Are you a parent?
By now you've probably learned quite a bit. You're encouraging fruits and veggies, insisting on warm clothing in the winter and googling the signs of meningitis when your child complains of a headache.
But how do you raise a child to have strong integrity? You do your best to set an example...but can you be more purposeful?
Years ago I read "The Book of Virtues" to my children. It is a collection of stories from different sources...speeches, the Bible, even poems. It was compiled by William Bennet, our past Secretary of Education and it's a wonderfully sneaky way to teach your children morals.
Here's what that looks like...I would put the kiddos in their pajamas and we'd all climb in bed. I'd look through the chapters before hand and pick a story to read that night. The chapters are broken down into different virtues such as persistence, faith and courage. Some are short, some are longer. You might remember some of these tales from your childhood but you just haven't thought about passing them on. It's time. Afterwards, I'd listen to the kid's comments about what we'd read.
I'm pretty sure they made an impression on my children.
I'm positive that they made an impression on me. These aren't necessarily stories just meant for children! (Although there is now a version that is designed for this)
I still think about one story...about a ball of string and how if you would give the string a little tug, it would make time go faster. Wouldn't that be great to have...or maybe not...you should read the story!
You can find this book on Amazon (new and used) Colder weather is coming and I can't think of a better thing than cuddling and reading to your children when you're trapped indoors!
What do you think about when someone tells you to follow your dreams?
I picture a wispy-haired toddler running in a grassy field. Her hands are outstretched and she is reaching for a pink balloon that drifts and dances with the spring breeze. When she trips, the string slips from her hands. She picks herself up, oblivious to the grass stains, giggles and continues the chase.
A lot of you have bigger dreams than catching a pink balloon.
Dreams of going back to school after you've had children, managing your life after a divorce, struggling through one more day when depression does its best to smother you, making breast cancer part of your past.
What does that look like?
Imagine thick straps over your shoulders and a coarse rope in your mouth. Leaning forward...straining against the immense weight at your back. The rope cuts the corners of your mouth, your shoulders burn, your jaw aches from clamping hard.
And nothing happens.
Your thigh muscles spasm and your feet cramp. You struggle against the weight. Your heart pounds and feels like its going to explode out of your chest. Dark thoughts enter your mind. This isn't going to happen, I can't do it.
But every day you keep pulling. You're in agony, fighting to go just a few inches.
And one day, you do. Perhaps it's the wind at your back, perhaps it's your friends and family lending a hand, maybe it's divine intervention. But those inches are yours.
And some time later, you can feel the shift, feel some momentum in your exertion. Either you've become stronger or the load has changed. It doesn't matter. You're moving forward.
When the tension leaves the rope, you glance over your shoulder to find that you've been tugging a 40 ton eighteen wheeler all this time. Impossible. The cab door opens to your touch when you approach. When you get in the seat and roll down the windows, the wind whips around the cab and cools your sweat drenched face. You lean forward just a bit, only this time to press your feet on the gas pedal to go faster.
Your lips curve into a smile. You can see for miles and miles and the road is clear.
Reach your hand up... tug on the horn. You've done it.
Leigh and Renee want to give you hope.
Leigh was 5 years old when he was diagnosed with Hyperkinetic syndrome, now known as Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. This was in 1979 when not a lot of information was available to help children like Leigh. No one had much confidence that he would succeed in life. But Leigh refused to be a failure. He did things...a little different than the other kids. But he found his path.
Renee used to listen to her husband tell light-hearted stories from his childhood to a friend whose child had been diagnosed with severe ADHD. Tales that were humorous and sometimes raw but had a common thread...they gave her hope. Hope that her child would overcome the adversity associated with this disorder...and eventually refer to it as the 'advantage' that Leigh claimed it was.
They wrote a book together called "Spaz". It's not only filled with stories but it has a healthy dose of science too. Research and studies blend with anecdotes from his past, allowing you to see the struggles and realities of living with ADHD.
Who would like this book? Anyone touched by ADHD. The anxious parent. The frustrated teacher. The forgetful adult who always wondered if maybe...
You can meet the authors at Piranha Killer Sushi on Saturday, Oct 21 in Flower Mound starting at 6pm on the patio. They have designed a special drink called the "Spaz" in honor of the occasion.
You can find their book on their website or on Amazon.
All of us want our children to be happy. But most of us overlook a really critical factor in everyone's happiness. Gratitude. We need to model this for our children so they don't grow up thinking that happiness comes with a price tag.
It's hard to remember that. We all have stressors and if you've been watching the news...it just seems like the world is falling apart. So it's hard to think of something to be thankful for. Let me help you.
Pretty simple right? Let me explain.
I had a mom come in and tell me about her teenager that went on a mission trip. They painted houses in a small village in Mexico. Afterward, they washed their brushes in the common spigot. They accidentally used up all the water in the well for the entire village! All of it. No drinking water. That's never been anything I've worried about here.
And another thing. My grandmother helped to potty train my kids by telling them 'it was time to make water'. Years later, I was taking care of a teenager who had kidney damage. He was bitter and frustrated because he was unable to urinate. He never imagined that he would want to 'pee' more than anything else in his life. I used to just take 'making water' for granted.
Right now in Yemen they are experiencing the worst cholera outbreak ever. Cholera is an infection that causes profuse diarrhea. The patients become so weak that they can't make it to the toilet. So they are placed on cholera beds, cots with holes emptying into buckets. Cholera is preventable and treatable. But 14.5 million people do not have access to clean water. Less than 1/2 of the medical centers are functioning with supplies like IV's (water) to take care of the sick. Thank God, I've never been in a position where I couldn't provide the most basic of resources to save a life.
Water. Pretty simple. Most good things in life are. Remind your kids.
I don't know anything about guns. Probably had something to do with my dad. He didn't tell me the story until he had several grandchildren. He had been playing in a basement with his friends when he was about ten years old. One boy picked up a gun and pretended to shoot another boy. Only he really did. In the belly...and the boy died. Right in front of my dad. My dad's lips trembled when he described what happened. His eyes filled with tears over an event that happened more than 50 years earlier.
I understand that hunters want to enjoy their sport. I understand that people want to feel protected by keeping a gun in the house.
But I think we all agree that in the course of a normal day, humans should not hunt humans. That guns bought with the hope of providing protection, should not cause accidental injury or death.
I don't know anything about guns. But I do know that we have finger-print scanning technology on cell phones. If that were installed on all guns, wouldn't that help stop a bullied teenager or inquisitive toddler from a horrible end? Keep a policeman's gun from being turned on him?
Astounding technological advances are happening daily and I bet someone could help fix this. Please.
Assault weapons? That one just boggles my mind. I can't figure out why in a society that does home inspections, seat belt checks and prohibits smoking in public places...someone is allowed to purchase a weapon that has a large capacity of ammunition. It just doesn't make sense to me.
Let's keep thinking about solutions we can all live with.
So that less people die.