Category Archives for "Life Skills Report Card"

Can’t Tech This!

Digital Shepherds Logo 


While driving my daughters to school one morning, I shared a story of their aunt (my big sis), age ten, sleep walking. “With her eyes completely closed, she went to the record player in our living room and started drinking off the arm as if it was a faucet” I explained. “What’s a record player?” asked my youngest, age seven.

Lament though many adults do the ever-expanding presence of technology in children’s lives, unless you are embracing the wisdom of third party experts to educate your children about digital safety, you too are sleepwalking. Permit Parenting 2.0 to provide your wake up call!

Wake up point number one: Fire yourself. “Allowing children to roam free on technology today is no more appropriate than permitting them to roam free on freeways” Tshaka Armstrong, founder of Digital Shepherds accurately stated at Parenting 2.0’s first P20 Talks Conference. Unless digital safety is your full-time passion, however, stop pretending to be an expert. Doing so merely passes on a false sense of security and endangers your entire household.  While you may believe your child is playing an innocent computer game, hackers may be stealing his social security number – yes his – and accessing also passwords to your banking information. Heed this call to embrace humility and seek the wisdom of third party educators like Tshaka and others.

Wake up point number two: The danger in the mirror. Over ninety percent of child molesters are friends and family – not strangers that track your child down via a computer screen. Stop saying “It won’t happen to my children” or if it did “they would tell me.” Statistics prove otherwise. One out of three females, one out of six males in the US will be molested before the age of 18. Naive parents – not strangers – are at fault. Wake up and protect your child. Add Jill Starishevsky’s book “My Body Belongs to Me” to your parental tool chest when s/he is two – yes two not twelve! Saying no to adults takes practice – empower and protect your toddler! If your child says uncle Jimmy or Grandpa touched him in a way that made him uncomfortable  – believe him!

Wake up point number three: Use technology to bond with your child. Yes bond. Parents who prevent children from accessing technology leave them just as vulnerable to danger as parents who fail to educate their children about child abuse. While there are mountains of scientific information to support that less technology is most assuredly best for brain development in small children, technology can provide a powerful bonding opportunity with your school-age child.  Embrace the philosophy of Edutainment as espoused by Digital Safety expert Kristy Bjorkland Davis. Use technology to have fun and connect with your child not simply restrict or scare them.  Very often, children know more than parents thanks to exchanges with friends. Rather than being threatened by this, set the example of life-long learning and permit them to teach you a few things. And then -like everything else you do as a parent – use their moves and the advice of experts to stay one step ahead of them.

Thank you to all the Parenting 2.0 Humanitarians who served as Thought Leaders for P20 Talks 2012 Digital Safety Panel: Tshaka ArmstrongRobin Sax, Kristine Bjorkland Davidson, Melissa Pazen, and Etel Leit.

School Girl’s Crush..

Marlaine Cover Founder of Parenting 2.0

Cheeks are flushed, heart is beating overtime, brain is helpless to regain the reigns, it’s official, I have a crush. Why is it we never see these things coming?

It started slow, as they often do. A simple hello. But I soon found myself noticing that his emails were the highlight of my day.

What I love…

I love how he gives everyday people a voice. I love how he has created a dignified platform for every single human being to sing their song, shake their mojo, and speak up for the welfare of others. I love when he shares news of their victories – my heart and soul literally soar with affection for their triumphs.

My Crush –

Yesterday I came out and confessed my crush as Founder of Parenting 2.0 for and registered a petition calling on schools in the US and Canada to teach interpersonal communication skills. I am excited about the number of people can help us reach as we advocate proactive education of Life Skills.

The time is here for more people to acknowledge that if we can teach children math and music from third party educators we can most assuredly stop calling them names (Bullies, Victims, Drama Queens) – and punishing them – when they struggle on playgrounds absent formal instruction in interpersonal communication.

The time has come for us to take a broader stance as we advocate a more dignified curriculum for this foundational Life Skill. I am enormously grateful for the platform of to expand the advocacy of Parenting 2.0.

Today I invite you to join our chorus and experience the power of a loving crush once again – or perhaps for the very first time – in your life.

Sign the Teach Interpersonal Communication Skills to All Children petition and share with your peeps.

Hugs! Mama Marlaine

The Greater Victory

This week American media clamored to cover the guilty verdict of one of the United States most notorious child molesters, ex Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky, and adults everywhere celebrated. Only when these same adults heed this call to educate all young children on how to protect themselves against child molesters, however, will they embrace the greater victory.

“Limits of tyrants are determined by those whom they oppress” Frederick Douglass brilliantly proclaimed. Children are regularly taught to stop, drop, and role, in the event their clothing catches fire, but the tragic truth is they are more likely to be the victim of molestation by someone they know.

One out of four females in the US, and one out of six males, is molested before the age of 18. This need not be. Education is key. It is time for those who truly care about children to take Life Skills out of parental junk drawers and illuminate them as distinct and critical skill sets – skill sets teachable by third party educators. On August 16th-18th, P20 is rising to the challenge by holding its first P20 Talks Conference in San Diego, CA. Make no mistake, if you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem. Every adult has a role in “Raising Humanity.” Be the Change. Register today.

Ring the Bells

P20-Ring-the-BellsMusic is much like humor, that which is heavenly to one individual can be tortuous to another. Bob Dylan was popular when I was young. I, however, pretty much classified his music as “Songs by which to hang oneself.” Then one weekend I took a road trip in a VW van from Seattle, Washington to Calgary, Alberta for a family wedding. The only radio station we could get in those (pre-Wi Fi in the palm of your hands) days was airing a weekend long Dylan tribute. My first thought was “Who needs a noose, the trip alone will kill me.”

