Swiftwater Journey

faith, culture, and growing up in a rapidly changing world

Some things are bigger than baseball May 19, 2010

Filed under: Adolescence,Sports — billmacphee @ 4:11 pm

John Sikorra is a high school student with a passionate love for baseball. He also is suffering from a rare, fatal, neuro-degenerative disorder known as Batten disease which has taken his eyesight in childhood and now is compromising his cognitive skills as well.

John has hung around his baseball team at Chaminade High School in West Hills, CA dreaming of the possibility of one day swinging for the fences. Two opposing coaches rose above normal competition and gave this kid a chance. Read the story, it will make you smile and restore your hope for goodness to happen to kids.

  • I love the commitment and presence of John’s dad, Joe.
  • I am moved by the love of the game – which allows kids to play with abandon and not performance.
  • I support caring for an individual student – setting aside protocol and letting him shine if just for a moment.

John Sikorra is living the dream at last – latimes.com.


Teenage Sailor Teaches Me About Being an Adult May 16, 2010

Filed under: Adolescence — billmacphee @ 9:53 am
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Jessica Watson Sails Around the World – 16 but really an adult

Government initiates artificial markers for entrance into adulthood but Jessica’s journey illustrates that being adult is defined more by a sense of knowing who you are, taking ownership and responsibility for one’s choices, and finding your place among other adults.

“People don’t think you’re capable of these things —¬†they don’t realize what young people, what 16-year olds and girls are capable of. It’s amazing, when you take away those expectations, what you can do.”

Jessica has a new goal now that she is back on land — learn to drive a car and get her driver’s license. Getting one’s drivers license, graduating from high school, joining the military, voting, or turning 21 and hitting the bars, are not clear markers of entrance into the adult world.

Read more from Jessica – http://jessicawatson.com.au


South Pasadena athlete transcends the rules – latimes.com

Filed under: Adolescence,Sports — billmacphee @ 9:19 am

South Pasadena athlete transcends the rules – latimes.com.

Robin Laird

Robin Laird is a high school athlete who has a relatively centered sense of who she is and what role sports play in her life. She has risen above the often dysfunctional adult-driven competitive nature of youth sports since she knows that winning is thrilling but not self-defining.

Sports often becomes a rigid system that supersedes what is best for kids – the participants – and perpetuates adult-driven agendas for success. Good for Robin. She has navigated an unfortunate misstep and will move forward into her college journey with poise and respect. Others are not so fortunate.


Low-quality child care can have lasting impact May 14, 2010

Filed under: Adolescence,education,Parenting — billmacphee @ 5:30 pm
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Low Quality Child Care Hurts

Using day-care seems inevitable and and mandatory for many. This research indicates that quality matters, but maybe more important is the duration of care outside the home and the intimacy of family relationships when the child returns to parent’s care.

“Researchers had speculated that the negative effects of lower-quality care would disappear as the influence of other factors, such as peers, teachers and maturation, overcame the early childhood experience. But in the latest analysis of the data, they discovered that teenagers who had received higher-quality child care were less likely to report engaging in problem behaviors such as arguing, being mean to others and getting into fights. Those who spent more hours in child care of any kind were more likely to engage in impulsive and risky behaviors.”


The meaning of the Sabbath – latimes.com May 3, 2010

Filed under: Time — billmacphee @ 10:50 am
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The meaning of the Sabbath – latimes.com.

This article affirms some of my thoughts in the previous post. I’m trying to recapture what it means to pursue downtime in appropriate measures.


Distracted driving: cellphones and texting

Filed under: Parenting,Technology — billmacphee @ 10:46 am
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Distracted driving: Driving with cellphone to ear or while texting? This cop has just the ticket for you – latimes.com.

Fact: Distracted driving causes an estimated 6,000 fatalities each year in the U.S., and some of the more common distractions include texting, phoning or fiddling with a GPS.

Fact: An estimated 500,000 people are injured each year by distracted drivers.

I’ve made a vow to not pick up my cell phone while driving and have not been completely successful, but am making progress. Since I do a fair amount of road biking I’ve grown familiar with what it looks like for a driver to be distracted while fiddling with tech gadgets. I know I will be the big loser in any confrontation with a car.

The featured cop in this article waxes philosophical about the reasons he thinks people refuse to put down their phones and obey the intuitively practical need for the hands free law–he states that “people don’t like down time.” This speaks to a deeper issue–we may have allowed the ability of technology to keep us connected to determine our pace of life. We are more hurried, fragmented, and anxious about productivity than ever. One key to the effective, efficient, and overall healthy use of technology is an internal ability to know when it is appropriate to turn it off and disconnect. Adequate downtime is vital to productive and healthy uptime.

See also–teenagers want help to stop texting: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/04/30/earlyshow/main6447065.shtml