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Parenting Post

The Parenting Post

Helping parents create balance


(published for San Carlos Charter Learning Center)

Happy First Birthday, Parenting Post!            


February 2, 2012, Issue XVII


In This Issue

 Birthday Baffle




Birthday Baffle

The Rundown

Tip of the Month


Food for Thought

Just Breathe

Parent Events

Family Events


Try this puzzle* and you could win!


Follow the instructions below; submit your responses by replying to this message and you could win a prize! Submissions are due by Friday, February 10th.


Unwrap The Phrase To Reveal A Children’s Gift. Each phrase contains the name of a gift for a child in consecutive letters. For example, the answer to “tomato paste” would be “top”.  


Tribal Leader

Lumberjack Song

Sales Ledger


Alaska Territory

Extra Innings

Coupon Yield


Commode Lid

Bamboo Knife

Rubbing Oil

Stock Item

American Dynasty

Trip Odometer


* Taken from NPR’s Sunday Puzzle


 The Rundown



Parent Education Event Recap by Alison Golden


The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families by John Covey


A clutch of Charter parents attended this free parent education event presented by John Covey (brother of Stephen) and his wife, Jane, on Saturday, January 21. The talk was held as part of the San Carlos Week of the Family and the couple flown in from Salt Lake City by the committee for the event. Big stuff.

The talk was highly detailed and entertaining. Jane, in particular, was a pistol. Funny, straightforward and honest. No punches pulled, she admitted she ‘groveled’ when one of her daughters-in-law (she has many) threatened to stop coming to family events because of Jane’s ‘attitude.’

Jane groveled because as a couple, the Covey’s had worked out their family priorities. The most important was ‘no empty chairs.’ To them that meant their family would stay together no matter what. Anything else was secondary. 

And that point demonstrated in a nutshell, the talk.  While I balked at the idea of ‘groveling’, when she put it in context, it made total sense. Whatever had to be done to hold the family together had, and was, done. That was in their family, your mileage may vary, but their 7 Habits process is the same no matter how far you’re going.

Their ideas place family at the center of an individual’s life, making it bigger than the individual, the singular ego vanquished in favor of the group on occasion if family priorities call for it.

The Seven Habits are:

1.       Be Proactive – Take initiative, react less

2.       Begin With the End in Mind – Set family standards together, create a family motto and mission statement

3.       Put First Things First – Identify family priorities, honor family commitments

4.       Think Win-Win – Think in terms of mutual benefit, think “we” not “me”

5.       Listen First, Talk Second – Understand first, then communicate

6.       Synergize – Appreciate differences in family members, cooperate creatively

7.       Sharpen the Saw – Build traditions that nurture the family


Here is what three parents had to say:

“We were struck by how simple and common-sense it seems, yet very powerful. One thing that stood out to me is the importance of a Family Mission Statement. According to our inspiring speakers, once you determine your family values and come up with a mission statement, it will serve to unify your family and help guide your choices. We already started drafting ours! So many people have a career identity/plan, but how many families can tell you what they stand for as a unit and what they hope to accomplish? Some words that come to mind while thinking about our mission statement: Respect, Trust, Encouragement, Support, Charity.  We’ve already purchased the book and look forward to learning even more helpful tips.” 


“While it is easy to listen to the speaker and buy the book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families, it does take work to follow the practices. You have to lead your life, not let your life lead you – be proactive.

Families have a destination, flight plan and ability to adjust the flight to the destination even if it’s off the flight plan.

If you have no destination, how do you know you got there?

Tips for success:

1) Plan 1:1 time with family members

2) Hold family meal time sacred 

3) Make and nurture family traditions”

“The talk was a trip down memory lane for me, having read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People back in the 1980’s. The principles are broadly the same, adapted for the family context. The Covey’s were truly lovely people. They gave 10 of their (quite sizeable) books away, one to my friend before the presentation who as a fairly recent widow was there in search of some guidance for rebuilding a sense of family with her preteens. And I loved the little card I got with the 7 Habits printed on it – it is now acting as a bookmark and little prompter for those times when Habit #7: Sharpening The Saw could be taken literally.” 🙂



Tip of the Month




A Good Rule of Thumb:

Don’t ask your child a question you already know the answer to.


