Notes from the Parental Front

by Kelly Barnes

To help understand families of children playing 7 Generation Games, AnnMaria asked me to weigh in on 7 Generation Games as a parent, PTA volunteer and front-line in the efforts to improve our schools and society for the next generations. So, here you go, your first missive from Rapid City, South Dakota!

I’ve worked in, for, on, and around a lot of non-profits.  One thing I insist upon when I’m in charge, which is about half the time, is prior to engaging in work together, people really need to look to their left and look to their right (Ha! I bet you know what I’m going to say, but I doubt it!), take a moment to savor the fact that you’re still friends, that this work is joyful, and that, no matter what, you will always recognize the others’ humanity!

Look, even the dog is happy to be here

Look, even the dog is happy to be here

That said, let’s dig in.

I’m pretty much in between AnnMaria’s generation, and her l’il pumpkins’ generation, about half-way, and I’m hanging onto the fact that my son is still coming of age in his basic math.

By the way, check out their math games that make you smarter here:


AnnMaria affectionately calls her children ‘pumpkins’, I say a moving particle describes more accurately my impression of having a child. So having a particle move through ‘the school system’,  the place where you drop off/drop n dash/ enroll/ register your little bundle of joy is something to talk about and to get better at, so let’s talk.

I remember learning about that organization, PTA/Parent Teacher Association, and about their format, the structure, the culture, and the by-laws and did a spit-take/knee-slap when I discovered that, since I was 5, I could have joined any number of PTAs as a child advocate!

I could have been a dues-paying/policy-propounding member of this advocacy group, the largest volunteer child advocacy group, way before we/my family, ever joined up! How many years did I waste not taking part in the conversation at the many levels!

Here is a pic of my little particle getting ready to watch the presidential debate. (Chill! That’s apple juice in that martini glass). He’s in fourth grade, just the sweet spot for being able to play all of 7 Generation Games (although Forgotten Trail might be a stretch for him.)

Kelly's son

My little particle

STRETCHING is what I’m talking about, though. Why not build on that debate interest to take him to a PTA meeting (called PTSA – Parent Teacher STUDENT Association at some schools) where he can actually observe a small bit of voting and policy making in action? How about even letting him make a motion, ask a question, yes, learn to speak up to adults and be his own advocate? Occupy Kindergarten!

In all seriousness, it makes a parent wonder how many opportunities exist for our children to stretch and grow that we don’t even know exist. For some examples, stay tuned to this blog.

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