Stephanie teaches the “peaceable being.”

Stephanie Pelly has a true gift of recognizing the magical spirit of children…and adults.  As a peace educator, she has spent over twenty years teaching in public, private, and Montessori schools where she implemented character education and bullying prevention programs throughout Bucks County, PA and Southern New Jersey. Her most recent work includes The Peace Center in Langhorne, PA and Naudain Academy – A Montessori School.  Stephanie holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary and Special Education from Monmouth University in New Jersey.

Stephanie believes educating children must be hands-on, creative, and fun for both the teacher and students.  She is known for creating the image of the “Peaceable Being” which stands as a role model of good character in classrooms. Stephanie has evolved this creation into a “Design Your Own Peaceable Being” T-shirt and Doodle Art Pad.  She is currently seeking funding to produce and manufacture these products for children.  Her goal is to offer “products with purpose and great valuefor kids!”

The first week in April Stephanie begins conducting the Young Masters Little Wisdom Discovery Program, curriculum specifically designed for Montessori, at Montessori Children’s House in Moorstown, New Jersey and at Indigo Moon, a holistic center also in New Jersey.   She is co-creator of the Young Masters Little Wisdom curriculum program as well as many others.  Thank you for all you do for children!



We recently asked successful writer, producer Gerry Renert to tell us about his creative process and how he’s made his dreams come true.

Gerry Renert Musings

I’ve been a writer almost my entire adult life and started off writing advertising copy with the challenge always being to convey as much as possible using the fewest words possible.  Although I didn’t feel very good about trying to sell products people didn’t necessarily need, copywriting served as a fantastic training ground for me.  It became especially evident to me later, when writing children’s books.

My first children’s book, NATHAN SAVES SUMMER, was more an experiment than anything else.  I had just co-created the children’s animated series, ToddWorld, which ended up being EMMY-Nominated three times for “Outstanding Animated Children’s Program.”  When one of the TV episodes I was involved in was turned into a children’s book, I said to myself, “This is a lot like good advertising – telling a story in as few words as possible, but this time the message wasn’t about a new type of razor blade, it was about something important which could help shape a person’s life.”  So, I figured I’d give it a whirl.

The first draft of NATHAN SAVES SUMMER (Raven Tree Press, 2010) was written over a weekend and published five years later, after I had just about

Gerry Renert reads Nathan Saves Summer

given up the thought of ever being a children’s book writer.   Thankfully, the book has been successful, earning a “Moms Choice® Gold Award.”   When the publisher approached me about doing a second book, they asked me what topic I would like to bring to the forefront.  It didn’t take me very long to think about taking on the topic of bullying.  Part of that was because of a story I saw on the news about a child committing suicide because he couldn’t handle being bullied.    The other part was because, I, too, was bullied by an older kid who lived several houses away from me when I was growing up in Connecticut.   When you’re very young, being bullied is the only thing you think about.  It haunts you, and there aren’t many people you can turn to for help or advice.   Thankfully, before attempting to write the book, I sought out the advice of a psychologist to try and learn the dynamics that go into the thinking of both the bully and the victim.  The resulting book, NATHAN AND THE REALLY BIG BULLY (Raven Tree Press, 2012,) is about a penguin in the lagoon being picked on by a Hyena.  The Penguin turns to Nathan for advice and Nathan, amongst other things, reinforces the importance of not striking back, in that two wrongs never make a right.   At the same time, an elephant comes into the lagoon and continually sprays Nathan with water from his trunk.    Does Nathan take his own advice or does his anger get the better of him?  I can’t give away how the story ends, as I’d get a slap on the wrist from my publisher and their PR department.

This summer you’ll also be able to read another book – not in the Nathan series—but the beginning of a new series, entitled BRAVE ROONEY.  This book will start out as a digital book, only available on iTunes and then possibly the Android phone/tablet platform.  The developer hopes to also release the title in Chinese, for Mainland China.

The process of writing for me is very relaxed and disorganized.  Sometimes I write on a yellow pad, lying outside Saturday, on a hammock.   Other times I sit at a real desk with a computer, being deadly serious and not wanting to be disturbed.   The one thing in common is that I always write, wearing black, Bermuda-styled shorts.  I’ve come to think of them as being as important as a pen or computer keyboard (or maybe they’re just for good luck.)

Gerry Renert has been a writer/producer for over twenty years.  He began his career writing for prime time TV sitcoms and wrote episodes for two of the highest rated TV series in the history of CBS.  Gerry moved onto writing theatrical screenplays and developed original projects for Warner Bros. and Twentieth Century Fox.  In 2002, in collaboration with Little, Brown and Company book author/illustrator Todd Parr, Gerry created the animated preschool TV series. TODDWORLD.  The series aired in most major territories around the world and has won three “Parents Choice” awards, an “iParenting” Award, a “Silver Hugo” at the Chicago Film Festival and two “Humanitas Certificates.”  Gerry has been EMMY nominated three times (as co-creator/Executive Producer) for “Outstanding Animated Children’s Program.”  In 2006, he managed all rights (publishing, merchandise, etc) and developed the Simon & Schuster Book Series, ALIEN CLONES FROM OUTER SPACE, as an animated TV series, licensed to ABC Australia.  His first children’s picture book, NATHAN SAVES SUMMER, was published in 2010 by Raven Tree Press, and was awarded a “Mom’s Choice® Gold Award in the category of “Picture Books:  Adventures, Adventurers and Heroes.” The title was chosen as a Children’s Book-of-the-Month Club selection and ranked among the top one hundred selling books on the club site.  Book two in the NATHAN series, NATHAN AND THE REALLY BIG BULLY, publishes in 2012 from Raven Tree Press.  The first title in his next book series, entitled BRAVE ROONEY, will be released digitally and available in 2011 on iTunes North America/ and China. The title will be the first in the ROONEY series.

