Sunday, January 12, 2014

Alert! Every Research Study Has Value. Who knew?

 After all the hours we've spent reading research in endless libraries or slaving over our own,  it's nice to know that we can find value in every research study. Just read on....
"Ever walk into a room with some purpose in mind, only to completely forget what that purpose was? Turns out, doors themselves are to blame for these strange memory lapses.

Psychologists at the University of Notre Dame have discovered that passing through a doorway triggers what's known as an Event Boundary in the mind, separating one set of thoughts and memories from the next. Your brain files away the thoughts you had in the previous room and prepares a blank slate for the new locale.

Thank goodness for studies like this. It's not our age, it's that #%* door !"
  Who knew?  My respect for all research studies has doubled!
 Thanks to Pearl for this enlightening  gift. Although the research summary was sent by a friend, the original source is unknown. Pictures are located in Bing Images.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Nurturing the Spirit of Giving in Our Children and Teens All Year Round

Who better to help us encourage our young children and teens
 than our own friends!  

Nurturing the Little Ones:   On Birthdays

Alice told us, "The two grandchildren have lots of toys so for their birthdays  (Sept and Dec) at the parties they have, they ask the children not to bring toys but canned goods which they take to the church food pantry. They get enough presents from family. It has worked out well and they have learned about those less fortunate than themselves."

During the Holidays...

Sherry gives us other options.  Her family "designated Thanksgiving weekend as the core of their giving tradition.  The kids spent one day organizing all their playthings with the objective of identifying toys and games complete with all their parts and in good condition.  They readied those they no longer used or wanted to give to children who had less than they.  We then took them to an appropriate NGO (don’t recall using that term back then) that distributed holiday gifts to children. Perhaps it was a bribe, perhaps it helped instill a giving spirit, but each child could receive for Christmas no more gifts than the number he gave.  But perhaps I should have given the process more oversight some years.  One year, my older son put the R volume of our Encyclopedia in the gifts box because he thought the children could use the reference material.  Hum … no, he didn’t tell me until it was too late.  And then he added that he put a $10 bill inside the book so the mother could buy herself something.  I often wonder what happened to that book and that money.  But I never wondered at his generosity.  Nor his brother’s."
The spirit of giving is often reinforced by the family's church.  Jo remembers that her church  "always had a special service around the holidays on the spirit of giving. It was a service for children and their parents. Days prior to the service, each child picked a card from the tree that had either boy or girl on the card. At the service the children brought the wrapped gift to the service and placed it under the tree. It was either socks, mittens or something like that for a needy child."  Memories of gift giving as a church tradition can follow a child well into adulthood.

As They Grow...During the Holidays and Throughout the Year

Another way a parent or grandparent can nurture the spirit of giving is to allot a certain amount of money that the child can spend at a store picking  out toys to give to needy children.  Depending on the age of the child, he or she keeps track of each toy's cost, picking as many toys  within the price boundaries as possible.  Focusing on toys that a child of the same age would like to receive helps to focus the choices. The rule is that no toys can be purchased for the child during this shopping spree.. An even better idea is to have the child hand the toys to the person collecting them for distribution.

Dawn relates,"Something we did with Tay from the time he was little happened every year when we went shopping for his school supplies.  We always purchased supplies for a community shelter at the same time: backpacks, school uniforms, crayons, notebooks.  And we took them to the shelter where he would hand them to someone directly.  It was important for him to make the selections and the delivery and to receive the thank you.  As he got older and no longer needed school supplies, we still went shopping for those that did, at his reminder."

 Joan H. tells us, "I work at the food bank in our church once a month, and when food is unloaded in the am, different teams from the high school come over to help unload the heavy stuff for distribution in the evening. They also come in the pm from 5-9 and help people cart their food boxes to their car and unload them. Celian Heights ( a center for disabled youths also comes in the morning) with about six of their kids to pack bananas, and oranges in bags. .Some of our people who work in the evening bring their older children along to help distribute.  This involves the high school students, disabled youths, and kids of parents who give their time. I also know some junior-high and senior-high kids that give time at the library.    Wow, the food bank and library are great places for all ages to give time and help.  These student volunteers experience first hand the satisfaction of giving for the benefit of others.

