Saturday, February 12, 2011

We don't need no Physical Education?

This morning, I read an article about how the more physically active kids are, the better they will be at math. Well, it makes sense; there’s a lot of math and science involved in sports and play (such as physics in baseball).

Still, I could only grumble to myself over how physical education in my daughter’s school is grossly overlooked.

Last night at dinner, I was talking with Jennifer about P.E. at her school. Last year, we received occasional updates on what kind of progress is being made in P.E. This year, I don’t get any updates at all. So, I wanted to know what was up with P.E.

Jen told me that they only have P.E. once a week this year, and that all they do is play dodgeball. She went into a lecture about how much she loved P.E. last year, when they had P.E. three times a week and they did a whole host of activities: Jumping, climbing (especially climbing ropes), balancing exercises and running. Especially running!

This year, however, the amount of activity in her P.E. class has dropped considerably. Now I knew why the school sent home a note to parents about getting their kids into more physical activities. Apparently, the school can’t do it themselves! Sigh. Of course, they have recess, but recess only lasts anywhere from 10-15 minutes. That's just not enough time for kids to benefit from physical activity.

One thing Jennifer noticed about this change in P.E. is that it happened after they got a new gym coach. Her old P.E. coach was, well…old. Unfortunately. He retired last year. But, wow, to be around that man! He was bursting with energy! I was amazed at how energetic and passionate he was about exercise and physical education. He just really put himself into it. He actually cared, and he inspired so many people to get active. This year’s coach, who happens to be a younger overweight guy, didn’t strike me as very active when I met him at the start of the school year. He was quiet, stood around a lot and didn’t really seem interested in talking with anyone. Jennifer told me she misses her former P.E. coach. At least he had the kids doing more physical activity! And he really cared about how well they could do things, too. He encouraged them to keep trying and to get out there.

Once again, it’s up to the parents to take charge of their child’s level of physical activity. Apparently, investing ourselves in our child’s academic performance is not enough. We need to also make sure that they are excelling physically, because it seems like the schools just aren’t going to be able to do that anymore.

At least, my daughter’s school can’t.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

What we want and what we get

It's interesting how we sometimes get what we wish for -- especially when it comes to food. We'll often think something like, "Gee, I could go for a hamburger right now," and somebody shows up with a hamburger for us. Or we'll think how nice it would be to try a red velvet cupcake sometime, and we'll see just that at the store bakery.

This has happened to me a time or two. Once, I saw a picture posted on MySpace; a celebrity showing a pic of his breakfast. I laughed, nodded and said, "Eggs Benedict." Then I thought, Gee, I've never had Eggs Benedict. I wonder what it tastes like. I soon found out; I was having breakfast at a local restaurant one morning and Eggs Benedict was on the menu. Of course I tried it! They were delish. (A nod to Ye Olde Pancake House here in Eugene.) Recently, I was thinking about how nice it would be to have biscuits and gravy for breakfast. At a local Dari Mart I was at one morning, I was pleasantly surprised to see that they were offering just that as a breakfast choice for customers. Sweet!

One would think that I should be able to make these things myself. That if I want a hamburger, why not make some hamburgers? And, hey, I'm all for that! If I want to have sloppy joes for dinner, then I go to the store and get the stuff I need to make sloppy joes for dinner. If I wanna bake cookies, I go buy what I need to bake' em! That's not an issue. But sometimes, I won't have the money to buy the things I'll need to make the stuff that I crave. Or, I don't know how to make it. (Like Eggs Benedict!) Or, I won't be able to eat the stuff I crave because I'm watching my sugar intake. Or it just isn't available in these parts. (I still mourn never again enjoying one of those date shakes they make in the California desert.)

Or, sometimes, I'm just not able to make the things that I'll get a hankering for. Like the gravy on those biscuits. You know the kind; the sausage gravy. I just can't make sausage gravy. I have tried a time or two, but it just didn't turn out right. My mom was a whiz at making that stuff, but I could never get a handle on it. Nor could I figure out how to make fudge. I've tried making fudge but it didn't come out right. Ditto with steak, hash browns and fried chicken. I tried, failed, and gave up.

But now I'm thinking, maybe I shouldn't give up. Maybe I should try to figure out how to make those things again. The source of this inspiration? Corn muffins. Yesterday, I made corn muffins from scratch. It was my second attempt. My first attempt failed; they tasted gross. But these corn muffins were awesome. In fact, Jesse kept eating them up!

So I had tried to make something again which I failed at the first time. And the second attempt was a success. So why not try again with the other things?

Well, I have...with some. Steak, eggs, French toast. I've tried making them several times and never really got 'em right. Maybe I did on one or two occasions, but not consistently.

I suppose I should just keep at it. And pick up on the other things I pretty much labeled as "unlearnable." Maybe I'll get them right the next time. And if not, at least I'll work at it until I do.