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Posts Tagged ‘Children’

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Bill Gates, Father of three adorable children shares his love of books. Reading is crucial and the backbone to everything we do in life….here are some of his favorites.

 

~My Favorite Books~
By Bill Gates

 
Never before have I felt so empowered to learn as I do today. When I was young, there were few options to learn on my own. My parents had a set of World Book Encyclopedias, which I read through in alphabetical order. But there were no online courses, video lectures, or podcasts to introduce me to new ideas and thinkers as we have today.
Still, reading books is my favorite way to learn about a new topic. I’ve been reading about a book a week on average since I was a kid. Even when my schedule is out of control, I carve out a lot of time for reading.

 
If you’re looking for a book to enjoy, here are some of my favorites from this year. They cover an eclectic mix of topics—from tennis to tennis shoes, genomics to great leadership. They’re all very well written, and they all dropped me down a rabbit hole of unexpected insights and pleasures.

 

 

String Theory, by David Foster Wallace. This book has nothing to do with physics, but its title will make you look super smart if you’re reading it on a train or plane. String Theory is a collection of five of Wallace’s best essays on tennis, a sport I gave up in my Microsoft days and am once again pursuing with a passion. You don’t have to play or even watch tennis to love this book. The late author wielded a pen as skillfully as Roger Federer wields a tennis racket. Here, as in his other brilliant works, Wallace found mind-blowing ways of bending language like a metal spoon.

 
Shoe Dog, by Phil Knight. This memoir, by the co-founder of Nike, is a refreshingly honest reminder of what the path to business success really looks like: messy, precarious, and riddled with mistakes. I’ve met Knight a few times over the years. He’s super nice, but he’s also quiet and difficult to get to know. Here Knight opens up in a way few CEOs are willing to do. I don’t think Knight sets out to teach the reader anything. Instead, he accomplishes something better. He tells his story as honestly as he can. It’s an amazing tale.

 
The Gene, by Siddhartha Mukherjee. Doctors are deemed a “triple threat” when they take care of patients, teach medical students, and conduct research. Mukherjee, who does all of these things at Columbia University, is a “quadruple threat,” because he’s also a Pulitzer Prize– winning author. In his latest book, Mukherjee guides us through the past, present, and future of genome science, with a special focus on huge ethical questions that the latest and greatest genome technologies provoke. Mukherjee wrote this book for a lay audience, because he knows that the new genome technologies are at the cusp of affecting us all in profound ways.

 
The Myth of the Strong Leader, by Archie Brown. This year’s fierce election battle prompted me to pick up this 2014 book, by an Oxford University scholar who has studied political leadership—good, bad, and ugly—for more than 50 years. Brown shows that the leaders who make the biggest contributions to history and humanity generally are not the ones we perceive to be “strong leaders.” Instead, they tend to be the ones who collaborate, delegate, and negotiate—and recognize that no one person can or should have all the answers. Brown could not have predicted how resonant his book would become in 2016.

 
Honorable mention: The Grid, by Gretchen Bakke. This book, about our aging electrical grid, fits in one of my favorite genres: “Books About Mundane Stuff That Are Actually Fascinating.” Part of the reason I find this topic fascinating is because my first job, in high school, was writing software for the entity that controls the power grid in the Northwest. But even if you have never given a moment’s thought to how electricity reaches your outlets, I think this book would convince you that the electrical grid is one of the greatest engineering wonders of the modern world. I think you would also come to see why modernizing the grid is so complex and so critical for building our clean-energy future.

 

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Old Fashioned Mom Magazine hosted a VIP Soiree at The Skylark.

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This intimate gathering included, Sabrina Baldieri, Lauren Lawrence, Alessandra Emanuel, Joy Marks, Elizabeth Washer, Laura Bounin and Michelle-Marie Heinemann.

The Septet celebrated the OFM lifestyle brand at The Skylark which provided the most fantastic views of the City.

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Set thirty stories up in the heart of Times Square South, The Skylark delivers a classically-styled cocktail lounge with expansive panoramic views of the Hudson River, Hudson Yards, Times Square, The Empire State Building, and the best of Midtown Manhattan.

With its multi-level indoor spaces, open-air rooftop terrace and warm furnishings — designed by Meyer Davis Studio — The Skylark is a truly all-season destination. In cooler months, guests can enjoy breathtaking city views from the main lounge’s floor-to-ceiling windows. Warmer days deliver an experience that flows naturally between the indoor and outdoor spaces.

Drinks and food at The Skylark are as distinctive as the space itself. The exclusive mixologist’s cocktail menu is based on classic inspirations that are rendered using only the freshest ingredients. The light fare options include a variety of small plates – perfect for an after-work or evening bite.

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I throughly enjoyed several of these Harvest Cobbler’s handcrafted by master mixologist Johnny Swet. It includes; Titos Vodka, Marilde Pear Liquor, Pear and Rosemary.

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The Skylark was developed by hospitality veteran David Rabin together with Jim Kirsch and Alison Awerbuch of Abigail Kirsch.

…..until the next OFM Soirée!

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~The Skylark~

212-257-4577

200 West 39th Street

30th Floor

www.theskylarknyc.com

 

 

Digital Image by Sean Locke
Digital Planet Design
www.digitalplanetdesign.com

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Kids are more successful in school when parents take an active interest in their homework — it shows kids that what they do is important.

Of course, helping with homework shouldn’t mean spending hours hunched over a desk. Parents can be supportive by demonstrating study and organization skills, explaining a tricky problem, or just encouraging kids to take a break. And who knows? Parents might even learn a thing or two!

Here are some tips to guide the way:

1.Know the teachers — and what they’re looking for. Attend school events, such as parent-teacher conferences, to meet your child’s teachers. Ask about their homework policies and how you should be involved.
2. Set up a homework-friendly area. Make sure kids have a well-lit place to complete homework. Keep supplies — paper, pencils, glue, scissors — within reach.
3. Schedule a regular study time. Some kids work best in the afternoon, following a snack and play period; others may prefer to wait until after dinner.
4. Help them make a plan. On heavy homework nights or when there’s an especially hefty assignment to tackle, encourage your child break up the work into manageable chunks. Create a work schedule for the night if necessary — and take time for a 15-minute break every hour, if possible.
5. Keep distractions to a minimum. This means no TV, loud music, or phone calls. (Occasionally, though, a phone call to a classmate about an assignment can be helpful.)
6. Make sure kids do their own work. They won’t learn if they don’t think for themselves and make their own mistakes. Parents can make suggestions and help with directions. But it’s a kid’s job to do the learning.
7. Be a motivator and monitor. Ask about assignments, quizzes, and tests. Give encouragement, check completed homework, and make yourself available for questions and concerns.

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8. Set a good example. Do your kids ever see you diligently balancing your budget or reading a book? Kids are more likely to follow their parents’ examples than their advice.
9. Praise their work and efforts. Post an aced test or art project on the refrigerator. Mention academic achievements to relatives.

 

Girls and Boys Looking at the Same Textbook in a Classroom at Primary School

10. If there are continuing problems with homework, get help. Talk about it with your child’s teacher. Some kids have trouble seeing the board and may need glasses; others might need an evaluation for a learning problem or attention disorder.

 

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Ways to help your children develop empathy, kindness and a sense of responsibility toward others.

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By Jane Meredith Adams

While rummaging through an old box, my daughter, Claire, came across the stuffed bear I’d had when I was her age, a deeply loved creature named Teddy. “How come Teddy has no fur?” she asked. “Why doesn’t she have eyes?” I explained that my cousin’s dog had chewed up Teddy when I was a kid. She was aghast.

Gravely, she kissed Teddy’s empty eye sockets. Somberly, she reported to her twin brother, Drew, what had happened. “We’ve got to fix her,” she said.

As it turns out, children have an inborn capacity for compassion. Small in stature themselves, they naturally identify with stuffed animals, other kids, pets, and underdogs. The tricky part is that their empathy must compete with other developmental forces, including limited impulse control—which makes them pull the cat’s tail—and their belief that their needs absolutely must come first—which makes it hard for them to let their cousin push the cool fire truck.

But with so much hatred and turmoil in the world today, it seems more important than ever to raise kids who can understand and be kind to other people. Teaching this doesn’t mean lectures or visits to soup kitchens. It’s part of day-to-day life: how you answer your child’s questions, how you solve conflict at the park, how you nudge his or her growing capacity to understand and think about other people. Temperament of course plays a role—some kids are naturally more tuned in to other people’s feelings and difficulties, while others are a bit oblivious. Either way, you have influence in fostering your child’s ability to empathize. Age by age, here’s how to do so in small, daily doses:

Promote sweetness

Teaching your child ways to treat things with care helps him develop the understanding that actions have consequences.

Show how to be gentle. Your child wants to be friendly but ends up grabbing the baby roughly? Demonstrate another way. “I say, ‘We use our hands to give love,'” says Kimberly Mazone of Dresden, Maine, mother of 4-year-old Sienna and 3-month-old Lucca. “‘You’re being a little bit rough. Let’s be gentle. Let’s show our love with our hands.'” You can actually take his hand and show him physically what a gentle touch is.

Speak softly. Your kindness will be a role model for how to treat others. When your child’s in pain, be warm and caring. “It’s all about the tone in your voice,” says Emily Mihalchik, a mom of 2-year-old Sam and director of the Johnnie Appleseed Preschool, in Lawrence, Kansas. If a child’s friend is crying, “I say, ‘Maybe a hug would be nice,'” says Mihalchik. Young toddlers don’t have a very consistent long-term memory, so you’ll have to repeat your lessons more times than you thought possible.

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Reject rudeness. “I see fifteen-month-olds who do things like spit into their parents’ faces, and the parents laugh,” says Susan Jensen, a mom of two and director of Children’s Nook preschool, in North Charleston, South Carolina. This will not do. Compassion requires that your child respect others, including you. Gently but firmly, say “No, you may not spit!” In the same loving but no-nonsense manner, remove his little feet from the table and unlock his fist from your hair.

Say “I’m sorry.” If you’ve been short-tempered with your child, apologize to him. All parents make mistakes. It’s how you address them afterward that makes the difference. He’ll learn that everyone, even Mom, admits it when she’s wrong.

Enforce rules

Consistent limits help your toddler see that her behavior (and misbehavior!) affects others.

Provide structure. It might seem that if you want to raise a compassionate, caring child, you just have to be a compassionate, caring parent. But that’s not enough. Even the most nurturing, loving parenting requires firm limits on behavior, or you’ll get very self-centered children, says Janice Cohn, Ph.D., author of Raising Compassionate, Courageous Children in a Violent World. Make unacceptable behavior, like hitting, always unacceptable—even if it’s her birthday. If something is wrong it has to be wrong all the time.

Expect her to help. When their neighbors are away, Karen Semple’s four kids in Montana City, Montana, take care of the left-behind cats, dogs, and horses. Everyone’s included in helping, and when the youngest was 2, she scooped cat food out of a bag. Rain, snow, and cold weather don’t stop them. For Semple, it’s all about teaching the Golden Rule. “You need to love your neighbor as yourself, even if you don’t particularly feel like it,” she says.

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Use manners to connect. With the exciting (and noisy!) arrival of the garbage truck, talk about how we’re all connected: The farmer grows the food, we throw out the peels or waste, and the trash collector picks it up. If your child’s out watching the trash collector, she can say “thank you.” Good manners, which keep us coexisting harmoniously, are one way to show compassion. As much as you can with a squirmy toddler, make good manners part of her daily routine.

“Habits like this can help form character,” says the Reverend Dr. Julia Gatta, an Episcopal priest and associate professor of pastoral theology at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. “There’s another person at the other end of the relationship who has feelings and deserves respect.”

Guide friendship

Stay tuned in during playtime so you can help your child figure out how to be a friend.

Outlaw name-calling. Compassion starts with what’s acceptable and what’s not. “A little guy called someone a ‘poo-poo head,'” says Jensen. “Immediately, he had to go to time-out or come up to see me. I told him, ‘I know you know that word is unacceptable.'” Explain to her—often—that being kind to others is the rule. You can tell her when she gets into a tiff, “You don’t have to like that person, but everyone has to be nice.”

Give consequences. If the be-nice rule is broken, stick with simple, concrete consequences such as a brief time-out or losing a special toy for a day. A 3-year-old’s abstract thinking is weak, so she’s too young to understand that being nice is morally the right thing to do; your efforts, therefore, should be directed at helping her resist impulses so she won’t get in trouble.

Label kindness. When you catch your child offering a shovel to a friend in the sandbox, label her actions by saying “What a good friend you are,” or “You’re very thoughtful.” Over time, she’ll understand that being a helpful friend, sister, neighbor, and human being is something you value.

Be considerate yourself. While it’s tempting to hand out birthday-party invitations at the park instead of going to the trouble of mailing them, explain to your child that kids who see other children getting invitations but don’t receive one themselves may feel hurt. And all through the year, get her in the habit of sending cards to friends and relatives who could use a kind word: thank-you notes, sympathy cards, get-well wishes. For a child not yet up to writing a message, even a drawing is great.

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Don’t trash talk. Kids, as we know, are always listening. How we talk on a daily basis about our own siblings, parents, and relatives tells them a lot. If children hear us saying something really negative about Grandma, they learn that it’s okay to talk that way, says Suzanne Coyle, Ph.D., a mom and director of the Marriage and Family Therapy Program at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis. So keep meanness in check: “Show them you have a spirit of kindness and generosity.”

Encourage helping

With their increasing awareness and independence, preschoolers are ready to participate, if you show them how.

Give pennies. Kids want to feel they can make a difference, so bring charity down to their level. “Every week the children bring in pennies and count them,” says Nancy Manewith, director of the Board of Jewish Education Early Childhood Centers of Metropolitan Chicago. “It’s just part of our pre-math program.” Then the pennies go to charity or to buy mittens and scarves for poor children, which opens the door to conversations about war and poverty.

When talking to your own child about such things, be honest, but don’t feel you have to include every scary detail. Keep explanations simple, and ask simple questions, like “How can we help them?” If his al-lowance is five dimes, ask him how many dimes he’d like to set aside to give to a food bank or drop in a collection jar. Giving him the choice will make him more excited about the idea.

Assign chores. The habit of helping others starts with chores at home. Children love to feel capable, so assign a manageable task like setting the table or feeding the cat. Make a schedule and put it on the fridge so your child can keep track of what he needs to do. When her kids ask why they have to do chores, Anna Notation-Rhoades of Sewanee, Tennessee, a mom of five, tells them “we’re all part of the family, so by helping the family we’re helping ourselves.”

Use stories. Reading books together can be a natural way to help your child start to understand that children aren’t all the same. Books like Faith the Cow, by Susan Bame Hoover, about how the gift of a cow can change the life of a poor family, or Houses and Homes, by Ann Morris, which has photos of houses around the world, can show that kids in other countries want the same things: to feel safe, to be liked, to learn things, to have fun, and to be with their families.

Point out heroes. The siren of a fire truck, not to mention a newspaper photograph of a bomb attack, can make a 4-year-old worry. Shield him from disturbing images as much as possible, but when he hears or sees something frightening, focus the conversation on the firefighters, rescue workers, doctors, or volunteers who are there to help us.

Build on their smarts

Your child’s made cognitive and emotional leaps—help him understand others’ feelings.

Explore feelings. With an increasing vocabulary, a 6-year-old is able to communicate more about emotions. Talking about book characters is a good way to help. “We’d read Snow White and I’d ask, ‘Why do you think the witch was jealous of Snow White?'” says Rev. Gatta, who’s also a mom of a 12-year-old. “Later, maybe in the car, we’d talk about characters’ motives and feelings.”

Monitor media. If the characters on television are hitting each other or calling each other names, shut off the TV or, at least, talk about what’s going on. Children don’t just watch TV, they internalize it, and they don’t get irony, so be careful of what they’re memorizing.

Expect more. When it comes to your child’s responsibility to be caring and compassionate, set your standards high. Don’t let teasing or bullying go unaddressed. At 7 and 8, kids are starting to be able to see the world from another person’s perspective. In a complicated and troubled world, it’s easy to feel that nothing we do will make a difference. This can lead to compassion burnout—for us and for our kids. The key is to start small.

As for my battered Teddy, it was a very small problem in search of a solution. So we repaired her. Claire chose blue felt for her eyes and pink for her nose. She cut out the shapes, which made them interesting to behold. Teddy’s not her old furry self, but she’s much improved. Now, years later, every time Claire hugs my old bear, she knows she made a difference.

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 04:  Actress Jennifer Garner attends Sony Pictures Releasing's "Miracles From Heaven" Photo Call at The London Hotel on March 4, 2016 in West Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Celebrity Mom Jennifer Garner talks about being great friends with Ben Affleck, and making her family a priority.

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 04: Actress Jennifer Garner attends Sony Pictures Releasing's "Miracles From Heaven" Photo Call at The London Hotel on March 4, 2016 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

(Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

When it comes to family and her relationship with Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner only sees one solution. The Nine Lives actress has been separated from her famous ex for more than a year, but the pair still consider themselves a unit for the sake of their three children.

“It has to be. You don’t have a choice. It has to be,” she said during a Thursday morning interview on the Today Show. “We are definitely a modern family. We’re doing really well.”

The former couple recently spent a lot of time together in Europe.
“Ben was working in London on Justice League, and I thought, ‘Well, the kids should have that experience,’” Garner said of the family’s travels. “He and I are great friends, and we just all went en masse.”

The pair announced their separation in June 2015, one day after their 10th wedding anniversary.

A source previously told ET that the spouses are “making it work” and have yet to officially file for divorce.

Last February, Garner opened up to Vanity Fair in a tell-all interview, talking about her marriage to Affleck.

“I didn’t marry the big fat movie star; I married him,” she said at the time. “And I would go back and remake that decision. He’s the love of my life. What am I going to do about that?”

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Madame Tussaud pales in comparison to the Living Wax Museum, presented by the 3rd grade at the private Dutchess Day School. Students stood frozen with pride as they became one with their favorite famous American….citing “fun facts” and “historical trivia” in front of a giant paper backdrop.

 
Old Fashioned Fun was at work, as attendees had to push a button to hear the interesting information, and once pushed it was amazing to learn details of the famous Americans.

 
Hudson Cornelius Heinemann chose Duke Ellington, the composer, pianist and bandleader. In true Ellington style Hudson sported spectators by A. Testoni and a dapper Merlot wide stripped button down, for his Ellington look.

 
Ellington’s career spanned 50 years composing masterpieces like “It don’t mean anything, if it ain’t got that swing” and “Prelude to a kiss.” He was a 12 time Grammy award winner and really knew how to get the crowd moving with unique jazz melodies. The project was in true Old Fashioned Mom style as students had to pull a book out of the library and use an encyclopedia to learn about bibliographies.