As a parent, coming from a Military family and serving as a Marine in Iraq, Bennie Harris brings a unique perspective to what he has come to know about:

Raising a Conscious Child

The thought of writing anything regarding raising a child is daunting, at least for me it is, because I always wonder if I got it right?

I was raised in a military family during the Vietnam War era. My father served two tours there while I was in elementary school. I still remember our talks before he headed off to Vietnam, especially the second time, because I was a bit older and enduring a bit more from the kids in the community.

For the majority of my father’s time in the Army we lived on various military installations, but when he was deployed to Vietnam we moved back home to Seaside, California on the Monterey Peninsula.  As a child on a military installation you’re pretty much shielded from life on the “outside” and you’re in the closed company of other’s, all with similar family situations. It was a pretty structured environment and an exhilarating youthful experience.

I still vividly remember the nightly news with the weekly “body counts”, but I never recall fearing that my dad would not return.  Years later after his retirement from active service, I remember him adamantly stating that; “his boys would never serve in the Army.” Well, I went in the Marine Corps and my brother joined the Air Force. I still jokingly say that; “my father didn’t talk to me for eight years”, the length of time that I served.

Fast forward to 2004 and the war in Iraq was in full-swing, and my son was a teen into his sophomore year of high school and my daughter, into her freshman year. As I sat at my desk at the YMCA in Columbus, Georgia, I was feeling a bit helpless, watching the events unfold abroad and watching the many military families in our community send husbands and wives over to serve. Columbus, Georgia is home to Fort Benning, which is home to part of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division which spear-headed the invasion of Iraq.

I made the decision to leave my position at the YMCA and work in Iraq as a civilian contractor to do some part in being of service to the men and women in uniform. Little did I know how this experience would change my life and how I saw my kids and my responsibility as a parent.

Daily I saw kids (those just a few years older than my son) heading outside the wire to work and I was stunned the first time one that I was aquatinted with didn’t return. At this very moment the Vietnam experience came back to me and I believe at that moment, that I knew why my dad didn’t want us in the Army.

For the first time ever, I began to question the sanity of war and how we could raise our children to be conscious of thinking differently. Interestingly, I never questioned this thing called war as a child or during the years that I was a Marine.

Through my five year experience in Iraq and the five memorials that I participated in for our fallen soldiers, I glimpsed the possibility of another way and that it would have to start with our children.

When I returned home I saw my children differently, of course they were older but not just them, but other children too. I saw them no longer as extensions of myself but as individual, conscious, thinking beings. Thomas Troward had a great piece in The Dore Lectures,

“My mind is a Center of Divine Operation. The Divine operation is always for expansion and fuller expression…”

As much as I had endeavored to understand this, I had never thought of its application outside of myself. As I worked, ate, slept, laughed and cried with these Soldier’s, Sailor’s, Airman and Marines, I saw this Divine Operation in them and in these men and women; I saw my own children too. Not only did I see my children but I saw everybody’s children.

When we did memorial’s for those that we had lost, I saw somebody’s, somebody. They we not just a service member, they were somebody’s father, son, grandson, brother and friend. (Our units didn’t loose any women while I was there.) In essence, to me, they were my child, my somebody! Even today, this still brings me to tears, how can we do this to our children?

But, I didn’t only see the Divine in our military or coalition troops; I also saw It in those that some have called the enemy. They too, be they Iraqi, Afghanistan citizens, or any other so called enemy combatant, they too are somebody’s somebody. They are our somebody too!

For the first time, I really began to understand that there is no Us and Them. There is only us, the human race, regardless of the nationality or language spoken.

This I believe is our key to raising A Conscious Child; we must each grow to maturity with a sense of oneness and unity with our Universe at large and our World as a whole. As we become more aware of who our neighbors are, not just on or street, but in other states and in other countries, we’ll begin to understand that we really are not that different from each other. We may have different cultural norms, but essentially we are all the same.

Every child wants to feel loved and have a sense of security, hopefulness and possibility and this is THE very best place to start. With The Consciousness of Us.

Thank you,

Bennie Harris

Benny was raised in a military community with his dad serving 22 years in the U.S. Army. He served in the United States Marine Corps from Feb. 1975 to August of 1982 and later worked abroad in Iraq as a government contractor providing service to the Soldier, Sailor, Airman and Marine from September 2004 to June 2009.

He currently serves as an Independent Licensed LifeSuccess Consultant – and a business partner of Bob Proctor and LifeSuccess Productions. He is also a life-long student of the Universal Principles and Laws of Success, as noted in the metaphysical and spiritual writings of antiquity.

Bennie and his wife Sheila have been married for 26 years and have 2 wonderfully mature children, Cameron age 23 and Chelsea age 21.

You can access Bennie’s writing on his website at:

Moorsetown, New Jersey –  The fifth unit from the Young Masters Little Wisdom Discovery Curriculum continued for an enthusiastic group of students atChildren working together. Young Masters Little Wisdom Discovery Program Montessori Children’s house this week.  As always the lesson begins with the YOUNG MASTERS PLEDGE.  The only difference today is that three children lead the pledge, adding a few extra turns to liven things up.   “Great job!” said Stephanie Pelly, who is co-creator of the curriculum.  As the day began they reviewed what they had learned over the past four weeks.  “Who can remember the secrets of the heart?” Miss Stephanie asked.  “Friendship,” said one boy.   “Imagination,” said another,”Gratitude,” a little girl chimed in.  “Courage,” said one of the smallest boys.  “That’s my favorite,” as he continued to confess he loved to wear his power badge.

This week children 3-6 learned they had an Invisible Power and then – then learned how to use it.  “Did you know you had an Invisible Power,” asked Miss Stephanie.  “No, what’s that?” one little girl asked.  “You’ll find out.  Let’s read the story,”  said Miss Stephanie.

