I have occasionally taken photos of the wonderful mail box in my neighborhood that gets decorated for every holiday. This is the latest. I love the Manatee even when he “au natural” but it is really fun to see what is coming next. Hope everyone enjoys(ed) All Hallows Eve and a blessed All Saints Day!
Today I find myself leaning on my faith. I have some medical issues which may resolve…or not. Time will tell. This news did not send me into a panic…at least not yet. I have high hopes that this will be an easy fix and life will go on pretty much as normal.
In the meantime I will continue my routines and keep my anxiety at bay. I am grateful that I have some tools that I have made a habit and can actually count on them to help.
Life is always interesting and challenges us in many ways but it is worth cherishing. Keep me in your thought and prayers as I travel into this joourney.
Where families are involved life can treacherous. Sometimes the most innocent remark can be twisted into a major conflict. I suspect this is because there is history and much emotion involved. Often the negative reaction has nothing to do with what is going on at the moment. It is rooted somewhere in the past where the emotions are stuck.
I have never forgotten that our emotions are tied to so many things. A piece of music from our past can have us experiencing the emotions we felt at the time. These past connections can emerge at the worst moments and skew our perception of the current experience.
Many of us have been taken straight back to our past feelings by a song, a scent, a person, or a scene. We don’t realize what is happening and our responses are not appropriate to the moment. This is doubly true for those we spent a lot of time with growing up. We are creations of our environment as well as our genes.
It takes real strength to look inside and connect with the past so that we can disconnect ourselves from it. Most of us don’t want to relive the negative things that formed out emotional responses. It make take talking with a counselor to root out those emotions and at least understand them. Hopefully doing so will allow us to reconnect with those we have turned away from. Maybe not. Some we may not want to but there can be some that can heal connections that will change our hearts.
On Saturday we took our two Basset Hounds to do a home visit for a family wanting dogs from the rescue organization we got Crash from. The last step in the adoption process is a home visit from someone who volunteers to do this.
We decided to take our dogs to see how the family reacted. They have four children and it is good to see how the children do.
Our dogs are fine with strangers with one exception….they usually bark/howl at everything. If you have ever heard a Basset howl it is LOUD. We tend to call the sound AROO! Well we were in for the shock of our lives. Our two behaved like they were perfect dogs. No barking, loved the children, let everyone pet them….a shock! We thought we had taken the wrong dogs.
I remember when our children were little it was always interesting to see the monsters at home turn into angels. This is the same experience we had with the dogs. I wonder if our grown children talked to them?
It was a great visit and I hope the family loves the bonded pair of Bassets they have chosen. I am sure they will be approved. Our dogs are back home and behaving normally….that is barking at everything….AROO!
When someone reads my blog and I get an email I check to see if it is someone I have in reader. If not I read some of the suggested blogs. It may be someone I want to follow myself.
Recently I read a blog that surprised me with the underlying anger I sensed in the topics presented. I don’t want to offer any further information but it really made me think. The person was not angry at me or what I wrote but the depth of anger and what I translated as hurt was intense.
At the time I didn’t comment on any of the blogs but have thought about it ever since. I wonder if I should have tried to respond in some way but I just couldn’t decide how to comment.
It is interesting when reading blogs that touch you in some way that the angst involved seems to require something more that one can say in a comment. I just can’t forget it. I suppose if it shows up again I might find some way to respond. I hope I can say something that helps and doesn’t cause more pain.
Life is never boring. I wondered why I was so warm and checked the thermostat and it is way warm in the house. Obviously the air conditioner is out again. Oh well, it will cool down to the 60’s tonight and we can get cool again. We have a friend who fixes air and he will come tomorrow and see what’s up. At least this time we don’t have company.
It seems like you can never get ahead. That is the negative side. The positive side is that I think we can manage to pay for a new one. The only problem is that we are retired and on fixed income. We have just finished repairing the bathroom and here we are again. We suspect that the air conditioner has died a natural death. It is, in fact, very old. There are two ways of looking at everything. Hopefully this will be something that my sense of humor can cover….in the future but not right now.
Naturally the upcoming week is showing highs in the 80’s instead of the slightly cool temps we had last week. Also it is so humid the air feels thick. Until Thursday it will not cool much at night so little chance to bring the inside temp down.
There! I have had my rant for the day. Life goes on and I am actually grateful for so many things that this is just a bump in the road. I will put my gratitude list on my mirror and read it every day.
The article and some comments started me thinking about how we should live our later years. I am of the opinion that we should not sit down and let everything pass us by. We have much to give and we have to speak out. This country and the world need to hear our voices and see that there are other ways. This whole thought process reminded me of this poem. It is my mantra!
