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            SchoolFamily Voices

            Join our bloggers as they share their experiences on the challenges and joys of helping children succeed in school.

            Do You Worry if You’re Doing Enough With Your Kids? Stop!

            I can’t be the only parent who worries if she is doing enough with her kids on a regular basis, right? Every day I see Facebook updates from friends sharing
            what they did with their kids today, on the weekend, and on vacation, and it gets overwhelming. How do they do it all? I can’t take my kids grocery shopping without wanting to leave them in the produce section. A trip to Disney World, nope, not happening. That would be the end of us all.

            But recently I realized something that helped me stop worrying and trying to fill my kids’ lives with constant activities. I thought we weren’t doing much, but scrolling through the pictures on my phone was a great reminder that we actually did do a lot. Did we go to Disney World? Well, no, that would still push me right over the edge. But we did do plenty: bowling, movies, family parties, the beach, the library, school plays, sledding, an amusement park, baseball games, ice cream, the playground, the zoo, and a few road trips. We even went to Disney on Ice—maybe not Disney World, but it’s the closest I’m getting for a while. How could I consider that “not enough”?

            Most of us are doing lots of things with our kids that don’t seem like a big deal at the time. Now that I’ve looked back on an entire year, I know that we didn’t just let the kids watch YouTube videos every day. Don’t get me wrong—they watch their fair share—but years from now are they going to look back at pictures and remember what we didn’t do, or will they remember the time we went to the zoo 15 minutes from our house? I’m betting on the zoo.

            So, fellow worriers, please cut yourself some slack. My kids have probably done more in one year than I did during my entire childhood, so why was I worrying? Contrary to what my Facebook feed might suggest, we’re doing just fine— even if we never make it to Disney World.

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            Lessons on Respect From To Kill a Mockingbird

            Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird, passed away on Feb. 19. Most children read To Kill a Mockingbird, in 8th or 9th grade. Many, many students cite it as the best book they ever read. To honor her, I had my students watch the  when Atticus Finch talks with his daughter, Scout, about the importance of understanding the perspective of another person. Atticus says, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb in his skin and walk around in it.” The current political discourse (or lack thereof) demonstrates to our children a lack of respect for others. That is not meant to be a political statement, because it happens within both parties.

            One way to talk to your children about respect and empathy is to watch and discuss this video clip with them. Here are some suggested talking points.