Archive for the ‘How Do You Handle These Issues?’ Category
As another round of holiday meals is approaching I thought I’d share…
Some of my fondest memories are of large holiday gatherings. When the gathering is happening in my house you can be sure that I’m going all out to make it a special occasion. I plan out my menu. I shop with careful consideration of every part of the meal. I try to be innovative and definitely festive. Being a designer I take special care to decorate and present my creation in a way that I hope will bring delight to my guests the moment they see my handiwork. It is with great pride and anticipation that I put myself through the rigors of preparation and presentation. While this might sound like a lot of self-inflicted angst, it is always a labor of love. The moment I hear the praise of “what a lovely table,” or “something smells good,” I know I’m on the track to success.
There is one element of this process that I have no control over. It is the hungry hoard that pounces on my table before I’ve had a chance to thoroughly secure it. Read the rest of this entry »
A great way to express one’s individuality is through the clothes you choose to wear. The end result can be interesting and expressive when it’s an adult accomplishment – humorous, playful and sometimes “out there” when it’s a child. I have to say, for me, clothing/fashion, is always a statement. It’s a very personal way to show off how you feel about yourself and your place in this world. It’s a way of expressing emotions. Like any design element, it initiates thought and a conversation. Whether you engage a person based on what they are wearing or spend time with them in your mind, you are giving them some consideration. Who is this person? Wonder what they like/don’t like? What do they do? All sorts of things run through your mind. You may not even be aware of it. As your brain scans what your eyes see it instantly starts to form an opinion, a relationship, and decides how you relate to what you’ve just seen.
As our kids get older they eventually reach the stage where they learn to dress themselves. A huge accomplishment for a child. At this point they are so proud of this new skill that it doesn’t really matter to them which pair of socks they’ve learned to put on. Just the fact that they can get that blue sock on their foot is good enough for them. Time goes by and they begin to recognize that all clothes are not the same. I like the hoodie my brother wears to school. I don’t like the pants my mom bought me to wear to grandma’s birthday party. At this point kids are learning that they can make choices. They are developing their own sense of themselves. Their personalities start to shine. As a parent, the worst thing you can do is forget that each child is unique. At this stage in their development you have to take a step back and let them show you who they want to be.
Aside from all of the benchmarks and benefits associated with the newfound discovery of the ability to chose, there are some interesting family dynamics that accompany this phase in your child’s life. I’ll post some links for you if you’re interested in the child development aspects of all of this. For now, let’s explore some of the fun and contentious moments involving what your kids choose to wear. Read the rest of this entry »
Birthday Parties – Necessity, Obsession, or Treat?
Today on the morning news I saw a story about a man in Florida who has saved his business by offering alligator pool parties for birthdays. The man is experienced with alligators, mind you, and so he feels that it’s a perfectly safe offering. He must know something about the current state of birthday parties because he is doing quite well with this endeavor. Here is the link to the news story if you’re interested in seeing what his alligator pool parties are like.
Anyway, this got me thinking…
- Do parents feel obligated to have a birthday party EVERY year for their child?
- If you do have a party, MUST it be a big event in order to be considered successful?
- Have you ever spent more than you know you could afford on a birthday party?
- What would happen if you toned down your child’s future birthday parties?
Let us begin this conversation with some basic definitions.
Emotional is defined as of or relating to a person’s emotions. Arousing or characterized by intense feeling. A person having feelings that are easily excited and openly displayed.
Logical is defined as of or according to the rules of logic or formal argument. Characterized by or capable of clear, sound reasoning. An action, development or decision that is natural or sensible given the circumstances.
With that out of the way, can you now answer the question: Are you a logical or emotional parent? I would bet that given certain circumstances you would be able to answer yes to both types of parenting. Which one is predominant for you? Which one is habitual? Read the rest of this entry »
Back to school time is upon us again and I’ve been thinking about how hectic life becomes every fall. Not like it isn’t always hectic, but this time of year seems to double-down on the crazy. If your household is as busy as is common these days I have a helpful approach to alleviate the morning madness that sets in as everyone is trying to get out the door on time and with all the accompanying gear and supplies needed for their day.
I call it the Staging Area.
As long as there have been parents there have been kids who showed great potential or interest in a sport, a talent, or some other passion. Whether it’s soccer, baseball, or gymnastics – singing, dancing, or painting – the routine response from a parent once they notice a certain bent toward a talent is to explore the many ways in which they can enable their child to develop their passion.
Once it’s been established that your child truly loves an activity (and doesn’t just tolerate it) we, as parents, usually move forward with a plan. If soccer is their choice you find a team to join. If a musical instrument is involved you look for teachers and proceed with lessons. If dance is the winner you spend many many hours sitting in a corner while your daughter (or son) develops their technique and dances to their heart’s delight. If you have an artist in the house you will find yourself running to the store to buy more and more paper, paint, and various other art supplies.
Some children find unusual passions. My son, for example, developed an early interest in anything that pertained to electricity. Instead of running to the mall to look through a toy store we spent many many hours and trips going to Radio Shack to browse through the various diodes, capacitors, wires and such. I have no idea where this interest came from. I do know that he amazed me with his knowledge base at such a young age. Now that he’s an adult he continues to astound me with his understanding of everything electric. If something is not working properly or broken, he’s my go-to guy. If we have an “idea” to make something that doesn’t already exist he is the one who will know immediately how to proceed.
So what is my point of all this? In a nutshell – Kudos to parents everywhere who nurture their child’s passion. Bravo to the parent who doesn’t allow his or her own bias or misunderstanding to get in the way of something that resonates with their child. Standing ovation to the parents who put in the time and money to help their child realize a dream. Most of all, a sincere thank you to every parent who shows their love and support when their child succeeds and sometimes fails at their craft, skill, talent, or interest. It is this kind of support that helps your child grow into a confident human being.
