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Newsletter Vol. # 25 That's how I see it

Hello and welcome to this week's newsletter

What you'll find in this weeks newsletter: a continued theme for Unsupervised Play for kids; lets support our local golf courses because Golf-Is Not Just a Game; how about some interesting facts about our earth; the Peanut Butter - Almond Butter war is heating up; and a golf joke (I hope).

Unsupervised Play

In a previous newsletter I talked about how things have changed for kids in that they are no longer allowed to freely roam and explore their community, to play on their own or go downtown on their own (I remember traveling to the YMCA on the bus at age nine-different world).

Mariana Brussoni, and injury prevention expert has a lot to say on this topic.

Letting children slip the leash and engage in risky out door play offers huge benefits to their physical, emotional and social health. Overprotective parents and tediously safe playgrounds contribute to a decline in rough-and-tumble play and a generation of sedentary children.

We have this growing movement to what I call anxiety-based caregiving- where decisions about childhood and what children need are made based on anxiety, rather than stepping back a bit and considering what might be best for child development. "Be careful!" "Get down" "Watch out!" Those are things that are based on anxiety. What the child hears when you're saying those things is "The world is a dangerous place. You don't trust me to navigate that world. I need you to take care of me; I can't be independent myself."

Kids have never been safer that they are right. When I talked to parents, they are afraid of injuries in general, but there are two things that overwhelm them. One is kidnapping- "stranger danger." Kidnappings do happen, but kids are being kidnapped by people they know. The chance that a stranger will kidnap a child is about one in fourteen million.

The other fear parents have is their child being hit by a car. Parents have a right to be afraid of motor vehicles, as they are the leading cause of death for children. But what parents don't realize is that it's kids in cars, not kids outside of cars that are getting injured/killed. A child is eight times more likely to get seriously injured in a car then outside of it. Parents in an effort to keep children safe are driving them around from one supervised activity to another, not realizing that they're actually putting them in more danger that way.

What influences parents is the research showing how a lack of ability to take risks affects their child's development, health and well-being. The studies showed that as physical activity increased, sedentary behaviour decreased and social health and behaviour increased. There were no adverse effects in engaging in risky out door play. In fact, additional benefits included: increased conflict resolution skills and better negotiating decisions about substance abuse and sexual behaviour. So then, how is risky outdoor play connected to the above-mentioned skill sets?

In supervised activities, there's somebody else guiding the activities; they don't have to set the goals for what they want to do and how they want to engage in it. When they're out in the neighbourhood, they're deciding. "Let's built a fort. Let's play prisoner. Let's play capture the flag." They're negotiating back and forth to decide what the rules will be, how it's going to work, whose going to do what. There's a lot more opportunity to develop those social skills.

We give kids too little credit. If you just button your lips and let them get on with it, they actually are really good at figuring out their limits. They're also really good at figuring out other's limits, and keeping each other within reasonable safety.

As for playgrounds, let me say they become so safe they bore kids to tears. When you put a piece of fixed equipment and a playground, the affordances are very limited, and they become even more limited when supervising adults get in the way I tell you, "You can't climb up the slide; you have to slide down. And you have to slide on your butt." The playgrounds are really limited because they are fixed structures. What's really important in playgrounds is to provide malleable materials that kids can manipulate.
Ken MacQueen, MacLean's

So why are we building play spaces kids don't actually reflect what kids like to do and what is best for the child's development and health? I believe it is to satisfy the anxious, stressed-out and fearful parents--let's make
          everything safe and sterile, so that nobody gets hurt because
             I don't have time to deal with that and I certainly don't
                    want my family on the 6 o'clock news.

Golf-Not Just a Game!

There has been a lot of controversy in the last year or two regarding city golf courses and whether they should be tendered out, kept in-house or turned into condos.

I make two suggestions that aren't necessarily new, and probably not even mine. Suggestion one: --city golf courses should get the same respect and consideration as the "Arts" do. I am an avid supporter of the arts and would want them to continue receiving financial support from the city-I want them to exist and keep on providing their unique contribution to our "quality of life" as a Winnipegger and Manitoba. In the same way I want sports, including golf to receive support and not to have to be concerned that they have to make big money or be closed. However, I do believe that if you if you allowed the city run golf facilities to operate independently they would generate revenue. And if allowed to invest that revenue back into the golf facilities, instead of siphoning off any excess and putting it into general city coffers, would continue to have beautiful green spaces and affordable athletic facilities.

