Category Archives: Kids Are Heroes

Lentil: Encouraging Children to Embrace Volunteerism

 My son…on a fishing trip with us last year.

I can’t believe it is Friday already!  The days are flying by.  In a way, I’m happy because I am looking forward to May 11th when my younger son is flying in from Chicago to spend the weekend with us.  We already have a cabin reserved near Eleven Mile Canyon where we plan to go fly-fishing.

Living here in Colorado, we sometimes take for granted the pristine rivers and streams that are only a short drive away, as well as the faucets we can turn on to receive clean drinking water .  This is not the case for millions of people in other parts of the world.

I’m fortunate to have connected with Angela over at From the Faith of a Child.  She has started a new blog for a wonderful project that will benefit children who don’t have access to clean water the way we do.   Her son, Jackson, decided to forego birthday presents this year for his sixth birthday.  Instead, he wants to raise money so that a well can be dug in an area where children and their mothers have to walk hours each day to collect water for drinking and cooking and washing…and the water that they finally collect is often dirty and virtually unusable.  These children are being robbed of their childhoods…and often their lives are cut short because of the contaminated water.

If you click http://www.charitywater.org/whywater/ you can view the three minute video clip that will move you to tears…and hopefully to action! 

Your children can participate by drawing a picture to add to the Water Wish Art Gallery that Angela and Jackson have set up.

I hope everyone will read Angela’s post, look at Jackson’s art work that depicts his “Water Wish” and donate whatever they can to this worthwhile project.  The most impressive element in all of this is that it is a child who is leading the way.  Encouraging young children to contribute to the community and care about others is one of the most important lessons a parent can teach.  If you have the time, you can check out another organization that champions children who help others: www.KidsAreHeroes.org.

Now, since today is Perfect Picture Book Friday where I link up with Susannah Leonard Hill’s fantastic group of picture book writers, illustrators, librarians and others who contribute a picture book review and related resources for parents, teachers and children, my entry is about a young boy who also understood the importance of helping his entire community by using his ingenuity and special talents.

 

Lentil

Written and illustrated by Robert McCloskey

Publisher: Viking Juvenile (1940)

Ages: 4 and up

Themes:

Music, community, cooperation, perseverance, problem solving, self-esteem, self-worth, teamwork, coping with disappointment, celebrating our uniqueness

Opening Line:

“In the town of Alto, Ohio, there lived a boy named Lentil.  Lentil had a happy life except for one thing – he wanted to sing but he couldn’t.”

Synopsis:

When Lentil discovers he cannot sing, he works very hard learn to play the harmonica instead.  One day, the townspeople gather to welcome home one of their leading citizens.  A jealous member of the town sabotages the homecoming and the band is unable to play.  Will Lentil and his harmonica save the day?

Why I like this book:

It is written and illustrated by Robert McCloskey…who also gave us One Morning in Maine, Make Way for Ducklings and Blueberries for Sal!  Enough said!  The book was published over seventy years ago, but the issues it touches on remain relevant today.

The story shows children that even when they have a disappointment, they should never give up and that each of us has unique gifts and talents of great worth.  It also encourages community-mindedness and teamwork.  When so much of the world is in poverty and so many young children are suffering, we want our children to learn to reach out and help others, now and as they grow into adulthood. 

Related Activities:

Most children love music.  An empty oatmeal container and a wooden spoon make a great drum.  A piece of waxed paper wrapped around a plastic comb becomes a kazoo.  Check out the websites below for enough homemade instruments to form your own rhythm band.

Picture from Tania Cowling at Suite 101 

 Savvy Homemade egg shakers 

 Simple Homemade Musical Instruments For Kids

Quirky Momma tin can balloon drums 

 Picture from Quirky Momma

More homemade instruments from The Crafty Crow

Learn about multi-award-winning author/illustrator Robert McCloskey here

Read more about Mr. McCloskey on Laura Frazin Steele’s LA Books Examiner site.

LAST CHANCE: If you haven’t nominated your local library to win one of the 25 FREE copies of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking that we are donating, PLEASE do so now!  Click the book title link above to read a review from Summit Series for Families.

Help your favorite library win a copy!  Just leave a comment on this post or email me at vivian@positiveparentalparticipation.com, naming the library and telling why the people in your community would benefit from having the book available to them.  There are only a few more days…nominations close on April 30 and twenty-five libraries will be chosen using Random.org.

This post is part of a series for parents and teachers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays hosted by Susannah Leonard Hill.  Click on her link and find lots of other picture book suggestions with summaries and activities.  And please don’t forget to leave a comment here, nominating your local library to be the recipient of a copy of Show Me How!

Protecting Our Children from Corporate Marketing

I think this must be MY pumpkin!

How do you make your buying decisions?

Many factors probably go into the final decision about which car to purchase, what brand of spaghetti to grab from the store shelf, how many rolls of toilet paper to keep on hand in the closet.  You might do research online when it comes to purchasing a car.  You might ask a friend who has a reputation as a great cook which spaghetti she uses.  You might figure out how much you will save if you buy the twenty-four roll pack as opposed to the four-roll pack.

One of the most influential factors in determining what we buy is corporate marketing.

Companies spend TRILLIONS of dollars to convince us to buy their products.

And, ever since the 1950’s, corporations have been marketing to children.  However, their efforts have exploded in the last decade and I believe our children are at risk because of it.

