Friday, June 25, 2010

What Should They Learn?

I read a blog about "What should children learn?" They were trying to think outside the box. They wondered if the focus on traditional subjects is really all that important. Seeing the responses was interesting. I had an inkling that my list would not resemble too many others, but with 3 teenagers, and 2 grown step-kids with children of their own, here's what I think are the most important things children should learn:
  • Kindness and compassion. Learn how to put yourself into other people's shoes.  When everyone else jumps on a bandwagon against something someone did, hold back a little bit.
  • Live in the moment. Realize that there are about 16 waking hours in a day. And when they're gone, they're gone. There's nothing wrong with having a little "down time" but make sure you have some "up time too."
  • Listen to people when they talk to you.  Give them your full attention.  Think about what they're saying but also why they might be saying it to you.
  • Learn healthy eating choices and find exercise that you like and can do nearly every day. You're going to be in this body for a while - longer if you take care of it
  • Learn your strengths and your weaknesses. Do something about or with both. Take time to get to know yourself.
  • Learn about the nature of advertising and marketing. 
  • Learn how to pursue your interests. Learn how to find information on the internet.
  • Be brave. Try new things. You never know what you might actually like.
These are what come to mind when I think about what children should be taught.  In school curriculum, I think they call these "threads." They are supposed to permeate different subjects year after year. I like the idea of these topics being the important threads.  I believe the reading, writing, and math will present itself.  And if you need these more traditional "subjects" for a job you'd like to pursue, that's why we have community college.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Gratitude Journals

Let’s face it. Teenagers are on a roller coaster when it comes to their emotions.  It’s so easy for them to get swept up in the drama of day to day living.  This easy tip will help raise their spirits if it’s a particularly low day, and help reinforce the good if all is going pretty well. Not to mention, it's a good life skill to carry you forward into adulthood. It's not like rocky roads happen only in adolescence!  Parents just need to give teens tools to help them cope.

Start a  gratitude journal. Maybe something nice from the local bookstore. Or maybe just a spiral they can keep near their bed. But the ONLY thing that should be recorded in this particular journal is gratitude.  

The whole process should only take a few minutes before bed. Sit still and think about how the day went.  From start to finish.   If you begin to think of something that went wrong, for this little span of time, put that aside for now and keep the focus on what went right. After walking through the entire day, list at least three things to be grateful for.

Here are a few questions to maybe think about.

Who did you see?
Who did you talk to?
Did you read anything that made you feel good?
How was the weather?
How were your pets when they saw you?
Did you exercise? How did it feel afterward?
Did you watch anything funny happen?
Did you see anything beautiful?
What made you feel happy?
Our entire attitude is affected by what and where we choose to focus.  Hasn’t everyone had the experience where all was well until ONE person did or said ONE negative thing? And then all the good was tossed out the window and replaced with an overwhelming feeling of discontent?  So, instead of being swept away by the squeaky wheels in our lives, let’s get back in the driver’s seat. Let’s deliberately pull the positives to the front of our minds. 

Try this for a month. See if it helps.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010



So today didn't start out great. Actually, it's been several days of not-good. But sometimes, when you get to the end of your rope, and you're just hanging there, you can look around. And if you CAN, you can see. Or you can hear. Or something you already knew can come back to the surface...

My friend Teresa just called to tell me about this great Improv Class that her kids are taking downtown. She said the teacher just had so much great positive energy she wanted to tell me some of the stuff she heard. Teresa said, "She's talking about IMPROV, but I think it's way more than that."

 Look what the Improv Teacher says...

....Say Yes to everything and then just add on to it.

... REALLY Listen to each other!

.... It's all about failure. It's gonna happen. It's what you do with it that makes it good. So laugh it off and turn it into something good.

... Keep moving. Keep moving. Keep moving forward.

... Stay flexible. Changes can come at you quickly, so staying stiff won't fly.

... No stopping and dwelling.  You throw stuff out and keep moving on.

....There are no Buts in Improv

Indeed. Life really is made up of Improv. One Improv act after another. The audience always thinks there are no rules. But there are. Because GOOD Improv follows a few basic steps. Just a few. I can handle a FEW rules.

I think I'm about to improve my Improv act. ;)