Renewed Hope, Real Solutions – Earth Day Summit 2016

Wow, we’ve clearly made a mess of things… global warming, species on the brink of extinction, polluted water supplies and more.

Yet, if we put the miraculous, collective power of our hearts and minds together, we CAN solve these problems.

Earth Day Summit 2016Solutions DO exist and every day, more and more incredible people are rolling up their sleeves and finding creative ways to fix what we once feared unfixable.

Plus, we now have access to an abundance of cutting-edge technologies, effective community organizing platforms and revolutionary, life-giving ideas!
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Join a powerful lineup of speakers who’ll be sharing these solutions and more at Earth Day Summit 2016!

This special gathering will feature 15+ esteemed environmental leaders, innovators, activists, scientists and ecologists who are offering a renewed sense of hope, step-by-step solutions for local and global action — and restored reverence for Mother Earth.

Experts, including Starhawk, Kenny Ausubel, Vicki Robin, Chief Phil Lane, Jr., David Crow, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez and others, will share their visionary insights and inspired actions for a healthy, sustainable and thriving planet.

I hope you’ll participate in this special day-long gathering presented by The Shift Network.

RSVP now for Earth Day Summit 2016 — at no charge.

During this inspiring event, you’ll discover:

  • Practical steps & innovative solutions for living in harmony with Mother Earth’
  • Trusted resources & expert guidance for making sustainable life choices
  • A vibrant community of kindred spirits mobilizing globally to create a thriving planet
  • Ways to take action on local levels as well as national legislative action
  • The experience of activating global consciousness, weaving the world together
  • Engaging stories of those who are making a difference in the world, inspiring you to take action and create your own out-of-the-box solutions
  • Invaluable insights on grassroots organizing, citizen lobbying & community action
  • And much more!
With guidance from these leaders, you’re sure to come away from this global gathering deeply transformed — and part of the solution!
Like Inspired Actions for a Thriving Planet: Earth Day Summit 2016 on Facebook share on Twitter

Join a vibrant global community and an extraordinary panel of presenters for a FULL DAY of hope, inspiration, actions and discover your next step for personal and planetary transformation.

RSVP now for Earth Day Summit 2016 — at no charge.

April 22, 2016 at 4:06 pm Leave a comment

Sister Giant | Blue America Free Progressive Summit Starts February 23rd

Meet congressional candidates from all over the country who stand for progressive values coming into Congress — the co-equal branch of our government.

Continue Reading February 23, 2016 at 9:34 pm Leave a comment

Being a Fully Functioning Person

 

We’ve all heard the term “fully-functioning person” but what does it actually mean?

Humanist psychologist, Carl Rogers believed that we are all born with an “Actualizing Tendency.” This actualizing tendency is our innate tendency, our core desire, to fulfill all of our needs both physically and mentally, to express our true selves, and most importantly to become all that we are capable of becoming! He said that our personalities were simply an expression of this actualizing tendency.

He went on to say that we are all striving to fully release our actualizing tendency and in order for that to occur, we must experience three things.

patient_centred-therapy

The first — “unconditional positive regard.” Unconditional positive regard is a lot like unconditional love, for it is where we are loved by another with no strings or conditions attached, and no matter what we do we still feel respected, comforted and loved. Unconditional positive regard has the ability to change people’s lives and it’s never too late to feel its positive effects.Benefit of Empathy 01 - Carl Rogers  feels damn good

The second — empathy. Rogers said that people become
more fulfilled by interacting with people who are empathic towards them. People who are sensitive listeners and understanding of another’s true feelings are said to be empathic.

The third — genuineness. Being genuine means being open with your feelings and dropping all pretenses and facades. Rogers felt that we can help others simply by being present for them as the authentic individuals we are.

If our actualizing tendency is fully released, a person is said to be a “fully-functioning person.” A person who is fully functioning is a person who is living in accordance with his or her actualizing tendency — being true to one’s self versus being true to other people’s values or conditions of worth, having their needs met all the way around, and achieving their full potential.

