Thursday, July 30, 2009

How Can I Teach All This?

Long ago when I was first introduced to Leadership Education, I was also introduced to my ignorance and poorly educated background. Now this was 2005, post-graduate school. Having thought I had accomplished something academically, I was brought to the sad realization that, while I HAD earned degrees, I HAD NOT obtained an education.

I had to choose what to do next: was I going to shrink into the dust out of anger, fear and disillusionment, or would I start over in "preschool" and begin my education again, or build upon what little I had, with a Leadership Education paradigm?

I decided I wasn't ready to die, just yet, so I opted for #2.

I worried, initially, that I didn't have enough knowledge across the wide range of academia to be able to apply this paradigm in a homeschool setting for my children (it can be applied in any home setting, even when children attend public, private, or homeschool. The home can still be a Leadership Education home). But as I studied the "how-to's," my fears were quickly dispelled.

A recent experience, once again, excited me about the path we're on. Sai takes the kids to the Aspen Physics institute each week for a kids' science night. They host a barbecue on the lawn and have prominent scientists from around the country INSPIRE children with short presentations on various topics.

The activity begins each week with a teenage brother/sister team who do a science experiment right before the children's eyes. Sai met these teen's mother and, upon inquiring about her kids' interest in science, discovered that they are homeschooled. He then asked if she or her husband were scientists. She said neither of them were, but that they had championed their children's interests and exposed them to great mentors in the field of science. The family had been to universities for courses with their teens and just linked them with resources for their interests.

When Sai shared this with me, my thoughts were, "And to think that I may have once worried that I didn't know enough to teach some subject to my kids! I love them and I love to see them love learning; I can do just what these parents have done - admit my weaknesses and bypass them with mentors who can tutor ALL of us in our family!"

We love Aspen! We just roam around each day experiencing so much. And yet my mind sometimes wanders to think of all of the places, people and ideas there are in the world. Sometimes I think, "There's so much to learn, who has time to sit in school?"

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Today While Running...

I was thinking about the change process in therapy. The only thing a therapist can really do to help a client is by living what she/he preaches. Regardless of what the therapist says, no matter how true the principles or how effective the behavioral strategies, her words are only as good as her own practice of them.
Why do I believe this?
Simply put, I believe in the motto of Leadership Education, coined by Tiffany Earl, "Inspire Not Require."
I conceptualize the process of change as one when the inner soul or spirit of a person listens to the voice of truth (i.e. the Holy Ghost) and is motivated to act on that voice because of an example (an "inspiring" example) in someone or something they've seen.
That's why I believe it's a principle applicable whether you're a therapist, a parent, a teacher, anyone trying to motivate someone - we must all understand the power in the concept of inspiring over requiring.
Now, obviously, there are moments like, "GET OUT OF THE STREET!" When you just require a child to do something.
But as I listen to myself and my spouse and make observations in public, I notice so much of the adult/child relationship is dictated by requiring children to do things that the parent doesn't do. I want to improve on this.
This seems as effective as policmen on the freeway monitoring speeding. What happens? The speeder slows down while passing the policeman, and then speeds up again later. There's no fundamental change in attitude or behavior. In fact, it encourages a challenge of authority, getting away with something, a sneaky feeling of success. I see kids behaving the same way.
I was thinking of how impactful it is to inspire a child through modeling. My kids are inspired to read when I'm reading; they are inspired to run because I run; they are inspired to go to church when I talk about how much I love church......
they are inspired to eat vegetables because I eat vegetables!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

So what DO you eat?

I've been asked what we eat for breakfast if cold cereal is out. We do hot cereals: oatmeal (not instant, the kids call that "slimy oatmeal"), 10 grain, Zoom (whole wheat), cream of wheat, eggs and whole grain pancakes, etc. The greatest result was one day when I offered them "emergency food," (i.e. Life cereal,) and they said, "Mom, can we just have hot cereal?" It was so great to see their change. When THEY know what good nutrition feels like, they crave that. YIPEE!

I ran 13 miles today - It wasn't fast, nor pretty, but I did it. 10 weeks to go until the marathon.

In this journey, of health, I have desired to be a vegetarian. However, I'm stuck, because the recipes I look up online are so sickly UNHEALTHY! Tons of sauces and cheese and just stuff I don't want to eat. So if anyone can guide me in this, please do.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Thoughts While Running

I'm reading Born to Run, by McDougall. It's about an indigenous Mexican tribe who are called the "Running People." They race for days at a time, without stopping!
It's brought so many things to mind about the power of the human body - it is a miracle that God created. Also about the fuel we put into our body. When I consider the diet of the Tarahumara (Mexican Tribe) in contrast to the overabundance of toxic waste we Americans call, "food," the correlation between our ills, disease, emotionality/mental illness, and inability to run up a flight of stairs is OBVIOUS!

Today I thought about my kids and how I had been a person who said, "We eat healthy." Which is now a phrase I chuckle at when I hear. The American definition of "healthy," and the body's own definition of "fuel," are not in the same category. Several months ago I did an in-house experiment; I just stopped buying packaged snacks. Just stopped. Crackers, mainly, were the culprit. The fast, throw-at-them-in-the-car-easy-to-vacuum-up-later kind of snacks. When I realized, thanks to Nutritionist Jim Rhoades, that high fructose syrups are a slow death, I began to see that they are in a majority of what I feed my kids in between meals. Then guess what? Getting lots of fruits and veggies in them was a challenge at meal time. Cold cereal - also went out the window -NO MORE. I had thought that just because I never did the cheapy bags and did Quaker or Post "healthy" cereals, that we were doing alright - WRONG! Behind the "nutritious" advertising - is high fructose syrup. This kills the immune system and is equal to putting sugar into your car's gas tank. Ever heard what that does to an engine? Well, do you value your car or your body more?
So guess what the result of the experiment was? After the first day of, "Mom, I want cheese crackers!"
"Sorry, we don't have any."
"What do we have?"
"You can choose between craisins, prunes, or apple slices."
And guess what? They ate it. Now, when we head out the door, the snack bag looks like this: celery sticks, baby carrots, apple slices and water bottles. Guess who gets sick less? Guess who has more energy? They are walking about 2 miles a day with me around town now - plus running and playing at the park. Guess who has digestive systems that are working well?

STOP THE INSANITY! My thoughts this morning while running - to inspire other moms to free their kids from the addictive addititives in packaged foods. Bless their bodies, minds and spirits by setting them free!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

So much for good intentions...

Well, well, well....
I had exciting things to post and I was accumulating great photos along the way to announce that we have moved back to Aspen, CO for the most beautiful time of year! And then, guess what? I lost my camera last week! All of those photos, gone! I think I left it in Denver. We drove to Denver to go to the temple and it was closed, by the way. So that little 3 1/2 hour trip turned into a day at the science museum. That was really fun and we thank Uncle Noa for hosting us.

Ah, life.

I am loving running (marathon training) early in the morning up here at 8,000 ft. I realized that when I run, I dream. I commune with God. I feel alive and invincible. I do not experience doubt and fear. I am happy. The world seems open and available, as if anything is possible. Those endorphins are something else!!!
This is how I feel:

I am a colorful hot-air balloon
rising with the sun
peacefully floating
in the moment
experiencing the cool mist of morn
the stillness
able to move above and beyond