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Oct. 3, 2022

Episode 67: Is Your Child a Historical Figure? with Barbara Ann Mojica

In this episode, DJ talks with parent, grandparent, retired educator and children’s author, Barbara Ann Mojica, about the importance of learning our history so we can have a sense of where we've come from, who we are and how we fit into the world. Listen in as Barbara shares suggestions for parents to introduce history to their children at a very young age and how she has made history come alive using the whimsical Little Miss History character to narrate her book series that makes learning history a truly fun filled adventure. 

Barbara Ann Mojica is an author, educator, and parent who provides tools to inspire, entertain and educate youth. Barbara Ann Mojica, M.A. S.A.S., S.D.A is a historian and retired educator. Her education career spans more than forty years serving as a teacher, special educator, principal, and school district administrator. Barbara feels that history is the key to solving today’s problems. Using the whimsical Little Miss History character to narrate her book series, she makes learning history a fun-filled adventure. Barbara firmly believes, "If you don't know your history, you don't know what you're talking about."

• [6:47] “I tell children that the moment you're born, you become a character in history.”
• [7:14] “History is an evolution. It's ongoing. So everything in the world has a history, we have a history…”
• [11:19] Barbara discusses the connections and context of things “because children always want to have the answers to those magic questions.” 
• [17:02] Barbara introduces facts and events in her books that people may not have been aware of. 

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Barbara Ann Mojica


DJ Stutz  0:13  
We think you should know that Imperfect Heroes podcast is a production of Little Hearts Academy USA. 

You're listening to Episode 67 of Imperfect Heroes, Insights Into Parenting, the perfect podcast for imperfect parents looking to find joy in their experience of raising children in an imperfect world. And I'm your host DJ Stutz. Barbara Mojica is an author. She's an educator with over 40 years experience in the field, and a parent. And she provides tools to inspire, entertain, and educate our youth. And history is the key to solving today's problems. I believe that with all my heart, so are you tired of being bombarded by social media noise? Well, you can accept the challenge and be a truth teller. Using the whimsical Little Miss History character to narrate her book series by remakes learning history, a truly fun filled adventure. She firmly believes if you don't know your history, you don't know what you're talking about. There's so much to learn. So let's get started.

If you enjoy this episode, I would love for you to let our guests know, just scroll down to the bottom of our podcast page if you're listening on Apple podcast, or you can go to And you can rate us there as well, it's super easy, you just click on that fifth star. And then by adding a few short words about the episode, you are going to let my guests know what you think about her message. And it really does help our podcast to grow. So when you take time to give the podcast that five star rating and review, we are able to reach other families more easily and help them out. 

You know, I truly love history. And back in my early days when I was a long term sub, and I could teach high school. I loved teaching History and English. And those were my two specialties there. And it's fun. It's not that hard to get kids excited about what's going on. I mean, there's so many amazing stories and adventures and understandings about who we are as a people, as a family as a person, and where we came from, how did we get to where we are today? And what does that have to do with the trajectory we are heading in. One of the things that is really important about teaching history and learning history is the kind of stuff that you get from reading original documents, and firsthand experiences. Rather than all of that opinion laced, agenda driven stuff that is out there on so many formats. And in so many of the classrooms that our children are learning in, I truly believe that it is our responsibility to make sure our children know the truth of our history of your history. Yeah, I know, more stuff for us to be responsible for, but they are our kids, your kids. And truth is truth. And there are some great resources out there and Barbara's books are among them. So let's listen in. 

I'm joined here today with Barbara Ann Mojica. And she is a historian extraordinary as what I would call her. She understands history, and kids, and how all of that comes together and the importance of it. Barbara, would you like to talk to us a little bit about who you are and what you do?

