Captain Bringdown

Kia Ora, ladies and gentlegeeks

It’s been a while since I came and geeked out over here and shared some links (aka cleared some tabs) and it’s a joy and a privilege to have a moment to do just that!

Small one due home from school in a jiff and I will switch from office brain to domesticity. But for now I want to pause and breathe in and out together, perhaps grounding through all four corners of the feet and rolling the shoulders.  AMEN!

And then I wanna say … mate it’s hard sometimes.  So much of the news is bad and the threats are real. The wisdom of what to do to protect ourselves (and provide an umbrella for others) can be increasingly hard to tune into when we are surrounded by outrage machines.

YA KNOW?

Oh, Nature, we need you!

Oh, attention span, I miss you!

Oh, movement! I love you!

Anyway, busy time for this geek, learning heaps of new bits as I try and get a study through an ethics committee (my first go). Also attempting to wrestle a literature review into submission.  Winning, but JUST. Lots of family stuff too, of course. And if you’re planting with the lunar cycles (and why wouldn’t you, I’d like to know? Might as well, right?) then this forthcoming weekend is the time to get your seeds started under cover.  Well, if you live near Canterbury, NZ.

Why don’t we do a link dump now, my friends, and I will see you on the flip side.

Let’s start with something from Business Insider (I love a diverse perspective!) on evidence Apple shareholders used to show smartphones are addictive for kids. While we’re talking about kids and phones (which I do an awful lot of, these days.  JEEZ I’M BORING) here is something from Wait til 8th (from US … as in 8th grade aka kiwi year 10 aka 14 years old … they promote waiting till that age till parents get their kids a smartphone) ANYWAY here’s something from them about screen use in schools.   And here’s a pretty great opinion piece about screens in schools.

OK, one more screen site: this is a list reason of physics-based reasons that too much screen stuff is bad for us, from Fair Observer AND this is a piece about an important bit of legislation in coming up for discussion in the US, to make infinite scrolling and autoplay not the default setting anymore.  Sorry if that sentence didn’t make sense.  School bus is here gotta go

Back.  Nearly done with screeniac links. THIS is from Scientific American, and it’s about rebuilding social media to support empathy. They’ll need to read this manifesto from the Center (Centre!) for Humane Tech, about avoiding human downgrading. 

THIS from the Conversation is about the need for diversity in children’s books,  and speaking of books, here is a piece encouraging paper not screen, and enjoy this webinar from our pals at the Children’s Screen Time Action Network … it’s about reading aloud.  Hooray.  I absolutely get how getting your kid comfy listening to stories on the iPad while you get a meal going can feel like a win, but imagine a world where you could consistently BE the iPad in that scenario!  I miss curling up with warm little kids and reading them stories.  I think that my dearth of snuggly reading means I must be outta whack.  I blame the literature review.  And the excessive amounts of pine pollen in my atmosphere!

See what I mean about the attention span?  Where was I?

Here is a cool thing from Scientific American about babies’ sense of justice, and speaking of justice, won’t you please sign this petition. Then, as dessert, check out these gems from my man Rick Hansen, to lower stress. Oh, and speaking of dessert! How gross is this marketing of diets to children? NO Thank you.

Now I’m stressed out again and I’ll just head back to Rick Hansen for some deep dreaths and inner smiles.

Arohanui,  y’all x x x

computers, compassion

Kia Ora ladies and gentlegeeks,

If you are in NZ, I hope the school hols are treating you kindly.  Today has been a great day for a warm fire, baking and puzzles.  Soon I shall get serious about creating a delicious dinner for my crew.  Till then, I gotta lotta quality links to share.

Shall we?

First, I’m a little into the whole notion of Technology Shabbats, brainchild of Tiffany Shlain.  I heard about them via promotion for the upcoming webinar from the Children’s Screen Time Action Network.  Those webinars tend to be pretty awesome.

