But where have they gone? Did they suddenly pick up bat and ball, take to the great outdoors, or have a renewed interest in their academic studies?
No, of course not. Don’t be ridiculous. They’ve simply moved to other social media sites like Instagram, Snapchat, or Twitter.
Now before you get too worried about the size of Mark Zuckerberg’s retirement account, fear not – teens haven’t deleted their Facebook accounts. Instead, according to experts, teens now treat their Facebook page as a chore, something you do every week or two like clean your room, make your bed, or finish your chemistry homework.
One wonders what motivated teens to migrate, and why now when Facebook stock is finally rising and the company is so close to its goal of worldwide domination.
Analysts believe that teens left because of MUMPS like me: Massively Uncool, Middle-aged Parents. We “Mommed” it all up, and ruined it for everyone.
We posted mundane pictures of our kids sleeping, we tagged shots of them as naked babies on Throwback Thursday, and we bragged about their drama awards, school dance dates, and soccer trophies with the most distant members of our families. What’s worse, we even made Grandma join.
But why did we do it? Is it because we, as parents, always have to spoil the fun?
No! It’s because the experts told us to. They said we needed to stay connected and monitor our teens on social media. These experts scared us into thinking that if we didn’t t keep track of our child’s every move then we’d lose them to creepy forty-five year-old “Catfishers” who would lure them to the nearest Greyhound bus station, or our kids would post pictures of themselves in revealing bathing suits, or even worse – announce to the world that our family has gone away to Maui on vacation.
Our motivations were pure. We were protecting our kids. But then, something happened: we got hooked. We became Facebook addicts ourselves, and we ruined it, just like we parents ruin everything by getting over-involved.
Of this, I’m guiltier than most.
My daughter showed an interest in fashion so what did I do? I signed her up for sewing, fashion sketching, and fashion design. I even enrolled her in this over-the-top college course where they did a professional runway show, complete with models. Then, you guessed it; she lost all interest in fashion.
I did the same thing with ballet, art, and softball. It’s a very predictable cycle: she shows a little interest, I become over-involved, and then voila, her interest wanes.
I’m not alone. We are a generation of parents who helicopter, interfere, and micromanage. At my daughter’s high school, the membership of the choral parent support group practically outnumber the chorus, there are more athletic boosters than qualified athletes, and the number of volunteers at the elementary school Jogathan often exceeds the runners.
It was so different when we grew up. Other than Open House night, my parents never set foot on my school’s campus. My husband’s parents only rarely attended his baseball games, and when I went out with my friends for the evening – now brace yourselves – my parents had no idea where I had gone.
Even though we Americans pride ourselves on our ingenuity and independent spirit, our generation seems bent on creating a generation of overly dependent, submissive drones.
Well I, for one, am going to do my best to stop. I’m going to step back and let my kids do their own thing for a change. I’m gonna try to let their interests grow on their own, or fizzle as they may. I’ll remove the tracking device from their necks, drop the Smart Limits from their cell phones, and I’ll stop showing up at every single event at their schools.
And who knows, I might even log on to Facebook and “Un-Friend” them as well.
The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best family and parenting bloggers out there. Our contributing and guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor, and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. Kristen Hansen Brakeman blogs at kristenbrakeman.com.
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." That statement, by British science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke, has never been more relevant than it is today. We live in an era that features self-driving cars; unmanned flying drones; and wireless devices that fit in the palms of our hands and connect us to a healthy chunk of humanity's knowledge.
But when you don't understand something, you can't really master it – and in some ways, the technology begins to master you. That our overwhelming dependence on technology has arrived hand-in-hand with a general technological illiteracy is abstractly alarming. What is more concrete is that all these gadgets need programmers, interface designers, production supervisors, and far more jobs in order to be created, manufactured, and distributed. We're facing a tech job crunch: too many jobs, not enough computer science graduates ready for the next generation of work.
Enter the Hour of Code, a national effort to get 10,000,000 students to spend an hour learning how to program using a set of pre-designed tutorials during Computer Science Education Week, December 9-15.
