Monthly Archives: May 2014

an escapade

I just finished reading a “make-you-think” article in the March issue of The Atlantic Monthly , The Overprotected Kid by Hanna Rosin. It’s about today’s preoccupation with safety, stripping away the opportunities for our children to be more independent, take some risks and make discoveries on their own.

The author writes about how much childhood norms have changed in just one generation.  Many of our present day parents’ most delightful memories of their own childhood are not options any longer for their own kids.

The children of just a generation ago were able to enjoy more freedom, more independence, create more adventures without supervision than those of today.  Now children are seldom without adult observance, without adults organizing and directing their activities.  Missing is the chance for these kids to invent their own play, to make the rules, be daring in their own right, to zoom around on their bikes,  to jump off swings, to build huts and climb trees.

Rosin says it’s while facing these reasonable challenges and recognizing one’s ability and readiness to handle them on one’s own,  that a sense of competence and confidence develops.

This is food for thought for sure.

On Thursday evening, my husband and I sat at the La Crosse airport around 8:30 PM waiting for an incoming flight to arrive.  We got there early and the Terminal was absolutely empty with the exception of a mom and her two children, and an occasional passing by of a cleaning person.

The family was on the second floor, the mom watching the sky for any sight of the incoming plane.  The two children, a boy around ten and a girl around seven were entertaining themselves  playing on the escalators.

Now I know there are many legitimate warnings out there to be careful on the escalators.  And I have to admit my initial reaction to seeing these children scampering around on them gave me pause.  But as I watched, I could sense their ability, their fascination, their concentration, and their confidence.

They sprinted down them and up them.  They crouched low going down, stood on one foot,  they sat backwards, they sat sideways, they went up three steps and jumped off.

As I said, all was completely quiet in the terminal.  There was no one to view this show.  For the children were not performing for anybody.  They were lost in their own concentration, their own exhilaration,  their own body prowess, and their own success.

Now I don’t believe we should let our children loose to perform daring antics on escalators across the country.  This was a particular time, however, that worked for these energetic , competent, well-coordinated youngsters, who took this long wait they had, and made it into something for themselves – that I’m sure will be a memory that they won’t forget.

“Remember the night we went to pick up Dad at the airport and got to play on the escalators?” will probably be repeated many times over the years.

Think back – what escapade do you remember doing as a child that you will never forget?


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compassion in motion

The Compassion project is on site now at The Pump House in downtown La Crosse – school children’s artistic impressions of what compassion means to them.  If you haven’t gotten down there yet to view this exceptional show of art – and heart – you’re in for a treat.

Sunday afternoon many  school-aged children and younger stopped by The Parenting Place’s table at the Riverside Family Fun Festival and put their own design on a coffee filter butterfly ring or/and a dragon fly on a stick.  Simple projects that  seemed to grab these children’s attention.

I was struck by the instant focus of most of the children.  I felt they were hungry to express their individuality with each design and easily able to shut out all the hullabaloo happening around them – to slow down, be present, create, attend.

It seemed to matter to them.

And that’s what I believe is really at the heart of compassion – when things matter.

This week The Parenting Place bid a most heartfelt goodbye to a very special staff member, Parent Educator Patti Correll-Syring.  Anyone who knows Patti knows her to be such an incredibly intelligent, sensitive, caring, wise, strong woman.

Patti always shared with the parents she worked/played with the significance of maintaining strong relationships with their children – to stay emotionally connected with them through love, through listening, through playing, through laughing, though tears, through touch.

Patti modeled compassion for all of us.

Things mattered to her.

She will surely be missed at The Parenting Place.  We wish her the very best in all she chooses to do.

Patti Correll-Syring – compassion – in motion.

Thank you!

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mom enough

Okay – back to reality – to everyday living.  Right?  Sometimes coming off of the celebration of Mother’s Day can be daunting.

First of all, we may think, deep down – really?  Am I really all the things this Mother’s Day card says I am?

Why – then – do I sometimes feel like I miss the mark, say the wrong thing, lose my perspective?

I’d say that’s because, as mothers, we are human – and being human is to experience our emotions, to question, to acknowledge, to sometimes slip up, and then to fix it up.

Dr. Laura Markham from Aha Parenting says, “We don’t have to be perfect.  As long as we’re willing to keep growing and loving, every single one of us is mom enough”.

I like that expression – mom enough.  It leaves room for growth, for change, for life.

So, today, this week, this month, as the words of Mother’s Day cards echo in our minds, go right ahead and accept them, appreciate them, own them as we all continue along – lovingly – on our personal mothering journey.

It’s worth it!

If you’re questioning your parenting response to your child’s behavior and would like some insight, give a call to The Parenting Place’s Warm Line  – 784-8125 – and ask for Fran. I’m always happy to listen and share.

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You matter

“She made each one of us feel we were her favorite”.

This sentiment was shared recently by a granddaughter as she spoke at her grandmother’s funeral.

What a legacy that is!

Years ago I spoke with an elderly woman who had raised five children as a single mom, working full-time.  They were a close and united family still, and I asked her how she managed.

I never forgot what she told me – and have passed it on to many parents – “I didn’t have much time, but I tried to share a moment each day where each child felt – knew – “I am my mom’s favorite”.

It’s so interesting, isn’t it, that we are constantly bombarded with products and toys and trips and activities that we can offer to charm our children, make them brighter, more curious, feel loved.

When, actually, it’s so much more simple than that.  What we need to give and what children want, what children will remember, deep down – is to feel a connection with those they love, to feel that they matter.

On this upcoming Mother’s Day weekend, I extend warm and heartfelt wishes to all the moms I know whose hearts are so full with love for their children.

I hope you all know how much you matter.

Happy Mother’s Day 2014!

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