I really resonate with Carl Roger’s work, even though it was ground-breaking over five decades ago. He believed that people are like sunflower seeds…once planted in rich soil and given enough sunshine and water, they will grow into strong and beautiful flowers — that given the right environment all human beings will flourish. (Did you see Trading Spaces with Eddie Murphy?)

Benefit 2 Rogers copyMoreover, Rogers believed as I do, that we are all born with natural capacities for growth and fulfillment. I love that he said we were all endowed with an innate sense — basically our gut instinct, our intuition — that allows us to genuinely evaluate what is good or bad for us. I feel we need to remind ourselves that it’s wise to listen to our own internal guidance system. Who better to help navigate our life? Lastly, he validates the theory for me that we are connected when he says we really do need to be loved, liked or accepted by those around us.

So question. Do you help people become fully functioning? Are you an understanding listener? Are you free from pretense and facades with people? What if we gave each other the gifts of positive regard, empathy and genuineness? What if we honestly believed that people could do great things? What do you think would happen? I say let’s try it and find out. Let’s create a rich environment and watch human beings flourish!

December 10, 2015 at 8:07 am 1 comment

How Will Political Change Take Place?

This article, written by Robert Borosage, Sanders and Clinton: How Change Comes, is reprinted from OurFuture.Org and I’m just giddy with excitement!

One of the most striking contrasts between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in the first Democratic debate is their starkly different theories of how change will take place. Yet it is this difference that is at the center of the Sanders surge, and particularly of the remarkable excitement that he has stirred among the young.

Virtually every reform proposed by President Obama has been blocked by the Republican Congress. The House majority is so dysfunctional that Speaker John Boehner had to fall on his sword simply to get the House to keep the doors of government open and the U.S. from defaulting on its debts. Republicans are now unable to agree upon his successor. They are so practiced in obstruction that they obstruct themselves.

So how does the next Democratic president overcome this? Gerrymandered districts make it very hard for Democrats to take back the majority in the House. What makes change come?

940764_1_1012-hillary-bernie-debate_standard

Yes She Can

Clinton’s answer is encapsulated in her response to Anderson Cooper’s question about whether she is a progressive or a moderate:

I’m a progressive. But I’m a progressive who likes to get things done. And I know how to find common ground, and I know how to stand my ground, and I have proved that in every position that I’ve had, even dealing with Republicans who never had a good word to say about me, honestly. But we found ways to work together on everything from reforming foster care and adoption to the Children’s Health Insurance Program…

Clinton offers herself – her experience, her vision, her tenacity – as the difference. This was a consistent theme of her remarks. Her opening featured her commitment to “heal the divides:”

During the course of the evening tonight, I’ll have a chance to lay out all of my plans and the work that I’ve done behind them. But for me, this is about bringing our country together again. And I will do everything I can to heal the divides – the divides economically, because there’s too much inequality; the racial divides; the continuing discrimination against the LGBT community…

And she offered herself as the vehicle for change again in her closing:

What you have to ask yourself is: Who amongst us has the vision for actually making the changes that are going to improve the lives of the American people? Who has the tenacity and the ability and the proven track record of getting that done?

When pressed about why voters should choose an “insider like yourself,” she sounded the same note:

I’m running because I have a lifetime of experience in getting results and fighting for people, fighting for kids, for women, for families, fighting to even the odds. And I know what it takes to get things done. I know how to find common ground and I know how to stand my ground. And I think we’re going to need both of those in Washington to get anything that we’re talking about up here accomplished.

You Know There’s Gonna Be A Revolution

In contrast, Sanders argues that given the corruption of American politics, the only way needed change can come is with a “political revolution.” This theme was central to his argument:

But here’s where I do disagree. I believe that the power of corporate America, the power of Wall Street, the power of the drug companies, the power of the corporate media is so great that the only way we really transform America and do the things that the middle class and working class desperately need is through a political revolution when millions of people begin to come together and stand up and say: Our government is going to work for all of us, not just a handful of billionaires.

Anderson Cooper remarked skeptically, “You don’t hear a lot of Democratic presidential candidates talking about revolution. What do you mean?”