By getting kids thinking about writing computer code, the Hour of Code is meant to prime the pump for more learning and, ideally, creating more computer science graduates in the years to come. The program's tutorials make use of popular games like Minecraft and Angry Birds, and some of them are completely computer-free, relying on paper, pencil, and simple props like plastic cups to demonstrate that computational thinking isn't necessarily tied to computers.
All of this takes me back to Henry David Thoreau elementary school in the early '80s, where programs I learned like the Logo turtle and Rocky's Boots (teaching 1960s programming language and Boolean functions) were at the cutting edge of getting kids ready for the computer-dominated future that was inexorably bearing down upon us.
And am I now a programmer? Absolutely not. But having some insight into the logical underpinnings of the systems that now govern just about everything is no small gift, and one that kids everywhere should have a chance to enjoy.
By illegally ejecting a discreetly nursing mother from a courtroom, a female Connecticut marshal drove home the point that breastfeeding is a women’s issue often fought between women.
Connecticut is one of 45 states with a provision allowing women to breastfeed in public. Yet Danielle Gendron was ushered out of a Connecticut courtroom while she was discreetly nursing her 3-month-old son according to WTNH-TV in New London, Conn.
I worry about a society that’s fine with showing every kind of violence on television, yet can’t stand to witness a young mother discreetly nourishing her child.
As a mother who nursed four sons, I considered "discreetly" to usually mean sitting in the back of the room with the baby under a blanket or shawl which covered me more than the average bathing suit, with perhaps the very crown of baby’s head visible. Anything anyone thinks they saw while I nursed was most likely in their own imagination.
In light of Ms. Gendron’s experience it is fitting to note that a sizeable part of the nation’s population is currently prepping for a holiday that centers on the birth of a child.
While I am no archeologist or biblical historian, I can pretty much guarantee that Mary didn’t bottle feed her baby, nor did any wise man, shepherd, or woman blow the whistle on her for feeding her babe.
Perhaps now, in this season, we could take a moment to find the wonder at the gift women have to be able to nourish their children via this perfectly natural act.
When Ms. Gendron was perhaps age five, I was sitting in my car on Long Beach Island, NJ, discreetly nursing my first son under a shawl when a woman who was in her 50s began beating on my window demanding, “You stop that right now! That’s disgusting.”
The woman called police and, because there was no provision allowing public feeding at the time, I was politely asked to “Move along.”
What infuriated me then and seeing Gendron’s story now is that in both cases it was women who made such an issue of a woman’s issue.
I have marveled at this odd turning of woman against woman. The only thing I can imagine is that perhaps the women taking issue are those who themselves were deterred from breastfeeding in public spaces and convinced the act was lurid and “wrong.”
In my experience, men who see a woman breastfeeding either don’t recognize what they’re seeing, or are too uncomfortable to make a report.
The only time anyone ever came up to me to complain about seeing me feed the baby, which happened many times in various states of the union, it was always a woman.
Gendron has been initiated into the sorority of women outed by women.
“That's never happened to me, so I wasn't sure she was speaking to me at first, so I kind of looked around, and she was like, ‘Get out,’ ” Gendron tells WTNH about the female marshal.
The new mom was removed from family court on December 4. She was waiting her turn to testify in a case, according to WTNH.
“It almost makes you feel ashamed, which is terrible, because you shouldn't feel that way,” Gendron told WTNH.
It made Gendron feel “ashamed.” It made me feel humiliated and furious when it happened to me. Today it makes me feel sad because frankly, we’re better than this, as both a culture and a sex.
When Gendron’s story became public, the court apologized to Gendron's sister, who had called the court to complain, according to the TV station. As a result, reports Yahoo! Shine, “The marshal was instructed on the law, as were judicial marshals statewide.”
The newly released Godzilla trailer may not have shown us much, but it tells us that kids are going to be happily rampaging through imaginary cities in 2014, shouting “RAWR!”
The film is expected to open May 16, 2014, however my son’s imagination is already captured, so much so that in his mind he’s already in his seat for the remake of the classic monster movie.
“I wonder who he’s going to fight,” Quin, 10, asked excitedly. “Maybe Mechagodzilla? I hope it’s not just the army again.”
At age 10, Quin will be allowed to see Godzilla because the evening news has more ugliness than a mutant lizard squishing cars and knocking through skyscrapers.
