Divergence in Blogging

A cancer experience has taken hold of consciousness for a bit and so I am going to roll with it and stay in the moment with my thoughts.  I do believe that this is not so much a divergence from previous topics, but a different route to the care and loving of the children in our lives.

Honestly, I have known how to care for myself nutritionally for a long time. The biggest lie I told myself over and over was that if it was so very important, then we wouldn’t be bombarded everywhere with the opposite of what is necessary for a healthy life.  It appears to me that every food item advertised promotes a nutritional aspect so that we do not notice that which is harmful.  Remember the old saying to describe how delicious something was, “Put it on a flip flop and the flip flop would taste delicious.”  Advertise a nutritional benefit and it will cover up all the harmful ingredients underneath.  I know I knew the advertising is a cover up, and yet I kept telling myself they couldn’t do it if it wasn’t true. Truth in advertising, right?  So often what is said isn’t as important as what isn’t said.

Cooking and food has its own channels on TV.  Some encourage over eating, abundant amounts of sugar, and high calorie food with customers who explain the goodness by admitting they eat there 3-4 times a week, indirectly telling viewers that day after day of high calorie foods is fine.   I remember a show a few years back with a family that used healthy ingredients, emphasized plant based food, and taking off unnecessary weight.  I wonder where that show went?

I can no longer believe that anyone has my best interest at heart more than me.  Neither should you, but like me you have to come to that conclusion on your own.  We believe in democracy and a government that looks out for our well being, when in truth, capitalism is what runs our country, and what makes money is promoted.  That is not a criticism but a reality that lead me to realize that I have to think for myself and consider the source. Does what they are advertising even sound feasible or am I  buying  (and eating) a crazy bill of goods? “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”  (Not mine, but a good one!)

American pride has made some feel superior and superiority in my experience leads to downfall.  Now that I am in my situation information I read about others countries comes back to me.  I wish I had read it completely, and processed it fully.  Other countries have outlawed fluoride in water, toothpaste and anything else that goes in the mouth. GMOs have been banished as well. So  what are they doing with those products?  My guess is exporting them to the US where they are all legal.  No proof, just a guess. Our country did that with medicines we didn’t want  for years and may still be doing it , sending things to what we called 3rd world countries.  Are we now the 3rd world country?

I will wind my way back around to the children we love, because this discussion has to get there and quickly.  The ones I love are not choosing to  eat green or plant based of any color, have sugar every day in some manner, drink too little  water, and  would choose a prepackaged food over real if given that opportunity.  Acidic choices  create a growing field for disease.  Yes, I will get to that topic soon.

In   addition, I am right now typing on my wireless laptop, which is in my lap, (even though a lap stand is right upstairs). It is able to communicate with the internet, situated in the next room, or the printer upstairs, and that is  such an incredible convenience, but is it good for me?  I rarely carry my cell phone on my person as do others, but it is in a pocket, my purse or a table near me, most of the time. It too is giving off EMF energy all the time. Another topic for another time, but food for thought.

While considering  my inspiration for the next blog, I will walk every day, get out in the sunshine for a while every day, breathe in fresh air, and while doing so, will ask myself if the choices I made today are for my highest good. Staying open to all possibilities and questioning old belief patterns, allows our own higher self to give us the answers.

 

 

Who are the Cool Kids?

Echosmith’s “Cool Kids” was playing on the car radio as my grandson and I were traveling.  Afterwards I asked him who the cool kids are.  He only hesitated a second or two before responding that kids like him are the cool kids because they don’t try to make anyone like them.  They like who they are and are happy being themselves.  He continued to tell me that kids that are trying to be cool, to be liked, are usually mean in the process.  It is so important to have certain kids like them that they are hurtful to others.  They are not being themselves.   My grandson is eleven.

Imagine for a second that the definition of cool kids in school was- a young person who is confident and happy being themselves and wishes the same for all others. Wouldn’t that put a whole new spin on social dynamics in  school at all levels?

