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Tag Archive | "children"

Why we need children


Courtland-OakfieldUMCPastor Robert Eckert

Courtland-Oakfield United Methodist Church

10295 Myers Lake Ave., Rockford

 

Among the first stories you’ll come across if you read a Bible from the beginning concerns a man named Abraham and his wife, Sarah. Part of their story is a promise God makes to them that they will be the matriarch and patriarch of an entire nation. “I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore,” God says in the story.

However, at age 100 and 90, respectively, Abraham and Sarah are skeptical; in fact, they fall down laughing. But in this tale what is impossible for mortals turns out to be possible for God who does just as God promised. Sarah conceives and bears a son and celebrates his birth with a different kind of laughter: “Sarah said, ‘God has given me laughter. Everyone who hears about it will laugh with me.’”

We all know how an infant’s coo or a child’s smile can soften the hardest heart. But children mean more to our world than sentimental warm fuzzies. Children are the counterbalance to disappointment, cynicism, and regret. Unfortunately, the scales tip disproportionately toward pessimism when the seniors outweigh the juniors, a trend we have seen in this country, as the baby boom, following World War II, with its average of 25 births per 1,000 population between 1945 and 1959, tapered off to 16 or fewer births per 1,000 population since 1972 (http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0005067.html).

I’m not maligning folks at the upper end of the age continuum, I just turned 60 myself, but when a person can reasonably conclude that he/she is somewhere in the final 25 percent of his/her life, impending loss produces grief; grief breeds anger and depression; and the anger and depression of unmet expectations and unfulfilled goals is frequently expressed in variations of the lament that everything is worse than it ever was and the country is going to hell.

When one of my now adult sons was a child, there was a day he went to great lengths to turn his bedroom into a mini-theater, created and gave tickets to his parents and brothers, and put on a one-boy show. It was delightful. God gave me the gift of laughter and with it reasons to be optimistic and joyful. Recently his young son, with sword in hand, announced, “I’m a pirate; I’m here to steal your golden balloons!” It was another gift of laughter; another reason to hold on to hope.

Children give all of us a reason for living, a reason for being productive, honorable, charitable, and faithful. But, please don’t read anything into this from your own perspective on the several issues that fall under that nebulous heading of “family values.” I’m not making a political statement here. And please don’t take offense; it is not my intent to disrespect anyone who is uninterested in having children nor to be insensitive to anyone unable to have children.

It’s just that I was listening to the news on my car radio today, wondering whether everything is worse than it ever was, when I caught the smile on the face of the girl in the car next to me as she waved and giggled with the child in the seat beside her and found myself thinking, “along with fresh air and clean water, we desperately need children.”

 

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Kent County excels in flu vaccinations for kids


Children rank tops in state – Vaccinations are currently available

Have you received your vaccination against the flu yet? Mid-season estimates released today by the Michigan Department of Community Health suggest that Kent County residents are doing very well in getting children vaccinated this year.  Children in Kent County have the best flu vaccination rate in the state: 30% under 18 have received their vaccinations.  Here’s a look at where Kent County children stand:
6 months through 4 years      44.4%    Second highest in state   (Ottawa Co. – 46.3%)
5-12 years of age     30.9%    Third highest in state (Marquette County – 33.7%)
13-18 years of age    16.7%    Highest in state

While influenza activity for the 2011-12 flu season is just starting to be diagnosed, now is an ideal time to vaccinate. “You should note that the vaccination can take about two weeks to become effective,” says Cathy Raevsky, Administrative Health Officer for the Kent County Health Department. “Flu vaccines for children and adults are safe, and we have plenty of injection and nasal mist available right now.” Kent County adults rank 8th in the state for flu vaccinations at 13 percent.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say last year’s flu season led to 115 laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated pediatric deaths. Six were Michigan children. More than half (51.2 percent) of Michigan children 6 months through 4 years were vaccinated against influenza last flu season; that ranks our state 45th in the nation. The national flu vaccine average level for children in that age group was 63.6 percent.
Signs and symptoms of flu include fever (or feeling feverish/chills), cough and/or sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue (very tired), vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults).  Not everyone with flu will have a fever, or experience all of the symptoms.
Be sure to check out the Kent County Health Department website, “Stick it to the Flu” at http://www.stickittotheflu.com/ to learn more about flu vaccinations, prevention tips and treatment, or call (616) 632-7200 to make an appointment.

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Fun holiday activities to do with kids


(StatePoint) The holidays are a time for family and friends, new traditions and old. And many parents may look forward to the school break as a time to bond with their children.
It’s also important that children engage in some educational activities over the holidays, especially those that continue to develop reading and math skills.
“Take advantage of the break from your regular routines to show your children how learning is an everyday activity,” says Emily Kirkpatrick, vice president of National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL). “The days leading up to the holidays are an exciting time, and many children are thrilled to do something new.”
Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle, here are some fun holiday activities to do with kids:
• Read Holiday Stories: In the weeks before the holidays, gather your family’s favorite holiday books and read one story or chapter together nightly. Have children participate in following along, turning pages and by asking them questions about the story. Reading the characters in funny voices and acting out the stories can help even the biggest Grinch warm to reading.
• Learn Fun Facts: Do you know why all snowflakes are different? Or why we make New Year’s resolutions? If you don’t, finding out the answers can be fun with your child. Educational websites like Wonderopolis.org, created by the NCFL, lets parents and children explore short videos that explain the answers to many trivia questions — including why people kiss under mistletoe!
• Make Holiday Cards: Have kids make a list of recipients. Then help them write holiday messages and decorate holiday cards before mailing them. If kids are too little to write a message, have them help you create one and then sign their names or add drawings. Grandparents will appreciate these more than store-bought cards.
• Volunteer Together: Whether it’s in your local soup kitchen or hospital, the holidays are a great time to teach kids about the importance of volunteering and spreading joy. If you think it might be difficult for your family to spend a day with strangers, consider baking cookies or a cake for an elderly neighbor or relative. Have kids read recipes, measure ingredients and keep things organized. This helps develop reading, counting and organizational skills while sharing.
• Track Santa: Not all traditions have to be traditional. If your children feel more comfortable in front of a computer than in the kitchen, use that to your advantage when considering new family holiday activities. For example, starting each December, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) “tracks” Santa’s movements at www.noradsanta.org. Children and adults alike are sure to get a kick out of it.
Remember, the memories you make now will stay with your children for a lifetime.
For more ideas for fun activities for kids, visit www.wonderopolis.org.

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Shoe box gifts


Cedar Springs High School Student Volunteers
Invite you to Create

SHOE BOX GIFTS

HELP A SENIOR CITIZEN OR CHILD IN NEED

CREATE A SHOE BOX GIFT

* Wrap an Empty Shoe Box – Lid separately
* Fill the box with NEW toys, candy, personal items for a boy/girl or Senior Neighbor
* Label the box by age & gender

DONATE ITEMS

* Personal Care:  tooth brush/paste, shampoo, Bar soap, (travel sizes from hotels/motels)
* Hard Candy – extra Halloween candy
* Small toys, school & crafts supplies
* Single-serve snacks, coffee, tea bags

Senior Gifts will be delivered in the local community via North Kent Community Service/Senior Meals and throughout the world to needy Children by Samaritans Purse International Relief.

Shoe Box and Item DONATIONS accepted through Nov. 14th

Contact the CSHS Community Service office
@ 696-1200 x 1438 for more information

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