Fuel for the fire.

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Fuel for the fire.

In the book titled America II- The book that captures Americans in the act of creating the future, author Richard Louv asserts that “…there is the feeling this time that this new revolution is different, more powerful, more difficult to grasp than any before.”  

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Blurred Lines

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Blurred Lines

One thought washed over me this morning - “How many different ways is nature connection and sensory integration tied to the psychology of the U.S. election?”

The election is held in the darkest time of the year. If I were a conspiracy theorist, I would say that this is intended. The dark nights are longest right now, and we are heading into even longer nights until the winter solstice when the light returns. A sensory deprivation of sorts…

In the darkness, one can best see the light. The only thing that overcomes darkness is light, and even a tiny spark will fill the darkest of rooms. Let us take these next four years to rise up in more love than hate, more light than dark, more kindness than anger.

This darkness has been here all along, lurking in the shadows of every boardroom, financial institution, kitchen table and educational institution. Until now, we were able to pretend it didn’t exist as blatantly as we see it today. Until now, we were able to go on as if things were actually ok, when clearly, as we have learned today, they were not.

Let us take this time to regroup, reorganize, and light big unprecedented fires of intelligent change so that this can be the last time I ever have to explain to my daughters what misogyny is, or why they have to protect themselves from it. Let us change the lens we look through from the dark shadow that is Donald Trump to a blinding light dissolving the darkness. Let us rise up like the sun, every morning and do something to secure the future for our children and for our mother earth.

Mothers hold your daughters close, teach them to have a backbone where there might now be a wishbone. Tell them about the inequalities that Hillary had to face to even get as far as she did. To those who say “but Hillary was just as bad, she’s basically like a man,” REMIND THEM that she had no choice than to play a mans game to get as far as she did in an old boys club. Turn your thoughts from Hillary the person to the archetypal woman of what she represented for us all: mothers have within them the capacity for an unconditional love. Men stand up and every single time you have the opportunity to demonstrate to a woman that you can be trusted and she is safe, do it. Do not quietly stand by while the bigots and misogynists attempt to whittle down her self worth or whittle the strength in your kindness because the media decides it is more newsworthy. Straight people, speak out, let your LBGT friends and neighbors know they are worthy of the same love and respect you are. Speak out loud your love for all races. Do not pass a crying child- let them know they are seen. BECOME more newsworthy than the dark acts by doing outrageous and courageous acts of love and uncompromising kindness because in the end they cannot take dignity away, grace always wins.

DO NOT allow the behavior of others to snuff the light and dictate who you are and how you show up in the world. We can be brighter than the darkness. Spring always returns. In a moment where disbelief could quickly turn to apathy, do not be seduced. Perhaps the fire of change requires this enormous can of gasoline to blow up the undercurrent running just below the surface. A literary fracking of our human expression as the fracking to our mother lies just under the surface of all our noses.

During this time of year, when the darkness lasts longer than light, I light a candle each night to remind me that the light will return. This little act, one little beam in a dark house, can shift my heart and eyes and turn my thoughts to how the darkness will serve my light. —And to quote a great woman named Maya Angelou “Today I rise, I rise, I rise.”

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Join Us for our New Podcast!

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Join Us for our New Podcast!

Join us for conversations that make sense of making humans.  Listen to rich and authentic conversations where we discuss what a Nature Sense is, and why re-engaging it could be the most important solution of our times.  Topics include; nature connection, occupational therapy, occupational deprivation, sensory processing and integration, child and human development, illness, mental health, developmental disorders, speech and language development, relationships, connective practices, child behavior, women's wisdom, and everything in between.  Each episode is meant to create a spark that you will be inspired to turn into a flame of change.  xo Kathleen

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Can Children Sense Danger?

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Can Children Sense Danger?

Mama! What’s he saying?!?”  My daughter asks.  Wrinkling my face, I survey the yard.  There is no one there. 

I feel a small flutter in my stomach because I believe we are alone in our backyard.   

“Who?” I ask.

“Him, that guy.”  She stammers without looking up.

I listen again, the flutter in my stomach turning into a small knot.  I stand up, walk to one side of the house and look down the driveway.  Still no-one.  I walk to the other side of the house and peer down between the fence and the house; no-one. 

“Who are you hearing?” My voice low and gentle now.  She stops pounding the stone against the acorn and as condescendingly as a 6 year old can, she looks up at me.

“That guy! Liisssten!”  she implores.  I listen. 

“That guy!” she says yet again.  I listen again.  My scrunched forehead now showing obvious confusion.

