In the book, “Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul,” Dr. Stuart Brown explains that play is anything but trivial. It is a biological drive as integral to our health as sleep or nutrition. We are designed by nature to flourish through play.
Play explains why play is essential to our social skills, adaptability, intelligence, creativity, ability to problem solve and more. Particularly in tough times, we need to play more than ever, as it's the very means by which we prepare for the unexpected, search out new solutions, and remain optimistic. In fact, play just might be the most important work we can ever do.
One point that Brown makes again and again is that true play requires a person to let go of pride and self-consciousness. A game of Twister would be horrible if everybody were concerned about what others thought of them. In short, play requires humility. Developing a humble spirit around others allows one to truly play with others- and since play is that which fosters creativity, a culture where humility is the rule is a far healthier culture, economically and socially.
Play is the cornerstone of happiness and being a parent allows the opportunity to play without getting weird looks when we let our silly sides to show.
So, what is on your family’s play list? What fun do you have planned in the coming summer months that can engage the whole family? If your family play list needs some work, use the next family-meeting to discuss this topic. Have each member of the family answer the following three questions:
By Dr. Charles Fay www.loveandlogic.com
What do parents do when their children become truthfulness-challenged? If many adults in today's world suffer from Honesty Deficit Disorder, who are we to think that our offspring will always be immune? The good news is that conscientious parents can turn the tide on truth-bending behavior by applying the Three E's of Love and Logic.
The First "E" of Love and Logic: Example
Obviously, parents who act truthfully around their kids are far more likely to have kids who tell the truth. A not-so-obvious application of good modeling involves discussing our moral dilemmas with other adults when our children are within earshot. When our children overhear us talking about temptations… and how we've chosen truthfulness instead of deceit… powerful lessons get locked in.
The Second "E" of Love and Logic: Experience
When children lie, they need to experience logical consequences. One of the most practical involves expecting them to replace any energy they've drained from us as a result of their fibbing. Does lying drain your parental energy?
The Third "E" of Love and Logic: Empathy
Those who understand the Love and Logic approach understand that consequences preceded with empathy are far more effective than consequences delivered with anger, guilt, or sarcasm. An added benefit of responding to our children's mistakes with empathy is that they'll be far more likely to admit making them. Do you want your children to be afraid of you when they blunder? Do you want them to hide their mistakes rather than bringing them to your attention? Of course you don't! That's why it's so important to discipline with love rather than lectures.
As a child, Mondays were special days because it meant pancakes for breakfast made by my dad. Working as hospital chaplain and the pastor of a Mennonite congregation kept my father quite busy. Mondays were his days off and he developed a whole wheat flour recipe that he mixed up for us the first school day of each week.
Served with butter and warmed syrup, we enjoyed this weekly treat and it became part of our family tradition. And if there were some left over, we might have them that evening with some vanilla ice cream sandwiched inside. As adults, my siblings and I would often request pancakes for breakfast when we visited.
As we are approaching Father’s Day, I have been reflecting on the influence of my father on my life. Every summer, my dad helped my mom pack us in the car for a day trip to the Oregon coast or a camping trip to Honeyman State Park where we collected sticks and sea shells, built sandcastles and rode the dune buggy on the Oregon Dunes. My dad helped me appreciate the wonders of nature.
Later when we moved to Kansas, we spent several summers in the Ozarks. I remember once, we were expecting to hear some local musicians perform on the courthouse steps. However, when we arrived at the empty town square, it became clear that we had outdated information.
My dad asked around and eventually found some local musicians gathering nearby to play for their own entertainment. Being an awkward teenager, I am pretty sure I was lobbying for going straight back to our campsite. But soon we found ourselves seated in some battered folding chairs enjoying the music from a dulcimer, some fiddles, a banjo, a few guitars, a hammered dulcimer and even a couple of cloggers (a type of folk dance.),
On one of our visits to the Arkansas Ozarks, my dad inquired about how to make a dulcimer and before we headed home, he had purchased plans to build one. I am the proud owner of one of his ‘limited editions.’ From my dad, I learned the importance of curiosity and not letting shyness get in the way of experiencing life.
From the very beginning of my life, I was influenced by the lifestyle choices of both my father and mother. I was born in Mathis, a small Texas town near Corpus Christi in a maternity hospital built by volunteers from the Mennonite Church. As the directors of the program, my parents provided leadership, support and meals eaten around a ping pong table.
Through the Mennonite Voluntary Service unit, the local community benefited from having access to the maternity hospital, a kindergarten to help children learn English before starting elementary school, cooking & basketball after school clubs, adult education and more. MVS, started in 1944 as a practical peaceful alternative to serving in the military, continues until today as a way for volunteers make a 1-2 year commitment to make a difference.
I find the words of American writer Clarence Budington Kelland sum up well what I learned from watching my dad, Millard E. Osborne. “My father didn’t tell me how to live life; he lived, and let me watch him do it.”
Thanks, Dad and Happy Father’s Day.
According to the most recent market research to sharpen your brain, we should be taking fish oil supplements, use turmeric, do exercise and puzzle books and invest in a language course. But SURPRISE—the easiest, cheapest and most time-tested method is…READING!
It’s summer and any teacher will tell you that summer reading is critical for students to retain knowledge and skills learned in the previous school year. Students who don't read are at risk of falling behind their classmates. Parents and teachers can avoid this by making sure kids take time to read. Suggestions on how to help this to happen in your home to follow.
The very nature of reading encourages the brain to work harder and better. “Typically, when you read, you have more time to think,” says Maryanne Wolf, EDD, director of the UCLA Center for Dyslexia, Diverse Learners, and Social Justice. “Reading gives you a unique pause button for comprehension and insight. By and large, with oral language— when you watch a film or listen to a tape—you don’t press pause.”
What if you are (or someone you know is) a poor, or even a dyslexic, reader who feels as if you’ll never be able to read enough to reap these benefits? A book can fix that problem too! Scientists at Carnegie Mellon University studied children ages eight to ten who were below-average readers. One hundred hours of remedial reading classes significantly improved the quality of their brains’ white matter—the tissue that carries signals between areas of gray matter, where information is processed. The researchers’ conclusion: The brains of these children had begun to rewire themselves in ways that could benefit the entire brain, not only the reading-centric temporal cortex. (Reader’s Digest, March 2019)
So, what can you do as a parent to encourage reading in your home?
“Reading fiction not only develops our imagination and creativity, it gives us the skills
to be alone. It gives us the ability to feel empathy for people we've never met, living
lives we couldn't possibly experience for ourselves, because the book puts us inside
the character's skin.” Ann Patchett