Cooking is Cool with fruit burritos [A National Nutrition Month reminder]

March 25, 2015

March is coming to an end already, which means there is only about a week left of National Nutrition Month. However, the end of the month shouldn’t signal the end of healthy eating for you or the children in your care. So here are a few tips to keep you moving towards a healthy lifestyle.

  •  Focus on fruits and veggies. They should make up 2/3 of your plate at a meal
  • Choose items low in added sugars
  • Buy minimally processed forms of foods. For example, frozen berries instead of berry flavored fruit leather
  • Drink water – lots of water!
  • Eat together and when possible everyone at the table should eat the same thing.
  • Schedule meals and snacks at regular intervals. This helps maintain blood sugars (less grumpiness) and keeps everyone from getting too hungry or passing on healthy items

All of these little things will help you work towards the bigger goal of a healthy lifestyle. The other important thing you can do to help children learn about healthy eating early is to get them involved. Give children preparation tasks based on their age and skill, and let them observe what they can’t do themselves. Children will have the opportunity to learn about food preparation and cooking, and they are more likely to eat what they helped make.

Here is an easy and tasty option the kids can have their little hands on from start to finish!

Fruit burritosFruit Burritos

Ingredients:

1 banana, sliced

4 strawberries, sliced

1 peach, pitted, peeled, and sliced

1/4 cup fresh blueberries

1 10-inch flour tortilla

1 Tbsp cream cheese

1 Tbsp vanilla yogurt

Directions:

1. Slice bananas, strawberries, and the peach into small thin pieces, and set aside.

2. On a tortilla, spread approximately 1 Tbsp of cream cheese.

3. Place the sliced fruit and the whole blueberries down the center of the tortilla.

4. Drizzle 1 Tbsp of yogurt over the fruit.

5. Roll the tortilla burrito style. To shape the burrito, first fold the bottom edge of a softened tortilla up and over the filling. While holding the bottom of the tortilla over the filling, fold in the sides. Then, starting from the folded bottom edge, roll up the tortilla to encase the filling.

Makes 2 servings. Serving size 1/2 burrito.

Fun fact: The word burrito means “little donkey” in Spanish 

Recipe source: Cooking is Cool: Heat-Free Recipes for Kids to Cook by Marianne E. Dambra

Tips source: Rethinking Nutrition: Connecting Science and Practice in Early Childhood Settings by Susan Nitzke, PhD, RD;                          Dave Riley, PhD; Ann Ramminger, MS; and Georgine Jacobs, MS

Brain Awareness Week: Activities for toddlers’ growing brains

March 18, 2015

Happy brain awareness week!

Sometimes we forget that children’s brains are a work in progress. They do not think the same way as adults and we must foster their development as we help them grow and mature. In the early years a child’s brain is making trillions of connections between brain cells. Although they will build on these connections throughout the rest of their life, they will never be creating as many as they do in the first five years of life.

The experiences and interactions a child has in the early years form the basis for the initial burst in brain development. So how do you foster healthy brain development in your everyday interactions? And remember to keep your cool when it feels like you are speaking two different languages?

What follows are a few fun facts and ideas from Brain Insight Cards by Deborah McNelis.

From More to Do While I’m Two 

Read it again

What I see

Play is best

I'm not so terrible

From Play with Me While I’m Three

One for everyone

Find the color

I can help

The same or different

Help a little one grow into one smart kid with these “fun and loving brain development activities”!

What’s inside that veggie?: A discovery activity for children

March 11, 2015

As spring finally arrives and we see green begin to sprout, our minds turn to flowers, gardens, and time outdoors. Since March is also National Nutrition Month it is a great time to combine learning about gardening and fresh fruits and veggies.

What child isn’t curious about what is on the inside? That hidden part they can’t see.

This activity from Gardening with Young Children is the perfect way to introduce children to produce they might be unfamiliar with and teach them some of the basics of how plants grow.

