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Archive for January, 2010

It never ceases to amaze me how unprepared some kids are for real life.  A friend of mine’s daughter recently started college and her roommate did not know how to do her own laundry, cook a meal, or even pay her own bills.  I was shocked.  In today’s busy society, many parents find it simpler and faster to do household chores themselves rather than require help from their children.  Unfortunately, they are doing both themselves and their children a disservice.

While it may take a few tries to get it right, and their idea of “done” may not be  the same as yours, learning to do chores around the house is a necessary part of childhood education.  Not only does it prepare your child for tasks they will have to perform as an adult, but it teaches them to be a part of a team and pitch in to help the family.  Mom should not have to do it all.    Even the smallest children can help out by picking up toys or wiping up spills.  By age 10, most kids can do just about any chore around the house from doing dishes and making beds, to dusting and laundry.

If you have not already looked at the requirements for the Life Skills Achievement Award, now is the time.  This award is a series of 30 requirements at each level that teach kids life skills in a variety of areas from household chores and good hygiene, to navigational and financial skills.  While 30 requirements may seem daunting, many are simply common sense tasks that your child has probably already learned.  Even if you are starting from scratch, if you teach your child one skill each month, by the time they advance to the next level of Frontier Girls they should have earned the award and amassed several skills that they will use throughout their life.

While taking the time to teach your children to be self-sufficient may require a bit of work in the beginning, in the long run it will save you a lot of time and headaches.  My own girls are now 10 and 12, and they clean their own bathroom and bedrooms, vacuum, dust, do dishes, yard work, etc.  They take pride in being able to do these things, and since they are part of their routine, we rarely have complaints.  It is simply part of their day, and it allows me the time to do other things (like blog!) that I would never have time for if I tried to do it all myself.

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The first decade of 2010 is past.  As we embark on yet another new year, and new decade, I challenge all Frontier Girls to make a difference in your community this year.  If you have not yet earned a Make  a Difference award, this is the year to do it.  Regardless of your age, there is always something you can do to make your community a better place to live.  Make a commitment to uncovering a solution to a problem in your area.

With the current economic situation, there are more and more animals being turned loose to become strays.  You could start an information campaign addressing the problem and distribute fliers to schools and storefronts.  Work with your local humane society to find out what else you can do such as organizing a pet food drive.

Many educational and fun places to visit in your community, such as zoos and museums, are non-profit organizations.  They are very expensive to run, and their costs are not covered by admission fees.  Without donations and volunteers, they would be unable to survive.  Even if you are not old enough to volunteer at the location itself, you can always help hand out fliers,  further a public relation campaign, or hold a fundraiser.

If there is a dangerous intersection in your community that needs a street light, stop sign, or cross walk, start a petition to obtain one.  When you have collected enough signatures, present your petition to your city officials.  Maybe there are bushes or trees that make it difficult to see oncoming traffic.  If they are on private property, offer to help trim them.  If they are on public land, contact your city officials with a request that they be trimmed.

Maybe you live in an area that could use some beautification.  You could write a proposal for a Neighborhood Beautification Week and get your mayor to sign it.  Then make fliers to post around town and organize volunteers to help out neighbors who may not be able to clean up their own yards.  Hold a fundraiser to purchase paint and supplies, or have them donated, and coordinate volunteers to help senior citizens, low-income residents, or people with special needs clean up their homes.

Many stores keep unhealthy snacks, such as candy bars, up by the front counter, contributing to our society’s poor nutritional habits and obesity problem.  Work with store owners to find tasty, more nutritional items, that can be offered in place of, or at least next to, the unhealthy options.  Make fliers for your community promoting healthier eating habits.

There are thousands of things you can do for your community.  Find something you love, and then look through your community to find a way you can use your passion to help others.  If you love animals, check with the local animal shelters or pet stores to see how you and your friends can help.  If you love history, talk to local museums.  Maybe gardening is your thing.  If so, check with local parks, schools and churches to see who needs help with planting or weeding.  If you love painting, maybe you can organize a community mural.  Use your imagination to rise to the challenge and make your community a better place to live.

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