Monday, Aug 21st

Last updateMon, 21 Aug 2017 6pm

You are here: Home Parenting
first
  
last
 
 
start
stop
first
  
last
 
 
start
stop

Model Train Exhibit at the Greenburgh Nature Center

The Greenburgh Nature Center is partnering with the Westchester/Yonkers Model Railroad Club to present a special, nine-day holiday season show entitled “Trains – Your Ticket to the Great Outdoors.” The exhibit will open on Saturday, December 12th, and run through Sunday, December 20th. Weekday hours are 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (except Fridays, when the Nature Center is closed), and weekend hours are 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Underwriting support for this special event has been provided by WFAS, Coldwell Banker, Ambac, Whole Foods Market and Westchester County Parks.

Designed for train lovers of all ages, the show will feature a special 12- by 18-foot display of HO gauge model trains traveling through countryside scenes of natural beauty, modeled on the terrain of upstate New York and New England. HO model railroad scale is 1/87th of the actual size, so a one-foot model railroad car would be 87 feet long in actual size.

 



The display includes special topographic features such as a mountain with a train tunnel and a mining cave tunnel. Other features include a ravine with a train trestle crossing over it, a stream with a train trestle and wooden bridge, a model village, road crossings, and a model replica of the Greenburgh Nature Center. Members of the railroad club will be on hand to talk about the trains and provide opportunities for visitors to examine some of the different kinds of train engines up-close.

The show is being coordinated by Dr. Paul Greenburg of the WYMRC. Dr. Greenburg has designed and constructed some of the models and has been active as a model railroader for more than 50 years. He is a long-time resident of Greenburgh and has traveled by train throughout many parts of the world.

Admission fees for this special train show are $9 for adults, $8 for students and seniors, and $7 for children, ages 2-12 (children under two are free). For GNC members, the fee is $1. The admission fee includes admission to all of the Nature Center’s exhibits, including the live animal museum. All proceeds from the train show will help support the educational programs of the Nature Center and the WYMRC.

For further information, call (914) 723-3470 or visit the website www.greenburghnaturecenter.org.

How much type will fit? in this box.

The Bad Old Days of Youth

Lately, I have been collecting stories of those horrible, terrifying, recurring school stress dreams.  In mine, I am about to fail art history because my timing stinks.  I know the art work cold, but when the slides I am supposed to identify are projected on the screen I am looking down and I keep missing them. On the day of my husband’s finals, he discovers that he is taking five courses, not four.  My 87-year old father still dreams that he sold his textbooks to buy prom tickets.  My sister cannot find the building in which her finals are being given.  As she is opening up her bluebook to answer her exam questions, my daughter is told that she has to give her responses in sign language.  My seven-year old niece dreams that she has poured paint on the head of another first grader because the girl is in a higher reading group.

These dreams would be funny if they weren’t so damn scary. The link between education and stress is indelibly etched into our brains from a very early age.  

I have been thinking about this because it is college application season.  I can’t thank heaven enough that my youngest is safely ensconced as a college freshman and I do not have to go through this process -- even secondhand -- ever again.

Anyone who has lived with high school juniors and seniors knows that it is a year and a half of hell. High school, at a school like ours, is probably the toughest educational experience most of these kids will face.  It’s an academic funnel, where, whether it is true or not, it feels like everybody is uniformly poured into a big wide mouth and is expected to survive being squeezed out the other end.  

I have no horse in this race anymore, so I will risk being labeled a helicopter parent, an hysteric, or a psycho-mom, when I say there is something wrong with what kids are forced to endure. When else in their lives will these kids feel constant and unremitting pressure to be perfect in every possible arena: academics, sports, extra curriculars, volunteer service, standardized test results, and, at the advanced age of 17 or 18, be able to write a compelling and unique personal essay for the common application form?  Unlike our high school students, most of us stumble around as mere flawed and fallible human beings who aren’t under the gun to ace every subject area, and couldn’t be good at everything if we tried.  Either we have trouble calculating a 15% tip, or have never been able to build a Lego set without inviting over an engineer from the neighborhood, or couldn’t so much as say thank you in another language without a simultaneous translator.  Why has it gotten so impossibly hard to be a kid who wants to go to college?

I remember with great relief the last day I ever took a science course, which was in tenth grade.  These days it’s hard not to have a heart attack if your kid decides that junior year physics is the last straw and she has no intention of taking AT or AP science of any kind as a senior. OMG!  Is she putting herself at a disadvantage?

When a young man I know was a high school senior, he knew his GPA and the GPA of anyone whom he considered a competitor to the third decimal point.  He could rattle off the standardized test scores of dozens of his classmates, their extracurricular activities, as well as the family tragedies about which they could write meaningful college application essays.  His parents were in a complete bind.  When they told him that they were confident that he had an excellent chance of getting into the college of his choice, he accused them of blind optimism; when they commiserated about his anxieties, he freaked out because they didn’t believe in him.

It’s no wonder normal people start acting way out of character.  Parents can become uneasy revealing the names of the schools their son or daughter is visiting, as if afraid to remind other families of a great school out there that those other folks maybe otherwise wouldn’t have noticed. Every year there are kids who feel unable to tell anyone where they have applied, and others who claim they did not apply early decision until December 15 or so when they have gotten into their school of choice, or not, and then they may or may not share their hurt with their friends. I get it.  The process of acceptance, deferral, rejection, and wait list is freighted with judgments and competition.  

As a parent, you try not to escalate the pressure and even hope to ease it, as if that were possible.  The high school deans are only stating the obvious when they counsel students that there are many schools in the universe at which they could be happy and successful.  So you go through the courtship process with your student, visiting campuses, sitting through endless and virtually identical information sessions that you could recite word for word in your sleep, and for reasons that may be too elusive to articulate, your child makes choices about where he or she wants to spend the next four years (or five or six, but that’s another story). Once they figure out those choices, you hope that they haven’t fallen too head over heels in love with one prospect over all others, because their intended might turn down their proposal.  And then your 18 year old will have to deal with disappointment, followed, you hope, by a college experience somewhere else that fulfills their dreams.

After going through this cycle with three very different teenagers, I have gleaned one insight that I wish I could inject into the brains of this year’s crop of seniors; yet I know that some knowledge cannot be gained except through personal experience.  Nonetheless, here’s my shred of wisdom.  Happiness is between your ears.  If you can approach your college life with a feeling of optimism and excitement, chances are very high that you will have a great time, whether or not you are attending your first choice school.  It matters much less whether your roommate is a jerk, or your freshman advisor is intimidating, or the food is vile, than whether you are able to transcend the selection process and feel that you have also chosen where you end up.  

And rejoice in the fact that you will never have to be perfect again.  Hate science but have to endure a science requirement?  That’s why God created pass/fail, Rocks for Jocks, and other ways to be as human and fallible as the rest of us.

Stacey Brodsky has practiced law, been a stay-at-home mother, and taught middle school English over the course of the 17 years she has lived in Scarsdale with her husband, daughters, and a succession of dogs.

first
  
last
 
 
start
stop