We are surrounded by mystery. Though hard for us to accept we don’t have control over many things. We would like to be in control. We yearn to be in control but ultimately we are not.
We prefer to make decisions trusting that they will happen as we planned. We make judgments about right and wrong, about people, about events. We can make quick certain and smug judgments. We are so sure that our way is the right way. We are sure that life will follow the path we have set. We are so wrong.
This inability to accept our powerlessness can make us blind and unwilling to see the truth. We can say “don’t bother me with the truth, I want to be in control.” We see ourselves as all knowing. We cover our heads and stick with own ideas. This action leads to a lack of willingness to see any other way. It makes us unable to have compassion for others and their thoughts and ideas.
We choose not to see our own biases, imperfections and wrongness. We do not look deep inside ourselves to find the “shadow self” who hides there.
There is so much that we do not know or understand. Pat answers lead us nowhere. We have to see the world as it is in all its mystery. We have to be willing to step out into the unknown. We have to face doubt and fear and understand that they are part of life.
We must learn to accept the ambiguous and the anxiety it can cause. To not know the answers is understandable in the world we inhabit. I don’t think we will ever have all the answers and the truth is we don’t have to know.
At our knitting group today I really indulged myself and ate a piece of cheesecake. It was fabulous! I don’t do that often and for some reason felt like I deserved it.
There are times when we should please ourselves. It is too easy to get caught into not treating ourselves. Turn loose of any guilt. We are allowed to do something nice for ourselves. Find something that you enjoy and do it.
Take a bubble bath
Have a glass of wine
Go to a movie
Spend time with a friend
Have something special to eat
I’m sure that you could add many things to the list. Take the time to treat yourself!
I am sharing this article in the hopes that it will reach those who need help with raising their kids. It is a tough job and we need all the help we can get. I am sorry for the weird format but that is how it copied. The author requests that it be shared.
“Kids today are in a devastating emotional state! Most come to school emotionally unavailable for learning. There are many factors in our modern lifestyle that contribute to this.” ~V.P.
In her practice, my friend Victoria Prooday, OT is seeing something so widespread and alarming that I asked if I could share her thoughts. Due to the overwhelming interest and conversation on this topic, I am re-sharing her post. This article is also now translated into German and Russian. Spanish is coming soon!
I encourage every parent who cares about the future of his/her children to read it. I know that many would choose not to hear what she says in the article, but your children need you to hear this message.
I am an occupational therapist with years of experience working with children, parents, and teachers. I completely agree with this teacher’s message that our children are getting worse and worse in many aspects.
I hear the same consistent message from every teacher I meet. Clearly, throughout my time as an Occupational Therapist, I have seen and continue to see a decline in children’s social, emotional, and academic functioning, as well as a sharp increase in learning disabilities and other diagnoses.
As we know, the brain is malleable. Through environment, we can make the brain “stronger” or make it “weaker”. I truly believe that, despite all our greatest intentions, we unfortunately remold our children’s brains in the wrong direction.
Jackie’s Note: be sure to get the printable list of 30 more ways to help your kids
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Here is why:
1. KIDS GET EVERYTHING THEY WANT WHEN THEY WANT IT
“I am Hungry!!” “In a sec I will stop at the drive thru” “I am Thirsty!” “Here is a vending machine.” “I am bored!” “Use my phone!” The ability to delay gratification is one of the key factors for future success. We have the best intentions — to make our child happy — but unfortunately, we make them happy at the moment but miserable in the long term. To be able to delay gratification means to be able to function under stress. Our children are gradually becoming less equipped to deal with even minor stressors, which eventually become huge obstacles to their success in life.
The inability to delay gratification is often seen in classrooms, malls, restaurants, and toy stores. The moment the child hears “No”, they react with belligerence because parents have taught their child’s brain to get what it wants right away.
Unfortunately, technology replaced the outdoor time. Also, technology made the parents less available to socially interact with their child. Obviously, our kids fall behind… the babysitting gadget is not equipped to help kids develop social skills. Most successful people have great social skills. This is the priority!
The brain is just like a muscle that is trainable and re-trainable. If you want your child to be able to bike, you teach him biking skills. If you want your child to be able to wait, you need to teach that child patience. If you want your child to be able to socialize, you need to teach him social skills. The same applies to all the other skills. There is no difference!
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3. ENDLESS FUN
We have created an artificial fun world for our children. There are no dull moments. The moment it becomes quiet, we run to entertain them again, because otherwise, we feel that we are not doing our parenting duty.
We live in two separate worlds. They have their “fun“ world, and we have our “work” world. Why aren’t children helping us in the kitchen or with laundry? Why don’t they tidy up their toys? This is basic monotonous work that trains the brain to be workable and function under “boredom,” which is the same “muscle” that is required to be eventually teachable at school.
