National Bullying Prevention Month: Resources for grandparents

National Bullying Prevention Month: Resources for grandparents

In recognition of October being National Bullying Prevention Month, my fellow GRANDparent Network members Leslie and Kay at Grandparents Link interviewed a couple kids on bullying. 

Take a look at their exclusive Frankly Kids: Bullying video (which they gave me permission to share):

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3 easy ways to give a hand on #GivingTuesday

Today is Giving Tuesday and as a social ambassador for the special campaign that encourages folks to simply give of oneself in any way — monetary or non monetary — I'm here to give you easy peasy ways to give a hand to the effort.

give a hand on giving tuesday


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10 non-monetary ways to give on #GivingTuesday

The week ahead is pretty much lined up for us all. There's Thanksgiving on Thursday, then Black Friday followed by Cyber Monday. After that is Giving Tuesday. Other than Turkey Day, Giving Tuesday is the most important of the holiday week, in my mind. 

giving tuesday ideas

Giving Tuesday is... well... it's this...

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Thank you, Mr. Marr

I was invited to participate in the #redThanks teacher tribute project with wherein writers share stories on themes of mentorship, role models and/or teaching — stories of a "gift" deserving of a thankful tribute. This is my story, served up in a letter of thanks. This is not a sponsored post.

Dear Mr. Marr,

Bruce Marr, Woodland Park High SchoolIt's been more than three decades since I...

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Walk MS 2013 — Photo recap

Thank you to everyone for the fantastic support of my participation in Walk MS 2013 on Saturday. I finished the three-mile course, only pooping out a tad at about the two-mile mark, then finishing strong thanks to the support of my fellow team members, Brianna and Andrea.

Here, a selection of photos from the event — many of the photos taken by team photographer Jim:

Walk MS 2013
Lots to see and do.


Walk MS 2013
Family support matters!


Toyota Walk MS sponsor
Toyota generously serves as Official Vehicle Sponsor of Walk MS 2013.


Walk MS 2013 representatives
MS Society representatives (from left): Chelsea Hixson, local Walk MS Manager, and Kristin Gibbs, Vice-President of Development/Colorado-Wyoming Chapter.


Walk MS 2013 start line
Before the start and heading out...


Walk MS 2013 finish line
With three miles under our belts (or fanny pack, in my case).


Walk MS 2013 Doggy Duds
Even the dogs enjoyed the day.

Again, I sincerely appreciate the support of one and all. With your help we exceeded our team fundraising goal of $500. Thank you for helping make a difference!

Note: This is not a sponsored post for Toyota or the National MS Society; I'm simply appreciative of the positive difference made by both.

Today's question:

When the going got rough and I thought the MS might get the best of me, I kept telling myself to just "keep on keeping on." What is your motto when the going gets rough, physically or otherwise?

The Saturday Post: Playing for Change Day edition


Today is the second annual Playing for Change Day. In my book, it's the perfect celebration for the first day of fall. There's far more to it than that, though. Here are the details:

This organization touches my heart in so many ways. I've purchased their CDs, and I've shared their videos on Grandma's Briefs a few times. On my so-called bucket list is the goal to one day attend one of their concerts.

For now, though, here is my favorite Playing for Change video so far. You may recall seeing it here before. If so, I hope you'll still stick around, for it's just as soul stirring the second—and twenty-second—time, I promise:


For more information and more videos, visit Playing for Change. To find a live PFC Day event near you, visit Playing for Change Day.

Happy Saturday! May your first day of fall be filled with music!

Disclosure: I have no affiliation whatsoever with Playing for Change. I just love the organization and its mission and wanted to share.

The Saturday Post: Shake and fold edition

We're all adults, and we've all learned lots of complicated things in our long and illustrious lives.

But were we ever taught how to properly use a paper towel?

I know I wasn't; you probably weren't either.

Have no fear, though, for that lesson is here.


Shake and fold, my friends, shake and fold.

Today's question:

Honestly, how many paper towels do you typically take? (I confess to always taking least.)

