The value of family meals
As a pediatrician, I encourage sit-down meals at every wellness visit. Structured meal-time has been shown to build self-esteem and communication skills, minimize toxic stress effects on the developing brain, facilitate healthy attachments with caregivers, impact the child’s perception of food and nutrition — the list continues.
COVID-19 has had profound effects on structure and routine. In some households, COVID has kept families close either from the gift of being able to work from home or from the hardship of unemployment. Many families have taken advantage of this, sitting down together to share food and conversation.
In other families, however, work has continued outside of the home, now with the added risk of spreading COVID. After-work greetings are dangerous until decontaminated. There is rational hesitancy to connect in the ways we had before.
Our children crave normalcy, now more than ever. As we transition again, I encourage those who started family meals to continue, as often as possible.
C. Baxter Vernace, Gainesville
Oppose plan for woods
The University of Florida’s 2020-30 Campus Master Plan labels McCarty Woods a “future building site.” The Sun reports that faculty and students are rallying in opposition to the university’s plan to destroy two-thirds of the McCarty Woods area and replace it with new classrooms.
That opposition is warranted. The public should join it and the UF board of trustees should take heed. Aside from environmental concerns and a desire to preserve green space, it’s also time for UF to start planning for contraction, rather than expansion, of its physical plant.
Over the next decade, the university can expect a smaller student body and more online attendance. This trend was becoming clear even before COVID-19; the pandemic merely accelerated and accentuated it.
In the future the university is going to need fewer — not more — classrooms, dorms and parking spaces. The master plan should focus on enhancing campus living and study quality instead of on spending money on construction for the sake of spending money on construction.
Thomas L. Knapp, Gainesville
I always enjoy the Sunday Sun and looked forward to Nathan Crabbe’s Jan. 24 column. I was disappointed that Nathan did not refer to the over 74 million voters who voted for Trump.
There was no mention of any good things Trump had accomplished, his battling with the Democratic House and the time lost in impeachment proceedings. Trump was not a career politician and made mistakes. Where was Biden? Joe was probably in the basement, planning his next four years.
Biden will find out, as Trump did, the presidency of the United States is very difficult. Biden has work to do within his own Democratic Party. He will be tested in ways that he hasn’t in his 40-plus years on the government dole. It will require every skill he has acquired in his 78 years.
Good luck, Joe. We are all Americans and would welcome unity in all phases of American life.
Barbara Collett, Gainesville
Recently friends, both in their 90s, got the vaccine from Alachua County Health Department. We were subsequently called — my husband is in his 80s — and the following day we got the vaccine and are scheduled for the second shot.
The distribution was very well organized. All participating staff were extremely helpful and kind. We were in and out in 30 minutes. Thank you, Alachua County Health Department!
Lorraine Amick, Alachua
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