Just about everyone knows about the benefits of appreciation. There is much talk about this topic using the words gratitude and thankfulness. While some people really feel appreciation at a deep level, others do not. Since appreciation is one of the essential keys to joyful living, it is in our best interests to learn how to do it at a level that is truly tangible. Learn appreciation? Teach appreciation? Yes, it is a skill to learn, teach, expand, acknowledge, and discuss. So, how can we teach this skill to ourselves and children?
You teach it by focusing on an ordinary, everyday item.
For example! Since this website supports middle schoolers everywhere, we’ll use a commonly found item in classrooms across the globe…the pencil sharpener. Yes, a pencil sharpener can teach appreciation. Let’s begin at the very beginning…literally.
First, raw materials must be extracted and obtained from the Earth and purified. This takes an incredible number of steps, machines, transportation methods, planning, and people. Just ponder the process of obtaining the materials needed to make one single pencil sharpener!
Next, designers and engineers create not only a functioning pencil sharpener, but one that will withstand classroom usage. Having been in classrooms in multiple states in multiple grade levels, it is vital to have pencil sharpeners that can withstand all kinds of usage. Sometimes, the pencil sharpener takes a lot of abuse from frustrated students. Durability is key.
Also, pencil sharpeners that aren’t working create a significant disturbance during lessons so my appreciation for pencil sharpeners that work and work well and quietly is huge! A pencil sharpener that stays sharp is reason enough for appreciation. A pencil sharpener’s case that comes off and back on easily is a big reason for appreciation.
I could go on and on with the details of a pencil sharpener to demonstrate the teaching of appreciation. How about an eraser? Pencil? Pen? Ruler? Paper? The point is to go deep into the details about an object to feel appreciation. It’s too easy to skim over the essentials of our lives. Stopping to go into the details of any object will develop one’s ability to deeply feel appreciation. It can be taught. It can be something that one routinely utilizes to have appreciation for all of life.
If I could get everyone on Earth to be okay with allowing other options and choice, I think there would be world peace in a matter of minutes. When we try to overpower, control, and manipulate others, it leads to only rebellion, dissension, and resentment…even on a small scale.
As a parent, yes, there are times we must be the ones in charge especially if we see our children headed to difficult situations. However, 99% of the time, we can offer the refreshing opportunity of choice and options. Why? 1. The old parenting paradigm of top-down parenting is outdated, and frankly, quite useless on the enlightened, empowered humans entering bodies these days. It just doesn’t work. “Kids these days just aren’t what they used to be.” Yes, exactly! We need to alter the ways we parent them. 2. Everyone loves choices. It’s natural to want to choose. This Earthly experience is filled with choice everywhere. That is what makes it so awesome to live on this planet! We all naturally want choice. So do middle schoolers. And, 3. It is important to provide decision-making opportunities so that your child will be a decision-making adult.
Use as little as possible: must, ought to, and should. These limit, restrict, and narrow one’s life so use them only if necessary. “You should get clean before bedtime because you’ll feel better while sleeping.” “You could get clean before bedtime because you’ll feel better while sleeping.” Both have the same message. The child knows what you want in both sentences, BUT, one demands it. One gives the opportunity for the child to choose.
In this scenario, whether the child showers before bed or showers in the morning probably has little effect on the overall quality of his or her life. It is, however, a great opportunity for decision-making. The natural consequences of the choice will surface and be the teaching agent as the child may feel dirty, gross, and oily during the night. Yucky, stinky sheets may soon be evident. Or, on the other hand, the child will experience how nice it is to feel fresh while sleeping and the improved sleeping experience will be evident in the morning.
Either way, the child was afforded the opportunity to choose and experience the freedom of options. By eliminating these words: must, ought to, and should, you offer your child much for the preparation for adulthood.
Teens, middle schoolers, and even some preteens have BO, or body odor. Sometimes, it’s nose-tingling, nose-penetrating, and nose-irritating BO!
