All posts by Julius Petaway

Go Outside and Play!

What happened to children going outside to play. As a parent of two daughters that are nine and seven, my children never want to go outside. When I was their age I would go outside and play for hours. I could not wait to finish my homework, so I could go outside and play with my friends. This is not just a trend with my children, but children across American are going outside less. Kids are missing out on a great way to exercise and increase social skills. Kids staying in the house is one of the causes of declining social skills. Children are being raised with less human interaction. Playing outside with friends develops social skills as well as imagination. So why are they staying in the house? One of the reasons is technology. Most kids these days have access to the internet through a computer, phone, or tablet. Technological advancements have made interactions a lot easier, because you do not have to be face to face.

Cell phones and computers are now the vessel to communication. Most teenagers and even young children are communicating through text and social media. This is ruining our children’s ability to initiate conservation and read social clues. The ability to read social clues can tell you a lot about the mood an individual is in. Are they uncomfortable, stressed, or unhappy. These are clues we need to identify, because someone can need help. So if you have children, get them off the computer for a few hours and take them outside because social skills are only learned through human interaction.


Healthy Eating for the Holidays

One of my favorite things to do around the holidays is eat. This is the time of year where I put on a couple of “winter pounds”. Starting on Thanksgiving leading to New Year’s there is an over indulgence of fatty foods and deserts. I myself look forward to my wife making her mac n cheese, stuffing and various desserts. While these foods are delicious, they aren’t the best options to eat. At least if you choose to these options modify the way you prepared them. In order to feel energetic and healthy you have to watch you put in your body. There is a reason after that big plate of food during the holidays your ready for a nap.


I would like to share with you some healthier ways to eat during the holiday season. One of my favorite tips is to use low-fat ingredients. This will shave some calories off those fatty foods. You will feel a little less guilty, when you eat that slice of cake. You can also roast or grill your food for fewer calories. This is a much healthier option than deep frying. Another thing to consider is the kind of alcoholic beverages you drink. Around the holidays there is usually an increase in alcohol consumption. Eggnog and other holiday alcoholic beverages have high levels of sugar and calories. If your going to drink alcohol do it in moderation and also mix your drinks with diet soda or sparkling water to avoid the additional calories. Here are some additional ideas for the holidays.


Tis the Season to Give Back

Now that the holiday season is upon on us, it is time to remember that many people are going through some tough times. Unfortunately there many individuals and families this holiday season experiencing homelessness without warm clothing and a hot meal and some children will not receive any gifts. This is why if you able to, I would like for you to adopt an idea my wife got from one her friends and that is the 12 days of kindness. It is a play on words from the 12 days of Christmas.


For 12 days you and your family can complete one-act of kindness per day. If you have children it is a great way to show them the importance of helping others. You do not have to spend a lot of money to give back. You can give your time. There is a great article listing various organizations that are looking for volunteers in Minneapolis and St Paul. The opportunities range from serving meals to the elderly to locations for toy drop-offs.

Another option is to donate your old items. If you have any clothing, books, children toys or any other excess items you can drop them off at a local Salvation Army. I am pretty sure that whatever you are able to do someone will appreciate it. You never know you may be the one needing some assistance someday.This is a great opportunity to end the year doing something special with your family and making an impact in someone’s life.

