“The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world.”

As I said in my last article, You Can’t Spoil a Baby, a baby needs to feel loved and wanted with the kind of love Carl Rogers calls “Unconditional Positive Regard”. [1]    

I think there’s a little baby in all of us that needs that kind of love.

St. Augustine once wrote of ideal love:

“To love each person as though you had love for them alone, and to love all, as though all were one.”

If a mother can love her child unconditionally, imagine how different the world would be if we all had that regard for one another. The world would be a better place, for sure, if mother’s really did ‘rule’ the world from the top down. But we’re too busy – handling things from the ‘bottom’ up!

READ about the lady who changed 36,000 diapers! ME!

READ about the lady who changed 36,000 diapers! ME!

I think we like it better that way, anyway.

As Mohandas Gandhi said, “If we are to reach real peace in this world… we shall have to begin with children.”   

 Here are some of my favorite quotes about mothers:

“The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.”
~ Author Unknown

“If people had to pay for what Mothers do, the world would be bankrupt!”
~ David Elliott, father of seven

“The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.”
~ Honoré de Balzac

“A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.”
~ Tenneva Jordan

“The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new.”
~ Rajneesh

“A mother understands what a child does not say.”
~ Jewish Proverb

“There is only one pretty child in the world, and every mother has it.” ~ Chinese Proverb

“When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.”
~ Sophia Loren

“I’d like to be the ideal mother, but I’m too busy raising my kids.”
~ Unknown

Happy Mother’s day!

If you are not a mother, be thankful you had one!

My next article will be on STRESS.

Until then: KEEP THE VISION!





Ruth Elliott-Hilsdon
Creator, GoMommyGO 

[1] Unconditional Positive Regard:

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Before you get worried wondering, the quick answer is:

“NO”. You CAN’T spoil a baby.

There are many reasons.

Babies need consistent Loving Attention. Not only for physical survival but for the emotional security and intellectual development to build a strong foundation for the rest of their lives.


I remember. Here’s one of my memories of infancy at around a month old:

In a dimly lit room, lying on my stomach in my crib, I awoke to sounds of people laughing in the other room. I wanted to go out and enjoy the fun, but I couldn’t get up. Just lifting my head took a huge effort, so I called out for someone to come and get me. Sadly, no one heard me. I cried out over and over, to no avail until I became so exhausted I fell asleep again. I awoke later as my Mama was coming into the room.  She picked me up and smiled. I was exhilarated and thought, ‘Finally! Now I’ll get to see all the people and find out what made them laugh!’  But when we got to the other room all the people were gone! I was disappointed.  Funny how a baby can be aware of more than we realize!

Remembering how it felt to be a baby made it easier to identify with my children’s needs when I became a mother. Especially their need to be seen, heard and known.

I found scientific affirmation of my impressions from Dr. Gabor Mate. He calls the instinctive hunger to be SEEN, HEARD and KNOWN the need for ‘Attunement’

If we are ‘Attuned to’ as infants, we will have greater inner security, an all-important anchor to keep us steady through hard times, and an increased ability to comfort others. Attunement can prevent ADHD in children as well as Anxiety in adults.  [1]

Carl Rogers calls it, “Unconditional positive regard”, wanting the best for our offspring from the deepest part of ourselves. 

That kind of love can never ‘spoil’ anyone.

The joy on this baby’s face demonstrates the happiness and emotional security kids can experience when they have good communication and feel ‘attuned to’ by their moms.
(Thank you to my friend Candi Alvarez Matz for allowing me to share this lovely photo.)

Dr. Claudia M. Gold, best known for her work promoting children’s mental health, writes, “the science of early childhood tells us that the brain grows in relationships.

“When a parent gazes into her baby’s eyes, she literally promotes the growth of her baby’s brain, helping it to be wired for a secure sense of self…” [2]

“The brain makes millions of synaptic connections every minute. It is in infancy that the parts of the brain responsible for emotional regulation have the most rapid development.” [3]

Whoever is taking care of the baby should give that baby everything it needs. In others words, feel free to ‘spoil’ your baby.

When it feels loved and wanted, given “Unconditional Positive Regard”, the person that emerges from that child will succeed in relationships through all of it’s life.

And long before, you, the caregiver, might even find yourself smiling like the mom in the picture above.


“The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world.”  Old Adage

If not the entire world, then certainly the world of that child.

Wishing you ‘unconditional positive regard!’


Ruth Elliott-Hilsdon
Creator, GoMommyGO 


[4] Attachment Theory:


Posted in adhd, anxiety, behavior, Character Development, Child Development, Education, Ethics and Character, moms and babies, overcoming obstacles, parenting, Psychology | 1 Comment


One of my kids said one day, “Mom, how come you never yell at the baby?”

Before I could answer, my oldest girl piped in,  “That’s easy. When babies are little you need to be nice to them, so when you yell at them when they’re older,  they know you still love them!”

At first I laughed, and then it made me stop and think. Had I been yelling, then?


All I ever dreamed about was being a mom, changing the world one kid at a time through love and understanding.  But after the first two kids, financial pressure forced me out to earn a living.  I eventually found a job in animation.

It was fun drawing Scooby Doo and the Smurfs. However, my new career was taking a huge chunk of time away from my relationship with the kids and my duties at home. I cried every day I had to leave them at my mother-in-law’s. I was giving my ‘all’ to someone else’s celluloid dreams, while my original aspirations of child-rearing got squeezed into a corner.


By the time I was a mother of four, just getting out the door in the morning was a big challenge. But after a full day’s work at the office, I’d come home to the other full-time job of meeting the children’s needs. Fatigue gave way to dread as the never-ending cycle of mealtimes, dishes and laundry piled up before me.

“How do OTHER mothers DO it?”, I agonized.


My mind raced down the ever looming to-do list in my head. I became a task oriented robot, numb to my feelings, and everyone else’s. But I could only hold back the pressure for so long.

