Sunday, 26 April 2020

Student Reflection Wednesday

What I am looking forward to after isolation
By Nolan Bergeron

When I first walked through the doors of Saint Anne’s in September, I never imagined that my second semester would be spent mainly inside my house. Most grade nines spend their whole year learning at school, but that all changed when Covid-19 broke out; the first world pandemic since the 1918 Influenza outbreak. From my perspective it seemed like events kept getting worse and worse gradually. By March 14, it seemed like someone had pressed pause on the world. Sporting events were postponed, churches and schools were closed, and all school trips were canceled.

This was extremely shocking news for me, as Saint Anne’s band trip to New York City was planned for April 22-25. I had been looking forward to this trip ever since it was announced in September. I knew the trip would have been an amazing experience, as I had attended the 2019 Nashville/Memphis band trip, which was a blast. New York would have been an awesome trip, but I’m sure many others can agree with me that it’s one of the last places we want to be right now.

Though these are very uncertain times, we can still be optimistic and look forward to doing the things we love. I am most looking forward to seeing my friends and family, as well as continuing to play music with all of my friends in the band. I am also eager to start learning in person with my teachers and classmates, since Google Classroom isn’t my ideal choice of education.

Despite all the churches being closed, there are still many ways we can connect with God. Thankfully, there is a way to watch mass on YouTube livestreams. My family and I tune into a stream every Sunday, and I can say it feels good to still have faith and a connection with God amidst all of this.

In conclusion, I think we can all say that we are looking forward to getting back into routine with our normal lives. I would like to thank all of the healthcare workers on the front lines who are risking their lives to save others. I know that we are all in this together, and that we will overcome this virus very soon.

I will end off with a quote of hope that reads: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.”

Student Reflection Thursday

A Reflection On Hope
By Noah Gascon

2020 will forever be known as the year our world stopped turning. None of us have ever experienced anything like this crisis in our entire lives.
For many, what started out as a school closure announcement on a Thursday evening before march break, has exploded into one of the greatest challenges our society has faced in decades. Life as we know it has been put on hold. The most vulnerable members of our community are being affected the most. Our economy is treading on thin ice. These are definitely not normal times.

However, this crisis has brought the best out of so many of us. As I go for my walks everyday, kids in my neighbourhood are drawing “Thank you” messages for our frontline workers in their driveways with chalk. People around the world have been coming outside at 7pm every night to give a thunderous applause to our healthcare superheroes.  Neighbours are checking up on one another to stay safe. Volunteers are stepping up to help keep our communities fed. Friends and family have helped in keeping our small businesses afloat. Nurses and Doctors have provided patients of all stripes with compassionate care even in these emotionally straining times.

These actions are what truly represents our God given human spirit. All of these wonderful things have been happening because of the unique spirits that God has instilled within all of us. I have never believed that good things happen out of thin air. There is always a spiritual presence that lies within our decisions to do good in our everyday lives. Churches being closed have cut many people off from traditional ways of being with God. However, I’ve always believed that God lies in places beyond the church. His spirit is what is causing us to come together even when we’re apart. Today, many more people are living in the image that Christ always wanted for all of us. He wanted a world where people looked out for one another and that’s exactly what we’re seeing today, you just have to look out your window.

In addition to this, we’ve all had the opportunity to have deeper reflections on our personal lives and what really matters to us. This pandemic has exposed us to our collective blindness of what we used to take for granted. The trip to the grocery store, the visit with Grandma, the night at the movie theatre, seeing friends and extended family or even being able to go to school are all things we never thought would vanish.

Although I’ve missed all of those things, I’ve realized that there is a deeper meaning to life and we must appreciate every moment we have with each other. I mourn with all the families who have lost loved ones to this deadly virus and won’t have the opportunity to do that.

I look forward to being reunited with friends, family and co workers when this is all over. This is a major storm but God would never put is through something that us and him could not weather together. A very wise person once told me that life wasn’t worth living if there wasn’t hope. The fantastic news is that there is so much hope every day even when it may not seem like it.

You just have to look at how God is working in ways that we wouldn’t expect. I promise, we will get through this... together.

Thursday, 23 April 2020

Most Beautiful Catholic Churches in The World

The Most Beautiful Catholic Cathedrals and Churches in The World

Healthy Spirit Friday

Joseph Gloor's Testimony about 
Word On Fire
What one of the worlds most photographed body builder has to say about faith.

Run To The Father
By Cody Carnes

Daring Classrooms

This is a "Must Watch" for all teachers!
Brene Brown has AMAZING wisdom 
for the classroom.
Her research provides an incredible insight into the students sitting in your classrooms and the people we work with daily. 

