web analytics
September 20, 2014 / 25 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘kids’

How to Explain Taxes to Your Kids

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

Benjamin Franklin said, “Nothing is certain except death and taxes,” and just as your children will gradually learn about mortality, they will also find out about taxes and other financial issues.

Like many financial concepts, paying tax may at first be rather difficult to grasp. Indeed, many adults find it hard to accept that the government receives a certain percentage of their hard-earned money before they even see their paycheck. In fact, many question why it’s better to work “on the books” rather than “under the table.”

Paying taxes is a piece of cake.

Try teaching your kids about taxes by relating it to something that they understand and like: cake.

So take them into the kitchen and bake a cake together. Then, explain that this chocolate cake can be compared to the economy. This is the money that belongs to the whole country and everybody needs a slice – the schools, the street cleaners, the hospitals, and the army. Without any “cake,” the government can’t provide any of the things we need.

When you cut a slice for your child, take a small piece off and say that this is like taking a small piece from your wages and giving it back to the country. If no one would part with a small piece of his slice, there would be no cake/money for everybody else. We all use the sanitation services, schools, hospitals, and sidewalks that have to be maintained. As most people wouldn’t simply volunteer to give this money to the government even though they use its services, this tax is levied before you receive your paycheck.

Then ask your children how much of the cake should go back into the government. What if there is a family with a father, mother, and two children? Wouldn’t they need more cake than a single person living alone? And what about a person who gets a huge slice of cake because he has a well-paid job, as opposed to the worker who earns the minimum wage? Would they pay the same amount or would the slice that’s removed be different for each of them?

Once you have used the chocolate cake to illustrate the various ways in which taxes are levied and determined, you and your kids can sit down and enjoy the revenues you have produced. Apart from enjoying a fun time, your kids will learn a very valuable financial lesson…sometimes you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

Israeli Startup Helps Kids Manage Hanukkah Gelt

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

Just in time for Hanukkah, an Israeli startup is helping kids to handle their gelt responsibly.

KidsCash’s website allows users to handle a small amount of money online – spending, saving and donating while learning how to manage their money for the future.

In an article by NoCamels, KidsCash’s founders said the program is meant to give kids a little autonomy with a small amount of money, allowing them to make some purchases themselves – without their parents credit cards or prepaid cards – and teaching them the fundamentals of growing, saving, and donating their money.

Parents can control how much they supervise the money – including options such as approving purchases through SMS or email, or just letting their children get automatic approval within a certain monetary limit. Parents can also determine what percentage can be spent on which types of items, and receive alerts if their children have spent over a certain amount in one day.

The items for sale are all within the control of the KidsCash marketplace, and include iTunes and other gaming products, as well as links to other approved sites, according to the NoCamels report.

KidsCash is free for parents and children, only charging fees to partners and vendors.

My Soul Is On Fire (Part I)

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Allan is a very troubled nineteen-year-old who has been coming to see me since August. Actually, I’m never sure if Allan will make it to the next appointment. Since we first met, I have been amazed at the amount of emotional turmoil and pain he is in. Every appointment seems to bring another “cry” for help. His anguish is noted by his constant crying and threats of harm to himself and others. In fact, he doesn’t seem to filter his words and randomly ensures that I know about his aggressive thoughts. Just last week he told me that nobody ever believes him when he is in pain and so he feels the need to show them – he says that he doused his hand in a flammable liquid and set it on fire just to show others how much pain he is in. (I don’t actually believe he did this, as there was no sign of his hand being burned).

Allan’s life is full of inconsistent events. He seems to have a support system in his parents but I have only met his father, who is very concerned about Allan. On the other hand, his father often feeds into Allan’s overly dramatic behaviours and, at times, seems to compete with him in regards to histrionic scenes.

Recently Allan said to me, “I’m in such agony; my soul is on fire.” What a telling statement – he feels overwhelmed, lonely, humiliated and like a failure. Now you know why I say I don’t know if he will make it to the next appointment. As it is beyond the scope of this article to discuss his situation further, I would like to focus on childhood and teen feelings of distress.

Telling kids that their teen years are the best years of their lives is not necessarily true. In fact, I often say that I would not like to be a teenager today. There is so much stimuli bombarding them at every moment, they so many decisions to make, and they deal with so much stress and expectations – with limited resources at their disposal.

