Tag Archives: children

Book A FarmStay!!

12 Stones Farm Guest House

As promised, more information is coming your way about my amazing friends and their outreach to better the lives of others.

First up, are my friends, Eric & Hope Bright, who owned and operated a profitable dairy on their farm with lovely Jersey cows grazing and gracing the green hills of north Missouri.

Enjoy following along families, children, duck, chicken, and cow adventures on Instagram or Facebook.

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Alas, once their children, who were homeschooled like ours, flew the coop, they moved to warmer clime in south Missouri, just a 30 minute easy drive to Branson. We miss them being our neighbors. 😦

12 Stones Farm Guest House is a unique farm stay with children enjoying bottle feeding dairy calves, rounding up the ducks into their pen each evening, feeding the chickens, collecting eggs (then fixing those fresh eggs for your own brekkie!), milking gentle Jersey cows (and enjoying the milk!), playing with the cats, watching the dog guard the fowl from aerial predators (he takes his job seriously!), helping with the garden if you like, or launching a kayak in the Swan Creek just outside your cabin door.

If active farm stay is not your cup of tea, enjoy the peace and tranquility of a rural setting as you relax into your private hot tub just off the master bedroom with sounds of a tom turkey gobbling occasionally and the splash and gurgle of nearby Swan Creek. Then you might be off to take in the sights and sounds of the ever popular shows and attractions in Branson, MO. Each evening, build an outdoor fire, roast marshmallows and enjoy brilliantly starlit skies.

Enjoy eggs and milk fresh from the farm during your stay and extend the memories and enjoyment by purchasing extras at the 12 Stones Mercantile located on the farm.

As the weather warms, availability may become an issue as families and couples seek to get away from the city and breathe fresh air and relish peacefulness. Start your enquiry at 12 Stones Farm Guest House (sleeps 5) on AirBnB, VRBO, Flipkey, through Eric and Hope’s website, or just give them a ring!. You won’t meet nicer hosts! Also, if you need a really private getaway, take a look at their 2 person cabin on the same property but just a bit away. Available through AirBnB. Eric and Hope have 5.0 star reviews and are Superhosts!

French doors adorned with quilted window dressings lead to your private outdoor hot tub!
Forgive my terrible photo, but i include it anyway to give you an idea of the spaciousness of the open areas of the 5 person cabin. Behind the DeKalb sign is the loft with 2 twin beds for low ceiling sleeping. Cabins are fitted with all the comforts of home. Quick snapshot in between packing water to Eric who was laying tile in the fabulously upgraded yet still retaining its rustic feel shower and bathroom. Yup, i was helping!

Don’t even hesitate to book this 2 person cabin on the same property and enjoy the same amenities as the 5 person cabin. This trip was the first time i have seen it finished (it was in the infant stages when i visited before) and, as expected, Eric, with his amazing carpentry skills, and Hope with her eye to artistry and detail, have created another oasis.

Train Up A Child

There are some good thoughts in this article:

OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST, PSYCHOTHERAPIST

Victoria is an internationally-known educator, motivational speaker and a popular blogger on modern-day parenting and high-tech lifestyle’s impact on a child nervous system. Victoria is a founder and a clinical director of a multidisciplinary clinic for children with behavioral, attentional, social, emotional and academic challenges. Victoria works with children, parents, and teachers around the world.

The silent tragedy affecting today’s children

This article has been read by 20 million people. I know that many would choose not to hear what I say in the article, but your children need you to hear this message.

— Victoria Prooday
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There is a silent tragedy developing right now, in our homes, and it concerns our most precious jewels – our children. Through my work with hundreds of children and families as an occupational therapist, I have witnessed this tragedy unfolding right in front of my eyes. Our children are in a devastating emotional state! Talk to teachers and professionals who have been working in the field for the last 15 years. You will hear concerns similar to mine. Moreover, in the past 15 years, researchers have been releasing alarming statistics on a sharp and steady increase in kids’ mental illness, which is now reaching epidemic proportions:

 

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No, “increased diagnostics alone” is not the answer!

No, “they all are just born like this” is not the answer!

No, “it is all the school system’s fault” is not the answer!

Yes, as painful as it can be to admit, in many cases, WE, parents, are the answer to many of our kids’ struggles!

