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A Priceless Gift Called Gratitude

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Parents know what they have to teach children. They teach them manners, and how to use the potty. They teach them how to eat at the table, how to get dressed in the morning, and eventually, how to tie their own shoes. Sadly, one of the forgotten teachings of parenthood is teaching children how to be grateful. When is the last time you taught your child to be grateful. As a parent, it is immensely important for children, even very young ones – to realize that a grateful heart can lead to great things in life.

Gratitude doesn’t come naturally to our children.  It is learned. So, as parents, “Teaching our Children Gratitude” should be at the top of our parental-to-do-list.

Happiness is a skill that parents can teach their children and the relationship between gratitudegratitude2-1 and happiness is really strong. People who spend more time doing things that express their gratitude tend to be considerably happier than people who don’t.Children who express gratitude are kinder, more appreciative, more empathetic, happier and more enthusiastic. Grateful children understand that other people have needs and they look outside themselves. They are more polite, usually better behaved and generally more pleasant to be around.

LIVE WITH AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE

Imagine for a moment one of those nights when you just can’t fall asleep and you have to get up early the next morning for a very important meeting of which you are the keynote speaker. Your alarm clock goes off early in the morning waking you from what little sleep you had. You stumble out of bed, have a quick shower, grab a coffee and some toast, and off you go to fight the traffic on the way to work.

Does that sound like the start of a terrible day? Most would answer ‘yes’. Few people however, would answer, ‘no’. These are the people, who are in my opinion blessed with a gift. A gift that determines how they view their life. These people live with ‘an attitude of gratitude’. For them, the situation described could be worse. Much worse. For example, think of the man who doesn’t have a bed, let alone a roof to over his head. When he is awoken from what little sleep he is able to get, it is by the rain falling on his cold body. He too stumbles to his feet and begins his journey to work in his bare feet. His work is in the field of survival. He searches though garbage cans for scraps of half-rotten food to eat and odd bits of clothes to keep him warm.

gratitudeThe purpose of this example is to illustrate that we all have so much to be grateful for. Even in times when it seems that nothing could be worse, there is always a reason to be grateful. And when you feel a sense of gratitude, you feel a sense of happiness and content. My challenge to you today is to learn to look for the good in every situation and live with ‘an attitude of gratitude’.

I assure you, if you were the fellow searching for food in garbage cans you too could find things to be grateful for. You just have to look hard enough and ‘open your eyes’ to what is around you. You have to focus on what’s good in your life, not what’s bad.

“I once was distraught because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet.” – Unknown

Life works in mysterious ways. Time and time again there have been stories of people who are in a dire strait yet they are found helping others who are experiencing greater turmoil. This is because once you have helped someone in greater need than yourself, you always feel better. You feel better because you have helped another human being, and this forces you to change your mindset from focusing on your problems to focusing on their solutions.

3601243290_ba8443f6ecAlways focus on the solution, not the problem and live with an attitude of gratitude! Mother Teresa was a primary example of this phenomenon. Her entire life revolved around helping others in need. As a result she experienced a great deal of love and self-satisfaction in her life.

I challenge you now to take a moment to think of five things in your life that you are grateful for today. For example, your friends, your family, your job, your sense of smell, touch, sight, and sound. The list can go on and on. Imagine what your life would be like without these things. Write them down on a piece of paper and really think about the things you are grateful for. You will be amazed at how great you will feel!

Gratitude is such a brilliant gift that has been bestowed upon us if we choose it. The sophistication of this gift is simple. It is a choice. Be thankful for what you have, who you are and who you can be. It’s all about perception. It doesn’t matter what societal status you come from, what your wallet has in it or how you were culturally raised. Be thankful for what you have and feel right now in this exact moment in time. Hard times and good times. These are all opportunities to acknowledge gratitude. To give a shout out to gratitude. As we teach our children to witness this invisible mind thought, the concept emerges within them just as easy as they learn how to brush their teeth, their ABC’s or how to tie their shoes. These are life skills they will use through-out their whole life.  Gratitude can be a wholesome part of your healthy intentional conscious parenting routine.

Recognizing The Good

Musician playing the violin

There is a story — maybe an urban legend, but full of truth nonetheless — concerning the famous violinist Itzhak Perlman.

