Why Lockets Are So Important in Books for Ten Year Old Girls And All The Rest of Us!

Did you ever own a locket? If you did you probably remember the magic of first checking to see if it really opened and then trying to figure out what to put in the picture spots. Usually there were two, one on each side. If you received your first locket when you were a girl, as I did, then you probably chose yourself for one of the pictures. At least I did. It made sense to me, as I had no siblings and if I put pictures in of my mom and dad, then where would I go?

What if I had a crush? Actually I did, but I never would have dreamed of puttling the boy’s picture in. My crush was even to personal to be hidden in a locket.

I liked to wear my locket as it gave me something lovely to touch when I was bored or thinking abstractly in school. It was engraved with some small hearts in a pattern and I could follow the pattern.

So when I was writing The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) it was natural for me to put a locket in the story. And for the girl it became very important as she, like most of us, came to value her locket. But for her, unlike me, the locket became a perfect vessel for a secret that she was trying to take into adulthood.

I can’t give it away, that would be unfair. But I do want to share with you some remarks from my associate journalist, Linh, the girl in Vietnam who read The Truth in Vietenemese and then wrote to me. She actually gave the girl a name as she read the book. Here are a few remarks she made about the locket:

“I decided to choose her the name “Funny” when I first read her diary two years ago. Today, I’m writing about her, specifically about her locket and her feelings about it.
On Funny’s birthday – March 30th – she was given money and a lot of gifts. However, maybe the present that she took most of her notice to was the necklace with a locket her aunt gave her. The locket was heart-shaped and lovely with spaces to put two photos in. Funny was extremely happy and satisfied with the gift Aunt Belinda gave her. That is to say, she ran around her room eagerly and kept the locket on her chest before putting the necklace around her neck. And in the locket, there was a picture of hers which was put in by Aunt Belinda. What about the other space ? Which photo would Funny put in, along with her own picture ?
After going downstairs, Funny talked again to her grandmother. Her .grandmother asked her whether she would put her little brother’s picture in the cute locket. Funny didn’t answer, but she thought that she would never put any photo of her little brother’s in the locket with her photo. She wanted to put Paul’s picture – the boy that she had fallen in love with before – in the locket instead. She thought couples often put each other’s picture in a locket like that. But she could find no ways to have one photo of Paul’s. At first, she intended to use Paul’s picture in his student card, but the picture couldn’t be neither taken out nor small enough to be in Funny’s locket. Funny wanted to borrow the Brownie camera of her parents; unfortunately, they wouldn’t permit her to bring it to school. It was such a pity !
There are many things else about Funny that we can discuss more. But still her lovable locket with Funny’s insighful emotions are very awesome, to me personally. Do you also think so, girls ?”

Do you have memories of a locket? Please share by writing to me at drbarbara@enchantedself.com or on the facebook page: The Truth for Girls.

The Truth is We Need Our Inner Child All of Our Lives for Energy, Creativity and More!

I wrote The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) for many reasons.  Perhaps the most important was to help girls hold on to their inner child as they grow up and to help us adults get back to your inner child.  Did you realize how precious she really is? 

Do you realize that she holds many of your dreams, your wishes, your hopes, your aspirations?  She even holds your strengths and potential.  She has your coping skills all neatly there from childhood if you need to grab them again!  She can guide your to what will bring you true happiness.

Find out what I mean in the following video I need for Askimotv.

VALENTINE’S DAY CAN BE AWFUL OR WONDERFUL!

Sometimes as parents or teachers or grandmoms we forget the pain and suffering that go with certain milestones in growing up. One of those milestones is Valentine’s Day. In America we celebrate the day with fervor and make a lot out of it.

I remember in elementary school it was very important to me that my mother let me buy packages of Valentine’s for the whole class. Some years they were finished Valentine’s and some years I had to punch them out of the paper that held them. And some were more personal than others with cute sayings. I would have a method to my madness and of course my closest friends got the most pretty and personal cards. I supposed most of the kids had the same method. And there in lay the first potential trauma of that day. Would my best friend Lynne, send me one of her best?
I would only know once the Valentine Box had been opened and some lucky child was picked to be the first person to hand out Valentine’s. That was a treat also. Sometimes I was chosen, but often not. It only took 4 or 5 children to get them all passed out. I was only at peace that day when I opened my Valentine’s and felt remembered.

My video is here to remind all of us grown-ups that children have very deep and powerful feelings:

The Girl had a crush which even made her feelings more dramatic on Valentine’s Day. Not all girls and tweens have crushes. But still be sensitive to the fact that the girls in your life may take Valentine’s Day very seriously. Here are a couple of suggestions to weather the day:
1. Make sure you have remembered the girl(s) in your life in a way that she will feel very special.
2. Be sensitive to her feelings as the day approaches. Maybe share your own memories about the holiday.
3. Ask her if you can help her in any way. Maybe she would love to make cookies or fudge for her special friends and you can have some fun in the kitchen together!
4. Most of all, make sure she knows that she is Your Valentine!
~ © Barbara Becker Holstein .