Sanders elaborated:

What I mean is that we need to have one of the larger voter turnouts in the world, not one of the lowest. We need to raise public consciousness. We need the American people to know what’s going on in Washington in a way that today they do not know. And when people come together in a way that does not exist now and are prepared to take on the big money interest, then we could bring the kind of change we need.

When asked if Hillary had the “right stuff,” Sanders again argued that it wasn’t about an individual leader:

I think — I think that there is profound frustration all over this country with establishment politics. I am the only candidate running for president who is not a billionaire, who has raised substantial sums of money, and I do not have a super PAC. I am not raising money from millionaires and billionaires, and in fact, tonight, in terms of what a political revolution is about, there are 4,000 house parties — 100,000 people in this country — watching this debate tonight who want real change in this country.

When asked how he could overcome Republican obstruction, Sanders was clear:

The Republican party, since I’ve been in the Senate, and since President Obama has been in office, has played a terrible, terrible role of being total obstructionists. Every effort that he has made, that some of us have made, they have said no, no, no.

Now, in my view, the only way we can take on the right-wing Republicans who are, by the way, I hope will not continue to control the Senate and the House when one of us elected President.

But the only way we can get things done is by having millions of people coming together. If we want free tuition at public colleges and universities, millions of young people are going to have to demand it, and give the Republicans an offer they can’t refuse.

If we want to raise the minimum wage to $15 bucks an hour, workers are going to have to come together and look the Republicans in the eye, and say, “We know what’s going on. You vote against us, you are out of your job.”

And the Senator returned to this theme in his closing:

Now, at the end of our day, here is the truth that very few candidates will say, is that nobody up here, certainly no Republican, can address the major crises facing our country unless millions of people begin to stand up to the billionaire class that has so much power over our economy and our political life.

The Real Deal

Obviously, Sanders call for “political revolution” is alien to beltway politics as usual. Jim Webb expressed the establishment disdain: “I got a great deal of admiration and affection for Senator Sanders, but I – Bernie, I don’t think the revolution’s going to come. And I don’t think the Congress is going to pay for a lot of this stuff.”

Waiting for a political revolution seems a bit like waiting for Godot. But ask yourself, which of these views is more realistic? Clinton’s claim is a less bumptious version of Donald Trump: “Trust me. I know how to do this. I can get this done.” How plausible is it to believe that Clinton’s experience and expertise can enable her to work with Republicans to effect the change we need? We know there are bad deals that can be cut. But real reform?

“Revolution soon come” seems like a fantasy. But Sanders’ view that nothing will change unless people rise up, demand change, go to the polls in large numbers and hold their representatives accountable is compelling. And by not raising money from millionaires and billionaires, by not setting up a super PAC, by raising stunning sums in small donations (nearly $2 million in the hours after the Democratic debate), he isn’t just calling for a popular movement, he is helping to build it.

October 16, 2015 at 3:50 pm Leave a comment

Free The World of Limiting Stereotypes

Using film as a catalyst for cultural transformation, The Representation Project inspires individuals and communities to challenge and overcome limiting stereotypes so that everyone, regardless of gender, race, class, age, sexual orientation, or circumstance, can fulfill their human potential.

From the dynamic team that brought you Miss Representation, the film about the media selling the idea that girls’ and women’s value lies in their youth, beauty, and sexuality and not in their capacity as leaders, are bringing you a new film — The Mask You Live In, which follows boys and young men as they struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating America’s narrow definition of masculinity.

Mask-Infographic1Did you know research shows compared to girls, boys in the U.S. are more likely to be diagnosed with a behavior disorder, prescribed stimulant medications, fail out of school, binge drink, commit a violent crime, and/or take their own lives? They consistently hear de-sensitizing messages like “Be a man!” “Man-up!” and “Boys don’t cry.” Sadly many are buying into a culture that doesn’t value caring, relationships or empathy…qualities our society has “feminized.” But these are not feminine qualities, they’re human ones.