Saphinne played by Elayn J. Taylor The children were introduced to Saphinne this week, the storyteller on the CD. In real life that’s Elayn J. Taylor.  “They really liked hearing her voice,” said Miss Stephanie.  By the end of the story they had learned the Invisible Power is CREATIVITY.  Everything begins with an idea.

They talked about how all people are creative because everybody has ideas.  Everyone has an Invisible Power.  They discussed how people create artwork like Kye Fleming, the illustrator for the Little Wisdom books. They looked at what went into creating a painting Miss Stephanie brought to class. They found out how an author uses the gift of creativity when he or she writes a book and how a singer or a songwriter uses their creative gifts to share their own music.   They learned, though, that CREATIVITY in many different forms.

CREATIVITY is the power you can use to create anything you can think of!  They talked about famous creators like Alexander Graham Bell, who invented the telephone and Thomas Edison, who created the lightbulb.  “What about Walt Disney as a famous creator,” said Miss Stephanie as she showed pictures of all of those brilliant creators.  “Think of all he created and the people who worked for him created.”

“Now it’s your turn to use your creative power, said Miss Stephanie.    With limited time for the lesson, the best choice was a group project.  “We’re goingProud students, showing their creativity. Young Masters Little Wisdom Discovery Program to practice using our Invisible Power together by creating something where everyone can take a turn adding something special.”  Miss Stephanie brought out her “Peaceable Being”.  “How can we make this special?” asked MissStephanie.  They brought it to life together – drawing on it with markers, decorating it with stickers and adding paper cutouts.  Music from the CD played in the background as they learned cooperation, how to work together, take turns and share materials.   They learned what it meant to use their creativity and they were very proud of their creation.

The world is in your hands. Young Masters Little Wisdom Discovery Program At the end of the lesson, they passed a small globe.  As each child held it in their hands they said, “I am a creator. I use my gifts.”  The children are creating postcards this week either drawing themselves as a Young Master or making pictures of the Secrets of The Heart.  What could be better  than a group of children learning they’re born with an invisible power and gifts they can use their whole life long .

Next week is the last unit of the Young Masters Little Wisdom Discovery Program, where they will learn about “This Little Light.”  The shines inside each of them – LOVE.

Here are a couple of videos which show the Discovery program in action.

Create Something Wonderful – The Young Masters Little Wisdom Discovery Program

What Can I Learn Today – Young Masters Little Wisdom Discovery Program

If you’re interested in bringing the Young Masters Little Wisdom Discovery Program to your school.  The curriculum is available right now at no cost to you, by clicking here.


Moorsetown, New Jersey – The Young Masters Little Wisdom Discovery Program at Montessori Children’s House wrapped up this week with the last bookLittle girl graduates from Young Masters LIttle Wisdom Discovery Program for Montessori and lesson in the series.  The children were now able to say the YOUNG MASTERS Pledge as a group.  Several children took turns by themselves and  one of the youngest little girls proudly showed Miss Stephanie she could do it all by herself. Promising to use their gifts everyday has become second nature.   BravoYoung Masters!  One of the children called out, “What’s today’s gift?”  Miss Stephanie giggled  to herself thinking how each week she pulled the SECRET OF THE HEART out of a ceramic gift box.  “Oh you mean today’s SECRET OF THE HEART?  That’s right that’s your gift isn’t it?”  She reached in and pulled out the word LOVE.  The children were getting the connection.  The secrets of the heart were indeed the gifts they possessed.

“It’s  This Little Light,” said Miss Stephanie, “Butaan, Phylos and EEtha are going to find out what it means to have This Little Light inside.  “Did you know you had a little light inside? Well you do…everyone has a light to share.”   The gift of LOVE was the today’s secret.  Today’s gift.   And today, the children would  learn how to share that gift with their family, friends, teachers, pets and even the earth.

Little boy with heart glasses, compliments a friend during the Young Masters Little Wisdom Discovery CurriculumSince today was the last day Miss Stephanie  wanted to honor each child in a special way.  So one at a time, each child was asked to sit on a chair in front of their classmates.  They were invited to wear special heart glasses if they wanted to.  The children took turns saying three things they loved about their friend.  The children expressed their kindness and compliments to each by saying things like, “I love when she plays outside with me!” “I like the way he makes me laugh.”  “I like your hair” or “I love his shirt!”  One little boy sat in the chair for his turn and said, “Can my friends say five things they like about me?”  “Well, who doesn’t like hearing good things about themselves,” Miss Stephanie thought laughing. “Why not?”

A special certificate was presented to each child for completing the discovery program.  They are indeed YOUNG MASTERS, and though they know this class is over for now, they understand there are many more gifts to learn and much more to know about using their gifts.  During theYoung boy with Young Masters Little Wisdom Discovery certificate past six weeks their teachers have reported the children looked forward to Tuesday when Miss Stephanie was there to teach them about the Secrets of The Heart.   They now had a good idea how to demonstrate what they’d learned about – friendship, imagination, gratitude, courage, creativity and love.

The class ended, as it began with each child putting their hand on the heart and saying, “I promise to use my gifts everyday, in every way for I AM A YOUNG MASTER!”  Then they all shouted “PEACE”!   In a final moment the children were asked to close their eyes and remember how thankful they were as  the song,  “Thank You For Being Here,” was played.   It was a good day for these Young Masters.  A day filled with a sense of accomplishment and possibility.

Before Miss Stephanie left she noticed all the YOUNG MASTERS books and CDS were displayed in the classroom library.  One child mentioned, he liked to sit down at the desk and listen to the books on the CD and look at the pictures of Buttan, Phylos and EEtha.  It’s now up to the wonderful teachers at Children’s Montessori House to continue this very meaningful work along with their daily curriculum.  Thank you to Denise Reid Sharp and Connie Campbell for recognizing the importance of this program  and well done Young Masters!

If you’d like to see a music video of this program please view  – Shine Your LIght

If you’re interested in the Young Masters Little Wisdom Curriculum.  It’s available to teachers for a limited time for free.  Find out more by clicking here.

