Archive for the ‘Teaching Kids to Give’ Category

Spring Cleaning Our Closets

Every spring greets us with the reminder that it is once again time to clean out those closets (and all the other great hiding spots our kids use to stash their clothes).
Around our house, our kids have outgrown a few of their clothes that were perfect just last summer.  A task my daughter dreads more than a dentist trip, is spending an afternoon going through her closet and trying on all her clothes to figure out what needs to be gifted to someone a few inches shorter.

Going through clothes

Not everyone will have this much fun going through old clothes.

So, how can you turn this process into something fun?  How can trying on clothes for hours be looked at with something other than dread?
Make it a runway spectacular.
After trying on everything and identifying that give-away pile, have a fashion show. Give those clothes one last wear as your kids creatively mix and match those styles (the wackier the better) for an energy-filled fashion-forward experience.
Let your daughter wear her ugly brown PJ bottoms with a sassy hot pink tank and some torn-up sneakers. Throw on a raincoat and a scarf and you are to the runway. Make sure and take lots of pics. You can bring them out during next year’s runway prep time. Judge the outfits and crown a winner before placing them in the never to be seen again pile.

Spring cleaning, donating old clothes

This is from one of our fashion shows!

Let them be part of the give-away process.  
Research an organization that helps moms and children that have been displaced from domestic violence.  Your kids will be saddened and shocked to hear that often these kids flee with nothing more than the clothes on their back.  Talk about how many kids will be impacted by these clothes and then let them go with you to make the delivery. The memory of this will make next year’s cleaning time much more enjoyable for your kids.
Our kids often take on the attitudes they see us display.  If they think we are dreading it, they will assume it isn’t fun.  If however they see us laughing and looking forward to it with anticipation it is likely that at least a little of this will rub off on them.

Kathryn Prusinski is first and foremost a mom and wife who wants to do her part in building happy and healthy families. When she isn’t spending time with family, Kathryn is working as a consultant in strategy and leadership where she helps executives manage professional and personal success. You can find her every fall cheering on her OU Sooners in football. Kathryn believes it isn’t about abilities but our availabilities — so what are you doing to make yourself available to your family?

Our Family is Growing

We have exciting news for the My Job Chart family!  Our new website Zingity has officially launched.  Woo!

Activities for kids and families

Zingity is a community of families, adults, kids, teachers, and experts building character through step-by-step activities in a wide variety of interests and character traits.  We’re so excited to finally share this tool with you and your family!
Many of you have your own activities, DIYs, or recipes just waiting to be shared!  For you we’ve created a great guide that will help you get started publishing your first activity to Zingity here.

diy, activities,and promotion

Your profile shows your activities, bio, and a link to your website!

For those of you who run your own blogs, we are happy to announce that we’ve created profiles that will allow your fans to find your website.  This way they can continue reading all your great content and you can find new readers!

But Zingity is not just for our builders!

 It’s also for those of you looking for great quality activities that are geared specifically towards increasing different character traits or interests!  

View by interest or explore by character traits!

View Zingity by our many different interest categories, or explore by character traits!

Join the rest of the community today, and let us know what you think.  We are very excited about this new chapter and hope you are too.  Let’s see what we can build together.

Study Says That Our Kids Don’t Care For Others!

What kind of adults are we raising in America?  A recent study by Harvard’s School of Education mentioned in a New York Times article asked 10,000 middle and high school kids which was most important to them:  academic achievement, being happy, or caring for others.  As you would expect only 22% said caring for others was most important. 

Parenting tips

What if everyone was like this?

Here is why it is alarming and why we must do better for our kids.  If achievement is most important then when these students (my kids) are faced with a conflicting situation – do right or win, win will be selected each and every time and in most circumstances someone will be left in the dust.

There has to be a better way – we owe it to our kids (and society) to raise kind and compassionate children who want to pursue academic achievement together in harmony.  But, like academic achievement, kindness must be taught (and it takes more than just one or two tries to get it right).  

academic success

Here are 2 parenting tips you can use to help reverse this trend and begin teaching your kids about kindness.

  1. Model the behavior you want to see in your kids. From a very young age our kids are watching our actions and discerning how to act based largely NOT on what we say to them but rather how we behave ourselves.  Show them what kindness is.  Shovel the snow from the neighbor’s driveway, open the door for a stranger, and let someone go in front of you in the line at the grocery store.  
  1.  Give them opportunities to treat others with kindness.  Have them babysit for the single mom for free or mow the lawn of the neighbor who just had a new child.  Encourage them to sit next to the new kid in the cafeteria or invite them to the basketball game.  At first they will resist, not because they don’t care but because it is new and a little awkward.  Encourage and celebrate and it will become easier.

We must become as diligent in teaching character as we are in achievement if we want to raise kids with character.  Let’s start today!

Kathryn Prusinski is first and foremost a mom and wife who wants to do her part in building happy and healthy families. When she isn’t spending time with family, Kathryn is working as a consultant in strategy and leadership where she helps executives manage professional and personal success. You can find her every fall cheering on her OU Sooners in football. Kathryn believes it isn’t about abilities but our availabilities — so what are you doing to make yourself available to your family?

