Parents do you know what this means?

Do you know what this means: %*@:-( ?   Or this: ~~#ZZZZZZ ?

If you do not then you are not a teen that is using drugs or alchohol.  Parents check out this article and understand the importance of communication with your teens.

There are some great resources in this article that you can refer to that will help decipher the codes being used in messaging.

Student demonstrates spirit of Charity

We have been discussing the word charity at our school.  One of our students demonstrated a great spirit of giving without expecting anything in return this year with his own personal birthday party.  Joey is now 9 years old and in lieu of accepting gifts at his party, he made the following request.

He asked his friends to bring a food donation to his party.  Then this week he delivered the food to the Lighthouse Shelter personally.

His dad said, “We have found this practice to be helpful in delivering the message that there are many people in need of our help and we should also be thankful for the lives that we do have.”

Thank you Joey for putting into action the lessons you have learned about charity.  Great job!

How we think:  When we have a situation come up that is daunting, how many of us get to feeling that “we cannot do this”, or “oh this is a terrible situation”, or “this is too hard for me to do”.  When we start thinking like that we can very easily come up with all sorts of reasons why we cannot do the task.  That is how our brain works.  It looks through all of its files for proof for what we are thinking or feeling. 

Once we find one or more reasons that this task cannot be done by me, our body and mind shuts down and we make a decision not to do it or a decision not to even try.  We have convinced ourselves of these ‘facts’. 

The example I use with the students is riding a bicycle.  I am sure that all of us had our spills as we began to learn to ride a bike.  We would fall and someone would pick us up and we would try again.  Over and over we would do this till one day it happened for us.  We were riding, no one was holding the bike and we were controlling the whole experience. 

What if though when we had fallen off the bike at the beginning for the second or third time someone said to us, “You stink at bike riding!”, “you are never going to get it”, you always fall off”.  How would you have felt?  It would have been very discouraging and the next time you climbed up on the bike it may not have been with the same enthusiasm and belief that this was going to be the time that you would do it all by yourself.  You had placed in your mind negative thoughts and ideas and now your attitude had become negative too.

That would not have been a very good friend that was speaking to us in that manner.  In fact when I talk to the kids about this they tell me that they would never talk to a friend that way.  So I ask them what would you say to your friend that is falling off of their bike? 

They tell me that they would use encouraging words like, “you can do it’, “you almost did it that time”, “I had the same experience and I finally got it – you will too”, Keep trying, you will get it”.  Yes they had all kinds of ideas of encouraging things to say.  If we had a friend like that, we would learn to ride the bike pretty quickly because of all the positive energy around us.  Our thoughts and feeling would be positive and of course our actions would become positive results.

Now here is the question. If you would not talk to a friend with those kind of negative thoughts, why would you ever talk to yourself that way?  Our self talk is many times so mean and we will say things to ourselves that we would never say to a friend.  So I encourage you to talk to yourself in a way that creates a positive feeling rather than a negative one.  Ask yourself when you hear the negative way of thinking coming out if you would talk to a friend that way.  If what you are saying to yourself you would not say to a friend, then choose not to say it to yourself.  Treat yourself the way you would treat others.  You deserve it. 

This is not an idea of making everything positive all the time and living in La La Land. No you are your own best friend, so treat yourself that way.  Talk to yourself in a positive way and you will find that you will have a positive attitude and will accomplish more with the skills that you have.

Attitude: 3 things that control our attitude

I know of no parent that has not said to one of their children, “ Don’t give me an attitude!”.  We all know that we are talking about a bad attitude – one that is negative and disrespectful.  Yet most of us if we were truthful with ourselves would have to admit that from time to time we too have that “bad attitude”.   Interestingly in a recent article in the journal; Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics (April, 2009) that it is true that there are some people who are just more positive than others, but that only 50% of happiness is determined genetically.  Where do you think the rest of ability to be positive and happy came from?  Yes it was ourselves.

There are three things that only we have control over that have an affect on our attitude, whether we are 5 years old or 85.  They are how we feel, think and act.  I am sure you have seen this before.  If someone is thinking and feeling things in an optimistic way, they also act in a positive way.  If they think and feel more pessimistically, then they act in a negative way no matter how hard they try to cover it up and “act” positive.  

The way we see the world, how we feel it is treating us, the way we think and act influences in a great way our Attitude.  It affects our relations with others including our closest friends, to how we respond to events in our lives and even the very mundane day to day life.  

So what is attitude and can we choose the attitude we want to have?  What influence do we have on our children when it comes to their attitude?  Can we help them to approach their day in a more positive way?  As parents we influence how our children see the world, so what are strategies do you use to have a positive attitude?

Disaster in Gulf creates a challenge for us

All of us have been watching the disaster that is occurring in the Gulf with the oil spill.  I am not sure how anyone else feels, but I am literally sick to my stomach about this event and worried sick about what the long term effects are going to be on the environment and the people of these regions.

Since the first week I have asked myself, What can I do?  What could we as a school do to have some positive effect for the environment and the people involved.   I was paralyzed.  I not only did not know – but I was getting to a point that it was hard for me to watch one more minute of the reports.

Today though I came upon a group that all of us can help and I would like to propose that we find a way to do so.  Here is the website for you to look at.

Which one of our students will step up and make a plan to get our school, city and county involved with some solutions to the problem.  Taking action is the right thing to do.  Sitting around and complaining about what others are not doing is not the way students at Balanced Life Skills want to react to challenges.