Sunday, August 23, 2020

Monday Moment Parent's Edition


Me and my 17-year old.  Ya, I know.  He looks like he is in his 20's!

"Mason, come here please!”

“Mason!  I know you hear me!”

“Mason, if I have to get up and go in there!”

If you are a parent, you have probably experienced this one-sided exchange with your child at one time or another. 

If you were raised in my generation, the request to “come here” was never followed up with a second request—unless you were asking for a whipping. 

The first time your request is met with a deafening silence and a ghost-like appearance from your child, you have to make a decision on how to proceed.  A decision that has ramifications—if not dealt with properly. 

News Flash:  I didn’t deal with it properly. 

“Mason, get in here right now or I am going to whip your butt,” I yell. 

“Mom, I heard if you spank your kid, you can go to jail,” replies Mason as he saunters into the kitchen.

“Well Mason, challenge accepted.  Let’s find out…” 

Of course I couldn’t bring myself to actually spank him so my threat was left hanging—to not be taken seriously again at another time. 

That goes the same with lectures.  We know we have to give them.  We know our kids will respond just like we did with our parents.  “I know, Mom!”  “You’ve told me 100 times!”  And even though we did exactly what we are telling them NOT to do—as parents, there is some unwritten law that says we have to act like we NEVER did. 

I’ve learned so much from being a parent.  There are a lot of things no one ever told me though, like:

1.      That they start acting like they don’t need you at 2-years old!  “I do it, Mommy! 

2.      That you are not done when they turn 18-years old!

3.      That after they move out, they might boomerang back!

4.      That no matter how old they are, you can’t go to sleep until you know they are safely in bed.

5.      That the love is so deep, that you can actually feel claws growing under your fingernails when you find out little Susie called your cub stupid!  Heads up, apparently it’s not appropriate to call out little Susie when you are a grown adult. 

Every time your child makes a poor choice or a costly mistake, it’s easy to blame yourself.  If I only would have be tougher when they were little. 

Be patient though.  They are listening.  They are watching.  And every once in a while, if you pay close attention—they will demonstrate what you have been teaching them their whole lives. 

I was helping my son on an English assignment the other night where he had to write about a goal he has and how he plans to achieve it.  His essay started off with him explaining that his goal this year is to work on being a better person and that his Mom has been helping him. 

I have been talking to Mason for a while about his negative attitude and bursts of anger.  Testosterone, anyone?  I also was discussing with him the importance of being a good human being and what that entails:  Thinking of others.  Being thoughtful.  Asking if someone needs help. 

I didn’t know if he was listening, but when I read his paper and saw that he wrote it as a goal of his, I realized what I was saying was resonating with him.  This was a win for me.  But it was a bigger win for him.  I told him I was very proud of him. 

Being a parent, during COVID-19, is more challenging than ever.  We are having to be therapist, teacher and parent to our children as we deal with a history-making pandemic.  They need our leadership now more than ever.  They are scared, frustrated and unsure about the world around them.

We must encourage open dialogue with them regularly.  Get a pulse on how they are feeling.  Ask if they have any questions about what is going on in their city, state and the world.  Be aware that they are getting information, but it might not be the correct information.  Try to steer them to facts and information you can back-up.  Kids love to challenge you with what they’ve learned on the Internet or social media. 

It might seem like they don’t care, they may look annoyed, they may seem like they aren’t listening to us, but they are. 

Keep talking.   

Let's embrace Mondays, and everyday, with excitement.  We will do it together, each Monday-- for a moment. 





Wednesday, August 19, 2020

A Closed Mouth Is Never Fed

 If you don't ask, you will never know.  Fight through fear of rejection, low self-esteem and lack of confidence and get one step closer to what you deserve.

Monday, August 17, 2020

Sometimes Life is Like a River


Wild rivers are earth’s renegades, defying gravity, dancing to their own tunes, resisting the authority of humans, always chipping away and eventually always winning.”- Richard Bands.

During my road trip to Montana, I was able to go on a white water rafting adventure on Still Water River, a tributary of the Yellowstone River.  Still Water is an interesting name, since it was rarely still.  Instead, the rock-bottomed river offered a swift current and rapid white water with frequent drops. 

I find that life can be very similar to white water rafting.  If you think about it, our goal on a rafting adventure is to navigate the river in order to get to a destination.  Can’t the same be said of life? 

During the trek down the river, we encountered unknown obstacles and challenges that we had to navigate to successfully make it to our final destination without capsizing.  Same can be said about life.

There is thrill and fear that gets your adrenaline pumping when your raft encounters turbulent water.  And glee and cheers when your team successfully paddles through the strong current.  Life too can be thrilling and scary when we try something new, try something outside our comfort zone or try something we could fail at.   But, it is also full of growth and wisdom when we make it successfully through a challenge in life.

The direction of a river can change at times because of it being blocked by obstacles.   But, the river will always seek another path, bypassing the obstacles with patience and persistence.  The river always wins because it has a clear purpose—although not always a clear path. 

