I’m back.

I took a little time away from blogging to enjoy our 11-year-old showcase her talent at the
Nike National Juniors Tour tennis tournament in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  The participants wore a cool Nike sponsored t-shirt with the words: “Who’s next?” splashed across the front--a bold message for a bunch of young tennis players aspiring to hit a powerful forehand stroke like Serena Williams to win the tournament.

There were 128 families with their daughters from various parts of the Midwest.  There were so many different ethnicities, cultures, and socioeconomic backgrounds represented.  But we all shared one thing in common:  encouraging our kids to pursue a passion that enhances confidence and develops focus.   It was obvious that each girl spends a minimum of 10-12 hours per week honing their skills on the court, which means they are consistently balancing homework and the hours of practice it takes to be as good as these junior tennis players—and I’m not talking about the homeschooled kids. 

Millions of children all over the world spend hours polishing piano playing skills, violin concertos, free throws, memorizing lines for theater productions, perfecting plies, achieving black belts and more. 

I don’t have to do much research to dare state that those kids outperform their peers who unfortunately have no one to develop their interest in music, sport, dance, or drama. 

Millions of children all over the world spend hours on
Facebook to proclaim their boredom.   The idle mind is a playground for the devil.  Unfortunately, many of those become influenced by the dark forces of drugs, gangs, premature sex, and gangs. 

I know a young person that consistently posts “I’m bored” status updates on
Facebook.  I respond with “Go get a book and tell your mama I got something for her!”  The idle mind is the devil’s workshop.

Our kids can’t afford to be bored.  There is a world out there waiting for the next principal dancer, CEO, general surgeon, best-selling author, Chief Justice of the United States, and the next Oprah.  There is work to do.  There are books to read, math problems to solve, museums to explore, music to make, games to win, and life lessons to learn to prepare our kids to become better than us to improve our nation’s economy, health care, environment, technology, and education. 

You know plenty of parents that need to raise their expectations of their children and put in a little more effort to set them up for success.  Tell them about the Dean of Parents blog.  Right now, I have readers who appreciate my content but, for the most part, are fortunate enough to understand the importance of setting up their kids for success.   Other parents have kids posting “I’m bored” on Facebook.

I dare you to ask, “Who’s next?”  Send them this link:  Dean of Parents

Monday was the girls’ first day of summer camp.   They are both enrolled in The XS High Performance Tennis Camp between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm. 

A long day in the hot sun playing tennis does not seem to leave a lot of room for any Summer Education Plan does it? 

It does.

Yesterday, we went to the library after tennis camp.  It helped to make a quick stop for ice cream to convince them my library trip was a good idea.  While their teachers provided a summer reading list to choose from, I allowed them to include books they would find enjoyable, even if it included a books about Selena Gomez and the Teen Vogue Handbook.   Their SEP includes reading at least 10 chapter books during the summer.   Avoid statements like, “I want you to read for one hour each day.”  When you find a book that is enjoyable, do you give yourself a time limit?  You can get lost in a good book and lose track of time.  So, imagine the number of good books your kid can read this summer!  My rule of thumb: If it takes 3 chapters and you still are not interested in the book, get another one.  There are too many good books for you to get stuck with a boring one. 

When my girls choose to read the books, is totally up to them.  They read in the car.  They read while eating breakfast.  They read in the bed.  I’ve even caught my oldest reading in the bathtub.   I highly recommend selecting a couple of books to read together to enhance dinner and car conversations.  A few questions that could be used for most books are:
  • What do you think the author wants you to learn?
  • Can you relate to the characters?  Do they remind you of yourself or someone you know?
  • Are there parts of the book that make you feel uncomfortable?
  • What would you say to convince someone to read this book?
Have your kid highlight unfamiliar words and encourage them to impress family and friends by using them appropriately in conversations.  Over time, they will be amazed at the level of vocabulary and their reading fluency and comprehension skills will skyrocket!

I just heard you ask, “When do you get to the other stuff, like multiplication tables and algebra?” 

People always make time to do the things they really want to do. 

Come and visit Dean of Parents tomorrow and I’ll be happy to share.