Thursday, November 24, 2011

Change Your Kids' Attitude With Gratitude

It seems like a cliche to say we should be "cultivating gratitude" -- an overly Oprah-esque prescription for complicated times.  Often, I think my children should be more grateful when I'm perceiving them as selfish, which makes gratitude a virtue rather than a practice.  Also, telling someone to be more grateful rarely yields that particular result.  I am also sometimes embarrassed by gratitude; as a political thinker, there is so much to be worried about and something in my ethic makes it easy for me to emphasize "that which should be different" over "that which is already just fine."  Grace recently pointed out, "Mom, you're mad about too much" -- that isn't how I want her to think about my activism!  I have no problem waxing enthusiastic about FSP, though -- truly, I am so grateful for the school, the teachers, the community - all of us together working to create a space where children can engage in "joyful learning"and adults, too, can use our gifts to benefit the whole.  I am grateful that my kids have recess, twice a day, even my 7th grader.  I am grateful that they have male teachers who model nurturing, interesting, authentic masculinities - with a commitment to nonviolence. I am grateful that they have teachers who love the outdoors and share that love freely. I am grateful for all the singing.  Mostly, I am grateful that both of my children (and all of our children) are held in community and as individuals and in the light.  Thank you FSP!

Gratitude  Sites 

Greater Good Parenting (where the above video is from) 
Thanksgiving Specific post from imagination soup - replacing stereotypes of history with new traditions & narratives
Learning to Give has lesson plans and book recs

Friday, November 18, 2011

Working with Boys: Resistance, Relationships and Getting Real

Where: Enter Webinar from your personal computer
When: Monday November 21, 2011 from 3:00 to 4:30PM

Working with Boys: Resistance, Relationships and Getting Real

Presented by: Mark Tappan, Professor of Education and Human Development, Colby College

Date: Monday, November 21, 2011, 3:00-4:30PM

Recent research suggests that boys who resist conventional masculine stereotypes have closer relationships with mothers and friends, better mental health, and are more engaged in school than boys who conform to those stereotypes. This presentation offers insight and information about how to help boys resist the narrow and artificial version of boyhood that is packaged and sold to them by media marketers, and how to build positive relationships with boys in schools and beyond.

Please call Katherine Doughty of Boys to Men at 774-9994 or email with any questions.

Funding for these webinars generously provided by the
Lincoln and Therese Filene Foundation
Register Now!

Audobon programs

Beaver Moon

Families ages 4 and up with parent or guardian (adults are welcome at no charge).

Bring your family during Thanksgiving week to a program based on early Native American’s celebration of the land.

Register by calling Maine Audubon, 781-2330, ext. 209
Tuesday, November 22, 3:30 – 5:00 pm $12 Member, $20 Nonmember

Eyes on Owls

Join naturalist Marcia Wilson and photographer Mark Wilson for Maine Audubon’s annual Eyes on Owls event. Includes a hooting lesson, slideshow for older audiences, and a close hand look at up to seven fascinating (and awake!) live owls.

Register online at

Saturday, December 10, 2011 Members: $5 Child/$10 Adult, Nonmember $10 Child/$15 Adult
10:30-11:15 am (shorter program for families with young children) 1:00 - 2:15 pm; 3:00 - 4:15 pm
Cathy Stivers
Environmental Educator and Family Programs Coordinator
Maine Audubon
20 Gilsland Farm Road
Falmouth, Maine 04105

Phone: (207) 781-6180 x223
Fax: (207) 781-0974

Horny Toad / NAU discount code

Kim Wogan, a wonderful friend and volunteer for our community partner Boys to Men , has generously chosen Boys to Men as her charity to sponsor for the store’s Annual Friends and Family discount program!!!

If you’re new to this program – or if you’ve forgotten how it works – here’s the scoop:
Get 50% off Horny Toad & 40% off Nau from 11/14 - 12/15.
To access the Horny Toad deal, simply go to: 
Enter the promo code kwogan at checkout to receive the discount.

