October Family Focus: Being Upstanders

On Sunday night, we officially wrapped up our September Family Focus Trait of including others and kicked off October, which is being upstanders! (You can find our list of books that highlight being upstanders here). As usual, we tacked this family meeting on to a regular Sunday night dinner, and if you’ve followed along our other kickoff nights, you’ll recognize the pattern of reading a wonderful picture book and then doing a family activity together. Read on to see what we did for Upstander month!

Before we could dive into conversations about standing up to others, we needed to wrap up our thoughts about what it means to be an includer. So we pulled out our chart, which has lived on this easel close to our kitchen table for the last month, and we added a few last examples of things we could do to be includers at school, at school on the computer, at home, and in our community. Once that was complete, we were able to move on… to talking about being upstanders!

I read the girls three quotes from books we’ve read and discussed before, and then asked them what they noticed about what these stories are trying to teach us. The girls immediately answered, “We should be kind!” and “We should be nice when other people aren’t.” With a little prodding and a reminder about our family motto for this school year, our younger daughter was able to come up with the word “upstanders.”

From there, we read Super Manny Stands Up, one of our favorite books written by Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by Stephanie Graegin. You can read my full review of this gem here, but in the meantime, here’s a quick insight into Super Manny’s superpowers! Super Manny Stands Up! is the story of Manny, a little raccoon with a big imagination! Each day after school, Manny dons a different cape and fights off various enemies. He smoothly and easily conquers these imaginary foes while wearing his colorful capes, but he saves his most important, invisible cape for school. Most of his opponents at school are also imaginary, until one day, Tall One starts to push Small One around in the lunchroom. At first, Manny isn’t sure what to do, but then he remembers his invisible cape and the courage it gives him to stand up… 

Standing up to others, whether friends or foes, is incredibly hard. To that end, over the course of the rest of the month, we’ll use our family meetings to practice doing just this. After we finished Super Manny, we brainstormed times when we might want to be an upstander and wrote them down on popsicle sticks. Every Sunday night, after dinner, we’ll draw one or two sticks from our jar and do a role play of standing up to someone else in the given situation. You can see a few examples of ideas we came up with in the image above.

Do you and your family do role plays? What tips do you have for us???

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