Monthly Archives: February 2013

Love, According to a Child

By Katy Batchelder

Image Credit: savvymom.ca
Children have a tendency to find joy in the simplest things. From turning dirt to mud, to playing with the box that the new toy car came in—everything can be made into an adventure. This ability to find genuine happiness in any situation is something that we as adults need not only to be more aware of, but also to find the energy to do the same in our own lives. We need to find the joy as simply and easily as children do—especially when it comes to the relationships in our lives.
Recently, when I asked my friend’s four-year-old son, Cooper, what makes him happy, a huge smile instantly spread across his face. “When I give you hugs. I give you a hug, and I’m happy,” he said. I couldn’t help but laugh at how quickly he responded and how excited he was to tell me. There was no hesitating, no second-guessing.

A few days later, I asked some of my friends in college the same question. There were a lot of long, contemplative pauses followed by hesitation. “Ummm . . . in what regard?”

We as adults seem to get caught in the small print that does not exist. Why do we hesitate at all when asked what makes us happy? The little stresses we encounter each day can build up to a point where we put our happiness on the back burner, and sometimes the happiness of those most important to us. We need to take a hint from Cooper; keep it simple, and find the joy.

That same day, I asked Cooper what makes his mom happy. He thought about it for a second, and then replied nonchalantly, “when I give her loves.” Without missing a beat, he gave his mom a quick hug. Cooper was rightit was obvious how happy he made his mom. At least, after nap time.
With Cooper’s attention span dwindling, his mom finally asked him the most important question of the day. “Cooper, what is love?” Reflexively, Cooper replied, “I love you! Like that!”
If only life could be as simple as it was when we were kids, right? But it is. We have to remember that we have the ability to make life not only simple, but also happy. All we have to do is find the joy. 

Love, According to a Child

By Katy Batchelder

Image Credit: savvymom.ca
Children have a tendency to find joy in the simplest things. From turning dirt to mud, to playing with the box that the new toy car came in—everything can be made into an adventure. This ability to find genuine happiness in any situation is something that we as adults need not only to be more aware of, but also to find the energy to do the same in our own lives. We need to find the joy as simply and easily as children do—especially when it comes to the relationships in our lives.
Recently, when I asked my friend’s four-year-old son, Cooper, what makes him happy, a huge smile instantly spread across his face. “When I give you hugs. I give you a hug, and I’m happy,” he said. I couldn’t help but laugh at how quickly he responded and how excited he was to tell me. There was no hesitating, no second-guessing.

A few days later, I asked some of my friends in college the same question. There were a lot of long, contemplative pauses followed by hesitation. “Ummm . . . in what regard?”

We as adults seem to get caught in the small print that does not exist. Why do we hesitate at all when asked what makes us happy? The little stresses we encounter each day can build up to a point where we put our happiness on the back burner, and sometimes the happiness of those most important to us. We need to take a hint from Cooper; keep it simple, and find the joy.

That same day, I asked Cooper what makes his mom happy. He thought about it for a second, and then replied nonchalantly, “when I give her loves.” Without missing a beat, he gave his mom a quick hug. Cooper was rightit was obvious how happy he made his mom. At least, after nap time.
With Cooper’s attention span dwindling, his mom finally asked him the most important question of the day. “Cooper, what is love?” Reflexively, Cooper replied, “I love you! Like that!”
If only life could be as simple as it was when we were kids, right? But it is. We have to remember that we have the ability to make life not only simple, but also happy. All we have to do is find the joy. 

On Raising Tiny Bibliophiles

By Audrey Lintner

A while back, a friend gave our son a book about a certain well-known discolored breakfast. Thinking that this would be the ideal way to spend some quality time together, I hauled Junior onto my lap and opened the book. I put my finger on the first line and prepared to launch into the story.

A little voice piped up before I had a chance to read a single word.

“I … am …”

Junior read the first line to me, and the next. Then he read the next page and the one after that. Without having ever even seen the book before, Junior read the entire story to me, asking for help with maybe six words.

He had just turned two.

My knowledge of child-rearing extends to approximately the end of our driveway, which is a very short walk indeed. I’m no expert. I can’t tell you why Junior was spelling out words like elephant and xylophonebefore his second birthday, but I can make some pretty good guesses as to why he loves books. I’m not saying that trying the following methods will guarantee a family of voracious bookworms, but it certainly won’t hurt.

Keep books handy. We have books in every room of the house. Literally. Many of the shelves are at or below Junior’s eye level, full of colorful titles and bright covers. They serve as a constant reminder of how much reading is a part of daily life.

Make books friendly. When kids are very small, invest in lots of inexpensive magazines and board books. Little fingers will be able to get lots of practice turning pages without repeated warnings to “be careful!” Think of it this way: if you hear dire warnings every time you approach something, you’ll soon lose interest altogether.

Try the personal touch. When reading a bedtime (or any other time) story, make it all about your kiddo. Change the main character’s name, appearance, and interests to match those of your audience. And don’t forget to do the voices!

Be a good example. If you view reading as a chore, your kids probably will, too. Let them see you enjoying books on a regular basis. Instead of saying that you have to read something, put a positive spin on it. “Yay, I get to read two short stories for my creative writing class!” Spoken words are just as powerful as the written ones; use them wisely.

Praise every effort. It doesn’t matter if the littlest family member has the book upside down and is making hash of every word on the page. If she’s grinning from ear to ear because she’s “reading like Daddy,” hugs and high-fives are in order.

Make time – lots of it. Visit story circles at the library. Take books along when you’ll be waiting in lines or at the doctor’s office. Sneak in a couple of pages while waiting for the bath tub to fill. A minute spent reading is never wasted, and a minute spent reading together is twice treasured.        

Those are a few of my ideas, so let’s hear yours. How did you introduce your kids to books? Share your thoughts in the comment section; we love “reading from you!”

On Raising Tiny Bibliophiles

By Audrey Lintner

A while back, a friend gave our son a book about a certain well-known discolored breakfast. Thinking that this would be the ideal way to spend some quality time together, I hauled Junior onto my lap and opened the book. I put my finger on the first line and prepared to launch into the story.

A little voice piped up before I had a chance to read a single word.

“I … am …”

Junior read the first line to me, and the next. Then he read the next page and the one after that. Without having ever even seen the book before, Junior read the entire story to me, asking for help with maybe six words.

He had just turned two.

My knowledge of child-rearing extends to approximately the end of our driveway, which is a very short walk indeed. I’m no expert. I can’t tell you why Junior was spelling out words like elephant and xylophonebefore his second birthday, but I can make some pretty good guesses as to why he loves books. I’m not saying that trying the following methods will guarantee a family of voracious bookworms, but it certainly won’t hurt.

