Tag Archives: school

Real World Day Trippin’: The Art of the Daydream

daydreamingAlbert Einstein, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Nikola Tesla were famous ones. Daydreamers. It’s one thing to have one’s head in the clouds all day and night, but healthy to build some neurons and synaptic connections by dreaming of flying on a fluffy purple marshmallow, returning to earth and then…eating your landing gear.   — BadWitch

Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…

Dear GWBW — My daughter’s a daydreamer, even in school. I worry this is going to set her back. How do I bring her into the real world?   — Down-to-Earth Dad

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Dear Down-to-Earth Dad,

You don’t say how old your girl is, but I will assume early grade school by your context. Daydreaming “too much” is subjective, so as long as you and a professional rule out behavior problems and diseases like ADD, I’m a fan of healthy daydreaming. I say, don’t be too anxious to “help” her grow up, pops.

Kids need to play and daydream to learn. I’m a pretty seriously grounded and creative person, and/but was a true blurry-eyed, dreamy day dreamer (to the point of falling asleep in Phonics on the “bl” constant blend and waking up all mixed up on “sh” in the first grade) as a kid. I think you’d be surprised how many Real World dreams I was visualizing and plotting for my own future! Even I knew I was day dreamy (and no, I was not chided for it). Which brings up an excellent point. You might want to gently ask your daughter what she’s thinking about the next few times she takes a day trip in front of you. Keep the judgment out of your voice, best as you can keep it neutral. Ask her with genuine interest (you’ll be privileged with a small glimpse into her lovely head — no offense, but something tells me you could use a shot of whimsy, grounded to earth dad). Not only that, you’ll be showing interest in her thoughts inside her pretty little head, as well as helping her notice when she’s daydreaming.

Again assuming “normal” developmental behavior, I would reinforce that there are better times and scenarios to daydream (many times, dad!), versus not so much (crossing the street, when in a new, unfamiliar environment). There’s a right time and place for everything, down-to-earth poppy – and childhood is an especially magical time for the eternal past time of daydreaming.

Paying bills before you know it,

BW

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Dear Down-to-Earth Dad,

Sounds like your daughter has an active imagination, which is keeping her attention. That’s not all bad. Daydreaming is thought to be a sign of creativity. Her daydream believer spirit may be one of her greatest assets in the real world.

In our get-things-accomplished-multitasking world, we forget that a child’s primary job is to play and learn. Daydreaming allows her to re-work life experiences in a safe and creative way.  Relationships and the real world can be overwhelming and confusing for children. Daydreaming actually helps with healthy social interactions by allowing children to rework scenarios and even role-play new personas. According to Jonah Lehrer, author of Proust Was A Neuroscientist, “Mostly, what we daydream about is each other, as the mind retrieves memories, contemplates “what if” scenarios, and thinks about how it should behave in the future.”

I understand that you have reservations about your daughter walking around with her head in the clouds, which is not always appropriate, or safe. I suggest reminding her to “be in her body.” I often tell my daydream daughter to “put her head in her feet,” when we are out walking. It is a reminder to focus on her feet and her body as she moves through the world. Focus is a popular word in our household. That being said, if we’re not actually in the process of trying to get something done, I let her keep her head in the clouds. It is her opportunity to figure out how the world works—in a safe, protected way.

If your daughter is older (I’m assuming under 8 yrs.), I would make a practice of setting goals with her for what she needs to accomplish. Set some boundaries for her in the real world. That way she can learn to meet her responsibilities and play after work is done. For instance, my 7 yr. old knows the boundaries of our morning routine. She must meet her responsibilities: get breakfast, get dressed, brushed, washed and shoes on ready for school. Once she gets her “work” done, she is free to play or daydream until it is time to go. Now, my daydreamer is often the first one ready in the morning.

Boundaries are a real world boon in a daydream world. Just be sure they aren’t too restrictive, because that time to daydream will only help her to become more creative and better socially adjusted.

Happy flying!

