East Carolina University College of Education’s Guili Zhang was invited by China Education Daily as a guest speaker on its live Chinese national broadcast on Nov. 29.

Zhang, COE Department of Special Education, Foundations and Research chairwoman and professor, spoke about how to cultivate self-control in children.

“Self-control is a key factor in determining whether one can achieve his or her goals, and self-control is essential for children’s learning success and overall healthy development,” Zhang said. “Therefore, this national public lesson on family education received widespread attention from parents and educators across China and abroad.”

She said the process of developing self-control begins in a baby’s earliest months and continues across the first three years and beyond.

“Parents should start cultivating children’s self-control as early as possible, and begin with helping their babies soothe themselves, keep calm, and manage their feelings and actions, then help them learn to wait, and gradually teach them acceptable behaviors,” Zhang said.

During the broadcast she also recommended several strategies that children can use to better control themselves, such as the “10-minute delay” strategy and “out of sight, out of mind” strategy.

“In the face of temptation, make a mandatory 10-minute waiting time. During the 10 minutes, the child should think about long-term rewards and try to resist temptation. This will make rejection easier and help the child control themself successfully,” Zhang said. “With the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ strategy, children are advised to create physical distances to make rejection easier. Keeping candy bars in drawers rather than directly on the table will make them eat less than a third of the sugar. Putting things that attract children, like mobile phones or chips, out of direct sight or reach will reduce their stimulation of children’s desire.”

She was joined on the broadcast by Yongmei Yang, editor-in-chief of the China Education Daily Family Education Weekly, and Zhiguo Ma, the National Online Parent School mental health expert.

During this visit, Zhang also recorded 10 family education minilectures for China Education Daily to broadcast nationally that focus on “How to Raise Outstanding Children” and provide guidance on important parenting issues.

A few of the topics were when to start family education, harmful parenting styles, self-motivation, parent-child relationships, self-control and advice for studying abroad.

Zhang is a nationally-recognized expert in China for her decades of leadership in education along with her recent national bestseller, “Dragon Mom Eagle Mom — Raising Great Children with American and Chinese Integrated Education.” She plays an active role in bridging education between China and the United States and serves as an advisor, consultant and guest professor for several organizations and schools in China.

Pirate artist didn’t let hurricane sink her gallery

Years ago, Sneads Ferry artist and ECU alumna Sherry Thurston drew a pair of white rubber boots — the kind local shrimpers and anglers wear — called the drawing “Sneads Ferry Sneakers” and had T-shirts made with the image to sell at the coastal town’s annual shrimp festival.

“I had people banging on my door at 11 o’clock at night wanting shirts,” she said.

In 2018, it was Hurricane Florence doing the banging. Thurston’s home fared pretty well, but her gallery next door in the old Original Free Will Baptist Church didn’t.

“It rolled up the tin on my building the very last day it was here terrorizing people,” she said.

But help was on the way. Friends and neighbors helped her empty the gallery of its artwork and other contents and move them into her home, where she set up a temporary business. Not long after, Jason Grote, one of her former students at Dixon High School in Holly Ridge, drove by. He had moved to Florida and started a roofing business but still traveled back to Sneads Ferry on occasion. He spotted the damaged roof.

“I figured it would probably be an easy job my crew could knock out pretty quick,” he said.

Thurston had already bought the materials, so Grote and his team spent three days installing the new roof for a fraction of his normal rate.

A couple of other former students, Sophie and Abbie Koronek, helped her clean up. Other crews worked on interior repairs, a church group worked on landscaping, and after more than a year of work, Thurston reopened the gallery in December.

“When you have friends that do this for you, it’s truly amazing,” Thurston said in a Dec. 3 article in the Jacksonville Daily News.

Thurston is a longtime resident of the area. As an ECU senior in 1970, she was Miss Onslow County. Later, she set up a portrait-painting business, traveling to area shopping malls to work. One day in Goldsboro she painted 16 portraits.

Living near Camp Lejeune, Thurston has been inspired by the military in her work. In 1981, she was driving along N.C. 210 in Onslow County when she came across a group of Marines waiting near the road after rifle range training. They were from the 24th Marine Amphibious Unit.

She stopped, got out and asked their commanding officer, Lt. William Zimmerman, if she could photograph his troops. He agreed. She made a painting of one of the photos showing four Marines — three standing, one sitting on his rucksack.

“They’d been out probably since before dawn,” Thurston said. “I didn’t know their slogan was ‘Hurry up and wait,’ and I called it “Waiting.”

You might have heard of the 24th. Their barracks were attacked in the 1983 Beirut bombing. Zimmerman was killed. Later, his family found Thurston’s name and studio number among his personal effects. His sister contacted Thurston, and in 1988, they established the Thurston-Zimmerman Scholarship at Coastal Carolina Community College funded by sales of the print.

Grote recalled his days in Thurston’s art classes. “She was great,” he said. “We just kind of grew up with her as the art teacher. I was really into that class. It wasn’t just art. It was pottery and a lot of cool stuff. She was a real cool teacher.”

Though she’s retired from the school system, Thurston still teaches art and produces commissioned works. Now that her gallery has reopened, hours are Tuesdays, noon to 7 p.m. for art classes; Thursdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. open for visitors; and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for visitors and classes; and by appointment.

“You can’t retire when you’re an artist,” she said.

Contact jstorm@reflector.com or 252-329-9587.