In today’s fast-paced world, the concept of slow living has gained immense popularity among adults seeking respite from the chaos of daily life. But what about our children? Can they also benefit from the principles of slow living? Absolutely! Teaching kids to embrace a slower, more mindful way of life can help them develop important life skills and foster a deeper connection with the world around them. In this blog post, we’ll explore some valuable slow living tips for kids, inspired by the sweet children’s book, “Bear Becomes Aware.”
Introduce Mindful Moments: Slow living begins with mindfulness. Encourage your child to take a few moments each day to simply be present. Inspire your kids to observe the beauty of nature, whether it’s through watching clouds, listening to birdsongs, or observing the changing colors of leaves.
Embrace the Joy of Simple Pleasures: Slow living is all about finding joy in simplicity. Share with your children the delight of simple activities like drawing, reading, or baking together. Help your little ones find happiness in the little things, like the warmth of the sun on or the sound of a babbling brook.
Disconnect to Reconnect: In our digitally connected world, it’s crucial to teach kids the importance of unplugging. Encourage device-free time, especially during family meals or outdoor adventures.
Nurture Patience: Slow living teaches us the value of patience. Teach your children to be patient when waiting for things, whether it’s waiting for cookies to bake or a special event. The best way to teach patience is leading by example!
Explore the Outdoors: Nature is the perfect teacher of slow living. Take your children on nature walks, hikes, or camping trips. Let them experience the wonders of the natural world.
Encourage Reflection: Slow living invites us to reflect on our experiences and emotions. After a day of play or exploration, encourage your child to reflect on what they learned or felt. This practice helps them connect with their inner selves. Prompt the dialogue by asking questions like “what was your favorite part of the day and why?”
Read “Bear Becomes Aware”: Finally, consider reading “Bear Becomes Aware” together as a family. This enchanting children’s book tells the story of a bear’s journey to slow down and discover the beauty of life. It can serve as a wonderful conversation starter and a source of inspiration for your slow living journey with your children.
In conclusion, slow living is a valuable concept to introduce to children, and “Bear Becomes Aware” provides a heartwarming example of this philosophy in action. By incorporating these slow living tips into your family’s daily life, you can help your children develop a deeper appreciation for the world around them and foster a sense of contentment that will stay with them throughout their lives. Happy slow living!
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Unschooling, a term coined by educator John Holt, is a unique approach to education that places children at the center of their learning journey. It encourages them to explore their interests, passions, and curiosities, fostering a love for learning that extends far beyond traditional classroom settings. To inspire you on this unconventional path to education, I’ve compiled a list of 30 unschooling quotes that celebrate and encourage child-led learning.
1. “The human mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be ignited.” - Plutarch
2. “Children are born passionately eager to make as much sense as they can of things around them.” - John Holt
3. “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” - William Butler Yeats
4. “The whole world opened up to me when I learned to read.” - Mary McLeod Bethune
5. “Don’t limit a child to your own learning, for they were born in another time.” - Rabindranath Tagore
Empowering Self-Directed Learning:
“Children are not things to be molded, but people to be unfolded.” – Jess Lair
“Learning is not the product of teaching. Learning is the product of the activity of learners.” – John Holt
“One learns by doing the thing; for though you think you know it, you have no certainty until you try.” – Sophocles
“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” – Peter Drucker
“When we treat children’s play as seriously as it deserves, we are helping them feel the joy that’s to be found in the creative spirit.” – Fred Rogers
“Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning.” – William Arthur Ward
“It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question.” – Eugene Ionesco
“The most important thing any teacher has to learn, not to be learned in any school of education I ever heard of, can be expressed in seven words: Learning is not the product of teaching.” – John Holt
“The best learning happens in real life with real problems and real people and not in classrooms.” – Charles Handy
“Children are natural learners; it’s what they do best.” – Grace Llewellyn
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss
“The only person who is educated is the one who has learned how to learn and change.” – Carl Rogers
“The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.” – Mark Van Doren
“Each child is an adventure into a better life – an opportunity to change the old pattern and make it new.” – Hubert H. Humphrey
“If a child is to keep alive their inborn sense of wonder, they need the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with them the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.” – Rachel Carson
“The greatest sign of success for a teacher is to be able to say, ‘The children are now working as if I did not exist.’” – Maria Montessori
“Give the pupils something to do, not something to learn; and the doing is of such a nature as to demand thinking; learning naturally results.” – John Dewey
“It’s not that I feel that school is a good idea gone wrong, but a wrong idea from the word go. It’s a nutty notion that we can have a place where nothing but learning happens, cut off from the rest of life.” – John Holt
“The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.” – Albert Einstein
“Don’t prepare the path for the child, prepare the child for the path.” – Author Unknown
Unschooling is a philosophy that empowers children to take charge of their education, fostering a lifelong love for learning. These 30 unschooling quotes serve as a reminder that children are born with an innate curiosity and a natural thirst for knowledge. By embracing child-led education, we can help them discover their passions, think critically, and become independent, lifelong learners. Whether you’re a parent, teacher, or simply an advocate for unconventional education, these quotes can inspire and guide you on this beautiful inspiring journey of self-directed learning.
