Monday, August 31, 2015

R.I.P. Wayne Dyer

Chiro-sis Ruth called me this morning to tell me that Wayne Dyer died. We last saw him in Baltimore at an I Can Do It! conference. We were walking back after lunch, Bruce Lipton behind us and Wayne coming toward us. I managed to capture their hello:

Here's Wayne & Ruth:

Wayne & me:

Here's Bruce & Wayne together in a talk:

I have a quote journal that I keep. Here are some of my favourite Wayne quotes:

Loving people live in a loving world. Hostile people live in a hostile world. Same world.

With everything that has happened to you, you can either feel sorry for yourself, or treat what has happened as a gift. Everything is either an opportunity to grow, or an obstacle to keep you from growing. The choice is yours. 

The greatest gift you were ever given is your imagination. Within it is the capacity to have all your wishes fulfilled. Look around you. Everything that you can experience with your senses was once in someone's imagination.

I am realistic. I expect miracles.

He wrote many books, but my favourite is the visually stunning, The Power of Intention.  Awesome book. Awesome guy. Sending gratitude for the gift he was in our world.  

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Nature Rx

Mum & I laugh at the drug commercials on TV. When you hear, "Side effects may include sudden death," wouldn't that cause you to pause and think, "Wait, what?" Perhaps whatever condition you have is not the worst thing that could happen to you!  Fortunately, there's a remedy for all this. It can't be extracted or bottled but it will change your life.  :-)

Monday, August 24, 2015


I love discovering new worlds, and thus has begun my Midori-Fauxdori obsession. Midoris originate from Japan and are a kind of notebook where you buy a leather shell, and then you insert individual notebooks. These notebooks can be lined for writing, or blank or made of a sturdier art paper for painting.  Fauxdoris are like Midoris but can come in different colours, sizes & materials and are not made by the Midori company. Check out Etsy or Chic Sparrow for some awesome options! There are also Fabricdoris; haven't ventured there yet. But paperdoris are pretty easy to do!

I found some cute little notebooks at Tuesday Morning by Eccolo for $1.99.  They are 5 1/4" X 3 1/2" and I measured out my scrapbook paper allowing for half an inch more to those dimensions; so the paperdori is 5 3/4" X 4"  Here is the final product I made for my friend Tessa:

This is her favourite quote by John Morgan; Doing diffuses fear. I put quotes on post-it notes and stick them to my mirror in the bathroom. This was one of the notes. I printed this out on some scrapbook paper and then laminated it.
Here's the shell, without the books:
What I would do differently: I would have scored where the elastic bands are, so there wouldn't be that awkward crease. It's not visible when it's closed, but I think it would help better with wear and tear. Another thing I would do differently is that I would NOT laminate the inside because it puckered and I ended up cutting down the middle and overlapping it a bit. This prolly wouldn't be an issue if I'd used a heat laminator.

I punched in a bigger hole to accommodate 2 elastic bands:

About the elastic cord: It was vibrantly rainbowish & multi-coloured & I needed it to be more muted and dark. So I used a black Sharpie marker and dyed the cord. 

For the enclosure elastic, I used a Pilot gold marker:

I used goldish beads to secure the elastic on the outside of the notebook:

and I added a butterfly charm at the top:

This was actually a silver charm, but I used the same gold pen to colour it:

This is what it looks like on the inside:

That first thing is an insert folder that I made using left-over paper:
Outer folder.
Inside folder.
The insert folder slips around the first two notebooks:

Here's how I secured the two butterfly books together before I slipped them under the elastic:
With a rubber band along the center of each notebook.

Here's the last book:

Oops, no photo, but I added some quotes in the book to get her started!

Here's the back:

Materials I used:
Aforementioned gold marker
Non-heat laminate roll.  I got it from the craft store and it says "Peel & Stick."  Here's something comparable from Avery.
Eyelet and Snap punch
Corner rounder
Scrapbook paper
2mm elastic cord. I got mine at the craft store, but here's something comparable on Amazon.
Charms, beads from craft store.
Packing tape to tape together the papers for the insert folder.
Rubber band to connect 2 of the notebooks together.

Here's a quick flip-thru of the paperdori:

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Helicopter Parents Create Fragile Adults

I was excited to see Lenore Skenazy in the Costco Connection magazine this month answering the question, "Is hands-off parenting a good thing?" Author of Free Range Kids, she has offered an alternative to the helicopter parenting style that has become the norm in America. "Free range" is how most Americans grew up before the advent of personal computers, cell phones and other technological gadgets. If you remember being tossed out the door with a "Go play!" from your mother, then you qualify as free range. If you spent the whole day roaming around the neighborhood, finding kids to play with and had no schedule or time table other than the direction to "be home by dinner," then you were free range. When I was growing up in the 1960's & 70's, it was just called "childhood."

So what happened? How did we become so obsessed with safety and stranger danger? Dr. Bruce Lipton has suggested that one cause was the advent of the 24-hour news cycle. The news, which is mostly negative and scary, puts a person on alert. It's stressful. As Bruce says, "Our bodies were not designed to be on constant alert." The result is that we are fearful and in a state of protection. Being in a state of fear is not a time for fun, it's a time for survival. In addition, now we get to see one incident of a horrible crime in another part of the country or world (kidnapping-rape-murder) over and over and over again. When really, on a planet with 7 billion people, most of us had a good day. But that's not news.

As a result of this safety obsession, parents have adopted what Lenore calls "worst first" thinking. You immediately imagine the worst-case scenario and then think that it will happen. Parents have confused "could happen" with "will happen." For example, I was watching a home improvement show. The four year old son went into the front yard and climbed a tree. The horror!  The mother freaked out and rescued him. "What are you doing? Get down from there, you're going to get hurt."  It was a smallish tree; he was three feet off the ground. But he could fall and break something. You know what my mother would have said? Nothing. In fact I used to climb an avocado tree in our back yard all the time. It was awesome. I survived.  