Helping Your Daughter Have a Positive Identity Within Her Family and Her Community.

  • The ‘girl’ in The Truth and Secrets wants to know more about her family. She is close to her mother’s sister, Aunt Belinda, and her Grandmother who she adores.
  • But on her father’s side she only knows her father’s cousin George, who she doesn’t like much at all. (Mostly because he swears a lot).
  • She wonders what her father’s family is really like. Why doesn’t he talk more about his childhood and his parents? Are there secrets?
  • She feels happy to have a loving grandma and aunt but she wants more.
  • And her dad is talking about moving! Yikes! So, if they move, she will loose her friends. This is not good.

Discussion:
How could her parents help her to feel better connected to her extended family?

How can they also reassure her about the family moving and how she will fit into a new school or circle of friends? Anyone have any ideas?

Now on to Your Daughter: How can you help your daughter feel connected in healthy ways to both sides of her family?

How can you help her to stay connected to appropriate friends also, whether you are moving or staying where you live? You may find the following video helpful:

The Girl in The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) has a Wonderful Dream About a Future Group Called Free The Children!

Dear Diary,

You’re not going to believe this! I had the most amazing dream I have ever had in my life last night! And I hope that someday what I dreamed will be the truth.

I was so tired after we got back from Thanksgiving Dinner at the Bailey’s. I could hardly walk into the house. All that turkey and the pumpkin pie and the coffee ice cream. They always have coffee because they know I love it! I ate too much. I flung myself down on my bed in a daze and before I knew it I was asleep. And this is what I dreamed:

There was a boy, about my age, maybe a year older, about 12. And he read about another boy who had been a slave in some far off country, maybe Pakistan? Can you imagine being a slave as a kid? I think he had to help make rugs everyday. Anyway, this boy in Pakistan somehow died and the boy in this country found out. The boy here decided that it wasn’t right that kids should be slaves and he decided to do something about it.

I know just how he must have felt! I want to do things also to make the world a better place. But I don’t always know how. I wish I did.

This boy knew how. He started to talk about the kid that had died and got a group of friends together and they started a club to help slave children around the world.

I can’t remember all of my dream, but I know they called it Free The Children and that eventually the boy went around the world collecting money and got tons of other kids to help raise money to free kids and do lots of other things like build schools for children in places that had no schools.

Just before I woke up I was dreaming about some kids from Minnesota going to Kenya and helping to build a school. Their faces were so radiant. They looked just the way maybe I looked when I won the baking contest in Girl Scouts. I just got to see the new school from the outside in the dream when I heard my mother’s voice, “Get in pajamas. You can’t just sleep all night with your coat on. You’ll get sick.”

And then the dream was gone. I hope someday the dream will come true. I hope I’ll still be alive to see children around the world helping to free other children and to help save the world. And if I am a grown-up by then I hope I’ll remember how it feels to stand up to bad stuff and I be one of their big supporters! Maybe by then it will be my daughter who will be going to Kenya or somewhere to help build a school.

This was the best dream I have ever had!

The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything)

I hope so much that when a girl or her mom or her grandmom or her teacher finishes reading The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) what will happen next is an open dialogue.  That’s why I put in the back of the book questions that naturally lead to deep conversation.  Some people think The Truth is an easy read.  It may be, but it is a deep read.  Just as an Emily Dickenson poem can be very deep in only four lines, so can the thoughts and feelings of this nameless girl who touches our hearts.  She is unique, but also one of us.  Any girl or woman will identify somewhere in the pages with her.  For some it is her energy.  For others her ability to solve problems.  For others it is her realization that she knows so deeply so many truths.  And once we identify then it becomes easy to want to chat and share.  I hope you will do so after you read the book.  The genuine connection that you will feel with your daughter, yourself and the girl in the book will warm your heart.  Please let me know what questions you enjoyed most in the back.  You can write to me at drbarbara@enchantedself.com.

HOLIDAY STRESS-Yes, Girls, Tweens and Teens Feel It Too!

