Your have homework for a creative writing assignment and drawing a blank? No inspiration?
This is a common problem with many writers, even professional ones. Willing and able to write a great story – just need that first spark of an idea to get going and, instead, spend half the night banging your head against the wall desperately seeking an inspiration to start.
Well, it doesn’t have to be that hard. Here’s 5 ideas to help get writing a terrific story started!
Plan for this type of homework assignment (which I guarantee is coming ) by creating an inspiration box. Cut out random photos, interesting story ideas from the newspaper or magazines and photos from trips or even a day in the park.
You can even include a particularly pretty rock, shell or something else you find in the world. A shell could easily become the home of sad and lonely snail one day. A rock can become something that has seen the world change since it began and only wants someone to listen to it.
You never know what might inspire writing a great story.
Throw it all in a box that is only opened when inspiration is needed. You can either search for what strikes your fancy at the moment or randomly pull out a few items from the box and decide you will create a story from whatever you happen to grab. Sometimes simply by creating a challenge, you can get your creative juices flowing.
There are plenty of internet websites that offer inspirational ideas for story writing. Be careful that you don’t let the information on the Internet do your job for you. The point of the assignment is that it is your story, not someone else’s. Don’t plagiarize! You are looking for inspiration only. Make it your own story.
Click here for an example of such a website.
Think about your favorite family stories. Maybe a great story that Grandpa always tells, but, instead of writing it about your family, exchange the characters for a family of frogs or fairies. Once you have the core idea, you can twist it around to become anything you want.
Try to remember a story that truly amazed you.
Feel free to change anything you want about the story – it is your story, after all. If you don’t like Grandpa’s ending, change it!
Remember, the story is just to get you started.
Look around you. With the right mindset, almost anything can be an inspiration for a story. Maybe it’s a couple of toys that have a secret life when you are not looking or maybe it’s just a pair of sneakers that give whoever wears them superpowers!
A story is made up of a combination of the right inspiration + your imagination. With enough creativity, you can make a story out of almost anything! Squint your eyes a little and look around. There is going to be something around you that you had never really noticed before that will suddenly pop out as a great story idea.
Don’t forget to let you imagination go wild – a simple window can become a portal to another dimension, a bed can become a boat down a raging river and a pencil can magically create drawings that come alive.
THE STORYTELLING BOX
Of course, I can’t resist adding my own Storytelling Box to the list. Inspiring stories is exactly its purpose.
Not only do you receive 100 original story ideas that you can make your own, but you also have 200 Word Prompts and Illustrations to help create stories.
Just as with your own Inspiration Box, you can randomly or selectively pull cards to inspire a story.
I recently led a story circle at Pretend City. What was interesting was how the little girls in the circle used the box in a way that I hadn’t even considered. They reviewed all the illustrations and chose a series that satisfied a story-line they had in mind. They then laid our the cards in order and told the story. It was brilliant!
Experiment and find the inspirational method that works best for you. Creativity is like any other muscle in your body. It gets stronger, the more you use it.
This blog is the third part of my four-part series about how to apply the way people learn to helping your child study. The four ways are Visual (Part 1), Auditory (Part 2), Reader/Writer (this blog) and Kinesthetic (Part 4 to come).
Aside from taking the quiz, you can pretty easily determine if your child learns best by reading and writing the text and notes.
Does your child:
- enjoy reading
- prefer to read by themselves or read to others
- take lots of notes in class
- work best in quiet areas
- prefer to study by themselves to avoid distraction
If the answer to these questions is yes, then you have a Reader/Writer learner! This is the traditional student who excels at reading textbooks and studying. You will need to be the least creative with this type of learner as compared to the others (but I do have a creative suggestion at the end.)
Reading/writing is the traditional method of study. Probably the least disruptive to the household routine, also.
As long as you can provide a quiet place for the reader/writer, you have most of the support process handled, but there are other suggestions you may want to consider.
This type of learner will retain the information best if they re-write the material on flash cards or notes. Have them write the material in their own words, not just copy them from the text.
By going through this process, they will retain the material better and longer.