As a child he had been stricken with polio and getting on stage is no small feat for him. He wears braces on both thank-you-quoteslegs and uses crutches. One evening, Perlman was in New York to give a concert. Perlman crossed the stage slowly until he reached the chair,  seated himself, and signaled to the conductor to begin.

No sooner had he finished the first few bars then one of the strings on his violin snapped, echoing loudly through the theatre like a gunshot. Perlman was at the beginning of the piece and it would have been reasonable to bring the concert to a halt while he replaced the string to begin again. But that’s not what he did. He waited a moment and signaled the conductor to pick up just where they had left off.

Perlman had only three strings on which to play his soloist part. He was able to find some of the missing notes on adjoining strings, but where that wasn’t possible, he had to spontaneously reorganize the music so that it all still held together.

He played with passion and artistry, instinctively rearranging the symphony right through to the end. When he finally rested his bow, the audience sat for a moment in stunned silence. Then, rising to their feet, they gave a standing ovation. Each person in the audience knew they had been witness to an extraordinary display of human skill and ingenuity.

Perlman raised his bow to signal for quiet. “You know,” he said, “sometimes it is the artist’s task to find out how much beautiful music you can still make with what you have left.”

We have to wonder, was he speaking of his violin strings or his crippled body?

gratitude-3-tpl-bkgdCircumstances can throw us off our game or they can strengthen our determination and desire to create a positive outcome. The Hebrew term for gratitude is hikarat hatov, which means, literally, “recognizing the good.” Practicing gratitude means recognizing the good that is already in our lives. With a daily practice of giving thanks, our perspective shifts.  Gratitude is a powerful perspective that energizes positive action, and therefore creates a more fulfilling life.

If we thought about it, we would find that we don’t give or hear expressions of gratitude as often as we should. If you feel this way you are certainly not alone. Remembering to Express Gratitude can help us and our family members. Gratitude is more than an inner feeling. When good things are happening around us, when we’re with those we love and we’re grateful and we’re expressing it, the feeling of love and tenderness grows.  Gratitude can bring a calming feeling.

 
(In April of 2005, a young mom was confronted with a diaper rash that just wouldn’t quit. The rash needed some fresh air to heal, but she was also concerned about keeping her daughter warm. In a moment of inspiration, she snipped the feet off of a pair of socks and fitted her daughter from hip to ankle with a cool set of leg warmers. These leg warmers not only kept her daughter warm, but also protected her from the elements, made diaper changing and potty training easier, and protected her soft knees while crawling. With some fun designs and some grassroots marketing support, the functional and fashionable leg warmers that began as a solution to keep little legs warm quickly became much more.)

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So what is gratitude, really? It includes saying “thank you” and being polite. But it is more than that. Expressing Gratitude is the beginning of courtesy, generosity, concern and appreciation for family members and others.

A deeply felt and fully expressed gratitude is an effective way to positively influence attitudes and behavior, our own and that of others. Learning to feel and express gratitude can have a significant effect on the happiness and success of every family member.

gratitude-300x300“A frustrated mother once complained to her neighbor that no one in her family seemed to appreciate what she did. They never commented on how much effort she spent cleaning the house, decorating their home for holidays, and keeping their clothes clean and pressed. They never thanked her for the good meals she prepared or for taking them to school or to work. … She was annoyed that they took her for granted.

“Her neighbor replied, ‘Marianne, you have a clean and attractively kept house. Your children go to school and to their meetings clean and neat. You are an excellent cook, and I can’t think of anyone who is more faithful than you are about doing your Church callings.

“ ‘I suspect that your husband and children recognize your efforts as being praiseworthy. It is possible that other members of your family feel the same discouragement as you do because it just isn’t the practice at your home to express appreciation’ ”

  • • What did the neighbor bring to Marianne’s attention?

In order to develop and teach gratitude to those in our families we must first awaken within ourselves the attitude of being appreciative. “It is as important for our families to learn to express gratitude to one another as it is to receive it from one another. If we don’t teach others to express their appreciation by our example and by our instruction, they may not learn this important courtesy. … If we want others to continue doing what they are doing, the best thing we can do is to let them know how much we appreciate it”

It is one thing to teach your child how to say thank you. It is something entirely different to teach them how to feel it.

So how do we help our families learn Gratitude?  Let me share these 10 ways to help make that happen……….

