April 24, 2016

Should we prepare our kids for the future of tech?

There’s no denying that computer science and technology as a whole have become a very interesting and truly important topic nowadays. Websites, mobile apps and gadgets are an integral part of our lives and our kids interact with them on a daily basis. But is it a good idea to prepare our kids for actually getting a job in this sector?

The short answer here is, obviously, yes! You should definitely encourage your child to enter a computer science program because tech is crucial in the business world right now and there are millions of jobs in this sector in the US alone. Simply put, tech is the future of our children and the best thing we can do is to enroll them in computer science classes in order to see if they are interested in the topic at first. Only when you see that your child develops any interest for this topic should you guide them towards dedicated classes, don’t over encumber your child with something that they might not like in the first place.

How can you prepare your child for a tech-savvy future?

There are many methods you can use and it all comes down to you, to be honest. You can either focus on things like enrolling the child in dedicated computer science classes or you can encourage him/her to study at home. There are many online resources to be used by kids, ranging from applications to websites and so on.

And since President Obama himself has launched a Computer Science for All initiative, it’s clear that the opportunities your child will have towards having a tech-savvy future will increase very soon! Since this program is focused specifically on delivering more attention on computer science in schools, we can expect kids to develop more interest in the topic and pursue this type of studies even further.

Computer science can lead to great jobs and a stellar future for any child, provided that they pursue that dream. It’s all about encouraging your child and not forcing them. If they like this, then there are many opportunities both in the business or entrepreneurial world. In fact, most of the jobs nowadays tend to require computer skills so knowing how to use a computer will definitely be an essential skill to have in the next 10-20 years, that’s a given.

You should definitely prepare your kids to use and harness the power of tech. There are many benefits that come from teaching your child how to use tech, so do such a thing and help them understand how important this skill is for their future. At the end of the day, our society uses the internet for a variety of purposes so it all comes down to acquiring a computer science skill and harnessing it, because your child can definitely have a great life in the future thanks to having this skill alone.

So don’t hesitate and try to encourage your child to pursue this industry. Aside from being a distraction, tech can be a great skill to have so you should encourage your child towards this direction. It’s a fun skill to acquire, lots of stuff can be done with it and the sky is the limit. Tech does shape our future, so let your child be a part of that!

April 15, 2016

Why We Let Our Daughter Watch Dateline

My wife and 7 year old daughter love to watch Dateline. You might be asking yourself how a 7 year old gets hooked on Dateline. Well, it’s similar to how a child starts watching football with their father; sometimes children just gravitate to what their parents enjoy watching. And that’s exactly what happened with our daughter. At first we discouraged it since our first thought was a 7 year old doesn’t need to watch Dateline. One relaxing evening at home when the kids were playing we found that our oldest daughter kept coming in to try and listen to the show. She was hooked.
When I decided to write this post I held a mini interview with my daughter and asked her why she loves to watch Dateline. She said “I like mysteries and trying to figure out who did it.” A few years ago she was absolutely in love with Scooby Doo, so that response made perfect sense! 
Your opinion might be that Dateline is too inappropriate for a 7 year old and in some cases it might be. We don't let her watch an episode if it starts to gets too graphic, but I’d like to share our reasoning for letting her watch most of the time.

Recognizing suspicious behaviors

Watching Dateline helps our daughter learn that not everyone in this world is a good person. That’s one of the main things we wanted her to learn. In the interview I held with her I wanted to see what she would say about Dateline being educational.
After telling me a story about a man who killed his wife and set the house on fire to cover his tracks, she told me, “It helps me learn that some people in life are not nice.” 
That’s pretty deep for a 7 year old, right? Children are so innocent and have to learn that some people are bad. Depending on your child’s age and development level they should learn this fact as soon as possible. Kidnapping is a great example to put this into perspective. One time we watched a hidden camera show with both of our daughters where parents watched actors as “strangers” lure their children away from a playground. They offered candy or playing with puppies "just around the corner". Before the experiment each parent was absolutely certain that their children would not go with the "stranger". They were all wrong. Each parent went thru a shocking revelation and knew they had to make their child more aware of the dangerous things that can happen to them.

My wife and I are definitely overprotective of our children because it’s better to be safe than sorry. But we are not afraid to talk to our children about kidnapping and other criminal acts. If you fear those conversations with your children, then you are making a mistake. Watching Dateline makes our daughter aware of suspicious behaviors. It's important to talk to her about what happens in each episode too, and that brings me to my next point.

Close Relationships

My wife and oldest daughter are cut from the same cloth. They both have kind hearts and worry about others more than themselves. They are bonded together by so many things and Dateline is one of them. It’s something they both look forward to and enjoy talking about it. Having open communication about what happens on Dateline is a learning opportunity for our daughter. We have developed close relationships with all of our children and they will be more open with us through out their childhood and even into adulthood. We instill an open relationship and always tell our kids they can talk to us about anything. Or if it’s a matter of telling the truth, we ask them to tell the truth the first time and then they won’t get in trouble. And we follow thru on that promise. We do not break promises in our family and we remind them of that consistently. The close relationships that we are developing will only grow exponentially. It’s a proven fact that close parent-child relationships can prevent dangerous behaviors. When our daughters grow up and become more independent we're confident that they will not put themselves into risky situations. We want them to learn at a young age how to avoid bad situations and that it is okay to talk to us if something bad happens to them or someone they know.

As parents we have to protect our children. If you ask our daughters what Mom and Dad’s #1 job is they will answer in chorus “To keep me safe!!” Our #1 job is to keep them safe; they are our responsibility. Sometimes keeping them safe means holding their hand while crossing a busy parking lot or an extra cuddle at night to ward off the boogeyman, but sometimes it means a Friday night episode of Dateline. The future will bring unknown instances where will have to keep our children safe, and it will always be our #1 job.

Now it's your turn! Do you agree that Dateline can be appropriate for children? Please comment below.

March 24, 2016

(Video) Arbuckle Wilderness

None shall pass (without feedng us)!!
A modern day Jurassic Park in Davis, OK! Animals swarming your vehicles. Grown men screaming (me). Tons of laughter and fun with the kiddos. If you're looking for an up-close encounter/feeding frenzy with Camels, Donkeys, Ostriches, Emus, Horses, Alpacas, etc, then you have to check this place out. Check out the video from our trip here.

It takes a good 45 minutes to complete the drive thru Zoo, so make sure you buy enough food to last the entire trip. You feed the animals out of cups, not your hands. At one point there is a fork in the road for either the "First Pass" or "Second Pass". We skipped the First Pass as it looks like a short loop with no animals, but the White Tiger is along this route. Watch out for those pesky Camels and Horses...there is a high chance they pull the cup from your hands or take a huge bite right out of it...tasty! The Ostriches and Emus peck, so hold the cup outside of the car or you'll have a long-necked bird in your face.

Intimidating, but this guy takes it easy.
The camels have a perfectly mastered routine: they are just waiting for you to drive right between them. Be prepared for animal slobber...on windows, the side of your car, the feeding cups, and possibly your hands. Definitely don't take your Mercedes. A truck or SUV is your best choice.

Horns, giant horns. While we didn't experience any horns scratching our vehicle I'm sure it happens on occasion, maybe? Driving past the horned animals, we couldn't help but imagine them giving the side of our vehicle a little detailing.   

The other sections of the park, Go-Karts, Gem Mining, Petting Zoo, etc, were all closed during our trip due to storm damage, so I can not comment on those experiences. We did drive thru the park twice to get our monies worth though. It was a unique experience that my family really enjoyed.

*Also in Davis, OK is Turner Falls: Oklahoma's tallest waterfall. And there are scenic routes and hiking trails thru the Arbuckle Mountains and lots of wind turbines.