Don’t buy pre-made flash cards. The trick here is that the student actually write the material themselves. By writing it, they are memorizing at the same time.
Encourage your child to take good notes at school. Then, as part of their study process, have them re-write the notes at home. This will reinforce their understanding of the subject material as they re-write the notes in a new way.
It is critical that they re-write the notes in their own words rather than the teachers words. This is how the reader/writer learns best!
Even if your child feels they have already written down the notes during class, have them re-write the notes at home and watch their grades improve. Their comprehension and retention will improve dramatically.
Make sure this student gets all the handouts the teacher offers and not to lose them. They learn well from handouts.
USE BULLET POINTS
Reader/Writer Learners learn well when they condense information into small, easily understood bits. Bullet point lists are the easiest way to put down a lot of information in one easy-to-read format.
The good news is pretty much every subject lends itself to bullet points.
TURN DIAGRAMS AND CHARTS INTO BULLET POINTS.
Completely opposite from Visual Learners, some Reader/Writer Learners don’t learn very well using diagrams and charts. They either don’t know how to interpret them, they wouldn’t know how to re-create them, or they simply don’t process information in that way.
A Read & Write Learner should write as many subheadings and notes to every diagram or chart that they need to understand.
This helps Reader/Writer Learners in several ways. First, it puts the information into words (which they, themselves have written down). Secondly, they will be more likely to remember their own definitions and explanations of what the diagram contained then what the textbook had written. And finally, during an exam they will be able to explain a chart or recall the important parts of a diagram that they would otherwise struggle to remember.
If this type of learner is struggling with a particular subject, sometimes it may be due to a fear they have of the subject. They may be afraid that they will never learn it or that they will fail…or both.
A trick you may try is to distract them from the actual material. This trick could be applied to all types of learners, actually.
The trick is to combine studying with a fun activity or funny way of writing down the material.
For example, let’s say your child is challenged by math the most. Instead of writing out problems as usual, have them write the problem as big as they can on a white board. Then write it as tiny as they can. Or have them use pick-up sticks to work out a simple math problem.
Whatever might distract them from their fear – make it fun and creative. They may end up learning the material and get over their fear just by making it fun. Use colored paper, special scissors – anything that’s fun and they may enjoy.
i know we traditionally think of studying and homework as a serious time, but what’s the harm in making it fun if they are actually learning?
I wish my Mom and Dad had thought of that!
Part 2 of this series discusses the 2nd way your child may learn best – Auditory.
Auditory learners like to recite out loud and prefer hearing the information rather than reading it. They learn from listening, either from themselves or others.
Remember, though, to explain to your child that everyone learns differently and at a different pace. There is no right or wrong way to learn. It’s just different.
If, after taking the quiz, you have determined that your child is primarily an auditory learner, consider two changes:
- Change the way your child studies and does homework per the suggestions below.
- Point out that they might want to change how they pay attention during school.
An auditory learner needs to pay attention during lectures. Not allow themselves to be distracted thinking “they will read the material later.” Listening to the teacher will be the BEST time for them to learn so they shouldn’t miss that opportunity each day.
If they find a subject particularly challenging, they might consider recording the teacher on an app on their phone or some other device. This way they may re-listen to the lecture as often as they wish.
Have them ask permission first so the teacher doesn’t think they are playing a game on their phone, for example.
The challenge with studying and homework will be to find ways that compliments this learning style. Here are some ideas.
STUDYING AND HOMEWORK
An auditory learner learns best by explaining the material out loud to others. Remember the old adage, “The best way to learn is to teach.”
Depending on the age of the child this might mean “teaching” a parent or older sibling ( a very patient older sibling). For a younger child, have them sit at the dining room table and “teach” you what they are trying to learn – possibly a nightly ritual while you are making dinner.
Remember, it’s not so much that you learn what they are teaching as for them to be expressing the material verbally and hearing it themselves. In other words, keep on chopping the vegetables and nod in all the right places.
STUDY GROUP OPTION
WHERE IS EVERYBODY?