Barbara Ann Mojica  4:18  
Well, hi, DJ and I'd like to thank you for inviting me to speak to all of your friends today. I'm a parent, a grandparent, and author and a retired educator with 40 years experience in the classroom. And as an administrator. I've worked with both children who have been in the general education setting and even those with special needs. And I started out with teaching elementary school and realize that there were so many children who needed more. I became interested in special education and I switched over to that. So now that I I'm formally retired, I am combining my passion for history and my love of teaching. And I am writing children's books. I have a series of 14 books now. And they all are picture books that make learning history fun. And I think history is fun for all ages. And unfortunately, the history is sorely neglected in the curriculum today. And we really need to get back to that,

DJ Stutz  5:35  
right? I really believe that history gives us a sense of where we've come from, who we are, how we fit into the world, a lot of those things. And it's not just for us personally, but then how do we fit into our community? It gives us a sense, not only of who we are individually, but who we are in our community and in our culture. Yeah, our society. Yeah. And those things come on, I think can come on very young.

Barbara Ann Mojica  6:03  
Yes. And I do have some suggestions for parents to introduce history to their children at a very young age. But I think you're spot on with talking about how history is important to us, as individuals and our communities. And if we don't know where we came from, we can possibly understand where we're going, or how we're going to get there. That's why the character in my books, little man's history, who is the narrator, who takes the children on adventures has a slogan, if you don't know your history, if you don't know what you're talking. I tell children that the moment you're born, you become a character in history. Because history is not just a bunch of facts, and dates, and events. But it's a story about real people who get up every day and eat breakfast just like we do and have education, jobs to go to. And we are all part of the process. History is an evolution. It's ongoing. So everything in the world has a history, we have a history, when we're first born, we can talk, we can feed ourselves, we learned to do that. And as we learn to do these things, we build on them. And we achieve more and more and more. So first, we can talk we can eat, then we learn to sit up and we stand and we walk. And all of these are steps in a process. And history is like that. The value of history is that with ourselves, we discover our place in our family, first of all right. And then after we become familiar with the people in our family, we ask questions, we learn more and more about them. And that eventually prepares us for moving in the direction of creating community because community isn't a community without its history. And I'm very fortunate I live in the Hudson Valley of New York. And it's a very historic region. And I'm surrounded by all kinds of evidences of history. But no matter where you live, you can teach a child to be part of a community's history. I'm just taking them for a walk, just giving them two words, I wonder. And when they see something, ask, Oh, I wonder where that came from, or I wonder who lived there. And the child gets in the habit of thinking that way. So you can just go walking down the street and your community and do that, not only within our community, we can also extend that to the cultures living in our community. So we can see different types of people. And then wonder about Oh, I wonder why they dress that way. I wonder why they eat that food. I wonder why they have that custom of how they celebrate events, showing children different restaurants where different foods are served, and then will they serve that kind of food because it's part of their culture. All of that connects them to community. And then we can also take that one step forward to the future. Because when we learn about ourselves in our community, we can come up with better solutions to situations that we encounter every day. So we'd become more of an engaged citizenship. A person that wants to be a part of that community and solve the community's problems. And then eventually, as we get older, we can look at the leaders, the founders of our communities, and we can look at the kinds of problems that they solved and how they made their decisions. Maybe some of their decisions were good, maybe their decisions weren't so good, but we can build on what we learned. So we see what we should take, and further develop. And then we can also look at the mistakes that were made and things that we definitely don't want to do it again. So

DJ Stutz  10:39  
do that by learning the mistakes that were made, not to throw eggs at these guys, so much. I mean, it's a different time, to different society when things were being done that may not be acceptable to us today, but was perfectly acceptable in their society. But to sit and maybe learn, this wasn't a great idea, why wouldn't it be a great idea? And what could we do to avoid this same mistake now? And look at how decisions impact other people, that's a great lesson for kids to learn?