Brene Brown - Why Your Critics Aren't The Ones Who Count

Brené Brown: 

Why Your Critics Aren't The Ones Who Count (Editted)

Brené Brown - Why Do We Hide Our True Self?

Casandra Brené Brown PhD, LMSW is a professor, lecturer, author, and podcast host. Since 2016, Brown has held the Brené Brown Endowed Chair at the University of Houston's Graduate College of Social Work. 
She is also a visiting professor in management at McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin.

Matters of Faith Parents & Teachers

Bishop Barron On...

The Resurrection of Jesus

The COVID-19 Quarantine

"Once Upon a Time In Hollywood"

Bishop Robert Barron

Bishop Barron is an auxiliary bishop of the 
Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the founder
of Word on Fire Catholic Ministries.

Healthy Body Friday

Doctor Mike Has Lots of Answers!!!

Featured snippet from the web

DrMike Evans was a staff physician at St. Michael's Hospital, an Associate Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Toronto, Lead of Digital Preventive Medicine at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, as well as the first international recipient of an endowed university chair in Patient Engagement.

The Importance of Intensity in Physical Activity
What Is The Best Way To Treat Acne?

Increasing Productivity With Activity!

Vaping Addiction - Parents

For Parents 

Simah Herman, 18, became an anti-vaping advocate after surviving a severe lung illness that caused her to be placed in a medically induced coma – one of several recent incidents linked to vaping.

Healthy Body Wednesday

Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Healthy Spirit Tuesday

Take a few minutes and let this Guided Meditation help to bring a sense of peace to these stress and anxiety filled times.