1.album-gratitude Keep a Gratitude Journal. Establish a daily practice in which you remind yourself of the gifts, grace, benefits, and good things you enjoy. Setting aside time on a daily basis to recall moments of gratitude associated with ordinary events, your personal attributes, or valued people in your life gives you the potential to interweave a sustainable life theme of gratefulness.

2. Remember the Bad. To be grateful in your current state, it is helpful to remember the hard times that you once experienced. When you remember how difficult life used to be and how far you have come, you set up an explicit contrast in your mind, and this contrast is fertile ground for gratefulness.

3. Ask Yourself Three Questions. Utilize the meditation technique known as Naikan, which involves reflecting on three questions: “What have I received from __?”, “What have I given to __?”, and “What troubles and difficulty have

4. Learn Prayers of Gratitude. In many spiritual traditions, prayers of gratitude are considered to be the most powerful form of prayer, because through these prayers people recognize the ultimate source of all they are and all they will ever be.I caused?”

5. Come to Your Senses. Through our senses—the ability to touch, see, smell, taste, and hear—we gain an appreciation of what it means to be human and of what an incredible miracle it is to be alive. Seen through the lens of gratitude, the human body is not only a miraculous construction, but also a gift.

6. Use Visual Reminders. Because the two primary obstacles to gratefulness are forgetfulness and a lack of gratitudemindful awareness, visual reminders can serve as cues to trigger thoughts of gratitude. Often times, the best visual reminders are other people.

7. Make a Vow to Practice Gratitude. Research shows that making an oath to perform a behavior increases the likelihood that the action will be executed. Therefore, write your own gratitude vow, which could be as simple as “I vow to count my blessings each day,” and post it somewhere where you will be reminded of it every day.

8. Watch your Language. Grateful people have a particular linguistic style that uses the language of gifts, givers, blessings, blessed, fortune, fortunate, and abundance. In gratitude, you should not focus on how inherently good you are, but rather on the inherently good things that others have done on your behalf.

9. Go Through the Motions. If you go through grateful motions, the emotion of gratitude should be triggered. Grateful motions include smiling, saying thank you, and writing letters of gratitude.

10. Think Outside the Box. If you want to make the most out of opportunities to flex your gratitude muscles, you must creatively look for new situations and circumstances in which to feel grateful.

Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., (who wrote these steps to Gratitude) is the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude. He is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, and the founding editor-in-chief of The Journal of Positive Psychology.

Heart of Gratitude…

A blind boy sat on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet. He held up a sign which said :  ‘ I am blind, please help.’  There were only a few coins in the hat.A man was walking by. He took a few coins from his pocket and dropped them into the hat. He then took the sign, turned it around, and wrote some words. He put the sign back so that everyone who walked by would see the new words.Soon the hat began to fill up. A lot more people were giving money to the blind boy. That afternoon the man who had changed the sign came to see how things were. The boy recognized his footsteps and asked, “Were you the one who changed my sign this morning? What did you write? ”
The man said, ” I only wrote the truth. I said what you said but in a different way.”
I wrote : ‘ Today is a beautiful day but I cannot see it.’
Both signs told people that the boy was blind. But the first sign simply said the boy was blind. The second sign told people that they were so lucky that they were not blind. Should we be surprised that the second sign was more effective? Be thankful for what you have.  Be Creative.  Be innovative. Think differently and positively..

 

 

(EASY TO MAKE BOOKS WITH  SO MANY MEMORIES!)

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Enjoy your day with a heart of gratitude. 🙂

To teach our children the value of gratefulness, we want to be sure to role model grateful behavior:

Children need to see us being grateful for what we have. That might mean not running out to by the latest pocketbook and newest electronic gadget.

Let them see you saying thank you to the postman, the store clerk, and your friends.

Tell them, “I am so grateful to have you in my life.” If that is too corny for you, you can say, (when they come home from school), “It is good to see you.”

Let them see you and your spouse thank each other. Thank your spouse for making dinner, for taking out the garbage, cleaning a clogged drain or for making the phone call to Aunt Ethel, something you really didn’t want to do.

Don’t complain about all the things you don’t have.

Write a gratitude journal and tell them about it in a non-confrontational, friendly way.

Enjoy the beauty around you and point it out to your children. Sunsets, the sun shining on the snow, laughing babies and blossoming trees.

