AMERICA UNDER ATTACK:
911 Terrorists hijack jets: World Trade Center towers gone, Pentagon damaged. September 11, 2001. Now known as 9/11.
This page presents some ideas for how children and adults can begin to cope with worry and stress. The first several sections are for children and the young at heart. The last section is for grownups, but only because the words are bigger.
Who is Poochie?
Hi! My name is Poochie! Actually, my full name is Newborn Poochie because I am not very old at all. The reason I am writing this is I saw some little children on television. They lost their parents when someone drove a plane into the office building where their parents were working. It was so sad to see those poor little children crying.
Newborn Poochie smiles at all the nice boys and girls!
I know everyone has been very tense worrying about some bad people who like to scare and hurt others. I am writing this to try to help some of you feel better about things. It is true that I am only a stuffed animal, a floppy little gray doggie. But everyone who knows me says I am more alive than a lot of real people.
Notice my large dark eyes, which are irresistible, especially if I allow a little tear to well up in the corner of them. I am at that age when I have discovered my fingers and my toes. I love to wiggle my toes and giggle at myself. Sometimes I even pop my toes right in my mouth. Very tasty! Try it! I know how to entertain myself while my parents are busy doing their grownup things. What do YOU do to entertain yourself?
Here is a letter my Daddy helped me write to my Momma.
I love you!
*giggle* I have a big story to tell you! *giggle*
Daddy taught me a lesson on discipline. But I cannot remember what it is now. Maybe this lesson is too hard for me.
Anyway, Daddy told me I would get to put my paw print on the postcard we mailed you. Daddy told me I "had to get it right the first time" because we had only one card. (Again, I don't know what he was talking about but, as you know, sometimes it is best just to humor Daddy and these things pass.)
Daddy gave me a piece of notebook paper and told me to practice making paw prints. I made a couple. I thought they were pretty good, too. So I asked for the post card so I could make my paw print for good on it. Daddy told me "No!" He is such a meanie!
He told me I had to practice more because some of my precious little toes were missing from the paw prints. I tried real hard, Momma, honest I did. I did the best I could.
Then my lower lip got real stiff and stuck out, making the cutest little pout on my adorable face. Then I made a little whimpering sound. My head hung low. Then I started to cry. REAL HARD! My sweet little feelings were hurt, Momma! And I have very tender little newborn feelings, so you can imagine how badly I was hurting.
I was a mess! I needed some TLC (Tender Loving Care). So Daddy scooped me up and held me real tight. He rocked me gently in his arms and sang a soft melody to me. Daddy brushed away my tears with his kisses and told me how much he loves me. He said he would never do anything to hurt me.
So I was feeling better about things and started making more practice paw prints. But my paw slipped and the paw print looked more like a lucky rabbit foot than my own paw print. It looked awful.
Then my lower lip got real stiff and stuck out, making the cutest little pout on my adorable face. But Daddy caught me this time before I was throwing a full blown tantrum. He was able to gently rub my back a while until I felt better and was over my fit. Then I was ready to try again.
And you know what Momma? Each paw print got better and better until finally every paw print I was making showed each one of my precious little toes!
Daddy was right. Sometimes you have to keep trying until you get it right. Daddy told me he is very proud of how I stuck to it. He said I did a great job!
Here is a Zebra!
Here is an Elephant!
Here is a Duck!
Here is an Octopus!
Here is a Fish!
Here is a Baby!
This baby was crying really hard.
Something had hurt his tender little feelings.
Being a newborn myself, I could understand what he must have been going through.
So, without thinking of my own needs,
I handed my favorite teddy over to this crying baby.
And, you know what?
After he held my favorite teddy in his arms for a little while,
he quit crying!
Then he even smiled and giggled at me!
It made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside to help someone like this.
(Yes, I did get my favorite teddy back!)
We had a great day at the zoo!
You may think that, as a newborn, I have not had time to see the real world. Let me assure you I have. I believe the world is a great place to live, but there have always been a few yuckie people who want to spoil it for the rest of us.
I know all about fear. What could be more frightening than to wake up from my nap to find I am hungry and all alone? I was terrified! I screamed as loud as I could for someone to come hold me and reassure me that I had not been abandoned. Sometimes the only thing that can calm and soothe me is my chocolate milkshake bottle. I find it very comforting. See, I DO know about loneliness and fear firsthand.