The Holiday Season is beautiful and we all hold on to some precious memories that go with the season.  But the Holiday Season is also stressful.  As adults, we often live an exhausted life of lists and obligations that go with the season.  For some women, particularly moms with children living at home, an exhausting month is finally finished off by little sleep and the patter of little feet very early on Christmas morning.  Even for those of us that celebrate simply or observe other traditions, such as Chanakah, the frenzy builds.  Nobody wants to forget someone they should have remembered with a card, a present or a phone call.  And most of us have certain favorite foods that go with the season.  That means extra calories, an outfit that suddenly doesn’t fit right, or the tug of war with the latest batch of Christmas cookies sitting in the kitchen.  And we know who usually wins!  (The Cookies)
 
What some of us forget is that the kids have stress also.  Particularly in harder times, like now, kids worry about how the season will go down for them and often for their families.  Kids hear, know and feel a lot more than we give them credit for.  If your family is having money problems, whether you tell them or not, they are most likely aware of the problems.  If you and your husband are in disagreement over how to do the holidays, even if you argue behind closed doors, your daughter will be aware of the tension.  Some here are a couple of suggestions to lower the stress for your kids:
 
1.  Have a honest, but not overly dramatic or discouraging talk about this year’s decisions around present giving. If everyone will be receiving, say half of what they got two years ago, be honest about it.  Discuss this openly and maybe agree on what gifts are the most important for an older child or a teen.  If say your daughter really wants an item that is twice what you can afford, see if there is a way to figure out the purchase.  Perhaps it can be for both Christmas and her birthday, plus she can take on a chore in the family for a few months that may help you out or even cut some expenses for you. 
 
2.  Also, have an honest chat about what you will do and not do for the Holidays.  If you are not buying a big tree this year, let them know early so they won’t be disappointed.  Perhaps it is the year for a family evening of making home made decorations and stringing popcorn trim?  That can be a lot of fun.  Also, kids are very creative and if they know that a food budget for a big Christmas gathering must be slimmed down, they will come up with ideas to help do that.  For example, they may be willing to bake or help you cook more from scratch, as that usually costs less than packaged foods. 
 
In summary, the important thing kids need is to feel in the loop of making decisions about the Holidays and presents and that they have something of value to offer the family either in terms of ideas or actions.
 
If you can help them feel valuable and in the loop and make clear that you want a great Holiday also, you will find yourself under less stress and for sure you daughter will feel even better about herself than she expected!
 
Happy Holidays!

Here is a Page From The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything) that has only appeared in the Chinese Edition of the Book!

We get about three hours of homework a night. I hate having so much work to do at home. I can’t stand it. I can hardly play outside anymore. I can’t ride my bike or roller skate, either. It is awful.
Sometimes I get in such a bad mood that I stand up on my bed and jump up and down like a wild woman. And then I hold my breath and just feel so angry inside.
My mother tells me to stop. Yesterday she got really scared cause I wouldn’t stop and I kept holding my breath on and off.
She went to the telephone and called her friend who is a nurse and asked her what to do. I got really scared when I heard her say that it would be ok for Jane to come over. I didn’t want her friend to see me being that crazy.
I got off my bed and stopped.
My mom called out to me, “Are you ok? Does Jane need to come over?”
I said, “I’m alright. I don’t want her to come over.”
So she didn’t. Then I just started to cry and cry and my mom held me. My brother looked frightened and ran outside. My mom didn’t even care about him. She just cuddled me and told me it would be alright.
She even told me that she and my father would go in to school and talk to the teacher and see why there is so much homework. And she would write me a note so that I could just go to bed tonight and not finish the homework. She also told me that Jane said that girls my age are very sensitive and can get upset really easily.
She really made me feel better. I felt tired and miserable from all the crying but I wasn’t so angry anymore.
I love my mother so much. She is so good to me, even though I know she hates me practicing my violin. And that’s the truth.

TOP THREE BASIC WAYS GRAND PARENTS CAN HELP GRAND CHILDREN TO GROW UP TO BE GOOD CITIZENS!

Who has the time to focus on a child’s emotional and developmental needs? Certainly oftentimes not the parent. Most parents are frazzled, living on the edge of exhaustion and deep into multi-tasking. Parents are of course responsible for all the basics that a child needs. They provide the housing, the trips to the pediatrician, the late night soothing after a bad dream, the trips to the mall for school clothing, and most of the daily needs that children have, such as getting a ride to school, and sitting at the table for dinner.

But who has the time for the magical moment with a child? Who has the time to really listen to what she is saying and even write it down, next to a digital picture of the moment when it was said? Probably not the child’s mom or dad. And who has the time to help her develop the social and intellectual skills she really will need to be a good citizen?

Most likely it will be the grandparent. That is, if you realize how important you are, and you take the time to step up to the plate. It is you who can have the magical moments with your grandchild-find those flowers to press and start the rock collection and sit in the window seat chatting about how it was to grow up long ago. And in grabbing those magical moments you do something else. You will be doing a great service to the next generation. You will be helping them grow in three basic ways that no one else in the world may have the time or patience to attend to. Here they are:

1.You can help her develop her curiosity. Nothing stirs the mind to be curious than someone else so fascinated by a subject that you just have to learn more. You have the time to be fascinated and to pass that feeling along. For example, just learning how to grow tomatoes in a barrel can be interesting and exciting for both you and your grandchild. Or you could have a neighbor that speaks in sign language and be determined to learn some. And that curiosity that you have will rub off on your grandchild. She will be interested in others as she grows up. She will see the world as a multi-faceted marvelous place that you have helped her notice!

