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A Variety of Topics Planned for the 2003 LLLI Conference

From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 19 No. 5, September-October 2002, pp. 192

La Leche League International Conferences feature remarkable speakers from around the world. Many aspects of breastfeeding, childbirth, and nutrition are, of course, highlighted, but there almost 100 different sessions with many offering topics about parenting and personal development. The sessions are inspiring, educational, often cutting-edge, and sometimes even controversial. La Leche League International's 18th Breastfeeding Conference: Strength through Diversity: Creating One Breastfeeding World will present a strong and diverse program from July 3-6, 2003 at the Hilton San Francisco, San Francisco, USA.

Dr. William Sears, known as America's pediatrician, and his wife Martha Sears, a nurse, childbirth instructor, and La Leche League Leader, will be among the many professionals featured at this Conference. The Searses, parents of eight children, have written a variety of books. Many of their works are featured in La Leche League International's Catalogue, including The Discipline Book, The Fussy Baby, and The Successful Child.

These highly sought-after speakers will address the topic of "The LEAN Program"™: feeling good while trimming fat. The acronym LEAN stands for lifestyle, exercise, attitude, and nutrition. These experts believe that when you get these factors working in synergy, it improves the performance of all of them. To the Searses, lifestyle means more than eliminating such things as smoking. It also stands for putting more love and laughter into your life. The LEAN program highlights increasing exercise and focusing on nutrition. The attitude part of the program includes ways to reduce stress by focusing on solutions instead of problems, suggestions for learning how to relax, and spotlighting what you have instead of what you don't have.

Another parenting expert who will speak at the Conference is Linda Hill, PhD, a psychologist, educator, and child care worker who has spent more than 30 years exploring diversity among racial groups in Canada and internationally. She states in her book, Connecting Kids: Exploring Diversity Together, "We dream of building communities where all children are safe, where all people care for each other and where each individual's differences are acknowledged, supported, and valued as gifts that enrich the entire community." In her session, "Connecting Kids,"Dr. Hill will share her vision in a cross-cultural experience that will lead to changes similar to the new outlook people often bring home after world travels.

Her presentation is sure to be entertaining as well as informative. As is stated in the preface to her book, "Laughter is an international language. A little bit of fun goes a long way to bridge gaps of age, language, race, class, and gender." Dr. Hill states that the main purpose of Connecting Kids is " show how to guide children from different backgrounds to include each other in an atmosphere of safety, equality, choice, and fun."

Another speaker who is scheduled to be at the 2003 Conference is Clifford Stoll, an astronomer, lecturer, commentator, and author of High Tech-Heretic, Reflections of a Computer Contrarian. Computers in the classroom continue to be a topic of interest to both educators and parents alike. Early on in the revolution that made computers available, user friendly, and (somewhat) affordable, the benefits of their use in education has been heralded as a breakthrough that would have positive effects on children and the whole process of learning. Stoll takes a decidedly different view and will present a fascinating discussion on this subject during his session at La Leche League's International Conference.

A computer programmer since the early 1960s, Mr. Stoll believes that computers have their place in our technological world. His skepticism about computers lies in the inordinate reverence for them and the exaggerated claims and promises about what computing can or will do for children. There is a great deal to be lost when we embrace the promotion of computing at all costs and strive for computer literacy beginning in kindergarten.

The use of computers requires a delicate balance. Mr. Stoll will provide a wealth of information and research about the effect of computers on young children, practical suggestions about reducing dependency on computers, and solutions "to make a technological world better suited for people instead of making people better suited to using machines."

We invite you to join us at the Hilton San Francisco. If you are unable to attend, join us for the virtual Conference at during and after the Conference.

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