Keep books handy. We have books in every room of the house. Literally. Many of the shelves are at or below Junior’s eye level, full of colorful titles and bright covers. They serve as a constant reminder of how much reading is a part of daily life.

Make books friendly. When kids are very small, invest in lots of inexpensive magazines and board books. Little fingers will be able to get lots of practice turning pages without repeated warnings to “be careful!” Think of it this way: if you hear dire warnings every time you approach something, you’ll soon lose interest altogether.

Try the personal touch. When reading a bedtime (or any other time) story, make it all about your kiddo. Change the main character’s name, appearance, and interests to match those of your audience. And don’t forget to do the voices!

Be a good example. If you view reading as a chore, your kids probably will, too. Let them see you enjoying books on a regular basis. Instead of saying that you have to read something, put a positive spin on it. “Yay, I get to read two short stories for my creative writing class!” Spoken words are just as powerful as the written ones; use them wisely.

Praise every effort. It doesn’t matter if the littlest family member has the book upside down and is making hash of every word on the page. If she’s grinning from ear to ear because she’s “reading like Daddy,” hugs and high-fives are in order.

Make time – lots of it. Visit story circles at the library. Take books along when you’ll be waiting in lines or at the doctor’s office. Sneak in a couple of pages while waiting for the bath tub to fill. A minute spent reading is never wasted, and a minute spent reading together is twice treasured.        

Those are a few of my ideas, so let’s hear yours. How did you introduce your kids to books? Share your thoughts in the comment section; we love “reading from you!”

Surprised by Love

By Kelly Wickham


“When do you know you’re in love?”

I remember asking my mother that question when I was a young girl. It’s a common question, I think, for children to naturally wonder about that even if they’ve grown up in a home where love is common, affection is often given, and their comfort and safety are secure. My own children each asked me this question, too, once they were old enough to comprehend the verb “love”.

When I first became a mother I was surprised by love and how much of it I felt, and also by how much I had to give. That’s a nice surprise about being a parent, but it makes me wonder when else that happens. We move in and out of relationships as growing humans, and find ourselves in places where the people we meet awaken something in us that was previously dormant. For instance, I know how much I loved my friends growing up as an adolescent, but I never expected to love my adult friends the way I do. That has been a surprise of love that I didn’t know was coming.

Another way I’ve been surprised by love is with the people I work with and the students who attend my school. As a brand new teacher in the early 90s, I recall an older administrator in my building whose advice to me was never to hug my students or let them know I cared about them. That seemed contrary to the connections I was already building with them and it made me pull back from them. It took me a few years to realize this was a mistake and that it was okay to open my heart up to them. Many of them keep in touch with me to this day and we make coffee dates or have dinner or even attend Christmas parties together.

As a classroom teacher, I asked myself that adolescent question: How do I know if I love my students? Is it okay that I feel so strongly about them? My answer came when I attended the first funeral of a student and I bawled uncontrollably because I gave myself permission to simply feelfor them. I cried for all the dreams I wanted for his future and all the tender moments I witnessed between the friends who came to mourn together.

Since then, I have attended more funerals than I care to admit. Students who have been in car accidents or succumbed to cancer and even one who slipped in a parking lot and fell on his head the wrong way. One funeral, for a popular basketball player, made me realize something about the love we experience with our teenage friends: these are things that will never leave them. It was not just the loss of the young boy, wither, but the caring moments I witnessed them sharing with one another. Many of them had never even been to a funeral before and didn’t know what to do so the adults, me included, took them by the hand to show them how to view the body and give condolences to the parents. It was by watching one such young boy that I realized that withholding love from someone with whom you spend an inordinate amount of time isn’t really the way I wanted to go through life. After that, I decided to love all of them and make it a conscious choice and to give freely what I had. I haven’t regretted that decision since that time.

Let love surprise you. When you give in and make the space in your life to care for people you’ll find that they grab a piece of your heart that was meant for them.

When have you been surprised by love?

Surprised by Love

By Kelly Wickham


“When do you know you’re in love?”

I remember asking my mother that question when I was a young girl. It’s a common question, I think, for children to naturally wonder about that even if they’ve grown up in a home where love is common, affection is often given, and their comfort and safety are secure. My own children each asked me this question, too, once they were old enough to comprehend the verb “love”.

When I first became a mother I was surprised by love and how much of it I felt, and also by how much I had to give. That’s a nice surprise about being a parent, but it makes me wonder when else that happens. We move in and out of relationships as growing humans, and find ourselves in places where the people we meet awaken something in us that was previously dormant. For instance, I know how much I loved my friends growing up as an adolescent, but I never expected to love my adult friends the way I do. That has been a surprise of love that I didn’t know was coming.

Another way I’ve been surprised by love is with the people I work with and the students who attend my school. As a brand new teacher in the early 90s, I recall an older administrator in my building whose advice to me was never to hug my students or let them know I cared about them. That seemed contrary to the connections I was already building with them and it made me pull back from them. It took me a few years to realize this was a mistake and that it was okay to open my heart up to them. Many of them keep in touch with me to this day and we make coffee dates or have dinner or even attend Christmas parties together.

As a classroom teacher, I asked myself that adolescent question: How do I know if I love my students? Is it okay that I feel so strongly about them? My answer came when I attended the first funeral of a student and I bawled uncontrollably because I gave myself permission to simply feelfor them. I cried for all the dreams I wanted for his future and all the tender moments I witnessed between the friends who came to mourn together.

Since then, I have attended more funerals than I care to admit. Students who have been in car accidents or succumbed to cancer and even one who slipped in a parking lot and fell on his head the wrong way. One funeral, for a popular basketball player, made me realize something about the love we experience with our teenage friends: these are things that will never leave them. It was not just the loss of the young boy, wither, but the caring moments I witnessed them sharing with one another. Many of them had never even been to a funeral before and didn’t know what to do so the adults, me included, took them by the hand to show them how to view the body and give condolences to the parents. It was by watching one such young boy that I realized that withholding love from someone with whom you spend an inordinate amount of time isn’t really the way I wanted to go through life. After that, I decided to love all of them and make it a conscious choice and to give freely what I had. I haven’t regretted that decision since that time.

Let love surprise you. When you give in and make the space in your life to care for people you’ll find that they grab a piece of your heart that was meant for them.

When have you been surprised by love?

Caring For the Caregiver

By Audrey Lintner

When your world turns upside down, you’d better learn to stand on your head. You get kinda busy when you’re the caretaker of a sick loved one. There are insurance forms to fill out, phone calls to make and to field, appointments to get to, and a bucket brigade of chicken soup and ice cream to requisition. Add in a four-year-old who can’t understand why Daddy spends all of his time sleeping, and you’re lucky if you can find time to breathe, let alone carve out some “me time.”

