Dear SJA Parents,
Happy almost Thanksgiving! I recently shared with the community that my wife and I are expecting our first child in December. Our due date is Thursday, December 7th. We are very excited and look forward to becoming a new family of three.
Through the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), both my wife and I are planning on taking time away from work to care for and bond with our new child. The Archdiocese of Chicago offers employees, both men and women, a 12 week parental leave after a birth or adoption – this is the most generous parental leave policy of any American Catholic diocese. I feel extremely blessed to work for an organization that prioritizes family and affords me the opportunity to transition into my new role as a father. I will be taking several days off when the baby initially arrives, but plan on working through December and January. I will be taking my parental leave during the months of February through April, when my wife returns to work. I anticipate returning to school at the beginning of May and foresee no problem resuming my current position as principal and delivering the same high-quality work to the SJA community.
When I am on leave, Mrs. Buis will continue serving as the school’s assistant principal fulfilling all her assigned roles and responsibilities. I am confident in Mrs. Buis’ ability to keep everything running smoothly and efficiently with the help of SJA faculty and staff.
In addition, we are currently searching for an interim principal to assume my role while I am away. The search process has already begun in conjunction with the Office of Catholic Schools through the Archdiocese and several candidates have expressed interest. Fr. Dan and I will be conducting the search process to find a high quality candidate to lead the school in my absence. I will also be putting together a transition plan to make sure the interim principal is ready to hit the ground running. We will make sure to let the community know once a final decision has been made.
Thank you for sharing in our joy at this special milestone, and for your support as I take time away from school to bond with my new son or daughter.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
November Character trait: Responsibility
“Ingraining responsibility in children is not a trick, but is simply teaching them life skills,” says Karen Ruskin, Psy.D., author of “The 9 Key Techniques for Raising Respectful Children Who Make Responsible Choices.” “Kids who do not have responsibilities feel entitled and think the world will always do for them.”
And responsibility isn’t just completing a task. “It’s also about an attitude, the idea of taking action and being proud of doing it, not just always having your mom and dad do it for you,” says Alex Barzvi, Ph.D., co-host of the talk show “About Our Kids” on Sirius Doctor Radio.
Raising helpful, good kids who know how to make a sandwich is not a fantasy! We asked our experts for easy ways to incorporate responsibility into your child’s life.
- Start Young
You can’t suddenly spring responsibility on a teenager and expect he will know how to follow through. Imagine your high school daughter calling you at work with the complaint: “Mom I’m hungry. When are you coming home?” You say: Make a sandwich! She replies: “I’ll just wait for you.” Handing out responsibility to kids needs to start early. Think: toddler.
- Let Them Help You
Don’t grumble and mope when it’s time to do housework. Smile and invite your son to help (even if he makes the job take longer). It’s team work, precious time with your child and a lesson that will one day send him off into the world with the ability to sort lights and darks!”When your child is invited to participate, he feels valued,” says Dr. Ruskin. “He will take these good feelings and learn to take ownership of his home and feel pride in maintaining it.”
- Show Kids the Way
Play to a child’s skill level, suggest both experts. First, you can demonstrate how to complete small tasks. If your son wants a snack, show him where the apples are and how to wash one off. Does your daughter always throw her dirty clothes on the floor? Place a hamper in her room and show her where the day-old jeans belong.Make responsibilities age-appropriate and even use the word “responsibility,” says Dr. Barzvi, when informing your son about the tasks you expect him to complete on his own. It sounds grown-up and important!
- Model Responsibility
And talk about it. Banish a tableful of dirty breakfast dishes with the line: “Now we put our plate in the sink,” as the meal ends. Use the same inclusive “we” phrases over and over to show how you can easily solve problems. Ask other family members and your nanny to follow suit. You’ll be surprised how quickly these actions become a habit for kids.
- Praise Them
Kids love to help. They want to help. To them, chores don’t feel like work. Keep up positive vibes by offering specific praises for actions. “You hung your coat on the hook and I’m proud of you!” Or, “Thank you for emptying the garbage in your room!”Children will develop a sense of ownership for any repeated action. And this constant communication helps them take initiative in other situations, says Dr. Barzvi, such as at school or on a play date.
- Manage Your Expectations
When you ask a five-year-old to make her bed, it may still be lopsided. Don’t criticize. Recognize a job well done. The next time you make your own bed, show her how you do it.
