Eclipse of a Theory


The Upside-Down Pyramid?

In 1943, Abraham Maslow developed his celebrated hierarchy of needs. Something about that pyramid always seemed cold and impersonal. I remember first seeing it. Revisiting it on myriad occasions in my teacher training and other reference points could never remedy that feeling. Only now am I realizing why. I think that Maslow was looking at it upside-down. Continue reading “Eclipse of a Theory”

Your Symphony


Melodies. Each is unique. We are a melodious species. We write our melodies in the rhythms and symphonies of our lives.

Blessed we are, if our parents knew how to recognize our own unique melody that became our masterpiece. The beauty of our melodies doesn’t lie in professional aptitude. Instead, our beauty is revealed in the unique way we give and receive love. That melody is what we develop, share, and leave behind as the fruition of our lives here on Earth.

May the God of our universe bless the difficult work of parents, as they endeavor to help us sing our melodies.

All my love,


The Day the Music Returned


Parade and Piano

Pasadena, California. The 1963 Parade of Roses. We were staying with distant relatives in their Craftsman-style home, two blocks from Colorado Boulevard. The adults–old and older, had set up chairs in the middle of the night and were on the street hours before the parade started. That was the year I had sworn off dolls, dresses, anything girlish. Blech! All I’d wanted for Christmas was cowboy boots. I was wearing them.

I discovered magic in that house. An old upright piano was tucked into a dark corner. (All rooms seemed dark to me back then.) As the one child amid the old and older, they left me alone (as always).  Oh, but the piano. I plunked out the most beautiful melodies (I thought), never having had the chance to touch one before. After that, I could talk about nothing else–except my daily plea for a horse. A horse was a reasonable request. There was room in the barn and an abundant supply of hay and grain. A piano? Excessive. Continue reading “The Day the Music Returned”

When Bad Luck is Good Luck


My original thought for this title was more like Blessed to Be Cursed, but that heaviness has already filtered down to a lower water table–quite a ways down there, in fact. Honestly, I didn’t want to go the trouble of installing a new pump to haul it all up again.

In my world of education, rote learning is an accursed term. (I guess cursed may not be all that far down–it just kind of bubbled up–sorry!) We know rote as drill-and-kill: the learning of math facts, memorization without deep conceptual understanding, last minute cramming, and just surface-level regurgitation. In my journey of trying to understand why I have felt so different from others–why I was sad and empty when others around me always seemed perfectly fine–I am beginning to feel that I have received a gift.  Continue reading “When Bad Luck is Good Luck”

Special Delivery: An Out-of-the-Box idea


Out-of-the Box thinking circumvents bureaucracy

I’ve never claimed to be an efficient logical thinker. Spaghetti-brained–yes. Pushing the envelope? Daily. Unrealistic possibility? Of course. But then, there’s this: we have an exhaust vent in our garage that keeps the ambient temperature inside similar to the outdoor temperature. (That is a rare occurrence in the Midwestern blazing sun, and the product my jumping-the-box crazy idea.)  We built a 14 x 22  sun-room once for which my husband designed a roof at my request: full sun in the winter; full shade in the summer. (Again, my jumping-the-box crazy idea.) Worked flawlessly.  They’ve been challenging projects and–fun akin to child’s play. Precedents? Not many that I’ve known.

I’m learning that my core feelings and instincts have been serving me quite faithfully. I’m probably also becoming bolder than what I’ve usually dared. Sometimes, quite amazing work gets done with many hands— hands with a sense of mission and selfless regard for recognition.

Here’s my wild “out-of-the-box” thought. After all, we’re a nation of do-it-yourselfers, right? And a great many of us have blazing-speed internet service with an incredible amount of information for resources and pooling our brain power.

The big “What If”

So, I’m asking you to suspend your current concepts of reality for a few minutes:

  1. What if we could wipe out the pain and cost of mental-health issues in America within one generation? (A $444 billion dollar per year cost, not to mention the emotional anguish.)
  2. What if the pain of impaired mental health is way more common than you thought? (You are not alone: 40 million Americans suffer–that is roughly one out of every five of us.)
  3. What if we stopped putting the burden of change on government entities and public education and raised awareness together? (What a victory we could claim!)
  4. What if we could do it simply by spreading the good news of what works–moving together for the good of generations to come?  (We have those tools through social media and the access to accurate and effective information.)
  5. What if family gatherings became real Leave-It-to -Beaver fun times, devoid of emotional hurts, blame, and fear of judgement?

If all that were possible, would you sign on?

…More to come…

Hope and hugs,





I had gone to bed at a reasonable time last night, wanting to make sure I could get up and not be late. Once a month, a few of us meet in the parking lot at 6:15 am to drive downtown to serve  breakfast. But it was only 2 am. My eyes popped open. Ugh. Going to bed early was a mistake. Highly unusual. I never wake up in the middle of the night unless a storm is raging. Going to bed early? Big mistake. Now, I was hungry. I stumbled downstairs and made my emergency comfort: chicken broth, a bit of frozen corn, sliced cherry tomatoes and red pepper flakes–topped with a handful of mini-saltines. Now what? Eyes still popped.

