Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What Do Children Need?

Today I thought I would share an excerpt from an article written by family psychologist and child-rearing expert John Rosemond:

Children need compassion for the fact that they are inclined, by nature, to choose anti-social behavior over pro-social behavior. That is why they need corrective discipline from compassionate, loving, respectful adults. Until such discipline is delivered and begins to "stick," it can accurately be said that children truly "can't help it" when they misbehave; they were "born that way."

Children require genuine, affirming love because they are incapable of putting themselves in proper perspective; therefore, they are incapable of "loving" themselves in a healthy fashion. A child's self-love is very likely to fuel tyranny. Only compassionate, loving adults are capable of responding properly to this inclination, which defines the so-called "terrible twos."

Children need adults in their lives who have tremendous respect for their needs and equal amounts of compassion for the fact that they don't know what their needs are. Furthermore, children rarely want what they truly need. It is the responsibility of adults who respect a child's potential for creative adulthood to give children all of what they need and little of what they simply want.

What are their needs then? Here's a short, but far from comprehensive, list:

Children need to be contributing members of their families. Therefore, they need to be assigned daily household chores for which they are not paid. Why not paid? After all, adults get paid for working! Yes, but we do not get paid for cooking meals, cleaning bathrooms and vacuuming floors, and neither should children. This is the stuff of membership in a family.
In addition, chores help instill a service ethic, without which democracy cannot survive. Have you ever stopped to consider why charities do not thrive in socialist countries?

Children need adults who allow their brains to grow and develop naturally without much interference from television and other forms of electronic media.

Children need to be told to eat what is on their plates not because it is good for them (although it might be) but because it is rude to refuse to eat something someone, even one of your parents, has spent time and energy preparing for you. This civilized lesson begins at home, at the family table.

Children need adults in their lives who value and promote proper character traits over academic and athletic skills. One of the most important of all character traits is "do your best at all time." It does not matter if you are not as good as someone else in some area. What's important is that you do what you are capable of doing, and no less. In other words, if proper character is the priority, everything else will fall into its proper place

Children need adults who confront them when they misbehave -- adults who calmly communicate that they will not tolerate anti-social behavior, even from a 2-year-old. As your great-grandmother no doubt advised, it is to the advantage of all concerned that misbehavior be "nipped in the bud."

And I think that just about says it all, don't you?

(The previous is excerpted from an article written by family and child psychologist John Rosemond.  The original article in its entirety can be found here.)

Monday, November 28, 2011

"What the?"

An interesting thing happened yesterday afternoon.  My husband and I took our kids to a nature preserve so they could exercise their new-found bike riding skills in a fairly level and traffic-free environment.  We typically have them ride around a paved loop in the preserve. 

Anyways, as we came full circle and were heading out of the preserve back to the parking lot, I noticed a book lying on the bench that was definitely not there when we had passed by on the way in.

Well, this interested me immediately, so I picked it up.  I mean, I couldn't just leave it there to get ruined in the elements, could I?  Especially after reading this:

So, I'm doing what it says.  I started reading the book last night and registered the book on the book crossing web site this morning.  The title of the book is Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer.  It turns out I am the second person to read this particular copy of the book.  I can't wait to see where it ends up once I "release" it back into the wild!

Now, tell me -- Would this kind of thing happen with a Kindle or a Nook?  I don't think so.  No matter what technological advances come along, I hope to never see a day when "real" books become obsolete.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

So Many IDEAS, and So Little Time

I have a love/hate relationship with the Internet.  I can't decide if it is a good thing or a bad thing -- especially when it comes to providing creative inspiration.  At times, it is a blessing -- I love the ease and speed with which I can find just the right thing I am looking for.  At other times, however, it is just too overwhelming.  And at those times, I just don't know where the time goes.  It's as if time has ceased to exist for me.  Then I look down at that little clock at the bottom corner of my screen.....Wow!  WHAT time is it?  It can't really be THAT late?  Can it?  Time for bed.  My ideas will have to wait until tomorrow.....

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Few of His Favorite Things

Yesterday was an exciting day because I finally finished the latest quilt I have been working on for my son.  I started it almost two years ago, worked on it for a while, then put it aside for many months before picking it back up this fall and finishing it.

Here are the start-to-finish pictures I took as I documented my progress.

The first pictures I took were when I was trying to establish the layout of all the blocks.  I carefully chose fabrics with pictures of things my son really likes -- trucks, cars, trains, bugs, Peanuts, and other cute images.  Some of these fabrics I had in my stash, while others I went out and purchased especially for this quilt.

Next I "fussy cut" images from the fabrics and chose brightly colored prints from my stash to make borders around each image.  The trickiest part here was dealing with all the different sizes of the center pieces on these blocks.

To deal with that, I just decided on a finished block size (in this case, 8") and then cut the border pieces whatever size I needed to make the blocks 8 1/2" (this included the necessary 1/2" seam allowance).  I actually made all the blocks slightly larger than 8 1/2" so that I could trim them to exactly 8 1/2" with my rotary cutter and ruler -- just more accurate that way.

As I worked on this, I tried to keep it layed out on the floor, so that I could make the right color selections for each block.  I didn't want to end up with blocks of the same color adjacent to one another.  I also didn't want to end up with clusters of similar colors -- like too many red, orange, and yellow blocks placed together.

Once I pieced all the blocks, I began working on the border design.  I decided I wanted to try something a little different than the typical plain border.  So, I decided to try doing these prairie points.  They are really just squares of fabric folded and then inserted into the seam between the quilt and the border.

This is where I was just laying out the triangles to see if I liked them against the blue border.  I was also trying to determine how wide I wanted to cut that blue border strip.

Here is the finished quilt on my son's bed (he is 3 years old) and a matching pillow that I made for him.  It's hard to see the quilting in this, but it IS quilted.  I machine quilted in the ditch around each block and center image.  I also quilted around each prairie point in the blue border.  I'm still working on perfecting my machine quilting skills.  For the most part, I am a hand quilter.  As I'm making more quilts though, I have been trying to work on improving my machine quilting.  Without a long arm quilting machine, I find it a rather challenging task.

Thanks to a nice woman in my quilt guild, I made this very practical and cute backing out of my leftovers.  All of these fabrics were used somewhere on the front of the quilt.  And there is my son rolling around on his new quilt!

Sprawled out on his new quilt!  Now all I have left to do is add a label!