Little Hands Make Fun Work

Today I would like to share with you a wonderful article by Armi Rowe, a family-centric aspiring author who shares her enthusiasm and inspiration for a life that strives to be productive in work but also values the role of play. Her goal is to reconnect the generations through stories. Armi has shared her inspirational words with us before and I am pleased to have her share her journey of raising responsible children in both work and family life in the article below. Enjoy!

Little Hands Make Fun Work

Do you remember how old you were when you first physically felt the effects of real work?  I couldn’t wait to get my working papers when I turned fourteen.  I woke up that morning, excited to open my presents from Mom and Dad.  I blew my candles.  Later that day, I was on a train to Brooklyn to fill out an application from the Department of Labor.  I was finally old enough to earn my own income.  Even if I knew that part time hours at minimum wage would only amount to enough money for the movies, I felt enormous pride that day.

I was following in the footsteps of my older brother, who had at that point already worked as a restaurant busboy, pizza delivery boy and McDonald’s cashier.  Money was tight for our immigrant family, so it was important for us to develop our own streams of pocket money.

I also remember talking at length with my father about the value of having strong typewriting skills.  This is how he paved a career for himself in government accounting in the Philippines.  He typed and entered data at tremendous speed, with pinpoint accuracy.  He inspired me to start learning how to type on my own at nine-years-old.  I set a newspaper article beside my typewriter and typed what I read, fumbling around the keyboard.  As a result, my semester in junior high school typing class went very smoothly.  I was quickly placed on many short-term clerical assignments during my college summers.  And that helped me to fill in my resume and gather recommendations.

My oldest is now twelve years old; my youngest is eight.  I worry about their generation not having the same kind of impetus and appreciation for work.  It is important to me that they understand where all their stuff comes from; that everything is paid for through hard work, whether the work is done through a complex corporate job or through the physical and emotional labor required in running a household and nurturing a family.

One day, I found myself asking my kids a rhetorical question.

“Everyone in this family has a job,” I said.  “Do you know what your job is?”

“Going to school and doing my homework?” said my oldest.

“Putting away my toys?” said my youngest.

I was very happy to see that they were able to discern on their own that they had responsibilities as members of our household.  Over time, they understood the important role they played in the family each time they set or cleared a table or took the dog out for a little play in the yard.  But they could contribute more.

On New Year’s Day, we made it a family mission to organize the garage.  It seems that every six months we need to purge family clutter as our busy lives sometimes prevent us from putting things where they belong.  Enough was enough.  We wanted to start the new year with clear minds and unblocked paths.  It worked wonders for all of us.  Every time we opened the garage door, it was so satisfying to see everything in its place.  What I found even more moving about this simple family activity was that we were together all day, evaluating whether or not we still needed something, whether it could be recycled or donated and more importantly, that their little hands made a difference.

Today my youngest accompanied me to work a pancake fundraiser at her school.  Weeks ago, when I read on a school flyer that they were still in need of volunteers, I thought this might be a good opportunity for me to teach her about volunteer work.  When I reminded her last night that we needed to be up early to report at 7:30 a.m., she responded with groans and moans.

“But remember, you committed to this.  Your school is counting on our help,” I said.  “There’s a lot to do to run a pancake fundraiser and if you don’t go, they’ll be short one person.”

“But I didn’t know it was going to be so early!” she whined.

She was dressed and on time, ready to work, but not thrilled about it.  In the car we had a chat.

“Do you know what the word volunteer means?” I said to her.

“Yeah, it means you work for free.”

“You’re right.  But it also means other things.  You are giving your time and energy.”

“To help people!” She finished my sentenced, beginning to perk up.

“Yes, today’s pancake fundraiser will raise money to pay for after-school programs and enrichment activities at your school.”

“Like basketball, Spanish club and Spirit Days?”

“Yes.  Exactly!”

When we arrived at the school, she was pleasantly surprised to see one of her classmates and recognized other fellow students and their siblings who were also there to work.  These were children of parents who were regular volunteers at school functions.  It was a natural extension of what they do as involved families.  While I poured batter and flipped pancakes and chatted with other volunteer parents, I caught a glimpse of her having fun while she worked.  I heard her busily shuffling around the cafeteria and hallways with her young co-workers, wiping down tables as families finished their pancake breakfasts to prep for new families.  I watched her laugh and smile as she inspected the little red buckets of candies that served as treat bowls and table centerpieces, ready to refill them.  At the end, she helped put away decorations that were hanging on the wall and on the tables.

“Mom, when are we going home?” she finally said to me, dragging her feet and looking utterly exhausted.  Her smiles and energy had been depleted.  Her body now understood the true meaning of work.

“Welcome to volunteer work!” I said to her, embracing her as a matriculated member of our volunteer team.

This brought back some warmth to her face.  As other parents helping with clean-up also commended her on a job well done, her spark came back.  She, too, beamed with pride in the spirit of hard work.