3 life skills grandparents can (and should) instill and encourage

Grandparents matter. As a site coordinator for the local Children's Literacy Center and in my own personal experience, I continually see ways grandparents make a difference—for harried parents, for folks who interact with the grandchildren now and in the future, and, most importantly, for the grandchildren themselves.

Specifically, I consider grandparents prime influencers who can and should take advantage of the endless opportunities to instill and encourage, among other things, these three very important life skills:

READING: As coordinator of a program that requires participating students to spend 15 minutes a day reading to or with an adult, of course I'm going to say that grandparents can help their grandchildren read. But I'm not talking just about kids with reading challenges. And I'm not talking just about sharing a book together now and then. I mean that always and in all ways, grandparents should stress the importance—and the enjoyment—of reading. It's possibly THE most important life skill a child can and should master. Every chance you get, read to him or her, or have the child read to you. Read books, comics, websites, the newspaper, magazines, recipes, road signs, maps and more. Long-distance grandparents can share books on Skype and through online services such as Readeo, Story Time For Me and others. Give books, magazines, graphic novels, how-to guides as gifts, and request the same when asked what you want for Mother's Day, Christmas, birthdays. Have reading materials on hand, as well as in hand.

Lessons are always reinforced by modeling, so model the life of a reader. Grandchildren will remember such things as seeing Grandma reading craft instructions and the daily news—online or in print—and Grandpa poring over maps, manuals, cookbooks. Model, model, model! It's the simplest, most subtle way of effectively instilling a desired behavior.

MANNERS: Politeness goes beyond "please" and "thank you" and table manners, although those are indeed biggies. But manners include things like punctuality, thank you notes, and RSVPing—one way or the other—when requested. How best to encourage such behavior? Again, by modeling such behavior. Be on time, send thank you notes, and RSVP when invited to a grandchild's function, even if an RSVP wasn't specifically requested. Point out the importance—and benefits—of being on time, whenever you have been, whenever possible. Send thank you notes to grandchildren when they give you ANYthing. Every.Single.Time. Those cards will be cherished as much as the lesson. And never fail to RSVP, even if it feels silly. Calling a grandchild to say "Hey, I just wanted to RSVP to your program (or party or recital or game)" makes it clear how easy, appreciated, and downright awesome the whole RSVP thing can be.

SPEAKING: Everyone likely agrees that kids should read and be polite. But I also think kids should be capable participants in discussions...or at least capable of speaking for themselves when spoken to. One of my pet peeves is kids who cannot (or will not) respond when adults say "hello" to them or offer little beyond a perfunctory glance and a reluctantly mumbled "hi." Toddlers are toddlers; I understand. But they should know from an early age that when an adult friend or family member speaks to them, the polite thing (see above) is to respond. By the time a kid is a teen, there's absolutely no excuse for not responding.

When my girls were teens, a few of their friends thought nothing of never acknowledging parents in the room—even when I spoke directly to them with something as simple as "Hey, how are you?" Gah! I currently have students who when asked what they've been reading or what their favorite part of a story was, Mom or Dad (and sometimes even Grandma) will tell me that little Junior loved this or that. No, I want to hear Junior tell me. Just let kids talk. The more they do it, the better at it they'll be come. Even the shy kids. Honest.

Grandparents can encourage grandchildren to comfortably and appropriately speak up by allowing them to place their own orders with restaurant servers or speak to librarians and cashiers themselves, and by not allowing grandchildren to slip in and out of a room without politely saying "hello" or otherwise acknowledging adults who are present, be they friends or family. Most importantly, grandparents can and should have discussions with their grandchildren about nearly anything of interest to the child, teaching grandkids what enjoyable conversing looks like, feels like.

Fortunately grandparents—in most cases—are not responsible for the day-to-day tasks and challenges of raising their grandchildren. But with myriad opportunities to instill and encourage important life skills, grandparents can certainly have an impact on some of those challenges and be the difference that helps their grandchildren succeed.

Today's question:

Which of the three life skills above do you recall being encouraged by one or both of your grandparents?