Sunday, December 11, 2011
No matter how busy your days might be this holiday season, do yourself a favor and spend 10 minutes talking with a child before bedtime. If you don't have any kids, visit a neighbor, call a grandchild, niece, nephew, or cousin ... just chat with them and feel the honest love.
Ask them simple questions like, "What was your favorite part of today?" And listen, really listen to their response; it will help you realize what is important, and it will make them feel special because you cared enough to ask.
If you really want to enjoy the call, find something silly to say that will make them giggle ... a child's laughter is truly the the most soothing music the soul could ever hope for.
This really is a simple way to help relieve some holiday stress and put the emphasis back in the right place.
It's all about connecting ... most kids are easy to connect with, and the rewards are beautiful~
I hope you share many giggly moments this season,
Monday, June 20, 2011
But wanted to pass along this fabulous info about the importance of self-esteem in our children.
When I return home, I'll be prepping to head back on the road again, this time my youngest will be joining me for some fabulous one-on-one time on a working vacation. We're headed to Chautauqua Institution ~ on beautiful and peaceful Chautauqua Lake ~ in upstate NY where I will be teaching again this summer.
I hope to see you somewhere in one of my workshops or at one of my book signings during my travels~
Until then, remember ... "It's never wrong to write!"
Sunday, May 29, 2011
The word 'memorial' is defined on dictionary.com as follows:
"Something designed to preserve the memory of a person, event, etc., as a monument or a holiday."
And so, on this 'holiday' weekend, I offer this tribute to preserve those memories:
An Absolute Salute
We enjoy the freedom for which you serve
With a three-day weekend that YOU deserve
With picnics and parties in parks and backyards
While you continue to bravely stand guard
It hardly seems fair, though it stands true
We enjoy freedom which was earned by you
'Thank you' certainly isn't enough, yet it's all we have to give
In return for your service for the life we get to live
Though our thanks are merely words, they are filled with adulation
And heart-felt gratitude from our collective nation
We honor you and pray for your safe return
With grateful hearts and ardent concern
Wishing there was something we could do
To better show our appreciation of you
Until the day that we find a way
To properly thank you, we'll humbly pray
For a peaceful retreat, and the war to end
And your safe return home to family and friends
And to the soldiers you have stood beside
Who died for our country with bravery and pride
We bow our heads with a huge heavy heart
And hope, with empathy, to impart
Upon the loved ones they've left behind
In their selfless effort to better mankind
Our intention to forever honor and embrace
The biggest sacrifice which you face
Every day, every night
You will forever bear this plight
But you bear it not alone, you see
You are forever in our company
Though we may not now each others' face
We honor you and yours with love and grace
Please know that on this holiday, one thing is absolute
It is you, and your loved ones, who WE proudly salute
~With sincere gratitude ...
Thursday, May 26, 2011
My heart and prayers are with everyone who is affected by recent tragedies.
When something unexpected hits, we are often thrown into automatic pilot. Although that can be the best way to forge through trauma, and dig our heels in so that we can move forward, it can also hinder other important abilities.
Auto-pilot can have a tendency to impede feelings as it overrides emotions and gives us the tunnel vision necessary to muscle through tough times. However, our feelings and intuitive nature are critical ~ especially when children are involved ~ intuition really should not be ignored.
Our most important role is nurturing and nourishing our children. As difficult as it can be to step outside our role of 'handling' things, sometimes we must simply slow down enough to pay attention. That's when we see signs that can direct us to the path we must follow in order to lead our children to a peaceful place.
Parents, mentors, please make the time to pay attention ... here's a link I recently came across that looks like a great resource. I hope it helps you see signs and make a difference:
(Sorry, I just couldn't get this link to go 'live' but it works if you copy & paste.)
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
You are invited to this FREE Motivation Marathon on Saturday, 11-June-11. As one of the 8 panelists, I am honored and excited to bring you some of the most comprehensive self-help tips and techniques in one place!
My topic is Creative Parenting; my goal is to help bring a balance to your professional life and your personal life. We will discuss how to accomplish some of the most important components of parenting using fun, effective exercises that can be integrated into your everyday life!
You don't have to 'find' the time or spend a dime to build a better relationship with your kids! My proven techniques will help you live more authentically and happier while helping you pass the same techniques along to your children. Isn't that what parenting should be?
Now, let's project out several years from today ... Don't you want to look back upon these days with fond memories as you watch your kids live a successful and fulfilled life? And you smile as you reflect because you know that things turned out this way because of your desire and ability to design authentic paths through open communication and mutual respect with your kids.
