Toxic, Toxic and more Toxic

The toxic load is crushing our children - toxic food, toxic water, toxic air and toxic injections. Add this to overstressed parents, corporate-media-technological exploitation of children, the depressing impact of social media on children and adults, the collapse of experiential relationships with nature, the loss of authentic free play, and the long standing failure of compulsory mass education to meet the astonishing learning capacity of every new human being. Anyone and everyone who cares about or for children must step up and take proactive actions to ‘do no harm,’ to human life’s most precious and sacred resource. No more excuses. This is the moment.

MM

Themes: 
vaccinations
parenting

Forgive us, for we know not what we are doing

A woman was beating her infant-toddler in a stroller in front of our gallery. This is a busy tourist destination. One of my colleagues rushed out the door. “Stop that right now,” she said, as others stood by in silence. We are responsible for our children’s behavior, and yet we punish them for our sins, and have for centuries. "Father, forgive us, for we do not know what we are doing."

Themes: 
parenting
abuse-neglect

Ten Nevers One Always

Of course, never hit, spank or physically punish a child; time out is a punishment. Understand instead that you are equally to blame. When frustrations rage, invite empathy for yourself and the child. Look for a story that will lead, invite and encourage what needs to be done.

Never blame a child. Observe and share together natural consequences.

Never shame a child. Describe how you are feeling in ways that focus attention on, as Marshal Rosenberg, the founder of nonviolent communication, would say, will make your life wonderful.

Themes: 
parenting

Respect or Overindulgent

I often wonder; what is the difference between spoiling a child and honoring their reality? Where does respect end and overindulgence begin? If Carly doesn’t like something on her plate, should we insist she eat it? Does respecting her necessarily imply that we should prepare Mac & Cheese every night because that is what she says she likes and therefore wants? When she says ‘no’ to getting ready for bed should we wait until she is ready or become indignant; “How dare you talk to me that way. I say it is time for bed!”

Themes: 
play
storytelling
parenting

Promise First Do No Harm

We forget. Nonviolence begins in the arms of nurturing mothers and fathers.

We feel numbed-shock, sadness and rallying pockets of rage as another wave of violence ripples through our collective psyche. Personally, I celebrate our nation’s youth, like the boy in the Emperor’s New Clothes, exposing the hypocrisy of the gun-lobby and implicitly the greed of the military industrial complex, hiding behind flag-waving (pseudo) patriotism that worships killing.

Themes: 
nurturing
touch
parenting
violence
culture

Story and Leading into Play

Until age five or six early child’s play is 90% self-play. The child may be with other children or an adult who are doing similar activities, but the focus of the child’s play is still personal. Group play requires a number of children act out the same story together, that they pretend to be the King or Queen, or the Frog Prince. This is very complex, abstract. The early child is concrete in their play. Nearly all play during the early years involves story, sensory experience, touch and movement.

Themes: 
storytelling
imagination and play
parenting

I Wish...

Parents and the people who care about children understood how different the child’s reality is from our, more or less, adulterated version. What does adulterated mean? Tainted, mixed, polluted, contaminated. What we call reality is filtered by experience, our ideas, beliefs and fantasies, and yet, filtered is what we see. It is our reality. Adulterated is normal and we rarely pause to consider that what is normal for us is not normal for our children. Not seeing this difference we impose our interpretation of reality on our children, often with painful consequences.

Themes: 
brain development
attunement
parenting

Takes One To Know One

Pausing on this eve, the last starry full moon night of 2017, it is the spontaneous laughter, innocence and playful affection, with its deep and shared trust of a child, that lights the heart and lifts the mind out of its often dark and dreary habits. Observing the way thousands of adults relate to children, I often wonder if they see and experience this light that lifts and transforms? Sometimes, surely, when trust and laughter fills the air.

Themes: 
empathy
parenting

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.

Themes: 
parenting
discipline

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.

Themes: 
parenting

Pages