Monthly Archives: April 2016


Two eight-year-old boys shooting baskets in the driveway of one of their homes.  All is well- until it wasn’t.

One boy throws the basketball purposely and directly at his friend’s face.  His unsuspecting friend feels the sting of this action, loses his cool, begins to cry, and goes after his friend/foe, tackling him down onto the ground.

His friend begins to cry.  Now – two boys sitting in the driveway in tears.

Dad arrives on the scene.  “What the hek is going on?” he asks his son.

Listening to his son’s response, the dad says “okay” and then turned and listened to why the other boy was crying.  “Okay”, said the dad.

Then looking at both boys, Dad said, “Well – are you finished?”

Both boys agreed, jumped up and resumed shooting baskets and laughing together.

Listening to both sides -( listening is the operative word here).  Giving them each their say and listening.  No lectures, no judgements, no time-outs, no guilt.

Just “Are you finished now?”

Sometimes the best lesson in mending disputes is just having each side heard.

This was a teachable moment – but not one Dad needed to personally take on.  Just by asking and listening to each boy, the teachable moment was their own.



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Daddy …. shoulder

A shoulder to lean on – to fall asleep on – how sweet is that!

A dad recently shared that from the time his son was a tiny infant, he would fall peacefully asleep, holding him on his shoulder.

Now even at just-turned-three-years-old, when this little guy needs to connect, to be comforted, to be reassured, he says, “Daddy … shoulder.

Oh that we could all know and ask so purely for what we need, what would help us when things pile up, in times of stress, when we could use a hug.

I know – we pride ourselves on our independence and self-reliance.  We think we should be able to do this on our own – we are reluctant to say “you know what I need?”

But I think we can learn a lot from this little three-year-old boy … who at one moment is exploring and displaying his own independent spirit, and the next is saying, “Daddy ...shoulder”.

Maybe we can begin to pay attention when the people in our lives say “Can I help?”, “What do you need?, “Let me know if you need anything”.

Maybe we can begin to listen – and realize – “Oh, – my -wow –  there’s a shoulder for me to lean on”.

Try it.




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Thank you

Sometimes things just get accomplished quietly, quickly, without a lot of fanfare. Sometimes there’s a person who knows how to organize, to pull things together, to get the job done.

Sometimes that person just does it – without seeking attention.

I know a person like that.  The Parenting Place knows a person like that.

Julee Katonah, site manager and Parent Educator at The Parenting Place in Tomah has built connections with and for families and community organizations over the years. This caring energy and responsiveness to families and their needs has made Julee a household name in Tomah.

And that’s why Julee will be missed by all of us at The Parenting Place – here in La Crosse, in Sparta, and most especially in Tomah as she pursues and shares her talents at her new job.

Julee is the type of person who might just like to slip away without a lot of attention.  But, I get to say we noticed, Julee – we appreciated, we will miss you, and we all wish you the very best.

Thank you, Julee.

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April starts off as a prank day, a silly day, an April Fool’s Day.  But April is so much more.

Over the 30 days of April, special recognition is given to significant issues that are important to all of us.

April is Autism Awareness Month, National Child Abuse Prevention Month,Animal Cruelty Prevention Month and Earth Day celebrated on April 20th.

Pretty impressive, don’t you think?

April is one of those months that offers hope, warmth, sunshine, growth, renewal in every new sprout, warm rays, and anticipation of bright days ahead.  Maybe that’s why April has such awesome messages to deliver and for all of us to recognize.

For awareness helps us understand and become more knowledgeable, accepting, supportive and involved.

April could be famous for its messages.  It is also lyrical in that it includes  National Poetry Month.   Here’s a few lines from a poem called Famous by Naomi Shihab Nye.

“I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,

  or a button hole, not because it did anything spectacular,

  but because it never forgot what it could do.”

April is like that.  It reminds us of things we can do.


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