gentle remindings (The Natural Child Project)

Let your child be a child.

No child was ever spoiled by too much love.

Be authentic with your child.

Listen openly to your child's needs.

Believe in your child's good intentions.

Find the humor.

Look past the behavior... what is your child feeling?

Have fun with your child today!

"There is no reason why we cannot say 'No' to children in just as kind a way as we say 'Yes'." - John Holt

"Play is really the work of childhood." - Fred Rogers

"The best way to make children good is to make them happy." - Oscar Wilde

Children thrive in a peaceful and loving environment.

A child needs love most when things go wrong.

Children reflect the treatment they receive.


When I was at the LIFE is Good Unschooling Conference this past spring, I got to meet Jan Hunt, the force behind the amazing Natural Child Project, one of the most important parenting websites on the internet. She had a little table set up to sell things to support the website, and on a whim I bought a pack of her parenting cards.

Now, I'm not one for self-help paraphernalia. I assume, for the most part, that it's too corny to have any real value. And I also don't like to buy things just for the sake of buying them -- I have to really want it and have a pretty good idea it will be of use to me or something I'll really enjoy, and I didn't think this about the cards. So it was an odd thing for me to do to buy them.

They sat on the shelf for a while. Then I took them down one day and was looking at them and Jake asked me what I was looking at it, so I explained the concept to him. He thought it sounded like a pretty good idea. He thought that every time I found myself getting frustrated or mad that I would do well to look at one to remind me of what was really important. I mused on that a while and thought, well, okay, it is a good idea, because even though I already know these things, it's true that in the passion of the moment I often forget that I do. So I put the cards on a lower shelf, in the kitchen, so I would pass by and see them frequently. But the problem turned out to be that once I got caught up in an issue I'd be so involved in my feelings about it that I wouldn't remember the cards until it was too late.

One day R solved this problem for me. Because the cards were now within her reach, she got her hands on them, as she does everything that is in her reach. It didn't initially look like a solution; it looked like her making a mess that I would have to clean up. It also looked like something I had spent money on getting mucked up (I know, this is completely irrational considering that I didn't care that much about the cards initially.) But I can never totally keep up with the material chaos she creates, so the cards have become scattered. They pop up in the funniest places, all over the house (as in the above picture, stuck in the decorative scroll work on a door.) And because my fits and tantrums tend to happen all over the house, this is very convenient. I'll be in the middle of a rant and suddenly notice a parenting card lying there on the floor. The sight of it in itself, even before I've read the inscription, gives me pause, and almost instantly defuses me.

They really do work. I wish I could send a stack of these cards to every parent on the planet.