Also, I view Gojira (his original name) as a misunderstood, persecuted creature who, historically, was just reacting to man’s invasion of his habitat.
In fact, he’s left some pretty big shoes to fill in the save-the-day department by defending his former attackers when willfully destructive monsters come to call on major cities.
Godzilla is a great lesson in not pre-judging someone based on cultural difference or physical appearance.
In anticipation of the film, my household is already hotly debating the question, “In a battle to the finish with laser blasters who do you think would win, Godzilla and Mothra as a team, or Cyborg King Ghidorah?”
This was posed by Quin.
The interesting thing is that Quin must have learned about the radioactive monster via osmosis and YouTube because he’s never seen the films with me.
Although, when Quin was little, his favorite book was “Dogzilla” by Dav Pilky, so I suppose I should have seen this coming.
If your kids are younger you should consider “Dogzilla” a sci-fi primer for future fun with a city-stomping, room-wrecking, imaginary friend.
In our house, Dogzilla was allegedly responsible for anything spilled, strewn, or broken in the house.
Later it became the “real” Godzilla who apparently masqueraded as any one of my four sons. He’s spent so much time with my family over the years, from when I first saw the original film in New York City in black and white and slept with the light on, to today. I’m glad to see he’s back in action.
Godzilla turns 60 in 2014 and he’s looking pretty spry for someone who’s battled 32 different monster enemies in 29 films and counting, taken out New York and Tokyo countless times in the process, and laid eggs in Madison Square Garden.
Since we don’t want to just keep up with our kids, but rather lead the next generation into their science-fiction fandom, it’s time for a little crash course on our mutant reptile facts.
Let’s start with some of the big guy’s nicknames that we know of: Gojira, King of the Monsters, Gigantis Gira, Monster of Justice, Big G, G Man, God of Destruction, Big Gray Gecko, Kaiju Alpha, and Goji.
When I say he’s big I mean this guy originally weighed in at 20,000 metric tons as a 50-meter tall prehistoric monster in 1954 when he terrorized Japan.
Originally Big G wasn’t enhanced, just a prehistoric monster. It took Americans in the 1984’s “The Return of Godzilla” to morph him into an irradiated, laser breathing monster we know and love to run from today.
Some of his most popular allies are Mothra, Rodan, and Anguirus. The Big Gray Gecko’s enemies are numerous, and he has most often fought them with the result of saving the very city that was trying to destroy him. According to my son Ian, unimpeachable keeper of all sci-fi lore, the list of legendary Godzilla foes is long, but the best loved at our house are: Gigan, SpaceGodzilla, MechaGodzilla and King Kong.
Since the big guy’s left such a footprint on childhood, perhaps we need to get ahead of the curve by adding DVDs of the classic Godzilla films as some oversized, reptilian-themed stocking stuffers.
Today’s Google celebrates computer programming language pioneer Navy Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper. We all can thank Ms. Hopper for the term “debugging,” which to most people means fixing a glitch, but parents might take it as a reminder to clean out the keyboard before something crawls out of it.
Ms. Hopper (December 9, 1906 – January 1, 1992) is credited with popularizing the term "debugging" after finding an actual moth in her computer. There’s a photo of it on her official Navy page.
The moth was found trapped in the Mark II Aiken Relay Calculator while it was being tested at Harvard University, September 9, 1947, accofding to Hopper’s naval history page.
“The operators affixed the moth to the computer log, with the entry: ‘First actual case of bug being found.’ They put out the word that they had ‘debugged’ the machine,” according to the Navy page.
While I could talk all about the importance of getting girls into Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) instead my point is the importance of teaching girls and boys what I’m going to call a Hopper Doodle Do: clean out your keyboard kids!
Better yet, don’t eat at the computer while are drinking in all that knowledge.
My personal mission to clean out our keyboards wasn’t due to Ms. Hopper, but an experience I had during a very brief run as the social media coordinator for a small local television station here in Norfolk, VA in the fall.
My first week on the job, working nights until midnight, I was typing when something tickled my fingertips. That something was a feeler from what turned out to be a shockingly large cockroach.
People all over the newsroom turned to see what furious missive I must be writing as I tried to squash the bug with various keystrokes.
