Tender Sapling

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Introducing Tender Sapling Travelers

Grab your passport and go!

Grab your passport and go!

It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.

      – Maya Angelou

I love how Maya Angelou speaks from the heart and calls on us parents to lead our children to embrace our rich heritage as members of one human race. Findings from a recent research study support her sage advice. The University of Toronto study showed that early elementary age children are very influenced by what adults teach them about other groups of people.

The study showed that first graders who had been told that another group is mean will believe it – even when real life experience differs. So we can fill up our kids with an us-them attitude that can subtly or overtly train our tender saplings to view the other as not to be trusted or loved. Or we can teach them acceptance, compassion, and the interconnectedness that is our reality.

As parents, we have a wonderful opportunity to help shape our little one’s view of the world. When we raise our children to be world citizens, we’re not only preparing them to compete in the global marketplace, be better problem solvers, managers, and more. We are giving them the gift of knowing their human family and being a part of it. As global citizens, our children can shape the world in positive ways for all their human family members. Continue reading

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Sandy’s Gift: A Chance to Explore Sustainability, Soul-growin’ and Fun with Your Kids

If you are reading this before Hurricane Sandy has cleared your path and you have power and a safe, dry roof over your head, let me wish you smooth sailing through the storm and its aftermath. If you are not so lucky, please know that millions of people across the world are praying for your safety. Regardless of whether you live in the affected area or have power, this post is for you.

However you slice this storm’s prediction, it’s serious. Sunday evening’s news not only included announcements for local schools closings, but the incredibly rare pre-storm cancellation of classes at the University of Virginia (my husband’s employer and the site of our first meeting some twenty years ago). I went to bed thinking how severe the storm’s punch would be if the National Weather Service’s 11 p.m. statement warned anyone not all ready for a prolonged power outage to haul your tushy out to the store to complete any last storm prep a.s.a.p. And all this in an area predicted to get only 1-3 inches of rain (update: now 2-6, and possibly snow too) – a ton less than the 8-10 inches expected in the storm center’s path. (Of course, the wind factor here is supposed to be close to the highest speeds for this storm.)

The last thing I thought I’d do this morning is write a blog post. But I woke before the kids and heard the swirl of questions rise up from the still of my subconscious. Do we have enough water and batteries? Is this storm really the largest in a quarter century to hit the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions of the United States? How long might we all be without power?

My personal questions shifted into the multitude of anticipated questions from my little ones’ young minds. Why can’t we play with the flashlight in our fort? Why can’t I go biking right now? Why can I see my breath inside? Why can’t I feel my toes? Why does this dinner look like canned dog food?

Storm-time fun, kid-style: Biking in the a foot of snow! (Jan 2010)

And that’s when I realized what a huge opportunity Sandy is for teaching a range of life lessons to our little ones (and ourselves, right?). While no one knows for sure the impact that Sandy will have on an estimated 50-60 million human lives – people from all corners of the earth in America’s great melting pot of the I-95 corridor and hundreds of miles around, by all accounts it’s going to be historically significant. Continue reading