Empowering the Bored Child

“I’m bored.”  It doesn’t take too long before this statement is heard in the summer.  Its a monotone, depressing complaint.  It can trigger anger in parents to hear this, or at least mild irritation.  Boredom by definition is a feeling of weariness with one’s present task or lack of interesting pursuits.  Its something everyone has experienced.  Its a feeling we have to live with sometimes as its part of normal human existence.  Unfortunately, with Netflix and video games this generation of children can pacify their boredom without truly overcoming it successfully.  The result is a low-grade boredom, like a lingering
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Categories: Childhood Disorders, Children, Family, Managing Media, Mental Health, Parenting, and Personal Growth.

Are You __________ Enough?

Are you _(fill in the blank)_ Enough? Good, safe, perfect, beautiful, smart, athletic, successful, funny, happy, wealthy… These are just a few of the words that we fill in the blank to the question “am I _______ enough?”  Where does this question come from?  Why do we ask this question of ourselves so much?   It comes from a mindset that there is a limited supply of what we ultimately need in order to feel happy and fulfilled in life.  This is what Brené Brown, author of “The Gifts of Imperfection” and speaker in one of the most viewed TED
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Categories: Faith issues, Mental Health, Personal Growth, and Stress.

What St. Patrick Can Teach Us

Last spring my wife and I traveled to Ireland.  One of our favorite places that we visited there was the Saint Patrick Centre in Northern Ireland.  This museum is located in the region of Ireland where Patrick first came to Ireland from Britain.  He didn’t go there by choice.  At the age of 16, he was captured along with several others by marauding bands of barbarians and taken to Ireland as a slave.  He was a slave there for 6 years and forced to watch over sheep for some farmer.  Some time during his enslavement, he called out to God
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Categories: Faith issues, Family, and Personal Growth.

Making the Most of Your Holiday Traditions

There once was a young mother we’ll call “Susan” who volunteered to cook the Christmas turkey for the big family dinner. This being her first time to cook a turkey herself, she recalled her careful observations of her mother’s cooking techniques from past Thanksgivings and Christmases. She remembered that her mother cut the turkey into parts and placed them in a large pan. Her husband “Barry” came in and asked “Why are you cutting that turkey up?” Susan replied “because this is what I always saw my mother do. I don’t know why she cut it up. Its just something
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Categories: Faith issues, Family, Holidays, and Personal Growth.

Helping your Kids (and yourself) Cope with Rejection

There’s no question about it; successful people are those who have learned to cope with rejection.  Milton Hershey had three failed businesses before his milk chocolate candy took off.  KFC’s founder Colonel Sanders was rejected over a thousand times before he found financial support for his chicken recipe.  JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected by twelve publishers!  Imagine a world in which these three successful people allowed a few rejections to stop them; no Hershey kisses, no KFC, no Harry Potter. We have all experienced rejection in many forms.  It’s a universal dynamic in a relational society.  Since
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Categories: Children, Family, Managing Media, Mental Health, Parenting, and Personal Growth.

Make Your Valentine’s Day a Success Story

It seems a common belief (especially among men) that Valentine’s Day was invented by the greeting card industry to make some profits during a low income time of year.  While the greeting card industry may have seen an opportunity in Valentine’s Day, they certainly didn’t invent the “valentine.”  According to legend, Valentinus (or St. Valentine) was a Roman priest in the third century.  He is said to have performed marriages of Christians and helped Christians in other ways during a period of Christian persecution in the Roman Empire.  Folklore further suggests that he started the “Valentine” tradition by cutting heart
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Categories: Couples, Holidays, Marriage, and Personal Growth.

Why did the Grinch Steal Christmas? A Psychological Analysis

This holiday season as I watched “The Grinch who Stole Christmas” I began to think about what made the Grinch so “grinchy”?  Several questions came to mind. Why was his heart two sizes too small?  Surely he wasn’t born that way, right? What’s his problem with the Whos down in Whoville?  What is it about the Christmas festivities and the “noise, noise, noise” that sets the Grinch’s teeth on edge?    Further, what allowed his heart to “grow three sizes that day”? Let’s start at the beginning. The basic psychological assumption that we are born “tabula rasa” says that we become
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Categories: Childhood Disorders, Children, Holidays, Mental Health, and Personal Growth.

Resolution #1: Dream Big and Courageously!

Abraham Lincoln is quoted to say “That some achieve great success, is proof to all that others can achieve it as well.”   Benjamin Franklin writes “Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each New Year find you a better man.”  If these great men of history believe in making resolutions, shouldn’t we consider doing so?  Some people believe that making New Year’s resolutions is an exercise in futility.  In fact, Mark Twain is quoted to say “New Year’s Day… now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions.  Next week
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Categories: Holidays, Mental Health, Personal Growth, and Transitions / Change.

Giving Thanks

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the national holiday of thanksgiving.  Everyone knows it hearkens back to the pilgrims and Native Americans, but it wasn’t officially deemed a holiday until President Lincoln enacted it at a time when many had little to be thankful for.  Lincoln called for this public day of thanksgiving when the civil war was in full swing and wouldn’t end for another year and a half.  It was actually brought to the public by Lincoln after the exhausting and tragic victory over the south at Gettysburg.  Psychologically, it was a brilliant move on Lincoln’s part. 
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Categories: Faith issues, Holidays, and Personal Growth.

Forgiveness: A Testimonial

Remember the line from the movie “Love Story” that “Love means never having to say you’re sorry?”  What a crock!  John Lennon of the Beatles makes more sense when he explained that “Love means having to say you’re sorry every five minutes.”  Reconciliation and forgiveness are necessary ingredients for any committed couple’s success.  Dr.Terry Hargrave, an internationally recognized expert on forgiveness, says that “Any act of forgiveness should also be accompanied by a change in the victimizer towards trustworthy behavior.”  This means, essentially, that when you have wronged your mate you MUST convey that you are sorry! This is only
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Categories: Faith issues, Family, Marriage, and Personal Growth.