Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wednesday's Woman: Being of Service

Honoring Seane Corn, yoga instructor and founder of Off the Mat Into the World


Today's guest blogger, Anna Mahler, is a regular contributor to Wednesday's Woman and I also consider her a regular inspiration.  Meaning, her kindness is prevailing--always present, empathetic and aware.

Anna has a passion for self-care and deep self-awareness. She believes staying on the quest of loving oneself makes us capable of loving our children and each other.  I believe she is right.  She has a great ability to shine light on women who are reaching out to help us in the quest for a full, love-filled life, and today is no exception.


Be sure to visit Anna at her space, The Mommy Padawan.  I guarantee you'll be inspired.



Wednesday's Woman: What Being Of Service Truly Means

by Anna Mahler

Off the Mat Into the World


Seane Corn is a well known yoga instructor but also a passionate activist on a mission to bring the principals of yoga – love, compassion and mindfulness, into every part of our lives and the world around us.

At 19, Seane started exploring yoga and discovered that it's benefits go far beyond our physical selves.

“I liked yoga at first because of how it made my body feel, but within a few short years, yoga infiltrated every part of my existence. Because of the practice, I quit smoking, drinking, doing drugs and eating animal products. Because of the practice, I meditate, breathe, pray and serve. Yoga created the foundation that allows me to feel connected to spirit, the world and all her inhabitants.”
Source: http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Seane-Corns-First-Lesson-in-Yoga/3#ixzz28RH9oYgu

Seane went on to become a yoga teacher but also began exploring ways she could be of service to Off The Mat, Into The World. In 2007,  she co-founded the non-profit organization with the same name along with Hala Khouri and Suzanne Sterling. 
Off the Mat Into the World
others that aligned with her principals and personal beliefs. Inspired after working with YouthAIDS, an organization that provides services and products to children worldwide who are affected by the HIV/AIDS crisis, Seane came up with the slogan -

Off The Mat’s mission is to use the power of yoga to inspire conscious, sustainable activism and ignite grassroots social change.

From the very start, OTM has been active and successful in bringing the values and benefits of yoga to exactly what they state – off the mat and into the world around us today. 

Four years ago, a private client asked Seane to create a lounge at the Democratic National Convention. This became a place for people to relax in between sessions; offering yoga, massages, healthy food and meditation. After receiving a positive response as well as requests for more involvement,  OTM created their recent initiative, YogaVotes. It is an initiative to get people involved but to also bring love, compassion and connection in to politics and political discussions.




Off The Mat also partners with organizations all over the world to help create and provide safe medical and birthing centers, housing, education and training programs and raise awareness of global issues for change. One way they accomplish this is through a yearly challenge they call the Global Seva Challenge.

“Each year, Off the Mat (OTM) sponsors an international service project called the Global Seva Challenge. The Seva Challenge is a transformational journey that builds community, provokes awareness and action around global issues, and raises significant funds to support communities in crisis. Since 2007, the Seva Challenge has raised over two million dollars for projects in Cambodia, Uganda, South Africa and Haiti. In 2012 the Seva Challenge will be focused on the issue of sex trafficking in India and worldwide. “
(Source - http://www.offthematintotheworld.org/global-seva-challenge.html)
Raising awareness, providing refuge, sharing knowledge and encouraging compassion, mindfulness and love. To me, this is what “being of service to others” truly means and an awesome example of walking the walk and living the principals of what you believe. 

You can learn more about Off The Matt at http://www.offthematintotheworld.org/
And more about Seane Corn at http://www.seanecorn.com/



Wednesday's Woman is a weekly feature dedicated to spotlighting women who are role models for our daughters. . . and the world.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Photo Hunt in My Phone


With the theme of SHARING 10 PHOTOS FROM YOUR PHONE, three of my favorite pastimes come together--Monday ListiclesInstagram and The Columbus Museum of Art

   

Did you know the Columbus Museum of Art recently opened the nation's first Instagram installation and one of my photos is included?

