During our tenure in the parenting business (believe it not, while you never stop from being your kids parent, you do, hopefully, let go of the parenting role), we are always coaching our children. “Remember to brush your teeth, make your bed, say please, thank you, your welcome, wipe your feet, wash you hands, comb your hair, make your bed, clean up after yourself”—the list is endless. A large part of parenting involves socializing your children into our culture, teaching them the basics, and helping them develop good habits. When they are little, it’s amazing how frequently we have to prompt them to do the things that will later become automatic. It’s important. Read more »
Recently, a friend’s mother died at the tender age of 51, after a two-year struggle with cancer. Her 21-year-old daughter, Sarah, sobbed as she told me the story of her ordeal. My heart broke for her. She is so young to lose her mother. I asked her when the funeral was planned so that I could attend. She explained to me that her mother’s ashes would be spread sometime later this year, but there would be no funeral or memorial service. Read more »
Spring is finally here, with blooming cherry trees, and apple blossoms, white and luminous. I love the first weeks of this season, which always comes early to the Northwest. We have even been blessed with a couple of sunny days!
It’s easy to get ahead of ourselves and dream about lazy summer days, floating on our backs in a nearby lake. But oh no! What about those several pounds that I gained over the winter? I guess it’s time, once again, to “go on a diet” and lose my winter weight. Read more »
Our society is continually on the hunt for new knowledge. We want to understand the physical world, harness it’s energy, create new technology, and delve into the secrets of the universe. Those lucky individuals, who have lived for a century, have seen huge scientific advances.
But what about wisdom? How do we understand that elusive concept? We have the ability to create vast new technologies, but do we have to wisdom to know what to do with them? What do we know of the purpose of life? How do we employ the knowledge we have for the benefit of others? Read more »
There was an excellent essay last Sunday (New York Times, March 23, 2014, What I would say to my fat son, by Joshua Max) about the author’s overweight childhood. So many children and teens struggle with their self-image, who simply doesn’t fit the cultural picture of “slender”. Frequently, they are height and weight proportionate, but just genetically configured differently than Hollywood’s idea of the beautiful body. Moms and dads try to reassure these kids, keep them focused on what’s important, and try not to make a big deal about their children’s weight and shape. They just hope that they won’t make their appearance a big deal.
But what if your son is actually overweight? What if your daughter is obese? Read more »
Why is so hard to communicate with your partner? It’s hard to understand her, difficult for him to understand you, and even harder to get her to listen to what you have to say. Sometimes I think I am talking to the wall! And I know that my wife feels the same way.
The number one complaint in couples is poor communication! Not so hard to figure out why. The need to communicate underlies all human intercourse. Furthermore, the more “business” we have with a person, the more we need to communicate effectively.
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Today I returned from two weeks of caring for my mother in Florida as she slides towards the natural end of life. In the last two and half months I have been by her side for five weeks. It’s been hard. It’s painful to watch her dwindle, like a candle that is barely flickering, but still lit. I have had the opportunity to hold her hand at 3 a.m. in the morning, as she lay in her hospital bed at home, short of breath, frightened, waiting for the liquid morphine to work that I dropped under her tongue. I have been able to give her comfort in this final chapter of her life. I have been able to tell her how much I love her. And I have been able to reassure her that our family will be okay after she leaves us. Other family members have taken my place for the next three weeks, if she is still with us.
I am waiting for the telephone call, which will come soon. Read more »
It’s hard not to go to a restaurant today and see adults and kids sitting around a table, each with a smart phone at the ready. They steal glances at email posts, and respond instantly to the scores of texts that their friends send daily. Some teens are so expert that they can talk, walk, text, and eat at the same time!
When my kids were little, we didn’t have smart phones or tablets. I was a big newspaper reader however. I would sit in my easy chair after dinner reading one of my papers. My youngest daughter would march over to me and knock the newspaper out of my hands and yell—“I want attention!” I had to admit, she made a good point. She wanted my undivided attention. Read more »
Last week, I wrote about the value of listening to your child when she struggles with a challenge. I reminded parents that trying to solve your kid’s problem is not always a good idea—they lose out on a problem solving opportunity. I know it’s hard to do. Our natural inclination is to want to “make it better”. But sadly, even most child-sized problems can’t be kissed away.
But the same thing is true in adult relationships! Joe doesn’t understand why his wife Mary doesn’t want her grammar corrected. Why, doesn’t she want to improve her language skills? She feels insulted and he feels hurt. How can Mary think that he wants to slight her?
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