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Young People … Our Greatest Resource

Different Looks; Same Focus

I just returned from a great trip to Canada, Alberta to be exact. I flew into Calgary to do some training for the Alberta Teachers Association, an absolutely top-shelf organization. The conference was held at the Delta Lodge at Kananaskis, in the Canadian Rockies near the site of the Calgary Winter Olympics.

In speaking with teachers there, I learned something about tolerance for cold weather. I made the comment that, at some point, minus 40 degrees (common in the area) wouldn’t seem much colder than minus 20.

I was IMMEDIATELY corrected on that one.

“Those 20 degrees make a HUGE difference,” I was informed. “We can let the children play outside when it’s minus 20, but not when it’s minus 40.”

“REALLY?” I exclaimed. Where I’m from in south Texas, there might be some folks who wouldn’t let their children play outside when it’s 40 degrees ABOVE zero. But, of course, kids play outside ALL the time in 100+ degree weather.”

“How could that be?” someone said. “It would be like an oven!” How could you possibly bear to be outdoors in any temperatures above 90?”

Interesting, huh? It’s all a matter of HOW and WHERE you grew up. The human body is a pretty resilient organism.

We DID agree on the fact that today, more than ever, parents and teachers need to step up to the plate and love, affirm, guide and educate their children to experience and master not only the temperature, but all the “climates” they will encounter in this ever-changing and evolving world.

And that will remain constant whether you live in Pleasanton, Texas (USA), Calgary, Alberta (Canada), or any place else. 


James Sutton, EdD Psychologist

October 20, 2008 Posted by | adversity, Educators, family, Humor, Parents, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Familiar Strain Might Ease the Pain

As a psychologist, I was trained to work with patients where THEY were, which included helping them with their emotional/behavioral baggage without loading them up with mine. That’s not a bad precept.

One of the toughest areas for a therapist involves spirituality and religion because this aspect of faith can build (hope) or tear down (shame). People have been both supported and damaged by religion for eons. “Tread carefully” is the therapeutic message.

Tough on Himself

I had a patient, an elderly gentleman living in a nursing home. He wanted me to know he was a born-again Christian. The problem was that he ruminated on every mistake he ever made in his life. He beat himself up continuously. It was painful to watch him do it.

One day he sank in his wheelchair and dropped his head as he mumbled against himself. On a whim, I reached back and started singing the first hymn many young child learn:

“Jesus love me, this I know …”

He started singing with me as he slowly lifted his head. Tears were streaming down his face, but he was smiling for the first time in months. We finished the song; he said, “Sing it again.”

We did.

A Difference Made

You know, I’m not suggesting that I initiated any miracle here; the “lift” it provided for him was most likely temporary. But it made a difference to him in THAT moment. And, in many ways, aren’t our lives moment to moment?

Sometimes a familiar strain might ease the pain … if only for a while. And that’s good news for children of ANY age.

James Sutton, Psychologist

October 11, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment