The Practice Of Being

As a parent of adult children ages 19 and 21 I have experienced the time of rebellion, questioned my effectiveness and skill at being a parent and I have experienced the unmatchable love of a parent for a child and experienced that love from my children. I have given my identity, my purpose and my self to being a parent and claimed my Self back again. Did I do it perfectly? Who knows? Was it worth it? Yes! Today, I find myself serving as mentor, teacher, friend and spiritual leader for children of all ages. There is a child in all of us to be nurtured, inspired and to learn from. It is my great joy to share the journey.

I like to focus my parenting classes and lessons on the parent rather than the child. There are many, many great books, programs and teachers to guide parents in using effective parenting tools with your child. My question is: “How is life for you as you “raise” these precious little people?” How is your life (as a parent) as your child mirrors your behavior, beliefs, attitudes and even habits back to you? Our children are our very best teacher because they give us the opportunity to look at ourselves, to experience how we are viewing the world and how we are participating in life! Sometimes that is a great big ugh! I do that, or a version of that?  Really? And sometimes it is Yes!  Life is beautiful and it shows!

Yes, our children are our greatest teacher and yet we have the very impressive task of raising them to be responsible, compassionate, contributing members of society.  The life of a parent becomes a series of lessons in self reflection, self honesty and self responsibility. All practices that we model for our children and thus out of our own experience we teach.

What is this journey of life and parenthood but a time of self-discovery?  As a parent, from that time (planned or a surprise), of finding out we will be a parent it is a time of immediate questions:  what kind of parent will I be? How will my kid turn out? What preschool, public or private school, sports, college, career do I choose? What is best? And, how will I know?

There is one question that has served me well and that many parents have successfully utilized. It is the practice of being. When we ask ourselves: “how do I want to be” instead of “what do I want to do and how will I do it” we work from the inside out. Allowing the perfect action, the supportive words, the empowering response to be revealed. It is a practice to embrace and to become skilled at until it becomes a habit. Do I want to be suppressive? Do I want to be doubtful, do I want to judge?  Will that empower me or my child? Will it harm or sustain our relationship? Do I want to be loving, kind, compassionate, a good listener, a sounding board……  Asking the being question might look like being creative before we step into our child’s room to wake them up for the fifth time that morning and singing, or describing a perfect day or telling them all the reasons we love them, or…… What if you know how you want to be before telling them no? No, they cannot go to the party after all because you have to work? If we can pause long enough to ask ourselves “how do I want to be” before responding to the rolling eyes, the turned back, or sarcastic attitude what will the relationship look like?  Breathing and remembering our role as parent before looking at the report card that you already know is less than stellar and being the listener we might discover a challenge, a question, a fear that our child had not shared.

We want our children to be kind, be happy, be sincere, be themselves, be proud, be successful, and be the best they can be.  Life is about being. How do you want to be as a parent? What will you model for your children? Life is lived from the inside out. When we know how we want to be the doing is revealed.

As a parent, I encourage you to be yourself. You know your answers, you know your challenges, and you know your strengths… I know who you are is more than enough!

Pattie Mercado

About Pattie Mercado

“Let our children be seen and heard” is the motto of Pattie Mercado Youth Director and Practitioner at the Center for Spiritual Living Capistrano Valley. With an infectious and creative energy that inspires and motivates, Pattie is consistently retained for mentoring youth and family programs all over the country and is passionate about empowering the family experience.  A volunteer with youth and parents for more than twenty years Pattie draws on her experiences volunteering and working in California public schools, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, ten years of producing a summer co-op day camp and is a certified instructor recognized by the International Network for Children and Families. Pattie brings practical insight to her work with children, parents and volunteers.

The Friendship Seed – Teaching the art of friendship to five year olds

Moorsetown, New Jersey – Stephanie Pelly implemented the Young Masters Little Wisdom Discovery Program for twenty eager young students at the Montessori Children’s House in Moorsetown yesterday.  The program, a special addition to this quarter, began April 5th and will run through May 17th.  Each Tuesday, Stephanie brings one “Secret Of The Heart” to students through story, song and creative interactive workshop.  The first “Secret Of The Heart” was friendship.  It all began when children took the Young Masters Pledge and talked about what a gift was – not the kind of gift you buy in a store, but the kind that you carry inside your heart.  The gift of friendship.  They listened to the story, The Friendship Seed and found out, not only how you make a friend – but how you keep a friend.  They talked about the qualities of friendship and wrote them on their big flower poster, they discovered some of the things we all hold in common and learned how we’re all connected.  The paper friendship chains they exchanged was an example of that connection they got to take home with them.  It was a great day for these children as they learned what it really means to connect with someone – what it means to be a friend.  After all what would the world be without friendship and what would life be without the good friends make along the way.