When they come to school and it is time for handwriting their answer is “I can’t. It is too hard. Too boring.” Why? Because the workable “muscle” is not getting trained through endless fun. It gets trained through work.
4. KIDS & TECHNOLOGY
Using technology as a “Free babysitting service” is, in fact, not free at all. The payment is waiting for you just around the corner. We pay with our kids’ nervous systems, with their attention, and with their ability for delayed gratification.
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Compared to virtual reality, everyday life is boring. When kids come to the classroom, they are exposed to human voices and adequate visual stimulation as opposed to being bombarded with the graphic explosions and special effects that they are used to seeing on the screens. After hours of virtual reality, processing information in a classroom becomes increasingly challenging for our kids because their brains are getting used to the high levels of stimulation that video games provide. The inability to process lower levels of stimulation leaves kids vulnerable to academic challenges. Technology also disconnects us emotionally from our children and our families.
Parental emotional availability is the main nutrient for child’s brain. Unfortunately, we are gradually depriving our children of that nutrient.
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5. KIDS RULE THE WORLD
“My son doesn’t like vegetables.” “She doesn’t like going to bed early.” “He doesn’t like to eat breakfast.” “She doesn’t like toys, but she is very good at her iPad” “He doesn’t want to get dressed on his own.” “She is too lazy to eat on her own.” This is what I hear from parents all the time. Since when do children dictate to us how to parent them? If we leave it all up to them, all they are going to do is eat macaroni and cheese and bagels with cream cheese, watch TV, play on their tablets, and never go to bed.
What good are we doing them by giving them what they WANT when we know that it is not GOOD for them? Without proper nutrition and a good night’s sleep, our kids come to school irritable, anxious, and inattentive. In addition, we send them the wrong message. They learn they can do what they want and not do what they don’t want.
The concept of “need to do” is absent. Unfortunately, in order to achieve our goals in our lives, we have to do what’s necessary, which may not always be what we want to do. For example, if a child wants to be an A student, he needs to study hard. If he wants to be a successful soccer player, he needs to practice every day. Our children know very well what they want, but have a very hard time doing what is necessary to achieve that goal. This results in unattainable goals and leaves the kids disappointed.
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TRAIN THEIR BRAIN
You can make a difference in your child’s life by training your child’s brain so that your child will successfully function on social, emotional, and academic levels. Here is how:
1. Don’t be afraid to set the limits. Kids need limits to grow happy and healthy!!
Make a schedule for meal times, sleep times, technology time
Think of what is GOOD for them- not what they WANT/DON’T WANT. They are going to thank you for that later on in life. Parenting is a hard job. You need to be creative to make them do what is good for them because, most of the time, that is the exact opposite of what they want.
Kids need breakfast and nutritious food. They need to spend time outdoor and go to bed at a consistent time in order to come to school available for learning the next day!
Convert things that they don’t like doing/trying into fun, emotionally stimulating games
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2. LIMIT TECHNOLOGY, AND RE-CONNECT WITH YOUR KIDS EMOTIONALLY
Surprise them with flowers, share a smile, tickle them, put a love note in their backpack or under their pillow, surprise them by taking them out for lunch on a school day, dance together, crawl together, have pillow fights
Have family dinners, board game nights (see the list of my favorite board games), go biking, go to outdoor walks with a flashlight in the evening
3. TRAIN DELAYED GRATIFICATION
Make them wait!!! It is ok to have “I am bored“ time – this is the first step to creativity
Gradually increase the waiting time between “I want” and “I get”
Avoid technology use in cars and restaurants, and instead teach them waiting while talking and playing games
Limit constant snacking
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4. TEACH YOUR CHILD TO DO MONOTONOUS WORK FROM EARLY YEARS AS IT IS THE FOUNDATION FOR FUTURE “WORKABILITY”
Folding laundry, tidying up toys, hanging clothes, unpacking groceries, setting the table, making lunch, unpacking their lunch box, making their bed
Be creative. Initially make it stimulating and fun so that their brain associates it with something positive.
5. TEACH SOCIAL SKILLS
Teach them turn taking, sharing, losing/winning, compromising, complimenting others , using “please and thank you”
From my experience as an occupational therapist, the kids changes the moment parents change their perspective on parenting. Help your kids succeed in life by training and strengthening their brain sooner rather than later!
Jackie’s Note: be sure to get the printable list of 30 more ways to help your kidsVictoria holds a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy from the Medical School at University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology and Health Science from York University. She is founder and director of a multidisciplinary clinic in Toronto, Canada, for children with behavioral, social, emotional and academic challenges. Victoria, along with her team, has helped hundreds of families across Canada and around the world and is a frequent guest speaker to teachers, parents and professionals.