Join us for the first annual Motivation Marathon and learn how to design and pave that path while putting the fun back in parenting.
Speaking of fun ... here is a fun little acronym I use to describe parenting from my perspective ... and hopefully through the eyes of my kids when they look back at me:
That's about all any of us can hope for, yes?
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
CREATIVE PARENTING ~ VIDEO CLIP
It’s Easter morning, the egg hunt is over. What’s that noise? It’s certainly not the normal sugar-induced-race-around-the-house-finger-painting-the-walls-with-chocolate-stained-fingers noise that typically follows the traditional egg hunt.
No, this year it’s the sound of quiet giggles. You inch your way closer to their bedroom door and hear … friendly bartering for tickets? You shake your head to clear the obvious static and lean in a little closer … Surely they are fighting because one of them ate all of his favorite peanut butter chocolate nuggets and ‘conveniently’ forgot that the green basket belongs to his brother as he ‘innocently’ helped himself to a another.
You brush off the fleeting thought that perhaps your hearing is failing already as you adjust your Mommy Antenna to hear more clearly. There, now you can hear, the sounds of … yes, that IS quiet giggling and friendly bartering!
Panic sets in! Who stole your kids and replaced them with what sounds like gentle, joyful, well-behaved negotiators?
Pouncing through the door, you see them sitting on the bed with piles of little strips of paper on their laps, offering to swap a ‘stay up late’ ticket for a ‘trip to the ice cream stand after dinner’ ticket. Ahh ~ you smile, pat yourself on the back and head downstairs to reward yourself with a celebratory cup of tea as you remember your stroke of genius.
This year, you decided to do an Egg Hunt With a ~Twist~
Here are the easy steps you followed:
You gathered 3 simple things ~ well, 4 if you count the hot cup of fresh-brewed tea to sip on while you worked:
1. Inexpensive plastic (pull-apart) eggs in various colors
2. Small strips of paper to make ‘prize’ tickets
3. A list of ‘prizes’ to write on those strips/tickets
A few suggestions:
"I get to choose family entertainment this weekend”
"I get to pick what’s for dinner tomorrow night”
"I get to stay up 15 minutes late tonight”
(of course all with a disclosure ‘can only be used with parental consent’)
You also threw in a few dollar bills and coins
Then you followed these simple instructions:
You separated eggs into color groups to make it fair for different age groups
Older kids can only cash in red, yellow and green
Younger kids can only cash in blue, pink and purple
You then assembled prizes in equal amounts for each age group
Putting the same amount of each ‘prize’ tickets and cash in both color groups so that each group has an equal amount of the same prizes
For a large age difference, you decided to hide the older kids’ eggs in higher places to keep it simple
This way, if older kids snag some of the younger group’s eggs, you’ll know by the colors, and you can throw back anything from their basket that is not in their color group.
Done! Wow! … That was just too easy!
All that remained was to hide the eggs before the cousins got there on Easter morning. You sipped your cup of still-warm tea knowing already that this was going to be your favorite Easter ever!
What you didn’t know yet was that it would quickly become your kids’ favorite, too. This egg hunt will have them begging every Easter for ‘tickets’ instead of candy as they will LOVE ‘cashing them in’ throughout the year!
You never dreamed that these tickets would become such hot commodities in your house or that they also proved to be a fabulous lesson in economics. Your kids will quickly learn value by trading certain tickets for those more precious to them; they will cherish and keep them in well-designed hiding spots waiting to be ‘spent’ very wisely throughout the year. In fact, you’ll soon consider putting expiration dates on them when you learn that your kids are hoarding them from year to year!
Fast-forward about 15 years into the future … when your 20 year old son, home from college on spring break, pulls a crumpled piece of paper from his pocket after dinner and smiles a warm, knowing smile while he hands it to you before clearing the dishes from the table. Yes … he’s finally clearing the dishes without being poked and prodded! But refocus for a moment here, please! … You curiously unfold the paper to discover a 15 year old ‘stay up late’ ticket he just found ‘hidden’ under a loose piece of carpet in the corner of his closet!
Well played! Enjoy the memories, and this moment, while sipping your after-dinner tea. Now, wipe that tear, Mom … Oh, and Happy Easter, genius!
P.S. You can catch a glimpse of me demonstrating this on a CBS morning show here.
Monday, March 28, 2011
The next time someone tells you to go fly a kite, know that they must love you! ...
Otherwise, they'd be more likely to tell you to schedule a time to do something of 'quality' with your kid.