There are a great many reasons to try something like a tech shabbat, to declare yourself a member of the resistance.  We are part of a mass experiment and our brains are changing as a result …. or should we say, our brains are being changed.  There is something intentional and manipulative at play, although many will deny it.  Like Google.  Jeez, Google. You do WHAT?  Profit from pedophiles with your crazy recommendations and asymmetric algorithms?  Taste the shame. 

What to do?  If you’re New York rich, you might hire a coach to help raise phone-free kids,  which would be lovely, because all sorts of suboptimal outcomes are associated with too much tech … like these things in this blog post by Rae Pica, and read about diminishing physical skills in that there Australian article.  Pals, tech insiders don’t use the stuff like we’ve been coerced to.  Children are being predated on by the tech companies as well as the weirdos on their platforms.

Sigh.  Too much tech gets in the way of lots of other important things that children need to do.  They have WORK to do (they need “love, attention and plenty of free time”), if they are to be allowed to be thought “ready for school” at the appropriate age.  They gotta figure out how to make sense of emotion, they need adults helping them to process trauma before it gets lodged in their bodies, and they gotta climb trees.

I mean, we all gotta get outside more, preferably to dig in the dirt.  We are going to have to continue to raise a little hell, like this mama in Maryland who I salute from afar as she advocates for saner screen use in her school.  Put books in all waiting rooms!!

solstice celebrated, garlic planted!

Kia Ora lovelies,
How wonderful to have tipped over into shortening nights and lengthening days.  It still may be flipping freezing, but I’m grateful for the reminder that all is impermanent.

First link of the day: “Your Undivided Attention” … it’s an excellent new podcast from the Center for Humane Tech.  It has me all a-flutter thinking about design solutions to support us mere humans in undoing the manipulation of our poor li’l vulnerable minds as we attempt to take control of our device use.

Which we’d better get serious about: lifetime users are changing their skeletons.  Horn-like growths on our spines?  Yeah, all this tech is not a benign habit. Especially for kids.  Oh, and  here’s what the Harvard Mahoney Neuroscience Institute reckon … Meanwhile, closer to (my!) home, I was privileged to see a powerful talk about digital addiction by a wise professor at the UC Child Wellbeing Symposium a couple of weeks back.  Koia kei a koe!

Just quietly, I’d  have liked other speakers to have considered the concepts of this essay … now, I’m a fool for some neuroscience, but let’s never forget that we are more than our brains… we are also sensory beings, feeling creatures: with bodies and bellies and reciprocal relationships.

ANYWAY … More locals doing important work can be found HERE, at the website of the Sensible Screen Use group… they are all about shaking up the new normal that exists in so many classrooms in NZ.  I wonder if they’ve read Screen Schooled?  Other useful thoughts about shaking up the norm in classrooms can be found here, in this write up of the work of a neurologist turned classroom teacher.  

Here is a lil’ something about the myth of the perfect mother (something I’ve written about elsewhere …) and this is from Rick Hansen (LOVE!), it’s about taking care of dads.

This is an interesting finding about the link between adverse childhood experiences and the onset of puberty, and I end with a glorious bit of counsel about having conversations about positive parenting, it’s from the most excellent Canadian Paediatric Society.  Merci!

a little light reading

Photo on 28-05-19 at 1.08 PMKia Ora e hoa ma,

This picture shows me holding a few of the books I’m kinda simultaneously reading.  How’s the attentional bandwith, you may ask?  Yeah, well you oughta see my piles of papers … and the electronic files all over my desktop (the ones awaiting printing!).  Does your brain ever feel itchy with the awareness of it all?  At least I have the blessed luxury of this website as a place to clean up the jumble of my tabs!  Let’s do that now, eh?

First, a comprehensive report from our cousins across the Tasman, about the first 1000 days and the opportunities for investment, support.  Brought to my attention by the good peeps at ARACY: the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth.  Kia Ora!