One day I finally exploded at the kids and then ran into the bathroom, horrified at myself, “I USED to be such a NICE person!”

In my desperation, I knew I had to figure out a way to organize myself.

Afterwards, I apologized to the kids. “You don’t like it when mommy yells, do you?”  They all shook their heads.

I don’t like it either. I’m sorry. I’ll do my best to stop yelling. But I’m gonna need a little help from you guys.”


My husband, the kids, and I had our first family meeting that night. We brainstormed, we discussed our goals, what we all wanted as a family (peace, no yelling, sharing chores, etc) and how we should be treating each other. We agreed on a set of rules for good behavior.

This became our family ‘Constitution’, which was taped to the wall for all to see. Our Constitution  not only expressed the crucial needs we had as parents, but it included important concerns the kids themselves came up with. Chores were one thing. Gripes that needed to be aired were another. “Don’t stick your tongue out at people”; “Don’t kick each other”; etc, were suggested by the kids themselves.

We continued adding to and refining our constitution with each weekly meeting. As time went by, the additions taped to the wall were becoming too numerous. We eventually boiled good behavior down to one phrase, “TREAT OTHER PEOPLE THE WAY YOU WANT TO BE TREATED”. This turns out to be a thought even young children can appreciate.


When it came to chores, we wrote them all down on pieces of paper and put them in a hat. We took turns drawing them out one at a time (even me) till all the chores were handed out. If a child got a chore that was too hard for him, we exchanged it with someone else’s, until each person had a chore or two they could actually handle.

For instance: 4 year old Mike was too little to vacuum, but he was able to pick up around the house. Johnny, who was 6, could then do the vacuuming.

I created a chart for each child showing which task they had, with spaces to mark when it was completed. It too was taped to the wall. Time proved that some fine tuning was needed. We’d assess our progress at our weekly meetings, and switch or add chores as needed. And the charts would be updated.

As an incentive, at the end of the week we would all go to the 99 cent store or the Dollar Tree and they’d each get to pick out ONE thing. Any thing they wanted! No one would get ‘paid’ unless they had done their ‘jobs’. For me this method was enormously helpful. It was always necessary to be the CEO, but I was now able to stay cool, calm and collected and simply remind each kid of what they had agreed to do.

I’d say “Oh, I see you left your shoes on the floor. You want your treat this weekend, right? Go put them away so I can give you your good mark!” Then I’d smile. Reminding them was enough. (At least until they became teenagers.) ;)


The reason I invented the Good Behavior Charts on GoMommyGO® in the first place was to keep myself under control, along with the kids. It became a guideline to follow, a system that SHOWED the kids what I needed from them in a way THEY could understand and remember.  They learned what it was to feel needed and important, while I got the help I needed so I could pay attention to what I really wanted: A good relationship with the kids.


After the kids grew up I put my charts on the web so every parent can use them too. 

Here’s how to get the charts you can customize from 90 different images. My gift to you.

Go to

My next article will have secrets to improve your relationships.



Posted in Character Development, Child Development, Children, Education, Ethics and Character, family, guilt, moms and babies, parenting, School | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to do the Travis Pick

Many friends have asked me over the years, “HOW DO YOU DO THAT?”

So I finally decided to put this up.

Now I just send them the link!

To understand the pattern even better, here’s a little illustration to see it written out:

travis pick

Hope that helps!

Posted in Character Development | Leave a comment


All kids LOVE music!

We’ve been adding Music to enrich our Art Presentations. 

There's nothing like Music to brighten your day and activate brain cells.  


(L to R) Mark Hisdon, Jas Hilsdon and Ruth Elliott-Hilsdon activating brain cells!

At a recent Fair at Cobb School Jas and Ruth Hilsdon performed for 3 hours. The joy and energy from sharing music with the kids was infectious. Here's a VERY short video from that day.

A BIG THANK YOU to Mark and Jas Hilsdon for investing their talents in children.


Would you throw this precious one away?

Would you throw this precious one away?

Mark and Jas Hilsdon have a special place in their hearts for kids with Special Needs.


Their sister, Diane, was born with a hole in her heart and Down Syndrome. The doctor's told their mom and dad she wouldn't survive, so just "leave her at the hospital and we'll take care of it".

But their parents refused, and brought her home, and she lived to be 53!

Diane LOVED music, too.

Jas Hilsdon wrote a song for her you can hear at this link 

You can even hear a tiny bit of her singing in the very beginning of the song!

More of Jas Hilsdon's songs:


Read another article about our school visits to Kids with Special Needs here:


Posted in Art, Character Development, Child Development, Children, cognitive development, creativity, Education | Leave a comment



Eric Ansah, Director

THANKS to ERIC ANSAH, the director, and others from the Reward Foundation Ghana, this Non Profit Org is helping kids expand their opportunities through Art, Music, and other cultural and educational activities in Ghana.

EDU DESIGNS founder, Ruth Elliott’s, donated the use of her Art Textbook, SEE WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING AT to help kids! They need your help, too! Contact Eric at:



Please check out their new website, too.

All of us are very proud to be a partner in their great work.

I hope you’ll be inspired to help them too!

Volunteer opportunities are listed on this page:

Contact Eric at:


Posted in Art, behavior, Character Development, Child Development, Ethics and Character, Ghana, School | Leave a comment

“Harriet Beecher Stowe Inspired Me As a Kid!”


When interviewing the founder of EDU DESIGNS recently, I learned a lot. Here’s a transcript of what Ruth Elliott said about her early childhood:

“Both my parents families were from NY. After moving to Texas, my mom would tell us stories about how valiantly our ancestors opposed slavery, among them Harriet Beecher Stowe and Henry Ward Beecher, and how bad she believed segregation was.

Harriet’s brother, Henry Ward Beecher, famous for his preaching, secretly aided the fight against slavery by sending rifles to the South in pine boxes marked “BEECHER’S BIBLES”.