“Do you hear that guy?!”  This time she stops pounding the acorn and stands up,  pointing with the stone in her hand, to the direction of the front yard:

“That bird!!”  She reveals. 

My ears stop straining, the knot in my gut unravels, thankful that she is not hearing imaginary voices I need to thoughtfully navigate! 

“Oh, yeah, now I hear him,” I answer, exhaling loud and labored. 

“So, what’s he saying?”  She demands again. 

This time, she watches me with cat like attention as I close my eyes and turn my ear in the direction she is pointing.  I hear road noise, a distant leaf blower, an airplane, and a variety of other random noises before tuning into thecheep, cheep, cheep.  Once I actually hear it, an entire educational career blasts itself like a river of thoughts into my head.  The California Towhee I now hear is keeping a metronome like sharp chime.  How had I not heard it before?  Why is she so tuned in?  What about the sound has clued her into the fact that it isalarming?  How does this contribute to her development?  Why does this even matter? 

Hearing is passive, listening is active.  A child’s neurological system requires a multi-sensory-motor, contextual diet of experience.  The auditory system waits for internal and external signals to ingest and then categorize.  An external signal can come from sound, scent, sight, touch, taste, body sense.  From these external signals, internal senses are launched; which give us a baseline or homeostasis.  In the case of sound, our ears hear a sound which is then directed to an intake highway.  The sound enters the neurological system like a car entering a round-a-bout. The brain then files it into one of two categories:  keep or throw away.  If the brain determines the sound has importance, it places it in a category for further exploration (keep for later integration).  Through further exploration, which requires repetition, it determines what the significance of the sound is, if it has meaning and function, and if it will be useful. 

Processing the sounds one hears is a complicated matter.  Hearing is only one aspect of processing sound.  To make meaning of sound, listening must be employed and a moment of integration must be experienced for the body to have a coherent neurological expansion.  Bird language is the tangible representation of just how complicated and layered a human auditory processing system is.  The many voices of bird language are a physical representation of what a humans auditory processing system is capable of.  It is the first language that our ancestors tuned into.  Bird language, likely developed our auditory processing capabilities as one way to ensure our survival.  In the book “What the Robin Knows (2012),” Jon Young tells us that birds give us all the information about the surrounding environment we could ever ask for. 

“The types of birds seen or heard, their numbers and behaviors and vocalizations, will reveal the locations of running water or still water, dead trees, ripe fruit, a carcass, predators, fish runs, insect hatches, and so much more.” (Young, J., 2012. Pg. 173)

The development of our auditory processing system and its atunement to bird language was so successful, that as a species, we thrived to the tune of now almost eight billion people.  Unfortunately we have been unconsciously competent at this skill of listening for far too long and we are now losing our ability to process sound for functional use.  More and more children are having trouble paying attention in school because they literally can’t discriminate sounds or tune out background noise; both learned skills. 

Scientists are finding that language develops as a cooperative event, not a passive experience.  The same is true for all neurological development that, for millions of years, happened through direct sensory motor responses between person and landscape, and in concert with sound, sight, touch, smell, taste and movement.  This response developed connections from the discovery of relationships with the forms, patterns and rythms of the natural world. 

Birds have communities, who are like neighbors living in the same place for generations and generations. They understand the patterns, movement and forms of weather, seasons, other birds, mammals, and others. Birds are welcoming and unconditional in their ability to share this information with us.  Wake for sunrise on a clear day and you will instantly understand the richness of bird language. 

It has been said that birds were given the original instructions to lift the hearts and minds of the human population.  They have been hearing and categorizing sight, sound and habit from the totality of our environment since the beginning of time.  Why?  Imagine this:  Jon Young (2012) tells us that in almost every neighborhood, lives a community of song birds.  Those song birds are acutely aware, every waking and sleeping moment, that there are numerous predators afoot.  Over generations, the relatives of the songbirds living today needed to pay attention and eventually attune to every utterance and nuance made on the ground, in the trees and in the open sky.  This continues to be true.  To this day, every community of songbirds in a neighborhood goes to sleep at night with at least 2 less birds; essentially they still have a direct need to pay attention.  If you live in California, those two birds are breakfast and dinner to the elusive coopers hawk.  Other locales have a similar predator.  This current pattern birds employ is an exact replica of how humans developed their current sensory-motor systems. The birds have continued to live with that connection, we have not. 

