Soraya lives in the U. S. Virgin Islands where Hurricane Irma struck on September 6. The islands experienced widespread devastation and she is doing well but is unable to post her blogs via the internet until electricity and internet service is restored. Thank you for being a loyal follower.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. It was established to honor children fighting cancer and support the development of treatments. You do not have to know someone with childhood cancer to commemorate or contribute to this extremely worthwhile cause.
There are many ways that you and your children can show support for children affected by cancer, and here are a few:
Volunteer. There is an abundance of volunteer opportunities to choose from and you should include your children too. If there are any children’s cancer centers or hospitals in your area, donate your time to read to the patients. Your children can bring toys to play and spend time with them too. Consider baking cookies and other sweet treats to pass out to patients, doctors, nurses, and volunteers. Showing you care by spending your time and having friendly interactions with the patients makes a loving and lasting impression on them.
Donate. Consider making a monetary donation to a reputable charity, hospital or research lab that strives to benefit the lives of children with cancer. Whether you have $1 or $1,000,000, a donation is always valuable. Additionally, talk with your children about making a donation too. Emphasize the goal of the organization or hospital and explain how their donation will benefit it. By using a portion of their allowance, they can contribute to the cause and help children in need. This teaches them to become more considerate and loving of others and it gives them a sense of accomplishment knowing that their generous deed benefitted someone else.
Another idea is to have a group fundraising event involving food or bake sales, car washes, or even yard sales.
Help a family. If you know a family affected by childhood cancer, there are many ways to assist them. Consider calling or texting to check up on them and sending hand-written cards with friendly messages. Make decorating and writing cards a fun family event. A short message such as “Best wishes from our family to yours. We are always here if you need anything and will continue to pray for you,” can provide comfort in knowing that they are not alone.
Also, volunteering to do chores such as house sitting or lawn mowing can take a lot of extra pressure off adults in the family and give them more time to focus on their loved one in need.
There are so many ways and opportunities for you and your family to commemorate Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. As Christians, we are called to show our love to others, and what better way than assisting children in need.
In the United States, we will celebrate Labor Day on Monday, September 4. It is not just a day to pull out the barbecue grill one last time before autumn hits. It is a very important federal holiday commemorating the Labor Movement of the 19th century that sought to end the poor and unfair treatment of American workers. Take some time to learn about the history of this holiday and share it with your children because there is quite a lot to learn and commemorate.
In the late 1800s, during the period known as the Industrial Revolution in the United States, the majority of people worked in factories, mills, and mines under unsafe and unsanitary conditions, 7 days a week, 12 hours a day, for very little pay. Children as young as 5 years old were working as well for less pay than adults. There was no quality of life in the work place. The only way that workers believed their voices would be heard was through forming unions and taking part in strikes and organized marches.
The first and arguably the most influential march was held on September 5, 1882 in New York City. This was the same day that the union, Nobel Order of the Knights of Labor, was planning on meeting in the city, so it decided to invite other unions as well. About 20,000 workers gave up an entire day’s pay to participate and the march soon turned into a parade. This was the first parade of many to come. Over a decade later, in 1896, President Grover Cleveland decided to make the day a national holiday while many states, such as Oregon, New York, Colorado, and Massachusetts, had already recognized the day for several years.
There were some workers who were not allowed to participate in these marches or parades, such as African Americans. While the Knights of Labor union was race inclusive, African American workers could not be members of the majority of white labor unions. Despite the racism and aversion by the white workers towards them, African American workers were still able to band together and create unions of their own, one of which was the Colored National Labor Union (CNLU). The Knights of Labor and the CNLU were some of the most powerful unions at the time.
The Knights of Labor union was almost fully responsible for the first Labor Day celebration and the CNLU was successful in arranging employee benefits and fair wages for its workers. Unfortunately, the two unions would eventually die out before Labor Day was recognized as a national holiday.