Have fun and get a little dirty! What's Inside

What’s Inside?

Concepts               

•   Fruits and vegetables are made up of different parts.

•   Many fruits and vegetables have seeds on the inside.

•   Seeds come in many different sizes, shapes, and textures.

Materials               

two or three kinds of fruits or vegetables with seeds

knife

trays on which to explore produce and seeds

Description            

1.   Set out the fruits or vegetables on the table. Engage the children in a discussion about what they know about the produce so far.

 2.  Discuss what the children know about seeds. Did they plant seeds in their garden? Where do they think those seeds came from? What do they think they will find if they cut the fruits/vegetables open?

  3.  Cut the fruits/vegetables. If the produce is soft enough, the children can cut it themselves with table knives. If the produce is large or hard, the adult should use a sharp knife to cut it. Encourage the children to observe the seeds. How are the seeds alike? How are they different? What words could you use to describe the seeds?

Extensions             

•   Cut open a large fruit, such as a birdhouse gourd or swan neck gourd. For this task, the children can use woodworking tools, such as a hammer. Be sure they wear goggles while attempting to open the gourd. They will first make a small hole in the gourd, and further work with the hammer should make the hole bigger. Soon they should be able to get seeds and pulp out of the gourd.

•   If you have seed packets, compare the seeds the children find in the fruits and vegetables with the seeds in the packets for those plants. Are they similar?

You can find more fun gardening activities in Gardening with Young Children by Sara Starbuck, Marla Olthof, and Karen Midden.

Enjoy spring!

From the Redleaf Kitchen: Zucchini-Oatmeal Cookies

March 4, 2015

Happy National Nutrition Month!

Good nutrition is important year round, but this month is a great time of year for a little reminder to eat healthy. After spending all winter cooped up and all of the holidays eating treats and comfort food it is time to get back to treating our bodies right. This month is a great time to introduce and reinforce healthy habits in children as well. As an early childhood professional you play an important role in helping children establish nutritious eating habits for life. You serve as a role model of healthy habits and provide them the information they need to begin understanding how to live a healthy life.

Helping children learn healthy eating habits should be fun and tasty for everyone involved, so we wanted to share this veggie packed treat to get you started . . .

zucchini oatmeal cookies

Zucchini-Oatmeal Cookies

From the Early Sprouts Cookbook

Whole grain flour and oats, canola oil, and zucchini make these cookies a healthy variation of a favorite snack. 

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour

2 cups rolled oats

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup canola oil

2 Tablespoons low-fat plain yogurt

1 cup brown sugar

2 large eggs

2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini

3/4 cup dried cranberries (optional)

Nonstick cooking spray

Procedure

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. In large bowl, combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Stir until evenly combined.

3. In medium bowl, combine oil, yogurt, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk until well combined. Then gently fold in shredded zucchini.

4. Create well in middle of dry ingredients and slowly add wet ingredients. Stir until evenly combined. If using, gently fold in dried cranberries.

5. Lightly coat cookie sheets with cooking spray.

6. Drop dough onto cookie sheets, using teaspoon. Space cookies about 2 inches apart, making 20 cookies.

7. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

8. Allow to cool and enjoy.

Yield: 20 cookies

Nutrition information

Serving size: 1 cookie

Per serving: 150 calories, 4 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 20 mg cholesterol, 27 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 14 g sugars, 3 g protein, and 30 mg sodium

Fun fact: The word cookie comes from an old Dutch word meaning “little cake”

Enjoy your delicious and nutritious cookies!

Giants in the Nursery: A game of who said it

February 25, 2015

David Elkind’s new book, Giants in the Nursery, tells the stories of the “giants” of early childhood education. These brilliant men and women helped create the theories and advance the ideas that are now know as DAP: Developmentally Appropriate Practice.

