Sometimes you and your kids just gotta eat, and it takes time away from the big game, March Madness, or any of the #Dadventures you are getting into. Fear not March is FROZEN FOOD Month – and with 15 other brand ambassadors from Life of Dad I’m going to share some Easy Home Meals that can cut down your prep time in the kitchen and get you back to game time with your kids, all part of #FrozenChefMadness,.
And… if we inspire you, you can jump in on the action and earn yourself a chance to win an $800 Visa Gift Card or other great prizes! Check it all out here: easyhomemeals.lifeofdad.com
The other night while driving home with my boys we got into a great discussion on what it takes to be a leader. As a parent you want to constantly tell your kids that anything is possible as long as you work hard for it and believe in yourself. Unfortunately that just isn’t the truth. I found myself reigning in the cheerleader side of me in as we discussed what it means to become a leader. Don’t misunderstand me I am not implying that our kids can’t be leaders… I think all kids should have the opportunities for leadership. They just may not get the opportunities they want. That’s just life.
The conversation started when my youngest, who is fascinated by all things army, bemoaned the fact that he doesn’t get picked to be “The General” when he and his friends get together and play army. He felt that it was unfair that the group always picks one of the older kids to be their leader. I let him know that his frustration was completely valid and that it does seem to be a bit unfair. Then I asked him what their process for picking the general is. Which apparently is akin to a spur of the moment show of hands vote. So we talked about how, if people are going to vote, he needs to find ways to convince the group to vote for him. That just wanting to be the leader won’t get more votes. So he suggested that he could make others in charge of things if they voted for him. We agreed that it was a good strategy but he couldn’t give everyone a leadership job otherwise their would be no one to lead.
He shrugged and asked: “So how do I do it Dad?”
I told him that there wasn’t an exact blueprint. That ultimately it would take time and effort on his part. He would have to pay attention to what the kids wanted to do as they played army. He’d have to pay attention to what made it more fun and what made it less fun. He’d have to think about how he could influence their play to cause it to be more fun so that the kids would notice that it was more fun to have him around. We talked about how he had to take the time to build relationships with the kids so that they trusted him and valued him as a friend. Finally I told him that he needed to keep throwing his hat in the ring when they did vote for “The General”.
“That doesn’t mean I’ll get picked”
…And there was the truth. Democracy doesn’t mean you’ll get picked, even if you do all the other steps right. People still get to choose and they may not choose what you want them to. I asked him what he thought the other kids would think about him if he was doing all those things. He thought about it and said that they probably would think that he knew a lot about how to play army. I asked him if he thought they might want him to make suggestions on how they should play, and he figured that they would (then he quickly pointed out that they do that already). So I asked if he thought he was kind of a leader already even if he wasn’t “The General” he shrugged his shoulders again and said that he guessed so. Then after a moment of looking out the window said “I think I am still going to try and get people to choose me as the general.” I told him that he should definitely keep trying!
9 yo: I know one good reason for having a birth certificate to prove you were born. Continue reading
With the new year I have decided to launch a new feature called Dadventure2G0. These are posts with a downloadable pdf to serve as a guide/aide to the adventure. If you use them I’d love both feedback and examples of how you used them. So with no further ado I present the first Dadventure2Go.
A few months ago I took my boys to Art Institute of Chicago armed with some pencils and sketchbooks. I received a lot of positive feedback on that Dadventure and figured this would be a great place to start. In preparation for this post we went back to the Art Institute this time we printed out a few copies of the Dadventure2Go: The Art Museum worksheet and a bag full of art supplies.
We have been studying polygons for math. So we headed to the modern wing of the museum to look at some abstract and cubist works. We spent a while looking at shapes and how the artists found shapes in their subjects and incorporated those shapes into their art. The best part of this exercise was when my wife and I stopped talking and just listened to the boys talk about the art in their own words. When kids are free to discover they come up with wonderful observations. You even begin to notice things about art that you have never seen before.
After we looked for a bit it was time to make some art. We gave the boys their worksheet, their clipboards, and various art utensils and let them go. It was fun to watch their creative process. It was interesting to note which parts of the works of art influenced them as they made some art of their own. As they began they started out with a lot of questions. We reminded them that art is expressive and that as you learn there is no right and wrong it is all creative expression. Everything became an experiment for them, right down to their signature as they completed their art. Here’s what they came up with:
If you want to try this Dadventure out at your local art museum feel free to download and use this worksheet:
Dadventure2Go: The Art Museum
I’d love to see what you and your kids come up with.
This week I read a blog post written by a mom who is frustrated because she can’t bring home-made baked goods into the classroom for her child’s birthday. She can’t do that because of the school’s policy that all party treats of this nature need to be commercially packaged and in some cases free of specific allergens. It is frustrating. As a parent of a child that has dietary restrictions because of a disease I understand finding ways to work around those restrictions can be maddening. However that is just not an issue that needs to exist in the classroom! Now I am aware that I have a bias. I have a child with celiac disease so reading that post instantly gets under my skin. So I have to step back and remind myself that she isn’t targeting my kid or me. She is dealing with a valid frustration to her. There is a point that I absolutely agree with her on:
“Let me get this straight: I’m supposed to feed my kids processed, preservative-laden food… How could that possibly be better? Not to mention that commercially prepared items are expensive.”
I absolutely don’t think that she should have to feed her kid anything that she doesn’t want to. I don’t think she should have to buy commercially prepared items for a classroom birthday party… but I really don’t think there should be a classroom birthday party in the first place. I know we are all nostalgic for those good old days in our youth when classroom birthday parties were all the rage. I remember back in my school days the grand ritual of the in-class birthday party. 30 minutes that were all about me, my mom made some delicious treat that I got to pass out to all my friends. We sang “Happy Birthday” to me and every thing was great. I also remember a friend of mine who was living in a single parent home. His mom worked early and came home late and we never got a treat on his birthday… we still had to sing to him on his birthday but it was less exciting for him and us because well no treat at the end. I also remember a handful of friends who had the misfortune of being born in the summer and they never got to bring in a treat to class or have the whole class sing happy birthday.
The purpose of the classroom is not to celebrate each student for things outside its purview. Teaching kids is the purpose of the classroom. A birthday celebration does nothing to advance that mission. It subtracts 10-30 mins from a the collected children’s education. Making parents pay more for treats, running the risk of a disease/allergy reaction, and/or making kids who can’t or don’t have school birthdays are just not complications we need to saddle our teachers with.
Rather than bemoan the difficulties in trying to have a classroom birthday party why don’t we focus on finding ways to improve the classrooms our children are in. We can donate supplies for classroom activities. We can donate our time to the teacher so that he/she can improve the learning environment. We can look for opportunities to help our schools keep their facilities state of the art. These are the battles in the classroom we should be fighting.
If you still want to have a classroom birthday party let me suggest the following alternatives. Donate a book to the classroom library, you can offer to come read it to the kids as part of the celebration. Donate classroom supplies a pencil, eraser, etc.. for each kid. Offer to volunteer to lead a craft, game, or activity based on a subject your child loves. Celebrations don’t need to be about the food. You might just make a memory rather than birthday cake.