No Picture
Close Family

Giving Up Self-Defeating Legacies

No pain, no gain! Those words were drummed into me by my father so many times, I long ago stopped counting up the reasons why he said what he said. Despite the untruth of them, after a while, they started to sink in. Do anything long enough, and it will become your habit, even the phrases you think with, and that influence the way you feel about your life. For the first forty years of my life, his words determined how I felt, what I did, and how I reacted to circumstances, but not in the way he would have liked them to, I am certain. Because my father loved me.
It took me a long time to shake off the effects of taking “No pain, no gain” so seriously. The impact of a violent childhood in the slums of New Haven, major surgery after four years on daily pain medication, three divorces, and as many rejection slips as there must have been times when my father said his favorite phrase, had to go, because it was me, or them. It also took me a long time to forgive him for handing me down a legacy that at first glance, doesn’t seem all that kind. Yet in my new relationship to it, it was.
What I realized was that everything in our lives regardless, can either be used as a challenge to be happier, or a reason to feel sorry for ourselves. For years, I used my Father’s mantra as a way to point out how difficult my life was. I believed his words to be true, rather than to simply observe that he had said them, and then on my own, choose how I would respond to them. No pain, no gain, was his mantra, after all, and there was no law in the Universe that said I had to adopt his offered gift.
One of the hidden gifts of my father’s legacy was that from the moment I chose my response to No pain, no gain, I also gained something else. Given that his wording had been so powerful for me, after overcoming it, I gained the ability to also overcome all the other phrases the many people around me were constantly offering to the Universe. Their own negative legacies that were handed down to them by their families. We have all heard them. “There’s not enough money,” or, “That’s the way things always turn out,” or, “You know you can’t do that,” any and all limiting beliefs that have no basis in any reality other than inside of the mind of the person who believes them, period.
Yes, they are real, of course they are, but only to the believer of them! What an eye opener that was! Now I could hear the words of my Father and the people around me, discern what worked for my happiness, and then simply choose my response to them no matter what. Sometimes it was to go into agreement with them, and other times it was to purposely decide what my own mantra for living was. I think more than anything else, whether my Father knew it or not, that was the gift he wanted to impart to his son; the strength to choose for myself.
The moment I chose my responses to any words spoken, or any circumstances happening around me, and left whatever offered gift, if it was self-defeating in nature, with the giver, my life changed. No, it wasn’t one of those light-in-the-sky, transformational, mind-blowing moments, that caused fireworks to go off. It was more like the changes most of us have. This shift in perspective occurred over time, and with a lot of hard work on my part. Hard work, but not necessarily pain. Because the only gain you get with pain, is more pain, and I didn’t want any more of that!
Slowly, I realized that what my Father said was the way he viewed the world, and not the way I was required to view it. It was his choice to be in constant pain over what had happened in his life, and out of acknowledging his own freedom to choose for himself, I gained my own. By honoring his choices, I was freed to choose how I wanted to relate to what had happened to me, and most importantly, how I would respond to what was to come in my future. In this pain-free way, I could finally appreciate all the good things that my Father did do for me, and at the same time, handle his brief reaction to my new point of view, when he was at first threatened by my unexpected buoyancy.
The moment he overcame that reaction, and was happy for me, was one of those moments when I …

No Picture
Family and Children

Celebrating Father’s Day – Lessons From Dad Are Important!