Next, a few links about early childhood education.  This is a report emphasising the importance of ECE from a financial perspective, here are a few goodies from the awesome Evolutionary Parenting website (ECE as allocare … when it’s done well, I say “hell, yeah!”), and here is a piece about play based learning in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Now … this is a small but important piece about the problems with using food as a play material in ECE settings.  I’ve had this debate – I distinctly remember a training in San Diego, CA, in about 1999, where I explained that kiwi early childhood teachers hadn’t been using food in play since I could remember.  And friends, I trained in the early 90′s, not yesterday.  BUT… full disclosure: I have never been able to reconcile my effortless acceptance of removing rice/pasta etc from collage areas AND my deep, abiding love of play dough.  I am a work in progress.   Speaking of food: random link here from Harvard Medical School: new findings in praise of broccoli.  Yum!

Now, some links about play … here is an article from the New York Times about the adventure playgrounds that seem to be coming back into vogue (right on!) … reminds me of the one I long to visit in Tokyo, featured in the book Savage Park (which I devoured).  Whilst on the topic of adventurous play, the NY Times article references some research done here in NZ, and you can read about it HERE.

Oh, while we are thinking about international research … this piece from the awesome Conversation website is about talking to babies all over the world, and included the shocking stat that 95% of the world’s developmental science research is done on only 5% of the world’s populations.  Holy ding dong!

Now, from Psychology Today … it’s about letting toddlers help.  While we are talking about toddlers, I humbly share a piece I wrote a few years back for my pals at OHbaby! mag.  I adore toddlers and will defend them, always.

Hey … I talked about the Evolutionary Parenting website back there?  Here is a link so you can listen to her founder, Tracy Cassels, interviewed by Australian breastfeeding advocate, Pinky McKay.  I seriously rate Pinky, I just wish she didn’t encourage mums to include their phones and tv remotes in their breastfeeding support package, alongside their water bottles and (awesomely named) boobie bikkies. What’s my beef?  I insist that we must all Beware the still face of parental phone use! 

For now, I am going to hurl a slew of tech related links at you, then do some non-computer stuff my damn self!  My shoulders insist!  

Right ho, so this is a piece I wrote for the fine folk at Tots to Teens, here is a piece from the Guardian about how people’s lives have changed since they got phones for their kids (the good, the bad …) and here are a bunch of links to reports from the 5rights peeps in the UK.  I was wowed by their “Disrupted Childhood” report, about persuasive tech.  And now (irony!) I want to stay online and read all the others!

THIS is a good read, from Forbes, about the push toward ‘personalized learning’ (ie, tech in classrooms) and here is something about tech in the home from a dad’s point of view, from the San Francisco Chronicle . While we’re thinking of dads, here are some interesting findings about paternity leave in Spain.

What else?  A cry for more time being barefoot, some interesting findings from Australia about elitism, sexism, and the size of your school’s sport’s fields, and just because it’s been ages since I linked to the Talaris Institute and they’re awesome … check out these language links.  Speaking of language(!!), with thanks to the Distinguished Professor who shared this blog (Discussion is the Food of Chiefs), enjoy.

Getting harder to type now, cos my fingers are crossed … why?  Because I’m sincerely hoping the Wellbeing Budget will bear awesome fruit.  Now gird your loins as you read this li’l something from the Spinoff about the problems with Plunket’s founder.  Now, I adore Plunket as a supporter of families in NZ, but I don’t think it hurts to acknowledge that historical figures are flawed, and for contemporary biographies to describe more than one side of a person.

I don’t wish to end this post on such a downer note, so instead, here is an inspiring snack (I’m obsessed with that stuff!), an item I covet shamelessly, and finally …  a lovely guided meditation.

Blessed be the geeks!

screen free week aftermath

Kia Ora lovelies,

I would have begun this post sharing the tales of joy that emerged from our week offscreen & offline (ie, LIVING LIFE!) but instead I must grouse about having spent the entire morning troubleshooting the problems with my referencing software.  Little Girl only has a half day of school today (therefore I can only count on a half day of productivity today!) and I have done NONE of the work I intended doing.  And she’ll be here in less than an hour!