Newborn Poochie cries in bed when he is hungry or afraid!
There is also pain in this world. My cousin Poochie2 went to see a doctor. She was told she would get a lollipop if she were good when she got a shot. She was told it would pinch for only a second and then would be OK. But Poochie2 decided not to take any chances. It took the doctor and three nurses to wrestle her down to give her the shot.
Poochie2 was relieved when it was finally over. She said it was not as bad as she thought it would be. Here is a picture of her getting the shot. Ouch! I can't bare to look! (Poochie2 likes to play with grownup makeup. She was caught playing in a makeup case before going to the doctor, but there was no time to clean her up first! She even put lipstick on her tongue! Gag!)
Poochie2 wriggles and squirms, hoping to escape the shot!
I have one more example of how you can find yourself in trouble and it seems like no one cares and no one will help you. This story is about Premie Poochie. He is the same doggie I am, but he was born too early so he is a little smaller, and a little sweeter, than I am. It is best not to wear pierced earrings around Premie Poochie, especially if they dangle. He likes to yank on them.
Premie Poochie is always content in his playpen. He can see what everyone is doing from there!
Premie Poochie has a cousin named Ashley. She is a very special little girl, and is two and-one-half years old. Ashley loves Premie Poochie very very much. When Premie Poochie goes to Ashley's house to visit her, Ashley brings him everywhere she goes.
Ashley treats Premie Poochie just like a real person. She plays with him. She eats with him. She sleeps with him. When Ashley brings Premie Poochie in the car with her, Ashley makes sure a grownup straps Premie Poochie in. Then she announces with relief, "Poochie safe now!"
But Ashley has a way of getting poor Premie Poochie all dirty. When Ashley shows Premie Poochie the water in the creek, she says, "Poochie! Water!", as she points his nose at the creek and into the water. She even sits him on the dinner table and has a plate of food just for him. Ashley shoves Premie Poochie's face into the food and commands, "Poochie! Eat!" Needless to say, his fur can get quite crusty. So Momma decided to give Premie Poochie a bath.
He was really enjoying his bath at first. Momma sat him in the kitchen sink and sprayed warm, gentle water on him. It was very relaxing. Momma also gave him some toys to play with. Premie Poochie was splashing and laughing! Bath time can be so much fun!
But then things took a nasty turn. Momma could not get him dry with just a towel so she hung him upside down and used a hair dryer on him! (Remember Premie Poochie is a stuffed animal. Momma would not do this to a real baby.) Poor Premie Poochie was crying his eyes out. The air was SO hot! The pain was too much for him to bare.
Premie Poochie was sure he could smell burning fur. He was sure he was being cooked and would be the main course for dinner. He cried out for help, but his weak pitiful cries went unnoticed. No one could hear his pleas for help over the turbo wind tunnel they call a hair dryer. Here is a picture. But be warned, it is not for the timid. I only include it because there are those who would not believe this without proof.
Poor Premie Poochie gets hung out to dry!
I have just told you how a baby can get an awful surprise when he wakes up alone and hungry, when he gets a shot, or when he gets burned with a hair dryer. Life is full of surprises. Some good and some not so good. Just because you get older, it does not mean you will no longer get any surprises.
It seems like things are always changing. When a baby is a few years old, he leaves his Momma and his Daddy to spend his days with a kindergarten teacher at a place called school. School is a lot of fun. You learn all kinds of neat things, make new friends, get to play, and even get to eat there.
But school is also scary because it is different from what you are used to. It takes a while before you get used to life without Momma and Daddy. You are so happy to see your parents at the end of the school day!
Every year you change grades at school. You get new teachers and some new classmates. Things are always changing. When you are no longer a little kid, you get a job. You go somewhere every day to work.
All these changes can make you worry about things. Things are especially scary when they are new. Everything seems like a problem. I have already shown you how I handle problems. I snuggle up with my teddy bear. I slurp down my chocolate milkshake bottle. Or I let my Momma or my Daddy know that something is bothering me.
Since I am just a baby, I cannot tell them what is wrong using words. But if I cry long enough, they will keep trying things until they figure out what is upsetting me. Being a newborn, I need lots of cuddles!