Our Own Experiences with Family and Church

 Joan D. remembers,"My experience with teaching nurturing was more Eastern European based in the actions I was taught on how to deal with deaths, marriages and emergencies of neighbors and acquaintances.  If my mother or any member of the family heard of a need,  we were expected and encouraged  to start cooking and baking for the one in need and to be available for any or all needs of that person or family."

And Elsie tells us, "I was brought up in church. I often thought about the parable of the rich young man who couldn't bear to give up his worldly goods. I guess in my case it sensitized me to the needs of others and the recognition of how absolutely blessed my life has been. Empathy is a quality I would emphasize if I were trying to teach others. The old "walk a mile in his/her shoes" is good, too. Also, I think we need to teach that animals get hungry, often starve, need shelter and kindness, feel pain as people do. .

Obviously, our contributors have done a great job of helping children and teens learn the importance of and satisfaction in giving to others. 

Want Some Expert Input? 

Robin Ganzert, PhD, President of the American Humane Society, discusses the gift of giving in the Nov-Dec, 2013 issue of Grand. Her suggestions are that we start when children are young, and as they grow, to “align your monetary gift with the child's interests (such as pets)." She advised to make a donation in their names and informs us that “Some nonprofits such as the American Humane Society provide downloadable gift cards you can personalize with a message in your grandchild's name.”

Those of us who have tried the “gift in the name of” might recommend that the child be pre-teen or older.

Penny shares the program under way at Stanford University. "I wanted to share the website with those who are interested in Stanford University's program.  The following website led me to Stanford’s CCARE

Thanks to Alice, Sherry, Jo, Dawn, Joan H, Joan D,  Elsie, and Penny for sharing their strategies and memories of nurturing the spirit of giving.   

Something to Think About...

 Sit down for a moment. Grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and think about this...                                                                                

Alice sent these words to consider...

"There comes a time in your life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Forget the bad, and focus on the good. Love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who don't. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living."

 "Today may there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us."

And Joan H. shared this thoughtful story with us...
                                                                          The Brick

A young and successful
executive was traveling down a neighborhood street,
going a bit too fast in his new Jaguar.. He was
watching for kids darting out from between parked
cars and slowed down
when he thought he saw

        As his car passed, no children appeared.
             Instead, a brick smashed into the Jag's side door!
He slammed on the brakes and backed the Jag back to
the spot where the brick had been thrown.

The angry
driver then jumped out of the
car, grabbed the nearest kid and pushed him up against

  a parked car shouting,
'What was that all about and who are you? Just what
the heck are you doing? That's a new car and that
brick you threw is going to cost a lot of money. Why
did you do it?'

The young boy was apologetic.
'Please, mister...please, I'm sorry but I didn't
know what else to do,' He pleaded. 'I threw the
brick because no one else would stop....' With tears
dripping down his face and off his chin, the youth
pointed to a spot just around a parked car.. 'It's my
brother, 'he said 'He rolled off the curb and fell
out of his wheelchair and I can't lift him
Now sobbing, the boy
asked the stunned executive, 'Would you please help
me get him back into his wheelchair? He's hurt and
he's too heavy for me.'
Moved beyond words,
the driver tried to swallow the rapidly swelling
lump in his throat... He hurriedly lifted the
handicapped boy back into the wheelchair, then took
out a linen handkerchief and dabbed at the fresh
scrapes and cuts. A quick look told him everything
was going to be okay. 'Thank you and may God bless
you,' the grateful child told the stranger. Too
shook up for words, the man simply watched the boy!
push his wheelchair-bound brother down the sidewalk
toward their home..
It was a long, slow
walk back to the Jaguar. The damage was very
noticeable, but the driver never bothered to repair
the dented side door. He kept the dent there to
remind him of this message:

'Don't go through life
so fast that someone has to throw a brick at you to get your attention!'
Thanks to Alice and to Joan H for forwarding these words to think about.  Both pieces have been shared on the net without attribution.