My Mommy Taught Me To Surf: Meaningful Media for Mother’s Day

May 8, 2012 Happy Children’s Book Week all! (May 7-13 2012)

No secret I prefer media that has a social enterprise tie-in or a deeper message than the vapid values of commercialism circulating in the mainstream, so was thrilled to see this Surfrider Foundation “protect the oceans” message wrapped in a girls empowerment, active how-to book for kids, called My Mommy Taught Me To Surf.

Amidst a blitz of glitz and appearance-based tripe showcasing girls instead of role modeling hands-on actions, smarts and ‘let’s do this’ attitude, it’s refreshing to see this new sequel from Taught Me2 Books place females in the role of wave mentor and tribal guide to a secret society of water rats like me,  bonded by their profound respect of nature’s power.

I wrote about their first edition, “My Daddy Taught Me To Surf” for Father’s Day awhile back, pointing to some of the other eco-conservation messages surrounding habitat and our planet to ‘teach our children well’ through media…

…But this new sequel is even more important to me for its girl empowerment self-esteem jolt when research is showing media tearing down rather than building up children’s worldview, and boxing in their opportunities with finite limitations and self-perceptions served up as identity norms. (See prior post on brain plasticity and Lego Friends neuroscience, and an upbeat outcome to the Lego/Spark change meeting when youth took the helm to have a corporate tete a tete sending a clear ‘don’t fence me in’ message for the greater good of all)

My Mommy Taught Me To Surf captured the lump in the throat excitement of a child trying something new, with the soothing, trusted family bonds of “I’m here” familiarity that some kids simply don’t have…It made me wistful and proactive thinking Every child should have this experience of one-on-one learning, whether it’s through a peer, a camp counselor, a scout troop or a neighbor if they don’t have a parent that can step into this mentoring leadership role.’

With colorful mixed media illustrations by Shane Lasby and chill up the spine salute to mother nature’s gift of the ocean after the ride, writer Joseph Tomarchio says it well,

“My mommy says we must show our gratitude for our gift so we walk along the beach picking up trash left behind by those that do not know.

My mommy says that I am part of a clan now, a tribe of those that do know. Those that know the feeling, those that know the gift must cherish it and protect it, she says.”

Rather than preach and teach, he invites us into a special world of “those who know” adding coolness cache and exclusivity to an eco cause, camraderie of surfer spirit and accomplishment of doing rather than being.

It’s a Children and Nature Network style, Richard Louv type of antidotefor nature deficit disorder, actively engaging kids in a show and tell fun fest of ‘get out there and go’ challenge versus observing through a screen, a lens, an app, or clicktivism to experience and share. As many have said before, ‘we can’t protect what we don’t know’ and the further kids get away from tangible nature experiences in daily life (new study in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine shows nearly half of preschoolers are NOT even getting outside for daily play!)

All the more imperative to surf this “active vs passive” play point into the media mix to churn up some change and start to use media to bridge online to offline experiential child development too.

My mommy didn’t teach me how to surf (she was from Nebraska!) but she did teach me how to survive, thrive, and stay alive through life’s whitewater waves crashing, tumbling surf, and even face-pounding, sand-in-the-snout moments.

Best of all, she gave me the gift of resiliency teaching me how to get back in the line up and paddle right into the waves again, fearlessly.

What did your “mommy teach you?”

Leave a comment below or on Twitter or Facebook and we’ll do a drawing to send this book along to you in a freecycling pass through media moment, which is our policy here at Shaping Youth.

Think hard…what did you learn from mom? A skill, a character trait, a life lesson, a passion for a sport? Pass that heritage along and pay it forward.

Happy Mother’s Day to all moms and those who support them. Here’s to a smooth ride. Banzai!

Related Eco-Kids Msgs by Amy Jussel, Shaping Youth

TiltWorld.com Interview: Plant Trees, Play a Game

40 SY eco posts worth recycling

The Great Turtle Race

Inspiring Kids As Stewards of the Planet

Inspiring Kids With Green Media

Nature Rocks: Reconnecting Families with Planet Earth!

Nim’s Island: Shaping Youth Through Imagination & Adventure

Xeko/Elf Island: A Virtual World To Be Wild About

Xeko/Elf  Island GoodQuest to Help Polar Bears

If Kids Could Be Dolphins: The Power of Creative Play

Greentrepreneurs: Recycle Bank Shows Kids it Pays to Be Green

S.F. Oil Spill Prompts Altruism & Activism in Kids

Kids Bring Home the Message to Cool the Earth

Digital Activism: Kids Stump for Change (World Wildlife Fund)

