I Love You


          Are you thinking about the flowers that you will plant this year? I truly hope so! Year's ago, I became concerned by the decreasing numbers of Monarch Butterflies in the Pacific Northwest. I decided to take a proactive approach to the problem and planted several Butterfly Bushes and Trumpet Vines . As the summer goes by, I am fascinated by the number of butterflies, bees, and bumble bees that feed on the blooms, but unfortunately, the Monarch's are few and far between - and this doesn't even deal with the lack of food for bees and bumble bees.

          So... how about you? Are you ready for a challenge and great experience? It doesn't matter if you live in a city or in the rural parts of this country. I would encourage you to plant flowers that bloom in the early, mid, and late summer. Every plant helps this problem.

          Here is a short list that would be great at your home:

Alyssum, Aster, Bee balm, Butterfly bush, Calendula, Cosmos, Daylily, Delphinium, Dianthus, 

Fennel, Globe thistle, Goldenrod, Hollyhock, Lavender, Liatris, Marigold, Musk mallow,

Nasturtium, Oregano, Phlox, Purple coneflower, Queen Anne's lace, Sage, Scabiosa, Shasta daisy,

Stonecrop, Verbena, Yarrow, Zinnia, and so many more!   

development of their own behaviors. Remember... you are your child's first teacher and will likely be their last. Let's make sure the lessons you teach are the ones they will need in a very complicated world.
      As your child moves into the adolescent and teen years, foster meaningful conversations about the lives of others, what it would be like to be in their shoes, and how people could act upon it. Then most important - do something as a family!
    And finally... wouldn't it be wonderful if people used words such as these to describe your child - Goodness, Righteousness, Morality, Integrity, Dignity, Rectitude, Honor, Decency, Respectability, Nobility, Worthiness, Purity - the virtues of compassion!

Teaching Children To Think


           The year is 1908  and there are epidemic numbers of homeless children in America - children that are abandoned and living on the streets in the east and in the south.  How do these children find their much-needed food, clothing, and shelter?

          But, the problem doesn't just include the abandoned, it also includes parents with no means to feed their own kids.

          Solution - send the children in both circumstances out west by an action of the courts or the parent(s) signing away their parental rightsThe abandoned children were placed on trains and sent out west to newly formed children's orphanages.  One such location was Boise, Idaho. Unfortunately, not all of these children welcomed the orphanage life and eventually escaped their new home to become homeless in the west and live by their own wits. If a runaway committed a crime, there was a possibility of being sent to a children's jail across the state with little representation or even an adult that knew them.

​     Hard to even imagine...

March Blog

Click on Hands for Music

          I recently had the opportunity to observe a 10-year-old boy learning to code a basic computer program. For those of us computer challenged, coding is the programming language that designs software, apps, computer games, and even websites such as mine. Is this a lesson for gifted children? Actually not! Everyone can learn the basics of programming in this day and age - we just need to learn how to think!
          The first step in this boy's learning was to teach him basic vocabulary, facts, and rules. This was his foundation to coding. A designed activity followed to engaged the boy in demonstrating that he really understood the foundation. (Note: There were no time restraints on this child's learning. Why must we rush our kids?)
          And then... wonderful things began happening! The boy looked at the entire foundation and began systematically analyzing it. He examined carefully all the parts and how they related to each other. This was followed by the boy experimenting with the varying effects of the codes. In a language that you and I can understand - the boy created his own version of the Pac-Man game.
          Is this boy a genius? Of course not! This is what happens when we teach all of our children to think. 

Homeless Children in 1908


Baba yetu, yetu uliye
Mbinguni yetu, yetu amina!
Baba yetu yetu uliye
M jina lako e litukuzwe.

Utupe leo chakula chetu
Tunachohitaji, utusamehe
Makosa yetu, hey!
Kama nasi tunavyowasamehe
Waliotukosea usitutie
Katika majaribu, lakini
Utuokoe, na yule, muovu e milele!

Ufalme wako ufike utakalo
Lifanyike duniani kama mbinguni.

