Friday, October 12, 2012

This Is Not Your Grandpa's Paper Airplane

One of the lesser, yet still important, duties of parenting is to supply toys for your youngsters. Something inexpensive and requiring imagination like a paper airplane is good for the child's mind and your pocketbook. Paper airplanes are the kind of simple fun that seem to have just about disappeared among the younger generation. It seems that today if it doesn't use electricity and cost lots of money its not on their radar. With a little effort you may be able to avert them from the overpriced and often valueless toys to something a little more beneficial.

There are the usual paper airplanes that every school boy is familiar with like the dart and the flying wing. But its not that much harder to make something a lot more interesting. Below is a model that anyone can build and requires nothing more than one sheet of stiff paper, some glue or tape and a paper clip.

Step 1. You start with a standard 8.5" x 11" piece of paper. You then cut this piece into four equal parts.
Step 2. With one of the pieces you fold a triangular prizim. This is done by folding the paper long wise in half to make a crease and then opening it up to fold each half toward the middle. Then fold each half toward the middle again.
Step 3. With one of the remaining fourths you can now create a wing. Fold two corners down toward the middle. Then fold them over again so the next corner fold is aligned with the first.
Step 4. Take one of the remaining fourths and divide it into fourths. Use one of these fourths to create a smaller wing according to the instructions in step 3. This will be the rear stabilizer.
Step 5. The final piece you will need to create is the tail rudder. For this you can take the final forth you cut from the original 8.5" x 11" paper and fold it in half. Then cut a fin shape with a base portion you can use to attach it to the tail.
Step 6. Now that you have all the parts created you will need to assemble them. Take the fuselage with the side that was glued face down and place it on top of the wing which should have a bead of glue running down the the very center. Next glue the rear stabilizer in a similar way. Finally glue the tail rudder to the peak of the triangular fuselage with the flaps at its base. You can also insert a paper clip in the nose of the fuselage. This extra weight will balance the plane and pull it through the air.

View the video instructions here.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Invest in your kids

Investing in your kids might sound like the title of a brochure for a college or perhaps a PTA fund raiser. I am however referring not to any monetary investment, but rather to the time and energy required to create a well adjusted adult in a world gone mad.

150 years ago raising a child to be a productive, happy, God fearing citizen was a lot easier. There were less ways of finding trouble for one thing. Back then you had to really want to find trouble to get it. Now all you have to do is misspell a word in a Google search.

Many today focus on providing for their children materially. This is of course important, but what most children are lacking is not more toys or private education, but rather the attention of their parents. Instead of working those long hours to save for their college fund or that trip to Disneyland the parent's time would be better spent at home reading them bed time stories or out throwing the ball around. Its important to build this bond while they are young so that when they hit the turbulent teen years they will trust you enough to come to you when they have issues.

Parents need to repetitiously instill moral values into their children as well. This can only be done by spending large amounts of time with them. The myth of Quality Time should really be supplanted with the reality that quantity time is what's needed. Its not those fun but brief trips to the zoo or the amusement park that cause kids to open up to you. Its the hours and hours of mundane things like doing chores together, driving to the store and family dinners that give you time to converse and build trust. During these activities kids will talk and if you're listening you will hear things that will tell you how they're doing and what they're dealing with. Then you can correct problems while they're small and have the opportunity to show them you can help them with their problems. This then will enable you to instill moral values in them that will last a lifetime. Now that's a good investment.