Stance: Studies on the Family

Brigham Young University Student Journal

Tag: activity

Parenting Tip #9: Be in the Moment

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Suppose Queen Elizabeth showed up unexpectedly at your home.  How would you respond?

A) Invite her in but continue to watch your Netflix. (only ten minutes left!)

B) Invite her in, talk to her, but at the same time post her picture to your Instagram.

C) Invite her in, make small talk while texting your friends to tell them about her!

D) Invite her in, sit and visit without any devices.

If you had trouble picking D, it might be time for digital counseling. Most adults would never treat a guest with such poor manners. But we seem to forget that our children should also be treated with good manners.  In today’s world, many people (parents) have trouble putting away their devices and living in the moment.

Children deserve our full attention. Babies learn how to communicate by watching their parents faces. They observe normal reactions:  smiles, frowns, laughter, crying, etc. These non-verbal cues help them learn the meaning of words and actions. Language skills are linked to thinking ability, social relationships, and reading and writing. In other words, the future success of your child depends greatly on their developing good language skills.  And that depends on you being in the moment with the child—looking the child in the eye and talking directly to him or her.

Although electronic devices are responsible for much of the distraction parents have while parenting, they are not the only problem. Work, church callings, desire to play (gaming, sports), and even household chores can cause parents to miss wonderful interaction opportunities.

jpg117Think play time. Children learn valuable social skills through face-to-face games. Playing games together helps children learn turn-taking, develop motor skills, and acquire conversational skills. Participating in these games requires hands-on for both parents and children.

But even more important than developing skills, children learn what’s most important to YOU by watching where you spend your time and your attention. If you are always on your phone, they quickly learn that that’s what you care about the most. No matter how much you TELL a child “you are important,” a child senses by your actions whether you really mean that or not.

When I was writing parenting tip #8—Play with your kids, I asked my daughter if she remembers playing together.   Her answer caught me by surprise. She told me that every time she came and asked me to play with her, I did. Now, not for one minute do I think that is 100% true.   I’m sure there were many times when I was too busy to “be in the moment”. But at the same time, it must be true that I stopped whatever I was doing often enough that her perception was that I always took the time to play.

Children grow up. The day will come when the house is empty of children and you have all the time in the world to clean, work, or surf the web. But you cannot recapture the time to get down, look your child in the eye, and listen to his or her heart. Make a commitment now to be in the moment.

For those of you attached to your phones, here are some practical ideas on how to have some device free time:

1. Have certain times during the day when you do NOT access your phone except to answer calls (screen the calls, answer only important ones). This means you are not looking at emails, Instagram, texting, etc.

2. Teach your children about phone-free times. Church, meal time, driving, movies, when company comes for short visits, bedtime, etc.

3. Choose to have device-free outings. When you take your child to the zoo, to the park, etc. decide to put your phone away and just enjoy the interaction. Watch their faces as they discover new adventures and experience the world. Be in the adventure, not posting about the adventure.

Remember, the things you love the most—think children—deserve the most time.

Eat Like a Pilgrim

downloadBy Sydnee Bowler

Around this time of year, it can be tempting to skip straight from Halloween’s trick-or-treating to Christmas’s caroling and tree decorating, but “Eat Like a Pilgrim” at Thanksgiving Point helps us to remember to celebrate that often-forgotten holiday in between, Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Point offers the opportunity to travel back in time to the first Thanksgiving with their annual “Eat Like a Pilgrim” feast. Ranked by the New York Times as one of the best Thanksgiving re-enactments in the country, it’s sure to be a blast for the whole family. The event includes not only a 17th century re-enactment of the first Thanksgiving but an authentic old-style feast.

These exciting Thanksgiving festivities will fall on November 22, 23, and 25 this year, and will start at 6:00 pm. Tickets are $28 per adult and $18 per child and can be purchased at the Thanksgiving Point Box Office, over the phone by calling (801) 768-4900, or at the door day-of  (with a $5 fee). Be sure not to miss this family activity!

For more information, visit Thanksgiving Point’s website.


Dia de los Muertos: A Family Celebration at Thanksgiving Point

posadacatrinaNo, it isn’t a continuation of Halloween. Contrary to how we often interpret the skeletons and skulls associated with the Latin holiday celebrated on November 1st, Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is not all ghastly and grim. Instead, it is a day of exciting and meaningful festivities to honor and remember loved ones who have passed away.

This weekend, Thanksgiving Point is providing an opportunity for Utahans to experience this family-centered holiday that originated in Mexico. Participants will be able to experience traditional activities like decorating altars with photos and favorite foods of the ancestors, eating cultural foods, listening to mariachi bands, and watching various Latin dances.

The festivities begin on Friday, November 1 at noon and conclude on Saturday, November 2 at 9:00 pm. Children 12 and under are admitted for free; admission for adults is $7. To see the schedule of events and learn more about Thanksgiving Point’s Dia de los Muertos celebration, visit

A Season for Courage

2013_pacheco (1)by Cody Phillips

When the basketball court inside Brigham Young University’s Marriott Center morphs into an enormous stage—makeshift orchestra pit included—you know something memorable is about to happen.

Production crews and performers alike spend countless hours each fall preparing for BYU Spectacular a colorful and rousing display of talent held in conjunction with Homecoming.

In previous years, I’ve been lucky enough to perform in this outstanding show as a member of the BYU International Folk Dance Ensemble. This October, however, instead of taking the stage in a traditional Hungarian costume, I sported a black shirt, black pants, and black shoes—the traditional wardrobe of the technical crew.

My job was to run around with a camera on my shoulder, getting close-ups of the dancers, musicians, and singers so that the entire audience could look at the big screen and feel as though they were seated on the front row. Shooting video for live projection is a fast-paced, exhilarating task. I love it. But this year, after the adrenaline of trying to find the perfect shot had worn off; I walked away from the Spectacular with a burning desire to follow the example of the everyday heroes that were spotlighted as part of the show. Each of them had a unique story, but they all demonstrated courage in the face of some formidable obstacle.

Rebecca Pedersen overcame family struggles and personal fears to develop her talents as a singer and to go on to win the prestigious Metropolitan Opera competition. Taylor Morris courageously made peace with the feelings of guilt that haunted him ever since he fell asleep at the wheel, causing an accident that took his sister’s life. Kathy McGregor fought the battles that come with being an outstanding single mother after she lost her husband to cancer. World-renowned classical/crossover vocalist Nathan Pacheco (this year’s guest performer) spoke of the courage he had to muster when he decided to follow his dreams and become a professional singer.

I’ve got to admit that tears began to form in my eyes a few times throughout the show. (That’s a bit problematic when you need to be able to see clearly through the camera’s viewfinder.) I couldn’t help but feel inspired by an invitation that Nathan extended before singing his final song. He encouraged the young people in the audience to follow their dreams, to follow the spark that dwells within each of them until it becomes a glowing flame. As the last notes of that finale resonated throughout the basketball-court-turned-concert-hall, he and the other performers stood as living evidence of the great heights we can reach when we let courage light our way.


Activities at the Provo Library

One of the oldest and most beautiful buildings in Provo is also one that many drive past but few go inside. This is the Provo Library. It sits on the corner of University Avenue and 500 north, and looks more like a castle transported out of a fairy tale than your typical city library. Not only is it a beautiful building on the outside, but it houses a variety of activities directed to a variety of ages.

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