Archive for the ‘Good Choices’ Category

Cold weather…a Play Date…Making Resolutions

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

resolutionsIt was bitter cold out, too cold to ice skate, or to go sledding, or even take a short walk. School was closed. So any “Can Do”who could catch a ride was welcome for a play date at Orrie’s house.

Grandpa John and Grandma Maureen had come by to help out with table games and serving snacks Willie asked, “Grandpa John why do adults make New Year’s Resolutions”? Before Grandpa John could answer, Annie asked,”What are resolutions anyway”?

Grandpa John stopped handing out fruit and sat down at the table with the “Can Dos”. All eyes were on him as he thought of the best way to explain what a resolution is.

He cleared his throat and began by saying, “Well, resolutions are kind of like promises to do things that you need or want to do. It’s about doing things that you need to do but may not having being doing such a good job about doing so far.

For instance, let’s take sharing. You know that sharing is usually the right thing to do, but it is hard to do. So, you might make a resolution, a promise to yourself or to someone else that you will be better at sharing.”

The “Can Dos” were all quiet for awhile, then Nellie asked,”Why do people make resolutions on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day”? Grandpa John smiled and answered. “That’s a very good question Nellie. The new year is seen as a new beginning, a time to begin again. A time to do things you want and need to do. So people promise themselves and their family to make changes in themselves and their lives.”

“Hmmm,” said Arthur J. “Maybe we should each make a resolution for the new year.” Hector shook his head. “Not me,” he said. “I like myself just the way I am. I don’t think I need to change a thing about me.”

Maria, his sister tossed her head and said, “Think again brother. There are a few things you need to change… like being late for school a lot and using my stuff without asking.” Hector turned red and answered, “Okay, I’ll stop taking your stuff without asking but I can’t make two resolutions, so I’ll have to wait on promising not to be late for school.” Everyone laughed.

Grandpa John said, “Let’s go around the table and each make a resolution. I’ll start. “I promise to help Grandma Maureen around the house more.” Grandma Maureen gave Grandpa John a big smile and said,”You heard that children. You are my witnesses, he promised to help me more.” The “Can Dos” all laughed.

Then it was their turns to make resolutions. Nellie promised to help Grandma Hattie with the housework. Orrie promised to turn off his computer each night the first time he was asked to do so. Willie promised to empty the trash without moaning and groaning about it. Kathy promised to share with her sister Annie more and fight less. Arthur J. promised to help his brother with his math homework when he was having a problem.

Did you make New Year’s resolutions? Are you going to make any resolutions? What do you promise to do?

Holiday Buffet Manners

Monday, December 30th, 2013

With New Year’s Eve coming, some of the “Can Dos”  were complaining to Miss Sue that all the New Year’s celebrations, at the recreation center,  were for teens and adults. Miss Sue thought about it for a day or so and then announced  that there would be a buffet lunch,  at the community center, on New Year’s eve for “Can Dos” 6-12 years old.

Parents and grandparents were invited to join the “Can Dos” for games, a sing-a-long and then the buffet.

Given what Miss Sue had seen in the past with “Can Dos” forgetting their manners, she thought it might be best to practice buffet manners before the actual buffet lunch. Good thing she did.  Wait till you hear what some of the “Can Dos’ did during the buffet rehearsal!

supper buffetFirst of all, Miss Sue had a long table covered with a white cloth and had the cafeteria ladies set out several different dishes with serving spoons and forks  laid out next to them. She had napkins, plates, forks, knives and spoons at one end of the table. At the other end she had glasses and pitchers of juice and water.

Miss Sue instructed the children to start the buffet at the end of the table with the napkins, plates and utensils. They were to move down the table, in a single line, taking what foods they wanted. When they got to the beverage, an adult would serve then a drink. Then they were to find a table where they could sit down and eat with each other.

Well, the buffet practice all started off well, but then Nellie broke out of the line because she didn’t want some of the foods, and didn’t want to wait until others ahead of her took some of these foods.

