The day after the election I was in shock, then angry and finally depressed. And the thought of facing racism made me mad and ready to fight. And it’s not like I don’t spend a few hours punching every week. I was ready to fist fight, and, it turns out, I wasn’t the only one. Day 1 in Trump’s America is an ugly place to be.
But then I met with Valarie and Becky for Multicultural Children’s Book Day — we meet weekly via Skype for the months leading up to January 27th — and we realized that now, more than ever, we need to fight for acceptance of diversity through compassion. Believe me, this is not an easy leap to make for me! My first response would be to throw a punch when faced with racism, so I give myself this reminder today, on World Kindness Day, November 13th.
Today is World Kindness Day (and boy do we need it)
And, as I think about kindness, I am reminded of Valerie at Inner Child Fun (different Valerie than Valarie at Jump Into a Book/Multicultural Children’s Book Day) and how she inspired me with her 35 Random Acts of Kindness Birthday Challenge. I knew I wanted to face my own upcoming 48th birthday this way. It wasn’t easy to pull it off; I needed a month, but it was the best birthday present ever!
And just like that … ripples of kindness actually spread. Read more…
We know that, no matter what their background is, when kids know they can make a difference in the world, it’s transformative for them in a very positive way.
Please join me in Hasbro’s new philanthropic initiative, BE FEARLESS BE KIND. It’s designed to empower kids to have the compassion, empathy and courage to stand up for others and be inclusive throughout their lives.
We know it’s not always easy to be kind and kids need toolkits to help teach them and inspire empathy. BE FEARLESS BE KIND has engaged best-in-class partners who developed empathy and compassion tools & resources that parents can use: Ashoka and No Bully on the empathy piece, Special Olympics Unified for inclusion, and generationOn and Rock Your World for taking action.
The goal: We want kids to stand up for others, include everyone, and take action when they see a problem.
This is not a sponsored post — I wish! This is real life.
I was shocked to see my teen daughter’s medicine cabinet the other day. It looks like a Sephora store. It’s true that PickyKidPix, now 14 years old, is obsessed about skin care. She’s watched beauty YouTubers for a zillion hours. She has asked for acne starter kits from her relatives for birthday and Christmas gifts for the past two years.
She’s also a bit of a hypochondriac. If she has the slightest rash on her face, she demands to go to the dermatologist. Once, I caved and actually took her. It was the fastest dermatologist appointment on the planet, with our nice derm trying to stifle a smile. Read more…
Today is our 21st anniversary and what stands out most for me is my husband’s ability to hold back his own desires of golf stardom for his children and let them find their way. This is not to say that our oldest, Grasshopper and Sensei, did not receive a set of miniature golf clubs on her first Christmas when she was exactly 20 days old. Or that he didn’t take the kids out to the putting green as soon as they could walk. Because we did do that. It was a great photo oppt!
My kids had the same 5th grade teacher. One lovely tradition is this I Appreciate You Because … certificate that each student fills out for their classmates. Grasshopper and Sensei and PickyKidPix have one; here’s my son. I can’t believe that he graduated from 5th grade already!
I was also thinking that this would make a lovely gift for anyone:
colleague departing at work
birthday gift (for my mom who is about to turn 90!). Must think of way to do this will all party guests!
for any grade as a graduation gift from preschool to high school
I was bringing two bags of groceries to our local food bank when a couple with their young daughter stepped into the elevator with me. They were loaded with bags including paper towels and food. They also had piles of toiletries to donate, so much so, that they needed to bring their car around and get some help. Where did all this bounty come from? Their little girl who looked around ten or eleven had asked for donations to this food bank instead of birthday gifts.
My son and his best friend did this for their 10th birthday. Instead of gifts, they asked for dog toys and collars for a local dog shelter. They delivered it themselves and were allowed to play with the dogs. It was the best birthday ever!
Here are five ideas for kids to change the world by donating to these charities. I picked organizations whose missions would resonate with kids. And even a very small donation can change someone’s life. These are gifts that give back more: they teach children gratitude. And it turns out that gratitude is the fastest path to happiness.
Rules of Kindness Campaign is designed to build a culture of caring and empathy among today’s youth.
I love this new Be Fearless, Be Kind campaign from Hasbro and generationOn, the youth service division of Points of Light. Together they have launched Rules of Kindness, a new campaign that encourages kids and teens to create, share and act upon their own Rules of Kindness.
From September 1 through October 17, teens, teachers, parents, and youth leaders can visit Rules of Kindness to sign up, submit their Rules of Kindness, and see how others are putting their Rules into action.
Now that my kids are in high school and middle school, the Parent/Teacher conferences are much different than in elementary school when we met with one teacher for about fifteen or twenty minutes. That time period felt short, especially when the conferences were running late. The elementary school conferences focused on assessments the teacher gave as opposed to standardized testing, and how my child was doing. Next steps included ideas for books to read or additional ways to practice writing or math facts.
Some of my son’s amazing teachers in elementary school on the last day of school!
Middle School Parent/Teacher conferences at my school are even shorter and we choose a combination of just two teachers: Math/History OR English/Science. The information was usually around completion of work, attitude in school, and quiz grades. Sometimes these conferences feel like confirming that the teachers know exactly who your child is.
Our High School Parent/Teacher conferences are like a kind of sprint: 6 minutes per teacher and I think we can only meet with two. If the rooms are far apart — our high school has four floors — it is literally a sprint. This brief time period seems to focus on how my child is doing in that class from grades to attitude. It’s amazing but I found in high school that these teachers really have a good grasp of who my child is from early on.
Given that there’s limited access to teachers (assuming that you don’t request or require more), my strategy is to:
Meet with teachers my child seems to complain about the most.
Meet with teachers that my child seems to have the hardest time academically.
Ask the teacher if they need things donated to their classroom. You’d be amazed how many teachers need basic items like hand sanitizer, and paper towels.
Convey positive feedback from my child about that teacher.
Thank them for their time. Parent/Teacher conferences make a long school day even longer for teacher!
Today my guest author is Rocketship Education — a nonprofit network of public charter schools in the Bay Area, Nashville, Milwaukee, Tennessee and Washington, DC on Parent & Teacher Conferences. Since they are coming up in a few weeks, I hope this is helpful!
How about you? Please share your tips for getting the most out of Parent/Teacher conferences. Thanks!
My son’s 5th grade Parent/Teacher Conference focused on self assessment that he did of his own work and how he thinks he’s doing.
Now that the kids are back in school, it’s a good time to discuss bullying at home with your kids. Did you know that the best way to deal with bullies is to have bystanders stand up for the victim? Some schools teach this as part of their curriculum, but this is a good lesson to reinforce at home as well.
Being kind and “choosing kind” is something that I think can be internalized such that it’s a plan and goals that each child defines individually, making it easy to make decisions when faced with a bullying incident.
I think the first place to start is defining kindness and the behavior that demonstrates it. I have three books of with three different takes on Choosing Kind. Let’s start with a picture book that demonstrates different ways kids can choose to be kind.
Teaching Kids to Choose Kind
What Does It Mean to Be Kind? by Rana DiOrio, illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch
The first example that DiOrio defines is something that seems very small, but actually has huge impact.
Being kind means … smiling at the new student in class. Read more…