Things Parents Should Say to Their Children

  1. I love you.
  2. No. I love you, but no.
  3. Be nice. [Because you are loved, show love and kindness to others.]
  4. Because I said so…and I love you.
  5. Clean your room…because you love yourself. […and I love you.]
  6. Not unless you do your chores and act like you love me.
  7. I’m your parent, not your friend, and I will love you forever.
  8. Do your homework, because I truly love you.
  9. Give me a hug, even if you don’t love me right now. [say it even if you don’t like them at that moment]
  10. There are rules and limits in our family because I love you.

Priorities of Teachers

Wildcat Weekly, week of Dec 11, 2017

“When we live for other voices, we will quickly become worn out and discouraged. Other people’s expectations for how we should live, act, and be are sometimes unreachable.”

I think what has attracted me to teaching and kept me in the game so long is the freedom to choose how to reach my students, within certain parameters of course. I have taught junior high and high school, in small towns and in large districts. There are pros and cons to all levels in all places, but the benefits to keeping one’s own voice (direction, purpose), through all the clutter of a large school, the benefits to one’s craft are limitless.

Being surrounded by creative, smart, caring teachers, staff, and administrators for nearly twenty-five* years has allowed me to grow. I make mistakes by trying to imitate my colleagues, but I find my voice by changing the imitation to fit me: my personality, my subject area, my current students, and even my mood. I am a professional, which means I do my job, I do what is expected of me. However, being a professional does not imply that I blindly follow directions like one of John Stewart’s famous sheep. I have a brain – I am the Scarecrow AFTER he visited with the Wizard of Oz. I am an expert in my field. I have the right and, more importantly, the obligation to take all learning directives to heart and find my voice by making them work for me, for my students, for my subject, and for my level.

Questioning and having doubts are ok. It’s what you’re supposed to do if you care. We are blessed with an amazing staff at Har-Ber and an A-Team who will listen. My much younger colleagues are constantly bringing me around to the new, keeping me on my toes. I lend them a little perspective from experience. It’s an amazing benefit to have this variety of ages, backgrounds, talents, and interests that you don’t find so much in a small school environment where you may be the only teacher of your subject or level.

As we end the semester, remember your voice – or take the time over the Christmas Break to find it. Spend time with family and friends, exercise until you sweat, sit calmly at the fireplace sipping coffee and reading a mindless piece of fiction, write a letter (like, on paper!), take a mini-trip where you decide where you’re going after you get in the car. Remember, the reason that we teach children is so students can have meaningful, useful lives, not so they can work themselves to death. As Toby Mac says, “This is not a test, this is the real thing. Live every second. Make it count for you.” Lead by example. Have a life! You have my permission. It will make your life as a teacher more enjoyable.

We need and are grateful for each of our Wildcat adults, so don’t get “worn out and discouraged” by not having a voice.

¡Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo!

Ellen Rainey

10 Things Parents Must Do With Our Children

10 Things Parents Must Do with Our Children

1 – Read Daily

Or multiple times daily. If you never take any other advice from anyone, ever, just do this one thing religiously!

  • Starting in the womb
  • Togetherness
  • Interests – share yours, learn and encourage theirs
  • Educational future
  • You can learn; it’s ok not to be an expert

Personal recommendations:

  • I’ll Love You Forever
  • Wide Mouth Frog
  • Blueberries for Sal
  • Make Way for Ducklings
  • Dr. Seuss – all, often
  • Amelia Bedelia
  • Encyclopedia Brown
  • Abigail Adams’ biography (children’s book)
  • The Little Red Hen
  • Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak
  • Mother Goose Rhymes (and learn to sing with and for your children, they do not care that you sound awful!)
  • Stuart Little – compare to movies
  • Anne of Green Gables, by Lucy Maude Montgomery
  • Ferdinand the Bull, by Munro Leaf
  • Chronicles of Narnia, all 7 books by C.S. Lewis
  • Chronicles of Prydain, all 5 books by Lloyd Alexander
  • ABC Bible Memory Book
  • Veggie Tales Devotional
  • Harry Potter, all 7 books by J.K. Rowling
  • Percy Jackson Series and all the spin-offs by Rick Riordan
  • Weekly Reader books – or anything you can order through Scholastic from your school

2 – Classical Music

  • Children’s versions
  • Mozart
  • Develop your own tastes. Even if you think you hate it, play it for small children especially as they go to sleep

Personal Recommendations;

  • Start with Peter and the Wolf, Disney
  • The Nutcracker
  • The Bugs Bunny and Road Runner (show, video)
  • Tom and Jerry

3 – Bathe them in a plastic pool in the yard

  • It’s cheap and fun

Personal Recommendations;

  • In the summer only, unless you live in a warm climate:-)
  • If you have an only child, invite a friend over, or join them!

4 – Day Trip with a Picnic Basket

  • It’s cheap and fun
  • Outdoors is always better for everyone involved

Personal Recommendations;

  • Turner Bend
  • Devil’s Den State Park
  • The lake (when it’s too chilly for swimming, see next idea)
  • Hike, frisbee, throw rocks, explore, imagine – play pretend, mysteries

5 – Lip-sync videos

  • It’s cheap and fun
  • Kids love to perform, but not always in public or for the grandparents
  • Memories forever!