          In Truth's Lairwas Mauthausen Concentration Camp a real place during World War ll? 

          Yes... Mauthausen Concentration Camp was first constructed in the summer of 1940. The main purpose was to provide slave labor for the stone quarry, mines, and a variety of factories in the area having mostly to do with munitions and other weapons. Inmates were exterminated through labor (worked to death). Death tolls estimate that between 100,000 and 300,000 inmates died in the camp. Most of the inmates were well-educated people and so-called 'political prisoners'.
          One of the most horrific stories is of prisoners made to carry a 100 lb stone block up 186 stairs to the top of the quarry in a race. This continued until one prisoner died of exhaustion. The survivor prisoners were directed to form a line at the top of the stairs one behind the other next to the cliff's edge. The guard walked up to the person just behind the person at the edge of the cliff and gave the order to the prisoner to push the person in front of them over the cliff or be shot.
          This is just one example of the horrors of Mauthausen.

          In today's world, I can't imagine anything more important to teach our children than the virtue of compassion - the ability of a young person to place themselves in another's shoes, to feel their pain as though it were their own and understanding another's point of view. Although feeling the pain of another is important, the real determiner is whether we are willing to alleviate the suffering by acting upon it.
          How do we as parents teach compassion? It all begins at birth. The parent must provide a secure home environment based upon unconditional love. I can not stress enough the importance of immersing your child in a  world of love, kindness, and respect. This is one of the most critical elements in the foundation of early childhood. But parents must 'walk the talk'. Children are constantly watching and imitating their parents in the 

Our Father, who art
in Heaven. Amen!
Our Father,
Hallowed be thy name.

Give us this day our daily bread,
Forgive us of
our trespasses,
As we forgive others
Who trespass against us
Lead us not into temptation, but
deliver us from the evil one forever.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done
On Earth as it is in Heaven.

The Virtue of Compassion


Goodness, Righteousness, Morality, Integrity, Dignity, Rectitude, Honor, Decency, Respectability, Nobility, Worthiness, Purity

          In the early 1970's I was completing my final semester of student teaching. At this particular time, young men were rarely found teaching in the early grades of school, but my advisors thought it would be a great experience for me. Today, I am so thankful for their persistence to get me in a second-grade classroom. If not, I would have missed a little girl who changed my life profoundly.
          As I am no small person, the kids in the classroom just stared at me from their tables without saying a word as the classroom teacher introduced me. Within seconds, the first student wanted to show me their work and then the next... and the next... and the next. I soon got down on my knees to look them in the eyes and fell in love with this new world. From that moment on, I was truly in love with early childhood.
          It didn't take me long to notice a small girl all alone in the room, who never talked nor let anyone get near her. The teacher told me that her parents had been killed just a few months earlier. Day after day I made it my mission to connect with this beautiful little girl.
          As the days went by, subtle changes began to happen.It first started with the little girl finally allowing me to sit at the table near her - but not too close! This was soon followed by a slight smile at some of my silliness and then one day she talked to me out of nowhere and never shut up from then on. As time went by, she began to trust the other adults and kids alike. It was such a marvelous thing to witness.
          On my last day just before Christmas, I went back to the classroom to say goodbye to the kids and teachers. This beautiful little girl waited until everyone was done talking to me. The teachers and I watched as she walked slowly across the room to me with her dark eyes focused on me. I dropped to my knees as she placed her arms around my neck, hugged me tightly, and whispered in my ear, "I love you." I have never forgotten that feeling even after all these years. 

Truth's Lair (Mauthausen Concentration Camp)


Baba Yetu (Lords Prayer in Swahili)


Science at Home


Spring Is Here


          Some parts of the country have groundhogs to determine the coming of spring, but not in Western Oregon! Each spring the turkey vultures migrate from the tropics back to Oregon to signal the beginning of spring. In the fall, these large birds return to the tropics to give birth to their young. This week I saw the first vultures flying in the skies overhead. Spring is here!

J Richard Knapp