And then enjoy this awesome video by Rend Collective - Feels Good

Talking to kids about COVID-19 Parents and Teachers
Talking To Kids About COVID-19
Mar 24 • 2020
Coping with the uncertainty around COVID-19 is challenging for most adults, and kids may be having an even tougher time during the pandemic. Social isolation, being off school for an extended period of time, and uncertainty about what all this means for their friends and family are just a few of the concerns young children and teens may have at this time. Here are some things that may help. It is important that if you are co-parenting that both parents are on board on what you are doing and saying to your child, as different messages will confuse and possibly make your child more worried.
Managing Parental Anxiety
It will be challenging to address your child’s anxiety if your own fears feel out of control. It’s easy for kids to forget that you may have fears about your own parents, your finances if you aren’t able to work during this time, or just the stress of parenting 24/7 as kids are asked to stay home. Check in with friends, family, or a mental health professional during this time to ensure you’re coping well. Your health matters too!
Open the Dialogue, Ask Questions, Talk About It
Despite the constant news feed and information overload, your child may be confused or unsure of what is really going on. Ask them what they know, what their worries are, and what they want to know. Don’t be afraid to talk about it, and make sure you address any myths they may have about the illness. Children may be afraid of seeing their peers again after the social isolation phase ends, so let them know you’re looking out for them and things will inevitably return to normal. It’s OK to provide a little reassurance during this time. Don’t be afraid to tell your child you’re anxious too – normalize their worries by helping them know it’s OK and healthy to worry a little (it keeps us safe!) but that we never want to let worry take over and become unhelpful. 
Parents Can Say:
“Right now, on the news and all around us, there is a lot of talk about this new virus/people getting sick, what have you heard about it? Is there anything you want to know more about?” 
“I know we are watching a lot of news right now and I’d like to talk to you about any questions you may have or maybe something that’s hard to understand?” 
“Mom/Dad/Caregiver don’t have all the answers right now, but let’s talk about what I do know” 
“Doctors and scientists are studying to learn more about this virus so they can help us figure out the best way to beat it. So far we know that to help beat it we can wash our hands after we blow our noses, cough, sneeze, go to the bathroom, before we eat, or when we come home from being outside, But we need to wash them for at least twenty seconds so let’s come up with a Hand-Washing Song together (easy to find kid versions on YouTube/Google) to help us learn how long we should be washing for.”
If you are working in a profession/job where you have direct contact with individuals affected by COVID19, your child may have specific questions and concerns about your safety. Being open, honest, and direct can be effective:
“I know you’re worried about me getting sick and that’s OK. I agree it can feel scary sometimes for me too but I want you to know I am taking extra special care to stay safe and keep all of us safe too. I want you to remember that even if I do get sick this flu is mostly dangerous for older adults and people whose bodies have a tough time fighting off flus and other germs so I won’t feel good but I’ll be OK.”
For younger children:
 “This is a serious flu that makes some people very sick. Most people are just fine even if they get sick, but it’s important to wash our hands and stay home while this flu goes around.”
Even if we’re not sick and your friends don’t feel sick it’s important that we work together to stop this flu from spreading, and that means we are not able to see our friends right now. But once this virus/flu goes away, then we can all hang out again.”
To encourage your child to wash their hands, parents can make a game of it
 “I know I am reminding you to wash your hands a lot. Let’s make this into a game. If I hear you singing our “Handwashing Song” that we’ve been practicing each time you wash your hands, we’ll put a sticker on your chart. When you have x number of stickers you can choose a prize. Remember you only earn the sticker if you wash your hands when you need to, no stickers for extra washing when we don’t need to wash. Can you remind me again when are the right times to wash our hands?”
“Another thing that doctors are saying is that we need to be further away from people then we are used to, that’s why we haven’t been able to see Grandma and Grandpa as much. So instead, let’s video call them so we can see how they are doing.” – Following the videochat, you can say “See? Was Mr. Worry right or wrong – grandma/grandpa/etc are just fine! That Mr. Worry just LOVES to make us worry more than we need to doesn’t he!?”
For younger children you can show them how much space we need between people by having them extend out their arms and swing around to make their “space bubble.”  And use words like “Don’t be a space invader” 
“Scientists still are learning more about this virus so we can find other ways to beat it, so even though I don’t have all the answers right now, Mom/Dad/caregiver will let you know when I learn more about it.”
Explain It In Their Terms
So many phrases are tossed around that are confusing – virus, “social distancing”, quarantine, contagious disease, etc. It can be easy to overestimate a child’s verbal ability, so start by explaining it in the simplest terms possible. Help put it into perspective, especially for young children. Kids may worry about their grandparents or worry about their peers during this time – if possible try to communicate with them via videoconferencing so they can talk and see with their own eyes and ears that most people are doing just fine. Anxiety makes us predict the worst and we can expose kids to the truth in times like this to see that anxiety isn’t always right.
Use What Works
Strategies that work for other worries and anxiety work now too. Ask your child to use their Realistic Thinking skills and generate alternatives to worried thoughts like “What else could happen instead?” or have them sort their worries into helpful worries (that help us wash our hands and stay safe) and unhelpful ones (that cause of to avoid things or just think and think with no action). Many resources for children can be found on Anxiety Canada’s website at
Parents Can Say:
Let your child know that anxiety is OK and normal, and giving anxiety a name helps everyone see anxiety as separate from the child. Some popular names are Worry Bully, Mr. Worry or Worry Dragon, or any name that makes sense, and is not scary, to your younger child can be used.
Parents can say:
“Mom/Dad/Caregiver  is worried about this virus too and it’s OK to feel worried or anxious about things we don’t understand because a little worry helps keep us safe. But we don’t want the worry to get too big because then the Worry Bully may take over and we won’t be able to enjoy life.” 
If you notice your child is worrying too much, parents can say/do:
“Let’s not watch the news too much as it will just feed your worries about this virus, maybe just one or two times a day is all you need to know what is going on”
For younger children:
“It seems like Mr. Worry is trying to scare you about the virus/this serious flu, let’s boss him back by making a list of the helpful worries and the ones that are not helpful.”
“Let’s not think about what may happen in the future right now or spend too long focused on the Worry Dragon. Let’s go and do a puzzle together (or some other activity in the present)”
“It sounds like Mr. Worry is trying to tell you what is going to happen in the future again.” We can’t know the future but what we can do is make sure we do everything the scientists and doctors are telling us to do to keep safe, like washing our hands, staying home and trying not to touch our face.”
“It’s important for us all to remember this isn’t going to last forever and we’ll be able to see and play with friends again – we just can’t do that right now, but when the doctors say it’s safe we can do all that fun stuff again.”
Make It Into A Game
“Let’s have a contest and see who can touch their face the least and whoever wins gets a prize. Parents will be watching to see if anyone touches their face and if I spot anyone touching their face we add one point to your score. Each day we’ll count up our points and whoever has the lowest score that day gets a small treat. Whoever has the lowest score at the end of the week gets to pick the movie we’re going to watch Friday night (or other choices like what’s for dinner that night, a favorite dessert, etc).”  
For younger children it can help to include visuals so parents can set up a jar and every time that someone touches their face in the family (parents included) they have to put (a dime/quarter) in the jar and whoever touches their face the least wins the money in the jar at the end of the day. Buttons, marbles, poker chips, or even candies can be used to fill the jar depending on what your child enjoys.