GoodWitch

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Image, SugarPanda @ flickr

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Mondays money, work, purpose dilemmas. Thursdays family, relationships, love dramedy. Send your FREE brewing questions on how to thrive—not just survive— modern life to: coaching@stillsitting.net.

© 2009 ManifestGroup. No materials may be used without expressed written permission.

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Shooting Up Kids: Gardasil & Other Vaccinations

Ah!, childhood. Autism, HPV/cervical cancer, mercury poisoning. Makes a sane person reminiscent for scraped knees, hallway gum chewing, and slam books. How to best protect our kids today? To vaccinate or not vaccinate?  — BadWitch

Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…

Dear GWBW Start of school year means my kids’ annual physical. There’s been some controversy at our school over immunizing, so I’m not even sure all the kids are immunized. Now my doctor’s talking about Gardasil for my oldest daughter. What’s your opinion? Is it worth getting all these immunizations when half the kids in school are going around unprotected? —To shoot or not to shoot

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Dear Shooter,

I am not a medical doctor, but I have a body in real life. I am a huge proponent of taking responsible care of my body and health. This includes research, questions of my doctors, and integrating that with my own (attuned) body intuition. I highly recommend this for everyone.

Considerations: Does your family have a history of cervical cancer? If it does then you might consider Gardasil for your daughter. Next, ask your own trusted doctor for his/her point of view. I have two doctors (a man and a woman) and they both told me that for my history and health, they would advise against it (not that I fall into the Gardasil target age group 9-24; we were having a general conversation about things current and female during my own annual) as they each separately considered it a misguiding and dubious marketing campaign by its maker Merck. Both of their opinions revolved around how there are several different levels of the virus HPV (which many men and women have) to cervical cancer, but Gardasil protects against four. Also to be considered, the side effects to this still-new drug.

As to vaccinate or not , I know my siblings and I got all ours, but today’s kids are exposed to stuff that we weren’t and getting way too many ridiculous illnesses to death (from mercury in vaccinations, etc.), as well. As long as you cover the basics (including Rubella for the girls when appropriate), and spread them out rather than many in a day, then I think you’re probably protecting them the best you can, other kids vaccinated or not. I’m sure you already know your childrens’ schools’ policies for whether they can attend non-vaxed or not? Have you actually spoken with other peer parents to know that it’s “half the kids” non-vaxed at your schools? Deaths and horrific complications aside, there’s no sense to make a Bubble Kids gen with more education and information available today, if a healthy diet (organic sooner, fewer processed foods) and vaccinations are managed consistently and with sensible timing – this is the world they live in, and you can only do your due diligence as a parent, and according to your own personal beliefs. Get them vaccinated, that’s mine. Gardasil, eh, unless your family history dictates it, not so much.

A shot in the arm could save nine,

BW

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To Shoot or Not to Shoot,

That is the question. I am not a doctor. I believe in natural healing and the miracles of modern medicine. Therefore, I can only give you my opinion as a parent.

I am a parent of two elementary school age girls. Are they immunized? Absolutely. Did they get every immunization the doctor suggested? No. I am the health advocate in my family and though most of the immunizations make complete sense to me—polio, diphtheria, hepatitis B, tetanus—but chicken pox? I don’t agree.

I had chicken pox as a child. I itched. I took milk baths. I kept oven mitts on my hands and still managed to scratch once or twice. Then I was back in school. Adults, however, who contract chicken pox can have much more severe reactions. By the way, the immunization wears off at about the age of 20…when contracting the “childhood illness” would really be an issue. So, I’m suppose to keep my kids from getting a childhood disease in childhood so I can leave them susceptible to the disease in their adult lives when it could cause secondary infections and risk their lives. Hmmm.

Apparently you can continue to be immunized into adulthood. But, this is one case where I question the balance of nature being thrown off so much. I continue to do my research, but have not been swayed yet.

As a parent you are your child’s health advocate. You must do your research on what vaccines make sense for you. Ask questions and double check the answers— especially before injections are given.