 It is scientifically proven that the brain has the capacity to rewire itself through the environment. Unfortunately, with the environment and parenting styles that we are providing to our children, we are rewiring their brains in a wrong direction and contributing to their challenges in everyday life.

Yes, there are and always have been children who are born with disabilities and despite their parents’ best efforts to provide them with a well-balanced environment and parenting, their children continue to struggle. These are NOT the children I am talking about here.

I am talking about many others whose challenges are greatly shaped by the environmental factors that parents, with their greatest intentions, provide to their children. As I have seen in my practice, the moment parents change their perspective on parenting, these children change.

What is wrong?

Today’s children are being deprived of the fundamentals of a healthy childhood, such as:

  • Emotionally available parents

  • Clearly defined limits and guidance

  • Responsibilities

  • Balanced nutrition and adequate sleep

  • Movement and outdoors

  • Creative play, social interaction, opportunities for unstructured times and boredom

Instead, children are being served with:

  • Digitally distracted parents

  • Indulgent parents who let kids “Rule the world”

  • Sense of entitlement rather than responsibility

  • Inadequate sleep and unbalanced nutrition

  • Sedentary indoor lifestyle

  • Endless stimulation, technological babysitters, instant gratification, and absence of dull moments

Could anyone imagine that it is possible to raise a healthy generation in such an unhealthy environment? Of course not! There are no shortcuts to parenting, and we can’t trick human nature. As we see, the outcomes are devastating. Our children pay for the loss of well-balanced childhood with their emotional well-being.

How to fix it?

If we want our children to grow into happy and healthy individuals, we have to wake up and go back to the basics. It is still possible! I know this because hundreds of my clients see positive changes in their kids’ emotional state within weeks (and in some cases, even days) of implementing these recommendations:

 

Set limits and remember that you are your child’s PARENT, not a friend

Offer kids well-balanced lifestyle filled with what kids NEED, not just what they WANT. Don’t be afraid to say “No!” to your kids if what they want is not what they need.

  • Provide nutritious food and limits snacks.

  • Spend one hour a day in green space: biking, hiking, fishing, watching birds/insects

  • Have a daily technology-free family dinner.

  • Play one board game a day. (List of family games)

  • Involve your child in one chore a day (folding laundry, tidying up toys, hanging clothes, unpacking groceries, setting the table etc)

  • Implement consistent sleep routine to ensure that your child gets lots of sleep in a technology-free bedroom

Teach responsibility and independence. Don’t over-protect them from small failures. It trains them the skills needed to overcome greater life’s challenges:

  • Don’t pack your child’s backpack, don’t carry her backpack, don’t bring to school his forgotten lunch box/agenda, and don’t peel a banana for a 5-year-old child. Teach them the skills rather than do it for them.

Teach delayed gratification and provide opportunities for “boredom” as boredom is the time when creativity awakens:

  • Don’t feel responsible for being your child’s entertainment crew.

  • Do not use technology as a cure for boredom.

  • Avoid using technology during meals, in cars, restaurants, malls. Use these moments as opportunities to train their brains to function under “boredom”

  • Help them create a “boredom first aid kit” with activity ideas for “I am bored” times.

Be emotionally available to connect with kids and teach them self-regulation and social skills:

  • Turn off your phones until kids are in bed to avoid digital distraction.

  • Become your child’s emotional coach. Teach them to recognize and deal with frustration and anger.

  • Teach greeting, turn taking, sharing, empathy, table manners, conversation skills,

  • Connect emotionally – Smile, hug, kiss, tickle, read, dance, jump, or crawl with your child.

We must make changes in our kids’ lives before this entire generation of children will be medicated! It is not too late yet, but soon it will be… -Victoria Prooday

 

Progressive? Marginally.

Why the mass exodus of young people from farming?  Here is another example of  one of several problems – well identified – yet apparently laughed off by the current generation of farmers and ranchers left scratching their heads wondering why junior is leaving for good.  Sad, very sad.

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Copied from The Progressive Farmer – April 2018

Moonlight Sonata

The only regret i have for my children and their formal piano and vocal lessons is that i didn’t have them start much earlier in life.  Now, we’ve always listened to music or music history when we homeschooled, but no formal training until Jessica was 14, Dallas was 12, and Nathan (starting later) was about 11.  Nathan didn’t take for very long because their teacher moved away, although we did find another wonderful teacher who gave him lessons for about a year later on and introduced him to the world of stage production musicals.  Jessica became good enough to earn a small vocal scholarship at Central Methodist and was very active in their music programme and even participated in rehearsals, special ensemble small group called ‘Chorale,’ and was an officer in SAI.

