Listen along here if you care to...
Spending time together? With my kids? Who's got the time?
I've had a number of people ask me what my web-site is really about. Granted, depending on your approach, you may think I am focusing on collecting lots of short stories, written by kids, to post for posterity. As it happens I do accept stories from youth, but for the most part, the site is a tool to help parents and their kids make good use of spending time together.
I set out to accomplish something and needed an instrument that would provide the necessary angles and benefits I was looking for. The target was helping both parties, so I figured they must both collaborate. It also needed to lend itself to creativity and child development. That’s a bit of the how, now here’s a bit of the why. Let's start at the beginning...
Are any kids really bad? Some might say yes. I say no. Their behaviour may be abysmal, but they cannot be inherently bad. I believe any bad behaviour is either put upon them through environmental, peer pressure or other conditions, or it's simply enabled. It is permitted to happen without check and without support nearby. Basically, left to their own devices, kids like adults, will probably choose the path of least resistance, and that generally leads to laziness or doing something one shouldn't.
Furthermore, once bad behaviour has been put into motion, it will build up momentum and may get totally 'out of control'. And how many times have you heard parents say such things about their little darlings? Good behaviour, on the other hand, can grow upon itself and is naturally met with positive re-enforcement.
My concept is to promote the exercise of short story writing as a way to provide many positive factors into a child's life, ultimately making things better for mom and dad as well. Many of the factors leave little room for inappropriate behaviour, so as objectives are achieved and appreciated, negative influences and the desire to pull pigtails, or throw snowballs at cars, become a thing of the past.
Some of the factors are concentrating, researching, interacting with others, planning, story-boarding, improving grammar and spelling, learning more about the words and phrases in our own language, and simply spending time together. Each of these is more proactive and beneficial than just reading a story and certainly better than playing in traffic. Most involve setting a realistic goal and finding out what is needed to reach it.
What I try to do is remind parents that each exercise and associated skill can be good for them, their children, and the bond between them. People forget that if a child enjoys learning something good and consequently stays out of trouble; they are probably being taught by someone they respect. Well, in the family unit, spending time together and enjoying thought provoking activities is most likely a good thing once in a while.
The nice by-product for parents and their kids about experiencing any kind of success with this idea is that the skills acquired stay with each of us for life. In addition, it is actually possible that the child may grow up to be a prominent leader, an inspiring speaker or influential writer. How much time would be needed out of our busy schedules to provide for having a better behaved, happy child and perhaps a world-renown orator?