Showing posts from June 2, 2019

Make a Living, Make a Life

I met poet and independent bookstore owner John Evans over 20 years ago. Here, he paraphrases Louis Patlers response to a womans question about the place of independent bookstores in the culture. "This may sound strange to you, but I think a bookstore's main function is to provide an aesthetic presence in its neighborhood." Evans writes, "I understand that completely." In this short essay he unpacks what he means.

Six Ways Nature Helps Children Learn

Spending time in nature helps kids do better in school, in a number of surprising ways. 

By Ming Kuo

Some years ago, Richard Louv made the case in his book, Last Child in the Woods, that kids were spending so little time in nature that they had “nature deficit disorder.” The consequences they suffered were dire: more stress and anxiety, higher rates of obesity and ADHD, and more.

Many parents probably recognize that being outside in nature is good for their children’s health. But they may also see a tradeoff: Encouraging their kids to get outside means less time hitting the books. And less time studying must mean less academic success, right?

Wrong. Remarkably, it turns out that the opposite may be true. As research has grown in this area—including my own—we’ve discovered that nature is not just good for kids’ health; it improves their ability to learn, too. Even small doses of nature can have profound benefits.

The evidence for this comes from hundreds of studies, including experimental r…

How Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

Today young people are trying to balance the question of "What do I want to do when I grow up?" with the question of "Who and how do I want to be in the world?" Physician and writer Abraham Verghese and education researcher Denise Pope argue that's because the way we educate for success doesn't support the creation of full, well-rounded humans. And they see the next generation challenging our cultural view of success by insisting that a deeply satisfying life is one filled with presence, vulnerability, and care for others.

A Better Way to Talk to Yourself

Her husband has been in prison for 23 years. Our Happiness Guinea Pig tries a new approach to stay strong while working to get him released.

THERESA SCOTT When I first got into a relationship with Louis, I kind of thought to myself, “This person doesn’t seem like a person that has been imprisoned for as long as he has.” He had such a balance to his personality, to the way that he carried himself. I’m like, what is going on with this person.

We kind of saw each other for two years. Initially, I kind of kept him at arm’s length because I figured that this isn’t what my life is supposed to be like. You know, I’m supposed to find someone in the world living outside of the walls, and meet and marry and fall in love. You know, everything on the outside. Never considered someone behind prison walls. And then I had to ask myself after I took a couple …

Navigating the Transition into Caregiving

"Being a caregiver is not something most people think or dream about, let alone prepare for, even though it's a role many of us will inhabit, since there are approximately 43 million informal caregivers in the United States and 6.5 million caregivers in the United Kingdom. When a loved one becomes a caregiver everything changes, including responsibilities, beliefs, hopes, expectations and relationships. Caregiving is always different than we imagine it to be, largely because so few of us think through our care roles in advance. The disorientation associated with these roles can be deep, intense, and isolating because it entails a series of paradoxes." This thoughtful excerpt shares more.

What Young Kids Already Know About Forgiveness

A new study suggests that preschoolers prefer people who are forgiving.

By Maryam Abdullah

As much as we try to teach our kids to do good, research suggests that they already have the seeds of goodness within them. Kids as young as 18 months old spontaneously help others and enjoy helping, for example, and they prefer people who are kind.

For the first time, a new study suggests that preschoolers value another relationship-enhancing strength in others: forgiveness.

Psychologists Janine Oostenbroek and Amrisha Vaish studied forgiveness with 20 four year olds and 20 five year olds. The children lived in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States, were mostly white, and nearly all had parents who were college graduates.

The researchers showed children different videos where one character shows the second character, Susie, a new toy that she is excited about. Susie picks up the toy to admire it, but accidentally breaks it. Susie responds remorsefully, apologizes, and says that she didn’t me…

Five Ways to Have Better Conversations Across Difference

It's not easy, but we can find common ground in difficult conversations.

By Adrian Michael Green

It’s hard to talk across differences in race, class, gender, political affiliation, sexual orientation, age, religion, ability, or any other kind of identity. We often lack the tools to help us graciously navigate conversations like these—and so we avoid having them. We just don’t talk, even though research shows diverse groups are more innovative, better at problem solving, more open to alternative viewpoints, and better off in the long run. (And it also turns out that avoiding these conversations can be toxic to our brains.)

As a diversity facilitator and former director of inclusivity at Colorado Academy (a pre-K–12 independent school), I’ve helped students, teachers, and parents find ways to enter these difficult yet critical discussions in all kinds of settings—at diversity conferences, through teaching an anti-bias social justice curriculum, and during professional development retre…

Meredith's Joy Jars

How do you help a teen get over a broken heart? Pam found a way and Meredith found a calling. A simple solution which has reached thousands around the world. Learn more through this beautiful short video.

Dear Christine: How Can I Get More Sleep?

Christine Carter reveals the underlying beliefs and assumptions that can thwart our attempts at habit change.

By Christine Carter

Hi Christine,

I have a habit of going to bed later than I want and then being rushed in the morning and getting to work late. For several years now, I’ve been wanting to get to bed earlier, but I can’t seem to do it.

I have a tendency to feel pretty driven and busy during the day, and the evening feels like my only time to relax. I binge-watch Netflix, scroll through my social media and news alerts, and generally get caught doing random things on my phone until late at night. But when I think about going to bed early, I feel kind of deprived. I think I actually do need time to wind down and take a break before I go to sleep, even when I’m totally exhausted.

I would like to try again to go to bed earlier, but I feel a little nervous about it because I’ve made that resolution before and not been successful quite a few times.

Tired and Running Late

Dear Tired …

Luc Reynaud: Welcome to My House

Luc Reynaud is a musician from Washington, focused on combining music and service to others. When Hurricane Katrina hit the southeast coast, Luc felt compelled to go down and help, using some construction skills (and a guitar) he had picked up during a soul-searching trip. Luc began playing his guitar around the shelter he was volunteering at, eventually writing a song with one of the children, called 'Freedom Song.' Ultimately, this song went on to be recorded both by Luc and separately by Jason Mraz, who also used it for an organization called Free the Slave. Luc's love of music lead him to form Luc and the Lovingtons who tour the world reaching out to those struggling, whether it be performing at homeless shelters in California, or at refugee camps in Syria. Luc and the Lovingtons are currently working on their new album "Welcome to my House."

A New Republic of the Heart

When we face a moment of crisis, individually or collectively, a whole wave of radical conversations is inevitable. For these conversations to really make a difference, we must break through our personas and our inauthentic poses. This is a deeper level of discourse than has hitherto seemed thinkable in public--disarming, tender, and authentic. Such a conversation requires a level of trust, vulnerability, and truthfulness that our culture seems to preclude, and we tend to shy away from it. The courageous vulnerability to speak and listen at this level is profoundly humbling. We have to speak from the place of not knowing and curiosity. We have to listen with an open mind and a soft heart. Terry Patten invites us to meet him in this place of not knowing, so that we may enter the profound shared experience of creating a republic of the heart.

--by Terry Patten

The following is an adapted excerpt from A New Republic of the Heart by Terry Patten, published by North Atlantic Book…