A MAGIC FORMULA TO CHILD REARING?

Is there a magic formula to child rearing?

If there is, it surely would have to start with:

RELATIONSHIP

Get in on the bottom floor and stay with them all the way.

To simply lay down rules will not work.

As Josh McDowell said:

Rules without Relationship lead to Rebellion.

Kids need you. They know when a part of you is missing.

I like this epigram from Ashleigh Brilliant:

J. Krishnamurti wisely said: 

“Action has meaning only in relationship, and without understanding relationship, action on any level will only breed conflict. The understanding of relationship is infinitely more important than the search for any plan of action.”

Psychologists call the relationship needed for human development an attachment relationship.

To grow well, we need others to be attached to

Ones who LOVE us.

Gabor Mate, MD, says:

“From an understanding of the child . . . and the heartfelt commitment parents bring to the task of child rearing…arise[s] the spontaneous and compassionate wisdom that is the source of successful parenting.”   (From ‘Hold Onto Your Kids – Why parents need to matter more than peers,  by Gordon Neufeld, PhD., and Gabor Maté, M.D.)

A child is aware of others NOT noticing them.  We all are. They may unconsciously wonder,  “Why should I care about me?”

You may be the only one to answer that question – in the way you notice your children.

And HOW do we notice them?

Is it with hopeful expectation of a positive result, or with dread and suspicion of something awful that they will become?

At the store the other day I saw a mom scowling at her child. A frown, piercing eyes and forehead furrowing, her face and body language seemed to scream negativity.

That kind of attention will not bring about cooperation and self-regulation.

What makes the difference between a GOOD relationship and a bad one?

ATTITUDE  

How do you view your child?

I don’t think we realize how we appear most of the time. 

If inwardly, we are not paying attention, they will be aware of it.

A mom was vacuuming the house with gloom on her face.

Noticing this, her little girl asked, “Are you happy, Mom?”

Her mom said, “Yes.”

The girl’s response was, “Then why don’t you tell your FACE about it?”

Projecting a loving attitude while hoping for the best will show on your face, your body language, and everything you do.

If you can master the art of  these two things, RELATIONSHIP and ATTITUDE, you can know you did your best to make your child feel important enough to pay better attention to their own development, too.

“Make the most of yourself. For that is all there is of you.” ~ Emerson.

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Ruth Elliott-Hilsdon
Director, EDU DESIGNS
Creator, GoMommyGO 

Posted in Character Development, Child Development, Children, family, Happiness, parenting, Psychology | Comments Off

THE TIE THAT BINDS

AntoineFisher- A bou should know How to Tie a tie

Life can either make you Bitter or Better.
From a crucible of  unimaginable suffering came a survivor -  Antwone Fisher*, The man the movie of the same name was made about,  directed by and starring Denzel Washington.

I had the pleasure of meeting Antwone in 2010 at Vroman’s, at the book signing for:
“A Boy Should Know How To Tie A Tie (and other Lessons for Succeeding in Life)” 

What a gift he shares in it: The advice he never got from the dad he never had. Brimming with insight, it shows his suffering was not in vain. 

He held a raffle for a gorgeous tie too. Antwone reached in and picked out the winning ticket – and as fate would have it, a young student, Marcus, got it! I’m so glad he won – he was so happy! 

Antwone Fisher with the young man, Marcus, who won a TIE at Vroman's

Antwone Fisher (L) with the young man, Marcus, who won the TIE at the Vroman’s book signing event.

Have you heard about Antwone Fisher? Have you seen the movie?

The movie, Antwone Fisher, directed by and starring Denzel Washington.

The movie, Antwone Fisher, directed by and starring Denzel Washington.

If not, this one is a MUST. Rent it at the library! Better yet – BUY it – you’ll be glad you did! (Note: It’s NOT for younger kids. Rated PG 13 for violence, language and involving child abuse)

 

By the way – Preventing child abuse starts with everyone. We are all dominos that affect those around us. GoMommyGO has tools to help parents learn to manage their kids’ behavior from a proactive standpoint. Visit for free behavior charts that REALLY WORK!