Mrs. Stowe was a friend of Hattie, the kindly wife of the plantation owner that Hattiesburg, Mississippi was named after. Hattie had many slaves. However, she held a reputation of being nicer to them than most slaveowners. What could Harriet, a sworn abolitionist, and Hattie, a veteran slave owner, have in common? And could they possibly have been in cahoots?

It was later revealed that Hattie’s home concealed hidden rooms, leading people to suspect her home may have been a stop along the Underground Railroad that carried runaway slaves to freedom in the North.

Growing up in Texas, my sisters and I were so stirred by stories like these, stories of courage in the face of injustice, stories of determination, that we learned to protest unfair treatment wherever we found it. We’d make friends with the kids from ‘Colored’ town, even though our white neighbors sternly warned us not to. I remember one day sitting in a packed bus with standing room only. A pregnant black lady came on board, and none of the white folks would give her a seat, so I gave her mine, despite the sneering looks from the white folks near me. I was a kid. So, they let me live…”

Historic times to grow up in.  Read how it inspired her to write her first book!


100% of every donation is used to create media for children’s character.

Please help!

We need to print up books for schools and teachers. Each book we donate to schools costs around $3 to print. Can you help?


Read the Article here and get a digital download of Ruth’s art texbook for kids when you donate!


Posted in Character Development, Child Development, Children, overcoming obstacles | Tagged | Leave a comment


Kids usually WANT to do what’s Right – if you give them the chance to, and explain the advantages to them!


Customize your own Behavior Chart with pictures – it’s easy:

Go to GoMommyGO!

behavior Pics

This is a FREE public service from EDU DESIGNS, the non profit that creates media for children’s Character Development.

Take advantage of it!

It worked with MY kids!



Ruth Elliott-Hilsdon 
Founder of EDU DESIGNS 
Creator: GoMommyGO®



 Since we are an all volunteer organization, we get no salary. 100% of your donation is Tax Deductible, and is used to create media for children’s character.  Please help! When you do, you’ll receive a free download of Ruth’s Art Textbook for Kids!

Posted in behavior, bullying, Character Development, Child Development, family | Leave a comment

HELP! It’s Halloween!

froggy-croak-anim-GIF-tinySUGAR, SUGAR, EVERYWHERE, and not a drop (of WATER) to drink…

What’s a Mother and Father to do when they have no plan for their children’s great expectations on Halloween night?

When the excitement of costumes and candy wears off and the sugar rush is over –  then come the TEARS, the WHINING, the FIGHTING over who got MORE CANDY, and NO SLEEP for the WEARY (kids or parents).  

Can excesses can be a good teacher?

YES… of what NOT to do next time.

I am experienced in this, because when my kids were little I did it the wrong way many times, until I contrived a PLAN!


These were MY rules. Adjust them to suit your needs.

1: There will be NO eating of candy while Trick-or-Treating without permission. (Well – I had seven kids to deal with.)

2: Bring along water for everyone to drink while you’re walking through the neighborhood.  (The body’s first reaction to dehydration is STRESS)

3: Whoever is in charge WILL inspect ALL CANDY upon returning to the home to remove whatever they feel is not safe to eat and will have the last say as to how much is eaten at that time.  (For my own kids, I would only allow the equivalent of one candy bar at night, knowing the sugar highs and subsequent lows would cause mayhem throughout the house for hours.) 

4: Whoever is in charge will oversee when and how to dole out candies after that. At first this may seem MEAN and CRUEL, but let them know you will be fair.

If you make the rules strict at first, and let the kids know YOU ARE IN CHARGE, then you can bend the rules a bit as needed, and show how merciful and ‘sweet’ you can be when you allow for any adjustments after that!

When done Trick-or-Treating, give everyone a BONUS GOOD MARK on their Behavior Chart! (NOTE: Get your FREE Illustrated Behavior charts HERE!



PS –  If you are late reading this and are full of remorse that you have failed as a parent yet again, just remember that teachable moments abound!  There is a way to learn about the body’s reaction to high blood sugar here.  


Ruth Elliott-Hilsdon 
Founder of EDU DESIGNS 
Creator: GoMommyGO®


Since we are an all volunteer organization, we get no salary. 100% of your donation is Tax Deductible, and is used to create media for children’s character. Please help!



Posted in behavior, Character Development, Child Development, Children, Happiness, parenting, stress, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Harriet Beecher Stowe Wrote A Book without A Washing Machine!

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Harriet Beecher Stowe

I felt a creative ache inside of me for years. I wanted to write a children’s book. I had an idea, I had the talent. But with seven kids, and laundry my constant companion, I felt constantly discouraged.

“When will I ever get a chance to write?”

Then came the year my 11 year old daughter Lisa had to choose an author to research for 6th grade. She picked Harriet Beecher Stowe*. And what a lot I learned from Lisa’s report. 



Harriet Beecher Stowe, like me, had seven children. Unlike me, she had NO running water, and NO washing machine! And yet, she still managed to write over 30 books, including ‘UNCLE TOM’S CABIN’. Without a typewriter or computer.

Then it hit me.

“What’s MY excuse? If she can write a book, I can too!” 

And that’s when I started work on my first children’s book:

THE RICHEST KID IN THE POOR HOUSE.  In the story, a boy is disappointed with his family until he gets a hamster who doesn’t appreciate him. By the end of the story he learns a lesson that changes his attitude from Greed to Gratitude.  


Read more by clicking on the picture of the book.

There are only a few copies left, so if you’d like one, order it before they’re gone. 

Stories can inspire us to overcome our obstacles.

Maybe someone needs to hear YOUR story.

Thank you for struggling,



Ruth Elliott-Hilsdon 
Founder of EDU DESIGNS 
Creator: GoMommyGO®

 Since we are an all volunteer organization, we get no salary. 100% of your donation is Tax Deductible, and is used to create media for children’s character.  Please help! When you do, you’ll receive a free download of Ruth’s Art Textbook for Kids!

