Monthly Archives: August 2017

the boys of summer

Just when I start to believe that things like this don’t happen anymore, I am so pleasantly surprised.

On Friday evening’s local Channel 8’s newscast, there was a most charming story of a group of La Crosse boys (mostly 7th and 8th graders) that organized, on their own, a wiffle baseball league.

There were no adults to manage or mediate – just friends who figured out and implemented this fun summer activity – by and for themselves. I hear they even held a draft and one of the boys keeps track of all the stats.

Mind you – I have to repeat myself  – there were no adults to monitor, or enforce the rules – this was on their own – independently – just meeting at the playing field on every fair weather summer morning.

And oh, yes – a picture is worth a thousand words – and this picture was of a pile of bikes scattered on top of each other at the field – which makes me smile even more – as these boys got to the playing field on their own.

When asked why they were playing, it was an obvious answer – “it’s just fun“.

When  so many of our youth are glued to screens of one sort or another for their daily entertainment and contact, it is so heartening to hear these boys’ enthusiasm and connection with each other and with what they put together on their own.

And it is this industrious and independent spirit, this camaraderie and sharing with one another, this planning and sorting out their own problems, figuring out their own solutions, and having so much fun together while they’re at it, this is what learning is all about, what success is all about, what life is all about.

A home run in my book!


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“taller than himself”

Children love to pretend.  Do you remember?

Recently a mom told me the story of her almost 3-year-old little guy who woke up in a particularly cranky mood, determined to bake cookies for breakfast.  Well – that wasn’t going to happen (and never had). But before he could throw a huge fit (he did wake up cranky, remember), his mom made a good suggestion.

“You could make pretend cookies though.”


All was fine – better than fine as he ran to get the “Joy of Cooking” cookbook, pretended to find his “go-to” recipe, put his regular finger- food- breakfast (cheese, nuts, fruit, veggies} by measuring spoons into a muffin tin, “baked” it in a cold oven for two minutes, and then remembered to remove it using a hot pad for sure.

Even his mom agreed it was so much fun.

Of course, we can’t avoid every meltdown by “pretending”, but keeping in mind and appreciating the value of pretend play can make long days with young children more positive – for everyone.

There’s a quote by famous psychologist Vygotsky that says “In play a child stands taller than himself.”

I love that image – and have seen it happen. For hands-on, self-directed play offers children a sense of freedom, of assimilation of what they’ve observed in their everyday life, of connection, satisfaction, and accomplishment.

That’s why I love The Parenting Place’s Children’s Festival so much, where open-ended materials are offered at every turn for a child to create his/her play – to “stand taller than himself”.

The Parenting Place Children’s Festival – where play happens – Saturday, August 26th, 9-12 PM at Myrick Park  (9:00 AM Dumping of the Dirt).  Buttons are for sale at The Parenting Place and Peoples’ Food Coop.  $4 a button; 3 for $10; $5 a button the day of the festival. Scholarship buttons are available by giving us a call at 784-8125.

Wear play clothes – for sure!

Hope to see you there!



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a roundabout

Who hasn’t experienced La Crosse’s new roundabout on Cass Street yet?   Everyone I’ve spoken to who has is totally loving it – including me. It flows so well and keeps things moving.

It’s kind of fun.

But when the idea came up, when we had to wind our way around detours while it was being constructed, most people thought – “Why?  Everything was fine the way it was!”

It seems that’s often the way it is with change – whether it’s personal, family, work or municipal matters.  Continuing to do what we’re used to, what we’re comfortable with, or even doing what we’re frustrated with, sometimes seems the way to go.

It certainly can be that way in parenting.  As parents, we often accept and live with behaviors that frustrate and annoy, (both our children’s and our own) because that’s just the way it is – or they”ll never listen – or I don’t have the time or energy.

But when we decide – okay I’m ready to take the steps I need to take, change my way of thinking/doing/ responding – explore what might be a different way, a simpler way – a smoother way – we’re ready for a roundabout.

Anyone who has that something going on in their parenting life and would like some simple “construction work” to smooth things out, don’t hesitate for even one more minute.

Just call and let me know.

We’ll work on your own personal “parenting roundabout” with not too much disruption.


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