1. the book Healing Stories for Challenging Behavior by Susan Perrow (Hawthorn Press). As a writer, a reader, and a mom, the idea of telling stories that engage my children’s imagination, vs. giving direction that engages their rational minds (which can just feel like it initiates a series of slamming doors) is quite inspiring. There are A LOT of stories in the book, but the book also talks you through creating stories for particular situations. It’s like formulating an Rx for a particular ailment, on the spot, or over a few days. She talks about “story medicine.” How stories can be actual medicine. I love the way that my kids relax against me when I read them bedtime stories. Their weight becomes like sleep weight–peaceful, planted where they are. Sometimes, I’ve ad-libbed a story in a situation that is rapidly spinning out of control–on a long car trip, or in the store. It catches their attention and gives me some leverage. They want it, too. They need me to provide a yummy place for them to go. That’s why they’re fussing and acting out. (Not because they’re horrid beasties…although it sometimes feels that way.) I can not wait to try out some of the stories…and to repeat them…some of them are retellings of tales I remember from childhood, like the Elves and the Shoemaker. Some are ones Perrow composed, some are collected from others. I look forward to having a well-exercised and wise story generator inside myself. You can get the book at steinerbooks.com, or hunt around for a second-hand source if you want to save a few bucks.
2. Hilary Meyerson’s essay “Endgame” in this spring’s Brain, Child magazine, and on their website, www.brainchildmag.com. It talks about what the real point is–of exposing your kids to things like violin, ice skating, gymnastics–and that real point has nothing to do with Carnegie Hall, or cutthroat competitiveness. It has to do with having fun for fun’s sake–something we all need to experience on a regular basis.
3. (Fair trade, sustainable) Shea Terra Organics…I love their Miombo Mango Shea Butter Dead Sea Salt Scrub, their Bourbon Vanilla Indigenous Shea Body Butter…both things that ready my winter skin for spring. Ay, crocodile. You know what I’m sayin’. So as I cavort around the tennis court, I can do so with glowing, revitalized limbs…all part of my goal to have fun for fun’s sake. (www.sheaterraorganics.com)
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