Posts Tagged ‘family’

Most American schoolchildren can recount the tale of the first Thanksgiving, describing a lovely turkey dinner between some friendly Wampanoag “Indians” and well-meaning English colonists. The narrative always ends with heaping helpings of peace and harmony and pumpkin pie. That’s our story and we’re sticking with it.

Most of what is really known about that fateful dinner has been gleaned from two accounts written by colonists Edward Winslow, in 1621 and William Bradford in 1641. Both missives prove that the traditional vision of pilgrims and Native Americans, sitting around a long table, adorned with turkey, dressing and cranberry sauce is largely a myth. Apparently, the original feasters were merely thankful to be alive, relatively disease-free and lunching on whatever they happened to catch in the bushes on that particular day.

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Sharon is a community college administrator, former special education teacher, wife of 17 years and mother of two school-age children in northwest Houston. Her primary interests are family-inclusive culture and arts, travel, politics, historical literature, Texas Longhorns and all things Disney.  She writes for the Houston Examiner as a featured columnist.  We have been friends since ‘the crib days.’




1. Do not ever put them down or make fun of them. Try not to raise your voice excessively. It’s disrespectful and will defeat your purpose, not to mention over time, it’s completely ineffective.

2. Listen attentively to what they tell you and pay attention to the body language of what they are not saying.  If you don’t, over time they won’t be as likely to share with you.

3. Take their ideas, dreams, suggestions and opinions seriously.  Then respond accordingly.

4. Respect their feelings and each child’s unique personality and identity.

5. Insist that they show respect to others.  This is most often taught by your own actions.

6. Be patient – whatever that looks like for you, make an effort to improve by being even more understanding.

7. Show appreciation by being generous with genuine compliments.

8. Focus on strengths by commenting often on what is done well.  Once you know the challenges of this young person, make an effort to help him or her get the support they need to be a success.

9. Show confidence in the young person by encouraging him or her often.

10. Be authentic and be consistent!

(Caution: All of these suggestions may prove useful with adults, too!)