It is important for our children to understand the history behind our national holidays, including this one. Labor Day is not about barbecues and marking the end of summer- it is about ending the unfair treatment of workers and actually celebrating the innovation and creativity of American workers and the many contributions they have made.
There has been a long history in this country of women fighting inequality, whether it be the start of the feminist movement in the mid-1800s or the women of today demanding equal treatment in the workplace and in politics. Even with the strides that women have made since the banding together of the Suffragettes, there is still more work to be done. Importantly, however, we must acknowledge the hard work and sacrifice of many outstanding women, including the following:
1. Ida B. Wells. This courageous woman played one of the most integral parts in the feminist and civil rights movements. As an African American woman born in 1862 Mississippi, she knew first-hand about discrimination. Her struggles inspired her to create an all-black publication titled The Free Speech, which exposed the inequalities and mistreatment that came with being black in the South. When given the choice to stop her publication or be killed, she did neither. She moved to the North, and she never stopped production of The Free Speech.
Not only was she disliked by white men at the time, but also some women. When she marched in the 1913 suffrage parade, she was shunned by many of the women involved - some even refusing to march alongside her because she was a woman of color. Through it all, she stayed headstrong and continued to focus on issues that plagued the African American community. She never gave up the fight. She truly was an exemplary woman and is still a role model for many today!
2. Patsy Mink. Born in Hawaii in 1927, Patsy grew up to become a lawyer and then became the first Asian American elected to Congress. She was actually the first woman of color to serve in that position. In her time there, she co-authored Title IX, a federal law that prohibits any educational facility from discriminating against a person because of his/her gender.
3. Sylvia Mendez. Sylvia’s father was a Mexican immigrant and her mother was from Puerto Rico. In the 1940s, when she was a child, schools in California were segregated into “Whites only”, which had better books and curriculum, and “Hispanics”. To fight this racism, her parents attempted to enroll her and her siblings in a “Whites only” school, but were denied. They took the matter to court and eventually won. As a result, the governor of California was forced to desegregate all schools and public places. Her lawsuit paved the way and was a reference for similar cases, such as the famous Brown v. Board of Education, which brought desegregation to all schools. She is one of the primary reasons that we have integrated classrooms today.
4. Wilma Mankiller. Wilma gained notoriety after her very memorable protest at Alcatraz Island alongside other Native Americans who were reclaiming the land in 1969 since the federal government was not using the prison anymore. She later began working for the Cherokee Nation government as a director of community development and was eventually able to climb up the political ladder and become the first female principle chief of the Cherokee Nation in 1985.
5. Molly Dewson. College educated, Molly began her foray into politics in her home state of Massachusetts, where she worked for an organization promoting women’s education, the rights of women in the workplace, and the social advancement of women. Later, she joined Eleanor Roosevelt to motivate women to vote in the 1932 presidential election for Franklin D. Roosevelt. After his victory, she was instrumental in getting women to be appointed to high government positions, including Secretary of Labor.
What women inspire you? Talk with your children about those referred to in my blog and other famous women.
We are now in the middle of August and children are about to begin trading in their sandcastles for pens and paper, and family lunches will soon be replaced by school lunches. It is back to school time and no matter how old your children are, the transition never seems to get any easier for them. Going from a few months of freedom to spending 7 hours or more in a classroom is not an easy feat, but here are a few tips to make the transition a little smoother:
- Approximately one week before school begins, create a schedule so that your children are going to sleep and waking up during the regular school sleep and wake-up times. This will get them in the habit of going to bed at a reasonable time and waking up early, so when the first day of school arrives, they are ready.
- Some schools give summer assignments to their students. Whether it be reading or math or science, ensure that your children have been working on their assignments throughout the summer. Now that school is about to start, check up on them to find out if the assignments have actually been completed. Do not wait until the day before the first day of school to check though. This can make for a very hectic and upsetting first day of school.
- Talk to your children about the positive aspects of the new school year. These can include seeing old friends, making new friends, and playing a team sport. Think about what they enjoyed in school last year, and encourage them with these same positive aspects for the new year.