Down the road our children may decide to take a different path. That doesn’t matter. Any passion that is allowed to flourish is a life lesson. Memories of that time in your child’s life will be with you forever.
By Gret Boyd
I grew up in a family predominantly female. It figures that when my time to be a mother came around I’d only have boys. Being the sole female in the house turned out to be quite interesting. A quick adjustment to a less feminine environment accompanied by manly interests in sports and the like changed my focus from the fashionable to the more earthy, shall we say. Issues with decorum were met daily. One particular bee in my bonnet was the free flowing, let-er-rip style that was most prevalent around the dinner table. Oh, it was there all day long. It merely manifested itself into its ultimate smack down at dinnertime.
There is no need to elaborate on the specifics of these conversations. It doesn’t take much to imagine how these dialogues flowed. Let’s just say that the choice of words and topics were more crude, rude, and lewd at times than I could handle. Being the mom in a house of men you have to roll with the punches. You let out a little line and when they’ve roamed into dangerous territory you jerk them back in to propriety.
My answer to this problem were three simple words. Think. Filter. Speak.
To this day all I have to do is say those three words and my guys know exactly where I’m at. They know that I think they’ve crossed the line. I’m sick of hearing it. Nip it! Take a lock! Immediately they will make fun of me and taunt me about my inability to handle them. It’s up to me to then make it perfectly clear that I see no humor in the conversation. I do not enjoy the choice of words. You better Think about what you are about to say. Filter it so it is something that will be deemed acceptable. And finally, and only after the first two requirements have been met, Speak.
My ability to monitor conversations over the years has proven invaluable. We can be anywhere and all I have to do is say Think. Filter. Speak. and there is an immediate pause. That is usually followed by a seque out of the muck and into greener pastures. This simple message to my boys has saved me embarrassment on numerous occasions. I don’t know if it will work in your household. Give it a try, you have nothing to lose – except some less than desirable adjectives, nouns, and verbs.
By Gret Boyd
Stress – The word that dominates the 21st century. At least that is how it might seem to many of us. Stress reaches out to all of us. It’s the string that wraps up our packages filled with family, jobs, home ownership, living conditions, financial obligations, and every other expectation we place on ourselves. Trust me, I know what I’m talking about. When I look back at the things I’ve had to handle in my life I realize that my ability to handle stress has been challenged over and over again.
To give you a rough idea of some of the obstacles I’ve faced I’ll give you a quick synopsis of some of the life issues I am familiar with. I have been involved in the start of a new business three times. Consequently I am very familiar with the ins and outs of business ownership. Not a fun thing during, oh let’s see now, three recessions. I have a family. I have owned two homes in my lifetime. I have moved eight times since I married. I have family members who live clear across the country which makes it very hard to be a part of their lives. Holidays can really suck sometimes. I decided to go to college at an age that was not exactly the demographic you think of for college. Consequently I am still paying off my student loans. I think that paints a picture of where I’ve been and some of what I’ve been through. Happy times – YES! Some sad and very stressful times, unfortunately – YES to that too.
There have been times along the way when I honestly didn’t know how I’d make it through to the other side. I went on a journey – reading all sorts of books. Studying different religions and philosophies. I guess you could say I was on a quest to find my center. A place I could go to under all circumstances that would allow me to escape what was going on at that moment and give me the perspective to move forward with deliberate thought and a plan of action. I know that sounds like a long process. Probably sounds like a bunch of hooey to some of you too. I’m not talking about embracing a monumental shift in any of your philosophical or religious dogma. It is a way to escape everything for a split second. It is a way that allows you to refocus on what is truly important. A triage, if you will, to put everything in its proper place of importance and urgency.
Three steps: Step Back. Breathe. Be A Spectator.
Let me offer this brief vignette for your enjoyment. It is the story of one hectic morning in the life of a mother and her children as they prepare to start their day and head off for work and school.
Cast of Characters: Mom, Daughter #1, Daughter #2, Son, Baby, Grandma
Set the scene: It’s a typical day in an average household. Everyone is up at the ring of an alarm and ready to start the day. Mom is up. Kids are up. We enter the kitchen where Mom is busy putting together lunches while Grandma watches the baby and helps get breakfast moving along. Time approaches when each child has to get dressed for the day. The scene opens with Daughter #1 about to have a meltdown.
Daughter #1: “Mom, I have nothing to wear.” Read the rest of this entry »
A few years ago my extended family added some new members. At a family event I was introduced to some new friends and their children. As the day progressed we all took the time to start up a conversation and see if we had anything in common with a new acquaintance. I was seated at a table with a young girl, maybe eight or ten years old. She was very animated and enjoying herself. Not the shy type she was easily engaged in a conversation. We went through the pleasantries of what’s your name, what grade are you in and so forth. I was curious if she had any special interests and I asked her if she knew what she wanted to be when she grew up. Without batting an eyelash she looked me right in the eyes and said she was “going to be famous”. Wow, I thought. She must have some talent or skill or intellectual gift that she’s been honing. How else do you become famous?
The conversation continued to be light and interesting so I asked her how she would become famous. In my mind I was thinking that she must sing like an angel, or be a devout student of dance. Perhaps she had artistic skills that I could talk to her about. Maybe she was a brain. How wonderful to chat with a precocious future academic. I was a bit taken back when she admitted that she didn’t actually know how she would become famous. In her mind – it would just happen. It was inevitable. She was so fantastic that the world would seek her out, lift her up for all to see, and she would be the talk of the town. Wow, I thought to myself. Where does this come from? How can a young girl be so delusional about life? Her life. Read the rest of this entry »