Apr 162014

jump (Photo credit: Ozh)


Enthusiasm and passion are visible expressions of a positive attitude and, when we are lucky, we can see it in our kids.

They wake up early in the morning, bursting with energy and ready to go.  We are amazed that their enthusiasm and intensity seem to gain momentum, getting stronger as the day goes on.  Sometimes it even extends through bedtime: there are still so many great things left to do they don’t want to miss a single one of them.

It’s not always easy to sort through the noise and energy to continue to encourage this important trait.  But it may help to remember what Dale Carnegie told us so many years ago: “Flaming enthusiasm, backed up by horse sense and persistence, is the quality that most frequently makes for success.”

So… take a deep breathe and join in.  Revisit your own inner child. See who can laugh the loudest or run the fastest.  Get down on the floor and build things with the little ones.  When the bigger kids are excited about a new artist, ask if you can hear a little.  And celebrate.

When chores are done….let’s have a family celebration!  When marks  improve, let’s have a celebration!  When goals are reached…. well, you get the idea.  After all, the more we celebrate the more we have to celebrate, right?





Enhanced by Zemanta
Mar 282013

Gratitude Journal

Long before Oprah’s attention caused gratitude journals to soar in popularity Dale Carnegie taught us all to “give honest, sincere appreciation.”  And Irving Berlin penned the lyrics “When I’m worried and I can’t sleep, I count my blessings instead of sheep.”

People have been encouraging us to get grateful for a long time.

So what’s the great about gratitude?

Well for one thing, it’s good for your health.  (I’m grateful that we have lots of research on the subject!)   A ten-week study cited in this post tells us that subjects focused on gratitude exercised more, reported fewer complaints and symptoms and reported being 25% happier than others.

Not only are grateful people said to engage in better self-care, some studies link gratitude’s close cousin “optimism” with stronger immune function.

The ability to feel and express gratitude is an important skill to share with our children.  I don’t think it matters HOW we teach our kids to share gratitude and appreciation:  a blessing before a meal, regular sharing about the best parts of each of our days, practicing good manners, making lists or journaling together  are all reasonable choices.

Which one will you try first?


Jan 042013

We know that when families grow and change it is not always by choice: divorce, job changes, relocation or re-marriage are not always choices that the entire extended family can agree on. The impact of those changes can rock our world in ways that we can’t imagine ahead of time. The foundation upon which our families have been built is tossed around like buildings in an earthquake.

While we may not choose the circumstances that create the change, we can always choose our response to it. Unfortunately, in our culture, most of us are not very good at making these changes, especially when we feel victimized by another’s decisions. In the midst of the shock and grief that accompany serious medical issues, or the hurt and anger that can go along with divorce, it can be really difficult to remember that we have choices — lots of them.

“It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where your are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.” And while I’d like to take credit for such wise words, they are a favorite quote from Dale Carnegie.

So what should we think about in times of personal upheaval? I think that lots of us get into trouble by hanging on to ideas about some fictional perfect TV family – you know, the one we think everyone else has? Another common response is to keep our focus on the unfairness of the situation and relive with our friends, over and over again.

What would work better? People who, after surveying the damage and having a good cry, make a decision to ‘make the best’ of a situation always impress me. I find their approach inspiring and, frankly, would like to be better at that than I am.

A decision to shift focus from “why me “ to “what can I build that’s even better?” is an important first step. Do you believe that it is possible to salvage what’s still good, clear away the rubble and build something even stronger than what you had?

I recently recorded a presentation called “Why Blend When You Can Stand Out? Creating a Family that Works for All of You” for the Marriage and Family Online Conference series that debuts later this month. I am pleased to be partnering with them to bring new tools to parents.

Ten hours of tools and ideas from a variety of authors is available to early registrants (through this week) for only $39.99 On Monday March 22nd the price increases to $59.99

Click here for more information on the presentations for this month’s theme: Blended Families