This new book brings the history of the giants and DAP to life in a way that shows the thread of historical and conceptual continuity that is often overlooked when discussing the individual schools of practice. It is a fascinating look at how we got from the concept of education as only males learning reading, writing, math, singing and culture, to Maria Montessori’s fight against sexism to become the first female physician in Italy, to the idea of child psychology and development as a field of practice.

From their hardships and wisdom came several gems of inspiration. Can you guess who said each one?

Giants in the Nursery

“The improvement of understanding is for two ends: first, our own increase of knowledge; secondly, to enable us to deliver that knowledge to others.”

  Heinrich Pestalozzi – Fredrick Froebel – John Locke

“Receive the children in reverence; education them in love; let them go forth in freedom.”

Rudolf Steiner  –  Erik Erikson  –  Jean Jacques Rousseau

“A child’s play is not simply a reproduction of what he has experienced, but a creative reworking of the impressions he has acquired.”

Jean Piaget  –  Maria Montesorri  –  Lev Vygotsky

“There is in every child at every stage a new miracle of vigorous unfolding, which constitutes a new hope and a new responsibility to all.”

 Fredrick Froebel  –  Erik Erikson  –  Sigmund Freud

Find out the correct answers and see even more words of wisdom on our Pinterest Wise Words board!

The STEM series: Introduction to basics

February 11, 2015

s.t.e.m. ICONWe’ve been hearing from our readers and educators about how much they love STEM and are trying to incorporate it into their classrooms and lessons. The four STEM disciplines are often considered staples in elementary, middle, and high school curriculum, but the early years are a great time to introduce children to the exciting world of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Young children have a natural sense of curiosity. They build knowledge of the world as they explore and experiment.

We recently talked with Sally Moomaw, EdD, who has dedicated much of her research and work to STEM education. She’s the author of Teaching STEM in the Early Years which provides more than 85 engaging, developmentally appropriate activities to maximize children’s learning in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

To help students connect math and science to other contexts in their world Dr. Moomaw believes you should keep four teaching practices in mind as you build your curriculum.

  1. Intentional teaching: Always keep math and science goals in mind when designing activities and curriculum.
  2. Teach for understanding: Learning isn’t about reciting rules from memory. You want students to understand the concepts and connect them to real world experiences.
  3. Encourage inquiry: Math and science are subjects built on asking questions, hypothesizing, and recognizing the relationships. Make children comfortable exploring and questioning.
  4. Provide real-world contexts: Children can understand even complex ideas when you connect them to their real life. Turn trips outside into science lessons or blocks into an engineering lesson. They want to understand their world you just have to help them make the connections.

With these principles in mind, Dr. Moomaw shared three tips that you can use to help create a more STEM-friendly learning environment.

  1. Try to make every moment a STEM learning opportunity. No matter where you are in the classroom, there is an opportunity to focus children’s attention on something interesting related to math or science.
  2. Follow children’s ideas. If your goal was to plant seeds but children suddenly become fascinated with earthworms, follow their lead.
  3. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge what you don’t know. Teachers and children can and should be co-investigators.

Each month we will be sharing a STEM activity as part of our STEM series to get you inspired for activities in your own room.

Tell us: What do you want to like about STEM? How do you already use it in your classroom?

Qualities of leadership: Inspiration and ideas

February 5, 2015

Did you set New Year’s resolutions? Have you already broken them? This time of year seems to be the time to evaluate our values and who we want to be in this New Year. Many of us have a desire to make a difference, connect more deeply, and invest in a better future by becoming a better leader.

Maurice Sykes, educator and author, has been in the same place and taken the journey to being a leader and is inspiring others to do the same. As Maurice says:

We each are a composite of what we believe, how we understand things, and the actions we take. As a leader, it is critical that your core values – your guiding principles – inform your leadership beliefs, thoughts, and actions.

Everyone has a core set of values. It is important for you to identify and articulate your core values to yourself and be aware of how they influence your thoughts words, and deeds.