Note To Authentic Self:

Nurturing My Children To Be Intentional, Happy and On Fire With Purpose.

Overheard: Two brothers, ages 8 and 5, having an argument:

Older brother:  “You have to stop being so mean!”

Younger brother:  “This is just how I was made!”

Older:  “God made you…everything about you…all the parts of your body, your feelings, all of that!  But the one thing God didn’t make is how you act.             Only you can control that.  Being nice is your decision and it’s only up to you.”

Younger:  “I know that it’s up to me!  I’m not a robot, you know!”

Not a robot. Noted.

We can learn a lot from kids if we’re paying attention.  I have that opportunity every day.  I work with children in a variety of settings as aAngie Miles sons sometimes-broadcaster who is also a literacy educator.  I’m also Mom to four sons.  Here’s where I usually pause for finger-pointing or wild laughter.  Yes.  I have four sons.  As mom to four boys (and wife to guy number five), I live in a house full of raging invincibility.  Low-key is a foreign concept here.  It’s rare to experience silent solitude that’s free of karate-chopping, toy-battling or cartoon-blaring.  Furniture is apparently made for handstands.  Hide and seek is an indoor sport.  And socks belong wherever they land.  My husband and I live with four connoisseurs of the chicken nugget.  Sometimes, it’s a little crazy-making. But it’s also chock-full of teachable moments.  And I take notes.

I note their questions:

“Will I get sick if I eat too many blazed donuts?”

“If I don’t eat all my dinner, am I still allowed to have berserk?”

“Had colors been invented when you were my age?”

I note their answers:

“If you sleep with your mouth open, a frog can get in your throat.”

“I hid my tooth because it’s too boring for the Tooth Fairy if it’s right under my pillow.”

“I’m allergic to milk, unless it’s on cereal.”

I note their questions but I especially note their wisdom.  This is from my oldest right after his eighth birthday:  “I think grown-ups spend so much time trying to learn new stuff that they forget what they already know…you know, the deep-down stuff.”

Hmmm.  How deep-down are we talking here?  What we knew when we were in grade school?  In preschool?  I think he meant the stuff we already had inside of us when we arrived here… day one on Earth… before the world turned us into robots.

Truthfully, sometimes we do act like robots.  Remember learning to drive?  We had to think about every little step.  “Turn signal on.  Lift foot.  Press down on brake.”  To learn, you had to consciously tell yourself what to do.  After many years as an experienced navigator, you don’t think about the steps. They just happen.  Conditioning takes over. But even with habitual tasks, it’s still important to bring SOME mindfulness so we’re not trying to text, eat soup or paint toenails while motoring.

A deliberate, conscious awareness is what happens when anything is brand new. We pay attention and give ourselves to the moment, but once the moment isn’t new, we switch to autopilot and act without thinking or feeling deeply.  We all tend to do this— with driving, with hobbies, with relationships… even with parenting.

But here’s the thing.  Life is new every day.  We may be missing the best parts if we’re unconscious to life.  People in crises sometimes report feeling more alive, because they are shaken out of complacency.  Losing a loved one can make a person more accepting of the faults and foibles of those still here.  When the shears of life lessons prune us, we sometimes become more in touch with the root, the heart, the source of what’s inside us.  But living in this deeper way is available to us all the time, without having misfortune prune us out of our conditioning.  It’s a choice, but we have to be aware that there is a choice.

When I was a full-time news anchor, I was often out in the community.  I spoke to kids in schools, in camps and in juvenile facilities.  I told them that every one of us is born with a diamond inside.  Some of us have made choices that polish our diamond so that everyone can see it shining brightly.  Some of us may have tarnished the diamond by making choices that are not worthy of us.  But the diamond is still there.  It’s still just as exquisite and just as valuable, even if it’s not shining so brilliantly.  No matter its condition, we can still polish that diamond.

Angie Miles and sonsWe help our kids by showing them how to recognize and embrace the value that is deep-down within them.  It’s not something we need to give them.  They’re born with it.  It’s not for us to change, even if we’d rather our children have emeralds or rubies inside.  We honor them and the divine best when we trust that whatever is intrinsically, organically inside them is infinitely beautiful and worthwhile.  Our thoughts, words and actions can continuously prove our genuine belief in them at all times.  We are not telling them they are infallible or better than anyone else or suggesting that perfection is required.  We are simply conveying through our thoughts, words and deeds that they and the universe are all just fine.  We emanate an abiding sense of well-being along with an attitude that affirms that we can participate in happy miracles at any time.

As a parent, this is my greatest opportunity (and responsibility):  to raise children who are intentional, happy and on fire with purpose.  To get there, they need a little help.  For starters, they need parents who model intentional, happy and on fire with purpose.  That’s no small thing!  I need to be connected enough to my own source to envision goals that are right for me, regardless of adversity, appearances or apparent failure.  And that’s just the beginning.

To live intentionally, I have to be deliberate… aware of my real self and conscious of my choices.  That means I respond in a mature and managed way to whatever comes my way, rather than simply reacting based on past conditioning, unchecked emotions or what other people say or do.  I can’t live as a robot and expect anything different from my young charges.

Intentional living means I take the time to know myself, to understand my past and how it’s shaped me, to excavate any repressed feelings and express them in a healthy way, so that I am liberated to live in the NOW rather than being held prisoner by the PAST.  Intentional living means I set a course for today and tomorrow and choose according to principle rather than according to unaddressed emotions or apparent ease.  This takes bravery… sometimes forgiveness (of self and others), and always steady, nerves of steel.  It takes being willing to laugh and be playful, even in the face of adversity.  It means taking the time to envision the best and highest for me and for those I love and living with confidence that my deliberate designs are coming true.  I help my children to live intentionally when I make it safe for them to explore and express all their thoughts and feelings, without fear of judgment or ridicule.

