You see what you're looking for

My friend John Lace is an avid hunter and fly fisherman. I remember driving through the countryside with him years ago and hearing: “Look, there’s a pheasant. Look, there’s a bunny. Look, I bet that’s a great stream for trout.” John was able to find what he wanted to find because he had trained himself to see what he wanted to see.

If you are looking for the bad in a situation, a relationship, a job or a day, you are likely to see it. If you are looking for the good, you are likely to see that, too. Most people do.

Train your children to look for the blessings in every day. The persistent practice and pursuit of positive perspective is a marvelous gift you can give to your children, yourself and the great-grandchildren you will never meet. The power of a positive outlook will ripple out like a stone thrown into a pond to bless distant shores.

Starting a nightly check-in by sharing a positive - a "high" - reframes the entire day in a healthy and balanced way. Intentionally and consistently sharing the good first changes outlooks (how you see the world), “in-looks” (how you see yourself) and perspectives.

The word “perspective” (peri+spect) literally means to “look around.” So look around. Maybe today wasn’t all bad. Look around. Maybe there was some good after all. Look around. If nothing else, you are still alive and, for some odd reason, these people love you.

Look around.

 The Psychology of Sharing Highs

Starting the night out on a high sets the stage for an overall positive experience. Sharing highs creates a feeling of wellbeing — even regarding what might have seemed to your children to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Sharing highs validates both the person and the high: “Yeah, that was pretty neat!” It models healthy communication, engenders caring, fosters acceptance and teaches appreciation.

Sharing the positive triggers even more positive. Sonja Lyubomirsky, one of the world’s leading researchers on happiness, believes that if you want to develop lifelong satisfaction, you need to engage regularly in positive thinking about yourself, share your happiest events with others, and savor every positive experience in your life.

Here's Sonja on Happiness


Sharing "Highs" and Learning to See the Positive

How can you get children into the practice of looking for the good in each day? I'd suggest starting with highs and lows... in that order. Always begin your nightly check-in with a positive memory. Sharing a high with another person is a great way to open a conversation that can lead to deeper communication. It also opens hearts, attitudes and doors.

 Mr. Capote’s Advice

When I was a college student, I volunteered to help run a writers’ conference where the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Truman Capote was keynoting. Following the event, the president of the university invited students and faculty who ran with the conference to a reception at his mansion. Excited to meet the strange little man, I cornered Capote in the den by the baby grand piano and asked a question: “Mr. Capote, how do you become a writer?” I’ll never forget his answer: “You write.”

I thought his response was brilliant. I had to run out right away and get a pen to write it down.

One learns to dance by dancing. One learns to paint by painting. One learns to shoot skeet by shooting skeet. One learns to share feelings by sharing feelings. One learns to listen by listening. If you want to raise children into a resilient adults who can find some good in any situation and know how to handle anything life can throw at them, I suggest you start by raising children who practice talking through their highs and lows every night... starting with sharing their highs.

What was something good today? Something that made you smile? Something that brought you joy?

St. Paul wrote: "Whatever is good, honorable, just, pure, pleasing, excellent, worthy of praise... think on these things." And later in the chapter "...and the God of peace will be with you."

You will see what you train your eyes to see.

And parents, you will see what you seed.

Start tonight.

(From the FAITH5 training book "Holding Your Family Together")


Poised on the Border between Chaos and Disorder


Neurologically, the best way to be creative is to simply put yourself in a different place with a different set of tools and a different assignment.

Improv comedy sets people in imaginary situations with a partner and gives them a couple of odd, non-related props and asks them to do something with them.

Stuart Kauffman, the biologist who's work informs everything from cell theory to the theory of creativity, calls it "the adjacent possible."


What Are We Trying to Accomplish with RICH Learning in South Carolina this Summer?

Three weeks from tonight we have our children's summer arts show at the Carolina Theater in Allendale, SC. Come and see 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 and 7 year-olds show you what can happen when you enrich brains and hearts through the arts. (And if you're looking for something marvelous to do in the summer of 2019.....) Mid Term Evaluations took place this week at the RICH Learning Summer Arts Camp. Having a blast. Everything we learn is first taught in a song, then a dance (with ASL infused), then art. And once you have music, dance, and art - you have theater!

