Ran into a couple fabulous articles this morning that converged into an unexpected blog post. The first article was in relation to something I read in the book ORIGINALS by Adam Grant.
I loved this book for a million reason, but there was a particular concept that stuck with me and intrigued me. It also got me thinking about another article I saw this morning. But before I can build the connections, here is the back story…
Adam Grant talks about how to raise creative, original kids and how that might relate to the heroes who were Holocaust resisters–saving lives while putting their own at risk. This concept really stuck with me as I examined my own parenting, because who doesn’t want to raise the kind of kids who have enough moral fiber to be some body’s hero some day?
My friend Lynda Mullaly Hunt writes books and raises awareness about the impact every day heroes can have on every day lives…
BE SOMEONE’S HERO. NO CAPE REQUIRED ~~ Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things
Lynda also writes and talks about how…
I’m here to tell you that can be a beautiful thing. I know this concept (as Lynda is using it) is rooted in a subject close to me–dyslexia. But I also think it’s bigger than that. An important component of raising creative kids (according to this article by Jessica Stillman) is to reason with your kids–to create kids who think independently and don’t just follow the masses.
Laying down the law can be easier than explaining why the law is as it is, but if you’re interested in future creativity, you should take the time to reason with your little ones. Citing studies on the early lives of heroes who rescued people from the Holocaust and highly creative architects, Grant suggests parents “help children think about the consequences of their action for others,”
Not quite sure what Holocaust resisters (incredibly brave as they may have been) have to do with creativity? Morality and creativity are intertwined, Grant explains in another, illuminating TechCrunch interview. “Kids who evolve into creative adults tend to have a strong moral compass,” he says. “They’ve been nurtured by their parents, who’ve talked with them and modeled values of excellence for them that [seed ] concern for the consequences of their [kids’] actions on other people. At the same time, they’re given a lot of autonomy to figure out how they want to live with those values.”
But then the fireworks of connection really started firing in my head when I stumbled upon another article. It made me think about why we struggle to raise kids who are morally and creatively rich. There is a sad cycle holding us back.
Meet the Newest Bully on the Block: The Mean Mom by Mary Beth Sammons
Our children aren’t just battling their peers, who are also struggling to learn who they are and what they are about. Our kids are being terrorized by the very people who should be making them feel safe.
The good news, Saltz says, is that if you’re alert to the toxicity of bullying behavior, you can deflect it and send a strong message to your children, by example, that mocking, manipulating and swinging blows at other people is not okay. If you’re looking to stop a bully in her tracks, the best way to do so is to confront the bully directly. “Call it out,” Saltz says on TODAY. “Tell the bully, ‘I see what you’re doing, and it’s not OK. Let’s not do that.”
She adds that moms need to stand up to mom bullies to create a bully-free world. Parents have to teach by example
Here’s the thing, we all know that raising great kids and protecting children from bullying is a great thing to do. In the abstract–this is a no brainer. But we don’t always see the world from a place of perspective. We see it in relation to our own needs and interests and fears. I sympathize with that–it is human. But so is admitting we are sometimes wrong and need to apologize.
So, I’m just going to lay it out there. If you’ve made a mistake–we can get through this–together.
But if you think bullying is a great way to go–we can’t be friends. It’s that simple. I don’t condone that behavior. This is me telling you…
I SEE WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND IT’S NOT OK!
Sometimes we get away from our better selves. It happens. It doesn’t make us bad people. It makes us people who need to be more original. We need to step away from the status quo and decide that it might be harder to own our behavior than to live in denial. But being brave enough to do it, might also make us exceptional.
Some days I look around me and realized it’s quite an uphill battle to teach our children to be original, moral, kind and brave.
We live in an environment where we don’t just worry about children being bullied by their day to day life–we have to fight this kind of ignorance on a cyber front. We live in a time that allows people to do and say things they wouldn’t have enough courage to stand up and say to someones face–in front of others. It’s a scary place out there, but it’s worse when bad behavior takes root and hides in the dark. We can’t let that happen.
What I’m asking of you today, is to stand up and be an original.
Behave better than the average person.
And use the internet to shed light, instead allowing bullies to hide in the dark behind cyber shadows.
You can repost this blog. Or you can share your own message.
But please find a way to be heard.
Will you be a bully or an original?
Will you raise a bully or an original?
Will you stand up and say…
I see what you’re doing and it’s not ok?
I’m counting on you…
Here’s my recap of the New England SCBWI Conference for the second time. I got this half done for Friday when my oldest son’s school transportation had the drivers go on strike and then my other two kids came down with strep. I decided to postpone the post and finish it over the weekend. I saved it and and then the gremlins that live in my computer erased only the part I’d finished. *head thunk*
I arrived at the conference at around noon on Friday and did all of the standard checking-in and hugging friends things. Then it was off to the first sessions.
A Intensive–KEYWORD BY WORD: CREATE A PLAND TO BRAND. SELL, AND PROMOTE YOUR NOVEL with AC Gaughen and Hilary Weisman Graham
I love attending events by my Apocalypsies and Class of 2k12 siblings. So much fun!
