The Power of Unstructured Learning by Susan A. Haid

The Power of Unstructured Learning

If you are an enlightened, conscious parent, teacher or caregiver, then we have something special for you! We’ve put together a short video production designed to keep new ideas and inspiration flowing. Ultimately, we desire to be part of the movement to create new, gentle and evolved approaches for guiding our children. It doesn’t matter if you’re a parent, teacher or caregiver. If you consider yourself to be a highly progressive individual  who is on board with the evolution of conscious work with kids, then click on the link below and take a listen…

http://radiantartscenter.com/Radiant_Arts_Center/Artists_Gallery.html

For more information about enlightened, conscious parenting, teaching and caregiving, visit www.radiantartscenter.com, www.lilystruth.com and www.peaceoutproject.com.

 

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5 Keys to Raising Children of Worth; A Spiritual Perspective by The Parenting Sessions

Parenting Sessions

DSCN7804 Supporting the development of self-worth in kids has been a highly debated topic often marked by complaints of overindulgence, unjustified praise or constant ego-boosting. Amidst the heated debates, however, there is an elegant solution to this very fragile and misunderstood concept.

Initially, children have blind trust in the world and in their caregivers. For a short period of time during a child’s early years, the reasons for this are obvious. And, it goes without saying, the safer the environment, the better for the child.

Eventually, however, the child must engage with the world as it is, as painful and as challenging as that may be. So, let’s cut to the quick. What can we do about this?

Well, we can do a lot, quite frankly, using a few simple yet powerful tools.

Although it may sound counterintuitive, the first seed we can plant within our child’s budding awareness is the idea…

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5 Keys to Raising Children of Worth; A Spiritual Perspective by The Parenting Sessions

5 Keys to Raising Children of Worth; A Spiritual Perspective by The Parenting Sessions.

A Magical Education, Part II: The Link Between Singing and Literacy by Susan A. Haid, Author-Producer Lily’s Truth

by Susan A. Haid

For many kids, learning to read is an arduous process.  Of course, there are developmental landmarks that must be reached before literacy skills can reach their full potential.  Unfortunately, standardized testing in today’s public schools require that children learn to read at the same time, at the same pace, in the same way, like cookies punched from cookie-cutters. This leaves little room for a child’s natural rate of development to unfold. This natural rate of development is replaced with pressure to learn before the brain is ready.

When reading skills come easily and naturally to a child, the child feels intelligent and confident about their ability to learn.  Frankly, it should be no surprise that children who learn to read at a slower rate, a rate deemed ‘less than proficient’ by standardized testing, feel ‘stupid’.  Their confidence in their ability to learn is damaged very early on. Moreover, their self-esteem and self-confidence is broken as well.

It has been my experience that slow readers are told to read, read, read. Practice makes perfect.  Of course, what is a parent and a child to do?  This seems like an obvious solution.  However, when a child is placed in a pressure cooker and forced to learn at a rate that is not equivalent to their developmental level, then we have created bigger problems that overshadow mere literacy skills.

It is time that we change how we are teaching our children to read. Instead of teaching in a manner that suits the teacher, a manner that gives the appearance of ease and expedience, a manner that is as old as time, we should be facilitating the learning process in ways that are gentle, enjoyable and elegant for the child.

There is a way, you see, a way that is older than time itself: singing.

Why singing?  To start with, when we sing, the whole brain is involved. Science is beginning to understand the benefits of whole-brain learning; whole-brain learning, or connecting both hemispheres of the brain during the learning process, is highly desirable and extremely beneficial.  Singing accomplishes this along with enhancing fluency and building comprehension of language structure.

Pretty good.  And fun too.

As we cut back on funding for arts in the schools, we need to rethink this decision.   I believe the answer here is to merge arts with education directly, blending the arts with the learning process right in the classroom. Learning will be much more fun for everyone, much more whole-brain, and much, much more joyful and memorable.

I have used this gentle method with my own children.  We still read books, of course, every day.  But when my kids sing along with sheet music and a companion CD, they sing for hours….on and off all day long.  They read and sing their lyrics over and over and over.  This kind of repetition I could not achieve with a book alone.

They are learning to read without barriers and pressure.  They are learning to read in a joyful and magical way.  My house is filled with the sweetness of music and young voices all day long.

By the way, my kids are gaining an education in music too.

The biggest suggestion I might offer if you are going to try this with your own children is this: use beautiful music.  Use beautiful music….kids respond to it, well, beautifully.  Between fabulous Andrew Lloyd Webber compositions and lively broadway show tunes, there is a wealth of grand music to choose from.

Before you know it, your kids will be singing, singing, singing!  And oh gosh, they’ll be learning to read too.

