Thursday, July 24, 2008

Helicopter Parent ??

Lately I've been pondering about childhood and the impact that our society today has on our children. For many years, I have felt that the world seems to require that our children grow up too fast. Children have so many things thrown at them socially, personally, environmentally and educationally and often all at once. As adults, many of us have gained the coping skills to deal with these pressures but I feel that many children are lacking the needed maturity and experience to handle everything that is dealt to them.

I was listening to the John Tesh show on the radio recently when running my 'mom taxi'. He was talking about over-parenting. I, and many, like to refer to it as the helicopter parent syndrome. Now honestly, I myself sometimes behave like a helicopter parent. My husband has to remind me to let the kids deal with things themselves but it's hard to see them struggle even though I know it's necessary for them to learn. John Tesh, on his show, stated that "Carl Honore, the author of the book Under Pressure: Rescuing Our Children From the Culture of Hyper-Parenting... spent two years investigating child-raising approaches around the world. What he found everywhere among middle-class and affluent families was that - despite parents’ best intentions - kids are over-scheduled, over-indulged and over-stimulated." In my mind this tells me that children are being encouraged to "be little adults". Although I want and encourage my children to be involved and try different sports and activities in church, community and school, I still want them to be children. Ahhh... parenting.... it's a toughie !!

On a side (somewhat related) note, my 12 year old son is involved in the scouting program. He loves it and it's a great program which I totally support. I was somewhat unenthusiastic, however, when I learned that they were planning a 50 mile hike in the mountains with full packs, tents, etc., everything needed to sustain life on the trail for a week- ON YOUR BACK. A few other parents were as skeptical as myself where their young boys were concerned. If they were a little older, taller, more mature I think it would be a great experience but at 12 years old, the maturity and strength to carry a 30 pound pack on your back for a week is, in my opinion, too much. The scouts did recently do a much, much shorter hike with the full packs and my son discovered that although he did enjoy himself, he decided that that 50-miler was for the birds. At least for THIS year.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Straight Cuts and Other Scissor Tales

Handmade, hand cut and hand designed dragonflies by yours truly. :)

I've had many people, over the past few years, ask me how my cuts are so "perfect". I say "perfect" because I am a perfectionist, I always think my own work can be improved and never think of my work as perfect. Nonetheless, people always ask how I get my cuts so smooth, even and straight. For me, there are 2 parts to the equation in getting nice clean scissor cuts...

1) Good, very sharp scissors that fit your hand well. For me, my favorite scissors are Cutter Bees from EK Success. They have an extra sharp tip, non stick blades and they're smaller - perfect for my hands and for getting into tight or curvy areas.

2) Move the paper, not your scissors. When I cut, I hold my scissors with my right hand and "guide" the paper with my left hand. Plus, I never make the scissor blades chop but rather make even smooth cuts.

Another tip I can offer is for matting. I have a wonderful tool called the Magic Matter by Puzzle Mates (PM Designs). It has different sized disks with a hole in the center. You place a pencil in the hole and gently trace the edge of whatever you want to matte and VOILA, perfect cutting lines for your matted piece ! It's perfect for getting an even matte around shaped, curvy and intricate designs. I have the 4 disk set which, unfortunately, has been discontinued. They do still sell a 3 disk set although I understand it is hard to find in stores.

I think I was also blessed with a very steady hand. Lemme tellya, that comes in handy when making scissor cuts !

Happy cutting, snipping and paper crafting !!