Cultivating creativity, if you must know

Whenever I talk about my kids’ sustained effort to drive me to the very brink of madness creative endeavors, I get asked questions like “What did you do to encourage such imagination?” and “What is it about your kids’ childhood that has encouraged creativity?”

I have labored to convince you that you do not want kids who do “creative” things. That you and your home will profoundly regret ever asking this question. Apparently, my warnings are destined to go unheeded.

Fine.   Continue reading “Cultivating creativity, if you must know”

The complexity of choosing simplicity

IMAG0167 This photo aptly illustrates my approach to life and to parenting.  In our family, we spend a lot of time just chilling out and soaking in.  I could say that this is because I understood from the beginning that “doing too much can be debilitating for kids whose brains are still developing,” as I recently read.  

The truth, though, is that slow and steady is the pace that feels comfortable to me.  And I’m the one running this show, gang. I find packed schedules and rushing around very uncomfortable.  For me to have any patience with my kids, any emotional energy to face life’s challenges, or any ability to think deeply, I need to live at a calm pace. Some might even call our gait leisurely. I want to be available to my kids, to my friends, and to my community. That takes time and flexibility.

To maintain what feels to us like a sane pace, Rick and I have had to make dozens of difficult, even painful, choices.   Continue reading “The complexity of choosing simplicity”

Things I tell my kids, part 1

In my parenting, I have found it very helpful to have a few sayings that I can easily pull out. Nuggets that teach my kids about life, sayings that remind them of things our family holds true. There is power in a punchy and repeated phrase, and I try to wield that power strategically. Here are some of my favorites.

Hogwash!  I say this anytime my kids tell me something patently false that needs to be swiftly rebutted.  Things like I’m too tired to clean up.  Or We never do anything fun.  Or I’m not good at math.  Hogwash! I say.  Boom. End of discussion.  Some ideas just need to be rejected quickly and emphatically. Continue reading “Things I tell my kids, part 1”

Trading my dream house for my dream life

In June of 2008, we sold our home in Cleveland, Ohio and moved to an apartment in the suburbs of Chicago.  The home we sold was my dream home – it was old and it had built-in cabinets, bay windows, a laundry chute, and a large front porch.  It was one block from interesting stores and restaurants.  Our neighborhood was full of similarly old houses and tall trees.  With mixed feelings, we sold this house where we had returned from our honeymoon and later brought home our first child.

We had loved living in Cleveland, a city where you can have a very rich life for a very cheap price. Continue reading “Trading my dream house for my dream life”