My daughter had really nice friends in school for whom I was grateful.  I recognized the group of friends without consciously acknowledging that it was a group and that groups have boundaries.  Groups with boundaries often have invisible gates that adults don’t see, but other children know they are there.   The gates became visible to me as a teacher when a young person I knew entered middle school and made a new friend and was included somewhat into her circle of friends.    They were having a wonderful time getting to know each other.  A few weeks into the school year,  the  group surrounded my friend unexpectedly and informed her that the other child was in their group,  the group didn’t feel she fit in with them, and she was no longer welcome.  “You don’t belong”, they told her.  The new friend stood by and watched, then left with them, whispering, “Sorry”.  The devastation this child felt was deep and painful.  As a teacher I  became more aware of the silent social hurt that happens without adult knowledge because I knew the victim personally.

In 1995, Patricia A and Peter Adler published in Social Psychology Quarterly ,Vol. 58, No. 3 (Sep., 1995), pp. 145-162, “Dynamics of Inclusion and Exclusion in Preadolescent Cliques.  They concluded that the inclusion and exclusion of children is the center of the later elementary years cliques,  and that this social framework impacts their character and is carried over to adulthood. imagesRHGZENLW “Cliques are circles of power wherein leaders attain and wield influence over their followers by cyclically building them up and cutting them down, first drawing them into the elite inner circle and allowing them to bask in the glow of popularity and acceptance, and then reducing them to positions of dependence and subjugation by turning the group against them.”  Their findings included a leaning toward discrimination as adults.

As parents look at their children’s friends they should ask themselves if the relationship is positively supportive of their child making their own decisions, having age appropriate activities and living from their heart. If within a specific group a child is insecure on their own,  lacks confidence to stick up for themselves and their values, is unkind to others including siblings, feels too powerful, or becomes sneaky, the group dynamic needs attention.  Being one of the cool kids may not be in the best interest of that child.

In researching I noticed that a “cool kids” definition may be different within different communities.  While I see the cool kids as popular, they have usually also been good students and often athletes or musicians, but within a group setting do see others not included as less than themselves or their group.   The studies done on cool kids in middle school through young adulthood define them differently,  with one explanation in an article, “Cool at 13, Adrift at 23”.   Jan Hoffman,writer for the New York Times quoted, Dr. Joseph P Allen, psychology professor  at the University  of Virginia, who described them as fast tracked, socially precocious risk takers.  Dr. Allen’s study found that “psudomature” behavior in adolescence was a greater predictor of drug and alcohol abuse as a young adult than was actual use of drugs or alcohol in the middle school ages.

However “cool” is defined in your child’s social life, it is clear that your awareness may be even more necessary than when they were younger.  Everything in their lives is a stage, but each stage is a basis for the next.  Knowing where they are heading is valuable.  Sometimes you have to step in.  At one time I was accused of being unfair and critical of young man.  When asked how I could dislike someone I didn’t know, I responded, “You are right.  He may be a very nice boy.  I am not judging him.  I am judging you, and I don’t like who you are  when you are in his company.”

While supporting social growth of older children, parents need to keep foremost  in their mind what they want for their children, leaving their own past experience with group dynamics out of the equation.    Help them be themselves first and foremost, holding onto their character  in the presence of their peers.

 

 

 

 

 

Give Gratitude Effortlessly

Life is busy.  Even when time is afforded for myself, there are still many things floating through my head, and at the end of the day, I think to myself,  “Did you give gratitude today?”   I have realized that gratitude does not have to be spoken or even thought, but it does have to be felt.  Gratitude takes place in the heart more than the brain.

Think about it. A child accomplishes something and comes running to you to share with pride.  You don’t think, “I am grateful that he was successful and wanted to share it with me.”  You do feel and share his happiness with a big smile and maybe even a hug, and a few kind words of encouragement.   Are these not expressions of gratitude?