- Have positive quotes to inspire and discuss with your children. Melissa Taylor, a writer and a mom, has compiled many such quotes. You can visit her website and print them out too. Select one a day or a week and talk with them about each quote. Put them in their bedrooms or lunch boxes. CLICK HERE.
- Talk with our children about their plans for the new school year. What do they want to achieve? How do they plan to reach their goals? These and similar questions will not only give your children the opportunity to start planning for the upcoming school year, but will also give youinsight into their goals and the chance to start guiding them towardachieving them.
Change of any kind can be challenging, but applying these steps can assist in relieving any stress your children may be feeling about the start of a new school year.
For us parents, trying to get our children to go bed at a regular time can be challenging. What has worked well though is establishing a nighttime routine that prepares children for bed, rather than one that has a strict time that everyone in the family must be in bed by.
A typical nighttime routine should include taking a bath, brushing teeth, and a calming family activity. Children need to wind down before going to bed, so if you select 8 p.m., for example, as the time for your children to be in bed, and at 7:45 p.m. they are busy playing video games, their brains are still going to be wired by the time they need to be in bed. It is important to set a time for them to start their routine, as this will begin the process to calming them down and ending the night peacefully.
As the time is nearing for the routine to begin, take a look around the house and make sure that everything that can be done that night is done. Have them pick up and clean up after themselves. Also, double check that they have all their homework, clothes, and other items they will need in the morning ready. This will make getting out the door in the morning problem free.
Use the time while you bathe your younger children to talk to them. Some subjects are the type of bedtime story they want to read or what can be expected during the next day. When they are brushing their teeth, double check that they are doing it properly and not doing it in a mad rush to do something else. Explain to them the importance of doing this routine every day.
Once they head toward the bedroom, your children’s anticipation of reading a good book will be peaked. Not only will they be anticipating an interesting story, but they will also be eager to spend quiet, loving time with you. The books you and your children choose can range from simple bedtime stories that can be read at one sitting or more lengthy books which can be read one chapter at a time. And, reading is not exclusive to younger children as it can be a relaxing experience at any age. There are actually many benefits to reading to older children and I discussed them in a previous blog. No matter how old a child is, reading time will always be special.
Be sure to set aside time after reading to pray with your children. Praying together is an important opportunity to talk to God together. Be sure to include in your prayers a lot of “thank yous” to God, as instilling gratitude in your children will make them more appreciative of what they have. There is no better way to end the day!
Having a good, full night’s sleep is just as important for the health and development of your children as eating properly or being active. Creating these routines will develop good habits that continue into their adult lives.
As working parents, it can be very difficult to juggle your home, professional and social lives - after all there are only 24 hours in the day. Parents need to be able to spend time together. Sometimes, assistance with the children is a necessity and you must seek a babysitter. Finding the right babysitter is important for both you and your children. Here are several factors to take into consideration.
Is the person able to work within the rules and boundaries that you set? With a new babysitter in your home, it is critical to set rules and boundaries from the beginning. What do you want your children to be doing and when? For example, what time do you want each child to take a bath? Set out a list of times with corresponding activities, such as reading, homework, having dinner, bath time and sleep time. If the person balks at following your rules and boundaries, that person will not make a good babysitter.
Does the person understand children and want to spend time with them? Take into consideration the personality types of your children. Does the person understand that each child has his/her own personality and likes and dislikes? Will the person accommodate them? Try giving the person tips on how to go about dealing with each child. Does the person seem willing to accept your suggestions? What does the person want to do with each child while you are away?
What is your budget for paying a babysitter? Typically, parents hire a high school or college-aged student as a babysitter. These students are usually just looking to earn some extra money for the remainder of the school year. Even so, there can be a risk of underpayment. While there are no strict rules about how much to pay a babysitter, you should do some research on average wages in your area and ask friends and work colleagues. This information will be helpful in setting a comfortable budget for the both of you.