This is some of what we're learning in seven weeks of song, dance, art and theater - and some of the 300 data points we're imbedding in the arts, then collecting and measuring on video:

What it means to be…






Spells First Name

Spell Last Name

Count to 10

Say ABCs

Find Letters (on table) A. B. C. D. E. F.

Find Numbers (on tale) 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 

Find Colors (colored feathers) Red.  Yellow.   Blue.   Green. Violet/Purple.  Orange.

Find Geometric Shapes (on table) Dot.   Line.   Triangle.   Square. Pentegon. Hexagon.

Find Animal (cut out paper dolls) Ant.   Bee.   Cat.    Dog. Emu. Fox.

Find Food (on computer screen) Apple.    Banana   Carrot       Date. Eggplant. Fig

Can you sing for me?

Can you dance for me? 

Show me this emotion?





Can you write these letters?  A. B. C. D. E. F.

Can you write these numbers?  1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Can you write your name?

Can you draw a… Dot.  Line.    Triangle.   Square.   Pentegon.   Hexagon.

Can you make any words in sign language (ASL)?

1.   Red      Ant.   March.          Hello Teacher.          Hello Children.

2.   Yellow.    Bees.   Fly.   Goodbye Teacher.   Goodbye Children.

3.   Blue       Cats.   Claw.   I’m Sorry.   No Problem.

4.   Violet.   Dogs.   Sit.   Thank You.   You're Welcome.

5    Green.   Emus.   Run.   Excuse Me.   Please.

6.   Orange   Foxes.   Jump.   How Are You?    I Am Fine. 

Extra ASL Vocabulary

Sing. Dance. Act. Art. Paint. Friend. 

Learn. Play.      Exceptional. Brown. Gold. Silver. 

Pink. White. Grey. 

Can you speak any Mandarin?   Can you say...

Hello Teacher    Hello Children.   Goodbye Teacher.   Goodbye Children.   Thank You.   You're Welcome.   I'm Sorry.   No Problem.   Excuse Me.   Please.   How are you?    I am fine.

Can you speak any Spanish?  Can you say...

Hello Teacher    Hello Children.   Goodbye Teacher.   Goodbye Children.   Thank You.   You're Welcome.   I'm Sorry.   No Problem.   Excuse Me.   Please.   How are you?    I am fine.

Can you spell these animals? Ant.   Bee.    Cat.     Dog.    Emu.  Fox.

Can you spell these foods?    Apple.   Banana.   Carrot.   Date.   Eggplant.   Fig.

What can you tell me about...


A1. Are amphibians cold blooded or warm blooded? (Cold)

A2. Do amphibians breathe through their nose or breath through their skin? (Skin)

A3. Do amphibians lay eggs in the dirt or in the water? (Water)

A4. Do most amphibians have a dry skin or a slimy skin? (Slimy)

A5. Can you name some amphibians? (Frog, Toad, Newt)

A6. Can you name an animal that is NOT an amphibian? 


B1. Do all birds lay eggs? (Yes)

B2. Do all birds have feathers? (Yes)

B3. Do all birds have 2 legs? (yes)

B4. Can all birds fly? (No… penguins can't)

B5. Do all birds have beaks?  (Yes)

B6. Can some birds use tools? (yes)


C1. How many body parts do insects have? (3)

C2. Can you name them? (Head, Thorax, Abdomen)

C3. How many legs do insects have? (6)

C4. Can you name some insects? (Beetles, Ants, Bees, Butterflies, Moths, Cicadas, Grasshoppers)

C5. Are spiders nsects? (No)

C6. What are spiders if they are not insects? (Arachnids)

What can you tell me about…


D1. What do little baby mammals drink? (Milk from their mamas)

D2. Are mammals cold blooded or warm blooded? (Warm)

D3. Do mammals have bones and a spine? (Yes)

D4. Do most mammals lay eggs? (No… but a platapus does!)

D5. What are most mammals covered with? (Fur/hair)

D6. Can you name a mammal?


E1. Are reptiles cold blooded or warm blooded? (Cold)

E2. Do reptiles breathe through their nose or breath through their skin? (Skin)

E3. Do reptiles lay eggs in the dirt or in the water? (Dirt/Sand)

E4. Do all reptiles have legs? (No.. Not snakes!)

E5. Can you name an animal that is a reptile? (Lizard, Snake, Crokodile, Turtle)

E6. Can you name an animal that is NOT a reptile? 


