Healthy Hearing Habits

27 Sep

Healthy Hearing Habits

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Hearing Disorders (NIDCD), noise-induced hearing loss is one of the number one preventable causes of hearing loss. Harmful noises and prolonged exposure to loud sounds can cause noise-induced hearing loss, and by learning how to avoid these things, you can protect yourself from hearing damage down the road.

What Causes Hearing Loss?

Our ear is lined with many hair cells – small, sensitive structures that convert sound energy into electrical signals and then send them to the brain. Once damaged, hair cells cannot grow back. Every day sounds, such as environmental and household noises, normally do not cause damage to our hair cells because our ears have adapted to them, but extremely loud noise and exposure to loud noises can cause damage. Therefore, learning habits of healthy living is very important to preserve your hearing so that you do not lose it.

What sounds cause noise-induced hearing loss?

Noise-induced hearing loss is caused one of two ways. It can either be caused by a one-time exposure to an intense “impulse” sound, like a loud explosion or a gunshot, or it can be caused by the continuous exposure to a loud sound over an extended period of time. In order to protect yourself from noise-induced hearing loss, avoid working in areas where you will be exposed to loud noises on a regular basis, such as wood working shops. If you must work in a loud area, wear hearing protection.

Ways to Protect Your Hearing

It is vitally important to protect your hearing, because once damaged, it is impossible to get back. After losing your hearing, a hearing aid or hearing aids can help you hear at the optimal level; however, it is best to preserve your hearing before you suffer from hearing loss. Through healthy living habits, you can easily help prevent hearing loss. Avoiding loud noises is the number one way to protect against hearing loss. Turn down the volume on loud music, and reduce the amount of time spent listening to music or television that is loud. Also, keep your blood pressure and blood sugar under control, as these can affect your hearing. Do not put objects into your ear or blow your noise forcefully, as both of these things can affect your physical eardrum health.

Guest Post by John O’Connor

Do you or your children suffer from hearing loss? Let us know how it has affected your lives!

Image courtesy of  M I T C H Ǝ L L (flickr)

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Run or Learn

12 Jul

“Oh, yes. The past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it…or learn from it.”  – Rafiki (The Lion King)

Stuff happens in life that we have no control over. Sometimes we default to running away from our issues, hiding our less-than-pleasant truths, and building emotional walls to keep people from finding out about our hurts. This may be a default for many of us, but it’s not healthy or productive. We end up emotionally stunted by our past pains and failures.  The trouble with this is that, at some stage, your past catches up with you; and then the healing process is exceedingly more difficult!

The other option is to learn from your past hurts. Figure out why it hurt so much. Did it trigger some insecurity you may have? Be honest with yourself, name your weaknesses and fears, and then get some help to improve them. What could you have done differently? How else could you have reacted? Think of someone you admire – what would they have done? Think about it, make a note of it and remember if for the future.

Life will never be free of failure and hurt. It’s something that affects every one of us. The only thing we can control is how we react and learn from our experiences. It’s important for parents to teach this lesson to their children sooner than later. Being open and honest with your kids will help your kids live a full life with no regrets!

What are some of the greatest lessons you have learnt from your past?

Thoughtful Thursday: Boys Must Defend Girls

28 Jun

boy punchingBoys must defend girls. So if a boy hurts a girl you must punch him!”

Working around children definitely has its perks. You have the privilege of gleaning beautiful little pearls of wisdom. So when Elliot, a rather mischievous 5-year-old boy in my Sunday school class, told me that “Boys must defend girls,” I was incredibly proud of him. What followed was his decree to punch the boys that hurt girls…and I must admit that I was equally proud of him. And when I told his mom, she was slightly shocked, but praised his gallant attitude with equal pride!

Now you may be wondering why we both agreed with this 5-year-old’s philosophy and didn’t tell him to “turn the other cheek” as is so often preached. The reason is simple. Boys have a God-instilled desire to be a hero, to fight a battle, to save a damsel in distress, to live an adventurous life and to stand up for what they believe in. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not advocating unnecessary violence and I do think you can gain a lot of favour by simply turning the other cheek…but not always. There will come a day when a BIG action is required. When the day comes that the bully has gone too far and a battle is threatening, boys especially need to be prepared to fight back.

I don’t believe that God wants our boys to be weak or walked over. These little boys will one day be men, and they will be in charge of business, politics, churches and their families. I don’t want to be responsible for bringing up a generation of kids who don’t know what to stand for and when to stand up for it. So when I see a 5-year-old boy with a sense of purpose who is standing up for what’s right, I will stand up for him too!

