Kids and the Economy

November 25, 2008

index1Discouraging economic news is everywhere; nobody knows where the US economy is headed. These are incredibly complicated issues that few adults fully understand. How can we help our kids through these times? Whatever we can do to avoid transferring our own stress onto them is worth consideration.

Here’s my first suggestion:  Shield your kids from what’s happening.

Mitchell Rosen is a family therapist who recently posted on the importance of parents protecting kids from their own economic worries.  Here’s an excerpt:

Kids aren’t stupid; they can sense the anxiety in their parents’ voices.

What I tell the mothers and fathers is this: “If you are OK, you’re kids are going to be OK. If you panic, your kids will panic. What they need to hear is not how everything is rosy but rather they will always be provided for. They may not get an iPod for Christmas, the family home may be in foreclosure but mom and dad will make certain they have a roof over their heads and food in their bellies.” The family will be fine.

The children, however, don’t need to hear parents arguing when a bill comes or deciding which obligation to pay and which to put off. What they need to hear is that mom and dad are still in charge and they can continue being kids. Source

This makes good sense and is consistent with some advice a friend gave me last week.  Because we cannot control the stock market, we should limit the time we spend consuming bad news, following the daily ups and downs of the stock market, and tracking our own portfolios.  And he’s right.  Consumers who try to time stock market fluctuations usually sell low and buy high.

As parents, we have no control over these unfolding events, and our kids have even less.  I’m going to do whatever I can to shield my kids from the ups and downs.

Want to talk about this?  Visit Helping Kids in a Tough Economy on SchoolPulse.

Awkward Moment for a Startup CEO

May 1, 2008

So, in an effort to make sure our new members understand that there are real people behind the impending groundswell we call SchoolPulse, I took the rather awkward step of shooting a video of myself talking about our new community site (included here for your enjoyment). We’re extending our private beta to another 37 school districts in the next 7 days — I hope they appreciate the pain this modest company founder went through to show the sincerity of our effort!

If you’re interested, my Single A baseball team won tonight by a score of 28 to 24. These are second graders and there are very few put outs in a 4-inning game!

Passive Participants

November 30, 2007

I had a great conversation about SchoolPulse with a Thoreau School father this week. We were talking about that all-too-familiar parent-child exchange. You ask, “How was your day?” and your child answers, “Good.” You probe cautiously, “What did you do at school?” and your child answers, “Stuff.” Not too satisfying for the parent, but that’s how it goes.

Dan’s insight struck me. “At best,” he said, “We are just passive participants in the most formative years of our children’s lives.” While I had been pitching Dan on this grand, almost utopian vision of improving schools through broader community involvement, he keyed in on a very different, and perhaps more important need: Giving parents a richer flavor of what their children do at school

This could happen in a number of ways. Parents who volunteer in the classroom or on field trips often have cameras — I have some great pics from a recent trip with my daughter’s fourth grade class to Great Blue Hill. Let’s get those pictures posted for other parents to see. Teachers could share their newsletters, pictures of their classes at work, maybe even videos taken at the Turkey Trot or pep band competition. We could provide links to the great websites that many teachers already have.

The photos, videos, and commentary that we would all love to see are out there. The challenge is making them accessible to the rest of the school community.