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A Huge Parental Opportunity: Making Changes Within

Remarkably, you have the opportunity at any time, to set goals unlike those you’ve ever set before

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Maybe you’ll never be the type of parent who comes home at the end of the day with boundless energy, all smiles and hugs and ready to play with your children until their bedtime. However, some room exists for you to expand your range of behaviors.

Leave the negativity outside and switch on an upbeat attitude you before walking in the door. Your family deserves that. Before you enter, look up, smile, and ask yourself what do you love about your family? Why are you lucky? Create the energy before you walk in the door. Then, engage them with your time, attention and affection.

If your goal is to be more responsive to each member of your family, you can undertake a variety of activities that will help.

Below are many suggestions among thousands of possibilities. Although all of the suggestions and ideas for goal-setting presented are in relation to children, with a twist and a turn, they each could be applied to your spouse as well:

Applaud Accomplishments

If your child comes home from school with an ‘A’ on her spelling test or a piece of artwork she’s particularly proud of, seize the moment. Pick up the item, look it over carefully, ask questions about it, and show interest.

It’s not difficult to show interest in something once daily that your son or daughter brings to you. Indeed, it’s a worthwhile goal for many reasons. It tells your child that you’re interested in him or her, that what he or she does is important, and, most importantly, tells your child that the next time they’re taking a test or drawing a picture, they’ll want to do their best because after all, daddy will see it.

Listen to Their Favorite Music

You might like classical music or classic rock ‘n roll. Your kids might like pop, rap, hip-hop, or who knows what. Is it too much to simply sit with them for a few minutes and listen to two of their favorite songs, even if you’re secretly thinking, “How can anybody buy that, let alone record it in the first place?”

Have you ever wondered why teenagers in those jazzed-up cars play their music above the hundred-decibel level? They want others to hear what they’re hearing. Music, and specifically lyrics, has the ability to reach deep into the human psyche.

Listening to music together, much like eating together, is a form of bonding. People seem to want others to hear what they hear and enjoy what they enjoy. Usually this happens in the car. Devise a plan to alternate who has control of the music and motor along happily.

Include Them in Your Discussions

Suppose you’re talking with your spouse and your children are nearby. Do you exclude them from the conversation as if they don’t have a worthwhile opinion?

Once a week, what if you were to say, “Mark, don’t you feel that we XYZ…?” or, “Caitlin, do you think if we were to…?”

After the initial shock wears off, you’ll find that your children are pleased to be called upon. In essence, what you’re doing is respecting them on the interpersonal level. You’re saying that they’re full-fledged human beings, even if they are smaller than you, and that they have opinions and observations that count.

Drop in on After School Activities

No matter how busy you are, how demanding your job is, or how unreasonable your boss is, you can find a way to see a few practices and attend a few games your kids would love to have you see.

When you catch your child kicking the ball over everyone’s head, participating in a sing-along, or simply having fun with other kids, you do yourself and your child a big favor. You indicate to your kid that he or she is special enough for you to break your routine now and then and see what’s happening at school or with the other kids.

Visiting your child unannounced minimizes your child’s need to have you around every minute you’re at home and enables him or her to be more understanding when you’re traveling.

After all, if daddy or mommy drops in on me unexpectedly every now and then, they certainly love and care about me. This is especially effective: dropping by for lunch when they are in grade school, but make sure you sign in first and follow school procedures.

Maybe you’ll be the only parent who does this, but so what? Why not set as a goal to visit your child once each calendar month at an after school activity.

Say Yes A Little More Often

Kids ask to do so many things that for many parents it almost becomes automatic to say no.

Can I stay up later? No.

Can I have some ice cream? No.

Can I go across the street with my friends? No.

What’s the real reason behind some of these refusals? Is it fear for their safety or well-being? Do you think they’ll be corrupted if some family rule is bent on one particular evening? Or, are you exercising authority the same way your parents did?

Often, we forget that although our rules are conceived with good intentions, some of which could be rather arbitrary. I don’t have hard evidence that each of the rules creates a desired outcome, i.e., a goal we previously established for our family and specifically for our children. Saying ‘yes’ a little more often than usual has its place.

