Warning: A non-numeric value encountered in /home/mywifeca/public_html/learningastheygrow.com/wp-content/themes/Divi/functions.php on line 5611
The Secret to a Happy Family:  Kids Discipline Themselves?

The Secret to a Happy Family: Kids Discipline Themselves?

What kind of parent do you want to be? For most parents the quick answer to this question is easy: a great one. Or at least hopefully that’s where most begin their journey. I think it is. But what happens next? What does it really mean to be a great parent? How will you navigate through the turbulent waters of parentinge? How will you handle it when your kids don’t listen? Have you really thought about what it takes? I’m talking about more than just the effort you will put forth. I’m talking about your parenting philosophy, your core values, those things that will anchor you when the weather gets rough. Because it will. The reality is this: we all want to be great parents, but the road to well adjusted young adults is a long one, it’s elusive, it’s fraught with unexpected pitfalls and challenges that didn’t exist yesterday. And around every corner? Parental exhaustion. It would be nice if when you left the hospital they handed you a road map to parenting success and that was all the guidance you needed, but that’s simply not possible. Destination unknown. Your journey will be unique. But with your core values serving as your north star, and a little luck, you’ll hopefully still get there. Just be sure to buckle up because at times it’s going to be bumpy! The good news is there are an abundance of resources and opinions — professional and otherwise — to help you navigate your way. Some of these will certainly be helpful to you. The bad news is that sometimes this avalanche of...
Rock Island: The Awakening

Rock Island: The Awakening

We stood alone among the rocks and oyster shells, surrounded on all sides by water. Somewhere beyond the water lay the land and the noise of the daily grind, but here now the only sound was the gentle lapping of the slow rising tide against the side of our tandem kayak which was moored to a large piece of driftwood a few paces from where we stood. Beneath our feet was Rock Island, as we had become accustomed to calling it. Presently it was no more than 100 feet at its widest point, a small patch of algae covered rocks, shells, and mud peeking forth from the surface of a small creek, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. But soon, as part of the daily tidal dance, it would again sink back beneath the surface like a giant sea turtle returning to the depths after rising for a breath of air. Rock Island was just a short paddle from the house where I grew up and just a little further from the house where I presently lived with my wife and kids. I had stood on this very spot many times before, but not for several years. When I was a child the island used to be much wider, even containing green grass, but now it was diminished, devoid of greenery, and only surfaced at low tide. Weathered by time and climate change, at high tide the island was now a ghost, its presence below the surface only marked by the tattered solo white flag someone had staked to its center to warn passing boats. The island was not...
Nobody Listening

Nobody Listening

Quite often while making lunch, a phone will ring, my Sadie (4) will answer, and hand it to me. “It’s Jack Johnson mama, he wants to talk to you”. I hold the orange plastic phone to my ear and glance at her. She’s listening and so is my son, six. Both are big fans of Jack Johnson. They know most of his songs and they know that he contributes 100% of his tour earnings to charity. “Hey man” I say into the phone. “How’s it going? Cool. No, it’s a good time, I’m just making some lunch. How are the waves today?” And then something a little crazy usually happens. I start to tell Jack about my day, about how I wish it were warmer, how I want to feel the sun on my skin “I’ll bet its 80 there in Hawaii!” I say. The kids move on, but, standing by the stove, I keep talking. I tell him how tired I am. How I don’t think I can drink one more cup of tea, but that it’s the only thing keeping me going. How weary I am of worrying about sore throats and coughs. I find myself talking to him like I really am talking to him. Is it because I don’t speak to many adults all day? Perhaps I am slightly delirious from lack of sleep? Or maybe because, with the silence at the other end of the plastic phone, it just feels good to be listened to. A friend of mine here in England is trained in Hand in Hand Parenting, a parenting style developed in...
Birthday Bike

Birthday Bike

She turned four yesterday and today she rode her birthday bike. No training wheels for her and no fear. A couple of wobbles and she was yelling “let go!” And I let go. I ran behind for as long as I could and she flew. She is fearless. It terrifies me. It fills me with awe and amazement and wonder. It is one of those moments that I hope to remember for the rest of my life. One of the moments that make all of the really hard moments completely and absolutely worth it. I struggle with the balance between protecting and letting go. Letting the fearlessness take her through a magical life but keeping her alive to see it. I struggle and because I am mindful of the struggle I hope that I am keeping the balance for her. The world will present all of its fears soon enough. For our children, coming of age in the time of climate change, terrorism, internet infinity with its overwhelming and endless negative and violent imagery, we must protect the fearlessness as long as we can. It is the secret to their future wellbeing and survival. It will give them hope when the world seems hopeless. It will allow them to believe that they can make a difference. Ride on, baby girl. I am so honored to be on this journey with...