To access the Nau deal, simply go to:
Enter the code kwogan at checkout to receive the discount.
(Excluded from the Nau offer due to limited availability: Men's M M1 Rib Crew, Men's Supple L/S Tee, Women's Splendor Trench, Women's M1 Rib Crew, Ringleader Belt, Down Scarf, M2 Wool Knit Beanie, All Klean Kanteen Products, All Snow Peak Products)

The top three folks that generate the most amount of business get to direct $750, $500 and $250 respectively to the charity or non-profit organization of their choice.  Kim's charity is BOYS TO MEN.(

It's been a long time...

My blogging time has decreased lately - anyone out there interested in helping to keep it a vibrant spot? News about events potentially of interest to FSP families, of research or books or media bits that seem interesting, or musings on Quaker Values are all great to read and share!  Please consider FSP parent blogging !!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Looking for Leadership Opportunity?

From Peace Action Maine SOS TO ALL PAM MEMBERS:

We are experiencing a serious drought of both board members and volunteers to carry on the work of PAM. We cannot continue unless we can recruit more board members to guide PAM and volunteers to fill our fund-raising and program development committees. The demise of PAM would mean the end of our annual dinner, which has seen inspiring speakers like Noam Chomsky and Medea Benjamin, and an end to our peace soup booth at The Common Grounds Fair.  It’s up to you to help us continue!

To join our working board or to volunteer for a committee, contact: Jacqui 772-1071
The scent of revolution is in the air. At Peace Action Maine we are using some of Gene Sharps theories to direct the change we wish to see. We are currently working on a full campaign which volunteers can get involved in on many different levels. The main place we need them in this is to use their bodies and voice. A direct action is being planned and will need a chorus of support to make it successful, we are targeting war-profiteers, which is a pillar of support for war. If you wish to help plan or get involved please send an email to

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sexual Harassment and School

The AAUW Report on Sexual Harassment in school was released yesterday and includes devastating data about the prevalence and serious consequences of sexual harassment for kids in Middle and High School.  Although boys face significant harassment when they don't conform to norms of masculinity, overall girls encounter a higher rate of frequency and find the harassment more disturbing than boys do. It is essential that we find language to talk with kids about their experiences and name sexual and gender based harassment as sexism rather than as bullying - the report found that very few kids reported their experience to adults while it was happening, leaving them to make meaning and cope alone.

I would LOVE a study group / soiree / night at the bar to really talk through what this means for us as a community, our kids, ourselves...  Download it or see the executive summary on the AAUW site.

Connected (I suspect) is more analysis about how much violence, sexualization and gender stereotyping occurs in mass media - A documentary out of the Women's Media Center titled Miss Representation is being screened tonight at USM (7pm, Wishcamper Center, $10) - I hope maybe we could have an FSP forum or evening screening after the holidays? (Let me know if there is interest)

Miss Representation 8 min. Trailer 8/23/11 from Miss Representation on Vimeo.

Monday, November 7, 2011


Winter Kids Passport sign up is now open... fun passes for younger kids beginning 12/1.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Yet another P4P speaker?

"Developmental psychologist Susan Engel offers an antidote to the anxiety that seems to pervade parenting today." Thus begins an article in the September edition of the Williams College alumni magazine. I have no recollection of why, exactly, I found myself on the Williams website (Wouldn't it be fascinating to track someone's internet wanderings over the course of a week? What leads to what?), but the tease, of course, intrigued me and so I plunged in.

Engel's theories, on the surface, do seem to countermand the parent-induced stress we see in kids every day. I'd like to read the book to see how much sense they make with a little thought invested. In any case, it's yet another stop on the Waiting for Superman/Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother/Race to Nowhere continuum. In our spare time, it might be fun to have a community read every couple of months. Thoughts?

Wild and Scenic Film Festival

The Wild & Scenic Film Festival is in town at USM this Saturday. You can buy tickets online, but do it soon because they do sell out with last-minute purchases. You will also want to show up early to snag a seat in the main auditorium (they also have a smaller room going at the same time, but the main auditorium is where the action (and big screen) is. There is free swag and a raffle of great stuff, and the parking is free in the USM garage.

