Friday, January 15, 2021

Solidity and permanence

Karen James took both of these photos. They ended up next to each other in my folder of possible-future-Just-Add-Light images. They made a pair, for me.

One has a framework of sticks that grew slowly and gradually. Sticks they are, still.

The second image shows sticks that were collected and propped up for fun. Each pole had a life, somewhere, one time. A new phase of that life was being part of temporary art. Another phase was being seen and captured from one angle on one day, in one moment. Then I saved it a while. One thing leading to another, now you've seen them.

Look at what else in that scene seems solid, and old. What else seems fragile or transitory? The ocean is ancient, and strong, and it changes too. It moves all day and all night.

Expecting people to be more solid and unchanging than other, older, harder things is an expectation to let go of. People do change, and we see them with our everchanging eyes and thoughts.

Learning to accept change is good growth.
photos by Karen James

Thursday, January 14, 2021


Sometimes parents talk too much.

Practice being quiet.
front of a kayak, pointing at the setting sun
photo by Karen James

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Clear and easy

When the path is clear and easy, relax and enjoy the peace.

When you come to obstacles or there's more than one path, you'll be rested and prepared to choose based on what you know and what seems to lead you nearer to safety and growth.
photo by Jihong Tang

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Are we? Am I?

Anna Black wrote:

Now I think... Is my child happy, healthy, connected? Are we moving towards partnership? Are we having fun right now, at this moment? Am I treating my children as well or better as I would treat my husband or my friend? If yes, great. If not, change, make a different choice.
—Anna Black
Gratitude and choices
photo by Ester Siroky

Monday, January 11, 2021

Be where you are

Parents complain about children living in fantasy worlds sometimes, and not growing up and facing reality. I think probably in every single one of those cases, it was the parental fantasy of what the child ought to be doing that was really the problem.
Make each moment the best moment it can be. Be where you are with your body, mind and soul. It's the only place you can be, anyway. The rest is fantasy.

Walk where you are

The quote above is from The Big Book of Unschooling
pages 79 and 80 (72 and 72 of the first edition)
photo by Cass Kotrba

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Good and positive

Things will get better
      as you weed out negativity
            and focus on what’s good and positive.
photo by Elaine Santana

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Just the right words

Pam Laricchia wrote:
"I love writing. The process of throwing down my thoughts and ideas about unschooling onto the page and then rethinking and reorganizing and rewriting and editing until I figured out both what I was trying to say, and just the right words to use so that it made sense to the reader, is exhilarating."
"Unschooling is Life" has that quote,
though I did change the last part to present tense.
photo by Theresa Larson

Friday, January 8, 2021

Dial it up!

The edge of the ocean isn't a static, solid line. Waves and tides make it beach, and water, and marine habitat, and land, back and forth, up and down, neither all nor nothing. Learning is that way, too, if you can relax.

See if you have a dial in your mind that says "everything" at one extreme and "nothing" at the other. It's impossible for anyone to do everything or nothing. Maybe label it "too much" and "not enough" instead, and try for the midpoint. Replace any on/off switches in your mind with slide bars or dimmers!"
photo by Janelle Wrock

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Truthful and protective

When freedom and choices are given to children, they are given by a parent who has the power to withhold them. The parents are still the authorities and the responsible parties in the group. They don't need to abuse authority to prove they have it. They don't have to have a steep hierarchy; they can have a closer, cooperative hierarchy, but there is still a hierarchy. If parents earn their children's respect by being kind and helpful and truthful and protective, then there will be a natural hierarchical relationship, not something the parents claimed out of tradition or the air.
photo by Elise Lauterbach

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Step up and see

The same life can be seen from many different angles.
The same situation can be seen while holding one's breath
and being furious,
or while seeing the alternatives
and finding ways to be grateful,
no matter how small,
because on one small bit of gratitude,
one can step up and see another one,
and another.
photo by Sukayna

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Learning at unexpected times

There were opportunities to sleep, on blankets at parks. In the car while we were traveling. In tents at the house. On couches or floor beds while movies played for the other kids. In the laps of parents.

Unschoolers have found that the very best questions and ideas can arise late at night when other stimuli are dimmed and muted, and the child is peaceful and thoughtful, or in those moments of waking up naturally after a satisfying sleep.

Late-night Learning
The quote is from "Opportunities," in The Big Book of Unschooling (page 157 or 175)
photo by Kinsey Norris

Monday, January 4, 2021

Calmer is healthier

Biochemically/emotionally, calmer is healthier. I don't know of any physical condition that is made better by freaking out or crying hard or losing sleep or reciting fears. I know LOTS of things that are made better—entire lives, and lives of grandchildren not yet born—by thoughtful, mindful clarity.
Calming and contagious
photo by Ester Siroky

Sunday, January 3, 2021

Seeing what is

Sometimes a heavy thing can seem much lighter if you accept what is, instead of arguing with the air about what you think SHOULD have been.

Be a light thing.
Rise up.
photo by Sandra Dodd

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Lax and relax

I know the world "struggle" is as popular as "groovy" was in 1967, but it's not nearly as groovy.

Relax! You can deal with problems better without struggling. You might find out that struggling WAS the problem.
photo by Amber Ivey

Friday, January 1, 2021

Wait; think; choose

Here's an idea that will work with just about every aspect of life:
Every time you make a decision, wait until you've thought of two choices and choose the better one.

It seems simple, but I was surprised, when I thought of that way to ratchet the quality of life up, to find how many times I was acting without really thinking.
photo by Holly Dodd

The text of this post has been used three times before, starting in 2011. It might be the best advice ever, though, and could be read every day. This, or one of those other three, might be worth printing out and sticking on a fridge or mirror. (The link will show all four, or someday maybe five.)