For an older child, a study group might be the right solution. Study groups are all about verbal communication and sharing with each other. I suggest you monitor the group, at first, and confirm that your child has an equal voice. Also, of course, that the group is made up of students close in ability and motivation. If a group is too difficult to coordinate, then possibly only one other student might help.
Remember that recorder app mentioned above? Well, this can be used at home, too. Allow your child to record their own voice and play it back. Not only might this be fun, but it could also aid in their learning. This might be particularly helpful when learning a language.
I could have used this idea in Sr. Roche’s class back in High School. He scared the beejeebers out of me and practicing with a recorder would have helped.
HEAR THEMSELVES THINK
Auditory learners need to, literally, hear themselves think. If there is too much going on in the kitchen, have them find a quiet place to study where they can recite their notes or homework out loud. If there are word problems, for example, have them read the questions and answers out loud.
Word association is a great way for auditory learners to study and remember information. Mnemonic devices, such as songs or rhymes, are great to pair with facts they are supposed to memorize. Their brain will automatically recall the song and the information it represents.
You might consider setting a conference meeting with your child’s teacher and explaining how your child learns best. The teacher may have more suggestions. They also may be able to adapt, best they can, to your child’s needs in the classroom. At the very least, making the teacher aware of how your child learns can only help.
Consider buying a lot of funny hats for your child. Try the .99 cents store. While they are studying, for example History, they can don a hat for each historical character and use a matching funny voice. Not only are you adding a whimsical fun element to the arduous task of studying, but you are encouraging the verbalization that your child needs, anyway.
One possible challenge with the auditory learner is they may tend to want a constant audience, which can be difficult if not impossible to accomplish every day. Don’t allow this to become a habit. From the very start, alternate the above suggestions so the child becomes used to studying alone, also.
If scientists and psychologists have agreed that people learn differently, then why haven’t we adopted this understanding as it applies to homework?
Changing how our children learn in the classroom setting isn’t going to change anytime soon. We do, however, have more control at home when performing homework where much of the learning occurs, anyway.
Why not adapt the way our children study at home to match the type of learner they are? By doing this, we will reduce the stress level they are experiencing as well as improving their chances of actually retaining the material.
So, let’s first review the four basic ways people learn. One of the most popular models is called VARK.
- Visual – likes charts and graphs. Basically, learns best from images.
- Auditory – likes to recite out loud and prefers hearing the information rather than reading.
- Reading/Writing – best learning from reading on their own, taking their own notes.
- Kinesthetic – hands on, experimental. Likes to figure things out by doing. Doesn’t have patience to sit still long enough to learn.
First, though, explain to them that everyone learns differently and at a different pace. There is no right or wrong way to learn. It’s just different. Explain the 4 ways and what they each mean.
DETERMINE WHAT TYPE LEARNER YOUR CHILD IS
The next step is to help your child determine what type of learner they are. Try having them take this quiz.
After they have taken the quiz, the fun starts. How to apply the preferred method of learning to such subjects as Math, History, English, etc?
Please note that most people don’t fit 100% into a single method. What may work for one student may not for another. Don’t force the issue – allow flexibility.
Here are some suggestions, but whatever method you decide on, have your child participate in creating it. Make them part of the solution and they will more easily adopt the change and help make it a success.
These suggestions are only to open your imagination as to the possibilities. To “think outside the box” as it were.
- If your child is a Visual Learner, then they may have trouble when the teacher is teaching by just speaking to them. They will probably do most of their actual learning at home while doing homework where they can see the material. When they are old enough, they can start taking notes in class – that will help them.
- A Visual Learner is similar to a Reading/Writing Learner in many ways, except that a Visual Learner is also helped by visual aids, such as charts and graphs. For example, If they are studying history, have them make a timeline with all the pertinent information on the chart.
- Allow them to draw images that match the information, for example a ship next to the year 1492 when Columbus discovered America. Writing this information down and seeing visually will help them remember the material.
- Also, they just have some fun while learning! Nothing wrong with that.
- Teach your child how to make an outline. An outline is a nice tool because is simplifies and organizes the material into digestible bites of information.
- Another approach might be to turn an outline into a chart. For example, imagine a pie chart where each slice of the pie is the main topic in the outline and within the pie are the sub-categories. Each slice might be a different color to make it visually interesting.
