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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Kid Stuff

Aug 01, 2010 12:00AM ● By Sharon Bruckman, Publisher

Can you recall a perfect summer day as a kid? Writing this letter from the porch of my family’s summer home in Northern Michigan, it’s easy to recount lots of great memories on Higgins Lake with my seven siblings. Days easily filled with simple pleasures involving whatever our imaginations could dream up.

Just yesterday, my sister Mary Jo and I boated out to swim off our favorite raft. She dared me to jump off the high dive—something I hadn’t done for years. Once attempted, I felt so exhilarated that I climbed up that scary, rocky ladder (it seems higher when you are looking down) and jumped several more times. I can’t believe it took me so long to revisit this childhood delight.

Another favorite childhood activity that helps me reconnect with my inner-kid glee these days is hula-hooping. Though I wouldn’t be up for the marathon contests of my youth, it’s fun to try to master some of the new tricks and keep up with my young hooping friends in the photo above. My friend and master hooper Leandra Harrison worked with me to create my own “rainbow hoop.” I hope our article on page 40 will inspire you to start hooping it up, as well. Free loaner hoops are usually available at the weekly Saturday evening drumming circle in Cambier Park.

With all the outdoor fun, even summers in Florida seem to end too soon, and it’s back to the routine of a new school year. Growing up attending a Catholic school, replete with uniforms, strict schedules and discipline meted out by nuns with rulers if I didn’t behave and follow orders, I didn’t know there might be better options. Now I do, and you will too, after reading Lisa Marshall’s “Democracy in Action: Educating Students to Think, Create, Initiate,” on page 32.

We’ve included helpful resources for parents who want to learn more. Alternative approaches now offer surprising choice and autonomy for students. Courses of study vary, but they all break with the old-school model adapted from a Prussian military manual and based on rules geared to train workers for the factory jobs of the industrial revolution.

Today, America is no longer in the industrial age. We have moved on, and our educational institutions need to reflect that. We need learning environments that support creating a highly educated, free-thinking citizenry that inspire solutions and actions that work in the best interest of “we the people” and our struggling planet.

This month’s issue focus on Vibrant Children underscores how special the world’s youth are and how crucial our role is in nurturing them in every way. Our children depend on us, as responsible adults, to support them along healthy, happy, lively paths. Each of us has the power to help make the world a better place for them to grow and live in.

Getting in the spirit is easy. Take some time to step outside and connect with your inner-kid where wonder and possibilities exist and yearn for full expression. Skip, dance, sing and play. What would happen if everyone on the planet took a day off from everything but playing and loving?

Here’s to the possibilities!

Sharon Bruckman, Publisher

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