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?

3.3MSHARES
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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 .

Mostly moms is the reality

raising aloneTimes are tough. There are many children who are being brought up by single moms. Most of the work hard and do their best for their children. Still, being without a spouse is doubly hard. I think it takes two parents. The stress on one parent is horrendous. We all need help and in the case of raising children it is critical.

Regardless of who is doing the raising having more than one person to be looked up to and hopefully emulated is so necessary. It is helpful if boys have some male in their life and a female for girls. This is not always possible but hopefully some other family member is able to step up and help.

raising alone 2When we grew up in small towns there were many others to help. It really does “take a village” to raise a child. The more adults loving and molding growing up the better. Many of the children I am seeing now have only one parent and it is most frequently the mother. We need to grow the organizations “big brothers” and “big sisters” to fill in the gaps. children who are mentored do so much better. If not they seek affirmation from all the wrong people.

We must care for our youth

Somewhat normal?

love-warming-your-soulThis is the first day that things have felt somewhat normal. We put everything back on the porches and cleaned up some of the mess. There are small tree limbs and scattered pine and oak stuff everywhere.  It will take a while to get it clear but we are lucky that’s all there is.

 

It is nice to see the sun today. Sunshine always makes me feel better. Now I have some catching up to do with my Community Conference case for next week. Back to routine.

How-To-Help-Teens-After-Rehab-676x400This volunteer work really is important. Everyone involved is hoping that it will help to keep kids from the courts and keep their lives on a better track. It gives me a good feeling to try to help. The schools have become so strict regarding what kids can do that sometimes it is overkill. We have had children sent to court for drawing a picture of a gun. Hopefully the program will be able to see if this is a truly troubled child or just one who wasn’t thinking. After all, they are still children. Maybe some who need help can be sent to the right people.

It is nice to be thinking about this instead of constantly watching the Weather Channel and the storm. I hope the storms showing up now don’t affect anyone.

Tangled up

dog-tangled-up-in-blue-1Today I was knitting a top for my adult granddaughter. The yarn I’m using is very tricky to work with and gets tangled up easily. It did! I realized that I had done something wrong and had to back up several rows. No way did that work. The yarn became so tangled that I ended up cutting it and pulling it all out. Now I will start over. To say that I was frustrated is an understatement.

I thought about the saying “oh what a tangled web we weave.” I didn’t practise to deceive anyone but I sure wove a tangled web and had to fight my way out.

dont get stuckWe can get ourselves into messes from time to time and some of them are more complicated to get out of than others. Sometimes we volunteer to do something and discover that it not only it too much but also that we don’t like it. The getting out gracefully may not be possible.

When I got married 57 years ago the only advice that my mother gave me was “start out the way you intend to go on.” I asked her exactly what she meant and she said: “if you plan on getting up at  4 am every morning to fix breakfast just be aware that it will set the pattern for the rest of your marriage.” I have found this advice to fit so many situations. Take a good look at anything you are getting into and see if you want it in your life before you are stuck with it.

Mastering Silence

There is so much noise in our daily lives that silence is almost unknown. When I worked for the church I would occasionally ask people to sit in silence for one minute. I actually timed it and after 30 seconds the fidgeting would begin.

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There is not only no silence on the outside but there is little silence on the inside. Most of us have not learned how to shut off the voice in our heads. Since we have been so little exposed to quieting that voice it requires time and effort to learn how to do it. We decide that we want to try meditation and we can’t seem to settle and so we quit. It really is difficult to meditate in the beginning on your own. It is so much easier if there is a voice directing you. There are many Amazon Alexa apps that will take you through a meditation but even those aren’t always enough.

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The best meditation I ever did was in a group with someone walking you quietly through the process. A really good leader can help you explore more depths that almost any other way. I have not found many meditation experiences except in yoga classes and most of them don’t meditate long enough for you to get into the place where you can let everything go.

I am hoping to start a group but I don’t know if I will have any takers. It remains to be seen.

Help where you can!

Yesterday I didn’t write which is unusual for me. I spent the afternoon with my friend while someone came to get a history on her husband and help to evaluate her husbands mental status. He has had such a devastatingly physical journey that it has taken its toll. It took all afternoon to get it all down on paper.

She wanted me there because I have been on a good bit of this journey with her and could help with the history. Just having someone write it all down made me realize what an extensive and harrowing time it has been.

I feel so humbled by how she has weathered this whole scenario and my heart aches for all she has been through with him. I don’t think anyone can appreciate the level of exhaustion and stress seen when a long illness puts their partner into the caregiving role.

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It is so important for caregivers to have time away from the situation. Without it their physical and mental status is at risk. It is a blessing when help can be afforded but in some cases that is not possible.

Most people just keep going and hate to ask for help. Frequently there are friends, neighbors, church members or others who would be willing to sit for a while with the ill person. When they do it is important for the caregiver to do something for themselves…..meet friends for lunch, go outdoors away from home, or whatever rejuvenates them. Too often they take that time for errands and tasks that must be done. This may be necessary but even a short while doing something they love will help.

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If you know someone who is a caregiver take the time to offer help. Be specific. Tell them you can sit for them or run errands or, if they can, take them out. Caregivers need all the help we can give. It is so easy to continue with our own agenda but remember those who have no time for themselves.