Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Daughter Upset She’s Not in Class With Friends

DEAR HARRIETTE: I know that exposing my children to cultural activities will help to expand their minds, and it might even help them on tests. I have tried to get them to go with me to various cultural events in our city, but as they are getting older, they constantly protest whenever I suggest that we go to a museum, art show or fair. I don’t want to give up on exposing them to these things, but it is getting really hard to convince them to go with an open mind. What can I do to get them interested? -- Expand Your Horizons

DEAR EXPAND YOUR HORIZONS: Changing your children’s mindset is the biggest challenge you are facing. Forcing them to participate in these activities may create the unintended consequence of them dreading all cultural engagements. That is the opposite of your intention. So tread carefully. You have to get them genuinely interested.

What if you look for cultural activities with your children so that they participate in selecting where you will go? Look at community bulletin boards and various websites to learn what’s going on in your town. You may want to assign your children the task of identifying the top three potential things to do -- within a particular distance and price point. The more you can empower them to make choices, the more they may get into the idea of continuing the family tradition.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)