Suggestion two: -- turn one of the city courses into a Golf Academy for kids. The Academy would be all about golf programs for school-aged kids--beginning, intermediate and advanced golf classes run by professionals. Most golf courses in Manitoba have golf professionals running their programs, why not use this incredible resource during their down time (fall, winter, part of spring) to have them organize the Academy--teach classes, organize experienced volunteer golfers, organize equipment drives and in general promote the Academy and golf. I believe this concept would be in the best interest of Manitoba golf courses and pros because in 10 years time they would have helped create a new generation, a significantly larger generation of golfers who would become members or play at their golf courses.

How does one pay for such an Academy? I believe this all could be paid for by: reasonable group user fees (school divisions); individual lesson fees; Manufacturers of anything that is golf advertising at the academy; Corporations looking to improve their image could invest; and many other ways that clever marketers know about and I don't.

That's how I see it!
Give me your thoughts on this issue.

10 Facts About Our Earth

1. World population: 7.1 billion
2. Earth is about 4.54 billion years old
3. 70% of the earth's surface is covered in water
4. Average distance from earth to sun: 149,669,180 kilometres
5. Deepest point in the ocean: Challenger Deep, Mariana Trench, Western Pacific Ocean: 10,924 metres
6. Chemical composition of the earth: 34.6% Iron, 29.5% Oxygen, 15.2% Silicon, 12.7% Magnesium, 2.4% Nickel, 1.9% Sulphur, and 0.05% Titanium
7. The smallest island with country status is Pitcairn in Polynesia, at just 4.5 sq./km. Greenland is the largest island in the world at 2,175,590 sq./km
8. According to National Geographic, Mt. Everest grows about 4 millimetres a year: The two tectonic plates of Asia and India, which collided millions of years ago to form the Himalayas, continue to press against each other, causing the Himalayan peaks to grow slightly each year
9. The earth's shape could be described as an oblate spheroid. The measurement from pole to pole is about 43 km less than the diameter of earth across the equator
10. Depending where you are on the globe, you could be spinning through space at just over 1,600 km/hr. People on the equator move the fastest, while someone standing on the north or south pole would be perfectly still and the earth isn't just spinning: It's also moving around the sun at 107,826 km/hr.

Peanut Butter vs. Almond Butter

Peanut butter and almond butter are fairly similar nutritionally, but it looks like almond butter may be a little better for you.

Peanut butter is a good source of protein and monounsaturated fatty acids, and it has some magnesium, potassium, selenium and a few B vitamins. One tablespoon of peanut butter has 94 calories, 4 grams protein, and 8 grams of total fat.

Almond butter has a bit more fat than peanut butter, but that includes more monounsaturated fat and about half the amount of saturated fat.

Almond butter also has more fibre, and fewer carbohydrates, so it has about the same number of calories as peanut butter.

Almond butter has more minerals than peanut butter, with the exception of selenium, and peanut butter contains more B vitamins. Both almond butter and peanut butter contain phytosterols, which are the plant versions of animal cholesterol, but unlike cholesterol, phytosterols may help to reduce elevated cholesterol levels in humans.

Both peanut butter and almond butter can be used as sources of protein and healthy fats, just be sure to look at the ingredients labels to look for any added sugars or other ingredients you may not desire. It's also important to note that people who have peanut allergies are at a higher risk for tree nut allergies, so almond butter may not be a good substitute.

Who Wins?

Almond butter is a little more nutritious than peanut butter.

First Choice--Golf

Four guys have been going to the same golfing trip to St Andrews for many years. Two days before the group is to leave, Jack's wife puts her foot down and tells him he isn't going. Jack's mates are very upset that he can't go, but what can they do...

Two days later, the three get to St Andrews only to find Jack sitting at the bar with four drinks set up! "Wow, Jack, how long you been here, and how did you talk your miss us into letting you go?" "Well, I've been here since last night . . . "

Yesterday evening, I was sitting in my living room chair and my wife came up behind me and put her hands over my eyes and asked, 'Guess who?" I pulled her hands off, and there she was, wearing a nightie. She took my hand and pulled me into our bedroom. The room had candles and rose petals all over.

Well, she's been reading '50 Shades of Grey'. . . . . . ! On the bed she had handcuffs, and ropes! She told me to tie her up and cuff her to the bed, so I did. And then she said, "Do whatever you want."

So - - - Here I am!!

So how can you tell I enjoy golfing?
I just got back from four days of golfing and theatre in Minneapolis. Had a great time. The Chanhassen Dinner Theatre is the oldest dinner theatre in North America. We saw a tribute to The Andrew Sisters and John Denver and enjoyed ourselves immensely.

Hope you had a great last week and are starting out "keen" this Monday.