Use This Summer To Build New Habits

By Dr. Robert Wallace

July 16, 2020 4 min read

TEENS: Do you lay off junk food, get proper rest, exercise and ration your screen time? If you answered the majority of these questions with a yes, congratulations — but you're the exception, not the rule. Use the great weather in the summertime to keep active, get outdoors and cut back on texting, streaming and social media.

In the last few decades, the percentage of overweight teens has more than doubled. This is an alarming trend!

The causes include streaming too much video, talking or texting on cellphones, spending substantial daily hours on the computer, playing video games for long stretches of time, and having parents who rely on fast food.

Take control of your weight and your health! Remember that you are the one in charge of your body, and it's the only one you're going to have.

The good news is that good habits can be built up quickly, often within 21 days or so, and these habits can morph into healthy routines that can last you decades into the future! Take this time during the summer to work on self-improvement, and two key areas for all teens and young people should be healthy eating and regular physical exercise. Proactively concentrating on these topics can help you enter your young adult years with key advantages that will be of great benefit and comfort to you as you move into new phases of your life.


DR. WALLACE: Both of my parents were born in Germany. I have been there numerous times on family vacations in Europe. We always stop in Germany to see our relatives there.

My parents want me to spend my senior year in Munich to learn to read and write German better than I do now. I've just completed my sophomore year in high school, so this plan is one year away. I've already checked with my counselor, and I could receive my high school diploma if I pass all my classes from an accredited German high school.

My only problem is that I don't want to spend my last year of high school in Germany! As a prelaw student in college, I really don't think I'll need to write and read German superbly. Also, I enjoy my fellow students in America and want to graduate with them. We already missed a lot of time in school this year due to COVID-19, so I want to finish the remainder of my high school days right here in America!

My parents have said the choice of spending my senior year in Germany is up to me, but I can tell they both really want me to go to "Deutschland." I'm pretty positive that I will want to stay here, but still, I'd like to hear your opinion, just in case I'm overlooking a good reason to consider this opportunity. — Girl of German Heritage, via email

GIRL OF GERMAN HERITAGE: After hearing your side of the story, I'd suggest that you remain at your present high school and graduate with your fellow students.

If you decide to brush up on your German language skills in the future, plan to spend a summer in Germany for this purpose. If you do opt to spend a summer over there, it may be possible to stay in the home of your German-speaking relatives. This way, you have the best of both opportunities: You get to enjoy your senior year with your American friends at your high school, and you might get to experience an extended stay in Germany as well.

Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Photo credit: skeeze at Pixabay

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