Hey there, fellow mamas! As a single mom of two with a master’s degree in child development, I know firsthand the beautiful chaos and incredible joy that comes with being a parent, as well as the struggles of doing it alone and having to face overwhelm and the many burdens that come with adulting and parenting. Motherhood is a journey filled with love, growth, and adventure, but it’s also natural to face moments of overwhelm and stress. Stepping into emotional regulation is a game-changer that can empower us to find our ease and flow in motherhood. In this blog post, I’ll share research-backed tips that have helped me and other mamas navigate the emotional rollercoaster of parenting, allowing us to create a loving and (mostly) harmonious environment for ourselves and our children.
1. Breathe and Be Present: When the day feels overwhelming, take a moment to pause and breathe. Mindful breathing is a research-backed technique that calms the nervous system and reduces stress hormones. By being present in the moment, we can ground ourselves and gain perspective, making it easier to respond to challenges with patience and understanding.
I love starting my day with a guided breathing practice or meditation to make sure I’m not carrying the stressors of the previous day into the new day. You can find a ton of options on YouTube if you want to try a guided practice.
2. Practice Self-Compassion: As single moms, we are superheroes juggling multiple roles, and it’s normal to have moments of frustration or self-doubt. Instead of being hard on ourselves, let’s practice self-compassion. Acknowledge that it’s okay to feel overwhelmed and remember that we’re doing our best. Embracing self-compassion fosters a positive self-image, which impacts how we nurture our children’s emotional well-being.
Post some of your favorite affirmations around the house (my Becoming The Wild Mother Journal includes some awesome affirmations you can hang around the house). Our society can be critical, constantly reminding us of where we can be better, so we have to act as our own advocate in reminding ourselves we are already enough just as we are.
3. Seek Support and Connection: Building a support network is crucial for single moms. Reach out to friends, family, or join online communities of fellow intentional and conscious parents. (Be careful to not join groups that tell you how you should be but rather support you on your individual journey, my community Becoming The Wild Mother is great for support and connection without judgement!) Research shows that having a strong support system reduces stress and improves emotional well-being. Connecting with others who understand our journey helps us feel understood, lessens the emotional burden, and gives us a safe space to share experiences and seek advice.
4. Embrace Mindful Parenting: Mindful parenting is about being fully present with our children, observing their emotions and needs with non-judgmental awareness. Research has found that mindful parenting strengthens the parent-child bond and fosters emotional intelligence in children. By practicing mindful parenting, we create a loving and secure environment where our children can thrive emotionally.
This also gives you some mental space as you realize you do not need to redirect and micromanage your child but rather can be a present support providing a safe space in which you trust your child will turn out well rounded as you lead by example.
5. Prioritize Self-Care: Remember that self-care is not selfish; it’s essential for our well-being as moms. Research-backed studies show that regular self-care reduces stress and enhances emotional resilience. Carve out time each day for activities that bring you joy, whether it’s reading, exercising, or indulging in a hobby. Taking care of ourselves models healthy behavior for our children and teaches them the importance of self-love.
6. Teach Emotional Regulation: As moms, we can teach our children essential emotional regulation techniques. Research supports the effectiveness of methods like identifying emotions, using positive affirmations, and engaging in expressive arts to enhance emotional resilience. By equipping our children with these tools, we help them navigate their emotions and build resilience.
