Thursday, November 29, 2012

Six Gifts to Enhance a Child's Resilience

Dear Friends,

     Thank you very much to everyone who attended our GSB Developmental Coffee on "Six Gifts to Enhance a Child's Resilience."  We appreciated you taking the time to come and speak with us.  Our conversations are so important as we are continually learning from each other.  Below is some of the information we spoke about at our workshop.

Thank you so much for being with us!
Best wishes for a wonderful day!
Kimberly Borin

Playful Elements for Resilience
Photo by Kimberly Ann Borin, Copyright 2012
     In our discussion we explored an article called, "Six Gifts to Make Your Children Strong."  This article, written by Ruth Stafford Peale, was condensed from The Saturday Evening Post for Reader's Digest.  In the article they discuss six gifts that help children become more resilient in the world.  The six included:
Self- Confidence
Resilient Moments

Simple ideas for “bouncing back” included:
Enhance your child’s self-confidence…
Validate their strengths
Affirm their ability to learn something new and to strengthen new skills
Help them to make connections between skills they are learning now and those they can use later
Strengthen your child’s resilience in easy ways…
Affirm moments of strength and resilience (the ability to “bounce back”)
Ask them to note times when they have overcome a difficulty and were stronger because of it.
Ask them to help others undergoing a difficult time
Bring hope and positive thinking…
Life affirming words
Challenging a negative viewpoint – thinking positively and creatively
Help children feel calm and centered by using...
Awareness and mindfulness
Simple stretching and moving

Helpful Websites:
Goldfish Website:
Video on Resilience:
Dr. Robert Brooks:
Celebrate Life-Long Learning Blog Posts on Resilience:

Children’s Books On Resilience:
Owen and Mzee by Isabella and Craig Hatkoff with a discussion about resilience for the book at:
Looking for Miza, The True Story of the Mountain Gorilla Family Who Rescued One of Their Own, Told by Juliana Hatkoff, Isabella Hatkoff, Craig Hatkoff and Dr. Paula Kahumbu
Nubs, The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine and a Miracle by Major Brian Dennis, Kirby Larson and Mary Nethery
Christian the Lion by Anthony (Ace) Bourke and John Rendall
Molly the Pony by Pam Kaster
Knut, How One Little Polar Bear Captivated the World, Told by Juliana Hatkoff, Isabella Hatkoff, Craig Hatkoff and Dr. Gerald R. Uhlich
Winter's Tail, How One Little Dolphin Learned to Swim Again, Told by Juliana Hatkoff, Isabella Hatkoff, and Craig Hatkoff
Tiger Pups by Tom and Allie Harvey
Tarra & Bella, The Elephant and Dog Who Became Best Friends by Carol Buckley
Oh the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss

-Christine Gorman, "The Importance of Resilience", Time, January 17, 2005.
-Karen Reivich, "What a Soldier Taught Me", from:, Retrieved on 11/14/2012.
-Kristin Bock, "The Think-Positive Plan", Family Fun Magazine, March 2010.
-National Public Radio Staff, "'Children Succeed' With Character, Not Test Scores", Morning Edition, September 4, 2012, from:, Retrieved on 11/27/2012.
-Paul Tough, How Children Succeed, excerpt from:, Retrieved on 11/27/2012.
-Ruth Stafford Peale, "Six Gifts to Make Your Children Strong", The Saturday Evening Post,  June/July 1974, Reprinted for Readers Digest.

“LIFE is not about how fast you run or how high you CLIMB but how well you BOUNCE.”
-A sign found in the Country House Calalog.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Top Ten Ideas for Relaxation

Top Ten Ideas for Relaxation...