*Everyone IS buying bookmarks and everyone WANTS bookmarks for swag, whether you like it or not LOL!
*Twitter is the most popular place (debut author questionnaire) to focus your social media push, but tumblr is where the teens are.
* * *
Workshop B–MANAGING YOUR WRITING; MANAGING YOUR LIFE WITH PEGGY DEITZ SHEA AND JANET DOUCETTE
This session started off with some relaxation and focusing techniques. I became so relaxed I forgot to take a picture and may have almost fallen asleep at one point LOL!
*Are you here?
*Women are great multi-tasks but being a multi-tasker is not in your best interest. You can get stuck on the bridge between the right brain and the left brain.
*Requests (received or given) should always include the right to decline and a clear expectation of fulfillment.
Keynote–PANEL DISCUSSION: AN UNCENSORED DISCUSSION ON EDGY YA
*Be true to the work.
*Should the parent be the gate-keeper or do children effectively police their own reading material?
Keynote–THE WORDS WE CHOOSE TO SAY by Sharon Creech
A HUGE fan-girl moment for me!!!! Yes, she really glows in real life. <3
*Find your own voice, your own rhythms–it makes you a better writer.
*Use it all (great ideas) when you’re writing. New stuff will grow. Words generate words.
*Don’t be in such a hurry to publish your story. Time may allow you to deepen it. There could be something profound under there.
C Intensive–REAL REVISION: BIG PICTURE AND LINE BY LINE with Kate Messner
I LOVE Kate! That’s all.
*Revision is finding and strengthening the heart of your story.
*You can’t revise, to bring about the heart of your story if you don’t know what the heart is.
*Writing off-draft can help you understand things.
*Trying something you’re not great at can free you up.
*Use a mentor text to guide your way.
*Make what you need to explore and fix your book. (Charts, maps, timelines and outlines)
If you want to learn more about Kate’s amazing revision tips–check out her book REAL REVISION.
Time for lunch and another amazing Keynote with author/illustrator Grace Lin
Stephanie, Megan and Kendra
Annie, Me, Jodi and Eileen
Best take-away from Grace Lin’s keynote (sorry I don’t have a picture)…
You’ll be your best self when you are yourself in you writing and art. <3
Workshop G–THE ART OF THE OUTLINE with Elisabeth Papdemetriou
*Don’t confuse learning the skill (of outlining) with the act of outlining.
*Plot and character are inseparable.
*Outlines should include every single scene in your book.
*Have your closing scene echo your opening scene.
And I FINALLY got to meet Jo Knowles. I’ve participated in JoNoWriMo for years and Jo was one of those warm and giving authors who mentors those around her–plus I love the books she writes. Check out her latest, PEARL which won the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award!
Workshop H–THE POWER OF POINT OF VIEW with Linda Urban
She is hilarious by the way.
*I believe we are living in an increasingly 1st person world. 1st person is only going to grow. Writing in 3rd person may allow you to stand out.
Saturday’s Autograph Party!!!!!
Katie chatting up the awesome Nova Ren Suma.
Sharon Creech signing for my friend’s daughter who is her BIGGEST FAN!!!!!
Of course I’m I HUGE fan too!!!!!
Jodi chatting with Jodi.
Kate Messner signing a book for the Fishkill Frogs!
Lynda Mullaly Hunt, author of the MG novel ONE FOR THE MURPHYS, signing and making friends.
Greg Fishbone (Class of 2k7) and AC GaugheBrendan (Class of 2k12) hanging out
REVISING A CAREER: TIMING, TRUST & TEAMWORK with Brenda Reeves Sturgis, Emma Dryden and Karen Grenick
*Don’t quit–ever. <3
Some down time in the Sheraton while waiting for the Ballroom to open up.
The Books for Boston collection bin.
Check out some of the inspirational messages written in the books going to Boston.
Panel Discusion–SCULPTING STORIES FROM FACT: FOUR WRITERS OF HISTORICAL FICTION SHARE STRATEGIES
Sarah Lamstein, Jeannine Atkins, Padma Venkatraman and Pat Lowery Collins (Boo my picture didn’t come out!)
*I tried to pack Padma in my suitcase. All four authors were great, but she stole the show. LOVE her!
*When story and history collide–story always wins. (PV)
*The attitudes of the times plays a role in the story/plot. (SL)
*The reasons writers aren’t diagnosed as schizophrenic is that we listen to the voices in our head instead of conversing with them. (PV)
*Create a LOVELY FILE to put all the darlings you cut–then you will always have them. (PV)
I Intensive–ADVANCED PLOTTING with Chris Eboch
I was very busy in this small, pro-track class and you guessed it–I forgot to take a picture. *smacks own hand*
*If your main problem can’t be introduced early, find a way in, something that gives a hint.
*Be careful not to open too fast. Give the reader a little time to get acclimated.
*Action without context is not a good thing.
*Likable character plus a bad situation makes the best story.
*Real life drama needs to be set up correctly to be believable to the reader.
You can find our more about Chris Eboch and advanced plotting HERE.