Which brings me to Gardasil . Why do I need to give my pre-teen daughter a vaccine for sexual transmitted disease?  Side effects of the vaccine include fainting, dizziness, vomiting, seizures, comas, and, oh yes, death. Previously healthy girls who have had the vaccine have been diagnosed with epilepsy after injection. 32 girls have died. But testing on the drug has stopped. So, my girls are supposed to be the guinea pigs? I’d rather have open conversations about safe sex (scroll, April 16 post) when the time is right and schedule their GYN check-ups yearly. It may be a scheduling pain, but nowhere near the pain of watching my 9 year old pass out, throw up and shake on the floor with a grand-mal seizure. In this case, just say “Hell No.”

Happy Parenting,

GoodWitch

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Hear the coaches – Podcasts coming. Talk to the coaches! –  Personal and group coaching available.

Mondays money, work, purpose dilemmas. Thursdays family, relationships, love dramedy. Send your FREE brewing questions on how to thrive—not just survive— modern life to: coaching@stillsitting.net.

© 2009 ManifestGroup. No materials may be used without expressed written permission.

School Daze and Other Blurry Visions

graduate-1What I learned in school: having many degrees doesn’t make some people smart. Don’t get me wrong, I am not anti-education, just pro-formal education and School of Life. The other thing I believe I learned is that most people of this adult generation and their kids, have that Question Authority thing down. Next. The most help we can offer the kids in our lives is to make them comfortable with honestly questioning themselves more often, and not coddling them from themselves.

— BadWitch

Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…

Dear GW/BW – I’m 17 and will be a senior in September. I have good grades and am artisitc. I want to major in Liberal Arts and my #1 school is Loyola Marymount. That’s all I know for now. We just found out a study said that 85% of college students average six years to complete their undergrad degree. I still don’t know for sure what I want to do, what major, etc. My parents have four years of tuition for me. They totally support whatever I do, and I’m not panicking but trying to think ahead a little bit and wanted your opinions. Thanks! – Artistic Daughter

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Dear Artistic Daughter,

Sounds like your ideal and those study numbers concern California specifically (the rest of the country averaged more like 62% for same!). I graduated college in California a long time ago in a galaxy far away, and our schools are so impacted we were on this trend then (I did it in 4), so that makes me think: The more things change, the more they stay the same…only with a larger population.

It’s great your parents want to and can support you, and that you seem to be a responsible and thoughtful daughter in return. The rest is much easier! In between your senioritis activities, take the chance to do more research, interviews and visits as possible. Maybe you want to make a list of what you’re good at (hard skills) and what your personality is not suited for…and vice versa on both lists. Compare and evaluate. There are JCs you can do your prereqs-are-prereqs-are-prereqs at, which despite their increased fees, will buy your parents’ college fund more time to grow for your ultimate school. You can work part time during full time school to supplement expenses and (ideally) open your mind to other (major/direction) options through exposure and experience. At this point, time is your friend. Use that relationship wisely.

The only personal “advice” I will give you is not to be afraid to make mistakes. Then feel free to strive to achieve a balance between necessity, discipline/work and fun. I was an extremely hard task master on myself, and this got things done all right, but it took years (and years later) for me to chillax this blessing/curse so I could truly face what I love and embrace it — and I always knew who I was!, but sometimes to truly know oneself, is to listen and act on your inner voice. You are young and shouldn’t pressure yourself to know everything you want to do right now, but just give yourself permission to really hear your own voice. …And then have the guts to have the wisdom to have the tenacity to follow-through. Between the young woman you already are showing up to be, and your future schooling, you’ll do fine.

Matriculate in life, baby!

BW

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Dear Artistic Daughter,

Good job on thinking about things before the last minute! There’s a lot to consider with where to go to college, what to major in and, yes, whether you can do it in 4 years.

Start by asking for materials from every school that interests you. Try and isolate why one school is more attractive to you then another. It will help you whittle down your list of “must haves” in a school. You may also find that certain programs are more attractive than others. This will start to give you clues about your major.