Even the best juggler will only try to keep things in the air for so long. Without a break, everything comes crashing down. Caregivers must think of themselves the same way.

Lots of us have a peculiar tendency to want to handle everything life throws at us, all by ourselves. Flat tire? Change it. Sink clogged? Plunge it. Husband diagnosed with cancer for the second time in less than a year? Deal with it.

And you do. You make the appointments, keep the house relatively livable, feed everyone able to tolerate solids, answer a thousand questions, and take it all one day at a time. Hopefully, there’s some bathing and teeth-brushing somewhere in there, but you get the idea.

At least once a day, you will hear, “Oh, be sure to take care of yourself, too!”

Try not to laugh, because that may be the best advice you will ever get. Physical hunger is an obvious and easy thing to resolve, but feeding the soul is a much more difficult and vital task. When you find that you’re not yourself, snapping at people or staring at the walls for ages, you are well into I Need A Break territory.

Remember all of those folks who said to “just call if you need anything?” Call them. Get someone to spouse-sit for a couple of hours while you take a nap or a long bath. Let your kitchen-savvy friend bring over a hot meal. Take your in-laws up on their offer to drive your loved one to his appointment so you can spend an hour in your favorite coffee shop. Each little break you take for yourself is like a “Get Out of Insanity Free” card, and will make your role as caregiver that much easier to fill.

My wise Auntie-by-choice Marty says that people should seek out little pieces of happiness, wherever they can find them. Lucky me, a lot of my pieces of happiness are friend-shaped.
How do you make time for yourself? How can you tell that a little “me time” is in order? Share your thoughts in the comment section, and have a peaceful day!

Photos courtesy of stock.xchng

Caring For the Caregiver

By Audrey Lintner

When your world turns upside down, you’d better learn to stand on your head. You get kinda busy when you’re the caretaker of a sick loved one. There are insurance forms to fill out, phone calls to make and to field, appointments to get to, and a bucket brigade of chicken soup and ice cream to requisition. Add in a four-year-old who can’t understand why Daddy spends all of his time sleeping, and you’re lucky if you can find time to breathe, let alone carve out some “me time.”

Even the best juggler will only try to keep things in the air for so long. Without a break, everything comes crashing down. Caregivers must think of themselves the same way.

Lots of us have a peculiar tendency to want to handle everything life throws at us, all by ourselves. Flat tire? Change it. Sink clogged? Plunge it. Husband diagnosed with cancer for the second time in less than a year? Deal with it.

And you do. You make the appointments, keep the house relatively livable, feed everyone able to tolerate solids, answer a thousand questions, and take it all one day at a time. Hopefully, there’s some bathing and teeth-brushing somewhere in there, but you get the idea.

At least once a day, you will hear, “Oh, be sure to take care of yourself, too!”

Try not to laugh, because that may be the best advice you will ever get. Physical hunger is an obvious and easy thing to resolve, but feeding the soul is a much more difficult and vital task. When you find that you’re not yourself, snapping at people or staring at the walls for ages, you are well into I Need A Break territory.

Remember all of those folks who said to “just call if you need anything?” Call them. Get someone to spouse-sit for a couple of hours while you take a nap or a long bath. Let your kitchen-savvy friend bring over a hot meal. Take your in-laws up on their offer to drive your loved one to his appointment so you can spend an hour in your favorite coffee shop. Each little break you take for yourself is like a “Get Out of Insanity Free” card, and will make your role as caregiver that much easier to fill.

My wise Auntie-by-choice Marty says that people should seek out little pieces of happiness, wherever they can find them. Lucky me, a lot of my pieces of happiness are friend-shaped.
How do you make time for yourself? How can you tell that a little “me time” is in order? Share your thoughts in the comment section, and have a peaceful day!

Photos courtesy of stock.xchng

Acknowledging our Customers

By Emily Bates, Inside Sales Professional

Image courtesy of blog.ignite360.com

Why is taking care of your customers so important? The answers may seem obvious. After all, where would any business be without the support of and encouragement from their customers? Certainly they would not be in business. Sometimes, however, it would appear that there are companies out there operating without those answers. Those are the companies who often mistreat their customers, neglect their needs, overlook their feedback, and fail to appreciate their loyalty.

We have all experienced this type of customer service, and understand how damaging it can be to the relationship. That is why at Little Pickle Press, we try to go above and beyond to never be one of those companies. Today, we would like to take an opportunity to express our gratitude and appreciation for each of our customers. Each one of you are important to us, and we strive to do what is necessary to ensure that your needs are being met.

Customers are what keep a business afloat. We understand that in today’s economy, the decision to spend money on any one product is a difficult one, especially when there are thousands of vendors to choose from. That is why every time one of you choses to use your resources to support our products it is more than significant—it is inspiring. It is an affirmation that we are doing something right, and inspires us to continue to work hard to provide you with the most unique, important, and environmentally sound books we possibly can.

We understand that in many cases, these books are shared with some of the most important people in your life, whether that be your children, your students, or your own customers. We want everyone involved with Little Pickle Press to be happy and satisfied. It matters to us more than anything. It is always our goal to strengthen and nurture the relationships we have with you.

Yes, the satisfaction of our customers matters to us, but so does your voice. We are always seeking your opinions, feedback, and ratings. From them, we improve, evolve, and grow. We recognize that the second you forget to stop and listen, is the same second you neglect to care. Weekly, the Little Pickle Press team holds a meeting in which we set aside some time to explore the ways we can show our gratitude and appreciate our customers, as well as the ways in which we can build a stronger relationship with you, and provide you with better service.

Whether it is through supporting a good cause, poster giveaways, price discounts, or complimentary shipping, Little Pickle Press is always working for you. We never undervalue a customer, nor underestimate the importance of taking care of them.

Thank you all for your continued support of Little Pickle Press. If you have feedback for us, we’d love to hear it!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What does it mean to be growing?

In the past three years, Little Pickle Press has been fortunate to experience a vast growth spurt. We released many exciting new titles, eBooks, and apps, including our first chapter book. Unfortunately, as we can all attest to with a picture or two from our childhood, growth can sometimes be awkward. We are in currently in the process of improving our website, blog, and practices to meet our growing needs.

We are extraordinarily grateful for your support during this growth process, and appreciate your patience. Recently, while in the process of upgrading our website, our shopping cart experienced a few glitches. We sincerely apologize to anybody who may have been affected negatively by the transition. Please take advantage of a complimentary 10% discount on your entire purchase. Just use code LPPGROW at checkout. 

Acknowledging our Customers

By Emily Bates, Inside Sales Professional

Image courtesy of blog.ignite360.com

Why is taking care of your customers so important? The answers may seem obvious. After all, where would any business be without the support of and encouragement from their customers? Certainly they would not be in business. Sometimes, however, it would appear that there are companies out there operating without those answers. Those are the companies who often mistreat their customers, neglect their needs, overlook their feedback, and fail to appreciate their loyalty.

We have all experienced this type of customer service, and understand how damaging it can be to the relationship. That is why at Little Pickle Press, we try to go above and beyond to never be one of those companies. Today, we would like to take an opportunity to express our gratitude and appreciation for each of our customers. Each one of you are important to us, and we strive to do what is necessary to ensure that your needs are being met.

Customers are what keep a business afloat. We understand that in today’s economy, the decision to spend money on any one product is a difficult one, especially when there are thousands of vendors to choose from. That is why every time one of you choses to use your resources to support our products it is more than significant—it is inspiring. It is an affirmation that we are doing something right, and inspires us to continue to work hard to provide you with the most unique, important, and environmentally sound books we possibly can.

We understand that in many cases, these books are shared with some of the most important people in your life, whether that be your children, your students, or your own customers. We want everyone involved with Little Pickle Press to be happy and satisfied. It matters to us more than anything. It is always our goal to strengthen and nurture the relationships we have with you.

Yes, the satisfaction of our customers matters to us, but so does your voice. We are always seeking your opinions, feedback, and ratings. From them, we improve, evolve, and grow. We recognize that the second you forget to stop and listen, is the same second you neglect to care. Weekly, the Little Pickle Press team holds a meeting in which we set aside some time to explore the ways we can show our gratitude and appreciate our customers, as well as the ways in which we can build a stronger relationship with you, and provide you with better service.

Whether it is through supporting a good cause, poster giveaways, price discounts, or complimentary shipping, Little Pickle Press is always working for you. We never undervalue a customer, nor underestimate the importance of taking care of them.

Thank you all for your continued support of Little Pickle Press. If you have feedback for us, we’d love to hear it!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What does it mean to be growing?

In the past three years, Little Pickle Press has been fortunate to experience a vast growth spurt. We released many exciting new titles, eBooks, and apps, including our first chapter book. Unfortunately, as we can all attest to with a picture or two from our childhood, growth can sometimes be awkward. We are in currently in the process of improving our website, blog, and practices to meet our growing needs.

We are extraordinarily grateful for your support during this growth process, and appreciate your patience. Recently, while in the process of upgrading our website, our shopping cart experienced a few glitches. We sincerely apologize to anybody who may have been affected negatively by the transition. Please take advantage of a complimentary 10% discount on your entire purchase. Just use code LPPGROW at checkout. 

Featured Customer of the Month: Me to We

By Khadijah Lacina

Little Pickle Press strives to be the change that it seeks, and we are always looking for other businesses that do the same. In February’s customer of the month, Toronto-based Me to We, we have found a true soulmate, with their strong commitment to providing ethically-created products as well as to effecting positive social and environmental change.
Me to We began simply––with two brothers, and one simple idea. As founders of Free The Children, Craig and Marc Kielburger witnessed countless times how every great change begins with small, positive actions—and how such actions not only help humanity as a whole, but transform the life of the individual taking action. With input from the world’s leading experts on social action, Craig and Marc turned this idea into a philosophy of social entrepreneurship, which remains at the heart of Me to We today.

An innovative social enterprise, Me to We provides people with better choices for a better world, including socially conscious and environmentally friendly clothes and accessories, as well as life-changing international volunteer trips, leadership training programs and materials, an inspirational speakers bureau, and books which address issues of positive social change. In addition, half of Me to We’s profit is donated to Free The Children, while the other half is reinvested to grow the enterprise and advance its social mission.

Their award-winning and bestselling book collection includes step-by-step textbooks for young world-changers, creative non-fiction for young adults, inspirational memoirs, and classroom resources. Readers aren’t just purchasing a book; they’re becoming a part of a movement. Additionally, Me to We’s Buy a Book, Give a Book promise ensures that for every Me to We book purchased, a notebook will be given to a child in a developing country.

Last year LPP’s  Chief Executive Pickle and author of our award-winning What Does It Mean To Be…?® series travelled to Ethiopia with ONE Moms and was introduced to the women of FashionABLE. Meeting these women and seeing how they were changing their lives through their creation and marketing of beautiful handwoven scarves made a lasting impression on her. In Me to We, we find a similar program and philosophy. Their Me to We Artisans is a line of original accessories, handcrafted by artisans in Free The Children countries across the globe. Each unique piece is a connection between you and a working artisan, sustainably produced and using as much local supply as possible. Me to We Artisans currently employs more than 450 Maasai “mamas.”

Me to We and Free the Children work together to affect positive social change. Each branch of the Me to We tree is designed to support Free The Children’s work at home and abroad. Volunteers on a Me to We trip help build schools. Speakers carry a message of action and hope. Leadership facilitators teach about youth leadership for global change. Me to We products provide consumers with better choices for a better world. In addition, Me to We is also structured to offset Free The Children’s expenses and help provide pro bono services to its efforts. Since 2009, Me to We has donated $4 million to Free The Children through cash and in-kind donations.

Me to We, like Little Pickle Press, is a company that walks their talk, while providing high quality, ethically created products.  We are proud to have our products offered at their store and on their website, and to be a part of creating the change needed to make the world a better place, one step at a time.

Featured Customer of the Month: Me to We

By Khadijah Lacina

Little Pickle Press strives to be the change that it seeks, and we are always looking for other businesses that do the same. In February’s customer of the month, Toronto-based Me to We, we have found a true soulmate, with their strong commitment to providing ethically-created products as well as to effecting positive social and environmental change.
Me to We began simply––with two brothers, and one simple idea. As founders of Free The Children, Craig and Marc Kielburger witnessed countless times how every great change begins with small, positive actions—and how such actions not only help humanity as a whole, but transform the life of the individual taking action. With input from the world’s leading experts on social action, Craig and Marc turned this idea into a philosophy of social entrepreneurship, which remains at the heart of Me to We today.

An innovative social enterprise, Me to We provides people with better choices for a better world, including socially conscious and environmentally friendly clothes and accessories, as well as life-changing international volunteer trips, leadership training programs and materials, an inspirational speakers bureau, and books which address issues of positive social change. In addition, half of Me to We’s profit is donated to Free The Children, while the other half is reinvested to grow the enterprise and advance its social mission.

Their award-winning and bestselling book collection includes step-by-step textbooks for young world-changers, creative non-fiction for young adults, inspirational memoirs, and classroom resources. Readers aren’t just purchasing a book; they’re becoming a part of a movement. Additionally, Me to We’s Buy a Book, Give a Book promise ensures that for every Me to We book purchased, a notebook will be given to a child in a developing country.

