What would you do… Part 2

Today’s Super Soul Sunday’s Big Question: “What would you do if you knew you wouldn’t fail?” is a timely follow up to my post last week where I left off asking “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

Oprah interviews Brené Brown, research professor who has “spent the last ten years studying vulnerability, courage, shame, and authenticity.” (Part one aired today, part two comes out next week.) You can see part of part one here. I only got to see the first bit this morning where she talked about perfectionism (guilty for that here!) and authenticity before my toddler spilt the smoothy concoction (that my five year old made her) all over her hair!

If you’re not one of the 8 million people that have seen Brené’s Ted talk, you can watch it here:

I love Brene Brown and since I love Manifestos, I have to share her Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto here.


You can download a free 8×10 poster on her website. Check out the Daring Greatly Leadership Manifesto as well!

You can also follow her on Facebook. I’m in admiration of her and the important work she is doing and sharing. She’s one of those people you just can’t help being so happy for!

Reading Aloud

We all know how important it is to read to our children. If you don’t then you need to read Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever by Mem Fox. I just came across a wonderful interview in which Mem Fox discusses the importance of reading aloud to children and adults alike.

“Never stop reading aloud, no matter what the age group is, and read without teaching.”

In the interview, Mem Fox discusses the importance of reading aloud to kids, especially for parents.  For two reason this article and Mem’s work particularly resonates with me. One, my almost five year old is this (holding fingers a few inches apart) close to reading. When we read together I want so much to get her sounding out the words… but she’s just not interested and I know I need to refrain and just read and enjoy reading together.  This article reminds me that I shouldn’t try to teach my child to read.. “[parents] should never make the read-aloud into a teaching sesson.” It makes perfect sense really. We need to keep reading fun and enjoyable.

Which brings me to the next reason I’m drawn to this article which is that it reminds me that, like creativity, reading is not something that can be forced. As a parent, your share it (whether it’s reading or creating) and you model how wonderful it is to read and listen to stories or create things or whatever it is.  It’s all about enjoyment and having fun. Something I think as parents we all need to be reminded of. At least I know I do.

One last point of note about this article is when Fox says “the book is a pathway to the rest of the world, to a huge conversation about what’s going on in the child’s life.” This is so true. I’m looking forward to picking up her latest book “Tell Me About Your Day Today” as a way of encouraging my daughter to reflect on her day and share it with me. Thinking back, last year, we actually spent time each night at bedtime reflecting on what we did that day, then we each chose what our favourite part of our day was. I think we need to bring back that little ritual. It’s a nice way of recapping all that we did, discussing things that need attention and each having an opportunity to show gratitude for what it was that day that we appreciated most. A really nice way to end the day!

Mem Fox also gave the Keynote at the 2012 NAEYC Annual Conference in Atlanta last week where she shared why reading to children changes their whole life journey. That’s pretty profound!  I wish I was there! But, I did find notes from someone who was.

Early Childhood Development – Dr. Fraser Mustard

“The first six years of life set the stage for lifelong learning, behaviour, health and well-being.” Dr. J Fraser Mustard

Dr. Fraser Mustard, renowned for his work in early human development passed away November 16th, 2011.  I hadn’t heard of him until seeing articles celebrating his life for his unwaivering championing of the importance of early brain development.  But I have certainly felt his impact through the Early Years Centres that I’ve enjoyed using over the years. And I certainly share his passion for the importance of the early years in a child’s life.

Together with Margaret McCain, he co-authored the original Early Learning Report that illustrated the importance of a child’s experiences (of lack thereof) during the first six years of a child’s life. This study impacted how we perceived and valued early learning. As a result, the province of Ontario set up Early Years Centres, made more funding available for various early learning initiatives and in 2010 started phasing in full day kindergarten.

Can I tell you how impressive these Early Years Centre are? I see these centres in cities and towns across our province (there are several location in my town) and the services they provide are incredible – from nursery school classes, parenting seminars, parent and tot activities and on and on. It’s a huge support system for families and judging by the parking lot and wait lists to get into some of the classes it’s a resource that is well used in the community.

I dug a little deeper to learn more about this intriguing man who had six children of his own and found this CBC interview.  In it, he talks about two key factors that can positively improve a child’s development: good nutrition and opportunities for problem based learning. He also discusses the importance of human evolution and parenting as discussed in the book Mothers and Others by Sarah Blaffer Hrdy. I’ll definitely be checking that out.

He’s an inspiring man.  He certainly inspired many to carry on his mission. Below are organizations that resulting from inspiration or a direct influence of Dr. Fraser Mustard. RIP.

With the Brain In Mind

Kids Can Fly

Lastly, I need to include this interview in which Dr. Mustard is asked “Why is 6 the magic age? Six and under.. what needs to be done and why?” The answer? The very reason I am so passionate about this topic.