Barbara Ann Mojica  11:19  
Definitely. And you were talking about the connections and the context of things because children always want to have the answers to those magic questions. Who, what, when, where, why, how. And it's sometimes it's parents, we get annoyed because they're constantly bombarding us with questions. And it might sometimes appear to be, you know, not another question. But we should encourage them to ask questions. That's the way we learned. And that's the way they're going to learn and the connections are important, because the influences that a person had at one period in history could be dramatically different, what else was going on in the world, then what other things might have made them move a certain way, or take a certain direction, in a different time, maybe they wouldn't do that at all. And they have different influences, different people influencing them. And we come to conclusions only by studying them what I call the six C's of history, I like little mnemonic devices to help children and myself remember, so there's the content, the subject, what was studying at one particular time. And then there's the context, what else was going on at that time? Who were the other people that were influencing them what other things were happening. And it's important always to study the primary sources, because particularly today, we can be influenced by what other people are saying, and doing and writing. Long ago, there was not so much opinion in history. If you look at primary sources, you're looking at the real letters, the real journals, the real diaries, what people actually said and did. But if you look at the secondary sources, you might get a totally different picture. But what were the biases of those people who wrote about that person or event. And today, we have social media. And that has a big influence on critical thinking skills, because the way we communicate things today, just for the past 10 or 20 years is totally different from the way events were communicated. In the past, we used to have news. And now we have news and opinion and a lot of the news is opinion,

DJ Stutz  14:15  
I think you bring such a great point is looking at the difference between that and what is actually factual. And where has opinion been interjected into the interpretation of the facts.

Barbara Ann Mojica  14:28  
And a lot of people are not able to differentiate that because there are a lot of barriers to critical thinking on. Some people see things only in black and white. There's only one way to view it. They don't want to take the time to find out all of the information. They just immediately say oh, now this is the way it is or they let their ego get in the way. And I think it should be this way and I don't want to hear it. Nobody else's opinion or, again, the social thinking, what would they look on social media all while my friend said this, and he knows a lot about that. So that must be the answer. Just accepting the word of an authority, somebody that we quote, see as an authority figure, whether that be a political person, or a celebrity, or somebody that we think is an expert, but may not be an expert at all. And sometimes we make decisions just based on judgment of the way we were brought up in our family to think a certain way, or following a certain religion, or just following the ideas of a particular institution, which is becoming very much the case in colleges, they're very much a established norm that most of the students seem to be pressured to follow.

DJ Stutz  16:06  
Right? Right. So if we can get our kids early on to asking these important questions, and really wondering about what life was like, and what can I learn from that? What does that have to do with me, I think if we can get them started early, of being able to think independently, to understand how to find out as they get older, we're going to talk more about original sources. Right. And without the interjection of opinion, I think even like three and four year olds, we're talking about very basic history. And I love the idea that you say that they are part of history. And when we teach our children, it's not just George Washington, or Abraham Lincoln, or Margaret Thatcher, or whomever that makes history, we make history every day. And I love the way that you bring that up. Well,

Barbara Ann Mojica  17:02  
that's what I tried to do. In my book series, I try to introduce people and facts and sometimes events that they may not have been aware of. And I always want to leave them with a sense of question, I usually I interject some kind of questions within the story to get them thinking about it. And the books are not simply history, per se. But I tried to choose a variety of people and places, historical sites, different types of experiences that are more interdisciplinary. Let me give you an example. So in my book about the North Pole, little miss history takes a trip to the Arctic. And in that book, I talk about some of the animals of the Arctic, the climate of the Arctic, the fact that it's in international waters, and there are actually eight countries that claim parts of the Arctic region. And then I show them the different flags of the countries. And then I go into some of the early explorers, and, of course, we can't leave out Santa Claus. So I go into the whole story of Santa Claus, how it evolved. I took a little bit about the newest legend and the evolution of how Thomas Nast, who was a newspaper person, was the first to really popularize the idea of Santa Claus. And then Coca Cola came in and took it over as an ad campaign. And then I talked about twist the night before Christmas, and the literary poem and who may or may not have written it, it's not for sure, climate more could have been Robert Livingston, and I give them different avenues to explore. In my Sequoia National Park book, we talk about the outdoors. We talk about the history of the park, the activities in the park, we talk about some of the government intervention in building the park and we talk about the surrounding area and the pollution. So we talk about the environment and Sequoia National Park is actually the most polluted National Park and sometimes it's actually unhealthy to breathe the air there and they actually have as part of their agreement when they hire people. They make them aware that sometimes it might be unhealthy when working there. So I bring up different issues and in my Mount Rushmore book, we talk about the Crazy Horse Memorial Monument and how the land around Mount Rushmore was taken from Native Americans and Americans made a treaty that gave them the land and they took the land back. And maybe we should have these two monuments to honor two great peoples. And I asked them, What are they? What are they think about that? What do they think about the UN and the native indigenous rights? You know, I bring up all kinds of different issues. So there are multiple levels to the book, I have fans is youngest three and four, who love to pictures, and do picture walk stories in the book. And as they get older, they understand more and more about the people and the issues. And they kind of grow into the book. So when I visit schools, I always give teachers discussion questions to go with the book, and I adapt the reading of the book, depending on the age group them I've read the book in nursery school, I've read it in kindergarten, I've, I've read it in grade six. So depending on the audience of the book, but my presentation of what's in the book changes is kind of like history evolving with them as they grow and as they get older. So that been my main focus. Since I retired, I write local history for a local news magazine. And I write the children's books. But as time went on, I began to gather more and more resources. So I have other avenues of providing free resources to parents, I have a blog, and I review children's books. So I have Pinterest board, and I have all kinds of resources on there. I do YouTube videos. During the pandemic, I develop that I did little mini lessons. I call it the two men teacher. So I present how to do it and give them a template that for a lesson that could be done in a couple of minutes. And I have kids history videos on my YouTube channel. On my blog, I also have articles for parents on all kinds of different topics. So I kind of tried to help and share in any way I can.

