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InterFaith Forum essay contest

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Virtue is its own reward, but a little scholarship money wouldn't hurt either, right?

If you're a secondary school student in grades 9-12 and you live or go to school in Monroe County, here's your chance. The InterFaith Forum of Rochester sponsors an annual essay contest honoring the memory of the Rev. James A. Rice. The topic is "Building Community: Bridging Our Differences."

Don't worry, no one expects you to have built the cross-cultural equivalent of the Golden Gate Bridge. If you've built any bridge spanning differences between people, even if you think it's more along the lines of the Ford Street Bridge, you're encouraged to apply.

Your essay should discuss facing differences and developing understanding and cooperation among people from diverse backgrounds in the Rochester area. Some differences you might want to explore include ethnic, national, cultural, racial, religious, economic, sexual orientation, or disabilities. Write about things you have seen or done. Remember to include practical ideas for bridging differences, improving mutual understanding, and building community. You don't want your bridge to resemble a sand castle in the sky.

The essay length is two to three pages, using 12 point type. After what you've been through with the New York State Learning Standards and No Child Left Behind Act, it'll be a piece of cake.

Your essay must be postmarked no later than October 29, 2004. First prize is $150.00. For more information, and to get a registration form, go to http://www.ggw.org/~buildcommunity/guidelines.html or call Isabel Morrison at 585-654-5989.

--- Linda Kostin (www.junkstorecowgirl.com)


This week for families:

Dave Mancini and Drums for Kids Wed, Sept 22. Interactive music show for kids, House of Guitars, 645 Titus Ave, 7 p.m. Free. 266-4040

Hispanic Month Events Wed, Sept 22, Hispanic heritage night, Carter St. Community Center, 500 Carter St, 6-8 p.m. 428-7890 | Wednesdays, cooking classes, ages 6-15, South Avenue Community Center, 900 South Ave, 4-5:30 p.m. 428-6015 | Tuesdays, cooking classes, all ages, Avenue D Recreation Center, 200 Ave D, 5:30-7 p.m. 428-7934 | Wed, Sept 29, piñata making party, City Hall Atrium, 30 Church St, 12-2 p.m.

Interfaith Forum Essay Contest Deadline: Oct 29. Theme: Building community, bridging our differences, grades 9-12. Info: www.ggw.org/buildingcommunity

RMSC Strasenburgh Planetarium 657 East Ave. Pink Floyd Laser: Sat 9 p.m.; A Trip to Saturn and Pluto: Sat 1 p.m.; Pulse: A Stomp Odyssey: Wed-Fri 4 p.m.; Sat 2, 3, 4, 8 p.m.; Sun 1, 2, 3, 4 p.m.; I See the Sky: Sat 9:30 a.m.; The Sky Tonight: Sat 10:30 a.m.; Tix: $4-$7. 271-1880

Rochester Museum and Science Center 657 East Ave. Mushroom Mania, Sun, Sept 26, Cummings Nature Center, 6472 Gulick Rd, Naples, 12-4 p.m. | Surprise! It's Science, through May 2005. | Rochester's Frederick Douglass, through January 2006. | Live Science! demos and theater, Wed-Fri 3:30 p.m.; Sat 2, 3, 4 p.m.; Sun 1:30, 2:30, 3:30 p.m. Sat 3 p.m. show sign-interpreted. | Ongoing exhibits include: AdventureZone, Carlson Inquiry Room, At the Western Door. | Hours: Mon-Sat 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun 12-5 p.m. Tix: $5-$7. 271-1880, www.rmsc.org.

Saturday Art for Children Saturdays, Sept 25-Nov 13. Grades K-6, Nazareth Arts Center, Nazareth College campus, 10-11:30 a.m. $60. 389-2532

Seneca Park Zoo 2222 St Paul St. Hours: daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tix: $5, $4 seniors, $2 kids. 467-9453, www.senecazoo.org.

Strong Museum 1 Manhattan Square. Wed, Sept 22, Making American Music, Jon Seiger and the All-Stars, 7:30 p.m. Sold Out. | Fri, Sept 24, deaf awareness day, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. | Long-term exhibits include National Toy Hall of Fame, Can You Tell Me How To Get To Sesame Street? and Super Kids Market. Hours: Mon-Thurs 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Fri 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun 12-5 p.m. Tix: $7; $6 seniors, students; $5 children. 263-2700


Hurting

Toddlers are determined and tireless social scientists, pushing the frontiers of human relations with their new abilities. At some point in their early lives, they discover that they can hit, bite, pinch, and pull our hair. It is exciting experimentation. The child wonders, "What happens when I do this?" "Is the response dependable?"

Parents react with pain and surprise when their child first begins to intentionally hurt them. "We never taught little Bruno to hurt people. Why is he doing this?" Most of us say, "Ouch! Stop that!" Then we talk and pay more attention to the child, reinforcing the behavior and prompting more hurting.

Our responses change with our moods and patience, and increase with repeated injuries. Some parents even hit, bite, and pinch their kids back. While painful to the child, this simply models and reinforces the value of causing pain. The toddler learns, "This is powerful."

Parental reactions to these experiments begin to shape the meaning of cruel exchanges in each child's life. What do we want to teach our children about the value of intentionally hurting other people?

I recommend a simple, consistent response. When your child begins to explore hurting: stop talking, make no eye contact, turn them around and put them down on the floor, away from you, every time, over and over. The unspoken message, repeatedly, is: "Hurting behavior leads to social isolation." Balancing this with constant attention for their gentleness, we hope our children learn the subtle power of kindness.

---Laurence I. Sugarman, MD

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