Stay Active
We can’t expect children to understand or even be OK or happy with staying home and not seeing their friends. Explain to them you’re not happy either but that you’re working on this together. Take a break from the news and social media and take this time to play with your kids and help build an even better parent-child relationship during this time. With school closures, try to build in new routines and predictability to help kids adjust to the changes in their lives. Kids still need consistency, fun and attention even in the midst of all this anxiety and uncertainty. 
Parents Can Say:
“I know it’s hard for you not to be able to see your friends or go places. It’s hard for me too, I miss my friends and activities. Let’s focus on what we can do right now. We can (e.g., practice those math problems, do laundry together, put those photos in an album like we have been wanting to for so long but never had the time) or go and do something fun.
Let’s stop watching the news or checking instragram/snapchat/facetime and instead let’s (play a game together, bake, use it as an opportunity to catch up on our favourite series, go outside and make a snowman, throw around a ball etc)” 
Thanks to Scientific Advisory Committee members Felicity Sapp and Daniel Chorney for creating this resource.

Anxiety Canada 
811 - 402 West Pender Street
Vancouver, BC
V6B 1T6
604 620 0744

CNN Article "Why teens may never be the same after the pandemic" - Parents/Teachers

Why teens may never be the same after the pandemic

Updated 4:34 PM ET, Thu April 16, 2020
(CNN)There will be no graduation for the Class of 2020 -- at least not one that would've forced seniors to wake up early and file into an auditorium with their peers, dressed in flimsy gowns and caps they've been told they can't throw.
Prom is canceled, too -- so the budget that would've covered the photo booths, catered canapes, DJ and dance floor has gone to waste. Ditto to all the prom dresses hanging in closets, unworn and untainted by spilled punch.
Classes have been conducted virtually for weeks, and teachers feel pressured to inflate their course loads. Students wake up to take exams from bed.
In the time of coronavirus, traditional hallmarks of the high school experience have all but disappeared. And as everyone settles into new routines inside, at home, teens are feeling angry, anxious and reticent. Their identities are fracturing in isolation, and the people who love them, teach them and study them fear they'll wear the effects of the pandemic for years to come.
"Honestly, I feel as though I have been robbed," Shanice Dawkins, an 18-year-old from Broward County, Florida, told CNN. "I've been looking forward to my senior year since I was a freshman, and now I have nothing to remember for it."

Adolescents have a heightened reactivity to stress

It's hard enough being a teenager on a good day. But the conditions that accompany social distancing may exacerbate the painful parts of adolescence to the point of crisis. Adolescents typically have a heightened reactivity to stress, thought to be the result of hormonal fluctuations and changes in brain development.
    Now, throw a pandemic in the mix.
    Interactive: America on Hold: We all have a story
    "I think this is a recipe for difficult, big emotions for them," Camelia Hostinar, a developmental psychologist and assistant professor of psychology at the University of California - Davis, told CNN.
    Hostinar described this period of isolation amid coronavirus as "social reorientation" for teens.
    Teens normally spend a sizable chunk of their days at school, tuned into their peers on whom they rely to form their own feelings and opinions. Now they're tuning in (or out) to the adults with whom they live.

    The people they rely on aren't there in person

    Research shows when they were younger, their parents were buffers for their stress who could absorb the hard stuff for them. Now, the people teens rely on for that job -- each other-- aren't there, not in person at least.
    During the coronavirus pandemic, schools have moved to remote learning.Although teens are considered digital natives -- and therefore are likely better at navigating virtual friendships -- they're still missing the vital, in-person benefits of relationships, Hostinar said.

    The lockdown is limiting their identity

    Adolescence is the time when young people start to piece together who they are, or at least who they'll be right now, she said. Many of the pieces that once defined them are lost to the virus.
    "In a way, it's limiting their identity," Hostinar said.
    All this change is overwhelming -- and the autonomy and independence that teens crave is next to impossible to achieve when most places, besides their own homes, are off limits.
      "There's more anxiety about the future," she said. "And the spillover effects from family members who are themselves anxious, and they're smart enough to understand what's going on."

      They feel robbed of memories

      Many teens shared Dawkins' sentiment of feeling "robbed" of memories they were supposed to make in these formative high school years.
      Some lamented not being able to go to prom, considered a quintessential event of senior year, and graduation, which is culminates the end of an era.
      "(Prom and graduation) were part of what made all of the work pay off and now that's been taken away," Sara Fuchsgruber, an 18-year-old from Aurora, Colorado, said.
      Dovie Moreland, a 18-year-old from Sequatchie, Tennessee, agreed.
      "We have grown up watching our older siblings and family members go to their senior prom and walk the field and get their diploma, and that has been stripped from us in one short month." Moreland said.