Understanding child/teen development and their limitations gives us insights into their frustrating but necessary behavior. Being grateful for what we have is one of the secrets of successful living. Fostering gratefulness in ourselves will enhance our family life and give our children the direction they need to cultivate their own happiness.

gratitude quote small-762658Choosing Gratitude

“If you look to others for fulfillment
you will never truly be fulfilled.
If your happiness depends on money,
You will never be happy with yourself
Be content with what you have;
Rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking,
The whole world belongs to you
.”
~Lao Tzu

Gratitude is more than an attitude, more than polite manners and positive thinking. It is a way of life and a magnificent legacy to leave our children. So, don’t think about how to instill gratitude in children, instead start taking these steps to instill this significant attitude in your family today, for a better tomorrow.

There is no such thing as gratitude unexpressed.  If it is unexpressed, it is plain, old-fashioned ingratitude.  ~Robert Brault

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What is a Dad………….Lessons From The Delivery Room

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Not all men who have fathered a child are dads. Being a dad—an honest to goodness, authentic, true and bonafide  dad—means much more than genetic parentage.

thumbnail.aspxIn the first place, a dad is a friend—even when it’s not convenient. For instance, one morning I went down to the lake near my home to watch the fishermen. There, fishing along the rocky bank, were old men with skinny, hairless legs protruding from faded denim pants; young boys with their shirts off, laughing, casting their lines frequently; large women, patiently engulfing their small wicker chairs; all types and sizes of outdoorsmen.

Among them sat a large and muscular man. And straddling his massive knee with spindly legs was a small girl, dishwater pigtails falling from under a straw hat. The girl had both hands wrapped around a long cane pole. One of his hands covered both of hers, while the other rested on his knee. The two of them sat there quietly, watching a red and white bubble bob in the water a few feet from shore.

His open tackle box displayed the gear of an experienced fisherman: flies and plugs for bass, trolling gear for lake trout, and a large assortment of streamers to lure the wily German Brown.

But today it was mudcats.

That large man with the little girl on his lap was a dad. He cared enough about his daughter to spend time with her on her terms, not his. He didn’t take her fishing so he could go fishing; he went fishing so he could be with her, to do something she would enjoy doing.

That’s one way to separate the fathers-in-name-only from the dads. Too many men are willing to be a dad only when the children are going an adult direction or when they share the same interests, hobbies, or skills. But a true dad builds a relationship that includes the child’s own interests and level of understanding.

One father I know used to spend an hour a day with his boy, playing basketball. On the surface that fathers-day-poem-daughterseems admirable—until you realize that it was the father, not the son, who loved the sport. This father’s childhood dream was to be a basketball star. He never made it. And so, because he wanted his boy to succeed where he had failed, they drilled on the basketball court every day.

The son did become a star—a high school all-star and a college hero. But while gaining a star, the father lost a son. Instead of building a healthy relationship, their time together actually drove father and son further apart.

The quality of the time parents spend with their children is as important as the time itself. When parents become rigid or demanding in order to gratify their own egos, or for any selfish motive, they destroy the very relationship they are trying to build. And being a friend to children doesn’t mean, of course, that dads need to be silly or immature. Children must also learn to respect their parents as the competent adults they have become.

Another requirement of dad-hood is that quality which blends authority and unconditional love to make dad both a respected authority and a loved companion to youth. Most fathers do all right on the stern side of this balance. Of course, it takes a little sternness at times to preside over frolicking pre-adolescents and presumptuous teenagers. But real dads realize that rules are made for the benefit and progress of the children, not for their condemnation. There is a time to be stern and a time to show love, perhaps even a time to bend the rules once the lesson is learned.

10359Take, for example, one situation I remember where a dad—call him Bob—had to have an especially large amount of wisdom. Larry, Bob’s oldest boy, had just obtained a driver’s license. Bob had established rules for the use of the family car, such as obeying the law, driving safely, and returning home on time. Disobedience meant forfeiture of the car’s use for two weeks.

The week of the junior prom, however, Larry received a ticket for speeding. There was a decision to be made, and not an easy one. Would Larry remember the lesson better if he were denied the use of the car for the prom? Would he become more responsible if he had to pay such a high price for disobedience? Or would he become resentful and rebellious, thus defeating the purpose of the rule?