One of the best ways to teach is by leading through example. Pick up habits of deep breathing and self regulation to show yYour child we can bey upset and still express our emotions in a regulated and safe way.
Regulating a dysregulated nervous system can greatly improve emotional well-being. Here are some techniques that can help:
1. Deep Breathing: Engage in slow, deep breathing exercises. Inhale deeply through your nose, expanding your diaphragm, and exhale slowly through your mouth. This can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, promoting relaxation.
2. Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Tense and release different muscle groups in your body to release physical tension and signal relaxation to your brain.
3. Mindfulness and Meditation: Practice mindfulness to stay present and reduce rumination. Meditation, even for a few minutes a day, can calm an overactive nervous system.
4. Grounding Techniques: Focus on your senses to ground yourself in the present. Notice things around you—sights, sounds, textures—to shift your focus away from distressing thoughts.
5. Sensory Stimulation: Use sensory tools like fidget toys, stress balls, or scented items to provide calming sensations that can regulate your nervous system.
6. Exercise: Engaging in physical activity can help release built-up tension and stimulate the release of endorphins, which promote feelings of well-being.
7. Hydration and Nutrition: Proper hydration and a balanced diet can positively impact your nervous system’s functioning.
8. Limit Stimulants: Reduce or eliminate caffeine, nicotine, and other stimulants, as they can exacerbate nervous system dysregulation.
9. Yoga: Gentle yoga and stretching can promote relaxation and help release physical tension.
10. Aromatherapy: Certain scents, like lavender or chamomile, can have calming effects. Consider keeping these herbson hand to smell or make tea.
11. Visualizations: Use guided imagery or visualizations of peaceful places to evoke calming responses.
As mindful mamas, we have a deep understanding of our children’s emotional needs but not always our own. By incorporating research-backed emotional regulation tips into our lives, we can find our ease and flow in motherhood, supporting our own emotional needs. Mindful breathing, self-compassion, building a support network, and practicing mindful parenting are powerful ways to enhance our emotional well-being and create a nurturing environment for our children. Prioritizing self-care and teaching emotional regulation to our kids paves the way for a harmonious and fulfilling motherhood journey. Let’s embrace emotional balance and continue to thrive as strong, resilient, and loving moms!
In recent years, unschooling has gained popularity as a refreshing alternative to traditional education. This child-led, interest-driven approach to learning empowers children to discover the world at their pace, nurturing their natural curiosity and passion for knowledge. Unschooling can pave the way for a fulfilling and enriching educational journey.
As an unschooling mom of two with a master’s degree in child development, I have found ease and confidence in embracing this child-led, interest-driven approach to education. Witnessing my children thrive in their unique learning journeys has strengthened my belief in the power of unschooling. In this blog post, I will share my personal experiences as a parent and child development expert, highlighting the research based benefits of unschooling.
1. Personalized Learning Journey: Research shows that unschooling allows for a highly personalized learning journey tailored to each child’s unique needs and interests. A study published in the Journal of Unschooling and Alternative Learning, reflected that this personalized approach enables children to delve deeply into subjects that resonate with them, fostering a love for learning and promoting long-term academic engagement.
2. Cultivation of Intrinsic Motivation: A research paper published in the journal Theory and Research in Education highlights that unschooling places a strong emphasis on intrinsic motivation. When children pursue what genuinely captivates them, they become self-motivated learners. This internal drive leads to a deeper engagement with the learning process, making education an enjoyable and fulfilling experience.
Intrinsic motivation is the internal drive that compels individuals to engage in activities for the sheer joy and satisfaction they derive from them, rather than external rewards or pressures. For children, developing intrinsic motivation is a crucial aspect of their overall growth and child development. As an unschooling mom with a master’s degree in child development, I deeply value the significance of fostering this intrinsic motivation in my children’s educational journey.
Intrinsic motivation plays a pivotal role in shaping a sustainable and fulfilling learning journey for children. When kids are intrinsically motivated, their desire to explore and discover remains constant, even when faced with challenges or setbacks. This sustained curiosity drives them to seek knowledge continuously, fostering a lifelong love for learning. Unschooling empowers children to take ownership of their education, making choices based on their interests and passions, instilling a deep sense of responsibility and accountability for their academic growth.
