I was always a pretty good student. I was fortunate ---I didn’t have to work too hard to get decent grades. But during my first semester in college, I received a wake-up call. I handed in a paper in an English class and got an F! I stormed into the professor’s office, outraged, and asked him why he failed me. He looked at me, stone-faced, and said, “Because it’s a piece of garbage!”. I was shocked. He let me work on it and re-submit it. I spend hours re-writing that paper and ultimately received a B. I realized that if I wanted to do well in college, I was going to have to put in a lot... Read More
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Recently, a co-worker and I were talking about our adult children. Sometimes, for Baby Boomers, our young adult kids seem less mature than we were at the same age. Is that really true? Did our parents have the same thought? It’s hard to remember how I saw myself and the world when I was a young man. Age brings a perspective that youth lacks.
However, it’s a fact that there are more young adults living with their parents than in previous generations. Jobs are scarce and housing is far more expensive relative to income than it was in my youth. It’s very hard for these adults to live... Read More
In our “crazy busy” lives, filled with smart devices, I worry that parents will forget to get down on the floor and play with their kids! It’s so easy to hand your youngster a smart screen to occupy their time and attention. While making dinner, folding laundry, washing dishes, and straightening up, electronic gizmos keep kids out of the way. The problem—these games suck you in, but they don’t spit you out. They pull you down a rabbit hole that goes nowhere.
While the little ones get drawn into games, parents get seduced by social media. Increasingly, boys, girls, teens and adults... Read More
Billy hates his second grade teacher! He comes home after school and exclaims to his mom, “I hate Mrs. Smith and she hates me too.”
Billy’s parents try to figure out what’s going on. They visit with his teacher and talk to other parents. They decide to change his classroom.
Sarah’s on the soccer team and spends a fair amount of time keeping the bench warm. Her parents argue with the coach that she should have more field time.
This has become a familiar pattern in modern family life. Parents, who want to protect their children, intervene at school, in sports and on the... Read More
For many years, my brother and I went on a spring backpacking trip in the North Cascades. It’s a beautiful landscape, with jagged peaks and rushing rivers. When my daughter was 17, we took her and her boyfriend on a four-day trip. My daughter and I slept in one tent and my brother and Gabe slept in the other one. It was a great trip. On the trail back, my brother, who had older kids, kidded me—“Don’t be surprised when Maya wants to go backpacking with her boyfriend next weekend”. I was shocked. The thought never occurred to me.
Like clockwork, a few days later, Maya asked me if she... Read More
What kind of childhood is ideal for children?
Naturally, we want our kids to be happy and healthy. We want them to have the values we hold dear. We hope that they will turn into resilient and successful adults. But what nurtures these outcomes? How do we form the soil that grows these sturdy individuals? It’s so difficult to know how today’s parental decisions will impact our youngsters 20 years in the future.
Reflect back on your own youth. What do you remember? What do you think influenced your life in a positive way? What was unhealthy? I rarely hear adults talk about all... Read More
The other day I listened to Sarah give herself a hard time for being inpatient with her 8-year-old daughter. “We were picking up her toys and she just wouldn’t finish the job”, the mom complained. “I just got more and more annoyed. Later in the day, I was still thinking about it. It ruined my entire afternoon!”
Sarah found herself ruminating about the incident, but what was it that really bothered her? Why was she thinking about it hours later? After all, the whole business was pretty minor.
Of course, most Moms and Dads take parenting pretty seriously. It’s a big assignment... Read More
In the 21st century, parents are more committed to sharing housework and childcare than ever before. It’s a positive trend for many good reasons. According to the U.S. labor department, in 2014, over 60% of married men and women with children had both parents in the work force. Two working parents don’t have much time left over to do all the things that have to be done everyday.
However, this change in attitude has not translated into real equality when it comes to mopping floors, changing diapers, grocery shopping and all of the other tasks of every day life. Men disagree! When... Read More
Have you ever wondered why you did something that seemed to be at cross purposes with your goals? You want to be fit, but you can’t seem to get to the gym. You want to lose weight, but sometimes you seem to eat everything in sight. You want to cut back on your drinking, but you find yourself drinking more. You vow not to lose your temper, but despite your oath, you pop your cork at your youngster? You pledge to do things right away, but you find yourself procrastinating. You promise yourself to do something new, but you are stuck in a rut.
Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy. The... Read More
Recent events in Paris, Beirut, and Egypt disturb our sense of security and safety. It’s impossible not to experience the impact of these terrible and senseless acts of violence. Adults are glued to news stations, the Internet, and radio, reading and hearing about the events as they unfold. The world is connected by the speed of light. Diners, huddled under restaurant tables, while gunmen shoot innocent bystanders, videotape the mayhem by cellphone, post the media on YouTube, and it’s sent around the world in nanoseconds. This is the world we live in.
Sadly, human violence is not... Read More