- Avoid Rewards
At least at first. There’s a time and place for rewards and allowances, but both experts agree that being responsible isn’t it. Don’t assume a reward system has to be in place for your child to learn responsibility. While a reward chart can be effective for some kids, others respond just as well to praise, spending time with you and feeling the boost in their self-confidence. Save rewards for tasks that go above and beyond what you expect to be your child’s normal household responsibilities.
- Provide Structure and Routine
Kids thrive on order. Instead of offering rewards to get them to meet responsibilities, set up a morning routine with a positive end result. Your son must brush his teeth, eat breakfast and get dressed before watching TV. (Notice TV is not being offered as a reward — it’s just the result of finishing the routine.) And he should be able to complete the routine in any order that works for him.A younger child may not fully realize these tasks are his responsibilities, but allowing him to create a healthy structure will give him the tools to one day develop strategies for getting homework done without you nagging (too much!), suggests Ruskin.Set up a school night routine with our printable checklist for preschoolers and checklist for elementary-aged kids.
- Teach Consequences
Learning to take care of his things also helps a child develop a sense of responsibility for his actions. To get your son to clean up after an art project, inform him that he won’t be able to play with his crayons and scissors until the next day if he leaves a messy table. Then you need to follow though and take away his supplies if he shirks his responsibility. The more you enforce the rules, the more likely he is to clean up without being asked — or at least without whining about it too much.”It is ultimately your child’s choice to not put a toy away,” says Dr. Barzvi. “Parents are afraid to let kids suffer, be sad or angry, but if we always solve children’s problems, they will not learn to be responsible as they grow up.”If your daughter has to pack her bag for school each day and forgets her basketball sneakers, then she won’t get to practice that afternoon. As much as you want to bring her sneakers to her, don’t! Hopefully she’ll be more cognizant of remembering her responsibilities next time.
- Teaching kids about responsibility isn’t easy — but what part of parenting is? It can take years and lots of practice. But if you follow these tips, you stand a better chance of raising a responsible child who then grows into a responsible adult.Alonna Friedman is a freelance writer and mother of two. She lives in the New York City suburbs and writes for national magazines.
SJA Turkey Trot coming soon
Saturday, November 18th
Meet new parishioners and visit with your neighborhood friends as you “trot” from house to house! Begin the night at your assigned start house, and travel to a new house each hour where you’ll mingle with a new group of friends. All of the Turkey Trot houses are within walking distance.
Science Olympiad t-shirt contest Winner
Congratulations to 8th graders Emma Sanchez for winning the Science Olympiad t-shirt contest. See her winning design below.
New Catholic School Scholarship Opportunity for 2018-19 School Year
Through the “Invest in Kids Act,” the state of Illinois has created a new way to fund scholarships for children from low-income households who want to attend private schools. The tax credit scholarships offered through this program could cover up to 100 percent of tuition and fees for eligible, low-income students. Not all families will be eligible for the new scholarships, but we want to make sure all Catholic school families are aware of the program. Program details are still being finalized, but you can find information on the scholarships, the application process and review the “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) on the Archdiocese of Chicago’s website, archchicago.org/tcs. If you have any questions about tax credit scholarships, please contact the Archdiocese at [email protected] or312.534.5321.
SJA Men’s Club Raffle
The 24th annual SJA Men’s Club Thanksgiving Raffle is back. The proceeds from this raffle will benefit St. Joan of Parish. We STRONGLY encourage every parishioner and/or school parent to purchase or sell at least 3 raffle tickets.
Here are the details:
- Grand Prize: $10,000 Drawing Date: November 23rd
- Consolation Prize (1): $2,000 Drawing Date: November 23rd
- Early Bird Drawings (4): $500 & $500 Drawing Date: November 4th $ 1,000 Drawing Date: November 11th
- $1,000 Drawing Date: November 18th
- All Early Bird winning tickets are eligible for future drawings.
- 1 ticket – $100
- 3 tickets- $250
- 7 tickets – $500
- 15 tickets- $1,000
With each passing year, we are amazed by the generosity of the Parish. We know that with your help, St. Joan of Arc School will keep its strong tradition of “EXCELLENCE”. Please make sure you send back your tickets as soon as possible. Tickets will also be sold at St. Joan of Arc Church after weekend masses.
Your Raffle Chairmen,
Rob Muno Chris Walsh
Mr. Craig Scanlon