Whether you’re a teacher bringing the films to your classroom, a young person challenging sexist media, or a small business owner changing your company culture, check out the new and engaging resources available at TheRepresentationProject.org.

October 14, 2015 at 9:31 pm Leave a comment

Rededication Ceremonies for Girl Scouts

Depositphotos_1108348_s-2015It’s Investiture and Rededication Ceremony season for Girl Scouts, and I offer you three options so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel!

Being a Girl Scout leader provides me with an exciting way to inspire young girls and foster leadership qualities early in life. No matter what the age of the girls, I like to infuse my meetings with moments of introspection and meaning. Here are three different Rededication/Investiture ceremonies that you can use to spark your own imagination, use verbatim, or any variation in between.

DEEP & MEANINGFUL REDEDICATION CANDLE CEREMONY – GIRLS SPEAK & LIGHT CANDLES

(All sit in a circle, with a table in the middle prepped with one white taper candle, 3 gold taper candles, and ten colored tea-lights or votive candles. It would be lovely if the colors were the colors of the daisy petals, which ultimately are the colors of the Girl Scout Law values. You may find it helpful to use 3×5 index cards for girl’s parts.)

Colorful short candles without flame. Isolated over white background Stock Photo

Leader: Today we come together to rededicate ourselves to Scouting. I light this first candle to represent the flame of sisterhood that burns in the heart of every Girl Scout. (Light the white taper candle.) Although this is a tiny flame and it lights only a small area, all of us can see it. Though tiny, it is a beacon to every one of us. This tiny light can grow, multiply, and spread, lighting the world. Someone just needs to join it. First we light three candles signifying the three parts of the Girl Scout Promise.

Co-Leader: LIGHTING GOLD CANDLE FROM THE SISTERHOOD CANDLE – Repeat after me “On my honor, I will try to serve God and my country.”
This candle that we light shall shine as a symbol that Girl Scouts are true to God and their country.

Leader: It is our goal is to help you be good citizens of high character.

Co-Leader:: LIGHTING GOLD CANDLE – Repeat after me “To help people at all times.” May the light of the second candle shine as a symbol that a Girl Scout’s greatest desire is to serve.

Leader: It is our goal to help you be confident girls. Enough confidence to have your voices be heard and to make a difference in the lives of others.

Co-Leader:: LIGHTING GOLD CANDLE – Repeat after me “And to live by the Girl Scout Law.” May the light of the third candle shine as a symbol that Girl Scouts are true to their ideals and values, and that these ideals and values make up the Girl Scout Law.

Leader: It is our goal to help you become girls of courage, courage to remember your ideals, and to be true to who you are.

Co-Leader: Now it is time for you to recommit yourselves to the Girl Scout Law. Girls please stand and circle around the table. You may begin. (Girls use the sisterhood candle to light the following candles.) 

Girl #1: LIGHTING 1st COLORED CANDLE – “I will do my best to be honest.”

Girl #2: “What is honest? It is to be truthful in everything I say and do.”

Girl #3: “I will do my best to be fair.”

Girl #4: “What is fair? It is treating other people the way I want to be treated.”

Girl #5: LIGHTING 2nd COLORED CANDLE – “I will do my best to help where I am needed.”

Girl #6: “What is helping where you are needed? It is finding out what others need, and doing what I can to show them that I care.”

Girl #7: “I will do my best to be friendly.”

Girl #8: “What is being friendly? It is being generous with my kindness.”

Girl #9: LIGHTING 3rd COLORED CANDLE – “I will do my best to be caring and considerate.”

Girl #10: “What is being caring and considerate?”

Girl #11: “It is to be thoughtful of others. It is being the kind of friend you would like to have.”

Girl #12: LIGHTING 4th COLORED CANDLE – “I will do my best to be courageous and strong.”

Girl #13: “What is being courageous and strong?”

Girl #14: “It is being brave enough to be true to my heart and to listen to my inner voice.”

Girl #1: LIGHTING 5th COLORED CANDLE – “I will do my best to be responsible for what I do and say.”

Girl #2: “What is being responsible for what I do and say?”