Montessori teachers:  You can download this curriculum for FREE!  Young Masters Little Wisdom Curriculum for Montessori

Click here to watch a little video of the day’s activities.  Young Masters Discovery Program – The Friendship Seed

Flower poster to learn about friendship.

Gustavo H. Vintas, M.D. is a practicing psychiatrist and child psychiatrist in Beverly Hills, California.  Here he shares his thoughts on what it takes to raise a conscientious child.  Tips for the conscious parent:


Raising A Conscientious Child – The Basics

Having a child is easy. Raising a child takes responsibility.  Raising a conscientious child requires way more effort, in particular, a conscientious parent (biological or not) who is conscientious of his or her own needs and growth as a person.

A parent teaches by example. Where one is heading is essential, however the departure is primordial, including preparation and readiness as a future parent, and pre and post-natal care.

To Be And To Have

  • Trust – joy – fun – hope – self-esteem
  • Respect for life, self, and the other
  • Freedom – play  – boundaries – limits
  • Love  – respect – warmth  – protection – nutrition  – exercise

Body, Mind & Spirit

  • The Body  – is a perfect, magnificent, delicate, fragile vehicle throughout one’s life, requiring nutritious fuel-gasoline, with regular check-ups.
  • The Mind – Oedipal and pre-Oedipal periods do influence the direction of a child’s mental Health.  In other words, the nature and quality of the relationship of those under the same roof influences the thinking, feeling mind.
  • The Spirit  – requires pause – reflection – silence at least, for a couple of minutes a week.  Together, leading the child into experiencing quietness, noticing one’s breath coming in and out.



  • Recognition of the elements of nature: earth – air – water – fire
  • Appreciation – gratefulness –  compassion – kindness
  • Attitude – boredom – loss



  • Looking at things from different angles – points of view.
  • Opportunity to express through emotions, conflict, imagination and creativity without harming the self or the other.


Living under the same roof as a team

  • Autonomy,  individuation, togetherness, collaboration, contribution
  • Tasks, duties, discipline
  • Identification, ties
  • Tolerance.


Thought – Emotion – Reaction – Behavior

  • Awareness of red flags/red lights.
  • Choices = consequences.
  • Drama belongs on the stage.


Use of Time constructively

  • Knowing that a full day has exactly 24 hours, and ends forever at midnight.
  • Knowing how to read the time on a clock/watch.
  • Knowing the time classes start and finish, and how long is spent at school.


  • Practice. Practice. Practice.
  • Any game or sport can only be played by its rules.
  • Watch your step.
  • Life is a one-way ticket trip, therefore…it’s important to pay attention to the itinerary.

Gustavo H. Vintas, M.D. is certified ­in Psychiatry and Child Psychiatry,
American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology,
Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada – Buenos Aires, McGill, Cornell Universities

Dr. Vintas  practices in Beverly Hills, California

How are you reinforcing any of these principles of living with your children? We’d like to know.  Please share your thoughts.

How do children really learn what it means to have an imagination? 

Moorsetown, New Jersey – Stephanie Pelly introduced Montessori students to their “Magic Eye” this past week.  Children naturally use their “magic eye”, their imagination, but do they really understand the value of this important gift that’s always available to them?  The Young Masters Little Wisdom Discovery Program works to connect children with concepts like imagination.

Stephanie Pelly, co-creator of this curriculum, is facilitating the Discovery program at Montessori Children’s House where this week she focused on empowering children to use their own imagination in a variety of ways. The children start with the Young Masters Pledge, then read and listen to the the story from Young Masters: The Magic Eye.  Next they are guided through several right brain activities as they creatively express themselves, verbalizing all that they’re seeing in their mind’s eye.

Stephanie and boy with the Magic CircleThey practice being storytellers as they examine pictures of different people from magazine cut-outs. They use “The Magic Circle”, a hula hoop, to pretend they’re fishing, eating a bowl of ice cream or building a sand castle. One boy even sees a train moving around in circles on a track. They sit inside “The Magic Circle” and pretend they’re somewhere else.  One child is  in a big city naming all the vehicles he sees, one sits at home petting her dog. One little boy even sits on the Easter Bunny’s lap. What does the Bunny look like, what color is he or she? What fun!

 The song  Circle Of Creation, from “The Magic Eye” CD is played as they pass the “earth ball.” When they song lyric says “tell me what you see,” the children name different animals they see on the globe.

Stephanie then makes the connection as she explains  to the children that they can use their imagination any time.  It’s always available to them, whether they’re laying in bed and feel afraid of the dark or feel bored and are looking for a way to entertain themselves. They can use their imagination to decide what color socks to wear in the morning or to solve a problem…and they can exercise their imaginations by playing these games with another friend or by themselves.  A powerful concept that can later translate into children understanding how their imagination can be used to create their future.

Stephanie and three childrenConnecting children to the gifts that come natural to them are what the Discovery Program is all about.  Helping them discover who they are and what makes them unique.  Encouraging them as their individual characteristics and personalities emerge. This is the gift that teachers like Stephanie Pelly give to children.  

Click on the links below to view videos from the Young Masters Little Wisdom Discovery Program from Unit 2 of
The Magic Eye

Young Masters: Circle of Creation

Young Masters: The Magic Eye – Learning How You Make A Difference

Stay tuned for the next unit – Young Masters: The Hidden Treasure as the children at Montessori Children’s House discover gratitude and why it’s so important to be thankful.

The Young Masters Little Wisdom Discovery Curriculum for Montessori and other versions of this curriculum are available right  now for free.  Click below to take advantage of this offer so you can share this gift to the children in your life.

Young Masters Little Wisdom Curriculum

Rev. Mark Accomando, Youth Director at Center For Spiritual Living – Palm Desert reports on using the YMLW curriculum with his youth.

YOU INSPIRE ME !!!! Thank you so much for creating this amazing curriculum that is fun, practical and inspiring.

We did the Friendship Seed this Sunday and made the friendship chain! It was so much fun and we had all the kids listen to the book story from the CD , It was so fun for the kids and adults.  I primed the kids to help them listen by telling a story about the “time before there was TV”, and radio, and newspapers when all people had to be entertained was through story telling. I think this really helped since our youth are so accustomed to being entertained by videos and TV . They really listened and got the message. When one of the kids was asked what a friendship seed was when we were in front of the community he responded,”When we place a smile in the Heart” PRICELESS!!!

Also, it worked out that we had a baby blessing happening in the church so when we all came in singing you are the Face of God with our friendship chain we broke off a piece for the baby to bring home…it was all Divinely led !!

Love this new curriculum !!

We ordered 3 sets of the book collection today to sell at our youth table!

Rev.  Mark Accomando
Youth Director, Center For Spiritual Living – Palm Desert

Charlotte Sherman has brought an understanding of the arts to hundreds of thousands of children and adults.  She is a mother, grandmother, artist, art curator and director of the Heritage Gallery representing the art of Charles White, David Alfaro Siqueiros, William Gropper and many others.

Charlotte has spent a life in the arts and on the trails of the Santa Monica Mountains learning how to lead the conscious life. Here is a taste of her collected wisdom as she sheds her light and her thoughts on what it takes to raise a conscious child.


It is the child that brings to us knowledge of what it is to see, believe and embrace. As a parent and an art teacher, I have learned so much about life and creativity.  I find that what is often sought is to open our non-judgmental view of life.

Children are born with the ability to know and use each moment.  From birth on the baby knows how to grasp the light, know the delight of the movement of shadows, the sound of music or the poetry heard from the parent. Miro, the French artist is quoted as saying, “It takes an entire life to come back to that childlike vision.”  We do have the choice of seeing each sunrise as the first one and to rejoice in it.  The flowers and trees have a voice to speak with us.  Animals have the ability to share their intuitive wisdom, to teach us the glory of each moment.

In learning with our children the magic of art, I have found that the creative impulse is there for all. What we seek is the open accepting of the ambience to let it flow. There are no set parameters.

We as parents and teachers have the opportunity to open the doors of perception for the growing minds to books, poetry, art and music.  It is from this early period in their lives that the wonder of creativity will move them through their entire lives.

Life presents us with great gifts.  These gifts of life only need be acknowledged and shared.  Each of us has the wisdom with open hearts to give this wonderChild with friendship chain. to children or even accept it from them with great joy.  And in giving, also we receive it. We are surrounded with beauty, richness and lightness that exist for all.

Great truths are there, we only need to accept them. These truths are manifested in all that is about us.  The sun, the moon and the stars share their light as well as each blossom, blade of grass and drop of water, gives out its essence.  We have the choice to live in the eternal presence.

The simplicity of the truth may walk by our side, all of our lives, if we choose to acknowledge it.

In the words of the Persian poet, Jalal-uddin Rumi, “Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment. Cleverness is mere opinion, bewilderment is in intuition.”