For more tools to empower your children, visit www.lilystruth.com.

A Magical Education: Part I by Susan Haid, Author-Producer, Lily’s Truth

by Susan Haid

As the pressure on public school teachers increases to raise student test scores, and the boom lowers on our kids to perform on standardized testing, as funds drain away and classroom sizes swell, what is the educational experience becoming? More importantly, how much of this knowledge is being retained by our kids? I believe current statistics report that after three years, students retain approximately 20-30 percent of the knowledge imparted in the classroom.

Humph.

As importantly, a question to be asked is this, are our children enjoying school? Or has it become simply ‘nose to the grindstone’ for everyone? I have asked myself this question many times over as I have packed my kids off to school.

Kids, quite naturally, learn through pretend play, imaginative play and physical activity. So why are we asking them to sit at a desk for hours on end, pushing a pencil, with little application of their creative abilities? This just seems counterintuitive to me.

As a personal experiment, this summer I have spent many hours educating my kids in unconventional ways. By the way, I have three children who are ages 5, 9 and 12 years old. We have engaged in theatre games, short plays, art-based mathematics projects, broadway show tunes, monologues, pantomime and story-telling among other things. My goal has been to enhance literacy skills, build complex math concepts and facilitate the emergence of the unique giftedness within my kids.

We have converted my living room and dining room into a playhouse replete with stage curtains and spotlights. We have ‘played’ for hours on end. To my surprise and delight, my kids have begged for more. Most of all, I have had the deeply touching experience of watching my children learn in a magical and playful way that has opened their hearts. My kids are becoming far more expressive, creative, communicative and confident.

Wow.

These are important life skills to cultivate in every child. With a little face paint and some props from our local thrift store, we have made magic in our living room. Funny thing is, my kids remember every detail of what they have learned because they were involved on all levels in their learning experience. Even better, they have had a blast. Best of all, so have I.

The arts are for everyone, not just elite actors or creative types. My boys are extremely athletic, but they have loved every minute of this “school”.  Methinks it’s time to revamp education. Learning can and should be a joyful, memorable experience. Yes, yes, I know that funding of schools depends on test scores. But frankly, I refuse to pressure my kids. I will not have their natural creativity, self-esteem and self-expression thwarted….you see, kids DO define themselves by test scores. This is the greatest tragedy of all.

My kids are learning about who they really are. They are finding tremendous joy in learning, even though most of the time, they are not even aware that they are learning. For them, they’re just having fun.

So, I’ll keep you posted on the growth I witness in my own kids as we continue to play in our home theatre, so-to-speak. We’ll be inviting friends and neighbors to join us soon as everyone wants to get in on the fun.

My kids, in a very short period of time, have bloomed into life. I have found them singing in the shower, trying on different personalities, and experimenting with comedy and improvisation.  So where is all this leading?

Well, creativity is something everyone has and it applies to every endeavor in life. As the world falls apart around us, this just may be the most valuable and important attribute my kids leave home with in the years to come. At the very least, we have made memories to last a lifetime.

For more information and tools for empowering yourself and your kids, visit www.lilystruth.com.

Healthy Relationships and Balanced Sexuality in Teens by Susan A. Haid, Author/Producer, Lily’s Truth, www.lilystruth.com

by Susan A. Haid

Contemporary culture, the media, and society-at-large is full of conflicting messages for our teenagers, frequently delivering an exploitative, degrading and superficial model of sex and sexuality.   Now, more than at any other time in history, is when we need to support our kids in cultivating healthy relationships and balanced sexuality.  We need to be having conversations, on an ongoing basis, that aren’t about sex necessarily, these important discussions are about standards, boundaries, self-respect and self-worth.

How do we begin these talks?  Frankly, these conversations and messages to our children need to start when they are very young. Remember, the baseline conversation is not about sex, it is about self-respect and self-worth. This is also not a conversation about moral beliefs. Why? Because this is not about controlling or repressing our children’s nature desires, sexuality and self-expression.  This is about supporting our children in making choices that are firmly rooted in self-worth. We must help our kids understand what sexual and sensual feelings are, help them understand that these feelings and desires are natural and beautiful, and help them understand how to express them in a healthy way that honors them and leads to balanced, joyful and respectful relationships.

The foundation we can give our kids, that will evolve into healthy choices during the teen years and beyond, can be built upon the following principles:

1) Teach kids to respect and honor themselves, their thoughts, their feelings, their beliefs. Remove all fear-based teachings completely.   Teach kids to trust the authority within themselves rather than putting their power into an outside source.  When we teach a child to make choices that constantly please others, that please God, or that gives their power away to another person, this confuses them and disconnects them from doing what is best for themselves.  These traditional teachings prevent kids from making clear, conscious choices that honor their own being first.

