Monthly Archives: October 2012

Experience 27 of 52: Halloween

I was never a big fan of Halloween – it always seemed to me that it was all about greed and gluttony rather than generosity and goodness. M&M’s, Reese’s and Candy Corns fly off the store shelves and into the bags of salivating children holding out sacks for no other reason except that the calendar tells them it is the day to extort sugar from the neighbors. Minute after minute, for two hours, every October 31st, children dart across lawns and trample flower beds, say words they don’t really mean (at least I hope mine don’t mean the part about the trick), follow it up with a polite thank you and then move on to educe more sweets from the next neighbor. Are these really values I want to teach my children?

But this year I had an epiphany.  I realized that, as with everything in life, Halloween is what you make of it.  You can see the greed, gluttony, ghouls and ghosts and decide to participate half-heartedly (as I’ve been doing) or to ignore the holiday completely by turning off your porch light or going to an alternative gathering of like-minded families.  There’s nothing good, bad or wrong about any of these approaches.

But what I discovered this year is that Halloween is more than an annual sugar extortion festival – it’s an opportunity to step away from the daily grind and to spend time with my children, with the added bonus of doing so within the context of a community – greeting my neighbors and their children, chatting (if only for a short time) and seeing folks I rarely see because of my hectic life.

Maybe Halloween is to community what Thanksgiving is to family – a reason to take time out of our lives, spend a few moments together and to catch up on our comings and goings.  Maybe this year’s Halloween experience was a cultural experience for me more than for the gals.

As shown in the pictures, our Halloween experience this year included a local corn maze, carving pumpkins and participating in the annual sugar extortion festival.  It also included seeing the neighbors and feeling a sense of community as folks camped out in their driveways, fire pits blazing, happily passing out candy and kindly greeting the costumed community.  Family, fun and community – couldn’t ask for anything more.

Categories: Celebration | Leave a comment

Childhood Experiences Matter

This is an interesting article in the NY Times.  It talks about childhood traumatic experiences and outcomes in later life.  If you didn’t realize the importance of your parenting and providing your children with experiences that have positive influences on their lives then maybe you will after reading the article.  It speaks to the reasons why we’re on our 52-in-52 journey: to ensure that the experiences for our children are better than our own.  From the article:

“In Paul Tough’s essential book, “How Children Succeed,” he describes what’s going on. Childhood stress can have long lasting neural effects, making it harder to exercise self-control, focus attention, delay gratification and do many of the other things that contribute to a happy life.”

Categories: Personal Thoughts | Leave a comment

Experience 26 of 52: Port Discovery

Our Port Discovery experience was better than expected because not only did the girls enjoy the fun of the play maze but the exhibits connected nicely with our previous experience and interest in Greek mythology as well as Kate’s recent interest in Egypt and Cleopatra.  The “Gods, Myths and Mortals” exhibit presented several interactive exhibits that allowed the girls to test their knowledge of the Greek gods by matching the names to the myths.

Another mythological exhibit asked a number of multiple choice questions on how you might handle certain situations. After completing the questionnaire you were told which mythological character you were most like. Kate was clever like Hermes, Grace was adventurous like Odysseus and Dad was hideous like Polyphemus, the Cyclops blinded by Odysseus.  It was a welcomed opportunity to brush up on some of the crazy myths and characters.  We had previously encountered some Greek mythology in the book “Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief”, during Experience 3 of 52: U.S. Capitol Building and during Experience 10 of 52: The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA).

Another thing we learned about ancient Greece was that Athens invented democracy, or rule by citizens but  in order to vote you had to:

  • be male
  • be at least 18 years old
  • your father had to be a citizen
  • your mother had to come from a citizen family

This led to the obvious discussion, especially in this political climate, about the treatment of women, slaves and immigrants and how our U.S. modern society has changed its views regarding these ideas.

Categories: Educational, Entertainment, Recreation | Leave a comment

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