This awe of life, can release us from the burdens that are so frequently borne. It may mean only stepping out of ourselves for the split second.  There are so many men and women who are there to show us the vision. This wisdom has always been available to grasp. Meister Eckhart, in simple terms, “Up then, noble soul!  Put on thy jumping shoes which are intellect and love and overleap the worship of thy mental powers, overleap thine understanding and spring into the heart of God, into his hiddenness where thou are hidden from all creatures.

This presence has the ability to spread love, compassion, caring and healing.  It so simple, as in the best of life, that “which cannot be bought or sold”, but always shared. If we live with this spirit, we need only reach out with our hearts, our children will know.

About Charlotte Sherman:

Mother, artist, teacher, museum curator and gallery director for Heritage Gallery.  The Heritage Gallery represents African American artists such as Charles White,Margaret BurroughsJames McMillanErnie Barnes, and William Pajaud; Social Realist artists such as William Gropper; Latin American, Hispanic, and Mexican American artists such as Carlos Almaraz and David Alfaro Siqueiros; Californian artists such asMichael Shankman, and additional Modern and Contemporary artists from around the world, to name just a few.

Charlotte has lived and is working  in Los Angeles since quite early in the 20th century. She speaks as a parent, having shared much of the beauty of art, music, poetry and philosophy with three children who are very creative –  two are novelists and one a musician.

“Life is good and we share and give love.”

Visit Charlotte’s Heritage Gallery by clicking here.

Moorestown, New Jersey –  Montessori Children’s House continues the Young Masters Little Wisdom Discovery Curriculum after spring break as the children enter unit three to discover  The Hidden Treasure – gratitude.   As usual things kick off with the Young Master’s pledge,  “I promise to use my gifts everyday….”  After reading  The Hidden Treasure, children discuss all the different things our characters, Phylos and Butaan, are grateful for.  The children are then directed to close their eyes for a few moments and think about what they are grateful for.  Each child puts a little heart inside a pinata treasure chest as they claim the things or people for which they’re grateful –  family, friends, school, the beach, sunshine and trees.  The list goes on as they explore what’s important in each of their lives.

The children then learn about a very special gift.  Each child is asked to lift the top and look inside a beautifully wrapped gift box to discover the greatestStephanie Pelly and The Hidden Treasure giftof all.  What could it be?  “It’s not something that can be bought in a store,” said  class facilitator Stephanie Pelly.  They are each asked to open the box and look inside.  “Don’t tell anyone what it is,” Stephanie says, “wait for each person to have a turn.”   Each child opens the box and peeks inside only to see their own reflection in a mirror placed at the bottom of the box.  A big smile appears each time a child realizes the greatest gift  is – them.  Beautiful,  unique, special – them. Once everyone has a turn looking inside the box they place their hands on their hearts and say, I AM A GIFT, an affirmation of self-realization and acceptance of their own intrinsic value.

The greatest gift

Next in the center of the circle a gift box is placed and Stephanie tells the children she’s going to use her imagination and give each child a gift.   They won’t be able to see it but if they use their imagination they’ll know what the gift was.  Each child accepts a gift according to their own imagination.  What fun!
The day’s lesson ends by playing a game and singing the song, Circle of Appreciation.  When the lyric says “point to the one you’re thankful for,” each child points to their friends and says “I’m thankful for you.”
One child remarks, “I like the way each book ends with “thank you for being here.”   Another little boy confesses to his teacher “I love Tuesdays.” When he was asked why he said “because Miss Stephanie comes on Tuesdays to share the YOUNG MASTERS program.”  These children are indeed thankful for Miss Stephanie.  What are you thankful for?  And what gifts are you accepting for yourself?
Stay tuned for next week when this Montessori class discovers  a new secret of the heart – courage!
See video clips of the Young Masters Little Wisdom Discovery program:
Young Masters Little Wisdom Discovery Curriculum is available now for free.  Find out more by clicking here.

by Tim Hall

There’s no question that more and more people are becoming concerned with the quality of our education system in the United States. We, as a nation, have slipped to an “average” ranking among 30+ countries in reading, math and science. And while politicians debate when and how much money to cut from their state’s education budget parents are left wondering how to give their children the proper education they deserve.

For some parents, private schools or charter schools offer a nice alternative to the public system. However there is a growing alternative for parents who wish to educate their children outside of the traditional “brick and mortar” school setting. These parents are choosing to home-school their children.

There are many reasons to home-school your child. Perhaps you want to instill your religious, cultural and moral values into the way your child learns. Another reason is that you want to know your child is in a safe learning environment. (By the way, when did we, as a society, say it was OK to install metal detectors in schools?) And yet another reason could be related to the social settings you want your child in. As varied as the reasons are almost every parent would agree that they simply want a better education for their children.

