Posts Tagged ‘parents’

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Summer 1977: Can a Kid Survive?

June 14, 2016

The first few days of summer are the best. So good, in fact, that some parents take a day or two off so they might revel in the well-remembered feeling. No more school. No more tests. No more teachers. No more social pressures. No more responsibility. Kids sleep in, hang out in pajamas, and make pancakes. It’s great. Until about the third day.

Summer can become a parent’s nightmare. What if the kids never get out of their pajamas? What if they become zombies? What if they hook themselves to screens with an I-V, and their brains shrivel into peanut-sized capsules?

For today’s parents, the pressure to create a summer experience is on. A child’s summer must be filled with brain-building, developmentally appropriate, and organically filled activities. Life becomes complicated with carpools and play dates and field trips, and before June is over, parents cry for a schedule that does not involve cleaning a kitchen that’s cluttered with bags of chips and boxes of Cheerios. No wonder day camps and summer classes have exploded in popularity.

Call me crazy but how about throwing a TBT day? Throw Back Thursdays to 1977, or for those brave enough, participating in a full week of TBT time travel?

Here’s what it might look like.

Breakfast? Forget about whole-wheat, flax-seed filled pancakes with pure maple syrup and fresh berries. Kids get Applejacks and a sliced orange. In 1977, kids didn’t hang out in pajamas all day so they must get dressed and make their beds. What’s next? That’s their problem, not yours, but here’s an idea: open the door and send them outside. If they’re young, a parent can give them a pail and point to a pile of dirt. There’s no need to sit in the sandbox and create castles by using sophisticated engineering techniques listed in Parenting Magazine. This is 1977. Kids figure it out.

Fancy field trips? Nope. Indoor skydiving and zip-lining adventures have not yet been invented, but there is the library. It might be air-conditioned. Swimming is a crowd pleaser but remember—parents don’t go. Not only is there a lifeguard to watch them flip into cannonballs, but parents didn’t drive their kids places in 1977. During a TBT day, kids ride their bikes to the pool or walk with a group of friends—it gives them time to dry off on the way home.

No pool? Use the hose. Sprinklers are fair game, but there aren’t any fancy slick and slides or super-soakers. Other alternatives? Kids can build forts, which might take all day. Jars of paint and some rocks offer the opportunity for kids to become Picassos. Manic monopoly will likely become a parent’s new best friend—the game can take hours, even days. And when all else fails, a simple deck of cards will do. Even alone, a kid can play solitaire, figure out magic tricks, and build card houses (psssst: engineering skills). In 1977, games rule, especially while drinking red pop and eating marathon bars (the chocolate and caramel kind, not the protein and chia seed kind).

Lunch? Whole Foods did not exist in the disco decade so forget about quick trips for sushi or steamed Korean buns. Stop at McDonalds or ask the kids to make their own sandwiches; peanut butter and jelly or marshmallow fluff, but they could invent something new—like fried bologna and egg with ketchup. Long afternoons? Naps are good. Books are better. Uber-active kids get sent back outside where they invent their own projects. Maybe they’ll build a boat made from milk cartons. Who knows? They’ll figure it out.

Remember, technology is banned during 1977 week. It wasn’t invented. TV screen-time is limited unless there’s a new episode of the Brady Brunch. Game of Thrones and How I met Your Mother did not exist. There were no clickers back then, either. If kids do watch TV, they must get up, walk across the room, and physically flip through channels—all four of them. CBS, ABC, NBC, and PBS were the only stations that existed. Also, television went static in the middle of night.

After dinner (hot dogs, Kool-Aid, Jell-O salad, baked beans, and grape popsicles), kids may find a few neighborhood kids and play flashlight tag, but if they’ve played long and hard enough, they might just collapse and fall asleep.

And voila. Like that, a day is done, and you’ve survived 1977. Good luck the rest of the summer.

 

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Dalai Lama’s 3 R’s and Coach Jay’s ABC’s

March 24, 2009

Respect for self, respect for others, responsibility for all your actions. -Dalai Lama


People ask where I find my “snowballs of wisdom”. They ask if I spend hours on the Internet. Do I have a book? How do I choose which quote to use, they ask.

The truth is, I find them everywhere. Magazines, cereal boxes, books, greeting cards, and even bubble gum wrappers are just a few places to find inspiration. Today’s snowball came from my 6-year-old’s ski coach. I may have mentioned once or twice, that my kids race on a stellar team. Stellar, not because they are Olympians, although some of them are, but because they invoke a philosophy for the athletes that goes way beyond skiing.

In today’s mail, a letter came from Coach Jay. He thanked his little athletes for being good skiers and great listeners. Attached to the letter was a packet of quotes. He called them pearls of wisdom (good thing he didn’t steal my line, or I would have had to challenge him to a snowball fight). Coach Jay sent sixteen quotes in all. Reminders of life’s important messages for his 5 and 6-years-old. Now that’s coaching.

Olivia reminds us about Coach Jay’s three R’s from the Dalai Lama. She ‘kindly’ tells her brother that being respectful is not throwing a Wii stick across the room. When her older sister tells her she’s tattling, Olivia objects. It’s about respect, she says. And she’s right.

As parents, we all want what’s best for our kids. Being best is not about winning the championship basketball game or going to the World Cup. Raising children is more about developing character and helping kids succeed in whatever life tosses their way. Finding teachers, coaches, and babysitters who help parents in this daunting task should take precedent over the big win.

In his letter, Coach Jay quoted Mother Theresa, William Shakespeare, Henry Ford and Sophocles to name a few. He also quoted himself. Remember your 3 R’s….respect yourself? He does, and it shows. Here are Coach Jay’s ABC’s for his little athletes:

A- avoid negative sources, people, places, things and habits

B- believe in yourself and succeed

C- consider things from every angle

D- don’t give up and don’t give in

E- enjoy life today, yesterday is gone and tomorrow may never come

F- friends and family are hidden treasures, seek them and enjoy their riches

G- give more than you planned to

H- have major league fun

I- ignore those who try to discourage you

J- just do it

K- keep trying no matter how hard it seems, it will get easier

L- love yourself first and most

M- make it happen

N- never lie, cheat or steal, always strike a fair deal

O- open you eyes and see things as they really are

P- practice makes perfect

Q- quitters never win and winners never quit

R- read study and learn about everything important in your life

S- stop procrastinating

T- take control of your own destiny

U- understand yourself in order to better understand others

V- visualize it and focus

W- want it more than anything

X- xcellerate your efforts

Y- you are unique in all God’s creations, nothing can replace you

Z- Zero in on your target and go for it

Thanks Coach Jay. I think you just won the snowball fight.