How to Be Close to Your Friends

Children and families are more connected and are working together. Similarly, Nicholes said that both her home garden and the We Sow, We Grow community farm are places her family can spend time together without planned activities. I do think that in society, we're losing that ability to have togetherness …

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How to Have More Life in Your Time

Folks now realize that our space is a safe place for them to come and talk and be curious without feeling like they're being a burden on anyone, she said. For people to see folks smack-dab in the middle of the city, growing food, their curiosity gets the better of …

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Is That Clear?

I've never seen spinach or lettuce ripped so thoroughly. Each time the salad spinner or glass jar came around, they put some serious muscle into it. As the kids prepped each ingredient, they tossed it into a big bowl, combining it into one giant salad. As we finished, the instructors …

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Necessary Conflict

Empowered by having real tools, the kids went to town. We next moved on to kale, the much-maligned hipster green. But we were going to do something a little different here. Do we eat flowers? When the kids looked confused, she said, We can eat these! Pick two yellow kale …

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Personality Myth

Having searched for flowers, it was time for us to plant our own. Gathering the kids around an empty patch of dirt, the instructor knelt down with a trowel. Just dig up a little bit of dirt, she said as she pushed some soil aside. Take a few flower seeds …

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Suggestive Moves

In a long-term garden project, there's even less immediate gratification. There's also something nice about gardening that it's kind of time released in terms of your experience of it, said Fisher, talking about his experience at Life Lab and his son's school garden. It's a different way to experience things …

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Take the Sting Out of It

In the Youth Garden's Green Ambassadors program for high school students, participants cook a meal each Friday for the entire staff with produce from the garden. Building Relationships and Service to Others With the food eaten and the program over, it was time to go home. But I still had …

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To Zip or Not to Zip

The kids are interested in different varieties of tomatoes and ask questions about whether they're heat resistant or not--an essential characteristic during hot Chicago summers. She said, I'm loving the fact that the kids are thinking about their food in a different way. But also learning to love what they …

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We're Family

She saw the effects gardening had on the women: it helped them reduce their stress levels, develop more empathy, and manage their anger. A lot of them saw significant changes in themselves as a result of participating in the gardening project, she said. Many of the women applied the ideas …

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Attitudes and Kin

But we had a workshop to get to. Not right now--afterwards, I promise, I said, hoping that I'd remember to follow up. He ran through the paths ahead of me. We passed by a huge painted monarch butterfly, groups of green plants, and a wooden insect hotel. The main gathering …

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Confidence With People

All of this sounded pretty damn amazing to me. Fortunately the Washington Youth Garden offers weekend workshops to local families. My kids got psyched for the workshop on pollinators. Our garden is fine, but someone else's garden with games and activities? As Slimey the worm from Sesame Street is three-year-old …

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E-Squared

Handing each kid an empty egg carton, the instructor said, Find up to twelve different colors of flowers. Roaming the space, the kids kept a look out for a variety of colors. Among the green leaves, picking out purple, red, yellow, and white flowers took a keen eye and close …

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Here Comes the Judge

Gardening is a holdover from my own childhood, when I spent hours upon hours messing around in the dirt. While my mom tended to her flowers, I gathered weeds to make magical potions. Entire worlds existed only in my head and backyard. As an adult I moved onto growing my …

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How to Find a Lifemate

Nodding, the teacher responded, These are all things that plants that use wind for pollination do. Farmers plant corn close together. Trees produce a lot of pollen, which is why we sneeze in the springtime. Throughout the activity, the kids were totally engaged. They definitely learned more about pollination techniques …

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Make Your Own Labels

I dropped the ball far more than the kids did. After we mostly accomplished our task, the teachers gathered us up again. We know that bees can pollinate. What else can help pollinate? Kids shouted out various answers, including other insects and animals. Eventually, one landed on the answer the …

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Personal Propaganda

They also talked about how they could use their skills to solve issues in their own neighborhoods. The researchers reported that the garden program seemed to help students feel more in control of their learning, particularly those who may have been told in the past that they weren't good at …

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Play Yourself Down

Although it was surrounded by a tall chain-link fence to keep deer out, a wide gate beckoned us in. Before entering, the teacher gave us a refresher on what is and isn't proper garden behavior. She emphasized the need to act gently toward all living creatures, both plants and animals …

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The Conflict of Honesty

If they don't protect it from frost, it will die. Unfortunately that love can come with disappointment. Studer talked about how in the Washington Youth Garden's Garden Science partnership schools, elementary school students started seeds and couldn't take care of them over a school break. No one came in to …

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The Power of Listening

Buying from local farmers allows you to ask those questions and make better decisions for yourself. Even when local farmers aren't following full organic regulations, they often use integrated pest management or other techniques that limit the application of pesticides and herbicides. Buying from nearby farms also cuts down on …

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An Island of Order in a Sea of Chaos

