Professionals Against Bullying

Monday, March 8, 2010

Guest Blog post from Megan Anne...

Don’t Stifle our Children: The Importance of Arts, Sports, Trades, and Specialized Classes in Schools
While doing some Quarter-Life Crisis-style pondering about my future, I realized something: The talents I fostered as a child are my strongest today. Think about it: What did you love to do as a kid? In what did you excel? That’s probably what you are doing now—or secretly wanting to do. Drew Brees, Whitney Houston, Oprah Winfrey: all found their talents as children. For four easy steps you can take to foster growth in our children, please read the rest.

Give them opportunities to achieve, but don’t be a “Soccer dad” or “Pageant Mom”- My 5 year old Godson is becoming quite the renaissance kid: He’s enrolled in swimming, piano, and Spanish classes, and is enjoying them all. However, if it became overwhelming or if he was unhappy, I know his mom wouldn’t pressure him to continue—pressured children become stressed adults.
Find their gifts and help them develop them- Parents/guardians oftentimes can’t see their children’s gifts because they think that “all kids are like that,” but teachers/mentors deal with several different children and can see their gifts—or shortcomings—easily. For example, my Kindergarten teacher is the one who suggested I be tested for the Gifted program; Turns out, I was on a 7th grade reading level and
3rd grade math level!
Also, my 3rd grade teacher suggested I audition for the Talented in Theatre program, and my 4th grade teacher recommended me for a scholarship to a summer writing program (Write Camp) at the University of New Orleans. Funny, back then I thought going to Write Camp was a punishment…and here I am, a bloggerina.
Pay attention to what they like to do in their spare time- As a kid, I would read every magazine I could, cover-to-cover; Now, I’m a published author whose ultimate goal is to write for magazines and be the editor-in-chief of one. My best friend Erica liked to pretend she was a high-fashion model and would runway walk when giving presentations for class; Now she’s a highly recognizable model who has walked numerous runways, including during New York Fashion Week.
Support arts, sports, trades, and specialized classes in schools and communities- Many of the greats were once involved in school plays, church choirs, or neighborhood sports teams. It’s hard enough nowadays, having to pull kids away from video games and television; Without extra-curriculars, they often have no choice but to become slaves to machines. Numerous studies show us that children who participate in extra-curriculars are: less likely to engage in criminal activity, more disciplined, less prone to obesity, etc. Supporting these programs in schools and communities can often be as easy as attending an event or signing a petition. Think about it: Who would you rather have run our country?
Readers: What were your gifts as a child? Do you still nurture those gifts? What talents do you see in the kids that you know? Do you feel like video games have sucked the creativity and talent out of our children? We want to know! Please share below!
With a Child's Heart,
Megan Anne


Megan Anne said...

Thanks so much for including my post on your blog. I can tell that you know what it means to not stifle our children and to help nurture their gifts.

All the best,
Megan Anne

Patty said...

Hello Megan Anne,

What a nice blog posting - your authenticity shines through. I feel like I know you even though we've not met!

I wanted to comment on the video games question at the end of your post. First, I'm not a gamer myself, however, I have written gaming programs (long time ago) and can appreciate the values of gaming that others may miss. My son loves video games and he knows he is limited to about 45 minutes of screen time (any kind of screen) each day. Most days he does not have any screen time because he CHOOSES to read (bless him!)

What video games can teach is strategic thinking - a higher order critical thinking skill. Parents can emphasize the strategic thinking aspect of games by choosing games with less violence and multitudes of levels where the strategy for getting to the next level keeps changing.

Thank you for listening!