No such luck. This baby had apparently been born and raised in the fast paced underworld environs of newsroom typing.
When I called for tech assistance the answer came back, “We keep telling people not to eat at their desks! Just put the keyboard outside and we’ll get it later.”
The next morning the children woke to find their mother, a woman possessed, vacuuming and shaking out the keyboards.
If you are operating under the delusion that your kids never eat at the computer just turn the keyboard upside down and shake. The contents of your keyboard might just surprise you, while the cleanout might stop letters from sticking anymore.
However, despite my best efforts, last week when the Virginia weather neared an unseasonably balmy 80-degrees, my 10-year-old could be heard shouting, “Mommomomomomomomomommm!”
When I arrived at the computer where he’d been playing Minecraft, he was pointing to the computer as if it had come alive, and in a way it had. Ladybugs were coming out of from under the letters and that spelled trouble.
In this case it wasn’t due to snacking, but the fact that the computer sits by a window with a potted plant. In the warm weather our neighborhood saw a huge ladybug bloom for a few days.
My best guess is that the bugs travelled from window to plant to dark keyboard. Perhaps after one of our two cats pawed at the soil (another habit to drive me buggy) the creatures made the keyboard home.
When it happened to Hopper, the Navy circulated a cleaning memo. Perhaps part of honoring her today should circulate a similar memo at home in order to keep things ship shape and Hopper fashion.
Having a childhood dream to be a NASA astronaut isn't unusual – doing something practical about it, however, certainly is. When six-year-old Coloradan Connor Johnson heard that Congress was threatening to cut NASA's funding, he started a petition on the White House We the People platform.
If a petition on We the People gets 100,000 signatures, it receives an official response from the White House, something that has obtained official statements on everything from postal service reform to using monkeys in Army training exercises to regulating gluten-free food labeling in the past.
Johnson's effort may be a bit quixotic – even if he's able to make the 100,000 signatures required by the end of the month, the odds are long that anyone in Congress will take notice and change their vote to support the space agency – but it makes a great point. Namely: the impact of NASA is far more profound than it might appear.
Wikipedia's list of spin-off technologies from NASA efforts is long and profound; when you're preparing to put people and complicated machines into the frigid void of space, you tend to discover a lot interesting things along the way. The list ranges from artificial limb technology to enriched baby food to aircraft anti-icing systems and well beyond; if we're not exploring space, we're also not exploring the limits of our Earth-bound technology, either.
Far less tangible than temperpedic foam, but far more important over the long term, is that space ultimately holds the future of the human race. At some point, the odds are good that Earth will be overcrowded, polluted, or otherwise changed to the point where life here is difficult if not impossible. Colonies on other worlds - or traveling spaceships that can sustain life for the long, long, many generations long trip to other potentially habitable worlds – may be our best bet for long-term survival.
From the short-term problem solving and tech development to the long-term future of humanity to the dreams of adventurous little girls and boys everywhere, it seems clear that NASA and other space programs yield dividends that are hard to measure. And that may be why China – one of the world's other great powers – is putting so much of its money into space exploration. There isn't an obvious payoff to sending a rover called Jade Rabbit to the moon's Bay of Rainbows but the long-term importance is profound, and there can be no doubt that a generation of Chinese kids will be inspired by its mission.
It may be that a country on the grow needs to have a dream. That the United States should keep dreaming seems to be an obvious point – it's so obvious that a six-year-old can articulate it.
When Selena Gomez dropped the F-bomb in anger at technical difficulties during a performance, she also reminded parents that swearing – and even the equivalent abbreviations – can become part of their kids daily vocabulary.
“Selena Gomez was so frustrated by technical difficulties during KIIS-FM's annual Jingle Ball concert in Los Angeles Friday night, that she said 'what the f***?' into the mic and left the stage,” according to E! News.
Salty talk can sink a ship – such as the ship of public decency, which Ms. Gomez, 21, so publicly torpedoed. Gomez didn't use the W.T.F. abbreviation, but the prevalent use of casual abbreviations of swear words often leads to a desensitization to the words represented.
