High School Senior Game Needs Re-branding In Today’s Climate

Senior AssassinYou learn something new every day.  For me, I discovered a high school  game that’s apparently been around since the 80s, but somehow slipped past my radar until now.  I discovered it when I overheard student taking about today because they are preparing for the big kickoff next week.

Senior Assassin is a cross between ultimate tag and skirmish using mainly water guns.  Ever player gets some other play they must “kill.”  If I get killed, I’m out.  But if I kill my target, I must then take on their target.  Players keep getting eliminated until the surviving player is dubbed the winner.  Many times, participants must pay to enter the game and the winner gets the pot.

Sometimes, other rules are added, such as you are immune if you are wearing underwear, or with a freshman.

It’s especially popular as a final-year tradition to keep Senioritis at bay, come March-June.

I asked the students if it’s really wise to keep up with this game, given what happened earlier this month in Parkland, Florida.  I could see them struggle to connect the dots between this recent tragedy and this long-standing tradition.  But to me, it was very clear.

While I understand the game’s appeal, I think it would be in very bad taste to continue a prolonged violent-themed role-playing game.

While I’m not out to steal anybody’s joy, (the seniors have been waiting for over three years since they were incoming freshman), I think they should at least change the name, eliminating all reference to shooting and guns.  It’s insensitive and disrespectful to the victims and their families.

What do you think?  Am I being to sensitive?

Please comment below.





Hop on the Bus Challenge

Diversity, Happy, People, Young, SmileDo you let your children ride the bus???

I’m going to sound like the ‘uphill both ways’ generation, but when I was my children and students’ ages, I DID take the bus.  Sometimes, I had to lug a giant bass clarinet or bassoon case for a good ten minute walk to the bus stop.  It built character. 

The ONLY time I got a ride to school was for a broken leg in 7th grade because navigating the crutches on those giant steps was just too much for me.

I remember being in junior high and having to take the shuttle bus to the high school in order to get a ride home on the activities bus.  Let me tell you, being a 12 year old riding with a senior football player was scary!  But it built character.

Back then, it was a more hands-off approach to parenting.  You trusted the school to do your job when you gave them your kids.  Part of that meant riding the bus to school.

When did that stop happening?

There are cameras on the bus now.  Kids have cell phones that can record things, if stuff hits the fan… so why is that busses — that are paid with local tax dollars — are half empty, and the drop off line gets longer and longer?

If it’s to protect/shelter your children from certain stuff, I can understand that mentality, but I am going to suggest that it’s slightly misguided.  Things that happen on the bus to NOT magically disappear in the school.  Plus, it’s under surveillance, so it’s actually a pretty safe environment.

And IF something goes down on the bus, it’s an opportunity to talk about it with your child.  Therefore, to NOT let them ride the bus is actually PREVENTING them with real-life learning experiences.

My daughter rides the bus every day she is at our house. (She lives at her dad’s half the time.)  Sometimes we talk about the kids who ride with her and how to deal with it.  If I didn’t allow her that experience, I’d be robbing her of that opportunity to learn those skills.

After all, it’s NOT going to get any easier out in the “Real World;” why not practice now?

Just a few months ago, we were watching a movie together.  It was a more “adult,” though appropriate, film.  A few “ripe” words were tossed into the air.  I looked over at her and apologized and asked her if she’d like to stop the movie.

“It’s nothing I haven’t already heard on the bus,” she said, wiser than her then 9 old self.

So we talked about words and language and how it is a reflection of your character… How the people in the movie were depicted and the associations with those words are also associated with the people using them.  It was a good chat.  That never would have happened if I was a “drop-off parent.”

In conclusion, I am going to throw out a “Bus Challenge” to you: if you do not currently allow your kids to take the bus, give them the heads up TONIGHT that next week, they are going to take the bus!  Make the 153Promise to love your child by giving them the opportunity to face a situation, talk about it with you, learn a lesson, and develop as a person.  Chances are, the more they protest, the more they need to do it…

It builds character.


Good Night and Good Rest

Bedroom, Bed, Alarm Clock, Night TableOne of the best ways to insure that your children have a good day is to make sure they have a good night… of sleep.

It may sound obvious, and there are tons of sleep studies that link a good night’s rest to improved performance, but do you know how many hours of quality sleep your child is getting?



The National Sleep Foundation suggests that the average teenager get 8-10 hours of sleep a night; younger students 9-11.

That’s a lot more doable for an elementary school student with the later opening.  But if your high schooler’s homeroom is at 7:30 am, presuming they get up at 6, that means that they really ought to be in bed — and asleep — by nine pm… ten at the latest.

With today’s tight schedules, that may sound impossible.  But rather than falling into an “all or nothing” mentality, try for “as much as possible.”

That means if a Sunday through Thursday ten hours a night is not going to happen due to outside activities, your family may need to re-examine priorities so if something has to give, it’s not going to be sleep.

Here are a few suggestions I’ve come up with to give your children the best chance at waking up well-rested and ready to perform at their personal best:

  1. Limit extracurricular activities as much as possible as not to cut into sleep time.
  2. Have a set evening ritual- same time; same “power down” routine.
  3. Tighten up the morning routine so they can sleep in as late as possible.  (This is going to be a future post.)
  4. Support them in time management and study skills so they are not up late at night cramming for that test or slapping together that paper or project at the last minute.
  5. When they go to bed, take their cell phones and laptops… BOTH the devices AND the users need to be fully charged for the next day!
  6. No caffeinated products after three.
  7. No naps.  They only enable staying up later.  If they *must* take a refresher break, they should take a “Power Nap”, then get a glass of water, and do a little light aerobic activity for ten minutes like taking a walk around the block.  It will give them a boost of energy without delaying bedtime.
  8. Power down and reduce screen time an hour before bedtime if possible.  The blue light from screens is known to affect sleep patterns.
  9. If possible, keep the bed room for sleeping and have other conducive areas for work-related activities.  That way, the association of slumber will come with those four walls.
  10. Establish and keep a peaceful atmosphere in the evening.

I realize that all of these suggestions are the ideal in a perfect world, but if you make the 153Promise to aspire to achieve as many as possible, your children will reap the benefits all day from a good night’s sleep the night before.

Kisses! XxXx