With the beginning of the school year, we will again hear complaints about the expensiveness of textbooks and school supplies.
Those complaints will be even more this year as many are suffering from the consequences of the ongoing economic crisis.
A good education involves teaching how to turn problems into opportunities. And the crisis can be a good opportunity to educate children on sobriety. Making them do without superfluous expenses does not mean loving them any less—and under the current circumstances it is a duty of justice.
It is not necessary to buy a paper notebook with many pages for each school subject—surely enough, those from last year still have 90 percent blank pages. Neither are collections of pens, markers, and a thousand color pencils essential.
If children need to call home, they can use the school phones, so they do not need a cell phone; apart from saving quite a lot of money, they won’t waste time exchanging useless messages. Sneakers and sports clothes need not be from brands that cost big money simply to prevent them from feeling inferior to the others. What is certainly useful is to buy plastic covers for textbooks so that they may be used by others later on. Math is taught at school; the virtue of sobriety is learnt at home.
• Many communities have set up cooling centers to assist those seeking relief from the oppressive heat. Locations and hours of operations are available by calling 2-1-1.
• Slow down, avoid strenuous activity. Do not try to do too much on a during the hottest hours of the day.
• Drink plenty of water regularly and often, even if you do not feel thirsty.
• Limit intake of alcoholic beverages. They can actually dehydrate your body.
• Eat well-balanced, light, regular meals. Avoid high protein foods that increase metabolic heat.
• Stay indoors as much as possible.
• Wear lightweight, loose-fitting, light-colored clothing. Light colors will reflect heat and sunlight and help maintain normal body temperature. Protect your face with a wide-brimmed hat.
• If you do not have air conditioning, stay on your lowest floor, out of the sun. Electric fans do not cool the air, but they do help evaporate sweat, which cools your body. Go to a place where you can get relief from the heat, such as air conditioned schools, libraries, theaters and other community facilities that may offer refuge during the warmest times of the day.
• Avoid too much sunshine. Sunburn slows the skin’s ability to cool itself. If you are outside, use sunscreen lotion with a high SPF (Sun Protection Factor) rating.
• Never leave children or pets alone in a closed vehicle.
• Check on family, friends and neighbors.
Peter W. Judge