SO FRUSTRATED.  But trying hard not to stress out.  Breathing in, out, in out.

The disconcerting bit is how the problem appears to be resolved, but I am not confident that any of my fixes worked the magic.  It seemed to inexplicably right itself, just as I commenced crying/yelling!

I cannot help but think that the screens are retaliating to my joyful rejection of them during Screen Free Week?  No, not possible!  Does AI exist in word processing/referencing software?  Surely not!  And if so, did the sight of my sobbing form elicit some kind of compassionate reaction?  I don’t know what to think!!

Anyway, friends, let’s share some links.

Here is a little something about how too many structured events can limit kids’ executive functioning.  Let ‘em play!

This is a link to join a free online summit about mindfulness & compassion at work, and this is another online conference, about parenting a spirited/high needs child, and featuring the magnificent Dan Siegel.  Things we love about tech … right there.

The Center for Humane Tech has released some important info, this week, about the shared definition of “human downgrading“.  Love.  Not a moment too soon, my friends, as there are definitely downsides to our love affair with devices, and the hardware designers don’t seem to really want to support our paths to healing.  SHAME on you, Apple!

At least there’s Moment.  

Also, speaking of healing, I LOVE this approach from British doctors, prescribing real life stuff that’s good for the soul (I know I love my dance class and need it like medicine!).  Thanks, Smithsonian Mag, for sharing.  Unrelated goodness: using humour to share an important message about world overpopulation … endangered species condoms.

Here is an important article from “the conversation” about the loss of personalised school cleaning services, and the losses for children.  I’ve witnessed this outsourcing and I say “Boo!” (as in: thumbs down, not trying to be scary!)

To close: I humbly share something I wrote a while back, and may I urge you anew to eat your greens.

online opportunities and an article made of paper

Photo on 11-04-19 at 8.53 AMKia Ora my friends,

Here I am enjoying the latest issue of OHbaby! magazine.  The story referenced on the cover (“Beyond Compare”) is one I wrote for them, about the Comparison Trap.  She’s the thief of joy, etc.  I’m proud of this article and it is my sincere hope that it’ll lighten the load for some mamas.  Even if just a smidge.

Meanwhile, I am aware of a bunch of really good webinar type online conference sort of situations, and imma share those with you now, lest you have a bit of time, curiosity and flexibility.

Check these out, in no particular order …

This is the Happy Child Summit, I hope I didn’t leave posting too late.  Quick, check it out for stress-busting and anxiety-conquering information.   Free!  Happening RIGHT NOW!

Also free, also a summit, this one featuring my pal Rick Hansen (*not actually a pal, I just dig his work, and I like to think we’d be pals if he turned up at my place to play board games!) here is the Brain Change Summit … looks juicy … starts (American) April 22, runs for 10 days.  Free!

This looks awesome, for the educators among us.  It’s a webinar called “From Teaching to Thinking” and it’s about fostering a culture of enquiry into ECE (& junior school?) classrooms.  It’s on (American) April 17th.  Free!

And TODAY (which is yesterday in the US) is the most recent of the webinars from the Children’s Screen Time Action Network.  These have been GREAT.  Although the name of this campaign is kinda lost in translation (“Wait till 8th” is about getting parents to pledge to wait to give their kids a smartphone until they’re in 8th grade, which is year 9 in NZ, aka 3rd Form to us old timers!) the discussion will be relevant, to be sure.  Check it out … also FREE!

Speaking of “Wait till 8th”, their website has a great article co-written by Richard Freed (whose work I also dig!) and it’s called Parent like a Tech Exec.  As we keep learning, as the creators of the addictive technologies we’re all using every day (and giving our kids to use …) are becoming parents themselves, there is a staunch movement to keep their kids away from tech.  IRONY!  My old friend!  You’ll NEVER die!

Waiting to give your kids tech is hard, but wise.  Soon enough they’ll be all in.