To raise happy children, it helps if I’m happy.  To be happy, I must simply choose to be happy.  But the catch is that the choice must be made over and over. Angie Miles sons When storm clouds rise, you notice them and then you choose to paint them.  Happiness does not ignore the black and gray of life.  It acknowledges and expresses and knows that black and gray can be the beautiful balance to the sunnier shades of life.  Happiness is allowing the storms to come and go, unfazed because serenity lives in a protected place where we trust life to unfold as it will.  If happiness is not a habit, it can be work to make it into a habit.  But it’s worth it if the result is showing our children how to be happy in the world.  I help my children to be happy when I set a bright tone in our home every day… with creativity, humor and playfulness that don’t deny the intensity of darker moods or concerns but that don’t get replaced by what is dark and difficult.

To be on fire with purpose requires seeking, risking and learning patience.  It is becoming familiar… through prayer, meditation, and listening… with that small voice inside… with that sense of knowing what there is to do that is uniquely yours to do.  It is following your passions constructively.  Purpose is knowing that only you can speak with your voice and you alone can make the contributions you came here to make.  It is knowing how very much you matter and embracing your responsibility to risk giving what is yours alone to give.  It is walking by faith along a sacred path, realizing that the journey is as important as the destination. I help my children to be on fire with purpose when I notice what matters to them, ask questions about their thoughts and feelings and desires and when I truly listen to them and speak to them as though they matter and as though I am sure they will accomplish all they set out to do.

Consciousness, quite simply, is being alert and aware.  But conscious living means a great deal more to me.  Conscious living is intentionality, happiness and purposefulness in every moment of every day to the best of my ability.  It is what connects me with the parts of myself that are gifted and funny and poetic and peaceful and divine.  It is what makes my life a song that lifts me and those around me… especially my children.  Conscious living is what reminds me to be mindful as I go through my day, reminds me that nothing is ordinary and all things are possible, reminds me that I am wonderful and a reflection of the sublime in everyone around me.

As I’ve said, my primary job as Mom is to teach my children how to live well.  They are more likely to create lives that are intentional, happy and on fire with purpose if I am showing them how.  As I learned in my graduate studies as a literacy educator, to teach anyone anything, we are wise to model it first.  Next we allow the student to assist.  Then we assist the student.  Finally, we allow the student to go it alone, to soar independently, confident that we have taught well.

I take this seriously as Mom and role model. Sometimes I must call on my nerves of steel, intentionally choosing to remain calm as the pediatrician is pulling pink erasers out of my child’s ears during a hearing test.  I am a good sport, playfully shouting “Hello!” when my youngest hands me a banana and tells me his friend Carlos is on the phone….again.  And, though bemused, I’m mild in my correction when I tell my littlest guy that we can, indeed, ride down on those stairs that are called the “escalator” and we don’t have to ride the thing called the “elevator” to which he has just referred as the “alligator” even though the “elevator” does not bite, not even a little.  A conscious parent will remember that we can help our children feel confident, even when corrected… rather than shamed or embarrassed… especially by errors that are developmentally expected.  Parents make errors, too.  I know that I do.

When my boys were all very small, I sought advice from experts and veteran parents.  I learned it was good for my children to hear praise more often than criticism… to be caught in the act of doing a good job.  I managed this fairly well.  They also needed to be allowed to do things for themselves.  They needed the practice of choosing their own clothes, dressing themselves, tying their own shoes… at developmentally appropriate stages.

It’s usually easier, faster, and more convenient to just exert our parenting power and get to what’s next. Sometimes I managed to give my kids the autonomy the experts advised.  Sometimes, I just needed to dictate, do-for and dash out the door.  Sometimes I did this too much and took away my children’s chances to build autonomy and self-reliance.  This is what we do all the time when we are parenting unconsciously, the robot way.  We, as parents, need order and compliance.  Easy when we’re much bigger and our children are much smaller and more easily intimidated.  But we may be denying our apprentices free choice and needed practice; this is compliance at a heavy price.

Spiritually speaking, we are not bigger than our children. By habitually putting our needs, feelings and preferences first, we allow our biological prowess to short-circuit our divine opportunity.  It’s not long before children grow physically taller and stronger than we.  When that happens, they may follow our rule and seek to please us, even for a lifetime, if they’re operating on fear or shame… if they believe that they could somehow lose our approval or our love.  That’s when we’ve raised children who are likely to be who we’ve told them to become…or to constantly seek approval outside of themselves… or to never reach their potential because they are rebelling against repressed feelings.  Is that the best we can do for them?

I find great inspiration in the story of the Wright brothers.  These lowly bicycle repairmen who combined genius and unconquerable faith to do what wasInspiration from the Wright Brothers thought to be impossible.  Their achievement wasn’t just becoming airborne.  That had been accomplished before, actually.  The Wright brothers winged their way into the air AND into history by steering the flight.  The breakthrough was flying WHILE choosing their direction… making a conscious choice about where to go and how to get there.

This is what we do in our lives when we live intentionally.  We appreciate that the sky is no limit AND we choose our course from a deep, authentic place.  We can make adjustments in how we fly based on current conditions, but true north stays the same.  Our principles, just like our intrinsic nature and innate worth don’t change.  We can adjust how we navigate to fit our circumstances.  And now we have autopilot to help us, as well.  This is a robotic way of flying, which is perfect when we already know the destination and don’t need to think about how to get there.  But we need to bring enough presence of mind to autopilot to make sure each of us is moving towards what is ideal for each of us.

Some have suggested that a magnificent sculpture is already within the rock and that the real artist doesn’t create the art so much as reveal it.  I would say the same is true with raising a conscious child.  The work of art IS each child, each person.  The treasure is already within the child.   The destination itself, the map of where to go, the blueprint for our best design, the dazzling diamond, the seed of the mighty oak, the work of art are all born within us.  Choose whatever metaphor you like, but the truth remains the same.  There is a deep-down knowing that we all have and that stays with us for a lifetime.  There is a world of possibility limited only by whatever mindset we choose.  When we work with this knowledge, with awareness and faith, we’re each bound to arrive at the perfect destination… and we’ll get there intentionally, happily and on fire with purpose for what we’ve set out to accomplish.

