Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Victorian Christmas Tablescape

The Christmas season has finally arrived.  Our office display takes us back to a Victorian time period, where one strolls along cobble stone streets with street lamps lite by candle light.  A walk along our grand avenue brings you past The Victoria Palace where a magnificent Christmas Ball is in progress.  After the ball, everyone is sure to gather at the neighboring Restaurant to enjoy a late night delicacy.  If you continue down the avenue, pass the majestic Cathedral, you can hear the carolers singing Silent Night.  Further along you pass by the Bakery, where you can catch not only a whiff of Gingerbread cookies but also one of hot chocolate which is being sold by a street vender just outside the shop.  Last but not least, a stroller would come across the village Toy Shoppe. Where today the shop’s owner is displaying his skills as a puppeteer for the enjoyment of his patrons.

Down the hill from the grand avenue there are children skating on the local frozen pond.  A young lady is being taxied, via horse and sleigh, past the town’s center and its giant, colorfully, lite Christmas tree.  Further down the way, we pass the town’s band stand/ gazebo, a location which the carolers will surely stop at as they work their way around the town.  In the park next door, you can see a large group of children building a full-sized snow man; while the local shoe cobbler helps mend one of the young lads’ shoes.  All in all, a bustling scene of Christmas activity; which goes to show you something’s change very little over the decades.   

George and I also wish to encourage all to contemplate the true “reason for the season”.  We encourage you to take time to share the gifts received from God with others; especially those whom maybe struggling either economically, emotionally or physically.  Make time to share the gift of your time with loved ones and friends. And finally take time to share the joy of this season with those in our local community. We wish a Merry Christmas to all of our family, friends, Clientele and of course, to those presently serving on active duty in all of our Military Services. 
(Below are pictures from our office Victorian Christmas tablescape.)

                                       With warm appreciation and gratitude,

                                            we wish you a Merry Christmas! 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Thanksgiving Tablescape

Wow, we are already heading fast into the Thanksgiving season.  The leaves are growing more intense with color and eventually falling off the trees.  Families gather up the colorful leaves and enjoy the tradition of jumping into leaf piles.  At the top of the hill, you can take a sneak peek into the old farm house and see Thanksgiving dinner, hot on the table with all the trimmings.  Down the hill, outside the barn, you can see a large Tom Turkey spreading his wings; thankful he escaped being that evening’s meal.  As you wind down the hill from the top of Harvest Apple Orchard, past the kids picking out last minute pumpkins, and along the road side fruit and vegetable stands you will see a family on their way to Grandma’s house.  Mom is carrying her country fair, award winning, turkey stuffing, while her son attempts to fend off “Spot”, the family dog, from biting into the hot apple pie.

 We want to encourage everyone to take a moment this Thanksgiving to reflect upon all of the blessings we are afforded by living in this wonderful country of ours.  God bless this great nation.

(Below are pictures from our office Thanksgiving tablescape.)


Have a Blessed Thanksgiving!


Friday, October 31, 2014

Part Two of Social Media and the Parent/Child Relationship

As mentioned in Part One of our series on Social Media and the Parent/Child Relationship, it is suggested that parents set up age appropriate ground rules for use of social media and enforce the consequences for any rule violations.  For guidelines on such ground rules we are once again looking to our social media hostess, Joanna Jullien of Banana Moments.  Ms. Jullien produces the Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner column for Examiner.com. (For Ms. Jullien’s background information please see http://bananamoments.com/about-banana-moments/ )

Ms. Jullien points out that it is important for the parents to recognize they are the primary teacher for their child (ren), as such, they have the authority and responsibility to guide them.  Furthermore, she states, “mobile connectivity brings the world in closer and exposes youth to adult issues at earlier ages”. Both the parent and the child need to recognize the cyber world is a very PUBLIC space, thus instruction needs to take place between the parent and child on what should remain PRIVATE in this public space.  Additionally, the child should not have access to everything which is available on the internet; some of it can actually be very dangerous for the child.  Access to social media should be presented to the child as a privilege not a right, therefore, the need for rules and guidelines within a family (and/or between biological parents and the child (ren) if there is a separation/divorce in place). 

