Me in a Tree

Archive for January, 2011


“Children’s behavior, has it changed in the last thirty years?”, was the question thrown at me. Well, for me that is a tough question to answer as thirty years ago, I was still a kid myself……well, sort of. Without fully divulging my current age, I will admit to not being a full fledged adult yet. Nor was I a parent, so I probably wasn’t paying particularly close attention to “children’s behavior”.

What do I do?

However, from my perspective at the time, there were definitely certain expectations of children and if those expectations weren’t met there were consequences. Respect was of the utmost importance, we were to respect our elders and our peers. Children did not talk back and bad language was most definitely NOT tolerated. Excuse me and thank you were to be used at all times and family dinner was not optional. Basically we minded our P’s & Q’s (still not sure what that means other than, we darn well behaved ourselves or we would suffer). As an adult and parent in the year 2011 I now pay far more attention to children’s behavior and have to admit, I’m shocked more often than not with what children are allowed to get away with.


A year ago it became obvious that my children had become very attached to the laptop and their iPods and cell phones. They were spending nearly every free moment on-line, playing games, texting and facebooking, instead of reading and learning new things.

After attending a family literacy event at my child’s school, I was reminded of the importance of reading and learning with my children. I decided things needed to change. I knew it was going to be a battle but I decided to start slowly, initiating small changes.

family reading

Family Reading Time is Very Valuable

First we started going to the library and used book store often. Then we cut down on the time spent in front of a screen. We even added a games night. My husband and I also agreed that we wanted our children to become avid readers and learners, and that we needed to model our love of reading and learning to them as often as we could.


Parents are the unsung heroes of every person that has ever done anything great. Think about the people that you most admire in your life. Do you attribute any of their greatness to the people that raised them? Often, we do not even think about the fact that there were most likely two people who were most influential in making a person who they are. Of course I am referring to his or her parents. If a person is great, remember that greatness is not achieved in a vacuum. There were people who sowed the seeds of greatness.
Parent By Family Friend Poems / CC BY 3.0


A group of people, including author Catherine Ryan Hyde, established the Pay It Forward Foundation in 2000 to inspire students to realize they can change the world by performing an act of kindness towards another. Wikipedia’s definition of “Pay it Forward” is used to describe the concept of asking that a good turn be repaid by having it done to others instead.” In 2006 Oprah Winfrey gave her October 26th studio audience $1,000 each and challenged them to spend it within one week, but they could only help charitable organizations or individual persons that were not related, thus, “Paying it ‘Forward”. And now it’s our turn! Me in a Tree is “Paying it Forward”! Non-profit and charitable organizations will benefit from your monthly subscription payment by receiving a portion of your payment Paid Forward to them by Me in a Tree. Imagine if multiple families in your church, club or organiztion were to become members of Me in a Tree and a portion of all those subscription fees were Paid Forward. WOW! What a difference it could make! We encourage you to send the name of your organization as well as contact information to today so we can get the ball rolling.  Let’s go be GREAT!


It’s a New Year and a great time to set some fresh new goals for yourself and show your kids how they can do the same. Children live by example and what better example than to set yourself a goal, follow through and encourage them to do the same.

Here are some things to bear in mind when helping your children set goals.

  1. Start by sitting down with your children and explain what a goal is. A four or five year old is quite capable of understanding the concept of a goal. Explain, a goal is something positive that we want and are willing to work to achieve or obtain it. Most kids are new to this and may need some direction and support.
  2. Teach your child to visualize the outcome. Ask your child to close their eyes and imagine what their life will be like when they achieve their goal. Maybe they want to be more successful at school and come home with a better report card, maybe they want to be a stronger skater or have a healthier body. Ask them, “What will you be doing to achieve your goal?”. “How do you think you will feel during and after you’ve achieved it?” “What will this bring you?”
  3. Talk to your child about the reason/s why? “Why do you want this?” “Why do you want to do better in school, or be a better skater?”. Until they really understand why they want this and how it will make their life different, the goal is harder to achieve.

There has been a lot of talk in the media over the past year about children coming home with so much homework that they have little time left over to have some downtime after school. (or after piano, hockey, swimming, dance and art lessons.)

It’s a touchy subject, not just for parents but for teachers as well. Our job is to make each child as successful as possible, and we see the difference daily practice makes. There is no doubt that strong routines and solid support from home translates into better understanding and work habits.

There seems to be a prevailing opinion that all that “learning stuff” should take place at school. But the fact is, teachers barely have enough time to teach the curriculum outcomes. For mastery, practice needs to happen. And yes, it has to happen outside school time.


As one year ends and a New one begins, many people start talking and thinking about making New Year’s resolutions. We make resolutions to lose weight, exercise more or spend less, but are these the most important to you? How many of us take the time to really evaluate our families and set goals to grow together and become more connected. I challenge you to start 2011 by considering the ones you love most. Your family.

Have you dreamed of a family vacation, contemplated making a difference in your community by volunteering as a family or even thought about the impact sitting down on a regular bases to enjoy a meal together would make? The Me in a Tree goal application can help you achieve all this and more by helping you determine your goals and track your progress as well. This is one of the many applications Me in a Tree has to offer. Check it out!

I wish you all the success you strive for in 2011.