DJ Stutz  22:16  
We'll get all the information on all of that your YouTube channels, your Pinterest, all of that in our show notes so that my listeners can connect with you in whatever way that they're most comfortable with that you have available. But I also was wondering, so with Little Miss history, is this done like a nonfiction book? Or is it a narrative where there are characters woven in and out of the story?

Barbara Ann Mojica  22:41  
No, it is nonfiction. She's a narrator who guide you on the journey. So it is nonfiction and the character is actually based on a younger version of me. My Illustrator is also my husband, who's been an artist since the age of five, as well as a children's book writer years ago. And he thought, well, if you want to write these books, we should have a way of making it fun. So since he has done lots of cartoons, he made a cartoon image of me and Little Miss history's compositive, who I was a young person growing up and I'm wearing hiking boots and kind of like a camper outfit. I used to like to hike a lot. And the boots are in memory of my father. They're kind of like oversized and my father had these huge size 12 feet. So they're all beside the glasses are rose colored glasses because Little Miss history is an optimist and she likes to look at the world on the bright side. And I used to wear pigtails like so that the pigtails and the other features are kind of exaggerated to make her look kind of blog cartoony and fun. So that's the character and that's how she came to me.

DJ Stutz  24:07  
One of the things that I think is a great starting point too, for our little guys is gathering stories of their personal history and their family history. And I remember as a child for me. So my one grandfather was a lumberjack and hearing those stories and I related to Paul Bunyan and my pops was bigger than life and I love just hearing the stories. Sometimes they blow a tree stump out and they would find squirrels or whatever. Orphaned you know chipmunks and he would bring them home and then the kids my mom and the kids would feed them and raise them until they were ready to go back out in the wild. Once he brought home a baby bear And those stories just enchanted me, and really made me feel that closeness to nature and the earth. And my grandfather on my dad's side was a professor at Oregon State of poultry and agriculture. And he grew up in the northern areas of Utah. And he would talk about the cattle and when bears would come and, and threatened the cattle and the things that they would do, and his adventures as a young boy, finding that also engaging and we were just wide eyed and feeling like this is where I fit in. And I, I kind of feel like that's a great place to start with little guys, is that personal history of how you came to be and the people who got you here,

Barbara Ann Mojica  25:53  
and even the youngest child, you can do that with pictures. It doesn't have to be a formal interview. So you can start with just encouraging them to ask about a Mommy, what was it like when you were young? Can you show them pictures of what it was like how things have changed that grandparents, encourage them to aesthetic grandparents and show them pictures of where they used to live and the jobs they used to do and the places they used to like to go for fun, which you know, a lot of things have changed in our leisure to the methods of transportation and just in the past 20 3040 years, how fast things change. So you could show them the history that way you then you can ask them to draw pictures of what they think it would have been like, in the past, what do they think their neighborhood looked like, a few years ago? What do they think their neighborhoods going to look like in the future? You can say, Oh, well, this is what you're doing now. Can you see that? leading you to do something else later, maybe five more years from now or when you're in high school? You can just the idea of I wonder, as did you ever wonder about?

