Is Content Marketing Like Hitting a Brick Wall?

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Hey you! Yes, I see you. I see your big dream for your business turning into a big nightmare because some entrepreneur guru told you that you HAVE to blog and you HAVE to be all over social media. You are the idea person. You are not really the word person or the marketing person. Well, stop trying to move that brick wall and save your energy for the magic only you can do.

I offer multiple options (and will customize a package just for you!) to help you get quality content for your marketing without the stress and frustration. I do the writing and posting. You do you!

Check out the details here and then contact me at he.eaton@yahoo.com for details or to get a custom package for your business.

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What is the Key to Your Child’s Success?

It may seem like an obvious answer but a love of reading and literacy is linked to long-term success in multiple, seemingly unrelated areas of life. This is news to most parents. The trick is not what but how. How do we help develop this in our children without losing our mind?

The answer is not making us and our kids crazy and frustrated by standing over them and forcing them to read and read until they get it right. The answer isn’t phonics or sight words exclusively either. In fact, the answer isn’t about the mechanics of teaching them HOW to read. So, what is the answer?

Exposing your kids to quality books is essential. The goal is not to make them read. You want them to love reading and learning. So, what makes a great book? Well, that depends on their age.

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Babies and Toddlers

For babies and toddlers (yes, you should read to babies and toddlers!), you want illustrations with high contrast and text that is repetitive and rhymes. Also, go ahead and get those board books that will stand up to little hands and mouths. Let them have free access to them.

When you read with them, let them wiggle and be active. Let reading be fun for them. Engage them with interactive questions about the illustrations like “Can you find the bird?” or “Where is the red balloon?” and all those little extra questions. Don’t worry about skipping pages or not reading all of the words. It is more important that reading is fun for them at this point than anything else.

Preschoolers

Books that encourage acting out the text or give directions are great at this age. These books not only encourage pre-literacy skills but get your kids moving and active. Give kids at this age a chance to “read” with you and build their confidence. A great way to make this happens is with repetitive text. Let them say the repeated phrase for you while you are reading to them. Another great activity is to let them finish the last word in a rhyme. This helps them develop an understanding that the printed words are connected to the language they speak every day.

A fun way to “read” with your preschooler is to get a wordless book and make up stories together to go with the illustrations. Kids love to be the storyteller and will enjoy being able to take the lead even though they cannot read yet.

Independent Readers

Once a child starts to read independently, many parents stop reading out loud to them, assuming they no longer need or want it. Not only do they still enjoy the special time with their parents, but they also benefit from being exposed to vocabulary that is above their reading level. By reading to them, you can help them learn and enjoy things that they are not able to read to themselves yet.

Also, at this stage, relationships and the interactions between characters in stories open up great conversations with your child about things like empathy, integrity, and other lessons in character.

While learning the skills needed to learn how to read, don’t forget to expose your children to other important literacy skills such as cultural literacy and emotional literacy. Expose your children to various cultures and types of people throughout their books and also include stories that address how to express and handle emotions healthily and handle relationships with other people.

I believe so strongly that the quality of the books you have in your home matters that I am sharing a one-time special discount to all of my readers at Barefoot Books. Just enter the code FALL2015 to get 20% off your entire order before October 31, 2015.

(Disclaimer: I am an Independent Ambassador for Barefoot Books and do earn commissions from sales. However, a portion of my profit goes to various non-profits working to encourage literacy and help at-risk families with various problems such as domestic violence and poverty.)

5 Ways Buffy the Vampire Slayer Warned Me about Motherhood

During high school, I lived for each new episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I wanted to be Buffy. I even got my hair cut like Sarah Michelle Geller’s at one point. Who didn’t want to have Angel moon over you? Let’s just pretend the last 3 seasons didn’t happen (because really, the earlier the better when it comes to Buffy). I never realized watching my favorite show would teach me how to survive the early years of motherhood.

 A monster doesn’t always look like a monster.

The opening scene of the first episode shows a sweet, fresh faced girl sneaking into the high school with a boy.  She is all school girl innocence until she morphs into a monster and kills the boy.  We all think our children are the cutest and most adorable babies ever.  We also know that given an exact combination of conditions, our sweet little angels can become monsters (pun fully intended).

The morph into evil can happen with zero warning.

We all remember what happens if Angel gets truly happy.  One moment, he is all love and sentiment; the next minute, he is trying to kill you and everyone you love and their pet fish.  One moment my boys are all coos and giggles.  Suddenly, they lose their minds.  This will always happen in an embarrassingly public way.  Can you say checkout line at Target?

Silence is terrifying.

