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Filed under: the mind is like a parachute

2013 August 13
by Rachel Turiel

Recently Col told me he wanted a notebook he could keep in his pocket and pull out to write in. My mind scoffed, aren’t you the one who finds writing in your journal offensive, painful and a waste of time? Outwardly, I said, sure, honey, you can buy it with your own money. I took the kids to the dizzying Back to School aisle of Rite Aid and Col found exactly what he wanted. On our way to the cash register, Rose announced that she wanted to buy a pen for Col to go with his journal. Col picked out a beautiful sharp-tipped black pen and we proceeded to the register, the outer edges of my mind dilating into a brave new territory where mermaids surfaced from gentle waters to sing songs called anything is possible, Mama.

Later that night Col announced bashfully that he had written something in his notebook, but we probably wouldn’t be able to read it.


“personal attitude is the best” – this could also be filed under: vowels are overrated

Two days ago I would have reported that Col was highly unlikely to do any voluntary writing and Rose was highly unlikely to spend any of her cash on her brother.

The mind is like a parachute, it doesn’t work if it’s not open. —Frank Zappa


19 Responses leave one →
  1. David permalink
    August 13, 2013

    Is Col’s saying (personal attitude is the best) from a book, or some other source? If he made it up, would he mind expanding on the notion? I love this and think that it would benefit Emmett. He is incredibly caring and generous with others – to the extent where a little “personal attitude” might do him good. Though, I’m not exactly sure what it means…


    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      August 13, 2013

      Apparently Col made it up but won’t expand upon it. But I think it is a universal self help slogan, i.e. in Emmett’s case it can mean, an attitude of personal care towards self can help strengthen boundaries! In Rose’s case it can mean, caring personally for others is best! For Dan it might mean, do your Personal Best during elk-hunting season!

      ps: sounds like Emmett has already mastered what The Dalai Lama has been teaching for many years. Bless his sweet little person.

  2. August 13, 2013

    What a bright little spot you put into my morning! Love your little family oh so much!

  3. Baba permalink
    August 13, 2013

    I guess it shows that our judgments , that seem so reasonable in our minds, are often mistaken. Surprises abound.

  4. Kathy permalink
    August 13, 2013

    Thank you for sharing ALL of the story, especially Zappa’s comment. I SOOO needed it. And congratulations on being the best Mom ever, your ability to wait for the signals and act on them forthrightly is exemplary. THAT is Motherhood at her zenith!

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      August 13, 2013

      Oh Kathy, I do plenty of interfering, bumbling around, and impatient toe-tapping, too.

  5. Andrea permalink
    August 13, 2013

    Oh, how we have so much growing to still do. All of us!

  6. Alanya permalink
    August 13, 2013

    Love this!!

  7. Bree permalink
    August 13, 2013

    This is awesome!

  8. Amy permalink
    August 13, 2013


  9. Chi-An permalink
    August 13, 2013

    I absolutely love this. My kids treat Office Depot the way other kids look at toy stores. They wander up and down the aisles, fuss over their supplies, and love giving notebooks & pens as gifts.

    Recently I started my own version of Col’s idea: I started carrying a tiny sketchbook with me and try to do at least one sketch a day. It’s been a lot of fun; in the beginning I was afraid it would turn into something obligatory, like brushing my teeth to prevent cavities, but it has quickly turned into something necessary yet pleasant, like brushing my teeth for that clean minty feeling.

  10. Ellie permalink
    August 13, 2013

    What a lovely story, Rachel. I adore Col’s little motto, along with the fact that it’s coming out of a toothy monster’s mouth (or is that a fish?)…

  11. August 14, 2013

    Your caption for the picture made me laugh out loud. Very funny (and of course, true, inspiring, thoughtful and all the usuals).

  12. August 15, 2013

    i’m curious about the three little stick figures. and, hurray for col and rose!

  13. August 21, 2013

    Yup! I know exactly how that feels! It is amazing what children will do when they are not forced… unschooling rocks!

  14. August 25, 2013

    That is just lovely x

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