I knew that one of our sons had been giving himself a crash-course in Italian for an upcoming trip. He was stressing out, worrying that he wouldn’t be able to reach a point of engaging with locals. So, I did a quick random search about languages (always the curious one). I don’t even remember what site I was on, but I’d taken note that Thomas Jefferson had been fluent in six languages: English, French, Greek, Italian, Latin, and Spanish. John Adams knew five: besides English–there were French, Greek, Hebrew and Latin. The part that caught my eye was “The Jefferson Bible”. Jefferson had carefully constructed what he considered to be the essence of practical wisdom, cutting out words, phrases, paragraphs–gluing and making his own. It wasn’t intended for anyone but himself; he used it late at night or sometimes in the morning. I smiled to myself thinking, …”maybe at 2:00 am when his eyes popped open.” He especially liked Matthew. Oh well, sleep again, finally.

Workers filled the steam-heated serving pans. Lines formed. Thin Styrofoam plates. Paper towels for napkins. The organizer gathered a few of us and asked if anyone would be willing to read a few verses and lead the group in the Lord’s Prayer. “Um…I can do that.” I flipped through Matthew and thought about what Jefferson might have chosen. I decided to read the first few verses of Chapter 18.

The organizer gave directions as the hungry ones jockeyed for positions–then, my turn. What to say? What would be meaningful? My teacher voice took over and explained a few things about what I’ve been sharing here: the origin of evil means “uppity”, that we are all the equally important and deserving of validation–meant to see and meet each other on common ground. I talked about Einstein’s words, “The more I know, the more I realize how much I don’t know.” I shared about Jefferson’s Bible and the words from Matthew…”unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom…”– (the importance of listening intently to every word spoken to us–leaving preconceptions at the doorstep). I was feeling all eyes-but more. There was synchronicity. Everyone has their own story. Every story counts. 

As they came through the line we caught each other’s eyes. Some commented with affirmations. In that moment I knew–2 am had not been a mistake.


Underwear vs. Inner-Ware


I couldn’t quite bring myself to use a photograph of underwear–might be a tad too obvious, so maybe a little baby-doll dress might work? This is a post about babies and babies plus just a few years, anyway. (Hang on, there’s a point in this post somewhere.)

dressWhen things go awry–even a little awry–something inside me rings out like a four-alarm fire-call. (Not the fire, just the call.) My awry-ness had to do with my laptop. A glitch. Not even much of a glitch! But there was still a four-alarm fire-call. Some people hardly notice a blip on their-inner screens when these things happen. My inner-ware? My inner-ware is hard-wired for high alert, but there is a degree of comfort from having learned that I am far from alone.

You can find all kinds of advice here on the web about anger-management, stress-management, behavior-management, and the whole package. There is not so much about prevention. There are a few brilliant parents out there who are masters of prevention. Their kiddos are l-u-c-k-y.

Some possible scenarios:    Continue reading “Underwear vs. Inner-Ware”

No photos here…

Yesterday, I think I fell in love with my husband of thirty-nine years all over again.

The whole point of my blog was (and still is) to be a resource for new parents–shining a brilliant light on the life-saving, life-renewing process of emotionally validating their children. I have wanted parents to recognize and generously give the physical gifts of comfort: being held and touched lovingly. I have wanted parents to recognize and generously give the emotional gifts– teaching the simple magic of what it means to love and respect. And I have also wanted parents to feel validated in their recognition that teaching children to use their emotional signals can be an intellectually challenging job. Fortunately, we live in a world that gives us access to healthy information that is evidence-based. Finding the simple and elegant truths on which to base decisions can be a bit more dicey and controversial, so I am NOT claiming that I know THE truths. Human knowledge is constantly evolving. Still, the ones I have uncovered and hold personally are pretty basic, pretty old-actually, and are still holding fast. My personal touchstones are resonating with others, and they are sitting with me gently. I’m sure they will tend to poke out here and there. 🙂

So…my husband. In the process of trying to provide resources for any parents who might wander over to this site, I have continued my own personal growth and truth-checking work for myself. In the process of noticing and developing trust in my own emotions, I realized that there was a valid reason for my not being able to clear out my office in the months since I retired. (I think I have cracked the door open maybe–five times?) I realized I needed help. I asked. He did it.    Continue reading “No photos here…”

Best way to raise your baby? 266 days before birth.

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Earlier today, I published a post about making friends with ADHD/ADD. You won’t find a lot on this website about school-age children–an intentional decision  on my part. There is an abundance of resources about what to do after a diagnosis. This is about prevention. Evidence is mounting that there may be a lot you can do to minimize your chances of having to use those resources. It makes sense, actually. If you know anything about genetic expression, you know that our DNA adapts for survival. That means that eggs and sperm have learned things even before they meet up. They might already be genetically wired with alerts for fear, danger, and anxiety. Even if that is the case, even if you have had a rough go of life in your early years, that doesn’t mean your children will be doomed to repeat the pain you experienced.    Continue reading “Best way to raise your baby? 266 days before birth.”