  • Corporate marketing is ONLY concerned with the bottom line…SELL MORE AT GREATER PROFITS AT ANY COST!  Our children are bombarded with commercials on TV, radio, magazines and the internet for biggie-sized food and fast-food meals with toys.  Companies donate computer equipment to schools and infiltrate the classrooms with their branding messages.  Juvenile diabetes, obesity and many attention deficit and hyperactive disorders in children are rising at a staggering rate.  Life expectancy of today’s children will be lower than that of their parents, even though our medical technology is at its highest level ever.  Is there a correlation between corporate marketing and these problems?
  • Corporate marketing is strongly GENDER DISCRIMINATING.  If you watch commercials geared for young children, you will notice that boys are supposed to be strong, tough and ready to fight while girls are portrayed as pretty and sexy.  Years ago there were many measures taken in the schools to educate teachers so they would respond to boys and girls on a fair and equal basis, encouraging girls to sign up for math and science classes and requiring boys to take home economics.  Obviously, the companies that are looking to sell their products have other ideas in mind and they have reverted to the old ways.
  • Corporate marketing is attempting to turn our young children into life-long super-consumers who are shallow and are only concerned about themselves and getting the things they want.  Most parents don’t realize the effect that all this branding and marketing has on young children.

Do you agree that this is a problem?

Do you feel parents need to protect their children from corporate marketing?

And if you do, what can we do? 

  • Perhaps we can turn off the TV.  That would be a start, but not the entire answer because the messages are on the internet, in the schools, in magazines…everywhere.  If you are looking for ideas of what to do with your young children after the TV has been turned off, there are 100’s of fun-filled, educational, self-esteem building activities in Show Me How!  This award-winning resource is available as a print book with lots of lined spaces for recording your child’s highlights or on Amazon’s Kindle.
  • Perhaps we also need to say “no” when our children come to ask for a particular toy or food if we feel it is not good for them.
  • Perhaps we can be good role models when it comes to not buying excess stuff or things that are not healthy for us. 
  • Perhaps we can encourage our children to reach out, helping and giving to others.  If you are looking for ideas along those lines, you can check out www.kidsareheroes.org, an organization devoted to spotlighting and supporting children who help others.

Please share your thoughts.

Kids Are Heroes, Too! How Can We Help?

Kids Reach For Confetti

The catastrophic events in Japan occur…and we read about a young child who donates her allowance to help the victims.

A village in Africa is without clean drinking water…and we hear about a child who collects money so that a well can be dug to provide fresh water for children he has never seen.

Children often amaze us with their acts of selflessness.  Sometimes, they seem to see the bigger picture and are willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish what needs to be done.

I recently discovered a wonderful organization that focuses on recognizing these wonderful children and encouraging others to become involved in their communities and in causes that they believe in.

According to the Kids Are Heroes founder, Gabe O’Neill:

“Kids Are Heroes is a non-profit that empowers, encourages and inspires children to become leaders through volunteerism and community involvement.  We do this by showcasing and supporting children who are making a difference through their selfless acts of giving.

We teach children to follow their passions at an early age.  This will instinctively stay with them throughout their entire lives.

Kids are indeed heroes and each has the power to change the world.

To see how kids are making a huge impact and to see how YOU can become a hero, click on

Meet the Heroes

and then click on the Meet the Heroes tab.

Our kids are digging wells in Africa, helping orphans in India and building homes in Haiti.

They are recycling and cleaning up their neighborhoods, helping their local animal shelters and making life better for their neighbors.

And guess what?  They are ALL just like YOU!”

Kids Are Heroes is a grassroots effort…if you believe that it is important to encourage young children to contribute to the community and to the world while they reach out and help others, please visit the Kids Are Heroes website, find out more about this fantastic organization and help build the Kids Are Heroes Day Wall.  Show Me How’s brick is already there!  

I already donate a portion of Show Me How book sales to JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) and to www.Bessthebookbus.org, a family/children’s mobile literacy outreach program.  When I wrote the book, I intended to find three organizations that were child-centered in the areas of health, literacy and the environment.  I’ve been missing the third…and I believe I have found it in Kids Are Heroes!

As parents, we are responsible for helping our children become good citizens of the world.  Encouraging your child to take part in community service events, such as cleaning up a local park or play area, is one way.  Listening to your child’s ideas is another…children often have wonderful suggestions on how to make life better for others.  Kids Are Heroes was founded by Gabe O’Neill because his daughter, MaryMargaret wanted to help animals.

One of the cornerstones of Positive Parental Participation is listening to your children with respectful attention.  All too often when we are busy, we push young ones aside because we feel we have more important things to do.   After you read some of the stories of the child-heroes, you may change your mind.

Spend some quality time with your children today!  If you are looking for great activities to do with them, pick up a copy of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.  Click on this link to my website and you will be able to purchase a signed copy at 50% off the cover price.  For only $22.50, you will have a tremendous resource of 100’s of easy craft projects and simple recipes and picture book summaries and parenting tips.   And if you want to buy two copies, each is only $20.  This is a value-packed book and a great gift idea for a parent, preschool or kindergarten teacher, nanny, babysitter, grandparent, daycare provider or early childhood education student.

“I wish Show Me How had existed when my children were young.”

–        Suzanne Williams, author of Princess Power series and over 30 other books

“What a lovely book! Parents will find inspiration in this delightful guide to planning activities.”

–        Katharine Holabird, author of the Angelina Ballerina series

“A valuable, timely and timeless book…it’s sure to be a family favorite.”

–        Sheila Glazov, author of What Color Is Your Brain

“Show Me How offers us a great tool to help our children become people of kindness.”

–        Mary Newquist, Assistant Principal of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic School, Selma, TX

“This book is an incredible resource for families wishing to foster their children’s sense of self-worth.”

–        Dr. Jodi Harap, Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Chicago, IL

“SMH Is a well-planned learning tool full of engaging, educational and family-oriented activities.”

–        Peggy Hicks, MA, Special Education Teacher, Colorado Springs, CO

 

The summer has just begun…don’t let another day go by without this award-winning book by your side.

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