Archive for the 'Character Development' Category

Motivational Monday: The Glad Game

Forget injuries, never forget kindnesses. -Confucius

I’m trying really hard with this one today. It seems that people are more inclined to remember injuries and to be honest, I’m one of them. Learning to let go of personal injuries to the emotions is a hard lesson, but not impossible. Lately I’ve been playing the ‘glad game’. Remember PollyAnna? If you’ve never read that book, take a chance and read it.

The ‘glad game’ is taking the time to think of ways to be glad over everything that happens to you. The harder it is, the better it is for your soul. For example…you didn’t get the promotion you wanted or a job you wanted didn’t come through. Well, perhaps you can be glad that you don’t have to spend the extra time on the job and you can spend it with your loved ones instead. Maybe you need eyeglasses, but you can be glad you are not blind, and so on.

The Glad Game is hard, but easier than living with constant regret.

Posted in Conflict and Anger, Character Development, Mental Environment, Stress Management | No Comments »

Motivational Monday

“Be who you are and say what you mean because those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter.” - Dr. Seuss

A Daisy Doesn't Pretend To Be A Rose

I love this quote. No matter who you are, you should live by this rule and teach your children to do so as well. Low self esteem not only comes from bullying, but from the fear of allowing others to see who you truly are. Be honest, be direct, and never hide the real you.

The kids are making a new start right now, why shouldn’t mom and dad? Don’t let resolutions and goals to make changes come only at the beginning of the year. Little changes add up over time, especially those that can help boost confidence.

Why not choose a new quote to jot down on a small piece of paper once a week and try to live by it the best you can? When you’re feeling low or just need to have a little reminder, pull it out of your pocket and read it. Read the quote out loud if you want. Use it in conversation.

And don’t stop with quotes from famous or historic people, come up with your own. Who knows, you may end up with a quaint little coffee table book of inspirational sayings you have written!

From now on, let’s start the week off with a quote. Feel free to email me suggestions!

Posted in Character Development, Daily Living, Faith, Mental Environment, Stress Management | No Comments »

First Day! First Day!

First grade for the littlest Donovan started today.  He was nervous.  I was nervous.  Well, actually, we were both a perfect blend of nervous and excited as we drove in.  His teacher is young and energetic and I think they will get along very, very well. 

When I picked him up, though, the first reality of what school actually is sunk in.  He made it to the car without really saying much.  Then, as we got in and I asked how his day was and who his new classmates were, he broke into tears.  At recess all of his friends from kindergarten (i.e. his old classmates) were all playing with their new classmates.  It broke his heart.  When I asked him who he played with he said “no one, I sat by myself because everyone said they had new friends”.  Which is the point when my heart was broken.  I did all the standard parenting things one should do - I told him that first days are hard and that he will make his own new friends in his class but that his kindergarten friends are still his friends too, blah blah blah blah.  My intial reaction was to go to the playground and find the little twerps who left him out at recess and sit on them - but I settled for the confidence speech and the hopeful promise of tomorrow.  There is nothing like watching your kid deal with social b.s. - partly because as a parent, you finally realize how torturous and unnecessary it is and partly because you know how painful it is.

He’ll get through it just like we all did.  In the meantime, I might have to break out my brass knuckles just to flash around at the playground tomorrow…….

Posted in Character Development, Child Development, School and Learning | 2 Comments »

As the Pendulum Swings…

Three days ago, we thought we were embarking upon a weekend without the kids. Their grandparents were due to take them for the weekend for a grandkid party down at their Pensacola residence. They called to cancel about two days ago. We went from a weekend alone (ahhh, sleeping in, late night wine fests, some afternoon delight perhaps..) along with plans with our friends who are coming in from Brooklyn as well as my brother who is coming in tonight from flight school to being completely bombarded with disappointment. We were going to be doing grown up things with other grown ups that we adore. We can deal with having our children for the weekend, after all, as we got closer to them leaving I was starting to miss them quite a bit. But, once my inlaws got wind of how disappointed we were about the canceled weekend, they decided to come up to cheer us up. Whew. So, now, we will have several friends from Brooklyn, my brother, our two kids and my in laws here this weekend.. I love them all - but just wasn’t expecting them all in one fell swoop and I’m not quite sure how I am going to juggle it all.
Alas, there will be no sleeping in and, most certainly, no sky rockets in flight this weekend. I am sure it will be fun, just a different kind of fun than we were expecting.

