Cover of the Second Edition of “Genius”

The publisher of the second edition of “Genius”, Globe/Pequot Press, has selected a photo for the cover after a great deal of searching. It is particularly fun for me that they selected this candid taken by a new photographer friend of mine, Julie Carter, who lives in Decatur. Here’s what Julie says about the photo she took of her granddaughter at home a year or so ago.

“When Rick talked to me about creating a photo to illustrate the message he was wanting to convey in his book, I immediately thought of the photograph you are considering. The little girl in the photo is my granddaughter, Natalie, who was four-years-old when the photo was taken.

“Natalie was “teaching” my husband how to read a book after telling him that he was reading it to her in a rather “silly” way Continue reading

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The Invincible Thirty-Something and the Three Joys of Parenting a Difficult Child

“You were a difficult child,” my mother said to me in one of the last few conversations we had before she died.

“I know,” I replied, and we held hands. Continue reading

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Children Have Empathy Built In. 3 Ways We Can Help Them Use It

Don’t Teach Empathy. Teach Thoughtfulness

So much of what I read about combatting bullying, instilling morality and teaching empathy leaves out our greatest resource: the natural inclinations of children. Continue reading

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What’s the Role of Education in an Awesome Life?

What are the implications of this:

and this:

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Building Strong Brains: The Real Reason Schools Need Environmental Education

One day second grader Miranda said: “I was in the garden looking at the tomatoes with Patrice and Josh, and we saw a wasp tackling a fly.  Then it tore the fly’s head off and flew away with the body.  An ant found the head and started eating it and the fly’s eyes separated from its head.”

The teacher asked, “What did you think about when you were watching this happen?”

She replied, “I thought, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I wouldn’t want to be that fly.”

Later that same afternoon Sasha and Kate joined in the insect hunt and Kate said, “The garden seems to be so calm when you first look at it but when you look closer it’s very alive.”

On another day first graders found the front half of a dead snake and immediately started generating hypotheses as to what happened: Continue reading

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Treat Children As the Scientists They Are and Skip the Terrible Two’s

My one-year-old grandson, Musa, is fast. No, I mean very fast. He can be safe on the sofa and in the time it takes me to get up and take a book off the shelf, he can be waving a poker from the fireplace in all directions.

One can easily foresee the onset of the “terrible two’s,” where all his relationships are defined by a continual string of “No’s” and a battle of wills. But on my last visit with Musa before I returned to the Midwest, I got a clear picture of how it doesn’t have to be that way. Continue reading

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Peace, Joy, Love and Being Wrong

 We wish each other peace, joy and love this time of year. Seems like a simple way to happiness. Why is it so hard?

At Christmas Eve dinner with friends someone asked the question, “If your life could be any movie you wanted, what would it be? Who would play you? Who would play the role of your true love? Would you change the ending? What would the new ending be? Continue reading

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Peace, Joy, Love, and Conflict

Meditation on Solstice Peace

You have family. You have conflict.

–Bobby Richman

 On December 21 many years ago, my thirteen-year-old son arrived in the kitchen as I was having my morning coffee. Rather than greeting me with, “Good morning, Dad” he went straight to the refrigerator, took out a carton of orange juice, grabbed a large glass from the cupboard and filled it to the brim.

“Wow. That’s a lot of orange juice,” I said. (I don’t know why. “Good morning, Peter,” would certainly have been a better opener.)

Standing in the middle of the kitchen floor in bare feet with the glass of orange juice in his hand and looking squarely at me Peter flew into a rage with: “You are always on my case! Why are you always on my case? Nothing I ever do is right!…” and went on in that vein for a minute or so. Continue reading

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The Joint Parent-Teacher Enterprise: Self-Possessed Children

Just because children are self-centered, doesn’t mean they have to be selfish.

Last May I stood on a polished hardwood floor in the middle of an 80-year old multipurpose room with a 30-foot ceiling in front of 250 wooden seats that rose before me like the stands in a baseball stadium, looking up as a couple of hundred 10- to 15-year-olds, flooded in and filled up these seats. Continue reading

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Where Am I Going? Who Am I?

A Discipline of My Calling

“I don’t mean to be disrespectful but I wonder where you have been lately with all the pressure on all the…” were the words that greeted me from my computer screen this morning, when I opened it up at 5am for my customary morning of writing. Someone I don’t yet know had commented on my blog post entitled: “In Education Failure IS an Option.”

Saying to myself, “This is one of those times to apply the discipline Act. Don’t react,” I went to put on the kettle. Continue reading

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