This is where we humans sometimes falter.  Without a clear purpose, there is no destination.   You must have purpose and direction in your life or you are just like a raft rowing while stuck on a rock.  You will go nowhere.  Instead, if you know what your purpose is and where you want to end up, you will be better equipped to navigate and clear any obstacles or challenges in your path in order to reach your destination.   

As we go through this mysterious journey of life, there are many unknowns.  We can’t always anticipate what obstacles or challenges that may come our way.  Unlike the river—we won’t always win.  There will be times when the path to take isn’t clear.  There will be times we capsize.  We can get back on the raft and start rowing until we find the right path or we can stop, give in to defeat and tread in still waters. 

I want to live my life like wild water—clearing my own path while chipping away at self-doubt in order to reach my highest potential. 

Life is hard.  But in the end—what a wild ride!

Le'ts embrace Mondays, and everyday, with excitement.  We will do it together, each Monday-- for a moment.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Sometimes Running Gets You Nowhere

“Either you run the day or the day runs you.”  

I’ve always been a runner.  It started in high school when I would jog laps upon laps around the high school track to watch my high school boyfriend practice kicking footballs.  
I loved how I could control my breathing until I was almost in a relaxed state.  I could run for long distances and would hardly get out of breath.  I would feel pain in my feet, legs and knees long before I would feel any burning in my lungs.
Not one for organized sports, I never ran for track or cross country competitively.  Instead, it became a coping mechanisms for my undiagnosed teenage anxiety and depression.   When I was sad or depressed, I would throw on my running shoes and head out to an undetermined destination.  Tears clouding my vision, I would run faster and longer until the sadness dried up and I reached that relaxed state where I had control again.
I’ve always been a runner.  I learned quickly that you can run from lots of things without even having to put foot to pavement.  Instead of dealing with problems or issues, I would run from them.  I would be committed without truly being committed.  I would let people feel like they were close, without letting them really get close.  There always needed to be just enough space in my heart and life—in order to run.
I used to envision myself as a black stallion being freed into the wild—running through an open field with my thick mane blowing in the wind.  I loved the feeling of complete freedom.  
I guess because I was always a perfectionist and very controlled with everything I did, having a part of me that could throw caution to the wind on occasion was very liberating.  
The problem with running for many years is that it catches up with you.  You begin to feel pain in your joints, your knees and your feet.  Instead of concentrating on your breathing that got you into “the zone,” you begin to concentrate on the pain riddling throughout your body.  
Same thing happens when you try to run from life.  Avoiding problems, feelings and conflicts will eventually catch up with you.   What I’ve realized as I’ve matured is that we run because we are afraid of getting hurt, or being judged—or being abandoned.  Instead we self-prophesize a negative ending and avoid it at all costs.    What I’ve also realized is that by avoiding the possibility of pain and disappointment, you are preventing yourself from experiencing true joy and success.  
So, how do you run the day while keeping your feet firmly grounded?  The following are a few tips:
1. Let go of control.  I know!  I don’t want to either!  But, the reality is, true freedom (like the black stallion) only comes when we open ourselves up and allow it in.  We have ultimate control over our attitude and how we react to things, but we don’t have control over everything.  The sooner we learn how to cope with things that we don’t have control over (COVID-19 anyone?), the better equipped we are to handle, and even benefit from, life’s many mysteries.
2. Be vulnerable.  I literally almost threw up in my mouth on that one.  Yuck!  Okay, let’s take a deep breath.  We can do this together.  It’s hard to be vulnerable and risk the rejection and pain associated with it.  Trust me, I know.  But, what if you open yourself up to the possibility of rejection, whether it be with love, a career opportunity or passion you have for writing (so says me) and you find your soul mate, dream job or opportunity for success in something you always wanted to do?  Seems like a chance worth taking, wouldn’t you agree?
3. Practice acceptance.  Boy, that’s a hard one too!  Why can’t this be easy?  We run from things because sometimes we don’t want to accept the truth.  It’s easier to avoid the question than to accept the answer (I just thought that up.  I bet someone already beat me to it! Dang it!)  Sometimes, we have to let go of things we can’t have, don’t need or don’t move us forward.  By practicing acceptance, we are able to put all our energy into people and things that give back as much as we put in.
4. Stay still.  I can’t even stay still while driving across country on my road trip vacation.  I sang, I danced to music, I watched tik tok videos, I read my kindle and I asked dumb questions—like “are we there yet?”  Quieting our bodies and minds is necessary to finding peace and joy.  If we are always running, always moving and always thinking, there is a good chance that something wonderful will pass right by us without us even noticing.  By staying still, you are able to appreciate what you have and see the world at a stroll—instead of a roll.   Get it?  Slow your roll?  Okay, I’m only entertaining myself at this point.

Fa La La Funk- Dealing With the Holiday Blues

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