Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Why must we sleep? Sleep can be annoying. Often there are still things left to do but as our eyes close and our head begins to nod, we know that it is time to put everything else aside and crawl under our covers. We don’t always want to sleep, but we know that we need to if we plan to make it through the next day. Sleep is something that no one can avoid; an inescapable human need. No matter how powerful a person, they must sleep. Every night.

Although sleep can be irritating at times, just another obstacle we must get through in the game of time, we cannot deny that sleep is comforting. After a tiring or stressful day, all one wants to do is curl up and fall asleep. Nothing is more soothing than a bed, which provides peace and refuge from any problems that may exist during the day. A safe haven, sleep allows us to escape from everything in our life, both good and bad. In our dreams, anything can happen and fantasy triumphs reality. Work, homework, social dilemmas and stress temporarily escape us as we lie down for the night. We can always count on of sleep to relieve us of our daytime problems and overbooked schedules. From sleep, we receive comfort, relaxation and an opportunity to live in our own utopia, even if for only a few hours.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Schoolchildren and workaholics alike spend their year counting down to those three wonderful months: June, July and August. What is it about summer? Perhaps, it is the hot sun that beams down on us as we drink lemonade outside. Or is it vacationing around the world, traveling and seeing places we’ve only read about? Most children would answer that it is the break from school: no homework, no tests, no reports. Whatever the reason, it is impossible to deny that there is something magical about that summer season. We crave it the whole year and rejoice when it finally arrives.

Personally, I believe what allows summer to have its almost bewitching hold on us is its potential and prospects. No one knows what to expect from those steamy summer months. Anything can happen. Each day we wake up to the rising sun, filled with hope and anticipation. It is a time when anything and everything can and will happen. A time of goal chasing and dream catching.

What do you think? What does summer mean to you?


TV and Young Children

Apparently, TV is just about the kiss of death for young children. Kids who, at age 2, watched more television than their peers were more likely to be bullied by their classmates, have lower math scores, overeat, and become overweight. Obviously, the weight issues can be blamed the sedentary nature of watching television (children subjected to an above average amount of television at a young age are also less likely to exercise regularly in the years to come). The decrease in math scores are probably a result of television's tendency to drastically cut children's attention spans. Finally, when kids are at home watching TV, they are throwing away valuable time they could spend building relationships and learning valuable social skills, which explains the bullying - perhaps the most disturbing link with TV we've seen considering the frequency of school shootings in the past few years.
Obviously, the risks outweigh the rewards of television for young children. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends absolutely no television exposure in the first two years of a child's life, and less than two hours from there on out. However, I've heard many parents voice the appeal of turning on the television when they need to get something done. After all, parents cannot be watching their little mongrels 24/7, and considering the way rowdy kids suddenly, magically fall into a peaceful trance when you stick them in front of the TV, it's a option that might be hard to resist. Especially, that is, for busy parents who haven't done the dishes, finished that report for their business, or called their ailing Aunt Sally.
A babysitter might help, but not every family can afford child care. So what are some other ideas? Set out crayons and paper for the child and let them exercise their creativity. Invest in a couple safe, lead-free educational toys or board games. Take play date turns with another parent.
What I'm trying to say is that there are solutions to this conflict. It is important to attempt the perfect balance between overworking yourself and doing your children an injustice.
What's your take on TV for kids? Are you understanding of its allure for parents, or totally against it? Any other ideas on how we can solve this problem?

- Meredith

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Satisfaction: Round Two

It's always been my outlook that no one is ever satisfied. It seems as if constant, continuous ambition is ingrained in us; maybe it's Darwinian. Got the silver in the regional gymnastics competition? Now go for the gold. Got the gold? Go for the national competition this time. And so on.
The question is, how well can we as human beings separate satisfaction with happiness? How can we tell the difference?
Say an average guy, on his average day, has only two good things happen to him. First, he walks to school that morning under a perfect sun - the kind that seems to stroke your arms with just the right amount of heat so you're far from shivering, but not sweating up a storm either. He feels himself soaking up all that precious vitamin D. "What a beautiful day," he says to himself. Happiness.
That day, his teacher hands him back an important test, and on it is a big, fat A. He studied hours for this exam; he had worked hard; he now reaps the benefits. Satisfaction.
Now, when Average Guy comes home that day, which event will he recount to his family?Which will put him in a better mood? Which event really had an effect on his overall happiness?
I say the test. He enjoyed the sun during his walk, but the satisfaction gives him pride that will really stick with him. Unless he's a romantic, sentimental type, he won't mention the sun again; but he'll think back to that excellent test for many times to come.
And say, just for kicks, that he'd failed that test. He would be filled with total, utter dissatisfaction. He'd be so upset with the fact that all his studying didn't pay off, he probably wouldn't even notice how lovely the sun was that day. He'd be cranky and dark, and most of all, he'd be unhappy.
So how good really are we at drawing the line between satisfaction and happiness? It seems a very human habit to confuse two totally different departments of life. (Does anyone else find that your life's hardly a perfect pie chart; that the different sectors your life completely blend into one another, and you notice yourself thinking about what you'll wear to that thing on Saturday when your coach is talking at soccer practice?) Why would we be any better at the art of differentiating these two semi-similar states of being?
Feel free to say otherwise, of course. Maybe it's just a personal thing. Whatever your outlook is, let us know.



After enjoying a large cup of frozen yogurt from my favorite place, Fraiche, I felt satisfied. Anyone who really knows me is aware of the fact that Fraiche is my favorite food in the entire world.

Nonetheless, this satisfaction was short lived. Soon after finishing, I remembered everything else I had to do that day and rushed off: my brief moment of pleasure gone. Later that day, I again experienced this peaceful feeling of satisfaction after a workout. Once more, it disappeared shortly after arriving as I remembered the presentation I had to prepare for the following day. Are we ever truly satisfied?

Upon thinking about this, I asked my high school aged neighbor whether she was satisfied at the current point in time. After thinking for a few moments, she replied, “I’ll be satisfied at the end of this weekend, because hopefully, I’ll have finished everything I need to finish. No, maybe I will be at the end of next week after I have finished all my tests. But then, I have finals to study for. I guess I’ll be satisfied when school is out and it is summer.” Will she really be content once her summer arrives? Probably not.

Human beings are always looking to the next thing. Once we achieve one thing, we are already looking ahead to the next. There is no such thing as an ultimate prize and thus we spend our lives on a journey, scrambling to reach the next level. Once we get what we want, we set our sights on something else: a never-ending cycle. It remains impossible to achieve incessant, absolute satisfaction. Once we reach even our highest goal, something else will come along.

Some questions: Do you believe there is such thing as true satisfaction? How can one achieve it? What is it? And are you currently satisfied? Why or why not?