Bob struggled with the dilemma for a couple of days. And then from somewhere way back in his own memory he recalled the significance of driving your own car to the junior prom. He postponed the start of the two-week penalty until the day after the dance.

Bob bent the rule, a rule that he himself had made. But by being flexible he established something greater than fear and power—love and respect.

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True dads must also be an ideal for children to look up to. In a society where drugs sometimes have become a _65521179_man_holding_new-born_baby-splsubstitute for character, where some politicians seem to be bought and sold on a daily basis, and where a father’s role in the family has been eroded, children need, more than ever, a solid example of male virtue and honor. A father whose example is consistent with the precepts he teaches can do more to influence the lives of youngsters than almost any other factor.

To a boy, a dad should be a goal, a potential achievement. And to a girl, a dad should be the hope of things to come, the model for a future dad for her own children.

It’s not easy to be a dad. It requires the dedication and fortitude of an army general and the patience of a saint. You’ll find dads splashing around in the baby pool at the city park, throwing a dollar’s worth of Ping Pong balls to win a twenty-five cent goldfish at the carnival, and poised on hard chairs at piano recitals. You will even discover them changing a diaper, or telling soothing stories during a midnight thunderstorm.

And when the chips are down, you’ll see them with an arm around the hunched shoulders of a boy who sat out the whole game on the bench, or sitting in the ice cream parlor over chocolate sundaes with a girl just a little too young to accept a date to the school dance.

Whatever the price, there is no glory, no distinction, no award that will ever dethrone the title of Dad. When a man becomes a dad, he has already received one of the highest honors bestowed on man.

 

 

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Let Me Share The Following  by Scott Greer

Reasons I Love Being A Dad. . .

__________________

I love loving their mother and learning to love her more day after day, year after year.

I love the home movies I experience. The live ones. The in house “reality shows” if you please. Kids raggin’ on each other, telling mom and dad stories one more time, hugs at the door, serious discussions begun spontaneously, phone calls to say “Hi, I love you, ” and small hands pressed on a glass door to see the wonder of all wonders: the neighbor’s black cat.

I love happy birthday songs: songs sung and received in love.

I love watching my kids love their kids.

I love the smiles of children and grandchildren.

CB003629I love good memories, family pictures on the walls, and cards from “Father’s Days past. “

I love the never ending pilgrimage of learning, growing and developing with my children.

I love helping when I can and hurting when I can’t. No, I don’t enjoy the pain. It’s the honor of trying to help because “I’m a dad” that I enjoy

I love hearing “Mamma” sing songs to her grandchildren or read to them. I love sensing her joy as she interacts with them and relates to me one more among many, scenes in the stories of their lives.

I love being called “Pap. “

I love sharing the lives of the kids with their mother and sharing their mother as she walks with them during each phase of the varied journeys of their lives.

I love watching the joy in the eyes of my wife as she talks on the phone with her children. (A *very* frequent event in our home I might add!)

I love giving the grandkids back to my kids just about the moment I think I’m going under (or moments thereafter!).

I love hearing the laughter of family in the other room: always, always a very special delight!

I love hearing my wife pray for the family she loves so dearly and serves so faithfully.

I love being a friend as well as being a dad.

I love being a father-in-law and being friends before the term “father in law” becomes a reality.

I love memories of my dad loving me.

3283266057_d472c57859_zJust think of the changes there have been for parents  over the last 100  years. History tells us that fathers, whatever their stations in life, were not in the past involved with their newborn infants. The picture of the father pacing the floor – well away from the mother in labor – was a common one. The new baby, neatly wrapped up, was shown to him, and out came the cigars or beer. The baby was then returned to the women to be cared for.
The children as they grew up were very much ‘women’s work’ and even in the thirties or forties people marveled at the father who took time to have a game with his child or showed a son how some piece of machinery worked. Dads could be there for a bit of rough and tumble, but anything bordering on feelings or emotions or physical care was strictly taboo This division of childcare continued until the women’s movement began to take hold and, in one way or another, to filter into different areas of family life. But as women – many of whom would have been astounded to be thought of as Feminist – began to view their life differently, then the men were necessarily affected, and changes came about. Even if not into the ‘bra burning’ rebelliousness of the sixties, many women did begin to shift their opinions about what dad should or shouldn’t do with the kids. Childcare was never to be seen in the same way again.

