Tender Sapling

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When Cross-Cultural Exploration Bombs: A Wampanoag Thanksgiving

Ok. I never thought I’d start a post with this title. Not me. A lover of all things global. A world citizen junkie. Someone who spent fifteen years working in various forms of international education on three different continents. Nah.

But this is real life, and I want this blog to be authentic, capturing both the highs and the lows, so I’m sharing our recent cross-cultural experience that fell flat. First, let me qualify that what I’m about to share is not just another story of American kids who think that Africa is a country and can’t find the United States on a map. My kids so love diving into other cultures that all three of them (ages 9, 5, and 2) recently begged every time we got in the car to listen to the biography of the Ghanaian King Peggy until we had completed all 11 cds! Now, some background:

We’d just wrapped up learning about the first European settlements along the Atlantic coast of North America. After studying about Roanoke Island, Jamestown, and the French expeditions and settlements in Eastern Canada (we’d already covered Greenland’s early history last year), we dove into the Pilgrims.

Our two oldest sons soak up everything Powhatan while at Jamestown.

The library was a treasure trove. We dragged heavy bags of books home and read a lot about the Pilgrims, their journey across the Atlantic, the founding and survival challenges of Plymouth Colony, the original inhabitants of Southern Massachusetts – the Wampanoags, Squanto and how his farming knowledge aided the Pilgrims, the First Thanksgiving, and more. Since Thanksgiving was approaching, when questions of menu for the big American holiday came up, a light went off in my head. Continue reading


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Tender Saplings Need a Daily Dose of Nature

If you’ve read or even heard of Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder, then you are probably aware that kids today have dramatically less time outdoors than they used to. Why is this an issue? Having less time outdoors — what Louv dubs “Nature Deficit Disorder” — contributes to a number of problems, from decreased imagination to reduced connection with the natural world. This isn’t just a problem for individuals. When we as a society raise generation after generation of children — tender saplings if you will — who are less and less in touch with nature, our society will have successively less interest in preserving the environment. And this potentially, and arguably, can have cataclysmic effects.

The National Wildlife Federation provides a sobering summary of key research findings on this topic:

* Children are spending half as much time outdoors as they did 20 years ago.

* Today, kids 8-18 years old devote an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes using entertainment media in a typical day (more than 53 hours a week).

* In a typical week, only 6% of children ages 9-13 play outside on their own.

Child playing at base of waterfall.

Our middle tender sapling playing at the base of White Oak Canyon’s Lower Falls.

* Children who play outside are more physically active, more creative in their play, less aggressive and show better concentration.

* Sixty minutes of daily unstructured free play is essential to children’s physical and mental health.

* The most direct route to caring for the environment as an adult is participating in “wild nature activities” before the age of 11.

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Small Biz Saturday: Behind the Scenes of our Mom & Pop Shop

Want to support small businesses this holiday shopping season? Today marks the third-ever Small Business Saturday, founded in the United States in 2010 as a shopping day to encourage patronage of smaller businesses in counter to the big-box frenzy that is Black Friday. (Ironically, it was started by a big business, American Express, months after Twitter users started promoting any and all Saturdays as Small Business Saturdays using the #SmallBusinessSaturday hashtag.)

To celebrate the small business that Tender Sapling is, we wanted to share a few pictures from behind the scenes of our mom & pop shop. We literally run our shop out of our home and support local businesses (Charlottesville, Virginia) in the production of our goods whenever we can!

Screen Printing Tender Sapling Logo on Organic Cotton Shirts

Screen Printing Tender Sapling Logo on Organic Cotton Shirts

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Learning to Show Thankfulness Through Actions

This time of year my soul feels as if it’s sipping a mug of delicious hot apple cider – there is so much heart-warming thankfulness floating in the air from everyone around me. For all our readers around the world, this Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, so we’re neck high in turkeys, Pilgrims, and, most wonderfully, lots of giving of thanks. It’s one of my favorite American holidays as I always find joy in the communal act of pausing to give thanks for the simple things, past and present.

This year I’ve tried something new with the children. We directed our thankfulness thoughts to the future as well. Nah, we don’t have a crystal ball. I wasn’t suggesting that the kids be thankful for an unknown future – though there’s value being thankful for the promise of tomorrow, a brighter future ahead.

Instead, I shared with them something I’d been reflecting on lately. That thankfulness is of two kinds – words and deeds. There is giving thanks through one’s words by saying “Thank You” and the like. And then there is showing gratitude through one’s actions.

This became the theme of an activity we did Continue reading


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Tender Sapling Hearts Renee and Jeremy (+ Giveaway)

In this post, Scott shares his discovery of Renee & Jeremy’s sweet sounds, how our paths crossed with theirs, an overview of their work, a link to a free download for all to enjoy, and a chance to win one of their magical cd’s + a Love All the World bodysuit or tee from Tender Sapling. Have Fun!

I first learned of Renee & Jeremy five years ago in 2008, shortly after they released their first album, It’s a Big World, the year before. That was a magical time in our family. Our second son was still in his first year and his big brother had just turned four. I enjoy making a mixed CD for Emily’s birthday every year, and that fall I was seeking mellow yet upbeat, sweet and pure. I wanted a mix we could play at home, in the car, most anytime, that would be as attractive to the kids as it was to their parents.

I struck gold with Renee & Jeremy. Continue reading


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You Are What You Wear: Wisdom from an African King

Can an inspiring, uplifting shirt help shape a child’s character? We think so. Call it our You Are What You Wear philosophy. Here is some wisdom from across the globe and ages that supports this idea. Plus a fun story that shows it in action and links to shirts that sport spiritual strength.

The Spiritual Strength of Kente

Our family recently discovered a fascinating biography of a Ghanaian-born American woman who became an African King in 2008. As we listened to the fantastic audio recording by J. Karen Thomas of King Peggy: An American Secretary, Her Royal Destiny, and the Inspiring Story of How She Changed an African Village, a whole new culture – and its take on clothing – unfurled before our inner eyes.

We traveled to another world on the wings of vivid descriptions of Ghanaian culture that enriched the dramatic story in which Peggy was selected to serve as the King of her ancestral home and undertook this daunting responsibility against many odds. We learned that in her role as King, Peggy would be expected to wear traditional kente cloth for various ceremonies. Kente designs date back to the 17th century and the cloths are finely crafted and quite expensive. Continue reading


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LOVEfest 2012 $50 Tender Sapling Gift Certificate Giveaway

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NOTE: This Giveaway has ended. The winner of Tender Sapling’s $50 Gift Certificate Giveaway is…Laura V., who has received details via an email from us. Congrats, Laura V! Many thanks to all who entered and shared! The number of Likes on Tender Sapling’s Facebook page quadrupled over the last 10 days during LOVEfest 2012! Another giveaway to be announced later this week! Stay tuned…

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