Talk about a day brightener! This soulful rendition of Adele’s song, “One and Only,” performed by students at Staten Island’s PS22, was featured on ABC’s “World News Sunday.” Even more impressive, the kids just (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘kids’
More than twenty years ago, I wrote five poems for Kids Pick the Funniest Poems, a wonderful book that makes kids laugh. One of my poems, “I’m Glad I’m Me,” is on page one and sets the tone for the rest of the book. It lets kids know that in silliness there is strength, and in goofiness there is greatness! Its core messages come through loud and clear:
Be proud of who you are!
With all the recent news about bullying in school and with so many kids feeling alienated and isolated, it occurred to me that “I’m Glad I’m Me” should be an anthem and a source of strength for anyone and everyone who feels like an outsider, who feels like they don’t belong and never will. What I hope these children will understand is (more…)
This morning in the gym, I got to talking with a young guy named Matthew who is two months away from becoming a first-time father. I asked if he was interested in hearing about some wonderful ways to deepen and celebrate the experience of parenthood. He was, so I shared with him a few of these parent-friendly posts:
Years ago, I attended a lecture on healing by Dr. Bernie Siegel. During a guided meditation, Bernie asked everyone to close their eyes and visualize the child they used to be. He told us to go back to a specific event that had wounded us, to embrace the child we used to be, to give it the love and compassionate understanding it needed, to talk to that child and assure our former self that it was cherished and wonderful just as it was. As the meditation continued, I looked around. People were overcome with emotion. Tears were running down their cheeks as they bravely addressed the wounds they had struggled with since childhood.
Me? I felt nothing . . . but (more…)
Like most kids, my daughter Erin was a pro at delaying bedtime. She’d ask for a glass of water (“Water for the daughter!”), then ask for a bedtime story—one from a book, followed by an original “Super Erin!” story. Then she’d be hungry (I’d sneak her bread and butter sometimes when her mom thought she was sleeping). Then it was time to rub her back (“Stay with me until I fall asleep, Daddy”).
I used to tell her, “If there was ever a Bedtime Olympics, you’d win a gold medal!”
Years later, when I was writing cartoon ideas for Strange Brew, a nationally syndicated cartoon panel originated and drawn by John Deering of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, it occurred to me that Erin’s bedtime stalling would make a great cartoon. John agreed, and was kind enough to use Erin’s real name to make it even more special!
I overheard Isabelle, the four-year-old little neighbor girl, who was finally able to climb up on the swingset and swing by herself, singing at the top of her lungs: ” I can swing by myself; it’s the best day ever. It is spring and it is beautiful; and I can swing by myself.” So much joy!
Ah, if only we all could find such joy in life’s ordinary moments! It reminds me of another little girl, my friend Leslye’s niece. Leslye said her little niece woke up, walked to the window, looked out, and gasped:
It’s a brand new day!
As a proud father, I’d like to add one more Cub Quote to the mix. When my daughter, Erin, was eight years old, (more…)
I am a chronicler. From the day my daughter Erin uttered her first word, I wrote down her every amusing comment. Since she was our little bear cub, I called her collection of witticisms Cub Quotes. By the time Erin reached adulthood, I had accumulated more than 100 typed pages of these tender, amusing and laugh-out-loud remembrances that spanned her entire kidhood.
Five years old
Erin was lying with her head on my chest looking at me. I was lying on her bedroom floor. I smelled something and asked her if she passed gas. Without changing her expression, she said, “It’s your breath.”
Paging through Cub Quotes now, I am astonished that I have no recollection of some of the incidents I captured so long ago. I know that, at the time, I thought I’d remember every clever comment forever. Not so much. Time blurs the sharp edges of memory to the point where, if I do remember the incident, my printed account of it often differs from my memory of it. And if I do remember it clearly, I may be hard-pressed to guess how old Erin was when she said it.
Eight years old
Erin wanted me to rub her back at bedtime. I told her it was too late. As I was leaving, she called after me, “Rub your cub!”
Soon after my divorce, I realized I had a choice. I could either spend prodigious amounts of time and money on pursuing romantic relationships or I could direct those resources toward deepening my relationship with my teenage daughter. Talk about a no-brainer. There would always be time to date. My daughter would be young only once.
Dads, if you’re looking for love, if you’re looking for meaning, look no further than your own living room. Whether they’re toddlers or teenagers, your children will soak up as much love as you can give them and return it tenfold.
The first step is to listen to them with full attention. And don’t just ask what happened at school that day. Ask them how they feel about it. (Closed circuit to dads with daughters: she doesn’t want you to solve her problems, she just wants you to listen to them. Trust me on this one.)
Think up some fun ways to demonstrate to your kids how much you love and cherish them. For example: (more…)