Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Origins of Valentine’s Day

The earliest origins of Valentine’s Day are not completely clear. Some people believe it stretches all the way back to a festival held in ancient Rome, although there has been no definitive proof to say so. There are several martyrdom stories associated with this holiday that in modern times is used for celebrating love.

Valentine was a popular name for saints and there are a few connected to February 14th. One in particular is Saint Valentine of Rome, who was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers forbidden to marry. According to the legend, the saint healed the daughter of his jailer and before his execution wrote her a letter signed, “Your Valentine.”

Chaucer, the famous 14th century poet, was the first person to associate Valentine’s Day with romantic love. In his poem, “Parlement of Foules”, he wrote:

For this was seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.
(“For this was on St. Valentine’s Day/when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.”)

The custom of sending cards, flowers, chocolates, and other confectionaries originated in the UK, and there are still unique traditions across Europe. In many places, lovers offer keys as a romantic gesture symbolizing a way to “unlock the giver’s heart”. In Norfolk, a figure named Jack Valentine knocks on doors leaving sweets for children. In Slovenia, Saint Valentine is a saint of spring and good health.

Regardless of the holiday’s true origin, today it is a celebration of love and commitment, and is celebrated all over the world by hundreds of countries and cultures.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Why All Group Sports are Beneficial for Children

Getting your kids up and moving can be really tough especially in this era where modern electronic gadgets now magnetize kids to couches. One of the best ways to get your children up and moving is to add other children to the mix, and then sprinkle in some exercises with a dose of healthy competition among them. There are a handful of benefits to children participating in any group sport, including aspects that are emotional, physical, and social.
How exactly do group sports help?

Getting active together
Time and time again, research praises the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of exercise. When done in a group setting, children can learn from one another by observing, while at the same time developing social skills. If they are making friends through their group sports and activities, they will look forward to returning to practice the next time, in turn creating healthy and repetitive habits that they can use the rest of their lives. Healthy competition within group sports will also encourage children to continue working hard during physical exercise so that as they grow their skills do not plateau.

Group sports give children the opportunity to:
·       Deal with both winning and losing. They learn that there are things in life that are not going to go their team’s way all the time.
·       Be less selfish and think of other people around them.
·       Become even more sociable in different kinds of environments. They learn to deal with different types kids, who may or may not be their friends.
·       Overcome their shyness by putting them into a situation where they need to communicate with others.

Children learn about values through group sports
Playing group sports provides children with endless lessons. Along with learning social etiquette, children also learn that they must respect their playmates, sports officials, and referees. Sports can help teach lessons of honor, sacrifice, and pride as well.

When your kids play any group sport, they are more likely to develop:
·       Physical skills
·       Leadership skills
·       Camaraderie and friendship
·       Social interaction skills
·       Self-concept and self-esteem
·       Teamwork and cooperation skills
·       Sense of team membership or belonging
·       Persistence, patience, and self-discipline
·       Team goal-setting skills
·       Resilience by means of sharing both the negative and positive experiences

Group Sports Promote a healthier living

Even if you know that your kids are not going to be professional athletes, they will still receive countless benefits by participating in athletics. Learning to work with other kids and being part of something bigger are hard to emulate elsewhere. Also, being physically active often goes hand in hand with eating right, and maintaining good mental health.

How to Be a Good Teammate

The best teams in sports are made up of players who work closely together and most of all are willing to make sacrifices. Those teams with unselfish players who strongly support each other will always perform much better than any other individuals or groups that do not. Aside from working on the skills of the individual players, it is always important to learn how to play with others on the team.
Here are some tips sports players can try in order to become a good teammate:
Be Trustworthy
With any group sport, respect and trust are always interconnected. It is less satisfying and more difficult to work for any member of the team that you do not respect and you do not trust. If you really want to build trust on the team, begin by being trustworthy yourself.
Be Honest All the Time
It really takes courage to be a kind of person who calls out his teammates or to be the one who says that something goes against the grain. If you show respect to the members of the team and they know that you really have their best interest in mind, expect that they will listen to what you have to say. It may be uncomfortable for the members in the short run, but at the end of the day, it can really make your team stronger.
Fight for the Success of the Members of the Team
Understanding that the success of your teammates is also your success is essential. There is always a balance right between taking good care of your team and taking good care of yourself and you must be able to do both. When you get to a point where you believe that the success of your team is also your success, you will see amazing results.
Work Harder and Encourage your Teammates
Not all players in the team will be motivated all the time, and there are members who might need some extra encouragement in order to practice and get better. Therefore, the next time you go to the field to work on your upcoming game, bring your teammates with you. Encourage them to spend more time developing their skills. Extra practice will surely help all the members of the team to improve, and working together as one will definitely help you bond as a team.