How do you know if this person is dependable? Again, ask friends and colleagues for recommendations as to who to hire and who to avoid. Keep your rules in mind when posing your inquiries. Parents should be very protective of their children, so consulting one who has similar values can be a huge assistance in your search for the right person.
Ask your children about their time with the babysitter. Parents typically talk with their children about school or social activities, and they should also do so about their children’s time with babysitters. You are hiring and entrusting that person to watch over your most precious possessions and to follow your guidelines. Asking your children about their experience will encourage them to cooperate while you are away. Also, children are notorious truth tellers. Just give them the opportunity to talk and they will let you know everything - from playing games with their babysitter to watching their sitter take a nap while no one was supposedly looking.
The health and happiness of your children should always be your top priorities, whether they are in your presence or not. The search process for a good babysitter can get tedious, and sometimes feel never ending, but the comfort in knowing and trusting the person who has your children in his/her hands will definitely be worth it.
I have written previously about taking family vacations during the summer. However, it may be that you are on a tight budget and a family trip may have moved down the list of priorities this summer. But, you can still have a vacation with your family without breaking the bank or crossing state lines.
“Staycations” are the perfect alternative to expensive out of town trips. You might think that you have seen everything in your area, but there are possibly many hidden gems still waiting to be found and this is the perfect opportunity for you and your family to do just that. In addition, there usually are a variety of local discounts available from museums, historic sites, and other ‘tourist attractions’.
If you want to leave your home, you could stay at an inexpensive hotel to have the full “vacation experience”. Many hotels give local residents discounts during the summer. However, there are plenty of ways to have the luxury feel of a hotel in your own home. For example, one of the best parts of any good hotel stay is the breakfast spread. Plan on cooking a big breakfast (the kids can join too!), similar to that of most hotels, and serve it buffet style. Set the table with white tablecloths and a simple centerpiece and enjoy your private, yummy breakfast with the family.
After breakfast, select one or more popular tourist attractions to visit. Try something new and different. It may seem silly to be a tourist in your own home, but it can be fun and educational. One of the main advantages is that you do not have to worry about the cost of transportation because you can drive to each destination in your own vehicle! Try visiting museums, having a picnic in the park, going backyard camping, or just taking a stroll through the city or town. In the evening, consider talking the family to a drive-in theater.
You can make a day or a weekend out of it. The schedule is completely up to you because transportation, location and the struggle that comes with being in a new place will not be an issue. By the end of it all, you and your family will have seen, done, and learned so much about your own community that you never imagined you could. Who knows? It might even become a family tradition.
Summer is officially underway! This means that the math and science books have been put away and the kids are ready for some fun. Last year in my blog, I talked about the importance of involving children in the trip planning process, and how that can be a wonderful learning experience for them. My blog today is a continuation of that one. The vacation is planned, your family is ready, and soon enough, the time will be here. There are plenty of ways that your family members can enjoy themselves while continuously stimulating their minds, especially on road trips.
Here are some suggestions. A friend told me about a game that she enjoyed playing on car trips as a child. It was a game called “yellow car”. Since there are so few yellow cars, the premise of the game was to count how many of them passed on the way to your destination. When one is spotted, you must be the first person to yell out “yellow car” and the person with the highest score at the end of the ride wins. It sounds simple enough, except for the yelling part. At the time, she had no idea how entertaining this ‘simple’ game could actually be!
This game was meant to be a onetime occurrence, but months had passed before she and her mother had realized that they were playing it every day. Try playing “yellow car”. It will keep the children alert; activate their eyes and brains to spot these objects amongst everything else they see; and help them keep numerical track of how many they have seen. Little do they know all the learning that is involved!
There are many variations to this game. Try changing it up to “blue truck” or any other color and vehicle. Depending on what your destination is, you can select any item to spot and count. At the end of the trip, ask one of the children to tally up the total score. Setting the terms are part of the fun of this game and both children and parents can play and enjoy. Make it a competition and the winner wins a prize. Your imagination is the limit!