Then others  broke out of line and soon it was a mess with “Can Dos” yelling,  “No fair, I was ahead of you and now I’m waiting for you to go.”

Then Miss Sue saw Hector take food put it on his plate and then put it back in the buffet bowl. As she walked over to him, she saw Kathy use her fingers to pick up fruit from the buffet and put it on her plate!

That did it! “Children, said Miss Sue, “Come away from the buffet table. we need to have a lesson in buffet manners right now!”

When the “Can Dos” gathered around her, Miss Sue said, “When you are at a buffet these are the things you must remember to do or other people at the buffet will thing you have bad manners and you will embarrass your family:

  • Go in the direction that everyone else is going. Don’t start your own separate line.
  • Be patient! Stay in line and wait your turn. If the buffet runs out of a food you like, the food preparers will more than likely replace it with more of the same food.
  • Use the spoons and forks next to each dish of food. Don’t use the same spoon or fork to take from more than one dish.
  • Don’t put food back on the buffet once you put it on your plate. People coming after you don’t want food that was on your plate. Only take what you think you want to eat.
  • Only use utensils to take food from the buffet, not your fingers. Would you want to eat from a plate where someone had used their fingers to grab food ?”

The “Can Dos” listened carefully and when Miss Sue was finished speaking Annie asked,”May we try again Miss Sue?Miss Sue thought a minute and answered, “I think that is a good idea.”

The “Can Dos” lined up and went through the buffet line remembering to stay in line and using utensils to take food. No one used their fingers and no one put food back on the buffet after putting it on his or her plate.

The “Can Dos” were ready for their first holiday buffet!

Giving Thanks by Giving

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

Miss Sue and givingMiss Sue waited until all the “Can Dos” got settled in their seats before she began to speak. “Good Morning children, she said. “Thank you Miss Pat for allowing me to speak to the class this morning about a new program of the ‘Can Do” Street Community Center, Giving Thanks by Giving.”

Yundi and Wendy beamed with pride as their grandma, Miss Sue, continued to speak to the class. “Thanksgiving is coming and I want to invite you all to be a part of keeping the spirit of giving alive in Thanksgiving,” said Miss Sue.”We have a few weeks to work together on a few projects. I am going to tell you about they projects and then you can each decide what project is for you.

First, there is the clothing drive. We need to collect warm clothing such as coats, hats, gloves and such to give to those families who need warm clothes for the winter. We need men’s and women’s clothing as well as clothing for children and teens.

Second, there is the food drive. We want to stock the food pantry in town with canned goods and boxed foods like pasta and rice for those who need food for their families. We need lots of families giving what they can.

Third, there is the school supplies drive. We want to be able to help out families that can’t afford school supplies by giving their children what they need for the school year.

Willie raised his hand and Miss Sue called on him. “Miss Sue why do people need all these things?” Miss Sue smiled and answered, “That is a good question, Willie. Some families have been having hard times and need a little help to get through until things get better for them.  Some dads and moms, through no fault of their own, have lost their jobs. In other families, a dad or mom has been sick and unable to work, so there isn’t much money to buy what the families need.”

The class was quiet for a few minutes, then Hector raised his hand and said, “I’ve got lots of cousins, uncles and aunts. I will ask them to go through their closets and donate anything they haven’t worn in a year and don’t think they will be needing. I’ll ask my mom and dad and grandparents too.” A few of the “Can Dos” also signed up along with Hector.

Annie volunteered to collect food from family and neighbors for the food pantry. A couple of the other kids in the class did too.

The “Can Do” Kids Cooking Club volunteered to holding a bake sale at the Community Center and said they would be giving all that they raise to buy school supplies.

Soon everyone in the class was signed up for one of the three drives as their way of giving thanks at Thanksgiving.

What about you? Is there a way you can practice giving at Thanksgiving time?

A Halloween Happening

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

Halloween houseHalloween is always a big event on “Can Do” Street!

Just about everyone participates in Halloween, even adults who don’t have kids or grandkids because it is always so much fun.

