mix-ins, like brownie bits or small chunks of cake. Everyone can create their own sundae, topped off with a cherry. This is also a time to experiment with dessert recipes. Bake and decorate heart-shaped cakes and cookies. Whip up healthy, pink-tinged strawberry-banana smoothies.The opportunities for fun with sweets are endless.

Although Valentine’s Day is billed as a day for couples, the entire family can still enjoy the day together

Get crafty — Families also can use this Valentine’s Day as a chance turn off their electronic devices and have fun with crafts and hobbies. While heartshaped paper crafts are requisite for the day, that doesn’t mean you need to be limited to all frilly creations. Boys can construct their own Cupid bows from twigs and some yarn. Everyone can whip up a batch of fizzing, scented bath salts. Homemade craft dough also makes for a fun project, and the dough can be turned into all different shapes.

your nearest movie quick-serve kiosk or purchase a movie through your cable service provider. Find family-friendly films with love and togetherness as the center theme.Then whip up a large bowl of popcorn, snuggle under the blankets and enjoy a movie marathon. Memory box — Purchase or find a wooden, plastic or metal box that will last for several years. Have all members of the family gather their favorite items or things that are sentimental to them and place them in the box.These can be ticket stubs, photographs, jewelry, or other trinkets. Place them in the box

and seal it. Agree not to open the box until next Valentine’s Day to see how the family has grown and evolved. Get planting — Valentine’s Day is frequently accompanied by bouquets of roses and other flowers. Begin a family tradition of planting flower seeds on Feb. 14. Use small pots that can be kept indoors in a bright window for a few weeks until the arrival of spring.Then transplant outdoors and continue to enjoy full-grown flowering plants for months to come. — Metro Creative

Fancy dinner at home — Who says you have to venture out for fine dining? Plan an intimate dinner right in your own dining room. Have the entire family dress up in semi-formal clothing and enjoy a candle-lit meal on fine china.The meal need not be fancy, as long as everyone enjoys what they are eating. Movie night — Rather than facing the crowds at area theaters, you can visit

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Healthier sweets for your

sweetheart Mouthwatering watermelon treats

It’s easy to share in the fun of Valentine’s Day by serving those you love sweet treats that are a healthier alternative to ordinary, heart-shaped confections. Forget the expensive flowers, wines and chocolates. To really show you care, be a cupid and give your sweetie healthy, delicious treats that feature juicy watermelon. Naturally dressed in the holiday’s hue of vibrant red, using this fabulous fruit in recipes adds color to the spread of any Valentine’s Day party, whether large or intimate.

For an elegant, upscale treat, serve Watermelon Petit Fours, which feature sweet watermelon, candied almonds and is topped with your favorite decadent frosting. Get the kids in the kitchen with Watermelon Cupcakes for a new take on the beloved classic. Served with pineapple cream cheese frosting, kids will love helping you decorate these darling delights. If you really want to make their hearts skip a beat, carve an adorable Lips and Love Basket. Fill it with all of your sweetie’s favorite fruits for a fresh, flavorful display they’ll devour in a heartbeat. Remember, nothing shows your love more than edible gifts crafted by hand. For more sweet ideas, visit

Bonus benefits

Your sweetie will love that they can indulge in the sweetness of the holiday without the guilt or inflated waistline caused by traditional Valentine’s Day treats. A naturally low-calorie option, watermelon also boasts the following benefits: Vitamin A: Known to enhance eye health and boost immunity by

actions of white blood cells.

Vitamin B6: Helps the immune system produce antibodies which fight diseases. Vitamin C: Boosts the immune system’s defenses against infections and viruses. It also protects the body from harmful free radicals which accelerate aging.

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Hearts love watermelon

Beyond adding color and variety to your family’s diet, watermelon has other great benefits. Here are a couple of these heart-healthy reasons: Fresh watermelon is certified by the American Heart Association’s Heart Checkmark program as being low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Watermelon is the primary source of an amino acid called citrulline found in fruits and vegetables. Citrulline can help maintain blood flow within the heart and cardiovascular function.