My photo in the CMA Photo Hunt Installation
CMA's Photo Hunt Series continues and anyone from anywhere in the world can participate via Instagram, Twitter, or Flickr.  Simply hashtag your photos #CMAPhotohunt and include the hashtag for the current theme.  

The theme running until November 30 is #family.  I know all of you have some great shots that represent family.  Hashtag 'em and maybe you'll be chosen for the next CMA Photo Hunt installation in January!  For more info check out CMA's blog.

With all of the photos I have been taking for CMA's Photo Hunt, fulfilling my favorite blogging meme's theme for this week was easy:

Monday Listicles

10 RANDOM PHOTOS FROM SPERK*S PHONE



1. MY JOURNAL

2. LATE NIGHT RUN FOR MILK

3. M AND ME MAKING IT INTO THE OBAMA RALLY

4. THE VIEW FROM MY FRONT PORCH AT SUNDOWN



5. MY FAVORITE DOG, FRODO


6. SHE DOESN'T LIKE MORNINGS
AND IS GOING TO HATE ME FOR POSTING THIS


7. PRAYING THE CLOTHING GODS
WILL DELIVER SOMETHING TO WEAR TO SCHOOL TOMORROW


8. M AND ME ON THANKSGIVING #FAMILY



9. ME A FEW HOURS LATER, BLACK FRIDAY


10. MY HEART...MY GIRLS

BE SURE TO CHECK OUT THE INTERESTING PHOTOS IN THESE BLOGGERS' PHONES:
The best way to spend Monday in the blogosphere!

The Breath of Life

I feel I have been absent as of late, not just from Sperk*, but from something indefinable.  However, I won’t bore you with examination of the vague and give only the concrete.  Certainly there has been movement.  After months of a plague of depression, there has been forward progression even amid costly inconveniences:  Scruffy had his tail amputated after nearly chewing it off, the main drain to the house was clogged and filling the basement with feces, and my front tooth composite finally crumbled after many months of gingerly eating and cementing it with toothpaste during the night.  These were all financial setbacks, indeed, and at the most inopportune time of the year, the holidays.

The girls are well.  My tween who is emerging into a teen is quite gorgeous, like a sprouting tree in the spring, in her entirety, not just in her outward beauty.  My teen of 14 years is a constant mystery and deliverer of stress, but I’m learning to take it in stride with less seriousness and worry.  And last week, I finally put my year old degree to use and gained employment.  I’ll be caring for little ones full time.  It is funny that caring for small humans, during the most significant juncture of human development, pays the least in the field of education.  It is my opinion that early educators should be paid on the scale of professors.  And we should be required to have the same amount of education as college level instructors.  However, if that were the case, I wouldn't have my current employment, right?

The clock says 6:31 am, so I must wake the girls.  Here’s to coffee, cool autumn mornings, and the breath of life that keeps us going.


photo credit: Muffet via photopin cc

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Autumn Archive

Autumn in Northern California, 2004
Photo by Frida Azari
Thankful for Sophia and Antonia

Wednesday's Woman: Light in a Dark Place


Depression, Women, the Holidays and Hope.





Thanksgiving, the official start to the holiday season, is upon us. 

Are you feeling happy, grateful, and excited, anticipating the wonderful food and laughter shared with family?  Or are you feeling stressed, anxious, and tired?  Possibly, and most likely, you are experiencing a mix of emotions. 

For those suffering from depression, the anxiety that accompanies the holidays can be unbearable.  It can be frightening:  the expectations, the money, the time…

….did I mention the expectations?

Contrary to popular belief, occurrences of depression do not increase during the holidays.  However, what is found to be true is that women are more likely to suffer from depression than men.

From the National Institute of Mental Health:
  • One in four women will experience severe depression at some point in life.
  • Depression affects twice as many women as men, regardless of racial and ethnic background or   income.
  • Depression is the number one cause of disability in women.