I love that we celebrate fathers passed and present. I lost my dad more than 20 years ago yet I think of him and cherish with gratitude the life lessons he taught me. Some lessons I learned long after he passed. Why? Because I wasn’t wise enough in my younger years to get the lesson. Reflection is good. Think about your dad, what he represents, what he stands for, what he taught you by his actions, his words and how he showed up each day in your home.
Here are 6 things dad’s can do that will leave a lasting and positive impact on the lives of their children:
1. Teach your children the importance of play. Turn off the TV. Spend time with your kids having fun. Play evokes fun and laughter, which have enormous benefits. Play not only makes us feel good, it’s good for us because it brings balance to all components of the immune system. Studies show that play is at the core of creativity and innovation. A success skill for life. Play shapes the brain, making your children more adaptable and smarter. Play and laughter are the joyful threads that run through a family’s life creating some of the very best memories that bind you together. There is nothing like rekindling those fun and happy cherished memories that make us feel good as time rolls on.
2. Feed your kids with good news, good books, positive people, and positive activities. It affects their mind, their happiness and how they view the world – friendly and happy or hostile and pessimistic. Research shows that happy people have better outcomes in life than pessimists. You can help to enrich and nourish their thoughts and dreams into life by sharing positive experiences of life.
3. Your words are powerful and effect young minds. Be at your best by giving away all the words of encouragement, acknowledgement and motivation that you can at every opportunity. Speaking positive, good words breathes a new sense of life, light, and happiness into your children, as well as creating a deeper sense of your love for them.
4. Speak with optimism. When you are optimistic you create a sense that the world is a friendly place conspiring at every corner to help you. It helps create resilience. You see the best in everything and everyone. You’re children will pick up on your vibe and learn a valuable skill for life. Teach them that “every cloud has a silver lining” so that when adversity, setbacks, failures, and hardship happen, they can turn them into something positive by finding greater meaning in life from them. Optimism gives your children the motivation to continue to persist to find solutions even in the bleakest of situations. Optimism has a way of creating a ripple effect of positive and good energy. Research shows that optimists tend to succeed above others in life and are physically healthier, more productive and do better at work, school and in sports.
5. Act out with gratitude for the smallest of things. It’s a way of cultivating an attitude of appreciation. It teaches your children to learn to count their blessings not other peoples which mass media focuses on, depleting young minds so they feel that they or what they have is not enough. This is not true. Only the practice of gratitude can shift this mindset. Too many walk around sabotaging themselves by believing they are not enough because they never learnt this skill. Teach them to value what they have including what most people take for granted, for example their legs that gets them to and from school and teach them to appreciate everything that others do for them.
6. Teach your children forgiveness. Unforgiveness can be crippling. It is a burden in the mind and heart. Forgiveness is about freeing yourself. Teach your children to free themselves from the hurt and time and energy it takes away from their life. Teach them to learn the lesson, the gift in every situation, for example, if someone presented with a quality that hurt him or her, get him or her to see that the lesson is not to take on that quality in their own life, to learn to do and be better. Forgive the person, learn the lesson, let it go and be free.
So dads strengthen your children for life’s journey ahead, deepen the love between you and leave a great inheritance to your children by teaching them valuable life lessons just like my dad did. Happy Father’s Day!…

No Picture
Family Relationships

‘No’ Is a Powerful Word in A Parent’s Vocabulary – Here’s Why


Modern parents tend to be very aware of the words they use. They know their kids will learn from them, and they do not want the little ones learning bad words. Some parents go so far as to avoid all negative words – even those society does not necessarily consider bad. That may be a mistake. Take the word ‘no’, for example. It is one of the most powerful words in a parent’s vocabulary.


The word itself denotes something very specific. Depending on how it is used, it can mean a denial of something you want to do. It could mean that you do not get permission. It could mean that you don’t have any money, your car isn’t running, or you didn’t get that job you were after. The word can be broadly applied to an endless number of situations, yet always with the same intent.


Where parents are concerned, saying no is a particularly important tool for training children how to live in an orderly society. Unfortunately, using the word too often and in the wrong way can lead to unintended and negative consequences. It is all in how a parent uses the word and the reason behind it.


●                  Children Lack Knowledge and Experience


One of the chief reasons for telling children no is the fact that they lack knowledge and experience. As a parent, you want your child to grow up and exercise wisdom. But that is impossible without knowledge and experience. Telling your children, no from time to time teaches them what is appropriate and what is not. It teaches them self-control. It gives them some of the knowledge and experience they need to be wise adults.


Also consider that a child’s lack of knowledge and experience can actually be harmful to them. As a parent, you sometimes say no because you are fully aware of the potential harm of saying yes. You help your child learn to control themself by taking the lead early on.


●                  Many Reasons to Say No


Often times, parents who seek out adolescent counseling have struggled to say no to their kids. Failing to be that check against a child’s naturally selfish desires leads to antisocial behavior. The good news, according to the therapy staff at Westchester, NY’s Relationships & More, is that most families can be helped with therapy.


In the meantime, Relationships & More counselors say there are many reasons to tell a child no:


  • Harming Others – Parents should say no when the actions of their children could potentially harm others.


  • Circumstances Change – Children need to learn that life is not perfect; that circumstances change. Parents can teach them that by saying no when things do not go as planned.


