Pretty Awesome Katie Makkai

October 23, 2010

“Will I be pretty….?” Katie Makkai asks in her powerful poem “Pretty” pretty what? – pretty intelligent, compassionate, creative?

Haven’t we all been programmed in our ancient DNA to be overly-concerned (obsessed?) with our outer physical body which merely houses the extraordinary, vast and complex inner resources making us the amazing individuals that we are. Watch this inspiring and deeply moving video of Makkai, pass this on to your sisters, daughters, mothers, grandmothers with love and compassion.

Big hug and hat tip to Gina Lazenby.

What is “HOME”

September 13, 2010

ET wanted to go home. Dorothy wanted to go home. As my mother-in-law was dying she told  us she wanted to go home. As a child, I never wanted to leave home.

What is that universal yearning for “homeness”? Is “Home” a place where your memories and secrets and unfinished business is stored? Here is an article and a beautiful short film by Richard Levine about Home. Inspired by reading Lee Kravitz’s book, My Unfinished Business, Levine, a former commercial producer turned cross-platform media creative through his company,  Cyberia Media, uses his known medium, film, to create his personal journey into facing his emotional unfinished business. The power of naming, facing our deep emotions from the past is a powerful form of internal feng shui/clearing. Levine’s poem set of evocative music and powerful imagery is moving for me. I found myself walking, walking and exploring my childhood home and my old memories and now see many things in a new light.

Hat tip: Jackie Austin











I have memories of buying a toy for my kids and having it break because of poor quality or discovering that it had small parts and we had a baby brother in the house. Back in “the day” we didn’t think about lead or pthalates in the toys. There are many things to consider when buying toys these days.

ConnPIRG has just released their annual toy safety report, and they’ve launched a new mobile phone website that allows toy shoppers to look up and report dangerous toys as they shop. Check out their new resources, and help make sure kids’ toys are safe this holiday season. Make your list then check it with CT-toy-report-2009.

This document reminds us of all the hazards we might consider including loudness. Almost 15 percent of children ages 6 to 17 show signs of hearing loss. In March 2007, the American Society for Testing and Materials adopted a voluntary acoustics standard for toys, setting the loudness threshold for most toys at 85 decibels but there are still exceedingly louc (and I might add annoying) toys on the toy store shelves.

In addition, think through and avoid toys that have possible choking hazards, while considering age appropriateness, “almost” small parts, balloons, marbles, pthalates and PVC products. What is left for kids to play with? We’ve eliminated dolls (plastic), legos (plastic), toy cars (lead paint). OKAY- wooden blocks it is. Actually one of my kids favorites!


Unconditional Love

September 15, 2009


How were you raised? Did your parents set high expectations which you worked to live up to in order to gain their affection? Were you punished, given time-out’s or did they withhold their love from you if you had a failure? How has that translated into your parenting? In an article in the NYTimes , Alfie Kohn explores some child-raising theories and notes a few recent studies with interesting and not so surprising results.

Kohn opens his piece speaking about Carl Rogers, child psychologist, who, more than 50 years ago, supported the idea that children must be loved unconditionally.

Kohn later writes about forms of conditional love that are being promoted more and more lately:

“Some people who wouldn’t dream of spanking choose instead to discipline their young children by forcibly isolating them, a tactic we prefer to call “time out.” Conversely, “positive reinforcement” teaches children that they are loved, and lovable, only when they do whatever we decide is a “good job.”

…the problem with praise isn’t that it is done the wrong way — or handed out too easily, as social conservatives insist. Rather, it might be just another method of control, analogous to punishment. The primary message of all types of conditional parenting is that children must earn a parent’s love. A steady diet of that, Rogers warned, and children might eventually need a therapist to provide the unconditional acceptance they didn’t get when it counted.”

The various studies looked at college students, mothers of grown children with very interesting results. The findings were that both positive and negative conditional parenting were harmful!  “Internal compulsion” was a result of the positive reinforcement and  negative conditional parenting didn’t even work and created negativity towards the parents. That makes sense to me.

I am interested to know how you, the reader, were parented and how you think that has affected you. How do you parent your children?

I remember when I was in high school some of my friends lived in terror of getting a bad grade because of the punishment and verbal abuse that would accompany what their parents considered a failure. And in my own life, although I don’t remember my parents telling I should do well in school or sports I somehow picked up that was what was wanted.

I found it impossible to give my children time-outs. It was barbaric to me and as my kids got older they simply wouldn’t do it anyway. I didn’t see a reason to be angry with them for failures, although I did positively reinforcement their successes. I very much watned my children to grow into who they were as individuals and my husband and I realized that each child needed something different, as they were 3 very different individuals.

I agree with Kohn that we have to look at the results through the eyes of the children, not how the parents think they “did”. I hope I get good marks from my children….