Wednesday’s Woman is a space to honor women who are doing great things, on a grand, global scale, or on a smaller, but not less significant scale, in the home.  For many women, their greatest feat is getting out of bed.

Today, for Wednesday’s Woman, I am honoring all women who are suffering and/or surviving with depression.  To help me do so, I am grateful to welcome Kristen from the Preppy Girl in Pink:

************************************************************************



Hi, I'm Kristen from The Preppy Girl in Pink. I am a wife, a mom to two girls and work from home part time. I am not always strong but I am rarely weak. My daughters constantly remind me how good life can truly be. 


Light in a Dark Place

It was hard to get out of bed today. The curtains were drawn to keep the street lights out at night but weren't allowing the natural light of the day in either. I hit snooze on the alarm clock again and again. 

I stretched my arms, my legs and my back. I rolled over and faced the curtains. I had to force myself out of the bed and to them.

I pulled the panels apart and there wasn't much change in the light in the room.

It was another grey, cold, damp day. The days that make it hard to get out of bed. 

Could I lie and say it is because of weather like this that I want to sink back into bed and enjoy the coziness of my bed? Yes, I could.

But I won't.

It is the darkness outside my window that awakens the darkness in the soul. 

All of the heartache.

All of the doubt.

All of the guilt.

All of the pressure.

I know I should move one foot at a time in the direction of both of my two daughters' bedrooms. They need to get up and ready for school. 

I can't though.

My feet move me back to my bed. 

I tuck myself back in and feel alone as I lay in the fetal position.

I think to myself, 'Maybe I can just let the day go on around me. Maybe...'

But then I hear a giggle.

And then another.

I glance up and see the light from my 8 year old daughter's bedroom pouring into the hallway. That can only mean one thing, she is reading before the morning routine gets started. Her favorite way to start the day is with a book in her hands. 

She calls out to me, "Mom, do you remember when Ron did this? He cracks me up!" and then reads a few lines from one of the Harry Potter novels that she is currently devouring. 

She belly laughs this time.

And that is when I can feel the sunshine even when I can't see it.

That is when I turn off the alarm clock instead of hitting snooze again. 

That is when I tell myself that I have two daughters that need me. They need all of me. Not just the person going through the actions of the day.

They need my heart. They need my soul. They need to see that I can keep the darkness out with the light they shine upon me.

And I need to allow their light in so that I can let my light shine too. 

*************************************************************************************************************************************

Resources for coping with depression during the holidays:

Please know I am grateful for you. . . Happy Thanksgiving!

photo credit: PHOTO/arts Magazine via photopin cc

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wednesday's Woman: A Proverbs 31 Kind of Friend


Mom on the Range
There are some who traverse through life tucking away their trials, hiding them from the light for fear the broken world will crush them even more. 

There are some who refuse to welcome fear as a companion, who share their stories, fighting through the risk, vulnerability, and uncertainty.  These storytellers bring light, comfort, and inspiration to those of us quietly shouting, “Me too!” 

If you ask her if she thinks she is brave, she will probably answer, "No."  However, I attest that Cat Poland is one of these brave storytellers.  

I am grateful to welcome Cat Poland here today for Wednesday’s Woman.  You can find her rich stories from fertile ground at Mom on the Range, like her on Facebook, and, of course, follow her on Twitter.

Wednesday's Woman: 
A Proverbs 31 Kind of Friend

“Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Proverbs 31:29


“How are you doing?,” she asked when we first locked eyes in the hospital room. Such a simple question. Four words. But most people really don’t care what you have to say. If you say anything beyond, “fine,” they get squeamish. But not Amy. She is always thoughtful, always genuinely concerned. And despite her positive qualities, she’s the last person I wanted to see in the hospital.