Homeschooling can be an exhilarating experience for both parent and child. Bonds can strengthen. Relationships can improve. Discovering the worldBoy in the blue shirt together can be life-changing – for both parent and child. The only requirements are patience and a sincere desire to learn. You don’t have to be a credentialed teacher to home-school your child. But you must have the time and willingness to plan, explore, teach, tutor and adjust to your child’s individual learning style if this experience is going to be successful.

The best part of homeschooling is that there is no “typical” day. You can spend part of the day with a textbook; or you could spend it at the local park. You may want to utilize a specific curriculum or design your own. That’s the beauty of home-schooling – each day can be a unique learning experience. Imagine going to a local farm to learn how vegetables grow (instead of just reading about it in a textbook) or taking a hike in the hills to discover all the new plants you’ve just read about!

There are different approaches to homeschooling – and many parents find a combination of techniques works best. For example, utilizing a math book to learn how to multiply and divide can be enhanced with a trip to that local farm to see how many tomatoes can be planted in 5 rows of soil.  Whether you study one subject a day or several at a time, home-schooling offers parents and children the opportunity to make it come alive!

Home-schooling is on the rise! In 2010 it is estimated that there were about 2 million children who considered themselves to be home-schooled. While it can be a truly rewarding experience for both student and parent it is not something to be considered lightly. As with any major life decision this topic needs the time and attention it deserves if it’s going to be successful.

Each state has their own laws concerning education and homeschooling your child. You should check with your state’s legal requirements before you consider taking your child out of public school in order to home school. There are several websites available to help guide you – just Google “homeschooling laws” and you should be able to find several sites with good information. Remember, you must follow your state’s law as it relates to homeschooling.

Once you’ve figured out the legal requirements it’s time to decide what kind of curriculum to follow. Again, there are many sources available to help you with the actual materials you’ll need. You know your child better than anyone else. Ask yourself what materials will make this learning experience the best for my child? Do I need textbooks? Do I need videos? Can I utilize what I already have access to (my home, my office, my local library, etc.)?

When you have your materials together then what? Just begin teaching and learning together! Remember, there is no “typical” day – make each day a unique experience. While it’s important to have a plan don’t be surprised if you don’t follow it exactly each day.  And don’t elevate yourself to the position of “superior know-it-all teacher.” Even the best teacher doesn’t know everything about everything. You’ll need the help of other people with knowledge and expertise you just don’t have. Don’t be afraid to reach out. Remember you are not alone in this experience. There are also support groups available forJoyful blonde boy parents new to homeschooling. You’ll find you’re not alone in the home-schooling arena – whether you’re just starting out or in your 5th year of doing it.

It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that you, personally, are making a difference in someone’s life. To see a child connect with a subject, to have that “ah-ha!”moment together is life-changing. Education is the key that unlocks everyone’s possibilities. If you’re one of the growing numbers of concerned parents seeking another alternative to the public education system, home-schooling may be the choice for you. It’s not a decision to be made lightly as it will require time, patience and the desire to truly learn about the world around you. But if you’re ready for it, a new experience in education is waiting for you!

Tim Hall lives in Los Angeles and is a tutor who works with children and students of all ages (1st – 12th grade). He currently homeschools students in Language Arts and Math. He is CBEST certified and is pursuing his Math Education degree and credentials. For more information on Tim or homeschooling you may contact him at [email protected].

This feature article by Denise Yeargin comes from a lifetime of unique experience. Find out from a parent who has a Masters degree in counseling, works currently as an elementary school counselor and served children and families for years as a Unity minister.  Read her thoughts about:


There are many books and articles in our world today in regards to raising children.  So when I was asked if I would be interested in writing an article that would be on Bunny Hull’s website, I was truly motivated.  My experiences with children range from teaching music and creating dramatic productions with private school students and legally blind students at a state school, to being a professional school counselor with students from Preschool through the 8th grade.   I also was a music minister in a small Unity church in the late 1990’s, and used many of Bunny’s songs with children as we created portions of Sunday Services that were always as exciting for the students as they were for the adults who were listening.  Of course let’s not leave out the fact that I am the mother to two amazing young men who are in their teens and I was the minister of a Unity Church in Old Hickory, Tennesse for about 10 years.

I truly believe that children come into our universe much more “conscious” than the adults that already inhabit the planet. Children have not yet beenTwo boys with globe programmed by the world.  They are much more in tune to their feelings as a guidance system; however they are not able to take full responsibility for their own wellbeing, therefore, it does not take long for their self esteem to be wounded, their consciousness scarred.  So in answer to the question – how do we raise conscious children, I believe the answer is simple –  we remain conscious ourselves.  Sound easy?  I don’t know about you – but that is easier said than done.

