Category Archives: Parenting

The Secret to Eternal Youth

Okay, its no real secret. Youth isn’t eternal. Its ephemeral, which means we have to enjoy the hell out of it before its gone. We all know about the diet, exercise, and sleep yada, yada. But one way to make youth last is a little healthy denial. Never underestimate the value of being playful and taking time out from responsibility to relax and have a little fun.

Inner Child Adults by Rachel AndrewsA non-profit local to my area, Inner Child Studio, is helping everyone–adults included–focus on finding ways to play. It was a joy to write an article for WhatcomTalk.com about all they are doing for our community. With their help, we can keep our minds and bodies sharp and happy.

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Future Tinkers

I recently got to spend a little time with a high school robotics team as they frantically finished building a robot that will compete in the FIRST Robotics Championships.Young Einstein

While watching them, I couldn’t help but see in them the potential future of my own sons, now age 11 and obsessed with making lego stop motion animation films, Minecraft, and 3-D printing.

Writing this article for WhatcomTalk.com just made me excited for all the opportunities that lay ahead for them.

The creativity and ingenuity of my little men inspire me every day.

On the Future of Education

As our collective intelligence grows–what we know as Americans, as humans, about ourselves, about this planet, this universe–how shall we manage the education of the masses?

Young EinsteinShould they be expected to know less, retain less, and do more, live more, because knowledge is now at their fingertips? Or should we instead aspire toward a populous of Einstein’s and Monet’s, of Shakespeare’s and Mandela’s? [For now, I’m choosing to ignore the future of greed.]

I’m not sure which is the correct path. One of self, the other humanity. Both worthy pursuits.

Yet, not one of these geniuses received the ideal education as defined by today’s standards.

I’ve had privileged academic opportunity and a challenging life. I spent much of my first 30 years studying, and the last 10 or so living. I’d like to think that my true education, my true wisdom, has come from balancing, from savoring both experiences.

We have many choices ahead, but how must we decide? To whom will we defer that judgment ? And to what end?

Book Review–“Mindset: The New Psychology of Success”

A fellow parent loaned me the book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, when I mentioned that I was struggling with my twin almost-tweens “I can’t” moments. It seemed that whenever things got hard, which was often, our attitude was getting in our way before we’d even begun to try. “I can’t” has lately been banished from our house just like swearing and spitting.

I found that a lot of other parents were also reading it. In the break room at my job as a para educator for the Bellingham School District, I discovered that most of the teachers had read it, and others throughout the district were incorporating this book’s ideals into their classroom learning environment. The main ideal of the book—to develop a “growth mindset” as opposed to a “fixed mindset” –was inspiring teachers to change the way they approached their students learning.

Written by Dr. Carol Dweck, a Stanford Psychology Professor, the book uses a familiar self-help non-fiction format of real client and celebrity examples to illustrate how unproductive a fixed mindset—the personal belief that when we try and fail, we are just not good (or smart or….) enough—can be compared to a growth mindset, one that sees and feels failure as an exciting personal challenge that can be overcome with more effort. Dweck breaks the book conveniently into separate sections on sports, business, relationships (love and friendship), parenting, and of course, the final section on how the heck to change one’s mindset.

Common in this type of book, there were times when Dweck’s descriptions felt too black and white; we all are living in the grey space. But I found her view insightful and helpful. Simply by creating the awareness, by noticing our own moments stuck in the fixed mindset—about a tried and true argument with my husband, my boy’s struggle with the homework they hate, my friendship with a gal pal that just isn’t working for me anymore—I feel like I have a new tool in the box to tackle these frustrating moments rather than giving up and getting out the ice cream. I realized, to help my kids morph their mindset, I probably need to check in with my own.

Dweck covers the idea introduced in a bevy of other parenting books, that the devil is in the details of how we, as parents, approach praise and failure with our words and actions. She offers suggestions for common hurdles, like denial, entitlement, and precociousness. The author also developed a computer-based animated training called “Brainology™” that teachers and parents can use to increase kids self-mindset-awareness.

Mindset is definitely worth a skim to see where you and your family’s mindsets fall when dealing with challenge and failure, both big and small.

Win a Copy of “Easy to Love But Hard to Raise”

Earlier this month I blogged here about Christina Katz’ Every-Day-In-May Book Giveaway. It’s still going strong. You can check out Christina’s site to see all the fabulous books she’s given away thus far.

This coming Saturday, May 26, Christina and I will be giving away a free copy of the anthology Easy to Love But Hard to Raise. Check her web site for the rules, but your odds are great. All you have to do to win is go to her site on May 26 and answer the question of the day in 50-200 words by posting a comment. She will choose one winner for each anthology randomly. Get in to the habit by heading over there every day for the rest of May. She has some amazing titles still to come including:

May 22nd: Natalie Serber, Shout Her Lovely Name (fiction, short stories) More info

May 23rd: Christina Katz, Build Your Author Platform e-workbook (nonfiction, how-to) More info

May 24th: Kristina Riggle, Keepsake (fiction, novel) More info

May 25th: Abigail Green, Mama Insider: Laughing (And Sometimes Crying) All The Way Through Pregnancy, Birth and the First Three Months (e-book, humorous nonfiction) More info

May 26th: Anthology Day! Cara Holman, Lorraine Wilde, Chynna Laird, and Lela Davidson are participating writers

May 27th: Miriam Kobras, award-winning The Distant Shore: Book One of the Stone Trilogy (fiction, romance) More info

May 28th: Allison Winn Scotch, The Song Remains The Same (fiction, novel) More info

May 29th: Lisa Schroeder, It’s Raining Cupcakes More info and Sprinkles and Secrets More info (middle grade fiction novels)

May 30th: Christina Katz, one set of her three books by Writer’s Digest: Writer Mama More info, Get Known Before the Book Deal More info, and The Writer’s Workout More info (all nonfiction, how-to)

May 31st: Karen Karbo, a set of her three kick-as women books: How To Hepburn More info, The Gospel According to Coco Chanel More info, and How Georgia Became O’Keeffe More info (nonfiction)

Easy to Love Parent to Parent

Today I blogged over at Easy to Love… about all that my county Parent to Parent group has done to support my family in our unusual journey through parenthood. Check it out!

A Woman’s World: Work and Family

I’m honored to have been interviewed for this excellent article, Opting Back In: The Pros and Cons of Returning to Work After Kids, in Seattle’s ParentMap by Malia Jacobson, a freelance writer that I blogged here about earlier this year. Please check it out.