Posted in Art, Character Development, Child Development, Children, creativity, Education, Ethics and Character | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Will They Say When You’re Gone?


 I suffered panic attacks when my mother-in-law came to visit.

She was a perfect housekeeper and I wasn’t.

With my seven kids to take care of, I’d always put their emotional needs first. The house could wait. But she never quite understood that, and I could always feel her judging me for it.

One day, in a moment of inspiration, this came to me:


 Around Halloween that year I gave a talk to a Middle School youth group.

I told them about my predicament and showed them the joke.

I asked, “I wonder if we died today, what people would remember about us?”

I showed several cardboard tombstone ‘cutouts’ with sayings on them:

“He was Good at Video Games “

“She had lots of friends”

“She was Pretty”

“He was Tough”

Then I showed them a photo of a beautiful young lady and asked if they knew her.  They all said they didn’t know.

“Actually you do know her,”  and I revealed it was Wilda, the elderly receptionist in the front office.

They were shocked.

One girl said,

“I LOVE WILDA! But I never knew she was so pretty once!”

So I asked. “Why do you like Wilda so much?”

“Because she’s so nice.”

The other kids agreed.

Next, holding up a blank tombstone, I said,

“Maybe it’s a good idea to think of the end from the beginning.

What do you want people to remember about YOU after you are gone?”

They all got the message –  that externals don’t last.

But that’s not the most important part.

The kids appreciated Wilda a lot more the next time they went to the office.  And a few years later she went to be with her Lord.

But she left a mark:


WHY? Because she made us feel we were.

The time seems to be flying by.

A year ago my sister died suddenly.

And this week one of our friends died.

They will be missed, too.

You never know when we will be ushered into eternity.

I like what John Jolliffe said:

“The way you feel about yourself is both your punishment and your reward. YOUR job is to become the kind of person YOU can love.”

 Wishing you the best,


PS – Incidentally – if you know someone who loves art –  there’s still time to get a complimentary copy of “SEE WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING AT!” my Art Textbook for Children, when you leave a review of our non profit.

Just click on this link to leave a review, and I’ll email you a free download. Make sure you send me an email to let me know you did!


Ruth Elliott-Hilsdon 
Founder of EDU DESIGNS 
Creator: GoMommyGO®


Posted in anxiety, behavior, Character Development, Child Development, Children, creativity, Education, Ethics and Character, family, guilt, overcoming obstacles, parenting, School, stress, Uncategorized, victims | Leave a comment


EDU DESIGNS  promotes the Arts and Music.  When Ray Davies (of the KINKS) signed his name to an Ibanez guitar backstage at the Canyon Club in Agoura, CA, 2010, it was to help us further this goal. We’re very grateful to Ray for helping us on our mission.
In a recent search for a deserving individual, we found Joel Solis, an honor student from California Polytechnic University, Pomona.
As a great songwriter with 4 quarters on the Dean’s List, the Ella Fitzgerald Memorial Scholarship, the Music Industries Studies Scholarship, the Jazz Band Scholarship, Joel was the perfect recipient.
After 11 years in the Marine Corps, Joel returned to college to pursue music, his first love. Before he was done, though, he also assisted in creating a suicide prevention program for the University Veteran’s Resource Center.  Considering these great honors and accomplishments, we are very happy to present this fine instrument to Mr. Solis. Our congratulations to Joel.

Ibanez Guitar with Floyd Rose – Signed by Ray Davies

Jas Hilsdon
Director of Creative Development

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EDU DESIGNS wants to be a Great Non-Profit!

EDU DESIGNS and GoMommyGO® help children all over the world to be better people in so many ways.

EDU DESIGNS  brings Art back into schools.
No one can deny the power of Art to shape our hearts and minds.
That’s why we donate our materials to schools and teachers who can’t afford them.

GoMommyGO®  offers tools for parents to do the best job they can, and for free.
We get no salary for what we do. Our reward is the joy we get!

If you missed our latest message, “HUGS PLEASE!” take a look:

Now EDU DESIGNS has a favor to ask.

EDU DESIGNS wants to be a Great Non-Profit! We would like to earn Great Non-Profit’s 2014 Badge to display on our website. And you can help.

Please go to the Great Non-Profit website:

See what others have to say about us. Then post a few words about why EDU DESIGNS iis a Great Non-Profit.

It will only take a minute, but it will mean a lot to us.

When you do, I’ll send you a free download of  my Art Textbook for Children, “SEE WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING AT!”

Just go to this link:




 PS – There’s more about my Art Textbook, “SEE WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING AT!”, here: a $9.99 value -  PRICELESS!

See What You're Looking At! by Ruth Elliott

See What You’re Looking At! by Ruth Elliott

Just click on this link to leave a review, and get your copy.



Ruth Elliott-Hilsdon 
Founder of EDU DESIGNS 
Creator: GoMommyGO

Posted in behavior, Character Development, Child Development, Children, Ethics and Character, family, Uncategorized | Leave a comment


This gallery contains 2 photos.

HUMAN TOUCH KEY TO MENTAL HEALTH  At 8 years old, I was moping around the house. “Mom – I’m homesick. But I’m at HOME. How can that be?” I can’t recall her words, but whatever she said didn’t satisfy me. … Continue reading

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3 Tips to be a “GOOD ENOUGH” PARENT














You didn’t want a life of loneliness?

Figured that having children would end that?

Congratulations! Now LAUNDRY is your constant companion!

My Mom used to tell me, “Everything comes out in the wash…” .

Since I was eight years old my plan was: To raise some wonderful kids and leave the world a better place than I found it…

Now – MY place was a wreck and so was I

So while shoveling the mud uphill every day, I reminded myself of what every older mom I’d ever met had shared with me: “Enjoy your kids while they are little – the housework will still be there long after they are gone!” 


