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Now I connect this to sports

Over and over I hear parents say that their kids need to be competitive in sports at a younger and younger age. They need to do this because as adults, their life will be competitive.  The training on the field, court, and rink is comparable to what goes on in the classroom, the workplace, and in social society.

This is simply not true. There is no data to support this notion that more is better at a young pre-puberty age. This is merely an excuse for adults to take over and make whatever it is they are involved in theirs.

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Why Not Tell Them When You Can Ask Them?

I once again have to reference my wonderful wife and her way with kids. One of my favorite stories about her and her “bitties” as we call them is when she approached a kindergarten child she had seen occasionally around her school.

The child was being a little mischievous and Katie went right up to him and asked him, “How are you doing Elijah?”  “How did you know my name?” he asked. “It is right there on your forehead!” she exclaimed!” Elijah immediately put his hand over his forehead to block the view! Instant friends were made!

Listening to my

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It Is Not Common To Children Or Their Core To Learn This Way

It Is Not Common To Children Or Their Core To Learn This Way

Other than being loved and safe the only thing common amongst children is their age. That is it. We have “educators” whose first extended stint in the classroom could be NEVER, dictating to the educational system a philosophy that goes against the very thing that children have in common other than their age, creativity and inquisitiveness. Researchers at The New York Times cite “over reliance on direct instruction and repetitive, poorly structured pedagogy. Children are gaining less coping and life skills not more. Teachers are saying the kids are less inquisitive and less engaged. Are you kidding? Get them outside

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Katie and Common Core

Katie and Common Core

Although it is true that a four year old can learn two languages as easily as one psychologists say, is it really a goal worth pursuing? Is there too much white noise coming at these kids at an earlier and earlier age? Can kids “decode” all this stimuli and assimilate it into their brains and beings? What exactly are we trying to teach these kids? Why does it have to be younger and younger to be better and better? Has more is better been replaced by younger and younger.

Kindergarten which used to the entrance to the school experience wrapped

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Let Me Feel It With More Science

The Limbic system, the emotional switching station for humans, is connected to the Amygdala which helps with survival and sends emotional prioritized messages.  This Limbic system has feelings as its language. The prefrontal cortex shuts down all those feelings when it senses pain. Almond shaped clusters of neurons must be quieted down for the whole neurobiological thing to work right.

What does this mean to you? Why in 2016 am I writing this book about the brain? Because, right now, with all that is being thrown at kids these days very little time is being spent on the science of

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Relieve Pressure And Play

Children these days are under so much pressure to perform. Inside the classroom and outside on the playing field children are expected on multiple levels, on multiple occasions to perform as if they were much older and more experienced.

Cognitively they are not ready to handle multiple complex tasks. They certainly can imitate what we want them to do. They can even repeat a behavior or skill as if trained. But, it is very hard for them to assimilate their actions. On many levels most of what they do is some form of rote behavior.

Children want to please their

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Do You Know How To Drive A Car?

This chapter will take you back to yesteryear when you learned how to drive a car. What possible reason do I have for putting this chapter in the book? I believe strongly that if I can show you examples of behavior that you can relate to, we can provide you with the basis for change. You see I am trying to change a culture. I cannot do this without you. If I relate something you did in the past to what is happening now you can come up with your own solution to the problem. Hence the car analogy.

When

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Look Out Below! Kids Are Dropping Out Of College In Record Numbers With Debt

Look Out Below! Kids Are Dropping Out Of College In Record Numbers With Debt

Adults are over structuring learning for kids and increasing specializing for testing purposes. To what avail? Scores are declining in the testing area. Kids aren’t finishing college in record numbers. Only 60% are graduating from college and that was for six years! Only 36% completed a degree in 4 years.

Over 7 million kids attending college need some kind of federal assistance. Let’s do the math. There are a lot of kids leaving college without a degree and a mountain of financial debt to show for it.

Because of the tremendous amount of financial aid available to students, and colleges

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Do We Trust Our Kids To Grow Up On Their Own In Their Own Way?

In 1972 Roger Hart in England did a fascinating and different doctoral thesis.    He moved to a rural England town and for two years tacked the movement of children in that town.  He wanted to create what he called “a geography of Children.” He created maps on how far away from home the children would go.  He didn’t want to interview parents, which was the way most people did research. He wanted to talk to the children. He wanted to explore their minds and thoughts in a natural setting.   The principal of the school even let him have a room

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Daydream Believers

Daydream Believers

I used to love to daydream. I especially like to do it in school when the class was boring. One time in Religion class when I was particularly bored and had drifted off into space I was reawakened by a blackboard eraser ricocheting off the side of my forehead. For those of you too young to know what a blackboard is, its board in the front of the classroom that teachers used to write on with chalk. The priest had good intentions but the wakeup call only lasted a couple of minutes and I drifted blissfully back into my daydreams.

