Monthly Archives: January 2015

911 please

I saw a little girl of four on early morning national news today who had dialed 911 because her mother was experiencing a seizure.

This little girl’s mom has epilepsy and so from the age of two, her mom practiced with her how to correctly call 911, what her mom’s full name and complete address was – always praying the time would never come that her daughter would have to use this skill.  And wondering would she be able to really do it if it did.

But this little smarty did it.  And not only was the mom seizing, but in the little girl’s words to the 911 dispatcher, “she is very very pregnant too.”.

Help got to them, the little girl rode in the ambulance with her mom (which she said she liked a lot) and a baby brother was born soon after (which she said she loved a lot.)

What clear thinking and action this 4-year-old displayed under frightening circumstances.  Yet it seemed all in a day’s “work” for this young lady – her confidence and resilience strong.

Hopefully none of our children will face emergency situations like that one – but showing them how to call 911 and ask for help is very empowering.  Just like learning various practical skills such as being able to get themselves some cereal and milk, clean up spills, make a peanut butter sandwich, peel a hard-boiled egg, get dressed – raises a child’s self-confidence and can-do attitude.

It’s a win-win for everyone.


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the wisdom is in the room

The wisdom is in the room.

I sense it often when I facilitate Play Shoppes and other parent activities .  I feel it when I talk to a parent on a warm- line call and when parents sit and talk to me during a one-on-one parent coaching session.

I believe it when I listen and observe the love and caring and responsibility that each of these parents hold for their families.  I know it when I hear their story – some stories a struggle requiring great fortitude – some stories easier but no less of a concern to the parent holding it in their heart.

And when these stories are shared, when these concerns blend, when answers and new ideas are caught not necessarily taught, then we can be sure the wisdom is in the room.

I liken it to one of my favorite poems from childhood by Christina Rossetti.

Who has seen the wind

neither I nor you

But when the leaves hang trembling

the wind is passing through.

Who has seen the wind?

neither you nor I

But when the trees bow down their heads

The wind is passing by.

Recognizing the beauty and the significance of parents sharing their ideas, their stories with one another, The Parenting Place is offering A Parent Cafe – The Wisdom is in the Room – on Thursday, February 5th from 5-7:00 PM.  The Parent Cafe is a unique co-learning and sharing experience that changes the lives of children through conversations that matter.

Parents share a meal, talk about questions that are meaningful to them, listen to each other, their thoughts, their differences, their connections.

If you would like to be a part of The Parent Cafe at The Parenting Place, don’t hesitate to call Fran at 784-8125, ext. 216 to register.

The wisdom is in the room.  Experience it.

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yes you can

Browsing recently in a large children’s resale store, I observed a mom and her little girl, probably around two-and-a-half,  in the aisle ahead of me.

The little girl was sad as she slowly followed her mom.  She really wanted to use a child’s shopping cart, but someone else was playing with it.  Mom slowly moved along, looking at the clothes items on the rack, but noticed her daughter lingering back to watch the lucky child with the cart.

She called to her to come, that she needed to stay by her, to which the little girl then began to cry – even as she came – “But I want to use the shopping cart”, she whimpered.

Mom, continuing to browse, said gently, “I know, honey.  I’m sorry.”

With that this little girl continued to sniff a bit more, pulled herself together, then shakily said, “I can use it when that boy is done with his turn”. 

“Yes you can” said her mom as they slowly continued down the aisle.

I was impressed – with both of them.  The mom heard her daughter’s sad feelings and validated them – yet didn’t rush into try to fix it for her, with all kinds of other suggestions and things she could do.  She just heard her and accepted why she was sad.  The little girl felt her mom’s strength and confidence in her – in a way, I think, knew it was her own to resolve – which she bravely did.

“I can use it when that boy is done with his turn”.

Such a perfect example of allowing our children their sadness – acknowledging that it’s there, but trusting them to get through it.

“Yes, you can”.

Check out The Parenting Place’s upcoming workshop,” How Much is Enough?  Recognizing Overindulgence” – Thursday, January 22nd, 6-7:30 PM, at The Parenting Place in La Crosse.  Limited childcare is available.  Registration for the workshop and childcare is required – 784-8125.  Fran Swift – Facilitator.

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do you feel safe?

Sometimes in the national news, there’s something that jumps out at you, above and beyond the facts, and grabs your attention – and your heart.

That’s what happened to me this weekend hearing about the young seven-year-old girl named Sailor, who was the only survivor in a small plane accident that killed her parents, her sister, and her cousin.

Crashing in the woods in Kentucky, around ten o’clock at night, in near freezing temperatures, Sailor realized she was the only one who was alive.  Somehow she extricated herself from the wrecked upside-down plane.  With bloody nose, arms, legs and a broken wrist, dressed only in summer shorts and top, barefoot except for one sock, she walked through tangled woods, in the complete darkness, toward a light she saw ahead.

It was reported that she walked for almost a mile over fallen trees, creek beds, ditches, and blackberry briars.  She finally reached a house and rang the bell, telling the elderly gentleman who lived there what happened.

Besides the emotional drama this story holds, I was totally drawn in to considering, how did this little girl have the grit, the determination, the exceptional bravery to do what she did.

As parents, I think, we are often caught in a  delicate balancing act between allowing our children to explore their world and take some risks, while also fiercely protecting and preventing them from childhood adventures that in earlier decades would have been universal.

We see our children wearing capes and conquering pretend demons, practicing their power to be be brave.  We watch our children pretend and creatively reconstruct the world around them to test themselves in it. In one of the photos shown on the news of  young Sailor at an earlier time, she wore a t-shirt that said, “You can’t stop me!”

For all children yearn to explore their world.  As parents, how do we weigh the risk and the development of courage and trust of oneself, with caution?

I stood talking to a mom on Friday in the Children’s room.  Across the room was her three and a half year old daughter sitting in an invented and precarious position on a climbing apparatus.  She was looking around smiling widely, hoping to be noticed.   I believe I sensed her mom’s initial moment of hesitation to perhaps go to her or tell her to get down, but instead, she asked her daughter, “Do you feel safe?”

What a great response!  Do you feel safe?  Are you in control?  These questions offer a child the realization of her own abilities and her own limitations and fears.

For courage/bravery is doing what you have to do even though you are scared to do it.  That is what the little girl, Sailor did.  That’s maybe what Wren was doing sitting atop the climbing apparatus.  That’s what her wise mom was doing – when she refrained from rescue and instead asked “Do you feel safe?”

My heart goes out to this little girl, Sailor, age seven, in this time of great loss in her young life.  I hope she knows how proud her family would surely be of her, how very brave she was.

I hope she feels safe.

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