Jul 162013

Earth (Photo credit: Peter Kaminski)


Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living; the world owes you nothing.  It was here first.

Mark Twain

 Perspective  July 16, 2013  Posted by at 1:26 pm Comments Off on Perspective
Jul 102013
Marching Band

Marching Band (Photo credit: TPapi)

One of my earliest memories is attending sales meetings with my 20-year-old father, then a distributor for Kirby vacuum cleaners.

They weren’t ordinary meetings — they began with singing.  When someone made a sale there were wild, noisy celebrations with the whole team parading around the block with cymbals, drums and noisemakers.  I was too young to have any idea what they were so happy about… but “the singing meetings” made a lasting impression and probably had something to do with the both the made-up holidays my family had to endure later in life and my comfort with direct sellers.

Lots of families celebrate big events like birthdays and graduations and weddings…  but how do you incorporate the spirit of gratitude and enthusiasm into your day-to-day life?

  • little stars on a chart
  • a special, colorful plate at the dinner table
  • the privilege of choosing a movie for the family to watch together
  • The Feast of the Corn Goddess
  • an official ‘most awesome kid’ plaque from the local trophy store
  • balloons or flowers for “no good reason”

There are lots of ways to mark even the smallest life events.  And we know that celebrating small “wins” can put us in a better frame of mind to go after the big ones!


May 272013

English: A colorful depiction of Maslow's Hier...


Maybe I’m too grumpy to write this right now but most of you have been with me for a long time.  I trust you’ll forgive me should that become necessary.  And if not?  I wish you well.  I mean no offense.


I’m sick of self esteem.  I’m tired of talking about it. Hearing about it. Worrying about it. Building it. Protecting it.  Blah, blah, blah.

How can a woman who has been an advocate for kids and families for decades make such an inflammatory statement?

That’s simple: I think our collective obsession with self esteem may actually be hurting kids.  It’s a term that gets thrown about as a well-meaning but lazy mental shortcut.  Self-esteem has become the holy grail of modern parenting.

On the other hand, when I’m not frustrated and ranting, I’m able to hear those statements for what they are: love, concern and a laudable desire to protect.

Here’s the fundamental problem: we can’t give self-esteem to anyone.  It’s an inside job.

As parents, teachers and coaches the best we can hope for is to create conditions that allow our kids to have the experiences they need to discover and embrace their own innate beauty and worth.  Try, fail, try again, succeed.  Hug, kiss.  Praise, scold.  Love the hell out of ’em. Trust the process.  Rinse, lather, repeat.