In the back of your mind…

It is a question that lingers in the back of your mind; are we doing the right stuff for our kids? Are we feeding them the right foods, providing the right guidance, the right toys, the right opportunities, the right schools, the right teachers, the right….? – a cascading and seemingly endless list of choices.

The most important thing we do as parents: Instil the right stuff in our kids. Done right, it will last them a lifetime. The trick: to realize that though the right stuff doesn’t show up until the early teens, the instilling process begins very early – it is anchored in the first five years.

Welcome to The Acorn Assignment
The moment we become a parent we are given an assignment; a duty or obligation to find the conditions that enable the natural potential of our child to emerge and unfold.
The Acorn Assignment  has a very narrow focus: to provide you with the knowledge, tools and techniques to instil the right stuff in your child, to fulfill that assignment to the best of your abilities.

The Right Stuff


A core theme throughout this blog and within the Acorn Assignment program is ‘the right stuff’, a vague concept with different meanings to different people. To avoid confusion, I want to bring clarity to what I mean by the phrase in the context of the natural potential in your child.

The first thing that may come to mind for many people is the 1983 movie “The Right Stuff”, the story of the selection and development of the first seven astronauts in the U.S. space program through the late 1950′s and early 1960′s. The right stuff in this context meant the extraordinary, near super human combination of courage, confidence, dependability and toughness to ride out a rocket and keep their cool regardless of what is going on around them. This level of ‘right stuff’ is exceptionally rare and over the top; relax – we are not going there.

From thefreedictionary.com, ‘the right stuff’ is broadly defined as the essential abilities or qualities, such as self-confidence, dependability, and knowledge, necessary for success in a given field or situation. Continue reading “The Right Stuff” »

Images of Dad

A Timeless Truth
I picked up “Images of Dad”, from a dry cleaner somewhere in Ottawa many years ago. I have passed it along to several friends and without exception it raised a chuckle, but little else. However if we take a moment to look deeper, I believe we find a timeless and valuable truth in parenting.
As I read this, my mind cascades through a series of quick snapshots of my dad as I grew up. A second read stirs up a parallel string of images, reflections of how I believe my sons viewed me as they grew. As I read it a third time, I step into my father’s shoes, and imagine how my dad evolved in response to my grandfather. While many aspects of our lives have changed since my (great, great..? ) grandfather’s time, a child’s evolving perspective of the world and significant people around him or her is timeless. Continue reading “Images of Dad” »

Case Study: Billy Elliot

“Inside every one of us is a special talent waiting to come out, the trick is finding it” (From movie trailer: Billy Elliot)

The movie Billy Elliot (2000) is an entertaining and inspiring movie with a refreshing non-Hollywood style plot. There has been renewed interest in this work in 2010 by way of a Broadway musical featuring music by Elton John.

Though the film is good entertainment for any movie fan from six to 86 years old, it also provides an excellent fictional case study in natural potential aka ‘special talent’. It captures the many unpredictable aspects of our nature potential, the interaction between inner elements and external conditions and the often crooked path it follows to maturity. From the standpoint of the Acorn Assignment, this picture is worth a thousand words. Continue reading “Case Study: Billy Elliot” »

In the back of your mind…

It is a question that lingers in the back of your mind; are we doing the right stuff for our kids? Are we feeding them the right foods, providing the right guidance, the right toys, the right opportunities, the right schools, the right teachers, the right….? – a cascading and seemingly endless list of choices. …

Continue reading »

Clowns to the left of me….

“Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right – Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.” Gerry Rafferty Exploring a Spectrum of Natural Potential One of the core goals of the Acorn Assignment is to reframe and redefine ‘natural potential’, to make it tangible, something we can work with. Not a …

Continue reading »

Case Study: Billy Elliot

BE

“Inside every one of us is a special talent waiting to come out, the trick is finding it” (From movie trailer: Billy Elliot) The movie Billy Elliot (2000) is an entertaining and inspiring movie with a refreshing non-Hollywood style plot. There has been renewed interest in this work in 2010 by way of a Broadway …

Continue reading »

Images of Dad

Images of Dad

A Timeless Truth I picked up “Images of Dad”, from a dry cleaner somewhere in Ottawa many years ago. I have passed it along to several friends and without exception it raised a chuckle, but little else. However if we take a moment to look deeper, I believe we find a timeless and valuable truth …

Continue reading »

Parenting as a Creative Process

Kris-Workshop

‘Parenting as a creative process’ is one of several core themes I will explore in this blog. This post is a quick overview of the concept. Something was missing? – this was one of my first impressions of the whole parenting arena. It reminded me of the cartoon puzzles I enjoyed as a kid. The …

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Book Review: “Faith of a Child” by Stefan Lanfer

tfoac cover

Greater than the sum of its Parts From cover to cover this book was an enjoyable read. No blatant advice, no rants just a refreshing series of simple stories from the life of a new dad coming into his own. I was attracted to this book by the authors desire to fill a gap. He …

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The Parent-Child Dynamic

JJ-shoulders-Web

The growth of a child is a fascinating process, particularly in the first five years. This takes place on many levels, from physical growth to the subtle learning of language, motor skills and morals. In this post I will provide an overview of a key concept in effective parenting, something I call the parent-child dynamic. …

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The Right Stuff

KRJ-skate-web

A core theme throughout this blog and within the Acorn Assignment program is ‘the right stuff’, a vague concept with different meanings to different people. To avoid confusion, I want to bring clarity to what I mean by the phrase in the context of the natural potential in your child. The first thing that may …

Continue reading »

Parenting CSI

PCSI

It has been a major struggle for me to find a framework to integrate my experience with others and present it in a way that is tangible and accessible for new parents. Parents are quite diverse in their wants, needs and expectations for themselves and their children. I also know many parents are conditioned to …

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Effective Parenting – Finding the Sweet Spot

RJ-SweetSpot_web

What does it mean to be an effective parent? At first glance ‘effective’ seems cold and sterile, not something most people want to connect with parenting. Time to hit the reset button! Webster’s dictionary gives us a two part definition for “effective”: 1) stresses the actual production of, or the power to produce an effect; …

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