Archive | March, 2013

GOT ART?

untitled (14)I will never forget my first box of crayons. Crayola, of course. Can you remember the waxy smell and the clever names? My favorites were cauliflower and sky blue. Or was it magenta and maize? My husband’s favorite was burnt sienna. Who am I kidding? I loved them all.

The endless potential for creation that rectangular box of meticulously wrapped, wax sticks held was huge. The excitement made me cradle the new purchase in my arms like a new doll. Move over, Picasso. Watch it, Matisse. Scoot over, Van Gogh. I sat the box on the same shelf as my ball trophies. My new crayons pulled the same rank as my sporting accomplishments. I was not only going to be the girl working towards a black belt in karate. I was about to be an artist too. I just needed a bottomless supply of white paper and it was going to be ON.

Flash forward thirty-five years.

I am holding the scotch tape gently between my teeth as I adjust my own child’s latest depiction of our family of four as various stick figures. My cabinets and refrigerator are covered in their artwork. It is a rare occasion that I throw one away. I often sit and watch them as they draw, color, glitterfy, sculpt, cut, tape and glue their latest creations. Have you ever noticed a child hard at work as an artist? Typically, their mouth is set in a taut line with the tongue curled in pure concentration around the upper lip. Adorably awesome. Perfectly engaged. A creator at work.

Finger paints, play-doh and glitter are a childhood rite of passage. So often, we push them to the back of the cabinet because they are messy. Moms + messes = L. Art is an important albeit messy process. Often, I will tell visitors to our home to please excuse the mess because memories are being made. It just goes with the territory of a life well-lived.

Einstein was right when he said, “Play is the highest form of research.” The more we allow kids to make messes (within reason, barring any Nickelodeon green slime on the walls), the more confident our children will become as creators and artists. Every child is an artist. Just ask any kid with a new box of crayons.

P.S. If you’re like us, you probably have a box or drawer of broken, unloved crayons somewhere in the house. They are super fun to recycle. Here is how:

* Gather up all of your broken crayons, and cut them into small pieces. (An adult will need to complete this step.)

* Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

* Fill the muffin tin with an inch-thick layer of crayon pieces.

* Bake 15-20 minutes, or until the wax is melted.

* Allow the tin to cool; then pop out the crayons, and they’re ready for use by your little Van Goghs.

Huddle Up

XGzy1 The buttercups are peeking though the frozen ground. They aren’t afraid of the last few frigid nights before spring officially makes its grand entrance this year. The field lights are aglow with the sounds of sports practices- bats cracking, whistles blowing, and new grass stains are being made at spring practices on most every field in town. It is that time of year when the vacant bleachers begin to fill with excited spectators and family members arrive to cheer on the athletes as they ready for a season of competition.

 

Anyone who has been around sports for at least one season is aware of this fact: not all spectators are created equally. In fact, for every rule in soccer or baseball, one might say there should be a rule for the fans do’s and don’ts. It is easy to get caught up in the pinch of a tie ballgame or a referee’s bad call. Trust me, there have been times when I thought duct tape might keep my commentary more safely at bay. However, if our kids watch us for anything, it is how we handle ourselves in front of others. How we navigate conflict and disappointment is one of the greatest lessons that we can model for our children.

 

A Few Golden Rules for Parent Sportsmanship

 

* You never know who you are sitting next to at games. It could possibly be the opposing team’s family members. Even so, evoke the If You Can’t Say Something Nice, Don’t Say It At All MOTTO. Games are a fun social outing. Speak of opponent’s children the same way you would want them to speak of yours.

* Don’t question the umpires, referee’s or coaches calls in front of the children- particularly by yelling. Wait until you can have adult facetime if you wish to voice a concern.

* Remind your child that effort counts as much as a win. This is a FUN time in their lives.

* Avoid post-game analysis unless your child initiates the conversation. Chances are they already know exactly how they can improve next time if they are invested athletes.

* Smile! Before, during and AFTER!

 

Above all, be there for your children. Support them, praise them, and let them know you can always be counted on for unconditional love, regardless of the final score.

Be The Change

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Be The Change

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

-Margaret Mead-

 

There eventually comes a time (like in the blink of an eye) when your toddler evolves into less of a tornadic hoarder of toys and more of a miniature person capable of sharing them. We believe that kids and adults alike are wired to give of themselves. It can be the gift of time, affection or a box wrapped with a bow on a special occasion. There is a certain feeling that overcomes us as we do something good in the world. It is a heart opener and a heart healer in so many ways. Giving back or paying-it-forward feels similar to the endorphins after a good sweat or workout. But BETTER. It is the feeling of knowing you have left a person and a world somehow better than you found it.

When you visit an elementary classroom for any duration of time, you will notice children’s innate knack for giving. Often, you will leave with a stack of homemade cards from kids you just met- a paper fortune teller decorated especially for you, an abstract but lovely portrait with your hair in a bow as big as your body, or a birthday card even if your birthday is nine full months away. Kids are naturally wired to give of themselves. It is important to give them the opportunity to do so whenever possible.

Our Be The Change headband was designed specifically for giving back to our global community. We will be selling this band at the movie premier of “Girl Rising” which A Girl and Her Band is hosting on Monday, March 11 in Denver, Colorado. All proceeds from the sale of this band will be donated to the 10 x 10 Girls’ Education Fund. 10 x 10 is on a mission to launch a global campaign to empower and educate girls from around the world.

If you are looking for a fantastic picture book that tells the story of small acts of kindness that change the world, grab a copy of Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr. You and your child will never forget this bedtime story. Likely, you will wake a changed person the morning after this beautiful read-aloud. It may even become a family tradition- one that you will want to pass down from generation to generation. Just like a kind, giving heart.

 Sadako-and-the-Thousand-Paper-Cranes-Coerr-Eleanor-9780698118027

 

Book Description: Born in Hiroshima in 1943, Sadako was the star of her school’s running team, until the dizzy spells started and she was forced to face the hardest race of her life-the race against time.