Last year LPP’s  Chief Executive Pickle and author of our award-winning What Does It Mean To Be…?® series travelled to Ethiopia with ONE Moms and was introduced to the women of FashionABLE. Meeting these women and seeing how they were changing their lives through their creation and marketing of beautiful handwoven scarves made a lasting impression on her. In Me to We, we find a similar program and philosophy. Their Me to We Artisans is a line of original accessories, handcrafted by artisans in Free The Children countries across the globe. Each unique piece is a connection between you and a working artisan, sustainably produced and using as much local supply as possible. Me to We Artisans currently employs more than 450 Maasai “mamas.”

Me to We and Free the Children work together to affect positive social change. Each branch of the Me to We tree is designed to support Free The Children’s work at home and abroad. Volunteers on a Me to We trip help build schools. Speakers carry a message of action and hope. Leadership facilitators teach about youth leadership for global change. Me to We products provide consumers with better choices for a better world. In addition, Me to We is also structured to offset Free The Children’s expenses and help provide pro bono services to its efforts. Since 2009, Me to We has donated $4 million to Free The Children through cash and in-kind donations.

Me to We, like Little Pickle Press, is a company that walks their talk, while providing high quality, ethically created products.  We are proud to have our products offered at their store and on their website, and to be a part of creating the change needed to make the world a better place, one step at a time.

From the Heart: A Look At Valentine’s Day

 By Audrey Lintner

As the girl who could have been voted “Most Likely To Burst Into Tears and Run Away” whenever someone tried to strike up a conversation, I never cared for Valentine’s Day in school. Those little heart-emblazoned cards with their silly puns were for confident and popular kids, one of whom I was decidedly not.

Time changes everything, however. I still fight the urge to flee from public speaking, but Valentine’s Day has taken on new meaning. For the past nine years, I’ve been married to a man who shows me that I’m his Valentine every day.

Cue the group “Awww!”

In the spirit of love and other warm-and-fuzzy feelings, I’d like to introduce you to a couple of folks who help make some of your favorite children’s books a reality. Kelly Wickham, Social Media Director for Little Pickle Press, and Marketing Intern Katy Batchelder have kindly agreed to share some of their thoughts about this most loving of holidays.

What does Valentine’s Day mean to you?


Kelly: It’s truly just another day and doesn’t require any extra effort to tell people that I love them. In fact, if I’m not letting my loved ones know how much they mean to me every single day, then telling them once a year won’t improve our relationship.

Katy: Valentine’s Day means making everyone around feel loved and included. It is for showing the world who you care about, but also for remembering to not just show you care on one day out of the year. It means big, romantic gestures, and awkward first-dates. It’s a day dedicated to love and thoughtfulness!

What was the best/silliest/most surprising Valentine’s gift you’ve ever received?


Kelly: The most surprising Valentine’s gift came when I was in 5th grade, because I didn’t expect a boy I liked to bring me a rose. That seemed really out of the norm for an elementary student, but it made me feel really good that he went that extra step.

Katy: The silliest Valentine’s Day gift I’ve ever received was a card, roses, and GQ magazine with LeBron James on the cover. My boyfriend knows I am borderline obsessed with LeBron James (not in a creepy way, I swear!) and he thought it would be a funny gift to give. I loved it!

How has your perception of Valentine’s Day changed over the years?


Kelly: I used to think of it like New Year’s Eve where I had to have the BEST TIME EVER and then what happens is that I’m so let down. So I’ve lowered my expectations for the day and realized that love happens 365 days each year, so making a big deal out of one day doesn’t make it special. Perhaps that’s cynical of me, but it sure helps me get through the much-hyped day.

Katy: As I’ve gotten older, I’ve seen that Valentine’s Day can sometimes give people the excuse to only express their love for their partner on that one day. I want to make my boyfriend, friends and family feel extra special on V-Day, but I also want to make sure I show how much I care about not only my boyfriend, but my loved ones in general, on a day-to-day basis.

How would you describe Valentine’s Day to someone completely unfamiliar with the holiday?


Kelly: Actually, a friend of mine once told me that it’s one holiday (usually a working one!) that people in a lot of countries celebrate. So, I suppose I would mention that people in the U.S. celebrate a day of love that has its roots in Christianity. I’d probably also tell them that many cynical Americans just chalk it up to Hallmark getting all of our money! (Well, them and flower shops.)

Katy: I would describe Valentine’s Day as a reminder that love exists, or is right around the corner, for everybody.

Thank you, ladies! Folks, a great big ol’ topic like love deserves an equally large discussion. Please feel free to continue the conversation in the comment section, and be sure to share your answers to our Valentine’s Day questions.

Oh, and have a happy Valentine’s Day!

From the Heart: A Look At Valentine’s Day

By Audrey Lintner

Untitled

As the girl who could have been voted “Most Likely To Burst Into Tears and Run Away” whenever someone tried to strike up a conversation, I never cared for Valentine’s Day in school. Those little heart-emblazoned cards with their silly puns were for confident and popular kids, one of whom I was decidedly not.
Time changes everything, however. I still fight the urge to flee from public speaking, but Valentine’s Day has taken on new meaning. For the past nine years, I’ve been married to a man who shows me that I’m his Valentine every day.
Cue the group “Awww!”
In the spirit of love and other warm-and-fuzzy feelings, I’d like to introduce you to a couple of folks who help make some of your favorite children’s books a reality. Kelly Wickham, Social Media Director for Little Pickle Press, and Marketing Intern Katy Batchelder have kindly agreed to share some of their thoughts about this most loving of holidays.
What does Valentine’s Day mean to you?
v1
 
Kelly: It’s truly just another day and doesn’t require any extra effort to tell people that I love them. In fact, if I’m not letting my loved ones know how much they mean to me every single day, then telling them once a year won’t improve our relationship.
Katy: Valentine’s Day means making everyone around feel loved and included. It is for showing the world who you care about, but also for remembering to not just show you care on one day out of the year. It means big, romantic gestures, and awkward first-dates. It’s a day dedicated to love and thoughtfulness!
What was the best/silliest/most surprising Valentine’s gift you’ve ever received?
 
Kelly: The most surprising Valentine’s gift came when I was in 5th grade, because I didn’t expect a boy I liked to bring me a rose. That seemed really out of the norm for an elementary student, but it made me feel really good that he went that extra step.
Katy: The silliest Valentine’s Day gift I’ve ever received was a card, roses, and GQ magazine with LeBron James on the cover. My boyfriend knows I am borderline obsessed with LeBron James (not in a creepy way, I swear!) and he thought it would be a funny gift to give. I loved it!
How has your perception of Valentine’s Day changed over the years?
 