I read once, “No success in the world can compensate for failure at home…”

My grown daughter, Lisa, aptly said: “Success is what we all strive for in life. But the truth is, that behind every success sits a pile of failures.”

…And a pile of laundry, I say!

Thank Goodness we somehow survive our parents’ imperfect parenting, and our children survive ours – all living proof of Guardian Angels.

 Nobody is Perfect…

BUT – Can we be ‘Good Enough’?

If you are doing your best, that probably IS the best you CAN do – but there is always more to learn.

Now that I have survived, I can see mistakes to avoid, and identified things that DID work – not to make me a millionaire – but to provide a life of fewer regrets.

The way I see it, after unconditional love for your children, these three things are essential to being a ‘Good Enough’ Parent:

  • Interruptability
  • Energy
  • Preparation


Paying attention to someone else means: NOT MINDING BEING INTERRUPTED.

Let’s FACE it – it’s GOING to happen, and a LOT – so at first you might have to pretend you don’t mind…

Studies show that children need both attunement and eye contact from a parent or caregiver to develop a sense of security and a capacity for proper emotional self regulation as they grow. That means undistracted parenting.

According to Dr. Claudia Gold:

“When a parent gazes into her baby’s eyes, she literally promotes the growth of her baby’s brain, helping it to be wired for a secure sense of self. The MPC (The medial prefrontal cortex) has been referred to as the “observing brain.” It is where our sense of self lies. When a mother looks at a baby in a way that communicates with him, not with words but with feelings, “I understand you,” he begins to recognize himself, both physically and psychologically. This mutual gaze, literally and figuratively being “seen,” actually facilitates the development of the baby’s brain. As the MPC matures in this kind of secure loving relationship, the brain is wired in a way that will serve him well for the rest of his life. He will be able to think clearly and to regulate feelings in the face of stressful experiences.”

Read more here:

Dr.Gabor Mate says that when a child does not feel someone is watching, they become anxious and can be at an increased risk for ADHD. References:

I learned to force myself to stop, smell the roses… and hold my nose while changing the next dirty diaper, again and again… and look at it as an opportunity to communicate caring and love with this little one in front of me.

chng_diap_tshirt72Eventually a lot more changed besides the diapers.

I did.

In the space of 7 kids and decades of mothering duties, the good news was that I DID get used to it and even began enjoying it without pretending.

I guess what Kurt Vonnegut said is true:

Be careful what you pretend to be because you are what you pretend to be.” ~ Kurt Vonnegut


Kids are wonderful when we have the energy to keep up with them.

We get to re-experience life and delight in each new discovery along with them.

But keeping that energy up can be a difficult thing, when there is so much to get done… (did someone say, “laundry”?)














My son actually said, “DAD, MOM HAD A NERVOUS WRECK!” when the father of my seven children came through the door one day.

I had thought it was possible to “get everything done”. Sadly, I was mistaken.

So what was an ‘idealistic, try-to-get-too-much-done mother’ like myself supposed to do?

I absolutely HATE being tired, and can’t imagine anyone liking it.

After research and experience, I learned the things that gave me more energy, and what things made me tired and sad. Here are a few things that worked for me:


HA! Not surprising, it was the hardest thing for me to do – Because so many things needed to get done, I felt those things wouldn’t ‘LET ME’ get the sleep I needed. But it wasn’t true. I was the one who wouldn’t let me.

Give yourself permission to get what you need, and lower your expectations of what you can get done in a day. 


Adequate Protein – A MUST to keep up your endurance.

DRINK More WATER! It prevents stress and constipation. Constipation is the thief of Health.

Dr. F. Batmanghelidj, said,  “You’re not sick; you’re thirsty. Don’t treat thirst with medication.”

TAKE VITAMINS! They really help.

There are many problems a healthy diet will cure that aren’t addressed by most doctors. I found Brenda Watson has a lot to say about it.

C- AVOID Energy Vampires:

  • Sugar makes you tired, after the first rush is over.
  • Avoid Negative people and Perfectionism
  • Avoid too much TV or Computer time…


From 0-3 years the brain of a child grows at skyrocketing speed, as they make new connections and learn new things. They ‘outsmart’ us regularly! All this nonstop growth can be exhausting, unless you PLAN for it.

One day I thought, “Why are the TERRIBLE TWOS so terrible? Because:You keep THEM from doing what THEY want to do, and they keep YOU from doing what YOU want to do!”

Before I had children of my own, one day I saw an overweight grandmother waiting for someone to arrive at an office.  She was watching a sprightly 2 year old girl. The old woman just wanted to sit there, and have the little girl do the same. Barely turning to look at her, she barked out orders to the toddler, “SIT! Come BACK HERE! DON’T touch that!”

 The little girl’s eyes darted back and forth, like a squirrel looking for a chance  to escape and run.  I felt the same way. Since we were both obliged to stay there for a bit, I sensed emergency measures were needed.  Grabbing a magazine on a nearby table, I opened it up to a photo of a person’s head. I quickly pulled out a small rectangular mirror from my purse, and placed the long side of the mirror down the center of their face.  I showed the little girl how she could create funny distorted faces in the reflected image, by moving it back and forth. Soon we were laughing and making the people ‘talk’ in the magazine! Keeping her occupied was a joy, until the grandma had to leave with her. By then, the little girl wanted to stay with me.

I wondered how the girl’s experience would have been if I had not been there to engage her with something interesting to think about.

After that, I resolved to always have something on hand to entertain a child with: A magic trick, paper and pen, or just a good story to make the time go by pleasantly, instead of painfully. 


Did I already mention that no one is perfect? With one exception. BEFORE we have kids we THINK we know it all.  After we have kids we are humbled to find out how little we know.

By the time I had 4 children between the ages of 2-9, I found myself yelling at the kids. What happened? Ashamed of myself,  I ran into the bathroom and cried,

 “I USED to be such a NICE PERSON!”

