Thursday, December 3, 2015
There was a shooting in Parkland, Las Vegas, Orlando, Paris, San Bernardino, Newtown and Columbine and Chicago and on and on and on. The list is long. And disturbing. What are we to do? How do we raise children in this violent and frightening world? The answers are simple.
Meet hatred with love.
Teach peace to our children.
Be hope for the hopeless.
Love and care for your family and community
Turn your back on violence and violent messages and guard your children from them.
Count your blessings.
Be generous to others.
When you need it, ask others for help.
Get to know your neighbors.
Do something for someone else.
Create art that inspires peace.
Invest/Spend your money in socially responsible companies that don't see weapons or promote violence.
Reach out to your government leaders to enact common sense gun and weapon laws.
Pray and develop your spiritual life.
Stay off social media or only follow those who do not spew hatred.
Resolve to live a life of love, rather than be scared into a life of media promoted paranoia.
Be a solution by being a good human being.
We all can do something. We all have our gifts and talents to share with the world. Don't lose hope. Carry on and make it your mission to fight violence and chaos with LOVE and action--in whatever form you have it in you to offer up to our struggling world.
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
Our society gives the message that things make us happy. This falsehood is shoved upon us repeatedly from the day we are born. We are programmed from a very young age to want more and better and bigger and more expensive. We are assaulted with advertising and our media outlets barrage us with messages about when and where to shop. Black Friday and Cyber Monday seem to get as many mentions on social media as legitimate, calendar based holidays. And we, parents, get caught up in the current. Our children make us targets for their wish lists--and we oblige as best we can. The tragedy in all of this--is that it is based on a basic lie. Things don't make us happy--at least not in the big picture of it all. They make us happy in the little picture, immediate gratification picture, fleeting picture. The picture that fades out when something bigger and better comes along. Giving our children "stuff" makes us feel good in the moment. Giving our children stuff allows us bask in the temporary glow of their excitement and appreciation. But that glow is only temporary...and so may be their appreciation--especially if you have never taken the time to teach them gratitude.
This is a cautionary tale. Some of the most miserable young adults I know, have been given everything they ever wanted. And the result is either they are hopelessly shallow and narcissistic, or they are never satisfied and directionless. Or a combination of both. Being a parent does not mean that you sign a contract to give your child every material thing that they desire. In fact, being a good parent means withholding things and allowing your child to learn what it feels like to wait and work for something. If you serve everything up without any struggle, you are robbing your children of feeling the accomplishment when they earn something on their own. Being a good parent means saying no sometimes. It is hard to do. I know. But it is crucial!
In this holiday season of excess, take a moment to think about what is really important to you and your family. Don't allow yourself to become the mindless, zombie shopper that is hell bent on making each and every one of the items on Santa's list magically appear under the tree. Limit your gift giving to a few special gifts that are meaningful or educational. Reflect on what knowledge would be a gift to your child and his/her successful future and put a plan in place to teach these valuable life lessons. Thoughtful and intelligent parenting is the best gift you could ever give your child.
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