For instance, if you know your child has taken money from your purse, open with a statement about the missing money and why stealing is not ok. Ask them to help you think of how they can repay you. Don’t “test” their honesty by framing up a confession.




It Shouldn’t Be This Hard, Should It?  By Stacey Holmes


Recently my husband and I hired a sitter and with journals in hand headed down to Cask, the local wine bar. Our mission was to work on our 2012 goals, while of course enjoying some vino. Under our “family/parenting” section there is an item that consistently stays on the list and for which we consistently fall short – family activity/outing. How hard can it be? We only have two kids. We have full man-to-man coverage. Let me share with you our excuses, no sorry, I mean our challenges.


First, while our daughter is usually up for an adventure, the “getting ready” process can be overburdened with obstacles: No, I don’t want to take off my pjs, or put my clothes on, or brush my hair, or eat before we go, or wear sneakers… well, you get the picture. Then there is me. I must say I am gun shy when it comes to family outings. I have found they can be a lot of effort. But to be fair, I think my expectations haven’t been realistic. For example, there is the time we went to Happy Hollow. Gracey was afraid of ALL the rides and my son was bored because there were no sports-related activities. Well, if I really thought about it, I shouldn’t have been surprised. Instead of accepting the experience as it unfolded I was frustrated that my agenda was falling apart. Now, on to my son. He can’t be bothered with anything not directly related to sports. He has made a declaration that all he does is sports.


Fast forward the clock and it is now family outing day. My son and daughter say, “Ok, let’s go to the park.” Then an outbreak of whining and whys ensues when my husband and I declare that going across the street to Burton Park does not count. What always happens is that one parent takes Gracey to the swings and monkey bars while the other parent takes Aidan to the basketball court. No, we need to do an activity “together”. My husband suggested going to the Academy of Sciences, where we are members – not that you would know that by how infrequently we go there. After the negotiating, that we aren’t supposed to do with our kids, we said ok, how about something closer to home. My husband then suggested Curiodyssey and the “dragon” park next door. After much angst we “put our foot” down – that is where we are going. Just to clarify, it was my husband who had the wherewithal to stick with the plan. I was ready to throw in the towel and stay home. Finally, after the laborious “getting ready” process, we made it out of the house around 2 pm.


Shocker, once we got there we all had a good time.


So what have I learned?

·         Stick with it, don’t give up

·         Give advance notice: Announce “This is a family outing” weekend, over and over

·         Try to remove as many barriers to getting there as possible (put Grace in the car with her pjs, just bring her clothes, hairbrush, and snack)

·         Make sure at least part of the outing is attractive to each child’s interests (example, bring the football for Aidan)

·         Scale back grand visions, if necessary (we lowered the bar… our goal is now an outing two times a month, instead of four)


Food for Thought




Blogs vs. Term Papers

by Matt Richtel of The New York Times

“To raves and rants, the digital medium muscles in on tradition”

Says one academic, “Writing is being murdered. But the solution isn’t blogs, the solution is more reading.”


9 Things I Learned in the Parent Education Program

Warning! Huge disclosure here – this article is filled with swear words, so if you are offended by them you may want to pass.


 Just Breathe


Retreat: Live Your Optimum Health

February 24th, Friday at 5:30 pm to February 26th, Sunday at 2:30 pm


Filoli Gardens opens February 7th

Want to enjoy some serenity and beauty?

All it takes is a hop, skip, and a jump over to Filoli Gardens.

