Tag Archives: parenting

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?

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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.

Independence vs. Safety

New post over at Easy to Love about my latest parenting struggle: how can you let them blossom while still protecting their safety? How can I find the perfect balance?

Gearing Up

I sent out a new article yesterday to parenting magazines that is directly related to my memoir called Origins: Talking to Your Children About Alternative Conception. I’m hoping that it will be picked up by several publications.

I’m also very excited to be preparing for my first National Novel Writers Month (NaNoWriMo). It occurs during the month of November and the sole goal is to write 50,000 words on the page during the month of November. The group and web site are designed for fiction writers, so I’m choosing to participate even though I’m not writing fiction. But I’ve heard many times that good memoir reads like fiction, so I don’t think this is a huge leap.

Fellow writers who have done it before suggest that I shoot for 2000 words per day, which will allow me five days during the month to write nothing if needed. I believe 2000 words is about three or four pages a day. That’s certainly more than I’ve ever written in a single day except when I was being paid by the hour to write over ten years ago.

I’ve signed up on the web site and last night, I organized my electronic files for the nine chapters of my book that I still need to write. I also set up two more files for magazine articles I’d like to write in November.

I also have signed up for a 12-hour scrapbooking event on Nov. 6, although I don’t plan to do much scrapbooking while I’m there. I’m hoping to use it to get a jumpstart on my word count. The great thing about these scrapbooking events is that they provide all three meals and a large quiet work space out of the house. So there are very few distractions. Plus, it’s a fundraiser for a pre-school and it only costs $45. I highly recommend them for getting things done, even things that aren’t scrapbooking or marathon writing.

Through the NaNoWriMo web site I’ve been monitoring others who are also taking on the challenge. I’ve noticed that a majority of the people who are introducting themselves on the web site are college students and high school students who are home schooled. The site does have a scaled back youth version that is very popular. One friend is doing NaNoWriMo with her teen daughter. I love this idea and will consider getting my boys into it when and if they’re old enough and interested.

It’s not too late to join me. If you are interested, simply go to the web site and sign up for free. They appreciate a donation but I plan to make mine afterward. If you’d like to become a guest blogger here during the month of November and write about your experience with NaNoWriMo (or any other relevant topic) please let me know.

Since I’ll be writing every day, I expect to post more frequently on this blog and hope that you’ll enjoy following me through this month-long challenge.

Subscribe now if you haven’t and thanks for reading.

Lorraine Wilde

Dichotomy

Last week I had a new success and this morning a new rejection.

I wrote an article about the parenting implications of toy guns and sent it to a large number of parenting publications across the country. It took me three weeks to wrap up because it was a difficult subject to reconcile in my own house. I was delighted when just 12 hours after sending it out, a publisher in the midwest, Adams Street Publishing, requested to publish it in three parenting publications: Ann Arbor Family News, Toledo Area Parent News, and Findlay Family News. I’ll receive a small compensation for each. Yeh for me!

It feels great to set a goal and then accomplish it. I used the high to start a new article that I’ll send out later this week.

This morning I got a very nice rejection e-mail from a wonderful woman that runs a small publishing house. When I think of her, the word spitfire comes to mind. We met at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Conference this summer. It was very kind of her to send me personal feedback. I’ll continue to follow her irreverant blog for insights into the mind of an editor and publisher. You should too. Her blog is in my blog roll. Do check it out. Below is her rejection e-mail. Pretty nice as rejections go.

Hi Lorraine,

Thank you for allowing me to read your first chapters. As I said at the conference, I love the idea of your book. Your writing is quite lovely, and you have established a nice conversational pace and flow to your story. While I like it, I don’t love it. I know that sounds lame, but I have to feel passion for every project we sign. When I don’t have that sense of “I gotta have it,” then I know it’s a sign that it’s meant for someone else who will love it far more and take better care of it. I hope to read about you in Publisher’s Marketplace very soon. In the meantime, best of luck to you finding the perfect home for your book. It was great to have met you.

Lynn 

Lynn Price

Editorial Director

Behler Publications

800-830-2913

lynn@behlerpublications.com

www.behlerpublications.com

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Jan’s Story: never forgetting what we once had and lost. ~ Katie Couric

Nothing Short of Joy: a magical world of joy. ~Wayne Dyer

Charting the Unknown: A journey of the heart. ~Suzanna ClarkeA House in Fez,