Sunday Post: Silence…Should Children Be Seen and Not Heard?

Jake at Time after Time has a Sunday Post Challenge and every week he provides a theme…this week’s theme is SILENCE.

 

I’ve only “heard” true silence twice in my life…twenty-five years ago while parasailing and last year while skydiving.  Silence…the absence of sound or communication…is sometimes helpful when one needs to collect one’s thoughts or ponder an important decision.

But should we apply this to our parenting approach…following the old proverb that says…children should be seen and not heard?

I don’t recommend it.

Why not?

 

Children need opportunities to tell us what they think and feel.

 

Children need time to interact with their peers.

 

Children need to form strong friendships in those early years in order to develop healthy relationships later in life.

These activities don’t call for silence…they call for open and honest communication.

What activities do you have planned for your kids this summer?  Summer is a perfect time to read picture books to young children!  Children who are read to at an early age are more successful in school.  I’ll be posting an A-Z list of some of the best in my next post.

For great story suggestions and quick and easy activities for kids, you might want a copy of Show Me How!

 

Are you wondering if the book really works?  Check out these recent reviews: http://nrhatch.wordpress.com/2012/05/31/show-me-how/

http://creatingcuriouskids.wordpress.com/2012/06/14/summer-fun-shortcut-show-me-how/

 

Want more information about Jake’s Sunday Post?

 http://jakesprinters.wordpress.com/ 

And here are some other bloggers who are doing Jake’s Sunday Post:

http://p0nky.wordpress.com/2012/07/08/sunday-post-silence/

http://piecesofstarlight.wordpress.com/2012/07/07/what-does-a-mixed-garden-of-prompts-grow/

http://northernnarratives.wordpress.com/2012/07/07/sunday-post-silence-2/

http://jullianeford.wordpress.com/2012/07/08/sunday-post-silence/

http://francineinretirement.wordpress.com/2012/07/08/sunday-post-silence/

http://tostir.wordpress.com/2012/07/07/sunday-post-silence/

http://jmeyersforeman.wordpress.com/2012/06/30/3307/

Sunday Post: Landscapes and a February Poetry Contest

Jake at Time after Time has a Sunday Post Challenge and every week he provides a theme…this week’s theme is LANDSCAPES. 

In addition, Marylin Warner over at Things I Want to Tell My Mother is having a February Poetry Contest 

The Rules:

“Be a rebel with a writing cause; break away from the expected February verses and write a poem about a date or an activity or adventure that WASN’T what you (or your mother) wanted to do…and how it ended.

You choose: rhymed, free verse, a sonnet or a series of Haikus or even non-bawdy limericks, etc.   Just keep your poem to a maximum of 50 words (not counting the words of the title–and please have a title).  JOIN THE FUN!”

I began to wonder how I could combine these two seemingly unrelated ideas into one post.

And then I had an idea!

According to the dictionary, a landscape is a picture representing a view or expanse of scenery that can be seen in a single view.

My poem, Fears of the Inner Child, is really a landscape of my life.  I hope you enjoy reading it.

FEARS OF THE INNER CHILD

Childhood often invades adult life.

Fears laid down early create later strife.

Afraid of adventure and trying new things,

Mom constantly cautioned: Be careful! Life stings!

To conquer that panic is my fervent wish.

I’ve parasailed, skydived and swum with the fish.

 

If you have the time and want to see the sky-dive I did with my son in the summer of 2010, you can go here.

It was an amazing adventure…and a wonderful bonding experience to have with an adult son.   With my book, Show Me How! and my school programs and workshops, I encourage parents to spend time with their young children…reading, crafting and cooking or doing anything positive.   “Raising the Next Steve Jobs”, the cover story in the February issue of Parenting Magazine, offered parents some simple advice: read with your children, talk with your children, participate with your children.  I was quoted in that article…and my book was mentioned.   You know that if want to be in your children’s memories tomorrow, you need to be in their lives today.  The fantastic skydive I did with my son only strengthened the connection we forged over thirty years ago when he was a little boy…believe me, those early years are so very important!

If you’d like more information about Jake’s Sunday Post:

 http://jakesprinters.wordpress.com/ 

And here are a few of the posts from other participants in Jake’s Sunday Post:

http://imagesoftheheart.wordpress.com/2012/02/25/sunday-post-landscape/

http://reflectionsinapuddle.wordpress.com/2012/02/25/sunday-post-landscape/

http://truthaboveallreligions.wordpress.com/2012/02/25/sunday-post-landscape/

http://orples.wordpress.com/2012/02/26/sunday-photo-challenge-landscapes/

http://thismansjourney.net/2012/03/04/sunday-post-landscape/#comments

 

Your preschooler needs a bucket list

Several years ago, Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson starred in a movie called “The Bucket List” which told the tale of two older gentlemen who decided that before they died, there were a number of things they wanted to do.   Many people, as they get older, begin to think about the things they never got around to doing, but wish they had.  In fact, that’s one of the reasons I was thrilled when I visited my son in Chicago and he told me he had arranged for us to go skydiving.  I had an awesome experience and I was able to cross one more item off my bucket list. http://bit.ly/b8By2X If you click on this link, you’ll be able to share that exciting ride with me!

There are many things that young children need to experience as well.  I think there are some basic things that every preschooler should have the opportunity to do, although your family may want to add to the list or subtract from it, based on your individual situation.

So, here is my bucket list for a preschooler:

  • Hear the words, I LOVE YOU, every day!
  • Be shown by parents and other adults that he/she is loved and valued!
  • Be encouraged to master tasks and skills.
  • Be allowed to express his/her feelings, whether positive or negative.
  • Go to a zoo.
  • Jump in puddles after a rainstorm.
  • Play in the mud and get dirty.
  • Use art supplies (paints, crayons, clay, etc.) to express creativity.
  • Get a library card (as soon as your local library allows…go to the library on a regular basis.
  • Feel safe at home and in school, daycare or anywhere.
  • Be read a story (or two or more) on a daily basis.

As Alecia Devantier says in 101 THINGS EVERY KID SHOULD DO GROWING UP, “Childhood is a magical time of newfound joys and enriching experience.  The gifts our children are given today will last a lifetime.”

What’s on your child’s bucket list?

Skydiving at 63

Yesterday I posted a blog about the connection between skydiving and parenting, but I didn’t really talk about why I decided to jump out of a plane at age 63 and how it felt.

Life constantly offers us opportunities to grow.  But I think most of the time we ignore them.  I know that as a child, I was extremely timid (and intimidated) and I rarely wanted to do anything new or go anywhere different.  Perhaps that’s why I am so passionate about helping children build a self-esteem and why I try to encourage parents to help their children develop confidence and a sense of competence. I guess there is at least one great advantage to getting older…at least for me.  I tend to be willing to try new things and travel to new places.  In fact, I look forward to these new experiences.  So when my son told me that he had a surprise for me during my visit to him in Chicago, I was excited.  And, when he informed me that the surprise was a skydiving adventure, I was thrilled.  Maybe it sounds odd, but I wasn’t anxious or nervous about it.   I guess by the time you reach my age, you realize that any one of a number of things can happen to end your life in the blink of an eye…crazy driver on the road, freak slip in the shower or an angry disenchanted person who decides to shot a bunch of people at the mall where you are shopping.

The atmosphere at the Chicagoland Skydiving Center seemed quite festive…families sitting at picnic tables waiting for someone who was already up in the air; children running to and fro, heads craned way back to watch the planes taking off and the people parachuting down; upbeat music from a loudspeaker blending with the cacophony of children playing; a line of people waiting to order corn dogs and ice-cold soda at the vendor’s trailer.

