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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Sunday, October 13 2002

Bishop Carroll, 38; Somerset, 6
Blacklick Valley, 14; Meyersdale, 12
Central Cambria, 54; Central, 21


Ever since Jon's comments and questions about teasing in his September 18 Jonal, I have been considering how Pat and I use it in our work with foster children. Quite often they come into our home and are scared of us, angry with their parents and the social workers that have taken them away from their dysfunctional yet familiar surroundings. Eventually it is structure and consistent love that wins them over, but playful teasing is very helpful in breaking down those barriers that separate us. After a few moments of teasing, a quiet, sullen child will break into a smile and begin talking. Or a child who is loud and restless will become silent and still. One thing we have learned is that the children are usually as anxious as we are to get past the beginning awkward moments, and teasing is one of the ways of getting there.

Also, teasing can defuse situations that could become very confrontational. For instance, at the present time, we have a boy going through a klutzy stage. He has dropped everything from a gallon of milk to a bowl of vegetable soup. Instead of scolding him, we tease him about having butter on his fingers and, of course, make him clean up the mess. We keep it light-hearted but do tease him about being butter fingers. We do have to be careful about teasing because other children pick up on it and the teasing turns to taunting.

What skills I have in using teasing as an icebreaker, I owe to my father. He was a master at teasing children and gaining their confidence. However, this device is also useful to us as adults. For example, I have come upon friends whom I haven't seen in months or even years. We soon begin teasing each other about something in the past and within a few minutes we are talking as though we had only parted yesterday. Teasing goes hand in hand with a good sense of humor. I believe those individuals who lack the ability to tease and make jokes will have trouble making and keeping friends. And I am positive Pat and I would not have survived 16 years as foster parents without the ability to tease and laugh with others and laugh at ourselves.

Advice for the day

If you have a lot of tension and you get a headache, do what it says on the aspirin bottle: "Take two Aspirin" and "Keep away from children."

—Sent by Mike Harrison

Thought for the day

I wish for you...
Comfort on difficult days,
Rainbows to follow the clouds,
Laughter to kiss your lips,
Sunsets to warm your heart
Gentle hugs when spirits sag,
Friendships to brighten your being,
Beauty for your eyes to see,
Confidence for when you doubt,
Faith so that you can believe,
Courage to know yourself,
Patience to accept the truth,
And love to complete your life.
God Bless you!

—Sent by Ted Lewallen

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