"We all desperately need more insight into what leads to happiness and what leads to pain." ~Pema Chodron

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Amy Childs

Happiness Consultant

WPC 2016

“So, How was the White Privilege Conference?”

Trying to answer this question might feel like trying to recap a trip to drug and alcohol rehab. Every day was a hundred miles long and a thousand miles deep. Which parts do I relay? What of it might you be able to really understand? Do you want me to describe the many different kinds of pain? Do you want to know where it was? Do you want me to say I had fun? Do you want me to say I’m better now? Do you want me to tell you what I ate while I was there? Do you want me to tell you who my roommate was? Or is it that you don’t have the slightest idea what rehab even is, and you don’t realize the impossible question you’re asking?

To deepen the analogy, because most people who ask me for a recap are white, it’s like coming home from rehab to a household of addicts in a community of addicts. Perhaps some are recovering, maybe were in rehab recently themselves. Some feel sorry for me, because they “don’t’ have a problem.” Some are flying high, even as they ask.

Do I try to make it sound like fun, so they’ll want to go with me next year? Do I say something inspiring so they might learn something new? If I tell them about the hard things, will they wonder why I went in the first place and vow never to go themselves? Should I even put myself through the discomfort of trying to figure out what to say? It’s over now. I could be quiet and go back to life as usual.

I hate to speak. I’m content on my own, I am no kind of expert, and I don’t like to cause a fuss.

In fact, one thing I have quickly learned is that “staying silent” is one of my most cherished privileges.

But like all of the privileges I enjoy, my silence doesn’t make the world a better place.

If you read the White Privilege Conference website (which perhaps you should do) you will learn that the WPC “examines challenging concepts of privilege and oppression and offers solutions and team-building strategies to work toward a more equitable world.” So that’s what the conference is, and this was the 17th one. If you’re wondering about white privilege in the first place, you also could look at the back of my new “Got Privilege?” tee shirt and read that “Many doors open for certain people through no virtues of their own.” For those who want something to chew on for awhile, that’s a place to start.

I cannot sum up the White Privilege Conference in one exchange, blog post or podcast episode. Instead, I invite you to be a part of this conversation. I invite you to take some moments to notice a few of the rights, advantages and immunities that are bestowed upon those of us born with lighter skin. And then, to talk about what you see.

My favorite part of the WPC was hearing Verna Myers speak. Her keynote address, “What If I Say the Wrong Thing?” was full of more important truths than my twitter skills allowed me to capture, beginning with “We cannot afford to be stuck and saturated in shame….. We don’t need any more good people. We need effective people. We need real people.”

And “If we can’t figure out how to talk with each other, it’s very unlikely that we’ll figure out how to build a whole new world.”

It’s uncomfortable and confusing, I’m going to do it wrong. I’m going to embarrass myself and feel things I’d rather not feel.  But I do believe that until the planet works for all of us, it doesn’t really work for any of us.

And I want to live in a world that works for everyone.



Our Children, Ourselves

Conference calls and Philadelphia-area meetings are forming now! Send me an email for more information.


A workshop

led by Amy Childs

for parents who wonder…

Is there a right way to parent? a wrong way?

Am I trying too hard? Or am I meant to try harder?

What if I’m too tired?  overwhelmed?  sad?

Am I meant to give more freedom, or more structure?

Am I the only one who’s confused?

Why isn’t this easier?


…and what exactly am I meant to be doing?!

In this 8-week course parents have a chance to share their worries, hear how others are finding their way, and learn tools for being the best they can be.


Sliding scale: $50-100 for 8-week course


Amy Childs | Happiness Consultant

What Is It in 2016

Throughout the year, Kara Tennis and I will be hosting several What Is It? groups around the Philadelphia area. If you’d like to be kept in the loop about dates and places, you’ll need to join my mailing list and specifically check the “What Is It?” box. Or, send me an email and I’ll add you to that list.

Make a note of the dates:
February 10
March 23
April 6
May 18

New addition: SPECIAL LONGER GROUP WITH POSSIBLE POTLUCK!  On June 18 we’ll be meeting from noon-5pm with breaks for snacks and jumping jacks (optional), maybe followed by a potluck dinner. Make sure you let us know if you’re thinking of coming, and I’ll send you some updates and a reminder a couple days before.

First Timers FREE!

Cost: sliding scale $12-25 per person, or email me if you want to offer a trade

Maybe this year we’ll finally figure out what the heck it IS?

what is it to be human

Amy Childs | Happiness Consultant

January Intros

Throughout the year I’ll be hosting several “Introduction to Unschooling” discussions around the Philadelphia area – and maybe beyond!

We have four sessions scheduled in Philly in January:

Wooden Shoe (704 South Street) on Jan 16 at 3pm
Wooden Shoe (704 South Street) on Jan 14 at 6:30pm
Cloth (1605 E Passyunk Ave) on Jan 23 at 9am
Lovett Library (6945 Germantown Ave) on Jan 20 at 3pm

Maybe I’ll see you there!

unschooling january 2016


Happy Solstice

Life is difficult.  It’s confusing, and painful, and confronting, and disappointing, and scary. And being human is super weird.