F1. Do fish live on land or in the water? (Water)

F2. Do fish have bones? (Yes)

F3. Do fish have fins and tails or arms and legs? (Fins and tails)

F4. Do most fish have skin or scales? (Scales)

F5. Are whales fish? (No, mammals)

F6. Are sharks fish? (Yes)

Find these piano keys?CGBDEFA

Can you play  a song on the piano?

Can you dance  some ballet dance moves?

arabesque      battlement      chassed      egage        eleve       fouette

Can you shake my hand firmly, look me in the eye with a big smile and introduction yourself with confidence?

Meet Pastor Erika, Cross+Gen Pioneer




The story of young and old evolving faith in an historic church

Rev. Erika Wesch
Little Zion Parish, Telford, PA
Members: 400
AWWA: 150

SYNOPSIS: While Little Zion’s history goes back to 1730, this old congregation is open to the new work of the Holy Spirit. When devoted, talented Sunday School teachers found themselves ready to be “done,” the time was right for Little Zion to begin a Cross+Gen learning hour. Instead of a handful of kids in a class, today dozens of people from all ages and stages are learning, creating, loving and practicing pastoral care together every Sunday morning. This IS Cross+Gen Life.

Find out more at

Coco, Honoring Your Ancestors and a Cross+Gen Immigration Discussion

BillyJoWicksFAITH5 Photo.jpg

After seeing Disney's Coco, I got to wondering how we might connect the church militant with the church triumphant. If we are indeed surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, how might we do the "Honor your father and mother" with the saints who have gone before us? Could we schedule some time for meaningful, mystical, beautiful connections that both honor our ancestors and teach our children/ourselves gratitude for the gifts they've given?

After seeing the immigration images and fights in the news every day this spring/summer, I got to wondering how we might connect the generations in an honest discussion about Christly values and welcoming the stranger.

Time passed and I hadn't put any more thought to it until yesterday when Billie Jo Wicks sent me a photo of her son doing FAITH5 and tracing a cross on his grandparents' grave. Then it came to me. An idea for a FAITH5 family reunion or a summer heritage "Honor your father and your mother" adventure trip:

  1. Take out the family photo albums... as far back as it goes and find photos of your ancestors. Scan one or two of each of your parents/grandparents/great grandparents. (If you're planning this for summer 2018, get to all of your relatives and ask them for their photos, too.)
  2. Create a photo book of them at Walgreens or CVS or Fedex or Walmart. (Look for coupons online and you can sometimes get 40-50% off). Place your child's photo on the last page.
  3. Plan a trip to visit your oldest living relatives with a stop at the grave sites. Ask the elders what they remember about each of the ancestors in the book, the hardships they went through to give them a good life, what they valued most, etc. Have them write their memories by each photo in the book.
  4. Go through the book and model FAITH5 inviting your child to lead the process with them. Ask the elders to:

SHARE a high and a low of memory about each of them, even if it's second-hand stories told about them. 

READ Psalm 145:4: "One generation shall laud your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts." Maybe highlight it in your Bibles together with the elders, then have your child write the scripture on the first and last page of the book.

TALK about the gifts you were given by each person. Try to find something nice to say about each person - even if they served as a good bad example. Discuss the physical, emotional and spiritual gifts they gave you. If some of them were immigrants, talk about how hard it is to come to a new place, and - - - if you dare have the discussion - - - use this as an opportunity to share your views on immigration and welcoming the stranger.

PRAY with thanksgiving for the gifts these people gave to you, with forgiveness for any hurts they caused you, and with joy and hope for the gifts your child will give to the world in passing on their heritage of life, hope, and faith. 

BLESS their memory, and trace the sign of the cross on each face, thanking God for them by name.

End this with a trip to one or more of the gravesite, where you'll share, read, talk, pray, and bless again, tracing the sign of the cross on each stone or marker. Maybe video the whole conversation and the graveside blessings as you go so their memories are not lost.

If it's too late to pull this together this summer/fall, plan ahead for next year and get the whole extended family together in the process.

You'll teach gratitude, honor, reflection and joy. You'll make Cross+Generational connections. And you may even gain insight into the current events on the border and how Christians are called to be "little Christs" to a hurting, broken, and often hopeless world.