 
The Head Mistress, Nancy Hathaway perused each wax figure while other notable Americans included: Amelia Earhart, Edger Allan Poe, Babe Ruth, Arthur Ashe, Betsey Ross, and Sacajawea. “This was a great project, I enjoyed making my backdrop and studying about Duke Ellington. I feel I became more connected with him, as opposed to just googling his name, definitely more interesting to go to the library.” said Hudson Heinemann.

 

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Hudson Heinemann

 

1934: American jazz pianist, composer and bandleader Duke Ellington (1899 - 1974) smiles as he holds a double bass on his shoulder and a flute in one hand, Hollywood, CA. He is wearing a fedora, a suit, and a scarf around his neck. Ellington and his band were in Hollywood to appear in director Mitchell Liesen's film, 'Murder at the Vanities.' (Photo by Frank Driggs/Frank Driggs Collection/Getty Images)

Duke Ellington


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Head Mistress, Nancy Hathaway and 3rd grader Hudson Heinemann

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TRACING LINKS BETWEEN MUSICAL TRAINING AND EXECUTIVE FUNCTION — AND BOLSTERING THE CASE FOR MUSIC IN SCHOOLS

 

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If educators want to develop critical, creative thinkers who can set and accomplish their own goals — and who can use those skills to strengthen their math and reading skills — they may want to take another look inside the music room.

For a child to play an instrument, she needs to stick to her goals, pay sustained attention, and be flexible enough to switch back and forth between tempos and styles. These habits draw heavily on executive function (EF) skills, cognitive processes that include problem-solving, goal setting, and flexible thinking. A number of studies have found that EF skills contribute hugely to students’ success in math and reading.

But music doesn’t just require EF skills; it may be a pathway to building them. That’s according to findings by developmental psychologist Nadine Gaab, whose work shows that people who play a musical instrument regularly have higher executive function skills than non-musicians — a significant finding for educators.

THE RESEARCH

In a 2014 study, Gaab and her research team, including Jennifer Zuk, Ed.M.’10; Christopher Benjamin; and Arnold Kenyon, examined 30 adults between 18 and 35, and 27 children between 9 and 12. Half the participants were “musical”: The adult musicians either were seeking or had obtained a performance degree and practiced at least eight hours a week, and the children had been taking private instrumental lessons for an average of 5.2 years.

The researchers examined the participants as they performed various tasks measuring EF skills. In a “verbal fluency” test, for example, the participants had to name in one minute as many words as possible starting with an assigned letter, excluding people, places, or numbers. In a “trail making” test, they had to draw straight lines as quickly as possible connecting numbers and letters in numerical and chronological order, while switching between numbers and letters.

The children in the study also performed several “set shifting” tasks under an fMRI, in which they had to press different buttons depending on audio and visual stimuli.

The results?

Overall, the musical participants performed better on several, although not all, of the executive function tests.

  • Both adult and children musicians exhibited higher cognitive flexibility than non-musicians.
  • The adult musicians showed a more proficient working memory, and the child musicians exhibited faster processing speed, than their non-musician peers.
  • Most significant, the researchers found differences in brain activation between child musicians and non-musicians. “We had more activation in areas of the brain I often call the ‘CEO regions’” — the frontal regions associated with executive function — “in the children who had musical training compared to others,” says Gaab.

IMPLICATIONS FOR FAMILIES AND SCHOOLS

Practicing a musical instrument, it seems, is directly correlated with increased executive function. So should parents rush to sign up their children for private lessons? Should schools redouble their focus on music?

Possibly, says Gaab. Their study was not a longitudinal one, in which researchers would have analyzed a group of children before beginning their musical training and then again after they had been regularly practicing. Consequently, she cannot say with certainty if practicing music increases EF, or if it’s the other way around. “Kids and adults who have really good executive function skills might stick longer with music or might be more drawn toward music,” explains Gaab.

However, this research does answer a crucial question left open by other studies that have found a link between music and cognitive function. A child musician might have strong EF skills because a family that can afford private instrument lessons is likely providing other forms of enrichment too, such as a language-rich household or stimulating summer camps. Gaab’s study controlled for IQ and socioeconomic status, however, showing that musical training, not other experiences, is the factor linked to EF.

So while the exact causal connection between executive function and music remains unclear, the researchers still advise schools to take note. “Replacing music programs with reading or math instruction in our nation’s school curricula in order to boost standardized test scores,” they write, “may actually lead to deficient skills in other cognitive areas.”

Written By Leah Shafer

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How To Raise Truly Thankful Children:
By Jeannie Cunnion

When our kids were itty-bitty we were told to teach them a few basic words in sign language, as this helps eliminate frustration and whining in kids who desire to communicate their needs but haven’t developed the language skills to do so.