I returned to the kids and apologized – that it wasn’t their fault –  I loved them, but I was just really tired and needed their help.

I asked them, “Do you like it when I yell?”

Their answer was, “No.”

I told them “I don’t either.”

Then and there we decided we needed a system to organize tasks. We had our first family meeting of minds that night. I agreed I wouldn’t yell and they agreed to help. We wrote down all the chores on small pieces of paper and drew them out of a hat. When someone thought they couldn’t do the job they had picked out, we traded chores, until everyone felt confident he had one he could handle. That night I made our first chart with the chores we had settled upon, with pictures instead of words, since some of the kids couldn’t read yet. At the end of the week we would all go to the dollar store, and they would each be allowed to pick out one thing  – anything they wanted! Though it was usually candy (Since I didn’t allow them ANY candy the rest of the week), once in a while they’d pick out a toy or some other treasure that appealed to them.

That’s how my personal system of illustrated charts began.  It worked so well, I kept thinking, “Why doesn’t someone do this for mom’s who can’t draw?” After 27 years in the animation industry, I concluded that that someone should be me.

You can take my charts and customize them to your needs.

Download them here:


What makes us YELL?

Why do we get angry?

Anger is a secondary emotion.

Another feeling comes before it: Some type of Pain.

Frustration. Exhaustion.  Being TIRED can lead to being Angry…


When a car runs out of gas it has nothing in the tank but fumes to run on.  So we get frustrated when we can no longer handle it.

Think about the mechanics of what goes on when you have spent all your energy:  As soon as you have nothing left to give, everything inside of you wants to STOP.

But, if you are not allowed to stop, it just takes one more demand upon you, and the knee-jerk reaction is to  ‘fume’, explode, and Voila – Instant energy.

However it’s not the kind of energy you want…

ANTIDOTE: REFILL BEFORE you run out of Gas!

You may have started out with a full pitcher of ‘Love Juice’ in the morning to give out to everyone,  but after pouring it out all day, you need to refill your pitcher, too!

So -

Before you begin  ‘fuming’,  STOP!

Get a glass of water, cup of tea or coffee, and run into a quiet place – the bathroom, bedroom or just close your eyes for a moment – to call out for help – BEFORE you need it.

For myself, usually I would dash to the bathroom and pray, “HELP, GOD! I can’t make it without you!”,  and God and I came to be good friends.

Every little bit – not only helps – it’s ESSENTIAL.

Think of it this way:

You are the HOSE, not the water.  Let it flow.

Tomorrow is another day…

There’s so much more to share, but it will have to wait until another time.

For now –  I wish you all a Happy Mother’s Day!





Ruth Elliott-Hilsdon



Posted in adhd, Child Development, Children, cognitive development, moms and babies, stress, Uncategorized | Leave a comment


When I hear the words, ‘MILK TRUCK’, three uncanny stories come to mind.  Absolutely true.  Two are from my own life.  Take the next ‘step beyond’ to see what happened.

Milk Man in Houston, Texas Saves a 7 year old Girl

One day at the ripe age of 7 years old, I got out of school an hour earlier than my brother and sister, and walked home to an empty house.  I went to my neighbor’s, hoping to play with them, but they weren’t home, either.  Thank goodness their swingset welcomed me, remembering how they had always told me I could use it, “…any time”.

Having just seen the movie, Trapeze, with Burt Lancaster, I figured this was my big chance to practice what I had seen him do. Sitting on the trapeze bar I’d get a good swing going, then hang by my knees and then slip down with my ankles wrapped around the chain so I could hang swinging by my feet.  I was getting pretty good at it, when I got tired. Normally I would just drop to the ground onto my hands and knees.  However, this day I was wearing sandals, not my usual sneakers, and as I tried to get off the trapeze bar, the strap of my right shoe caught the bottom loop of the chain, and I was stuck – hanging upside down by one foot!

Terrified, the sudden realization hit me: I was alone.  Who could help me?

Without my siblings or neighbors, I yelled and cryed out to God or anyone who would listen, hoping someone would find me.

Within minutes, someone did. A Milkman driving by saw me!

He helped me down, and as I was thanking him profusely, my brother ran up to me, sweating from head to toe, huffing and puffing, “I was two blocks away… when all of a sudden I saw a picture of you… like on a TV set… in front of my eyes! You were hanging upside down from the swings, screaming!”

I couldn’t believe it! My brother Mike and the Milkman had each unknowingly ‘heard’ my prayer.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Milk Man in NYC Saves a Lady from Bleeding to Death

The second time a milkman came to the rescue was years later when I moved with my pregant sister into in a 4th floor walk-up apartment in New York City. We had no electricity and no telephone.  One night, she suddenly started miscarrying and hemorrhaging profusely.

“Oh, God!” I thought.  “What should I do?” The neighbors across the hall were gone, and I had no way of getting her to the hospital.

In a panic, I flew down the four flights of stairs to the street, waving frantically to cars going by, but no one would stop.  In desperation, I went out into the street and yelled to the next vehicle I saw, a Milk truck! I told the driver in tears that my sister was bleeding to death and needed a ride to the hospital, a couple of miles up the street.  He got right out and rushed to help her into to his truck, and took her to the hospital in time – and she lived!

I never knew his name, or saw him again to thank him in person, but I can’t count the many times I thanked him in my heart.  I know God answered my prayer through him that night.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Milk Man in Bristol England Feeds 300 Orphans


In the early 1800’s, an orphanage ran out of food. They had nothing to feed the 300 children under George Müller’s care*.  It was time for breakfast, and the children were hungry, so he told everyone to sit down, fold their hands and pray, thanking God for what He would provide.

Soon there was a knock at the door.

It was a Baker, who said that God had woken him up at 3 in the morning telling him to quickly bake bread for the orphanage. Could they use it?

