I have a favorite scarf. It is a hand-made infinity scarf that my oldest son, Jacob, purchased for me as a gift from a craft market in Seattle. It has all of these beautiful colors woven together in stripes- it matches everything and it just plain makes me happy when I wear it. Funny how an article of clothing can have that affect. Much to my great dismay, however, I recently noticed that one of the black threads that binds it all together has broken and begun the saddening process of slowly unraveling, brightly colored row by row.

I still wear it, pushing the impending destruction from my mind and enjoying it while I can. And I realized the other day, that much like my scarf, my outlook on how we relate the natural world, how we teach our children, had begun to unravel just a touch, as well. The mantra of those I admire had faded, the confidence of my training — both academic and professional — had become questionable, even my personal convictions seemed at odds, and I had begun to doubt the very things that had previously guided and inspired my work, lifestyle and parenting. I was killing myself, pushing the borders of my sanity (we are talking crabby husbands, 7-year-old’s eye rolling, dreaming about work, and those disapproving eyebrows from community members) — for what?

Politics, education, environmental issues, raising well-rounded, independent kiddos who realize that they are apart of a world much bigger than themselves (and a culture that has perhaps gone astray) and that they have the ability to make changes — and that I have the ability to influence them to make those changes…So I pulled out the faves and did a little zen reading to restore and soothe the soul.

What’s gotten in the way of education in the United States is a theory of social engineering that says there is ONE RIGHT WAY to proceed with growing up. — John Taylor Gatto

Conservation is not merely a thing to be enshrined in outdoor museums, but a way of living on land. — Aldo Leopold

Our ability to perceive quality in nature begins as in art, with the pretty. It expands through successive stages of the beautiful to values as yet uncaptured by language. — Aldo Leopold

“For a long time we talked about knowledge leading to behavior; instead we believe that behavior leads to behavior.” — Richard Louv

“There needs to be a lot more emphasis on what a child can do, instead of what he cannot do” — Temple Grandin

“Let the children be free; encourage them; let them run outside when it is raining; let them remove their shoes when they find a puddle of water; and when the grass of the meadows is wet with dew, let them run on it and trample it with their bare feet; let them rest peacefully when a tree invites them to sleep beneath its shade; let them shout and laugh when the sun wakes them in the morning.”– Maria Montessori

Ahhhh… sanity somewhat restored. A deep breath accompanied by the comforting warmth of my favorite scarf and the realization that I have the choice to mend the colored strands that are there, or weave them into something new.