Great teachers speak in parables. Stories can change the character of the people who hear them – for the better. That’s what our non profit, EDU DESIGNS aims for in our media for children. Thanks for your support of what we do.

We can’t do it without you! 

Many thanks,

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Ruth Elliott-Hilsdon
Director, EDU DESIGNS
Creator, GoMommyGO 

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Welcome to the Land of “I’m Sorry”

I heard the news one day about a young boy who had committed suicide to ‘save face’ after he’d made a mistake he thought would embarrass his family. I felt so sad to think he believed he had no other choice.  I cried for that boy and his family, and as I drifted off to sleep this little story came to me:


Once there was a boy whose teacher said,

“Boy – Always do right, and Never do Wrong. Then you will be perfect.”

So the boy went out to always do right.

But one day he did something wrong. He was so sad he thought his life was ruined forever. “There’s nothing left to do but jump down a hole and HIDE.”

He was about to jump, when someone came along and said,

“All is not lost! You can still have a good life. But you have to go through these two gates first, called: “I’M SORRY” and  ” I’LL DO BETTER NEXT TIME

Gates_im_sorry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So the boy left the hole behind, and went through the gates.

On the other side he saw his teacher there and was shocked. He said,

“You’re here, TOO? 

YOU had to say sorry? What did YOU do that was wrong?”

The teacher said,

“I told you ‘you could be perfect and never do wrong’ – but that was impossible to do. That was my mistake. I am sorry.”

The Land of “I’m Sorry”, © Ruth Elliott, 2010

 Please. Never give up hope!

Warmly,

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Ruth Elliott-Hilsdon
Director, EDU DESIGNS
Creator, GoMommyGO 

Posted in Character Development | Comments Off

9 TIPS TO KEEP YOU FROM FREAKING OUT

Managing kids may be the easier part.

The bigger challenge? Managing ourselves.

You set up rules for good behavior, and then, BANG!

All of a sudden you’re acting the way you don’t want the kids to act.

But how are we supposed to deal with that?

We need to be in charge of us first.

Here are 9 tips to help:

TIP # 1 -  OBSERVE YOURSELF

It’s good to pay attention to others, but take a look at you. What is happening inside you? The better you are at spotting your own body’s signals, the better you will get at knowing another person’s needs.

Are YOU hungry? Tired? Overloaded? Dehydrated? Have you been ignoring your inner voice? Or heard it and didn’t know what to do about it?

TIP # 2 -  OBSERVE OTHERS

Everyone needs the same things.

Stop and think of their needs, and what was causing their behavior.

Maybe THEY are hungry, tired, dehydrated, etc.

TIP # 3 - KEEP ANGER DOWN. DON’T LET YOURSELF GET TIRED

If I ask myself, “Why am I angry?”, nine times out of ten it is because more is needed of me than I can fulfill. My brain doesn’t work well when I’m tired!

When a person is worn out they will jump into anger mode without thinking, to get a temporary boost of energy.  However, anger backfires and raises cortisol levels which in the long term can drain us further, causing depression, weight gain and make problems with others.

TIP # 4 - KEEP YOUR ENERGY UP

S= SLEEP:  Rest to REFILL so you’ll have more to give.

E= EXERCISE : Move to get rolling.  An object in motion tends to stay in motion.

N= NUTRITION: What you put in WILL control how much energy you have to put  out.

Drink LOTS of water, (Read about the importance of water here: http://www.watercure.com/)

Stay regular – Constipation is the thief of health.

Eat lots of fruits and veggies and avoid soda and refined carbohydrates. After the initial rush, SUGAR makes you TIRED!

T= THANKFULNESS:  Studies have shown that gratitude makes us happier and healthier. Thinking of others boosts our own mood and curbs depression. A SMILE increases your ‘Face Value’!

TIP # 5 - STAY IN BALANCE

Moderation in all things: TV, Work, Eating, Exercise, Fun.

Your kids will not die if they are not the best looking or smartest kids in the world.

Don’t expect to get everything done. Two weeks after you are gone from this world your house will get dirty again – all by itself!

TIP #6 - THINK AHEAD

Schedule your activities.

Learn how to be a good leader.