Finally, because it’s cool, here is a wee something about aviation … a commercial flight where the pilot just happens to be the co-pilot’s parent!!  Have a look …

then tell me …

did you assume they were both blokes cos I carefully avoided pronouns back there?

alrighty, then … back to work

This geek has had a crazy end to summer & beginning of Autumn.  A series of blessed distractions and beautiful messes.  International family … travellers enriching my life (and borrowing my office space …) so I’ve been busy with tour guiding, housekeeping, translating.

In so doing, I’ve had the great privilege of visiting corners of our lovely island that I had never seen before … like Fiordland, and Lee’s Valley … and many other spots I know and love, like Castle Hill (which is sooooo much busier these days!).

So the joy has been forthcoming, and the gratitude for the miraculous accident of being kiwi born.  Hard on the heels of all that joy, however, sits anxiety (“I need to hit my desk!”) and her cousin, guilt (“I should be doing some reading/note taking!”).

For now, I will clear off the tabs on my computer (OH! the things I long to share!) and I’ll ease back into the river … I’ve got 8 weeks to pull together a major bit of work, and then another 8 to pull together a couple more biggies.  I’ll aim to avoid the riverbanks of Chaos and Rigidity, and strive to float down the middle, in the Wellbeing flow, where all is Integrated.

I’ll remind myself that I am capable, and that I do actually enjoy this sorta shizz.  I’ll also remind my ol’ lady self (just had another birthday, watch me go!) that I AM THE BOSS OF ME … if this work gets the better of me, I have options!  I’m not in prison!  And if, periodically,  it feels like I am … I will remind it’s a prison of my own making!

And I’ll be grateful to share some links with some geeks … first up, I LOVE THIS.  It’s from a site called Ethical Research Involving Children, and it highlights a small but massively powerful change in seeking permission … check out this quote:

What is the change? Here is a typical statement in parental consent forms for children of all ages:

“As parent or legal guardian, I authorize (child’s name) to become a participant in the research study described in this form.”

Of course many variations of this wording exist, but the bottom line is that parents are asked to consent for their child to participate in research.

Try and use this instead:

“As parent or legal guardian, I give permission to the research team to approach my child (name of the child) and ask if he/she wishes to participate in your project.”

Right on!  A parent provides consent for a researcher to INVITE a child to participate.  That is an important distinction.

What else?  Here is an amazing article from the deep thinkers at Renegade Inc., this is about education and it is worth a read.  More on education, now …  Did I share this yet?  It’s an episode of the On Being podcast, in which neuroscientist Richard Davidson talks about the need to include kindness and practical love in classroom curricula.  Speaking of classrooms, watch out that the youngest kids aren’t disproportionately being labeled as pathologically flawed just cos they’re young (so said research from the University College London),  here’s something new to worry about (Wifi and cancer … oh dear) and here is a piece from the New York Times about the digital divide and how it’s not what we expected: these days, affluent parents are keeping kids off screens.  Meanwhile, this article, also from NY Times, takes the idea further … Human Contact is Now a Luxury Good).

What’s that?  We social mammals need social connection?  Ya don’t say!!

A wee bit more tech stuff, this is about how difficult it can be to think straight with the many interruptions of a phone (BTW how do I make my laptop stop telling me when my phone receives an imessage?  I don’t want to know!!) and here the good folk at the School of Life tell us how to live more wisely around our tech.  Listen, if those of us who are fully grown are struggling with all this, we owe it to the small people to help them stay offline, and sane.  As it is, the internet knows you better than your spouse does (so said Scientific American!), instagram makes you miserable, and we are all fighting the tide of Persuasive Design!!

(oooh, in unrelated news … I heard a great quote by Maria Popova about hope, cynicism and critical thinking … don’t you just love Brain Pickings?  Check it all out, my friends!)

