Young people in America need to know more about real poverty, and this video is possibly the best I have ever seen at getting kids to relate to abject poverty. It’s entertaining and educational. They pack a lot of information and experiences into just 28 minutes. Plus, it’s appropriate for kids age 11 and up, since there are no deeply disturbing images.
Discussion Questions for Kids
1. How would you describe these men and their lifestyle in America?
2. Why do you think they decided to set such strict rules for their time in Haiti?
3. Does this sort of adventure appeal to you in any way? In what ways?
4. What would worry you the most about living in a tent in Haiti for a month?
5. How tolerant are you of being hungry and eating only simple foods like rice and beans?
6. What is the longest you have ever been hungry? Describe that time.
7. Describe the most grueling physical work you have ever done. What was it? How long did you work? Did you get paid (or fed or anything) for your work?
8. What part of this 28 day experience do you find most intimidating or terrifying? Explain why.
Every parent should regulate their children’s behavior until they are ready to regulate their own. It will likely be a 20-year process, which starts with full regulatory control of the infant and ends with total release of all control at adulthood.
What does it mean “to regulate?” In grammatical terms, it is a transitive verb, meaning that a subject rules or governs another object by adjusting the time, amount, degree, or rate of something upon the object.
Let’s take food, for example. An infant has no idea how to handle his hunger pains, can’t make decisions about food, and can’t feed himself. It is the parent’s job to fully control the diet of the child. The twenty-year old, on the other hand, should have mature eating habits within his full control: when to eat, what to eat, how much, how to shop, how to cook, how to balance his nutrition with exercise, etc. Continue reading “Parenting is Regulating”
Recently, I asked my Facebook friends to give me advice for my 7th graders. Here’s what my friends have learned in their 30 years of growing up since 7th grade.
Be cool to everyone because there’s a good chance you will either marry, work with, or work for one of them one day.
“It’s not about the shoes, it’s about what you can do in them.” – Michael Jordan
The stuff you are worried about is probably the wrong stuff.
Everywhere you go, leave it better than you found it.
Sometimes it’s best to just take the butt whoopin’ you deserve and move on.
The prettiest girls are the ones you don’t notice right away.
The measure of success you hold now won’t be the same in 20 years. Be good to everyone. Many who aren’t “successful” now will be very successful in 20 years.
If you want to know what you are like, look around at the people you hang with.
You can pick you friends, you can pick your nose, but don’t ever ever pick your friend’s nose.
The person who chooses not to read is no better off than the person who can’t read.
Manners matter! Always.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
Some days you are the dog, and some days you are the fire hydrant. That’s life.
There is no such thing as normal…it is only a setting on the dryer.
Never miss a good chance to shut up.
“20 years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Leave the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sail. Explore. Discover. Dream.” ~ Mark Twain
Those who hate you don’t win, unless you hate them back.
Sometimes you just have to accept that “It is what it is” and sometimes you should fight it. Pray for the wisdom to know the difference.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
I coach middle school cross country, which is not a glamorous job, but it is uniquely rewarding. For young distance runners, the hardest part is embracing the pain that creates stronger legs and faster times. I try to make practices and meets fun, but there is no way of getting around the fact that running really fast for 15-20 minutes is going to be painful, especially for growing little bodies.
Most of the kids who run cross country learn that without a healthy dose of pain every day they will not improve. No pain, no gain. Convincing kids of this is no easy task, but over time the sport tends to naturally reward those who fight through physical pain and emotional weakness.
When a young person develops some mental and physical toughness, they are growing up well. It’s incredibly rewarding to see the progress that these kids make over a season.
Some of my fellow coaches, Doug and Jennifer Meyer, use a fairy tale metaphor when explaining the need to persevere over a long distance. It also applies to many of life’s challenges that require stamina.
Parenting is a distance run, after all.
Somewhere in the middle of the race, there is a big bad wolf lurking around the corner. He will try to get you to slow down.
He sneaks up next to you and says things like, “Slow down. You’re hurting yourself. This is crazy. What’s the point of this? It’s not like you can win the race. You’re not very fast. Doesn’t this hurt? Just take it easy. No one will notice.”
A friend recently posted on Facebook a picture of her three young children helping their dad build a deck. The seven year-old boy was using a power drill to sink a deck screw.
Another woman posts a picture of her two kids 6 feet high up in the branches of an old oak tree. One is climbing with a garden hose in her hand, while another is hanging upside down.
You’ve all seen pics on social media that make you think, “Isn’t that dangerous for a little kid? Is he old enough for that? Is that safe?”
Those are excellent questions for every parent to ask about every activity. We should always be concerned about the safety of our children, but the real question is in how you respond to those questions.
Do you always choose the safest option?
In my opinion, always erring on the side of safety is a mistake. It seems like the safest way to raise kids, but it’s not. Failing to give young kids experiences with dangerous things will only increase their chances of being hurt later in life.
Resilience is the capacity to recover from adversity and return to well-being. Paul Tough, in his book How Children Succeed, explains that even kids who grow up in the most difficult situations of poverty, abuse, neglect, and stress can rise up from the ashes. It may not be the norm for kids of adversity, but with help, they can do it. “The teenage years are difficult for almost every child, and for the children growing up in adversity, adolescence can often mark a terrible turning point, the moment when wounds produce bad decisions. But teenagers also have the ability—or at least the potential—to rethink and remake their lives in a way that the younger children do not.”
Young teenagers who are supported by family and adults who empower them will face life’s challenges with more guts and stamina than those who fly solo. Those who have a strong sense of belonging, hope, and purpose will hold up better in the face of obstacles. Good parenting can transform a child into a happy, healthy, successful young person.
Resilience is not callousness. It is toughness. I think of certain people in my life who exhibit toughness when it is necessary and sweet sensitivity when it is called for. I call it “kind strength.” Continue reading “Raising Resilient Children”