A team cannot succeed without dedicated and motivated members. Those who create and maintain good teamwork habits will surely be able to develop camaraderie and other important skills, which are necessary for other areas life. Learning to be a good teammate is practice for all of the relationships you will encounter throughout your life.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Why Getting a Good Night Sleep Before a Competition is Important

Why Getting a Good Night Sleep Before a Competition is Important
You might have done all necessary preparations for your imminent competition such as attending rehearsals, packing your costumes, and so much more. Imagine that tomorrow is the big day that you have been training for. Your excitement is taking over and you stay up late thinking about how tomorrow will play out. You continue to review your dances, chat with friends, and delay bed time. In the end, you didn’t head to bed and fall to sleep early as you should have. What really will happen if you don’t get enough sleep the night before a competition?
Just How Important is Your Sleep Before Competition?
Every athlete will stress the importance of getting adequate sleep the night prior to competing. Essentially, it’s a part of your overall preparation for that important day of yours. According to studies, the quality of your sleep has a physiological impact on your actual performance. Poor sleep results in fatigue, less endurance and strength, and slower mental function. This further illustrates how all of your body parts are interconnected to one another. Therefore, you really need to do all you can to help yourself to get what you are aiming for.
It’s important to condition your mind as well as your body for the competition for the best possible results. Taking home the prize is more attainable when you’ve had the right amount of rest. A great performance in part comes from having the ability of your mind and body to coordinate with one another.
When you are well-rested you will also feel more confident in your abilities. If you haven’t had enough rest you will feel more nervous about it to the point that you may no longer be able to focus on the competition. You’ll start thinking negatively, making you less confident of your skills and abilities which can be detrimental. Give yourself the best possible chance at success by allowing plenty of quality rest.
Tips for Getting Good Sleep Before the Big Day
Set a bed time. Even if you haven’t had one in years, it’ll give you a timeline to follow.
Practice going to bed early several days before the night before competition. You will get into a good routine and will feel extra rested.
Avoid distractions in your room at bed time. Try removing electronics, and yes, even your phone from your room so that you aren’t interrupted.

Take deep breaths and try to meditate. Envision your success  the next morning while remaining calm and collected.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Giving Thanks for the Pilgrims

Every child in the United States learns about the pilgrims in school starting from when they make paper plate hand turkeys in their kindergarten class. If asked to conjure up an image of a pilgrim, most people would describe a person in black and white with that iconic buckle hat. But what were the pilgrims really all about?

The pilgrims came from England. They were looking for a better life free of religious persecution so they set sail on the Mayflower in 1620 headed to a brave new world: America. The ship carried 102 passengers and 26 crewmembers. One baby was born on board the ship during the 66-day journey.

Bad weather pushed the ship further north than they had intended to go and they landed on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. They arrived late into the season and spent the first winter on board the tiny ship. That winter was harsh and only about half of the pilgrims lived to see the spring.

However the pilgrims that did survive the winter built permanent settlements and ultimately flourished. Within the next 70 years, the settlement swelled to over 3,000 people and now more than 35 million people are direct descendants from the pilgrims that arrived here on the Mayflower. Fun fact: Marilyn Monroe, Clint Eastwood, and Franklin Roosevelt are among the Mayflower’s descendants.

Aside from the Mayflower, the pilgrims are most famous for the beginnings of what we now call Thanksgiving. That first Thanksgiving feast lasted for three days and they dined on foods like turkey, venison, clams, lobster, squash, strawberries, and grapes.

Maybe this year when we give our thanks, we can include the pilgrims. Without them, the history of The United States would not be the same!