Read my tips on being a good leader here.

Think ahead about what your family will need so you won’t be running by the seat of your pants.

TIP #7 - HAVE SOME FUN

Allow time for fun.

The dishes can wait.

Happiness is important too!

Don’t expect the kids to be adults – yet.

TIP #8 - DON’T BE AFRAID TO APOLOGIZE

You had a moment. You blew it. Don’t try to rationalize or blame. Just admit it. You’re only human. NOBODY IS PERFECT. Your kids already know it! Seek the solution to the stress you were under and get back in charge.

TIP #9 - LIVE AND LET LIVE 

Give yourself and others a little space to breathe. Like the margins that surround text on a page, a little space makes everything easier.

Allow your kids to discover who they are too, and you may all like each other a lot more.

dustpan-shattered-pieces-tilt

Please read my little story, “The Land of I’m Sorry”.

Enjoy your life and precious loved ones,

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Ruth Elliott-Hilsdon
Director, EDU DESIGNS
Creator, GoMommyGO 

 

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STRESS!

My daughter Lisa actually said this to me one day:

Paying attention to other people all the time isn’t easy.

Attention requires ENERGY.

I heard about a little girl who tried to talk with her mom while her mom was racing around doing chores.  Her mom emitted an occasional  “Uh huh…”, when suddenly the girl cried out,

MOMMY! You’re not LISTENING!”.

Continuing her work, her mom said,

“I am listening, Honey.”

The little girl protested further:

“But you’re not listening with your EYES!”

Paying loving attention means we are present and aware with our whole being: Mind, Heart, and Body. And that’s a skill that takes time to learn.

Practicing loving attention means:

  • Eye Contact 
  • Listening
  • Body Language

Being a parent has been called the hardest path to walk in this world.

You stumble and fall, and hurt yourself and others without meaning to.

When my kids were little, there were times I was so worn out by the end of a 40 hour week, all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball and escape from the world. I was super burdened with no where to run, no where to hide and no way to change my schedule or agenda.  I could only change my thoughts.

Learning to think about things differently – and laughing at myself – kept me from freaking out. I drew this autobiographical cartoon after weelks of only 4 hours of sleep a night.  

Just like practicing paying attention, practicing patience (with ourselves AND others) is a skill we need to learn. 

Do we scold toddlers for falling down as they learn to walk?

Of course not. We encourage them to pick themselves up and keep trying.

The mistakes we make as parents can be horrendous and cruel at times, because the responsibilities are huge and the pressures are great. 

The fact is, we need to forgive ourselves  so we can go back out there and keep trying to improve. We can recover, even while we continue going two steps forward and one step back.

How?

1 – Keep trying to do the right thing, though we fail.

2 – Keep merciful and forgiving (to ourselves, too).

3 – Be humble (only God is perfect).

My mom used to say, “As long as there’s LIFE, there’s HOPE.”

And there’s always hope.

Don’t give up!

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Ruth Elliott-Hilsdon
Director, EDU DESIGNS
Creator, GoMommyGO 

 

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THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE, RULES THE WORLD!

holdHands_rectangle-lo-res

“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!

STAY PRESENT.

PAY ATTENTION.

YOUR WORK IS IMPORTANT! 

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Ruth Elliott-Hilsdon
Director, EDU DESIGNS
Creator, GoMommyGO 

[1] Unconditional Positive Regard:  http://www.simplypsychology.org/carl-rogers.html

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CAN YOU SPOIL A BABY?

CAN YOU SPOIL A BABY?

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.

BEING A BABY CAN BE VERY STRESSFUL

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!’

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Ruth Elliott-Hilsdon
Director, EDU DESIGNS
Creator, GoMommyGO 

Footnotes:

[1] http://drgabormate.com/preview/scattered-minds-u-s-scattered-chapter-twenty-five/
[2] http://claudiamgoldmd.blogspot.com/2013/09/investing-in-early-childhood-means.html
[3] http://claudiamgoldmd.blogspot.com/2010/11/diagnosing-autism-in-infancy.html
[4] Attachment Theory: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attachment_theory

 

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

MOONLIGHTING AS A MOM

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?