Home stretch now … This article from the Guardian implores American moms (but they might mean us non-American mums, too?) to stop feeling guilty and start getting mad … and it’s true … there is plenty to be mad about!  I”m mad that so much misinformation about child development persists and I’m mad that so many people still casually disrespect children and it even makes me a bit mad that our opportunities in life are still heavily dependent upon where you are born.  (Me: born in NZ in the 1970′s = BLESSED!! )

How to avoid stagnating in that mad place?  Well, I look for things that crack me up, I look for ways to feel peaceful and move joyfully.  I take action, I donate money (when I can) and I look after my gut!  

Next time, my friends, we gotta get serious about planning for Screen Free Week, which starts at the end of this month.  Till then, take care.

Arohanui, x xx

many links to … enjoy?

As is oft the case, my geeky brothers & sisters, a great many of the things I’m about to share with you might not exactly be *enjoyable*.  But mate, they are important nonetheless.

So while the clock’s tickin’ and time’s a-wasting, I’ll just commence the link dump, shall I?

First, a really useful piece about being trauma informed  in the classroom, and while we’re in the classroom, here is a lovely li’l something about the role of self-compassion in academic performance.  Important, because look how harrowing grad school can be.

A few more screen-y links: here is something about the risks of choosing electronic socialisation over the kanohi ki te kanohi, face to face type, and the Guardian reminds parents not to let children take screens into bedrooms.

Here are a couple of research articles to seek out: this one carves a line between screen time and developmental screening scores, (which is problematic: check out THIS  from the Independent pointing to how much more time the littles are spending on screens than they did even 15 or so years ago) … and this work points out how screen use during daily routines is contributing to social-emotional delays.  As a counter, you might LEAN IN to the routines, thusly.  

Reasons to resist, continued!  In this interview,  Chamath Palihapitiya (a former Facebook exec) says:

 ”I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works. The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works. No civil discourse, no cooperation; misinformation, mistruth. You are being programmed”

 

Other stuff now … HERE you will find an article about the ways that early development (specifically behaviour) points to earning power in adulthood, this is a piece from Psychology Today about the spotlight effect (how I love a research project that involves Barry Manilow!) and here is some goodness from Rick Hansen about taking in the good.

Speaking of good, check out this project that keeps people bicycling at all ages, here are five ways to nurture compassion in kids, and this is a slew of treats for the simplifier in your life.  This is just about the coolest thing I’ve ever seen – haiku meet the Supreme Court of the US… and a final bit of inspiring reading is to be found here, and it is about self-definition.  Yeah!

staring out of windows

Kia Ora my friends, colleagues, geeky brothers & sisters

Summer is whipping past with the speed of a nor’west wind and I am finally ready to begin list-writing and the wrangling of ducks into rows as I contemplate my action-packed 2019.

Even as most of NZ has attempted varying degrees of summer holiday, there have been a great many things written, published, and shared.  I will pass some along now!

I’ll begin with a link to the most recent webinar from the Children’s Screen Time Action Network, and here is a li’l something from The Conversation, of Australia.  These are some lessons from people who don’t use social media, and this NY Times piece wonders what we could do with the found hours and energy that would emerge if we put our phones down for a year.

This makes me suspicious: it’s about the gamification of classrooms, and this piece from the BBC  speaks to parents’ frustrations at the lack of ‘official’ guidelines for kids’ screen use.  (Send the kids outside to play!  It’s important for their eye health).

I’ll change gears for a few links now, because I do geek out about a range of stuff, not just the screen dramas.  Here is a link from Early Childhood Australia about the value of music in children’s lives, this is a report from Harvard about an amazing study that uses a massive data set to attempt to tease out the impact of nature/nurture (“gene code or zip code”) on various diseases, and THIS!  Yes, this is important.  From The good folk at A Mighty Girl, about the folly of “he’s mean because he likes you”.

As a country girl and a lifelong wool fanatic (ain’t lying!) I was STOKED to read about this innovative use of a renewable resource.  Oh, listen … full disclosure … I have been enjoying a vegan diet  for a couple of months now, but clearly this does not actually make me a vegan.  My love for wool is even greater than my love for eating a plant-based diet.  SORRY.