Keeping Your Kids Thankful

FamilyGiving


This season of giving is upon us and amidst the ringing of bells and purchasing of food and toys for those who have very little, it seems a struggle in many cases to keep ourselves and our kids in the spirit of gratitude.  
I’ve been thinking a lot about this as I purposefully choose not to have “those kids” under my roof.

Have you ever noticed the power of the words “thank you” in your life?  

Thank You

Even more important, have you noticed it in the lives of your children and their friends?  Don’t you just love it when on carpool duty when another person’s child gets out of the car while yelling thank you to you?   

So, how do we instill a sense of gratitude in our kids, and why is it so important?  In the absence of gratitude, the quality of being appreciative for what you have and what others give you, comes entitlement and entitlement is the never ending pit of never enough.  

Here are a few tips over this next month you can use — I’ve used these myself and they have really supported our efforts.

  • Model gratitude for them.  Our kids learn much more from our actions than our words so model gratitude.  Say thank you to others, be appreciative during lean times and thank them for doing the simple things.  Soon you’ll find your kids mirroring your behavior. 
  • Learn to say no!  Just because you can afford it, they want it and you have the means to buy it, doesn’t mean you should say yes to everything they ask for.  Raising your children this way makes those “I got it” occasions all the more sweet.  
  • Learn to say noMake them do something for others in place of a time that would normally have been all about them.  Rather than opening up gifts on Christmas day, volunteer at a shelter or pass out blankets in areas where they are needed.  Seeing others who have nothing puts life into perspective… even for young children.    You may even see them asking if they can share their new items with those in need.  

Gratitude must be both taught and modeled, but the rewards are so worth it as nothing beats the sound of “thank yous” filled with smiles on their faces.

 

Kathryn Prusinski is first and foremost a mom and wife who wants to do her part in building happy and healthy families. When she isn’t spending time with family, Kathryn is working as a consultant in strategy and leadership where she helps executives manage professional and personal success. You can find her every fall cheering on her OU Sooners in football. Kathryn believes it isn’t about abilities but our availabilities — so what are you doing to make yourself available to your family?

3 Ways to Not Lose Touch This Holiday

Family during Christmas

I LOVE this time of year!  From decorations to celebrating with friends, this season brings me so much joy.  Unfortunately it also brings families a tremendous amount of stress as schedules become crazy, homework becomes more intense and final grades are looming just over the horizon.  As a result, many families, without even realizing lose touch one with one another as the hustle and bustle of life takes over.

So, how can you avoid losing touch with your children during this time?  How can you remain engaged in their lives when their exhaustion and stress leave them entirely uninterested in communicating with you?

Here are a few simple steps:

  1. QUIT asking Yes/NO or closed ended questions.  I promise you that asking
    Talking

    They will talk to you.

    your child “how was your day?” or “did you have a good day?” will elicit very little in return.  Instead, ask them “what was the most awesome thing and the most awful thing that happened to you today?”  This question alone in my house often turns into a 20-minute conversation if you are willing to listen.

  2. Go for a drive to look at Christmas lights WITHOUT cell phones.  After all the distractions of TVs, phones and chores are gone, you are able to focus on engaging with your kids.  Talk about your day, celebrate your wins, talk about which house on the block did the best at decorating.  The topic isn’t nearly as important as simply engaging with your kids.  End the evening by grabbing some hot chocolate and voting on the winners.  You are not only staying connected but building lifelong memories together as well.
  3. As a family, DO SOMETHING for someone else.  Adopt a family, purchase food for the local food bank or volunteer to serve at the Ronald McDonald house.  You will be surprised what you learn about your kids, their stresses and their friends as you are bagging onions at the local food bank.  Not only will this bring you closer together with your kids, but also it allows you to put life and what really matters into perspective.

December is full of craziness and energy and doesn’t have to result in frazzled and disconnected families.  Use this time to draw your family closer and build memories that cost very little to absolutely nothing.

Family Time

Kathryn Prusinski is first and foremost a mom and wife who wants to do her part in building happy and healthy families. When she isn’t spending time with family, Kathryn is working as a consultant in strategy and leadership where she helps executives manage professional and personal success. You can find her every fall cheering on her OU Sooners in football. Kathryn believes it isn’t about abilities but our availabilities — so what are you doing to make yourself available to your family?

Replacing the “Gimmies” with Giving

 

Buying 5 extra turkeys at Thanksgiving and ding-dong-ditching them at different houses.  One year I fell over a curb as we were running away and I scraped my knee.

Singing carols at the retirement home across town.  One old lady held my hand the entire time and cried when we had to leave.

Taking baked goods to neighbors.  I can’t even count the number of plates that were delivered over the years.

Hand making family gifts.  As kids we would rotate who had who, and it became a great quest to see who could come up with the most thoughtful (and cheapest) homemade gift.