Doing the Right Thing for Children: Eight Qualities of Leadership  

So what are your core values and where are they leading you? If you aren’t sure yet or need a place to start, here are Maurice’s recommendation:

  1. Belief in human potential: Recognize potential in others, both children and adults. Believe that there are no limits to a person’s potential with the right coaching, mentoring, and support. Have your eyes open to spot the hidden gifts inside others and nurture them into greatness.
  2. A love for knowledge: Have a hunger for knowledge and curiosity about a wide range of subjects. Desire to know           more. Knowledge helps you understand the world around you, but also creates the self-knowledge needed to build       strong relationships.
  3. Belief in social justice: “Be a mediator between the circumstances where one starts in life and where one ends”             (Sykes,14). Believe in equality and strive to create a place where everyone can have a voice.
  4. Competence: Take your knowledge and put it into action. Have the confidence in your own potential and knowledge     to create action towards goals that serve a greater good.
  5. Have fun: Lead with energy and enthusiasm and always remember to practice humility. As Maurice says “a broken spirit cannot lift another broken spirit”. Work should be fun and enjoyable; if it isn’t is it really worth doing? Value play not only for the children you work with, but for yourself and the adults in your life.
  6. Practice personal renewal: If you are worn out you cannot be effective at anything. Understand your own need for renewal physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually through simple enjoyment. Step away from time to time so you can bring your full self when you return.
  7. Believe in perseverance: Success rarely comes quickly and easily. If you have long-term goals you know you will face bumps in the road. Don’t’ give up and keep the vision of your goal in mind. The journey may not always be easy, but you will learn and grow as you go.
  8. Have courage: Know the mission and be willing to take bold steps for that purpose. There will be tough choices and you must be able to face them head on; even when that means taking responsibility for your actions.

You can find out more about these eight qualities and how to develop habits for becoming a better leader in Maurice Sykes’ new book Doing the Right Thing for Children. We are inspired to be better for ourselves and for those around us . . . what are you inspired to do?

Evaluating and Supporting Early Childhood Teachers: A conversation with Angele Sancho Passe

January 28, 2015

Teacher evaluation is a hot topic right now with many districts revamping their process. Author Angele Sancho Passe had perfect timing on her new book, Evaluating and Supporting Early Childhood Teachers, where she covers the topic in depth. Angele recently talked with us about her new book and where she hopes the teacher evaluation conversation leads. Below you can learn more about evaluations and Angele’s insights as she shares some of her advice for making the process a helpful and supportive experience.

paper and pencilWhy were you inspired to address the topic of teacher evaluations?

In this age of accountability it seemed that the topic was becoming urgent. I am concerned that the ideas we have about teacher evaluation are confusing. They are simplistic. We focus only on children’s test scores to determine if the teacher is good or bad without affirming what the teacher does well, or making a plan for what needs to improve. Or, we only look at what the teacher does (the act of teaching) but not what the children are learning (the results of teaching). If the children do not learn well, they tend to be blamed for not being teachable, and teachers do not get good support to teach better.

I have been a teacher being evaluated, as well as an administrator evaluating teachers. And I could analyze what made a good –or not so good- evaluation. Good evaluations affirm the value of the teacher and help teachers see how to modify their teaching to improve children’s learning.

In early education, we have spent a lot of time thinking about assessing children, with many good guidelines on how to do it well, with sensitivity. Yet we have not paid attention to how we are evaluating teachers. For children, we think of a process that helps them grow. For teachers, we often ignore problems and tolerate ineffective teaching without any support. This hurts both teachers and children, and the reputation of education in general.

paper and pencilShould evaluation be viewed more as quality improvement instead of judgment?

The title of the book is “evaluating and supporting early teachers”. Support is the most important part. It is necessary to prevent problems, and also to correct problems. So evaluation is part of support, it is not judgment without purpose. Evaluation is the vehicle to improve quality.

paper and pencilHow do you think teachers create this support/evaluation system for themselves and their co-workers?