Another scenario may be arriving home after a long day of work, and busy traffic on your commute. Before getting out of the car, you sit a moment and take a deep breath, slowly letting it out.  You may not give gratitude for completing the day, arriving safely, or having a moment of peace and calm, but in that slow breath, are you not conveying that message?

Spoken gratitude is a gift to others as well as yourself in that it keeps you mentally grateful.  But it is far more than words; gratitude is a feeling you express from your heart.  It is found in a smile, a sigh, recognition of something beautiful in nature.  Acknowledgment of God’s creations is a form of gratitude, as is respect for the purity of waterways, and the sky and other gifts of the universe .  Compassion for living beings shows gratitude for their creation.

Living a life of kindness, responsibility, love and integrity is showing gratitude for all you have.  Verbalizing is a wonderful thing but living a life of gratitude and appreciation from the heart is expressing your true self, and at that time gratitude becomes effortless.

Thanks for participating!

Beth

Beginning the Year in Gratitude

Life is primarily choices, not that you can choose things that happen to you, but how you react to them.  Life bring, disease, accidents,  and other hardships, but whether you suffer through it or not, is a choice.  There was a time I would have disagreed with it, telling myself that I just didn’t understand.   Gratefully I understood better by the time the end of my mother’s life came to be.  I could have been frustrated, angry, impatient, but was not.  I understood this was her path, not mine and was able to help her through it without taking anything personally.  She was surrounded by my Loving Self until the end. For that I am grateful.

Each day offers the same thing-  a choice of how we will look at the things that come our way.  gratitudes

Be grateful.  For every negative thought that comes into your head, find something to be grateful for. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.  I am blessed to live overlooking a beautiful lake.  I begin my days looking out and being grateful for my surroundings and my life.

Follow gratitudes with affirmations of how your life is or will be.   Some affirmations I have borrowed and use are:

1. Today is going to be a great day.
2. I am grateful!
3. I will do good today.
4.  Everything is happening perfectly.
5.  I act from a place of love and courage.
6.  I am enough.
7.  I hold my well being sacred.
8. I am positive.
9. I am love and I love.
10. I am accepting and forgiving.
Affirmations each morning provide a direction for the day.  Rather than getting up and taking off on the fly, simple positive statements like these can guide your thinking from the beginning. Your thoughts control your beliefs so being aware of how you think is very important.limiting belief3
If you are new to positive and grateful thinking, it takes practice, and you can exaggerate at first to expand thinking positively.  You may think your affirmations are not truthful or you really don’t have that much for which to be grateful, but as you continue, your thinking will come around.  Now wouldn’t you like a new year with more smiles, joy, appreciation, gratefulness, and love?  It can happen.  Your thinking creates your demeanor and your demeanor impacts what you manifest.
Smile at strangers, hug your loved ones, value your well being and care for yourself.  Respect others.  Leave judgment and criticism in 2015.  Show your Loving Self in 2016.
 treat people like treesWishing you a blessed new year!
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Model What You Want Them To Be

Today I am borrowing from a much wiser and well known writer to help convey an important parenting concept.  If like me, you grew up hearing “Do as I say not as I do,”  and tried that as a way of parenting, you probably have already discovered that it doesn’t work.  Integrity is a much better basket to put your eggs in.  Kids today see through anything less.  Being the role model you want for them, empowers you as well.

Dr. Wayne Dyer

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Wayne’s Weekly Wisdom “If you model self-pride and self-worth for your children, they will in turn leave the nest with an absence of stress and turmoil for all concerned.”

I have the following saved on my desktop because it profoundly demonstrates the importance of our awareness of our own behavior.  I notice too much explosive behavior, loss of control, and spewed anger that is justified with ridiculous excuses that make perfect sense to the person explaining them.   Is society becoming numb to inexcusable behavior? Parents and other relatives of children are their role models and need to be cognizant of their actions at all times.

This was Wayne’s last Facebook post.

I was preparing to speak at an I Can Do It conference and I decided to bring an orange on stage with me as a prop for my lecture. I opened a conversation with a bright young fellow of about twelve who was sitting in the front row.