A local Toronto radio station has as its motto, “Beautiful music for a crazy world.” I’m almost surprised with their honesty. It really is a crazy world we live in and it tends to make some people crazy, or at least feel as if they are. We are all bombarded with changes – some good, some not so good and others just difficult to understand. We struggle to the best we can.

For kids, often the level of stress or distress they deal with is dependent on their familiarity with the situation. When our environment is chaotic or fear inducing, we may have a hard time separating ourselves emotionally from what is going on around us. In fact, internally we become part of the chaos. We all adjust better to more familiar situations. That is, we learn to cope best with situations as they become more familiar to us.

Dealing with personal or family challenges is difficult in the best of times. For children and teens it’s even harder. Life for many young people is a painful tug of war filled with mixed messages and conflicting demands from parents, teachers, coaches, employers, friends and themselves. Growing up—negotiating a path between independence and reliance on others—is a tough business. It creates stress, and it can cause serious depression for young people ill-equipped to cope, communicate and solve problems.

Some experiences are more severe or long lasting, while some kids may react to setbacks in different ways. Children and teens may indicate to their parents or others that they are distressed or unable to cope directly, or more often, through various hints. Most common for a teen is to show his or her distress through changes in mood or behaviour, at home, at school or with friends.

The teen years are emotional, fascinating, tumultuous, exciting, fearsome, lonely and social at the same time and filled with angst over the ultimate question, “Who am I.” What I’m about to say is difficult for adults to hear as well as comprehend. Nevertheless, here it is: I believe that much of an adolescent’s rebellion is, in fact, part of the developmental transition from childhood to adulthood. Almost by definition, adolescence is a time of chaos and struggle for one’s self identity: He or she is no longer the dependent child. Teens go from relying on us (and most of us enjoying that role) to learning to make life changing decisions, becoming independent and a self-fulfilled adult. As they push us away and ask to be allowed to make their own decisions, and mistakes, they are using the only tool they believe they have to become self-actualized.

Gimme Five

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

This is U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Sarah Baker with a group of children during a security halt in Qalat City, Afghanistan. Baker is assigned to the Provincial Reconstruction Team Zabul’s security force and is deployed from Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana.

It is a staged picture, obviously, directed by the photographer, or, worse, by headquarters’ PR person. They called the kids over and asked them to slap five, or worse, bussed the kids over from their neighborhood, or, worse yet, hired the kids and the soldier from Central Casting – we have no idea.

So that, strangely, this image of a female U.S. soldier joshing with a group of Afghani children represents bot a reality but a kind of visual wishful thinking. Because we know there aren’t in the world Afghani children joshing with U.S. soldiers, not in the wild, anyway. Because Afghanistan is quickly retreating into what it has always been, a backwards, mountainous, harsh land, with a warlike people who grow poppy and kill each other for sport.

Somehow, the U.S. leadership figured it could succeed in “civilizing” the Afghani, save their women from a life of slavery, educate their children, improve their hospitals – after the Soviet Union and the British Empire and half a dozen other invaders have failed.

Or maybe it just gave us something to do to while away the time and the budget. Folks got rich, nothing to scoff at.

So we’re looking at a soldier and some children pretending to be having some cross-cultural fun together, as dreamed up by a PR team in a conquered country soon to be left to its own devices at the whopping cost of many billions of dollars.

Your tax dollars at make-work?

Passover On The Beach In Palm Beach

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Passover Resorts, which hosted Passover for 13 years at the Ritz Carlton Palm Beach and a couple of years at Loews South Beach, is back in South Florida at the spectacular Omphoy Ocean Resort & Spa on the beach in Palm Beach. This spectacular luxury hotel has 128 rooms and all are dedicated to Passover 2013.

The sand beach features an array of water sports including wind surfing, kayaks, sailboats, wave runners, canoes, snorkeling, deep sea fishing, yacht rentals and two sand volleyball courts. The award-winning spa has a full selection of beauty treatments and massage options and separate men and women’s saunas and dressing rooms. The 24-hour fitness center has classes and trainers available. The infinity pool and the beach have lounge chairs with umbrellas and attendants. The resort is close to three golf courses, shopping (including the famous Worth Avenue shops) and unique sightseeing and tour opportunities.

