Thursday, April 28, 2011
Be careful what you say to kids

By Dr. Anthony Policastro

When I see patients with learning problems, I ask them what they think the problems are at school. Many times it is clear that the answer I get is them telling me what they hear from parents and teachers. In most of those cases, there is more to it than just what they have been told. We tell children a lot of things and we do not always realize that it might have long term impact. We sometimes make comments that are based upon incomplete observations which may result in the wrong conclusions. I can give some examples from my own past. When I graduated elementary school, I was the top student in my class. However, the school decided that they needed to have someone else be the valedictorian. The reason they gave was that I did not speak loudly enough. I was only 13 at the time but I knew the real reason was because the person they picked was someone whose father did a lot for the school. I did not mind them rewarding him, but I did think that the adults involved should have realized that their motives were pretty clear. When I was a sophomore in high school the students in the honors class had a session with the guidance counselor. It was the second semester of the year. The gist of what he was saying was that honors classes were hard. If any of us thought we might be overtaxed, we should tell him and he could move us. He also said that he knew there were some students who were fully capable of the hard classes and he did not expect to hear from them. As an example he picked me. He started out with "Suppose Policastro told me he thought the work was too hard, well thenÉ" He paused at that point. He thought it over and then decided that maybe I was the wrong example. He changed direction and pointed out to the class that maybe I was not that smart after all. Once again I realized that some adults are not as smart as they think they are. Two years later I graduated near the top of my class. When I was a senior in high school, I was in a Catholic service organization. I was the only one who had been in the organization since freshman year. The faculty advisor was the one who appointed the president of the organization for the following year. He selected one of the juniors to be president. His logic was that I did not have any leadership qualities. The Air Force must have disagreed since they made me a commanding officer for 9 of my 20 years. When I started college, I tried out for the college glee club. They decided I was not good enough. However, since 1975 I have been a member of multiple bands raising a lot of money for charitable organizations. I could have taken any of these situations and used them to crush my self esteem. After all these were all adults telling me these things. Adults knew better. They were better judges of things. Fortunately, adults do not know everything. That is something all adults should realize when they deal with impressionable youth. Things that we say are often long remembered. We need to recognize the impact of the things we say. We need to think before we make negative comments to the young people that we come in contact with. Some of them are more fragile than others and their self confidence may not handle a blow. The implications could last a lot longer than we realize.

EMT basic certification class Anyone wanting to enter the field of health care as an Emergency Medical Technician can start this spring with the Basic Certification course offered at Delaware Technical & Community College in Georgetown. The course consists of 120 classroom hours and 60 hours of practical sessions and hands-on learning. It will be held Monday and Wednesday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. from May 2 to Aug. 22. A certification of completion is awarded to those who successfully complete the program and they will be eligible to sit for the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) exam. The course is being taught by William Matthews, owner of Pre-Hospital Interventions (PHI). PHI is recognized as an Emergency Medical Educational entity by the State of Delaware Office of EMS and the Delaware State Fire Commission. For more information, contact Delaware Tech's Corporate & Community Programs at 854-6966.

NAR-ANON support group Take Heart, Be Strong is a support group available to family members and friends who are concerned about the drug/alcohol addiction of a loved one.

People in NAR-ANON understand what we are going through and are ready to share their experience, strength and hope to help. This group meets every Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Youth Room at Crossroad Community Church, 20684 State Forest Rd., Georgetown. If you are interested or know someone who might be, call Beth at 745-0466. This is an anonymous program and there are no obligations. Attendance is welcome with no prior arrangements. For more information, visit

Breast Cancer 5K Run/Walk The Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition (DBCC) will hold its Second Annual DE-feet Breast Cancer 5K Run/Walk at the Tanger Outlet Center in Rehoboth on Sunday, May 22. The Run/Walk will begin at 9 a.m. (rain or shine) at the Tanger Outlet Center's Seaside location, with registration from 7:30 to 8:50 a.m., outside Applebee's Restaurant, Rehoboth. Registration is $20 per person before May 13 and $25 thereafter and on the day of the event. The registration fee includes participation in the 5K Run, 5K Walk or 1-Mile Fun Walk, an event t-shirt and post-race reception. At the end of the event, awards will be presented to the top race finishers. Those who cannot attend but wish to support the event can register as Sleepwalkers, who can register normally, fundraise and receive event t-shirts. This Run/Walk is a family event open to participants of all ages. For more information, visit Online registration, as well as printable registration forms, can be found on the site. For more information about the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, call 866-312-DBCC (3222) or visit

National Medicine Take-Back Day On Saturday, April 30, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Delaware Department of Public Health (DDPH) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public an opportunity to properly dispose of expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs. Simply bring your medications for disposal to any of the 29 sites accepting medications throughout the state. The service is free and anonymous – no questions asked. To find the take-back site near you, visit and click on "Got Drugs?" or call 1-800-882-9539. Area drop off sites include: Bridgeville Fire Dept., Rite Aid on South Central Avenue in Laurel; and the Greenwood Police Dept.

Bereavement luncheons Delaware Hospice's "New Beginnings" bereavement luncheons are an informal way to meet and talk with others, who have had similar loss experiences. Lunch begins at noon and is followed by a brief program. The location rotates each week of the month according to this schedule:
  • 1st Thursday: Grottos Pizza, Rt. 26, Bethany Beach;
  • 2nd Thursday: Georgia House, 300 Delaware Ave., Laurel;
  • 3rd Thursday: Millsboro Pizza Palace, Rt. 113-southbound lane, Millsboro;
  • 4th Thursday: Blue Ocean Grill (formerly Milton House), 200 Broadkill Rd., Milton;
  • 5th Thursday (when applicable): Texas Grill (formerly Ocean Point Grill), 26089 Long Neck Rd., Millsboro. "New Beginnings" luncheons are open to the public. Registration is not required.There is no fee except the cost of your lunch.
For more information, call Carol Dobson or Paul Ganster at 856-7717.

Breast cancer support group Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, Inc. (DBCC) has expanded its Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey, a program for women newly-diagnosed with breast cancer, by partnering with Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center in Seaford. The free, monthly program is offered at the Cancer Center located at 801 Middleford Road, Seaford, the third Thursday of each month from 3 to 4 p.m. Of particular value to newly-diagnosed women is DBCC's Peer Mentor Program through which they are paired with a long-term survivor for one-on-one support. To learn more about Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center, call Lois Wilkinson at 672-6435. Registration is required and light refreshments and small gifts are provided.