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What ‘Little Old’ You and I Can Do About Terrorism


I found myself getting swept away with this feeling that terrorism is a huge unsolvable problem; that only governments with big artilleries and lots of manpower can fight against. For short term solutions, maybe that’s what’s needed. But, terrorism is a grassroots (or sometimes individual) movement. So, the true, long term solution, must also be grassroots. There are only a relative handful of terrorists compared to the BILLIONS of the rest of us kind, friendly and upstanding citizens of the planet. The media is focused on terrorism right now and the biggest danger of all, is thinking that individual people are too small and insignificant to do something about it.

Make Everyone Feel a Sense of Belongingness

Where do you think terrorists recruit their fighters from? Many from our backyard. Why? Because whatever the terrorists are offering to their recruits (acceptance, respect, honor, etc) is more than what they’re being offered here. I’ve taught many bright, educated Muslim boys, and I hope and pray that I don’t see their face on the next suicide bomber news article. These kids are not evil heartless killers, and nor are their families… but the society they live in lets them know that they’re ‘different‘. We need to be friendly to each other and honour our differences. Respect each other’s cultures.

Also remember that terrorists are not just young Muslim boys, they come in every color, race and religion. Creating a sense of belongingness needs to extend to every member of our society. Look into the eyes of any person in the street. Are they really so different from you? No. Reach out to people. Smile. Be friendly. See that they are in the same boat as you. It sounds small, but creating a sense of belongingness is probably one of the most powerful things we can do to end violence in our society.

Uproot Ignorance, Hatred and Prejudice 

If we want them to change, we first have to look at our own actions. Are we smearing hatred, doubt and poking fun of people all over social media and in our daily conversations? That needs to stop. Do we all know little about the different religions and cultures in the world? Are we teaching our children tolerance and acceptance? An education means nothing if the education does not include a little bit about human values, such as love, acceptance, belonging and compassion.

Energy Flows Where Attention Goes

Terrorists have just as much access to social media and the internet as we do. They know the stories that catch the bait. Do you need to go on reading story after story about what happened? It’s not to say that you stick your head in the sand and ignore everything that’s going on. But, the more energy you give to their actions, the more it fuels their fire. Also, the more you read and share these stories over and over, and the more you talk about how the world is an ‘evil‘ place, the more these things start happening. Your mind gets consumed over how ‘bad‘ everything is and you’ll notice that you walk down the street with a frown on your face.

Meditate, Pray, Keep Your Vibrations Positive

We are all connected to each other and feelings and emotions are catching. There are scientific studies to back this up. If you walk into a room with a grumpy miserable person, how do you feel after a few minutes? You’ll most likely also find yourself feeling grumpy. Alternatively, if you walk into a room where everyone is happy, you will also begin to feel happy. The more we keep ourselves happy, the more the people around us will have a better chance of keeping happy… and so on. Our actions affect the people around us. Happy people, connected to the society, don’t kill other people. So, whatever you need to do to keep yourself from brooding over the past or feeling miserable, find a way! It’s our responsibility to this planet to keep our own attitude positive so that we can positively influence others. Of course, we all get down in the dumps sometimes, and it’s not easy to pull yourself up, but we need to find a way to not get stuck in our negative emotions. Whatever it is; meditation, praying, singing, dancing, doing community service… do it! Uplift yourself and those around you.

Don’t for a second believe that you are not strong enough to do anything about terrorism. You have a heart. You have a brain. You have been blessed with life on this planet. You can make a difference. Be helpful to others. Be friendly. Have compassion. Be aware that your actions affect others.





The Fascinating Reason Why Kids Have So Much Energy: Balance, Behavior and Longevity


When I was doing Know Your Child Teacher Training, my instructor asked us if we knew the reason why kids have so much energy.

None of us really knew the answer, but we all agreed that kids have ridiculous amounts of energy. Read the rest of this entry

My Family


I *think*’My Family stickers are going out of style, right? But, I still see them often enough that I have this itch to write about them.

These stickers don’t particularly bother me. I’m actually not jealous or annoyed of the family wanting the world to know about their 6 kids, 4 dogs, 12 cats and 3 guinea pigs. I also have nothing against the girl with a sticker of herself and her pet goldfish. All of us have our own thing going on and it’s fair enough to want to be proud of it.

The thing is… putting My Family stickers on my car seems too small a gesture to me. It’s so limiting. Who is ‘in‘ my family? Is is the people who are related to me? Or, who live under my roof?


I feel a much deeper connection with the other human beings on this planet. How often have you ever felt like you were with family, even though these people were not ‘family’… Even amongst strangers I’ve felt this connection.

