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