Archive for August, 2007

Who is right?

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A NY Times article, In 2008 Race, Little Ones Go on the Trail with Daddy presents a very different picture of what the candidates might be dealing with.

No fewer than five presidential contenders have children under the age of 10; a circumstance historians say has no recent precedent.

What’s interesting is the candidates differing philosophies on the amount of family disruption they will allow, and the reasons why.

John Edwards, the former North Carolina Senator, brings along Emma Claire and Jack, 9 and 7. Like most children that age, they are often fidgety and bored with campaign life. So why invite the disruption – quite possibly because the Edwards’ lost their oldest son to a car accident 11 years ago. He doesn’t want miss a thing; even the challenges of negotiating sitting quiet and still with children that have heard his speech dozens of times before.

Barack Obama on the other hand, is determined to keep his girls, ages 9 and 6 with their scheduled intact. Michelle Obama believes that birthday parties and day camp field trips come first, and children thrive on stability and routines.

Mr. Thompson, a former Republican senator from Tennessee has a 9-month old son and a 3 year-old daughter which are featured on his website. Missing are his older sons from a previous marriage. There are also logistics issues regarding car seats, sudden illnesses, and the unexpected diaper removal on camera while giving a speech.

This is exactly why I started Parental Wisdom, the patented parenting website that recognizes parents as the real experts in knowing their own children best.

There are usually several versions of right – but, much like the presidential candidates, the parents know which applies to them.

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Humor Me

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‘Humor Me’ is a phrase that has gotten me past many parenting arguments. As both my college age children prepare to leave the nest, I wanted one more picture in front of the tree; the same tree that they stood in front of for each first day of school picture for years. That is until they rebelled and insisted the living room was a better photo op so they couldn’t be seen by any friends passing by. Eventually they got over it and humored me; their old mom, and once again stood in front of the tree.

As families shop for back to school supplies, clothes, backpacks, sneakers and such, the first day of school is upon us. Parents break out the cameras and camcorders ready for those precious first day of school pictures. Don’t focus so much on the photo that you miss the mental picture of the moment. It is priceless.

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How you face adversity

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A young woman was complaining to her father about how difficult her life had become. He said nothing, but took her to the kitchen and set three pans of water to boiling. To the first pan he added carrots, to the second, eggs; and to the third, ground coffee. After all three had cooked he put their contents into separate bowls and asked his daughter to cut the eggs and carrots and smell the coffee. “What does all this mean?” she asked impatiently.

“Each food,” he said, “teaches us something about facing adversity, as represented by the boiling water. The carrot went in hard but came out soft and weak. The eggs went in fragile, but came out hardened. The coffee, however, changed the water to something better.

“Which will you be like as you face life?” he asked. Will you give up, become hard, or transform adversity into trimumph? As the ‘chef’ of your own life, what will you bring to the table?

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Seeing the good news out of the bad news on toy recalls

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Bob Eckert, Chairman & CEO of Mattel, Inc. presents a video explanation on the product recall that has many parents concerned. I am happy that Mattel is proactive in this approach but there is something good that can come from this bad news; less toys.

Too many toys

Take a moment to look around your child’s playroom. How many toys does your child have? Too many? Cleaning out toys has a similar effect to a power outage. We gain a new perspective on communicating and connecting with the people we love. For our children, they get to see old toys in a new light.

Licensing

The toys that were part of the recall were licensed products; Barbie, Elmo, Big Bird, Batman, Doggie Day Care, Cars. Licensed products give our children the whole story rather than allowing them to create original stories themselves. If a child shows the slightest interest in a character, parents plan theme birthday parties, furnish bedrooms and buy school supplies around the licensed character. The child quickly looses interest, but the parent is too far invested.

Made in America

Made in America will mean something again in the world of toys although there aren’t many that fit into this category. Little Tykes is a brand that is made in the USA, but they could do better in promoting that. You can also review a made in USA link.

Children will get outside and play
. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing?

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Everything in moderation

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Moderation in all things.
Terence, Andria – Roman comic dramatist (185 BC – 159 BC)

Is it really that simple?

The current debate over Baby Einstein potentially being more harmful than helpful puts yet another nail in the guilty parents’ coffin.

For the record, I am not a fan of Baby Einstein. I think parents know their colors, letters and numbers so the educational DVDs are not necessary, and parents will always be their child’s first and most important teacher.