DJ Stutz  27:21  
Right? It's funny with President steak coming up at the time of this recording. It's about two weeks away. And I've been talking to my kids that I teach. And it's funny because I asked Who do you think the first president was? And they are not sure. And then one little girl says Trump.

Barbara Ann Mojica  27:45  
It's sad. It's so sad. I mean, we don't teach civics. When I was in high school, we had a six month course, just in sevens, explaining the branches of government, how a bill becomes a law, how the justice department works, six months of learning what type of government we have, you know, what, how it works, how we can participate in it. So today, there's none of that. And history per se, isn't really I mean, everything is, quote, social studies. And social studies really is kind of an amorphous term, which call and it's become more and more of a social emotional kind of teaching rather than what is our government? Who are our leaders? How did our government change? And you can ask people on the street mall, I would say, most college students and younger, will not be able to give you many answers to any

DJ Stutz  29:00  
Oh, yeah, the like, Man on the street type interviews, right? And they're hysterical to listen to, but it's like, Are we really that? uninformed?

Barbara Ann Mojica  29:09  
It's sad. It really I mean, how can you have a strong country? If you have no history, you have no memory of anything. And if you have no memory, you have nothing to build on.

DJ Stutz  29:22  
Right? Well, it's funny. On my dad's side, if we go back and we're on that And we back to about 500 ad, in my dad's line, one of my dad's lines, and it's been so fun to me, because I know that his family came through it. They were Welsh. We've got the story of how John Benyon that's my maiden name, but John Banyan, you know, came from Wales and the village he went to and it was so meaningful me meaningful to me as a As an adult, to be able to go back to that little village where John grew up where he had to actually run to escape the dungeons and all this intrigue and stuff. And it's part of who I am and my story. And I think it's exciting for kids to hear that. If you go on to something like there's a few other sites, I think ancestry is the biggest one. But to go on, and then find these stories about the families that came before you, and part of who you are, and we've got everything from royalty to outlast.

Barbara Ann Mojica  30:41  
Most families do.

DJ Stutz  30:44  
And we thrill in all of it. Right, the scoundrels and the

Barbara Ann Mojica  30:49  
right now, right. Somehow we all managed to survive and mouth. Usually better for it.

DJ Stutz  30:57  
Yeah. Well, and to when I was thinking about the little girl, who said that Trump was the first president, I got thinking on that. And it it really for her. It was her first president, he was the president when she was born. And so for her, maybe that's where she was thinking is, that's the only one she knew before Biden, you know what I mean? Because that's where her history started. And so it was just interesting having the conversation and being able to show them past presidents and what they looked like, and, and these kids are pre K. So therefore turning five, some of them are already five, and all but one of them have special needs. And yet, they're still able to grasp bat and ask questions, and what was he like, and when we talked about Martin Luther King, and how he was important to our country, and we just kind of said that, there were a time when we weren't treating each other well. And we would pick on other people because we didn't like the way they looked. And Martin Luther King helped us remember to be kind to one another, and how important that is. And that's it, that's a concept that four year old can grab on to. And then at least they know the name. And so then as it comes up as they get older, and they're able to process more information than that, about whether it's Martin Luther King, or George Washington, or Trump or Biden, they're able to grasp deeper information, but at least they know those names. And that they were important in our timeline.

