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If there is a single idea most associated with springtime, it is GROWTH. We see it all around us in the natural world.

Our human world isn't quite as straightforward. As the trees bud and flowers blossom outside our windows, our global landscape features a lot of suffering, turmoil and fear. Many people I talk to are feeling anguished and powerless.

I really get that. And, I want to remind you of the powerful social action you as a parent (or teacher or caregiver) for peace are engaged in every day: building the youth for our future. [That's an FDR paraphrase. I wrote more about this in my Winter newsletter, in case you still have it.]

One of the most important ways you can do this is to cultivate an atmosphere in which your child can be in GROWTH mode, rather than in protection mode. Your child is in growth mode when he or she feels safe, secure, connected and heard. When children feel disconnected, invisible, without boundaries or a loving leader, they feel unsafe; this elicits an anti-growth biochemical cascade that shifts them into what I call protection mode. (Fyi, protection mode is where most "bad behavior" happens.)

Sheltering Your Child's Childhood

A gentle reminder that tumultuous times like these open up a pitfall that even the most conscientious, loving parents can trip into without realizing it: your protective buffer of their childhood experience can erode under the intensity of your own feelings about what is happening in the grown-up world.

"Parents need to buffer their children, not from the normal vagaries of childhood—the daily frustrations inherent in being a child, the disappointments with parental restrictions, the spats with friends, the skinned knees, all of which are essential for their budding resilience—but from the vagaries of adulthood, one of which is simply a flood of too much information: CNN, NPR, World News Tonight, Modern Family, family politics, political intrigue, intriguing reality shows, community gossip, environmental crises and the like." [Pg. 270 of Parenting for Peace

This applies to the young child, up to about age seven. As children move into the school-age years, there are many constructive ways to discuss current events so that it enriches rather than overwhelms them. [Find many on pg. 382] We want to pay special attention to the pivotal "nine-year change," an age when the child begins to question all that was previously taken for granted, and can become disenchanted with the world. [Some 9-year ideas on pg. 386]

It isn't just about the quality of information (such as "too adult," although that is often an issue)--it is about the sheer quantity of sensory input that children, like everyone, are bombarded with by virtue of living in this information-revolution era. As Kim John Payne put it, they often feel the world is "coming at them," and this can shift them into protection mode.

Your child will have a lifetime of total immersion in the world, but only a relatively few years to enjoy what Rudolf Steiner called "the kingdom of childhood." As a gardener would shelter a seedling / sapling from the elements until it grows the foundation needed to be a strong, long-lived tree, you are sheltering your child in a similarly wise way.

Be forewarned: despite how wise it is, it is not the cultural norm. These days even very young kids are savvy and in-the-know about everything going on in the world, with their parents' and teachers' enthusiastic encouragement.

Parenting for peace is a hero's journey that often entails swimming against the tide of the status quo, where cultural norms exert tremendous pressure on well-meaning parents to make choices that aren't good for kids, or for our future as a human family.

I have faith in you. Here's to making pro-growth parenting choices... and here are some resources to help!

You're Invited: A Motherhood Retreat

Spring is a great time for cleaning, refreshment and renewal -- of our homes, our gardens, our bodies.

Spring is also a wonderful time for reviewing, refreshing and renewing the way we do parenting and the way we do life itself.

I'll be honest: I get approached all the time by folks wanting me to participate as an expert in their online summits. And these summits have become the new black: they're everywhere! I've had to become more and more discerning about the events to which I say "Yes," since I want them to be of real value to you.

When Stephanie Mathews reached out to ask if I'd consider serving as one of the workshop leaders in her virtual retreat, she immediately seemed different than so many of the others. She was... real. None of the slick "professional polish" that quite frankly turns me off.

And I appreciated her vision for the event: not an overwhelming glut of multiple interviews per day for weeks on end -- I mean, who can keep up with and digest all that?? -- but rather, a limited number of really practical, quickie workshops over just 3 days: a virtual retreat.

She asked each of us workshop leaders to share THREE of our favorite tips, tools or mindset-shifts. So this is going to be a really helpful, nuts-and-bolts weekend to help you refresh or even revamp some of your parenting moves.

And, what a perfect time for a refreshing parenting re-boot: the weekend before Mother's Day!


                       Save Your Spot -- It's Free!   

If you're new to Parenting for Peace, my workshop is a great "Quick Start" primer to get you some great results quickly... and if you're a P4P veteran, it's a good refresher course! And while online events are often audio-only, this one features our smiling faces. [Insider tip: my workshop happens on Saturday, May 6th.]


Exploring Our Digital Dependence

If you harbor vague concerns about your (and your children's) growing dependence on portable screens, I'm right there with you.