In a prior blog post, I wrote about the importance of having your children participate in a variety of after-school activities and the benefits that doing so provide. Today, I would like to extend a cautionary note that those activities should enhance their childhood experiences, not inhibit them. Children who are overexposed to activities can suffer from headaches; feel tired, anxious or depressed; and suffer a drop in their grades. Here are a few tips on how to have your children involved in extracurriculars, while still giving them the chance to be children:
- Time: According to most experts, children should not spend more than 10 to 20 hours a week participating in out of school activities. If they spend any more time than this, they will not have enough time to do their homework, adequately prepare for tests, and be with their families. Choosing activities that meet bi-weekly or monthly could be healthier options for children, rather than those that meet once or several times a week.
- Request: Before enrolling your children in an extracurricular activity, it is best to ask if they want to join in it. This way, it will be an activity that they want to do, not an activity that they are being forced to do. Also, try not to pressure your children to outdo themselves or anyone else in their respective activities. Never compare what they are doing or not doing with other children.
- Your schedule: Ask yourself whether you or your spouse have the time to drive them to and from each activity. Adding too many activities can wreak havoc on your schedule too and cause a lot of stress.
The balance between school, homework, play, and family time can be difficult. The important issue is that you try to balance all four, with an emphasis on what works for the family unit as a whole. No activity should take the place of spending quality time together as a family or put too much stress on family life.
Tomorrow is the 4th of July or as Americans have come to know it as Independence Day. It is well known what this day celebrates- our hard fought independence from the British almost 250 years ago - and the many people who played key roles in the fight. We frequently think of our founding fathers as the central figures in the war. What many may not know, though, is that there were also African Americans and women who played a critical part in securing our freedom.
Salem Poor is one of those people. He was born in Massachusetts as a slave, but at the age of 22, had saved up a year’s salary so that he could buy his freedom. Once freed, he enlisted in the army and this would bring him his notoriety only a year later. Poor was instrumental in the Battle of Bunker Hill- an important battle in the fight for America’s freedom- defeating several British officers and inspiring paintings commemorating the victory.
Also Massachusetts-born was former slave Peter Salem. He was not only an important soldier in the Battle of Bunker Hill, but also in the entire American Revolutionary War. At the time of his recruitment, the Massachusetts Committee of Safety only recruited free African Americans. He traded his life as a slave to fight in the army.
Women such as Margaret Corbin also played major roles in the war. Corbin and her husband helped in defending Fort Washington, but when he got injured, she took over, manning the canon. She did not hesitate to take it upon herself to do a job meant for two.
These and many other men and women are often forgotten in history. But, do not let that happen. Teach your children about this day and all the different people who risked their lives to fight for a cause they profoundly believed in. It makes our history much more vibrant and interesting by doing so.
Study after study has shown that extracurricular activities provide many benefits for students. These activities have been known to not onlyprovide children with a break in the day from the stress and anxiety that comes with academics, but also to assist them with copingwith all of the many different things happening in their lives.
Programs such as a language club or a debate team reinforce many classroom-based skills, while sports and musical programs have been known to ‘wake’ the brain up. Additionally, these type of activities give children a sense of routine, and by allowing them to choose activities they are interested in, parents will inspire them to continue with these routines throughout their adult lives. Moreover, students who participate in these sorts of activities have been shown to earn higher scores on college admission’s exams.
After-school activities have actually been found to give children energy and help them thrive within their social groups. All of this is added impetus to later doing homework as well. On the other hand, students who are not involved in any after-school programs have been known to go through periods of sluggishness, making it difficult for them to even get started on their homework.
An additional benefit is being able to provide constructive information on a college application. Colleges are looking for students who are well rounded and sociable, and who will likely survive a rigorous academic schedule. When your children are able to show what they have done outside the classroom, they will be able to establish their good character, social worthiness, and academic stamina.
To learn more about the benefits of extracurricular activities, click here.