The four words that were recommended to us were “Please, thank you, all-done and more.”

And I can assuredly say, we found those four signs to be very helpful in the early days.

Looking back however, I do find it comical that “more” was one of the first four words we taught our kids…… because then we spend the rest of our days trying to teach our kids to be thankful for what they have rather than always wanting “more more more.”

Our children are learning what it looks like to live a life of thankfulness, or a lack thereof, through us.

In a world of so much selfishness and entitlement, I long to raise thankful children, ones who live in awareness of the basics they take for granted, the wonderful opportunities they are given, and the experiences they enjoy.

But even more than that, I want to raise children who recognize that everything they are and everything they have is a gift from God.  Because, it is this kind of thankfulness that breeds humility, generosity, and happiness.

God exhorts us to give thanks in all circumstances, not because He needs to hear thank you, but because He knows that thankfulness changes the trajectory of our hearts.

However, the human tendency is to look at everything we don’t have and demand “more” to be happy.  When, ironically, happiness is not found in acquiring “more” but in being more thankful for what we’ve already been given.

For example, I recall an afternoon when my husband and I were driving our three boys to the beach and we were passing by beautiful homes that sit right on the water’s edge with glorious views of the sound.

Without realizing it, I found myself thinking out loud, “Look at that one, honey.  Could you imagine how amazing it would be to wake up to that view every day? That is my dream house.”

And immediately, my eight year old chimed in.  “Yeah, why can’t we live there, Daddy?  That one is so much bigger and better than ours!”

Ouch. I knew what I’d just done and conviction hit me to the core.

“Hey boys,” I replied. “Mommy needs to apologize.  I’m lacking thankfulness right now. God has given us a beautiful home. We are unimaginably blessed. But I just allowed myself to believe that what we have isn’t enough and that happiness can be found in having more. Please forgive me.”

I don’t believe it’s wrong to dream or admire.  However, there is a fine line between admiring and worshipping.

And I don’t believe it’s wrong to have an abundance, especially when we live in gratitude for and in generosity with that abundance.

But let us not forget, as demonstrated by my eight-year-old son, that our children are learning what it looks like to live a life of thankfulness, or a lack thereof, through us.

Therefore, if our goal is to raise kids who are truly thankful, we have to ask ourselves:

1. Do our kids see us worshiping the gifts or the Giver of the gifts?

2. Do they see us being greedy or generous with our gifts?

3. Do we lead our kids in living out grateful and generous lives?

Because beating ingratitude in our kids begins with them seeing tangible gratitude in us.  And fostering gratitude in our kids only happens when we lead them in experiencing- actually living out- in word and deed, a life of giving thanks and giving back.

Jeannie Cunnion is the author of “Parenting the Wholehearted Child,” and a blogger at www.jeanniecunnion.com. She has a Master’s degree in Social Work, and her background combines counseling, writing, and speaking about parenting and adoption issues. Jeannie and her husband, Mike, are the proud parents of three wild and awesome boys.

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The great philosopher ( and possibly basketball coach ) Aristotle once said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore is not an act, but a habit.”
I couldn’t agree more with this as I have always subscribed to the School of thought that James Allen so poetically penned in 1903 in his literary essay As A Man Thinketh…..A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts.
Most little boy’s dream of being a professional athlete at some point in their life, mine wants to play for the NBA and Notre Dame…my son is 9, so the journey begins with hard work and dedication ….and a Great Coach. Jim Santoro is exactly this, as he is the Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Our Lady of Lourdes and Director of Edge Athletics Camp, Clinics and Programs. I remember the first time I saw him in action coaching the boys….the drills were extremely challenging and they were repeated multiple times, Jim made it look effortless as he demonstrated, however it was not.
Leadership, Knowledge, Motivation, Knows the Athlete, Consistency and Effective Communication Skills is where the line is drawn in the sand between good and great coaches. Jim possesess all of these traits and having raised four boys of his own in the very competitive arena of basketball knows how to handle the temperament of each child.
I applaud the dedication and long term vision Coaches have for their athletes and thank Jim for his commitment to children. We here at Old Fashioned Mom are proud to introduce Jim Santora as our 5th Celebrity Father!

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Evan Sims, Christian Versaci, Hudson Heinemann and Friends.

 

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1.What is the most challenging aspect of being a Coach?

Coaching presents many challenges at every age level and in every capacity. It is, therefore, hard to come up with the most challenging aspect, so I will offer up two.  The first one is communicating to athletes in a way that creates a fun environment that gets them to want to work hard at improving their individual and collective team skills. Each athlete, regardless of age, is unique and has to be approached with whatever means is going to best motivate him or her to reach their full potential.