My Family stickers don’t sit well with me because I realized that if I wanted to put My Family stickers on the back of my car, I would need a window that could fit 7 billion little white stick figures (plus additional room to fit the billions of animal creatures in the world).

Why are we so limited to the people (or animals) that live under one single roof, or who share the same last name?

Imagine if each and every one of us could feel that the whole world is our family… now that will be something great! How much more peace, harmony and trust would there be in the world, if we all feel that connection.

I could never put a My Family sticker on the back of my car because the whole world is my family, not just the people who live in the same house as me.

I Only Clean Up When The Kids Are Awake

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CleanUp2When my first born was a baby, I used to anxiously wait until she was asleep, then I would whisk through the house and clean up. When she woke up, I would be all eyes on her, sitting and playing and taking care of her until at last she would fall asleep again. Repeat.

But, that got old fast. Real fast. I started getting resentful to the fact that I never had enough time for myself and it was so incredibly tiring trying to entertain a baby for hours on end. So, I changed all that fast and started taking her with me to get everything done.

Now, my kids are 3 and 5 1/2, and unless it’s an accident, I almost never clean when they’re asleep. Read the rest of this entry

“Where Are You From?”


Does my accent sound a little funny?

Is my skin a different color?

Do I dress differently?

Eat funny food?

Where am I from?

I’m from planet Earth, just like you!

In case you may have forgotten, we all reside on a mini-scopic island, surrounded by an endless sea of space.

It’s innocent small talk, I know. And once we get to know each other, ok, sure, ask away and we can tell stories about what it’s like to live on opposite sides of the world. But don’t let that question be one of the first things to leave your mouth when we meet. That question unintentially divides the human race. Puts categories on belongingness.

No matter where you come from, you should still have the same human values in common. Love and diversity. Compassion and trust.

Do you see me as different when you ask me where I come from? Tell me, what is really so different?

The world has become a small place. It’s no longer strange to see people from other places on your streets. Yet we still ask, as if to say, “You’re different. You don’t belong.

We all eat, breath, sleep, live and die.

You’re from ‘here‘ and so am I.

Is there even such a thing as ‘here‘ and ‘there‘? The entire planet is our home. Nature, the Earth, doesn’t discriminate against you. Categorizing people according to where they come from is a human invention.

There is no ‘here‘. There is no ‘there‘.

There is only one.

You are my family from the human race.  You feel pain, happiness and sorrow, the same way I do.

You belong to me and I belong to you.

I used to ask this question a lot too. But, I can’t ask it anymore. I’d rather enjoy the moment we have together. I don’t need to know where you come from. I’ve gotten really good at guessing  from your accent, but I don’t need to ask because right now, you are here, in front of me, and that’s all that matters.

Photo by Art Baltrotsky

I Let My Kids Get Hungry


My kids often come to the kitchen just as I start cooking dinner. They’re looking for something to shove in their mouth for instant gratification. I tell them, “Dinner’s coming.

They complain and sometimes cry.

I listen to them, tell them I understand they’re upset.

I offer some water.

I know you’re hungrydinner will be ready soon.

They open the fridge. There’s nothing in there they can pop in their mouths.

They complain some more, maybe cry more. I listen, without scolding them.

They have to wait.

But, when dinner is ready, we all sit together at the table and they eat. And man, do they EAT.

It’s so peaceful. They say “Oh yummy, mama! Thank you!” I don’t have trouble keeping them at the table because they’re too busy indiscriminately scarfing down their food. Almost everything I put in front of them, they eat. I rarely hear a complaint.

If they never feel hunger, how can they enjoy the taste of their food?

If my kids graze all day, they may or may not want to eat a meal, and if they do eat. If they do eat, after a day of grazing, they usually take two bites and run off to play. Meal rejection is frustrating to me. I’m not a control freak, I feed my kids about five meals a day, but I do have my limits. For one, I know that what children eat and the way they eat, is important to the way that they grow and develop. Kids don’t get a great deal of warmth and nutrition from walking around grazing all day (even healthy grazing). Also, when my kids won’t eat a meal, my effort of creating nourishing food, feels wasted. If they reject too many meals in a row, I start to get resentful over my wasted effort.

Letting my kids ‘get‘ hungry, should not be confused with letting them ‘go‘ hungry. It’s NEVER ok to punish a child by withholding food or to shame or make fun of a child for eating ‘too much‘.