Passover Resorts is famous for its 20 years of success in hosting incredible Passover programs. Guests are treated like royalty by a caring, warm and experienced staff that creates a festive fun-filled kosher vacation. The program maintains an onsite synagogue for daily services. Seders are elegant and meaningful. Menus are designed to delight every palate from gourmet to traditional and include requirements for special diets and children. Meals are glatt kosher.

The program includes enlightening rabbis and speakers. Guests are treated to exciting family entertainment with comedians, Jewish and Israeli vocalists, illusionists, hypnotists and many surprises. Preschool, day camp and teen programs will keep the kids busy and happy and assure the adults a real vacation. Wi-Fi and valet parking are complimentary.

Passover package rates begin as low as $3,800 ppdo + tax. Inquire about the early bird special with kids 12 and under free if they are in the same room as two adults or two teens for the full program.

Visit www.PassoverResorts.com to see photos and more information about the resort or call 1-800-PASSOVER (1-800-727-7683).

Rockets on Gush Etzion – A Personal Story

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

On Friday night, I was walking to shul with my kids when the air-raid siren went off. I quickly had to debate which was closer, my home or the shul, because there wasn’t much of a particularly safe place in between the two.

To digress for a second, on Friday, Hamas claimed they were going to hit the Knesset in Jerusalem with a rocket. Personally, I didn’t take that threat very seriously, mostly because they were just as likely to hit an Arab village or Al Aqsa, so why would they take that chance?

And out here, in Gush Etzion. Not likely at all. Right?

But still, before hockey practice in the afternoon, the coach made a point of telling all the kids where the closest bomb shelter was. You know… just in case.

Like every Shabbat, I had my security walkie-talkie with me. And when the sirens went off, it started shouting too about the incoming rocket.

This was real.

I decided we were going to try to run home. My wife was there with the newborn along with my mother, and they would need help too.

But little kids can only run so fast, and when it became clear we weren’t going to make it home in a reasonable time, I hid us under a semi-enclosed garage (the building the garage was attached to was unfortunately locked). I wasn’t going to keep us out in the open for much longer. It wasn’t safe.

We got there, as did a few other people, and we waited. And a minute later – “Boom”.

I’ve been through rocket attacks in Lebanon, and during the Gulf War too, so I knew what to expect. But I didn’t know how my kids would react.

My kids couldn’t stop laughing when they heard the explosion in the not far enough away distance!

They apparently practice running to the bomb shelter all the time in school, so they knew what to do, and were excited they could finally do it for real.

We waited another minute, and then rather stupidly, we ran the rest of the way home. Then there was a second, and perhaps fainter boom.

Turns out you are supposed to wait 10 minutes in your safe area, because they fire them in groups. Who knew.

I went back to shul. Alone this time.

Anyway, the parks were pretty empty on Shabbat afternoon, and we kept our kids inside for the rest of the day.

The kids have been making siren sounds all day long and building Lego rockets.

Go figure.

 

————–

The following was posted on Facebook by Eli Birnbaum

Surreal story from Eli Birnbaum in Tekoa:

Erev Shabbat in Tekoa (like most places) is a contradiction of tension and relief. This time the arrival of Shabbat was accompanied by warning sirens for a missile attack. Surprise and unbelief “Missiles here in the Judean desert?” Before we can really grasp what was happening, there came the resounding boom of an explosion echoing in the hills reflecting the shock in our faces. The security van careens through the streets calling people to find shelter. Within minutes another siren warning. This time prayers are halted . “Quickly under the shul,” someone commands. Within the confusion we grab our children and grandchildren in our arms and climb down to the open area under the synagogue which affords more protection. We all move quickly in the darkening evening finding space on the floor . I hold one of my grandchildren talking to him softly . He thinks it is a great game. We begin to sing and wait for the next boom.

It was at that moment that my son Pinny’s cell phone rings. As a member of a search and rescue team it is not uncommon for him to get calls even on Shabbat. But this call was different “Shabbat Shalom” . It is a familiar voice with a very distinct accent. “ Pinny, its Muhammad, what do I do? What’s happening? I heard your sirens”. There is real panic in his voice.