 

The second challenge is how to deal with parental concerns and how to best guide them. Parents generally have at least the one common goal of wanting the best for their child.  As a coach of just not one team, but a director of an entire program, I find it very challenging helping parents “grow” as their child progresses from being a very young athlete to an athlete competing at higher levels.  Helping parents manage the emotions of successes and failures of their own child, as well as their team, can be very difficult.

 

2.Please tell us about your children?

 

I am very blessed to have four children, all boys, and all are healthy and happy.

 

My oldest son, Rob, is married and works in Manhattan for a major law firm. He started his own company designing websites at age 12 and has always had a love for business and entrepreneurship.  He attended Binghamton University as an undergraduate before obtaining his Juris Doctor Degree at the University of Buffalo.  Rob and his wife, Amelia, just recently had their first child and my first grandson, Landon.

 

My second oldest, Chris, lives locally, and is a Partner with New York Life. Chris graduated from Nichols College where he got both his undergraduate degree in Sports Management and Masters in Business Administration.  Prior to his current career, he worked for the New York Knicks, the Miami Heat, and the New Jersey Nets. He was, and still is, one of those happy go lucky guys that truly enjoys people and life. He is a very hard worker with a great personality and just a lot of fun to be around.

 

Kelby, my third child, just graduated from SUNY Oneonta this spring.  He is probably the quietest of my four boys, at least until you get to know him.  He has a very loyal personality and is similar to his older brother, Rob, in a lot of ways.  Unsure of what’s up next after college, he is currently looking at different types of employment options.  He loves to be by the water, whether it’s the ocean or the lake, and thoroughly enjoys hanging out with his brothers.

 

That leaves Kyle, my youngest son.  Kyle transferred from SUNY Potsdam, but has not yet selected his next school. He has narrowed down his choices to several schools, where he will continue his basketball career while pursuing a business degree. He loves to compete and is also the daredevil in the family.  Fast and wild are his thing. He attempted his first bungee jump at 6 but had to wait patiently until he was of legal age to sky dive at 18.

 

All four of my boys are very close and extremely competitive.  They all played basketball for me at the high school level, and all played at the collegiate level in some capacity.  They thoroughly enjoy being with each other and traveling together.  I am very lucky to have four kids that were and remain so close as they grow older.

3. How would you describe yourself?

 

For as far back as I can remember, helping others succeed has been at my core. As a Big Brother and coach I have always worked with kids to help them to succeed.  As a manager at IBM, my goal was to help employees advance their own careers. Aside from that, others tell me that I am fanatical, committed, have OCD, and sometimes even a little crazy!

 

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4. Do you feel athletic talent is created or some children are born with it?

I think both are true.  There are many athletes that are born with the ability or “gift” that enables them to excel in their respective sport.  But there are also those athletes that just simply work hard, and work hard for many years to develop their skill.

There is, however, a significant difference between the two.  First, just because an athlete is born with certain genetics or traits that can’t be taught or acquired, does not mean that they will be exceptional athletes or that their talent will prevail.  They still must invest countless hours to develop that talent and reach their maximum potential. Those athletes that reach the collegiate or professional level are generally highly committed and driven, traits that may not necessarily be part of that “gift.”

On the other hand, there are those athletes that can excel by simply committing and working hard at what they do.  This, however, does not mean that working hard is a guarantee that an athlete will reach the level of success they desire to achieve.  Sometimes, the hard work is simply just not enough.

What I believe to be absolutely true is that those athletes that commit themselves to work as hard as they can are more likely to reach whatever full potential that their mind and body are capable of achieving.

5. What is a typical day for you?

A typical day for me changes depending on the time of year.  During the winter, I spend most of my time preparing my high school team to compete and succeed.  During the spring, I am heavily engaged with the management of our youth basketball program that serves 8-17 year olds.  In the summer, we switch gears a bit where I direct five weeks of camps.  And in the fall, I spend countless hours helping student athletes with the college recruiting, selection, and application process.

In addition, on an all-year-round basis, I teach basketball skills to athletes of all ages and levels on a more personal one on one or small group basis.

In general, my day begins fairly early to get all of the administrative tasks out of the way unless, of course, its camp season where my days and nights are somewhat reversed.  There are many tasks that have to be completed during the day including calls to college coaches, film review and scouting reports, practice preparations, and the planning and preparation that is required for the next season.

 

When that day’s work is done, I usually arrive at either the Our Lady of Lourdes or Poughkeepsie Day School gym by 3pm where I will spend the rest of the afternoon and evening coaching and teaching athletes, monitoring other teams’ practices, or consulting with parents.

 

6. Tell us about your basketball career and how you ended up in the coaching profession.

 

Although I started to play basketball in the 9th grade, I really didn’t invest any time into the sport until several years later.  I did not play CYO or attend any camps.  I made the junior high team as a freshman, Junior Varsity as a sophomore, and the Varsity as junior, basically because I was tall. At the end of my junior year, I became friends with an all-star athlete, Tom Emma, who eventually played for Duke University, the top Division I program in the country at the time.