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The Brain Seeks The Rush

The Brain Seeks The Rush

One of things I have noticed as I continue on this journey to learn more about the brain's effect on the body is that I have noticed how often the brain gets to be tricked. The brain is fueled by dopamine. Now dopamine has a bad rap on some levels as a sex enhancer. In actuality it is sole purpose is to want things.

Whether it is positive or negative, the brain gets its fix by the dopamine high. A person can get a little “rush” out of a negative experience and the brain says, yes, want more of that.

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The Brain Wants You To Lighten Up And Get More Creative

The Brain Wants You To Lighten Up And Get More Creative

I see so many parents, coaches and kids stressed out trying stay in the race that doesn’t exist. This phenomenon of athletic scholarship as the Holy Grail is being fueled to a large degree by the tremendous cost of a college education. State schools are running to the tune of about $25,000 a year. Private colleges can cost anywhere from $40,000 to $60,000. When you combine this cost with the additional expense of student loans which we will discuss in a future book more closely you have a recipe for adulting kids, angst, and disaster.

I have talked a lot

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Create With Freedom Not Control

Create With Freedom Not Control

One of the things missing with educational systems insistence on tests is the lack of concentration and value on the journey. Even in youth sports now we are seeing children as young as 6 and 7 years old playing on “elite” travel teams. These teams travel to ‘away’ game because there is status in that travel.

Controlling these kids time with such rigid structure is not beneficial to their long term mental and physical growth. Psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman and science writer Carolyn Gregoire offer many insights to the idea of openness leads to creativity. Being open to new things

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Nature Calls

Nature Calls

One of my wife and I’s favorite things to do is to be outdoors. Studies are now showing the immense benefits of outdoor activity in a scientific manner. A study from Stanford University showed that being in nature had therapeutic applications for addictions. It also showed it reduced compulsivity and improved self control.

Studies and actual applications for children playing outdoors as a big part of the school learning have shown tremendous results. There are so many things a child can do in the great outdoors. They can find things on the ground that interest them and take them home.

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Smartphones Are Really Just Answer Phones

Smartphones Are Really Just Answer Phones

Clearly, kids today have more electronic stimulus than ever before. Whether they are plugged into their headphones, watching video games, or communicating on their phones they are swamped with outside immediate stimulus.

Another thing that happens when you are continually looking at your phone is that you lose focus. That’s right, you lose focus. How many times have you seen people walk into things or other people when they are staring at their phones? How does the constant interruption to look up and then back down to your phone affect your ability to focus for long periods of time?

A

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Please and Thank You: A Lost Art

Please and Thank You: A Lost Art

At a recent event I was speaking at the fire alarm went off. Over 200 people exited the building and stayed outside until the firemen arrived to give the all clear signal. I saw this as an opportunity to conduct a quick small-sample social experiment. I went to one of the doors leading back into the building and kept it open as the people passed through. Most people totally ignored the fact that the door was being held open for them.

Out of thee 100 or so people I saw walk by only 9 said thank you. Not only that,

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Brain Plasticity

Brain Plasticity

Our brains are not muscles, but they can and do act like one. One of the most important parts of brain development for our children is their brain's’ plasticity. Young people’s brains are able to be shaped and molded by their experiences and actions. Even negatives can be of benefit to the children.

Yes, that is right; failure is a good part of children’s experience. You see, when children face adversity their brains and the parts of the brain that deal with memory, are on high alert. They develop coping mechanisms. They have to learn to weed out the unnecessary

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The Dendrites Come Marching Home Stressed And Upset

The Dendrites Come Marching Home Stressed And Upset

In an earlier post I mentioned dendrites and the hippocampus. I want to delve into more of what they do to affect your behavior, and yes, your ability to enjoy life. What is happening in our students and athletes is a toxic stressful environment. I am all for positive stress. I look for opportunities to provide and participate in it. It is my fuel to be competitive.

When negative stress is accumulated over a long period of time performance, fun, and enjoyment are affected. Over time the dendrites, the cells the brain uses to communicate inside the brain are destroyed.

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Colleges Looking For Kids From Teams That Struggle

Colleges Looking For Kids From Teams That Struggle

That is right. You read it here first. More and more teams are looking for kids who come from organizations and teams that have struggled. Seems many of the kids from the winning teams pose a false sense of bravado. They actually believe they are better than the other kids. Remember that toxic environment I talked about earlier? It is seeping into and being flushed out by certain coaches at certain colleges. They are recruiting kids that come from solid, well mannered, with proper disciplined homes. Money, socioeconomic status is being rejected.

These coaches recognize two essentials ingredients to a

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