Why not?

We talk about it – hang posters – form committees- know better – yet bullying continues and more often than not, right in our own school cafeterias.

So when I saw recently this Capri Sun commercial on TV – I was totally ready to run right out and purchase some Capri Sun pouches just because.

Because …  they are addressing this problem of bullying and exclusion head-on  with a short, no-nonsense ad that delivers the point.  And the point is that it takes a simple dose of courage and power – “power” not unlike what their own Capri Sun pouch says it offers – to change the equation.

In the ad, when a young boy comes to join a group of others at a school cafeteria table, one of the boys at the table smacks his hand down hard at the empty space and sneers up at the boy –  who then retreats to a table by himself.

Now for the action … a young girl witnessing this incident, takes a sip of her Capri Sun – says to her friend “Hold my pouch” and jumps into motion rearranging the tables in the lunch room into one huge rectangular table so no one need sit alone.

A together table!

All are included – no one gets turned away.

I am not usually so enthusiastic about ads  – but every once in awhile -one delivers a message so poignantly that it deserves to be watched – to be talked about, to be given attention.

In today’s world where rudeness and bullying seem to appear within all ages and all levels of society, we need  to provide our children with opportunities to learn, feel, connect  and believe that kindness and civility matter.

Okay – so I haven’t actually run out yet to buy any Capri Suns – but when I do – I’ll think of the power that young girl displayed – as she noticed something that needed to be changed –  took a big sip – said “Hold my pouch” and did it!

A together table!

Why not?


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be cool

I don’t want to say this – but – it’s almost too hot to write!

Actually –  too hot to do much of anything.

But with children around, that’s not an option – as we all know.

So let’s declare a heat holiday!

Included in this heat holiday is definitely water!  Water to drink (for sure), water to get wet with (yes!), water to fill up the wading pool – water for children to wash trucks, bikes and ride’em toys, water from sprinklers to cool off and run under.

On a heat holiday – it’s good to find shade –  as much shade as possible!  Sitting on a blanket under the shade of a very leafy tree and reading books together, in my opinion,  is definitely a very cool thing to do!

A heat holiday should also be a vacation from cooking big meals – definitely!  How about sandwiches, yogurt, salads – fruit – easy foods that cool and refresh. Cold watermelon – perfect!  Popsicles a treat!

And did I mention a heat holiday often calls out for a long nap.

But the most important thing about a self-imposed heat holiday is that you get to do whatever it is that you know will make you and your family feel cool, happy, loved, grateful, and secure.

And that’s the coolest thing yet!





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try it

Praise publicly – Correct privately.

I found that on a sticky note recently in my scheduling book.

As I recall it was something I read in a flier about work-related behavior – but it resonated with me, because I thought it could be so applicable to parenting also.

How respectful – a tap on your child’s shoulder – “come with me for a second” and between the two of you – make this connection and say what needs to be said.

We’ve all experienced this  – out in public – or at a family and friends gathering, when we sense our child’s frustration, stress, needs, excitement escalating.

Perhaps it’s playing too roughly with younger children, or using outdoor voices indoors – or wildly chasing  past the adults in the room. Maybe you want to remind an older child to put his/her phone away and be present.

Your child will appreciate not being embarrassed in front of others. For young children, it will provide a few minutes to relax.

It’s modeling respectful behavior as we ask for respectful behavior from them.

So … come with me for a minute.

Try it!





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a daily lift

Something caught my eye recently – and my heart – when I read on-line a remark from a former teacher.  (wish I knew her name)

“Boys need to have their shoulders lifted daily.”

She shared that whenever she offered a positive word to a boy in her classroom – she would see his shoulders visibly lift.

“There might be no other reaction – but the shoulder lift happened every time with every boy that I praised.”

And I love that image – that subtle response that this wise teacher caught with her sensitive eye.

The majority of parental concerns shared with me as a Parent Educator are about their boys. And I listen, give suggestions and parenting solutions and tips that might help.

But I also always, always strongly encourage noticing their boy – really noticing – and offering frequent acknowledgment  of their boy’s subtle yet caring, positive moments.

We all know boys have a lot of energy, a lot of spunk that needs to be run off, jumped off, laughed off, teased off, yelled off, celebrated!