I am in the process of writing a book that will accompany a cd of songs that my life partner, Judy Blackwelder has written to go along with the process. The book will be entitled Destined 4 Joy.  I have spent most of my life knowing how to be consciously joyful and unfortunately have allowed people, places, things or situations to steal that joy from me.  Every time that has occurred, I have gotten angry with myself because I “should” know better.  We all know what shoulding on ourselves gets us.  At 54 years young , I have finally learned to cut myself a bit of slack and realized that my moments of anger at others are becoming much shorter and my stints of consciousness are growing longer and stronger every day.  So I share with you the 4 things I believe help me attempt to stay conscious.  These are the same 4 things I have attempted to teach my sons and the students that I have worked with over the years.

  • Slow Down
  • Get Real Be Real Stay Real
  • Put Your Whole Self In
  • Show Up Pay Attention Tell the Truth Don’t Get Attached to the Outcome
  • Slow Down

We live in such a fast paced world.  We run from place to place and we even encourage our children to live the same fast pace.  Do more, try it all, be all that you can be.  Of course what kind of a parent would not want their children to be all that they can be?  The problems begin to mount up when the being all you can be stands in the way of having a childhood or living, loving and learning together in a family system.

When I was in elementary school there was a great song that I remember singing in a talent show called “Feelin’ Groovy.”  The beginning words were, slow down, you move too fast – you’ve got to make the moments last just kickin’ down the cobblestones, lookin’ for fun and feelin’ groovy.”  Sound familiar?  Some of you reading this may even remember the song.  I actually remember days like that – days when I just was able to run barefoot through the grass, climb trees, play kick ball in the street, sell lemonade on the corner, and help my momma dry the dishes after supper.  How many children in our society today get to experience any of these things?

I have many friends whose children go from school to soccer practice and ballet and private piano lessons and scouts etc. etc. etc.  Now don’t get me wrong,Children reflecting my children did take Tai Kwon Do and they are both in the Marching Band.  Those things have brought the entire family lots of joy watching and being involved in.  I think finding those things that are really important that can fit into your family’s routine and not completely take away all the collective family time are great.  Children still need to find time to spend at home eating supper with their parents, playing a game of Uno – something.  A slower, more gentle pace would give everyone time to create more of a conscious family life.

Get Real Be Real Stay Real

I work in a public school system, and although I enjoy what I do, I realize that within the system we are still attempting to create little clones of the “perfect child”.  I am in hopes everyday that as a school counselor, I have the ability to assist every child in finding those things that are “unique” to them.  As a Unity Minister, I teach young and old alike that there is a spark of divinity within every one of us.  That spark is a part of our oneness and also that thing that makes us distinctively us.

I am constantly reminded of one of my favorite children’s stories, the Velveteen Rabbit.  Within that story is a passage that has stuck with me for years.  The Skin Horse tells the rabbit that real has nothing to do with how you are made, but real happens when someone really loves you and then you become real.  What I know about many of our children and us is that we have been hurt and so we don’t allow someone to really get close enough to us to love us —  truly love us.  If I am going to get real, I first have to love myself enough to be myself and then secondly I have to remember to be that real self in each and every situation.  The staying real happens over time with practice.  —  Which leads me right into the next step.

Child reading intentlyPut Your Whole Self In

When I finally know who I am and show up real to people, places and things, I then can put that whole real self into any situation.  It is very tiring walking around attempting to figure out who can accept me as I am and who cannot.  When we are doing that we are not putting our whole beautiful God self into any situation.  I see children every day that are holding back.  They aren’t raising their hands for fear of having the wrong answer; they aren’t stepping into sports, or music, or other activities for fear of not being good enough.  Sound familiar?  When we as their parents and teachers and guardians model those behaviors to them – when we say things like I really wanted to be an artist but I chose to go into accounting because I could make more money –  what kind of message are we giving our children.  We are teaching them to do what the world wants them to do.

When I make choices to do what someone else wants me to do, I never really put my whole self in.  It is when I begin to listen to my heart and make sure my mind and my heart and my gut are in alignment with my decisions that I am able to put my whole self in.  Remember playing the Hokey Pokey?  Remember how much fun it was to put your whole self in and then to shake your whole self all about?  Isn’t that truly what life is all about?  Ask yourself in this moment, how different would my life be right now, If I had stepped into what made my heart sing when I was 20 years old?  Then and only then can I be in integrity with who I have come here to be.

