Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

It seems half the country is covered in snow.  Even cities like Nashville and Atlanta that almost get no snow (or very little at least) keep experiencing snow dump after snow dump.  Now the natural temptation, particularly when you have kids at home and the weather is less than inviting is to, ah, stay home.  It’s warm in here, and why would I want to have to brave that mess outside.  Well, with all due consideration for safety, of course, here are some fun things for those families who need to get out and are prepared to brave the elements:

Nashville - This town is known for country music, but did you know they have an outstanding ballet troupe?  Well, for those looking for something different that a family can enjoy together, consider checking out the Nashville Ballet’s performance of Peter and the Wolf.

Atlanta - This city has a world class aquarium.  If you have not been there you must.  But if you want a really special treat be sure to book a Behind the Scenes Tour at Georgia Aquarium.  A real Georgia peach!

DC - Okay, you’ll need to bundle up for this one.  Outdoor Ice Skating in the Sculpture Garden of the National Gallery of Art.  Beautiful views of this incredible city on ice.

NYC - If the idea of venturing as far west as the Hudson River on a freezing cold day does not appeal, we get it.  But this trip is worth it!  All hands on deck to the Intrepid, a retired aircraft carrier open to all.  Great demonstrations and hands on exhibits await all.

Boston - Another great aquarium is the New England Aquarium, where every Friday is Aqua Kids Family Day. Hear stories, create art and see live sea animal demonstrations.

Okay, that’s it for now. If you can do it safely, get out and have a great time!

Saturdays at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) are great days for kids.  Perfect winter escape if you live in NYC or plan to visit with your family.

Take a Hike

I am the father of two teenagers.  One is talkative and gregarious, the other quiet and reserved.  One is easy to communicate with, the other not so much.  With the quiet one I have learned an approach to communicating with him that has taken time to develop and requires patience and tact.

When raising our children we often tried to encourage them to look adults in the eye when they spoke.  And while I still think this is the most polite way to communicate, when you are trying to speak with a teenager substance is always more important than form.  Sometimes not looking directly at each other is the best way to get a conversation rolling.

What works for me? A good walk, outdoors, in a natural setting.  In other words, take a hike.  There is something less confrontational, more pleasant and relaxing about walking in an open space.  Whether you are in Central Park in the middle of NYC or circling Radnor Lake in Nashville Tennessee, a good hike out doors takes the pressure off.

What else do I do?  Ask lots of questions.  With the quiet one, I have found good questions and even more quietness on my part is the most effective way to get him to open up and allow us to connect again.  With questions (versus statements) I can learn more about what he is thinking, help him draw him out, challenge some his conclusions, but all in a way that avoid confrontation and allows us both to grow.