Dallas, through his training actually showed the most improvement!

Nathan is a good vocalist, but not quite good enough to snag a singing part in Carousel Production of Les Misérables a couple years ago as a sophomore in high school.  It was a great experience for him anyway as he participated with four different roles in the musical.

Anyway, I started playing the piano when i was nine – hated practicing -but was required to continue for five years.  Only way later in years did i appreciate my parents forcing me to continue for as long as i did.  My children, however, really enjoy playing the piano and enjoyed their lessons, although none of us are accomplished pianists.

Those of us who play or teach piano know that it helps our brains.  It’s even scientifically proven according to some.  Playing the Piano Might Make You Smarter is a neat article that gives some of the evidence for that.

Now today, I struggled through playing a part of a song (Sonata quasi una Fantasia – First movement) i used to be able to play, but i cannot now.   Although, it’s far from starting an unknown piece, it will be a long time before it sounds decent.  So my question is – can old brains be made smarter and/or improve memory by playing the piano?  Hmmmm  Maybe if can push forward and learn Movements 2 (i can stumble through) and 3 (only in my dreams) by L van Beethoven.

Listen to Sonata quasi un Fantasia in its entirety by L van Beethoven

Shabbat Shalom

tauna

She’s Off! Again

These past two months have been such a blessing with our whole family together at home.  Daughter Jessica, returned in June from her two years in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, having taught kindergarten at The American School.  She made so many friends, both at the school and the US Embassy.  She had purchased a car and explored the countryside as much as possible on long weekends.  On longer breaks, she took in Panama, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Ecuador.  She was able to come home for visits occasionally.  She will miss her classroom assistant, Ms Cuty, very much – she just loved that wonderful lady.  As she gave me a hug (the boys and i visited Thanksgiving 2013), she says to me, ‘in the classroom, Miss Jessica is my boss, outside, she is my daughter.’  I will never be able to adequately thank this wonderful lady!.

Read about her experiences in her blog at The Honduras Experience.

Now, she has just landed in Dubai, UAE via Delta Airlines for her next two year stint at teaching.  This time, she will be teaching kindergarten at Dubai American Academy, a world class private school.

Taking her to Kansas City International Airport yesterday was a difficult task for me.  Emotionally, i’m just a basket case.  Of course, i’m thrilled she has the courage, tenacity, and hard work ethic to graduate number one in her Central Methodist University class of 2013 with honors at age 21, then to apply for and obtain a foreign teaching job, then do it again, travel all over while she’s in those areas, but at the same time, I want her safe at home.  But she’s probably not in any more in danger on her travels than she is on our north Missouri farm.

Successful college career. Number one in her class, with honors and a 4.0 GPA Summa Cum Laude
Successful college career. Number one in her class, with honors and a 4.0 GPA Summa Cum Laude

It was certainly nice not to have to leave home at 2am to make the flight like it was for Tegucigalpa!  But it is now 23 hours from our house to her apartment in Dubai.

So, maybe i burst into tears occasionally because of the change?  my children are grown and leaving (left) the nest?  making lives of their own?  Geesh, those should make me happy!  What’s wrong here?  I am happy – just not ready.

Since it is Friday, we probably won’t hear from here until Sunday or Monday, when she is settled into her apartment and utilities are turned on.  What a difference in weather and culture!   It’s currently 93 feels like 107F in Dubai – not bad, we’ve been having that in  north Missouri, EXCEPT, it’s 1 am in Dubai.

Shabbat Shalom!

tauna

Quotables

“Children are not a distraction from more important work.  They are the most important work.”  Dr John Trainer

“The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only – and that is to support the ultimate career. ”  C.S. Lewis

“Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.”  C.S. Lewis

Photo:  St Magnus CathedralKirkwall, Orkney, Scotland

Book Banning and Educational Freedom

Nathan Powell submitting his latest essay for English at Trenton College dual credit course.

