Letter From Publisher

Living Ethics School: The Alternative to Institutionalized Learning

By Marteé Davis

cs_leschool-img_1-2080-adjParents that seek alternatives to standardized education may choose to homeschool or embrace a different, more social approach to learning. Vicki Johnston, the founder of Living Ethics School (LES) says, “When I was 9 years old, I was unhappy when my fourth grade teacher shook her finger at a boy. Right then and there, I decided to grow up to be a ‘nice’ teacher. In seventh grade, a wonderful teacher, Mrs. Trader, encouraged creative writing, class plays and fun, hands-on projects; she served as inspiration for the kind of teacher I would become.”

 

 

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letter from publisher

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Reviewing our articles for this month’s edition, I found myself reflecting upon Brené Brown’s article “Be True to Yourself: It’s the Secret to Belonging.” As the child of a military officer, we moved a fair bit. I’ve lived a fairly broad social and socioeconomic experience, and I’m not sure which came first; my nature to be comfortable within a wide variety of groups or whether moving made me comfortable doing so. My mom says I never gave moving much of a thought—it wasn’t stressful to me—just new experiences and new friends to make.

Throughout my journey, I have known people in all walks of life who seem to be just what Brown is talking about. While I am not the judge and jury of who is or is not grounded in their true self, I know I have and still do encounter people that just don’t feel grounded to me. I’m not saying they have to be like me or that they aren’t good, nice, enjoyable people; it’s just that they don’t have an earthy, organic feel to whatever it is they are. Just the way a butterfly may bring lightness and color, a buffalo brings ruggedness and strength or a snake brings grace and speed, it’s not what they are but how they are.

Like a glass menagerie, we are all fragile, unique and imperfect. But as we go through life, we have the opportunity to really learn, connect and better ourselves, if and when we are honest with others and about ourselves, not looking for them to validate us by being just like us.

I don’t collect things, but I do collect people, you might say. Some of my favorite people to spend time with are people that would not be a “match” for me if you put our traits, hobbies, political or religious beliefs on paper. But their calm confidence allows for an appreciation of our differences and an opportunity to learn and grow.

Let me take a moment tlfp-pic-adjo give a quick shout-out to a few long-time members of my menagerie: my Executive-Cowboy, Girl Scout-Scientist, Yogi-Ninja, Gentle-Trooper, Artist-Minister, Victorian-Freespirit, Republitarian- Buddha and of course, my Winking Sherpa; thank you all for being you and allowing me to be me. All of you contribute immensely to this world; you make me smile, you make me better and I’m blessed to have you in my life.

To anyone out there not feeling like they fit in, you do. Just as all the elements of Earth and sky form the amazing universe, you too, have a place. Perhaps you’re just claiming your “place” by living your true self—inwardly and outwardly. I encourage you to let go of doubts and be accepting and loving of yourself and others. Give grace—even to yourself, and know that we all are doing the best we can for where we are on our journey—and that’s just perfect.

Marteé Davis, Publisher

letter from publisher

martee davis picThis month’s theme is Enlightened Parenting, and writer Meredith Montgomery discusses methods such as establishing values and hummingbird (not helicopter) parenting, disciplined and calm communication and learning from our kids. As I reviewed her feature article, I reflected upon some of my own experiences and thoughts about parenting—for example, the importance of taking time to be a conscious and active parent. From the moment our precious bundles of joy arrive, the clock is ticking. We only have so long to give them a solid foundation, impart the knowledge they’ll need and the values required to know how to interpret, prioritize and act upon all that data, help them build skills, confidence and purpose, model the parenting we would want our child to become to our grandkids and give them opportunities to learn and test it all through trial and error in a safe (at least monitored) environ- ment before successfully launching into full self-reliance. That’s a lot of stuff to pack into a relatively short amount of time, and it’s why parenting is not a passive thing. For me, daily reflection upon the trajectory that the effects my methods seem to be having on my child help me be more present and strategic, and that helps me feel more confident in “where we are going” and stay connected with the long-term goal. Another thing we run into in our home is how different my husband and I can be, and how that may put stress or confusion onto our son. One thing I have found is that rather than defending my way first, I always make an effort to first remind our son how differences are good, because they help us be more balanced, healthy and strong. When those differences are pointed up by some event or situ- ation, I first lovingly give insight into why “dad’s” perspective is valid and a good idea, and discuss some of the benefits of doing things his way. I then spend equal time sharing my way as another option and explain some of the benefits I see in doing it that way. I keep it short and sweet, and always end by reminding our son that I love dad immensely and to me, his differences are some of the things that attracted me to him, and that being married helps us balance each other and makes us a stronger team. The idea is that going forward, our son knows that differences are okay, that they can be a valuable part of a relation- ship and that he is able to make his own choices, blending what he learns from each of us to become the man he wants to be. Before I was a parent, I had absolutely no clue as to what all is involved in raising a child. Now I think it’s not so much raising a child as it is helping a new adult to form. Focusing on the “child” part seems to be focusing only on the now, whereas keeping an eye on his adulthood keeps he and I focused on the end goal—a healthy, happy, productive and loving adult who can contribute to society, be connected to God and, in turn, be a loving parent and counselor to his own “future adults” (children) one day.

With gratitude to all the parents before me who did their best,

Marteé Davis, Publisher

Letter From Publisher – January 2013

This season of the year is inspirational for so many reasons—big holiday dinners, extra kickback time with the family, reminiscing with friends about stories long forgotten, thankfulness for God’s blessings and for living in a free, democratic country. With all of that, one personal tradition has resonated with me in January

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Letter From Publisher – December 2012

This time of the year is special in so many ways. Just over two years ago at this point-in-time, we published and began distributing our first edition of Natural Awakenings North Texas. As exciting as it was, it was more frightful than any presentation I have ever made to any group of executives

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Letter From Publisher

While thinking about our theme this month, passion and purpose, I began contemplating what factors comprise the engine driving my passion and purpose. Immediately, three words popped up: family, friends and God. Nothing is more important to me than the respect and love of my family and friends,

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Letter From Publisher; July 2013

It’s always around this time of the year that I start to get that Tom Sawyer “itch”. As I sit in my office looking out the window, reminiscing about all the fun of summers past, I start to plot ways to slide out of the office early for a chance to enjoy the beauty and peacefulness of the outdoors with my family. It may seem unreasonable to some to leave the comforts of air conditioning in the middle of summer to venture outdoors, but this composition by Edgar Albert Guest, “the people’s poet,” seems to capture the essence of the outdoors and its beauty.

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Letter from Publisher; December 2013

As the year winds to a close and we anticipate the birth of a New Year, we have crossed the threshold of our fourth year of publishing Natural Awakenings North Texas. It’s been such an exciting journey that has passed so quickly. I’ve learned so much; from the information provided by our wonderful advertising partners letter from publisher Continue Reading

Letter From Publisher

My mom has been struggling with health issues, and it seems she has been more in and out of the hospital the last three months than at home. Last week one of her doctors stopped in while I was visiting and we talked about what led to her vascular condition and why. The fact is that my mom has always worried more about taking care of others

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