Sunday morning is a good chance to pass on all kinds of tips for parents. Perhaps it’s even just a line in the bulletin. Here’s a story that demonstrates the value of one safety trick parents may not have considered: giving your kids a code word so they know that the person picking them up from school or an activity has actually been sent by their parents.http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/10-year-old-ontario-girl-uses-code-word-to-thwart-attempted-abduction/article9989954/
Tag » well-being
This being Lent, what is meant as a time of focused contemplation, here’s a great article about what not to do if you want to be happy. In the end, it boils down to the central lesson of the gospel: love others as you want to be loved. But here are some specific tips to get there. http://lifehacker.com/5991218/want-to-be-happier-stop-doing-these-10-things-right-now
It’s hard to think of a time in which parents have been more focused on their children – providing them with the best opportunities, the best chance at a good education, the best extra-curricular activities. The term helicopter parent describes this new perspective: moms and dads flying around and over their kids making sure they are getting all the benefits. There are many factors behind this trend: Read more »
Happiness is a hug when you get home? We have a pretty clear rule in my family: when someone arrives home, it’s expected that the rest of us will stop what they are doing and greet them at the door, with a hug and at least a hello. Who wants to come home to a house where nobody acknowledges your arrival? Just last week, my eldest son interrupted a facetime with a friend to give his mom a hug when she got in from work – it turns out his friend has just done the same way with his mom. But this small consideration has fallen by the wayside is some busy households: an American study reports that in 40 per cent of arrivals by mom, and 50 per cent by dad, there was no greeting at all: just crickets. “Honey, I’m home,” certainly has an old-fashioned note to it , harkening back to the days when everyone was dutifully waiting for dad walk through the door. Now, in most families, everyone comes home at random times – and usually goes out again in rapid succession. Still, life is short, and a hug at the door takes, what, 30 seconds? That’s 30 seconds to make someone feel like they have come home to a family that values their presence over whatever activity is occupying them at the time. However tight time may be, that seems like a pretty good investment.
Today, children across the province of Ontario are wearing pink clothing to school. It is part of an anti-bullying campaign. The youth of our province and our country are committed to causes closely tied to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
This weekend 16 youth are gathering to spend 40 hours together in an Eastern Synod congregation. Their time will be spent developing a greater understanding of who they are and what they stand for. Bullying is on the rise while character education is on the decline. With increased demands on parents at work and financial realities facing our school systems, faith communities have an opportunity to feed a need in our society. tothisday
Have you thought recently about the lessons you’d like to leave with your kids, or the other young people in your life? Here’s an excellent sampling of some parental wisdom, that even adults could stand to remember. This letter from a mom turning 40 has gone viral online. (And by the way, if some of the lessons sound familiar – tomorrow is a new day, help someone else, set priorities – it could be because we’ve all read them somewhere else already. The best advice is still about 2,000 years old.)
Everybody’s feeling more stress these days. Our lives are busy, and demanding, the expectation we place on ourselves and others growing. What’s the impact of all that adult anxiety in our youth? In fact, all the stats suggest they are also more anxious and stressed than previous cohorts of teenagers. That’s something we need to keep in mind – both in how we might be transferring stress down the line, and in ways in which we might use the time we spend with our own kids and other youth to help reduce the anxious messaging that they get from society. Here’s an article on anxiety by a certain writer I know at the Globe and Mail: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health/conditions/why-are-todays-teenagers-feeling-so-anxious/article7604612/
If you are looking for a discussion to have with your older youth, this might be a good one: why would someone as powerful as Beyonce, or as A-list as Emma Stone still feel they should pose half-naked on the cover a magazine? A good column debating this question came out in the Guardian this week: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/15/beyonce-photographed-underwear-feminism . It raises a lot of pertinent questions for young men and women who are inundated with this kind of advertising. What does it say about the lingering roles of women in society? Do they recognize that the pictures are heavily airbrushed? Does it alter their opinion of these actresses and singers? A lot of what our kids absorb online goes unchallenged these days, so it’s a good idea to take regular opportunities to discuss these ethical issues with them. You may not agree with all their answers, but at least you are helping them to consider the questions.
Here’s an interesting use for twitter: Take your most regrettable mistakes and share them with the world (or at least the world as it exists on twitter.) As Jews gathered last week for the beginning of Yom Kippur, a group at Harvard Hillel was urging its members to confess their sins on twitter, as a more public atonement. According to a story reported by Atlantic magazine, last year the group came up with another unique approach to confession by asking everyone to write their wrongdoings in a hat so they could be incorporated during service. This year they proposed an even more public approach.
Atlantic reports that there hasn’t been a flood of tweeted sins, so to speak. A few people questioned whether the idea was even valid. But a couple serious tweets did appear. One said, “I have judged people before getting to know them.” Another spoke of not using “my power as a citizen to influence our government for good.”
It’s a provocative idea – since the internet is a place that so often gets used to boast about our achievements. But hearing about the mistakes of others can also help us identify the practice in ourselves. If we don’t jump to judgement, it brings us into community, and makes our mistakes feel not so insurmountable.
Perhaps it’s something we need to try more often: writing down our errors in judgment, omission, or intent as a better way to force us to confront them. It may even work as a youth group or children’s sermon discussion – especially if the adults also join in with their own “confessions.” That could all be done anonymously: often finger-pointing gets in the way of discussing proactive approaches to change. And I am not sure we all need to tweet them, but the potential influence of doing so is certainly a good discussion to have with our youth, who see the internet as a much deeper source of conversation than the rest of us.
If you want to check out the Atlantic article click here: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/09/to-prepare-for-yom-kippur-confess-your-sins-on-twitter/262839/
It’s been hot, and so everything seems to be moving at a slower space. But experts say the best time to get outside these days is at night – just when your kids are coming home from camp. A new study, this week, found that kids who watch more TV than average also have larger waist size, so that’s another reason to turn off the tube and play some games or go for a swim with them. (Or perhaps encourage the kids to organize a game after church among themselves.) Many of our youth are enjoying the gift of summer week-long camp at our Eastern Synod Camps: Edgewood, Lutherlyn, and Mush. Recently, I spent some time with staff from Edgewood and Mush and learned about some of the exciting and meaningful activities our youth are experiencing this year. There is not much lying around happening at our Eastern Synod camps. In the end, those are the summer memories our youth will remember. To say nothing of the positive mental benefits of exercise. Here’s the research if you would like to check it out.