Steps: From Soul-Sick to Soul-Healthy

(This is part 2 of a 2-Part article. Read Part 1 first ) I was soul-sick. No doubt about it. When I should have been bonding with my mother as an infant, she was nurturing her career and I was left with a babysitter & bottle. When I could have turned to her for...

“Soul Sickness Killed Off My Entire Family”…But What Is It ?

What is soul sickness? Let’s start by defining soul-health and work backwards. According to soul-guru —  and Oprah’s good friend — Gary Zukov, the soul is a nurturer, soother, and provider of life energy. And when one connects with this source, well-being and a direction in life will flow like a leaf falling into a stream....

Dragon Free Zone

I’m part of a spiritual program that’s helps me abstain from destructive substances because “There Be Dragons” waiting off the edge of that map, and that dragon already ate my entire family, so I’m pretty sure he’s licking his chops waiting patiently to finish off the meal. And yet, even though I’ve been practicing...

She Is Not A Gift – Girl Scouts Dry-Up Holiday Brainwashing

She’s lovely, innocent, and deserves to enjoy a developmentally appropriate holiday free of un-wanted touch, and yet that human right is often undermined by “socially accepted” norms. In an article about brainwashing,  the writer Julia Layton states, In psychology, the study of brainwashing, often referred to as thought reform, falls into the sphere of “social...

Moth Story Slam: “Pussy Bushes”

In one of my first posts of the school year, I discussed how we as educators each find our tipping point for intolerable acts regarding children. At the end of the article I described the tensions of being mixed-race during the start of school integration, and a heinous situation that developed for me. Not...

Refuse the Shame, Break the Silence

If you’re a woman you’ve probably had your Harvey Weinstein moment, and you probably didn’t report your abuser. I get it. After my attempt to garner help from a perp-supporting yard teacher failed miserably, I gave up believing by seven years old, that I had any right to safety. In fact I came to...

Healing PTSD: Too Late For My Brother

(Link to Ken Burns Documentary on Vietnam) Periodically my brother sent photos home to assure my mother that he was alive, and his selection of photos reveals a lot. This picture of him with prostitutes is the most normal thing he could come up with during his second combat tour. And sadly, when he...

Gun Legacy, Gun Lessons

My great uncles on my mother’s side were small time crooks who used guns to rob the local armory. My father adopted the attitude that guns were manly and virtuous — if used correctly (I grew up with a loaded gun in the house). So after adopting my brother Larry, he took his new...

Brain Break

Yesterday’s post was heavy, so today I’m going to give my brain, and your brain a spa day with some humor. Humor also helps the brain regulate…dopamine levels, reports a Stanford research team in the December 4, 2003, issue of the journal Neuron. Dopamine, also known as “the reward hormone,” is a neurotransmitter that...

Grief: Breaking the Taboo

I wasn’t sure for a moment whether to laugh or cry because I failed to save a draft before an “open-tab-over-load” forced me to reboot. Thanks (or maybe no thanks) to Google docs my brain now assumes everything is being backed up automatically, so my heart raced when I realized this platform was different....

Feeling More Black

When I was transitioning from teacher to administrator, I took a year long position in a wealthy suburban district at a pay-cut because they were going to give me leadership opportunities, and mentoring. But it turned out it also meant working with an all White staff — the kind of friendly oblivious racists I’ve...

Segregation By “Choice?”

(This is my yearbook photo from 9th grade) Berkeley Unified was one of the first districts in the country to integrate “by choice”. That sounds terrific — they didn’t need a court to order them to do, but as I’ve mentioned in my post: Reality Check https://mixedgirlsurvivalschool.com/reality-check/ Even though the buses brought the Black children...

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Affect All of US

This post is a link-fest that provides critical research on why children act-out, are checked-out, or even drop-out of school. Keep in mind, that information about ACEs is not limited to children’s behavior and physiology, but also why parents, teachers, and other educators can be more prone to stress related illness, depression, alcoholism —...

Equity vs. Equality — The College Edition

(None of My Brothers or Sister Went College…and that is Truly a Shame) The only stress that rivals back-to-school time, is apply-to-college time. For some families college applications are the culmination of a decade (or more) of preparation, for others, it’s a last-minute gut-slam. So as the appointments with school counselors are made, as...

Cultural Continuity: A Interesting Concept…Hard to Execute

(The teacher I needed would have looked like this) I have to give kudos to WestEd’s Center for Child and Family Studies as a forerunner in embracing  — against the social trend — the concept of “Cultural Continuity”.Their research supported the fact that Hispanic Caregivers provided better care for Hispanic infants/toddlers, African American Caregivers...

From A Share Cropping Field to Stanford University

(My Father is on the far left of the back row) In some families everyone is a cop, or a doctor, or in the military. Well, teacher-families are a thing too. My children’s grandmother, grandfather, and mother all joined the education corps – so to speak. I can’t make parking tickets go away, but...

Saving Graces, and The Crayfish Break Through

Thankfully there are people who provide disparity for children who are marginalized. Some teachers, who are “naturals”, notice, relate, and provide connections even while plowing ahead with the curriculum. Sometimes these school-saviors wear a custodial uniform, arrives on nursing rounds, man the main office, coach a team after school, or they may even be...

Learning, Learning, and More Learning – But Learning What?

Studies on brain development in children, verify that younger brains gather, categorize, and build on information (what we refer to as learning) at exponential rates compared to adults. In addition to learning how to talk, walk, eat with utensils, ties shoes, use the potty, etc. children are learning who to trust, or not trust....

Reality Check

Lovely bulletin boards, PTA fundraisers, and singing kids at assemblies aside: let us not be fooled…shit-showness is always present to one degree or another. I support public education. Yes. I. DO. But the problems that schools have are the same problems that the country has. So unless America is going away, public schools can’t...

The First Day of School – The March Begins

It’s here…FINALLY! The fashion show of new outfits, the chatter on the playground, the hugging of friends reunited — all of these eternal rituals unfold as the clock ticks down to the first bell of the 2017-2018 school year. Students’ anxiety, which hit when the first back to school commercial began airing, subsides as...