I had to ban "WTF" from use in our house and in my kids' online accounts when my youngest son, 10, asked what it meant because he always saw his brothers type it in online gaming chat and heard them exclaim it. One day, I heard him shout the letters in a library and it was time for the crackdown.
Swearing is a bad habit that wrecks the first impression both socially and later in life with potential employers.
To combat the flow of swearing from my son Ian, 18, I came up with a challenge for him to not swear for one week and I would give him $50. At any other age it would be a different motivator, but at 18, gas money talks and swearing walks.
His reaction was to immediately offer to split the money with his brothers if they would cover for him. I countered with, “The one who catches him swearing gets the full amount all to himself.”
It was on!
Our eldest son is away at college but participated as my online security chief monitoring Facebook for any swearing on his brother’s page, with the same reward in the balance.
When they were younger I warned my sons, “Constantly swearing is like eating boogers in front of the entire class with the girl you like sitting in the front row. It’s a bad impression that is unforgettable.”
The boys claimed they would be able to control the swearing when it was important and I beg to differ.
Case in point, 12 years ago my former New York Times editor “accidentally” used the F-bomb on my mom when she answered the phone while babysitting for the boys. Our voices are similar and he opened with a lulu of a litany until she cut him short with a withering comment that resulted in him not swearing at me for weeks.
In Ian’s case, however, he went the entire week without a single slip of the lip until the university informed him he needed to go get a vaccine. When the pretty, young nurse administered the shot he dropped the bomb.
Then he realized he’d dropped it and slipped a second time. He was sitting on the little exam table in a pediatrician’s office surrounded by duckies on the walls.
I could almost hear him wishing the ground would open and swallow him. In the car I told him I was willing to honor the bet anyway since it was the end of the final day and the shot was extenuating circumstances.
He sat in stony silence and then said he didn’t want the money, he just wanted the last 45 minutes back.
It’s been three months and when someone loses a video game match or stubs their toe we hear a stream of cartoonish creativity spewing forth such as, “Cheese on a cracker that hurt!”
All the money in the world can’t bring back the moment when you lose face because you opened your mouth and a cuss word popped out at the most embarrassing moment possible.
David Orth-Moore is a regional director for Catholic Relief Services, an international aide group that provides services for more than 100 million people in 91 countries on five continents. The following is a letter from David to his children about the passing of Nelson Mandela, who died December 5, 2013, at the age of 95.
I wanted to share with you my feelings about Nelson Mandela, who passed away today at the ripe age of 95.
I remember in college thinking about the terrible injustice in South Africa and how could they imprison a man just for speaking out against racial injustice. Of course in high school I wasn’t aware of these kinds of things like you kids are about the world. I was buried in white middle class suburbia unaware of what was happening in the world. But in college, I began to wake up and have a new consciousness about inequality in the world, whether in Latin American, South Africa, or Soviet Union (Russia). This all happened while I was in college, even a very conservative college in rural Pennsylvania.
What you may not hear today was that our country was slow to officially condemn apartheid. Ronald Reagan had to be pushed to finally put the moral weight of the USA against the injustice of apartheid. In fact, at first President Reagan called the African National Congress (ANC), the South African political party exiled to neighboring African countries for fighting against apartheid, a terrorist organization. Dick Cheney (former Vice President to Bush II), voted against economic sanctions to South Africa in the 1980s, even when the rest of the world was condemning apartheid. It was from the college campuses around the United States that the pressure came, people marching in front of the South Africa embassy in Washington in 1980s and pushing for disinvestment in the South Africa economy. The economic and political sanctions against the apartheid government finally brought it down. I even contacted my financial accountant in Merrill Lynch in the late 1980s to disinvest my small investments in any South African companies.
I am a bit embarrassed as an American to think how long it took us as a country to condemn apartheid considering our own history of slavery and the slow pace of civil rights for all Americans, regardless of color. I guess the important thing is that we finally did come around, and America’s weight did help to convince the white South African government to yield to majority rule.
In Senegal (while I was in Peace Corps), I finally learned how important a symbol Nelson Mandela was in all of Africa. While the rest of the continent won it’s freedom from their colonialists, South Africa stood against the world alone in promoting the concept of inequality among races. They maintained that white skin was better than black skin and reinforced this idea with a barrel of a gun. Society treated the majority black South Africans as dogs – literally. They were forced into makeshift cities to live in metal shacks that had no plumbing; they went to schools without resources and books; and all the while they had to serve the whites – in their homes, factories, mines...