Now think:  Why would a child’s alert system be awakened by the sound of a Towhee keeping a steady high pitched chime in a back yard in the year 2007?  The answer is as simple as it is complicated:  Humans are wired to survive.  Attention to, and engagement with, survival practices, taught our ancestors what to attend (listen and file) to and what to dismiss.  What we paid attention to for millions of years, wired the the neurological systems we house in our bodies today.  A modern human child has the same developmental drives as her distant cousin who lived 10,000 years ago.  The bird language my daughter heard that day is literally wired into her “attention” systems.  The systems that say “Pay attention, this has been important for hundreds of thousands of years and it allowed your ancestors to survive so that you can live and breathe today!” 

What is the correct response to support her developmental drive when a child asks “What is he saying?” 

That question is a quest to answer an ancient, and also modern, need to develop through active processes.  Permission to answer that drive is essential.  Development is stacked, meaning that we cannot put a roof on without first creating a solid foundation.  Remember, hearing is passive, listening is active.  Assume each sound one hears is a file card.  In order to know if a sound is truly important, a young child must explore, question and categorize the file card of sound.  This begins a process that created our highly specialized “processing” systems which told us what was happening in our surroundings, and without even looking up from pounding acorns with stones, a child can tap into this brilliance today. This is important in modern day because our neurological systems still require a dedication to “making sense” of the world.  Our systems come primed and ready but must be engaged, employed and organized for a fluid and useful response to stimuli.  So the correct response for optimal developmental potentials is to say something like “I don’t know, lets go find out!”  The child needs a coherent picture so that the sound can be filed and organized internally.  If the sound is not attached to sight or smell or given meaning, it becomes a random isolated experience that never makes neurological sense; and we are built to make sense of our world.  In this case, we discovered that “he” was actually a pair of California Towhee’s expressing serious upset and agitation at a grey squirrel getting much too close to a nestling of babies.  In the not so distant past, this information may have been very helpful to us.  In the present, it can assist us in the development and organization of our neurological foundations.  A well developed and integrated sensory system, frees one up for higher cognitive function.

  Who knew that birds were the original engineers of our listening systems?  Is it any wonder that time in nature, listening to the sounds of nature, has such a calming effect to all humans regardless of socio-economic status, race or geographical location?

The next time you walk outside your door, stop and listen, how many different bird sounds do you hear? 

Kathleen is an Occupational Therapist and the founder of Foundations INature (foundationsinnature.com), Co-founder of the Central Coast Village Center: Outside Now! (outsidenow.org) local non-profit organization.  She has worked with Jon Young and the 8 Shields Institute for the last 12 years, studied with Rosemary Gladstar (World renowned herbalist) and raised two beautiful young women.  Kathleen has spent the last 25 years collecting the best and most valid scientific evidence to support the development of a meaningful, functional model of practice: Foundations In Nature Programming.  This model supports people across the lifespan using ancient techniques for health and well being, because:  Nature, it's not just what's outside, it’s what’s inside!


Young, J., (2012). What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World. N.Y.:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Company. 

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I Wish There Were Mountain Lions In Every School Yard

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I Wish There Were Mountain Lions In Every School Yard

If a mountain lion lurked in every school yard, people would instantly be more engaged with their senses.  If you began today, to act as if a mountain lion was right outside your door (Which in many areas is actually a reality, see this link .); Would you know to look up at the trees, or ledge, or behind the hedge, and pause, then scan, for a tawny hued 8 foot long, muscle bound 140 pound predator, flitting it’s tail like an amused house cat?

Bird Language expert, Jon Young tells how an elder he knew frequently states:  “The problem with children these days is the lack of large predators.” 

Would your sensory systems respond and alert you to the birds right outside the door alarming and creating concentric disturbance, radiated by the cougar in the tree?  Would you be present enough to tune in, when the young child gripping your hand and whining incessantly, expressed an unconscious but internal discomfort to the environmental cues assaulting her sensory system? Might you notice the agitation of the birds, the unfamiliar musk scent on the breeze, the unusual absence of small mammals on the ground?  

Likely, in the above scenario, the concentric rings of disturbance would go unnoticed because as children in our modern culture grow, they are routinely encouraged to ignore these innate synapses that fire when the natural environment alerts them, thereby atrophying the vital mechanisms that allowed us to survive for millennia.  These very systems that have been primarily responsible for our historical neurological development are still present in humans today.  They are the systems responsible for our survival as a species, we must remember how to engage these systems for optimal development or suffer long term, catastrophic consequences to human development.