- Flowchart – a visual learner might retain the information by putting it into a flowchart showing the logical progression of ideas. You might have them write down notes on index cards and then laying them out in a flowchart on the living room floor into a giant diagram!
- Multi-colored highlighters are a great tool for the Visual Learner. Not only is it fun to highlight all the different colors but it also will help create an association between the color and the topic. For example, write down math problems on index cards and highlight all addition problems as blue, all multiplication problems as green, etc.. This is a fun extra step and will help them visually divide up the problems. They may even be motivated to add a few problems on their own “just to keep the colors even”.
They can mix it up and keep it interesting. Learning becomes part of a fun adventure!
Visual learners need a quiet environment to learn best.
My daughter used to hate mushrooms. Really disliked them. The rule of the house, though, was that it was okay to not like a food, but you had to try it at least once, before deciding, and then you had to try it annually. One year, probably after trying mushrooms once a year for 10 years, my daughter nibbled on a mushroom and she liked it! She’s been eating mushrooms ever since.
What’s my point? People, especially young people, do change in their likes and dislikes. Just because at age 10,your son may learn best from auditory learning, that may not be true at age 13. So, be flexible. Have your child take the quiz occasionally.
Of course, if they are doing very well in school and comfortable in their learning habits, you may not want to rock the apple cart.
There are so many positive outcomes for children learning the value of volunteerism, it’s almost difficult to know where to start.
Just a few that come to mind:
- Shifting focus from themselves and their own needs to others
- Establishing a life-long habit
- Contributing to the community and society
- Teaching not everyone has access to the same opportunities or resources that they may take for granted
- Performing a task beyond simple chores
Teaching a child the value of volunteerism, helping others and not always being self-focused, will build character and empathy for others.
1. STAGE VOLUNTEERISM AS A REWARD
Don’t make volunteerism sound like a punishment or a burden. Instead, position it as a reward for good behavior or something to which to look forward.
Of course, don’t underestimate your child’s intelligence – they can smell a con game a mile away. So, if you know they are going to push back from helping clean the beach, give them choices.
We can do either this or that. Don’t offer the option not to do anything, but, at least, they will feel somewhat in control.
Depending on your child (you know best), you might lead up to the volunteer activity slowly. Mention how lonely retirees must be at the nearby Retirement Home. Tell a story about running into one and discovering they rarely have visitors.
Wait a day and bring it up again in a different context. Finally, when ready, suggest the idea of going over together to read stories to them.
I am not suggesting lying, by the way. Feel free to actually do some research to make sure you are putting your child into a comfortable environment whether it’s a Retirement Home or a Dog Pound.
This is a very important lesson you are teaching your child and it deserves a little effort.
2. MAKE IT FUN
Fun and age-appropriate. Begin by finding volunteer opportunities that match with your child’s age and interests. For example, if they love animals, find something where they can work with dogs or cats.
There are also horse ranches where rescued horses are used for therapy.
If your child has strong ties to Grandparents, you might consider having them read to retirees in a nearby retirement community. You can always expand into other unrelated areas as they get used to the concept. Start with the familiar.
Consider having them join in the search for where to volunteer next. Allow them to be part of the process.
3. GIVE GREAT FEEDBACK
Don’t forget the basics. Thank them for volunteering, for doing such a great job, and making a difference. Be sure to point out what might have happened if they hadn’t volunteered. “Mr. Smith would have had such a lonely day if you hadn’t showed up to read to him!’ or “Just look at what a mess this park was until you helped clean it up!”
Make it clear that, because of their effort, they made a big difference. This will teach them self-esteem and appreciation.
Don’t lose sight that you are trying to connect how children feel about themselves with their actions.
4. INCORPORATE INTO A FAMILY VACATION
If we agree that volunteerism should be a way of life for all of us, then why not make it a part of your next family vacation? Combine the good feelings created by having fun with the family with helping others.
This is a connection a child will keep for the rest of their lives and, probably, continue with their own family one day.