Okay, perhaps that was a wee bit tainted with intolerance; however, I respectfully ask that you hear me out. I seriously think that most of us try too hard to do what really does come naturally ... if only we'd just stop trying.
Most parents ask me to help them make the most of the time they spend with their kids. There truly seems to be a chase for some magical way to manufacture some mysterious thing called 'quality time' with our kids.
Actually, there is one magical key to unlock the 'quality time' door ... Now brace yourself here, I'll say this as delicately as possible.
I've got lots of suggestions; however, my #1 simplest-sure-fire-way-to-good-old-fashioned-quality-time is, (drum-roll, please...) “Lighten up!”
Yep, that's it! ... Lighten the heck up! Often times we make more of a project out of parenting than we should. Yes, there are times when we must put on our game face and address something in an authoritative way. However, is it always necessary to be in charge and in control with our kids?
Now, I’m not talking about life altering situations, I’m talking about planning your normal day or outing. Most of us are scheduled from the time we wake up until the time our weary bodies hit the mattress 16 or so hours later! And our kids’ lives are just as scheduled!
When was the last time your kid played a ‘pick-up’ game at a local ball field? Oh, wait … even the ball field is ‘scheduled’ these days, right? It seems that everyone and everything is 'managed' today. Chances are that your kid’s friends don’t just stop by with a bat over their shoulder asking if Josh can come out and play. They’ve showed up at a designated time for a SCHEDULED play date.
Most of the scheduling our kids are subjected to is because the adults involved (either supervising or transporting the kids) are so very busy that everything must be arranged and fit in to our schedules. As a result, most kids (and adults) today don’t know much about leisurely hanging out in a comfortable fashion. There just doesn’t seem to be much room for simply being 'leisurely' ... and that is just tragic to me!
In fact, the word leisurely has even gotten sort of clumsy to say; you'll see what I mean if you go back to the previous two sentences and reread them. Are we even losing the ability to merely say the word?! Suddenly, the word 'tragic' is not strong enough! ... We are in a state of emergency ... albeit a leisurely one.
Therefore, I propose that you just take one day to try my #1 rule, and simply LIGHTEN UP! … Lighten up your schedule, lighten up your attitude, and I’m going to bet that you will lighten up your heart.
If you are like me, you will need at least a sketch of an outline so that you are not completely shooting from the hip and sitting around the family room asking, “Well, what do you want to do today?” Chances are that the only answer you’ll get besides shrugged shoulders is, “Dunno, what do YOU want to do?” Thus, it’s good to start with a few ideas and adjust as you go along, but it is important to keep in mind that you plan to adjust as you go along.
Remember that the goal here is NOT to stick to a schedule. With that said, begin by each preparing a list of possible things to do, then go grab a breakfast smoothie and have at it! It might be nice just to set out on foot with a note pad and a camera in hand; when you see something interesting, stop and take a picture then make some notes to document your questions and comments. This might just take you right back home to your computer, or to a park bench with your laptop researching something you two just HAVE to find out about.
It might also bore you to tears of laughter! And when you dry your eyes, you might decide to head to the zoo, museum, or a local farm to pet the animals! Either way, notice that you are actually spending time together … cherish it, and journal about it so that you can enjoy it again later, when you set aside more ‘nothing’ time and no one is around to spend it with.
The memories are almost as much fun as the experience, and if I were you, I’d scoop up as many opportunities as you can to create those memories. These times don’t last forever, but they certainly can live on…
I wish you lots of ‘nothing’ time this week~
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Do you find yourself looking at things with more intensity after watching the devastation in Japan following the Tsunami? It truly leaves me filled with my own earthquake of emotions to process. Can we ever really know the feelings of those who survived? Is there a way we can help, I mean REALLY get in there and help, while still maintaining our lives and taking care of our own businesses and families? And the unthinkable question of how we would feel if such an atrocity hit closer to home.
As a writer, many words come to my mind in times like these; however, the one I find myself repeating is, 'unimaginable.' That just about sums it up for me; however, it is so very real to our brothers and sisters in a far-away land. If nothing else, such horror does bring us a little closer, and although that is a good thing, it gives pause to the question, "Why does it take something so horrific to bring people closer together?"
With that said ~ or asked ~ today's blog post delivers ways for us to get a little closer now. Since I primarily deal with families, parents and children, I focus here on ways to help the kids in your life deal with their emotions after something so devastating.
Let's face it, the media is great at supplying immediate ~ and very graphic ~ details of current events. If we adults are left with a barrage of questions after watching the news unfold, what must our children be thinking and feeling? And better yet, how on earth do we broach the subject and get our children talking openly about their feelings?
