• “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. Dr. Suess

Thursday, February 26, 2015


In FAML100 this week we are studying the practices of parenting. Last week we studied the principles of parenting. In long-term ongoing studies, out of all the varied parenting styles, authoritative parenting  (note: this is different than authoritarian coercive parenting) consistently shows the best long term outcomes and health, mentally and physically. Spanking is not desirable. There are better ways.

Our teacher posted a link to an infographic showing details. I recommend it. Scroll down a way to see the infographic. We had a number of activity choices and questions to answer. I chose the following:

Q: Your older sibling calls you. “Since you’re the big expert in parenting and families, tell me what I’m supposed to do about my 6-year old son who throws a fit every time we...” How do you respond? 

First I would laugh right out loud (didn't we recently have a conversation and I thought he was the expert?), then commiserate about my own child (grandchild), and reassure my sibling that his 6 year old son (or grandson) is going through a normal stage of childhood.

Prosocial values, like caring for close family, cooperating with other children, and not hurting anyone intentionally can be seen early in some children, but just as often they are not. I would tell my sibling that in my Child Development Class we learned that “many lines of research have shown that children develop their own morality, guided by peers, parents and culture” (The Developing Person, p. 402) and they do so on their own unique timetable. His 6 year old will be fine, mostly because of the examples of loving and kind parents, and grandparents, and even Aunts and Uncles. I pledge to be kind to that 6 year old, especially when I felt like sending him straight home!

During this age children typically become more systematic, objective, and their learning increases exponentially. Before age 5 children are eager to talk and think, but they do not always understand all that is said, and only gradually come to understand things from other viewpoints. Parents’ underlying attitudes and examples are crucial to model the types of behaviors they expect their children to learn. 

The Proclamation teaches: “Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live.” Children from every ethnic group and every culture benefit if they believe that they are appreciated; children everywhere suffer if they feel rejected and unwanted.

As children’s thinking and reasoning processes develop, their brains are growing rapidly. They are developing a sense of who they are and their needs should be respected. They have learned “I am”—their existence as a distinct person, and they often think they are best at everything. The more we can validate their existence and the wonderful abilities they are developing the happier they become. At this age young children are only just beginning to apply new skills to things in their own experiences—to situations with visible, tangible, real things (not abstractions). They are not logical, sometimes confusing lies and wishes, and forgetting why they are punished.

We also learned in Child Development that at age 5 most children can count to 100, but not until about age 8 can they estimate where on a number line a particular two digit number would be placed. They are just starting to learn to arrange things into logical series and infer or transfer information as they figure out how one fact is linked to another, and how those facts affect them. If John is taller than Jim, and Jim is taller than David, who is taller John or David? Being able to understand and answer these types of thinking tests is part of normal development that can happen at different ages for each child (The Developing Person, p. 352, 356). 

My darling nephew (or grandson) is doing his best to correlate the massive amounts of information he is learning and make sense of it—and his dad (and mom) need to help.

Good caregiving is not achieved by following any one simple rule; children’s temperaments vary, and so do cultural patterns. All children need guidance [and] there are many ways to provide it. Because early childhood is a critical time for teaching moral behavior parents need to establish healthy boundaries and consequences.

Ideally, adults anticipate misbehavior and guide children toward patterns of behavior and standards of morality that develop from within the child’s self, taking into account the unique circumstances of the child, but misbehavior cannot always be prevented. 

 Nevertheless, children’s “brains are especially attuned to their own repeated social experiences . . . [as] the parts of the cortex dedicated to the senses develop,” and research demonstrates that this is a crucial time of brain growth that is heavily influenced by environment and interpersonal relationships (The Developing Person, p. 142). 

When they are engaged in positive activities, problems become less frequent as their minds and energies are directed and involved. Often simple awareness prevents incidents, especially among the young. Almost all children like to engage adults in conversation and activities, and are readily distracted or encouraged to other things if adults watch for warning signs and prevent critical situations from starting.

Elder Quentin L Cook teaches, “How we treat those closest to us is of fundamental importance. Violence, abuse, lack of civility, and disrespect in the home are not acceptable—not acceptable for adults and not acceptable for the rising generation. . . . Regardless of the culture in which we are raised, and whether our parents did or did not abuse us, we must not physically, emotionally, or verbally abuse anyone else. . . .The need for civility in society has never been more important. The foundation of kindness and civility begins in our homes” (Oct 2012, Can You Feel So Now?). 

 It is important to teach and model appropriate interpersonal interactions to children and youth. Hitting is not OK! Name calling is not OK! Unkind words and actions need to stop! What teachers and parents model, children follow.

My advice? "Take a deep breathe, and enjoy!" This is one of the most fun and amazing stages in a child's life.

Thursday, February 19, 2015


In an attempt to collect poems I have memorized or that have had significant influence in my life to one place I have decided to publish them here on my blog. They will appear randomly as they come to mind or I find sources for the exact words.

Abou Ben Adam

Jonathan Bing

Jonathan Bing Does Arithmetic

Indipsensible Man


You Are Old Father William

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


Jonathan Bing Does Arithmetic

by Beatrice Curtis Brown (1901-1974)

When Jonathan Bing was young, they say,
He slipped his school and ran away;
Sat in the meadow and twiddled his thumbs
And never learnt spelling or grammar or sums.