Children intrinsically motivated to learn are more engaged and invested in their activities, willingly investing effort and time into exploring subjects they find fascinating. This heightened engagement leads to a deeper understanding and retention of knowledge. Moreover, intrinsic motivation encourages children to explore subjects in a creative and imaginative manner, seeking innovative solutions to problems and understanding concepts in a meaningful context.
When children achieve success through intrinsic motivation, they develop a positive self-image and heightened self-confidence. Their achievements are not tied to external validation, which boosts their belief in their abilities and strengthens their self-esteem. Intrinsic motivation also cultivates resilience and perseverance in children, as they persist and overcome obstacles when faced with challenges, building a growth mindset.
Unschooling, with its child-led approach, plays a vital role in nurturing intrinsic motivation in children. By allowing them to choose their educational pursuits based on their interests and passions, unschooling empowers children to follow their curiosity and discover the joy of self-directed exploration. In this approach, children develop a strong sense of ownership over their learning, leading to heightened engagement, deepened understanding, and a love for knowledge that transcends the boundaries of traditional education.
I am grateful for the opportunity to witness my children develop intrinsic motivation, knowing it is laying the foundation for a lifelong love of learning and personal growth. By embracing unschooling, we celebrate the innate curiosity and individuality of each child, fostering an environment where their internal motivation thrives.
As children pursue their passions through unschooling, they develop a deep sense of self-confidence and belief in their own abilities.
Dr. Peter Gray
3. Holistic Development: Studies have shown that unschooling supports holistic development in children. According to research conducted by Peter Gray, a developmental psychologist and advocate of unschooling, children engaged in this approach tend to develop higher levels of emotional intelligence, creativity, and social skills through diverse learning experiences that encompass art, music, nature, and community activities.
Unschooling, an approach that embraces intrinsic motivation and self-directed learning, has shown significant benefits for promoting children’s mental health and holistic development. As an unschooling mom, I firmly believe in the positive impact of this approach on my children’s well-being. Research indicates that unschooling reduces stress and anxiety commonly associated with traditional educational settings. By allowing children to explore their interests and passions freely, unschooling nurtures positive self-concept and a sense of worth based on their unique talents and achievements.
Moreover, unschooling fosters emotional intelligence and empathy through diverse social interactions, contributing to meaningful connections with others and enhancing overall emotional well-being. The approach also promotes resilience and coping skills, as children embrace challenges and learn from failures, gaining adaptability in managing life’s ups and downs. The flexible learning environment of unschooling allows children to prioritize their mental well-being and emotional needs, leading to improved mental health outcomes.
Unschooling empowers children to pursue their passions, fostering creativity, curiosity, and a love for learning. This exploration stimulates the mind and nourishes their natural curiosity, positively impacting mental well-being. Additionally, the strong family bonds cultivated through unschooling play a vital role in supporting children’s mental health and emotional stability.
Research supports the idea that unschooling’s child-centered approach promotes better mental health outcomes. Studies have shown that unschooled children generally exhibit higher levels of well-being, emotional health, and life satisfaction compared to their traditionally-schooled peers. As an unschooling mom with a background in child development, I have witnessed firsthand how my children’s mental and emotional well-being have flourished through this approach. Unschooling’s focus on intrinsic motivation, individuality, and self-directed learning creates a positive and nurturing environment where my children’s mental health and holistic development are prioritized. By fostering a love for learning, supporting emotional intelligence, and nurturing strong family bonds, unschooling proves to be an effective path towards creating emotionally resilient and well-rounded individuals.
4. Flexible and Adaptable: A study published in the journal Education Sciences emphasizes the adaptability of unschooling. The flexible nature of this approach allows families to cater to each child’s changing interests and needs. Unlike traditional curricula, unschooling enables a learning journey that evolves organically with the child.
5. Real-Life Application: Numerous research studies have highlighted the real-life application of unschooling. As children actively participate in everyday experiences like cooking, gardening, and community activities, they gain practical skills and develop a deeper understanding of the relevance of their education in daily life.