“If I were to squeeze this orange as hard as I could, what would come out?” I asked him.

He looked at me like I was a little crazy and said, “Juice, of course.”

“Do you think apple juice could come out of it?”

“No!” he laughed.

“What about grapefruit juice?”

“No!”

“What would come out of it?”

“Orange juice, of course.”

“Why? Why when you squeeze an orange does orange juice come out?”

He may have been getting a little exasperated with me at this point.

“Well, it’s an orange and that’s what’s inside.”

I nodded.

“Let’s assume that this orange isn’t an orange, but it’s you. And someone squeezes you, puts pressure on you, says something you don’t like, offends you. And out of you comes anger, hatred, bitterness, fear. Why? The answer, as our young friend has told us, is because that’s what’s inside.”

It’s one of the great lessons of life. What comes out when life squeezes you? When someone hurts or offends you? If anger, pain and fear come out of you, it’s because that’s what’s inside. It doesn’t matter who does the squeezingyour mother, your brother, your children, your boss, the government. If someone says something about you that you don’t like, what comes out of you is what’s inside. And what’s inside is up to you, it’s your choice.

When someone puts the pressure on you and out of you comes anything other than love, it’s because that’s what you’ve allowed to be inside. Once you take away all those negative things you don’t want in your life and replace them with love, you’ll find yourself living a highly functioning life.

Thanks, my young friend, and here’s an orange for you!

I was impressed with Wayne’s understanding and explanation that negativity within is a choice.    Choose peace, calm, patience  and love and you and everyone around you benefits.

 

 

 

Does your child feel like a stray?

A conversation with a middle-schooler a few weeks back following a discussion about communicating after death was even more eye opening than the original one.  She asked me how I would come back to her after I died.  I responded,   “as a hummingbird and what about you?”  Her response was, “as a black and orange cat.”  She said we better write them down so we don’t forget, but I thought to myself, I think I will remember this conversation.   A week or so later, she asked me if I remembered how I would appear to her.  I said, “Yes. Why did you pick a black and orange cat?”  “Because I only have seen stray cats be black and orange and I feel like I am a stray too.”  Our conversation was interrupted at that point so I have not found out her own reasoning behind it, but it struck a chord with me from years of teaching kids of divorce.

My observation was that some children do feel misplaced.  Even with parents that do everything to make their child’s life happy, some kids still have difficulty knowing where they belong.  They are going to Dad’s house or Mom’s house, or even a grandparent’s home,  but not theirs.  Where is their home?  Living out of a suitcase, or even having 2 sets of everything can be difficult for their stability.   As I said this is an observation not a criticism as it happened to me as well.  Family members lived here for a while.  We did everything we could think of to make this their home, but they never called it home.  It was always our house.  I once asked, “What would make you feel at home?”  The answer was, “Not living with you.  Living in a house that is just ours.”  Sometimes you just have to accept that you have done all you can to help them adjust, but being aware of their feelings and acknowledging it is a first step in understanding the feelings of a ‘stray’.  http://iamchildofdivorce.com offers many suggestions for divorced  parents.

http://iamachildofdivorce.com/

Kids Can Follow the Mindful Path to Peace and Joy

Can your kids be quiet and be IN quiet without getting antsy?  One kid very dear to my heart has a hard time in the car with nothing to do.  “I’m bored!  There is nothing to do!” is a constant complaint.  My response, “We are doing something, we are having a conversation,” for some reason has no impact on the perceived dilemma.   If this sounds familiar, I wrote about this several months ago, in “Too Much Boredom”.  In the blog, I wrote, “Time not doing is time for being, but it has to be taught, even if it was a skill with which we were born. Bored children need to learn to treasure down time to charge that personal energy, strength and connection to the source of light within and overcome doubts and fears. Constantly active kids need quiet time as well, because all children need the connection with self and God to reduce ego and build their loving self, becoming compassionate caring people with a sense of oneness with others. It is a package deal as they best learn from modeling you.”

