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No Lip Service in Our House: Please and Thank You are Optional Too

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kateplease

When my older daughter was a baby, I used to enthusiastically encourage her to ‘wave hello and bye bye‘. However, I noticed that when I would say, “Wave bye bye’, it would startle her from her natural state of just ‘being‘. She would wave, but it wasn’t sincere and sometimes she would go all shy on me or flat out refuse… Most of the time, she just wanted to be a fly on the wall, happily observing the situation, with little, to no interaction. So, I stopped asking her to wave.

The same reason I stopped asking her to ‘wave hello and bye bye‘ five years ago, is the same reason why, now, I don’t make my kids say ‘please’ or ‘thank you‘.

Asking a child to say or do something unnatural, in a social context, breaks them out of their nature, which is to just ‘be‘.

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If You Brush Your Teeth, You Ought to Read This

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Meditation-katesurfs2

Even the ocean sometimes isn’t enough to shut up my mind.

Tonight, while I floated around in the sea, trying to catch my last wave in, my mind was a bubbling mess of thoughts — worries, ‘what ifs’, doubts and insecurities. I walked home in a huff and took a shower. Then dried myself off and reveled in the fact that the house was quiet. My husband had taken the kids grocery shopping!

So, without wasting a second, I plopped down on the floor and shut my eyes for a 20 minute meditation. When I opened my eyes, I felt so fresh, alert and calm. All the stupid thoughts that had been flying around in my head 20 minutes ago, were gone. My smile was back and my breath felt light.

Do you brush your teeth everyday? Read the rest of this entry

Micro Schooling: Have We Found the Alternative Schooling That Many People Are Looking For?

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For a couple of years now, I’ve been contemplating my children’s education. I, myself, am a school teacher, which actually complicates things, because I’ve seen both the good and bad sides of traditional schooling. I like the idea of traditional school because of the community, plus the shared responsibility of taking care of children (it’s hard work being with your kids 24/7 and never having a break), but I don’I love the idea of kids starting so young, and having to follow such a heavy content based curriculum. I love the idea of homeschooling, but don’t so much love that even in homeschooling, kids still have to follow the same sort of curriculum stuff that kids in school have to follow. For younger children, I’m not sold on the idea that they need to do anything other than play-based learning. Unschooling has really piqued my interest greatly but I also like the idea of coming together with people and building a community and having some sort of commitment. I see some of the burn out rate amongst parents choosing to home educate their children and I want to create some sort of community that prevents this sort burn out from happening. Read the rest of this entry

What if We All Stopped Killing Each Other? How Our Children Can Break the Cycle

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katesurfs_killing

Life is hard enough. Natural disasters, diseases, accidents… as if that wasn’t all enough, then us clever humans have to complicate everything and start killing each other!

Greed, jealously, ignorance, anger, killing the name of God, the law, etc.

I can just imagine God/nature/creator, whatever you believe in, just looking down on us and thinking, “You idiots! I give you life and all you do is sit around and bitch and moan, you destroy the earth and then sometimes you kill each other! Isn’t that just super!Read the rest of this entry

The Power of Letting An Upset Child Cry

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beach_katesurfs

Goldie and the Jelly Fish

We were walking along the beach just at dusk when Goldie, my 2 1/2 year old, stepped on a jellyfish. It was a big fat soggy dead jellyfish, as big as my head. It was so soft and squishy that where she stepped, she left a perfect footprint on its half decomposed body.

She let out a horrified yelp!

To make matters worse, a split second before, her big sister, screamed; “GOLDIE, WATCH OUT!!!“, which had startled Goldie even more. Read the rest of this entry

Being Ok With Being ‘Average’

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I’ve always felt like I had to be doing ‘something‘. Something incredible, exciting, being the best, etc. But, no matter what, there’s always somebody out there who seems to have one up on me. Always someone who seems to have their stuff together and whose life seems perfect. Always someone I’m just a ‘tiny‘ bit jealous of. My husband tells me I’m crazy when I mention it, but I can’t help it, I’ve felt this way all of my life.

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A Balinese Taxi Driver Who Could Teach the World About Religious Tolerance

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Bali_Katesurfs

Roughly 85% of the population of Bali is Hindu, the rest is mix of Muslim, Buddhist. Less than 2% are Christian.

On my way to the airport, my taxi driver and I were chit chatting away. Of course, he asked the obligatory ‘how old are you, are you married, do you have children’, as every taxi driver in Asia has always asked me. I answered his questions, “32, yes, yes” and right then we drove past this magnificent statue of Arjuna driving a chariot with Lord Krishna standing on top of ferocious-looking galloping horses. The statue represents a famous conversation that takes place on the battle field from the ancient scripture, the Bhagavad Gita. I asked the taxi driver if he was Hindu, although I assumed he was. He answered “Yes” and explained the significance of the statue (although I already knew). Then he asked me what religion I was. Read the rest of this entry

How To Do Elimination Communication With Your Baby

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ECingkatesurfs

When I was pregnant with my first child, one of my biggest hesitations about becoming a new parent, was the thought of changing countless dirty diapers and of toilet training. I often wondered if there was a more natural process. I wondered what ancient people would have done! Luckily, just a few weeks before my daughter was born, a lady told me about elimination communication (EC). A lightbulb went off after our brief conversation and I knew that elimination communication was something that I wanted to try. I’ve practiced EC with both of my children and they were both and toilet trained, day and night, right around the time they started to walk. Read the rest of this entry