Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Simple Life Lessons

As a child, do you remember things your parents used to tell you over and over again?  Here are a few things I can remember my dad saying to me as a child.

1. I am teaching you how to work. It builds character and you will thank me someday. Don't be lazy and don't procrastinate.

2. Don't complain. It makes the job harder.

3. Don't jump to conclusions or read into things.

4. Don't blow your money--save some for a rainy day or something of greater value. Don't give your kids everything they want, make them work and save for it.

5. Don't be so sensitive. Learn to laugh at yourself.

6. Don't worry about what others think or say about you. Let it roll off your back like water on a duck.

7. Don't be afraid to speak up. Look at someone in the eye when talking to them.

8. If a man truly loves you, he will wait til marriage.

9. When you do a job, do more than what is expected--even when you think the boss isn't watching. Even the little things, like moving the furniture when you sweep--don't just do the bare minimum. Don't just stand around when you finish the task--look for something to do to keep busy. Employers take notice of people who can work on their own and do things without being told.

10. If you don't have something nice to say about someone, don't say anything at all.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Semana Cultural

Last week was Semana Cultural at Rebekah and Leanna's school. They said they have 27 countries represented by the families attending the school. Leanna's 5th grade teacher asked me several months ago if I could do a presentation on the United States for her class.

Since I had a lot of time to prepare, I ordered a small US flag on a wood stick for each student on the Internet and had them mailed over. Those were a huge hit with the kids as they marched around the school yard carrying them home while they chanted "USA".

I also made a power point presentation which Leanna and I did together. In the process, it brought to my mind the many reasons I love my country. I talked about freedom, our diverse mix of immigrants, and what it means to be an American. We highlighted education, holidays, customs, manners, and contributions and inventions made by Americans.

I asked the children what they thought of the American people. I was rather surprised and encouraged to find that the children for the most part had good impressions of Americans. Words like freedom, friendliness, intelligent, and good ideas were mentioned. They also like our accent! I only had one "negative" comment from a boy who said "my sister thinks Americans are fat." He said it so politely and as if he didn't want to offend me.

I love children's enthusiasm at that age--they are old enough to understand words and concepts like patriotism, liberty, diversity, punctuality, etc. while not so old when it isn't "cool" to speak up and participate in class.

I brought in a microwave oven (an American invention by the way) and we made Rice Krispies Treats. I was trying to think of a quick and easy American food for us to make together. It is really difficult to find truly "authentic" American food though. Chocolate chip cookies would have been fun, but would have been more difficult to bake in the classroom. I thought of hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, and peanut butter (ruled that out because of potential allergies)--but Rice Krispies Treats is something I have never seen them eat here and something they could easily duplicate at home.

At the end of the class period we had handouts with puzzles and a map to label the 50 states (I gave them the first letter of each state on the map). One boy raised his hand and wanted to know where the state of Miami was ; ) . I gave a trivia contest and asked them questions like, who was the first American president, who was the first woman president--with the options of a. Hillary Clinton; b. Sarah Palin; c. none of the above. It was funny to hear their wide range of answers.

We gave away prizes including two dollar bills to the student who could name the president on the bill, and the motto on the back (I had to give a lot of hints). I also had 3-D puzzles of the Statue of Liberty that I found at the local china store. The most popular prize? Believe it or not, Kool Aid drink packets!