What if?

Carly fell asleep quickly, holding my hand. My heart breaks, and all too often, when I hear the tone of voice or the rude hostility parents impose on the children they supposedly love. Clearly, most of the actual behavior we call parenting is not love. Most of what we call schooling is not love either. Comparison and competition is not love. Stuff isn’t love. The commercial exploitation of children and of childhood nearly every parent and child experience with commercial media and technology is not love. That doesn’t leave much time for love - does it?

What if it were love that the child experiences as the cornerstone, the safe place, home base, the guiding polestar of their development every day?

What if you and I were always mindful of every child’s brilliance, as is all life in all its forms? The world would change on the spot.

unconditional love

You give us hope...

In each age there are a few voices that rise up and shout with passion and insight. David Chamberlain comes to mind, Ashley Montagu, James Prescott, Jean Liedloff, of course Joseph Chilton Pearce, Suzanne Arms, Bev Bos, Ina May Gaskin, and there are others. These rare individuals awaken and inspire in us a resonate passion and insight. They give us hope.

Returning to our senses

Bev Bos noted, “Experience isn’t the best teacher, experience is the only teacher.” I was sharing with Barbora, a bright twentyish lass from the Czech Republic, how the nuclear family, mother-father-children living in isolation, emerged as the extended family, still relatively intact in her culture, collapsed, a phenomenon that happened abruptly, within ten or fifteen years after World War II in the US.

Can you feel our hearts singing?

I find it challenging to keep current with Carly’s explosive development, three years and two months young and counting. Recall, 700 neurons per second, each connecting with thousands of others is the rate of brain growth the early years – 700 every second. Astonishing is the word I often use. Head turning.

ages and stages

Almost Three

language development
imagination and play

Mad Moments

Carly sat in the dry riverbed scratching an imagined icon in the sand with a stick. “It is getting late and I need to go back home,” I said twice. “No,” she said in her bossy-mean way. “OK, by-by,” I said and continued walking up the dirt path until I was out of sight where I sat in the shade and waited.


How dare they?

For reasons only she knows, as we were slipping on her pajamas, Carly stopped. She wiggled free and ran naked to the closet where her shoes lay waiting. I, of course, being focused on preparing for bed, interpreted her escape as just that, a creative diversion to keep play going as long as possible. Play isn’t an activity. Play is a state of being, a unique quality of attention and relationship to whatever is happening at the moment. From her play perspective, sleeping is like dying. Who wants to do that? I explain, as best I can, that if we don’t sleep and just keep playing, we will all get tired and then grumpy and then we won’t have fun anymore. So, it is important to get lots of sleep so we can wake up fresh and keep playing. But that is another story.


Home Base

The player steps up to home base. While at the plate, he or she is perfectly safe. From this position of safety they swing the bat and hopefully hit the ball. The moment they leave home base, they are at risk. They run to first base avoiding being tagged. The goal is to make it back to home base where nothing bad can happen. I, and everyone else who cares for Carly, is that home base, the safe place where nothing bad can happen, except when we are not.

basic trust

What Are You Doing?

It is a privilege to be Carly’s friend and guide. She is obviously not an honored guest, a celebrity or foreign dignitary, but she deserves being treated like one, with that same heightened level of care, empathy and respect. To do so takes time and attention. Being present is increasingly rare today. The earth is spinning at more or less the same speed, but inside we humans, psychologically, the world is not the same at all. Ten years ago, in 2007, we crossed a tipping point. Human consciousness was jump started into exponential acceleration. Most now carry a mobile computer in their pocket or handbag that buzzes, beeps, and flashes pictures, grabbing our attention, 24/7. Every time it does, we become less attentive, less present, less sensitive to what is taking place here and now, in and between ourselves and our honored guests. Imagine being deep in the Congo and discovering that your guide is oblivious to what is happening, standing there, enchanted, staring at the palm of his hand. “Wake up,” you say! “Be here now!” That is what loving and caring for Carly does. She wakes me up.