Girl #3: “It is knowing that I have choices about what I say and do, and that choices always have consequences. So I always choose wisely.”

Girl #4: LIGHTING 6th COLORED CANDLE – “I will do my best to show respect for myself and others through my words and actions.”

Girl #5: “What does it mean to show respect for myself and others?”

Girl #6: “It means to do your very best in the way that you treat others.”

Girl #7: LIGHTING 7th COLORED CANDLE – “I will do my best to respect authority.”

Girl #8: “What does it mean to respect authority? It means to listen to people who are responsible for us and follow their directions.”

Girl #9: LIGHTING 8th COLORED CANDLE – “I will do my best to use resources wisely.”

Girl #10: “How can we use resources wisely? We can learn not to waste what we have.”

Girl #11: LIGHTING 9th COLORED CANDLE – “I will do my best to protect and improve the world around me.”

Girl #12: “What does it mean to protect and improve the world around me? It means to help preserve the world around us and to help make it a better place.”

Girl #13: LIGHTING 10th COLORED CANDLE – “I will do my best to be a sister to every Girl Scout.”

Girl #14: “What does it mean to be a sister? It means to think of all Girl Scouts everywhere, not as strangers, but as friends you haven’t met.

Leader: Thank you ladies for making the world a better place with your light. Congratulations on re-dedicating yourself to girl scouts and the pursuit of courage, confidence and character.

SHORT YET MEANINGFUL CANDLE CEREMONY – GIRL’S LIGHT CANDLES

Burning gold candle on a green background

(All stand in a circle, with a table in the middle prepped with one white taper candle, 3 gold taper candles, and ten colored tea-light or votive candles. It would be lovely if the colors were the colors of the daisy petals, which ultimately are the colors of the Girl Scout Law values. An * indicates where to light a candle.)

Leader: Today we come together to rededicate ourselves to Scouting. I light this first candle to represent the flame of sisterhood that burns in the heart of every Girl Scout.

Co-leader: Although it is a tiny flame and it lights only a small area around it, all of us can see it. Though tiny, it is a beacon to every one of us.

Leader: This tiny flame can grow and spread, lighting the world, it just needs other flames to join it and multiply.

Co-leader: Next we light three candles with the flame of sisterhood, signifying the three parts of the Girl Scout Promise.  (*) Please repeat after me: “On my honor, I will try…”

Leader: On my honor, I will TRY. We cannot succeed if we do not attempt. So, we will do our best, put forth our best effort, and although we may not always succeed, we will grow with each new experience as we put into practice the values of the Girl Scout Promise and the Girl Scout Law.

Co-leader: Please repeat after me: “…to serve God and my country”

Leader: Our goal is to help you become good citizens today and active citizens tomorrow, for a Girl Scout loves her country and knows the importance of having a loving relationship with her God.

Co-leader:: (*) Please repeat after me:  “…to help people at all times”

Leader:  We are all connected as human beings. Never forget that. It may be easier from time to time to help people who are like you, but where there are differences we gain exciting opportunities for understanding and growth.

Co-leader: Others need you and we hope you take pride in knowing that you are learning skills and seeking knowledge which could help someone be happier and allow you to experience what being of service feels like.

Leader:  (*) Please repeat after me: “…and to live by the Girl Scout Law.”

Co-leader: Being generous with your kindness and showing people that you care about them is living by the Girl Scout Law. Being truthful about your feelings, treating others how you wish to be treated, and being the kind of friend you would like to have is living the Girl Scout Law.

Leader: Knowing you have choices and making them wisely, and being brave enough to be true to your heart and listening to your inner voice is living by the Girl Scout Law.

Co-leader:: Listening to people who are responsible for you and following their directions.

Leader: Making friends with your fellow Girl Scouts.

Co-leader: Not wasting what you have.

Leader: Protecting and improving the world around you, and making it a better place…

Co-leader: That’s living the Girl Scout Law.

Leader: Please come forward one at a time to re-dedicate yourselves to Girl Scouts. Using the flame of Sisterhood, light a colored candle representing one of the values of the Law. (* When all candles are lit, move on to the next paragraph.)

Co-leader: As the candle light grows brighter it does indeed fill this room, but it is actually the light inside each one of you that is making this room glow.

Leader: Thank you for making the world a better place with your light, and for sharing it with all of us. And congratulations on re-dedicating yourself to Girl Scouts and the pursuit of courage, confidence and character.

Both: Welcome Back Troop 7755!

MEANINGFUL & FUN GORP CEREMONY

Trail mix made of nuts, fruit, and candies.

Trail mix made of nuts, fruit, and candies.

(Have a big bowl handy, some large mixing spoons, and some serving bowls/bags/baggies to eat from. Give every girl a mini box of raisin for each year she has been a girl scout before you begin. This ceremony can be done with multiple leaders, or even modified to have each girl add an ingredient. Having done it both ways, I am partial to having the girls only add their raisin boxes.)

Leader : Have you ever wondered what goes into making a Girl Scout? Well, we have a recipe to show you what Girl Scouts are all about.  Girl Scouts come in all colors, different cities and towns, Every Girl Scout’s a sister no matter what she looks like or how she sounds.  I am starting our mix with these colorful M&Ms.

Leader: Some of us are tall, and some of us are small.  But when we get together, size doesn’t matter at all. I am adding pretzel thins and marshmallows.

Leader: With our words and our actions, we show that we care. We try to do our best to be fair and SQUARE.  I will add Chex Cereal to our mix.

Leader: Sometimes we act a little NUTS, we love to joke and play.  We’d love to put a Girl Scout smile into everybody’s day.  So I am adding a bunch of nuts.

Leader: When we get together, we make circles so round. It’s our never ending friendships to which we are bound.  I will add Cheerios to our mix.

Leader: When we’re planning and working we just don’t stop, we use our creativity so that our imaginations POP.  Next we add some popcorn.

Leader: We respect all God’s creatures, if they’re big or if they’re small. The earth is our home, and there is room here for all. So for all the little creatures, I add some Goldfish crackers.

Leader: It was 1912 when Juliette Low started us off, and like the girls back then, we’re just “CHIPS off the old block.” So for all of us, I add some butterscotch candy chips.

Leader: We get a KICK out of doing new things cause the learning never ends, a kick out of helping others, and spending time with friends. I am adding Kix Cereal to our mix.

Leader: When you were Brownies, you were fresh, new and rare, but now that you’re Juniors, you have experience to share. I’d like for each of you to come up one at a time and add your mini-box(es) of raisins representing each year you’ve spent in Scouting. Today you are adding _____ boxes representing ____ years of combined service.

Leader: Now we stir to the left and we stir to the right, we mix it together with all of our might. We welcome our troop to another great year, and hope the memories we make, we will always hold dear.

Leader: Now that our recipe is complete, let us look upon what we have just created. Each of the ingredients went into our recipe separately, just like each of you girls came into this troop separately.

Leader: As the ingredients mix together to form a dish, you girls mix together to form a troop.

Leader: And even as we look upon the mixture, we can still see each ingredient as separate and unique. You girls each bring your own unique talents and gifts to our troop to make this “mixture of girls” as special as it is.

Leader: Now at this time, I’d like (name girls who are brand new to scouting to join in on the “Investiture” part of the ceremony. If there are no new girls, simply move to the next paragraph) to step forward. Ladies, please make the Girl Scout Sign by raising three fingers to represent the Girl Scout Promise which you are about to recite, and repeat after me — “On my honor I will try, to serve God and my country, to help people at all times, and to live by the Girl Scout Law.” Congratulations, you have just “invested” yourself in Girl Scouts. (Put her vest/sash on her.) You may rejoin the others.

Now it’s time for the rest of you to each rededicate yourselves to Girl Scouting. Please make the Girl Scout Sign and together we say the Girl Scout Promise. (When done, put their vests/sashes on them.)

