These funky little relaxation jars are so easy to make and are wonderful visual aid for helping kids calm themselves when they’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed.
They’re a popular aid for parents but we also encourage teachers to use them in the classroom and have included the instructions in our primary/elementary school curriculum. read more →
Last week I was visiting my father in the hospital. My dad has late-stage cancer and is dying. read more →
I was at our local IGA supermarket and had just got in my car, went to start it and saw a mum with a maybe 6 month old on one hip, two bags of groceries in one hand, another bag in the other hand and a toddler struggling to let go of that hand in the car park. Cars and stuff about, obvious danger and mum was trying hard to get the toddler to stay with her. read more →
So this happened on our trip to Vermont, on the hike up to Camel’s hump (burrows trail?). With me are my wife, my 7-year-old daughter, 3-year-old son and 1-year-old strapped to me. The weather forecast was great, warm and sunny. It took us almost 3 hours to make it to 3/4 way to the top. Was proud of everyone to make it that far. read more →
Recently I sent some coupons to my old elementary school (that I went to from ’89 to ’94), just in an act of kindness since I know some teachers have to provide their own supplies, etc. I wasn’t really expecting that the current principal would know me, but I still wrote a letter, telling her of my intention in sending the coupons and for some reason felt inspired to name the teachers. read more →
He is the center of our galaxy, I’ll admit that.
Brady had been asking for two days to go carp spearing again. The stars aligned one afternoon and all three of us were free at the same time. Joe and I and 12-year-old Brady loaded up the trusty old Ford pick-up truck. The three of us squished together in the cab ready to play for the afternoon.
Me? I was a spectator, armed with a digital camera for capturing the moment … not the fish. read more →
It was an easy task to fly to Arizona, stay for a few days, and then fly home with my grandson in tow. All the Minnesota relatives were anxious to totally spoil him for 3 ½ weeks.
11-year-old Brady had been anticipating this for months. read more →
Years ago, I took my kids out to breakfast, just the three of us. My daughter was a baby and my son a toddler. read more →
A Kindness Tree is a beautiful way to focus on and acknowledge the importance of showing kindness within a school. The tree helps foster more kind, supportive relationships amongst students and teachers, and everyone loves to watch the tree “grow” as each good deed is recognized.
As you’ll see by the examples below there are many variations, some big, some small, but each one beautiful and unique. There are no rules when it comes to creating your kindness tree. Use your imagination and get the kids involved. For the tree itself, you can use paper, fabric, paint, a stencil or real tree branches. Tree leaves can be made from paper in the shape of leaves, hearts or even hands.
A kindness tree in the cafeteria at Alta Vista Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida is part of the Kindness Starts with Me program. Students fill out smile cards, color-coded by class, to acknowledge each other for the kind things they’ve done which are then attached to the kindness tree. read more →
In the span of about 20 minutes I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to see almost every student enter the building. Some are dropped off by their parents. Others ride their bikes to school. But most of our students take the bus to school each morning.
I try to give as many students as possible a high five, a handshake or a hug. It is without a doubt one of the best parts of my school day. And while I look forward to seeing each and every child that enters the building, there are three girls that just always seem to make my day.
Invariably, one of them will see me first. Once she does, she comes to me. Arms wide open. Preparing for the biggest hug. The next girl latches on. Then another. Until some days we have what I like to call a three-person-hug. read more →
My son is 8 and this year we’ve committed to encouraging his physical pursuits as he leans more naturally to the arts. We signed him up to a local weekend sports club and at his first session we knew he was going to be one of those kids who enjoyed the events, but was not going to have the drive to win. We love seeing his smiling face and skipping when he runs his longer races and we’re proud of him.
Last weekend his age group had to run two laps of the oval with younger boys and our son was quickly found near the back of the pack, running, skipping & walking with his big smile. Hot on his heels were four of the little kids and he made sure he stayed pace with them.
I remember walking into my bedroom one day after school to discover a brand new pair of aqua coloured jeans on my bed. I was so excited and grateful for those jeans as I had recently admired them in a shop but would never have asked my mum if I could have them. They were the latest trend and I knew we couldn’t afford them, but here they were, on my bed!
I almost knocked my mother over as I ran into her arms. I knew what sort of sacrifice she would have made to get them for me, so these were a very special gift that left a warm, vivid memory.
This is the sort of gratitude I hope my children feel when they are lucky enough to get something they’ve been wishing for. But it’s not just things I want them to appreciate, but their circumstances, their happiness, their friendships and all the ordinary things that surround them every day.
In a world where most children have all they could ever need, it can be difficult to teach them to be grateful. So how do you go about instilling a value that seems almost lost in our world of plenty?
Why Is Gratitude Important
Christine Carter is a sociologist from Greater Good Science Centre and a huge advocate for teaching gratitude. She shares some wisdom on why gratitude is important and how to help parents and teachers foster an attitude of gratitude.