    • thumbnail.aspxWith two caring parents there is not one right way and one wrong way, but two different ways.
    • How you act when you are with your children teaches them how to act when they grow up.
    • Share your ideas about parenting with your children’s mother if possible. Listen to her ideas.
    • Fathers can show their sons how to grow up to be loving and caring and able to get on well with others.
    • Girls and boys both need time with their fathers.
    • Show your children that men can be gentle in a tough world.
    • Fathers have an important role in teaching their children that it is all right for men to cry or to ask for help.
    • When fathers are involved in daily care of their babies it builds special bonds that are important to children.
    • As they get older children need to know that you like them, even if they choose different ways of doing things from you.
    • Even if you don’t see your children a lot, you can still build happy memories in the time you have with them.
    • Children need love – love to children means time and attention.

 

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This is a guest post from Leo Babauta of  Zen Habits  a father of six children.

Being a father can be a wonderful thing, once you get past all the gross stuff, all the stressful events, the loss of privacy, and the bewildering numbers of ways you can screw it up.

But other than those few things, fatherhood is wonderful.

Every dad has fears that he won’t be a great dad, that he’ll mess up, that he’ll be a failure. It comes with the job.

Unfortunately, what doesn’t come with the job is a simple set of instructions. As guys, we often will skip the manual, figuring we can wing it but when things go wrong, it’s nice to have that manual to go back to. Fatherhood needs that manual.

thumbnail.aspxAnd while, as the father of six children, you might say that I’m qualified to write such a manual, it’s not true — I’m winging it like everyone else. However, I’ve been a father for more than 15 years, and with six kids I’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t, what’s important and what you can safely ignore (unlike that odd grating sound coming from your engine).

What follows are the fatherhood tips I wish they’d passed out to me upon the delivery of my first child. It would have helped a ton. I hope they’ll help you become an even more awesome dad than you already are — feel free to refer back to them as a cheat sheet, anytime you need some help.

 

(MyMemories Suite v4 is a fun and easy way to create scrapbooks, photobooks and more. This award winning software will help you create beautiful albums, projects, and custom gifts in a matter of minutes.)

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The Awesome Dad Cheat Sheet……18 Fatherhood tips They Should’ve Handed Out At The Delivery Room

 

