Parenting Advice from the Andy Griffith Show

Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday where I link up with Susanna Leonard Hill’s fantastic group of picture book writers, illustrators, librarians and others who contribute a picture book review.

Before I get to the picture book review, I wanted to share some thoughts about parenting.

Last night, my husband and I enjoyed watching an old Andy Griffith  Show from the 1961 season…”Opie’s Hobo Friend”…guest starring Buddy Ebsen.

These days, single parent homes are pretty common.  But the Andy Griffith Show, starring Andy Griffith as single dad Sheriff Andy Taylor and Ron Howard as his son, Opie, was a ground-breaking concept for television in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s.

Every episode was filled with warmth, good humor and the charm of a bygone era.  Amazingly, every episode was also filled with sound parenting advice.  Unlike many family situation comedies we see on television these days where the mother and/or father are portrayed as bumbling fools, Andy Griffith was a strong, compassionate and loving father, not above making a mistake and saying he was sorry, but always cognizant of his role as the parent and all that entailed.

In this particular episode, Opie becomes enthralled with a drifter and starts to imitate him.  Andy insists that the drifter leave town, but the drifter challenges him and says that Andy should let his son decide what kind of life he wants to have.

Andy’s reply is one that every parent needs to take to heart and remember.

“You can’t let a youngun’ decide for himself.  He’ll grab at the first flashy-with-shiny-ribbons-on-it-thing he sees.  It’s difficult for him to tell the difference between right and wrong.  When he finds out there’s a hook in it, it’s too late.  The wrong kinds of things come packaged in so much glitter, it’s hard to convince him that the other thing might be better in the long run.  All a parent can do is say, “Wait…trust me”…and try to keep temptation away.”

This single dad was not afraid to set the rules and enforce them…he always did it with love and compassion, but he was never swayed from being the parent.

I know this is ‘only’ an old TV series…but I believe this is a powerful message for all parents today…set the rules with love, enforce them with compassion and remember to be the parent!

Our perfect picture book today is about another single-parent family.

A Chair for My Mother

Written and illustrated by Vera B. Williams

Publisher: Greenwillow Books (1984)

Ages: 4 and up

Themes:

Single-parent family, working together, believing in yourself, surviving hard times, loss, patience, goal-setting

Synopsis:

When all of their possessions burn in a fire, a little girl and her mother and grandmother begin saving their coins so they can buy a special armchair that they can all sit in.  Each day they add coins to the jar until it is so full they cannot put another one in.  The chair they buy is gloriously colorful and it epitomizes the hope they have for the future.

Why do I like this book:

This book is a Caldecott Honor Award winner!  The illustrations are glorious…the sweet story relays how resiliant children are…the shared goal brings the family together and strengthens them.  A lovely story-time choice for any child, but especially powerful for single parent families or those who have experienced the disasterous loss of fire or flood.

Related Activities:

SHOEBOX DIORAMA

Photo courtesy http://www.firstpalette.com

One of my most favorite memories is sitting at the kitchen table with my mother, working together on a diorama.

You will need: 1 shoebox, small boxes and/or styrofoam, construction paper, scissors, glue stick, magazine pictures.

  1. Decide what scene the diorama will portray.
  2. Cover the ‘walls’ of the room (shoebox) with decorated construction paper or pictures cut from a magazine.
  3. Help your child cover the boxes/styrofoam with construction paper to form ‘furniture’.
  4. Glue the pieces in the box.

Great diorama crafts here: http://www.artistshelpingchildren.org/dioramasartscraftsideasprojec...

More wonderful diorama crafts here: http://www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/diorama/

And more here: http://familycrafts.about.com/u/sty/craftstechniques101/Publish-You...

Lesson plan here: http://www.homeschoolshare.com/a_chair_for_my_mother.php

Printables here: http://printables.familyeducation.com/mothers-day/general-skill-bui...

Because November is such a special month and there is so much going on, I want to reshare some links to wonderful events going on in the kidlit/picture book community because I never know when someone new visits my blog who might not know about them.

  1. Picture Book Month: Visit the website of Dianne de Las Casas to join in the month-long celebration of PICTURE BOOKS!  Every day, a different picture book champion (author, illustrator, etc.) is guest posting…you won’t want to miss these….they will inspire you and help you remember just why you love to read and write picture books.
  2. Picture Books and Crafts for Kids: This Sunday I will be sharing “Gift Bear for the King”  and we will be making a king/queen crown.  Each YouTube segment highlights a parenting problem such as setting up good bedtime routines or a children’s challenge like learning to be a good friend and believing in oneself.  Last week’s link: http://youtu.be/jMvyNgM2wiM
  3. PiBoIdMo:  Picture Book Idea Month is the brain-child of children’s author,Tara Lazar.  If you signed up, you are already immersed in the world of picture books…trying to come up with 30 fresh ideas for picture book manuscripts during this month.  But, even if you have not joined the challenge, please run over there…don’t walk… to read an AMAZING guest post EVERY DAY this month…these posts will instruct and educate you…as well as motivate you to write the picture book that every child will want to read over and over again.
  4. Please don’t forget about Reach Out and Read…we need to GAB (Give a Book) before they can ROAR (Reach Out and Read).  If everyone who loves to read donates enough to buy just one book, the New York City Bellevue Hospital program (one of the largest in the country) will be able to replace the books that were lost in Hurricane Sandy.

 

HOLIDAY GIFT IDEA

Young children don’t need fancy electronic gadgets…they only need a good picture book, a few simple inexpensive art supplies (like paper, crayons or markers, safety scissors and glue stick) and your positive participation.  If you are looking for a great resource that will give you 100 picture book summaries and easy matching craft (like the diorama above) and cooking activities, you can purchase a copy of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.  At $19.95, this book makes a PERFECT gift for any parent or teacher of children ages 2-8…as well as for daycare providers and grandparents.  No batteries required…powered by a child’s imagination!   Buy your copy today!

Are you still hesitating?  Author/illustrator/humanitarian Lesley Fletcher just did an amazing review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/461240610

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