I agree with the American Academy of Pediatrics who is on record saying that children shouldn’t watch any TV until they’re two years old.

I agree that parents’ use of educational programming as babysitters is not a good idea since the message to our children is that this device [TV, DVD, Video, etc.] is where you will get your information from. In years to come, when the messenger is Brittney Spears, it’s obviously problematic.

Parents don’t need yet another guilt trip. Those that accuse parents of micro-managing their kids need to recognize the fact that they are scrutinizing every move parents make.

Nothing (legal) is either good or bad. Moderation is the key to everything.

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Not lovin’ it

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A recent Stanford University study finds that a preschooler’s perception of what tastes better can be heavily influenced by packaging.

The study had 3-5-year-olds from low-income families sample foods in taste tests of food wrapped in McDonalds and in umarked wrappers. Study author Dr. Tom Robinson is quoted as saying kids’ perception of taste was “physically altered by the branding.” Even carrots, milk and apple juice tasted better to the kids if they thought the food was from McDonald’s.

We already know that very young children who are not yet able to read can easily distinguish between the Burger King and McDonalds logos.

Well, we’re closer to our answer on healthy eating – – just package up the healthy foods in those familiar wrappers. Or, perhaps we could stop marketing to young children as if they hold the household pursestrings.

Little kids can’t yet drive, yet fast food places are a favorite dinner destination spot. Parents instead might consider a well thought out trip to the supermarket and making your child part of the planning and preparation.

You’ll be a lot more fun than Ronald.

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The Color of Friendship

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Once upon a time the colors of the world started to quarrel. All claimed that they were the best. The most important. The most useful. The favorite.

Green said:
“Clearly I am the most important. I am the sign of life and of hope. I was chosen for grass, trees and leaves. Without me, all animals would die. Look over the countryside and you will see that I am in the majority.”

Blue interrupted:
“You only think about the earth, but consider the sky and the sea. It is the water that is the basis of life and drawn up by the clouds from the deep sea. The sky gives space and peace and serenity. Without my peace, you would all be nothing.”

Yellow chuckled:
“You are all so serious. I bring laughter, gaiety, and warmth into the world. The sun is yellow, the moon is yellow, the stars are yellow. Every time you look at a sunflower, the whole world starts to smile. Without me there would be no fun.”

Orange started next to blow her trumpet:
“I am the color of health and strength. I may be scarce, but I am precious for I serve the needs of human life. I carry the most important vitamins. Think of carrots, pumpkins, oranges, mangoes, and papayas. I don’t hang around all the time, but when I fill the sky at sunrise or sunset, my beauty is so striking that no one gives another thought to any of you.”

Red could stand it no longer he shouted out:
“I am the ruler of all of you. I am blood – life’s blood! I am the color of danger and of bravery. I am willing to fight for a cause. I bring fire into the blood. Without me, the earth would be as empty as the moon. I am the color of passion and of love, the red rose, the poinsettia and the poppy.”

Purple rose up to his full height:
He was very tall and spoke with great pomp: “I am the color of royalty and power. Kings, chiefs, and bishops have always chosen me for I am the sign of authority and wisdom. People do not question me! They listen and obey.”

Finally Indigo spoke, much more quietly than all the others, but with just as much determination:
“Think of me. I am the color of silence. You hardly notice me, but without me you all become superficial. I represent thought and reflection, twilight and deep water. You need me for balance and contrast, for prayer and inner peace.”

And so the colors went on boasting, each convinced of his or her own superiority. Their quarreling became louder and louder. Suddenly there was a startling flash of bright lightening thunder rolled and boomed. Rain started to pour down relentlessly. The colors crouched down in fear, drawing close to one another for comfort.

In the midst of the clamor, rain began to speak:
“You foolish colors, fighting amongst yourselves, each trying to dominate the rest. Don’t you know that you were each made for a special purpose, unique and different? Join hands with one another and come to me.”

Doing as they were told, the colors united and joined hands.

The rain continued:
“From now on, when it rains, each of you will stretch across the sky in a great bow of color as a reminder that you can all live in peace. The Rainbow is a sign of hope for tomorrow.”

And so, whenever a good rain washes the world, and a Rainbow appears in the sky, let us remember to appreciate one another.

— Author Unknown

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