  1. Cherish your time with them. One thing that will amaze you is how quickly the years will fly. My oldest daughter is 15, which means I have three short years with her before she leaves the nest. That’s not enough time! The time you have with them is short and precious — make the most of it. Spend as much time as you can with them, and make it quality, loving time. Try to be present as much as possible while you’re with them too — don’t let your mind drift away, as they can sense that.
  2. thumbnail.aspxIt gets easier. Others may have different experiences, but I’ve always found the first couple of months the most difficult, when the baby is brand new and wants to feed at all hours of the night and you often have sleepless nights and walk around all day like zombies. It gets easier, as they get a regular sleeping pattern. The first couple of years are also a lot more demanding than later years, and as they hit middle school they become almost functioning, independent adults. It gets easier, trust me.
  3. Don’t look at anything as “mom” duties — share responsibilities. While there are a lot of good things from our grandparents’ day that we should bring back, the traditional dad/mom split of parenting duties isn’t one of them. Some men still look at certain duties as “mom” duties, but don’t be one of those dads. Get involved in everything, and share the load with your baby mama. Changing diapers, giving baths, getting them dressed, even feeding them (you can give them breast milk in a bottle).
  4. Love conquers all. This one sounds corny, but it should be at the center of your dad operating philosophy: above all, show your children love. When you’re upset, instead of yelling, show them love. When they are thumbnail.aspxupset, show them love. When they least expect it, show them love. Everything else is just details.
  5. Kids like making decisions. While it is easier to be an authoritarian parent, what you’re teaching your child is to submit to orders no matter what. Instead, teach your child to make decisions, and he’ll grow up much more capable — and happier. Kids like freedom and decisions, just like any other human beings. Your job is to allow them to make decisions, but within the parameters that you set. Give them a choice between two healthy breakfasts, for example, rather than allowing them to eat a bowl of sugar if they choose to.
  6. A little patience goes a long way. As a parent, I know as well as anyone how easy it is to lose your patience and temper. However, allowing yourself to react in anger or frustration is not the best thing for your child, and you must remember that. That means you need to take a deep breath, or a walk, when you start to lose your patience. Practice patience with your child and your relationship, and your child, will benefit over the long run.
  7. Sense of humor required. There will be times when your child does something that might make you blow your lid — writing in crayon all over the walls is a good one, as is dumping some kind of liquid on your couch, or sneaking out and taking your car to meet up with friends. While you need to teach your child not to do these things, it’s better to just laugh at the humor in the situation. I’ve learned to do this more often, and it helps me keep my sanity.
  8. Read to them, often. Whether you’re a reader or not, reading to your children (from the time they’re babies onward) is crucial. It gets them in the habit of reading, and prepares them for a lifetime of learning. It gives you some special time together, and become a tradition your child will cherish. I read with all my children, from my 2-year-old and my 15-year-old, and love every word we read together.
  9. boy_dad_fixDon’t be the absent dad. The biggest mistake that dads make are not being there for their children. Always, always set aside time each day and each week for your children. Don’t let anything violate this sacred time. And at those big moments in your child’s life — a soccer game, a music recital, a science fair — do you very best to be there. It means the world.
  10. Let them play. Kids really develop through playing — and while it might seem obvious, you should allow them as much free play as possible. That’s aside from TV and video games (see below), aside from reading, aside from anything structured or educational. Just let them play, and make things up, and have fun.
  11. Spark their imagination. Free play, mentioned above, is the best way to develop the imagination, but sometimes you can provide a little spark. Play with your kids, creating forts, dressing up as ninjas, role playing, imagining you’re explorers or characters in a movie or book … the possibilities are endless, and you’ll have as much fun as they will.
  12. Limit TV and video games. I’m not saying you have to be Amish or anything, but too much of this type of entertainment keeps them from doing more imaginative playing, from reading, from getting outside to exercise. I recommend an hour a day of “media time”, but you can find the amount that works for you and your family.dad
  13. Learn the “firm no”. While I’m all for giving kids the freedom to choose, and for free play, and lots of other freedoms, there should be limits. Parents who don’t set boundaries are going to have children with behavior problems, who have problems when they grow up. And if it’s not good to always say “yes”, it’s also not good for the child to say “no” at first … and then cave in when they throw a temper tantrum or beg and plead. Teach them that your “no” is firm, but only say “no” when you really feel that it’s a boundary you need to set.
  14. Model good behavior. It’s one thing to tell you child what she should do, but to say one thing and do another just ruins the message. In fact, the real lesson your child will learn is what you do. Your child is always watching you, to learn appropriate behavior. Excessive drinking or smoking or drug use by parents, for example, will become ingrained in the child’s head. Bad manners, inconsiderate behavior, sloppy habits, anger and a negative attitude, laziness and greed … all these behaviors will rub off on your child. Instead, model the behavior you’d like your child to learn.
  15. thumbnail.aspxTreat their mother with respect, always. Some fathers can be abusive toward their spouse, and that will lead to a cycle of abuse when the child grows up. But beyond physical or verbal abuse, there’s the milder sin against the child’s mother: disrespectful behavior. If you treat your child’s mother with disrespect, your child will not only learn that behavior, but grow up with insecurities and other emotional problems. Treat your child’s mother with respect at all times.
  16. Let them be themselves. Many parents try to mold their child into the person they want their child to be … even if the child’s personality doesn’t fit that mold. Instead, instill good behaviors and values in your child, but give your child freedom to be himself. Children, like all humans, have quirks and different personalities. Let those personalities flourish. Love your child for who he is, not who you want him to be.
  17. Teach them independence. From an early age, teach your children to do things for themselves, gradually letting them be more independent as they grow older. While it may seem difficult and time-consuming to teach your child to do something that you could do much faster yourself, it’s worth it in the long run, for the child’s self-confidence and also in terms of how much you have to do. For example, my kids know how to wash their own dishes, help clean the house, clean their rooms, fold and put away laundry, shower, groom and dress themselves, and much more — saving a lot of time and work for me. Even my 2-year-old knows how to pick things up when she’s told to do so.
  18. Stand together with mom. It’s no good to have one parent say one thing, just to have the other contradict that parent. Instead, you and mom should be working together as a parenting team, and should stand by each other’s decisions. That said, it’s important that you talk out these decisions beforehand, so that you don’t end up having to support a decision you strongly disagree with.

