Hosting foreign exchange students has long-term benefits
I wanted to write and tell you about the long-term benefits of hosting students from foreign countries in your homes. When he was 14, Pablo spent a summer with our family in a program sponsored by an organization in Spain.
Everything worked out so well that he spent every summer in high school with us as well as part of his senior year in high school. Our family visited his family in Spain twice, and his visited us twice.
Today, 33 years later, I am still emailing back and forth with his mother, and our son and his wife recently visited with Pablo and his wife in Spain. This has been a great cultural exchange, including the fathers talking business and economics during visits.
Now, I know that not every instance of hosting will turn out so fabulously; however, most give lasting benefits to hosting families. -- For Foreign Exchanges
Your letter stresses the benefits of hosting students from abroad. This column's authors have both hosted students from Europe and forged lasting relationships with these students.
Many high school language teachers as well as schools have ties with hosting programs. It is important to choose one that screens both the students and host families. If a student's high school does not have reliable information on hosting programs, you should contact these resources: www.afsusa.org, www.ciee.org or your local Rotary Club.
With the election coming up in a few weeks, and media drowning in ads, mainly negative ones, how should we be talking to our children about the election? They range in age from elementary school through high school. -- Too Much Politics
What parents discuss with their children about the election depends on the age of each child. In any case, try to keep emotion out of the conversation and provide factual information.
Elementary school children
-- It's important for these young children to understand exactly what voting involves and what the president does, as well as the requirements an individual must meet in order to become president.
--They should also learn that the donkey is the official mascot of the Democratic party, and the elephant is the Republican mascot.
--Try to read a kid-friendly book dealing with American politics. One choice is "Bad Kitty for President."
Middle school children
--You need to discuss the truth of candidates' statements. See if they can figure out which ones really reflect what the candidate might do if he or she became president.
--If or when you get mad at a candidate, try to explain why.
High school students
--Now is the time to watch news programs together. Do not just watch network broadcasts, but also those outlets that are more closely aligned to each party. Talk about any new views of the candidates each of you may have gained.
--Be prepared for children of this age to have different political views than their parents. Try to foster a discussion of how each arrived at his or her viewpoint. Bring out the role media and social media played in your differences.