Posted: Wednesday, April 1, 2009 8:01 pm
Dear Annie: As a physical education teacher, I have had the opportunity to work with a lot of students in my nine years of teaching. In this age of video games, it seems harder and harder to motivate students to want to participate.
The good news is, our service learning initiative has begun to change that attitude in both our students and our community. I hope you can help me share with other teachers, students, schools and communities how they can engage their students in learning even more by doing for others, starting with Earth Day in April. And it’s free!
This is my third year participating in The LEAGUE with my school. We have collected clothes and canned food; written letters to soldiers, firemen and police officers; and held penny drives for local children’s hospitals, and near Earth Day we take our entire student population into the local neighborhoods to help clean up after winter. We plant flower beds and trees in various courtyards and have sponsored a local park in honor of a fallen soldier from our community. Students in all grades can give of their time, treasure and talents.
I have seen the excitement in my students — an excitement to help other people while physically doing something to make a difference. My school population is made up of proud children from single-family blue-collar homes with little extra money. The LEAGUE gives every child the opportunity to feel valued and valuable because of their gifts for others. As an educator, I strive to teach my students that they are a necessary and important piece of our school community regardless of background. The LEAGUE helps me prove this to every child in terms they and their families understand.
I would encourage any teacher with a classroom or teacher-certified group (like a student council or club) to go to the site www.theleague.org to see the wonderful “Learning to Give” curriculum and ideas for engaging our students in the giving of their time, talent and treasure for others. — Rob Merchant, Break-O-Day Elementary, New Whiteland, Ind.
Dear Rob Merchant: Thanks for your letter about The LEAGUE. Earth Day involves improving our environment and communities, and activities run through the month of April. The LEAGUE inspires children to give of themselves and become more responsible citizens. We hope all principals, teachers and school organizations will check out the website and find ways to get involved in these worthwhile events.
Dear Annie: My two sisters live in different states. They have daughters who are getting married three weeks apart. Since my wife and I don’t have the resources to fly to both weddings, rent a car and get a hotel room plus a gift, which one do we attend? I love my nieces equally, but attending both is more than we can afford. Any suggestions? — Torn in Toledo
Dear Toledo: Here are your options: See if there are low-cost airfares and hotels that will allow you to attend both; attend neither; attend the first one for which you receive an invitation; you and your wife could each attend one alone in a show of family loyalty. We think you should openly discuss the problem with your sisters so they will understand your dilemma and whatever decision you make.
Dear Annie: I would like to respond to “Ringless,” who was greatly disturbed that her husband didn’t wear his wedding ring.
My wife and I have been married 61 years, and I’ve never worn a wedding band because rings cause me to develop a skin condition that requires a trip to the dermatologist. Both of us have been faithful and I never considered that a ring would ensure any greater love for her.
If “Ringless’s” husband avoids wearing a wedding band in order to pose as a single man, then she has cause for concern. Otherwise, I would tell her to drop her objections and love the guy without it. — G.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 4.1.09