Agree or disagree? Is it ok for a boy to punch another kid for doing something bad? What would you encourage him to do instead?

The Father’s Mandate: Fathers You Are Needed!

27 Jun

Fathers you are neededThroughout The Father’s Mandate series we’ve discussed how fathers need to take responsibility as the leaders in their family. The roles that dads play are critical in raising children who are confident, independent, loving, kind and secure. If you haven’t  followed the series, then please do yourself (and your kids) a favour and follow the links below to find out more about the 6 things that dads must do:

  1. Create a family identity
  2. Love your wife
  3. Accept invitations into your child’s private world
  4. Support your child
  5. Encourage your child
  6. Build trust in God’s Word.

Today we’re concluding the series by reminding you fathers why your presence and interest in your children is so important.

Fathers:  You are Needed! 

Dr. David Blankenhorn, author of The Good Family Man, did a study of male prisoners and found that the one thing that many of them had in common was the absence of a father. When it came to Mother’s Day, most of the prisoners asked for a card to send to their moms. But none of them asked to send a card to their fathers when it came to Father’s Day. Dr. Blankenhorn concluded that not only do children need their fathers, but society needs fathers as well.  HE says, “Neighbourhoods without fathers are neighbourhoods without men able and willing to confront errant youth, chase threatening gangs, and reproach delinquent fathers…The absence of fathers deprives the community of those little platoons that informally but effectively control boys on the street” (Raising Faithful Kids in a Fast-Paced World, Dr. Paul Faulkner, pp. 118). 

It’s not rocket science. Fathers have a very significant impact on their children, especially their sons. One place this influence is clear is church attendance. If both mother and father go to church, 72 percent of the children will go when they’re grown. If only the father goes, that percentage doesn’t drop too much:  55 percent of the children will go to church when they’re grown. But if only the mother goes to church, only 15 percent of those children will go when they’re grown. So while the mother has a greater influence on children in some respects, church attendance is one area where the father has the big influence” (Faulkner pp. 123-124).  I think that many men just assume that their wives have more power and influence when it comes to spiritual things than they do. Too many men seem to think that the faithful spiritual example of their wives will make up for their failure to be a spiritual leader. They are wrong and they need to fix this immediately.

God teaches us the same thing in the Bible (Ephesians 6:4).  “Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not conceal them from their children, but tell to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength and His wondrous works that He has done” (Psalm 78:3-4).  On this point one family noted, “The father must be the moral standard, the moral head of the home – not the mother, not school, not church, not grandparents”.  I fully agree!

Not only do children need their fathers, fathers need their children. 

Dr. David Blankenhorn, says, ‘Children endow a man’s life with a larger meaning. They confer a special blessing on his worldly endeavors, endeavors that might otherwise seem small and unworthy. Children make it possible for a man to believe that he has lived a good and purposeful life’” (Faulkner pp. 117-118).   

Judith Wallerstein has studied the effects of divorce on children and families. When she began her studies she thought that children were strong enough to adjust to their parent’s divorces. But she found that children have much tougher problems with adjustment than had first been recognized. She discovered something else too. Young, divorced fathers who were separated from their children also suffered developmentally. She found that some fathers never recover a sense of purpose or direction; they cannot grow up into fully mature men outside the structure of the family.

So what does a good father look like?

Here’s an example of what one young man had to say about his father, “My dad just has a way about him.  He can help us keep things straight. Dad had the uncanny way of keeping things in perspective”.  To illustrate what he meant, he described his very last high school football game. It was the last game, the last play, and the last quarter. There was time for only one last play, and he had to throw the ball. If the pass was good, he’d be a hero; if the pass was bad, he’d be a goat. He threw the pass and the pass was intercepted.  He was the goat and he came home late and hurting. His dad was waiting up for him. “Son I’m sorry the game was lost tonight, but let me ask you a question. You know Brice?  (his little nephew). If we could reverse the outcome of the game by cutting off just the very tip of one of Brice’s little bitty fingers, would you be willing to do it?” The son replied, “Oh, no, Dad!  I would never do that”. And then the dad said, “I didn’t think you would. So I guess winning the game wouldn’t have been worth even the tip of Brice’s little finger then, would it?” And the young man said that when his dad said that, he felt like a tremendous weight had been lifted off his shoulders. This is the power of a father.

