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March 21, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Blog, Reading

My daughters and I have watched the Secret Millionaire show for the last two weeks. The show’s idea is when a millionaire goes to a depressed part of town and lives incognito, looking for people who are doing good in their community. The millionaire lives on a welfare wage, in a very poor part of town and gets to know different community groups working to improve their communities. At the end of the show, the millionaire of the week reveals their identity and makes a donation to one or more groups they liked.

Last week featured Marc Paskin, who lived in Detroit for a week. He met a single mom who was raising her 4-year-old, while taking weekly kidney dialysis. She shared that her body rejected her kidney the same week her daughter was born pre-maturely at 27 weeks.

This week featured James Malinchak, who lived in Gary, IN for a week. He met a woman who was hiring people to go out and clean up piles of trash because she believed that it was possible to bring Gary back to its original glory.

All of us would love to be millionaires. We would love to have thousands to give away to groups helping others. We may not have a million dollars, but we can make a difference in other people’s lives. Michelle met James Malinchak at a recent author conference and they talked about her book, What Children Need to Learn to Read, and agreed that being able to read well is essential for children.

Make sure people in your life know how special they are.

One of the most poignant scenes in Secret Millionaire happened when James Malinchak gave $20,000 to a woman who had set up an organization to clean up trash in Gary. She gave people jobs and she made the city cleaner. She was taking tangible steps to restore hope. She was a vivacious, positive, upbeat lady. She dressed with a beautiful sense of style. When John gave her a check, she burst into tears and said, “No one has ever believed in me like this.”

As parents, it is essential that we take tangible steps everyday to make sure our children know we believe in them. There is nothing we do that is more important than this. Our children need to hear this loud and clear from us in a million different ways. Believing in them does not mean giving in to every thing they want and do. It means we make sure they know that we believe they will succeed in life.

Give your children the gift of education.

In the first episode, the single mom received a gift of $20,000. She started crying and said that she just wanted to buy some nice things for her daughter. At the end of the show the update showed that the young woman had decided to use the money to go back to school, so that she could get a better job. Education is critical. She understood that schooling is worth more than new shoes or clothes. As parents, every time we help our children learn, read books to them, teach them new words, make sure they know their math facts, we are instilling a love of learning in them that is priceless. Children who can read well, use math concepts easily and write critically, will be successful adults. Play learning games with your children. Build on their natural curiosity and energy. Use this to make sure that they love learning for the rest of their life.

Give to the causes that touch your heart.

In each episode of Secret Millionaires, James and Marc had a special bond with one or two people that they met. With our children, we always love them. However, there are certain causes or commitments our children have that especially touch our hearts. Some parents love taking their children to basketball 3 times a week. To other parents, this would be torture. Other parents love sharing their love of music and will take them to piano lessons for years. To some parents, music lessons are wasted time away from sports. Some parents are great with stories and language. Others of us are better at math. Know what you love and share that with your child.

Take care of the basics.

One of the individuals who touched James Malinchak was a basketball coach. This coach had helped a number of teen-age girls go to college by giving them opportunities in basketball. Because he wasn’t making much money, he was close to losing his home. James decided to give him some money to help him so he could go on coaching. The man was able to pay off his mortgage and continue coaching. It is essential that we help our children take care of the basics so they can focus on doing what they love most. After good food, sleep and a warm house, the basics of learning to read, add and write are critical. Once these skills are mastered, our children can reach whatever dream they set for themselves.

Time is worth more than money

Every single moment you spend with your child helping them master new skills, learn fundamental things like the alphabet and phonetic sounds, and math facts — comes back to you and to them 10 fold. You are investing in a life. What greater investment can you make?

Go out today and be with your children. Recognize all the ways that you are already a millionaire. Be aware of all the millions you receive in hugs, smiles, giggles and the music of your child’s voice.

For new learning games to play with your child, check out “What Children Need to Learn to Read”.

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