If you want to know more about how blacks in South Africa were treated as late in 1970s – when I was in my teens - there was movie called “Cry Freedom” about Steven Biko, who died at the hands of a police beating for his role in promoting freedom in his own country. The movie has the added benefit of seeing Denzel Washington and Kevin Kline early in their careers.
Back then, Mandela was a symbol of moral authority for injustice throughout the world. And those of us in Peace Corps wondered when South Africa would become free, where 95% of the population would be able to govern themselves. It’s important to know that many of us around the world thought when the moment of freedom came, there would be an exodus (or worse) of whites from South Africa because they would fear being ruled by the black majority. How wrong we were because Mandela, as president, reassured and encouraged whites to remain and work with blacks in the country. He established a ground-breaking Truth and Reconciliation Commission with the sole purpose of letting everyone state what happened to them, and if you were white, and perpetrated crimes against blacks (or vice versa), to be forgiven. There was no punishment for anyone who came forward and spoke about what they did so long as they asked for forgiveness. This model of forgiveness is now being used in South Sudan following their struggle for independence over the past 50 years. He truly lived Christ’s message of forgiveness and set a good example.
Mandela was finally released from prison in 1990. I remember the moment well because Unkie called me (and woke me up) in the morning to turn on the TV because Mandela was walking out of prison. It was an electric moment and finally started the process of transferring power from minority white rule to majority rule. I was deeply in love with Africa and celebrated like everyone else at the new day. Mom and I probably celebrated at Kilimanjaro Club in downtown Washington.
From release to becoming President and elder statesman, Mandela has been a symbol of righteous struggle for equality, perseverance in the face of tremendous odds, and the simple grace of forgiveness to help heal old wounds. Following his presidency, South Africa continues to follow the democratic traditions he established and the country is by far the most economically advanced on the continent.
Mandela’s simple act of fighting inequality cost him 24 years in prison. At any moment, he could have renounced his struggle and accepted apartheid in order to be released. But he refused these offers because he know it would take self-sacrifice and patience. And after all he experienced, he still forgave his oppressors in order to demonstrate how the future can be – he was a visionary. He gave us hope that no matter how insurmountable oppression or inequality might be, right will prevail. Just like Gandhi before him, Mandela treated everyone as a prince, and the prince in everyone (even those who hated him), came forth.
After Carrie Underwood performed the “The Sound of Music” in a live broadcast last night, the von Trapp family and mine found we couldn’t solve a problem like awful acting. Hopefully Ms. Underwood’s performance won’t make the next generation take the musical off their list of “favorite things.”
“It’s just upsetting that this could potentially be the final broadcast of our story,” Myles von Trapp Derbyshire told ABC upon first hearing that Underwood would play his great grandmother Maria, originally played by Oscar-winner Julie Andrews in the 1965 film, "The Sound of Music." One can only imagine what he thought of the actual performance.
“And although her voice is amazing, she doesn’t have acting experience,” Mr. Derbyshire told ABC “It’s just the overall image, she’s a country star, she won ‘American Idol,’ she’s very public in kind of a tabloid way.”
It was hard for me to tell exactly what my 10-year-old son was saying with the couch pillow over my head, but it sounded like, “Can we make this stop now?”
I have to add that while I absolutely adored Stephen Moyer as Captain Von Trapp, for both his singing and acting talent, it was not lost on my kids that it was “Vampire Bill” from HBO’s “True Blood.”
It was a distraction that proved impossible for them to overcome when watching the show.
As they say in “True Blood,” it all added up to “the true death” of a family tradition at our house.
For me and my family, “The Sound of Music” offers a soundtrack that has played through many scenes in our lives.
I grew up singing every song from the film score, particularly, “How do you solve a problem like Maria?” when the nuns at the abbey lament the capricious ways of the main character.
Quin, 10, has been singing, “Do-Re-Mi” since he took his first music class in school.