  • Teaching Self-Reliance – Saying no is appropriate as a tool for teaching children self-reliance. If there is something they can do for themselves, parents should let them. They should say no to any request that mom or dad do for the kids what they can do for themselves.


  • Wants vs. Needs – Sometimes saying no is the best way to teach a child the difference between wants and needs. In our modern, consumer-driven world, we could use a little more ‘no’ in this regard.


‘No’ is a powerful word in a parent’s vocabulary because it can be used to teach a child a myriad of lessons. Unfortunately, far too many parents who strive to choose their words carefully do not say no often enough. That is not good because it trains a child to behave in ways that will be problematic in adulthood.



No Picture
Family Happiness

Take the Family on an African Safari – Tips Inside

Taking the family on an African Safari can be a once in a lifetime experience, and should be planned out carefully. First there are several different travel services offering these safaris, and you will want to check with each one to make sure you are getting the most for your money. There are some things that you need to consider. One of them is that they should be taking you to see the big five in African wildlife, Lions, elephants, rhinoceros, water buffalo, and even leopards.
A full package deal is not just about the animals, but also about the culture of the native people. A good vacation package will include visits to local tribes, and even staying with them overnight. You will experience their daily lives, what they do for fun, and maybe even go on an excursion or two with them.
The next thing you need to consider is that these trips are not cheap, nor are they short. Your average price tag is around $12,000 per adult, and that is based on double occupancy. The cap on many child discounts, is usually age 11, although some can be as high as twelve or thirteen. This also doesn’t include airfare from you home city to the place where the safari starts. These are also long trips, some last up to 11 days. Make sure your kids and older family members are up to it.
Do you want to know about more cool places to visit and some cool ways to get discounts on travel?…

No Picture
Family and Children

Happiness – Is That Want You Really Want?

It seems we human beings are more motivated to move away from pain than we are motivated to move towards pleasure. How often do you experience the kind of happiness that you seek. What level of happiness is it? What does that feel like? Can you describe this type of happiness in detail? When you do feel this happy, where are you, and who are you with when you feel this way?
If you can begin to answer these types of open questions that provoke your thinking, then you can begin to be able to clearly visualise what type of happiness it is. It makes the goal clear for you. You begin to know exactly what you want to experience. So, you goal could be to have more of that type of happiness on a regular basis. Right now, you may achieve that type of happiness that you want, weekly. Why not every hour!
The way to start to do that is first accept where you are now. Accept the situation you are in now and the people you mix with daily, and be grateful for that. From this place, you can start to get more enthusiastic about the new level of happiness that you are about to experience more often. Do you have to do something specifically to feel more happy? It is my observation that you do not. In fact, the more you try, the further it can run away from you. Sit down, relax and let it come to you, and it will. When you let all the distractions flow away from you, it leaves plenty of space for the real happiness to flow into your life, to flow through you. It is my experience that this is the type of happiness the purest and is best for me.
It is important that you can take something away after reading this article. Otherwise, what’s the point. Let’s have a quick summary on what you can do now. Firstly, acceptance of what you have right now. Acceptance helps bring you into the present moment. Helps make you focus upon yourself. The type of acceptance that I mean is of where you are, the people in your daily life right now, and your ability to focus on what you can have.
Secondly, find a quiet place for 20 minutes. Try and get to a relaxed state of mind and body. You can do this by slowing your breathing and focusing upon that. Finally, visualise yourself being happy. Recall a time when you felt the type of happiness that you want to experience more often. You do this when you visualise yourself being happy, and just focus upon those feelings that you feel. Give it time and try this exercise each day as you will get better at it.…