2. You can help your grandchild develop her intellect. Whether you live around the corner or thousands of miles away, you can send your grandchild books, interesting articles, puzzles, games, etc. And you can make sure that when you are with her you teach her lots of stuff. You can discuss the news, find countries on the globe, play word and number games, read plays aloud. All is good for developing the mind and expanding the mind so that your grandchild will think beyond her direct environment.

3. You can help your grandchild develop her social skills. You have the time to teach her manners-how to set a table. How to open a door for grown-ups. You can take her out to eat, even if it is at the local diner. And you can teach her how to read a menu, eat with intention and enjoyment, make good conversation as she eats, etc. You can teach her how to ballroom dance. Or maybe square dance. You can take her to meet your friends or to do good needs. She can help you at the local food canteen or socialize with your friends.

And what is the result? Your grand child will grow up to be a fine, caring, knowledgeable person with a desire to help others and be able to socialize with people of all ages. Not a bad accomplishment!

Seven Ways that Grandparents Can Help Their Grandchildren Grow up Strong, Safe and Happy:

1. First of all, stay in touch with your grandchildren, so you have a good baseline on their personalities and development. If you live apart then rely on all the modern world has to offer: e-mailing, phoning and faxing, Skype, home video’s, photographs, shared family blogs and of course snail mail. Not only will you be ready to help if there is something ‘up’ with a grandchild, but you will have such fun communicating and being part of their world.

2. Help each child feel special. For example you could create scrapbooks of special moments for each child on special occasions, such as a milestone birthday. The scrapbook can contain your thoughts and wishes for the child as well as photo’s, special souvenirs saved from times spent together, and even family history. Each scrapbook can be very different, reflecting the needs and interests of a particular child.

3. Whether you see your grand kids every week or every three years, make sure you spend some alone time with each child. It is amazing how differently kids share themselves and even their hopes, dreams and secrets when the other siblings, or parents are not around. If you can’t do much, even a slow walk around the block will lead to good fun and a better knowledge of your grandchild.

4. Now that you have the relationship going well, it is time to become very observant. Do you see any strange or unusual habits developing? Or do you see some social changes? These could include everything from an eye twitch to excessive crying, bullying of a sibling, spending too much alone time in her room, a change in friends that gives you some concerns, or maybe too few friends. It could also include such things as becoming a very picky eater or suddenly putting on a lot of weight.

5. If there are changes as noted above, don’t react with drama or accusations. That is sure to set your own child off, and perhaps close the door to your visits and also, perhaps, perpetuate a bad situation so it will become worse. Rather, talk gently and with care and in private to your child. Perhaps say something like, ” I notice that Janet seems to spend a lot of time a lone this summer. I don’t see Anna belle and Susie come around anymore. I was just curious about this.” And then let your own grown child have some time to respond. She may appear indifferent or she may open up and share her own concerns. Your granddaughter will be best served if follow your own daughter’s lead and see where it goes. It may be painful, as you wish to change everything at once for your granddaughter. Sometimes we can only plant the seed and long after your visit you will find out that your granddaughter is indeed in counseling or working with the school guidance counselor in a peer group for social issues.

6. However, if you see a real crisis, then you have every right as family to be persistent and direct. For example, if you hear your granddaughter throwing up in the bathroom after meals, you should speak with authority (again in private) to your daughter, that she must take your granddaughter in for a medical exam. Eating disorders are real and potentially even fatal. You have a responsibility to react strongly.

Likewise, if you see one of your grand kids bullying and or physically punching, pushing hard, etc. on a younger sibling again and again, talk to your own child seriously. First of all, it is dangerous. Your older grandchild could hurt the younger one both physically and emotionally. Secondly, he could have his own emotion problems that need attention. Lastly, he could be a bully in the making and will also intimidate and hurt other children in the school yard, on the street, in the school hallways, etc.

7. Lastly, remember to share yourself with your grand kids. Just because everyone today has a cell phone, doesn’t mean the kids aren’t fascinated by the fact that your had one phone in your house when you grew up, or that the family of six drivers shared one beat up car or that you got up at 6:00 am for your paper route through town. Maybe you even had a doctor that still made house calls when someone was suddenly ill! It is the richness of your history along with your wisdom and willingness to push for the health and happiness of your grand kids that make you a great grandparent. Don’t give up your assignment! The kids need you!~