Thursday, October 13, 2011

Weekend Adventurers

I don't know what the weather is like where you are but here in Austin, it has been a hot dry miserable and sometimes smoky summer. Now that things have begun to cool into the low 90's we've been getting back outdoors and doing our best to take advantage of the weekends.

Saturday morning we woke up in the pre-dawn hours as usual and started packing our bags for an adventure. We asked our three(and a half) year old what he wanted to do. His answer, "I want a go to a state park." So, following his direction, we pulled up the state park website and quickly narrowed down our choices, thanks to the recent wildfires. We settled upon Pedernales Falls and we were off.

After a short hour and a half drive we arrived. We decided to check out the swimming area and were surprised that there were no other cars there. As we walked down the half mile trail we quickly surmised why. The water was less than two feet at its deepest point. The rock that you can stand on in the middle of the swimming area stood five feet out of the water and the dock stood a full thirty feet from the water's edge. you could say it was a little dry. But, not one whose fond of crowds, I loved it. We spent the afternoon trying to catch fish by hand and skipping rocks in the "river." I think most of the rocks simply bounced off of others but I wasn't going to say anything and crush the pride I saw in their faces. There is nothing more natural or enjoyable than seeing that inquisitive spirit of a young child when it meets raw and uncontrolled wild.

Don't tell the kids, but there is learning there, too. It comes from questions and inspections and interactions with things not seen before. You have the option of playing games or instructing or geocaching but much of the time the majority of what they will learn is that which they try and find out themselves.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tidbits 12 OCT 2012

Recent News Items:
ADHD Medication may stall puberty in boys
Boys with Autism may grow faster as babies
It's never too late for fathers to reach out to their children
4 reasons parents should embrace skateboarding
BREAKING NEWS- Kids need to play

Best Books For Boys

Read to your boys. One of my first memories as a child was tricking the Ben Rogers and some of the other boys into white washing Aunt Polly's fence.

Studies say that children between the ages of 2 and 9 have difficulty descriminating between fantasy and reality. I know this is true because when I read Tom Sawyer I was in another world and time and it helped to craft my childhood in a very positive way. I didn't trick any of my neighbors into to doing my chores, but we did go off on some adventures, digging for treasure and fishing in the creek with just a stick a string and a paper clip. The worlds your boys can visit are innumerable and once they catch the bug for reading it is a condition that will stay with them forever.

Some great books:
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Great Illustrated Classics)

The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn (Unabridged And Illustrated)

Wind in the Willows (Puffin Classics)

The Call of the Wild (Puffin Classics)

Treasure Island (Qualitas Classics)

Oliver Twist (Penguin Classics)

A Tale of Two Cities (Penguin Classics)

Johnny Tremain

Chronicles of Narnia Movie Tie-in Box Set The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (rack)

The Hobbit: 70th Anniversary Edition


A Wrinkle in Time (Madeleine L'Engle's Time Quintet)


The Boxcar Children Bookshelf (The Boxcar Children Mysteries, Books 1-12)

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1)


The Jungle Book (Sterling Classics)

The Story of King Arthur and His Knights (Dover Storybooks for Children)

The Adventures of Robin Hood (Puffin Classics)

Saint George and the Dragon

And for the little ones 5 & under:

Where the Wild Things Are

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

The Pirate Cruncher

How I Became a Pirate

The Lion & the Mouse

Jumanji 30th Anniversary Edition

Finding movies your boys will love

Our Netflix Queue is full, at last glance there were over 150 movies and I believe maybe three were for Mom and Dad. Sometimes it can be difficult as parents to figure out if the movie you are about to put on for movie night will be a hit or if the kids will start wrestling and playing around as soon as the popcorn's gone. Rather than try to put together another top 100 list I decided to provide the resources and let you decide.

100 movies for boys- Boy's Life Magazine
Great Animated Movies for Boys Part I
Great Animated Movies for Boys Part II
Great Animated Movies for Boys Part III
10 best movies boys- Made Manual
Movies for 5-10 year old boys- WSTW Blog

I remember sitting down for movie night and I was so excited to finally watch Disney's Peter Pan with my boys. I had great memories of watching it with my dad and thought it would be a wonderful experience to watch it again through their eyes. Oops. It ends up that my oldest was going through a stage where he was just starting to understand fear and one of the things he is most afraid of is....Crocodiles. So to avoid situations where your little one is up four times and ends up sleeping in your bed with the covers pulled all the way up, here is a very helpful link:

Common Sense Media

And a recent piece they did for Halloween:

Scary Movies Tips

Friday, October 7, 2011

Why are women still a protected class?

We have two precious and wild little boys. They are intelligent and curious and very active. Either one has the potential, at this point in life, for greatness. But will they have the opportunity?
 As society moves on from the norms of twenty years ago there are still some lingering issues that need to be resolved when it comes to discrimination. The glass ceiling is still there, although more women seem to be breaking through daily, and there is still chauvinism and misogyny in the world. Those are individual issues and things that are no longer considered acceptable. Our mores have evolved to where, even here in Texas, discrimination is looked down upon and readily confronted. Women are allowed to succeed, and strive on the basis of their merits. That was the purpose in including discrimination against women in the Civil Rights Act in 1964, and the purpose of including women as a protected class in the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972.
That would be 47 and 39 years ago, respectively. Today, 57% of college students are female, and the unemployment rate among men is a full 2% higher than that for women, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That begs the question,
“Why are women still a protected class?”
I am not saying that there aren’t cases of sexual harassment and discrimination, but why is it that the rules are different? If a male is just as likely to work for a female as the other way around then why should he have a higher burden of proof?
All of our children deserve equal access to education, the workplace and opportunity. Why are we denying it to boys based upon the social dynamic of our grandparents?