The Media’s Follow up to Matt Lauer Allegations

The Knife Media posted an article titled “The follow-up on Matt Lauer’s dismissal: Objection, irrelevant. The author Jens Erik Gould argued that the media’s follow up coverage on Lauer is wrong because it brings up information not related to his current allegations. He is complaining that Matt Lauer reputation is being damaged. He says his past behavior has nothing to do with the current allegations and that it is being used to spin the public. My opinion is that when you admit to inappropriate sexual behavior your past interactions are up for judgment.  For anybody that has been living under a rock for the last few weeks, Matt Lauer has been accused of inappropriate sexual behavior with colleagues. There have been multiple women come forward with one accusing him of sexual assault. He was fired from NBC and shortly after he offered an apology to the ladies he hurt. Although he said some of the allegations were false, he admitted that were enough truth in stories to make feel embarrassed and ashamed. He also acknowledged that he caused some pain by his words and actions. This sounds to me like an admission of guilt of some sort, although he did not say which allegations were true or false. Matt Lauer has been on televisions in homes across America for 20 years. After hearing him admit to some level of guilt for inappropriate sexual behavior, I think it is natural for people question past behavior that was overlooked. To many across the country, he is not the man most thought he was. I think there is now context to go along with some of his previous behavior. Everything from the ill advised sexual harassment jokes to taking his pants off on set,  I believe it is the viewing public’s right to look back and wonder about the actions of Matt Lauer.

Let’s Thank Our Military Veterans Year-Round

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This past Saturday our country celebrated Veteran’s Day honoring those who served to protect our rights and freedoms. This is a holiday that goes back almost a century.  At the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, in 1918 the armistice agreement was signed to end the World War I between Allied Forces and Germany. The next year November 11, 1919 President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation making this day Armistice Day. It was changed in 1954 by President Eisenhower to Veterans Day. Americans celebrated this weekend by honoring veterans, throwing parades, and other honoring ceremonies. Many restaurants offered free meals to veterans.

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Although Americans show their appreciation on this day, we have a homeless veterans problem in our country. There are many veterans of this great nation without a place to live. I have personally seen many around the Twin Cities holding signs requesting money or food. These men and women have sacrificed their lives and they should not be forgotten. There are veteran programs in place but many veterans are still not taken care of. Many of these veterans have experienced combat and suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Some veterans are finding it hard to transitioning their military skills to civilian life. As a veteran myself, it hurts me to see my fellow service members struggling and staying on the streets. Many veterans are unaware of the type programs and benefits they are qualified for through the federal Department of Veteran Affairs and Minnesota Department of Veteran Affairs. If you happen to know or see a homeless veteran, refer them to the both these state and federal Veterans Affairs. Let’s end veteran homelessness.

Why is the NFL and NBA afraid of Marijuana?

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Marijuana has been a very controversial topic in the sports world particularly the National Football League (NFL) and the National Basketball Association (NBA). Both leagues have banned the medical and recreational use of this substance, although it has become legal in some form in twenty nine states including the District of Columbia. While NFL and NBA players are both subjected to drug testing for marijuana, Major League Baseball (MLB) does not test its players for marijuana unless there is reasonable cause.  Further, the National Hockey League (NHL) only tests one-third of their players for marijuana use and those who test positive are not disciplined. It seems to be a different set of consequences for professional athletes for marijuana use because NBA and NFL face suspension and forfeiture of game checks. So the question is, why do the NBA and NFL test for marijuana and why is it illegal? Does marijuana give unfair competitive advantage? There is no proof that it can make individuals run faster or jump higher. It does not jeopardize the integrity of the sport. It has not proven to be a performance enhancement drug.

The one argument that I hear the most is that marijuana is addictive and it is a gateway drug. This excuse loses creditability coming from the same league that accepts money from alcohol sponsors. Alcohol is responsible for thousands of deaths annually, whether from vehicle homicide by driving under the influence or other health problems from alcohol abuse. If the NBA and NFL can profit off alcohol sales, then why the resistance to marijuana? The NFL also prescribes players opioid medications for injuries. We as a country are now in the middle of an opioid epidemic. There has been an increase of opioid overdoses and addictions each year in America. These leagues are putting athletes at risk with unlimited access to painkillers from team physicians. Marijuana has been proven to treat chronic pains. There are many players in both leagues that are strong advocates for marijuana use to treat injuries. The National Football League is facing a lot of scrutiny considering head injuries and long term injuries to the body.

Hopefully in near future these leagues stop pushing the negative propaganda of marijuana addiction and start allowing their players to use marijuana as way to treat chronic pain and injuries.