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Simple No-Cost Ways Kids Can Show Dad That He is Important


Are you pulling at your hair, trying to think of something special to give your  father on Fathers’ Day?  Try the gift of appreciation. There are simple actions you can take to show Dad that he is important. Read below to find out how Fathers’ Day came to be. You'll also see a few appreciation-gift tips:

 A West Virginia church planted the Fathers’ Day seed in July 1908 when it created an event to honor fathers. The church did this to recognize the 362 men who had died in a recent coal-mine explosion. In 1909, Sonora Smart Dodd, one of six children raised by her widowed father, tried to establish a day to parallel Mothers’ Day, already a national holiday. Presidents Wilson and Coolidge urged states to make Fathers’ Day a state holiday. Finally, in 1972 Richard Nixon proclaimed it a national holiday.

 Here are a few simple ways you can remind Dad that he is important:

  •  When Dad comes home at the end of the day, turn off the tv, put down the iPad, walk up to Dad, smile and say “Hi”. Why do I suggest this? A visiting college roommate of mine wondered how my father could come home from work in such a good mood.  After all, he was coming home, likely worn out, to the tumult of a household with eight kids! She finally figured it out—eight kids greeted him with hugs! A warm welcome can do a lot towards brightening a tired-dad’s day.
  • Ask Dad about his day. Dad likes to hear about your Turn the tables: show an interest in the comings and goings of his day—then watch him smile! 
  • At dinner, offer to pass the bowl of potatoes around the table, starting with Dad. Explain that he is the guest of honor and, thus, comes first! 
  • Show Dad that his time and efforts pay off. For example, if you are taking piano lessons, choose a song to practice and play it for him. He’ll see that the lessons mean something to you and that his money is well spent. Or maybe, he been working with you on your (baseball) pitch. Practice, practice, practice and pick this day to toss a ball to him in your new and improved style!
  • When friends come over and you see Dad, stop and say, “Hi” (or introduce them). Dad will see that you are proud to be his kid. He’ll be reminded of his pride in being your dad!’

Great gifts come in innumerable shapes and sizes. Sometimes, the gifts that mean the most are the ones wrapped with recognition and appreciation. These are gifts can be given over and over.  I wish your dad a happy Fathers' Day!



​​​How to Have a Frightfully Polite Halloween!

Witch 2
They may have been “creepy, kooky, mysterious, and spooky”, but the Addams family was also courteous. The following tips can be used to teach children that when fairies, freaks, princesses and creeps share the sidewalk with courtesy, everyone can have a frightfully polite Halloween:

  • When you see other wizards, gremlins, and goblins smile and say, “Hi”. Step aside and let them pass if there is not enough room for everyone on the sidewalk.
  • Do not approach a house that is dark. The ghouls and ghosts have, undoubtedly, already eaten all the goodies!
  • Ring the doorbell once; then wait quietly. The people inside are expecting masked visitors and will come to the door as soon possible.
  • When someone opens the door, look at him, smile, and say, “Trick or Treat”!. When you leave with your “loot” look at him, smile, and say, “Thank you”.
  • If you are offered a bowl of candy, take a few pieces (not a handful) off the top. Rifling through the bowl can cause candy to fall out; it will also hold up the trick or treaters behind you.
  • If you approach a house and other trick or treaters are filling their bags, wait patiently at the edge of the yard. When they pass you, walk up to the door.
  • If you accidentally bump into a ballerina or lion say, “Excuse me”. She will understand.
  • When trick or treating by car, open the door carefully; you wouldn’t want to whack a witch!
  • Leave a sweet impression by putting candy wrappers in your bag; do not scatter them across the neighborhood lawns.

Finally, as monsters, scarecrows, and kitty cats can certainly be generous, children may want to fill, not only a bag for themselves, but also a bucket for UNICEF!

Cozy Coffin Motel photo courtesy of Creative Commons  Photographer Kevin Dooley

Taking a Stand for Respect

My observations of the local Memorial Day Parade were printed in the MetroWest Daily News, Sunday, June 6

The Memorial Day Parade in my town was not flashy; the crowd was not crushing; and the speeches not self-aggrandizing. The parade was like a pot of mixed-berry jam: Civil War soldiers in blue; women in hooped skirts; an American-Legion float skirted in red, white, and blue; Scout troops marching in loose formation, police marching in perfect formation; a WW II tank rumbling; flutists playing; and babies gurgling. The day’s events reeked of small-town charm and offered myriad opportunities for adults to model respect.

The parade made strategic stops to allow for prayers and brief speeches honoring past and current veterans. A WW II fighter pilot addressed the crowd, honoring a fallen comrade. After he spoke, this eighty-something stood, leaning lightly on the back of an empty folding chair, as the names of the veterans we lost over the past year were read and the National Anthem sounded.

Through the National Anthem people saluted, others held a hand over their heart, and some simply stood straight. The Boy Scouts, hats removed, stood; one distracted Scout twirled his hat; a troop leader gently pushed the boys arm down; a silent lesson in respect. A group of elementary-age girls sitting on a blanket chatted; they didn’t understand the significance of the moment, and the adults with them lost a valuable teaching opportunity. Along with some children, a few adults sat on the curb, setting a fine example of obliviousness or, perhaps, ignorance.

Memorial Day is an annual opportunity for the town to honor those who protect us and the families who take on the attendant sacrifices and losses. Opinions on the wars, health-care reform, or the choice of state flower don’t matter; this day is about displaying respect and self-respect and, in the process, utilizing important teachable moments.

Flight lost, friendship found

The following article, printed in suburban Boston’s MetroWest Daily News, shows how a friend of mine and her family turned their airline disaster into a stranger’s bounty. It is a story I have told countless times:

Ubiquitous clips of stranded airline passengers remind me of Lisa, a stranger’s flight emergency, and a friendship forged. Lisa, her husband, and their two elementary-school age children were on a flight destined for Mexico and stuck on the tarmac…