In Appreciation: Mindfulness in the Face of Uncertainty

Mindfulness in the Face of Uncertainty

Uncertainty is always with us, though we are elaborately and profoundly adept at masking it under layers of practices and to-do lists to keep the uncomfortable, frightening feelings that come with uncertainty at bay. But for me, this past month shattered many of the illusions of certainty to which I was clinging. I was suddenly cast into a deep discomfort and fear of the unknown that I had never before felt so strongly or across so many aspects of my life, as well as the lives of many people whom I love.

When I first began to study mindfulness and Buddhism years ago, it was because on an impulse, I purchased the book Comfortable with Uncertainty by the American Buddhist nun Pema Chodron. I really liked the title, because I was young, insecure, and totally not comfortable with anything. Since in the immediate days after the election, I have been googling how to move to Canada, compulsively cleaning my house, and spending hours composing long, eviscerating responses to comments on Facebook that I would never actually post. I was clearly once again not comfortable with uncertainty. I pulled Chodron’s book back off the shelf for a refresher course on mindfulness when dealing with uncertainty.

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Packaging Girlhood: Halloween & Girls

Your Daughter’s Halloween Costume: Tips for Dads

Rescuing Our Daughters From Marketers' SchemesThe search for your daughter or stepdaughter’s Halloween costume can be treacherous, filled with over-sexed and stereotyped “choices.” Here are some healthy ideas from Lyn Mikel Brown, Ed.D. and Sharon Lamb, Ed.D., authors of Packaging Girlhood: Rescuing Our Daughters from Marketers’ Schemes (St. Martin’s Press, 2006), to fight back and let her creativity sparkle!

  1. She can be anyone or anything on Halloween, so help her think outside the box (especially boxes of store-bought costumes.) Imagination and creativity can help girls break out of gender stereotypes… and are great practice for reality. Read the rest of this entry »

You Did It: Scholastic Expels the Bratz From Schools

You Did It: Scholastic Expels the Bratz From Schools
By CCFC

Thanks to you, Scholastic, Inc. will no longer be promoting the highly sexualized Bratz brand in schools.

In April, 2007, we launched a letter-writing campaign urging Scholastic to stop promoting Bratz items at their book clubs and book fairs.  You flooded Scholastic with emails urging them to stop selling books such as Lil’ Bratz Dancin Divas; Lil’ Bratz Catwalk Cuties; and Lil’ Bratz Beauty Sleepover Bash.

We were disappointed in Scholastic’s initial response. They claimed the Bratz books were important to reach “reluctant readers.” This claim seemed disingenuous, especially when the 2007-2008 Scholastic Bratz items included the Bratz: Rock Angels computer game and the Bratz Fashion Designer stencil set so elementary school students could design “the perfect purse.”

But we kept the pressure on. And in the end, more than 5,000 emails from CCFC members were too much to ignore. Scholastic has confirmed that they will no longer be selling Bratz Items in schools. We applaud Scholastic for this decision.

If you would like to thank Scholastic, you can do so by writing to:
Richard Robinson, CEO
Scholastic, Inc.
557 Broadway
New York, NY 10012
(212) 343-6100
news@scholastic.com

Free Play

Children & Nature Network

Children & Nature Movement Finds Allies in Advocates for Free Play
By C&NN

Free play, creative play, unstructured play … no matter the name, the belief that children need time away from the stress and structure of organized sports, enrichment classes, their daily homework, and scripted Xbox scenarios to exercise their imaginations and their bodies is being voiced with greater frequency now.

The American Academy of Pediatrics published a report last year stating that unstructured play is essential for healthy development. Since then, a number of mainstream news outlets, including the New York Times, the Toronto Star, and National Public Radio, have drawn attention to the importance of creative play in children’s lives. At the same time, concerned parents and educators in cities across the country have been organizing into groups to promote free play. And the same is true in Europe and elsewhere.

While connecting with nature is not explicitly prescribed by every advocate for free play, it remains a component of all major communications on the subject, from the PBS documentary Where Do the Children Play? to the Free Play Network’s efforts to promote better play opportunities. Indeed, supporters of the children and nature movement and the free play movement are finding common cause and a shared vision of what makes for healthy childhood development.  Read the rest of this entry »

Parents Who Fight May Harm Children’s Future Emotional Development

Social First Graders More Likely To Become Good Readers

The Voices of Motherhood Project Seeks Mothering Stories

Voices of Motherhood

(c) Hilltown Families - Voices of MotheringVoices of Motherhood is a project which asks, “What Do We Think About Motherhood?” By recording personal stories about mothering, I hope to demystify myths and reveal personal as well as universal truths about the experience.

Because fathers as well as mothers nurture children, I will be interviewing 30 mothers, fathers and families. Each interview will take no more than 15 minutes, and we can meet anywhere that is convenient for you.

Please let me know if you are interested in being a part of this exploration.

I look forward to hearing from you. Feel free to email at vkworth@gmail.com or call me at: 413.628.3261.