Censorship is a topic often associated with totalitarian governments and repressive regimes, yet, in our own United States, many books, including such classics as Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, and Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl, have been banned from public libraries at one time or another for various kinds of objectionable material.  Massive changes in the way society and individuals view once-uncouth topics have drawn the debate over where the line between free speech and dangerous expression lies into sharp focus.  In their article “Counterpoint: Book Censorship can be[sic] Justified in Some Cases,” authors Christina Healey and Tracey M. DiLascio eloquently and convincingly argue for the use of censorship as a precise tool to protect children from concepts and ideas that could negatively affect the child’s development.

Healey and DiLascio emphasize the power of books to influence a culture and the need for parents to be able to choose what books their children read.  They say, “[books] can be used to educate, to inculcate values and transmit ideology, and to stimulate the imagination.  They can instruct in civic virtues or contain instructions to build a bomb” (Healey and DiLascio par. 5).  By this, the authors mean to inform the reader of the importance of the debate over whether books can severely influence those who read them.  The authors state that “ … it is important that parents be given information about the books that are being made available to their children” (Healey and DiLascio par. 9).  Healey and DiLascio believe parents armed with this information would be better able to make wise decisions about what their children are exposed to, and thus, better able to challenge what books should be purchased with public funds and what books should be removed from public libraries.

To establish a framework for their paper, Healey and DiLascio give a brief overview on the history of book banning in the United States, stating, “Book banning in schools or public libraries generally begins when a concerned parent or group of parents takes issue with a literary text on (usually) moral grounds …” (Healey and DiLascio par. 1).  They list several examples of books which have been banned and the reasons why, ranging from inappropriate language to depressing content.  This context they provide is vital for a realistic discussion of a hot-button topic such as censorship, as it allows the reader to understand that the form of censorship in question is not repression of divergent ideologies, but rather is the careful consideration of what topics young minds are prepared to understand, for which there is a strong precedent here in the United States.  This list also demonstrates the variety of reasons that could cause a book to be considered worthy of a ban, and shows that we must not take the power of censorship lightly for fear of overextending across the boundary between protecting our children and oppressing free expression.

Next, Healey and DiLascio discuss some of the issues surrounding young adult (YA) literature, a highly controversial genre, that make the censorship of these books from public libraries seem sensible to some parents.  As they explain, “One is that many books targeted at or assigned to the teen audience have increasingly graphic violence, sexual content, drug and alcohol content, and obscene language” (Healey and DiLascio par. 8).  This dark turn in YA books can be seen simply by investigating the youth adult section of one’s local library.  From post-apocalyptic gladiators to fantasy settings shrouded in shadows, the literature gracing the shelves may capture the imagination, but it no longer does so through inspiration and encouragement, but rather through visceral shock value.  Proponents of these books say that discussing topics that are normally considered taboo can increase awareness of persons in these situations.  However, critics, myself included, contend that books such as these glorify lifestyles and actions which are dangerous and that these concepts should not be perpetuated by public funding in school and public libraries.

Finally, the authors emphasize the importance of parental engagement in their children’s literary pursuits, advocating, “Just as parents monitor the music, video games, and movies to which their children are exposed, parents should be aware of what books their children are reading” (Healey and DiLascio par. 4).  Healey and DiLascio contend that the parental right to educate one’s children in the way one sees fit supersedes the right of free expression where public funding is concerned, so parents should have the right to petition for books to be removed from school and public libraries.  While some might see this as suppression and exclusion, I think the reality is that restricting books that convey negative messages with which a parent disagrees allows parents to better impart their sense of morals to their children.  Rather than relying on the permissive morals of the collective masses to decide when a child is ready to learn about a certain topic, the parent can make an informed decision on a child-by-child basis, which encourages greater diversity of ethics.  In other words, giving the parents the right to control what their children are exposed to can create greater expression instead of repressing it.

The perfect balance between censorship and expression will probably never be struck, but the fact that we have this conversation gives me hope that as a society we will continue to search for it.  In “Counterpoint: Book Banning can be[sic] Justified,” Healey and DiLascio offer a compelling line of reasoning to support parental censorship of children’s reading material and in this specific scenario, I find myself in support of their argument for replacement and restriction to introduce children to difficult concepts in due time.

Works Cited

Healey, Christina and DiLascio, Tracey M. “Counterpoint: Book Banning can be Justified in Some Cases.” Points of View: Banning Books 2015: 3. Web.