“It’s okay.” “I’m with you.” “It’ll all be fine.” ~ Why Children Need to Hear These Words More Than You May Know

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“It’s okay.” “I’m with you.” “It’ll all be fine.” ~ Why Children Need to Hear These Words More Than You May Know

“New research at Stanford University encouraged middle school teachers to take on an ‘empathetic mindset’ when students were being disciplined. The study found that the number of pupils who were suspended across the academic year halved, from 9.6% to 4.8%.” ~ Study: Focus on Empathy, Not Punishment, Improves Discipline We all know how well children saturate themselves in the present moment. Lost in doodling, leaves, bugs and clouds, the present moment wraps itself around young ones like a warm, secure blanket. Here children enter a deep state of relaxation where they trust all is good in life. One reason children rest so well in presence is because they rest well in their heart. The heart dwells in what I call the “zero point”: The child […]

Put “Reality” Aside. Children Need You to Dream With Them and Dance In Their Wild World.

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Put “Reality” Aside. Children Need You to Dream With Them and Dance In Their Wild World.

“The magic, the wonder, the mystery and the innocence of a child’s heart are the seeds of creativity that will heal the world.” ~ Michael Jackson In one of my Remembering to Play playshops a father shared that his young son expressed interest in one day becoming an astronaut. “How did you respond?” I asked. The father replied, “By saying, ‘how are you going to do that?’” It wasn’t just about the words the father chose but the doubt and concern he reenacted in his tone, a tone his son would have felt. It’s very tempting and easy to jump to the How. For the inhibited, rational adult, forgetful of the child within, the logistics of the dream are far more alluring than the dream […]

From Prince to King: To Graduate and Welcome a Queen, the Old Contract—the Need for Mother’s Love—Must End

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From Prince to King: To Graduate and Welcome a Queen, the Old Contract—the Need for Mother’s Love—Must End

“Much male fear of feminism is the fear that, in becoming whole human beings, women will cease to mother men, to provide the breast, the lullaby, the continuous attention associated by the infant with the mother. Much male fear of feminism is infantilism—the longing to remain a mother’s son, to possess a woman purely for him.” ~ Adrienne Rich, On Lies, Secrets and Silence For the male to graduate from Prince to King he must forgo his dire need for his mother’s love. So long as the old contract stands—the insidious, unconscious and fear-based agreement between he and his mother—he cannot fully enter the heart of his waiting Queen. His mother was once a God to him, an ardent provider of love. She was love, and when that love […]

Connection Precedes Learning and Self-regulation ~ Why Relationships are Foundational in Education and Life

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Connection Precedes Learning and Self-regulation ~ Why Relationships are Foundational in Education and Life

Note to the reader: If you have already read my previous articles on connection and the right brain, you may wish to skip further down to the section on co-regulation. Connection precedes learning How often and in how many ways do we make learning far more important than connection? The school system has been designed to make learning paramount and so often at the cost of the core biological need to bond. This breaks the hearts of so many teachers I present to, leaving them in tears, angry, frustrated. They dearly want to connect with their students, but find it extremely difficult given the expectations of the institution and classroom size. They dearly want to listen to and connect to their own hearts, and do […]

Pause For Love ~ Remember Who You Are, Why You Are Here and What Matters Most

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Pause For Love ~ Remember Who You Are, Why You Are Here and What Matters Most

I was sitting with my book designer in her apartment, struggling through what seemed like another litany of hurdles that go along with publishing. But that day there was a new challenge we’d yet to confront. A fuse blew, killing her internet connection. We needed that connection if we were to do the research and share material between our computers. So she phoned her landlord. “Hi Nigel. I’ve blown a fuse. Can you come replace it?” Nigel? Nigel Williams? It couldn’t be. Yet it was. I could hear his old, familiar, distinguishably sluggish Welsh accent moaning through the phone; my long lost uncle who I’d not seen in twenty years, someone who’s had as difficult a life as anyone I know, and someone my family […]

When You Can No Longer Dance the Dance of Roles in Your Relationship

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When You Can No Longer Dance the Dance of Roles in Your Relationship

“It takes more courage to examine the dark corners of your own soul than it does for a soldier to fight on a battlefield.” ~ W. B. Yeats Roles have been around since man first graced the planet. I’m not talking about outer roles such as butcher, baker and candlestick maker. Rather, I’m speaking about inner roles such as Pleaser, Controller, Stablizer, and Go-To-Person. Also knows as emotional functions, they are ways of being in the world not unique to us. Anyone can be an Accommodator, Cynic, Peacemaker, Good Girl/Boy and Bad Girl/Boy. We have all at one point been these characters, for within us there is a bit of each. But not everyone can or will be a police officer, legal assistant, rock star […]

Kids Hunger For More Meaningful Conversations and Less Direction

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Kids Hunger For More Meaningful Conversations and Less Direction

“Teachers expect kids to act like adults, but they treat them like children.” These are the frustrated words from a mature grade seven student. When asked for an example, she said, “I remember in kindergarten sharing ideas and dreams with my teacher, and she would respond by saying, ‘That’s nice, dear. Why don’t you go and draw a picture about it.’” I then asked how her teacher could have responded differently. She said, with a degree of irritation, “All she had to say was, ‘Tell me more about it.’” *** Scroll to the bottom to read 15 Questions Kids Hunger to Hear *** In the same way that recess is learning, engagement is teaching. “Conversation is gold. It’s the most efficient early-learning system we have. And it’s […]

The Co-Revolution: Teaching Kids to Self-Regulate is Not Enough ~ It’s Time to Heal Our Own Trauma and Co-Regulate

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The Co-Revolution: Teaching Kids to Self-Regulate is Not Enough ~ It’s Time to Heal Our Own Trauma and Co-Regulate

“I’ve come to a frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It’s my personal approach that creates the climate. It’s my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or dehumanized.” ~ Haim G. Ginott The new buzzwords in child development and education are self-regulation, trauma and attachment. Thank goodness! I’m so glad we are recognizing the burden of pain, depression and anxiety kids are carrying, and the support […]

Start With Empathy ~ The Gift of Being With Others in Their World

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Start With Empathy ~ The Gift of Being With Others in Their World

Many years ago, when I was naïve and not exactly socially intelligent, I left an indelible mark on a relationship with one sentence. It began when a colleague shared with me that she had cancer. My response was something like this: “Well, you know it is all meant to be. There is something you are meant to learn from it.” Yes, I can hear you cringing from here. I don’t blame you. Fortunately I have learned since then—a lot—and am now teaching what I have learned. Here’s where I missed the mark. Resting in the receptive One of the core principles that I teach, as many of you now know, is the Spirit of Yes And. The “Yes” of Yes And is the receptive—it is […]

She is the Door

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She is the Door

by Vince Gowmon From Wild Empty Spaces ~ Poems for the Opening Heart   She is the door. She won’t let you in until you surrender to her, until you set down the tattered old baggage you have carried and worshipped these many years. Drop the illusions of your mind, the ideas of who you are: the bluster, the charm, the false pretense, the wild, well-versed stories you tell so well. The ones you have deceived so many others with. None will work with her, her piercing eyes see right through them. None will be the key that opens the door, that opens her heart. Leave them at the threshold, let them slip from your hand and fall crashing to the floor, leaving you naked, […]