It is no coincidence that as we lose our attunement to the systems of the natural world, we witness learning and developmental disorders, and childhood depression increase on an scale that could only be described as obscene; 1 in 6 children today carry a diagnosis.  Polio was declared an epidemic when it was 1 in 2700.  

As we lose our attunement to the sights, sounds, patterns and nuances of the earth we inhabit, we also become, as a whole species, less physically and cognitively able.  We are losing our senses. Losing our senses means that we are losing the body’s motivational director of development.

There is a solution; and it’s right outside the door.  Humans have an opportunity, right now, to reconnect to our original design of development by returning to our senses.  Literally.  By adding a few key practices to one’s day, children can be instantly more engaged in the active and necessary development of their neurological systems.  We have before us an opportunity to create the most powerful version of a human being that ever existed.  

Remember the large predators I wished were in the school yard?  Jon Young, in his book “What The Robin Knows” states:  “If we learn to read the birds- and their behaviors and vocalizations-through them we can read the world at large.”  Some say that the birds are here to lift the hearts and minds of the people.  In neurological terms though, birds do so much more than just lift our hearts.  They facilitate development and survival. The bird’s are like the newscasters of all things seen and unseen by the human eyes.  Their vocalizations are also theorized to be a primary developer of our current auditory processing systems.  

Learn to listen and feel what the birds right outside your door are discussing.  When you listen, is there peace in your body or agitation?  How is your nervous system responding?  Can you tell the Robins voice from the Wren?  Are the ground dwelling birds feeding calmly or are they absent?

We must relearn how to engage the systems responsible for our development over millennia.  Those systems are directly tied with reading the language of the landscape and it’s inhabitants.  The landscape afforded the continual recalibration of our senses: balance, body awareness, hearing, seeing, tasting, touching, smelling, feeling.  We are loosing our ability to sense and in doing that, loosing critical developmental opportunities and leading to poorly developed and integrated humans.  

Begin today to act as if your life depended on what you do the moment you step outside your door.  Stop, breathe, smell the air, feel the direction of the wind, listen to the “neighborhood of bird language”.  Are the birds calm, excited, quiet, busy?  Each one of these expressions are big clues to what is right outside your door, right under your nose.  

What will you do today when you step: right outside your door?

Kathleen is an Occupational Therapist and the founder of Foundations INature, Co-founder of the Central Coast Village Center: Outside Now! local non-profit organization.  She has worked with Jon Young and the 8 Shields Institute for the last 12 years, studied with Rosemary Gladstar (World renowned herbalist) and raised two beautiful young women.  Kathleen has spent the last 20 years collecting the best and most valid scientific evidence to support the development of a meaningful, functional model of practice: Foundations In Nature Programming.  This model supports people across the lifespan using ancient techniques for health and well being, because:  Nature, it's what's outside!

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5 Things you can do for kids now, and a response to Washington Post article "The right and surprisingly wrong way to get kids to sit still in class."

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5 Things you can do for kids now, and a response to Washington Post article "The right and surprisingly wrong way to get kids to sit still in class."


Since Dr. Jean Ayres' groundbreaking work in the 70's focusing on sensory integration, occupational therapists have been attempting to educate people about the primary occupation of childhood:  play for development and learning.  

Finally, a fellow occupational therapist Angela Hanscom's posts about this have gone viral.  Ms. Hanscom's post titled "The right and surprisingly wrong way to get kids to sit still in class." has been shared on my Facebook wall a dozen times in the past 6 months.  

You can read her post by clicking here: (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/10/07/the-right-and-surprisingly-wrong-ways-to-get-kids-to-sit-still-in-class/)

This post and the viral nature of it brought up several things I address daily working in public schools.

Childhood hangs in a precarious place.  The foundations of development are quickly becoming castles in sand as our culture has left the 4 dimensional playground for the 2 dimensional classroom and screen time.  

Research shows that children in the United States are spending on average, 90% of their time indoors.(1)  With a lack of developmental opportunities, children of today are less developed than prior generations when entering school.  

The idea that teachers “don't have time” is as real as the sunrise each day.  Teachers are overwhelmed with mounting tasks, responsibilities and numbers. However, if we push our thinking just slightly outside the box that is the system, a whole new world opens up.  If we add in a hefty dose of support from specialists such as occupational therapists (employed by every school district), we can find many alternative ways to incorporate necessary movement into a day.  What teachers need to be able to explain is how implementing more movement will lead to better academic progress.  

Teachers need (mostly to explain to the administrations or old policies they are tied to) the “why’s” and “how’s” for implementing new strategies.  

Here is a list of 5 simple things teachers can do right now to increase movement and attention.  