Everyone--kids included--tries to get these psychological needs met. But sometimes how they do it is immoral or self-destructive. Meeting these needs internally through self-growth is better for everyone. As children grow up, parents can help meet those needs in healthy ways as well as teach their children how to fulfill …

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Complaint Compunctions

He handed it to me, saying, Here, Mommy. Standing up from my tiny chair, I took the flower and smiled. Thanks, honey. I looked at the text, written in the preschool teacher's neat handwriting. That's what he loves about me? Not what I would have expected. The brain is happy …

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How to Avoid Feeling Socially Awkward

We can't make plants grow, but we can provide them with the right environment to do so. While plants need soil, air, water, and sun, children need a loving home, good role models, and opportunities to learn these skills and values. For the sake of ourselves and our families, we …

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The Samurai Effect

Social orientation enables us to form relationships with other people; Resilience makes it possible for people to deal with problems, overcome barriers, and see problems as opportunities for growth instead of blame. People with resilience can take stress that would otherwise be toxic and make it tolerable. Optimism enables us …

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The Shortest Distance

In contrast, the students with a growth mindset actually had their grades improve over the same period of time. Similarly children who received coaching about a growth mindset improved their test scores and motivation, no matter what kind of mindset they started with. Dealing with challenging issues often involves intense …

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Thousand Watt Bulb

Psychology consistently shows that lives based on meeting external standards make kids less happy, less able to learn life skills, and less likely to form healthy relationships. In fact young people from upper-middle-class and upper-class families have similar rates of behavioral and emotional problems as low-income youth, even though they …

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Unnatural Acts

As parents actively listen and appreciate their children's point of view, children learn empathy. Having a stable, committed, and close relationship with an adult is key to developing personal resilience. Caring relationships can counterbalance stressful situations and help children learn how to manage stress. As children get older, authoritative parents …

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Work is Good Therapy

Parents can teach most of these skills without a hint of environmental concern. But many actions that are environmentally sustainable also fulfill children's psychological needs or teach them the skills and values needed to be a moral person. While the follow-on effects of growing your own food, walking places, saving …

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Your Inner Guide to Self-Esteem

Even if we could, it wouldn't be good for them. If we devoted everything to them, they would never gain independence or understand anyone outside of themselves. Similarly we can't be perfectly environmentally sustainable. It's not physically possible and would quickly lead to burnout. Collaborating with and relying on others …

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Life is a Meditation

This answer baffled me. No one else found themselves torn like I was? I wrestled with this for months. What were they doing right that I wasn't? One day as I read a parenting article, it hit me. I closed the article and blinked. Physically, their metabolic rates slowed over …

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Play the Game

Bizarrely, society often sets up these goals as polar opposites. It dangles the promise that our children will be happy if we do everything we can to get them the best, whether that's the best kindergarten teacher or college. But when people who already have much more than others fight …

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Vocabulary Raises

But perhaps I was being overly optimistic without any proof. Can green living really be better for your family, society, and Earth at the same time? Cultivating Kindness Guys, stop, I said, dragging out the second word as I walked up to the couch. My kids were sitting not just …

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A Lasting State of Feeling Great

And they both work in your office. And have matching coffee mugs with love hearts on them. And the urge to throw staplers is irrepressible. And your heart still gently aches for them, despite all of this. Doesn't matter. Finding the strength to be elegant and detached (and forgiving too …

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Burn Your Own BTUs

We should learn to harness the pressure we experience at work to motivate us, get organized, concentrate better, and work faster. By leaving the drudgery to digital technology, we can focus on the most creative and interesting aspects of our work--and of our lives. More than anything, productivity is a …

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How to Earn More Money

We're still together but I still can't shake the feeling of betrayal. I love him but am questioning whether it's enough. I'm lost on what to do. Annoyingly, even though your fella created this mess, it's ultimately you who has to clean it up. The administering of second chances in …

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Taking Credit

You have my sympathy, because break-ups suck, but you do not have my pity. There is a risk I am hurling this advice at you prematurely (and entirely unsolicited - actually, no, that's a certainty), because you're still dealing with the enormity of your love choosing to be not with you …

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The Spirit of the Games

There are two reasons why we have a tendency to say yes to everyone. The first is that our personal objectives aren't defined clearly enough. Without precise objectives, you become passively vulnerable to the countless demands placed on your time. In addition, the only measure of progress you have is …

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The Trouble With Troublemakers

Like feelings, any belief can lead to joyous and productive emotions, but only if we are willing to reframe destructive beliefs so they support unity and oneness rather than separation and discord. There are six categories of misperceptions that lead us astray and damage our emotional borders. These involve issues …

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Wasting Time the Old-Fashioned Way

David Allen, author of the bestselling Getting Things Done came up with a simple yet powerful strategy he calls the Two-Minute Rule. Given the number of entrepreneurs that brought it up during our research, it's well worth looking into. It's simple: if a task on your to-do list will take …

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