Five Guides for Being with Kids

“Goodbye, Mr. Rick,”
said five-year-old Iliana on her way out of school
“Goodbye, Iliana.”
“You’re the principal.”
“That’s right. I am the principal.”
“You are in charge of everything.”
“That’s right.”
”You can DO anything you want.”
Ah. I get it. This is not the usual pleasantries
communicating mutual affection,
but a serious educational conversation.
“Well, no, Iliana, I can’t do anything I want.
“I have to obey the same rules you do.
“I have to respect everyone.
“I have to be kind all the time.”
“Yeah, Mr. Rick, you have to follow the rules on the play structure.”
“Right,” I said and paused.
“Actually, you can do some things I can’t do.
“I can’t climb on the play structure.
“I am too big.”

The absence of children
compromises my education.

If you are lucky enough
to be responsible for children,
but are not feeling so lucky right now
(like they test your authority,
ask too many questions,
get into conflict,
keep making mistakes,
maybe you’re not seeing them
properly. Maybe they
are doing their job
(learning to make themselves something),
maybe you need to let them
help you be you
(make something of your unique self).
Here are some things to remember:

  1. Challenging authority?
    Testing the environment is their job.

    Yours is to be there, love them,
    and push back when necessary.
    They are trying to become their own authority.
  2. Asking too many questions?
    Questioning is their job;
    yours is answering.
    (and often you can put a question back to them.)
  3. Getting into conflict?
    Learning how to get along with others is their job.
    You might help by asking a question.
    They might even ask you a question.
  4. Making mistakes?
    Learning by creating is what kids do.
    You can help by delivering hearable, seeable, doable feedback.
  5. Underachieving?
    They are developing their own standards
    The requirements of the environment
    are, usually, obvious enough
    without your help.

Life always provides us
all with the challenge:
the challenge of learning
the art of allowing
ourselves to be changed.


Posted in Genius | 4 Comments

Adolescence Is Hard

The path is never straight,
and the parenting is rarely easy.

Susan (19) hates Columbia.
Wants to drop out,
Considered suicide.
Hates therapy
and her therapist.
Her mother says:
“She’s always had trouble making friends.
“As a baby, she could not be consoled.
“She would stop crying, when I put her down!”

But last week everything changed.
Susan texted: “Camp is where I’m my best self.”
Text#2: “They put me in charge of the new recruits.”
Text#3: “Decided to stay at Columbia,”

Adolescence is hard;
the path is never straight,
and it’s never in our hands.

As Robert Sapolski says in
Dude, Where is My Fontal Lobe?: Continue reading

Posted in Character, Genius, parenting, Relationships, Self-Actualization, Social Anxiety, teenager | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Trusting the Path of Kharakter

Seventheen-month-old Zoe begins her life as an artist. Zoe’s mother gave her a box of colored chalk, and took her into the back yard. Talking all the while, her mother showed her how to make an apple on one of the flagstones in the walk, which went all the way through the back yard. Zoe needed no encouragement. With a will, she immediately started to color the flagstones, and by the time of this video, it seems she has a vision for her new canvas.
Turn up the volume. Can you make out what she says when she runs into her first challenge?

Being a parent! Continue reading

Posted in Brain Development, Challenge, Character, Children, Creativity, Education, Fun, Genius, parenting, Play, Relationships, Self-Actualization | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Becoming Your Kharakter

Nothing succeeds like the disciplines of trusting your genius.

Kharakter is the imprint that the gods put on your soul at birth.
This story contains all the elements of
Becoming your kharakter:
Dreams, visions, models,
Open mindedness to things, events and
Lessons that speak to you.
Finding your voice,
Making partnerships,
Moments of insight,
Breaking free from
Things, words, normalcy,
Faithful, always, to that inner voice,
Your genius,
Who leads you inexorably down that road no one but you has traveled into new discoveries, new inventions, new visions, new moments, all defining your unique self, and
Leaving your footprints in the sands of time.

Nothing succeeds like success? No. Nothing succeeds like the disciplines of trusting your genius.

Posted in Genius | 1 Comment

Noticing What Matters

In most schools the parent-teachers conversation doesn’t go deep enough. Here’s an example of a conversation that goes deeper: Continue reading

Posted in Anger, Character, Children, Collaborate. Create. Contribute., Collaboration, Conflict and Issues, Creativity, Culture, Education, Emotional Intelligence, Genius, Leadership, Learning community, Mathematics Teaching, parenting, Relationships, School Reform, SEL, Self-Actualization | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments