Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

I’m reading the book Non-Violent Communication by Marshall B. Rosenberg and it is eye opening.  I have not had a strong background in communication, let alone positive communication.  Because of my family situation, I grew up keeping things to myself and never learned how to communicate with others.  As I became a teenager and young adult, this carried with me and I struggled in my relationships to be open and real, to truly share my thoughts and feelings and to hear and understand others.  I became aware of this before I got married and did all I knew to change this about myself.  I did become more open and sought to really try to understand those around me.  But since becoming a mom, my heart has been opened in ways I never could of imagined.  Not only do I want to be real, transparent, empathetic and compassionate with my son, but also to my husband, family, friends and even strangers.  Thus, my journey into non-violent communication is beginning.  And I emphasize beginning!

As I’m reading through this book I will be sharing excerpts from it but also my thoughts, discoveries and experiences.

Most of us have been educated from birth to compete, judge, demand, and diagnose – to think and communicate in terms of what is “right” and “wrong” with people.  At best, communicating and thinking this way can create misunderstanding and frustration.  And still worse, it can lead to anger, depression, and even emotional or physical violence.

So what exactly is non-violent communication (NVC)?

  • Violence can be both physical, where force is used.  And passive, where the effects are more emotional.

Non-violence means allowing the positive within you to emerge.  Be dominated by love, respect, understanding, appreciation, compassion and concern for others rather than the self-centered and selfish, greedy, hateful, prejudiced, suspicious, and aggressive attitudes that dominate our thinking.

NVC guides us in reframing how we express ourselves and hear others.  Instead of habitual, automatic reactions, our words become conscious responses based on awareness of what we are perceiving, feeling and wanting.  When we focus on clarifying what is being observed, felt, and needed rather than on diagnosing and judging, we discover the depth of our own compassion.

In the short time that I have been reading this book, I have become so aware of how I do not know how to express my feelings, needs or wants to others, like my hubby and even more so, how often I judge, generalize and do not fully know what the other person is feeling, needing or wanting.  The encouraging thing is that in the short time I’ve been reading this book and starting to practice NVC, I have seen the benefits of it in my closest relationships. I’m pretty excited to keep reading, learning and practicing.

Next up I’ll be sharing the components of NVC.

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What a fantastic book!!!  Last Child in the Woods looks at the lives of today’s kids and exposes what the author calls the nature deficit disorder.  Nature deficit disorder is not a medical condition, it is the description of the human costs of alienation from nature.  This alienation damages children and shapes adults, families and communities.  The author even links the lack of nature in children’s lives to common trends, such as obesity, ADD and depression.  He shares the evidence of the deficit and ultimately shares how to restore not only our children, but ourselves back to nature.

He also shares that there is proven research to confirm that environment-based education dramatically improves standardized test scores and grade point averages and develops skills in problems solving, critical thinking and decision making.  Even creativity is stimulated by childhood experiences in nature.

Sending kids outside to play has become increasingly difficult. Computers, television and video games compete for their time. Schools are assigning more and more homework.  Areas are being developed which means less and less natural space to roam and explore.  And parent’s fears of strangers, traffic or virus carrying mosquitos are keeping kids indoors.

I was so challenged, inspired and impassioned to make sure that Judah does not grow up void of a connection to nature.  This book opened my eyes to the very reality that we live so out of connection with the natural world. There may be trees, grass, fields, or streams all around us but do we daily connect with them.  Do I make the outside world the most important place for Judah to be?  Or do I allow my priorities to keep me so busy that it ultimately keeps him locked up in school, the car, the house?  Long long ago, even before I was a kid (so I would say I grew up with this to a degree) kids wanted to be outside more than anything else.  They would wake up and head outdoors and wouldn’t come in until bed time.  They climbed trees, made forts, caught bugs and just existed outside.  For me, I spent a lot of time outside with my neighborhood friends but I wasn’t free to roam.  I spent much of my childhood camping and in natural environments and some of my best memories are from those times. Even now, as an adult, I love nature and my soul longs to be in it.

I want Judah to grow up outdoors and to connect to nature deeply.  I know that nature will shape him in to the kind of man he will become, whether that is athletic, artistic, musical, or educational.  He’s 18 months and would live outside if he could and I don’t ever want to see him stray from that.  I don’t ever want him to choose t.v. or video games over the trees, the birds and the fresh air.  I don’t ever want to see him lose this love and spark.

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New Books Have Arrived

Yeah!!!  My two new books just arrived and I have already started reading.  I am now in the thick of toddlerhood and felt I needed to add to my my book collection and my arsenal of parenting wisdom.  This is what I am currently devouring…and I will be sure to share my thoughts when I’m through.

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