Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Lesson 23: Warning! Social Media is Not For Children


7 Reasons Why That Might Surprise You

We all have our reasons for restricting our children from the internet. We take our responsibility seriously because we know or imagine the dangers. I learned some new ones this week that I thought I should share.

Yesterday my granddaughter (whom I once called Smarty Pants and she thought it was a compliment) spent the day with me. I was in my office, checking Facebook messages, when Smarty Pants stood behind me and started reading, too.

At the most inappropriate time, there was a message from a friend with an attached recipe for a "Fun Project for Kids". Smarty Pants saw it:
Squirmy Jelly Worms

To prevent a similar tragedy from happening to you, I share what I learned. (If you decide to try the project anyway, I have included my  NOTES.)


7 New Reasons Children Should be Kept from Social Media:

#1- There will immediately be money involved

Impulse shopping is very effective on children. The time between suggestion and action is zero. And because you already know that, here’s what can make it shorter--grandparents.  Within minutes, Smarty Pants and I were at the grocery store with a cart full of project supplies and more snacks than we could eat all summer.

(NOTE:  Adult supervision WAS necessary for this Fun Project. If you still want to continue, read my NOTES.)

(NOTE TO ADULTS: You MUST read this recipe at least once before you begin. Regardless of how many capital letters I use, I am not overstating this. Having a second adult read the recipe was also helpful. Having a movie handy was even more helpful. Waiting for water to boil and cool are things that evidently take forever. You’ll not want the drama of displeasing the child so early in the Fun Project.)


#2- Once ingredients for a project are placed in view of a child, there is no time to read the recipe

At once Smarty Pants began mixing, pouring and touching everything she could find. Then, she told me the outfit she was wearing was brand new. Simultaneously, I remembered why it had been so long since I bought food coloring.

(NOTE: You will want to wear gloves.)


#3- Only items in your kitchen that are clean (or irreplaceable) will work for Fun Projects

Seriously, this is a beautiful picture. But that is not the reason we used this container. The container is 80 years old. That is not the reason, either. After we dirtied everything else in the kitchen, this was the container that perfectly held our bubble tea-sized straws. (Any cocktail shaker or straw holder would probably work.)
(NOTE:  The secret to bigger and better worms is crowding the straws and making certain they fit flush against the bottom (and top) of your container. You want to minimize how much gelatin leaks outside of the straws.)

#4- If a Rolling Pin is involved, an extra hour can be added to the length of the project

The Fun Project recipe shares multiple tips for removing the worms from the straws. Though we did not use the rolling pin, it was Smarty Pants’ first time to see one. I left the room and waited till she tired of it.

Reason #5- In the end, the child will make their own rules for any Fun Project

This is the method Smarty Pants favored. Worm size is relative to breath size.

(NOTE: At this stage the recipe can be thrown away, unless you are collecting your own set of NOTES.)


REASON #6- By the time you realize you should be wearing gloves, it will be 3 weeks too late

See NOTES #s 1 and 2.


REASON #7 – You get what you get

Regardless of the outcome, there will be no regrets for the child. The project was so much fun for Smarty Pants; she has already asked when we will do it again. And by “It” I assume she means test my patience and destroy my kitchen.

(NOTE: I told her next week. See Reason #1.)

If you have any questions, let me know. (I'll still be in the kitchen cleaning.) 



Monday, July 1, 2013

Lesson 22- Independence Days

Three Reasons Why The Past Is Not Better


noun : The quality or state of being independent. Related words: autonomy, freedom, self-determination, potency, power, resilience, strength


Have you ever wondered why things just can’t stay the same?

I have. Especially this summer, when so much around me is changing. This past week began my summer vacation with my granddaughter (who now wishes to be called Meadow).
In past years, our summer days meant me watching her toddle around- pointing to everything she saw, then squealing with delight. When I couldn’t see or hear her, I probably didn’t want to know what she was doing.

This summer Meadow walks from room to room, pointing out everything she can reach by herself. She shows me how my shoes almost fit her and that I am only a head taller. She uses words like ‘gigantic’ and ‘humongous’ to describe a word she is about to use- like ‘disposition’ or ‘uncertainty’. And when I don’t see or hear her, she is probably reading a book or writing in her journal.

Things Change

For Meadow, things changed exponentially when she learned to read. She reads books by herself, from cover to cover. She reads signs, instructions and box labels. It seems only yesterday she pulled things from grocery store shelves, wanting me to buy them for her.  Now she pulls boxes from shelves to have something to read.

For her it’s entertainment. It’s a challenge to see how many words she knows and can pronounce.  She knows reading is one more ticket to her independence. But it’s also a rite of passage. It’s hard for me. Because Meadow no longer needs me in the same way. (And because soon she will be taller than I am. And probably smarter.) The more she knows, the further she can go. As soon as we stand on our own, we move- whether our mothers like it or not.

Even if we could stay the same, would we want to?

Think about it. The best days of our lives are filled with things that are better than things before. Even the best day ever can be built on or learned from, creating a value or principle that can stay with us forever. We are not abandoning our roots; we are using them to shape the future.

We do what we do to get what we need.

We do what works. When something no longer works, we change it. The good old days are not forgotten. They are the impetus for good in the future.

 Progress is not always monumental. The invention of the cube-shaped box for tissues did little to advance society. But it did increase the number of places we could put tissues.  As population swells and water supplies shrink, changes are made to our management of resources. Small improvements here will affect us all.

When we know more, we can do more.

Meadow told me this one. And she is right. People who are oppressed don’t pray for things to stay the same. They dream of the day oppression no longer exists. They take every step they can, so that restrictions put on them will not be put on their children or grandchildren.

We may not be ready for all the changes around us. But when others are, we should pay attention.

Compassion is not new. Innovation is not new.  But tomorrow is new. It always will be.