Why, YES, they could!

Shortly after that came another knock at the door.

A Milkman’s cart had broken down right in front of the orphanage – and without refrigeration the milk would spoil before he could fix the wheel.  Would they please take the milk?

Why, YES, they would!

That morning, a Milk man and a Baker had unknowingly been the vehicles to answer the prayers of those children. Each with different gifts he was given. One Bread, one Milk. But both with the ‘Milk of Human Kindness’.

Whatever  your image of a Creator, God or Heavenly Father, no one can deny that, the ‘Milk of Divine Kindness’ is active in our lives, listening and answering when we cry out. You never know when you may be called upon to deliver some of that ‘Milk’, too!


EDU DESIGNS creates media for the heart and mind of children. Since we are an all volunteer non profit, we don’t get paid for what we do. But the rewards! The rewards are “Out of This World!”.

Any funds donated are used to create and distribute materials to improve children’s character and education through the Arts.

You can see a bit of what we do here:

EDU DESIGNS is bringing Art back into the schools, providing materials for children’s character development and education through:

– Free Parenting Tips and Illustrated Behavior Charts through GoMommyGO.  We are listed as a Resource on Autism Speaks for children with special needs:

My earthly dad used to say that folks accused him of being a generous man. But he would say, “Oh NO! I’m NOT generous at all – you see, it makes me FEEL so GOOD to give, I feel like I’m being VERY selfish!”

I’d like to share something with you today. The download of my Artbook for kids, called, “SEE WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING AT!” normally sells for $9.99, but I’d like to give a copy to anyone making a donation of any size. After you donate through the button below you’ll get your free download!

Thank you!

© Ruth Elliott-Hilsdon

EMAIL me if you have any questions:

Posted in Art, behavior, Character Development, Child Development, Children, creativity, Education, Ethics and Character, family, kids with special needs, overcoming obstacles, parenting | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hankering after STUFF is never ENOUGH… Finding True Treasure…


Could WE be the treasure in earthen vessels?


As you think about what you want for the future, for the world, and for your kids, I’m sure Peace and True Happiness are on your list.

Though it has its place, money certainly hasn’t brought true happiness to me.



I wrote this little poem recently, thinking of the conflict between ‘Getting what you want’ and ‘True’ satisfaction:

Finding Treasure, © Ruth Elliott, 2013

Ignorance, when fueled by desire,

Scrambles to fight, following a Liar…

And after all the getting’s done,

with no peace or justice won,

joys vanish in the present,

while seeking what was pleasant.


Greed stomps on others to get its winnings,

and only piles up further sinnings.

Though the truth is plainly told,

(that all that glitters is not gold),

it’s blind to all the pain and rue,

and never ceases hurt to do.


In Forgetting all this earthly stuff

(and along with getting, had enough),

to him who holds the key to heaven

True Treasure will at last be given.

Those we know who have it still,

will never lose it, never will!


Was I important?  Or was money MORE important?

Of course I was important, but kids only know what they FEEL. When I think about the agonies struggling to be a good parent to my seven kids, I’ve come to realize that a lot of my personal anxiety and stress as an adult could be traced back to my relationships with the people closest to me as a child.


Ruth at 10 years old…


I remember how lost I felt when my mother went to work outside the home. And I was 10 years old at the time when it happened to me!

Then I too had to work at different times when my kids were little, and suffered a lot of pain and guilt over it.

A thirst for uncovering why things affect us the way they do has led to my research on Psychology, Parenting, Stress, Anxiety and ADHD.


Here’s some of what I’ve discovered in my travels:


Breakdown of the Mother and Child Relationships

One problem few medical professionals talk about is the breakdown of the mother and child relationship, due to economic pressures.  Nearly 60% of today’s workforce is women, many who are forced to go back to work too quickly after their babies are born.

This creates a subconscious feeling of abandonment in the child, according to Dr. Gabor Mate.[1] In addition, he states that stressors on pregnant moms create rising cortisol levels in their babies, even before birth, that can predispose them to ADHD.

There are studies showing that the BIOLOGY of the brain is interpersonal – beginning in the UTERUS. [2]

Stanford based psychologist  Robert Stopolski says we are affected by our environment as soon as we have one. Where is our first environment? When we are planted in the womb.

Studies show that our biology affects our babies in the womb.  Babies whose moms are stressed while pregnant had higher levels of Cortisol at birth, and the more stressed they mother is in pregnancy, the more behavior problems are seen by the time their child is 3 or 4…  And this is a lifelong affect.

So how can we get rid of the STRESS?

Stress can be greatly alleviated by a feeling of attunement from others.


Dr. Claudia Gold says, in her book, Keeping Your Child in Mind,

“When our feelings are validated, we know that we’re not alone.”

A lack of real attunement to our kids can rob them of the thing they need the most, a secure beginning to give them a firm footing in life.

Even if we can’t control the world, we STILL have the power to choose PEACE in our OWN home. It means choosing NOT to fall for the LIE that money is everything.

Paying attention to our kids is what they really need.

Especially when they are littlest.

You know how precious they are!


Baby Mama © Ruth Elliott, 2010









I wrote a blog about the importance of mom’s here

Remember, whatever your life is now:

“We can’t change the past, but we can ruin a perfectly good Present, by worrying about the Future!”

Please make the best of what you have TODAY, especially those treasures that are asking you to pay attention to them!


EDU DESIGNS is the non profit I founded to help children’s character development through media and education.   We are all volunteers, and none of us gets a dime for what we do, but the rewards are OUT OF THIS WORLD!

Can you help a little?

If you are struggling, too, then don’t feel pressured. I don’t want to give a load of guilt to anyone, but if you can spare a little, we need your help!

All donations go to help create and provide resources and media to those who need it.



See What You're Looking At! by Ruth Elliott

See What You’re Looking At! by Ruth Elliott


Please make a Donation Today and receive a Complete download of my Art Book – all 120 pages!