If there is no evaluation plan in the program or school, I would recommend to teachers that they design one and propose it to administrators. First, to identify what is going well. Second to identify what could be better. The book has lots of practical ideas to do that.

paper and pencilAs teacher evaluations undergo changes across the country do you have any tips for teachers to take an active role in evaluations?

Yes, teachers need to know the tools that are used to evaluate them. These tools spell out what teachers are responsible for, whether they are a validated instrument, like the CLASS ™ or a site based checklist. When I work with teachers, I always ask them to self-evaluate first, and rate themselves. Every time I find that the teacher and I agree on most items. That makes it a lot easier to have a professional conversation. Teachers are very aware of their strengths and needs for improvement when they take time to reflect.

paper and pencilThis book was written more for the leaders who will be doing the evaluating, but what do you feel those being evaluated should know?

They need to know what they are being evaluated on. As I say in the book, there are three areas: the acts of teaching (what the teacher does- curriculum, instruction, classroom management, communication), the results of teaching (what the children have learned – academics and behaviors-), and the professional behaviors (how the teacher acts as a professional). These three aspects encompass the whole job of teaching. Recently, a director told me “Teacher B. is so good when she is here, but she is often absent”. The director did not know what to do. I recommended a full evaluation because teacher B. needs support and guidance. Regular attendance (professional behavior) is critical to being a good teacher. We need to see – with Ms. B- how her absenteeism affects the curriculum, and what the children are learning. Can the children learn as much when she is absent? This discussion will be necessary.

paper and pencilDo you feel this book could be helpful for teachers who are not currently in a leadership position? If so what do you hope they would get from the narrative?

Teachers who are not in leadership position can assess the quality of support in their center or school with the ideas in chapter 1 that define evaluation and support. The ideas in chapter 2 describe a caring community of workers. As they read and do the checklists, they may find that best practices for evaluation and support are indeed happening at their school. But if they are not, the checklists will provide a helpful conversation starter. And I know the conversations will lead to solutions.

paper and pencilYou note in the book “to find the value of” is a definition of evaluation and the teachers must find their own value and nurture it for evaluation programs to be successful. How do you recommend they do this from a professional standpoint?

It is very important that teachers assess their own teaching always with the three aspects in mind: acts of teaching, results of teaching, professional behaviors. Teaching is complex, but we can picture a good teacher. She is well prepared, has an orderly classroom, a good curriculum, and interesting activities. She knows what the children need to learn, and the children do make progress. She gets help from others to teach children who need extra support. She is reliable, and gets along with colleagues and parents. We must think of all these characteristics as skills, not just personal traits. It is difficult to effect personal traits, but skills are learned and can be refined and improved. To me, that’s a hopeful notion. Teachers can use the checklists in chapter 3 to self-assess, and think of what skills they already have and what skills they should improve. That’s part of professional growth, just like athletes or musicians who continue to practice and analyze certain techniques to refine their skills.

paper and pencilAre there any questions or topics teachers can bring up to their leadership to see if there is quality evaluation process in place?

The guiding principles in chapter 1 are a good place to start. Questions might include: Is our center or school a caring community of workers? What is in place to enhance our professional competence? Are we getting appropriate direction and support? Do we believe our skills are assessed fairly, and what is in place to help us grow? What are the opportunities for involvement in the field of early childhood education? The checklists on pages 12-13 are designed as a discussion starter.

You can find out more about building a positive evaluation system in Angele’s new book, Evaluating and Supporting Early Childhood Teachers, out now!

Let us know if you have any questions about evaluations or anything else. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below. 

Guest Post: Reflections on Spanking by Tamar Jacobson, PhD

November 24, 2014

specialguestbloggerWe’re delighted to welcome back guest blogger Tamar Jacobson. She is sharing her thoughts and reflections on the use of spanking when caring for children. 

