Anecdotes

Top 10 Ways to a Happy Childhood

I had what I consider a happy childhood, but when I lay out the facts, it looks miserable: I was the oldest of five and my father was an alcoholic. We had very little money and I was expected to pay for everything discretionary–from a bicycle to a prom dress—myself. We uprooted and moved constantly […]

Curiosity Cures Boredom

There is no cure for curiosity—Dorothy Parker If I were a Fairy Godmother bestowing a precious gift upon a child, I would choose the gift of curiosity. Plink! And you shall go out and ask why, and what would happen if….. You shall receive skinned knees and dangle from trees. You will lift up rocks, […]

Life in the Slow Lane: 10 Ways to Savor Life

Joseph Campbell once said that everyone thinks they are seeking the meaning of life, but what we truly seek as human beings is the experience, the rapture, of being alive. One September afternoon four year old Finn and I were sprawled in the car while mama and daddy shopped in the grocery store. Baby India […]

The Most Powerful Words in the World

It was a long day filled with tasks. I wanted more time, more leisure, more space between the doing of things. I sighed and pulled on my boots. Our family was coming up on the first year anniversary of my husband’s death and we were all struggling with the firsts—the first Thanksgiving without his gravy, […]

Night of the Shooting Stars: Perseid Meteor Shower

It was a hot night in August. The weekend had drawn to a close on the heels of a long family hike in the Olympic mountains near our island home. I was tired. With boundless boy energy our son declared he was going to sleep out on the trampoline that night with his friend and […]

Throw Away the Directions! The Importance of Open-Ended Play

“This hose is a breathing tube,” our 9-year-old son said holding up a piece of garden hose. I nodded and continued chopping carrots. “And this foot pump is part of a tricky machine that lets you breathe underwater.” “Uh-huh,” I said absently. I was used to the boy’s inventions. Mousetraps from duct tape, helicopters from […]

Help Your Child to Grow Wings

“No one else has to do chores,” my son complained. “And if the do, they get PAID.” “Hmmm…well, that is not the way we do it in our family,” I said, repeating the very words I swore I would never say to my own kids when I was a furious girl with the very same […]

The Summer of By the Shore and Getting Dirty

I have decided this will be the summer of getting dirty, going barefoot and eating plums and maybe making jam out of some of them or maybe not, I might take a nap instead. The house will be a wreck, the laundry will pile up and I may stay in my pajamas all day and […]

“You Be the Monster!” The Importance of Playing with Fear

It begins with a simple 5-beat clap; a percussive call to what the kids call the RUNNING GAME. You cannot say those two words quietly. It is always shouted or crowed or yelped when they hear the opening clap. Two-year-old Poppie and four-year-old Finn race upstairs to the long hallway where I sit with my […]

I Give My Daughter Words: Modeling the Language of Calm

by Rebecca Lemar Just after lunch my daughter asks for dried cherries. She can’t be hungry, she just ate. “No thank you,” I say. This little three year old doesn’t want a “no,” she wants cherries and my answer sends her into a fist pounding, feet stomping bout. I put my hand up and say […]

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