I MOONLIGHT -  AS A MOM

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.

SHOVELING MUD UPHILL

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.

DON’T DO THIS!

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.”

GET YOUR DUCKS IN A ROW

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.

LET THE CHART BE YOUR GUIDE

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.) ;)

NO YELLING NEEDED

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.

GET YOUR OWN PLAN:

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 http://www.gomommygo.com/thankdontspank.html

My next article will have secrets to improve your relationships.

CHEERS!

Ruth

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!

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BUILDING BRAIN CELLS THROUGH MUSIC!

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.  

mark-jas-ruth-atMontessori_03

(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.


BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE:

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.

Why?

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: JasHilson.com


 

Read another article about our school visits to Kids with Special Needs here: http://www.edudesigns.org/blog/edu-designs-progress-report/

GreatNonProfit-2014-Seal

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

KIDS NEED ART IN GHANA TOO!

Eric-Ansah-cropped

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: info@rewardfoundationghana.org

SEE OUR LAST ARTICLE ABOUT WHAT THEY ARE DOING HERE: http://www.edudesigns.org/blog/school-kids-in-ghana-are-using-our-art-book/

 

Please check out their new website, too.

http://rewardfoundationghana.org/

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:

http://rewardfoundationghana.org/?page_id=61

Contact Eric at: info@rewardfoundationghana.org

 

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

“Harriet Beecher Stowe Inspired Me As a Kid!”

hbs-quote

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!

WE ARE BUILDING BRAINS AND HEARTS THROUGH THE ARTS

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?

WE NEED YOUR MILK OF HUMAN KINDNESS!

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

GET YOUR ILLUSTRATED BEHAVIOR CHARTS

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

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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!

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

EDU DESIGNS is BUILDING BRAINS AND HEARTS

THROUGH THE ARTS



 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!

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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!

SET UP RULES BEFORE TRICK-OR-TREATING. MAKE SURE EVERYONE IN THE FAMILY UNDERSTANDS WHAT TO EXPECT BEFORE YOU LEAVE THE HOUSE.

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!

AND DON’T FORGET TO HAVE FUN!

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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.  

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Ruth Elliott-Hilsdon 
Founder of EDU DESIGNS 
Creator: GoMommyGO®
BUILDING BRAINS AND HEARTS THROUGH THE ARTS



 

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!

 

GreatNonProfit-2014

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. 

 

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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.  

THE RICHEST KID IN THE POOR HOUSE

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,

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struggle

Ruth Elliott-Hilsdon 
Founder of EDU DESIGNS 
Creator: GoMommyGO®
BUILDING BRAINS AND HEARTS THROUGH THE ARTS



 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?

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 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:

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 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:

That LIFE IS PRECIOUS. 

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,

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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!

THANK YOU SO MUCH!

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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

GUITAR SIGNED BY RAY DAVIES of the KINKS AWARDED TO DESERVING STUDENT

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:
http://www.edudesigns.org/blog/hugs/

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:

http://greatnonprofits.org/reviews/edu-designs

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.

http://greatnonprofits.org/reviews/edu-designs

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: http://greatnonprofits.org/reviews/edu-designs

THANK YOU!

Warmly,

Ruth

 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.

THANK YOU SO MUCH!

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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

HUGS, PLEASE!

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

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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!” 

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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

#1- INTERUPTABILITY

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: http://claudiamgoldmd.blogspot.com/2010/08/how-to-grow-childs-brain.html

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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=TdVlgh6yK_A

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

#2 – ENERGY

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”?)

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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:

A- GET MORE SLEEP…

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. 

B- NUTRITION:

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.” http://www.watercure.com/index.html

http://www.watercure.com/wondersofwater.html

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. http://www.brendawatson.com/

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…

#3 – PREPARATION

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. 

TIP: ALWAYS HAVE SOMETHING ON HAND TO DISTRACT/OCCUPY or ENTERTAIN your CHILD!

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: http://www.gomommygo.com/thankdontspank.html

sample_Chart

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!

Blessings,

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Ruth Elliott-Hilsdon

Director, EDUDESIGNS.ORG, GoMommyGO.com

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