Oh crap on a cracker! Hush was the most terrifying and creeping hour of television I ever watched. I still have nightmares about the Gentlemen 15 years later. Of course, in a house with toddlers, I know that silence is a sign of destruction somewhere. The last time I realized the house was silent, I found a very happy little guy playing in the snow he made by dumping a container of creamer everywhere.

There is such a thing as too much love.

Remember when Xander decides he needs to cast a love spell on Cordelia and instead has the entire female population (and then some) of Sunnydale chasing him? They were ready to tear him apart in their need for him. Yeah, my boys love me a lot. Sometimes, they love me too much. I spend many days wondering if I will ever get 5 minutes without someone wanting to touch me again. Ain’t love grand?

You will not survive without your Scooby Gang.

We all need our friends and we need different friends. You need the older, wiser Giles to see you through and the goofy Xander to keep you from taking yourself too seriously. Your Willow will know just where to find the answer to your question, and Cordelia will point out that you at least aren’t as big a failure as someone else.

Some days feel like the end of the world (again!) when you are stuck in the monotony of diapers, drop-offs, and homework help. The good news is YOU are the slayer and you will figure it out just in time. Now, put the kids to bed, grab some snacks, and binge watch some Buffy. You’ll be five by five in no time.

Julius Rosenwald and His Legacy of Fighting Oppression

Julius Rosenwald is not a household name. He is not held up as one of the great heroes of the twentieth century. I would argue, though, that his reach far exceeds those of many whose names are more often uttered.

Julius Rosenwald was an astute businessman. In fact, he was the mind behind Sears, Roebuck, and Company becoming the household name that he never was. At the turn of the twentieth century, amid the robber barons and the gilded age, a man with that fortune lived a life of luxury unseen before among any but royalty. What did Rosenwald do with this well-earned fortune? He founded the Rosenwald Fund.

Rosenwald partnered with Booker T Washington to construct more than 5,000 schools for rural African-American communities in the southern United States. This alone would earn him accolades of how generous he was as a wealthy businessman from Chicago to care about children that were not his and communities that were as far removed from his as possible at the time. It was his legacy that shows this was more than a kind gesture.

His sons, Lessing and William, worked within various organizations in the US to help refugees of World War II before the US was part of the war. Hundreds of people were able to escape the atrocities of Nazi Germany due to their efforts. His granddaughter Nina has been an activist and funder of various initiatives as well.

What does this say about him? We cannot be sure but I believe it shows that he taught his children explicitly to use their position, influence, and financial strength to benefit humanity. I see generations of a family following his example because it was very real and not just a check written and forgotten.

So, what do we have to learn from Mr. Rosenweld? I will tell you what I have learned. It does not matter whose child is in need. It does not matter if they look like me, talk like me, or worship like me. It does not matter if they are useful to me. It does not matter if they live near me or far away. What matters is that there is a human being in need. What matters is whether or not I have the means to help. What matters is that my sons learn that they are on this planet to love and care for ALL of mankind. That is all.

What will your legacy be?

Overlooked History: Orphan Trains

Beginning in 1853, the Orphan Trains ran from major cities on the East coast of the United States to various communities westward. Most of the trains final destinations were in the Midwest or pioneer communities that were growing at the time of the early trains. More than 200,000 children were placed in new homes through this predecessor to our current foster care system. The Children’s Aid Society based in New York City and later the New York Foundling Hospital were a major source of the children but there were also other organizations involved at various points.
The children that were placed on the trains were often homeless or abandoned. Some were relinquished by impoverished parents or removed from abusive homes. They were mostly placed in rural communities and on farms. While some stories reveal abuse and neglect at the hands of the foster families, many children were given placements with loving and caring parents that were able to provide a life that would have never been possible in the slums of the major cities from which they came.
The children headed west on passenger trains accompanied by usually two adults who then met with the person in charge of placements at each stop along the route. The adults interested in taking in a child would meet the group at a designated place and select a child then.
There are various first hand accounts written by the children that discuss this process and the life that came afterwards.
The Orphan Trains continued until 1929 (some records say the early 1930s) but ended due to the development of modern foster care, the Great Depression, and the enactment of laws in various states that forbid the bringing in of orphans from out-of-state.
Today, researchers believe that there are more than two million descendents of the train riders. There are various historical societies that preserve the records and memories of local riders.

To learn more, you can check out these resources among many others:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/orphan/ – American Experience: Orphan Trains on PBS.org is a fantastic documentary to introduce the stories of the train children

http://orphantraindepot.org/history/ – introductory information and links to various other historical sites about the Orphan Trains

Historical fiction: A Family Apart by Lois Lowry is a great tween/young adult introduction to the story and Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline is a great introduction for young adults and adults alike

If you find other resources, please share here.