The Halloween celebration starts at the recreation center, which is decorated both outside and inside to look like a haunted house. Everyone gathers around 2 PM. The “Can Do” kids carry and hang up their Halloween costumes in the storage room to be put on just before they go trick or treating.

They walk through a pumpkin patch and each “Can D0″ picks out a pumpkin to paint in the crafts class. There’s a hall of funny mirrors maze where the “Can Dos” walk through and see themselves as all different shapes and sizes.

Then the “Can Do” Kids take a tour of the haunted house, stopping  to look at the decorated rooms. If they want, they can paint a window pane on one of the windows of the house and the best window painter gets a prize.  Some of the “Can Dos”  make Halloween desserts that everyone can enjoy at supper  before going trick or treating. The seniors club members help the kids make and decorate:

  • popcorn balls
  • eyeball in mud pudding ( marshmallow with a dried cranberry stuck in the middle and sitting in a small bowl of instant chocolate pudding )
  • pumpkin bread
  • ghost and witch cookies

Just before supper some of the “Can Dos”, who have been taking square dancing lessons put on a show of what they have learned. Then the choral group, directed by Grandpa Dooley, the music instructor, sing Halloween songs and the audience sings along.

At dinner, in the recreation center cafeteria, the “Can Dos” eat with all their parents and friends and other adults.

Then it is time…time to have faces painted to match costumes…time to get into costumes. Then the big event…the ragamuffin parade, when all the kids parade around in their costumes, parents and grandparents take pictures and there are prizes for the best costumes.

Just when the “Can Dos ‘ think they can’t possibly have any more fun…it is time to trick or treat up and down “Can Do” Street and all the side streets!

Some of the adults leave to get back home in time to give out Halloween treats to the kids as they go from door to door.

Parents and grandparents walk with the children and stay with them as they go from house to house tick or treating. The “Can Dos” all mind their manners, saying thank you when they are handed a treat.

After they visit the last house, it is time to go home. Once home, each “Can Do” spills out his or her bag of  Halloween treats to see what treats the bag holds.

The moms and dads usually say, “You can eat one treat now, then it is off to bed. Tomorrow is soon enough to portion out your treats over the next few weeks, so you don’t get a stomach ache”.

And that is how Halloween happens on “Can Do” Street!

Coach and Jay Talk About Being a Good Sportsman

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

coach campbell talking about being a good sportsman“Hey Jay,” said Coach Campbell, “I watched your ping pong game with Bobby this morning and I could tell from far away that you lost. I watched you throw the ping pong paddle down in anger and storm off from the game room yelling and kicking.  It was like you “melted down.”

Did Bobby say something that made you angry, or where you just upset that you lost the game?”

“Just that I lost the game,” answered Jay.

Coach Campbell nodded and said, “Look Jay….no one LIKES to lose…but, part of playing the game is knowing that you might lose. I mean it is a game and someone wins and someone loses, but you can’t let losing make you put on a show like this morning. You have to be a good sportsman.”

Jay looked puzzled and asked, “What’s a sportsman?”

“Ha, well…let’s see,” said Coach, “A sportsman is someone who even in defeat acts with grace.”

Hmm, said Jay, “Is defeat the same as losing?”

“Yes,” answered Coach.

“And, what’s grace,” asked Jay.

Coach thought for a moment and then said, “Being someone who had fun playing the game and wants to play again. The game, that’s the fun part. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, but…you keep playing and that keeps you getting better…being better.”

Jay’s face brightened and he said, “Oh, I see.”

“Good,” said Coach.  “Look, next month there is a big ping-pong tournament and I think you can do well and maybe even get to the finals.  If you work hard and keep learning from your mistakes, it can happen.  But, I need to know you will not ‘lose it’ like this morning if you lose…will you be a good sportsman?”

Jay asked, “You really think I can do well?”

“Yes,” said Coach, “But you have to give me your word you will be a good sportsman.  No more melt downs.”

“YES,” said Jay, “I can do it. I can be a good sportsman. I know I can!”