As for deciding on a major, follow your heart. What do you enjoy doing and what classes seem the most interesting to you? I ended up starting my major in English, but my love of theater and history classes allowed me to finally double major Theater/English with a minor in History. Did I start off as a whiz kid who wanted to do all three? No. But I took the classes that interested me, many offering credits under multiple majors. For instance, a theater history class offered credits for my theater major, but I could also use those under History if that was where the credits were needed. I also received full credits for working on some theatrical productions, which I would have worked on anyway. All this added up to enough credits to finish in four years with a double major and a minor. Not bad.

Also, when reviewing classes to take, stick to your strengths, not only in subject, but in testing requirements. I am not good with tests. I prefer to write papers and so looked for classes that did not have tests—only papers. Of course, this was not possible for every class, but this meant that in a semester I would have no more than one class to study for a test. But since my other classes were papers only, I had the time to focus for a test without endangering any of my other grades. I also love class discussions vs. lecture. So I was sure my schedule each semester had  lots of 3-hour discussion classes and very few lectures. It made for a more enjoyable learning experience.

College is a great time to get to know yourself and how to work in community. But, as always, the caveat remains, “know yourself and act accordingly.” Give yourself the tools to enjoy the learning experience, whether that be all classes with discussion and papers or a schedule with several classes that require a lot of focus and concentration and one easy class, like my all time favorite, “Rock Music and Rock Film” where I got to watch movies of Woodstock and Led Zeppelin. Some may cal it being a slacker. I call it balance. You can only do so much at one time, pace yourself and give yourself the tools you need to learn well, get good grades and get as much out of the college experience as possible.

Enjoy this time of exploration and realize, you cannot ask too many questions to be sure you have found the right environment for you. I can say, with your showing this much focused attention now, you’ll do well. Just keep up the good, proactive work!

Good Luck,

GoodWitch

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Hear the coaches – Podcasts coming. Talk to the coaches! –  Personal and group coaching available.

Mondays money, work, purpose dilemmas. Thursdays family, relationships, love dramedy. Send your FREE brewing questions on how to thrive—not just survive— modern life to: coaching@stillsitting.net.

© 2009 ManifestGroup. No materials may be used without expressed written permission.

Dodgeball Ban in Schools: Inbounds or Automatic Out?

What are we teaching our next gen of citizens? The mere word “Dodgeball” brings up emotions and memories instantly, like a word association test. Since circa 2001 there’s been a growing movement to ban the PE game in schools. Does Dodgeball promote bullying and violence, or create anti-competitive wimps? Have some schools and educators gone too far by moving to kill an American institution all in the name of PC-love and understanding? This debate is seeing a second wave of interest and noise. Which side are you on? Let’s hear from parents, but especially you teachers out there. Oh…and there’s a poll after class (below).               — BadWitch


Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…

Dear GW/BW – My daughter’s school is  considering finally banning Dodgeball. My husband is dead set against this, but I’m on the fence. I loved it, but I can see what they mean about teaching our kids good lessons like not bullying and non-violence. On the other hand, why do away with something so traditional? What are your thoughts?   – Dodgy Movement, City/State withheld

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Dear Dodgy Movement,

I am a parent who grew up in the late 70’s. Dodgeball, tag, and floor hockey (with plastic sticks) was all part of the normal Physical Education classes. I have to side with your husband. I love dodgeball, not because I was the best at it or because I was the bully who wanted to pick on smaller kids. I love dodgeball because it is a sport about life. You may be the under-dog, too small or too big and lanky with little coordination (that was me), but you have a skill you can rely on to survive.

For me, I was truly jazzed when the best dodgeball players would throw the ball at me. I knew I could not actually dodge the ball (read: big, lanky kid line), but I could catch the ball. I learned that even if the most popular or the biggest bully came after me, I had the resources to rise above it. I would sink to my knees, take the pain, catch the ball and deliver a resounding, “Ha! You’re out!” Dodgeball taught me that no matter what was stacked against me, I had my own unique skills to win. I wasn’t as small and agile at dodging the ball as some other kids, but I could catch that big red rubber ball. I could survive based on my own talents. That’s an important lesson.