Well, below is a quick laser tip that might help you find out how a child in your life feels about this latest tsunami. You might find that your child has processed things well enough already. You might learn that your child is a little stressed about things, and you now have tools to help them process their lingering emotions. Or, it might be evident that it's best to get your child to a professional who can help at a deeper level.
Some might also find that their child has a real interest in helping the survivors, and this is a great time to put together a plan that you can do together ... whether it's collecting clothes to send over, or you matching their allowance money to donate, or, or, or ... the possibilities are endless. The beauty is that you now know, and you now have tools with which to build greater character in your child.
• In a casual and familiar atmosphere (when you typically spend quality time with your child) begin an acrostic word exercise by writing the word tsunami vertically on a piece of paper ~ as shown in the example below. Then, also as shown below, ask your child to write (or if too young to write, ask them to say out loud and you write) a word or two that begins with each letter of the word:
o Not safe
o Many died
o I’m worried
• Now, ask them to elaborate on that word by turning it into a sentence. You can ask them to explain what, in particular, is terrifying about the tsunami. Then work down the rest of the letters in the word:
o Terrifying waves and water everywhere.
o Scared that it could happen to us.
o Unsure of what happens to children who can’t find their parents.
o Not safe to stay in their home anymore.
o Awful to think about it happening again.
o Many died and many kids lost their parents.
o I’m worried that we might not be safe.
• At this point, you should have plenty of information about what your child is thinking and feeling. You can begin dialogue by going through each line and discussing things that might help ease their mind. If your child wants to do something to help, put together a plan together ... this is quality time at its very BEST!
Finally, if you see a pattern which indicates that it might be necessary to seek professional help, do so quickly, and make certain to bring along your acrostic word exercise. This is a great tool to help the therapist/counselor help your child more effectively.
It is my hope that this simple activity will prove to be a way for you to get inside your child's head and heart. Once we know what they are thinking, we are better equipped to help them if needed. I also like to pass along other websites and tools that I come across which I think might be helpful ... and so click here for another helpful article you might want to read.
As always, feel free to leave a comment here, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a question, something to share, or a topic you'd like me to address here.
"It's never wrong to write!"
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Perhaps it's because I'm eternally stuck in fourth grade ... but I LOVE Dr. Seuss! This week is one of my favorite weeks because the celebration of his birthday on the 2nd of March brings people, big and small together in a carefree way.
His work is ... well, not WORK at all. His words are play, everything he wrote screams, "PLAY!"
I guess it's that whimsical, fun, dare-you-to-find-something-serious-here sort of way that he approached every story, every poem, heck ... practically every word he ever published!
And so, with respect to the master himself, in honor of his life, and in acknowledgment of his accomplishments, I hope you snuggle up with some little someone special this week as we celebrate Read Across America. I will be celebrating with countless students as I begin another busy week, but first I leave you with my own Seuss-inspired words of play:
Would you set aside some time
To read or write a special rhyme?
This would be the perfect week
To write the words you might not speak.
Some say writing is like baring your soul
I guess I'm a bare-naked writing fool!
I hope you like my words, I do
That's why I share them here with you.
It is my hope that they bring you glee
And make you want to share with me.
So, leave a note, in rhyme or not
For me, it would just hit the spot
To know that I've inspired you
To celebrate the master, too!
You see, I have no cat
Sitting within my hat
But there's one thing I must say
That on this very special day
My hat is tipped in reverent praise
At every word, in every phrase
To which Dr. Seuss crafted oh, so well
Please, go and read, and write and tell
Tell every child you see today
That they should write their own heart's way!
For that would make the master proud
Now, write and share, and read aloud
Ahh! Tapping keyboards and drinking eyes
The sights and the sounds of growing wise!
I remain in awe~
Friday, February 4, 2011
Here are some FUN AND EDUCATIONAL IDEAS that incorporate Steeler history facts into your Family Super Bowl!…
The object of this game is to score as many points as possible by answering the game questions as well as the extra point kick. The person with the most points wins.
* You can design your own questions, or go use this list of Q&A’s I've designed for you. Choose as many or as few questions as you feel appropriate. You’ll want to keep the degree of difficulty fair so that every family member has a fair chance.
* Perhaps you can vote whether or not everyone is allowed to research answers (computer).
* Decide on the winning prize: most correct answers
-gets to choose game day snacks
-receives a 'Family Champion' Steeler jersey (with family name on it)
-is relieved from chores that week
-or, or, or…. You decide!!!!!!!!!!!