In conclusion

Dads, you hold a tremendous amount of power and influence when it comes to your children. You need to take this responsibility seriously and get involved with your children. If you know you haven’t been the best father, then we dare you to make the necessary changes before it’s too late! There are plenty of wonderful resources available to help you along your way. We also recommend parents to try a parenting course. There are many on offer – from birth to teens. You can find The Father’s Mandate in the Growing Kids God’s Way course, one of the many Growing Kids International curriculums.

Baby Guardian Vaccination Clinic offers parenting courses in the Midrand/Centurion area in Gauteng, South Africa.

The Father’s Mandate: Build Trust in God’s Word

25 Jun

Father's Mandate_Dad reads bibleIt’s the start of a new week, and I’m hoping that The Father’s Mandate series is the start of a whole new look at the incredible role that dads play in their families. We started off the series by talking about how fathers are responsible for creating a family identity and how important it is for them to teach their children values and morals. As we have mentioned before, this series is inspired by the Growing Kids God’s Way parenting course, a Growing Families International curriculum that teaches parents how to bring their children up with biblically based principles. Although this is essentially a Christian course, the principles we share are relevant for any faith. This brings us to the next role of fathers:

Role #6: Build Trust in God’s Word

As a father, you need to teach your children that God can be trusted. Your children need to hear stories about how God has taken care of you and how the teachings of the Bible have helped you; that they are beneficial and not a burden. You need to constantly be teaching them the wisdom of God’s Word and how the scriptures teach us to live good lives. Tell your children how you avoided temptation and trouble by listening to God’s Word. By applying scripture to real life situations, you can show your children that the Bible is still relevant today and that it really does have all the answers.

As you may well have concluded, this means that you too need to be knowledgeable about God’s Word. Take the time to read your Bible and teach your children to do the same.

Thoughtful Thursday: We Never Really Grow Up

21 Jun

thoughtful thursday_never grow up“We never really grow up. We only learn how to act in public.”

“Men”. That’s the one word I would use to sum up this quote. And I say this with less of a “tsk tsk” and more with a bout of jealousy that men seem to get this so right! What a relief to not twitch every time I see an item of clothing on the floor or a dirty mug left on a side table. Come to think of it…if I were a man, those items would probably be invisible to my boy lenses. What bliss!

Just for one day, I’d like the ability to wee outdoors without having to squat, to fart and receive a “good one”, to burp and not be shunned, to play soccer on the beach and not be worried about popping out my bikini, to have a round of golf and not even talk about my kids, to sit in front of the TV and not notice that the dogs are eating the cat right off my lap.

But I don’t think I’ll get any of that right any time soon. So I guess I’ll be satisfied with being able to scream like miss Muffit when I see a big, hairy spider; to pretend I’m a mermaid when I swim in the sea, dress like a fairy on summery days, and believe that I really am a lost princess; to throw tantrums when my favourite heels break, and to jump up and down 50 times and giggle like a little girl when my best friend falls in love, gets married or falls pregnant.

I guess girls never really grow up either!

The Father’s Mandate: Support & Encourage

20 Jun

the father's mandate support & encourageDads, we hope you are enjoying The Father’s Mandate series! Moms…we trust you are sharing this with your gents because this is the literally the difference between him being a “Dad” or “dud”. Today we’d like to cover 2 roles that are very closely linked…

Role #4: Support you Child

When we talk about supporting a child in their failure, we’re not implying that it’s okay for kids to adopt a casual attitude to violating values and morals. As much as we like to believe that our children are angels, we know they are not perfect. You should expect your children to behave, but you cannot expect them not to fail. Failure is part of life; it is essential for learning and growth. We didn’t learn not to eat soap because our mothers told us not to. We learnt because we were curious one day and took a bite, or said a bad word and mom made us take a bite. We failed. We learnt. We grew. Fathers in particular play a critical role in using a child’s failure to teach them important lessons. Fathers can use these moments to share how they have failed and teach their children the lessons they learned in the process. Children need to know that failure happens, but that it does not define them as a failure.

Role #5: Encourage your Child

As much as a child needs support, they also need encouragement. They need to know that someone is thinking of them, backing them and rooting for them to succeed. Dads can do this in very practical ways like giving a high-five or saying something good about their child. A thoughtful note is even better. Your child will treasure it and look back on it when times get tough. Leave something physical for them so that they can reflect on it and remember your example even when you are gone.

Kids expect their mom to support and encourage them, but they THRIVE when dad does it.

 

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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