Workshop N–THE YIN AND YANG OF CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT with Kami Kinard
More Apocalypsie love!!!!! And yes, I was too busy meeting Kami in person for the first time that I…didn’t take a picture. Should have gotten one of us together. Drat!
*Add believable traits to your characters.
*Characters with both good and bad motives and traits naturally create much desired tension.
*Books are about physical, emotional and spiritual journeys.
Kami posted some stuff on humor from another of her sessions on her blog. You can catch it HERE!
And because I always have to buy one more book LOL! Hanging with the AWESOME Padma Venkatraman, author of CLIMBING THE STAIRS. <3
Me, Padma, Jodi and Megan
And then it was time to say goodbye and drive home. NESCBWI was an amazing conference and I’m so glad I got the chance to grow. It truly had the feel of an International SCBWI Event but with the intimacy of a smaller conference. Lots of fun and I hope to be able to attend again next year too! Have any of you been to NESCBWI before? Any new authors that you’ve now got to put into your TBR pile?
I’m going to come right out and admit this…Lynda Mullaly Hunt is a soulmate. From the moment I met her, I knew that we had an incredible bond. And I’m struggling to try to capture the depth of my emotion for her and her debut novel ONE FOR THE MURPHYS. I want to share what’s in my heart, but I can’t–I’m not that good of a writer. So you’re just going to have to trust me on this one. You are getting a glimpse of one of the new heroes in the world of children’s literature…
A moving debut novel about a foster child learning to open her heart to a family’s love
Carley uses humor and street smarts to keep her emotional walls high and thick. But the day she becomes a foster child, and moves in with the Murphys, she’s blindsided. This loving, bustling family shows Carley the stable family life she never thought existed, and she feels like an alien in their cookie-cutter-perfect household. Despite her resistance, the Murphys eventually show her what it feels like to belong–until her mother wants her back and Carley has to decide where and how to live. She’s not really a Murphy, but the gifts they’ve given her have opened up a new future.
You can order ONE FOR THE MURPHYS here…
*Barnes & Noble
*Additional on line book sellers
Kimberly’s review of ONE FOR THE MURPHYS…
Lynda Mullaly Hunt is a fellow Class of 2k12er and I had the luck to meet up with her during the 2012 NY SCBWI conference. After talking to Lynda about ONE FOR THE MURPHYS–I knew that I was going to love this book. It was obvious to me that Lynda wrote from a very emotional and honest place and I gravitate towards books that make me feel things deeply.
This book is beautiful.
I’ll start with the cover–which is perfect. Well done Nancy Paulsen Books–this couldn’t be better. But it’s what’s between the covers that grabs a hold of me and won’t let go. Oh, Carley–you make me both ashamed and proud to be an adult. You remind me that children put up walls to discover if the grown-ups are willing to scale them. You hammer home the truth–that we learn from our children if we take the time to listen to them. You remind me that adults must make the tough choices, the ones that are the best for the child, but that we can be kind and gentle in our tough love. You awaken my desire to be somebody’s hero and I want to hold you in my arms. Lynda hasn’t written a character–she has introduced me to someone I will love and think about forever.
And then there is Mrs. Murphy–who comforts me as much as she comforts Carley. Because even as an adult, I need to know that there are good people in this world who lead with their hearts. I need those role models in my life–she’s who I want to be when I “grow up.”
Each and every character in this book played a part in creating this wonderful read. I want to talk about every one of them, but I’m treading on spoiler ground if I don’t reign myself in. So I just want to say that it takes a village to “raise” a child and this community of characters, flawed and growing, rises to it’s own occasion. They never reach perfection, but that’s okay, because neither do I. This book is ONE FOR THE MURPHYS, but it’s also one for the Sabatini’s and it’s one for you…
Lynda Mullaly Hunt
I was born in the late sixties–the age of “flower children.” I must admit, though, that I ended up more as a “flour child” and a coffee lover. How did this happen?
Being the youngest of five children, I can fend for myself pretty well. I was a tom-boyish girl who loved skateboarding, climbing trees, playing baseball, and seeing everything there was to see on my bicycle. I must confess that one of those bicycles had a banana seat, was bright green, and had “Dill Pickle” written (complete with a picture!) on the chain guard; it was big enough to be read from a long distance away, too. Funny…I’d always wondered why no one ever tried to steal that bike…
After graduating from Conard High School in West Hartford, CT., I attended UConn and got two degrees in education. As a teacher, I really learned how much I loved writing for the fun of it. I mostly wrote stories that had structural errors so that I could give the kids red pens, tell them to give me an “F” if they wanted, but they better be able to explain why. Kids relished the opportunity to fail the teacher, so they dug deep. Oddly, it was a lot of fun.
When my daughter was born, I left teaching to be home with her. After her brother joined us and I realized that I was finding Sesame Street to be genuinely stimulating, I told my husband that I was joining a writers group at the local bookstore. I did and the rest is history! Well, maybe not quite yet… ;-
So, how about the writer’s journey? Did I want to be a writer since I could hold (and eat) a crayon?
You can learn more about Lynda Mullaly Hunt and ONE FOR THE MURPHYS here…
*The Class of 2k12
I need to know…who is your hero?