2) Teach kids to take responsibility for their choices.  Their locus of control should be placed where it belongs to be effective, which is within themselves. Kids must learn to make choices and trust themselves in this process.  If they feel their life is controlled by an outside source alone, they will never take full responsibility for their choices and actions.

3) Teach kids to seek out relationships that are mutually honoring, compassionate and respectful. No games or manipulations allowed.  Safe, supportive, respectful relationships are the rule at all times.  If a child is in touch with their self-worth, this will happen naturally.  As parents, it is mandatory that we teach this by example.

4) Teach kids to get comfortable in their empowerment and their sovereignty: teach them to let go of dishonoring relationships and seek out relationships of a higher order.  Let kids know it is OK to terminate a relationship immediately that is dishonoring, disrespectful, unloving or unsafe.

5) Model these concepts yourself.   Accept only loving, honoring relationships in your own life. Create a safe space in your own life, in your own home, that has its roots in mutual honor and respect.   This is the rule to live by.

More than ever before, it is mandatory that we as parents guide our children and teens using a relationship model that goes beyond traditional rhetoric that attempts to control or repress developing sexuality in kids and teens. The truth is that these old modalities twist and damage our children’s sexual energy, leading to the development of dysfunctional sexual expression that kids carry throughout adulthood.  These old methods, based in morality teachings or fear/control-based beliefs, simply don’t work, and they do more damage than good.   The truth is that these old teachings result in extensive damage to a child’s developing sexuality.

The result is that the pendulum swings the other way; we then witness an eruption of dysfunctional, exploitative, and degrading sexual energies pervading our society.  This twisting of energies is seen not only in sexual expression alone, it is seen as acts of violence, oppression, manipulation and degradation of every kind.  This distortion has infected every institution and every governing body.  It is time we connected the dots here and cleaned this up, starting with our own families.  We are the only ones who can do it, you see.

It is time that we give our children new tools to live by, and we must choose them for ourselves first.

For more information about empowering your children, visit www.lilystruth.com for tools to help raise healthy, happy, successful kids.  Lily’s Truth was designed as a tool to support parents in raising amazing children.  Check it out!

Spiritual Parenting by Susan A. Haid, Author/Producer, Lily’s Truth

By Susan A. Haid

Let’s take a look at who our children really are. Our children are fully self-contained, sovereign, spiritual beings who have thier own individual connection to The All. As parents, what does this mean? It means that we honor the divine being within our children, and we help them to maintain their own personal relationship to The All/God Within. We raise our children as souls. And as souls, we honor and recognize the individuality and the uniqueness of our kids and their path.

This is such a beautiful way to parent. Our primary purpose is to keep our children connected to their own inner sense of authority and trust of self. Kids, naturally, are always looking for approval and acknowledgement from the outside. The more we cultivate the child’s trust of themselves, their own instincts, and their own innate knowledge, the more we do to empower them in this moment and into the future.

Life has become very complex for our children. As we feel bombarded by information in this worldwide technological age, we can only imagine what it is like for our kids to integrate this vast expanse of information. The time has come for us to step into the role as supporters and facilitators of our child’s growth through their life experiences in a complex world, rather than the controllers who attempt to mold and force the identity of a child. This requires a great deal of acceptance, patience and presence as a parent. We can begin by fully accepting all that we are as parents, human beings and divine beings. We also must release our fears and controls and trust the perfection of life.

This takes some confidence as a parent to value life experience without labeling these experiences as “good” or “bad”. All experiences have value and worth. Without judgment, we can help our kids move through their life experiences with freedom and empowerment rather than guilt, anger or shame. We can also help our kids to continually move forward through life without holding on relentlessly to the past.

Let’s teach our kids some basic yet empowering concepts to serve them throughout life:

1) Trust themselves. Trust every choice & every thought as part of their perfect spiritual journey. There is honor in all experience.

2) Honor their inner authority. Listen to the voice within at all times. This builds self-respect and self-worth.

3) Honor the Divine Self or God Within. When children understand that God is Within or better said, We Are God Also,  they will cultivate their inner connection rather than seek outside of themselves for answers. This will build an everflowing connection to their divine and masterful spiritual authority.

This is the foundation for Spiritual Parenting. It requires growth and conscious awareness on our part so that we can fully support our kids in unfolding into their Grand Beingness. As parents, this is a most priviledged and magnificent journey filled with great joy and adventure. Here, we walk through the doorway of our spiritual evolution together to see and experience the majesty of who we really are.

For more exciting information about spiritual parenting and empowering kids, visit http://www.lilystruth.com for specific materials that support the spiritual parenting process.

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