If you’re like the rest of us, you find yourself darting from one activity to another in a sort of whirlwind, so we thought you might appreciate the video link, with text summary, of Ms. Jullien’s Cyber Rites of Passage: How to set age-appropriate boundaries for children using smart devices, as a helpful quick reference (hint it is less than 7 minutes long).  
However, if you have the time and are seeking more details on the subject then check out Ms. Jullien’s eBook at the following link:http://bananamoments.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/2014_October_Cyber-Rites-of-Passage.pdf

We would like to thank Ms. Jullien and her Banana Moments Foundation for generously providing our readers with these resources.  Please stay tune for further posts regarding our Social Media and the Parent/Child Relationship mini-series.

Friday, October 17, 2014

"Halloween Fall Festival" Tabletop

Halloween has shown up in our office reception area; beginning with apple picking at the Harvest Apple Orchard and pumpkin patch.  Then you move down the lane to the Halloween Fall Festival with hay rides, pumpkin carving, and a carnival with a Spinning Pumpkins ride and glowing Ferris Wheel. Additionally we appear to be in luck, 'cause we are here just in time for the annual Neighborhood Halloween Parade with scary mummies, skeletons, witches, ghosts and even Dracula. If you look closely you'll catch a sneak peek of kids performing their favorite Halloween activities such as jumping into piles of autumn leaves and Trick-o-Treating.  Nothing too frightening here, just lots of fall fun and excitement under a harvest moon.  Feel free to stop by and check out the fun.
(Below are pictures from our office Halloween tablescape entitled Halloween Fall Festival.)


Monday, October 6, 2014

Attended My Sister's House 7th Annual English High Tea

Karen Martinez and Nilda Valmores, Executive Director of My Sister's House

My wife, Karen, had the joy of attending the 7th Annual English High Tea, put on by My Sister’s House of Sacramento, this past Saturday.  Karen enjoyed viewing all the beautiful and creative tables set up for the high tea.  Karen and I would like to remind everyone that My Sister’s House does important work by helping and supporting women and children in crisis; with an emphasis on those dealing with Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking. You can help support this important mission by stopping by the My Sister's CafĂ©, located at 455 Capitol Mall, #110 in Sacramento, for either breakfast or lunch.  

"Tea by the Seaside"

Pictured below is the winning table # 21 entitled, “Tea by the Seaside” complete with sandcastles, swimming mermaids, starfish and even live swimming gold fish; good job ladies.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Part One of Social Media and the Parent/Child Relationship

Here at the Law Offices of George A. Martinez we are starting a series regarding Social Media and the Parent/Child relationship. What follows is Part One of the series.
On 09/06/14, I had a special opportunity to attend a parenting class regarding Social Media at St. Joseph Marello Parish in Granite Bay, California.  The hostesses of the event were Joanna Jullien, Foundation Founder of Banana Moments and Ms. Maylynn Whatley. It was a very informative morning and I wanted to share some of its highlights. 

My main take away from the morning was 1) the parent and the child(ren) are not going to be able to avoid social media interaction; 2) social media offers both great positives and grave negatives; 3) the key element to the survival of both the parent and the child(ren) is to develop a strong trusting, loving relationship between the two of them; and 4) the parents should set up age appropriate ground rules and enforce the consequences for any rule violations.

According to Ms. Jullien, the parent’s need to “consider internet access and smart phones as a rite of passage- not a right”.  Developing and following age appropriate ground rules will allow the child to learn how to use the cyber tools properly and to also allow for the maturing of the child, over time, in the usage of said tools.

Out in the cyber world, there are lots of voices clamoring for the attention of the child, and the parents need to make sure that it is their fundamental values which the child hears and responds to, not the values of the cyber world. 

Remember, children are swimming in a virtual world and while in this world they are seeking authenticity; or as Ms. Jullien puts it, “genuine authority”. They, the child(ren), really want the parent to inform them and instructed them regarding the truth; but they want it done in a loving manner.  While they don’t want to be lectured, they do want guidance as to why something is good or not good for them.

