Saturday morning came fast. I woke up really hunger. We ordered room service for breakfast so we could prepare for the day. It was another exciting day and I was getting to know other families. John was totally into the weekend and was ready to go, go, go ....after pancakes of course! It had been raining and cloudy since we arrived on Wednesday. I really didn't think it would affect me very much but after being in sunny Boulder - I was really missing the sun. Portland was one of the communities I had on our list as possible relocation places last fall. They have a great network of unschoolers, a lot of alternative care, unassisted child birth is embraced and they are greener than Boulder. However, it rains a lot and it is on the West Coast. We like the West Coast but right now the time difference to travel for our business clients on the East Coast is a little much every week.

The first round of lectures for the day started at 10 a.m. Brad attended Birthing Outside The Mainstream with Kinda Hessel. Brad had written our birth story and was completely on board with our unassisted birth. I attended Make Room For Daddy with Jon Gold. I really felt I needed to understand the man's side of unschooling from a man's perspective. It has been a challenge for Brad and I to integrate our lives on Thursday when he returns home and to detach when he leaves on Monday. It turns out this lecture was really geared to all dad's who come home every night with teens. That is ok. Jon was very funny and had a cute technical presentation. He started off by reminding everyone that as kids turn into teens, they go nocturnal. It is a common thing for the teen brain to need this because the cognitive centers are the last to be developed. He advocated flex time for kids because it works for them just like it works for adults. My main take away after that was how to be part of what you’re teen is doing....1) Watch TV with them. Be an active vs. passive viewer. For example, ask about why the director would dress the main character a certain way or why he chooses that camera angle. 2) If you watch commercial TV (dvr's would take care of that), pick the commercials apart. Talk
about why the writer’s for that commercial chooses that marketing angle. Talk about the marketing hook each commercial has so that your kid doesn't take the bait. Commercials stress that things make you happy and that is something to talk over with your teen and why the advertisers would take that approach. 3) Don't freak about video games. Remember, video games escalate problem solving and cognitive thinking happens with gaming. Brad took John the next hour and they watched the boats on the Columbia River. The draw bridge was raised for a barge and some sailboats. Brad said that was really cool to watch. The sun was starting to come out too! Yeah! Shoes and pants had become something John would shed within the hour of leaving our hotel room.

I attended another circle chat with Alison McKee called Dealing With Doubts. Alison first point was to talk a lot about unschooling with your partner. Know the learning styles of your kids. It will help you to understand why your kids make the choices they do and seek out the different experiences they need. She touched on the same point from her other lectures that when a kid begins to show interest in something don't take it on as your own project. Allow your child to muse about their desires because this helps them think it through and decide on what they want to put their energy towards. The main point I got from her lecture this
time was to allow your child to create on their own. My own thoughts was how unschooling was bringing everything together for me - full circle with what I already know about metaphysics and have studied about the use of the mind.

Brad and John were back in the room and ready to go swimming. The hotel had a hamburger/hot dog lunch in the lobby for a small fee. I grabbed a hamburger for lunch and went upstairs to eat it. Heather, Dylan and Mataya McDonald were eating lunch in our room too. So we hung out for a bit while Brad went and got his lunch too. After lunch, John and Brad went swimming. The sun had finally come out. I needed some down time and I really wanted to be in the sun. I took a walk to the Esther Short Park which was about 6 blocks away and got a latte. It was the perfect refresher for my afternoon. Gemma had John for the next hour because Brad and I wanted to attend the next lecture together. The lecture was by Scott Noelle Need Is A 4 Letter Word. Most of the world view is through the eyes of scarcity - not enough time, money, love, and whatever. Scott contrasted partnership vs. domination. Partnership being the individual is connected to a greater whole. There is a power with each other. Dominance is the power over another. Through partnership abundance is created and cultures last for a long time. Domination is more subtle because it happens through vehicles like religion and marketing. Glorification of the powerless and get them to feel good about it - like David vs. Goliath; Glorification of your needs by marketers - your only OK if you participate with whatever product is being marketed; Glorification of emotional needs - like the hype over romance in our culture where there is not enough love to go around...you need love, you chase it, you don't get it. (Love songs are disempowering and dysfunctional. They are not honest). This is when Scot broke out in song as the cheesy lounge singer. He rewrote the words to a lounge song. He made fun of how absurd a love song really is by actually singing what wasn't been sung. Remember, you can download all the mp3's of lectures from the Life Is Good Conference. It was a nice addition to the talk and funny. So on to the word NEED.

The word Need implies lack, poverty, scarcity, duty, obligation -- all these ideas are about domination. Needs vs. Wants. The needs idea has come to add value to whatever it is we are talking about like 'We need to go now. I'm going'. It is a form of manipulation. Kids will start whining about what they need because they pick up on the underlying meaning of how the word is being used to add value to whatever it is. Scott suggested to begin shifting your focus from needs to desires. For example, you might say to your child 'I need you to be quite.' (Need Focus) shifts to 'I would love for you to be quite.' (Desire Focus). In this process of shifting your focus, think about your unmet needs. Ask yourself the questions: 1) How would I feel if my needs where meet? 2) How would I feel if I already had it? This allows you to be creative. You will be shifting from competition (my needs vs. their needs) to creativity (we all get what we want). Being creative allows yourself to feel good even if you might not have what you want because all is well! Shifting from manipulation to attraction is a process of asking yourself what you want and then asking yourself how to shift things around to get it.

Scott gave some examples of how to apply to this to real world situations. As a parent you have 2 kids. One kid wants to be home, the other wants to be out of the house and the Mom wants to meet both kids’ needs. We have desires not fulfilled. Can that be OK? Sure. Choose to be at peace with it all even through the desires are not fulfilled. The kids pick up that it is OK if they are bored today or whatever it is. They start to get that all is well even if needs are not meet. This leads to the inspirational mindset. It is a shift from fear base needs to peace with it all. It is OK to have desires that you want and that is OK to want the desires; but everything is still OK without them. Your mindset is getting into a relaxed mode and again that is where creativity flourishes. Letting go of the 'shoulds' and replacing it with ' I would like it...' or 'It would be nice...' aids in this process. Scott went on to say that empowered kids come from NOT having the parent meet all their needs. They can meet their own needs too.

Next, Scot moved on to selfishness vs. sacred selfishness. Selfishness is getting what you want at the expense of others. Sacred selfishness enhances the self and makes you more authentic. It is putting the oxygen mask on you first before you can put it on someone else. Scott's real world example: You don't have enough time for yourself. Begin by reframing this statement. What is it that you wanting? Maybe it is time to connect with yourself. Is it really a competition with the kids? Can I connect with the kids and myself at the same time? By reframing, you are getting out of the mindset that it is competition, an either or situation. Another example he gave was the kids keep making a mess before you leave. Change your mind set by reframing. Maybe look at the mess and appreciate how creative your kids are being; or look at the mess and leave it as reminder of how much you love your kids and want them.

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