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Lips and Love Basket

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Watermelon Cupcakes Yield: 8 servings

1 to 2 long, oval-shaped seedless watermelons Cutting board Green dry erase marker Kitchen and paring knives Melon baller Assorted cookie cutters (X, O and heart shapes), if desired Wooden skewers Toothpicks Strawberries Fruits to make fruit salad filling Large bowl and spoon Wash watermelon under cool running water and pat dry. On cutting board, place watermelon on its side and cut off 1/4 to 1/2 inch from stem end being careful not to cut too deep into white part of rind to provide sturdy base. With marker, draw scalloped line around width of middle of watermelon. Use paring knife to cut along marker line, then separate the two halves. Use melon baller to scoop out watermelon for your base. Cut top half of watermelon in half and use dry erase marker to draw large set of lips on one half. Use paring knife to cut out lips. Once you have general shape, carefully carve away rind. Use paring knife to shape lips into more finished look. Cut remaining 1/4-inch-thick slices and cut hearts, X’s, O’s or other shapes, discarding rind. Attach lips to top of base using wooden skewers and toothpicks. Slice strawberries lengthwise into 1/4-inch slices, keeping strawberry tops on for decoration, if desired. Attach slice of strawberry with green top to center of each scallop using toothpick. Use rest of strawberry slices in fruit salad for fruit bowl. Place fruit bowl on serving platter, fill with fruit salad and garnish with slices of fruit cut into hearts, X’s and O’s, if desired.

8 cupcake liners 8 cupcake shaped pieces of seedless watermelon 2 cups pineapple cream cheese frosting Sprinkles for garnish Place liners in 8-cup cupcake tin. Cut 3-inch-thick slices of seedless watermelon. Cut round cupcake-sized pieces from slices. Put watermelon cupcake in each liner. Place dollop of frosting on each cupcake. Decorate as desired with sprinkles.

Watermelon Petit Fours Yield: 12 servings

12 (3-inch) cubes of seedless watermelon 3/4 cup frosting 12 candied almonds Sugar in the Raw, for sprinkling Arrange watermelon cubes on serving platter. Place frosting in zipper bag and trim off bit of one bottom corner. Decoratively pipe frosting onto each watermelon cube. Place almond at top of frosting on each petit four. Sprinkle with raw sugar and serve immediately. — Family Features

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FEBR UARY 6 , 2 014


Book Buzz: Bee Brave Life can present challenges, forcing us to “Bee Brave” in our attempts to achieve — whether it’s being a

champ in a competition, overcoming weakness in our minds or our bodies, or stepping bravely through doors with no idea what’s in store for us. Here’s hoping the characters in my February Picks inspire you to shake off the jitteries and forge ahead, even if your knees are quaking.

‘The Spelling Bee Before Recess’ by Deborah Lee Rose

‘To Dare Mighty Things, the Life of Theodore Roosevelt’ by Doreen Rappaport

There’s nothing like a spelling bee to bring you to your knees. It almost sinks Slugger, a boy who’s into baseball and facing the last hair-raising round of words in “The Spelling Bee Before Recess.” Each character in this fun read pops with personality thanks to the book’s illustrator, Carey F. Armstrong-Ellis. Told in rhyme parodying “The Night Before Christmas,” author Deborah Lee Rose introduces readers to a contest that goes down to the wire for Slugger and Ruby.“Word after word — we were in the ninth inning. One minute to recess and no one was winning.” With the finalists at an “impasse,” the principal comes up with a ploy, a way to decide the victor, fair to both girl and scared boy.The principal announces that Slugger and Ruby will “spell and tell” what the next word means. The outcome is frenzied, and rather than giving it away, suffice it to say, Slugger learned there’s more to life than spelling — the important thing is to read.

Sickly as a child,“Teedie,” as they called him, had grand dreams. Who would have thought this boy would become president of the United States? Putting aside his fears,Teddy Roosevelt charged ahead. The illustrious leader’s accomplishments are beautifully written about in “To Dare Mighty Things, the Life of Theodore Roosevelt,” by Doreen Rappaport, with illustrations by C.F. Payne. As a youngster, “Teedie” had lots of interests, his mind ever busy to grasp knowledge of birds, animals, plants — any information that books could impart. An avid reader and writer, Teddy Roosevelt didn’t let any grass grow under his feet. He is responsible for establishing five national parks, 18 national monuments, and lots of other parks, projects and preserves. But Roosevelt wasn’t only a conservationist. He also was the driving force behind the Panama Canal, led the Rough Riders in Cuba, established fair rules for business and became the “people’s president” demanding a “Square Deal for all Americans, rich and poor.” “Teedie” dared to dream. His legacy to Americans is honored in a book sure to be enjoyed by readers of all ages.