1.  Start with an awareness how you are feeling -  Notice how you are feeling in mind, body, and spirit.
2.  Drink water - Sipping water throughout the day can help you feel more relaxed and alert.
3.  Notice your posture - Notice how you are sitting throughout the day.  Just taking a moment to sit up tall and take a deep breath can help you to feel more relaxed.
4.  Try simple breathing techniques - Throughout the day become aware of your breathing.  Try to pay attention to your breath and allow your exhale to be a little bit longer.  This will help you to feel more relaxed.
5.  Tensing and relaxing muscles - When we are stressed we carry a great deal of muscle tension in our body.  Taking a moment or two to tense shoulders and arms and then relaxing can help to relieve stress.
6. Use your imagination - Take a moment to think about something pleasant, or imagine yourself being happy, and a great success.  This subtle shift will allow you to feel more positive instantly.
7.  Speak kindly of yourself - Take a moment to notice the your self-talk and see if you can shift it to be more positive.  Our words have power and this can make a good difference in how we feel!
8.  Ask for help - Be sure to reach out to others if you need anything at all.  Knowing that you are not alone allows us to feel less stressed.
9.  Laugh when you can - This brings great energy to our mind, body and spirit and can shift how we feel in an instant.
10.  Rest - Take the time you need to rest and to get enough sleep.  Sleep is a great healer and strengthener and can help us to handle stress too. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Mindfulness Video for Children

Dear Friends,

Here is a very simple video that talks about the power of mindfulness for children.  It offers a very simple illustration of what happens when we are stressed or nervous or thinking about too many things. It tells how simple breathing and being present can help all of our thoughts (and our nervous system) calm down and bring us to a more peaceful and grounded place.  It is a short video but quite lovely.

Here is the link:

Wishing you much peace,
Kimberly Borin

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Writing as a Family

Dear Friends,

We know that you may be spending a great deal of time together as a family over the last few days.  This time can be a found opportunity to do some writing together.  Below are some simple ideas taken from the book, Families Writing by Peter R. Stillman.  You may want to look over the list to see if any of these ideas seem appealing to you.  It could be the start of a new family tradition or a even a simple way to pass the time.  They suggest some of the following:
  • Create a family journal - write simple passages, glue in tickets, cards or special notes.
  • Interview each other with some simple questions like:  What is your favorite story about courage?  or Were there any major historical or weather events that affected you?  What were they and how did they affect you?  Who is your favorite hero and why?  What are the dreams you have for your life (no matter how old you are)?
  • Gather favorite family recipes in a box or a book.
  • Write a letter to your future self and save it for later.
  • Create a family collage of favorite pictures, sayings, and memories.
  • Write a poem together - serious or silly.
  • Create a collection of family doodles.  (Why not?)
  • Create a family cartoon series.
  • Write a story together with each person adding on as you go.
  • Write an encouraging letter to someone who is affected by the storm.  Your words matter!
  • Create some simple pictures together with crayons, paint, colored pencils - or even finger paint!
  • Create a gratitude list of all of the things are you grateful for and save it to read at a special meal.
Have fun!
See you soon!
Hoping you are warm, safe, and dry - and together with your family!
Most Sincerely,
Kimberly Borin

Monday, November 5, 2012

Top 10 Ideas to Strengthen Reading Comprehension

10 Ideas to Strengthen Reading Comprehension

1.    Understand as a reader what you should be doing before, during and after reading. (see other blog posts on this topic)

2.    Locate and define unknown words.

3.    As you read take notes or write comments in the margins.

4.    Ask questions to clarify understanding.

5.    Fill in a graphic organizer with important information or design a supportive visual.

6.    Read aloud or listen to book on tape.

7.    Try to visualize what you are reading about.

8.    Stop and think – don’t continue if you do not understand the material.

9.    Constantly check for understanding.

10. Discuss the information with others.

Life 101 and The Superstorm Curriculum

Dear Friends,

We hope that this e-mail finds you, your family, and all of those you care about doing well.  If you can read this, you may have access to the internet or better yet, electricity, water, and heat.  We are thinking of you during this difficult and trying time, and sending you good wishes.

