Celtic Spirituality in Kentucky

Friday, October 23, 2015

Children fall in love with LOttie Mae, the turkey who...

Breaking News
It was in October of the year 2015 when the telling of Lottie Mae, the turkey story, by Molly Catron (*) to her grandchildren (ages 5 down to 2) received a surprising response.

They so loved Lottie Mae and her story that they declared
they would not eat turkey for Thanksgiving dinner.

A generation later, in the year 2035. the turkey
breeding industry was wondering how they could
counter the groundswell of growing refusal of many children]
to eat turkey on Thanksgiving.

“We had no idea that stupid turkey story would influence
so many children and their parents by becoming as popular at Thanksgiving as Rudolph
is at Christmas”  one industry representative stated
who refused to be identified.

When children love Lottie Mae, they are adopting her being an outsider, surviving handicap, teasing and bullying as part of their own journey. They are falling in love with their own capacity for hope, finding courage and the ability to discover resilience. 

More than anything, they love her continuing to dream against all odds. In this loving, they embrace and love their own capacity for dreaming. Beautifully illustrated, this is a healing story designed for all ages.  Beautifully illustrated, this is a healing story designed for all ages.

Loftier Mae: The Turkey Who Could Not Stop Dreaming

*Molly Catron is National Storytelling Network Southern Regional director.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Backstory to the Lottie Mae Story

Backstory to the Lottie Mae Story
Is hope most creative in darkness?
"Don't stop dreaming," shouted the brown skinned third grader as my Little Engine That Could struggled up the steep mountain side to deliver toys and candies to children on the other side. Without this experience in my Spellbinder storytelling at Deep Springs Elementary, I would not have been inspired to create a story with this theme.
If it weren't for my legal blindness (VA diagnosis: "Catastrophically Disabled") starting five years ago, I would not have qualified for the VA training in computers for blind Veterans, undertaken at Hines Blind Rehab Center in October of 2012.
If it were not for that training, I would not have started writing my first book, my spiritual memoir in 2013. If not for that, I would not have produced a guide for learning resilience in dealing with my own dark places, both growing up and as an adult. Resilience of a Dream Catcher, written for my Veteran brothers and sisters, would not have been conceived, and even if conceived, not enabled. It was through the risking of this personal storytelling, often painful, that I found the courage to continue.
If not for that practice in using Zoom Text on this new VA laptop, and learning to format for kindle and print, I would not have been enabled to write stories featuring themes of finding hope, courage and resilience.
If not for that striving in using stories, while continuing in Spellbinders storytelling, I would not have conceived my children's book. Without my grandkids serious health issues and setbacks, I would not have conceived a story for special needs kids. Without my own blindness, I would not have been spurred to designed the story for adults also facing loss..
Moreover, my grandkid's coaching plus the generous feedback, support and encouragement of storytelling friends have helped shape this story to its present form.
Therefore, my blindness, my dark places in growing up, my grandkids health challenges, and my storytelling experience, have all worked to invite and spur my heart to, hopefully, reach those with special needs with a message of hope, courage and resilience.
Is hope most creative when it finds itself in darkness, needing to connect with others yearnings, in particular, those of children? Perhaps life is not a problem to be solved, but instead, a great mystery to be embraced, lived and loved with heart
I could not have imagined a sequence of events as unlikely yet as lucky as this. Are we most likely to hear the nightingale sing in the deep darkness just before the first light of dawn, or just the robin at the kitchen window announcing, after a restless night, that daytime has arrived?

Thursday, October 08, 2015

How Many Children have "Special Needs:

"Special Needs" is the term today for identifying children with various disabilities; the former word was "Handicapped."  The general estimate is that 13% of our children have special needs, that is, needs requiring some adjustment to their life situation for them and to the relearning situation for the classroom teacher.
Do other children have "Special needs," even of a diverse kind?  Consider:

  • Children who live below the poverty level, often with a single mom working two jobs and without an involved caring father in their lives; In Kentucky this is 27%, but 17% nationally. Double this figure (47%) for Black families. This is one in four of our children but almost one in two for Black families.
  •  An estimated 20% of children have an undiagnosed mental illness, not only according to Jon Akers (Kentucky Commission on School Safety) but the U.S. Surgeon General; also says 20% (total of 15 million) for the nation. Anecdotal evidence puts the figure at 30
  • Children who are obese, about one out of five, who must deal with their sell-image problems. Obesity is regarded as epidemic today.
  •  Research shows the amount of "screen time" in mobile devices and TV, affects thed engagement of many today both in the classroom and homework.
  •  Many children come from families where feelings are never discussed, never sorted so they have no way of understanding their own emotions and moods.  My experience as a family therapist over 40 years puts this figure at least one half, but likely the majority of families.
  •  Children who, for one reason or another, feel painfully different from other children, who know they aa regarded as "outsiders" and more likely to be teased, ignored or bullied.
  •  One study showed  that nearly 30 percent of students are either bullies or victims of bullying, and 160,000 kids stay home from school every day because of fear of bullying.
  • Girls are three times as likely to engage in bulling as boys, according to Jon Akers and to use the internet and social networking to do this.
  • Depression and a sense of hopelessness are more common. As many as 14 % high school students admit to making actual plans to commit suicide. About four thousands succeed yearly. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among teens. Boys are four times as likely to commit suicide as girls.

Much overlap of these groups occurs. But can we not say, given this overview of the emotional challenges children encounter, that ALL children, without exception, need to find hope, courage and resilience in their life situation and in their learning environment?

Pressures for student achievement on schools and teachers are substantial. Yet students must find emotional engagement and encouragement in order to learn. Do we who are involved in the education of children need to better understand  the emotional readiness and urgency to find hope among many children?

All children need to find hope, courage and resilience in their diverse situations.This is not an overstatement.  They need encouragement. They need learning situations which can inspire.

Footnote: Figures used here can be found verified at Paschal's Blog: Celtic
Spirituality in Kentucky link: www.celtispirituality.blogspot.com

­­­ without exception. kers,same source.ed or bullied.maybe__