Bloggerhood Etc. 2/9/15

Parker at his dad's laptop.

Photo: The Mindful Dad

Best Guest Post.Daddy I Love You and Mom” by Parker at Mindful Dad.

Best List.16 Things That Happened When I Went to The Creation Museum” by Sarah Moon at Sarah Over the Moon.

Best Question.How Real Are Facebook Friendships?” by Jacoba Urist at The Atlantic.

Best Dad.This Single Dad Couldn’t Do His Daughter’s Ponytail, So He Went To Cosmetology School” by Jessica Samakow at Huff Post Parents.

Best Special-Needs Post.I’m Autistic, And Believe Me, It’s A Lot Better Than Measles” by Sarah Kurchak at Medium.

Best Diagram.Sy Fy Movie Venn Diagram” by David Vienna at Vienna Calling.

Sy Fy Movie Venn Diagram

Image: Vienna Calling

Most Alarming.Report: Requiring Kindergartners to Read—as Common Core Does—May Harm Some” by Valerie Strauss at The Washington Post.

Best Commentary.The Cowardice of Conversationalists” by Charlie Capen at How to be a Dad.

Strangest Gift.Lobster” by Thorn Caraway at Cara Strickland’s Little Did She Know.

Most Moving.Why I Don’t Cry to Christians Anymore” by Anonymous at Micah J. Murray’s Redemption Pictures Blog.

Best Essay.Meet the Bag Man” by Steven Godfrey at SB Nation.

Best Fake Trailer.Star Wars vs. Star Trek Epic Trailer” by Alex Luthor (via YouTube).

Spreading Christmas Cheer

Anna in her vest and reindeer antlers.

Anna at her Girl Scout Service Unit’s Carol Sing

Each month, Anna’s new Girl Scout troop gives back to the community through a service project. This month we joined our local Service Unit at a local nursing home. The girls sang carols in the cafeteria during lunch time, and then each scout delivered a gift bag to a resident. It was a wonderful way to spread Christmas cheer.

All the participants earned a service patch, which our troop leader handed out yesterday at our Holiday Troop Party.

Nursing Home CarolingNext month, her troop will be delivering blankets and scarves to a local warming center. And in the meantime, Anna and her fellow Brownies are coming up with ideas for a project of their own to help fulfill the requirements of the Brownie Quest Journey they’re taking together.

Brownie Quest badges

Stay tuned …


The Value of Giving

Tags on the Giving Tree

Photo: Eugene Active 20-30 Club.

I wasn’t part of a large family. I was an only child and my extended family lived thousands of miles away. So I was never part of a Christmastime family gift exchange.

For those of you like me who are unfamiliar with this tradition, here’s how it works. All the adults put their names in a hat (or bowl or some other container) and each participant draws out a name and buys that person a gift.

Julia’s extended family followed this tradition and held a gift exchange every year. I got to see a couple of these exchanges on consecutive November trips to Indiana (in 2002 and 2003), and I quickly learned both the good and bad of the tradition.

The good part of it is this—that everyone gets to buy a gift for one other person. This saves the expense of buying for multiple family members while assuring that each person gets something.

And the bad part? In the rush to fit one more purchase in amongst the gifts for two, three, or more kids, it’s tempting to grab a gift card in the checkout line and be done. And you end up exchanging a $25 big box store gift card for another $25 big box store gift card.

You might as well have spent the $25 on yourself.

Once Anna was born, we started a new tradition. Instead of taking a name of a aunt, uncle, or cousin out of a hat, we take five or six names off the giving tree at our local mall. And we give five or six kids a Christmas they might not otherwise get.

Once she was old enough to participate, we made Anna a part of our new tradition. She helps us pick out names and pick out gifts for each child. In the process, she learns the value of giving.

Not as part of an exchange, where you give in the expectation of receiving something of equivalent value in return, but giving for the sake of giving.

The kind of giving that should be an essential part of Christmas.

Today is Giving Tuesday. It is also the second day of Addie Zierman’s When You Need a Little Christmas Community Project. Today her focus is on family and friends.