We know that even though many students may or may not be in school, they are certainly learning a lot.  As a matter of fact we are all learning a lot.  At the moment, we are all part of a class called, Life 101 and learning from The Superstorm Curriculum.  Below I explore this new class and curriculum in the following ways:

Curriculum and Class
The Gifts of Learning
The Superstorm Curriculum in Life 101 Class
The Gifts of Learning from The Superstorm Curriculum in Life 101 Class

Curriculum and Class
We know that curriculum shows up in lots of different ways.  Sometimes, curriculum shows up in a certain subject (math, english, social studies, macroeconomics), sometimes a certain level (like AP, Honors, or Elective), and sometimes as a class, group project or an independent study.  Sometimes, we sign up for the course because we choose to learn about a certain topic, sometimes the class is a requirement. Other times, we are signed up for the class, and it is chosen for us.

The Gifts of Learning
We know that as we are learning there are many gifts.  We can trust that along the way, we are not alone and we are all learning together.  There are many other gifts for us and others, moments of hope, and friendships.

We can bet that in our new class, Life 101, there are students of all ages, teachers of all ages, and everyone else too.  We are in this class together with a challenging curriculum, and we will help each other learn new things.  We will also come out stronger, smarter, compassionate, and more resilient than we were before.

The Superstorm Curriculum in Life 101 Class
The Superstorm Curriculum in the class of Life 101 - may have shown up for you in lots of different ways.  Perhaps the subjects are no longer math or social studies but something different.  Perhaps you are learning about: Weather, Cutting Down Trees, Living without Electricity, Learning How to Layer Clothes, Learning How to Help Others, Learning How to Live With Others, Learning How to Stand Patiently in Line for Water or Gas, or How to Care for Those Who Are Hurting.

Maybe the level of the your Life 101 class with the Superstorm Curriculum is easy, or interesting, or more like an elective class.  Maybe you have been placed in a situation that has been more trying or challenging.  Perhaps you were placed into the Advanced Placement Storm Survival Class or the Honors Class in Developing Grace Under Pressure or maybe even another kind of class that is offering you a more challenging curriculum than you have dealt with before.  Maybe you are learning all of these things as an independent study or maybe you are learning them with strangers you have met in the gas line or even family members.

Maybe you are happy to be learning, much like you would feel if you had chosen the class.  Perhaps you are in a situation where you didn't want to or didn't choose to take the class you are in.  Perhaps these are not the subjects, or the level of class that you wanted to take.  Perhaps you are in an Advanced Placement Resiliency class but you only felt prepared for the College Preparatory Resiliency Class.

The Gifts of Learning from The Superstorm Curriculum in Life 101 Class
No matter what situation you are in: the subject you are learning, the level of the class, the choices you've made, or those that have been given to you; you are not alone and we are all learning together.  You can trust that there are gifts within your learning too.  You can trust that there are millions of students and teachers learning with you, sharing in the victories of learning, and sharing in the difficulties of learning too.

What you are learning today, in this particular situation will be a gift to many people, perhaps for the rest of your life.  Trust that all you are learning can help others and can help you too as you travel in life and bring your gifts, strengths, and talents to fruition.  Trust that you will be given many gifts along the way too.  Perhaps you will receive gifts of insight, inspiration, patience, courage or the chance to rest.

Trust also that there are surprises, miracles, and even moments of hope that show up in ways and at times that you may not expect it.  Be open to those moments, and share them with those around you.  Your hope, positive outlook, and inspiration matters to others more than you know.

You may find during these days that you are making new friends, or renewing friendships, or strengthening the relationships you already have.  You can trust that friendships will show up at just the perfect moment.  As you are learning, you will also provide friendship to others offering them hope, on their journey.

Remember that you are not alone, we are all in it together and we learn from each other, all of the time.  Trust that you have already earned an A+ in Life 101 class.  Know that you are stronger, smarter, compassionate, and more resilient than you were before.  When you return to school, let us know about all that you have been learning, we would love to hear about it.  We will learn from you too.

We are sending you good thoughts and look forward to being with you soon!

Most Sincerely,
Kimberly Borin

P.S. Trust in your own resilience.  You are a gift!