Show Up –  Pay Attention – Tell The Truth – Don’t Get Attached to the Outcome

This is a powerful little process that I learned from several different sources.  Just google it and see all the references.  Now after you do that – begin to try it.  Show up.  Sound simple enough?  How many times do we make excuses in our lives and not show up or even do what we said we would do?  Do we think that our children don’t know that?  I have raised two Unity children from babies and they call me on my stuff continuously.  “Momma, you said….”  If we want to live a conscious life, we’ve got to begin by showing up first. Then there is pay attention.

How many of us say those words to our children many times each day.  I know as a teacher and counselor I have said those same words to many students, andStephanie and Boy with Magic Circle then I find myself walking through my day, not really paying attention to what a student is saying to me because I think what I am doing is much more important than anything they might be saying to me in that moment.  I know that many of us have been on the receiving end of that one and know how it feels to be ignored.  But the thing I want us all to hear is that this one little step is much deeper than that.  Many times what a small child has to say to us is much more profound and just the thing we need in that moment than any book, any tv program etc.  Try it for just one week and see how your life shifts.  Pay attention to the people, situations and things around you and see what you learn not only about them, but about yourself.

Tell the Truth –  well isn’t that a fine howdy do.  I know that we all would agree that we need to tell the truth.  How often do we find ourselves stretching the truth in order not to hurt someone; or telling what we call a little white lie?  And again this step is much deeper than that.  Telling the truth means that each step I take is in alignment with who I am as a person – who I have come here to be.  When I make those decisions throughout my day that are out of integrity with who I am, I am only putting myself on a path that I don’t really want to travel on.  And then somewhere during the next few days or months,  I always begin to blame someone else for the things that begin to happen in my life, when the actually I created them by not being my true self – not really telling the truth.   What is your truth?  Are you standing in it daily at home, at work, at play?  What about with each decision you make?

When I am willing to do the first three things, show up, pay attention, and tell the truth, then most of the time I am truly not attached to the outcome.  That one can be hard when we are not truly living our lives for ourselves, but living them for someone else or through someone else.  I will never have the life I truly want as long as I am not showing up as the person I came here to be   So – you say –  I thought this article was about raising Conscious Children.  This sounds like work for the adults.  And the answer is yes!  Yes – if we have children that are not living consciously where do we think they learned to live that way?   We must look in the mirror and have a long talk with ourselves.  What have I modeled to them – when I am not being conscious throughout my day –  when am I not present for them when they need me?

Raising conscious children is the only thing that will save our planet.  We as adults have created many messes that have had to be cleaned up by ourselves and by others.  If we want our children and our children’s children to make better, more conscious decisions in the future –  we must begin with us.  We must be the change that we want them to see, hear, feel and experience.   You are destined for a life of love, joy and peace.  It is really a simple, easy process of being conscious.  What will you choose?  What will you choose for your child?



You can be inspired by Denise by going to

Denise Yeargin is a native of Nashville, Tennessee and at a very early age began singing, dancing, playing the piano, and acting.  Her undergraduate degree is in Vocal and Piano Performance with a minor in Drama.  She was the Music/Drama Specialist at Ezell Harding Christian School in Antioch Tennessee for 5 year – before deciding to take a deeper look at herself.

Denise entered graduate school and completed a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology.  At that time she became the Guidance Counselor at Tennessee School for the Blind.  She did Family and Children’s counseling for Woodmont Hills Counseling Center and was an adjunct professor for Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, TN.  During that same time she found Unity, and was a part of the praise and worship team for First Church Unity in Nashville.   After marrying and having two children she found a smaller Unity church closer to where she was living  and began attending.  On the second week there, she was asked to consider the Music Minister Position, which she held from 1997 – 2002.

In 2002, the minister there became ill and moved to Florida.  Denise had been working towards becoming a licensed Unity teacher and was getting ready to enter the Leadership Training portion.  At that time the Association of Unity Churches spoke to Denise and she was asked to be the “Spiritual Leader” of Unity Church for Positive Living.   Denise continued on her path as a teacher and counselor and entered the Field Licensing Program to become and Ordained Unity Minister.

Denise was ordained in March of 2009.  She continued with UCPL for about another year.  In August 2010, Denise resigned as the minister of UCPL and stepped back into the realm of professional school counselor.  She is a Pennington Elementary School which is part of the McGavock Cluster in Nashville.  She is the proud mother of two teenage sons who march in the McGavock Marching Band.   Her oldest son will graduate the school year and is looking to enter MTSU on a Band Scholarship.

