I have an early memory — probably from about age four or five — of Fourth of July fireworks. We had gone to see the big fireworks show and I was in bed trying to go to sleep. Back then, however, firecrackers and bottle rockets were completely legal and larger explosives were not uncommon. To a young child, however, the noise was terrifying — I knew for sure that one of those fireworks I was hearing was going to land on our roof and burn the house down with all of us in it. And perhaps that’s why I’m an ultra-liberal these days. Yes, before you head out to that Fourth of July parade or fire up the Independence Day barbecue, you might want to take a look at what a new study has to say about the lasting effects of such festivities.
Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category
Has summer vacation snuck up on you as it has the rest of us? Are you staring at three months of “I’m bored!” and wracking your brain (and searching the internet) for activities that will keep them busy and happy without driving you insane or sending you to the poorhouse? Are you looking at the cost of summer camps and wondering how much your kidney would sell for — assuming you could even find a spot at any price? Well, help is here.
Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day here in the US, a federal holiday. That means that the kids don’t have school so, because I don’t have to get them up and out the door, I get an extra hour of sleep while still heading off to work at the usual time. But I worry about that. I worry that, for most people, that is the extent of the meaning of this day off — a holiday in honor of some dead guy that did something at some point in history. Is that enough, however, or do we, as parents, have a responsibility to our children to make it something more than that?
On the one hand, it is important to recognize the life and accomplishments of the great Martin Luther King, Jr. On the other hand, educating our children is just about the most important task we have as a society. So what do we do when a school district needs to make up for snow days and the only option available seems to be the reverend doctor’s holiday?
Did your kids make you a holiday card? Did they perhaps make cards for their best friends too? If they were really industrious, they might have made one for each of their classmates. No matter what, however, if Stephen Goodman reaches his goal, your kids will look like real slackers in comparison. His plan is to send a holiday card to members of the U.S. Military actively deployed overseas. All of them.
Sure, this time of year, everyone goes on and on about The Christmas Story and “you’ll shoot your eye out”, but I’m not sure that younger kids really get that movie. Die Hard and Lethal Weapon are far too violent and The Ref, while one of my favorite holiday films, is certainly not suitable for kids unless you want them to be able to hold their own with Uncle “Foul-Mouth” Phil. So what are good movies for kids this time of year? Here are the ones I came up with:
Many years ago, before I had kids of my own, I used to take my niece, then about 6 or 7 years old, Christmas shopping. I gave her a modest budget and let her pick out gifts for her brother, her parents and grandparents, and my wife. We’d get half a dozen presents and spend about twenty dollars or so. Fast forward about ten years and she’s quite capable of doing her own holiday shopping.
As we gather with friends, exchanging gifts and good tidings, sharing a communal meal, and basking in the warm comfort of holiday lights and decorations, it’s important to make sure that kids understand the “reason for the season.” If you’re not sure how to best explain it to your kids, there is help available.