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Common sense a prerequisite for brilliance

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

Do high standardized test scores assure success?

Many highly-accomplished people had far from perfect scores on the SAT test. Some struggled to get through college and others dropped out. With these results, there must be more to success than academic brilliance.

Granted, technological advances have made academic knowledge, especially in math and the sciences, more important. However, common sense is just as vital as it was fifty years ago. Sadly, many parents have become so focused on academic knowledge and fame that common sense has fallen by the wayside.

Common sense is something most of us understand intuitively, but is difficult to define. It is a combination of wisdom and self-discipline.

According to Wordnik wisdom is, “The ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting.” Wisdom is not something that can be found in a textbook, taught in a classroom, or downloaded from the Internet. It is not tested through standardized tests like the SAT, MCAT, or GRE. Instead it is something that comes with exposure and experience.

The same dictionary defines self-discipline as, “Training and control of one’s conduct.” Self-discipline is generally modeled and taught at home through structure, responsibility, consequences, and praise.

Before the age of helicopter parents, most kids developed common sense as part of everyday life. Children were given considerable responsibility. Parents set expectations and there were consequences for poor choices. Only the winners received trophies. Through the school of hard knocks kids gradually learned how to present ideas, communicate with others, and alert people of delays. They came to understand the importance of punctuality and how to diplomatically address problems.

Now many parents are so worried about the “perfect” D1 sports program, landing a lead movie role, etc. that they do too much of their kids. It is often better to set general extra-curricular involvement requirements and establish minimum effort expectations rather than micromanage.

Finally, it is important for children to take responsibility for their actions. If a child is going to be late, he/she should notify the adult in charge. When a child damages property, he/she needs to earn money for the repair. And when a child performs poorly on a test, he/she needs to get a poor grade rather than have his/her parent negotiate with the principal.

Stepping out of the micromanagement role is challenging. However, it is easier once we realize our children need an environment that fosters common sense to become truly brilliant.

Pediatricians sound alarm on rapid weight changes in young athletes

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“Young gymnasts, figure skaters and wrestlers who try to quickly shed pounds by fasting or restricting fluids may be endangering their health, pediatricians warn. Similarly, young football players or power-lifters who try to rapidly pack on muscle may also be undermining their health, a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) said.”(more)

Stronger muscles may pump up kids’ memory skills

Medical X-Press – Maureen Salamon

“Evaluating 79 children between the ages of 9 and 11, scientists said they found that muscle fitness was directly related to a more accurate memory. The results also reinforced established research linking kids’ aerobic fitness to better thinking skills and academic performance. “There are multiple ways children can derive benefit from exercise … to build healthy bodies as well as healthy minds,” said study co-author Charles Hillman. He’s a professor of psychology and health sciences at Northeastern University in Boston. “We know that kids are becoming increasingly inactive, overweight and unfit,” Hillman added. “So, it’s important to take studies like these … to basically indicate the benefit of physical activity and the importance of it.” Only 1 in 3 children in the United States is physically active every day, according to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. One contributor is the 7.5 hours per day, on average, that children spend in front of a screen—whether it be TV, video games, computers or the like.”(more)

Water outperforms sports drinks for young athletes

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“Most youngsters don’t exert themselves at an intensity or duration that requires the extra sugar and salt contained in sports drinks, said Dr. Matthew Silvis. He is director of primary care sports medicine at Penn State Health Medical Center. “Sports drinks can replenish some of what you lost during exercise, but you really need to be exercising for more than 45 minutes to an hour before you would consider that,” Silvis said. “Many of our kids are not doing enough to warrant it,” he added in a university news release. Also, giving children sports drinks with extra sugar puts them at risk for weight gain and tooth decay, Silvis and his colleagues noted.”(more)

Children need three hours exercise a day – Finland

BBC – Staff Writer

“Children should spend at least three hours a day performing physical activities, according to the Finnish government. Parents have been advised to actively encourage their children to pursue hobbies and interests that require physical exertion. Children aged eight and under have been targeted in the move. Finland is known for producing some of the most physically fit children in Europe. It also produces some of the highest academic results among schoolchildren in the developed world.”(more)

Survey: Most parents rely on outdated advice when caring for a child with concussion

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“A new national survey, commissioned by UCLA Health, reveals that a vast majority of parents may be following outdated advice when caring for a child with a concussion, and it could be making their child’s symptoms worse. “This survey really illustrates just how far the pendulum has swung in terms of caring for children with concussions,” said Dr. Christopher Giza, a pediatric neurologist and director of the UCLA Steve Tisch BrainSPORT Program. “In the past, there was often a tendency to downplay the significance of concussions. Now some parents go too far the other direction and, despite their best intentions, they can inadvertently complicate their child’s recovery.” The survey asked 569 parents nationwide how they would care for a child whose concussion symptoms lasted for more than a week. Among the more surprising results, more than 3 out of 4 parents (77 percent) said they would likely wake their child up throughout the night to check on them.”(more)