You see, it was her, not me, lying in the bed. She was immediately concerned about me, the visitor. “I was worried seeing me like this would bring back memories of your own loss.” I was floored. Here she was, hours after delivering her stillborn baby at 16 weeks, worried about my emotions. But that’s just how she is. Completely selfless. I immediately began to cry, but not because my old emotions of a pregnancy loss were refreshed. I wept tears for her. Her lost baby. Her husband. Her son, the same age as my oldest daughter. She’d been through so much. This was just so undeserved. And yet, she held her head up. Sad, but not disheartened.

And to be honest, I’m not sure I could compose myself nearly as well as she does given all the trials she’s been through. Losing a baby is hard enough, but combine that with a child born with ocular albinism, a condition that requires years of treatment, therapies, and adapted needs to cope with, and it’s too much. Only, that’s not all. Before she even had children, before she laid down her own needs to bring life into the world, she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

Although she fought off this devastating disease, she is at constant risk of a relapse, and must attend yearly checkups at M.D. Anderson in Houston to ensure it’s still at bay. And what keeps it at bay? Medications, drugs that she chose to stop taking when she decided to become a mother. Having children was her dream. And happily, she now has two. Beautiful, laughing children she pours herself into. Yes, staying at home with them full time exhausts her, and money is often tight, but she clings to her dream. Clings to her children. She knows what she sacrificed to bring them into this world, and she tried not to take anything for granted.

Still, with all of these trials, she remains strong. And loving. And thoughtful. Probably the most thoughtful person I know. I’m proud to call her friend. I only hope someday I can be the friend she deserves, because I certainly don’t deserve her. She is my guiding counsel, my shoulder to cry on, my word of wisdom. She’s the one who asks, “How are you doing?,” and I can answer honestly. 


Wednesday's Woman is a weekly feature dedicated to spotlighting women who are role models for our daughters. . . and the world.

Monday, November 12, 2012

10 Fictional Facts about Me


One of these fictional facts about me is true.  Can you guess which one?

1.  I wear a size 2.

2.  I exercise daily for 60 minutes.

3.  I practice Transcendental Meditation.

4.  I love vegetables.

5.  I can read my teenager's mind.

6.  I am very confident.

7.  I once won the lottery and gave it all to charity.

8.  I have perfect skin.

9.  I know you love me.

10. I have no interest in NASCAR.


The best way to spend Monday in the blogosphere!
I love Monday Listicles! This is true!
photo credit: Add rien via photopin cc

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Save It for Later: Women Veterans and Senators


Congratulations! You survived Election 2012.  It was exciting and great for women.  Here’s the best of what I bookmarked this week, all related to women and being American.  Happy Veterans Day!

Women Veterans
Veterans Advantage
According to Veterans Advantage, “Roughly 15% of today’s military are women, but military observers will tell you their influence is greater than their numbers suggest and it's growing.”  As you make your reflections for Veterans Day, be sure to remember some female military greats here: Saluting Women Who Served.


Rape in the Military
The Invisible War
Amy Ziering, producer of the film, The Invisible War, which sheds light on the epidemic of rape in the United States Military, states “There’s much about being raped in the military that’s categorically different from civilian rape.  In many ways it can be even more profoundly damaging. If you’re a civilian, you can seek immediate comfort and support from friends and family, you can seek recourse through an impartial criminal justice system, and you are not blamed and castigated if you report. What the public doesn't realize is that if you are raped in the military, you don’t have these options. Plus, it goes against the creed you've been taught—‘A good soldier doesn’t tell on a fellow soldier — good marines suck it up.’ All these things combined have kept so many victims from being able to talk about what happened to them,” (Los Angeles Post, June 26, 2012).

It is vital to raise awareness of the epidemic of rape in the military as we continue to strive in our country for the elimination of and healing from crimes against women.  For more information see the website, Not Invisible, where you can watch the trailer, request a screening, and obtain information on having your voice heard.

