Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Five Lessons Every Kid Should Learn

1. How to stand up to a bully. Even though Sarina's just 3, we've already had a couple of encounters with older girl bullies. One, just the other day, tried to take my daughter's bracelets. I asked Sarina if she wanted the girl to take her bracelets, or if she wanted them back. When she affirmed she wanted them back, I suggested that she tell the girl, "I'm sorry, but those are my bracelets and I would like them back now." She did, and when the girl fiddled with the last one, Sarina said, "That one is mine, too." I was very proud!

2. How to be a real friend. Sometimes, the bully isn't targeting you, but someone else-- someone weaker, who needs help. It's so difficult and so important to provide other kids with emotional support so they can be stronger, too, even if it means risking becoming the bully's next target.

3. Who to trust. This is a lifelong lesson that adults struggle with, too. As a kid, it can be even tougher to figure out people's motivations. It's hard watching our kids get hurt when they try to befriend the "wrong" person, but it's also a necessary part of the process, so they'll learn when to be open with people and when to keep their guard up.

4. How to love learning. Kids have natural curiosity that can be squashed when adults try to impose too many rules and restrictions. Fanciful questions deserve fanciful answers. So squirrels like to ride on unicorns' backs when no one is looking? Sure they do! Forcing adult logic into kid questions will make academic learning an automatic turn-off.

5. How much we can matter. When we raise kids who believe they can make a difference, we improve the world. All the good we see in humanity is because people believed their little lives might matter.


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I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Nanny McPhee Returns blogging program, making me eligible to get a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Monday, August 09, 2010

This is a CHILDREN'S book? What on Earth...?

Why, yes, that IS a car full of gun-toting criminals trying to outrun police that you see below. And even better, one of the criminals is actually shooting his gun at the police!



On the next page, we see that the kindly police officer-- the one who we're teaching our children to trust and go to in case they're ever lost or in trouble-- is leaning out of the car with his gun and preparing to shoot back. Clifford and Emily Elizabeth are mere feet away and likely to get killed in the crossfire, but they look pretty excited about it.




And to top off this excellent book, I noticed that Clifford's brother Nero (the rescue dog at a fire station) is helping to put out a fire at a bodega on pages 9-12. "That's weird," I thought. "In the book Clifford's Family, I'm sure that Nero also helped put out a fire in a bodega. Does this author have a thing about bodegas being on fire?"

"I remember this from Clifford's Family," my astute 3-year-old interjected. Just to check, I pulled out the book... and found out that pages 9-12 in Clifford To The Rescue (Scholastic, 2000) are identical to pages 13-16 in Clifford's Family (Scholastic, 1984). Yes, 4 pages that have exactly the same illustrations and the same text except for a few words. WTH, Norman Bridwell? So I looked into matters a bit further and noticed on the fine print on the copyright page, Clifford to the Rescue cites nine different Clifford books that this one is copied from, and calls it a "compilation." No idea which book originally had the gun-waving police chase in it, but it appears to be from the 70s or 80s, a time when we also thought it was okay that Tom and Jerry bludgeoned each other with hammers.

I guess that makes it... better?

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Saturday, August 07, 2010

Win a $60 Gift Certificate to CSN Stores

CONTEST CLOSED. WE HAVE A WINNER!

Random.org picked comment 20. Congrats to peg42, who wrote:

"The best thing that happened to me this week is that my Dad, brother & Sister in Law came over for dinner last night to help celebrate my upcoming birthday with my family & I. We had such a nice time, sitting outside & relaxing.Thanks so much."


--
The thing that's so impressive about CSN is the amazing range of products they carry. You can buy anything from a new bed to new shoes to a new wine rack... they have more than 200 online stores filled with a products in these categories: home decor, furniture, housewares, baby and kid items, outdoor, home improvement, bags and luggage, shoes, health and fitness, pets, office, and school.

The other thing that's so impressive about CSN is that they noticed this here little ol' blog. I RULE. This bodes so well for my plan to take over the Internet!

*Ahem.*

So they wrote to me and offered to give me a $60 gift certificate to award to one of my readers, which I thought was an excellent idea on their part. Go, CSN. If you win, you get to spend that $60 on whatever you want in any of their 200+ shops. There may be shipping charges or international fees, but whatever. It's still 60 free bucks.

To win this glorious aforementioned 60 bucks, here's the stuff to do:

MANDATORY
1. Comment below. In your comment, tell me the best thing that's happened to you this week. (For no good reason. I just like hearing people's good news.)

OPTIONAL
2. Follow me on Google Friend Connect. (The "follow" button is on the upper right side of this blog.)
3. Follow me on Twitter.
4. Name one book I've written.
5. Tweet anything about this blog. I totally know-- I hate tweeting about contests I'm entering because I don't want the extra competition, so you don't have to tweet about the contest. You could tweet about my general awesomeness if you like, as long as there's a link to this blog somewhere in your tweet.

If you do any of the optional things, LEAVE A SEPARATE COMMENT for each thing you do. Also, make sure I have a way to contact you-- either leave your e-mail address in your comment or make sure it's visible on your profile.

Giveaway ends at 11:59 p.m. on August 23, and I'll announce the winner on the 24th. Good luck!

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P.S. Disclaimer: I'm not being compensated for this post. It's just cool to give away stuff.