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Thursday, January 4, 2018

How To Do Kids’ Thank-You Notes: Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezey!


Certainly everyone has gotten their Christmas thank-you notes sent by now.
Riiiiggghhht.
If you haven’t yet, your choke-point may be trying to figure out how to manage all the kids’ notes. (Have I been reading your mail or what?)
A few years ago I finally sorted this out for myself. If kids are old enough to write even the simplest of misspelled sentences, they can do their own da** thank-you notes.
Yes, I’m quite serious.
Here’s how:

1. On a separate sheet of paper for each person in the family, make a list. Put what that person got in the right column, and who s/he got it from in the left column.


2. Count the total number of separate people to whom your family (altogether) needs to send thank-you notes. I.e., if Uncle Joe gave gifts to three kids in your family, he counts as one thank-you note.


3. Get exactly as many blank thank-you notes as your family needs, put a sticky-note strip on the front of each one with the name of its recipient, and lay these blank notes out in the middle of the table.


4. Put each child’s list at a separate place at the table, along with a pen.


5. Each child takes a thank-you note, writes a few sentences on it, signs it, puts that thank-you note back in the center of the table, crosses off that person from their list, and grabs another thank-you note.


6. After everyone has crossed every gift-giver off his/her list, the thank-you notes are sealed up, addressed, and mailed.


7. Pat yourself on the back for your superlative parenting skills. You taught your kids gratitude, good manners, and independence, with very little actual work on your own part. Boom!

For more lazy parenting tips, subscribe to Wasting My Education. Remember, it’s never too late to waste your education. As our little thank-you gift to you for signing on, you'll get the free PDF "15 Questions Kids Can't Help But Answer.
 Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

That Internet Hoax Will Bite You in the Butt

Photo by Flood G.
Truth has taken a beating over the last— well, since the beginning of time, really. No matter which side of the political/social/cultural aisle we stand on, we all believe that those on the other side are actively propagating and believing oceans-full of lies, lies, lies, while we and our side have the corner on truth.
It’s worth keeping in mind that one of hell’s most insidious and successful strategies toward the destruction of man is to seed stories and beliefs that are 90% true, but laced with just a touch of lie. It’s a slow and hard-to-detect poison then, that kills those who drink it like the proverbial frog in the saucepan.
What’s troubling me today, however, is the willful acceptance and dissemination of tales we know full well are not true. I’m talking about debunked urban legends and internet hoaxes.
Several times in the last few months I’ve called out false stories to friends and family. These hoaxes are often about threats to safety, like the untrue tale of would-be rapists luring compassionate women into their clutches via children who pretend to be lost. And in response to my refutation I’ve often been told some variation of, “Even if it isn’t true, it’s good to be aware of so you can protect yourself.”
Say what?!?
The only thing that’s “good to be aware of” about a lie is that it is a lie.
Here’s why:
We are unquestionably vulnerable to violence and malevolence from others. A lot of people want to steal from and harm us. We’re like houses that way: we need to control our doors and windows—i.e., our access points—to keep the good in and the bad out.
Lies that we believe are diversions. They’re the bad guy making noise in the bushes at the back of the house so we switch on those lights and turn all our attention to that entrance, leaving the front door unguarded for the real thief/rapist/murderer to break in unimpeded.
We only have so much time, so much attention, and so many resources to devote to our own protection. When we commit our and others’ time, attention, and resources to focusing on things that aren’t actually threats, we diminish the ability to protect ourselves against real threats.
In the example hoax above—rapists who use fake lost children to lure victims—it’s vital to understand that while such a scenario could possibly take place, such a strategy is much more complicated and difficult to employ than simply overpowering a woman who’s alone. Most garden-variety criminals are opportunists, not strategists. I don’t want my daughters scanning the parking lot for lost children who might be bait. I want them to avoid being alone in lonely parking lots in the first place, and I want them scanning for men who look like they’ve got nefarious intentions.
There is no good or productive outcome to a lie, except that by recognizing it as a lie we get better at discerning truth. So, in the immoral immortal words of Weird Al Yankovic, Stop Forwarding That Crap to Me.”





Monday, December 4, 2017

So You Got Angry


No big deal, right? Everyone loses their temper once in a while.
But what is anger, really?
Anger is a reaction to not getting something you want, and blaming someone else for it.
No one can make you angry and no one can make you yell, throw things, hit things, or otherwise behave with violence.
You don’t act angry because you care so much.
You don’t act angry because you’re right.
You don’t act angry because you can’t help it.
You act angry because you’re thinking about what you want that you’re not getting, and you have abandoned control over your behavior because of it.
Anger is hatred in action.
Anger makes the subject of your anger an idol, and the object of your anger an enemy.
The only justifiable anger is the righteous kind, which is a response to an evil that harms an innocent, and is meant to lead to action to stop that evil.
However, most of our expressed, daily anger is itself an evil that harms an innocent.
And most of our expressed, daily anger is unjustifiable.
Common sense makes it obvious that anger produces pain, damage, and more anger. Like breeds like. Always.
Do you have a problem with anger?
Would someone in your life—your spouse, your child, a coworker, a parent—say you do?
If either of those questions are answered, “Yes,” then you have a problem with anger.
I’ve had a problem with anger.
The world has a problem with anger.
Anger is a problem.
So, what are you going to do about yours?

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