So now I’ll tell you about my skydiving experience.  After registering in the main building, we waited until our names were called to attend the brief training session where they explained what would take place and what we should do while in the plane and out of it.  The instructor described the position we should assume while jumping out and while in free-fall.  As this was going to be a tandem jump for both myself and my son, it was important to know that we needed to keep our hands crossed on our chests, so as not to impede our “pro” to whom we would be harnessed.  And to keep our head to the side in the crook of his neck, so as not to head-butt him and knock him out, rendering him unable to control the fall.  There was a large group in the training session, so we were pleasantly surprised when we heard our names being called soon after the session was ended.  We quickly made our way to the main building and were met by our “pros” who introduced themselves and proceeded to put us in the harness and explain how to crouch at the hatch (like a baseball catcher).  The plane was just about ready to take off with our group of about 7 jumpers and their instructors and a couple of photographers, so we made our way over to the airfield, boarded the plane and arranged ourselves on the benches that lined the inside  of the plane.  For me, the smell of the engine fumes was the worst part of the experience.  When they opened the hatch, the smell disappeared and the view of the countryside was beautiful, but we soon became too busy with preparations for the jump to notice anything.  My son and his instructor were the first ones out.  As soon as he had jumped, my instructor and I duck-walked (I had been sitting on his lap during the flight to 9000 ft so that he could attach my harness to him and his to me) to the open hatchway.  We rocked back and forth two times and on the third…out we went.   Running through my mind were the instructions we had received during the training session: head to the side in the crook of the instructor’s neck, back arched, legs between the legs of the instructor, feet tipped up toward his butt, hands crossed on my chest.  The power of the wind and air pressure as we plummeted down was awesome.  In a few seconds, I realized the photographer was falling in front of us, motioning to me to wave, give a thumbs up and smile!  Which I did…you can see it all if you check out the video they made:  lifepursuitvideo.com/asppublic/Vide… via @AddThis

After about 30 seconds of free-fall, the instructor put his arm out and his wrist in front of my face to show me that it was time to pull the ripcord…I, however, was too busy interacting with the photographer, so the instructor had to do it.  WHOOSH!!! Up we went as the parachute opened and pulled us about 1000 feet back up…at least it felt like that.  From then on, the experience consisted of a gentle descent, pleasant conversation and lovely views of the countryside which grew slowly closer with every minute.  When we neared the ground, my instructor told me to bend my knees and stick my feet out as far and as high as I could.  Our landing was unbelievably gentle…he touched down on his feet and told me to put my feet down…which I did, and, to my surprise, I was standing and walking.  He unharnessed me and said, “Go see your son, he’s over there.”  Looking around him, I saw Peter several yards away, with the biggest smile, giving me the thumbs up!   Perhaps the best part of the experience was that I shared it with one of my grown children…continuing and strengthening the bond we’ve developed over the years.   It was definitely a great day…one I will remember for the rest of my life!

A Leap of Faith: Skydiving vs. Parenting

I just got back from a wonderful visit to Chicago to see my son and daughter-in-law.  Everything was perfect: the flights were all on-time and smooth; the weather in Chicago was sunny and not too windy; their new home is beautiful and they treated me like a treasured guest; the time spent with family was satisfying and enjoyable.  I spent an entire day with my sister, reminiscing about our childhood.  We had breakfast at Stella’s on Broadway.  I walked to the lake and shared many meals with family members I had not seen in several years. 

Two things stand out that I will remember for the rest of my life – and both are connected because they both require a leap of faith.  On Sunday, my son took me to the Chicagoland Skydiving Center, where we registered, took a short prep course on skydiving, met our instructors, got harnessed up, boarded a little plane with no seats – just benches, and went for the ride of our lives.  The best part for me was not the 30 second free-fall, but the 7 minute gentle glide down after the parachute/canopy opened.   It was a thrilling experience and one I will never forget.  On the way back from skydiving, we stopped at my nephew’s home to visit with him, his wife and his two children.  As I watched the interplay between my nephew, his wife and his young children,  I observed what wonderful parents he and his wife have become.  It occurred to me that parenting, like skydiving,  is definitely a leap of faith.  Whether you are a novice parent with a newborn or an experienced parent with several children, there are no guarantees that what you do will turn out right.  You can read books written by the “pros” or consult with “experts”…but in the end, all you can do is your best.

Sometimes, though, it helps to have a little guidance.  Just like the short prep course at the skydiving center and the last-minute instructions and “nudging” from Dave, my skydiving professional, we can gain useful parenting advice from books, workshops, and other sources.  My new book, SHOW ME HOW!  BUILD YOUR CHILD’S SELF-ESTEEM THROUGH READING, CRAFTING AND COOKING, which will be available by the end of the month,  provides tips, tactics and tools to give parents a sense of competence and confidence in their own abilities.  It pinpoints 100 picture books every young child should hear and develops pre-literacy skills while providing an eco-friendly craft project and a child-friendly healthful recipe for each recommended title.  I’m hoping it will be a parachute for the leap of faith that today’s parents take.

If you’d like to see the skydive I took and share in the excitement, go to: lifepursuitvideo.com/asppublic/Vide… via @AddThis

If you’d like more info about the new book, go to: www.positiveparentalparticipation.com