  1. Let them move.
  2. Advocate every chance you can.
  3. Prime the systems.
  4. No money?  Make the problem part of the solution.
  5. Create Mystery.  

1.  Let them move.  In the book, Brain Rules by John Medina, it tells us that most human adult’s can only sit still and pay focused attention for 10 minutes before loosing attention. (2) For children it is likely less.  Movement is nutrition for the brain.  Moving creates brain connections.  

  • Example of movement:  An “errand” placed at periodic times of the day will actually increase energy and attention so that children are more available to learn.  There is a natural “sweet spot” of alertness that happens when the body and brain are primed.  This errand can look like: a miniature scavenger hunt across the play ground to collect 5 Acorns, or 3 leaves, or 6 stones etc. 

2.  Advocate every chance you can.  We can't wait for a change.  We have to do it now.  There are millions of children and teachers who need to make changes now, within the current constructs of the system.  We must begin somewhere, and we can't wait for perfection.  Example:  

  • A)  Speak about this every time you have the chance, to anyone who will listen.  Get parents lit up and on fire about the importance of natural development. Have a classroom family potluck once a month or once a quarter.  Pick a park or outdoor location.  Use the games and ideas from a book such as: Coyote’s guide to connecting with nature by Jon Young (3).  Check out our online information and upcoming trainings at: foundationsinnature.com.  You only need a critical mass of 4 families to "buy in" and have a loud enough voice to be heard.  Imagine if each teacher at your school had 4 committed families; how fast could change happen?  
  • B)  Incorporate movement education into parent teacher nights.  Ask your occupational therapist to do an information night about development outside. (Find Resources on this blog or website.)
  • C) Use technology to create data showing that when you incorporated frequent or extended periods of movement outside, the children’s academics improved (even though you lessened the instructional minutes).  Educational change happens if we can show data and research to the people who make decisions.  If success increases, people listen.  (Look for data collection resources coming soon here.)  
  • D)  Never give up.  If nothing else, you will know that the children who’s education you are charged with will forever be better because of your championing.  They will come back to thank you: guaranteed.  

3.  Prime the system.  Use childhood passions such as:  twirl all the way to the playground then hop back like frogs.  Play red light green light or Come over Red Rover or Marco Polo for land. (Find more ideas here soon).  

  • Concerns about children missing important instructional time is mute, If, one considers that children need body (neurological) systems that are primed and available for learning. By priming first, there is actually more value in shorter “attuned” times working on academics, than longer stretches where children are only mildly attentive.
  • High energy activity won't cause the students to be disruptive when they return to class if they understand they will lose it if they act out after.  Children are smart and wired to survive.  There is something called a gating response that means our bodies are hard wired to attend to the most important mechanism for survival in the moment.  This includes a child's direct need to develop, in the moment.  What this means is that children will not only desire the movement breaks but will crave it.  So much that they will find the secondary ability to calm down and focus upon returning to class knowing that this is how they will be able to continue to receive the movement breaks.  
  • End the high energy time with a lower energy activity that includes proprioceptive input:  walk back to class on all fours like an elephant.  Have children partner up and “wheel barrel” race back to class.  Think back to your childhood and remember what was active and fun.  Try it with the kids.  

4.  No money in the budget?  Make the problem part of the solution.  Financial constraints are a very real issue that most teachers and other school staff (OT’s) face today..  With budget’s slashed across the U.S., teachers hardly have money for pencils and paper.  Occupational Therapist’s and other specialists are in the same boat, often using their own money and time to purchase or make supplies.  

  • Use the permaculture principle "make the problem part of the solution" by really tapping into the natural developmental offerings of the outdoors. 
  • Make sensory kits as a whole class activity.  Allow more flexible seating.  Allow children the option of standing, kneeling or sitting at their desks.  Allow children to sit or lay on the floor whenever possible.  Although there is always the exception, most children will be more available to learn when they are feeding their bodies the sensory input they need to stay alert and regulated.  
  • Many teachers have “wish lists” they give to parents.  This is a slippery slope, but with budgets so small what can we do but reach out?  There are often at least a handful of parents willing to chip in, purchase items or facilitate raising the money to do so.  Use this wish list as another opportunity to educate parents about the need for movement and let them know you need their support to change this.  