Barbara Ann Mojica  32:41  
And that's important, too. They can relate to that. Because even at a young age, they can see social pressures, they can see that some kids are more popular than others. They can see bullying, they may not know the term, but they recognize that it's happening. They could see clicks. So it does become relatable. I mean, children will make the connections. But you have to open them up to question and inquire inquiry. And that's one thing that parents really have to do. I mean, parents can teach some of these critical life skills that go along with critical thinking that they're going to need to succeed. If you can't be a critical thinker and about critical thinking, I mean, being able to look at a problem focus on a problem or a situation and observe what's going on. And eventually, a children very young children can observe what's going on at least. And then as they grow older, they learn to analyze, well, is this good? Is this bad. They can kind of pull in other examples and infer things and then eventually, they get better and better at communicating what they feel to other children and adults. And then they can solve the problems but if parents don't teach them the basic skills in the home, they're not going so readily be able to acquire those critical thinking skills like parents can. Like we were talking of develop curiosity and children, you know, ask them the I wonder questions, right? Encourage them, the who, what, when, where and why. They can make sure that children finish tests that they start if a parent loses patience, and I don't want to nag anymore and are never never finished. It's claiming the role, but it's just too much of a struggle, you have to make sure that children finish what they store, that's important skill that they need to acquire. And they have to have compassion, they have to learn this, of course, when children are young, their ego center, they are the center of the universe. And they have to learn to consider the needs of others. And sometimes the needs of others are going to come before themselves, they have to learn that skill, they have to be comfortable with change, they have to learn that things are not going to be exactly the way they are right now. And sometimes change is a good thing. Like moving is a good example, children don't like to move, they don't want to leave their friends, they don't want to leave their school, they don't want to leave the home that they're familiar with. But sometimes change is a good thing. And now they have to learn to have kind of a, I don't know how you'd explain it a sense of like, boldness, to kind of dare to try new things. And parents should encourage them to try new things. Whether it's a sport, or a club, or trying a new skill,

DJ Stutz  36:22  
not to the new name next door,

Barbara Ann Mojica  36:24  
right? I mean, it could be learning how to dance or learning how to play baseball, or joining the Cub Scouts, whatever it is reaching out and being bold enough to try new things. And that leads them to discover new avenues that maybe they didn't even think about before, new ways to do things. And I guess one of the most important things that parents do is to provide a good example. You can't tell a child to do something and then not do it yourself. You tell the child, well, you need to read more. And then the parent never picks up a book, they're too busy looking at their phone or watching TV. You can say, eat your dinner and then sit there and eat candy. You know, you have to provide a good example. And sometimes it's not easy to do that. We all have pressures and demands that

DJ Stutz  37:29  
I remember. So if you've listened to me long, you know, I'm the oldest of seven kids. And we would go on these road trips. So I grew up in Los Angeles, but all of our extended family was up in Oregon and Corvallis and Eugene and Portland and Salem and all those areas. And so we would frequently drive up, my dad didn't like to make bathroom breaks, stops. But he would stop for historical marker. We would frequently he'd see historical marker and he'd veer off, and we'd be on an adventure looking at things. And so that's something that really sticks with me, though, is that my dad did that. And so I think that's a big reason that I have this kind of curiosity, about history, and what happened in this place. And how did these people get here? And why did they want to come here and all of those things, but I think you say that setting the example is such a big an important thing. And I think you're right, in a lot of ways. I know that when parents have very young children and maybe several children in their lives, it can get to be a little overwhelming. But the truth is that it doesn't have to be in your face all the time. But it's just maybe taking advantage like my dad very knocked a look at a historical marker that teaches them things that might stick to them. And then we would talk about it in the car after we left and it was those why questions, those W questions. You don't have to go nuts with it. When you're raising maybe four kids, three kids that are all under six or seven. But you can just set that example of curiosity.

Barbara Ann Mojica  39:16  
And you're also you can if you do have several children, you can encourage the siblings to do that. And chances are you're going to have one that is is the extrovert and will kind of encourage encourage the others I didn't have a lot of that growing up I guess some kind of like a typical because my parents were poor and they weren't particularly well educated. Neither one of them graduated high school because they were children during the Depression time, and they went out to work and I grew up with the example of a lot of grit. You know you go Gotta get out there and you got to do what you got to do. So I had that kind of drive that kind of work ethic, my parents didn't have a car. So we didn't travel much. But I did grow up in New York City. I was born in Brooklyn on the borderline between Brooklyn and Queens. And I could get anywhere on a train and robust. So as I got older, I got my first job at 14. And I went to Manhattan every week on a Saturday, and I was a stock clerk and a big department store and took the subway there took the subway home and, and I loved school, I always love learning. And my parents did encourage the learning when they saw how interested I wasn't school, and my grandfather even built me a desk, so I could do my homework and have a place to do it.