Kelly: I used to think of it like New Year’s Eve where I had to have the BEST TIME EVER and then what happens is that I’m so let down. So I’ve lowered my expectations for the day and realized that love happens 365 days each year, so making a big deal out of one day doesn’t make it special. Perhaps that’s cynical of me, but it sure helps me get through the much-hyped day.
Katy: As I’ve gotten older, I’ve seen that Valentine’s Day can sometimes give people the excuse to only express their love for their partner on that one day. I want to make my boyfriend, friends and family feel extra special on V-Day, but I also want to make sure I show how much I care about not only my boyfriend, but my loved ones in general, on a day-to-day basis.
How would you describe Valentine’s Day to someone completely unfamiliar with the holiday?
 
Kelly: Actually, a friend of mine once told me that it’s one holiday (usually a working one!) that people in a lot of countries celebrate. So, I suppose I would mention that people in the U.S. celebrate a day of love that has its roots in Christianity. I’d probably also tell them that many cynical Americans just chalk it up to Hallmark getting all of our money! (Well, them and flower shops.)
Katy: I would describe Valentine’s Day as a reminder that love exists, or is right around the corner, for everybody.
Thank you, ladies! Folks, a great big ol’ topic like love deserves an equally large discussion. Please feel free to continue the conversation in the comment section, and be sure to share your answers to our Valentine’s Day questions.
Oh, and have a happy Valentine’s Day!

The Importance of Online Relationships

By Kelly Wickham

Image courtesy of tibbr.com
The more work time I spend online in my job the more I think about the online relationships I have. Sometimes, for my day job, I spend time e-mailing the same strangers over and over to get clarification about state laws. One woman, a teacher in Oakland, has corresponded with me for over 6 years about best teaching practices for middle grades. We Skype together each month and trade lesson plans that incorporate technology that we then share with our respective schools. Through all that, I’ve gotten to know her family and her children’s names and where she vacations. It is strictly an online friendship that blossomed in much the same way my “real life” friendships have. Denise, the teacher in Oakland, sends Christmas cards and pins suggestions on her Pinterest boards for me to look at since she knows my daughter is getting married. I’m loathe to admit that it’s not a real relationship just because it’s online. When I first became interested in the Internet in the 90s I mistakenly believed that the evolution of using this new technology would prove that online relationships are less important that offline relationships.
It’s something I think about a lot since I met my boyfriend online, and have felt the need to defend that relationship. Naturally, my friends teased me about meeting someone who could be an axe murderer. I think, however, that we got to know each other in a way that people who see each other physically initially don’t have the opportunity to enjoy. When we first met and started using MSN Messenger to chat, we started with traditional “chatspeak” and moved on to a game many people are familiar with: Twenty Questions. Trading questions and answers back and forth was a fun way for us to get to know one another. Now that we live together, we look back at those questions about how we squeeze the toothpaste (from the bottom!) to what we like to read (he’s fiction, I’m non-fiction) to where we’d like to travel someday (both of us want to go to Belize).  

Apparently, I’m not alone in the number of online relationships I’ve cultivated or even about how I’ve come to appreciate them. An abstract by two Ph.D. researchers, Monica Whitty and Jeff Gavin, wondered about the value of those associations when they questioned 60 Internet users whose ages ranged from 19 to 51. Not surprisingly, they found that the same things that are important to us about the offline, in real life, relationships are just as crucial for those we experience online. The top three codes of behavior that they valued were trust, honesty, and commitment.

Any relationship I have is wrapped up in those values. If those three things are securely in place, then it’s a friendship I value and put effort into to maintain. I wish I were better at it, but I’m not that great at remembering to send handwritten cards, and I never send Christmas holiday cards, but I will work hard to send a quick text to a girlfriend going through a rocky time in her marriage. Denise and I share a sense of humor, so I’ll probably send her something funny this Valentine’s Day via e-mail.

How about you? How do you maintain both online and offline relationships? Are trust, honesty, and commitment your top three qualifiers for a good relationship?

The Importance of Online Relationships

By Kelly Wickham

Image courtesy of tibbr.com
The more work time I spend online in my job the more I think about the online relationships I have. Sometimes, for my day job, I spend time e-mailing the same strangers over and over to get clarification about state laws. One woman, a teacher in Oakland, has corresponded with me for over 6 years about best teaching practices for middle grades. We Skype together each month and trade lesson plans that incorporate technology that we then share with our respective schools. Through all that, I’ve gotten to know her family and her children’s names and where she vacations. It is strictly an online friendship that blossomed in much the same way my “real life” friendships have. Denise, the teacher in Oakland, sends Christmas cards and pins suggestions on her Pinterest boards for me to look at since she knows my daughter is getting married. I’m loathe to admit that it’s not a real relationship just because it’s online. When I first became interested in the Internet in the 90s I mistakenly believed that the evolution of using this new technology would prove that online relationships are less important that offline relationships.
It’s something I think about a lot since I met my boyfriend online, and have felt the need to defend that relationship. Naturally, my friends teased me about meeting someone who could be an axe murderer. I think, however, that we got to know each other in a way that people who see each other physically initially don’t have the opportunity to enjoy. When we first met and started using MSN Messenger to chat, we started with traditional “chatspeak” and moved on to a game many people are familiar with: Twenty Questions. Trading questions and answers back and forth was a fun way for us to get to know one another. Now that we live together, we look back at those questions about how we squeeze the toothpaste (from the bottom!) to what we like to read (he’s fiction, I’m non-fiction) to where we’d like to travel someday (both of us want to go to Belize).  

Apparently, I’m not alone in the number of online relationships I’ve cultivated or even about how I’ve come to appreciate them. An abstract by two Ph.D. researchers, Monica Whitty and Jeff Gavin, wondered about the value of those associations when they questioned 60 Internet users whose ages ranged from 19 to 51. Not surprisingly, they found that the same things that are important to us about the offline, in real life, relationships are just as crucial for those we experience online. The top three codes of behavior that they valued were trust, honesty, and commitment.

Any relationship I have is wrapped up in those values. If those three things are securely in place, then it’s a friendship I value and put effort into to maintain. I wish I were better at it, but I’m not that great at remembering to send handwritten cards, and I never send Christmas holiday cards, but I will work hard to send a quick text to a girlfriend going through a rocky time in her marriage. Denise and I share a sense of humor, so I’ll probably send her something funny this Valentine’s Day via e-mail.

How about you? How do you maintain both online and offline relationships? Are trust, honesty, and commitment your top three qualifiers for a good relationship?

The Secret of a Happy Relationship

By Cameron Crane



What is the secret to a happy relationship? According to Gabrielle Raumberger of EPOS Concepts, a big part of it is effective communication. It is on this principal that EPOS released The Secret of a Happy Relationship™, a tool for learning to communicate with the special people in your life productively, so that you can live a happier and more aware life.
The Secret of a Happy Relationship™ is designed to nurture the relationship between any two people—whether they are husband and wife, mother and daughter, siblings, relatives, coworkers or best friends (there are different editions to cater to each). The way the guide works is simple: each person gets two boxes, one that stores stones and one that they will put stones in throughout the week. There are 7 different colored stones, each one representing one of the seven basic emotions: joy or happiness, frustration, anger or rage, love, dishonesty or holding back, sadness, and perfect harmony.




Throughout the week, each person pays attention to their reactions to each significant interaction they have with their partner, acknowledging when they feel any one of the 7 emotions, and dropping the stone representing that emotion in to the box. The same time each week, both players sit down and discuss the stones in their boxes, and the actions/emotions they represent. Most likely each player will only remember a few of the situations. These are the experiences they are still holding on to and the ones that will allow the secret to emerge.
The Secret of a Happy Relationship™ began with Aurelia Haslboeck, a teacher of self-realization and personal transformation, who learned the unique process of sharing emotions from her family. Aurelia recognized what a powerful tool the process had been in her life, and wanted to share it with those around her. She began giving the story away to her friends as wedding gifts. The feedback that she received from her inner circle was so positive, she decided to find a way to spread the message more broadly. She approached Gabrielle, an experienced graphic designer and avid student of hers, to help bring the guide to mass market. It has been a success ever since.

“It’s a great tool for sharpening awareness, and there are rippling effects as well,” says Gabrielle, “You start to become 100% aware, 100% of the time, not only with the person you play the guide with, but everyone else as well. You learn to live in the present, realize you choose each feeling you have, and stop reacting automatically.”

By learning to acknowledge, process, and communicate emotions effectively, you avoid many of the confrontations that can be misunderstood or misdirected. You also learn to avoid one of the most dangerous things in a relationship: assumption.

“My teacher used to tell a wonderful story about pizza,” Gabrielle says. When Aurelia first got married, she and her husband went out to pizza. “What part of the pizza do you like best?” Aurelia asked her husband, “The crust or the gooey part?” “The crust,” he replied. Aurelia preferred the center. That night, they cut a circle in the center of the pizza. She ate the gooey part, while her husband enjoyed the crust. They have been eating their pizza that way ever since. Without the communication, both would have assumed they liked the same part, and pizza would have only been a fraction as enjoyable for each.

The Secret of a Happy Relationship™ allows you to recognize any time a “pizza” moment arises in your life. Eventually, the process becomes so natural, you don’t even need to keep using the stones.  “The packaging is designed to have a second life once the process becomes a habit,” Gabrielle notes. The boxes are perfect for storing memories, trinkets, etc. once they are no longer needed for tools of communication.

Thank you, EPOS Concepts, for designing such an amazing tool for nurturing relationships!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Special Deal!

Interested in purchasing The Secret of a Happy Relationship™ for yourself or the people in your life? This February, you can enjoy a special Valentine’s Day discount of 14% on as many as 10 purchases! Just use code LOVE14 at checkout!

The Secret of a Happy Relationship

By Cameron Crane



What is the secret to a happy relationship? According to Gabrielle Raumberger of EPOS Concepts, a big part of it is effective communication. It is on this principal that EPOS released The Secret of a Happy Relationship™, a tool for learning to communicate with the special people in your life productively, so that you can live a happier and more aware life.
The Secret of a Happy Relationship™ is designed to nurture the relationship between any two people—whether they are husband and wife, mother and daughter, siblings, relatives, coworkers or best friends (there are different editions to cater to each). The way the guide works is simple: each person gets two boxes, one that stores stones and one that they will put stones in throughout the week. There are 7 different colored stones, each one representing one of the seven basic emotions: joy or happiness, frustration, anger or rage, love, dishonesty or holding back, sadness, and perfect harmony.




Throughout the week, each person pays attention to their reactions to each significant interaction they have with their partner, acknowledging when they feel any one of the 7 emotions, and dropping the stone representing that emotion in to the box. The same time each week, both players sit down and discuss the stones in their boxes, and the actions/emotions they represent. Most likely each player will only remember a few of the situations. These are the experiences they are still holding on to and the ones that will allow the secret to emerge.
The Secret of a Happy Relationship™ began with Aurelia Haslboeck, a teacher of self-realization and personal transformation, who learned the unique process of sharing emotions from her family. Aurelia recognized what a powerful tool the process had been in her life, and wanted to share it with those around her. She began giving the story away to her friends as wedding gifts. The feedback that she received from her inner circle was so positive, she decided to find a way to spread the message more broadly. She approached Gabrielle, an experienced graphic designer and avid student of hers, to help bring the guide to mass market. It has been a success ever since.

“It’s a great tool for sharpening awareness, and there are rippling effects as well,” says Gabrielle, “You start to become 100% aware, 100% of the time, not only with the person you play the guide with, but everyone else as well. You learn to live in the present, realize you choose each feeling you have, and stop reacting automatically.”

By learning to acknowledge, process, and communicate emotions effectively, you avoid many of the confrontations that can be misunderstood or misdirected. You also learn to avoid one of the most dangerous things in a relationship: assumption.

“My teacher used to tell a wonderful story about pizza,” Gabrielle says. When Aurelia first got married, she and her husband went out to pizza. “What part of the pizza do you like best?” Aurelia asked her husband, “The crust or the gooey part?” “The crust,” he replied. Aurelia preferred the center. That night, they cut a circle in the center of the pizza. She ate the gooey part, while her husband enjoyed the crust. They have been eating their pizza that way ever since. Without the communication, both would have assumed they liked the same part, and pizza would have only been a fraction as enjoyable for each.

The Secret of a Happy Relationship™ allows you to recognize any time a “pizza” moment arises in your life. Eventually, the process becomes so natural, you don’t even need to keep using the stones.  “The packaging is designed to have a second life once the process becomes a habit,” Gabrielle notes. The boxes are perfect for storing memories, trinkets, etc. once they are no longer needed for tools of communication.

Thank you, EPOS Concepts, for designing such an amazing tool for nurturing relationships!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Special Deal!

Interested in purchasing The Secret of a Happy Relationship™ for yourself or the people in your life? This February, you can enjoy a special Valentine’s Day discount of 14% on as many as 10 purchases! Just use code LOVE14 at checkout!

Featured Young Writer: Healthy Relationships in Middle School

by Sarah Marjorie 

Little Pickle Press is proud to expand our base of writers to include a Young Writer of the Month. We value the voices of all our readers and writers so we’re reaching out to students and young people to hear from them on important topics that impact their world, too. 

 JD Hancock via photopin cc

I’ve been thinking about relationships a lot lately, and why wouldn’t I? I’m in middle school. As a 7th grade girl, the relationships I have with my friends are the things that get me through the day. Some days, it’s all I’ve got. I don’t mind conflict, but when my friends haven’t spoken to me for more than a day, I will definitely confront them about it. I’m an honor roll student involved in a lot of activities and having friends is a big part of that. Upon reflection, here are some important parts to having healthy relationships in middle school.

3 Tips to Any Healthy Relationship: 

  1. Safety – In a healthy relationship, you have to feel safe. Being in a healthy relationship could be as simple as laughing together and being happy, or as wearisome as giving someone the key to your overall being, and trusting them not to break you. We kids are pros at knowing that we have to be safe even though sometimes we aren’t. You can’t be healthy unless you’re safe.
  2. Communication – Healthy communication means that you’re not suffocating another person. Our world is filled with new technology such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. We communicate a lot. That’s not even counting how often we see each other at school. I’ll admit that there can be too much of a good thing. Yet, constantly demanding attention from our friends can definitely make one wonder about over-communicating. When you over-communicate, your friendships dissipate, and that’s the opposite of nurturing friendships. 
  3. Trust – You have to trust your friends and family. Without trust, there’s no base to a relationship. When your best friend trusts you with their biggest secret – the way that my friend told me – is a big step for them, and for you. They’ve trusted you! If you go behind their backs and tell other people, you are in danger of destroying the relationship. In some situations, there is no way to regain the trust of the person you’ve betrayed, but in others, it’s a trial and error situation. To win back your friend’s trust, you have to work your way up a tall ladder, slowly showing them that they can still trust you. 

Take me for example. My best friend and I, we have very similar personalities. We both have to be right, all the time. Therefore, to make sure our friendship stays strong, we’re careful about how we communicate. However, she and I didn’t just know how to get along right away. It took practice. We each learned where the other’s breaking point is. We know when to stop. I know that whenever I bike over to Julia’s house, I won’t be leaving in a hurry because I’m mad or upset. We laugh together and most definitely feel safe with each other. Julia trusts me with some of her biggest secrets (I can’t reveal them for obvious reasons), and I trust her with mine. When I leave her house it’s always with a “Love Ya!” and a wave.

Healthy relationships aren’t just something you can brush off your back or add to a ‘Maybe Later’ list. They’re something that you absolutely cannot live without.

Featured Young Writer: Healthy Relationships in Middle School

by Sarah Marjorie 

Little Pickle Press is proud to expand our base of writers to include a Young Writer of the Month. We value the voices of all our readers and writers so we’re reaching out to students and young people to hear from them on important topics that impact their world, too. 

 JD Hancock via photopin cc

I’ve been thinking about relationships a lot lately, and why wouldn’t I? I’m in middle school. As a 7th grade girl, the relationships I have with my friends are the things that get me through the day. Some days, it’s all I’ve got. I don’t mind conflict, but when my friends haven’t spoken to me for more than a day, I will definitely confront them about it. I’m an honor roll student involved in a lot of activities and having friends is a big part of that. Upon reflection, here are some important parts to having healthy relationships in middle school.

3 Tips to Any Healthy Relationship: 

  1. Safety – In a healthy relationship, you have to feel safe. Being in a healthy relationship could be as simple as laughing together and being happy, or as wearisome as giving someone the key to your overall being, and trusting them not to break you. We kids are pros at knowing that we have to be safe even though sometimes we aren’t. You can’t be healthy unless you’re safe.
  2. Communication – Healthy communication means that you’re not suffocating another person. Our world is filled with new technology such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. We communicate a lot. That’s not even counting how often we see each other at school. I’ll admit that there can be too much of a good thing. Yet, constantly demanding attention from our friends can definitely make one wonder about over-communicating. When you over-communicate, your friendships dissipate, and that’s the opposite of nurturing friendships. 
  3. Trust – You have to trust your friends and family. Without trust, there’s no base to a relationship. When your best friend trusts you with their biggest secret – the way that my friend told me – is a big step for them, and for you. They’ve trusted you! If you go behind their backs and tell other people, you are in danger of destroying the relationship. In some situations, there is no way to regain the trust of the person you’ve betrayed, but in others, it’s a trial and error situation. To win back your friend’s trust, you have to work your way up a tall ladder, slowly showing them that they can still trust you. 

Take me for example. My best friend and I, we have very similar personalities. We both have to be right, all the time. Therefore, to make sure our friendship stays strong, we’re careful about how we communicate. However, she and I didn’t just know how to get along right away. It took practice. We each learned where the other’s breaking point is. We know when to stop. I know that whenever I bike over to Julia’s house, I won’t be leaving in a hurry because I’m mad or upset. We laugh together and most definitely feel safe with each other. Julia trusts me with some of her biggest secrets (I can’t reveal them for obvious reasons), and I trust her with mine. When I leave her house it’s always with a “Love Ya!” and a wave.

Healthy relationships aren’t just something you can brush off your back or add to a ‘Maybe Later’ list. They’re something that you absolutely cannot live without.

Nurturing Important Relationships

By Kelly Wickham

Take a moment to think about all of the important relationships in your life. Of course, families come to mind first. Our aging parents or growing children warrant our careful attention, but the grind of life can impede our ability to see how we’re impacting them if we are simply going through the motions. Teachers are often thought of in hindsight, yet we know they are planning curriculum and caring for our children, their students, as regularly as they breathe air. Other important relationships are those we have with our customers—the people who pay our salaries. Each day we have opportunities to interact with people with whom we have relationships. Are we doing so mindfully, thoughtfully, and patiently? Are we treating others in a way that lets them know we care about them?

 

We all know that relationships take work if they’re going to succeed. This was never more apparent to me than when my youngest son was 3 years old. He wanted to spend time with me and begged me to read with him, but I was too busy getting dinner on the table and checking his siblings’ homework. I ignored his pleas as he stood on a chair in the kitchen. He had just learned a song about being happy and sang it as I multitasked—“If you feel happy . . . if you feel happy . . . if you feel happy . . . then clap your hands! I wasn’t connecting with him until he changed the words to, If you feel grumpy . . . ” and finished with “ . . . make a face like Mommy! I knew he was trying to get my attention and communicate that I wasn’t taking care of his needs. What I learned in that pivotal teaching moment was that if I wanted happy children, then I needed to be present and joyful with my kids. I turned off the stove and snuggled with my son. Nurturing our relationship was as important, if not more so, than filling our stomachs with food.

If you can, think carefully and consciously about how you nurture all the relationships in your life as you go about your day. You are bound to run into people who matter to you on varying levels and whose relationships are key to your survival or success. When we think conscientiously about why these people matter, we can get to the important business of considering how best to let them know.

This month on the Little Pickle Press blog, we’ll be exploring what it means to nurture the relationships that matter most in our lives. Whether you’re a parent, a grandparent, a teacher, a student, and/or a customer, we hope that you will join our conversations and share how you foster your relationships.