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Posts Tagged ‘diversity’

Up to increasing your ethical capital? How about playing a game? Everyone who plays wins! Can’t beat those odds.

You can play the game by yourself, with family, with colleagues at work or with
your students in the classroom. Expect some laughter as well as some comments
such as, “Do you think so?” Or, “No way! I can’t see it.”

The only rule: No getting irritated or stomping away as a few sensitive people have been known to do.

The game you’ll be playing is called: “HORSE or PIG or FISH?”

If playing alone, think about your face, focusing primarily on the shape of your nose. Does your nose resemble a pig, a fish or a horse? If you can’t decide check it out the next time you’re in front of a mirror. Think about your family. Take a look at the other folks at your job. I myself am a horse and my husband is a fish. We have three kids: A fish, a horse and a pig. (By the way, this has nothing to do with how she has kept her room.)

What I’ve seen when playing “HORSE or PIG or FISH?” is that a good many people get caught up in not wanting to be labeled a pig. Some are not so keen on being labeled a horse or a fish. We all have our biases.

Think: Did you put a negative spin on one of the three labels? Many do. If so, you took a bit of diversity and dubbed it undesirable. That’s how prejudice starts.

We look at something and instead of thinking neutral thoughts we lean toward making a negative judgment if it’s not aligned with our view of the world. This is how the human brain is wired. We’re genetically conditioned to think negative first when something doesn’t support or confirm how we think things should be.

The following experiment is an eye-opener guaranteed to help both adults and children move from one view of being critical to a second view of neutrality. Or even having a complete turn-around involving admiration.

If you put a baby on the floor and you lie next to the baby, trying to do everything the baby does, moving your arms and legs and head as much as the baby for a period of fifteen minutes, guess what? You can’t keep up with the baby. No matter how many times you work out each week or how many miles you can bike or how much weight you can lift. You run out of energy and become exhausted way before the baby does. In that way, the baby is superior to you.

Think of a street person. Isn’t she superior to you in how she braves the elements and demands little in life? How about the kid who whizzes by you on a skateboard? (I tried my kid’s skateboard years ago and about broke my neck.) How would you fair?

What about the guy who works in the hot sun putting on roofs? Or the gal who has fancy flowers and trees tattooed all over her right arm? You might not want a sleeve yourself, and you can’t figure out why someone else would want one, but would you have the courage to endure the pain that it takes to be tattooed with such elaborate artwork?

Each time you see someone that is unlike you or chooses to live life differently from you, remind yourself of the following: “Each person is in some way my superior, and in that I can learn from him.” So look around and see how each person – man, woman, and child – is superior. The more you’re able to operate from this mind-set, the greater your ethical capital.

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide” and “Thin Becomes You”.

Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com.com

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New Young Adult Novel Puts Motivation and Mealworms on the Menu

There’s a reason Americans don’t often hear the phrase, “please pass the crickets” during families meals and other fine dining occasions. Entomophagy—including insects in your diet—is, for want of a better clinical term, totally gross. Which, of course, makes it the perfect topic for Doris Wild Helmering’s charming and amusingly educational young adult novel The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World.
          Meet Alex Crow, a seventh-grader at 
Roosevelt Ridge Middle School, working with yet another school counselor to see why the smart 12-year-old is such a slacker when it comes to school work. The last counselor didn’t get too far. But this guy—“Call me Mr. D.”—this guy is different. All he cares about is putting Alex in touch with his passion.  Turns out, Alex’s passion is bugs. And that’s where the fun begins, as Helmering, a nationally-known author and syndicated news columnist, treats us to an all-you-can-eat buffet of grasshoppers, earthworms, and other slithery non-vertebrates with the potential to solve world hunger. Did you know that cockroaches run the equivalent of 141 mph? Or that if you were a grasshopper you could jump the length of a basketball court in less than a second? There’s a lot of fun as well as eeeew-inducing content in Helmering’s clear, beautiful prose. But Helmering has a more important fish, if not caterpillars, to fry.

A study in motivation

Helmering, a clinical social worker whose impressive portfolio of published books includes popular self-help titles such as Husbands, Wives & Sex and Happily Ever After, tackles, head-on, what it takes to succeed in life. “Helmering creates a delightful and imaginative experience for middle-grade readers that will inspire and motivate them to think outside the box as they consider their own life aspirations,” says M. Catherine Downer, a nationally certified counselor.
         “Ms. Helmering begins with the rock bottom belief that all children are naturally motivated to learn and it’s an adult’s job to discover and use their natural curiosity to help them develop the resilience and work habits to succeed in school and life,” adds Barbara Kohm, author of The Power of Conversation: Transforming Principals into Great Leaders. “[This is] a multi-layered book [that] addresses core issues middle students face with warmth, depth and humor.”

Motivation for parents, teachers, and grandparents, too

The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World comes with a powerful Parent Teacher Discussion Guide to help facilitate conversation about the book’s weighty themes: motivation, bullying, self-esteem, teamwork, grief, diversity, and environmentalism.  Helmering, whose “fresh, witty, wise, down-to-earth style” has been distilled from many years of experience as a psychotherapist, author, and television and radio personality, certainly knows how to get the conversation going. And if that conversation happens to involve such mouthwatering fare as wormburgers and the etiquette of removing bug legs from your teeth, well, nobody ever said saving the world would be pretty.
Bon Apetite!

The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World & The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide by
Doris Wild Helmering (Author), John Dyess (Illustrator)

Check out her additional books on Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com

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finalcover

The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World will grab the attention of any upper grade or middle school student. Whether interested in science projects, bugs, getting along with others, or motivation, readers are caught up in the story from the first page to the last. Teachers, parents, and counselors will find the book useful to stimulate conversation about difficult topics like bullying, doing well in school, and family illness. Students will love the practical approach to friendship and family. Would make for a great classroom book group discussion!

Dr. Catherine Von Hatten, Educational Consultant, Retired Public School Assistant Superintendent, Teacher, and Principal

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Doris Wild Helmering’s young adult book The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World is ostensibly a story about 12-yr-old Alex who is unmotivated at school but realizes with the help of a sympathetic school counselor that he loves to learn about bugs and worms. However, this book has an unusual twist in that it is also a learning tool that provides essential information about how protein-rich insects and worms can be used to enhance worldwide nutrition.

After a few dark months of recuperating from a serious accident, Alex visits an indoor cricket farm where he encounters terrible smells and overwhelming chirping sounds. He asks a lot of questions and is inspired at the food potential of these loud, malodorous creatures. At first, Alex and his grandmother cook up a few recipes with crickets and worms in their apartment kitchen. Although his mother is at first skeptical, his grandmother, brother, and counselor encourage Alex to think big about his newfound knowledge. After a successful class science project, Alex partners with a company to raise crickets and produce “bug bars” to help feed the world.

This is an engaging tale that rings true regarding a boy’s enthusiasm for insects and application of what he learns to help alleviate world hunger. Illustrations by John Dyess also help make this book rich with visual energy. Endnotes offer readers additional information about the role insects can play in meeting global food needs and activities that encourage children to think more about nutritional protein sources for food.

By offering nuts and bolts information about nutrition in insects, Doris Helmering has provided an unusual twist on the story of a child who doesn’t like school and feels that he is not meant to do anything important. This work would appeal to upper-elementary and middle school students and their parents, and even adult book clubs could enjoy this story within a story and might even be inspired to taste a few crunchy crickets.

Patricia Gregory, PhD — Assistant Dean for Library Assessment Professor, Pius XII Memorial Library, Saint Louis University

Now Available on Amazon

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