In the aforementioned Costco magazine, there was a differing opinion from psychotherapist Karen Ruskin in which she states, "There is no proof that free-range wandering has any benefit." 

But there is. 

Childhood has changed in many ways. One is that it's rare to see children outside, just playing. I know there are kids in the neighborhood; I see the stick families on the back of the mini-vans. In my old neighborhood, there was a community baseball diamond. I never saw kids playing there. It stood empty. What a luxury it would have been to have a real baseball diamond as a kid! Other adults would remark that when they were growing up, it wouldn't haven't been empty until bed time. But there it was, on a perfect summer day, wasted.

Instead of pick-up games and free play, children now have scheduled sports. But as Peter Gray points out, those don't count--unless a child enjoys it. Even then, these are organized and supervised by adults who tell children what to do and how to do it. There's no room for making up different rules, choosing teams, or playing a different game. And why would these be important? Here are some of the benefits of free play:
  • Children learn to negotiate and work things out. They don't rely on an adult telling them what to do. "It's our game. We get to decide the rules."
  • They practice making decisions. "Should we build a fort or play a game?  Who gets to play the captain?"
  • They solve problems. I was watching my nieces play dress-up and they were all pretending to go to the "Grand Ball" on Saturday night. One of them pointed out, "Hey, it's Friday. We'll have to wait." The other one said, "No, we need to sleep and then it will be Saturday." Immediately they all dropped down on the floor and pretended to sleep for a few seconds, complete with snoring noises. Then they all popped up and magically it was Saturday. 
  • Creativity and imagination.  Here's my niece going down the stairs. Well, how do you do it? As my brother is fond of saying, "Safety third!"
  • Children learn they are not the center of the universe. No matter how special you are in your family, and what kind of special treatment you get, you are going to get treated as just another kid. And if you're too bratty, no one will want to play with you! 
  • Self-control. If a child is too angry or mean, the other players can choose to stop playing the game. Or not to play with that kid. In order to continue the game, children have to learn to get along.
  • Children learn to take criticism. And they get called names. Their feelings get hurt and sometimes they hurt other kids' feelings. If it gets too unpleasant, they stop playing. They also learn to apologize.
  • They fall and they get back up. This sometimes hurts but they get better. But it also teaches them that perhaps it's not a good idea to push other children.  
  • Empathy; being kind keeps the game going and makes other kids want to play with you.
  • Challenges and testing limits. "Can I reach that next branch? Can I throw the ball past that tree? Can I jump rope 100 times?" Here's a baby climbing up a rock wall
  • They learn they have choices; who to play with, what game, for how long, where, etc. 
  • It's fun and things that are fun release the opposite of stress hormones, which promote health, growth, and general well-being. Here's my 2 YO nephew jumping off a fridge.  
Side Bar Rant on American Schools
Unfortunately, not only have parents limited free play, but schools have too. Many school districts have abolished recess as a "waste of time." In my own district, recess goes away after 5th grade. Add the current obsession with testing and you have a recipe for turning children into little office drones. Not only that, but testing requires one right answer, not multiple possibilities. It kills creativity and critical thinking skills and requires only memorization. In addition, the "zero tolerance" policies of schools has also removed the need for critical thinking skills and discernment. In Pennsylvania, a 10 YO boy was suspended for using an imaginary bow and arrow.  Really?  

This lack of discernment isn't relegated to elementary schools, it goes to the university level. Peter Shankman travels around the world, speaking about social media and customer service. Author of  four books, he was an adjunct professor at NYU. Was. Some of his students asked if he would put the word out to his network inquiring about possible internships. In his own intern days of five different internships, he along with his fellow interns were affectionately called "slave labor."    When he put out his post, he said something about slave labor which was offensive to some people. You can read the whole story on Peter's blog. It boils down to this: it was joke. Anyone doing an internship knows what it's like; free labor and grunt work. Yeah, I said it. Grunt work. Hope I'm not offending any grunts out there. Perhaps this is why Jerry Seinfeld won't perform at colleges anymore

My concern for helicoptered children is who they become as adults. We're already seeing the first generations in college, now. For some parents, the solution is to move to college with their children.

When I saw Peter Gray speak, he put it very succinctly. Students are overwhelmed with seemingly normal situations. A young woman scheduled an emergency meeting with the school counselor because her room mate called her a "bitch." Two young men, living in off-campus housing, called 911 because they had a mouse in the kitchen. These kids were unprepared for dealing with challenges in their physical environment, or their social one. Kids who have been allowed to have free play would have been able to handle the situations without calling in an adult to mediate. 

By supervising all their time, parents are essentially giving a message of "you're incapable." Incapable of making decisions, figuring things out, learning new things. Instead, of teaching that the world is dangerous, how about teaching discernment?  If you really want to learn about how to protect yourself from dangerous situations, read The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker. Joe Navarro is another good resource for learning to read people and discern a potentially dangerous situation. 

Free range parenting isn't about chucking your kid out into the world willy-nilly, unprepared. It's about trusting your child and giving them opportunities to explore. Bruce Lipton tells a story about encountering a snake in the back yard. One mother is a biologist and teaches her child about snakes. The other mother freaks out. Are snakes interesting or scary? Both, depending on your beliefs. "But what if it's POISONOUS?!"  Another opportunity to discern between safe and non-safe. Is the world scary or fun? Both. Depending on how you've been conditioned.  I choose fun.

Bonus: The Daily Show sums up the free-range debate brilliantly.