What is a simple seven letter word that is very hard to do? Forgive. No matter how many times we are told that forgiveness is an act that benefits the forgiver more than the person being forgiven, we still often view it as a tough task, usually because of our pride. Not only can refusing to forgive be detrimental to us physically, but also spiritually.
Forgiveness is not an option in living a Christian lifestyle, but rather a requirement. Colossians 3:13, our scripture text, actually commands us to forgive as God has first forgiven us. It does not say that we are allowed to forgive sometimes, depending on what that person has done to us. We are to always forgive – period.
One of the most poignant stories of forgiveness for me in modern times was when Pope John Paul II forgave the man who tried to assassinate him in 1981. The shooter fired many shots, four of which hit the Pope. He lost a great deal of blood but survived. The shooter was caught and sentenced to life in prison. Two years later, the Pope visited the would-be assassin in prison and forgave him. The two emerged from the visit as friends. But, the Pope even went further. He requested that the shooter be pardoned, and he eventually was, and became a Christian.
Now that is forgiveness in action!
As much as we hate to admit it, we have all participated in gossip at some point in our lives. Whether the information we were spreading was based on truth or just pure speculation never really mattered, because there is a strange thrill in sharing some information between you and a few of your friends. There are those who say the act of gossiping is and has always been a part of our social lives, used to learn what is and is not acceptable. Some have described it as harmless banter, but it is actually an opportunity to say hurtful things about a person, with no regard for the consequences, including the person’s wellbeing.
If we really want to stay informed, or have a better understanding of social niceties, as has been suggested, there are so many productive and non-threatening ways to do so. Instead of talking about someone, try to talk to the person. Get to know him or her better. We, as humans, are social creatures and by doing this, we use the same amount of energy and can make a new friend in the process. You might even be able to learn a few things from the other person, as that person can from you too. At the end of the day, we should constantly try to lift others up and encourage them, rather than drag them down, and once we are willing to lift and encourage, it is easier to be lifted and encouraged in turn.
Once you make the decision to no longer be a part of the toxic lifestyle that comes with gossip, feel free to distance yourselves from those who choose not to follow that principle. The Bible states “as for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him.” Titus 3:10.
Creating some distance does not mean you have to cut those people out of your life, completely and immediately. At first, you should encourage the people around you to consider the consequences of their actions. Try to inform them and give them some of your tips on stopping this type of behavior. Your role is never to be judgmental, but to be helpful. If they persist, however, do not be afraid to now maintain distance from them, surrounding yourself with people who believe as you do.
The next time you are told a piece of gossip, no matter how interesting it may seem, be that wise person and walk away. Let it die at your ears. Always remember that your children are watching you and listening. Be a good role model for them.
“For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.”
-Habakkuk 2:3 (NIV)
Patience is hard to develop in this fast paced world we live in. When I read Habakkuk 2:3, it deeply resonates with me, especially the last words, “though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come.” I speak not only for myself, but also I’m sure for many others when I say that once I make a prayer request to the Lord, I usually expect an immediate response. That is not what God has promised us, however.
This verse stands as a reminder to me that there is a season for everything, including the answers to my prayers. If I continue to trust and believe while I wait, I know that everything I have prayed for will come to pass - in God’s time. His timing is always perfect!
I once read about a scenario that I would like to share. Have you ever ordered an item online that you were really excited about and it was scheduled to arrive in 3-7 business days? Now it is the 6th day and you are beyond anxious, maybe even angry that the package has yet not arrived. So, you check the tracking number over the internet several times a day, just to see how far it has travelled since you last checked it. You do this until the seventh day, and then you get the notification that your package has arrived. But, you still have to wait until it can be delivered. When the package finally arrives, you are filled with so much excitement that you almost forget to sign for it and while in a fit of eager anticipation to see what’s inside, you slam the door in the face of the person who delivered it to you without so much as a “thank you”.
Note: You became angry and impatient even before the deadline has passed.