6. Enhanced Critical Thinking: Research conducted by educational psychologist Kym Paterson reveals that unschooling fosters enhanced critical thinking skills. Through hands-on exploration of subjects they are passionate about, children encounter challenges and solve problems, leading to a deeper understanding of concepts and a heightened ability to think critically.
7. Building Self-Confidenceand resilience: According to research by psychologist Alison Gopnik, children who experience success in areas of interest develop higher levels of self-confidence. In unschooling, as children take charge of their learning and witness their progress, they develop a strong sense of self-efficacy, empowering them to tackle challenges with determination and resilience.
Unschooling, with its emphasis on intrinsic motivation and self-directed learning, creates an ideal environment for children to develop vital resilience and coping skills. I have personally witnessed how this approach nurtures my children’s emotional strength and fosters their ability to cope with life’s challenges.
In the unschooling setting, children are encouraged to pursue their interests and passions, which fosters a sense of autonomy and ownership over their learning journey. As they encounter obstacles and setbacks, they develop the tenacity to persist and find solutions, building resilience in the face of adversity. This empowerment to take charge of their education helps them develop a growth mindset, where challenges are seen as opportunities for growth and learning.
The flexible nature of unschooling allows children to explore various subjects and activities, nurturing their adaptability and coping skills. They learn to navigate uncertainties and adapt to changing circumstances, essential qualities in the ever-changing landscape of life. Unlike traditional educational settings with rigid structures, unschooling provides space for children to explore at their own pace, allowing them to build resilience in navigating uncertainties and complexities in their educational journey.
Furthermore, unschooling offers a stress-reduced environment, devoid of the pressures often associated with standardized testing and strict academic schedules. Children in unschooling settings are more likely to experience lower levels of anxiety, which contributes to their overall emotional well-being and strengthens their coping abilities. They have the freedom to explore and pursue their interests, creating a sense of joy and fulfillment in their learning experience.
The supportive family environment inherent in unschooling plays a crucial role in fostering resilience and coping skills. The close parent-child relationship nurtures open communication, trust, and emotional support. Children feel safe to express their feelings, navigate emotions, and seek guidance when facing challenges. This emotional support acts as a buffer during difficult times, allowing children to develop effective coping mechanisms and emotional regulation.
Research has shown that unschooled children tend to exhibit higher levels of emotional well-being and life satisfaction compared to their traditionally-schooled peers. Studies conducted by educational psychologists have highlighted that unschooling nurtures emotional resilience, problem-solving skills, and adaptability in children.
Unschooling offers a nurturing environment for children to develop resilience and coping skills, key attributes that contribute to their emotional strength and well-being. By embracing their interests, facing challenges with determination, and benefiting from a supportive family environment, unschooled children gain the tools to navigate life’s ups and downs with grace and confidence.
8. Empowering Independence: A research study published in the Journal of Unschooling and Alternative Learning shows that unschooling encourages children to be independent thinkers and decision-makers. They take ownership of their education, set goals, and explore subjects autonomously, nurturing a sense of responsibility for their learning journey.
The joy of unschooling is witnessing children flourish as they follow their interests and take ownership of their learning.
Dr. Peter Gray
9. Lifelong Learning Mindset: Research by educational psychologist Carol Dweck suggests that unschooling instills a lifelong learning mindset in children. By experiencing the joy of self-directed exploration, children develop a love for learning that extends beyond formal education, embracing curiosity and intellectual growth throughout their lives.
The evidence-based benefits of practicing unschooling revolutionize the traditional notion of education. Supported by research and citations, unschooling empowers children to become self-motivated, creative, and critical thinkers. It fosters a love for learning, nurtures individuality, and celebrates the uniqueness of each child’s educational journey. Through this liberating and enriching method, families embark on a path of exploration, discovery, and empowerment, laying the foundation for a lifetime of continuous curiosity and intellectual growth.
For support on learning to unschool confidently you can join my guided workbook on what you need to know!
Unschooling is all about the child learning through engaging with their surroundings and then pursuing more deeply the concepts that spark curiosity and interest. The environment is key for learning to be a natural and smooth process. The environment should encourage children to explore their interests, learn from experiences, and pursue project based learning. Everything in the learning environment should encourage experimentation, problem-solving, creativity, and open-ended play.