The kids and I went last year - some of the messages were a bit doom-and-gloom, which left us a bit to process (ocean acidification, agrochemistry, and the Great Pacific Gyre), but overall it was a great, expansionary experience that got them thinking about positive solutions to some of life's big issues.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Cosmetic Saftey

On Tuesday I attended a presentation by Jenna Vendil from Planned Parenthood and Emma Halas-O'Connor of the Environmental Health Strategy Center about the dangers of chemicals in cosmetics.

They opened by showing The Story of Cosmetics by Annie Leonard.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and the Environmental Working Group both provide some resources for consumers, help deciding what the safest choices are... In the end, though, we need more protection so that we can feel safe buying everyday products without hours of research.  The Safe Chemicals Act is one piece of federal legislation to support.

I'd love to see us get our middle schoolers informed & mad, insisting on their right to safe products - anyone up for a cosmetics safety party - it includes recipes for homemade personal care products?

from Lee & Low

Diversity 101: Five Things to Look for Before You Read
When it comes to diversity, all books are not created equal. Before you add a new book to your library, here are five things to look out  for:

1.General Accuracy: Books should contain current, correct information. How old are the photos and pictures? If the book is about a past event, does it include backmatter about how things ultimately played out?

2. Stereotypes: Beware of reinforcing stereotypes. Books should reflect individual people's lives, rather than assigning general personality traits or behaviors to an entire group.

3. Language: Be careful of books that separate characters into two groups: those who speak standard English and those who don't. This division can reinforce stereotypes that all people in a group speak in a particular way. No matter the dialect, language should sound natural and the intent should be clear.

4. Illustrations: Illustrations should convey the reality that members of any ethnic group look different from one another.

5. Author's Perspective: Does the author come from the culture that he or she is writing about? If not, what kind of research did he or she do to insure cultural authenticity?

Read the full article here.

Save 29% + free shipping on orders over $10
Thanksgiving sale for E-News subscribers only! Use source code Thanks11 at checkout and save on
Offer Expires: 11/18/11

Lee & Low Books is an independent children's book publisher specializing diversity. It is our goal to meet the need for stories that all children can identify with and enjoy.

More arts...

8pm is late for us on a school night, but this free program at the art museum could be worth it:

Tuesday, November 15, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Free
Bernard Osher Foundation Auditorium
This dynamic conversation between dancers Pandit Chitresh Das and Jason Samuels Smith explores how the unique collaboration of these exceptional artists transcends continents, generations, cultures, and communities. Together they create a new and distinct kind of dance. Individually in their home communities of India and the United States, each dancer works to preserve their individual dance traditions. Alicia Anstead, editor-in-chief of the national magazine Inside Arts will moderate the discussion.

This program is presented by the Portland Museum of Art in collaboration with Portland Ovations.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Last nights forum on the arts (more on that later) reminded me that I should seek out more family-level arts activities, and then in today's mail there was a postcard advertising an upcoming Portland Ovations program for kids!  There is a mask making workshop at the Portland Public Library on November 12th and a performance at South Portland High School on the 19th -- Kate and I would love company at both / either and maybe even lunch after?

Michael Cooper
"Masked Marvels &  Wondertales" 
Saturday, November 19, 2011    11 am

South Portland Auditorium at SPHS, South Portland, Maine
Creating a world where dogs wear hats, wild stallions are tamed, giant noses sneeze and fish bait candy to catch children in a pond, sculptor and virtuoso mime Michael Cooper charms audiences with thrilling adventure, silly antics and outlandish possibilities. A protégé of Celebration Barn’s Tony Montanaro and native of the Maine woods, Cooper’s one-man show Masked Marvels & Wondertales combines his breathtaking handcrafted masks and graceful physicality to spin original tales enlivened by an unusual and colorful cast of characters. A show for all ages, Masked Marvels & Wondertales captures hearts and stimulates imaginations.

Tickets: $10

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

More Middle School News - Puberty Happens

Family Planning of Maine announces

Puberty Happens! Webinar
Tuesday, March 6th
2:30 -- 3:30 pm

Puberty Happens! Workshop
Tuesday, March 20th
8:30 -- 3:30

Puberty Happens! Workshop
Thursday, March 22nd
8:30 -- 3:30

Sign up to receive emails for more info