Volunteering should be considered to be as great a reward as spending the day at Disneyland or on the beach in the Caribbean. In fact, it is particularly appropriate when enjoying an experience that, possibly, others can’t afford or, for other reasons, participate.
The good feelings from making a difference in other people’s live or in the community, in general, will last far longer than the fun spending at an amusement park. The satisfaction of helping others lasts forever.
Make it part of the agenda, just like all the other events, such as a special restaurant or visiting a special tourist site. Pretty soon, it will become part of your family culture and expected.
5. JOIN IN
Children learn from the examples we parents create. Good or bad, they often follow in our footsteps.
Don’t hesitate to jump in and join the fun. Don’t allow yourself to simply observe; participate! It will feel less like a task, and more like a family event.
As parents, we tend to focus only on activities like swimming team, soccer, piano lessons, dance class, karate class and, to an exhausting degree, so much more. Does that sound familiar?
Why isn’t volunteerism included? You may need to sacrifice a lesson here or there, but, in the balance of things, how would you rate learning to help others compared to one of the many activities we usually sign up our children?
Click here for a website that can help you find suitable avenues for volunteering.
Young adults usually find a mentor in life by chance. A favorite teacher, a senior manager at work, or, possibly, a respected relative. For the lucky ones, the right mentor will appear just at the right time to help shape our career or give a nudge in a new and different direction. For me, it was my Psychology Professor at Northwestern, Dr. Camille Wortman.
Coming from a small private High School in New York City, I was shocked by the size of the lecture classes at N.U. in my freshman year. I felt, that morning in Psych 101, like a nameless, insignificant nobody in a group of about 1,500 students. So, at the end of the first 50 minutes of lecture, knowing no better, I approached the stage, looked up at my professor and, pointing to myself, said, “Hi. I’m Mark Feldstein.” and walked out.
Later that afternoon, I walked into Dr. Wortman’s office. The professor stopped in her tracks and said, “You’re Mark Feldstein! Do you want to work for me?” I worked for her for my 4 years of undergraduate school, cleaned her house, sold her car and with whom I flew a kite off Lake Michigan (designed by DaVinci which they no longer make, but was awesome).
It doesn’t matter that I only minored in Psychology. My mentor may not have convinced me to pursue psych. My grades weren’t good enough, anyway, to be truthful. Instead, Dr. Wortman taught me other valuable lessons that I carry with me to this day; a strong work ethic, a morale compass and a sense of empathy among many others. It is unpredictable how a mentor can impact your life, but it you keep your mind open to possibilities, I would venture to say that you will benefit and benefit greatly.
When I walked up to that stage, I wasn’t intending to find a mentor. However, I did open a door by being proactive. I further pursued the opportunity by showing up at Dr. Wortman’s office. No matter how I may want to color it, though, I found my mentor by chance.
FIND A MENTOR
Don’t make that mistake. Don’t leave it to chance because chance is a gamble. Find a mentor purposely and methodically. Find one as soon as possible, preferably while still in High School. If you have an idea of your career path, find a professional in that arena. Tell them of your interest and for any suggestions regarding which classes are most helpful beside the required ones. You might be surprised by how an academic curriculum may differ from the one suggested by a professional who is actually working in the field. Of course, you will still have to take the prescribed courses, regardless, but you may find the suggested classes will give you an advantage in not only your resume, but also your perspective. Ask any architect and you will quickly understand what I mean.
Also, you never know how a vested mentor can help you when you need it; an internship, a letter of recommendation or, even, a job one day. Don’t think that this relationship is all one way, with you receiving and the mentor giving. It doesn’t work that way.
People love to share their knowledge, especially with an interested and, possibly, talented young person. Idolatry doesn’t hurt their egos, either. And, if they do grant you an internship, for example, they will work you to the bone. Have no fear; it’s a mutually beneficial relationship. So, take advantage of it.
Find a mentor. Oh, and by the way, you can have more than one.
You probably didn’t realize that children are born with three innate skills. It’s part of their DNA. Not only do these skill sets come natural, but they adapt as the environment changes.
These are survival skills that function better than what any creature possesses in the animal kingdom. For some, at least one or more skills remain primary as the child reaches adulthood and it drive their career path. For others, they may fade.