That was a simple example, but one I think we all can relate to. As it applies to Habakkuk 2:3, your answer to a prayer is that package, and God is who you were tirelessly monitoring and eventually slammed the door on without a second thought.
It is easy to get caught up in the anticipation and anxiety of receiving what you have prayed for. In fact, despite God’s promise that “it will certainly come”, you may even doubt that it will ever be manifested. You are constantly checking up with God to make sure He has not forgotten you, not realizing every time you do so, you are actually questioning whether the Word of God is true.
God makes no mistakes and our prayers are answered in God’s timing, not ours. Continue to be patient and trust Him daily in all aspects of your life and your children’s lives.
Today is Memorial Day. It is a day that has been set aside for us to honor those who have died in the fight to serve and protect our wonderful country. While it is always fun to dust off the grill and invite friends and family over for one of the first barbeques of the season, let us not forget the important sacrifices behind this holiday.
Teach your children about why Memorial Day is celebrated. If explaining the holiday in a child-friendly manner seems difficult for you, there are several articles online that you can use for assistance. Also, libraries and bookstores have many age appropriate books. Once your children understand the reasons behind the holiday, participating in activities will be more memorable and heartfelt.
Here are a few examples of activities that the whole family can participate in before or even after you fire up that grill:
- Children love crafts. Encourage them to make letters or cards for veterans and families of fallen soldiers. They can then deliver them to the people whom you know, to veterans’ hospitals or Veterans Affairs offices. Feel free to join in on the fun. Crafting can be a great bonding opportunity and give parents the time to address any unanswered questions about the day and any other activities that are planned.
- Visit monuments of fallen soldiers. Some of the most famous in the country are found in Washington D.C. However, if visiting the nation’s capital is not an option, you can always find graveyards and memorials in or around your town to visit.
- Carry flowers to honor the fallen. One of the most appropriate flowers used to pay homage are poppies. In the poem In Flanders’ Fields, poet John McCrae venerated the sacrifice made by those who lost their lives in service during the First World War. He wrote about poppies being in the fields. The flower has been associated with war and remembering the fallen. Explain to your children the history behind the flower and take some to a veterans’ graveyard, memorial, or even to a veteran.
- Go see a Memorial Day Parade. Parades can be such fun to watch. They are not only an excuse to get out of the house, but also a wonderfulopportunity for the entire family to experience a town, city or county coming together to honor and commemorate truly extraordinary people, people who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
- Observe the National Moment of Remembrance. Since December, 2000, the National Moment of Remembrance has been set to begin at 3 p.m. wherever you are in the country. This is a time to for you to stop whatever you are doing and pay your respects.
There are countless other activities that can be done today. What is important is that you participate in them together as a family and give honor to those who first honored us.
Last week, I ended my blog by stating that the implementation of a homework schedule and a quiet place to work gives children the basics they need for concentration and a good homework product. I suggested that parents set aside time to assist their children. Today, I will dig deeper into parental involvement in homework.
When it comes to homework, take time to, at the very least, oversee the homework process. Ask questions to make sure that they know what the homework is and what is expected of them.
Engage and respond when given the chance. Working with your children not only gives them an opportunity to discuss what they are learning, but also gives parents the opportunity to know what their children are learning. Even the smartest children will sometimes need help and that is an opportunity to step in. In regard to making corrections, while it is important for you to make a correction when a mistake is made, you should give critiques constructively, not with judgment or name calling.
As children grow older, their work becomes progressively harder, making it more difficult for both students and parents to keep up. Never “make up” an answer if you do not know how to solve a specific problem. Your job is to help them to the best of your ability. Giving false information does more damage than good for a child’s education. Instead, make a note of the problem that was giving you both trouble and speak with or email the teacher, so the teacher knows exactly what to review with your child during the next class.
When it comes to homework, there is no expectation for you to be the perfect parent. There will be some areas you can assist with and there will be times when you are just as confused as your children, maybe even more. Being a part of that process is what is most important for your children’s development and what will eventually cause them to thrive.