Scoring is similar to football; the main-drive question is worth 6 points, there is an extra point kick question if the main-drive question is answered correctly, and some have a 2 point conversion question.
1. How many Super Bowls have the Steelers won?
a. Answer for 6 point TD: 6
b. For an extra point kick:
i. How many Super Bowls have the Steelers played in? 7
2. What was the original name of the Steelers?
a. Answer for 6 point TD: The Pittsburgh Pirates
b. For an extra point kick:
i. What year did Mr. Rooney change the name to The Steelers? 1940
3. What are the diamond shapes on the Steelers Logo called?
a. Answer for 6 point TD: Hypocycloids
b. For an extra point kick:
i. What do their colors represent?
The 3 materials used to produce steel:
· Yellow: coal
· Orange: ore
· Blue: steel scraps
4. Who made the Immaculate Reception?
a. Answer for 6 point TD: Franco Harris
b. For an extra point kick:
i. What year? 1972
c. For optional 2 point conversion, answer year and (1 point ea):
i. Who did they beat in that game? Oakland Raiders
5. Who invented the Terrible Towel?
a. Answer for 6 point TD: Myron Cope
b. For an extra point kick:
i. What was one of Myron’s famous sayings? Yoi! Double Yoi! Triple Yoi! Okel Dokel! Hum-Hah!
c. For optional 2 point conversion, give another of Myron’s quotes (1 point each).
6. Was Art Rooney, founder of the Steelers, ever elected in the Football Hall of Fame?
a. Answer for 6 point TD: Yes
b. For an extra point kick:
i. What year? 1964
7. Who’s the most dedicated fan in your family? (this one is a ‘gimme’ so everyone can score)
a. Answer for 6 point TD: Mine; we are all fans, but the craziest is a tie between my 2 nephews (Joe and Mike).
b. For an extra point kick:
i. Why? Joe lives in MD, has season tix and drives in for every game. Mike and his wife Ashley played the NFL Song as the bridal party entered the reception waving Terrible Towels at their wedding during the Steeler’s trek to the Super Bowl XL (40) in February ’06.
Now, add up the scores, and see who won! If there’s a tie, you’ve obviously go some pretty dedicated fans, and you might have to resort to a speed-answer round where the one who answers the bonus question first wins in overtime!
Saturday, January 15, 2011
You’re in good company! Let’s get right to some ways to work around it, yes?
The goal here is to make it fun AND productive … AND to build special bonding memories with your kids.
AND, if we make it easy to plan and execute, well … that’s just genius! So, get your genius on, and let’s build some golden memories while we wait for the snow to melt.
Keep in mind that the prep time can be as fun and valuable as the actual project, so pay special attention to those moments … great conversations can happen while doing the little things. That’s a great way to get to know what’s in your kid’s head and heart in a casual way … without them knowing it.
Why not build special moments with your kids while making birthday cards for friends and family members whose birthdays are coming up? This is the perfect way to combine fun and productivity; you are about to embark on a project that will make you proud now, and it will make your heart smile for the rest of forever!
Here’s a simple way to make that happen:
• You will need:
-Your birthday calendar and address book
-Paper: various colors and textures are great, but plain paper works just as well, and you can spice it up yourselves by getting creative together!
-Pens, crayons, markers, even paint (depending on child’s age … finger paints work well for younger kids)
-Stickers, glitter, feathers, decorative scraps of just about anything
-Glue, scissors, tape, etc.
-Envelopes and stamps
• Make a list of the upcoming birthdays; decide on whose card you will work on, then begin by folding your paper and writing their name vertically down the left side on front of the card. Use each letter of their name to write a word, sentence or poem about them. Remember that poems do not have to rhyme.
• Write your birthday wishes on the inside of the card and decorate it with the fun items you gathered (above).
• Sign and date your card and put it in an envelope. Address it, stamp it (unless you are using Forever stamps, you might want to hold off on the postage :).
• Now you just file your cards away until it’s time to mail them! I use an accordion style folder with months labeled on the tabs to keep ours organized.
If you don’t have the time to do cards for the entire year, you can chunk this project down and do it quarterly, monthly, or whatever makes the best use of time for you and your family. My guess is that if you spread it out and schedule periodic times, it will become time that you and your kids will look forward to with great anticipation!
One of the great things about this project is that it can be adapted to fit any age!
Now, go create some special moments, save money on cards, and give the gift that just keeps on giving ~ smiles, love and memories for a lifetime!
"It's never wrong to write!"