Children’s understanding of their social surroundings matures at an astounding rate. From the very first days of life when they grow 700 neural connections per second while passively receiving information through eye gazes into late childhood when their neural connections are in “use it or lose it mode” as they actively work to define themselves within peer groups. The blog posts on this page share my experiences with my Gen Alphas as they mature and I learn.
Recently, I’ve been discovering that my techniques and strategies to talk with my soon to be eight-year-old are insufficient. For the past couple of years when I have been asked a question about this confusing complex world we live in I pulled ideas form books, television shows, and movies she was familiar with. She was engaged and the conversations never had a conclusion. It was open for ongoing follow-up questions from either of us. While I continue to use the past books, television shows and movies her questions are requiring me to go beyond the immediate content and extend it to abstract concepts that go beyond the storylines. In short, Daniel Tiger, Zootopia and Have you Filled a Bucket Today are a bit too simple for my daughter…but that doesn’t mean they don’t continue to be the foundation of our conversations. It is the idea of creating a foundation early on that is central to discussing (in)justice and (in)equity with young children.
The most recent challenge occurred when she asked me, “Why don’t we adopt a child who is in foster care. They need families.” As usual, I had to pause and consider a formulated response that made sense to my experiences. Continue reading →
The term “stay woke” was originally coined by musician Erykah Badu in her 2008 song Master Teacher. In the song, Badu sings, “Baby sleepy time, to put her down and I’ll be standin’ round until sun down…I stay woke.” I was introduced to this song last March on an episode of the highly recommended podcast, Code Switch.
At the time, I was sitting on a bus riding through downtown Denver. My destination was a regional conference where I was scheduled to deliver a presentation titled: Facilitating a Developmentally Appropriate Conversation on Social Justice and Equity with Young Children. The presentation was built around my personal experiences growing up, talking with my daughter, Addi, and reflections from my twelve years as an early childhood educator. At the core of the conversation was how Addi and I work to be woke. This second of the three blog series outlines three lessons I have learned. We must Engage!
Are we there yet? If you’ve ever been in a car ride that exceeds 1 hour with young children it is highly likely that have considered very dark thoughts that you’re better off sharing only with your closest friends while enjoying a casual meal or adult beverage.
I recently found myself in this type of circumstance and it’s taken a couple weeks to recover and have the courage to sit down and write about the classic car ride question, “Daddy, Are we There Yet?”
Ever since my youngest was a few months old we have been taking car that can last as long as 11 hours. Our most recent trip was two 8 hour drives on back to back days. Prior to two years ago my wife did most of the drives with me and my two daughters, but now it’s just me. We discovered that it’s best if I drive and she flies. It saves us money, her time off from work, and our marriage.
Another reason is that I have a bit more confidence and success with my parenting skills on trips than she has. In this post, I’d like to share some of those tools and tips so that come your next distant car ride, you may be able to endure, tolerate, or even possibly avoid the question, “Are we there yet?”
Let me begin by talking about two things most of us already know are not the best choices, and why we need to consider alternatives because it’s not the best choice. Then I’ll share six alternatives.