The radical

The church has very efficiently pared the claws of the Lion of Judah, certified Him as a fitting household pet for pale curate and pious old ladies. Dorothy Sayers

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Often our image of Jesus is the sweet man surrounded by a group of children. The image is not wrong. Jesus did do that but we can’t leave it there. Jesus was radical. He flouted the mores of his day and defied the ruling hierarchy. He loved so deeply that he was willing to give his life. He was not afraid to heal lepers and eat with tax collectors. We are called to fight against prejudice and injustice just as he did.

Time to rant/ Wrong choice

I don’t usually complain about decisions made by the president (and that includes any president…it doesn’t matter who). This is one time I take seriously this simple choice that really affects very few people.

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It is my understanding that the president decided that those football players who go to one of the academies can bypass military service and be drafted for a professional team. I see this as totally wrong. We, the people, have paid for that education with the expectation that military service would follow. It is also not fair to the other students. What in the world makes football players special? We all know the answer to that but if they are going to be allowed to escape their commitment they should have to pay back the cost of their education.

My rant is done.

Will we learn?

I heard this song just the other day. It brought back so many memories. I love folk songs and the stories they tell. I was lucky that the era when they were so popular was during my college years.

This song was written by Pete Seeger who was a long time activist. It reminds us that we are the ones who cause wars. His question always gets to me: “When will they ever learn?”

We haven’t learned yet. Is there any chance that we will learn?

Pay attention to health

This week I have been asked to do one mediation and 2 community conferences. I wanted to start back but wow! They have cases that must be done asap and someone has the flu. it will be a challenge but also interesting.

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I am also taking control of my health after the surgery and the shift of not having a thyroid. It is taking some rethinking on my part but I have realized that I have been taking my health for granted.  I am now watching my diet and getting back to eating well…back to walking the dogs for exercise for all of us. They even seemed tired after walking today. I guess we all need to get back to reality.

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It is so easy to slip and let important things get away from you. The holiday season didn’t help but really it was up to me. We have to pay attention and not let the things that keep us well be ignored.

Keep helping

Laziness has invaded my space. This week has had changes but has really been quieter than usual. I have to get back to all the things I was doing. I haven’t called to get back on the schedule for Community Conferencing or Mediation. Next week will be the get going time.

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It can be easy to sit back and do nothing. Just be the person who meets people for lunch and is a dilettante. Really not my thing. If I don’t get back doing what I can to help I will end up being insipid.

If all of those who are retired stopped doing volunteer work it would definitely be missed. Ninety percent of the people at the mediation center are retired and I’m sure that can be said of many places where help is needed. We have to keep on helping.

 

Grow friendships

friends timeToday was the day that I finally relaxed from all the holiday, surgery, visitors, granddaughter’s accident stuff. I think I just let go. I am tired but this kind of tired feels good. It is nice to have all of that behind me and look toward what is next.

Routine is calming. As we get older calm and peace can be better than excitement. I still do things that challenge my status quo. It is important to not get stuck but, for me, a little bit is enough.

I depend on friends. They are the backbone I can count on. Life would be bare without them. We don’t need a lot of really close friends. A few will do. That doesn’t meant that we don’t have others who are an important part of our world. They just aren’t the ones who are part of the heart.

The only way that you find those kind of friends is by opening yourself to them. They will not stay close and grow with you if you don’t share your deepest self. If someone doesn’t accept that then you don’t need them.

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We also have to make the effort to communicate. Someone said don’t let the path grow up between your houses. Today our friends may not be that physically close but the idea is the same. Don’t expect others to keep the path open but do it yourself. We have to take the responsibility to keep reaching out. Friends don’t become close over night. The work must be put in to grow them.

Friends are a crucial part of life. Take the time and effort to share, communicate and help the link between you to grow. It is worth it!

Keep going

Believe-1-575x675If there is one thing I have learned in the last week it is that a 79 year old does not bounce back. My husband has had several surgeries in the last few years…mostly from jumping out of airplanes in the army. I have had none. I have always been supportive of him during his recoveries but I am not sure I have appreciated just how hard it is to get back to your best you can be.

He has been so supportive and kind to me with this surgery which was not a bad one (as surgeries go), I guess experience is the best teacher.

I have no complaints today other than being tired. I am usually the energizer bunny but have had to listen to my body and rest. I am grateful that everything went so well.

I have always spent a lot of time crossing bridges before getting to them. This time I was better than usual. I think the time I have spent learning new habits and applying the needed skills did make a difference. My journey to be “worryless” is advancing. I’m not at the end but making progress. We can get better but it does take work. Seeing this improvement encourages me to continue my efforts and keep going.

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I think that it is easy to get discouraged when we can’t see progress but it will come with time. Just work your way through one day before considering the next. Things can change.

My list

I have gotten better about some things as I have aged. On Friday I will turn 79 years young. The year before eighty. It seems like a milestone. It has made me think about the things I really can do something about and came up with this list.

  1. My choices and actions
  2. My attitudes and priorities
  3. The people that I chose to be with
  4. How I use my resources both physical things, my energy and my emotions

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These are the things that I have some control over. Anything else is not something I need to worry about, stew over or waste time on.

Now the only things I need to do is to stick to this list.

Help your children in a complex world

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.

link to the original article https://deeprootsathome.com/kids-friendless-bored-impatient/

WHY ARE KIDS IMPATIENT, BORED, FRIENDLESS, AND ENTITLED?

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A pouty little boy in a paper and metal crown looking you in the eye.

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.

Victoria writes:

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.

2. LIMITED SOCIAL INTERACTION

We are all busy, so we give our children digital gadgets and make them “busy” too. Kids used to play outside, where, in unstructured natural environments, they learned and practiced their social skills.

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.

Shared with Victoria’s written permission.

Do we appreciate our freedom?

In this country we take our freedoms for granted. Most of us are unaware of what it is like to live where there are few personal freedoms. We have never experienced it. Maybe we need to spend some time in North Korea or another country where the decision are not ours to make. As a people we are so naive.

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Be grateful for the freedoms we have. We have to guard them carefully and speak out when we see them being eroded .