Feb 012013
violin scroll

violin scroll (Photo credit: mitch98000)


Watching and listening to people drive themselves to the brink of… something…. in order to “create a perfect holiday”  or a “perfect dinner” reminds me of this story.

A man played his violin in the subway. He played for 45 minutes while more than a thousand people passed through on the way to work. Fewer than ten of those people stopped. About 30 put money in his case, netting him a little over $32.

The musician was the world-famous Joshua Bell, playing the same music he plays in concert halls where tickets sell for $100 each. The instrument he used is valued at more than $3 million. Washington Post writer Gene Weingarten was the mastermind behind the experiment. The Post received a Pulitzer for the story.

Weingarten’s questions had to do with perception of quality, choices and priorities. People familiar with the story have also asked ‘If we are too busy to notice a world class musician, what else are we missing?’

My point?

In our quest for ‘creating the perfect holiday memories’ do we get so tired/grumpy/overwhelmed that we miss what’s going on right under our noses? Are we mired in the past or slave to the future?

What’s that silly expression? “It’s called ‘the present’ because it’s a gift.”

My wish for you is that you enjoy all of your ‘presents.’ Starting right now. (And enjoy the video if you have a chance.)


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Jan 152013

I’m a big fan of taking something that works well in one arena and trying it out in another.

Literacy advocate Esther Jantzen suggests that Think-Aloud is a great way to engage our kids’ thought process during story time, thereby supporting the growth of both their literacy and critical thinking skills. (You can go back and read that post here.)

What if Think-Aloud could be applied to improving and enhancing social and emotional literacy skills? What if we help our kids to ‘Share Our Supposes’ about things that we see on the news, at the mall or in our neighborhoods?

It’s a simple something that can be easily added to day-to-day routines: just stop occasionally to share your thoughts and feelings about what you observed together… and ask your child to do the same. When we do this our youngsters get to see and feel that talking about what’s going on in the world around is us a way to understand it better. It can also help them to connect to news stories and appreciate the ways that their own lives could be impacted by similar circumstances. I think that the ability to see things from another’s point of view is possibly more important now than it has ever been.

How do you talk about the news without scaring or overwhelming your kids?

When an event reminds you of a personal experience, stop and briefly talk about it. You might make a connection between what happened to you and what is happening on the news, or about the impact that a similar event might have had on you or someone you know.

Or, when you come across a story or event that puzzles you, stop and ask questions like, “I wonder why that person did that?” or “That doesn’t make any sense to me — I wonder what she was thinking?” or “Was that a good decision?”

Don’t be in a hurry — see if your child wants to add something. Listen carefully. Encourage your child’s observations.

While you may not come up with any big answers, you’ll help impart the value of asking questions AND contribute to your child’s sense of community and connection.


Dec 282012

“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” – Elizabeth Stone


The first time I read that quote I got goosebumps. I thought about when my son was little and the amount of time I spent worrying. Sometimes it was legitimate. Other times, even though I wasn’t particularly over-protective, it was that unnamed, irrational fear that shows up just because….

I don’t really KNOW why it shows up. Maybe because we love our families SO much that we worry for their safety. Or maybe it’s because we worry about our own ability to respond well if something unforeseen was to happen.

How do you teach your kids about risk?

It takes guts to be a parent.

If you’ve ever done something you thought couldn’t be done, then you KNOW the feeling of exhilaration and competence that comes along accomplishment. Guiding our kids through achieving more and more difficult tasks helps them learn that they can. “They can.”

What is it they can do? Well, that’s between you and them. I just think it’s important that people learn that they can.

Here’s one of my favorite posts about that. “Mom, I’m a Waterskier!”

And a site where moms and people who love them go to change the world

Focus on the future helps us take a deep breath and remember that it is important to teach our kids to accurately evaluate risk and take the steps needed to get where they want to go.

Because they can.