Thank you,

Victoria Worth

Scholastic VP responds to distribution of Bratz books in schools

Marketing the Sexualization of Young Girls

lilbratz3

One of the most recent calls for action by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has encouraged concerned parents to tell Scholastic to stop distributing Bratz books in schools through their Book Clubs and School Book Fairs.

A recent report of the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls had drawn attention to the proliferation of sexualized images of girls and young women in advertising, merchandising, and media is harming girls’ self-image and healthy development. This report explores the cognitive and emotional consequences, consequences for mental and physical health, and impact on development of a healthy sexual self-image. (Click here to read the report)

Books of The Bratz – a line of highly sexualized dolls for girls as young as four are – being marketed in schools by Scholastic, Inc. Scholastic promotes Bratz through its book fairs and book clubs, selling titles such as Lil’ Bratz Dancin Divas; Lil’ Bratz Catwalk Cuties; and Lil’ Bratz Beauty Sleepover Bash to a captive audience of young students.

Kyle Good, Vice President at Scholastic, has sent a prompt response to one concerned parent’s request to reconsider their distribution in schools:
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Girls vs. the Media

Check out from you local MA libraryWHAT’S A GIRL (AND PARENTS) TO DO?

Our young girls (and our larger population) are bombarded with media images of sexualized feminine esthetics. You see it everywhere: in line at the grocery store, billboards on the highway, songs on the radio, commercials on television, books, games, videos … what’s a girl to do?

As a parent, you are the most powerful tool our girls have to teach them how to interpret our media’s projection of images that portray girls as sexual objects. The remedy to this assault is to support and teach them how to value their own inner beauty and strengths.

It’s equally important for our young boys to be taught to respect and value the roles girls play in our society, as sisters, mothers, friends and teachers, rather than being brainwashed into the sexual objectification our media flashes before them.

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MotherWoman Offers Postpartum Support

MotherWoman LogoMotherWoman, Inc. is a local non-profit organization based out of Amhert, MA, that provides psycho-educational support programs that create communities where mothers develop the confidence, self-esteem, knowledge, and practical skills they need to care for themselves and their children with awareness, strength, compassion and non-violence.

After receiving a grant for $13,330 MotherWoman is now able to offer free comprehensive Postpartum Depression Prevention and Support Programs, serving mothers in the hilltowns and Pioneer Valley.
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Daddy, Are You Listening?

Listen Listen and Listen Some More
by Joe Kelly for Dads & Daughters

Girls tend to be a riddle to fathers. Like any mystery, the relationship with our daughter can be frightening, exciting, entertaining, baffling, enlightening or leave us completely in the dark; sometimes all at once. If we want to unravel this mystery, we have to pay attention and listen, even in the most ordinary moments.

Why? Because a girl’s voice may be the most valuable and most threatened resource she has. Her voice is the conduit for her heart, brains, and spirit … Dads must help nurture these qualities…

To read more of this article visit www.dadsanddaughters.org.

Subscribe to Hilltown Families by Email.

Throw like a girl — Lead like a champion!

(c) 2007 Steve Harwood - All Rights Reserved.This year’s slogan for the National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD) is “Throw like a girl – Lead like a champion!” NGWSD is a day that acknowledges the positive influence participation in sports can have in a young girl’s life. It is also a day to honor sports achievements while working towards equality and accessability for women in sports.

In honor of this national day there are several free clinics being sponsored by area colleges for young girls to participate in and learn more about sports, including Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and Smith College.

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You Are Not Your Stuff

Making the Holidays Less Materialistic
Reviewed by Barbara P. Homeier, MD

“The gimmes” are all around us during the holiday season. You know – “Gimme this,” “Gimme that,” “I want this,” “I want that.” It can be hard for children – and parents alike – to look beyond all of the product-driven hoopla to see what the holidays are really about. It’s not the actual gifts but what’s behind the presents that’s important – the spirit of giving. Help your kids learn the fun of giving, and how rewarding it can be to look for, make, and wrap something special – or do something special – for people they care about and others who are in need.

Here are five ways you can help decrease materialism in your kids and reinforce the real reason for the season: Read the rest of this entry »

Move over Elmo!


Video Games Fun But Pose Social, Health Risks
11 Dec 2006

Move over Tickle Me Elmo. The recently released Nintendo Wii and Playstation 3 video game systems are rivaling the giggling red monster as the gifts children beg their parents for most this holiday season.

As coveted as these new video game systems and other models are, some parents may want to think twice before buying them for their children and teens, a University of Florida child psychologist says. Read the rest of this entry »

Inspiring Gratitude

Inspiring Gratitude
By Peggy Healy Stearns Ph.D.

Teach your children gratitude, and you share both an important social skill and a positive worldview. When children give thanks, they acknowledge the kindness and generosity of others and recognize their own good fortune. They become part of the cycle of giving and receiving. Saying thank you is more than good manners; it’s a way for children to give back.

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