30 years as owner and director of the Boulder City Ballet School in Boulder City, Nevada provided the opportunity for Amy Arnaz to affect the lives of hundreds of children and young adults. Motherhood and a background in dance make for a unique and rich perspective on raising children.  Find out what Amy knows about:

Raising A Conscious Child

By Amy Arnaz

I remember being one year old, still in my crib, and understanding what the adults around me were saying.  My parents never spoke baby talk to me.  They spoke in full sentences and interacted with me as if I understood them — and I did.  I clearly remember walking into the kitchen in my footed pajamas after just learning to walk and straightening out the carpet in front of the kitchen sink.  My mother thanked me.  She wore a dress and an apron and had oatmeal cooking on the stove.  I remember being hungry that morning.  Mom reconfirmed this memory with me later in life because she was impressed that a little girl would take notice of a crooked carpet.


Looking back on the carpet-straightening moment and many other moments I remember vividly from my early childhood,  I was inspired to always be as present as possible, inwardly, while raising my daughter and while working with hundreds of children for 30 years in a dance studio I owned.  During those years I always gathered my little dancers together before each class so we could say hello to each other.  Sitting in a circle on the floor, my favorite question to them was:  Do you remember being in your crib?


That question may not seem the most apropos way to begin a ballet lesson for children as young as three years old, but the answers were astounding.  There were many yes answers with explanations that I would later verify with the parents.  Did Mary really have a mobile hanging above her crib with stars on it?  Could Susie really see her brother sleeping in a twin bed next to her crib?  Did Lisa really have a rocking horse named Cookie Brownie?  Did she really learn her colors from the colors on the dress of her Raggedy Ann doll?

I remember standing in my crib, which was immediately next to a window with a view into the back yard, and seeing my reflection in the window.  I screamed with fear thinking someone was looking at me from outside — my first remembrance of fear.  Mom explained it was a reflection and even then, so young, I understood.  With so much evidence pointing to children’s innate awareness, I have dedicated myself to nurturing this awareness in them to give them a chance to STAY aware and not fall into a state of psychic slumber.  I’m one person of thousands these children will interact with.  But it only takes one spark to start a raging fire — a Spiritual Fire.


“Wake up!” — my parental motto.  Always snapping my fingers to awaken my own daughter when I saw her daydreaming, carried over to snapping my dance students awake during class.  It is so easy to drift off under the blanket of sleep and only a constant reminder to wake up will give a child the tools to one day jolt themselves awake.


To be alert, to keep our minds where our bodies are, to remember ourselves, are basic inner-life concepts that even very young children can comprehend.  They love being snapped awake!  To them it becomes a fun game and they enjoy it.  They understand the difference between being awake and asleep.  Many times a little person caught me asleep and giggled after saying, “Wake up Miss Amy!”  A slightly humiliating experience for any adult but that humiliation is outweighed by the ultimate reward of knowing that little child was conscious enough to see MY sleep and snap me awake.  Thank you little ones.


Why not plant these ideas in children so that later in life, when they are driving a car at 70mph down the freeway, they are less likely to drift off into a daydream and not remember driving the last 10 miles? In awareness is safety. What better lesson to give any child than teaching them about awareness?  Yes, proper execution of a pirouette and a grand jete’ are essential lessons in ballet class, but adding awareness on top of that is icing on the cake.


For me, the first step in Raising A Conscious Child, is to notice them asleep and with a snap of my fingers and a cheery voice say, “wake up!”  They’re smart.  They feel the contrast between being gone in a daydream/unconscious stupor versus the energy and brightness of being snapped into a state of awareness.  My dance students loved my description of being “gone” as being in Lala Land. With the world going a million miles an hour in all directions, with electronics that steal children’s souls, with sleep dominating most everyone, it is imperative to share Right inner-life principles with children.  We, as adults who are trying to be conscious, are their first line of defense against the tsunami of sleep that is awaiting them IF they don’t have the rescue of Awareness in their Spiritual Toolkit.


Love the Light and Remember Yourself,

Amy Arnaz



I grew up in Las Vegas and received my initial 10 years of ballet training from Christina Carson.  I met Bunny Hull in ballet class when we were 7 years old and we have remained friends our entire lives.  After summer study at the Joffrey School in NYC and dancing with the San Diego Ballet Company and Nevada Dance Theatre, I opened my own ballet school in Boulder City, NV and owned it for almost 30 years.  My husband, Desi Arnaz Jr., and I purchased and renovated the Historic Boulder Theatre which was built in 1933.  The theatre is now home to non-profit Boulder City Ballet Company which Desi and I founded in 1997. Besides dedicating her life to her ballet students, Amy also works with the Las Vegas Valley Humane Society in their TNR program (trap-neuter-release) to control the feral cat colonies living in our neighborhood.  She has one daughter, Haley, who also loves ballet.  She loves working with children and living in small town America with 5 cats and their scruffy dog, Jelly.

In the featured photo:  Amy and daughter, Haley