Mindfulness was mentioned in the article and deserves much more consideration.mindfulness5  It not only has to be taught it has to be practiced.  Its value is addressed by Jon Kabut- Zinn.

“It’s about living your life as if it really mattered, moment by moment by moment by moment.”

“Of course my life matters”, you might say, but how often do you actually think about it?  Do you value the moments in your life or allow them to slide by without any focus? mindfulness7It is easy to lose connection with the moments when you are checking off the many items on each daily to- do list.  That is why it is important to stop, breathe deeply and bring yourself back to the moment from time to time.

Mindfulness practice is valuable in controlling thoughts.  And of course, to teach your children, you need to do it yourself as well.  This is one of those things that you might not do for yourself but will do for your children and gain personal growth, peace and empowerment in the process.

“The purpose of teaching mindfulness to our children is to give them skills to develop their awareness of their inner and outer experiences, to recognize their thoughts as “just thoughts,” to understand how emotions manifest in their bodies, to recognize when their attention has wandered, and to provide tools for impulse control. mindfulness6 It is not a panacea, and it will not completely get rid of what is, frankly, normal kid behavior, like tantrums and loudness and whining and exuberance and arguing…” wrote Sarah Rudell Beach in  “8 Ways to Teach Mindfulness to Kids”

Mindfulness gives all of us including our children, power.  Controlling thoughts by releasing thoughts, keeping thoughts positive, focusing on what needs to be done, and regulating emotions is powerful and can begin to be learned at an early age.  Mindfulness helps with impulse control and assists children in refraining from speaking and acting out uncontrollably, something some adults could use as well.

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I will write on this again, but don’t wait, check out these links for yourself!

http://thehawnfoundation.org/mindup/

http://greatergood.berkeley.edu

http://www.childmind.org/en/posts/articles/2012-4-9-power-of-mindfulness

 

 

 

Following the Adolescent Mind

Earlier this week I blogged “What were you THINKING!?!”, concerning adult reaction when older children make poor decisions.   A news report concerning adolescents taking selfies on active railroad tracks, encouraged me to continue on this topic.  In the last year over 500 deaths on railroad tracks have been reported.  One of the issues is the adolescent attraction to thrills.  Of course, it was mentioned the influence of music videos and movies.  But we must also look at the physiological development of children and adolescents.

Neuroeducation.com states that by adolescence the brain is full size but is making many organizational changes:

“At this point in development the brain has to decide what’s needed, what’s not, and how to become the most efficient. In order to do this the adolescent brain has to undergo synaptic pruning, in which useful neural connections are kept and less useful connections wither away. One important area of reorganization is in the prefrontal cortex that handles abstract cognitive abilities as well as impulse control.”

Research has shown that the brains of children mainly focus on visual processing and slowly begin to develop in planning and impulse control, a process which isn’t complete until adult maturity.  The adults who are involved with children and teens must keep in mind that the brain function does not keep up with the physical growth on the outside.  To know what is going on in that brain, parents and other loving adults must become very good listeners.  Stephen Covey, in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, wrote, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the  intent to reply.”  An adolescent’s adults must listen to them with intent to understand, and often to ‘read between the lines’  throughout the conversation to ascertain what they really want  to be known.   Often you need to restate what you heard for clarification as what you hear is not always what they are trying to say.    They do not want to know what you think, they want you to know what they think.  When you stop listening, they stop speaking, when they stop speaking, there is no communication.   listening to hear

Observation of  adolescents shows they are a whirlwind of brain activity in short spaces of time.  They can be a wealth of knowledge one moment, have the enthusiasm of a  puppy, interest in topics far beyond their years, or want to spend the day watching cartoons.  It is normal!  Expect them to behave like children, be grateful when they act maturely showing signs of brain growth, prepare them as best you can for the decisions that they may have to make when you aren’t around, and love them no matter what.   listening with intent

C. Beth Hoffman M.Ed, author of My Loving Self and Me

What Were You THINKING!?!