Homework is an integral aspect of your children’s education as it ensures that they can comprehend every lesson taught to them. Spending quality time with them and assisting when necessary, shows that you care for them and their success.
I remember that, as a child, my mother was by my side to help and guide me whenever I had homework challenges. One such challenge comes vividly to mind. When I was in 5th grade, I had a homework assignment due the first school day after the four day Thanksgiving holiday. Even though I had four days to complete it, I kept procrastinating and waited until late Sunday afternoon to begin it. What I discovered was that it was not a short, easy assignment. I had to study all about Thanksgiving Day and create an art project about the Pilgrims. I panicked and went straight to my mother for help. Not only did she spend the rest of that afternoon and evening assisting me putting together the art project, but she also enlisted all of my sisters to help. We had the dining room table covered with crayons and markers, pictures of turkeys, Pilgrims and Indians, and glue.
My mother was not happy that I had procrastinated and she made that very clear. I can honestly say that I never procrastinated on another homework project again!
Every child handles homework differently. Consider developing a homework schedule as an integral part of your children’s academic development. It should not only be consistent, but also work well for the child, making the experience less of a chore.
Once you work out a schedule, set up an environment where your children are able to complete their work without problems or interference. After doing all this, you should set aside time to help them complete their assignments. Remember, though, not to do their homework for them!
Today’s blog is a celebration of moms as Mother’s Day is on Sunday. What more can be said about how wonderful our moms are that has not already been said? What I would like to focus on is our relationships with our moms. To me, the statement on my blog shows how our views of our mothers change at different ages and is very accurate.
I look at my own relationship with my mother. Although I never felt that my mother was “annoying”, I have had many of these feelings at different ages. When I was young, my love for my mother was characterized by an exclamation mark: it was a love for a mother who was the world to me and the center of my universe. As I got into my teens, I was ready to get out of my mother’s nest and spread my wings. However, after leaving home and living every day in the real world, by my 20s, I knew my mother had been often right. Now, later in age, I really don’t want to lose my mom. I spend the major holidays with her and try to stay in contact with her as much as possible. She can’t travel now because she suffered a stroke, so I visit her. I am certain that as I get older, I will appreciate and love her even more!
As I look at my sons’ relationships with me, I see the same pattern too. My sons are now in their 20s, so I get to hear “Mom, you were right.” But, that was only after years of being “annoying” to them and their wanting to leave the house and spread their wings.
No matter what stage of life you are at, it is very important to love your mother. Allow your relationship with your mom to grow and mature, as you do. Happy Mother’s Day!
We have all seen it. Parents are busy so they give their children some form of digital media to occupy their time while the parents get things done. Often, it is a cell phone with games. Other times, it is a laptop or other small device with games or a movie. Have you ever stopped and thought about how much digital media your children consume each day and whether it is good for them?
In October, 2016, the American Academy of Pediatrics held a national conference and discussed new health regulations for children for 2017. One of the main topics was children and digital media. The Academy had previously recommended limiting the amount of television viewing to children who are 2 years or older and no more than two hours a day. However, since we have become saturated with all sorts of digital media, the Academy reviewed its recommendations and issued some new ones.
According to Dr. Jenny Radesky, “Families should proactively think about their children’s media use and talk with children about it, because too much media use can mean that children don’t have enough time during the day to play, study, talk, or sleep.” The Academy stresses the fact that problems begin when digital media takes the place of what children need to be doing in the real world and can negatively affect their health.
Some of the new recommendations are:
1. For children 18-24 months, do not allow them to use a screen except for video chatting.
2. For children 2 to 5 years old, limit screen use to 1 hour of high quality media a day.
3. For children 6 and older, parents should place consistent limits so that their children do not lose sleep and miss out on all the many fun things that children need to do.
Next time, when you want to keep your children occupied, get them a good book to read. They will learn new words and improve their comprehension skills. Nothing can or should replace a good book!
To read more about the Academy’s recommendations, CLICK HERE.