Now, some schools go further than banning dodgeball. They ban any activity in which someone may lose. This means the demise of innocent games like musical chairs. This means everyone gets a medal so no one gets to say, “I’m number one!” How can we take these important life lessons away from our children? We don’t want our kids to lose and we don’t want them to be disappointed, which as a mom, I get. But at the same time that means we are avoiding giving our kids the lessons of how to rise above disappointment. How to grieve a loss of something small—like a game or a spelling bee—accept the lessons inherent in the situation and apply those lessons to do better the next time.

We are a society with a huge problem with perfectionism. We expect it from ourselves and our kids—despite the fact that one of the best lessons in life is failure. Albert Einstein was a horrible student. He failed a number of times. But he was allowed to fail and allowed to learn what he did wrong and what he did right. He could analyze what his strengths and weaknesses were so he knew where to apply himself. In the end, clearly, those lessons paid off. If our own children are not able to experience these lessons when they are children, we are dooming them to an adulthood of disappointment, with no coping skills to fall back on.

We think we are saving our kids by taking away every pain and every hurt. But these are the lessons that shape character. Raising children in a plastic bubble so they don’t have to experience the pain we have felt as children is cutting them off from experiencing life. It may seem like you are just asking about banning a violent game, but in truth, your school is hovering on a societal slippery slope. Take a step back from the edge. Let your children learn the lessons they need to succeed in life. Everyone will not be CEO. Everyone will not be President. Give them the tools to rebound now.

Play ball!

GoodWitch

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Dear Dodgy Mover,

I saw REAL Sports, too! In preparing my serious answer, I Googled “history + of + dodgeball” and was amazed to see that Asian cavemen in 50,000 B.C. invented this fine display of sportsmanship and competition, that our Founding Father and #1 Ranked Dodgeball Player George Washington later perfected. ‘Nuf said. I only wish we would take teaching critical thinking skills in school as seriously as dodgeball.

I personally hated Dodgeball because it’s not suited to my physicality. I’m not sure it fits my definition of “sport”, but am willing to take it at face value as a PE activity or game. Despite that I didn’t like and sucked at it, I am against hiding behind the PC notion that Dodgeball and similar touch-oriented games or activities in school lead to anti-socialism (bullies don’t learn that behavior in class), teaches violence (see football), promotes the notion there are no losers (get a Real Life). Just as in life, not every sport/activity is for everyone. Just as in life, not everyone is equally good at everything. Just as in many phases of life, Dodgeball borders on one of those rites of passage that must be endured or enjoyed, achieving near-bar mitzvah or prom status! It helps kids figure out what they are good at, how to deal with things they don’t like, how to help others who are weaker than them, and how to play fairly and within the lines.

Dodgeball (much less Tag and high-fiving!) should not be banned in schools. A healthy America cannot thrive by generating more over emotionally-charged, unrealistic whiners who think they are owed something more by merely existing and breathing the carbon dioxide of those hard workers who have firsthand experience and smarts about what consistent elbow grease, good attitude and self-determination it takes to get to Self-Actualization at the top of the Maslow’s Hieracrchy of Needs pyramid. And I am not equating “success” with “money” or any such external rewards exclusively, I’m talking about successfully being or dating a, or living or working with future ex-Dodgeball champs and survivors.

No Dodging Life is for the Living,

BW

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Hear the coaches – Podcasts coming. Talk to the coaches! –  Personal and group coaching available.

Mondays money, work, purpose dilemmas. Thursdays family, relationships, love dramedy. Send your FREE brewing questions on how to thrive—not just survive— modern life to: coaching@stillsitting.net.

© 2009 ManifestGroup. No materials may be used without expressed written permission.


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