Celebrating Women Senators
Do you know all of the recently elected female U.S. Senators?  I love this presentation I found on Prezi:




Let's Not Forget Our Widows
The American Widow Project
Back in April, Anna Mahler, a regular contributor to Wednesday's Woman spotlighted Taryn Davis, founder of the American Widow Project.  Veterans Day is certainly a time to keep our widows in our thoughts.

“While the service member’s sacrifice is acknowledged, many simply forget or fail to recognize the sacrifice of the spouse who is now left a widow of war. Often times the invisible wounds of military widows are disregarded due to age or a simple lack of knowledge and understanding." ~Taryn Davis
The American Widow Project provides peer to peer support for a new generation of military widows.  For more information go here: The American Widow Project. 



Women Do Not Belong in the Kitchen
This has nothing to do with the election or veterans.  I simply feel compelled to share.

The trouble with depression is indolence becomes my best friend.  Time with my best friend keeps me from doing things like chores, exercising, reading, and the like.  However, depression and its accompanying sloth does give a great excuse for leaving the dishes, which I despise doing.  

These dishes have been accumulating since Thursday,
a true, off-line, Save It for Later.
Even though I am happy to report that I am gaining momentum (yesterday I raked leaves and cleaned out my car with the help of my youngest daughter, Antonia), I could not bring myself to tackle that sink. This morning, my significant other did it for me.  Thanks, M.  I seriously do not belong in the kitchen.


Save It for Later is a regular feature sharing the week's best bookmarks that I saved to read later.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: President Barack Obama


Wednesday's Woman: Dreams for My Daughters


Today's guest blogger sent me the following post and it was so well done, it needed no editing. While watching the election returns, I thought, "Wow. I can just copy and paste this right into a post and then continue focusing on this news stuff."

But I can't do that.  I need to share this with you:

Last spring, like a lighting bolt, Ashley appeared to me as a jolt of renewal in the hope that compassion is a reality.  I had just found out that I was selected a BlogHer 2012 Voices of the Year Honoree and she offered me her ticket to BlogHer 2012 in New York City.  I accepted but, unfortunately, I could not attend.  That killed me because I wanted to be there in honor of her and everyone I knew like her--a devoted mother, an advocate for young women and girls, and one who is not afraid to tell it like it is. However, Ashley's bravery is not in pointing out reality, her courage is in delivering the punch with empathy.    

After you read today's Wednesday's Woman, be sure to check out Ashley's space, The Dose of Reality, follow her on Twitter, and like her on Facebook.  

I am beyond grateful to have Ashley, The Dose of Reality, here today.

Ashley is a mostly-stay-at-home mom to Emma (8) and Abby (4), wife to my husband Robert (41ish), and an occasional nurse (turns out she would rather just play a nurse on TV). At this point, she stands a better chance of creating world peace than keeping her house clean and organized. She considers it a good day when she remembers to pick up both kids at school and also only raises her voice at bedtime. Her main goal in life is to surround herself with people who are real and tell it like it is.The Dose of Reality

The Dose of Reality



Wednesday’s Woman: Dreams for My Daughters
By Ashley Taylor

My girls are still so young, relatively speaking, despite the fact that like all clich├ęs, I feel the time rushing by. I know that in practically the blink of an eye they will go from now to then. The same way that it has gone from then to now. I wonder if I have squandered the time that has already past. Have I missed moments that I will never have back again? Do they know that my presence with them, even when it feels distracted, is real? Will they ever truly be able to grasp the fierceness of my love?

I feel like I still have the chance to control things in their world to a certain extent. I can make sure that homework is complete and a healthy lunch with an encouraging note awaits them in the school cafeteria. I still have the power to push through the stubborn silence and find the cause of the hurt feelings. This time, this moment, this period feels like my chance to impart all of my knowledge for the future when they will quite likely choose their own food, their own clothes, their own friends and their own beliefs.

