Teaching Consent

Twenty years ago, when I was a Gender Studies major, long before my children were born, I had already started thinking about the great honor and responsibility of teaching my kids, daughters and sons, about consent. I was imagining a future when boys and men know the importance, and understand how to listen to girls and women’s words, as well as the silent language of our bodies. I was hoping for a future where girls and women think our voices and opinions mean something, and Continue reading →

The Right Kind of Help

“Teacher Jocelyn, can you help me?” Kids ask for help many times a day, for all kinds of reasons. Sometimes the task they need to do is too physically difficult for them to manage at the age and stage they are,  like putting doll clothes over stiff little doll arms,  or manipulating scissors to cut paper. At other times, kids ask for help in order to respect our limits, when in actuality, they are capable of doing the task on their own.  Examples of this Continue reading →

The Lesson I’m Still Learning

The other day, my kids and I were at a friend’s house. My daughter came to sit at the table and eat a snack while the other kids were playing. After a minute, a child who lives there came up behind her, furious, glaring over her unknowing shoulder. We adults saw the problem. She had sat in his special chair. Everybody knows that’s his chair. It always is. Before he was able to convey his feelings to my daughter, I quickly reflected what I saw Continue reading →

It Came Out of Nowhere!

  As adults, we often find ourselves being called to join kids in play when suddenly we hear, “Hey, stop!”, or, worse, surprised crying. Kids who, moments ago, appeared immersed in joyful cooperative play, are now facing off over some angry gesture. Imagine this is you. These children were in the middle of some kind of game that everyone was enjoying, and now one child is crying. What happened? What do you do? Say you go over there and the crying child says, “She hit Continue reading →

Understanding Shame, in “No, David!”

  I don’t like to read the book, “No, David!”, by David Shannon. I can’t stand to hear myself in that grouchy mom having to face cleaning up another huge mess. But kids love it. They want to read it over and over. Kids understand why the mommy is yelling at little David, and they listen intently, scandalized. They understand quite well that his behavior is unacceptable.   When a kid does something that another kid doesn’t like, very often the kid knew that the other Continue reading →