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Beauty Queens, Princesses & Ponies

Little girls, little girls, little girls.  I think I was less shocked when my son began proving the whole nature over nurture theory to me when he started being uber-boy than, now, seeing my daughter lassoing her absolute girlish nature at barely two years old.  Prissy, prissy, prissy.  She already wants a pony and is in love with those moronic Disney princesses who have had modern day “makeovers” that maintain the facade of being strong, independent women but, realistically, are just looking to hook a man’s attention and get laid.  Yuck.  Why is it in our nature to be lured by this?  She has already mastered fluttering her eyes at any man she sees and has perfected playing coy when they notice how pretty she is.  Yuck again.  Trust me, she is not learning it from me.  Sure, next to my boyish, lesbian friends I am pretty girly - but that is about how far it goes.  I like to think that there is a difference between feminine a being girly.  Being feminine implies strength of character and poise.  Being girly involves flirting and playing dumb to get your way.  A flirt I am not..  But wait a minute, my friends say I flirt with everyone - I think I am just being friendly - but they swear it is flirting.  Hold on - am I inadvertently teaching my daughter to get her way by being cute and flirty just because I like to be nice to people??  Can’t be.  I don’t care what my friends say, I don’t think I’m that girl.  I have seen that girl and have heartily rolled my eyes at her as man after man falls over himself to buy her a drink just because she is hanging out of her top and blinking a lot.  I have scoffed loudly when I have heard that girl say “Oh, I am just so dizzy - can you help me carry those??”.. I am not that girl, why is my daughter gleaming with the potential of becoming that girl?  Is this that whole mother vs. daughter thing taking root?  Or is this just a phase?  I mean, she’s not yet two.. Maybe I’m overreacting, no? 

Posted in Behavior Issues, Character Development, Child Development | No Comments »

Boys Will Be Boys….

I have gotten used to people (usually those without kids or those with girls only) looking at my son with great wonder - his preference to jump and run everywhere rather than to walk, his penchant for loud sound effects, his constant (albeit, articulate) banter with adults and kids, alike.  My mom has raised me to be utterly concerned with other people’s needs and opinions - or at least she tried.  It kicks in when necessary and occassionally I get bothered with it when it really doesn’t matter (my son being himself, with flourish, in the grocery store - for example).  I think when you have kids (overly-energetic boys or girls especially) you have to come to a point of agreement with yourself regarding how much you are willing to stress yourself and your kid out about how you are making strangers and those around you feel about your kids personality (notice I am saying “personality” and not “behavior” - strong personalities that can be overwhelming sometimes is what I am talking about, not bad behavior).  And, I think that the more you worry about it - putting all that negative energy into the situation - the more it becomes a problem.  When I make a big deal out of something that, in essence, really isn’t bothering me but I feel is bothering someone else - the problem becomes bigger.  Just something that I realized last night at our 4th of July picnic.  I started out overly concerned that my son, surrounded by very sweet, docile little girls, would offend someone or annoy someone.  He is pretty out there to begin with but, when surrounded by calm girls, by contrast he looks WAY out there.  Then this woman, god bless her, who - by the way- had no problem telling my son how to act, said to me “honey, boys will be boys - let him be”.  And I realized that he wasn’t doing anything wrong. He was just being himself and here I was, surrounded by people I didn’t know very well, worried more about what they thought or felt than I did about the fact that my kid was having a blast.  I relaxed and realized that I was the only one who was even concerned. Sure, everyone still made comments about his energy level and his propensity to kung-fu everything (even the cat) but, he’s a kid, and if you can’t pretend to kung-fu a cat when your six, when the hell can you? 


Posted in Concerns and Expectations, Character Development | No Comments »

The End of the First Season

Tonight is my son’s last soccer practice. What I have gleaned from this experience: team sports aren’t for everybody.