Personal Recommendations;

  • Disney Movie songs
  • Jesus Loves Me, Cristo Ama a los Niños
  • Your favorites from when you were young
  • Current pop favorites [I have a CLASSIC of my kids reenacting the N’Sync song and video of “Bye, Bye Bye”]

6 – Movie Repetition

  • It’s cheap and fun
  • Builds common memories together
  • Builds vocabulary, like reading the same book over and over and over and over

Personal Recommendations;

  • Same movie everyone loves [we watched Space Jam so many times the VHS broke!]
  • First VHS/movie as parents [ours was “101 Dalmations,” again, until it broke!]
    • We sang “Cruella DeVil” in the car, on trips, in the store, around the house, while playing
    • Our first movie in theatres was “George of the Jungle,” then “Anastasia,” then “Mulan” THREE TIMES!
  • Do not waste your money taking small children to the theatre! They will get more out of it when it comes out on Blueray, or Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc..
    • If they are not capable of sitting through a movie, save yourself some money and everyone else a headache and annoyance, and just let them watch it at home while wandering around your own living room while talking, screaming, or whatever:-)
    • Same goes for restaurants. If they’re not capable of sitting down to a meal without tantrums or getting up and running around, OR you’re not willing to be a parent and control them, don’t bring them to restaurants:-) The world in general thanks you.

7 – Time With Grandparents – Without You

  • It’s cheap and fun
  • Builds common memories together
  • They learn to respect wisdom, parenting, and you
  • They get to know another generation and their interests [my mom is an artist and had them paint; my dad watches EVERY Cardinal baseball game – appreciate or feel tortured, mine chose to appreciate it]
  • They will live – assuming your parents aren’t criminals in some real sense:-)

Personal Recommendations;

  • While you travel with your spouse or on your job during summers
  • If you have multiples, take turns during summer months or school vacations; 2 at a time when smaller

8 – Centers

  • It’s fun and you don’t have to decide every single day whose turn it is to do what or how long each child has had to play with something
  • Builds common memories together
  • Variety of activities – sometimes makes you be more creative with activities for the kids, too!
  • If you do this first, you can do that later; if you don’t do this, you will not do that later:-)

Personal Recommendations;

  • Reading (alone or with you)
  • Computer / video game time
  • Learning games
  • Chores
  • Toys, dolls, old-school ideas
  • Only child? They can still rotate through centers because it helps you and them with time management, variety, and not to feel privileged. They don’t get to play with one thing or do one activity all day simply because they don’t have to share.

9 – Must See Movies, Shows, and Games

  • This whole section is a Personal Recommendation
  • Builds common memories together

Personal Recommendations;

  • School House Rock – ad nauseum
    • Grammar, History, Math, Science [new ones are only medium-good]
    • Music, funny videos, rhyming, fun learning!
  • Carmen Sandiego – cartoon episodes and all video games
    • History, Mystery, problem-solving
    • CD-Rom games, I’m waiting impatiently for an updated versions; any computer nowadays will not read it, asking for 256-bit colors, which is ancient:-)
    • 3 games, 3 -Where in the USA? 2 – Where in the World? 1 – Great Chase Through Time
  • Liberty’s Kids
    • PBS cartoon of the American Revolution with voice talents like Walter Cronkite, Jim Belushi, Dustin Hoffman, and Annette Benning
    • A girl from England, a French boy, and a free black man write a newspaper with Benjamin Franklin
    • Amazing learning, but entertaining and kid-friendly
  • Classic Cartoons – American Culture
    • Bugs Bunny Road Runner Show [great to accidentally learn an opera!]
    • Classic boxed set collections: Goofy, Donald Duck, etc. Goofy is THE BEST!
    • Old, old, old Superman – values of the 40s, 50s!
    • Underdog
    • Scooby Doo – originals of 1969, 70, 71
    • Johnny Quest
    • Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain [newer, but is considered classic by my children]
    • Anything else you personally loved as a child

10 – Play and Sing With Your Children

  • Get on the floor
  • Get dirty
  • Make mistakes and get messy (I think that’s a quote from a movie, may be Ms. Frizzle?)
  • Don’t be the best at lots of things, but enjoy them – invaluable lesson for kids!!
  • Build common memories together
  • Laugh, have fun!

Personal Recommendations;

  • All sports
  • Roller or ice skating
  • Board games
  • Dolls / action figures
  • Pretend / imagination games [have you pretended to be Wonder Woman lately? Or Batman, even though you’re a grown woman?]
  • Painting, drawing, playdough, Matchbox cars in the dirt
  • Making mud pies – yes, actually dig a hole in your precious yard!
  • Play school – your child will be the teacher and you will be the student
  • Play “house” – your child will be the parent and you will be the child; lots to learn on both parts
  • Sing Mother Goose Rhymes, Disney songs, songs from Girl Scout Camp or Boy Scouts, elementary school, their school, the radio, your favorite old CDs or grandpa’s cassettes…or albums?
  • Sing in the car, don’t let them get lost in a DVD screen in the back seat as if you weren’t there, or worse, as if they weren’t there! Sing about the scenery on trips by inventing tunes and words and descriptions as you go, just like a 3-year-old would!

You may be the adult in the house, by default or by choice, but it’s ok to play like a child with your child. The adult part is actually hard: making decisions, saying no (and you HAVE to say no!), deciding to stop playing for the day, paying the bills, cleaning the house, keeping track of everyone’s schedule, etc.

However, this list of 10 things are the easiest, funnest, and best things you can…and WILL…do with your child.

They will be 27, married, and in Florida before you can blink.


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