But look deeply into those eyes – catch those thoughtful moments, fleeting that they may be – those kind and sensitive moments – and quietly acknowledge them.

And just like this insightful teacher – who observed the “shoulder lift “ in the boys in her classroom, look for that same shoulder lift in your own boy.

And try to remember her priceless advice “Boys need to have their shoulders lifted daily”.


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some of those times…

You wouldn’t think a cannon – a part of La Crosse history since 1900 – would be etched into the childhood memories of La Crosse children –  past and present.

But I believe it might be so.

For whenever there is a crowd at Riverside Park – for a concert or special event – this bronze cannon, made in Spain in 1787 – is bedecked by children.

It is an absolute favorite climbing apparatus – a challenge to any child to climb aboard, to hang off of.

And it lends itself perfectly to inclusion – the more children, the more fun.  Sometime as many as eight children line up atop.

And why am I so charmed by this sight?

No. 1,  it’s a daring feat for a child to manage – to climb aboard.  It speaks to adventure, to play in all its elements, to sharing, to excitement, to imagination, to accomplishment, to confidence, to trust.

For as parents/adults, we often worry what will the children do at outings that are not particularly catered just to young children.  Should we bring toys with us, snacks, or perhaps their hand-held devices?

However – left to their own imaginations, “their own devices” and sense of adventure, children will figure out something to do –  chasing, pretending, playing with sticks, stones, looking for imaginary treasures, searching for real treasures like rocks, feathers, bugs , spinning cartwheels, tumbling, picking dandelions –

… climbing on a cannon.

If we just let them.

For those are often the memorable times – the “remember when” times – when the kids figured it out – and the best time was had by all.

I bet you remember some of those times too!



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Day dreaming

The sky is so blue – the sun so bright – the breeze just right – and I am day dreaming.

And at moments like this – I am also the little sister, the young girl, the best friend, the new mother, the grandmother – and these memories that connect and weave are triggered by the sensations, the scents, the sounds and the colors of this day – and days gone by.

And it makes me wonder – what will our children remember from the sounds and images of their childhoods?

I think about our young grandsons, Theo and Zeke and the shared photos of them – almost always in the woods, along a creek, playing in sand and water, climbing, jumping, holding a stick.

And I imagine their senses will be continually reminded and connected to these natural experiences as they grow.

Laughter shared, food cooked and enjoyed, sounds in the household and on the block – music heard, songs sung, books read, words remembered – all can remind us and our children of our times together.

After a stressful week recently, I was at the river and heard the sound the water made as it lapped against the bulkhead.

And I was immediately transferred to the beach I grew up on – and the delicate sound the sea made as it lapped on to the shore.

And I was so grateful for that recall.

We never know what will stick in our minds –  in our children’s minds – but we hope they are the good memories – the good sounds – the genuine  laughs – that flow into their daydreams – years from now – just by a  sound, a scent, or a breeze.

Day dreams – save some time for them.

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eye check

This morning I happened to hear a brief interview with Andre De Shields, a 73-year-old Broadway Veteran actor who won his 1st Tony award last night.

And I mention this because when they asked him about his success, one of the things he shared was “Surround yourself with people whose eyes light up when they see you coming.”

And I thought – of course – for all of us – wouldn’t that be lovely?

But, for our children, wouldn’t that be exceptional?

When children feel positive about their significance, about our caring,  about our interest in them –  without any doubt – just by the way we listen to them, respond to them, look at them,  our connection with them is secure.

Because our eyes say it all.

Imagine talking to someone who doesn’t look up from what they are doing, reading, texting – whose eyes are only full on and direct when you are being scolded.

As parents, we are always searching for the most perfect method of parenting to get our children to listen to us, obey us and stop doing this or that. But sometimes that’s what misbehavior is all about – seeking that warm acknowledgment – that feeling  “I’m listened to – fully “ that “I matter”  –  “eyes light up when they see you coming” feeling.

So… try it.

We could all stand to take an “eye check” today.

Make it a point to respond to your child with strong eye contact when he/she is speaking to you, when he/she is coming to you.

I’m betting you’ll see success.


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