If you fret that the issue of digital dependence is too complicated to get a handle on, I'm with you.

If it all seems just too… inevitable and insurmountable, yep, I'm there as well.

But like a squirrel on a mission, I've been stashing away lot of good stuff about our device devotion over the past few years and I recently dove in with a blog series:


It's my way of taking my head out of the proverbial sand around the digital dependence issue to thoughtfully consider, bit by bit, the upsides and downsides of what Social Intelligence author Daniel Goleman calls our "inexorable technocreep."

Here are two you might find of practical, here-and-now help:

Attention Deficit & Digital Devotion: Two Pitfalls for Parents

"Don't Use Your Device When...": 2 Guidelines for Digital Mastery

If you'd like to ride along on this discovery journey with me, at the bottom of each post there's a place to sign up to receive a reminder email whenever I put up a new one, on (most) Wednesdays.  [Insider tip: your first reminder email will contain a handy list of links to the current set of posts.]


Bedtime Reading for Budding Peacemakers

As I alluded to above, many well-intentioned people think the way to raise socially responsible citizens is to expose even the youngest of them to the stark realities of their world. Respectfully (and with neuroscience research in my corner), I see it differently.

How do we teach social responsibility to young children in such a way... like the gardener sheltering the seedling's slim new roots... that it enriches their growth rather than frightening, hardening or overwhelming them?

We foster the very qualities that will equip them to be effective agents of positive change once they mature -- like empathy, trust, imagination and curiosity. Would you hang a hammock from a sapling?? Of course not! Same principle: appropriate expectations at every developmental stage.

In that spirit, and recognizing that our children's development marches forward even through this current season of adults' uncertainty, here are 3 book lists devoted to cultivating kindness, empathy and GROWTH.

13 Children's Books that Encourage Kindness #4 and #11 more suited to school-age readers; the rest good for very young listeners / picture-lookers!
13 Books About Empathy ...though I'm leery of books for the very young child "designed to spark conversations" because that can veer toward speeches or lectures; let your child lead you with his/her questions & ideas. Extensive conversations best reserved for your school-aged child.
30 of the Best Books to Teach Children Empathy Though it says this list is for K-8, many of the excellent books on this list are more appropriate for (older) 9-year-olds through mid-teen. And btw, a book doesn't "teach empathy" but can illustrate what it looks like!

And while on the topic of reading...

Boo! Are Fairy Tales Too Scary for Kids? It may seem like I'm contradicting myself, recommending fairy tales while in the same breath cautioning against frightening children. All is revealed if you read it!
3 Guidelines for Bedtime Reading

As you lovingly shelter your child from too much noise of the world, I invite you to do some measure of that for yourself as well. That way, you not only nurture your young peacemaker but also cultivate YOUR most vibrant spring renewal, refreshment and growth.

Do you know someone who might find any of these resources helpful? If so, feel free to share via

1) clicking on "View in browser" link at top, then copy/send them the link from your browser's URL window; or

2) the old-fashioned "Forward email" (but note the caution** below).

As always, your embrace of Parenting for Peace is a gift and a joy!


Spring blessings,

Author of Parenting for Peace:
Raising the Next Generation
of Peacemakers


Mothers Day Beauty

Not much need be said about this: it's a collection of "43 Raw Photos of Moms Helping Their Daughters Give Birth." I'm guessing these have the power to stir an array of deep feelings in the person gazing at them. For those like me, who lost my mother early in life, there's a bittersweet reality illustrated here: a profound sense of missing experience. Do you feel it as a missed moment? If there is another birth in your future, does it lead you to consider wanting your mother there? What do these images stir in you?  Photo essay

Say NO to Sugar

For decades your parents and theirs were brain-washed into swapping their eggs for cereal to reduce their heart attack or stroke risk. Turns out that was exactly the wrong advice! They (and you) were taught that sugar was "empty" calories; that was an insidiously dangerous lesson, since it turns out that sugar is not empty, but deadly. This has been a massive (and under-reported) public health scandal that reads like an Erin Brokovich who-done-it. 
Nutshell version 
Thriller version

Secret Depression

During this springtime of uncertainty, reports roll in about record numbers of people suffering anxiety and depression. And yet we're rarely clear in our understanding of what depression is. Andrew Solomon points out, "The opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality." Indeed. But the writer of "When People With Depression Function Too Well" shines a light on an invisible subset of depression in which vitality pretends to exist: Perfectly Hidden Depression. It's remarkably similar to what I term CCPD (Chronic Covert Postpartum Depression), but it can happen to anyone anytime, especially the perfectionists among us.



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