Focus on listening shows respect

All of us like to be heard, listened to and shown respect for our thoughts.  This is true, whether we are 3 years old or 83 years old.  While we know how to listen with respect, (eyes on the person, nodding at appropriate times, engaged in the conversation), as parents we need to be sure we follow those rules when we are being spoken to by our children no matter what their age.  It was very funny in the classes this past week, that all the kids knew the answers about how to listen and they were very engaged when we talked about a person who was looking at others or fidgeting when they were trying to talk.
The reason I found that amusing was that I find myself doing that from time to time.  Listening is such an important skill and one that I am continuing to work on.  I told some parents this week that sometimes I find myself not devoting my whole self to the person I am talking to especially when we are in between classes and there is so much activity.  Just to let you know that I am aware of this and I am working on keeping my focus on the conversation and the person I am talking to.  Don’t you just love the lessons the ‘kids’ are learning!!!!

Honesty about wants and needs

Have you heard of someone being tricked into believing something or someone that wasn’t true? Well of course we have and probably can recount stories of our own. One of the biggest threats that we and our children have today is the the marketing that takes place in the media.
There are many ways that we are enticed to buy products or services including big claims, use of vidid colors, saying “this is the best”, and bringing peer pressure on us and our children. Much of the marketing that takes place today is aimed at our children. As parents we need to be able to help our young ones understand what is happening and to be able to think for themselves to see if this is the best thing for them or just someone trying to sell them something.
How can we teach our children and maybe ourselves the difference between our needs and our wants? Sometimes I look at what I personally have and think of the many individuals and families in the world that do not have the quantity of food or housing that we feel is required for us. In fact I believe that in our quest to be kinder to the earth and world, one way would be to reduce the amount we consume. Not just recycle or reuse, but first reduce.

Commencement Speech

On June the 6th I gave the commencement speech at Benfield Elementary school. This is a re-recording of this speech. In the coming weeks I will be posting some items here that will hopefully help parents and students make the transition into middle school.
This speech is a mix of Dr. Seuss and thoughts on choices and respect.

April Word of the Month: Gratitude

Over the next few days I will be writing some notes about gratitude and listing some of the things that I am grateful for on a day to day basis. It is very powerful for me to sit and think about what it is that I am grateful for. Especially this is true when I think of all that has been given to me and shared with me.
I am very grateful for my wife, and I am feeling that even more over the last few days. She has been visiting our daughter in California (29th birthday) and I have been here holding down the fort. The first day was very hard and I got very little done. So I am happy that she is on her way home in the morning and I will be very happy to have her around again.
I am also very thankful for all of our students and their parents. It just seems that we have attracted the very kind of people that I enjoy being around. I am thankful for that.
I am going to mention very quickly Mr. Tom Callos. Some of you have heard me speak of him. I will be telling you more about the impact he has had on my life as a person as well as an instructor.
Well there are a couple of ones from me. What are you grateful for? Please leave them in comment for me and come back often as you spend this month of April considering this.