Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tough Times - Part 3 Ruthless for Children

Tough Times require that we become tireless advocates for children. We must stand up and demand that children be given the opportunities that will help them to succeed in these times, and any time.

James Squires, PhD., past President of the National Association of Early Childhood Specialists in State Departments of Education, offers these words of inspiration...


For those amongst us who sincerely care about children, the time has come to be ruthless.

We must be ruthless against the poverty that causes children to go to bed hungry and awaken to barren cupboards.

We must be ruthless against bureaucracies that cause children to be denied basic medical and dental care.

We must be ruthless against politics that promote unconscionable inequities in educational opportunities for children.

We must be ruthless against the abuse , neglect, and exploitation of children.

We must be ruthless against businesses and consumers who benefit unfairly from the labors of children.

We must be ruthless against media that glorify violence, hatred, and intolerance for children to model.

We must be ruthless against industries which profit from weapons that blindly injure, maim, and kill innocent children.

We must be ruthless against governments and groups that turn their children into warriors.

We must be ruthless against forces that pressure children beyond the breaking point, robbing them of their childhood and extinguishing all hopes and dreams.

We must be ruthless against our own ignorance, arrogance, and indifference.

For if we are not ruthless, we have truly lost our compassion.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Tough Times - Part 2 - Presence

When times are tough, we get stressed and distracted. We sometimes go into survival mode and walk around doing the minimum of what's expected and forget to notice the unexpected. One mom recently told me about her very mystical two year old. Sometimes, kids say amazing things that get our attention! Mom was doing her usual busy-ness and had finally stopped and sat down. Numb from all the demands she was feeling, she was kind of staring off into space. Her tiny daughter took her mom's face and looked into her eyes and said, "Mommy, where are you?" That was a wake-up call.

Probably one of the most challenging things for many of us is to stay present... to stay aware and attentive to life and people flowing around us. Presence is also one of the most rewarding things we can do. When we are present, we notice things that otherwise get by us, like the people in our lives who are important to us. Like the beauty that is always there for the seeing.

Times are tough and there are many things we must do to keep afloat. But peace, even for a moment, comes when we notice the wonder in the ordinary of every day.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Tough Times - Part 1

I love to go shopping at the local "Grocery Outlet" because you never know quite what you will find. In these tough times, I can definitely count on paying less there. Today, right behind me in the check out line was a self-described stay-at-home mom. She said this was her favorite place to shop. They often have organic and specialty foods that she would pay lots more for at the natural foods grocery store. She was out on her own, with her two year old napping at home with dad. She and her mom have fun when they can come together and they both leave with a cart full.

And speaking of dads, there was a young dad shopping with his two year old son in the cart, and grandma (the dad's mom) helping out. Dad was picking all the right foods, with the hope that this picky toddler would eat them. He was pointing to a box and asking his son, "Who's that?" Elmo from Sesame Street was there to promote some fruit snacks. I love that they were making this necessary shopping trip a fun experience for this child.

Times are tough. We are all going to be tightening our budgets to make ends meet. We are going to change some of our usual routines. Especially in tough times, we can still surround ourselves with family and friends and have fun! Even at the grocery store.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Every Child Homeschooled

Every child should be home schooled, no matter what other schools they also attend. Kids who are home schooled have adults in their lives who are totally committed to their education. And education does not just mean book-learning. They are given opportunities to experience many things that will give them a broad understanding of the world they live in.

* Frequent trips to the public library to research many topics
* Regular visits to local museums
* Chances to take things apart and put them back together
* Hikes in the local fields and forest, looking for creatures and plants
* Discussions around the dinner table about current events
* Acceptance of their individual talents and differences
* A variety of opportunities for socially connecting with others
* Experiences that show appreciation for diversity
* Community involvement with social service agencies

Our own children went to public school. Often they had great teachers; sometimes they weren't. But we always did things as a family that reinforced our value of life-long learning. We can't just send our kids to school (whatever the school, public or private) and expect they are going to learn everything they will need to know to succeed in life. And what often sticks are the things children learn at home. What are we teaching them?

Surprised by Love

Oh, I just read a very touching note from a colleague. He and his wife adopted a little boy a year ago. He said, "We never knew we could love someone so much." We are often surprised by how much we love our infants. These little energy balls of possibility are constantly waking us up with their delightful curiosity and wonder.

Then, children grow up and sometimes their behaviors are much less charming. In some of the tougher moments, we can forget how cute they were. Yet, children are amazing. They all deserve our love and commitment. They need our help and support... even beyond the teen years.

This is my wish for the world.... love. And I wish that every child felt this kind of unconditional devotion from parents and family members, even as they grow into more awkward, testy phases. Love is not all we need, but it is SO important. Wishing you all some love on this wonderful December day!

Monday, December 1, 2008


I am usually very patient with small children. They get frustrated when they can't do something. They are bored with what we are doing. They don't have a long attention span. They can't always do what we want them to do. I'm usually able to distract them or find something else that will soothe their frustration.

I'm not so patient with older children, teens. or adults. Somehow I am more likely to think, "They should know better." Hey, I'm also impatient with myself for the same reason. If I get caught up in this, I forget my good intention. The truth is that in the moment, we don't always know better. Judgment and discernment can become clouded by curiosity or interest or impulse.

This last holiday weekend and the time ahead is giving me a reminder to muster all my patience to deal with the impatience and impulsiveness around me and within me. As experience so often teaches, when times seem crazy, my own reactivity does not help. The only person I can really influence is myself. So, in hectic traffic, in lines at the store, when my own family members seem oblivious to all the things that need to be done around here, my patience is the ticket to rising above these things and enjoying the moment.

Breathe, Glo. When I am waiting for an important event or announcement or whatever, this brings me back into line with my patience. I can now notice the generosity and kindness and understanding that is all around.