Regardless of whether the skills continue to develop, they are transparently recognizable in young children to every parent.
The first skill is the Salesperson. Every child, from the moment they can utter their first words, are salespeople. Their primary goal is to sell those around them on satisfying their wants and needs.
They will use every tool at their disposal from a winning toothless smile to a temper tantrum. They will lie,”I didn’t eat the cookie, Rover did.”. They will beg, “Can I have puppy, please, please, please, please, please…”. They will demand, “But I want it, Mommy.”
All of these tactics lead to the same thing. The child is attempting to sell something either because they want something (i.e. a toy) or don’t want something (i.e. to be punished). They quickly learn which tactics work on which audience.
What may work on Mom, doesn’t work on Dad – change selling approach. What works on Mom and Dad is not the way to approach Grandma. Change tactics.
The best adult salespersons are those who have kept these skills strong throughout the years. They know when to switch from educational sales to relationship sales to a combination of both, for example. They read their customer quickly and adapt. It’s Mom, Dad and Grandma all over again.
They began in life trying to close the deal and continue until retirement.
The second skill is negotiation. This is probably the strongest skill because it is an urge children can’t resist, even when it’s not something they really want or in their own best interests.
The negotiator will always push for “more” or “later”.
Not to be confused with the sales skills, which is utilized when no offer has yet been made by the parent, the negotiation skill is simply to increase what has been offered.
More: “Yes, you may have a candy.” “Can I have 2?”
Later: “It’s time for bed.” “Another half hour, puh-lease!”
More: “Ok, Daddy’s tired.” “Just one more piggy-ride, Daddy!”
Later: “Time to go home for dinner.” “I just want five more minutes at the park.”
It’s an instinct so strong, that a child will negotiate a later bedtime even while their face is nodding dangerously close to the mashed potatoes. They can’t help themselves. Negotiation is as strong an involuntary body function as breathing.
The last major skill is the scientist. Children are natural scientists, curious about their surroundings, testing hypothesis, asking endless questions and studying their role models.
To a child, of course, the whole world is filled with new wonders. They, naturally, want to discover the nature of everything around them. Will paint really stick to white walls? Is fire hot or just look pretty? How does dog food actually taste?
It’s an endless array of discovery, testing and questions.
Despite a whole world to discover, though, children will study with the most attention, by far, their role models. These might include parents, grandparents older siblings, etc..
They will notice every twitch, hear every word and note every inflection.
My daughter, for example, notices when my hand is balled while driving. This is my sign of stress by something that is happening in my life. I didn’t even notice this habit. She did because she is a scientist.
Having a scientist in our home who is studying us during every waking moment can be disconcerting for one simple reason. Despite everything we say, every rule we set and every good intention we have, we are always teaching our children by example.
They are learning from us by watching and studying us. We are setting the example when we stare at our phones during dinner. Or when we eat foods we know are not good for us. Or when we don’t live by the same rules we set for the child, such as how we treat other people.
Even though, at times, we may think that nothing we say to a child makes a difference, you must know that they are watching and learning, good or bad. They may pretend to not hear what we say at times, but they do. They are absorbing every word, nuance and example we set. The time will come when all the life lessons will come back to them to be applied to their lives and to their children.
It’s not easy living with a super-salesperson, a relentless negotiator and an observant scientist but it’s just a part of the job we accepted when we agreed to become a parent.
How many of us created our resumes just before needing it the first time? Was it the night prior to that big interview? How about when faced with that discouraging “upload resume” button on a job search website?
It’s a mad scramble to desperately cobble something together attempting to recall all those names and dates. It is not expected from applicants looking for summer jobs, therefore, it is put off until “after graduation” when it is really needed.
AN ALTERNATIVE PHILOSOPHY
Build your resume as soon as something eventful occurs in your life; an award, a summer job or some special recognition.
You may be surprised how easy it is to forget your accomplishments. What was the name of your supervisor at Starbucks? Phone number? What was that writing award in 9th grade? Which committee in High School did you join and what were your major accomplishments? Where did you volunteer last summer and what did it teach you?