DJ Stutz  40:52  
Nice. That's nice.

Barbara Ann Mojica  40:54  
But I've always wanted to travel. And that's where the traveling comes in with my books, so dreamed of traveling all over the world. And I did. And when I graduated college, I saw the world. I mean, I've been to like more than 25 countries visited more than half the states. And I've been to, I went to Soviet Russia when it first opened to the world. And I've been to China and I immersed myself in as much of the culture and history as I possibly could. My parents did instill that sense of inner enough of that sense of curiosity, as limited as their means might have been that it propelled me to do that.

DJ Stutz  41:39  
Cool. Cool. Well, listen, as we start winding down, we'll get all of the details of how to contact you how to get your books, how to reach you, with your YouTube channel, and all of that. But I want to ask you a final question. How would you describe a successful parent?

Barbara Ann Mojica  42:02  
Well, I think, first of all, a parent is first and foremost, a mentor. A teacher, basically, who guides and directs the child, but they, they need to guide and direct a child, but at the same time, encourage independence. So modeling good behavior, modeling, good example, but admitting their own mistakes. It's very important for children to see that parents are not simply authoritarian figures who have all the answers, you know, encouraging them, to be independent to see that sometimes we're wrong. To be realistic, set realistic expectations for them, give them definite boundaries, but set expectations that are not unreasonable. Right. And I think it's really important to listen more than talk. Now, listen to the child more than talk and tell. Yeah, let them express their views. And when they're wrong, explain to them why you think they're wrong. And they may come up with a good answer and tell you Well, I don't think you're right. But that's fine. That's teaching them to analyze, to see pros and cons and come up with different judgments. So I think a parent is also a coach, in some respects, showing the child the way encouraging them moving them along, but never a boss. I think that's really important not to set yourself up as authority, because they see that again, in school, they see well, here in school on the student, and I'm here to learn, but all these other people already over me. So I think if a child has that feeling, that they're not important. They don't have the confidence to go out and explore.

DJ Stutz  44:17  
Yeah, that makes sense. And we really want them to be able to explore and extend themselves and try new things. And if they're afraid of that, for whatever reason, you know, maybe that

Barbara Ann Mojica  44:28  
they won't be able to succeed, because be afraid to try. Yeah, exactly. Failure is the greatest teacher sometimes. Absolutely. It

DJ Stutz  44:37  
is. Ask anyone who's made a million or a billion dollars. They'll all say that we learned far more from our failures than our successes. Yes. Yeah. Well, thank you so much for joining us. I really appreciate it. I appreciate you spending the time and sharing your insight and all of the things that you've learned in Have come around to be able to relate that to our kids and and helping parents, raise kids who are knowledgeable and are able to ask critical questions. I really appreciate your time.

Barbara Ann Mojica  45:13  
Oh, thank you so much for having me. And I look forward to learning from your listeners as well.

DJ Stutz  45:19  
Yeah. And in fact, if anyone wants to ask a question, or if they want to share something that maybe hit them, you can always get me at my Facebook page, which is Little Hearts Academy, USA, on Facebook. And you can always post questions there. And we'll always have that contact information and stuff in the show notes as well. So Barbara was great talking to you. And I'm sure we'll talk again.

Barbara Ann Mojica  45:48  
Oh, I hope so. And I really enjoyed chatting with you today.