  5.  Create mystery.  Mystery is another way to alert the system.  We are hard wired for mystery.  Creating mystery can look like:

  • Create a game of camouflage in the class each week.  Choose 3 new objects, pictures, or other items to “hide” in plain site each day.  Have the children secretly write where the object is and place in a jar.  Have a “nature break” reward for all those who participated.  At the end of the week play the game in reverse.  Have the children camouflage the items and the teacher has to find them.  You many need to have another teacher team up with you so that there can always be a teacher in the room while the children are hiding the items.  
  • Make mystery a whole school activity.  If there is a school mascot (for example a panda), get a stuffed panda and hide it in the school yard somewhere.  Make it an awareness game that children will naturally want to find the panda.  Give them movement breaks that include "5 minutes to find the panda".  
  • Use your imagination:  that's how you became a teacher in the first place!  You imagined a better world.  

It's no longer about just being the change, it's about doing the change!

1.  As retrieved from:  Changes in American Children’s Time, 1997-2003

http://www.popcenter.umd.edu/mprc-associates/hofferth/hofferth-bibliography/articlereference.2009-11-17.9115064020

2.  Rules. Pear Press 2008, John Medina
3.  Coyote's Guide to Connecting Kids with Nature.  Owlink Media, 2008, Jon Young, Ellen Haas, Evan McGown

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Great Grandma's parenting lesson hidden in a recipe.

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Great Grandma's parenting lesson hidden in a recipe.

My great grandmother died long before I was born.  Before she died, she hid an important parenting lesson in the recipe for cooking a roast.  I never met Caroline Murphy and have heard relatively few stories of the woman who's blood runs in my vein's and who lived in the Bronx, born of Irish immigrants.  

Every year at Christmas, my mothers family had a tradition.  This tradition had gone on for as long as my mother could remember.  The tradition was to use Caroline Murphy's recipe to cook a juicy beef roast.  The roast was always prepared the same way.  Seasoned, tied and always, always, always, the round end of the roast was cut off.  One Christmas, while still a child, my mother decided to ask the question that had never been asked.  “Why do we cut the end off the roast?”.  As the story goes; a pin drop could be heard in the kitchen that day as everyone looked at each other, staring blankly while scratching their heads.  When everyone had sufficiently and completely exhausted their memories as to “why the end of the roast was cut off”, quite ceremoniously every year, they decided to summon "Ma" to pose the question.

 “Ma, We can’t remember.  Why do we cut off the round end of the roast?”  

Ma’s big laugh shattered the silence until she calmed down enough to enlighten her brood;   “Because we never had a pan big enough for it to fit in!”  

Sometimes we do things just because “that’s how we’ve always seen it being done” or because other’s are doing it that way.

How many times do we parent, teach or mentor away from our own soul?  

How often do we follow the grain when our little ones are grinding against it?  Why do we do what we do?  

How can you honor what is happening for the child in your care?  Generally they are answering a developmental call in their wiring systems and behavior is a reflection of this drive.  Can you have more yeses?  Having more yeses with a child does not equate to "not saying no".  It means' “Ask the question; Why?”  Why no?  Why stop? Why don't do that?  Is it necessary? Is it valid in relation to the child’s developmental drives and direct safety?  I agree that there are many times in life when “no” is not only appropriate, but necessary.  Necessary for safety or sanity!

 I am referring to all those times when there is not a significant reason to say no.  Here are some examples of what I consider significant reasons for no:  

No, stop, don’t run in the road.  No, you can’t hit your sister.  No, you can’t eat a quart of ice cream.  No you can’t play another hour of video games.  No you can't run away from school.  No you can't throw those scissors.

Many times children are answering their inner drive and a no just confounds their neurological systems or confuses the ancient evolutionary “programming”.  Some of these times look like the following:

No, don’t go up the slide
No you cant take your shoes off
No, don’t get wet
No, get down, no climbing
No put that stick down,
No, stay on the trail
No, go to sleep (although there are times when I would argue for this too)
No jumping from there
No running in here
You're too loud
No you can’t wear that

My parenting, therapy practice and mentoring has evolved from a “cut the round end of the roast off” kind of perspective to a “Why do we cut the round end of the roast off”.  

To better facilitate a child's optimal developmental and learning potential, it's important to investigate their innate drive and developmental needs.  Understanding these important underpinnings of behavior informs adult decisions to make logical demands, with appropriate expectations from a rapidly growing human.  

Do you want to guide and foster growth? Or unknowingly stop or stunt it?  Personally, I want the wings of the children in my care to spread as wide as the potential within their inherent capacity of their wingspan.  

What can you say yes to today, that could previously have been a no?  Where are you cutting the end of the roast because that is how it's always been done? Where are you limiting a child's developmental drive?  

 

 

 

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