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Family valued - 1.18.06

Humorous history with humors

No longer having a 9-year-old readily at hand, we here at the Family Valued executive laundromat, test kitchen, and family pressroom have randomly selected a 10-year-old from among the one immediately available.

So, what have you been reading lately?

Horrible Histories and Horrible Science.

What is that?

Horrible Science is about icky science stuff. And Horrible Histories is about different people and their history which is icky. It's only the icky bits. They might offend some people.

So there's no non-icky history?

There's timelines which tell what icky stuff was going on --- that's kind of real history.

I notice that's quite a pile of books beside you.

There's lots of them: The Rotten Romans; The Terrible Tudors; The Cutthroat Celts: and Dark Knights and Dingy Castles. That's only some of them. In the Groovy Greeks, they had some pretty icky beliefs. If you went onto a certain path with a dog or a cat, then something bad would happen. The Greeks are one of my favorite people out of the ancient world. In the WW I book, there were lots and lots of lice on the soldiers. It was pretty gross.

The books have a lot of illustrations, I notice.

They have silly little pictures and a little comic in the beginning of each Horrible Histories. The pictures are kind of sick humor and silly pictures and stuff. There's also an activity book. I did not know about these when I read my first Horrible Histories book.

Would you recommend the books?

Yes, they're very good. People who are interested in history, or social studies in my case, will like them. And if they like humor --- history humor.

--- Craig Brownlie

This week for families:

Chinese New Year Tue, Jan 24. Food, games, music.Ontario Public Library, 1850 Ridge Rd, Ontario.7-8:30 p.m. Register: 315-524-8381

GeneseeCountryNatureCenter 1410 Flint Hill Rd, Mumford. Sat, Jan 21: Junior Naturalists, 1-3 p.m. $10. | Sun, Jan 22: Family Fun Day: Woodpeckers!,10 a.m.-5 p.m. | 538-6822, www.gcv.org

Fathers' Academy Wed, Jan 25. RCSDParentCenter, 30 Hart St. 6-8 p.m. Register: 262-8000 ext 1190

Helmer Nature Center154 Pinegrove Ave. Sat, Jan 21: "Who Goes There?" tracking techniques. 10 a.m.-12 p.m. | Wednesdays, Jan 25-Feb 15: "Everybody's Somebody's Lunch," 4-5:30 p.m. Grades 2-3. $6 per session/$20 series | Register: 336-3035

Karate Classes Ages 8-17. School #46, 250 Newcastle Rd, 428-7294; Adams St. Rec Center, 85 Adams St, 428-7266, Webster Ave Community Center, 530 Webster Ave, 428-7828; East High, 1801 E Main St, 428-7294. $5 for entire 15-week session. Register.

Sokol Literary Awards Contest Deadline: Jan 27. Accepting original poetry and prose by MonroeCounty students. Friends of the Rochester Public Library, 115 South Ave, Rochester14604. 428-8350

Can't buy me love

During Christmas and Chanukah our kids were recipients of desperately desired stuff, gift cards, and various amounts of money. It happens again on birthdays, bar mitzvahs, graduations, and doting relatives' visits. All this loot raises that difficult parenting question: how do we teach our kids about money? How do we teach them to save, buy, and give, and about how money corrupts?

Once young kids finish swallowing coins and sticking them up their noses, they learn that money is a token we exchange for stuff. First it's gum balls and candy: magical instant gratification. Young people grow. Small denominations lose value. Nickels become quarters become dollars become twenties. Advertising pervades our kids' experiences. Money becomes a vehicle for self-gratification, peer identification, and materialism. How do we teach them to value small stuff? How do they learn that there is little real instant gratification in life? How do they learn how good it feels to give charitably? How do they learn that investing in dreams makes them strong?

Money is powerful but it is not power. Gifts and money are not love. Love is in teaching that balance. As your kids grow wanting, ask them: "How are you going to get that?" "How much do you need for that?" "Is it worth more to you than...?" "How would you earn that?" "What did you do with the money you earned for...?" "What do you want your money to do?"

The holiday season is over. Jesus, Moses, Buddha, and Mohammed would say "Give it all away."

--- LaurenceI.Sugarman, MD