I don’t encourage grazing and I won’t make them something special half an hour before dinner is going to be ready. After I clean up the kitchen at night, the ‘kitchen’s closed. I won’t prepare meal after meal all day. I don’t make special meals either. They eat what we eat (unless I honestly screw up dinner). I do my best to meet everyone’s needs, including my own need of feeling honored in the kitchen.

We do have snacks in the house sometimes, and when we do, the kids are allowed to eat them at free will. Allowing children to learn how to self regulate their diet is completely possible, and my kids get plenty of opportunities to do so.

But, once the snacks are gone, they’re gone and the snacks don’t get replenished until we go to the grocery store next, or if I bake something. If they choose to eat all the snacks in one go, it might be a week before they see snacks again. Or, they can ration the snacks out. It’s their choice.

People tell me that they just can’t deal with the whining and grumpiness of a hungry child and I totally understand. It’s annoying and sometimes even I can’t deal with it. But, a child that is ONLY hungry, will simply come looking for food, without crying and screaming for it. The tantrum part comes from other emotional distress, but we end up giving food as a remedy for some unhappiness that is not always related to the hunger.

If we offer food to make an upset child feel happy, then over time, could we accidentally be teaching a child that food has the ability to make you feel better when you’re upset? By not validating a child’s emotions and instead, offering food, what are we teaching our kids? Comfort eating is a real problem that many children and adults suffer from. When my kids get hungry and grumpy, I address the hunger and the emotions separately. Of course, I feed them as soon as the emotional storm is past. Anyway, it’s not good to eat when you’re upset…

Every child is different and they each have different dietary requirements depending on the day. Some kids eat like a bird and others eat like a horse. And, sometimes the kid who usually eats like a bird needs to eat like a horse on a particular day or vice versa. Although it takes some time, giving food with awareness is something that I’ve gotten better at. Listening to a child’s true needs, rather than just offering food to prevent a temper tantrum is truly ‘listening‘ to our children.

Letting a child get a little hungry, builds their desire to eat their food with awareness. Opposites are complimentary. If you never feel hungry, how can you ever enjoy your food?

For an aware parent perspective on why kids are picky eaters, I wrote an article on that here.

This post is meant to be read with common sense. If a child had special dietary considerations (diabetic) you have to consider their health needs. This post is intended for children with no special dietary considerations and is not an excuse to withhold food from a child.

Let Me Tell You ‘Bout The Devil Wind


You wanna know what weather drives people nuts more than anything?

Snow? Rain? Sun? Cold? Heat?



By far. Read the rest of this entry

The Problem with Using Rewards (and what to use instead)


Using rewards for getting kids to cooperate is a great way to get short term compliance.

In fact, rewards are much better alternatives to threats, bribes and physical punishment. But, there are long term repercussions for using rewards that many people don’t know about.

One thing that happens when using rewards, is that kids lose intrinsic motivation to complete a task. If a child gets promised a chocolate to clean her room, the room may get cleaned the first ten times… but what about when the desire to not clean the room outweighs the desire to have the chocolate? Will she still clean her room? Read the rest of this entry

My Compassion Towards Those ‘Helicopter Parents’


When I read an article the other day, about helicopter moms ruining it at the playground, I laughed. Oh, how I laughed. I almost shared it on Facebook… but wait… it wasn’t very nice. Most new mothers have some degree of helicopter-ness and I used to have it too.

A few months ago, a friend and I were chatting while the kids ran around the sandy beach, at the edge of the bay. She told me about her childhood; free and wild, in the beautiful salt marsh, on the east coast of Australia, just south of Brisbane. She, and other kids her age, would take the kayaks, paddle across the bay, to deserted islands and explore all day long. No parents. No rules. No mobile phones. Now, the same parents that used to let her run wild, worry constantly, almost to the point of paranoia, about their grandchildren. Read the rest of this entry

Can You Really Raise Kids in An Apartment?


First off, let me define the meaning of ‘small living space‘… because I lived in the back of my station wagon/tent, for a year, in my early twenties.

Apartments are relatively huge compared to a station wagon.

Better for the environment
Taking up less space, means… taking up less space. It means you leave more room for nature to be nature. There are 7 billion+ people on this planet, most of them live on top of each other. If we all wanted to live in a house, with a yard, we would all be squashed in an endless sea of tiny fenced in yards. Living in a small space means you use up less resources (building materials, energy for heating/cooling, etc.). When you live in a small space, you are also more conscious of buying unneccesary items (because you have no room). The less ‘stuff‘ we buy, that we don’t *really* need, the better for the environment. The production, the transport, and eventually, the disposal of the items we buy for our house, all have an impact on the world we live in. Read the rest of this entry