No Picture
Family Happiness

Keeping Romance Alive After Having Kids

How do you keep your marriage alive after having kids?
Don’t you miss the long talks with a glass of wine? The late night movies? Going out for drinks? Last minute getaways? Even all the production and excitement before going out for a romantic date? (makeup, shoes, nice underwear, pretty clothes). Dancing together? Having plenty of time and energy to dedicate to each other?
Well, if you do miss it, be very sure that so does he!!
As much as we love our kids, the minute they arrive our relationship is changed forever. Most of our energy and love goes to this new tiny being that takes all of our time and space. As much as we would like to forget about the rest of the world and enjoy our new baby, it is extremely important not to loose track of what matters in the long run.
We need to remember that there is no better gift we can give to our children than a healthy and happy family. When they see that their parents love and respect each other that sets a valuable example for their own relationships in their future.
A few things we can do to stay in touch:
* Have a Romantic date night.
Pick one night of the week and stick to it. It is important that you get out of the house for this to be successful! Use this time for reconnecting, sharing and as a reminder of what brought you together in the first place. Get someone you trust to stay with your kids so you can truly disconnect and enjoy your time together.
* Have a business date night.
Pick one night of the week, after your kids are sleeping, to discuss the business side of marriage. This one is OK to do at home, but with no distractions, no TV, no phone, or computers. A little preparation beforehand is useful, you can write the things that you need to discuss so you don’t forget.
Talk about finances, concerns, repairs that need to be made, bills that need to be paid, work schedules and anything that needs fixing. This is a really healthy practice, if it becomes a habit it will make life a lot easier and enjoyable, and you will not use your romantic date night to discuss this matters.
Basically like my husband would call it, it is a time to “Clear the Space”.
Sometimes we are upset or cranky over misunderstandings or the stupidest things, and this is the opportunity to put it all out there and make it better. Being up to date with each others feelings and struggles leaves no room for resentment or anger.
* Take care of yourself.
Even if you are tired, don’t feel like it, or think you don’t care, make the time and push yourself to look presentable, and even gorgeous once in a while. You will feel more attractive and this will translate in a more energetic, confident and happy you! If you have the intention of keeping your spark alive you need to at least smell good! Pamper yourself from time to time, get a pedicure, do your hair, take a bubble bath, go to the gym, have lunch with a friend, etc… It is the small details that make a world of difference.…

No Picture
Family Happiness

Unhealthy Relationships Come in Many Forms

When we think unhealthy relationship what first comes to mind? Most of us would think of domestic abuse-a woman in a romantic relationship being abused by her partner. But the truth is, unhealthy relationships happen all around us, every day, and are closer to home than we might think.

An unhealthy relationship does not have to be romantic in nature. It can be between friends, siblings, workmates, neighbours, or even parents and children. But no matter where it happens, the warning signs of an unhealthy relationship are universal. Here are some things to watch out for:

One person being manipulated or controlled by the other.

One person feeling pressured to change for the other.

One person is belittled by the other.

One person avoids certain topics or actions for fear of angering the other, or feels worried when they disagree with the other person.

Arguments are not settled fairly, or during violence there is verbal or physical abuse.

All of these are signs we would recognize in a romantic relationship, but they can be more difficult to recognize in one that is not romantic in nature. If you recognize any of these signs in one of your relationships, it may be time to take a step back and examine the relationship as a whole.

This can be more difficult, especially in the case of parents and children. After all, parents seem expected to exert some degree of control over their children, yet as they reach adulthood when does that move from loving guidance to the realm of the unhealthy relationship? Let’s take a look at Anna’s relationship with her mother, Pam.

Anna is twenty-one years old and a recent college graduate. She has temporarily moved back home to look for a job, and spends her days sending in applications and tailoring her resume. Once in a while she goes out with her friends. The economy is terrible, and Anna’s brief move back home gets longer and longer. Pam begins to belittle her, calling her lazy and telling her she does not believe she is really looking for a job. Feeling constantly diminished, Anna avoids her mother where she can, and becomes afraid to tell her about her job search for fear she’ll just be scorned some more. All the time there is stress, a desire for approval and unspoken feelings building up within Anna.

Although this is a mild example, Anna and Pam’s relationship is unhealthy, and if something between them does not change, their relationship has the potential to become permanently damaged.

In this kind of unhealthy relationship, violence is uncommon, and the best solution is often to talk things out with the other person. The ability to communicate is a great healing skill, when it enables you to voice how another’s behaviour makes you feel. The two of you can discuss what can be done to fix it. If you do not feel comfortable talking to the other person alone, invite a trusted friend or family member to join the discussion. If no agreement is reached, it may be time to consider ending the relationship. If the offending party is a family member, it may be best for everyone involved to avoid each other wherever possible, if things truly cannot be fixed. If they are a friend it is in your best interest to cut your losses and end the relationship altogether. So easy these days, just press delete on the mobile phone.

Remember, only you can know what is in your best interests, and, as with all unhealthy relationships, the first step to recovery is admitting there is a problem in the first place.…