Category Archives: Children

An Evening With The Boys

My dear friends Ken and Pauline invited me, Isaac and Ari over for dinner.  They had sparkling cider for the boys, wine for us.  We all drank out of wine glasses.  During dinner, the conversation had a political theme at times and I wondered if the boys were bored.  After dinner, Ken invited to boys to his music room.  Ken is a wonderful guitarist.  They went and Pauline and I chatted with a background of guitar music from upstairs.  I later discovered that Isaac and Ari had played electric guitar and ukulele.

I was so appreciative that we each had an environment that was enriching and enjoyable.

It is nice to share our interests.

A Learning Event

My 13-year-old grandson Isaac left for three weeks of camp. He will return just before his Bar Mitzvah. He was gone two days and broke his arm. He tripped and put his arm out to break the fall. He came home (a four-hour drive) to see his doctor. It was determined he needed his arm reset. At this appointment, he was given a choice of having a local or a full anaesthetic. He chose the former and told me it was very painful. He got a hard cast which goes above the elbow.

He went back to camp but must return to be x-rayed next week. His cabin in going backpacking, which he was really looking forward to, and he cannot go.

This has meant a few four-hour trips and disappointment about limiting activities at camp.
There is value in learning that we are able to get through very painful and unexpected events in our lives. And for Isaac to learn he was able to handle it so well is very meaningful.
He is so resourceful.

Surprise!

I was working and the doorbell rang.  I went to the door and a boy around three-years-old was on the porch.  A man on the sidewalk said to him, “Hurry and come to me.”  I thought the boy had just playfully rung my doorbell.  As he walked down the steps, I began to close the door.  As I did, the man said, “No.  There are flowers there.”  I opened the screen door and notice a bouquet.  I thanked him, took the flowers and went inside.

That was why the boy had rung the bell.

The flowers were from my daughter wishing me a wonderful entry into a new phase of my life.

It is so meaningful to have loving people in my life.

What Kids Can Learn

My favorite son Erik Rice is Director of College and Career Pathways for the San Francisco school district. Last night I went to the annual event that showcases the programs offered in the schools.  What enhanced learning this is.

I was greeted at the door of the Palace Hotel by students who were welcoming and offering guidance to those who had questions.  I walked into the main room which was filled with tables displaying the programs, students explaining the programs and answering questions, faculty of the programs and many visitors.  It was incredible.

The students at each display explained the focus of the program and what they had learned. They represented each of the high schools.  The students were welcoming and enthused and knowledgeable.  Most planned on pursing some aspect of the program they had taken.

It was inspirational and exciting to experience a progressive way of learning.  The students are thriving.

Martin Luther King Day

When we moved to California six years ago, we had Isaac and Ari on Martin Luther King Day.  They were eight and five at the time.  We decided to go to Martin Luther King park.  We took trash bags with us and picked up trash.  We took about an hour.  The act of contributing to the care of our community felt like a meaningful public service.

Last year we did it again.  For reasons we did not understand, the primary trash we found were shoes.  We filled our bags. Since the boys were older, they went closer to the Estuary to retrieve trash.  We found the appropriate trash containers and filled them before we left.

Public service is something the boys are learning at home too.  I wish more of us participated in it.

I missed you today, Ari and Isaac.

It’s In The Genes

My nine-year old grandson Ari was in a school performance. I was not able to attend. My daughter told me that his dancing ability was great.

I did see the video.  He danced with a large group of students to a Michael Jackson piece.  They were dressed in appropriate attire for the decade.  It was well choreographed and the kids clearly had learned and rehearsed the number.

I watched Ari.  He had the moves.  I imagined he and Julie and I doing a routine together, just as I did with her many years earlier.

The talent seems to be passing on.

The Game Changes

I took my grandsons to the Pinball Museum the other day.  We were there a month earlier.  We began in the first room where the machines are older, the type I played on when I was younger.  We were in that room for a long time.  Isaac is 12 and Ari is 9, and they enjoyed trying all of the games.

Eventually we moved to another room.  Here the machines are more technology enhanced.  There is more black background, balls are hidden (which is worth more points if one hits this location), and then the balls spontaneously surface and must be dealt with.  Again, we played for a while.

When we were in the car on the way home, I said that I liked the first room best.  I was always able to see the ball which made it easier to be prepared.  In the other rooms, the darkness of the games made it difficult for me to see the ball and sometimes two surfaced simultaneously and were hard to find for a bit.  I assumed it was my age, not being acclimated to the technological beat.

Isaac said he agreed.  Ari said, “I like the later rooms better.  Remember, I want to design games.”

I was thrilled Isaac agreed with me.  It suggests age is not the only issue.

Handling Consequences

This is not the first time this has happened.  In fact, it may be the hundredth time I have heard a story like this.

An 11-year-old client told me that she was very distressed that her mother yelled at her a lot for having failed to turn in a homework assignment at school.  I asked her what the consequence was at school.  She said that she turned in the assignment the next day, which she had left in a folder in another classroom.  She was given a 0 the first day, but after turning it in, she was given a grade.  Having done this three times, she had a detention which is the result of three 0s.  She is not allowed to go to the other classroom the day the work is due.  As a result of the detention, she was delayed in going to her after-school choir group.  This has gotten her attention.  Finally.

Her mother prepares meals this girl does not like.  She avoids eating them, and the mother gets angry.  I asked her if her mother calls the school and asks that there be a consequence.  She laughed and said she had not.

I advocate schools provide consequences for less than ideal behavior.  I advocate that parents provide consequences at home for less than ideal behavior.  To have consequences in both locations is too much.

Hopefully, the mother will discuss her daughter’s failure to take assignments with her to the appropriate class.  Screaming achieves nothing of value.

Being With The Boys

Having an overnight with my two grandsons, Isaac and Ari, is a major treat.  Oops, I just typed “threat” instead of “treat” initially.  I need to reflect on that.

It is a threat because it means making a plan.  I always play out the list of possible activities for us to do while they are in Alameda.  A movie, the zoo, miniature golf, pinball arcade, are always options.  Eat at home or out.  I want it to be a treat for them.  And then what movie to watch before bedtime with their popcorn.  Before streaming, they would tell me what they wanted and I would arrange to have it here.  Now, they pick one or we have something recorded that may be of interest to them.

Once the decisions are made, the treat begins.  I love hearing updates on their activities, which are many.  And I love hearing them describe things and giving their opinions.  They do pay attention to events and to people.

And, they care.  There is a warmth and connection that reaches my core.

Thanks for another great time.

Taking Care Of Someone

I recently took a weekend trip down to LA to visit Julie, my daughter.  Lately my knees have been uncomfortable and I will be beginning physical therapy in a couple of weeks.  I have mentioned this to her and am aware that I rarely talk about how I am doing physically.  I told her that walking up and down stairs tends to put the most stress on my knees.

There is an elevator in her apartment and over the weekend it failed to work on a few occasions.  She took immediate action calling the building manager and I discovered that she was very assertive, mentioning that I was visiting and she did not want me walking the stairs.  There were a few interventions that she took as the elevator was not reliable.

We went to a play downtown which meant parking underground.  As we walked to a restaurant and the theater, there were steps.  In each situation, she kept directing me to the elevator even though it was a longer walk, but did not require stairs.

Her care was very touching to me, though not surprising.  As a person who prefers not being taken care of, even when ill, she saved me from discomfort.

I hope I am attentive to others in the same way.

Thanks, TF.