I am Mom.

I teach them.  They teach me.  I learn.  They learn.  We enjoy the journey.  And we find the hidden tooth inside the pillow case.  Noted.

Angie Miles is a veteran broadcast journalist and a long-time literacy educator.  Her website, gives educators, parents, librarians, counselors and community leaders information and instructional tools to help learners enjoy the journey to literacy success.  She lives in Virginia with her husband, Brad, and their four sons… aged 16, 13, 11 and (almost) 9.  She is currently working a on a book about raising their highly-spirited boys, tentatively entitled Straight to Heaven.


Food for Thought  – “A baby is God’s opinion that Life should go on.” – Carl Sandburg


The focus of this article is about raising a conscious child. My first thought is to first check in and see what kind of a conscious parent I might be.

By conscious, I simply mean aware; of who I am, what I’m doing, and who I’m with.

I have been in the kitchen for most of my working life (dishwasher to cook to chef to owner of my own company, Soup Kitchen, Inc.). I know food. I am comfortable in the social microcosm of the kitchen. For those of you who read “Kitchen Confidential”, in many ways, those are my peeps. I am also a songwriter, a ministerial student, a husband and a father (almost certainly not necessarily in that order). None of us are ever just one thing. Even when we think we are.

Admittedly, my journey through food has been one of mostly celebration. I Love to eat!

I know nutrition, and am more conscious of it as the years and miles add up. When our child Gareth was born, I fed him well through how well I fed my wife (and then she just passed on the best of that). As he progressed into food on his own, I had all the wonderful hopes of sharing all that I could create on the plate with him. I think that the cobbler’s kids may not have had the best shoes not because the cobbler was too busy, they may just have wanted to go barefoot. Such was my early food relationship with my son (or rather his with me). He loved the typical “browns, whites and oranges (i.e. hot dogs, mashed potatoes and mac-n-cheese) I am not one to force what I “know better” on him for the sake of discipline or because he’ll “thank me later”. I do explain nutrition and am a good living example of it, and he does listen.  I watch his health and remember my own journey to food variety (let’s just say it took a while to get there). Life’s too short and this moment is too precious. I remember sitting at the table as a child, in front of some bluefish (didn’t like it then, don’t like it now) that my Dad had caught and my Mom had prepared. In my youthful honesty I explained how I simply could not, would not (my mental lawyer must have been Dr. Seuss) eat that fish. My parents in their firm, but loving manner, let me know that I would not leave that table until I did. I was sad to realize that at eight years old, I was going to die at that dining room table. Years later they may have told me they “applauded” my conviction, but I know in that moment, they felt defeated. I have learned that if I find myself in an argument with my son, I’ve already lost. I do recall the time (though don’t recall the circumstances) that I actually said “because I said so” to my son. I literally heard it in my mind and thought, “I can’t believe I’m going to say this” just before it popped out of my mouth. Well it did and I “controlled” the moment. For most of his life, I have outweighed my son by more than 100 lbs. (though he’s getting closer every day). Winning a fight is never the question. I also practice Aikido (add that to the above list), and am well aware that the best way to win a battle is to not engage in battle.

Knowing that, I know that conscious parenting has to do with conscious listening.

This takes place in two acts. The first act I paid attention to was my own childhood experience. I know (as do we all really) what I did and didn’t like about my own childhood, and with whatever wisdom I’ve gained over the years, I also recognize the difference between the Love my parents gave and the frustrations they may have had in their own lives (and let’s face it, sometimes stuff just flows downhill). I recognize what I would have liked to experience, and am conscious to give that to my son.

What he does with that is up to him. I’m remembering (actually my wife is reminding me…. and I do try to listen) when Gareth was around  four, he made the connection that chocolate made him “hyper” (not clinically so, just normal sugar so). He’d heard about it from us, then “listened” to his own experience with it, and learned from it. We can offer up the banquet of our beliefs and experience, but should let them choose what to eat from the buffet.

That brings me to the second act of conscious listening, and that is listening to him, from the moment he was born (as often as I can). We are not here to rule our children’s lives; we are here to shepherd the evolution of their lives, our families, communities, our planet if we’re willing to care enough.

Don’t you wish you had that perspective raising you? We probably did more than we realized. The older I get the more I realize that my parents did the best they could with who they were. The best thing we can do for our future is to forgive our past.

As I watch my child, not as an extension of me, but as an opportunity for the best I can ever be, I am constantly amazed by the wonder-filled Life he chooses to lead (including all the tongue biting I do as he ages in front of the X-box and internet comedy sites….. ok some of that stuff IS funnyJ). Still the best I can do is encourage him to make the choices that make him truly happy and support him as best I can.

“A baby is God’s opinion that Life should go on”

If the Infinite Source of Unconditional Love thinks that highly of my child, who am I to think any less?

Jamie Klein is the Chef/Owner of Soup Kitchen, Inc. a company whose purpose is ending hunger. For every portion of soup sold, an equal portion of soup is donated to someone in need. For more info,


Raising A Conscious Child

For me raising a conscious child meant putting away all the parenting books, ignoring the advice from family and friends and just getting real, and real brave.  I believe that we are all conscious beings to begin with.  Fancy being arrogant enough to think that we are more conscious than our children and that we (as a parent or a society) need to teach them.  We are the ones, usually through not being raised consciously ourselves who are often living in the dark.  (I like to call it the Matrix!)

Children are born connected to the Universal consciousness.  They are wise and all knowing.  They come here, choose us, to deliver us these great gifts of simply BEING ONE WITH ALL.

