Too Gifted: when it’s not a back-door brag

January 23, 2015

One of my favorite lines form “30 Rock” is when Jenna tries to explain the concept of back-door bragging, giving this example: It’s hard for me to watch ‘American Idol’ because I have perfect pitch. And so it might seem when parents of a profoundly gifted child talk about the problems they have finding the right stimulation, peer groups, and emotional support for their child who, from the outside, is just “too perfect” for everyday life. But the concerns are just as deep, and at times frustrating or painful, for parents of the profoundly gifted as they are for the rest of us. At the end of the day, we all want our children to reach their individual potentials for… Read More


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What are you teaching your children about hard work?

January 16, 2015

A few days ago, thanks to Twitter, I stumbled upon an article on the Little League official website that shared an interview with Charles Jeter, the father of the former Yankee shortstop. I don’t often spend my time reading about Derek Jeter. Really, I don’t. Not even in the checkout lines. I also confess that I am much more likely to be sitting in a theater than on the bleachers at a little league game. But the first tip the post shared from Charles Jeter, based on an interview he’d done for Growing Leaders president Tim Elmore, was this: “Never let anyone outwork you. Derek said he watched his dad work relentlessly as a substance abuse counselor. He never claimed… Read More


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The Newest Bloggers on the Block

January 9, 2015

Watch out, there are some new bloggers hitting the scene. They blog about soccer, gymnastics and toys. And they are really good at integrating photos into their posts. And they are six years old. When I was in first grade, I think my primary tools were pencils, some paste, and maybe a very blunt pair of scissors. My first grader types on a Mac and reads and comments on her classmates’ posts using an iPad. Sometimes it feels like the educational environment our children are in moves at the speed of light. And it begs the question: is this a good thing? I am not prepared to argue the deeper question about screen time. Many parents I’ve spoken with bring… Read More


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Keep that Elf on the Shelf

December 24, 2014

A few years ago, I interviewed the British Philosopher Alain de Botton for my Lunch Box Mom blog and asked him if it was ethical for me to use Santa and his “nice list” as a way to motivate my children to behave.  My kids, as many of yours, are no longer firm believers in Santa, but a variation of the question pops up in other aspects of parenting. Maybe it’s the Dean’s List, and not Santa’s list, and maybe the rewards are privileges instead of presents, but the fundamental idea of using an outside arbiter and the promise of something good in exchange for particular behavior is the same. Here is a reposting of the philosopher’s view on the… Read More


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Study This: Meditation

December 20, 2014

In her book, Sitting Still Like a Frog, therapist Eline Snel discusses a school program called Mindfulness Matters that she conducted with three hundred children and twelve teachers. The group had a thirty-minute mindfulness session once per week, and each day after held ten-minute practice sessions. This continued for the entire year. Snel writes, “Both students and teachers responded with enthusiasm and noticed positive changes, such as a calmer atmosphere in the classroom, better concentration, and more openness. The kids became kinder to themselves and others, more confident, and less judgmental.” When I bring up the topics of yoga and mediation to some of my friends, I am often met with the response, “That won’t make me relax.” And I… Read More


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