So now if you tell him, “Add one to two”,
“Explain what you mean,” he’ll answer you,
“Do you mean 2-morrow or that’s 2 bad?
And what sort of 1 do you want me to add?

“For there’s 1 that was first when the race was 1,
(For he ran 2 fast for the rest to run).
But if 2 had 1 when the race was through,
I’d say your answer was 1 by 2.”

“Oh Jonathan Bing, you haven’t the trick
Of doing a sum in arithmetic.”
“Oh give me a chance, just one more try,”
Says Jonathan Bing with a tear in his eye.

“Very well, Jonathan, try once more,
Add up a hundred and seventy-four.”
“A hundred, and seventy-four,” says he,
“Why — that’s a great age for a person to be!”

Says Becky from Poetry Friday: "from my ragged old copy of the Arrow Book of Funny Poems, collected by Eleanor Clymer (Scholastic, 1961), originally published in Jonathan Bing and Other Poems, 1936."

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


 By Beatrice Curtis Brown

Poor old Jonathan Bing
Went out in his carriage to visit the King,
But everyone pointed and said, "Look at that!
Jonathan Bing has forgotten his hat!"

Poor old Jonathan Bing
Went home and put on a new hat for the King,hat
But by the palace the soldier said, "Hi!
You can't see the King; you've forgotten your tie!"

Poor old Jonathan Bing,
He put on a beautiful tie for the King,
But when he arrived, and Archbishop said, "Ho!
You can't come to court in pajamas, you know!"
Jonathan BingJonathan Bing's house

Poor old Jonathan Bing
Went home and addressed a short note to the King:
"If you please will excuse me, I won't come to tea;
For home's the best place for all people like me!"


You are old, Father William,” the young man said,
“And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head –
Do you think, at your age, it is right?”

“In my youth,” Father William replied to his son,
“I feared it might injure the brain;
But, now that I'm perfectly sure I have none,
Why, I do it again and again.”

“You are old,” said the youth, 
                                      “as I mentioned before,
And have grown most uncommonly fat;
Yet you turned a back-somersault in at the door –
Pray, what is the reason of that?”

“In my youth,” said the sage, 
                              as he shook his grey locks,
“I kept all my limbs very supple
By the use of this ointment – one shilling the box –
Allow me to sell you a couple?”

“You are old,” said the youth, 
                                  “and your jaws are too weak
For anything tougher than suet;
Yet you finished the goose, 
                                   with the bones and the beak –
Pray how did you manage to do it?”

“In my youth,” said his father, “I took to the law,
And argued each case with my wife;
And the muscular strength, which it gave to my jaw,
Has lasted the rest of my life.”

“You are old,” said the youth, 
                                     “one would hardly suppose
That your eye was as steady as ever;
Yet you balanced an eel on the end of your nose –
What made you so awfully clever?”

“I have answered three questions, 
                                       and that is enough,”
Said his father; “don't give yourself airs!
Do you think I can listen all day to such stuff?
Be off, or I'll kick you down stairs!”

Poem written by Lewis Carroll in the mid 1800's.

Monday, February 16, 2015


"Indispensable Man"

Saxon White Kessinger

Sometime when you’re feeling important;
Sometime when your ego’s in bloom
Sometime when you take it for granted
You’re the best qualified in the room,

Sometime when you feel that your going
Would leave an unfillable hole,
Just follow these simple instructions
And see how they humble your soul;

Take a bucket and fill it with water,
Put your hand in it up to the wrist,
Pull it out and the hole that’s remaining
Is a measure of how you’ll be missed.

You can splash all you wish when you enter,
You may stir up the water galore,
But stop and you’ll find that in no time
It looks quite the same as before.

The moral of this quaint example
Is do just the best that you can,
Be proud of yourself but remember,
There’s no indispensable man.

From Apple Seed website

"Indispensable Man" was originally published in "The Nutmegger Poetry Club under the name Saxon Uberuaga. It has also been published in "Boots" in Spring 1993, in "The Country Courier" 1996, "Rhyme Time" in Winter 2000, and in "Golden Times" in August 2003.

Saxon White Kessinger is a member (and past president) of Gem State Writers’ League and a member of Idaho Writers’ League. She is an award winning writer, receiving Idaho Writers’ League "2003 Lifetime Achievement Award," "Writer of the Year" in 1992, 1995, and 2002 and "Poet of the Year" in 1999 and 2000 from her Idaho State Leagues. She has published various poetry offerings and many articles in various newspapers and magazines. You can reach the author by email at

Sunday, February 15, 2015


I do not wear slippers.
Never have.

BUT, what about these?
These are shiny silver dots (not white).

If my feet (rarely) are cold I get a pair of socks. Last time I was hospitalized they provided a pair of grey fuzzy ankle socks with grippers.

They are actually my favorite foot solution.

BUT, these are pretty funky!
I think I could wear these.
At least for those few times needed.

Yeap! These feel pretty good.

And the comparison is no contest for looks.
However the grey socks may still win for practicality.

Friday, February 13, 2015


BY James Henry Leigh Hunt

Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold:—
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the presence in the room he said,
"What writest thou?"—The vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered, "The names of those who love the Lord."
"And is mine one?" said Abou. "Nay, not so,"
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerly still; and said, "I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow men."

The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blest,
And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.