So, what do I need to make sure they know? What do I want to ensure they believe?
I hope they never forget what it is like to have each other. The power of the sister bond. I hope they never stop needing each other and my messages of that bond, as demonstrated by my own sister relationship, reinforces their closeness. As I say so often to my girls, a sister is a forever friend.

I want them to always love to read. To become so engrossed in a book that they forget everything around them. I want them to know in their core that knowledge is power and that reading is a gift.

I wish I could spare them the experience of real heartbreak, but I know that I cannot. So, what I hope is that when they come to those moments that their ability to rise back up and keep going is strong. I hope that their sense of self is intact enough that no one else will be able to make them doubt their own worthiness. Because I will not lie, the thought of one of my girls believing herself to be less than makes my own heart break.

As a woman who struggles with her own body image, mostly in part to a mother who struggled with her own so severely, I would love to believe I can stop that cycle in my own children. I would love to believe that they will be immune to the societal media pressure to be a certain size. To look a certain way, to be a certain something. I would love to believe I am teaching them that being healthy and loving their own unique bodies is far more important than what the number on the scale says.

What I think I hope most in the world is that they own their potential as women, but never use it to hurt other women. Secretly inside, I have this belief that perhaps seeing their mother as a blogger who so strongly supports validating other women will somehow rub off on them. I would feel a great sense of pride if my girls grow up to be independent and self-assured and use their strength to help others.

This mothering gig comes with such overwhelming responsibility because I feel like I am here to shape these little girls into women, and I just want so badly to do it well. I want to look back someday and say to myself, “Yes, your girls know that they are loved, they know they are protected, and they know they are everything amazing you always knew they were”.
Those are my dreams for my daughters.


Wednesday's Woman is a weekly feature dedicated to spotlighting women who are role models for our daughters. . . and the world.



photo credit: Sunciti _ Sundaram's Images + Messages via photopin cc

photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via photopin cc

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Obama Rally: We Were There


I heard the familiar ringtone at 8:37 a.m.  It took me a second to realize Sophia was calling from downstairs and not from her dad’s house.  I shook M’s shoulder to wake him and alert him of the time.

“Oh, shit,” were his words.  Or maybe that’s what I was thinking.

I crawled out of bed and said hello to Scruffy who was peering out from his kennel with his e-collared, cone-head.  With a tiny sting of guilt, I left him there to attend to my caller.  Once I reached the bottom of the stairs and peaked into Sophia’s room, I heard the question.

“Are we really going, because I don’t want to go?”

At that moment, I didn't want to go either.  In fact, with depression looming, every morning was a challenge—the fight with wanting nothing but to stay in bed was like that annoying feeling of knowing I needed to put gas in the car but of not knowing if I had enough fuel to get out of the driveway.  It didn't help that I knew everyone needed to shower and I had to pack Sophia and her sister, Antonia, for going to their dad's after the event.   

I answered, “Yes, we are going.”

“Should I get in the shower?”

“Yes.”

The girls showered.  I showered.  M took the dogs outside for business.  The girls packed themselves.  

Nationwide Arena

That’s how we made it to downtown Columbus by 10:30 a.m. for the Obama rally. Despite Antonia’s mysterious headache, M’s Sunday Night Football hangover, Sophia’s teenage pleas, and my depressive paralysis, we were there.  Standing under the mid-morning sun with thousands of others, lined up close on the cold, concrete sidewalk, a black mesh gate keeping us at a safe distance from the impressive brick, glass, and metal structure that is Nationwide Arena.

Me, Antonia, and Sophia in line at Nationwide Arena
The doors did not open until noon.

In line, we played I Spy.

We danced the cold away.

We watched the news helicopter.

We tried to identify people who may be Secret Service.

Sophia saw several high school peers, some who came up to her to say "hello," validating her presence at the event.

When the line began to move, we became aware of our bladders and our thirst.  But I was excited.

I said, "Sophia, if you wouldn't have called this morning, we wouldn't be here!  I'm so grateful!"