My son seemed to enjoy himself, occassionally. But overall, it just really didn’t seem to move him the way we thought it would. He spent most of his time on the field practicing odd breakdancing moves and adjusting his “costume” (most kids refer to this as their “uniform”). Anytime the coach would ask who wanted to sit out, my son was the first to volunteer. “Joseph, aren’t you having fun?”, we would ask. “Sure” he would reply. “Well, why then do you alway want to sit out?”. His response: he just wanted to make sure that every body got a chance to play, that’s all. Yeah right. Part of the truth was inadvertedly revealed in car later when he said, “gosh, I really don’t like getting sweaty. Ick!”.

I can remember a great interview with Christopher Walken that I had heard years ago. He talked about growing up in New York with actor/artist parents and spending most of his time in theater houses and dance studios. He took voice lessons and tap class - he learned how to paint a backdrop for a stage.. Whenever I think back about it, it reminds me a lot of my son. I always had a sneaky suspicion that he wouldn’t be interested in sports - he is far too concerned with his complicated psyche and his “persona” (he truly is a pint sized Marlon Brando circa 1964 - it’s a tough thing to parent, trust me). I am starting to see that he is more of a dramatist than a sportsman. What this means for the future, I have no idea. Whatever the case may be, I will keep all doors open for him. When soccer season starts up again, I will be happy to offer it up. I think, though, that he knows better than anyone that it is not his shtick.

Posted in Activities, Character Development | No Comments »

Adult Children Are Living At Home Longer

CBC reports that adult children are living at home longer. However, instead of staying home, they’re leaving home, and then coming back. They’re calling them “boomerang” offspring.

Peter Morgan is typical of the trend. Morgan and his wife have three children in their 20s. Until recently, they all lived at home.

The 29-year-old and the 27-year-old men recently left, but a 21-year-old son is still under the family roof in Vancouver.

“If history serves, he will probably be there another five years,” said Morgan. “Possibly another nine or 10.”

Personally, I have no plans on having any of my children live with me past 18. This trend seems more like a poor parenting than young misfortune. If adult children know they can use their parents as a crutch, then many of them will take advantage of it.

Adult children need to shed the “child” and learn to fend for themselves as adults. Otherwise, I think it’s fair to say that their parents didn’t prepare them to live as a true adult in society.

Posted in Parenting, Character Development | No Comments »

See Spot Run

It was like someone hit a switch in his mind — it came out of nowhere. My son picked up a book, one of those ancient Dick & Jane books, and started reading it front to back. It was like he had been reading for years. My husband and I were giddy with astonishment. It was a beautiful sight.

In his kindergarten class the students had begun reading “clubs” — they separate you into your appropriate reading levels and we were shocked to find out that our son was in the lowest level reading group. Like every parent we had always seen a gifted spark in our child — and to some extent, like every parent, we were right. My son has an engineer’s mind — math and science skills seem to be inherent within him. Every child has their knack. But I guess, as a writer and someone who has loved literature my entire life, I was certain that my children would be as bookwormish as me. Not according to the “reading club” at my son’s school. Understandably, they have to set these standards that have little wiggle room for the kids to feel out their learning style — how are public schools supposed to accommodate each independent weakness and strength of their students? Somehow though, as I write that, I am not feeling the conviction of the statement. I understand the plight of public schools — lack of funding, lack of integral structural integrity — but the fact that three days spent away from the pressure of “groups” and the predetermined “levels” of his school having merited a huge leap in learning is something that my husband and I can’t quite shake. We had been working at home with him (oddly enough, something that we were advised not to do by the reading specialist) and we feel that it is this that has lead him to the delightfully obsessive amount of independent reading that he has been doing these last couple of days. I literally had to drag him out of the library, prying books out of his hand because we had maxed out our limit. But, like a lot of other parents from his class, it has left me disillusioned about the state of things in his school, and public schools in general.

Aside from all of that though, I can’t quite convey the absolutely amazing sight it is to see your child read to themselves. It is one of those doorways that you know leads them to a whole other world of knowledge and independence. See spot run, indeed.

Posted in Character Development, Daily Living | No Comments »