      Being cooped up has led to increased anxiety

      Being at home, for some, has also resulted in increased anxiety.
      "I've felt discombobulated to say the least," Kailani Pino, a 16-year-old from Miami, said.
        She has been cooped up for over three weeks now. Her siblings don't live at home anymore and her parents are constantly working. Being home during the day makes her feel like she's "living in a ghost town."
        "I have no one to really express myself to besides myself, which tends to lead into a pool of overthinking, which segues into anxiety or panic attacks," she said. "Which isn't ideal, but it's reality."

        They worry over an uncertain future

        Others expressed anxiety over what the future holds. Coronavirus has led to a thousands of people losing their jobs, and families across the US are feeling the financial strain. The virus hit just as some were preparing to dish out thousands of dollars for college tuition.
        Julian PerezJulian Perez's mom lost her job at a local college. His dad, a coffee distributor, expects to be furloughed soon. They told him they can no longer afford to send him to his "dream school," the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
        "I feel like all I have worked so hard at for 12 years has been for nothing," the 18-year-old, who is from Miami, said.
        He said he plans on attending a community college close to home and then reapply to the University of the Arts next year.

        Distractions, they say, don't come easy

        All of the high schoolers expressed different ways of mourning the lost period of time. Distractions they listed include listening to music, working out and learning a new language.
        "I guess you could say I feel a bit more 'empty' without outside interactions, but I'm more than willing to make some sacrifices for the greater good," Zahin Hoque, a 15-year-old from Alpharetta, Georgia, said.
          But sometimes, distracting from reality isn't easy.
          "There are days I just want to sleep and not do anything," Perez said.

          Traumatic events have a very specific effect on teens

          Traumatic national events, while rare, can move teens in subtle ways -- and gradually erase their sense of self.
          Rites of passage are deferred as students adjust to school in isolation
          Rites of passage are deferred as students adjust to school in isolation
          study of 1,000 high schoolers, published by the Journal of Business Ethics in October of 2006, found that the teens' values changed fairly drastically before and after the September 11th attacks in New York. The group surveyed valued survival and safety more highly after the attacks, while values like self esteem, a sense of accomplishment and "inner harmony" fell in importance.
          Most teens today weren't born at the time of the 9/11 attack. But they've already lived through personal traumas and collective ones, notably gun violence in schools. The emotional turbulence of teen life makes them more susceptible to depression and anxiety. The National Alliance on Mental Illness says 50% of mental illnesses develop by age 14.
          Hostinar expects to see diagnoses spike now, too -- though it's far too early to measure the impact of the pandemic on teens in terms of their mental health and academic achievement.

          These effects could last a long time

          Steve Schneider, a high school counselor in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, said the trauma is already setting in amongst students, whether people can see it or not.
          Steve Schneider's 18-year-old daughter plays her guitar on their porch in Sheboygan, Wisconsin"The ramifications of this in the world of education are going to trickle for years," Schneider said. "This will follow any kid that's in high school right now. This will follow them through graduation. It's not short term."
          Because Schneider can't meet with his students, he's left to guess at how they're faring via emails or phone calls -- though many don't respond.
          Some of his students are angry. Those tend to be the teens who enjoyed school or the seniors who looked forward to pre-graduation events. He can manage those students because they're responsive.
          But then there are the teens he compares to turtles -- the ones who are so overwhelmed by the shakeup in daily life that they recede into their shells, close their eyes and ignore it all. That's the response that troubles Schneider most.
          "We just have a lot of kids who've simply said, 'I'm just not going to do it,'" he said.

          There are some things they can do to cope

          Still, it's difficult to generalize what life will be like for an entire cohort. Many teenagers could emerge from this time more resilient than they knew they could be. But, it's important to allow teenagers to lean into however they are feeling during this time.
          "Even if everybody at home gets along, it's really important for their emotional development to have their own downtime," said Dr. Katherine Williamson, a California pediatrician and media representative for the American Academy of Pediatrics.
          Her other recommendations include staying on a schedule to maintain a sense of normalcy, eating healthy and exercising regularly.
          Above all else, however, Williamson said it's important to "be gentle with yourself."

          Still, they're getting through it, 

          little by little

          When Schneider isn't counseling other students, he's checking on his 18-year-old daughter, a senior. He stopped outside her bedroom door one night when she looked glum.
          Without saying anything, he hugged her. She sunk into his arms and cried.
          "This is so hard," she told him.
          But she's coping, he said, as best she can. Schneider sometimes hears her up in her room, singing and strumming her ukulele. He knows she stays up until 1 a.m. talking to friends, who she may not see for months.
          That wouldn't fly before the pandemic. Now, he lets her talk all night.