When Art Meets Earth: Wyland’s Murals Inspire Kids to Care

Shaping Youth Joins Eco-Literacy Coalition: NCLI

More in Shaping Youth’s EcoKids/Environment Archives Here…

Related Reading for Mother’s Day Media on Shaping Youth

Last Minute Mother’s Day Digital Gifts

“Beth Jussel Wins Mother of the Year Award” (hey, m0m that’s quite a tat! Digital ditties from Mom’s Rising)

Shaping Youth: Lackus Appreciatis/Mom-A-Thon Card Giveaway

Shaping Youth: Act Out With Your Mom Find your authentic voice Improv Theater session led by ‘mother of the Rugrats’ Hollywood actress Melanie Chartoff and “act out with your mom” in positive ways

Shaping Youth: Mother’s Day Media Part One

Shaping Youth: Moms Who Inspire; Non-Moms Who Support

Shaping Youth: Moms Who Inspire; Non-Moms Who Support

Elsewhere on the web: Mother’s Day Media

Christy Turlington Asks Us to Skip Mother’s Day 2012, (more at EveryMotherCounts.org)

Honor a Woman: Global Women’s Leadership Network Mother’s Day with Meaning (more at GWLN-tribute.org)

Top Positive Portrayals Of Moms in Movies

Project Happiness: Mother’s Day Gifts From the Heart

Special Things Kids Can Do For Mom (From ‘Kids Turn Central’, a compilation of ideas, ‘herstory’ of the occasion, a place to post a tribute online and more)

Playing for Change: Songs Around the World DVD I wrote about here

Britt Bravo’s Mother’s Day Donation Ideas (8 great ones)

A Women’s Investment: Worldshapers (Inspiring FREE e-book coming soon from Aussie social media guru Jasmin Tragas featuring those of us struggling to make change in the world!  She’s looking for sponsors to keep it a freebie, so tell all your industry gal pals)

Marine Mammal Center: Adopt Delta & Dawn (mother and calf humpback whales who veered off-course and won the hearts of Ca.)

Sea Turtle Restoration Project:  Adopt A Nest For Mom!

Reason for Hope Book and also Jane Goodall Institute: Chimp Guardianship (mother–child bonds in chimpanzee society last throughout life–just as ours do)

Free Mother’s Day Poems For Non-Commercial Use (Better yet, write your own)

Moms Rising FREE e-card Viral Video: (Infant Aerial Stunt Team Onesie Jumping, to make a point with your Mom’s Day message)

BlogHer Mother’s Day- Best/Worst Media Moms (fun videos from sweetney to remind us that we’ve all got a ‘role’ in the media mix)

Homemade Mother’s Day Gifts/Kids Crafts

Moms Rising FREE e-card Viral Video; She’s A Newsmaker

“Beth Jussel Wins Mother of the Year Award” (hey, m0m that’s quite a tat!)

Weirdest Animal Mothering Tricks (LiveScience)

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Comments

  1. Angel Julio says:

    Mother is the greatest teacher of kids. I have learned the base of life from mother. So, of course you can improve your self in every where, if you learned from her. Thanks for sharing.
    Angel Julio recently posted..Sitio Barriles, Volcán, ChiriquíMy Profile

  2. Johny Robonson says:

    “We must show our gratitude for our gift so we walk along the beach picking up trash left behind by those that do not know”. I am really loving this quote.

  3. jennifer says:

    Surfing is about discovering new ideas and get update with some important matter, but we need to guide our children in order that they can only learn something great and fit on their age…

  4. Jennifer, I like the play on ‘surfing’ as it relates to the internet, same notion of guidance and mentoring, you’re right.

    Johnny, that quote is my favorite in the whole book. “Those who do not know” is a very gentle non-blaming way of championing eco stewards and environmental focus without shaming and tearing down cluelessness…(though I admit I’m much more harsh when I see someone recklessly toss a bag onto the beach or whatever, I march right over and pick it up,hand it back to them and say, “I believe you dropped this” and just wait. (unless they seem extra surly and combative vs lazy) in which case I give them ‘the glare’ and pick it up myself — This is why my folks tell me I risk getting hurt for my strong convictions time and again. But there’s a cost to apathy for the planet that will ultimately ‘cost’ us all.

  5. Jennifer, I like the play on ‘surfing’ as it relates to the internet, same notion of guidance and mentoring, you’re right.

    Johnny, that quote is my favorite in the whole book. “Those who do not know” is a very gentle non-blaming way of championing eco stewards and environmental focus without shaming and tearing down cluelessness…

    Admittedly, I’m not quite as mellow when I see someone recklessly toss a bag onto the beach or whatever, I march right over and pick it up,hand it back to them and say, “I believe you dropped this” and just wait. (unless they seem extra surly and combative vs lazy) in which case I give them ‘the glare’ and pick it up myself.

    This is why my folks tell me I risk getting hurt for my strong convictions time and again. But there’s a cost to apathy for the planet that will ultimately ‘cost’ us all.

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