To complete our ceremony, let us all say the Girl Scout Law together as a troop, Girl Scout Signs up — “I will do my best to be honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong, and responsible for what I say and do, AND TO respect myself and others, respect authority, use resources wisely, make the world a better place and be a sister to every girl scout.”Welcome to Troop #_______, ladies, and thank you for continuing the journey of becoming young women of courage, confidence and character. Now let us eat GORP!

September 25, 2015 at 5:10 am 1 comment

Wise are those…

Wise are those who examine

the content of what’s passing through their awareness

to discover those subtle,

subliminal holdings

of which we would otherwise be unaware.

September 15, 2015 at 4:00 pm Leave a comment

The Way Young Women Talk Today Makes Them Appear Weak & Uneducated? Really?

(Reprinted in part from The Guardian – Young Women, Give Up Your Vocal Fry and Reclaim Your Strong Female Voice. By Naomi Wolf.)

The most empowered generation of women ever – today’s twentysomethings in North America and Britain – is being hobbled in some important ways by something as basic as how they use their voices. This demographic of women tends to have a distinctive speech pattern. Many commentators have noticed it, often with dismay. Time magazine devoted a column to the mannerism called vocal fry, noting a study that found that this speech pattern makes young women who use it sound less competent, less trustworthy, less educated and less hireable: “Think Britney Spears and the Kardashians.”

“Vocal fry” is that guttural growl at the back of the throat, as a Valley girl might sound if she had been shouting herself hoarse at a rave all night. The less charitable refer to it privately as painfully nasal, and to young women in conversation sounding like ducks quacking. “Vocal fry” has joined more traditional young-women voice mannerisms such as run-ons, breathiness and the dreaded question marks in sentences (known by linguists as uptalk) to undermine these women’s authority in newly distinctive ways. Slate notes that older men (ie those in power over young women) find it intensely annoying. One study by a “deeply annoyed” professor, found that young women use “uptalk” to seek to hold the floor.

Amy Giddon, director of corporate leadership at Barnard College’s Athena centre for leadership studies in New York, found in original research that “there is a disconnect between women’s confidence in their skills and abilities – which is often high – and their confidence in their ability to navigate the system to achieve the recognition and advancement they feel they deserve. Self-advocacy is a big part of this, and identified by many women in the study as the biggest barrier to their advancement.” In other words, today’s women know they can do great things; what they doubt – reasonably enough – is that they can speak well about those great things.

There's no power in talking with a vocal fry.

When you ask young women themselves what these destructive speech patterns mean to them, you get gender-political insights. “I know I use run-on sentences,” a 21-year-old intern at a university told me. “I do it because I am afraid of being interrupted.” No one has ever taught her techniques to refuse that inevitable interruption. “I am aware that I fill my sentences with question marks,” said a twentysomething who works in a research firm. “We do it when we speak to older people or people we see as authorities. It is to placate them. We don’t do it so much when we are by ourselves.”

What is heartbreaking about the current trend for undermining female voice is that this is the most transformational generation of young women ever. They have absorbed a feminist analysis, and are skilled at seeing intersectionality – the workings of race, class and gender. Unlike previous generations, they aren’t starting from zero. They know that they did not ask to be raped, that they can Slutwalk and Take Back the Night, Kickstarter their business ventures and shoot their own indie films on their phones – and that they deserve equal pay and access.

Which points to the deeper dynamic at play. It is because these young women are so empowered that our culture assigned them a socially appropriate mannerism that is certain to tangle their steps and trivialise their important messages to the world. We should not ask young women to put on fake voices or to alter essential parts of themselves. But in my experience of teaching voice to women for two decades, when a young woman is encouraged to own her power and is given basic skills in claiming her own voice then huge, good changes follow. “When my voice became stronger, people took me more seriously,” says Ally Tubis. “When people feel from your voice that you are confident, they will believe that you are smarter, and that you are better at what you do – even when you are saying the exact same thing.”

