Below you will find the audio podcast recording and the transcribed text for our first session. I’ll be curious to learn if you feel you need the text, since that’s the more time-consuming part. However, for now, we’ll do both and eventually see if just the audio recording is sufficient. I have left comments on, however please only comment if you are a LUNCH Groups® participating family, otherwise it will be deleted.
Tonight was group number 3 -- middle-schoolers. We had two-thirds of our group there today, we have some additional incoming new students who will be joining us in two weeks, and one student who was returning from summer. So with the eight group members we had, there was a lot of interaction, a lot of enthusiasm, and frankly, a bit of settling in. Dr. Mazor and I alternated between taking leadership roles in the group. We started off by making sure that everyone knew each other's names. Although, as it turned out, even though you might rehearse that, it takes a bit of practice for it to really sink in.
The next step was coming up with group rules. What's kind of interesting is, and it's not just unique to this group, the group members have a tendency to want to talk about what you should not do, rather than what you should do. The reason that matters to me is that when you should not do something or something is inappropriate, I don't think that forms a mental picture in the mind of what to replace it with automatically. I don't think if someone says (e.g. “don't push others") that's the same as saying (e.g. “stand a respectful distance from others”). So what we do is we turn it around. Whenever we hear a “no” or “shouldn't” or anything like a “don't”, we asked them, what would be the appropriate thing to say and try and tease that out of them. Sometimes they can come up with it and sometimes that's hard for them. So we went through that and the other thing is that we try to keep it to a minimal number of rules. So for tonight, we had six.
Following that, we came up with nicknames, and you would think that wouldn't be too difficult. Our rules are that it can't be something that your child has used elsewhere, and it can't be anything derogatory, offensive, or condoning violence. We had one group member who chose to use the word demon in their nickname and when we looked up the definition of “demon”, as you might expect, it's evil, someone who tortures, not very positive things. Well, this particular group member was unwilling to consider an alternate route nickname and that began to take a little time away from the group. So after a certain period of time when they weren't willing to switch, we just moved on. Sure enough, just a couple of minutes later, they had come up with something that appeared more appropriate and we told them that they could work on that next time. So the point of it all is to help someone recognize when they might be taking too long and also to develop some awareness when they might be impinging upon others and taking too much time away. It's not meant really as a punishment but rather, a natural consequence that spending a certain amount of time on any given topic is as much as we have and once we move on, we've moved on. Believe it or not, this took about the first hour and 15 minutes of group everything that I've described so far.
Following this, we did a little tutorial on lunch points, and parents will get a notice letting them know when lunch points is available. Finally, then it was time for dinner, we went to Poquito Mas and everybody found something to order. Some of your kids have more bland taste, and they went for quesadillas and others stepped it up a little bit and got things with either chicken in it or a salad or things of that nature. One of the things we focus on in a restaurant environment is being aware that you're in public, so that voices aren't too loud, that we're considerate of other customers who might be nearby, that kind of thing.
So all of those are the different elements that went into group and the final area had to do with pedestrian safety. We practiced a couple of times how to just walk in the crosswalk without being distracted without getting silly and that's something that was also important. So group ended on a decent note. We will be looking forward to seeing them again in two weeks. If anyone has any questions, don't hesitate to be in touch.