In addition to writing “Don’t Get So Upset!” Help Young Children Manage Their Feelings by Understanding Your Own and editing Perspectives on Gender in Early Childhood, both published by Redleaf Press, Dr. Jacobson is professor, chair of the Department of Teacher Educator, and director of the Early Childhood Education Program at Rider University in New Jersey. She is also a frequent and popular presenter at international, national, regional, and state conferences and workshops on a variety of topics—and the recipient of the 2013 National Association for Early Childhood Teacher Educators (NAECTE) Outstanding Early Childhood Teacher Educator Award.

Jacobson.TamarI once bought a bumper sticker for my car that said: “It is never okay to hit a child.” The person I bought it from liked it, not only because it reminded adults about how to care for children, but most especially because children reading it would realize that someone out there was on their side! John Bradshaw, in his 1990 book Homecoming: Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child, described how a child might feel when we spank them. He wrote, “Imagine how you would feel if your best friend walked over and slapped you.” In 2005 in a book titled Scolding: Why it Hurts More than it Helps, studying childcare across the United States, Denmark, China, and Japan, Sigsgaard wrote about why adults scold children. One of the reasons was simply: Because the adults themselves were spanked or scolded as children.

I understand that many parents, who use spanking as a strategy, believe they are providing guidance, like they received from their parents when they were children. They believe that it works. And in the short term it does seem that way.

However, whatever the intention, the outcome is for the child to fear power. Spanking serves no other purpose than to show a child who has the power. It is the stuff of control and dominance. And it models the same. That is why most children who were spanked or beaten grow up to be adults who spank or beat their own children. Children need adults for their survival –to guide them with kindness and compassion so that they will grow to be humane. Most of us filter our ideas and strategies about disciplining young children through our earliest emotional memories of punishment. I wonder why we hurt children to teach them.

I once read a saying somewhere that said, “Treat children as you would a guest in your house.” Think about that for a moment. If a guest in your house checked out your newest vase, would you head over and slap them, yelling at them not to touch it, not to break it? And yet, that is exactly what many of us do to our children.

Spanking violates a child’s sense of self. If we want to teach children to value and respect others, we have to model that same kind of behavior in our interactions with them. Naturally, this is very difficult to do if all we remember is being slapped and violated ourselves. If we remember that love came with a healthy dose of physical or emotional pain and humiliation, we will find it difficult to interpret love any other way. Being cruel to be kind is one of the most confusing messages we can give to a young child. Indeed, it makes no sense. Being compassionate to be kind is so much clearer. We can set boundaries in a way that helps children understand how to behave in a democratic society. But never through spanking.

For, indeed, it is never okay to hit a child!

Share Your Stories! Contribute to Holly Elissa Bruno’s Next Book: Post 16

October 21, 2014

blog icon

In her latest Share Your Stories post, Holly Elissa Bruno reflects on the controlling grasp of fear. Join in the conversation with Holly Elissa as you think about the latest news headline, Ebola, and how fear can alert yet blind us. 

Should I go to Dallas? Would you?

Thousands of eager and spirited early childhood professionals convene annually for a friendly, often crowded, bustling and eventful professional conference, sponsored by NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children). We fly in from around the country (and the world), riding shoulder to shoulder in trains, shuttles, taxis and cars. For four days, we interact, hug and sometimes sneeze, primarily in public spaces.

In our field, we share. We share rooms, cabs, meals, and intimate conversations. We are literally a touching profession.

This year, beginning November 4, our annual conference is slated for the Dallas Convention Center. When you think of Dallas, does either the Dallas Cowboy football team or a soap opera about rich Texans come to mind?

Not likely. We think instead of Thomas Eric Duncan who died from the Ebola virus at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. We think instead of Mr. Duncan’s two nurses, Nina Pham and Amber Vinson, who now suffer from the Ebola virus. We can picture the deeply mourning countenance of Mr. Duncan’s mother, Nowai Gartay, in Salisbury, North Carolina.

