Bury Guns Not Kids.

Newtown_postre3 I grew up in a family of creatives.


Here's how the news of the horrific killings in Newtown, CT. made the email rounds through my family:

I sent my last post to my brother Howard, an engineer, entrepreneur businessman, founder of iRocku and a dad.

He forwarded an idea to my first cousin Allen, an advertising executive and CEO, father, grandfather and the creator of the "See Something, Say Something" campaign.

Howard's idea was to create a 'war against guns.'

The next day, Allen's email included this poster (above) and this note: "Howard, Your 'Gun War.' The first shot. I hope it's heard round the world."

Then my son composed and played the music on this video.

Let's keep this message in our hearts this holiday season.


Poster: Korey Kay and Partners

Free To Be

Forty years ago, "Free to Be...You and Me" was released. The children’s platinum-winning record (remember those?) and book was created to expel gender and racial stereotypes of the era. Marlo Thomas described why she created the collaborative classic:

“Our mission was simple: to convince children that their dreams were not only boundless, but achievable.”

Free To Be was wedged between school and my not-so "That Girl" work life. I took notice of Marlo fanning the feminist flame because as a teacher of young children, I was becoming well acquainted with the Free To Be demographic.

When I was studying to be a teacher in the '70's, I wrote a paper based on a passage in the Dr. Seuss book, And To Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street. My feminism was in full bloom, and my professor scrolled across the top of the paper in red marker, "a provocative title." I titled the paper, "Dr. Seuss Is A Sexist." Braless, long-haired, Earth Shoe wearing young women from Long Island were weaned on the good Doctor, and I was shocked when I unearthed so many perpetuated stereotypes...like this one:

"Say - anyone could think of that. Jack or Fred or Nat Say - even Jane could think of that."

Of course, despite being caught up in the sexist rhyme of the time, I loved, and still love Dr. Seuss. He mastered the art of empowering confident children. So throwing the baby out with the bathwater was a futile, but informative exercise because noticing pushes the needle in the right direction.

Realizing the power of the potential of children is something we must continue to value and nurture. The reality of our children and their children's future will require them to muster up an activism that can only come from being educated and engaged citizens.

Kurt Vonnegut may have touched the future when he wrote in the afterword for the Free To Be book,

"I've often thought there ought to be a manual to hand to little kids, telling them what kind of planet they're on, why they don't fall off it, how to avoid poison ivy, and so on."

Give Children A Voting Voice...Yours

“This is the most important election of your lifetime. There's so much at stake.”

I've been telling my voting-age children this for as long as I can remember. My voice plays over and over in their heads because for many years my children tagged along with me on Election Day. It was my hope that by joining me in the voting booth, they would become lifelong voters. Voting is their right and it would become their responsibility. Voting with my children was one of those "teachable" moments that empowered them to vote today.

Voting is the ultimate outcome of democracy: people taking action and becoming active citizens. Young adults (ages 18-29) make up at least 24% of the voting age population, and they have significant power in making a mark in history in 2012.

My children were jazzed to vote in the presidential election today. My son came home to vote in the same town hall he had accompanied me at as a young child. My daughter, a graphic designer, voted early this morning and then forwarded me the Get Out the Vote campaign created by the AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts). AIGA asked their members to create nonpartisan posters to inspire the American public to participate in the electoral process and vote in the 2012 election.

How about your children? Did you take them with you to vote? Did they vote?

View more posters and read the full post on Moms Clean Air Force.

Poster: AIGA, Shelley A. Miller

Only Fools Dye Their Young

Sometimes I think I might get arrested for loitering in the grocery aisle. I read every single food label. I’m a food marketer’s nightmare because I can sniff out misleading and meaningless food lingo in a heartbeat. Why? Because I've been reading labels incessantly since my daughter was young.

It’s Not Nice To Dye Our Young

It started with an innocent breakfast cereal that made grandiose claims of being “All Natural Berry, Berry Goodness,” “Kid Approved” and “Contains Healthy Antioxidants.” After ingesting bowlfuls of her new favorite cereal, my daughter started to display frightening symptoms. First, she developed a headache. So we gave her Children’s Tylenol. The headache got better. Then she broke out in hives. We gave her Children's Benadryl. Very quickly after taking the antihistamine, she complained that her throat was feeling weird, like she couldn’t swallow. We rushed her to an allergist, who confirmed what we had already figured out. My daughter was allergic to Blue Dye #2…a common food dye that was an ingredient in the cereal and the two over-the-counter children medicines.

Of course, we learned to avoid food dyes like the plague…reading labels like one would read an FBI file. Everything from lip balm to ice cream became suspect. Who knew?

It's Not Nice To Fool The Bees

I was reminded of this parental chapter (nightmare) when I recently read that beekeepers were discovering blue honey in their hives. Apparently, bees were harvesting M&Ms manufacturing waste from a plant that processed the industrial runoff from a Mars candy factory.

“The plant operator said it regretted the situation and had put in place a procedure to stop it happening again…The company, which deals with waste from a Mars chocolate factory, said it would clean out the containers, store all incoming waste in airtight containers and process it promptly.” ~ BBC

We’re not innocent bees, we’re conscious consumers who should not be duped by honey-coated claims. Although labels are supposed to say exactly what’s in their product, the food aisle is teeming with misinformation. As parents, we like to fix things like this. How can we fix marketers who aim to make money by poisoning our kids? We can't.

But don't be a fool...Real food doesn't come with labels.

A Rebirthed Idea: DIY Silk Eggs From Old Ties

Just meander outside and check out the season of birth. Popping up from under the gray/green floor of the winter that wasn’t, is a colorfully vibrant, if not eerily early spring. My husband tells me Easter is always the first Sunday immediately following the first full moon, after the first day of spring.

The tradition of giving eggs represents new life and can be traced back to ancient cultures. But the wasteful carbon footprint of unnaturally bright-colored eggs and plastic grass, stomps on our planet. According to the National Retail Federation, the average person is expected to spend $145.28, up 11% from last year's $131.04...a record $16.8 billion is projected to go into Easter-related spending. Yikes!

When my kids were younger, we ditched the harmful dyes and created gorgeous eggs (see last year’s post) from natural sources. And of course, we eat our daily dose of chocolate to stay thin. Really. Haven't you heard the latest study about eating chocolate to help you stay thin?

Last night the kids (and their significant others) ushered in the season with a new tradition. They watched the moon rise from the warmth of our outdoor hot tub. Divine indeed!

An Eggcellent Idea

My father-in-law is a tie-wearer, a tie-collector and a tie-lover. A while ago, I inherited a bag of old silk ties from him with a note: "You'll find something creative to do with these."

Voila! I’m beyond smitten with these silk-dyed eggs made from old ties. Just a wonderful idea from guess who? Martha Stewart, who else?

All you need are raw eggs, old silk ties (shirts or boxers), vinegar, water and this tutorial.

Rebirth seems like a good idea. And as Pete Seeger croons, "If it can’t be reduced, reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, or recycled, then it should be restricted, redesigned or removed.”

Photos: The June Bride