July 28, 2015 at 5:50 pm Leave a comment

Innovation and Our Kids

I went to a workshop called Developing Future Innovators. I went for three reasons: (1) We are innately creative beings and much of our education system has been teaching the creativity right out of our children, (2) our world desperately needs innovators to develop solutions to our mounting global problems, and (3) by teaching our youth to innovate, on a personal level they garner agency and are not victims of circumstance but rather empowered to create a life that works for themselves.

About_PatronSaint_780pxAn innovator is not only someone who envisions, but someone who also creates a better world. Glen Tripp @GalileoLearning is not only an amazing innovator himself, but he is doing remarkable work at helping kids become innovators using a three-pronged approach.

First he works on Mindset — helping kids be visionaries and to believe in possibility, encouraging them to be courageous as they stretch themselves, focusing on being collaborative and appreciative of other’s ideas and expressions, teaching them determination to access perseverance, and guiding them to be reflective to improve themselves and their work.

Next he focuses on Knowledge — what do innovators need to understand? This element teaches kids to research, pick out key concepts and big ideas, use materials and tools as they test their ideas, and to develop empathy as they understand their audience and environment.

Lastly, he works on Process — developing processes to help innovators actually innovate; from identifying goals, to generating ideas, to design and then into the create-test-evaluate-redesign phase.

So how can we as parents and caregivers develop young innovators in our own homes?

  • diy-craft-station-for-kidsBy allocating your child’s time in ways that develop their innovative toolkit. This can include traveling to new places, reading books from far off lands, to what programs they get involved in after-school (remember over-schdueling is a killer of innovation so chose wisely), to my favorite…carving out a space in your home, garage or yard that is dedicated to building and creating. A space filled with paint and markers, hot glue guns and duct tape, cardboard and pizza cutters, recycled materials, even a drill and saw would be good — items and tools that can be used to spark imagination and most of all allow your kids a chance to get dirty!
  • By interacting with our kids in a manner that reinforces the Innovator Mindset. This is not praising their work, this is praising their behavior — compliment their dedication, their courageousness, their collaborative skills, how they turned an idea into a reality. This is not asking default questions, but asking reflective questions — who did you work with today, what was your vision for your project, tell me about it, what is and isn’t working in your design, what part was the most challenging, what part did you like best?
  • By setting an example as an innovator yourself. Do you believe in possibility? Are you learning something new right now? Are you using victim language (I can’t, They never, It’s their fault, It’s not fair) instead of empowering words (I can, It’s my responsibility, I will put forth my best effort)? Kids, as we all know, learn so much from us, what supportive messages can you start sending today?

Lastly, I want to give you a few resources to check out. These are various programs and camps, workshop and projects to get your innovator juices flowing. Check out:

Izzy-BugHotel3MakerShed.com

KiwiCrate.com

Project Lead the Way

Destination Imagination

Tech Challenge

Odyssey of The Mind

iphone-image-2First Lego League

Galileo Camps

Curiosity Hacked

DIY.org

July 22, 2015 at 10:21 pm Leave a comment

Hospitality Is An Art

I recently read that hospitality is the art of making others feel welcome, comfortable, and at home. It’s the talent for spreading warmth and kindness that will always be remembered.

Pouring alcohol into shoe

This is my philosophy when it comes to gathering friends and family, this is what my work is based upon. I love that big companies like Chinet agree.

You know, being “social” is more than just liking, sharing and tagging in online social feeds. Chinet invites us to remember what being social used to mean. To me this is evidence that the art of hospitality may be making a come back. Enjoy their new TV campaign and remember to #besocial.

For ways to infuse hospitality into your parties that allow for connection and community, order The Enlightened Party Planner: Guides to Creating Parties From the Heart book series. Reading the first book, The Six Elements to a Successful Party, will provide you with an easy six-step recipe for making your guests feel special.

June 5, 2015 at 5:49 am Leave a comment

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Shelby L. Phillips

As an intuitive transformational messenger of hope, a communicative wife of 25 years, and an open-hearted mother of two, I take pleasure in telling good news stories, connecting people to the eight dimensions of well-being, and inspiring us to love ourselves and each other because life really is worth celebrating! Find out more about me at ShelbyPhillipsConnects.com

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