Karen Overstreet | 3/4/2006 4:33:17 AM
"Go fly a kite!" Although the expression is usually derisive, it could be good advice, according to LSU AgCenter family resource management specialist Dr. Karen Overstreet.
And while you’re at it, take a child with you, too, the family expert says.
Many children have never experienced the joy of running in the wind, felt the tug of a kite string or watched as a kite soared and danced in the wind. Even more unfortunate, some children seldom have the opportunity to share positive experiences with a caring adult.
Whether it’s adults and children flying a kite, baking cookies or reading stories together, the youngsters need to know they are valued and important enough for an adult to spend time with them.
"That’s where you come in," Overstreet says, adding, "If you don’t have children of your own, borrow some!"
If you don’t have nieces, nephews or neighbor kids close by, consider becoming a volunteer for an agency working with children. If the thought of spending a couple of hours with children makes you uncomfortable, team up with friends who have more experience.
Do you know the science behind kite flying? Are you good at making kites? Do you have some knowledge of weather, wind patterns or clouds? Consider offering your expertise to the local school as a guest speaker.
Although being part of a class is not the same as individual attention, nearly all children are excited by classroom visitors. By working with the teacher ahead of time, you can tie your expertise into their existing lessons whether science or art. Classroom time followed by actual kite flying brings any lesson to life.
It’s generally better to do activities in groups, unless the parent or guardian knows you well, Overstreet advises. Expect to undergo a background check if this is your first time with an organization as a volunteer working with children.
School policies on visitors vary, so check directly with the school before making your plans – then go for it. Not only will you be giving a child a memorable experience, chances are you’ll have fun, too.
For related family and consumer topics, click on the Family and Home link on the LSU AgCenter homepage, at www.lsuagcenter.com. For local information and educational programs, contact an extension agent in your parish LSU AgCenter office.
On the Internet: LSU AgCenter: www.lsuagcenter.com
Source: Karen Overstreet (225) 578-1425, or Koverstreet@agcenter.lsu.edu