YOUR MOM and dad have said it many times: Do something and you'll feel better. It may sound sort of trite, but sometimes there is a lot of truth in old sayings.
If you're feeling a little helpless about the war or even nervous and scared, you might want to look at some of the suggestions below. They are not the only things you can do; you probably have some ideas of your own.
* Talk as a family. Perhaps it would work at your house to pick a time -- dinner or breakfast, maybe -- to share your concerns, look at the newspapers, study maps or whatever it takes to try to understand what is happening and reassure yourself and others.
* Save energy. America's dependence on oil from the Persian Gulf is playing a part in this war. Reducing our need might reduce the chance of future conflicts. So, don't ask mom and dad to drive you where you can walk safely or take a bus; try to arrange car pools to schools and weekend activities; don't complain if your parents decide to turn down the heat at home.
* Recycle. If you think your family would cooperate, start at home -- separating aluminum cans, glass bottles, newspapers, etc. from other trash. Some areas have curbside pickup of recyclable items. But in most places, you have to take them to recycling centers, which are listed in the newspaper every Saturday.
Some centers pay for recycled items, especially aluminum cans. You could donate the money to the USO or other military organizations to help the troops in the Middle East. For a guide to recycling, phone the Baltimore Recycling Coalition at 539-1369.
* Write letters. Service men and women are hungry for news from home. If you're writing someone you don't know, tell him about yourself: your age, family, school, interests. Include a little news or even a funny story. If you don't think you're a writer, send a greeting card with a short message; draw a picture, or compose a poem.
* Show your support. Make small bows out of yellow ribbon for members of your family to wear on their lapels. Make a large yellow ribbon -- or a sign -- for the front of your house. Buy a flag and take charge of putting it up and taking it down daily at your home. Organize a class project to tie yellow ribbons around the trees near your school.
* Volunteer as a baby sitter. If you are old enough to take care of younger children and know a family whose mom or dad is in the military, volunteer to baby sit for them. He or she would probably be very grateful -- even for an hour to catch up on the news, write a letter or go to the grocery store.
* Give yourself a break. News and talk of the war is everywhere, but it is helpful -- especially if you are upset -- to get away from it: Get some exercise, bake brownies, listen to your newest CD, read a book, talk to a friend -- but not about the war.
Mail call for our fighting forces
*Mail and packages (11 ounces or less) are still going to military personnel in the Middle East. If you want to write to a service man or woman you don't know, use these addresses:
For the Army, Air Force and Marines:
Any Service Member
APO N.Y., 09848-0006
For the Navy, Coast Guard or Marines at sea:
Any service Member
APO N.Y., 09866-0006
ABC to air Saturday morning special
ABC News, Channel 13 in Baltimore, will air a 90-minute special report on the Persian Gulf War this Saturday morning at 10:30.
"ABC World News Tonight" anchor Peter Jennings, who is father to two children, will the host in New York. Network correspondents around the world will be featured.
As part of the special, kids will be able to call a toll-free 800 number with their questions.