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October is, by far, my favorite month of the year… Sweater season gets ushered in by the cooler weather, trees are adorned with colorful leaves, candy apples and cider make their first debut of the year and the Yankees are in the playoffs.
There is no doubting the fact that I’m a sports junkie. After all, my first word was baseball. I’m passionate about several things, but baseball and hockey top the list. Major League Baseball has been running the same postseason commercial for the last million or so years… The theme of the advertisement is “you can’t script October,” meaning that anything can happen in playoff baseball.
From Don Larsen’s perfect game, Reggie Jackson’s three homer game to Aaron Boone’s walk-off homerun against the Red Sox (please don’t remind me of the 2001 playoffs)… it’s true, you can’t predict what’s going to happen in baseball. So last night, my boyfriend, Bill, and I went to Game 4 of the ALDS (That’s the “American League Division Series,” for all you Mets fans that aren’t sure what the playoffs are!).
Last night’s game was speeding right along. Neither the Yankees nor the Orioles were doing much offensively. It was a 1-0 Orioles game going into the bottom of the sixth. Luckily, Robinson Cano was able to get the Yankees’ first RBI of the game to tie it up at 1 going into the seventh. At this point it was 10:30pm. I remember looking around and seeing tired faces of moms, dads and school age children.
Eventually the game went into extra innings… 13 of them to be exact. Not a single person (that I could see) left the game early. It was [almost] reminiscent of the real stadium. Everyone was on their feet each time the Yankees stepped up to the plate. The one thing, besides the game itself, that stuck out to me was this little boy, who was cheering right along with the best of ‘em the entire game. He couldn’t have been more than 7 years old.
The game ended well after midnight, but there the little boy was, sulking in defeat after the game. He and his parents stayed for the entire game! I wondered how tired the little boy would be at school today. If he’s as tired as I am, shame on his parents.
That being said, I can’t say that I blame his parents. When I was in school, my parents allowed me to stay up for sporting events. I never really had a “bedtime,” mainly because I loved to sleep. There were several school days where I was sluggish because I stayed up watching sports the night before, but you know what… I enjoyed myself.
When I was in high school, the Yankees played their first game in Japan. I woke up at some obscure hour in the morning just to watch the game. It was unforgettable, but I thought I was going to die of exhaustion during math class. I always wonder how parents decide when late is too late. If the little boy was at home last night instead of at the game, would his parents have made him go to bed or did they want him to witness legends in the making?
“But mom, it’s only the sixth inning!” What would your response be if your child said this to you on a school night? Personally, I’d let my child stay up to watch the game and bet on him falling asleep on the couch before the final out.
Recently I met a seasoned teacher and writer Suzy Kline. She is the author of over 130 books and has taught kids for over 25 years, so she comes with a great deal of experience under her belt. She was the guest speaker at the 18th Annual Conference on Literacy held at Mount Saint Mary College.
You (and your kids) may know Suzie for her Horrible Harry series, which is one of many she has written. She says her secret for developing story ideas is her very small notebook. (The one she showed me was smaller than the 4” x 5-1/2” one that I carry.) Every time she sees something of interest, she jots down just a few words in her little book. She calls this her “Seeds for Writing.”
Once she visited a school lunchroom and the kids all had their hands up. She asked one of the students why and the student said he wanted the ketchup lady to do a happy face on his plate. (That idea went into Suzie’s notebook.)
She said that kids first use the little books as diaries. And maybe for drawings. Then for story ideas. Suzie suggests getting the entire family involved. When her youngest daughter was a toddler and couldn’t yet write, they went on vacation. Her daughter put small sticks on a piece of paper. (Just like scrapbooking.) She asked her daughter what she was doing. The answer: “I am writing a story.” Her husband didn’t like the “Seeds of Writing” project, but he agreed to play along. He wrote one sentence a day. It took him seven years to fill his book. His first book, Watch out for these Weirdos! has one sentence a page.
I am always on the lookout for these small books. Many times I find them at dollar stores or Target. Try out Suzie’s “Seeds of Writing” suggestion. You never know where it may lead you.
Come back and visit me for more of Suzie Kline’s best tips.
On Saturday, we were lucky enough to have one of the leading scholars on adolescent development speak at the 2nd Annual Conference on Adolescence on the campus of Mount Saint Mary College. Dr. William Damon, who is Stanford University professor and researcher, talked about how young people find purpose in their lives.
Damon said that most parents feel that they should help direct their kids to find themselves, but his study shows that kids naturally find things of interest. Our role as parents is to provide the resources for our kids that support their interest rather than foist our own ideas on them.
But how do you do that? Say Mary comes home interested in a presentation at school on animals that are becoming extinct. Ask her who does she think takes care of these animals? Would she be interested in meeting a zoologist or a local vet? Are there clubs in her school that relate to this area of interest she would like to join? Or go to the library so she can take out some books on the subject.