The children need to be good citizens in the virtual realm, just as they need to be in the physical realm. They need to understand there is a cross over between the physical and virtual realm.  What they do in the virtual realm will affect them in their physical realm, and vice versa. For example, a thoughtless picture or rude comment sent out by the child will go out into the cyber world and like hot, butter melting on to popcorn the picture, or comment, will suddenly “pop up”.   The child may then be hit with the harsh reality of that picture, or comment, which they are now powerless to take back or delete. They will now discover the consequence of the picture or comment.  They will find out that this can happened in both the cyber and physical world, however, in the cyber world the “melting butter” effect can prove to have deeper and longer lasting effects. The parent may or may not be able to prevent this “pop up” from happening, however, they need to be prepared to respond to the child with love, gentleness and guidance.  The parent will need to work with the child regarding how to make amends for the action(s) of the child and prevent future missteps.  

For the parents whom have older children, or those with teenagers, whom have already been out in the cyber world without their (the parents) guidance, they calmed their fears that it was not too late.  They instructed them to just get started with the conversation.  First find out where the child is in the process and then build from there.  The key here is to development a strong relationship between the child and parent.  Of course, if there has been little communication between the two of them regarding social media and core family values, then more time and effort will be needed; just know that it will be well worth the effort. They also pointed out that if you don’t know much about how to use social media then turn to your own child as a source of information.  It will not only become your starting point for learning about social media, but it will also become a way of developing a deeper child/parent relationship. For at some point, the parent will start learning more about the child’s likes, dislikes, interests, hopes and dreams which can only strengthen the relationship between the two of you.  

They also instructed the parents to be a digital role model for your child(ren); meaning don’t do things you would not want your child to do.  For just as you might be watching out for how your child interacts on the internet, so too is it possible that the child is watching how you interact. Given the fact that many of our readers our separated parents this might be a good spot to remind or readers of the sacred old adage “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, especially in the case of separated parents.  If you are speaking negatively about your “ex” on social media, stop and think about how that might affect your child(ren).  What at the chances the child might see those comments via social media, and more importantly, what if your “ex” is doing the same thing against you?  Basically, airing your family difficulties in social media can have not only negative effects on you but also on your children.  If you feel the need to let off steam about the opposing party it would be much better to talk about it with a close friend (in person) or to a counselor, rather than broadcasting it across cyber space so that friends, co-workers and family (especially the children) hear all the details. Additionally, I would strongly encourage you to have a discussion with the other parent about the issue of social media and your child(ren); if the communications between the two of you are good enough. This discussion will be just as important as discussions regarding how and when the kids should be picked up from school and when the next basketball practice is. If you cannot reach an agreement with the Opposing Party about what type of apps are appropriate for your child(ren) or upon the “rules on the house” regarding technology and devices within the separate households, then all you can do is make sure your child(ren) is instructed as to what your values are and continue to work on developing the best communication you can with your child(ren).  You want to develop a relationship with them where they feel comfortable in coming to you with problems, questions or concerns.    

I recognize this is a very general discussion regarding the subject matter of social media and parenting, however, that is why I am breaking down this topic into a series of posts. Our next post will get more into the setting up of age appropriate ground rules for the family.

In the meantime, for other reference information on this subject and other topics, here is the contact information for Joanna Jullien of Banana Moments Foundation:

           Web: http://www.bananamoments.com
           Facebook: Banana Moments
           Linked in: Joanna Jullien

Friday, September 5, 2014

Engage in Life-long Learning

George and I have a confession.  We both have the same visceral response when we see the “Back to School” signs go up at our local stores; and that is one of dread and apprehension.  Of course, those feelings come from our many years of schooling, from childhood on into young adulthood; with its long hours of study and school work.  However, now with the pressure of tests behind us, we can now look at education as part of our maturing process and something we wish to continue on in to the rest of our lives. 

While the theme of our office display is an encouragement for all of us to continue to “Engage in life-long learning”, with its display of a little red school house, apples and fall colors; it got us to thinking about the children we deal with in our practice.  While some may be excited to get new school clothes, backpacks and crayons they also may be experiencing apprehension as a result of their home situation.  With a recent marital split or divorce between their parents, the child may be not only be having to attend a new classroom but quite possibly a whole new school.  Both a divorce and return to school can be major stressors for children, as such, we encourage our parents to read up on the effects a separation and/or divorce may have upon the children.  Take time to understand the challenges the children may be facing at this time and feel free to seek the assistance of our office staff in order to obtain resources which may help both you and your children cope with your changing circumstances.  

(Below are pictures from our office tablescape for back to school entitled, “Engage in life-long learning.”)