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Baked Beans Month just blew right by us

August brings a new round of reasons to celebrate, including National Catfish Month.
Friday, August 1, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 9:24 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

National Purposeful Parenting Month, Admit You’re Happy Month, Baked Beans Month, National Blueberry Month and National Water Quality Month. All are designated to a certain month of the year. Although some of these designations might seem frivolous, the goal is to generate attention.

Many organizations, foods and behaviors have been adopted for remembrance every month, but not all create the type of awareness they hope — or expect — to receive.

“What’s the purpose? It seems like such a silly thing,” said Laura Salih, a clerk at Clover’s Natural Market, referring to Baked Beans Month.

Commemorative months stem from the efforts of organizations with a desire to unite people working toward a common goal. The goal might be to raise awareness about problems in the world, raise money to further a cause, or celebrate specific people or segments of the country or inspire national support.

Once a cause receives governmental endorsement, it’s up to local organizations across the country to help the community get involved in the event. School clubs, local councils and service organizations have the responsibility to work diligently to put on a month full of activities and special events for the broader community.

“The city is not responsible for advertising anything nationally created,” said City Clerk Penny St. Romaine.

New month celebrations are popping up every year, making it hard to keep up. National Blueberry Month was proclaimed in April, only months before it became a July celebration.

Fayette farmer David Carlson, who owns Life Abundant Farms, grows 2½ acres of blueberries with four varieties, but he had no knowledge of the new July observance.

“We sell a lot of blueberries during July, but I have never heard of National Blueberry Month,” Carlson said. “All I know is that they are good for you.”

Indeed, blueberries are packed with nutritional benefits, low in calories and fat, a good source of fiber and ranked high in disease-fighting antioxidants. Perhaps these blueberry traits are what enabled them to achieve national month status.

Some commemorative months have serious intentions, such as National Purposeful Parenting Month.

Parenting Without Pressure, a national organization designed to give parents practical tips to prepare their children for life, created National Purposeful Parenting Month during July to build a positive family environment and lead children from dependence to independence.

“I think it’s a good thing,” said Barbara Reed, director of Green Meadows Preschool, “I hope it would make a difference.”

The low level of public awareness can be problematic.

“If I had known, I would’ve let the parents know, told them to give a child a hug or spend time with their children,” Reed said. “It would’ve been nice to observe this month. You don’t hear enough about ways for parents to reinforce positive behavior.”

With the start of August, you might want to be better prepared. After all, August is National Catfish Month, National Child Support Enforcement Month, National Golf Month, National Parks Month, National Water Quality Month, Romance Awareness Month, Foot Health Month, Family Eye Care Month and Spinal Muscular Atrophy Awareness Month.

Even though Linda Libert, owner of Ecowater Systems of Columbia, knows that August is National Water Quality Month, she is not planning to promote water quality any more than she usually does.

“People don’t realize how much water runs our lives, she said. “We need things to remind us because life is so hectic.”

Libert can see why the Water Quality Association sends out pamphlets to promote the month, but she educates people about water quality every day.

In 1999, the Secret Society of Happy People declared August to be Admit You’re Happy Month. They asked governors in all 50 states for a proclamation, but the late Gov. Mel Carnahan declined.

However, you can still celebrate Admit You’re Happy Month in spirit. The Society offers several tips on how you can celebrate including making an extra effort to recognize and admit your happy moments to your family, friends and co-workers. You can also begin a happiness journal, or have a happy expression art show.


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