Parent Events

Family Events




($) Fee required

(F) Free event

(A) For parents of children of all ages

(Y) For parents of younger children (elementary school)

(O) For parents of older children (middle & high school)

(AL) Already listed in last issue


(F) (O) Teen Sexuality Panel: February 2nd, Thursday, 7 pm to 8:30 pm (M-A Center for the Performing Arts)


(F) (O) (AL) Loving Your Teen While Not Losing Your Mind: February 2nd, Thursday, 7 pm to 9 pm (Mountain View High School Spartan Theater)


($) (A) Balancing Work and Family: February 6th, Monday, 7 pm to 9 pm (Deborah’s Palm, 555 Lytton Ave., Palo Alto)


($) (A) Connecting With Your Child Every Day: February 7th, Tuesday, 7 pm to 9 pm (Deborah’s Palm, 555 Lytton Ave., Palo Alto)


($) (A) Relationship Builders Class: (Positive Discipline) Six Wednesdays starting February 8th, 6 pm to 8 pm (Bowman International School, Palo Alto)


($) (A) Boys and Discipline: February 8th, Wednesday, 7 pm to 9 pm (Eleanor Haas Koshland Center, 2001 Winward Way, Suite 200, San Mateo)


(F) (A) The Entitlement Battle: Raising a Selfless Citizen in a Me-Centered World: February 9th, Thursday, 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm (Children’s Health Council, Palo Alto)


($) (Y) Kidpower Parent-Child Workshop for 5 to 8 year olds with their adults: February 11th, Saturday, 10:30 am to 12:30 pm (Palo Alto)


($) (A) Mindfulness For Stress Reduction: February 13th, Monday, 7 pm to 9 pm (Deborah’s Palm, 555 Lytton Ave., Palo Alto)


($) (A) Mothers and Sons: Growing Boys Into Men: February 13th, Monday, 7 pm to 9 pm (Parents Place, 200 Channing, Palo Alto)


(F) (A) Angry Birds! Ways to Help Your Child Manage Anger: February 16th, Thursday, 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm (Children’s Health Council, Palo Alto)


(F) (O) Organizational Skills: February 22nd, Wednesday, 6 pm to 7:30 pm (Morrissey-Compton Educational Center, Palo Alto)


(F) (O) It’s Time To Talk About It: The Brain and Eating Disorders: February 28th, Tuesday, 7 pm to 8:30 pm (Lucille Packard Auditorium, Palo Alto)




($) Fee required

(F) Free event

(AL) Already Listed in last issue


(F) Valentine’s Sweets Tour: February 3rd, Friday, 6 pm to 8 pm (Downtown Los Altos)


(F) Lunar New Year Celebration: February 4th, Saturday, 11 am to 4 pm (Courthouse Square, Redwood City)


(F) Children’s Authors and Illustrators Festival: February 4th, Saturday, 10 am to 3:30 pm (Orion Elementary School, Redwood City)


(F) 49er’s Tailgate Party!: Watch a replay of 1994 Superbowl while munching on stadium food: February 4th, Saturday, 3 pm to 5 pm (Downtown Library, 270 Forest Avenue, Palo Alto)


(F) Bay Area Pet Expo: February 4th, Saturday, 10 am to 4 pm (Santa Clara County Fairgrounds Expo Hall, San Jose)


(F) (AL) Family Concert, Around the World in Song with the Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir: February 5th, Sunday, Noon (College of San Mateo Theater)


($) The 2nd Annual Union Street Has A Crush On You Valentine Wine Walk: February 9th, Thursday, 4 pm to 8 pm (Union Street, San Francisco)


(F) Live Sea Creature Exploration: February 11th, Saturday, Noon to 3 pm (Hillsdale Shopping Center)


($) How to Ride a Bike for Kids: February 12th, Sunday, 2 pm (Mountain View REI) (other dates and locations available)


(F) Lunar New Year’s with Children’s Author Oliver Chin: February 14th, Tuesday, 7 pm (San Carlos Library)


(F) Graphic Novel Night: Meet three authors: February 17th, Friday, 5:30 pm (The Reading Bug)


($) Classical Music Greats for Children: February 19th, Sunday, 11 am (Jewish Community Center, Palo Alto)


($) Native American Family Activities: February 19th, Sunday, 2 pm to 4 pm (Hidden Villa)


($) Music for Families with the San Francisco Symphony: February 25th, Saturday, 2 pm (Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco)


($) Daffodil Daydreams at Filoli: Three days of talks, tours, demos, and activities: February 24th through 26th (Filoli)

Detailed program schedule available online




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