Here’s wishing YOU the BEST, EVERYDAY…

Ruth Elliott, Founder/Director of EDU DESIGNS, Creator,



[1] Check out this talk by Dr. Gabor Mate:


[2] Psychiatrist Daniel Seagull from UCLA talks about INTERPERSONAL Neurobiology here:

Posted in adhd, anxiety, Child Development, Children, cognitive development, Education, guilt, Happiness, moms and babies, parenting, Psychology, stress | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Parents Told to Abandon Retarded Baby at Birth…

Once in a while a story comes along that shows the triumph of the human spirit.

When Diane was born with Down Syndrome AND a hole in her heart, the doctor advised the mother and father that their baby girl would never survive, and, “Just leave her with us, we’ll take care of it”.


Jas (3 yo), Papa, Kathy, Joe, Mama and Diane (5 yo).

Did these parents abandon her?

The father replied, “We’ll just be taking our daughter home with us, thank you.”

And she DID survive – for 53 years!

What an important message it gave to their other children about the value of human life. Jas learned from an early age to help take care of his “little” older sister. How sweet to see little children learning to care for one another.

Jas (L) giving Diane a hug.

Jas (L) giving Diane a hug.


Sometimes the people who benefit the most are the ones doing the giving.

Out of his all his helping grew a spirit of great compassion in little Jas.

He grew up and wrote a song for Diane. Hear it at this link:


Can taking care of others effect the world?

You bet it can.

Just listen!

Ruth Elliott, Founder/Director of EDU DESIGNS, Creator,

Love Conquers All!
A grateful heart sits at a continuous feast. ~Proverbs 15:15
Never miss an opportunity to do a good deed. ~Ruth Elliott
Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned. ~Peter Marshall


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Hope makes the DIFFERENCE between LIFE and DEATH!


I heard a story once about an experiment with two mice to see how long they could swim in a bucket of water… 

When the first mouse was put in the bucket he drowned after just a few minutes.

When they put the second mouse in the water they saw him start to flounder around the same time the first one had. But this time they reached down and lifted him up out of the bucket for a second – just long enough to let him see over the bucket – and then returned him to the water again.  He swam for almost a half hour more before he finally lost strength.

It seems cruel to even think of doing an experiment like that.

I do hope they let him live.

But the message that came out of it was clear:

The second mouse, that was LIFTED up, was given a moment of HOPE, where he was able to see ABOVE the bucket, and that made all the difference.

We MUST have something better to look forward to, or WE WILL sink.

 Do you remember how much fun it was to do art and music in school when YOU were a kid? New pathways were growing in your brain as your imagination was stimulated!

 Due to budget cuts today, many children in schools don’t get that chance to do art anymore, despite clear proof that the arts improve cognitive development – and make an impact FAR greater than having a picture to put on your refrigerator door.

ruthHere a wiggly group of PreSchoolers gets to learn about Art AND Music!

Lifting people up – ‘above the bucket’ is something  EDU DESIGNS  does with tools to Improve children’s character through the arts and stories.

 GoMommyGO© (part of EDU DESIGNS) gives practical tools and HOPE to parents struggling with the awesome responsibility of shaping their child’s life in their most vulnerable years.

 Have you heard the saying, “THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE, RULES the WORLD”? We really DO have the power to influence the next generation to be better human beings. It is idealistic. And being a parent can bring out the best in us. But when you ARE a parent, you know that raising children can bring out the worst in YOU at times, too. WE NEED HELP!


Notice the word ‘STRUGGLE‘?

Raising my own seven children proved to me how much structure and support children need to be able to develop to their best ability, and how much I needed to learn. When I first created my behavior charts it gave me the structure I needed not to yell and scream at my kids. And when it DID work so well I thought, “Why isn’t someone doing this for all the mom’s out there who can’t draw?” 

 Nobody can do it alone. We all need each other.

If we struggle together it will lighten the load for all of us.

 Imagine This: If just ONE person was made happier today because of something YOU did, and and if each person helped ONE OTHER person, everybody would touch EVERYONE’S life eventually. So don’t give up.

 Do your best. Don’t worry about the rest. 
“Everything comes out in the wash”, as my mom used to say…


“Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned.”  ~  Peter Marshall
Never miss an opportunity to do a good deed. ~Ruth Elliott
Ruth Elliott, Director, EDU DESIGNS
PO Box 2664, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91729


Posted in Art, Character Development, creativity, Education, Ethics and Character, Happiness | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

EDU Designs Reaches Kids with Special Needs!

There’s been so much happening lately! 

Did you hear about the efforts of Chris Zurbuch who raised $966 when he ran the 100 mile race for EDU DESIGNS?  I feel so blessed that he not only ran the extra mile, but was willing to run 99 more!  Here’s more info about it…

If you weren’t able to contribute yet (and a BIG THANKS to those who have) you can still donate here to help kids who need art and character development.

So much more has been happening I haven’t had time to blog about yet, too – from the art classes for kids with Special needs (see pic below) and many schools locally to the outreach to other countries (even Ghana and India) who are benefiting from our materials thanks to those who have found us via the internet.   I’ll be visiting Connecticut and reaching out to schools and organizations  there as well.  This map shows just a few of the places we are reaching.  The reaction from grateful teachers and parents is like bringing water to thirsty travelers along a lonely desert road. There’s so much need for what you and I are doing!

Please continue your support and tell others – I know they will thank you.

Everyone benefits from what we do.

If you know a parent – tell them about GoMommyGO®.

If you know a teacher or student, tell them about EDU DESIGNS.

Many Blessings…

And thanks,



A grateful heart sits at a continuous feast. Proverbs 15:15

Ruth Elliott, Director, EDU DESIGNS
PO Box 2664, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91729
Posted in Art, behavior, Character Development, Child Development, Education, kids with special needs, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment