Annie Fox's Blog...

Thoughts about teens, tweens, parenting and this adventure of living on Earth in the 21st century.

Annie Fox, M.Ed., is an internationally respected parenting expert, award-winning author, and a trusted online adviser for tweens and teens.

What kind of person?

December 12, 2016

What kind of person attacks two moms pushing their infants in strollers, punching the women, trying to rip off their headscarves, attempting to knock over the strollers, and screaming at them, “get the f*ck out of America b*tches, you don’t belong here.”? Emirjeta Xhelili is that person’s name.

What kind of America do we want?

What kind of America do we want?

What kind of person shoves a sixteen-year old boy and calls the boy’s mother (an 11-year veteran of the NYPD) a member of the Islamic State terrorist group, threatens to cut her throat and tells her to go back to her country? Christopher Nelson is that person’s name.

What kind of teacher tells African-American students: “Don’t make me call Donald Trump to get you sent back to Africa.” John Sousa from Wesley Chapel, Florida is that teacher’s name.

What kind of person pulls a 75-year-old gay man from his car and beats him, saying “You know my new president says we can kill all you f*ggots now.” A person in Sarasota, Florida.

Caitlin Dickerson recently wrote in her New York Times article Postelection Harassment, Case by Case “Vandalism, offensive jokes, even criminal assault — reports of bias-based harassment have spiked since Trump’s victory in the presidential race.”

Yeah, I’ve noticed.

So has the Southern Poverty Law Center. In the days following the election, they surveyed more than 10,000 K-12 grade educators across the country. Ninety percent of them reported that school climate has been “negatively impacted.”  There is a name for impact. It is being called the Trump Effect. SPLC’s report goes on to say survey results indicated “… the campaign is having a profoundly negative impact on schoolchildren across the country, producing an alarming level of fear and anxiety among children of color and inflaming racial and ethnic tensions in the classroom. Many students worry about being deported.”

Many educators fear teaching about what’s been happening since the election.

Push through the fear, teachers, and do your job.

This isn’t about politics or taking sides. This is about moral leadership. We all remember that, right? Helping kids develop a moral compass is the essence of teaching. Children have to be taught not to hate and fear. It has to come from those of us who understand why getting along with others is the curriculum.  Don’t let people with hate-filled hearts teach your children or intimidate them or make them feel “less than.”

If those essential lessons of cooperation and understanding, respect and compassion, justice and equality are not taught, at home and at school, if we do not instill in our kids the courage to stand up and speak out against injustice wherever we see it, we have lost the heart and soul of America.

What kind of person are you? What kind of person are you teaching your child to be?

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We need uncomfortable schools

July 28, 2014

Feeling uncomfortable? Now use it for good.

Feeling uncomfortable? Now use it for good.

As we approach the beginning of the new school year, my heart goes out to the kids who are dreading it. They are usually the ones who had to wade through more than their share of social garbage last term. Hopefully they got a needed reprieve during the summer. But they’ve got to go back and most of them (and their parents and teachers) are probably not looking forward to the inevitable crapola (online and off).

Being in the prevention business, I’m always working on ways to make schools more compassionate. Here’s my latest contribution… just a reminder… adapted from the Charter for Compassion’s call to action for cities.

A compassionate school is an uncomfortable school!
Uncomfortable when anyone is threatened, harassed, or made to feel less than.
Uncomfortable when every child isn’t treated with respect by every teacher and every other student.
Uncomfortable when every student isn’t given rich opportunities to grow intellectually, creatively, and emotionally.
Uncomfortable when, as a school community, we don’t treat each other as we want to be treated.

A compassionate school knows uncomfortable feelings aren’t worth zippo, if they don’t trigger action. So a compassionate school recognizes the discomfort and immediately works for change with the full leadership and commitment of all administrators and teachers. With adult leadership, students learn how they too can become change agents. Because, whether students admit it or not, they desperately want their school to be a place where every kid is treated with respect. Every one.

Got it? Good. Now go make your kid’s school really uncomfortable. We’re in this together.

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Apps schmapps! Where’s the educational value?

June 18, 2014

We're having so much fun we're learning without thinking about it

We’re having so much fun, we’re learning without thinking about it

I was an app developer before there were apps. Back in the dumb-phone age I designed and scripted CD ROM games for kids. I’m also a teacher.  So I want activities to have some… you know,  redeeming value. Otherwise, why waste a child’s time? They’ve got so many connections to make between themselves and people and the natural world. They’ve got to learn to navigate, explore their interests. They also need to find their passions and develop the skills to pursue them.

Sounds like serious work, but I’m no tiger mom. I laugh a lot. I need to play. Kids need that too. And just like any child, when I’m learning, I have to feel engaged.  So who gets to decide what engages children while they learn? Parents? Teachers? Or… Read on….

Filed under: Parenting — Tags: , , — Annie @ 9:34 am
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When kids get the “Gimmes” give them a chance to give

November 11, 2013

Teaching kids to be good people includes encouraging them to “Share” and “Think of others.” All good, but it’s tough to compete with billions of ad dollars bombarding our children with other encouraging words, like: “Get Mom/Dad to buy you this stuff!”

It’s a hard row. So whenever I discover a project that can nudge a kid’s needle in the direction of Giving vs Getting I do what I can to get the word out.

Houses for Change is one of those gem projects. Check out my interview with Mark Wasserman, founder and director of Houses for Change, an award-winning educational crafts project for kids to raise awareness of homelessness and raise funds to help homeless families. It is a national campaign that answers the question, “What can I do to help?” This is a brilliantly simple idea with easy peasy implementation which teaches kids about philanthropy and the power each of us has to do good in the world. We’re all onboard for that kind of education, right?

Happy Holidays!

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