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Military children Ryan, 7, Daniel, 8, and Tyler, 3, enjoy posing with props at a photo booth at a FOCUS on Family event Feb. 18.

Photo by Adele Uphaus-Conner

FOCUS’s ‘Feeling Fox’ has a new name

25 Feb 2016 | Adele Uphaus-Conner Marine Corps Base Quantico

Marine families are probably familiar with the FOCUS (Families OverComing Under Stress) project’s “Feeling Fox,” a cartoon fox that depicts the many emotions children experience — happy, angry, sad, nervous, frustrated, excited, etc.

Now, FOCUS Quantico’s Feeling Fox has a name: Zorro. The FOCUS team chose the name, which is Spanish for “fox,” from 100 suggestions that were submitted by Quantico families over the past month. Zorro’s name was revealed at a FOCUS on Family event for residents of Base housing, held Feb. 18 and co-sponsored by Lincoln Military Housing.

Families gathered in the Lincoln Military Housing center’s party room for a taco dinner and a chance to take “foxies” at a photo booth with props of dapper moustaches, top hats and eyeglasses.

Family Resiliency Trainer Rebekah Hsieh gathered the children together to talk to them about the Feeling Thermometer, one of the tools FOCUS uses to help military children understand and express their emotions. The thermometer has four color zones: green, yellow, orange and red. When a person is in the green zone, he or she is comfortable and happy; when a person moves toward the red zone, he or she feels increasingly uncomfortable.

Hsieh asked the children to name a feeling. One suggested “nervous.”

“And where are you on the thermometer when you’re nervous?” Hsieh asked. The answers ranged from in the yellow — slightly uncomfortable — to in the red — intensely uncomfortable. The exercise shows that different people can have different emotional reactions to the same feeling or event.

“The most important thing to remember about the thermometer is to always know where you are on it,” Hsieh said. “If you’re not in the comfortable green zone, you need to do something to get yourself there.”

Hsieh then asked the children what they can do to get themselves back to the green zone.

“Meditate and do yoga!” said one very Zen little boy.

Others suggested playing video games, which Hsieh acknowledged, but she tried to steer them toward more constructive, relaxing activities, such as taking a deep breath, gaining some distance from the tense situation by stepping into another room, coloring or hugging a favorite stuffed animal.

“Another thing you can do to get to green is have a treat,” she said.

This was a segue into the evening’s activity: making white chocolate-dipped strawberries. While each family came forward to make their strawberries, Hsieh tasked those waiting their turn to talk about the pre-deployment checklist she had handed out. The list gives suggestions of topics families should discuss before a mother or father deploys. Some of the topics include making a plan for how the family will keep in touch while the parent is gone and determining specific ways to maintain closeness during absence.

To find out about upcoming FOCUS events aboard MCB Quantico, visit Contact the Quantico FOCUS team at 703-784-0189 or by e-mailing

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