Premie Poochie loves his teddy bear!
Some kids like a blankie, or a stuffed animal that is soft and squishy to hold. Poochie2 has a dolly she loves to snuggle up with in bed. Also, Poochie2 told me she prefers Ashley's soft little cuddles over Aunt Sue's hug she calls "the grip". Sometimes Aunt Sue's hugs leave Poochie2 gasping for air.
Aunt Sue was giving Poochie2 a tight squeeze when she accidentally placed "the grip" around poor Poochie2's neck. Poochie2 told me she could not breath. She was sure she was a goner! She felt numb all over. The room went dark. Just when she thought she was going to leave this world, the phone rang and Aunt Sue dropped Poochie2 to run to the phone. Phew! Air never tasted so sweet to Poochie2!
When you are worried about something, I think it is important to keep doing what you normally do every day. This means going to day care, to school, or to work. Keep in contact with family members and friends. Be sure to find time to do things you like to do. Have fun! And relax some every day. I find having Momma or Daddy read to me to be very relaxing.
When they read me a story, I forget about everything else. Poochie2 likes chapter stories. She likes to be read a whole chapter every night. But I like picture stories. I like to have the whole book read to me in one night.
Poochie2 carries her favorite dolly and her selection of bedtime stories off to bed!
Poochie2 loves to have Grandma read to her from the Bible. Poochie2 knows John 3:16 by heart. She wants to say it for you now. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (KJV) She did a great job, don't you think? Grandma and Poochie2 love to sing gospel melodies. They like the old-time songs because the verses have so much meaning.
Be sure to tell your parents (or grandparents or some other grownup relative) if something is worrying or bothering you. It helps to talk about it. Poochie2 doesn't hold anything inside her. She is a regular little jabber box, you know. She can't keep anything to herself. But some kids have trouble finding the words to say what is on their mind.
So parents, be sure to ask your kids every day how their day was and listen to their stories. Kids need their parents to listen to them and praise them. Kids need to share their world with their parents. If your kids are quiet or pouting or fussy, draw them out into family activities. Be extra patient with each other.
Everyone, remember to say "Good Night, I love you!" to everyone in your family. You will sleep better if you do. A Good Night kiss or hug is great, too!
I remember how good I felt after I helped the crying baby at the Zoo. My teddy bear really made him feel better in a hurry! Do something for others and your problems won't seem as big. If you know someone is hurting, why not give him a present! Teddy bears, blankies, dollies, and soft, squishy stuffed animals make great gifts! Everyone needs to cuddle! A blankie provides a low maintenance relationship. It doesn't ask for things or to be entertained like other cuddly things do.
Sometimes it is nice to surprise someone with a gift (maybe flowers or a toy) for no reason at all. A gift will let people know you are thinking of them. Or send a card or write them a letter. Or draw a picture for them! Or call them on the phone!
Here is another idea. Instead of giving a teddy bear (or whatever) to a friend, you and your friend could SHARE the teddy bear. Take turns keeping the teddy. Each time you see your friend, switch the teddy to the other person. Then, the person who just had the teddy will report to the other person what fun he had with the teddy! Go into details about where you took the teddy and what you did together. You will find you are looking for great adventures to entertain the teddy and to have a big report to give to the other person.
You could have a stuffed animal as your class mascot at school. Take turns bringing him home and entertaining him. It is nice if he has a backpack to carry his journal. Have your parents make entries in his journal when he is at your house. Write in the journal what he did with you. Then everyone in your class can read the journal when it is their turn to bring home the mascot. If you want, you can even buy the mascot small gifts and put them in his backpack. I am thinking about small things like gum ball rings or stickers.
Here are some suggestions for how to treat your teddy bear (or whatever) to a good time. Of course you already know how much I like to go to the Zoo. I also love to go to the park. My favorite thing to do at the park is to go down the slide. Please be sure the slide is clean. I hate to use my sweet little belly as a wash rag to wipe the sliding board clean. I also love the swings, the big kids' swings (not the baby swings). Please don't let my paws drag on the ground. I will throw a fit if I stub my precious little toes.