Car seats are extremely important and have saved many little ones’ lives. It’s important to use a car seat when in a car, however, because they’re intended for the sole purpose of keeping baby safe from an impact, they do absolutely nothing in terms of supporting the baby’s development and actually hinder development. Because they actually impede baby’s development by confining and limiting movement, it’s important for baby’s well being to only be left in the car seat when in the car.
Please note this article is not intended to shame parents but rather to inform and empower them to make the best decision for their family.
Switching from one container to the next reduces the amount of time and ability for a baby to kick, turn their head side-to-side, wiggle and move as a baby is supposed to do in order to develop the needed strength and coordination to learn new skills such as rolling over, sitting up, crawling and walking.
Over use of a car seat (along with other container devices such as a baby swing, rockers, strollers, etc.), can result in issues such as delayed development, flathead syndrome (plagiocephaly), maldevelopment of the neck muscles (torticollis), ADHD, and maldevelopment of reflexes.
Time in containers should be limited to no more than 30 minutes maximum per day
Although a baby carrier is still considered a “baby container,” it is a much better option that leaving baby in a car seat. A carrier allows baby to be close to you, regulating their breathing, heart rate, and it allows baby to feel safe and involved with whatever you are doing. Baby can learn by watching and listening to you, while babies are often left out of whatever is going on when left in a car seat. It also prevents head deformation as baby has different positions for head support, if any, when in the carrier.
Wearing babies allows you to carry them in a position that’s beneficial to their physical health and development. It helps prevent flat head syndrome and can promote digestion (helping with colic and refluxes). Babywearing also increases the amount of time spent doing skin-to-skin with your baby, which research has connected to decreased rates of postpartum depression.
In terms of supporting development, a Playmat is your best option. It allows baby to move freely and develop his or her own movements. Although a great option, I know it is not always a realistic option when in public spaces. However, if you’re in a safe environment with baby, always have a Playmat on hand to let them develop their skills!
Organic Explore Playmat
Organic Cotton Round Playmat
Portable Play Yards
A great safe option to let babies play and grow is a portable Play Yard. It keeps baby from any accidents while still keeping them safe. While it’s best to use a play mat in a safe environment so baby can feel more involved with the surrounding world, play yards are a good option for when that may not be safe or realistic.
Of course there’s always the great option of just holding your baby!
Having Someone Else Watch or Hold Baby
If you’re engaged in something important or unsafe enlist others to hold or watch your little one. Almost everyone will say yes to holding your baby!
Convertible Car Seat
A great solution to limiting time in a car seat out of the car is eliminating the option! Get a convertible car seat that will grow with baby that stays in the car. This way if the temptation arises, it’s not an option because you definitely won’t lug around a huge convertible car seat. You’ll happily strap on the baby carrier or grab the play mat and head on your way.
The Maxi Cosi is my favorite because it has great safety ratings, it’s easy to use, and they don’t use toxic flame retardants on their seats.
How do you avoid or limit container parenting? Any tips?
Children explore their roles in the world and their impact on the world around them through creative play. It’s important for children to process and understand their world as well as express their emotions through creativity for emotional well-being.
Follow these easy tips to support your child’s development through creative play and building the skill of creativity!
Set Up The Environment
The environment is key in encouraging creative play. It is important to create a “no” free zone that children know they can engage in without criticism or many limits.
If it’s not possible to always have this space set up, you can get a large baby gate to section off an area that you can add toys or art supplies the child can engage with freely. Providing a playroom, if possible, is a great option as well.
Simple Toys and Supplies
Research actually found children engaged more and formed more cognitive connections when using simple, wooden toys rather than electronic “learning” toys.
Keep simple toys that can be used for multiple purposes and imaginative play available at all times.
Schedule Free Time (or Don’t Schedule)
Always make sure there is time in the schedule for your child to engage in play without direction or a goal.
Give Children Space
Simple, give children space to play on their own without direction. However, ignoring children or forcing them to have alone time will only create children to be more “needy.”
A child’s emotional and attachment needs must be met before they are interested in solo and imaginative play.
Show your child how to use their imagination! Read some fantasy books together or grab a stick and pretend it’s a wand.
Teach your children it’s ok and even encouraged to engage in creative play and use things in creative ways.
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use the more you have.”