Delayed Gratification equals Success: do you believe it?

September 29, 2014

My line of work brings me into contact with lots of schools, many of them charter schools or alternative schools.  One site visit last week brought me to a charter school in a low-income neighborhood, where the administrator stated a few times that the staff believes in the studies of delayed gratification where they result in better adult outcomes: more success in school, career and life.  

I had never heard of the "marshmallow experiment" wherein researchers presented children with a marshmallow, stating that - if they waited - they could have two marshmallows instead.  That was in 1972.  After following those same marshmallow kids, the ones that delayed their marshmallow desires to wait for the two marshmallow treat were the ones that got better grades.  AND: they dealt with stress better and they were less likely to be obese and on and on.

Having never heard of this study and having never really noticed my kids' abilities to delay gratification, I suddenly started to notice.  My teenager wolfed down some brownies the other day immediately when she got home from saying "Oh my god, I am so hungry."  My five-year old boy spied a new Matchbox car at the store, and when I said: "your birthday is in just a week; let's put this on your wish list!",  he burst into a tantrum unable to fathom waiting.

Does this mean they will be less likely to succeed when they grow up?  Should I be training them to withhold pleasure and delay gratification?


Weekend Warriors: September 26-28

September 24, 2014

Here’s the scoop for the weekend. For more ideas on what to do this weekend, check the Events Calendar on Metro Parent's PDX Kids Calendar and the urbanMamas calendar page.

Friday, September 26th

Open Studio at the Portland Child Art Studio in NW PDX. Get unlimited studio time and use of materials at this creative, kid-friendly space. $10. Friday 10am-1pm and 2pm-5:30pm. 

 Ladybug Nature Walk in NW PDX. Preschoolers and parents can explore nature in Portland's parks with trained naturalists. This week, go on an expedition in Wallace Park. $4/preschooler. Friday 10-11:15am.

Annual Swift Watch at Chapman Elementary. Time is running out to see the spectacle of thousands of swifts converging on Chapman Elementary school's chimney. Audubon society volunteers will be on hand to share information. Free. Friday 6-8pm. 

Girl Be Heard at the Sellwood Playhouse. This unique performance will raise awareness around issues such as bullying, homelessness, mental health, body image, race, and identity, among other issues facing girls today. $10-15. Friday 7:30-8:15 pm.  

Continue reading "Weekend Warriors: September 26-28" »

Weekend Warriors: September 19-21

September 17, 2014

Here’s the scoop for the weekend. For more ideas on what to do this weekend, check the Events Calendar on Metro Parent's PDX Kids Calendar and the urbanMamas calendar page.

 Friday, September 19th

After School Enrichment at Creative Roots. Take part in daily activities such as puppetry or yoga, tutoring, and studio art time. Visit their website for full schedule. $10-15/hour. Monday-Friday, 2:30-6pm. 

Mommy (or Daddy) and Me: Creative Movement in Tigard. Children ages 4 months to 3 years and their caregiver can move and play together. Each class will incorporate a literary theme. Friday 12-1pm. $10/parent-child combo. 

The Paulaner Oktoberfest at Oaks Park. This annual event kicks off on Friday with oompah bands, Kinderplatz children's activities, chicken dance contests, and more. $2-5/person. Friday 3pm-midnight and throughout the weekend.

Band & BBQ at Whole Foods in Tigard. Celebrate music by Riverside Northwest, who will play a variety of classic oldies covers. Music is free; BBQ is $6. BBQ starts Friday at 6:30pm, music is from 7-9pm. 

Continue reading "Weekend Warriors: September 19-21" »

Weekend Warriors: September 12-14

September 10, 2014

Here’s the scoop for the weekend. For more ideas on what to do this weekend, check the Events Calendar on Metro Parent's PDX Kids Calendar and the urbanMamas calendar page.

Friday, September 12th

Mt. Angel Oktoberfest. Enjoy, music, dancing, food, cars, and much more at this annual event.  Most events are free. Thursday-Sunday, all day. 

Music with Miss. SaraMag at Rust Coffee Lounge. Sing, dance, and move with this dynamic performer. ASL is incorporated into the show. $5 suggested donation. Friday 10-11am. 

Storytime at Pie Spot with Olive & Dingo. Don't miss stories, songs, and balloon creations with this zany duo. $5 suggested donation. Friday 3-4pm.

La Luna Nueva: Andean Dreams at Milagro Theater. A representation of the Andean world with music and dances inspired by the Quechua literature of the ancient Inca Empire. $12 children under 12; $23 adults. Friday-Sunday 7:30pm. 

Swift Watch at Chapman Elementary. It must be fall! Swift watch is on. Check out this not-to-be missed event every evening in September. Free. Begins one hour before sunset. 

Continue reading "Weekend Warriors: September 12-14" »

Raising Them Jewish (When Mama Wasn't)- A Guest Post

September 08, 2014

Standing in our synagogue social hall at a recent event, balancing a paper plate of bagels and tuna salad in one hand, and a paper cup of coffee in the other, I was  talking with another mother from my kid’s Hebrew school. She was reminiscing about Jewish foods from her childhood- holiday favorites and her mothers kugel recipe. Popping into my head, on the other hand, were visions my mom’s Pineapple Bread Casserole, yellow, sweet and buttery, served at Easter. Trying to add to the conversation, I defaulted to my usual “non-Jew-of-origin” survival technique-  recalling what I know of my husband’s upbringing. Had he ever told me of a special family favorite, say tzimmis or blintzes? No. My husband, raised in a decidedly Jewish home, thought of Chinese food outings with his grandparents as traditional Jewish cuisine.

I know that when my sons are adults and they will tell their friends and wives that their mom made the best matzah-ball soup and hands-down the most fantastic latkes- crispy on the outside and soft inside. It may never dawn on them that such dishes don’t come from a hip-bumping, kitchen sharing, handing-down of tradition, but rather pouring through Jewish cookbooks and unabashedly asking every sixty-five plus member of our congregation for her secrets.

Before we had children we were determined to raise them with Jewish holidays and traditions. I knew I wanted them to follow in their father’s footsteps and have a bar or bat mitzvah, a coming-of-age ritual that has always been important to my husband’s sense of self.  But I wasn’t sure how to do it…how to learn what I needed to know to raise little kids who felt part of the Jewish people.

Years later, I now have the privilege of helping run a group called Mothers Circle. This empowering 16 week course is a program of the national Jewish Outreach Institute and supported locally by the mainstream Jewish congregations.  It is taught by an open, warm Bubbe who is an experienced educator. I wish it had been around when I was starting out with little kids. It is an empowering program where women without a Jewish background who are choosing to raise their kids with Jewish traditions, values and holidays, can learn more and also commiserate a little bit about a common experiences (mother-in-laws come up in conversation now and then!).  The program is free and childcare is provided through the Mittleman Jewish Community Center.

Years later occasionally I still have moments where it is clear that I have different childhood memories and reference points, however I know that now there are resources to help me and others seeking information. 

If you are interested in learning more about Mothers Circle, contact Jennifer Greenberg at 503 293-7313 or  Check out the Facebook page for one-time events and resources.

Weekend Warriors: September 5-7

September 03, 2014

Here’s the scoop for the weekend. For more ideas on what to do this weekend, check the Events Calendar on Metro Parent's PDX Kids Calendar and the urbanMamas calendar page.

Friday, September 5th

YogaTots at Studio Mamalates. Introduce your toddler to yoga through music, rhymes, story, and play. Best for ages 18 months-3 years. $10/child. Friday 9:30-10:30am. 

Music with Mr. Hoo at the Village Ballroom. Enjoy fun, interactive music that incorporates traditional songs and goofy new ones. $5/family. Friday 11am-12pm. 

Free First Friday at the Children's Museum. Enjoy free admission the first Friday of every month. Friday 4-8pm.

Continue reading "Weekend Warriors: September 5-7" »