But we live in a pretty world that is floating around in a beautiful universe.

So I say, go forth and be as weird in this strange and pretty world as you can be.

Happy solstice, from The Goofballs


(and thanks Seth Walker and Free To Be for the musical inspiration!)

Amy Childs | Happiness Consultant

oct 27, 2015

“So guys, whadya wanna do with me?”
– Gray Tennis, age 4, to his teen siblings and their friends.

But really guys. What DO you want to do with me?

Maybe I could organize your basement? Play with your kids?  Herd your cattle across the open range? Lead an unschooling workshop?  Help your grandma after her hip surgery? Join you on your pilgrimage through Spain? Have a chat with you over tea?

I’ll be traveling around the country (and beyond?) for the first half of 2016. I’d like to have my own room, access to wifi, and time to myself to do my own work.  I’d also like to find odd jobs here and there, so I can cover travel expenses, and eat along the way.  The rest is up for grabs, so send suggestions now!


Amy Childs | Happiness Consultant

What is it?

We’re doing another What Is It? group!

Together with Kara Tennis and Martha P, I’ll be hanging out on December 4 to figure out what the heck IS it to be human anyway?!  Send me an email for more information or to let me know you’re coming. There is no change for the event, but attendees are asked to make a donation to Feel Good.

Looking forward to figuring it all out!*

*Spoiler – I doubt we’ll figure anything out. But Martha has a beautiful cozy living room and a great selection of teas, so it will still be awesome.

Amy Childs | Happiness Consultant

What on earth is this state of being that we call human, and how are we going about it?

What is it like to be the way you are – to do what you do, to feel how you feel, to think as you think, and to want what you want?

The intention of this group is to provide a trustworthy place to explore your deeper self (if you want to); tell the truth (if you want to); learn how to be more authentic (if you want to); and practice sharing (if you want to) the unique being that is you. Let’s find out more about it.

In this group, we will be open to the good, the bad, and the ugly, as well as whatever else might be in between.  The only requirement is to show up as yourself.


oct 21, 2015

I made this to remind myself.the more I live

Amy Childs | Happiness Consultant

sep 10, 2015

If you sign up for my mailing list, you’ll get informative letters like this one!


If you’re all like, “dang, those links don’t work” – then sign up and get the real thing next time, silly!


Oh okay, you broke me down. Here are some links fer ya:

Unschooling Summit
Whatever Whatever Amen

So now, go have at it!


Amy Childs | Happiness Consultant

july 30, 2015

Moneywise, I’ve been scraping by for a very long time. But since I’m privileged, resourceful and lucky, my life of scraping by is often indistinguishable from a life of luxury.

In many ways I live like a queen. I have time to play, laugh, cry and breathe. I spend a lot of time pondering things that deeply matter to me. I have friends around the world who care about me and who share with me their homes, families and lives. I sleep soundly every night, and wake up every morning inside a body that is refreshed and ready for another go.

But I always wonder when my luck will give out. When will this luxurious, scrappy life come crashing to an end? When will I get caught with no money and no plan? It could happen at any moment and I spend many moments being all too aware of the uncertainty. And my daily readings of Pema Chodron never fail to drive home the message of impermanence. It’s not always a comfort.

Impermanence is real

Impermanence is real

I cope with the ever-present uncertainty by taking life in small chunks at a time. Thinking about scraping by (or not) for the rest of my life feels terrifying at worst and depressing at best, but scraping by for “just for the next six months” makes my good attitude a little easier to maintain, and sometimes almost even seems like a kind of adventure.

I’m at one of those crossroads again now, at the end of the “just a little while” of scraping by I that did while producing my latest unschooling podcast series. So, yet again I find myself approaching another panic point. What’s next? Better hurry up and find out.

Daily chores

Daily chores

To figure something out, I worked on writing a mission statement,
mini mission statement
brainstormed careers that interest me,
new careers
updated my resume,
amy resumeand filled out an application to work at Rite Aid.

rite aid
(Unfortunately the website let me know that I am not qualified to work at Rite Aid because I do not have a year of experience in medical retail. But I put on my Big Girl overalls and sent my application anyway. Maybe they’ll like that I live only a quarter block away. Imagine the value I’d have during a snow storm!)

Then the other day I received this helpful email from LinkedIn letting me know my profile is “missing my education.”

What education you talkin’ about exactly, LinkedIn?

What education you talkin’ about exactly, LinkedIn?

My education has primarily involved decades of trial and error, shenanigans and heartbreak, and learning day-by-day how to scrape by while creating a life nearly indistinguishable from a life of luxury. But I couldn’t find LinkedIn’s button for that.

Hear that LinkedIn? Life is a good teacher.

Hear that LinkedIn? Life is a good teacher.

So after a couple months of grueling feelings, processing and pondering, I’m once again resolved that I’m already doing the thing I am most qualified to do:

Amy Childs, Happiness Consultant
Duties include: Making a good life in this confusing world, while scraping by.
And breathing through the panic.

Still, if you know of a bulldozer that needs someone to drive it (cheap!), have it give me a call.
In the meantime, I’ll keep on keepin’ on.
keep on



Amy Childs | Happiness Consultant