Mar 262014


James Jasper, motor brakeman, and his family e...

(J. Jasper, motor brakeman, and his family eat dinner in their kitchen in home in company housing project. Koppers. Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Haven’t  you ever wished there was ONE single, simple thing that you could do to help your kids be strong and safe?

Most parents worry about how their children will react to alcohol, tobacco and other drugs…. not to mention stressing about grades, higher education and whether or not there’s involvement in some portion of the bullying triangle.

But if there really was one simple action you could take to help your child in ALL of those areas, you’d do it, right?  Of course you would.

It turns out there is such a thing.  It’s called ‘family dinner.’  It turns out that besides building strong bodies dinner together also builds resilience: the skills that make up our ability to bounce back from tough times.  Kids who have those skills tend to make choices that are in their own best interest.   In other words, building ‘bounce back’ helps increase the odds that our children will stay drug-free and stay in school.

In addition, according to, young people whose parents teach them about  risks related to the use of alcohol and other drugs are up to 50% less likely to use than those who do not!

Ready for more good news?  There are actions parents can take to influence their children’s resilience: one of  them is having dinner together as a family.  When we know what is happening in our kids’ lives parents are better able to provide leadership, support and guidance.  A few minutes of quality communication each day is a good start.


Want more info like this?  Be sure to check out our Resources for Parents page. (And of course, always feel free to suggest the ones you’d like me to add!)




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Aug 052013
Super Hero 1

Super Hero 1 (Photo credit: Alice Bartlett)


Imagine being a kid in the hospital… and seeing actual, REAL LIVE superheroes washing the windows?

Apparently it happened — in Pittsburgh — not long ago.  I’ve seen several reports about this but  these pictures are the best I’ve seen.

What kind of a world would we live in if everyone could think of a way to amplify the impact of their work?  (And of course, get a few more female superheroes into that mix!)


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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!