Here is a piece from the awesome Evolutionary Parenting website, about why punishment does not work, and I also love the work of Rick Hansen … here is a gift of a piece about letting go of unnecessary burdens.  Great timing as I work on a piece for my pals at OHbaby! about the risks of comparison.

This is a reflection from someone who often works with young people (they’re stressed out!) and LO! we have dovetailed back to screen related topics.  Click HERE  to read a summary of negative effects of excessive screen on children (and what parents can do about it) … you might want to install time-limiting software?   Like this.

Meanwhile, GOOD GOLLY I think this is really, really important from Psychology Today … it’s about the dangers associated with ‘technovoidance’, that is, avoiding feeling the feels and instead turning to the distractions of the shiny and pingy.  Oh, feel the feels!  Please gaze about during wait times!  Stare out windows!  Be bored!

“Don’t just do something!  SIT THERE!”

Here is a sobering piece from Scientific American about the cultural parenting hangover left over from the flippin’ Nazis, and I’ll follow that up with something beautiful, as a palate cleanser.  Check out these lovely pictures from “the best shell beach, ever!”.

have yourself a geeky little Christmas

mama body issue coverKia Ora koutou, hello everybody!It has been a challenge to get to the computer, but I did it … even if just for a moment!  To the left is a quote I’m rather proud of – I have an article in the most recent issue of OHbaby! mag, about mother’s bodies and the need to care for ourselves.

My usual annual ban on wintery Christmas songs (White Christmas, Sleigh Ride, etc) is temporarily abated – it almost feels like winter, because the conditions in my kiwi summertime are so spazzy (hail, rain, chilly temperatures).  So what the heck, right?  I could try being, as my Big Girl would say, “all chill”.  Not my natural state!

Quick link dump for my friends, then I’m off to help Little Girl clean her bedroom – how could a person add gifts to chaos in good conscience?

Speaking of gifts, may we begin with this from the LA Times, it’s the advice of pediatricians this Christmas.  Just say NO to electronic toys!

Other useful gift ideas: I have made another donation to RAICES, which is an organisation in Texas that gives legal representation to children who have been separated from their parents at the border.  Seeking asylum is not a crime!   If you can watch that video without crying you’re exempt from donation, I guess (but you may find coal in your stocking on Tuesday).

I supplemented that donation with the purchase of ITMFA gear for those I love.  These small acts of resistance make it easier for me to spread kindness and joy, which I will continue to try doing, because the positive vibrations will have genuine impact!

May your festive season be full of family and love and mess and tasty treats.  May you play board games, go for slow waddles around the block, and have the opportunity for a nap … but please exercise caution if your nap strategy involves plying children with screens.  It is probably oK just that once, but unconscious screen use is a poor long-term solution, especially if the kidlets are super young.  And don’t trust the buggers  telling you it’s all chill!  Even schools have been seduced.   Exercise caution, friends.  Use critical thinking.  Even some cynicism might be useful here.

But before we slide into Grinch-y cynics all the time, here are some lush treats to close.  This is Fred Rogers’ Emmy acceptance speech from 1997 (LOVE HIM), here is a link to the Greater Good Science Center  at UC Berkley, and this is a TED talk from Ilona Stengel about the role of emotion in science (big emotions here: I’m still tearing up from rewatching the Mr Rogers bit!).

Enjoy this rare and magnificent treat: Terry Crews channels Bob Ross for a restful gift, and I cannot get enough of the Inspirobot …

Speaking of awesome advocates and wise folk no longer with us, I await the film about the late, great Celia Lashlie with bated breath and I send extra greetings to her whānau at this poignant time of the year.

Finally: if you are involved in early education in New Zealand in any capacity, please take some time this summer to have a jolly good look at the info about the ECE strategic plan, and make your voice heard!  

Arohanui, y’all x x x x