Making wise choices comes about from experiences and practice as well as maturation.  In any situation, children see what they are focusing on.  It is only with growth and lessons learned that they begin to realize that there are consequences to every action.  They are usually as surprised as anyone else when things don’t go the way they pictured them in their head.  Being allowed to make their own decisions in a risk free situations encourages them to expand on the possibilities.  My granddaughter has said more than once, “I didn’t see that one coming.”  In reality, adults don’t either sometimes.  Not doing it again in that exact way is a learned lesson.

Actions, whether judged to be good or bad are best handled with a true, calm, question about the process of their thinking.  What were the steps?  Did you think that it might not go as planned?  Was there a risk and was the outcome worth it?  Discussion with children builds their self esteem and courage, reducing stress with decision making.

Teach Kids How,  a website for parents,  lists activities for teaching children early about making choices.  It must be a continuous process for them to become confident.

 

But  too often, a child’s mistakes have an impact on the parent.  Their behavior or choice may be an embarrassment.  It may cause more effort or work when their plate was already full.  They look at the child incredulously and ask in a questioning voice, “What were you THINKING!?!” Although it may sound like a question it really isn’t.  The parent probably is not in the mood to hear the answer.  The question is really a statement that says to the child, “You were not thinking at all.”  It is not a question but a condemnation of self.  mental abuseMany parents heard something similar when they were growing up.  “Are you crazy??” or “What are you? Stupid?” come to mind.  Past generations were not immune to this kind of questioning.  Many were raised this way as well and only through self reflection as parents will they realize it did not have a positive impact on them, either.  Children develop a fear of making decisions when their choices are wrong.  It becomes easier to say, “I don’t know.”

Karen Stephens contributing writer to childhoodexchange.com in her article, ‘Parents Are Powerful role Models for Children“, says “Being a positive role model requires fore-thought and self control. Today we talk a lot about disciplining our children. We parents need to put an equal emphasis on disciplining ourselves.”

Parenting must come from the heart to raise children who are confident, caring and loving.  Teach them to love themselves by loving, respecting and caring for yourself.  “Do as I say, not as I do.” was resented by every child who ever heard it.  It won’t work on your child either.  Don’t raise your children as you were raised without forethought as to how it affected you.  Keep the best learning experiences and discover new ways to interact with your child where you  were not positively affected by the lesson.  Structure and discipline can always come from love.

 

My Loving Self and Me- a blog for adults who love children

It is a busy world no matter how old you are. School age children deal with the issues of self, family, school, home, community, and also the world through technological communication that bombards  us all. They need role models and listeners- adults with whom the can share their private worlds.  My Loving Self and Me is a book written for older children to read with an adult or in a family setting.  The stories present real life issues that children face today, about which their caring adults may know nothing.  By reading the book together, parents get the opportunity to discuss the experiences of the characters, discovering the quiet parts of their child’s life, or how they relate to the issues the characters faced. The characters always find a solution that comes from their heart.   The discussions in “What would your loving self do?”  that follows each story create teaching moments for you and your child.

There are many topics that come up in raising children. Not all of them are in the book, needless to say.  This blog is written for the parents, grandparents and other caring adults that have children in their lives that they support, bringing them information, hopefully before they have to deal with it in real life.

What will you get out of reading My loving Self and Me, the blog?

  1. Insights into issues that children today face.
  2. Ideas on assisting them in a loving and helpful way.
  3. Links to websites that deal with parenting issues.
  4. Direction on bringing faith and spirituality into your parenting style.
  5. An occasional new unpublished story for you and your family.

The blogs are listed on the right in Recent Posts and below it in Archives.

From time to time, I write a new story using the characters in the book, My Loving Self and Me,  and “publish” it here for you to share with your children. If you have an issue your child is dealing with, and would like the characters to find a solution from their heart, please leave a message here.

Thanks for reading and sharing this blog and My Loving Self and Me.

Beth

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