So the only way to raise a conscious child, to allow them to remain connected and wise is to join THEM!  You must be a fully Conscious Being yourself.  And here in lies the challenge.  It sounds easy.  But have you ever tried practising it 24 / 7?  With one, two or more children watching your every move and soaking in your every feeling, thought, action and word?

Being constantly conscious, being present, remaining loving, forgiving and filled with compassion, creativity and joy for life may be easy for some of you but it was a completely foreign concept for me a few years ago.  (and perhaps for a few minutes this evening as I was putting children to bed…..and perhaps yesterday…..and at times last week…..)

It is an ongoing challenge to be first what we want our children to be.
It is easier if we look to them first as our greatest teachers.

And they help us implicitly by mirroring our faults to us on a regular basis.  Whatever our weakness is it will show up in their actions every day.  Their behaviour issues, their weaknesses, their dislikes, allergies – whatever, are all triggers for us to look inside ourselves.   And on the flip side they show endless love, compassion, trust and faith.  They are the ultimate personal development tool.  But the master key for me was embracing this not as a burden but being thankful for this true gift.

My lessons took the form of my baby with severe sleeping problems.  I breast fed her every 2 hours all day and night for about the first 18 months.  With severe sleep deprivation and stress I became sick, depressed, resentful and fed up.  As she grew older she was clingy.  She wouldn’t play with other children, she wouldn’t leave my side.  She came everywhere with me and just sat on my lap where ever I was.  The hairdresser, the dentist, meetings, coffee with friends.  So I went to every doctor, naturopath, chiropractor, energy healer, (so called) health experts seeking answers.  What was wrong with her?  And what was wrong with me?  (I was really sick by this time – she was about 3 years old by then)

Well after a second pregnancy, another screaming baby who wouldn’t sleep and my health declining even more, I hit rock bottom.  Many of you mothers know this place I am sure!

One day I got it.  A shift occurred and I realised that there was actually nothing wrong with my child.  It was just my attitude to her behaviour (and to a lot of other things in the world) that needed to change.  A shift from seeking externally to looking internally.  The shift from blaming her to accepting my role in creating my own misery.   I began to work at BEING conscious.  Not at just layering new beliefs on top, but actually in changing my BEING.  It was hard work. It still is hard work.  I waited anxiously for the day she would start school and I would finally be free of her clinging and have some space to breathe and think.  It finally came (after much preparation) she started school in a Steiner (Waldorf) school but after one term I had to pull her out.  She was having nightmares and she was clinging again each morning and screaming in sheer terror at the thought of me leaving her at school.  She wanted to be there but she couldn’t leave me.  I knew what I had to do but I enlisted a counsellor to confirm to me my greatest fear.  I had to home school her.  She had to stay with me at home longer.  Funnily I didn’t feel horrified but a sense of relief.  I knew deep down that it was right.

It is now one year later.  I have homeschooled for one whole year and now enjoy good physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health – and so do my two children.

The world is in your hands. Young Masters Little Wisdom Discovery ProgramI can’t believe the power of it (home schooling and being more conscious!) and how much I enjoy it.  I feel free because I faced my biggest fear and followed my Divine Path.  I have raised my own consciousness more in the last year than I did in the previous 40 years.  In every lesson I prepare and deliver for her, whether it be language, arts, numbers I am always blessed 100 fold with what I gain in return.   She is like the village Shaman, so wise and true with her words and feelings.  Not only have I had to learn to draw, paint and model (I am following the Steiner home school curriculum – Rudolph Steiner education philosophy is the only one I could find that truly treats the child as a spiritual being) but I have been faced with all my ‘stuff’ (how I play victim, how I focus on time too much, how I judge others, how I seek approval all the time, how I let my ego run my life).   Once all this is mirrored to me it is up to me to let it go of it or wait for the next lesson where she will show me all over again.

So now I get to live in a daily world of beauty, play, fairy tales, magic, music and dance.  Together we have created a lifestyle based on living consciously.  My challenge is to allow myself to BE in this world for longer each day – in a world of pure consciousness.  To live in her perspective of the greatness, awe and mystery that life beholds.  Instead of inflicting any of my unnecessary ‘beliefs’ based on my past fears and experiences.

A homeschooling mum’s job can be long and tiresome.  Fifteen hour days usually of cooking, cleaning, playing, teaching, prepping lessons, washing, singing, dancing, gardening, hosting and feeding.   But every minute I stay conscious is another minute of pure heaven.  The closest connection to God that I have ever felt.


Every day I feel like someone on a journey with no map, no guide, no sniffer dog and often no outside companions!  A constant, unknown, unravelling one step at a time.  But of course this is what life is for a young child so it makes sense that I, as the mother and home school teacher, should walk that path also as they learn from mimicking us.

But for me little security blankets and comfy cushions to assist the journey are a necessity. I have a husband who keeps me grounded and a dear friend who

“Peace In Our Land: Children Celebrating Diversity” featuring A World Of Difference

isan awesome, and often needed, energy healer.   I have nearly all the Bunny Hull CDs and Books now which we use constantly.  I have also found some fantastic Steiner inspired resources for teaching and many lovely story books that help remind the child on their inner spirit.  Since we don’t watch TV, go to movies or the like, inspirational songs and books are my life line.  It is both funny and heart warming to hear the children flip between an upbeat church song, a Bunny Hull song and a yoga chant.  And I have to admit I do the same.  At circle time with our Friday playgroup I tend to deliver a mixture of Steiner songs, Bunny Hull songs and activities and kids yoga.  And the great thing is that coming from three completely different countries and philosophies they complement each other beautifully.  Of course why wouldn’t they?

After all, we are One in a World of Difference.


Heidi Robins lives in Adelaide, South Australia and is a mother of 2.  Bianca aged 7 and Junah aged 4.