Teaching middle school is a sensory job in many ways. For example, the “wall” of sound that comes down the hallway even before students are visible as they enter the school building in the morning is very tangible. Being in a classroom with 25-30 other beings trying to focus their minds on correct sentence structure is very tangible, too. And, then being caught in a cloud of major BO from a passing student is very…ahem…priceless. Believe me, I’ve smelled mild to terrible BO as a former middle school teacher of 10 years.
I bring this subject to your attention because it’s an important one. Personal hygiene is essential for many reasons. Teens, with their changing bodies, may not be aware of how they smell or may not be keeping up with the changes literally exuding out from them.
So, it is your job as the parent to take on the role of graciously informing your child, insisting on more showers, and leading them down the deodorant aisle at the drug store.
It can be a lot of fun, too! Laugh with your daughter as you smell her hair and report back that it smells like very old cheese. Laugh with your son as you drag his hockey, baseball, or whatever sport shoes from the closet with a clothespin on your nose. Pretend to be overly sensitive to the odor emanating from a shirt in the laundry. With this situation, good-natured humor can be the avenue to getting through this life phase with light-hearted family fun.
If your child is more sensitive, however, private conversation with few jokes will be best. Explore online shopping options with deodorants, antiperspirants, preferably ones without aluminum, perfumes, and soaps. For females, many “monthly” personal hygiene products are available. Discussing how normal and wonderful this process is, although odorous, will assist your child to accept it, move through it, and know there is an end to it.
What about the other smelly kids at your child’s school? You are sure to hear stories of how so-n-so smells especially in middle school. You can donate clothes and personal hygiene products for the school nurse or administration to hand out as needed. Donations are always appreciated.
As with any situation in life, you always have options with everything. BO is no exception! Taming body smells can be a source of family fun, education, and bonding.
“Freedom is within. There is no separation,” my inner voice said.
I just love the simple wisdom that can come through during a quiet time. Since receiving this message, I’ve been thinking about it, repeating it, and contemplating its meaning daily. I have it programmed into my phone to pop up at various times throughout the day.
But, what do these two sentences mean?
Whatever we want for our lives always first comes from within, and this includes the desire for freedom. Being free to have jobs we enjoy while abundantly compensated for our time, being free to have positive relationships with all people, nature, and objects, and being free to pursue life dreams all encompass freedom. It begins with a thought, a tug, a gut feeling, a mental nudging. Yes, freedom is within.
What is freedom to a teen? A middle schooler? A pre-teen? Ask your child. He may begin with comments such as, “Having no homework.” Or you may hear her say, “Not having to make my bed every day.” Encourage your child to look beyond everyday necessities to big picture freedoms…to life dream freedoms. How about the freedom to have pleasant conversation with all teachers? How about the freedom to get along with peers? Certainly, the freedom to have fun time on weekends would be valued.
All these desires begin within. First inside, then outside. First, desires bumble about in one’s private thoughts and feelings. When they become strong enough or loud enough, they’ll show up in the exterior world. To the degree the thoughts are crystal clear and focused upon, is the degree they’ll show up in the exterior world.
For example, one who desires positive relationships with all peers will want to focus upon having only this. Any attention to negative relationships will create a barrier or a speed bump to the desire. In this example, it is clear that freedom is within. That’s where our creation power is.
There is no separation.
I can not emphasize enough the importance of ONENESS for every day living. This is what is meant by There is no separation.We humans all enter these bodies from Source, and we will all leave our bodies and return to Source. We are all droplets of Source…every single one of us. It makes looking at that annoying person in a whole new light. There is no separation means that we are all on life journeys in borrowed body suits trying to have the best experiences right now.
Understanding there is no separation is key to having freedom. When a person is behaving negatively, she has forgotten Who She Really Is (Source) and need a loving reminder. When someone is grouchy, it is because he forgot his real identity…Source in a body on a life journey.
There is a circle of continuously entering and leaving droplets of Source (AKA humans, animals, trees, and so forth) for this Earthly experience. We are all part of it. It makes looking at that bothersome neighbor in a whole new light.
Thinking (Freedom is within.) of how we are all droplets of Source (There is no separation.) creates a higher, better, and lighter experience of living. Teaching this to your children will definitely assist in dealing with any annoying, irritating, and frustrating interactions with other droplets of Source. What a great way to address situations that test one’s patience!
Facebook is filled with thousands of graduation photos this time of the year. Many families post images of their celebratory gatherings. What a wonderful time to highlight academic achievements!
Experiencing my own daughter’s graduation some time ago, I wrote several articles dealings with this special time. I delved deep into what graduation means, how to hang onto those graduation dreams, and the powerful parental love that teenagers may or may not truly realize till later in their lives.
Graduation is one of many subjects included in my most recent published books – Parenting Gems Volume I and II. However, Volume II contains the five graduations articles along with 42 other articles on various topics. Check out the table of contents here: https://www.amazon.com/Parenting-Gems-Raising-Empowered-Balanced-ebook/dp/B079K5Z17R/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1527827217&sr=8-6&keywords=Lizabeth+Jenkins+dale.
Both volumes are filled with short, yet quite empowering parental messages that foster peace, joy, and cooperation in homes everywhere. As graduation photos fade into the past, hang onto those graduation dreams by remembering what graduation really is for you and for your child.
Parental control is a fallacy. It simply doesn’t exist. This claim may create fear in some parents, but by understanding this truth – that parental control doesn’t exist – and what to do instead, it will provide parents the “control” they desire.
The truth is that beyond conception, children are completely autonomous. They decide to breathe, live, grow, learn, and yes, only they decide to be cooperative, peaceful, and joyful on their own.
A few years into my own parenting of my child, I asked what was the thing that allowed my child to be agreeable? To want to be cooperative with me? To express delight with life? I realized it was joy, love, peace and her innate desire for these things to be part of her life. Since she was experiencing them from me, she automatically allowed me to experience them from her.
Even as she entered the seemingly dreadful middle school years, she was still agreeable, cooperative, and joyful. Some people have said that I was lucky to get such an easy-going child. Luck? Really, now. Luck? With the “chance/luck” kind of understanding, we parents are all either blessed with a lucky child or doomed with an unlucky child? Really? No way. I don’t believe that fallible theology.
So, what is the difference when every child has equal opportunity to be miserable, uncooperative, and ornery or pleasant, joyful, and cooperative?
The difference: A parent who is one who has aligned him or herself with the goodness of life so much that his or her children naturally want to exhibit the qualities of peace, joy, and cooperation in response to the parents’ positive energy.
By the goodness of life I mean seeing the positive in all situations, knowing that All Is Well no matter what is happening, believing that clarity always follows chaos, and, most importantly, believing in the goodness, rightness, and perfection of one’s children.
With that kind of parental leadership, what kind of child would only want to exhibit peace, joy, and cooperation? Every child.
Have I raised an eyebrow or two with some of my comments? Yes, I do believe in the perfection of children. “Yeah, but you haven’t seen my child!” you say? “He’s a rebellious nightmare!” “She drives me crazy making mistakes all day long!”
There is absolute perfection in your child’s mistakes. Oxymoron? Nope, and here’s why. When your child makes a mistake, it is your parental opportunity. Did your child lie? Steal? Cheat? Embarrass another? Gossip? These mistakes are your parental opportunity to remind your child exactly who he or she really is – pure positive Love. By lying, stealing, cheating, embarrassing, or gossiping, a child temporarily forgot who he or she really is – pure positive Love- because when anyone is filled with Love, one never lies, steals, cheats, embarrasses, or gossips.
It is a perfect system perfectly designed by Source (God, Divine, or whatever you label Creator) to provide us parents with opportunities to exhibit pure positive Love, peace, joy, and cooperation because isn’t that what we want to experience with our children?
So when your children make mistakes, and they will, how do you react? React with pure positive Love, peace, joy, and cooperation. Use the situation as a perfect parental opportunity. See the situation as an opportunity for your child to learn about Earthly living. So it is a perfect situation, yes? I think so.
Allow your children to experience the natural consequences of the mistakes vs. punishment. Natural consequences may include experiencing estranged friendship from gossiping, personally having to return stolen item to the store owner, apologizing for lying to a neighbor, making amends to the person the the embarrassed child, etc. And, when a child is older: paying for a wrecked car, loss of job due to stealing, loss of friend due to gossiping, etc. These natural consequences are by far better teachers than any punishment a parent could impose.
Children behave not because of parental control, but because of knowing they are pure positive Love, because of experiencing peace, joy, and cooperation from their parents, because of being reminded of their innate desire for these things, and because parents see the perfection of their children. Peace, joy, and cooperation become their choices of action because there is no real parental control. It all comes from within children.
A parent who aligns with pure positive Love, peace, joy, and cooperation as much as possible leads his or her children to do the same. Do we parents want our children to align with the goodness of life so much that our children naturally want to exhibit the qualities of peace, joy, and cooperation in response to our positive energy? Oh yes we do! Demonstrate it for them and reap the rewards.
In a world of seemingly unending irritating behaviors from both those around us and from our own selves, can a person really change into something more positive? Yes, and I have proof!
In three easy steps…no, not going there with this article. While sudden shifts in one’s life can happen, it’s not the norm so I’m not going to write it as such. With focus, desire, and belief, one can make gradual, calm shifts.
Here’s my transformation story. As long as I can remember, I have had an intense fear of bees. Upon hearing the buzz, even if it’s on TV or behind glass as in a display at the zoo, my body would immediately react. My heart rate would soar, my palms would become sweaty, and I would leave the area with quick pace.
Outside, the reaction was even more extreme. In addition to the physical responses, I would scream and run from the area – sometimes dropping whatever was in my hands to get inside the house as soon as possible. At the pool as a child, I would simply run to the water, jump in, and stay under the water till I deemed it safe.
When I was in third grade, a yellow jacket stung me behind my left leg. Often when outside, I would check this same place repeatedly to be sure no bee was there.
Sitting down at bench was no small task for me as I would check it first for any hiding bees who might want to sting me. For as long as I can remember, I was constantly on alert for bees – not a fun “job” when trying to enjoy the outdoors. I wanted more for my life.
I have a friend who is really good at talking to angels. (http://rosemarieswanson.com) Wanting to clear this fear out of my life, I asked her the source of my bee phobia. She said I was stung to death in another lifetime. That’s a big event and a big issue to resolve! Knowing this information wasn’t enough. I had to release the fear energetically. But how?
Before I tell you how I was able to clear my fear, I really want to convey the importance of eliminating unwanted behaviors, fears, responses, etc. from your life by going beyond therapy. Talk is helpful to a point. It is much, much easier to remove those unwanted traits by using an energetic method in addition to talking.
I wanted to live in harmony with nature and that included bees. I admire them and the work they do. In fact, we humans can’t live without them, but this intense fear got in the way despite my admiration.
Here are the effective techniques that made my transformation happen: I used focus, desire, and belief to eliminate my fear of bees. I asked The Universe (God, Divine, or whatever name you use to represent Pure Creative Love) to remove my fear as much as could be done at this time. I repeated this request as I worked in the yard when a bee was near. Layer by layer, the fear eased and shifted into “no-more-in-Lizabeth’s-life” status.
I used a technique called “The Healing Code” promoted by Dr. Alexander Loyd, a Christian doctor who received/heard the code. (http://thehealingcodes.com) When I use this code, I can literally feel the energetic shifts happening in my body.
I used visualization which is an energetic form of healing. Seeing the fear leave my body during meditation was a really effective technique. Humorously, I visualize angels coming with a vacuum cleaner to get every bit of the fear so that it is completely gone. Hey, I use what works!
And, I claimed my birthright to be free of fear. We are not in these bodies on life journeys to be stuck. We are on these life journeys to experience the fullness of life with empowerment.
I now work in the yard without what I call an “irrational sudden freak out.” My heart doesn’t automatically pound, I stay in the area of where bees are, and, amazingly, I even work right beside the bees, too. It’s quite a transformation.
And, obviously, teach these techniques to your children. Empower them to know they are never stuck and that they always have options with everything. Teach them to use the unseen, but tangible energies for their highest good, which, by the way, is for the highest good of everyone.
Use focus, desire, and belief to transform your world. It works!
Don’t let ‘em in! Catch ‘em! Catch those unwanted feelings, thoughts, and beliefs before they internalize into one’s experience. This is an essential part of self-regulating one’s life.
Those nasty thoughts that say we are not as good as others, that tell us we should be doing something else, that state we are bad, or even worse, that run negative emotional “tapes” over and over in our minds literally destroying our well-being.
Since these feelings, thoughts, and beliefs can do much harm for years, it is essential to catch ‘em before they enter. A mental gate of sorts is needed. Teaching this to children, and even adults, is an important life skill.
We can’t be in front of our child all the time being the guard of the gate, so children must be taught to be their own gate keeper. And, it can be a fun learning, too. Using imagery, a child can establish his or her own gate surrounding him or herself. What is it made of? Bricks? Stone? Wood? How tall is is? Flags at the top? What does the gate look like?
Now, establish the gate keeper. An angelic being? A replica of the child? A frog? Well…anything can be the gate keeper as long as it is effective!
This gate keeper allows the child to sense when negative feelings, thoughts, and beliefs are approaching the gate. Ah ha! Caught! Now, the empowered child has the option of accepting the feelings, thoughts, and beliefs or tossing them out. Yes, self-regulation is an essential life skill.
It’s January…a new year. Time to go for those new year’s resolutions. When having a quiet time today, I asked Source what was the best way for me to lose weight and gain body balance. The response? My thoughts.
Hmmmmmmm….seems like a pretty easy weight loss program! Then I got more information. Since thoughts create reality, my thoughts are the #1 tool to gaining body balance. “Mindful eating” came to me as well as “mindful non-eating.” That means be mindful when eating as well as when I’m not eating because the moments before eating are just as important as those when I am having breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Ah ha! It made sense and I loved the simplicity. Mindful exercise and mindful non-exercise. Mindful water drinking and mindful non-drinking. So it’s mindfulness all the time. It means keeping my thoughts positive toward the weight loss process which includes patience, patience, patience.
Of course, this can be applied to parenting: mindful all the time of our thoughts regarding our children, their progress, their life stages, their annoyances, their struggles, their successes, and so forth.
If mindfulness seems to be a daunting task, it’s worth giving it a try. Just setting the intention to be aware of your thoughts will bring about awareness if your thoughts are for you, for your children, and for your life or if they’re working against you.
Now, that’s empowerment! Because being aware is always the first step in being an empowered parent. Now you can choose your thoughts. You can shift from “I’m so glad my child is the smartest math child in her class,” to “I’m so glad my child is succeeding in math with such an awesome teacher.” Or shift from, “I’m pissed that John didn’t make his bed this morning,” to “I’m going to discuss tonight our options with the bed making routine.”
Living mindfully all the time, or as much as we can, empowers us 100% of the time we use this life skill. It provides opportunity to evaluate our thoughts to see if they’re working for us or not, and to change them. So much better than just living our lives with random thoughts creating our realities and then wondering why some beneficial and some not-so beneficial events happen in our lives. Mindfulness is quite empowering!