During each and every thunderstorm of my childhood my mother sang “My favorite things” to me and in turn I sang it to each of my four sons when we lived aboard a sailboat and the thunder was upon us.
When the dog bites,
When the bee stings,
When I'm feeling sad,
I simply remember my favorite things,
And then I don't feel so bad.
It’s just a shame that we couldn’t sing that song while Underwood was acting the scene because singing it just reminded us of Underwood acting the scene.
At age 16, "Sixteen Going on Seventeen" was my favorite song.
When one of my kids asked me what yodeling was I taught them “The Lonely Goatherd” song.
My first born was a colicky baby and the song that I crooned every night was "Edelweiss."
I am notorious for chirping an overblown campy rendition of the "So Long, Farewell" song at my kids when they resist bedtime. I even wave each one off, just like in the movie. You never saw a kid run for the cover of his bed so fast!
So, here was the golden opportunity to share one of my favorite things with my youngest and while Underwood’s voice was lovely, the acting was so cringe-worthy that my son can’t even hear one of the songs without groaning today.
I was humming the opening theme as I made French toast this morning and Quin shouted, “Please not ‘The Sound of Music.’ I just want it out of my head.”
Perhaps the solution, as with so many of childhood’s upsetting moments, is to turn the record over by taking the family out to a Sound of Music Sing-Along movie experience.
Movie goers at a sing-along are each issued a bag of props that are used on cue as the audience participates in the film. Sort of a family-friendly, Rocky Horror Picture Show-style experience.
Meanwhile, we can rent the Julie Andrews version and continue to weather the storm while trying to forgive and forget by recalling our favorite things about Ms. Underwood.
Rare-earth magnets being swallowed by a Florida teen should serve as a warning to parents to periodically review both safety rules and the guidelines of common sense with their kids.
Christin Rivas, 14, had six of the powerful, pea-sized magnets used for car wheel ball bearings, science experiments, and magic tricks with her at school and “inadvertently swallowed them,” according to ABC.
This is not like when Granny tells the anxious parent of a child who just swallowed a penny, “This too shall pass.”
If multiple magnets are swallowed, they may come together in the digestive system and cause damage.
“Magnet-related emergency-room visits among Americans younger than 21 increased five times from 2002 to 2011,” ABC reported.
When I read stories about toy safety and things being swallowed I picture infants swallowing them and not teens and grade schoolers.
As Christmas approaches and parents shop for toys and gifts for older kids, we often ignore the safety warnings on the boxes about small parts that can be dangerous if swallowed because we reckon older kids know better.
In light of this case maybe we should take a closer look, not at the boxes, but at our kids.
We need to take a moment to have a review the common sense rules of life with kids, as they roll their eyes and moan, “Mom, seriously?”
Christin Rivas made it crystal clear that kids get distracted and do unthinking things.
"I do feel it was one of those stupid kid moments," the Melbourne, Fla. teen told ABCNews.com. "I was going to the bathroom and I put them in my mouth because I didn't want to put them on the floor. I wasn't quite thinking. The kid on the other side said something that made me laugh and swallow them."
Time to review.
You are a teenager with magnets in a school bathroom stall, which is most likely made of metal, much like almost every restroom in the nation.
You don’t want to put the round magnets on the floor where they might roll away so you put them: A. On the metal wall/door; B. In your mouth.
Granted, the magnets are powerful and it might be annoying to try to get them off the wall or door, but that’s nothing compared to what it takes to get them out of a kid, once ingested.
This morning I stopped one of my sons, age 18, as he shot out the door to college with a reminder not to swallow magnets.
He was not at all surprised by this because he knows that if I am warning him about it it’s because someone did something that I’m writing about.
“Got it,” he said. “Don’t forget to tell the other guys” (his three brothers).
It may sound like a silly thing to do, but that little reminder is going to travel with my son to his girlfriend who has those magnets and to their friends with younger siblings who babysit.
The word will go out through the kid grapevine and somewhere a child about to do something that could cost them their health might pause in the act to rethink.
If the teens get offended by your efforts to upgrade their safety systems just tell them that common sense is like an app.
Your parents help you get it, there’s always more where it came from, and occasionally it needs to be updated in order to keep up with the rest of the system.