But we have to be careful not to create stressful situations where our kids are so busy doing so many different things that eventually the tasks have no meaning.
Damon also suggests that we should talk about our own experiences. Show our kids that getting to where we are in life does not necessarily happen in a straight line. Share the failures along with the successes.
The issues that Daman brought up hit close to home for me. I left college after 3 years, got married and had kids. I was in my thirties before I went back to school. My kids saw me go to classes, struggle with homework and finally graduate. The world of work was not any easier for me. After college, I had a job for 2 years but was let go. My kids knew that I was going out on interviews to try and find another position. My boys saw that it was not always easy for me to move forward.
The professor also said that we should be careful about what we talk about and how we talk about it. For example, when we get home from work, do we complain about our boss or talk about the rotten day we had? He suggests that rather than talk about the negatives concerning work, talk about something, even if it is a small something, that made a difference for that day. Kids pick up on these cues.
Part III of this presentation on helping kids find purpose in their lives will discuss getting kids involved in the community.
For more information on help kids find purpose in their lives read Dr. William Damon’s book The Path to Purpose
I just started reading the first Undercover Kids Book, “The Trunk in the Attic.” And immediately, liked the bits of information author, Gloria Smith Zawaski, weaves into her story. It’s about two curious kids staying at their aunt’s farm, and embarking on their first adventure. How did I know these kids were curious if I only just started reading it? By the second paragraph. “Their parents are professors.” I read. “Mom teaches languages and speaks quite a few. Dad is an archaeologist and spends summers in foreign countries…” That alone lets us know right away that this book will be filled with interesting facts and details from other cultures, and these days, that’s a good thing for young readers to understand.
Gloria Smith Zawaski appears at HVP’s Cover Kid event, Sunday, April 10th at Poughkeepsie Mall; and Sunday, May 1st at the Galleria in Middletown, from 11 am – 3 pm. Come on down and say “hello.”
What happens if you have a kid who is just floundering in his life? Or maybe your child does everything you suggest: he plays hockey, joins the newspaper club and does okay in school. Which kid is finding life purposeful? Which kid will eventually find a direction that makes his life meaningful?
On Saturday, we were lucky enough to have one of the leading scholars on adolescent development speak at the 2nd Annual Conference on Adolescence on the campus of Mount Saint Mary College. Dr. William Damon, who is a Stanford University professor and researcher, talked about how young people find purpose in their lives.
According to Damon, purpose is what makes life meaningful. It is necessary in everyone’s life and especially important for youth. Apparently kids with purpose don’t look for trouble. They don’t need classes on drugs. Their sense of belief in themselves provides the basis for good mental health.
Kids fall into four groups
His team’s current research shows that there are four distinctive groups of kids relative to having purpose in their lives
- 25% are disengaged. They have no purpose nor do they dream of developing it.
- 24% are dreamers. They have ideas about purpose in their lives, but they are not sure how to move forward.
- 31% are dabblers. They are doing all that everyone tells them to do, but they find that nothing seems to have purpose for them. There is nothing they want to stick to.
- 20% have purpose. They have goals and are willing to prepare to move forward towards those goals.
To me the one shocking statistic is, that according to Damon’s study, the percentages of kids in each category remains consistent across socio-economic groups. So whether kids are members of an upwardly mobile household or part of a family that is just hanging on, 20% of those kids will have a defined purpose to their life…something they want to strive for and 25% are just floundering.
Part II of Helping our kids find purpose in their lives will discuss how parents can make a difference.
For more information on help kids find purpose in their lives read Dr. William Damon’s book The Path to Purpose.
I never considered myself a geek. I never rush out to buy the newest things as they come out.
But I had an uncle who was a gadget guy. He had this fetish for buying every new coffee pot that came out. He would call my mom to take a drive with him so they could share some time together. She was his baby sister. And then he would manage to stop at the store to buy the new coffee gadget that just hit the shelves. He’d ask my mom not to tell my aunt about his new purchase. It was a brother and sister secret. I am sure when he died my aunt was shocked when she opened his personal storeroom.
But getting back to trying the newest “stuff.” With the advent of the iPod2, I began looking at what everyone was talking about. Since my son works in the PC world, I searched for tablets that use android technology.
When my son and I went shopping on Black Friday I ended up with an android Smart Phone. It helped that it only cost me one cent. Now I am on a roll…because I get to play on this small screen that pretends to be a computer. In many respects it doesn’t work well for me…the screen is too small and my sight is not that good. But I pushed on. Great to get apps that show instant weather updates…with all the snow alerts. I love seeing bits and pieces of the upcoming movies as well as the latest news.
Now I am really on a roll and ready for my next toy. In fact, the tablet market saw me coming.