Photo Credit: johavel/iStock/ThinkStock

Photo Credit: johavel/iStock/ThinkStock

Newscasters tell us that an elementary school teacher in Maine, who attended another conference for educators (at a venue 9.5 miles from Mr. Duncan’s hospital) has been placed on a 21-day leave due to “parents’ concerns”. Middle school students in Mississippi were pulled out of their classes because their principal had visited Zambia. Zambia is 3000 miles away from the Ebola outbreak in Africa. As I wait for my car to be serviced in Auburn, MA, I ask an employee: “What’s your take on the Ebola situation?” As soon as she finishes telling me how afraid she is, she decides to wipe down everything around her with disinfectant.

Should I go to Dallas for the NAEYC conference? Would you go?

NAEYC assures us that health precautions will be “heightened” to keep us safe.

Fight, flight or freeze: These are our usual human responses to danger. We dig in our heels and crouch for a fight. We turn and sprint for the hills. Or we hold our breath and hope to fade into invisibility. When the bear lumbers out of the forest toward us or the guard dog snarls and growls, we seek safety.

More than anything, we want to survive and we want danger to go away. When threatened, we can’t think clearly. Our system, under the command of the protective amygdala gland, throbs with adrenalin and cortisol. If we speak, we might say something we may later regret. If we make decisions, those decisions are not likely to be reasoned.

In short, we are rarely philosophical when we are terrified. Regaining perspective takes muscular effort. Because our core commitment in early childhood is “Do no harm”, we devote ourselves to protecting children. Even if we don’t fear for ourselves, we may question whether our being in Dallas will put the children in our care in danger.

Fear spreads faster than Ebola. When I mentioned that I flew through Dallas a few weeks ago, the person with whom I spoke backed away. Approximately 5 million people fly through Dallas each month. In fact, the entire population of Dallas would be quarantined if we all followed the standard used by that one Maine school system.

Photo Credit: Ralwel/iStock/ThinkStock

Photo Credit: Ralwel/iStock/ThinkStock

As with the Black Plague and the AIDS epidemic, fear touches everyone. Ask anyone around you about the “Ebola threat”. No one has been untouched.

What we need more than anything else is accurate, useful data: Will going to Dallas put me in danger? What kind of danger? If I go to Dallas, will I in turn put anyone else in danger? What can I do to remain safe and virus-free if I travel to Dallas?

Consider these facts which have been obscured by fear:

  • Dozens of people in Dallas have completed the 21 day quarantine. They are not infected.
  • The World Health Organization declared that Nigeria is free of the Ebola virus. No new cases have been reported in over 40 days. Ebola can be contained.
  • Theresa Romero (in Spain), the 1st person to develop Ebola outside of Africa (from missionaries who had been in Africa) has survived her bout with the illness.
  • The health worker who quarantined herself on board the “Ebola cruise” has tested negative for the virus.

Will I go to Dallas? Yes. Will I give my 3 presentations? Yes. Will I enjoy connecting with old friends and making new friends? Yes. Will we hug one another? Probably. Will I go out of my way to wash/sanitize my hands? Call me crazy; but, I am likely to keep doing what I already do, use common sense, and use hand sanitizer before I eat a meal.

Would you go to Dallas? What facts would help you make that decision? If fear has ever controlled your life, how did you reclaim your peace of mind?

When we are overtaken by fear, we can’t examine the facts and reflect on our options. Fear can both alert us and blind us.

At best, fear can offer us a second chance to research, to learn, and to make informed decisions. I am not fearful of contracting Ebola in Dallas. I intend to enjoy the conference and my colleagues. I do, however, fear for the children of Liberia and Sierra Leone who will continue to suffer until systems and resources can be put in place to protect them.

BY LEAVING A COMMENT, I hereby give my permission to Redleaf Press to use my story and quote me (all names will be changed) in Holly Elissa Bruno’s upcoming book on second chances, including in all revised editions of the book, in all formats (including print and electronic) now known or developed in the future, in all languages and territories, and in any other subsidiary editions of the book, and in promotional materials published by Redleaf Press, as it sees fit.

 


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