Me of little faith. By the end of the fifteen hour drive I’d broken through whatever boundaries of space and time divide the intolerable from the divine and was a very much still alive Dylan fan. Fast forward thirty years and I hear Leonard Cohen singing “Anthem” for the first time. Cohen’s (Darth Vader mimics Johnny Cash) delivery makes Dylan sound like Mary Poppins. Fortunately, I was attuned to finding symphonies where I’d previously prayed for silence.

“Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering.

There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

I recalled Cohen’s prophetic verse this morning during a conference call with Thought Leaders for our P20 Talks August 2012 Conference. One lovely woman, Deborah McNellis, was describing how children are like the paper snowflakes they create – each unique yet all of them equal – and the importance of seeing wholeness through the holes. Want though parents do for their children to have happy, peaceful, productive lives, some of their most valuable life experiences will come from surviving the seemingly intolerable – when paper thin perceptions of self give way to awareness of that which is infinite and glorious. So where does all of this leave those of us nurturing a more holistic and dynamic narrative for raising humanity? Embracing humility.

Lifting the Burden off Children and Schools

Every day, millions of children go to school tired, dehydrated, and hungry simply because parents and other primary care givers are unaware of the problems that stem from failing to prioritize children’s foundational care. This compromises every aspect of students’ performance and places very real burdens on children and schools. On Friday May 4th, 2012 P20 is asking adults everywhere to stand up for children’s foundational health by leaving back packs at home, sharing the concept of The Life Skills Report Card, and discussing consequences of too little sleep, water and exercise. Please help us spread the word by sharing our press release with Facebook friends, schools, and community news reporters. Twitter fans please include #P20BPFF when tweeting so we can thank you! Hugs!

No longer genetic inheritance

Parents, day care providers, and relatives, are typically your first and most influential educators of Life Skills. How you eat, stand, play with others and solve problems all are learned, initially, from them.  Where did they learn Life Skills?  From a nutritional college, non-violent communication clinics, spiritual retreats?

Not usually… The bulk of their Life Skills were learned from their parents, from their actions.  If their parents stood tall, they stood tall, if their parents ate junk food, they ate junk food, if their parents screamed and yelled, they learned to scream and yell. The hard truth of the matter is – despite an abundance of uniquely qualified educators – the Life Skills’ educational process more closely resembles genetic inheritance than academics.

If the first great irony in life is that the most important and widely shared job on earth – parenthood – has yet to merit any formal preparation, the second greatest irony is that we accept the Life Skills our parents teach us as if we were computer clones.  Even if we hated the quality of Life Skills learned – barring some major personal crisis that requires us to examine their inferiority – we typically do very little to assess our abilities and continue our education once we become adults.

Life Skills Defined

Like all assignments, certain skills are necessary to complete them. The skills that enable people to survive and commune with others are most commonly called Life Skills.  Life Skills include but are not limited to:

  • Personal Care,
  • Time Management,
  • Organizational,
  • Respect for Self and Others,
  • Communication and Social Skills

The fact that the term Life Skills is typically used in English speaking societies to reference only the most basic of independent living skills communicates the low esteem that people hold for Life Skills and their impact on our lives.

Consider for a moment the last thing that troubled you:

  • Was it your weight or appearance?
  • Difficulty communicating with a work colleague or family member?
  • Physical or financial health?
  • Time management or organizational skills?

If your answer to any of these is yes, you were challenged by Life Skills.  Now think about how you learned these all important Life Skills. Who were your teachers? In contrast to academics – which children may or may not learn depending on geography, gender, and economics – acquisition of Life Skills is mandatory.

Every individual on the planet, be they a world leader or a knife wielding gang member, learns and utilizes Life Skills.  The only things optional about Life Skills development are your level of appreciation for their value, the time you dedicate to learning them, and the individuals you choose as your teachers.

Excerpt from The Life Skills Report Card

The Mandatory Curriculum

When you were born, you arrived hard-wired with two assignments. Nothing you have ever been – or will be – asked to do is of greater significance than these two assignments. Consciously or unconsciously, you have worked on these assignments every day since your birth, every hour – you work on them even when you are sleeping.  You will continue to work on them every day until you die. Your proficiency with these assignments determines your health and well-being, the quality of your relationships with friends, colleagues and loved ones, the quality of your relationship with yourself, and whether or not you leave this planet a better place than when you arrived.

Do you know what they are?

The First Assignment

The first assignment is to live.  Sounds simple enough doesn’t it, a bit like permitting your heart to beat? Pause a moment, however, and look at this assignment more closely. What does the low end of living, survival, entail? Who on the earth is surviving?

At the high end of living we have thriving. Who do you know that is thriving? What are their circumstances?

The Second Assignment

The second assignment in The Mandatory Curriculum is to commune with others. This too sounds easy right? Think for a moment what it means for you to be around others.  How important is it? How important are relationships to you?

At the low end of communing with others, we ignore, judge, abuse, torture, and kill one another.  Who do you know that is ignoring someone today? Why are they doing so?  Who were the teachers that taught them how to get along with others? Who were the teachers that taught them communication and conflict resolution skills?

At the high end of communing with others we thrive personally and empower others to do the same. Who do you know that is thriving personally today and empowering also others?  What skills enable them to do so? Was the way they learned those skills accidental or intentional, passive or proactive? Does it matter?

(Excerpts from “Kissing the Mirror” by Marlaine Cover)