 

Tom introduced me to the world of basketball and all of the hard work and commitment that went along with it to become successful. Spending countless hours, usually more than 8 hours a day during the summer, I remember burning through sneakers at a rate of a pair every two weeks.  After a fairly successful senior year both from an individual and team perspective, the continued hard work earned me a spot playing for Clarkson University for the next four years.  During the summers of my college years, I worked at many different overnight basketball camps.  It was then that I knew that coaching would be a part of my life.  I just did not realize at the time how big a part it would become.

 

My first job out of college was working for IBM in Poughkeepsie, New York, in August of 1982.  It did not take long to get involved with coaching in the local CYO program where I coached a 6th grade team.  Continuing to coach at the CYO level for the next four years was inevitable and led to my first high school position as the Junior Varsity coach at Our Lady of Lourdes.  I was named the Varsity coach two years later and have been there ever since.

 

Although successful at IBM, achieving management status in three years, I knew that coaching and teaching young athletes was my passion.  While working and advancing with IBM, I found myself spending more and more time, both physically and emotionally, with coaching.  Edge Athletics was formed in 1996 as a small program with one team and incorporated as a not for profit in 2001.  In 2007, after 25 years, I left IBM to run Edge Athletics and develop all-year programs on a full time basis. I remain the head Varsity coach at Lourdes and am heading into my 28th year.

7.What advice would you give young athletes today?

There are a few things that I tell young athletes to help them develop.

First and foremost, and simply put, they have to have fun.  That might sound like something easy to do and even a little bit of a cliché, but excelling at sports is a complex process.  If young athletes are not playing the sport because they love to play it and are not having fun playing it, then the rest of the process becomes even more complex and difficult. Unfortunately, the coach and the parents are key components for this to happen.

Next, and along the same lines, I stress to the athletes that they need to put in as much time – or as little time – as they want to.  I try to ensure that each athlete recognizes what it takes to be successful, but at the end of the day it is the athlete that has to want to do it more than their parents want them to.

And then finally, I encourage the athletes to set realistic goals for themselves.  It is okay to have a long term dream, but in order for athletes to improve, they must set realistic internal and measurable goals. Those goals can range from improving their shooting percentage, to earning a spot on a team, or earning a starting role on a team. Setting realistic measurable goals is a great way for young athletes to motivate themselves to work hard leading to self-confidence as they achieve them.

James C. Santoro

Director, Edge Athletics Camps, Clinics, and Programs

Head Men’s Basketball Coach, Our Lady of Lourdes High School

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Whipped Pineapple Pops
Whipped Pineapple Pops:
By Natalie Monson
Whipped Pineapple Pops

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If you have ever been to Disneyland, they have this amazing thing called a Dole Whip.  It’s like a fluffy, creamy tangy pineapple treat that people actually wait in line for 30 minutes for.  My sister is visiting from Texas and she loves to cook and try new recipes, and so the other day we attempted to recreate our own Dole Whip and in the process ended up making it into popsicles from our creation.  And so glad we did

There are a couple of ways you can do this.  You can either use crushed pineapple or fresh pineapple.  We chose to use crushed since that is what I had on hand.  This Whipped Pineapple Pops Recipe makes quite a bit of ‘whip’, so you can cut it in half if you aren’t making it for very many people.  We used 2 – 20 oz cans of crushed pineapple.  Drain one can and include the juice of the other can.  Whenever I buy canned fruit, I always buy ‘Naturally Sweetened’.  The fruit that is canned in syrup contains a lot of extra sugar and so make sure you buy naturally sweetened.  If you are using fresh pineapple, you will probably need an entire pineapple, cut up into chunks.

Whatever pineapple you decide to use, place it in a high powered blender.  If you like a little more tart flavor you can add the juice of a fresh squeezed lime.

 

Kids will definitely love these pineapple pops!

If your pineapple isn’t very sweet, you can add 1-2 tablespoons of your favorite sweetener, but it isn’t necessary.  Blend until it is a smooth, frothy consistency.

A great way to eat pineapples by making it into popsicles!

The next step is to combine with your creamy ingredient.  We used cream that we whipped because we were going for an extra fluffy rich texture.  But you can also use almond milk, coconut milk (full fat works best) (think pina colada – yum!) half and half, or whatever you prefer.

Your favorite pineapple dessert, made into a popsicle!

If you use whipped cream, you can put the mixture in the freezer for a bit and just serve it as a ‘Dole Whip’.

Turn your favorite pineapple dessert into an amazing popsicle!

Otherwise, pour your mixture into popsicle molds and you have Whipped Pineapple Pops!

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