 

 

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What was the most memorable moment you have of your father? As you sit  pondering the issue, think about  how does one go about picking out the most memorable moment out of so many that have gone before? Would the most memorable one be that one instance that is difficult to erase from one’s memory bank? The one some one one can freeze in a memory bubble, and take it out and view it every time one thinks of his or her father?

Is it recalling the first time this most important man in one’s life held you, tickled you, tucked you in, or gave you a welcoming smile after returning home from that first day of school?

Most kids  wish their fathers knew more   about them: their Challenges, their Emotions, their Lives. With that feedback, what follows are the ten things that teenagers with their fathers knew about teenagers.

1.29352pcn-selena56-thumb “I am not a child anymore.” Almost more than anything, teens want respect for their status as maturing young adults. Continuing to be treated as a child feels demeaning. Fathers recognize, however, that teens come in varying stages of maturity, and it is important to tailor your reactions to your teen’s level. As they reach early teen-hood, try to be aware of their situation and work at treating them a little more at an adult level.

2. “I act like I’m ready to be an adult, but I am scared to death of becoming one.” Whether or not your teen is ready to be treated like an adult, he or she is typically overwhelmed with that impending responsibility. Recognize that for all the bravado a teenager can muster, there is significant fear of the unknown. Dads who are able to blend a little respect with a little sensitivity for their situation can be a great resource for their teens.

3. “Friends are becoming more important to me.” Part of the transition process through which teens progress is moving from dependence on parents to independence. It is a process that we support and are excited about as fathers—after all, we want our children to become responsible, independent adults at some point. Part of that process involves a gradual separation from parents to others, including friends. This is natural, expected and appropriate. So don’t be too concerned or get hurt feelings when your teens would rather “hang out” with friends than stay home and play games with the family.

4. “I question lots of things that I didn’t used to question.” A big part of the maturation process is learning to think and feel for one’s self. Teens who were very obedient children may start questioning why they do things that you tell them to do. They may question your judgment. They may question basic beliefs and values that your family has embraced. This questioning process is healthy and normal. Try to stay available to help them through some of that questioning process if the opportunity presents itself.

5. “My hormones are doing weird things to me, and I can’t tell you why. We have noticed with our sons that when they become teens, they become short-tempered and tend to raise their voices a lot, especially when they are under stress. They may start feeling uncomfortable around friends of the opposite sex, even when they have been friends for years. They may want posters on the wall of which you do not approve. But mostly, they just feel—they don’t necessarily understand why. Recognize that hormones may be at the root of some uncomfortable teenage behaviors. However, don’t let them use it as an excuse. Teach them that even though it is hard, hormones and “flash points” can be controlled.

6. “I hate ‘THE LOOK.” Moms and dads develop over time what teenagers know as THE LOOK. This may be expressed in il_fullxfull.269595596a stare, glare or grimace that lets them know they are in trouble. Keeping the lines of communication open can minimize the times you use THE LOOK and can help them identify other ways of knowing that they are causing you stress.

7. “Sometimes, I just need to be alone. Teens have a tendency to withdraw a little while they are figuring out their world. They may be pretty chatty with their friends, but may retreat into their own space when at home. This tendency is also natural and for the most part should not be alarming. If it becomes extreme, then you should be concerned.

8. “Sometimes, I just want you to listen.” Dads often tend to want to be problem-solvers and jump right into a conversation with advice. Resist that temptation and try from time to time to just listen. Many times conversations between parents and teenagers is a chance for a teen to “work it out on their own” with you listening in. Give them that chance to learn to deal with life’s issues rationally and reasonably without you jumping in to solve the issues.

9familyLLS11. “I need you to be consistent.” While teens often rebel at parental authority, they expect and feel most comfortable when parents stick by rule and behave consistently. Don’t constantly change curfews—have a rule and stick with it. The consistency will help give your teen something to rely on—an anchor in the storm of life.

10. “Walk your talk.” Teens get frustrated when parents say one thing and do another. Keep your commitments—they would rather have no promise than a broken one. If we have a family rule about television or video games, mom and dad should live by the rule as well. Set a good example and keep your commitments, and your teen will have greater respect for you.

~Any man can be a father.  It takes someone special to be a dad.  ~

 

 

Thank you Dad for all the memories, but most of all, thank you for being there.

Our Family 2 Yours

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