Set a goal of saying yes one more time per week than normally. This is not so hard to monitor, since you’ll have to ponder the situation for at least a few seconds, and realize that you’re about to say yes when your instinctive reaction was to say no.

If it helps, keep a running log of the times that you surprised your child with a yes. At the least, you’ll have ammunition for later when your child says you never say yes.

Seek Their Help

Do you have business and financial problems for which you think your children cannot be of much assistance? Think again for out of the mouths of babes sometimes come great ideas.

In his book, A Whack On the Side of the Head, Dr. Roger von Oeck contends that the solution to problems often comes by looking at a situation with creativity – taking a different view than you did before. Who better to help you than someone small who doesn’t know all of the givens of the situation?

When it comes to using technology, your son or daughter might have insight that you’ve never considered. How often have you asked your children for some type of support? Could you ask this of them at least once a week? If you’re self-employed, you can lawfully hire them at a young age, pay them, and claim the labor expense.

Go Ahead and Ask

Regardless of whether or not you believe your children can help you with a particular issue, go ahead and ask them. You might be pleasantly surprised by what you discover.

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



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Faith

The New Democratic Sex Cult

They have stopped worshipping the Creator and instead worship the created.

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The Democrats have become a sex cult. Sex is their religion. They have exchanged worshipping God the Creator and instead worship sex, the created. PolitiCrossing founder Chris Widener explains in this short video and gives you the true answer on how to defeat the sex cult. Read Romans 1:18-27 below the video, then watch the video.

From Romans 1:18-27

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

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Faith

Unleash the Spirit Within

It doesn’t take considerable effort to engage in spiritual-type behavior that will benefit everyone

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You can practice being more spiritual in little ways that add up quickly to your being a more spiritual person. For example, there are relatively minor things you can do to start the process, although nothing is minor when it comes to acting spiritually. As an example, if you smile at someone, they tend to smile back. If you go out of your way to help someone, that person might in turn help another and so on.

Spirituality certainly does not have to be restricted to the confines of organized religion. Freed from the rules, restrictions, and impediments that organized religion may impose upon you, how and where might you be more spiritual in your life?

Each little action sets in motion the potential for greater good. So, as you proceed through six items below, do not discount the value of engaging in any of these. Each has the potential to add up to more.

Spirituality While Driving

Researchers report that when people get in their cars, they think they’re in some type of invisible vehicle. No one sees them as they motor down the road. If you curse or scream, who’s to know? Obviously, you’re not invisible and the way you conduct yourself as a motorist potentially impacts other motorists, as well as pedestrians.

The next time someone cuts you off in traffic, fails to use their turn signal properly or otherwise engages in improper driving, practice maintaining your composure.

Don’t curse, scream, or honk your horn. If the other person is in view, look at them blankly, but not with disgust or anger, or a mocking smile.

Often, the other party knows what they did wrong. If not, venting your spleen is not likely to change their behavior.

If you travel frequently, say as part of your job, and often traverse high traffic arteries, chances are you’ll have an opportunity at least several times a week to practice engaging in small displays of spirituality. As a goal, why not establish for yourself one composed response per week?

Each time you can remain composed, you increase the probability that you will be more composed in other aspects of your life. Perhaps you’ll even be kinder to people in face-to-face encounters when they commit a transgression.

Comfort the Less Fortunate

As a small gesture of spirituality, what can you do for someone you see right on the street? It’s one thing to write a check to charity; it’s another to encounter someone who is in need and aid that person on the spot.

When you have shoes that you no longer wear, but are not necessarily in pieces, keep them in your trunk as you motor around town. Then, if you see a homeless person with less than sufficient footwear, and it looks like you might be roughly the same size, pull over.

Promptly get the shoes from your trunk, walk up to the person and say that you want them to accept the shoes. If he or she accepts, fine, bid them good day, and be on your way. If he or she chooses not to take them, that’s okay too.

Your goal in this area could be to give away each pair of shoes or other worthwhile item of clothing that you no longer want, perhaps on a monthly basis.