Armi S. Rowe
Family Enthusiast who chooses an inspired life…
(860) 460-3047
Rock-N-Rowe, LLC Media

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An ADHD Medication Summer Vacation?

by Mindy Mazur

Five Questions your Family should Consider

Before I start, I want to acknowledge that there are many different opinions about medicating your child diagnosed with ADHD. That said, I will leave that discussion for another time. Instead, this article is about the families that have already made the decision to medicate their child and have witnessed very positive results, and have decided on a summer medication vacation.

One of the families I’m working with recently informed me that they were taking their eight year old son Max (diagnosed with ADHD) off his stimulant medication.  A friend suggested it so that he could gain weight, grow and catch up with his peers (many children are not gaining weight and have difficulty sleeping on stimulant medication). Actually, there’s little evidence that ADHD medicines have permanent impact on ultimate growth. Some children who use stimulants may not grow as quickly as their peers, but they often catch up eventually. If you are concerned about other side effects your child is experiencing, meet with his psychiatrist and consider a dosage adjustment or medication change before stopping your child’s medicine for the summer.

I don’t usually tell families what they should do rather I make suggestions and offer information so they are able to make informed decisions. But I couldn’t hold back.  I told them it was a mistake and that they shouldn’t do it. This is because their son needs his medication to function in his world whether it‘s in school, camp, or just playing with friends. Max’s most recent evaluations both reported the following:

  • School difficulties  are in social/emotional/behavioral areas
  • Has a poor delay of gratification
  • Impaired adherence to commands to regulate or inhibit behavior in social contexts
  • Poor executive functioning
  • Difficulty planning and delaying his responses when presented with tasks that are most demanding of that skill

Just think for a moment, would you have your child take an eyeglass vacation?  An insulin vacation?  Or if your child had a chronic medical condition, would you discontinue medication? None of these conditions take a vacation. ADHD doesn’t take one either.

Here are five questions I would suggest that your family should consider before stopping medication:

  1. Would his non-medicated ADHD behaviors make it difficult for your child to relate to friends and adults in a group or individually?
  2. Would his non-medicated ADHD impact his ability to complete the summer reading assignment (hopefully the IEP includes a modified reading list)?
  3. Would his non-medicated ADHD behaviors make home life difficult, such as completing daily activities of life and getting along with other siblings?
  4. Would his non-medicated behaviors make it difficult for your family to enjoy (let alone survive) a long trip or vacation?
  5. And most importantly…what would make your child’s summer the most positive, fun, and self-esteem building-experience?

The decision to take a medication vacation depends on each individual family. Many children with ADHD can be successful learning, growing, and having fun away from school if their ability to focus and act thoughtfully is consistent all year long.

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School’s Out…Keeping Kids/Teens Busy So They Don’t Get Into Trouble

Keep your kids on schedule and busy and supervised this summer with these tips and techniques:

Younger kids will benefit from a schedule that you set in place.

  • Up the same time every morning
  • A few chores
  • 20 minutes of reading time
  • Meals at the same time during the day
  • Regular bedtimes
  • Lots of exercise –shut off the TV!

Older kids and teens need more. If they are not old enough to work, get them to volunteer at least 10 hours per week. The benefits of volunteering are amazing! Giving without getting paid, doing something for someone less fortunate, (and for the parents: knowing where your kids are and what they are up to!)

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Please don’t roll your eyes, it’s disrespectful

Parents ask me all the time, “How many times do I have to keep repeating myself to get my child/teen to stop being disrespectful?”

My answer is always, “As many times as it takes for them to get that you mean it.” I know it is tedious and exhausting but hang in there. If you can get your point across in a few corrective words, eventually your child/teen will integrate the information. However, if you lose your temper, lecture, rant and rave…you will get nowhere. They will stop listening to your words and only hear your emotional state (usually frustration, disgust, and exhaustion).

This week remember the Robotic Parenting Mantra-and call them on their non-verbal disrespect and repeat as many times as it takes:

“Please don’t __________ it’s disrespectful”.

Who’s running your house?

I want to help you get peace and harmony. So right now, I am offering you my products at 50% off the regular price.   I only  set aside 50 copies of each book/dvd/cds and they are going fast. Just enter Coupon Code: JUNE11 to receive the discount.

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Please don’t speak to me that way, it’s disrespectful

Every home needs a hierarchy to run smoothly. In homes that have peace and harmony it looks like this.

  • Parents
  • Children
  • Pets

In homes where chaos reigns it looks like this:

  • Pets
  • Children
  • Parents

This week remember the Robotic Parenting Mantra-“Please don’t speak to me that way, it’s disrespectful”.

Who’s running your house?

I want to help you get peace and harmony. So right now, I am offering you my products at 50% off the regular price. I only  set aside 50 copies of each book/dvd/cds and they are going fast. Use Coupon Code: JUNE11 to receive your discount.

Click here to get yours today


Posted in Teens/Tweens | Leave a comment