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Photo by: D. Sharon Pruitt

5 Things for Parents to Do With Their Kids

One evening, when I was in middle school, my mom and I were watching the news. It was one of the few evenings when we didn't have to run in, drop our books and run to soccer practice, band, scouts, or theater practice. I don't recall what the news was reporting, but I do remember that my mom muted the TV, looked at me, and asked, "What do you think about that?" I was surprised. Prior to this exchange, I don't remember my mother asking my opinion about anything that didn't involve me directly. But, her comment sparked a conversation, and it opened a channel for communication that I didn't know existed. Of course I had opinions, but I never shared them with my parents.

That conversation was part of a larger strategy. Like most parents, my mother wanted to be involved in our lives. She encouraged each of her kids to pursue their interests and through our enthusiasm, she frequently became interested in similar things. I learned how to make hemp bracelets, so she took up beading.

If you could have any conversation with your kids, what would it be? Would you talk about how to celebrate the differences in others? Would you want to give them examples of true heroes? Would you like to tell them stories about where they came from so they can write their own story? Would you want to teach them about stewardship by planting seeds or taking care of animals? Would you want to talk about history?

Here are some books for you, so you can get your conversations started. And be sure to check out Sarah Westeren’s post for books for your kids.


Amazon Says: Turn your garden into a hummingbird hotspot, a haven for butterflies, and a thriving ecosystem that will delight and inspire the young and young-at-heart. Gardening with ch more...
Amazon Says: Turn your garden into a hummingbird hotspot, a haven for butterflies, and a thriving ecosystem that will delight and inspire the young and young-at-heart. Gardening with children is a pleasure in itself, but when you learn to include wildlife in your plans, gardening becomes an even more joyful family experience. Creating a garden that invites wildlife opens up a wider world of nature for investigation, inspiration, and delight. Begin to see your yard from an animal’s perspective; discover plants that attract colorful birds and bugs; embrace sensory experiences that native plants and creatures bring; and understand how your yard fits into the surrounding landscape. Along the way you will discover simple ways you can actively support wildlife in your immediate environment, no matter where you live. This family-friendly guide to wildlife gardening leads you on a path to discovery, where trees are transformed into bird and animal habitats, where sunny spots are revered for dragonfly viewing, and where your entire garden becomes an animal-welcoming kingdom. less...
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Amazon Says: Temple Grandin, Ph.D., is a gifted animal scientist who has designed one third of all the livestock-handling facilities in the United States. She also lectures widely on autis more...
Amazon Says: Temple Grandin, Ph.D., is a gifted animal scientist who has designed one third of all the livestock-handling facilities in the United States. She also lectures widely on autism—because Temple Grandin is autistic, a woman who thinks, feels, and experiences the world in ways that are incomprehensible to the rest of us. In this unprecedented book, Grandin delivers a report from the country of autism. Writing from the dual perspectives of a scientist and an autistic person, she tells us how that country is experienced by its inhabitants and how she managed to breach its boundaries to function in the outside world. What emerges in Thinking in Pictures is the document of an extraordinary human being, one who, in gracefully and lucidly bridging the gulf between her condition and our own, sheds light on the riddle of our common identity. less...
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Kinship: It's all relative by Jackie Smith Arnold
Amazon Says: We pursue it as a hobby and search for it in the most out-of-the-way places . . . yet few of us actually know very much about kinship. For instance, do you know the degree of more...
Amazon Says: We pursue it as a hobby and search for it in the most out-of-the-way places . . . yet few of us actually know very much about kinship. For instance, do you know the degree of blood relationship, or consanguinity, between yourself and your first cousins? Between third cousins and second cousins once removed? Do you know anything at all about the removes? Do you understand the difference between a greataunt and a grandaunt? Or between a cousin-german and a cater cousin? And what about double first cousins? If you're a little vague about any of this, then this book is for you. In clear, practical terms it explains everything there is to know about kinship; about agnate and cognate kinship, collateral and fictive kinship, the kinship connection of orphans, foundlings, foster children, and adopted children. Everything! The expanded second edition features new chapters on the subjects of marriage, names, and wills (kinship and the rights of inheritance); an expanded treatment of other subjects, such as degrees of consanguinity and how to calculate blood relationships; and a new glossary, bibliography, and an index. In short, Jackie Arnold's acclaimed Kinship: It's All Relative is now more authoritative than ever. less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: National Bestseller To this landmark biography of our first president, Joseph J. Ellis brings the exacting scholarship, shrewd analysis, and lyric prose that have mad more...
Amazon Says: National Bestseller To this landmark biography of our first president, Joseph J. Ellis brings the exacting scholarship, shrewd analysis, and lyric prose that have made him one of the premier historians of the Revolutionary era. Training his lens on a figure who sometimes seems as remote as his effigy on Mount Rushmore, Ellis assesses George Washington as a military and political leader and a man whose “statue-like solidity” concealed volcanic energies and emotions. Here is the impetuous young officer whose miraculous survival in combat half-convinced him that he could not be killed. Here is the free-spending landowner whose debts to English merchants instilled him with a prickly resentment of imperial power. We see the general who lost more battles than he won and the reluctant president who tried to float above the partisan feuding of his cabinet. His Excellency is a magnificent work, indispensable to an understanding not only of its subject but also of the nation he brought into being. less...
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