Participate in Group Action

If this is not for you, volunteer once a month to serve a meal at a local shelter for the homeless. If you’re a busy career type, perhaps serving dinner will work best for you. Whatever your preconceived notions about this may be, once you actually serve dinner to real live people, you’ll see that reality is different than you thought.

Perhaps you think that people would be reluctant to speak up for what they wanted. Or worse, they’d be groveling, and you would have to do your best to remain humble. Perhaps you feel like you’ll seem to be some kind of “goody-two-shoes,” dispensing dinners with an overly pleasant, “And how are you this evening? Here’s a nice dinner for you.”

Actually, none of the above usually happens. Person to person, you simply serve another, as if you were in partnership. More peas? Fewer carrots? It’s much more matter-of-fact than you might imagine. They’re appreciative but not groveling.

Note: Some people who show up at a shelter are well dressed. Perhaps they’re temporarily unemployed, or they had a financial emergency they were unprepared to handle.

The more often you serve others in this way, the easier it becomes to do it again. You start to get the notion that there are a lot more similarities between human beings than differences. The old axiom, “There but for the grace of God, go I,” is much more true than we all often acknowledge.

Look for the Good in Others

Is there a co-worker with whom you have had a nasty relationship? Is there something good about this co-worker that you can draw upon, so that you can get yourself to  say something nice to him/her at your next encounter?

Will Rogers, a political satirist, entertainer, and beloved figure in the first half of the twentieth century allegedly said, “I never met a man I didn’t like.” Many people have interpreted Will Rogers to have meant that he could find something admirable in everyone he met. So, too, can we all.

Is there a neighbor with whom you have had a continuing squabble? What would it do to your relationship if you sent your neighbor a card or a brief note that said something along the lines of, “I noticed how lovely your garden was the other day, and wanted to let you know that I appreciate the work you’ve done in maintaining it.”? Too syrupy, or, pardon the expression, too flowery? Guess again.

List five people at work or elsewhere in your life with whom you may not have a good relationship, but whom you can acknowledge. Next to each person’s name, write a dash and then what is good about them.

You’re going to be on Earth for a finite amount of time. Do you want to go through your life trading hostilities with people, never having the where-with-all to restore some semblance of civility to the relationship?

Listen More Closely

Human beings have a profound need to be heard. When you give others your full and complete attention, in essence, you’re telling them that you value them as a people. All activity and concerns in your life stop as the words and emotions of another person take on paramount importance.

Listening is one of people’s most underrated skills. Your ability to listen to another person, giving him or her your full and undivided attention, can be an act of spirituality, particularly if the other person needs someone to listen to him/her. In this rush-rush world, too often we want people to summarize everything they say.

Consider the people in your life who have mattered the most to you and, chances are, they were the people that listened to you best. Whether it was your parents, a brother or sister, a good friend, a relative, a teacher, a coach, a coworker, a mentor, or just somebody down the street, you tend to value those who value you by listening.

In Siddhartha, by Herman Hesse, the young Siddhartha speaks about his most well-developed skills. He can listen, he can fast, and he can wait.

These talents don’t seem like much to the Western mind, but they’re handy if you want to increase the spirituality of your life. As a goal, why not to listen in earnest to one person per week in the workplace whom you would not have otherwise given such time and attention?

At home, give your significant other one good listening to per day, and I promise things will go better. Do the same with each child.

Judge Deeds, Not People

Judgment is a necessary and practical skill. It’s likely that you judge things, including others, all day long. After all, if you want to choose the colleges appropriate for you, friends that share similar values, and the professional, social, and civic groups that you will enjoy being a part of, you need to make some judgments.

We all judge one another, however, sometimes harshly. Everyone can learn from each other. It is so easy to fall into that game, as psychologist Carl Rogers articulated, of “mine is better than yours.” It is too convenient to conclude that people who walk, talk, or look differently than we do, must be vastly different, and by extension, inferior.

As you might have already concluded, it doesn’t take considerable effort to be spiritual and to engage in spiritual-type behavior that will benefit yourself, and benefit others. The opportunities are all around each of us, every day. All we have to do is be aware.

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