As I write this I am sitting at the kitchen table with my Motorola Zoom tablet “linked” to a Bluetooth key board, listening to NPR’s “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” using the Tune-In app that lets me key in to any station in the world.
Not sure if you would call me a geek, but whatever I am, I am having a ball.
As the new editor at HV Parent, I’d been putting off my “first blog,” waiting for something truly momentous to discuss. But what am I waiting for? Momentous does happen, but everyday life is just as fascinating and ‘blog-worthy.’ Like the mail. Everyday in the mail we get samples of new products for parents. We “ooh” and “ahh” at a new bag for babies, or cutesy cook books; projects that light up or a miniature greenhouse for kids to start their own tomato plant, and the like.
Today we spent a lot of time debating the pros and cons of a new ”go green” lunchbox for kids. Was it too elaborate for the age? Yet, it created a lot less trash. It kept foods superfresh, but maybe it was tough to open. It eliminated a lot of extra packaging like snack bags. The price? $32 or so. Interesting concept. It’s definitely the way the world is headed. Send us what you put in your kid’s lunch box. And maybe you’ll win our sample of the “go green” lunchbox. (P.S. The cover features racing cars, just so you know.)
And so, that’s it..my first blog. Is it momentous? Dunno…but it’s the first of many, and I’d like to keep the conversations flowing. Write me at email@example.com, and tell me your ideas and comments. Thanks for being a HV Parent reader. TTYL, mj
Hudson Valley Parents and teachers are welcome to take advantage of this special educational offer. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) has designed this program specifically for Middle and High School teachers, counselors, social workers, youth advisors, and after-school program directors to help their students recognize depression in themselves or their friends, and to encourage them to get help for this common and treatable problem.
This free 60-minute webinar on Teen Depression and Suicide Risk is designed to show school personnel how they can effectively incorporate depression education into the classroom, using AFSP’s ground-breaking new film, More Than Sad: Teen Depression.
The film features vignettes of four teens that will help students recognize the varied signs and symptoms of depression, reduce their misconceptions and apprehensions about treatment, and promote help-seeking behavior. Each participant will receive a free copy of the film More Than Sad: Teen Depression (valued at $49.99)*
To accommodate your busy schedule and give you more options, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s New York chapters have joined together. Please note that: registration is mandatory for this event, you may enter the event up to 15 minutes before the start of the event but you cannot enter 15 minutes after the event has started
March 28th, 3pm
March 30th, Noon
April 4th, 3pm
April 6th, 11am
April 7th, Noon
April 8th, Noon
April 12th, Noon
April 19th, 9am
Please note that each offering of the webinar is limited to 250 registrants, so register today!
If you have an adolescent in your family, are a volunteer in your community who works with young people or are an educator, you may be interested in the second annual conference on adolescence being held on the campus of Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh.
Those middle years are the wonder years…you just wonder if you are going to survive them. And that may be the time we all need the most parenting assistance. If that applies to you be sure to mark your calendar and attend this conference. I am sure you will walk away with insights that will help you during those crazy times when you wish you could have a permanent “time out” for your kids.
The Mount Saint Mary College Center for Adolescent Research and Development (CARD) is holding its annual full-day conference “Adolescence in the 21st Century: Fostering Agency, Purpose, and Engagement” on Saturday, April 2, 2011 at the college. The event is being held from 9am until 3pm.
The keynote speaker will be William Damon, PhD, from the Stanford Center on Adolescence. He is the Director of the Stanford Center on Adolescence and Professor of Education. Damon writes on moral development through the lifespan. Recently he has begun a study on the development of purpose during adolescence.
There will be four presentations introduced during the day plus panel discussions. The fee is $35 which includes lunch and breaks.
You may register online
Would you love a chance to win an autographed Bon Jovi Guitar? How about a signed photo of the hottest heartthrob, Justin Bieber?
Mark Friday, March 25 on your calendar and come on down to Anthony’s Pier Nine on Route 9W in New Windsor. This is your chance to bid on over 100 items in this unbelievable silent auction. All proceeds benefit Bishop Dunn Memorial School in Newburgh offering programs from pre-K through 8th grade.
This is the 20th anniversary of the school’s silent auction and it is sure to be the most memorable ever. With a delicious buffet served throughout the event, a dessert table and refreshments you won’t go hungry. Then bid on some of the over 100 items available.
Not only will the evening be a blast, with no one going away empty handed, but this is a worthy cause. Bishop Dunn attracts children for all over the Hudson Valley. Located on the campus of Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, the school is unique with a curriculum that spans pre-K through 8th grade and provides a certified program for children with special needs.
Pier Nine, Rte 9W, New Windsor
Doors open for preview of items at 6pm
Live auction beginning at 7pm led by auctioneer Marianne Flannery from Flannery Estate Services
For more information call the Bishop Dunn Development office at 845-569-3496 or visit Bishop Dunn Memorial School.