Donating one of our own gifts to a homeless shelter.  I remember thinking my sister was crazy.  She donated her prized gift that year, a cabbage patch doll.

Volunteering at a local soup kitchen.  We met Dan, a cherished friend.

“Adopting” a family in need for the holidays.  They had 6 kids.  We bought a new set of clothes and a toy for each of them.  I remember my negative attitude that year.  I was upset because it meant that I would get less.

Leaving a large sum of money on a widow’s door step.  Her husband had died earlier that year.  I remember the amount and have tried to find a widow to give the same amount too every year since I’ve had my own household.

These are a few of my favorite holiday memories.

In contrast, last week we asked our kids for their Christmas Lists.  Their lists were detailed beyond belief and overflowed on both sides of the page.

Sadly, I have to admit, that I haven’t been as good at teaching generosity to my children as my parents were.  I’ve been so eager to make my kids happy and to show them how much I love them, that I lost sight of the lessons I wanted to teach them.

So, how can we instill good values in our children that will influence them not only for the holidays but for the rest of their lives?

Here are a few ideas that I was going to try to implement this year.

Discuss what the holidays mean to everyone.  Talk with them about different ways to be generous and grateful.  Ask them what those words mean to them.  Talk about examples that they have seen of someone being kind.

Set limits ahead of time.  If the real reason for the season is getting lost beneath a pile of presents, discuss how much is enough when it comes to gifts.  Talk about the difference between “want” and “need” and then decide on the number of presents or an amount of money to spend on each child.

Encourage them to give.  Whether it’s a local need or a favorite online charity, help them find a cause that they can contribute to and feel like they’ve made a difference in the world.

Homemade = Made with love.  It really is the thought that counts, especially when the recipient is a close friend or relative.

Help them to be more alert to those in need.  Welcome their input on who they think would benefit from a surprise turkey, or who could use a new pair of shoes.

Model gratitude and generosity.  Being a good example is the best way to teach your children.  Bring them along when you drop off dinner at a sick friends house or take a donation to a local shelter.

 

What are your favorite holiday memories of generosity and being grateful?

 

 

 

 

 

Generous Giving

 

This morning, I paid $76.54 for an unknown woman’s groceries.  She didn’t have enough money at the register so I told her I’d take care of the whole thing for her.

I don’t tell you this so you’ll pat me on the back and think that I’m some spectacular generous person.

Rather, I feel anything but, because of the things that led up to it.

About a month ago, I was watching a you-tube video about a man that donated a kidney to his wife’s friend.  Wow!  I can understand donating a kidney to your wife, or one of your kids, but I sat there in awe, thinking how I would never consider giving my wife’s friend a kidney.   Shameful, I know.

Then I had a plane trip.  My seat was upgraded to first class because of frequent flyer miles.   I stood in line waiting to be boarded, with my hectic schedule flying through my mind.  A soldier stood a couple yards in front of me.   Then I heard the woman between us ask him where his seat was.   He told her middle back,  and then commented about how fun it was going to be on such a full plane.   She quickly traded him seats, giving him her first class seat.   Callous, right?

The next week, my 9 year old daughter was invited to a birthday party.  On the invitation, the little girl asked that instead of a present, that a donation be made to be given to a small city in Mexico that needed a well for clean water.   The thought never even crossed my mind.  Terrible.

And just the other day, I was having dinner at a restaurant and saw two missionaries there.  I didn’t know their religion.  Then I saw an elderly couple walk up to them and pay for their dinner.  Humbled by degrees.

So, this morning, when I was standing in line at the grocery store, and the woman in front of me pulled out several different cards, trying to pay for her formula and baby diapers, I jumped at the opportunity to reclaim my dignity.  I didn’t offer to just pay for what she lacked, I paid for her entire cart full and then just smiled as she thanked me profusely.

I have been mulling these experiences over in my mind and I wanted to share with you the main lessons that I think I learned through this.

1.  I need to be open and alert to others needs.  Half of helping is recognizing that there is a need.

2.  I need to be more creative in my giving.  It isn’t always about money.

3.  I need to be more generous, even when it’s not convenient.  Especially when it’s not convenient.

4.  I need to be quick to give, ready in an instant to be kind.  If not, the opportunity may just pass me by.

Tim Keller says, “Living is giving.  We live life best when we give ourselves, our resources, our competencies, and our time in service to others…  If you spend your money on yourself, you are just surviving.  But if you want your life to count, if you really want to live – give.”

Ron Anderson says, “We thought that financial freedom came from accumulating as much as we could and if we gave more away, we would have less to enjoy.  In reality, the more we gave, the more we enjoyed and the more freedom we experienced.”

Lynne Payne says, “I have discovered an excitement in giving that’s unique and distinct from every other gift.  It’s ironic that in separating myself from something of value, I receive back something of even greater value.  It’s a great way to do life.”

I encourage us all (myself included) to give generously and live generously.

And next time when a body part is needed, or a courtesy is granted, or help is offered, or relief is given, I hope it’s me that’s doing the giving, instead of the watching.