Get it all on your resume from the smallest accomplishments to the big ones. Include all the details – you can always edit it down later. Of course, you may remove entire items from your resume as you continue growing your list of accomplishments and job experience. It’s much easier to remove an item than to add one a year later when the details are hazy.
Building a resume can become a self-fulfilling prophesy. What is a resume? It’s a reflection of what you have achieved as your life and career marches along. It’s a mirror that a potential employer holds up to their job description and company culture to receive a first impression.
If your resume appears to not be a good fit, offer enough information or reflect adequate experience, you may never get to the interview step in your application process where, you think, you truly shine. It doesn’t matter how good an interviewee you are if the HR department never calls.
The job hunt is a competition and you may need to purposely make the effort to gain specific experience in order to qualify to meet your goals.
For example, if you want to become a doctor, you should consider volunteering at a hospital. Keep your eye on your resume as a gauge of whether you are achieving our goals in order to maximize your chances of success; self-fulfilling prophesy.
Take a look at a college application (future blog) and you will what activities are expected from you during High School. They should all be on your resume.
Even if you are planning on becoming an entrepreneur, a resume may be helpful, someday, when you are sitting across the desk from a banking loan officer. They like to see experience in the field in which you are planning to begin your business.
Let’s face it, not all of us are the right fit for running our own business. Plans change – having an up-to-date resume may help to get that “temporary” job until you can figure it all out. Hedge your bets.
STUDY (RESUME) GROUPS
Consider applying the value of study groups to building a resume. Get together a few friends and build your resumes together. Check in with each other during your High School and College careers and compare. This may motivate you to shore up some areas that may be too light (such as volunteerism).
Imagine how much faster and easier it will be to complete job applications when you have all the information at your fingertips?. Applications are required, in most cases, even if you have a resume.
Finally, how much better will you look applying for that summer job when you are one of the very few applicants with a resume? You’ve just given yourself that much better chance to get that job!
I visited an amazing place yesterday. It’s called Pretend City and it’s located in Irvine, CA. If you are lucky enough to be within driving distance and have little ones between the ages of 2 to 8, go there! You and the children will have a fantastic time, I promise.
Pretend City reminded me what it was like being a child again. Of course, in my day we would pretend a box was a rocket ship to take us to the moon, a blanket was a cape that helped us fly and a bunk bed was a dark and scary cave.
At least, those are examples from my youth. I’m sure you have your own.
Even though, “pretend” has become more sophisticated since my day, the basics haven’t changed; the importance of fantasy in child development.
I’m talking about a child who constructs a fantasy world using their own imagination rather than one constructed for them via video games. Living in a world of fantasy (vis a vis video games) is not the same as creating your own whether it’s from something as inconsequential as a cardboard box or as elaborate as what children find at Pretend City.
The goal is exercising creativity. At Pretend City, a child can pretend to catch a fish, sell it to a restaurant and use pretend money to buy a pretend hamburger at the cafe for their Mom.
In one poignant example, a young child who proclaimed himself to be the Assistant Cafe Manager, asked a stranger how her lunch was. When she said excellent and pointed out her daughter who had pretended to prepare and serve it, the young boy gave pretend money to the girl as a raise for doing such a great job.
A manager in the making? Communication skills exercised? Understanding of work/reward? It’s all there and more.
Pretending is learning. Sometimes it might be hard lessons such as that capes really don’t help you fly off a brick wall (I’m not saying that was me). Sometimes, it’s so subtle that the child may not even recognize it as learning, but it is learning nevertheless.
Not only do we need to encourage our children to engage in pretend play, but we need to join them. By being part of the process, we can learn what most interests our children, how they learn and spend some quality and fun time with them.
Pretending can also serve as a refuge for children when life gets stressful. A safe place. Sometimes, it’s not easy being a kid. Ask any kid.
As with everything in life, balance is key.
I feel that The Storytelling Box is a great game to encourage nonverbal children to communicate. I would love to give away a few boxes for free to families with an autistic child to see if it helps. If you have a child you think it could help or know of one, please let me know.