I like to walk the nature trails, either hanging in front of Momma or Daddy in a sling or peeking out from a backpack. Bring a picnic lunch, too. I like to eat fairly often, being a newborn. I almost forgot! I think the grocery store is a great place. I like to sit in the cart in the kiddy seat with my legs swinging back and forth!
I have a diaper bag which is handy for carrying my bottle, my teddy, and my sun glasses. I hate to have the bright sun light shine in my sensitive newborn eyes when we are outside. Besides, I look so cool in them. Sometimes I hitch a ride in the diaper bag, with my head peeking out over the top of the bag. It is so so cute to see me play peek-a-boo with Daddy!
Newborn Poochie looks cool in his sun glasses as he plays peek-a-boo with Daddy!
Poochie2 never brings a diaper bag with her. But she loves to play with real jewelry that belongs to grownups. She loves to have people buy her clothes. She is not fussy though. She will take clothes from a gently used store. That way, she can get three or four items for the price of one new item.
I don't do well at movies. Daddy says my attention span (whatever that means) isn't long enough to sit still that long. Don't give me small objects, living or otherwise, because they will end up in my mouth. Don't put me in a suitcase. I like to ride in the car so I won't miss anything. Don't even think about mailing me somewhere. I have been mailed in a dark box before and I have to tell you this: it was a BAD experience. Don't do that to me again.
One last thing. When you say your prayers each night, ask God to protect your whole family and your friends. Thank Him for all that He has given you. If something is bothering you, tell God about it. He cares! He wants to hear what is on your mind. Also pray for God to help the President and leaders of our country to do the right things and make the right decisions. They have a BIG job!
Poochie talked about how things are always changing. Change can bring many wonderful opportunities to grow and to lead richer and more fulfilling lives. If you could prevent change from taking place, you might feel safer but your life would become a stagnant trap. However, change is inevitable.
Relationships change. People are coming in and going out of your lives. You get married, have children, get divorced. Relatives and friends may pass away. You move. You change jobs. You work on getting more education and a better job.
Change on the Job
Employers and managers expect new employees to be flexible and adaptable, according to The Bayer Facts of Science Education survey series. "This year's study examines issues including workplace skills and workforce preparedness ..." What workplace skills are valued? New employees are expected to be able to "solve unforeseen problems themselves on the job, adapt to changes in the work environment, do their best work in team situations, and continue to expand their skills as the company changes and/or grows."
There was a time when a long-term employee was considered a loyal employee. Now in many fields you are expected to change jobs more frequently to advance your career. There are "New Economy" skills. There is an everchanging list of "buzz" words. Sometimes a new buzz word means something genuinely new. Sometimes new buzz words are just a new slant or twist on old ones.
Have you ever worked for a company that changed its rules or policies? It seems, given the exact same circumstances on two separate occasions, the company will one time support (and another time criticize) your actions and how you handled a situation. It seems just as you get the rules down in your mind, the rules change.
What Is Considered "IN" This Year?
Just as a company changes its expectations of its employees, society changes what is expected of its members. Our government will tell us to save, then to spend. Sometimes skinny is in, other times curves or muscles are in. The "look" alternates between glamour, student, business, and casual. What was once a luxury is now a necessity. What was once shocking is now ho hum.
Life Has Its Up's and Down's
Life can be organized into cycles: a series of up's and down's. Our society gives us a different set of rules or philosophies to deal with each of these cycles of up's and down's. A person will become stressed out (or burned out) if his mind is not flexible enough to adapt to what seems to be a changing set of rules by which he is supposed to live.
The Law of Averages
Life experiences can by grouped and predicted using statistical probability. Some people are better at predicting outcomes than others, so they are seldom surprised. Some people are better at handling unexpected outcomes than others, so they don't mind being surprised.
Then there are those who don't have the knack or the foresight to predict outcomes and also don't have the composure to accept unexpected outcomes in stride. These people experience trouble coping with changes. They have trouble adapting and adjusting to change.
Some people are extra sensitive to change and overreact to the need to adapt to those changes. Also, some cannot adapt when they have two or more authority figures giving them conflicting rules for how to think or act.
We like to finish one crisis before starting another one. We like to have all the loose ends tied up. But when crises overlap, yikes!