Her adolescent brain was annoyed by this.  Her real brain was proud.

The line-cutters did not squelch our enthusiasm, nor did being physically scanned by Columbus Police once we got inside.  We followed the herd to our seats and were pumped up by campaign videos and speeches from local officials.  We pledged our allegiance to the flag, held hands for a prayer, and stood for the Star Spangled Banner. Then we waited.  And waited. For what may have been an hour.

After a lullaby of a performance from Bruce Springsteen (I loved it, but it did nothing to wake the girls). . .

. . . Finally. . .

After a rousing, sign-waving raucous from the stage at the opposite end of the arena, Jay-Z introduced President Barack Obama.



They felt it.  They got it.  It was big.

***

Today, I voted to protect their rights.  I voted for moving forward, not for returning to old ideology.

I couldn't answer all the questions after yesterday’s rally at Nationwide Arena:

“Why can’t teenagers vote?"

“What are some good, unbiased things you can tell me about Romney?”

I am still researching the best answers.  But, I know for certain, today my girls understand that the President and honoring our right to vote is a big deal.  I am looking forward to kindling their new fire.

Me, walking from my polling place







Sunday, November 4, 2012

What Do Your Kids Know about Election 2012?



After school, I noticed the sticker on my daughter’s sweatshirt and said, “You voted today?”

She explained that other than the presidential candidates, she wasn't familiar with anything else on the ballot in the 7th grade mock presidential election, so she simply voted along party lines and guessed on the issues.  Then she asked me if the president will be chosen by “. . . who has the most votes. . .”?

Although I was pleased that her humanities teacher used the upcoming election as an opportunity for students to experience the process of voting, I thought there were missed opportunities.  I wonder how many Americans know the answer to my daughter's question about the electoral process?  One of our country's biggest problems is an uninformed and/or misinformed electorate.  If we merely show up to the polls and vote based on the information we obtain through campaign ads, we are doing ourselves a disservice.  If we show up and vote party loyal, this is also a disservice. We should not pass this behavior to our children and with information right at our fingertips, we can do better.

My daughter and I spent about an hour talking about the Electoral College, the campaign ads we were being inundated with on the popular radio station she had streaming on her iPod, and how to find out about the rest of the candidates and issues on the ballot.  We didn't get to everything, but she has a better understanding of how things will happen on Tuesday.  (Now, if I could just convince her to join me at Nationwide Arena to see President Obama with Bruce Springsteen on Monday.  She’s more interested in accompanying me to our polling place on Tuesday which will be less crowded.  Smart kid.)

Here are two great sites that will help with talking to your kids about the election.    


Helping Kids Understand the Election
A special section at PBS Parents provides the basics and can be used for younger through school aged children.  If gives easy to understand answers to questions your children may be asking (Are political parties like birthday parties?) and includes activities like printing your own campaign poster.  This site is appealing to younger children and the information is great for school age children who are just starting to learn about the election.


Election 2012 at Scholastic
Like the PBS Parents site, Election 2012 from Scholastic has easy to understand explanations and activities.  It also has an interactive map of the Electoral College and On the Road to the White House which tests your knowledge of the political system is one of many great games.  You'll find many articles including information on the Swing States, meeting the candidates, and understanding election vocabulary.  What I enjoy about the Scholastic site is that there are articles written by kids--The Scholastic Kids Press Corps. There is even an interview with the president conducted by student reporters.  This site will keep the attention of school age children and with just a little coaxing to get past the "kid" look of the site, will keep the interest of and be challenging for your young teen.

If  after you've spent time doing all the fun activities on the above sites your older child or teen is still interested in the election, look over sites that are specific to party interests helping him/her identify statements and images that are used to sway voters' opinions.  Then, look up the facts!  In fact, this may be the way to start a discussion with your teen.  It uses media they have already been exposed to on television and online.

How do you talk to your kids about the election?





photo credit: willc2 via photopin cc