Adults, too, must learn to 'Just Say No'

NEIGHBORS

March 15, 1994|By MAUREEN RICE

It's that time of the year again.

From PTA presidents to Scout leaders, volunteer officers of all types are gazing about with greedy eyes.

If you see them in the school halls when you arrive to volunteer in your child's classroom, don't expect to prevent them from cornering you for a "little chat."

Griping about the hardships the new school hours impose will not divert them from their purpose.

They are looking for you.

You are the very person with whom they want to discuss next year's PTA presidency or Scout leadership.

The fact that you already are a Scout leader, cookie mom, baseball coach, pool club membership officer, Sunday school teacher, part-time worker and the one who collects grocery store receipts for new school computers will not be accepted as a reason to refuse.

All of the above merely makes you more of a target for next year's leadership roster.

Agreeing to their proposals will only add to your overloaded schedule, but saying "no" is too difficult for many people..

All of this means, at least to me, that the time has come for us adults to learn to stand up for ourselves.

We must not cave in to peer pressure.

We must learn to "just say no."

Our children have, in their fifth grade, a "Just Say No" club to strengthen their resolve to reject drugs and to teach them how to do it.

I want to join a "Just Say No" club, too, to gain the support and know-how everyone seems bent on giving our kids.

So . . . you like this club idea, too?

Want to be president?

*

Everyone knows that children with learning disabilities need special treatment in their daily education, but many people never stop to consider the needs of those who are bored with the regular curriculum.

"There are so many programs for learning disabled children," said Jeanne Nortrup, Eldersburg resident, "but the general feeling toward children with special gifts and talents is that they're so smart they'll do just fine anyway, so why worry about them?"

Ms. Nortrup doesn't agree.

Her concern has led her to start a group called Parents of Gifted and Talented Children, which she hopes will help parents understand and help their exceptionally talented children and provide a support group for these children to help them understand themselves.

"Leaving these children to cope on their own with educational programs which are well below their capabilities is just as unfair to them as leaving a learning disabled youngster alone to try to deal with daily schooling without special help," Ms. Nortrup said.

"Expecting them [gifted children] to tutor their classmates is unfair, too. They need programs that they find interesting and challenging so that they're not bored with endless repetitions of things they understood the first time they heard them, and they need to interact with other children of exceptional capabilities so that they don't feel socially isolated."

Ms. Nortrup would like stronger programs for unusually talented children in Carroll County schools.

"Programs to enrich the educational experience of exceptionally talented children will have the effect of improving the educational experience for all children in the schools," Ms. Nortrup said, "because the risk of serious disruptive behavior problems due to the boredom of these children is reduced or eliminated, and because these children, properly motivated, will lead all the others into new areas of discovery."

The first meeting of the new group is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday in the Westminster High School cafeteria.

Kathy Chenowith, a Hanover teacher with a master's degree in gifted and talented education, will speak on the characteristics of gifted and talented children and will share her experiences as the parent of such children.

The group welcomes all concerned parents. Information: 795-7216.

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