Posts from the ‘Guidance Children’ Category

Father of the Year….or Father for Today?

Seedlings Masthead

Happy Fathers Day to every father out there. There has always been a distinction between a father and a dad. Hopefully it reminds more fathers of their responsibility to be dad or daddy.

“Any man can be a father.  But it takes someone special to be a Dad”—Anne Geddes

We need successful fathers today more than we have ever needed them.


This week I had the privilege of attending a gala dinner to honor four men who had been selected as the Father of the Year by a large non-profit organization.  One of them was the father of an Olympian, another a professional athlete, another a man who had built a great construction company while raising 3 outstanding children, and another was a young man who clearly had balanced his life priorities to spend quality time with his four young children.  Each of these fathers was complimented by a wife and mother to whom they paid special tribute.Father - Daughter Picture iStock_000019778491XSmall


One of the children of each man was selected to give a short tribute to their fathers.  The Olympian didn’t talk about her father as someone who drove her, both literally and authoritatively, to become a world record holder at age 17.  Instead she talked about her father as “my best friend” and described the affection and emotional support she received from him.  She told of how she had learned to set goals and sacrifice because of the model her father was.

Watching videos describing how each man had exemplified the traits each of us would ascribe to a successful father, and then hearing the real-time emotion in the voices of the children and fathers, was most inspiring.  It left me to reflect on whether we need more Fathers of the Year or more Fathers for Today.

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Today is Father’s Day.  And, each moment of each day presents each father with the gift of time…the gift of myriad opportunities to be a positive and sustaining influence in the life of his child or children.


Not all men have the privilege of being fathers.  And, not all fathers exercise the privilege of fatherhood.  But as David Blankenhorn, in his book entitled Fatherless America warns, “Fatherlessness” is “the most harmful demographic trend of this generation” and the leading cause of damage to children….It is the engine driving our most urgent social problems, from crime to adolescent pregnancy to child sexual abuse to domestic violence…”

May all fathers on this Father’s Day reflect on how they can be the most effective Father forToday.  And may those men who have not had the privilege of having children, reflect on how you might extend a positive fatherly influence into the lives of those children who are cursed with “Fatherlessness”.

“Not every successful man is a Dad.  But every great Dad is a successful man”—John A. Warnick



Books, Helping our children grow – “The Gift of Reading”

This is blogged from a friend of mine. Aman with a big heart and a love for his children, grand children and all children.- Thank You John.

All of us wish our children develop and grow and prosper in life. Maintaining a close relationship with us (the parents). No better way than the gift of reading. Start early and continue daily. You’ll discover you are looking forward to these times much as the kids are looking forward to the reading time.

The Gift of Reading

Hearing words over and over helps [your child] become familiar with them. Reading to your baby is one of the best ways to help her learn.”—The Federal Department of Education, 2003

Inspired by my friend Hartley Goldstone’s story of how he and his wife were able to create a bond between their   children and their parents, who lived a great distance from Hartley Readingand his family, by asking his parents and in-laws to tape record their reading of a favorite childhood book, I recently took two of my grandsons to Barnes & Noble.  We headed straight to the children’s section.  I encouraged my young grandsons to pick out one or two books that they would like to have me read to them.  Before I knew it we had eight or ten books stacked high on a table.  We went through a final filtering process to winnow the book selections to a number more consistent with my initial “relationship investment budget.”  And then we headed to their home where I sat down with them to go through their books.

I wish now that I had taken the time to write a special inscription inside each book. Not just a “For Jack, with all my love, Abo” but a personalized expression of the hope I have that this book will contribute in a small way to their acquiring a zest for reading and a love for learning.

According to the American Association of Pediatrics, reading is a significant aid in brain development and encourages a solidifying, emotional bond between parent and child. They recommend a daily routine of reading for infants as well as older children. The Department of Education in 2003 suggested that we begin reading to infants as early as six months after birth.  Unfortunately, the American Association of Pediatric estimates that only 50% of parents read to their children every day.Reading 2

A child’s love for reading grows when the words on the page come to life through experiences shared as a   family.  For example, after reading Eric Carle’s Ten Little Rubber Ducksto your toddler, you can learn all about real ducks and go on a family outing to feed the ducks at a nearby pond. Or, after reading Margaret Wise Brown’s Goodnight Moon you could take your child to the zoo or fill a balloon with helium and release it near your home and safely follow it as far as you can (there is a small balloon in almost every scene in Goodnight Moon and I challenge my grandsons to spot that obscure object on each page).

Other helpful tips from the Department of Education to prepare your child or grandchild to read include the following:

  • · Using sounds, songs, gestures, and words that rhyme to help your baby learn about language and its many uses.
  • · Pointing out the printed words in your home and other places you take your child, such as the grocery store.
  • · Spending as much time listening to your child as you do talking to her.
  • · Taking children’s books and writing materials with you whenever you leave home. This gives your child fun activities to entertain and occupy her while traveling and running errands.
  • · Creating a quiet, special place in your home for your child to read, write, and draw.
  • · Keeping books and other reading materials where your child can easily reach them. Having her own bookshelf or small bookcase will not only make her feel special, but will also communicate to her that reading is special.
  • · Reading books, newspapers and magazines yourself, so that your child can see that reading is important.
  • · Limiting the amount and type of television you and your child watch.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”—Dr. Seuss

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