DJ Stutz  45:54  
Thank you so much. Okay, so let's do a recap. Number one, encourage your kids to ask questions, and then set the example with your own wonderings. So if you're out for a walk, or you're out shopping, you see an interesting building or history marker. Go ahead and ask the question. I wonder what happened here? What kind of people lived here? Why is this building built the way that it is? And then number two, go ahead and show your kids pictures of yourself and their ancestors, when they were the same age as your kids? And let them ask those questions of, were they nice? Were they wild? Were they a good student? Were they a poor student? What were the adventures they went on? What were the hard things that they had to overcome? Those are all great ways to make history. Personal to your kids. This is your great great grandfather or your great uncle, Marvin Benyon. Number three, talk about how things have changed with each generation. So let's say their grandma and grandpa, when was that, that they first got a microwave oven? Or when did they get a color TV did they have on their whole life? Remember the importance of those primary? Oh, I'm sorry. And number four, remember the importance of those primary sources? There's so much opinion inserted into secondary sources? Well, my friend told me this. I heard this from a pastor who heard it from a parishioner. You know, it's that telephone game. And the further you are from that primary source, the more likely it is to not be accurate. And so we don't want to trust resources, where there's so much opinion that's inserted, that we come away with a very different view of what actually happened. Number five, you can draw pictures with your kids of what they think things were like in the past. What do you think it was like going to school? Or coming across the plains? How did your family get to where you are now, and help them draw pictures of what they think those adventures look like? Number six, civics education is very different from social emotional learning. And both are important. But they're distinctly different topics. And so when they are mushed, into one and with what feels good, we run into danger of inserting agendas and opinions rather than facts. Number seven, your own family stories are a great place to help children gain a feeling of who they are. And to find an interest in history. I use I know there are some others. But I think is the biggest. And it's fun getting an email that says oh, we think we found another ancestor that you're related to. And you can click and see how you're connected to different people. It's pretty cool. Go ahead and start with your own family history. That's the thing that's personal to your child, and makes it real. And number eight, you can start teaching historical personalities and concepts at a very young age. Just remember to use simple terms and simple concepts and ideas of what happened and where that goes. So you may have like with a three year old, you're going to have a very basic story with a 13 year old is going to be more complicated. And you're going to have a chance to go into what were the relationships that they had. What were the writings that they wrote to ensure that the troops were safe and taken care of or that their family was safe when they came across. Maybe To the ocean or came across in an airplane, however, but it's easy to start simple, and then develop the characters and the people as they grow older. Number nine, just know that history is really good at helping kids learn problem solving skills. So you can talk about what happened if it didn't go, well? Was it a great decision? Was it a bad decision? How could they have done it better? What were the repercussions of their decision on other people? Those kinds of questions are great. And then number 10. Just set the example about being curious about history, and let them see reading about history or going to historical site and then let them participate in those activities. One of the things that I really remembered, and we talked about this in our conversation, was my dad stopping at historical sites and reading them. And then as we'd continue driving, he would talk about, I wonder how that went. And that was really interesting. I had no idea and moving on from there. So if you're interested in finding Barbara and her books, all that information is in the show notes. 

Well, parent teacher conferences are going to be here before you know it. And I'm here to help. In fact, I know some of my grandkids in California, are having parent teacher conferences at the end of this week. So the season is starting. Have you ever left a parent teacher conference thinking that well, that was a waste of time? Is this your first conference you've ever had with your oldest child or your only child? Well, there are things that you can do to prepare so that you're using your time wisely. And I have a workshop for you that I have cut down to $10 from my usual 20. And when you are done, you will walk into the conference with confidence and knowing what to share what to ask. And then you're going to walk out of your conference thinking I'm so glad I went. So the link for that is in the show notes. And be sure and register for that and you will have immediate access to the workshop. So next week, I'm talking with Dr. Danny Purcell as we discuss how to help your child become a strong reader. So until next time, let's find joy in parenting.

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Barbara Ann Mojica


Author, educator, and parent, Barbara Ann Mojica provides tools to inspire, entertain and educate youth. History is the key to solving today’s problems. Tired of being bombarded by social media noise? Accept the challenge. Be a truth-teller.

Barbara Ann Mojica, M.A. S.A.S., S.D.A is a historian and retired educator. Her education career spans more than forty years serving as a teacher, special educator, principal, and school district administrator.

Using the whimsical Little Miss History character to narrate her book series, she makes learning history a fun-filled adventure. Barbara firmly believes, "If you don't know your history, you don't know what you're talking about."