Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Overscheduling - talk about getting out of balance!

This past weekend in the Washington Post there was an article of a mom who color coded her 8 year old son's and 5 year old daughter's schedule to make sure that they can fit every opportunity her children could possibly do in a week. Color coding? Anyway, her son's schedule was filled with piano, football, tennis and something else ? and her daughters was filled with ballet, swimming and art? What a schedule for one week! I know with us only doing ballet for our oldest, I often wonder if we are overdoing it at times. Yes, I do want her to be exposed to other things, but how much is too much?

The article continued to say that children who were more exposed to extracurriculars like the sports and music lessons were more likely to succeed in life. I think a lot of it has to do with balancing schedules and organizing time. But how do we balance? Do we do what they want to do or what we as the parent wants them to do? And if your children are interesting in other things, do I want to add on top or expand?

I think I have come up with a solution, at least for our lives, when we start this quandry of extracurriculars, is that we need to keep them balanced outside of school to keep their outlets in life balanced. My solution is to pick one activity on each of the following:

Pick one activity spirtually based:
This centers around the childs spirtual growth. I dedicate Sundays for that in my children's life. They need to have their spirtual identity defined, their relationship with God and knowing about faith in general. This could mean Sunday School, youth group, acolyting, or anything else that engages them on their level.

Pick one activity that is mentally based: Mental activity could mean anything from chess clubs to reading book clubs or drama or music lessons. This grows creativity and grows how they can solve problems. Mental activities should be only what the child likes best, and where the child feels most comfortable to express his or herself. Don't push the violin if the child wants to read instead. Why engage them in something they are just not that thrilled about?

Pick one activity that is physically based: This, of course, means sports or something that encourages physical activity. This means whatever the sport or activity the child likes best. Right now, my 4 year old likes ballet, and probably can only do that one activity for the time being. We tried the soccer route with her, but she was not ready yet for sports. She likes expressing herself with dancing, and right now is where we are going stay. When she wants to start running with mommy, she can do that when she is ready

Basically, each of these activities will bring out the balanced life that we as adults try to find. Introducing this to kids, we need to keep it at their level. After all, they are still kids. If they strive to be the best, they will do it naturally, but don't do it at the expense of either their spirtual or mental development. I know with me as an adult, I look for these three activties in my life to fulfill my life as a giving person in society. As long as I am happy, I think that is what I want to portray most.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

They really need to teach finance in schools

With the economy the way it is today, all the buyouts of banks and foreclosures on houses and people losing their home, everyone is rethinking money. Everyone is not going to the movies as much or going out to eat and finding better solutions on their utilities as well as paying down credit card debt. These are more reactive solutions to people's money problems - I know I am guilty. I think we are opting more for Mac & Cheese and PB&J sandwiches over the juicy steaks and fresh produce. We are rethinking how we spend, and getting our credit card debt down and saving for a down payment on a house. Problem is, with all of this reactivness, is though we are doing the right things in getting our finances solved, not everyone knows what to do.

Living in the USA, everyone has to know something about how money works, how loans work, how credit cards work. But everyone is learning from the "school of hard knocks" and not being educated in schools. Being in a capitalist society, it has not been a priority for schools to educate students on the basics of finance. So, unless you study it in college, or you enroll in a community class, you have no idea of how the system works. I am sure there are some good school systems that might incorporate into their curriculums something about business math, or economics in general. I remember studying economics for a semester in high school but it was only a semester and the curriculum was only covering the basics of economics. But finance is something a little different. Nothing about borrowing or investing. Should it be our responsiblity to make sure our educational systems cover this? If not, who will, and at what price?

Since our society is rethinking money, we need to rethink our educational system and make sure everyone is educated on how the system works before we have a generation of kids entering the workforce who have no idea.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Pro-life stance - can it be that bad?

Well, after the dizzy coverage of the election this past week, with the Republican convention and the media circling around Sarah Palin, there has been alot of hard core issues that have been brought up. First and for most, abortion. Obama's campaign started running a radio ad this week with a Planned Parenthood nurse saying that McCain is going to end all abortions because he favors pro-life issues. I guess trying to put the fear in all women that the "option" will be taken away from them if he is elected. Of course, Sarah Palin is very staunch in her stand against abortion, living it in her own life with a baby with down syndrome and a pregnant teenage daughter. I guess the liberal's are mostly attacking her for the "choice" she made for her and her family. Yet I read an amazing statistic this week, that 90% of abortions, or at least 90% of the conceptions that were aborted, were from the mother who chose not to raise a child with down sydrome. With statistics like this,it make me wonder where we are taking this abortion issue, in trying to make a super human race by getting rid of the not so perfect one early.

I know with my personal experience, with being pregnant in my 30's the chance of having a down syndrome child increases. During my last pregnancy, I remember my OB offering me in my first trimester the option of genetic testing, and he said that he felt obligated to tell us that we do have the option to end the pregnancy if the tests came back less than favorable. Both my husband and I said "No" It was not an option for us. We wanted to raise whatever child God blessed us with, because the road to get there was not easy (trying for nearly 3 year to conceive our first was hard enough)and going at it again for another would not be an easy road at all. So, we did not get the testing done and put it at the will of God on the outcome. We were blessed with a healthy baby girl without complications.

Thinking about raising a child with special needs has to be an amazing task for the parents. I truly believe that God gives those children to the people who would be able to take care of them. God chose them to raise that child. Unfortuately, 90% of those mothers don't think of it that way. Several years ago, I was listening to an online broadcast of Dallas talkshow. The host, Humble Billy Hayes, has a child with down syndrome and was asked to speak at a convention in Pittsburg for a national association for down syndrome (or something like that). Anyway, he was making a comment about a speech that he heard at this convention about a woman who "chose" to end her pregnancy once she found out she was going to raise a child with special needs. Apparently she had felt it would have been more of a burden on her and the child bring him/her into the world. I remember Humble interjecting his option after this- and I am paraphrasing - How can she say this child could have been a burden? My child has taught me more that I have him. He has taught me patience, and he is actually the one who has stopped and smell the roses. Well, I remember bawling when I was listening. And alot of his listeners in Dallas were calling in crying too. If there is a way to find this telecast from 1999, I will see if I can so I could post it on my blog. But, needless to say, children with special needs should never be thought of as burdens, but blessings.