Bad Things Do Happen to Nice People Too
We are trained to think and act one way. Then we are told to wipe the slate clean and start over. We are trained to believe worrying is not beneficial, because the bad will never come. When we finally believe the bad will never come, guess what?! The bad DOES come!
During prosperous (or good or up) times we are told there is no reason to be cautious because there is no reason to have any fears. Then, when the circumstances change and we are told to worry and to be cautious, we become disoriented and confused.
Sometimes, it seems, you need to have a harsher outlook on life and expect bad things to happen. However, at other times, it seems, you can loosen up and relax the restrictions you are placing on yourself.
All this boils down to some people having a desperate need to be given their cue as to how they should interpret and react to the signs of the times. They need help in keeping their lives organized when the trend of the cycles change. They need some consistency and continuity to bring order to their lives.
The Right Place at the Right Time?
Timing is everything. It is possible for a person to have the right ideas, but if the time is not right (society is not ready to accept those ideas or circumstances are contrary), the person is considered a fool or even a traitor. Yet, given the same ideas ten years earlier or ten years later, the person would be perceived as a genius or even as a hero.
The field of psychology attempts to guide a person to well-adjusted, right thinking, given the environment of a perfect, peacetime society. With the possible exception of Post Traumatic Stress, you are led to believe that all problems can be solved by a better understanding of the statements, thoughts, and behavior of yourself and those around you. This implies that you have a great deal of control over yourself and your environment.
But you sometimes have very little control over anything when your environment includes the horrors of war, poverty, famine, dictatorship, persecution, etc. Many situations can take away the control we have over our lives.
Learning as a Child
When you are a child, your whole being is focused on and dedicated to growth and learning. You absorb rules and regulations, culture, and protocol. As you leave your childhood, the process by which you gather new concepts and information greatly diminishes. Then you are not as open to new concepts.
Change can be very beneficial when it does not challenge too many of your beliefs and values at one time. But change can become very detrimental when it degrades the structure of how you learn or when it interferes with coping mechanisms you have developed during your life.
Some people feel that if you go through special mental exercises, you can recondition the mind to once again be open to a flood of new information, learning, and procedures. Some people feel that if you do exercises to make the mind more flexible, you can adapt to change more quickly and more easily. (These exercises include activities like when Poochie suggested sharing a mascot.)
Fears Are Real
Perhaps you are very creative and expressive, but have not been able to find outlets (or outlets considered acceptable) to express yourself in the past. You have desired a greater level of intimacy with others, but they wouldn't let you in (or near enough to get in). Or other people wouldn't even admit that they have needs or problems. America is the land of the self-sufficient Lone Ranger.
Normally change makes just some people anxious. But now everyone is anxious, to some degree. We were told our fears were not real. We were told we worry too much. But now our fears ARE real. Now EVERYONE'S fears are real. Lots of people are hurting now, in one way or another.
When you would like others to encourage you, try putting yourself in situations where other people can reach out to you. This means being with people, socializing in different environments until you find the right combination of situations and personalities that meets your needs.
When you would like to encourage others, remember people are looking for others to give them their cue. They just need a little encouragement. Maybe you could give them the encouragement they need to adapt to change more easily.
You don't have to try to save the whole world. But if you think someone is worried, be a sympathetic ear to his problems. If you think someone is stressed out, do what you can to lighten his load. Sometimes the best thing you can give someone is simply a smile, a kind word, a pat on the back, or a hug.
Consider helping however you can. Maybe offer to temporarily assume some of his responsibilities, offer financial assistance, offer food, clothing, or shelter until he gets back on his feet. If he is unemployed, is there any way you can help guide him toward a job?
Maybe they would not have accepted your help before, but they will now because the rules have changed about accepting help. There was a time when a person who identifies a problem could be perceived as a trouble maker. But now people are admitting to having problems. They are admitting to having needs. Problems are public knowledge and it is now acceptable to respond to the needs created by the problems.
Take a chance and get involved now. Other people are at a loss for how to act too and if you goof up, you will not be judged as harshly as you think.
The people that need your involvement certainly are not going to judge you or criticize you for your timing or your manner of delivery. They will be grateful for your show of faith and kindheartedness. They will be touched by your sincerity and caring nature and will not do a coolness check on you.