In 2007 Heidi commenced a not for profit organisation called Future Families to inform families on alternative choices such as natural health, gentle birthing, conscious parenting and sustainable living.  Heidi ran this organisation for over 3 years but has now slowed down its operation to dedicate her time more fully to raising and educating her children.




I am trained in child psychiatry, and can say that most of the children and teenagers with whom I work do not feel good about themselves. I’m reading a book by Wayne Dyer, and just read this passage:

“A child’s self-image is the most important factor in his or her happiness and fulfillment. Children who believe that the world is a good and miraculous place, and that they are special and loved, have a tremendous advantage over children who are doubting and negative. The garden of being a no-limit person blooms from the early seeds that you plant in a child’s mind about who he is and what he can become. When you send highly charged positive signals to children they begin to have an expectation of happiness and success, they become eager to meet new people rather than being judgmental of or intimidated by others, they enjoy challenges, and are open, loving and generous toward others.”

Bunny Hull’s books and CDs are a wonderful and fun way to teach children core values and life skills. My children have learned about friendship, peace, and the “special powers” of love, wisdom, courage, and creativity that lie within them and everyone. The “Dream A World” homeschool curriculum provides activities, projects and worksheets that make teaching these concepts easy and lots of fun for everyone. Bunny’s books are beautifully written in language that children can easily understand. Her music is incredibly uplifting and something the whole family can enjoy. Bunny’s books, music and curriculum are a “must have” for anyone who is homeschooling their children. These materials are also wonderful for parents who wish to supplement their child’s traditional school curriculum that may not include “life skills” training.

I see the work you are doing with schoolchildren. I know that you are truly changing their lives in an incredible way. It would be great if schools around the country could adopt what you are doing as part of their curriculum. Too little attention is paid to the emotional/spiritual needs of young children.

Thank you for giving me such a perfect way to plant the seeds of love, kindness, and belief in self in the minds of my young children. I know they will benefit tremendously.  Your books and music have brought so much joy to my family!

Pamela Beasley, M.D.
Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist
Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

Dream A Worlds Curriculum for homeschoolers is available for free by clicking here.

Did you write stories when you were growing up? at school? Or at home as a hobby? As a young child, or as a teenager, or both?

I wrote my first story when I was four. I decided I wanted to write about a donkey, so I sat down and wrote a one-page story. I entered my first writing contest in first grade and won! I am so thankful that my teachers in elementary school gave us creative writing assignments because I thrived on those. I always wanted to write the most creative story to blow the socks off my teachers. I took creative writing classes in middle school and high school and loved them, but did not enjoy writing the book reports and essays I had to write for other classes.

When you were a child did you ever have moments when you decided that you were going to be a writer when you grew up?

I fantasized about being a nurse and writing on the side. I dreamed of working on a pediatric floor and my published books would be scattered throughout the entire pediatrics floor so the sick kids could read them and be happy. This partially came true. I did indeed become a nurse and then a nurse anesthetist. I’m not on the pediatrics floor but a few of my books are available there for kids to read.

Do you write every day and do you have set hours that you work?  Where do you write?

Because I work part time as a nurse anesthetist, I don’t write every day. I carve out time each week to write or those days would become filled with other activities. I love my writing days and try to be as productive on those days as possible.

I usually write in my fabulous little office that I share with my husband. We each have our own desks and mine is a hutch desk. I love it and have made it completely me. I’m not particularly neat when I work and tend to let things scatter but when I’m finished, I close the doors on my desk and hide it all. My husband loves that. On beautiful days I’ll take my computer out to our screened in porch to enjoy the breeze and sounds of nature when I write.

Do you ever experience writers block?  How do you break it?

I only have a limited amount of time to write each week and can’t waste those minutes with writers block. On the days that I’m not writing, I’m working out in my mind or jotting notes of writing ideas, so that I can use my writing time to its fullest. When a block creeps in, I’ll go for a run to work through it.

I find inspiration from my surroundings, things I hear, people I see, quirky animals I encounter, thoughts that occur when I run. One Night in Bethlehem was inspired by something I heard in a sermon at church one day.

What gave you the idea for your very first book?

My first writing idea was such a God thing. I was happily going about my business working part time and raising my one and three- year old girls when a fire erupted inside me prompting me to write, and write for publication. I searched for a topic for two weeks until the idea of a Children’s Devotional hit me as I was reading my own devotional that day. I didn’t realize there were already a gazillion Children’s Devotionals out there. But, I felt like that’s what I needed to write. I wrote how I felt most comfortable writing – in rhyme.

Do you work on more than one book at a time?

I definatelyl work on more than one book at a time. I usually have several manuscripts in various forms at one time. I may be writing a children’s story or two, preparing a proposal to send off for another story, and perhaps working on marketing/publicity for another.

Are you signed exclusively with a publisher?

I am not signed exclusively with one publisher. I am free to send to other publishers and have had contracts with several but the one that has published my last four books has been amazing.

Is there anything about yourself that you’d like to share – hobbies, where you were born, special talents other than writing/illustrating.

As I mentioned earlier I run during a writers block. But, I run without a writers block as well. I love running and have run for nearly 30 years. It’s my stress relief, my form of fitness, my channel for creative inspiration, my solitude, my God time, my time for working through issues, to soak in nature, to push myself, to escape, to regroup, unwind, breathe deep, and find myself again. I also enjoy golfing, hiking with my family and cheering for my kids at their sporting events.

Jill Roman Lord is an author of ten children’s books, a free-lance writer and a nurse anesthetist. Her latest book, One Night in Bethlehem was just released for Christmas 2011! She also has a series of three books published by Candy Cane Press, If Jesus Came to Visit Me, If Jesus Walked Beside Me, and If Jesus Lived Inside My Heart. These three books are available in both board books and hard cover. She has three children, one in college, one in high school and one in middle school. She lives in Charlotte, NC with her husband, her two children still at home and her Golden Retriever Puppy, Poppie.

You may purchase Jill Roman Lord’s books on Amazon.