Reprinted with permission, Missourian Publishing.

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Hold on to your timepieces and prepare for an adventure featuring a Snow Queen and a boy banished to hundreds of years of captivity in a museum where children are turned into ghosts and wolves howl in the halls. Into this spooky setting steps an ordinary girl, Ophelia Jane Worthington-Whittard, the heroine of “Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy,” by Karen Foxlee. Eleven-year-old Ophelia doesn’t consider herself brave, but she is curious. And there’s plenty to wonder about in the museum where her father takes a job readying swords for an exhibition. Ophelia and her older sister Alice accompany him to the snowy, foreign city where they’re welcomed by Miss Kaminski, the museum’s curator, a comely lady with an aura of intrigue that puzzles Ophelia. More is revealed about Miss Kaminski as one door opens after another in the museum’s galleries, exposing Ophelia to dangers that test her mettle.The plucky heroine rises to each occasion in a story reminiscent of the best of classic fairy tales, a book destined to melt the coldest of hearts.


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‘Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy’ by Karen Foxlee

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Getting in the game Continued from Page 4 “Mom,” he said.“I think I want to try soccer. I’m really nervous about it. But I think it’s something I should do.” My heart leapt and I set down the shirt I’d been folding. “Really?” I said, looking him in the eye. “Are you sure?” “I’m sure,” he said, firmly. This from the boy who I peeled from my body the first day of preschool. From the child who used to suck his thumb to blisters in large crowds. From the kid who still clings to my leg when strangers approach. I rushed to sign him up. On the first day of practice, we gathered around the coaches. In moments, the anxiety became too much for him. He started to whimper. Then he started to cry. Then, pinning my legs together with his arms, he began full-on, obnoxious, bawling.

“I WANNA GO HOME!” He screamed. Other parents turned to stare. I felt like a disorganized mess of a mother who, alone with three children younger than 6, obviously couldn’t handle her stuff. I wanted to go home too. But we stayed. And I cajoled. It was an hour-long hell of crying, wheedling and disapproving glances. At the end, just to rub it in, the coach asked the mass of kids if they had a good time. “YES!” said every other normal, well-adjusted child. “NO!” yelled my son, clutching his soccer ball. After he cried on the bench throughout the first game, my husband and I decided that we wouldn’t let him quit. What would that teach him? But we weren’t going to coax him to play any more either.This was his deal and his alone. We asked the coach to leave us out of it. So every Saturday, the coach would kindly offer him the opportunity to play,

F eb r ua ry 6, 2014

over and over again. And every Saturday, we dutifully went out and watched our son not play soccer. Sometimes, when my husband was working, it was just me, corralling the kids and trying to ignore other parents who openly mocked my fearful child. At first, it was easier. I’d remind myself of all of his wonderful qualities and that, as a parent, my job was to accept him for who he is, not who I want him to be. Sometimes it was even cute how he’d describe being “this much” nervous at first, holding his little arms out wide, but that now he was only “this much” nervous, pulling them in little bit closer. But as the season wore on, I found it harder to hide my annoyance. That last morning, I was alone with the kids. I debated telling him that soccer was canceled, knowing that he’d look outside at the bright sunny day and know I was fibbing, but would go along with my lie anyway. But I couldn’t bring myself to do it and that made me even madder.

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We were all quiet on the drive to the soccer field; even my 1-year-old daughter felt the tension. He took his place on the bench. I took my place trying to keep my youngest child from darting on to the field. By the second half, I felt relieved.The embarrassment of having the one child who refused to play was nearly over. And we would never, ever have to do soccer again. From my patch of grass, I happened to glance over as the coach, once again, asked J if he’d like to play. Wait. Did he just nod? I watched my son rise to his feet. And step onto the field. At the last possible second, my son chose to play. He dribbled and blocked as though he’d been there all along, without a wisp of hesitation in his step. Back the car, I couldn’t help but ask him, excitedly,“So? What did you think?” “I LOVED it,” he responded, cheeks flushed. “Can we do it again?”


Northland Family — February 2014  
Northland Family — February 2014  

Read the February 2014 edition of Northland Family online exactly as it appears in print. Power your heart. Older & Better: Aging has its be...