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Summer Adventures Past and Present

Sun Lakes, Washington, circa 1968, July 12th.  I am holding my birthday cake—and the picture is with my siblings. I was 11. My memory decades later is that the wind was so fierce I thought the candles would blow off the cake. Even today, as I look at the picture there are NO lit candles!  (smiling) The family vacation that year took us on to Yellowstone.  The National Park is such a unique place on earth and holds amazing memories for me; we stayed at the historical Old Faithful Inn and, of course, saw Old Faithful (Geyser) in action. In addition to the unpleasant sulfur smells coming from the hot spots which have made Yellowstone National Park so famous, we witnessed a woman positioning herself in a picture with a Mother bear and her two cubs.  Are you kidding? We saw moose strolling across the road and standing in the rivers, heard wolves or coyotes in the far distance and watched endearing critters in all forms; squirrels, crows, raccoons.

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Sun Lakes, Wa- Happy 11th Birthday!

There were other camping memories I hold including catching fish in the Big Wood River in Idaho, getting stopped in a road search for an escaped felon near Billings Montana, when we visited the Grand Tetons, and getting to stay at the “Let ‘er Buck Motel one night in Pendleton, Oregon when my Dad was just too tired to drive the five plus hours home, are my distant past adventures.   The world is full of wonderful things and it gives our lives an expanded meaning, discovery and wonder of who we are when we explore beyond our familiar “village”.

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Yellowstone National Park

Decades later, circa 1996, Nacogdoches, Texas, I would take to the highways once again with my boys on adventures of our own.  I still remember today that Stalactites hold tight on the ceiling and stalagmites might reach the ceiling, learned on a stop in Carlsbad Caverns while heading west.  The Grand Canyon and Pacific Coast Highway were other places of wonder. We would see Sea Lions, roast hotdogs on the beach, explore the waterfront of San Francisco, ride a cable car and enjoy a harbor tour around Alcatraz Island.  We visited Wyoming, staying in Jackson Hole, Telluride, Ouray, Durango, Silver City, in Colorado, and “happen” upon the small historic Tea Pot Dome Service Station in Zillah, Washington built in 1922. I had seen it growing up and it was such a delight surprise that I came upon it along Hwy 82 on one of those road-trip summers. Mark Twain once penned, and I would add with great wisdom, “Travel is fatal to narrow-mindedness, prejudice and bigotry.”

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Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, circa today. As the 2017 summer begins, another adventure awaits me, and looks completely different than the others.  This time, it is to retrieve my old 1970 MG.  It was my first car and one I bought in college—and has been sitting in Texas which had been my home for many years.  A friend of mine is picking me up at Sea-Tac and we are heading down I-5 into California and then ultimately east towards Texas.  Our plan is to see parts of Arizona and explore New Mexico—a place he has never been; and ironically one of my favorite states.  What lies beyond these words as my journey unfolds, as I step out of the airport, I cannot say.  However, I embrace the words of physician, philosopher and poet Debasish Mridha, “Life is a magical journey, so travel endlessly to unfold its profound and heart touching beauty.”  Inspirational writer Lailah Gifty Akita notes, “Adventure begins with a thought, decision and action.”

And now I ask, “What is your heart’s desire?”  Where does your wanderlust pull you?  Is there a place you have read about or have seen in pictures that you want to visit? If you don’t do it today, then when?

Enjoy your summer adventures—whether it is a trip to your local state park, searching for Lighthouses, an ocean picnic to a different coast or drive across the state, just because.  Pick something that sounds fun and make it so!

“The world is full of wonderful things you haven’t seen yet. Don’t ever give up on the chance of seeing them.” — J.K. Rowling

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KIDS: Natural and Logical Consequences

When Joshua, my oldest was five, I enrolled him in El Paso Country Day School.  We were stationed at Ft. Bliss military base and living up near the hospital in field grade military quarters; there were big problems with the small local elementary school just outside the military gates. I wanted his first experience and exposure to school be as positive as possible; after all wouldn’t this in someway determine his future?  My husband was doing his internship and residency and spend inhuman hours at the hospital; I have the pictures to prove it—even today.

One day exasperated, I confess in a conversation with Susan Jordan, PhD, assistant to the founder of the school, that I would never get Joshua to school on time without the morning drama that eventually ended up with me upset.  Was yelling really necessary to get him to move in the morning so we could get to school on time? I guess I was seeking answers; needing help.

Her response was utterly astounding to me.  She simply advised, “let him get dressed at school if he is not ready when it is time to leave the house.” I was speechless.  “I can’t do that”, I instinctually responded and added,  “He will come to school in his pajamas!”

 

Sweetly, she smiled and answered my protest,  “Let him know what time you are leaving,” I listened intently.  She continued with the precise but simple instructions.  “Tell him when you are leaving, and if he is not ready, he can get dressed at school. Tell him that you will put his clothes in a bag and that he can get dressed in my office.  Then upon arriving, bring him into my office and set his bag of clothes on my desk.  He can get dressed in here.  And, I will see you in the afternoon, with his sleepware in the bag; you can pick it up off my desk.”

She then explained this parenting technique called Natural and Logical consequences.  It puts the responsibility on the child. The child always has a choice.  If Joshua chose to get dressed, for example, at home, then the experience he has is different than choosing to play with toys and not be ready. Then by his inaction he must get dressed at school. His other option is to get dressed at home before leaving. Each choice the child makes brings a new experience from his or her decision. Each a valuable learning experience based on his/her choice.  But the responsibility is put on their shoulders; not yours.

I processed this new concept, asking myself, was I brave enough to try this novel approach?  At least to me it was different than anything I had known at the time.  Something I was totally unfamiliar with, however, it certainly sounded like sage advice and something that would support a new healthier routine each morning getting out of the house.

Morning came. Joshua was still playing when it was time to head for school.  I had followed her instructions. I loaded Joshua and David into the car.  His school clothes neatly in a brown grocery bag, and ready for him to put on upon his arrival at school.  However, when we pulled up—Joshua was a bit alarmed.  I don’t believe he expected me to carry through with what I had explained to him earlier.  I led him to the office with both his clothes nestled in the bag and his younger brother in tow—riding on my hip.  Susan was there waiting and like the precision of a swiss watch,  I gently handed her the bag and my son’s hand.  No words were exchanged.  Only a passing smile and an exchange of eye contact; the rest was in her hands. I had done my part for now.

The following morning, I again followed the new routine that Susan had schooled me in.  This time however, Joshua was half way dressed when we arrived; scrambling to dress in the car.  He finished dressing in Susan’s office that morning too.  The big shift came on day 3.  This time he was dressed and ready for school.  I never again had to say a word.  He was always ready; the drama gone.  As a matter of fact, when his brother David was around 5 or 6, there was a distraction one morning—probably a video game—I honestly do not remember, but David was not ready for school.  It was Joshua, who I overheard, telling his brother to get ready for school “DAVE, YOU DON’T WANT ‘THE BAG’ ! ”   I smiled and we headed out the door for school. It was a lesson for my kids, but a bigger lesson was for me.  And that made me smile.

“The only Journey is the one within.”

–Rainer Maria Rilke

“Inspired Wellness from Within”

Cathrine Silver, HC, AADP

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