At first this may not appear to be an abnormal situation, but Muhammad is an acquaintance/friend who happens to live in the Arab village of Tuqua which the army will only enter in large numbers. Pinny quietly explains that we were being rocketed from Gaza and the best thing he could do is to remain in doors and stay away from windows. Muhammad thanks Pinny profusely apologizes for calling on Shabbat “ Shabbat Shalom Pinny – B’Emet todah!”. So this Friday night , a “Palestinian Arab” called a “Jewish Settler” for help regarding a rocket attack from Gaza – Surreal!

 

How to Keep Up School Spirit!

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

My oldest daughter loves school. In fact, over the long holiday break, whenever her school was mentioned, she would say in a little sad voice, “I miss my morahs.”

I repeated this story gleefully to my friends. Some of them, the ones with older kids, looked at me with a blasé face and said, “don’t worry; as she gets older she’ll dread going back to school.” My heart fell. There had to be some way to make sure that Shayna kept relishing the joys and stimulation of school.

I took a small, very unscientific survey and came to the conclusion that some older kids like school, and some don’t. The kids who enjoy going to school have two basic reasons: they have friends and they like their teachers.

Lest you think that the easiest way to ensure this outcome is by picking the best school and then utilizing every level of proteczia to get your child accepted, remember this wise quote from Rabbi Fishel Schachter. At a chinuch l’banot gathering, he said people spend too much time researching schools and sweating over interviews. Every school has every type of kid. A lot depends on who is friends with your child. Obviously, you only have a modicum of control over this situation, so like in most cases involving raising children, some meaningful prayer is definitely in order.

There are, however, some basic building blocks every child needs to succeed and a diligent parent should do their best to ensure their child is receiving them.

Firstly, the school is providing a service. It is their duty to provide our children with a solid education, development of healthy values and a safe place to go. Schools have a responsibility to ensure that parents feel comfortable with the environment the school is creating. If there is an issue that you would like to discuss and you feel that the school is giving you a runaround or is difficult to reach, it might be time to consider switching schools.

On your end, you are responsible for not just paying the tuition for the upkeep of the school, but maintaining the sense of kavod towards the school. If the child hears the school, the administration or the teachers being bashed in front of them, how can you expect him or her to pay the school any mind? Rabbi Shmuel Wallerstein once told me a story about a father who ran to his rabbi and begged for help – his son was about to marry a non-Jewish girl. “Why would he listen to me?” asked the rabbi. “You’ve mocked everything I’ve said for the past ten years.”

Parents have to feel that they are partners with the school, building towards a common goal. It bears saying that it is super crucial to develop a positive relationship with your children’s teacher. He or she is one of the most influential figures in your child’s life and you need to be on the same page. Work with the teachers by taking class attendance and homework seriously. If there is an upcoming baby, family wedding, or chas v’shalom a crisis situation, let the teacher know so that she can treat your child accordingly. Signing up for the PTA or as a class mother is always a bonus. It shows the school you are willing to help out, and if a concern comes up, they will respond to you with your dedication in mind.

In my school, two dinner reservations are built into the tuition. I am always surprised by how many parents don’t bother to attend. Personally, I love the school dinner. Not only is the food and ambience par excellence, but it’s a chance to support the school for all its dedication and efforts on behalf of your child. It’s wonderful to hear all inspiring testimonies of the teachers and the list of achievements of the graduates. It really makes you proud of be part of the school. It’s a shame to skip it, especially if you already paid for it.

Then there is the personal front. Make it easy for your teachers to like your child and always make sure that he or she is going to school well rested, clean and fed. As this is a sore point for me, I’ll take a few minutes to clarify. Rested for the average child is 11-12 of sleep hours a night. Without that, children are short-tempered and cranky. A clean child is someone who bathes almost every night, wears clean, un-wrinkled clothes, and knows how to wash up in the bathroom properly. Finally, a hungry child is a distracted learner. Most parents know they should be on top of those things, but life gets in the way, and they figure the teachers will understand. Trust me, she doesn’t. Help your child succeed and take care of his physical needs.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/for-the-home/how-to-keep-up-school-spirit/2012/11/15/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: