Posted in Family, Parenting

Do you have Grit?

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’ve had a busy week with work and kid events. I love my kid events. I love seeing how my kids have grown and changed from one year to the next. Sigh. They’re growing up so fast. I’m hoping I’m instilling in them resilience so they can navigate this tough, uncompromising world.

 

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I’ve been hearing rumblings that one of the factors needed for kids to be successful in life is grit.

 

What is Grit?

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To some it’s a small loose particle of stone or sand and that is one of its definitions, but it’s not the one I’m talking about. The grit I’m talking about is:

 

A distinct combination of passion, resilience, determination, and focus that allows a person to maintain the discipline and optimism to persevere in their goals even in the face of discomfort, rejection, and a lack of visible progress for years, or even decades.

 

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How do we develop grit in our children? That’s a good question and in my opinion, grit is like a muscle. It needs exercise to become stronger.

We develop grit in our kids by supporting what they’re passionate about and encouraging them through the learning process. I remember when my youngest was three and he was working with Transformers. It was difficult for him to change the transformer from a robot to a car and then back to a robot. I remember how upset he’d get when he was struggling to learn the process and I’d tell him to take a break. He refused. Even though he was crying, he wouldn’t stop until he mastered that Transformer. That’s grit.

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  He found something he wanted to achieve and he worked at it until he accomplished his goal, overcoming failure time and again. The next thing he wanted to do was learn how to read and he was reading before he started kindergarten. I had to read stories with him over and over again, until he felt he had accomplished his goal. That’s important, too. The fact that he chose when he felt he was successful.

 I believe part of developing grit is finding a passion. Something to strive for that gives us purpose. For me, it’s writing. I strive to constantly improve and make my stories better. I love writing, bringing characters to life and creating a story. Part of that process is weeding out what isn’t working. Sometimes we have to fail to be better.

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Having grit means that you’re aware failure is part of the process. This is important because if we don’t accept this concept then when we fail we may just give up.

It’s important for my kids to see me fail and struggle with my writing. Why? So they understand that failing is not something to be feared. It’s important to success because we learn more from our failures than we do our successes.  

If we develop the attitude we’re always learning then failure isn’t so scary. If parents hide their failures from their children, which many do, they’ll never learn that it’s okay to fail.

When you have grit, your will to succeed is stronger than your fear of failure. So lets encourage our kids to keep pursuing their dreams. They’ll get there when they’re supposed to and not one moment before. 

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. What do you think our kids will need to be successful? What’s your definition of grit? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

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Posted in Parenting, raising kids, Teen, Writing

Protecting Our Kids

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back after a busy week of revisions and editing. My revisions for my first MS have been sent off to my beta readers, and I’ve started editing my rough draft of my second one.  I’m crossing my fingers. The characters in these books have made me work hard and I’m proud of the results. Let’s hope the Beta readers like them.

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But enough about that. Last week I wrote a post about finding your passion because I’d done an author visit at one of the schools in the area. I received some emails from some of the students who enjoyed my presentation and I thought I’d share one of them with you.

 

Hi Lisa,

Thank you for coming to our school and talking to us 6th graders about your awesome books! I got the second book from the Super Spies series, and I am so excited to read it! Thank you for answering all of our questions. We learned a lot about being an author and how to write good stories!

Thanks Again!

 

When I get feedback like this, it makes all the hard work and sacrifices worth it. I love inspiring kids to step out of their comfort zones and pursue their dreams. After my presentation last week, some of the kids gathered around me and told me about the stories they were writing. Their enthusiasm was overwhelming and sparked my resolve to keep going with my writing.  It’s funny all it takes is spending some time with kids, and it urges me to keep pushing forward.

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Our kids are our most valuable resource. We need to protect them. It seems like our world is getting more and more dangerous and our kids are the ones suffering because of it. We have human traffickers, mass shootings, and child abuse.

 

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How do we protect our kids?

 

To protect our kids from human traffickers and child abuse we parents must be involved in our children’s lives. Most predators target kids who come from low income homes, whose parents are busy trying to make ends meet. They also target kids with low self-esteem. Kids who don’t have a role model to look up to. So in a nutshell, we have to do a better job at parenting.

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As for Mass shootings, better parenting is only half of the answer. We also need to have stronger communities. For those families whose circumstances aren’t ideal, the community should pull together and support them. Make sure the children don’t fall through the cracks and become victims of bullying and other stressors that affect teens. Once we’ve got those support systems in place, then we can move forward from there.

My next question for everyone is this. How do we go from an idealistic kid like the one above to a kid who’ll take a gun into a school and shoot up his classmates? If we can answer that question, we’ll be moving in the right direction.

Let me know your thoughts. Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in community, Family, Parenting, raising kids, Teen

Can we prevent Mass Shootings?

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m saddened by the events in the news this week. I’m talking about the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. How did a nineteen year old get a semi-automatic weapon?  Why are we selling these weapons to children? Yes, in my eyes a nineteen year old is still a child.

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We have to do something about this because our children, our best Natural Resource, won’t survive if they don’t stop killing each other. That means our species won’t survive. I know, you think I’m taking this to an extreme, but maybe we have to, to wake everyone up.

The question I have to ask is why? Why is this happening? Why does a young person become so despondent that the only answer for him is to go to school and shoot his classmates? And why are warning signs ignored?

To answer this question, I did a little research and found that most mass shooters are profoundly alienated from society and there are warning signs.  Mass shooters don’t become mass shooters overnight. They usually assault, abuse, or threaten people close to them. Domestic violence is something all shooters seem to have in common. But how do we as a society predict which abusers will become mass shooters and which ones won’t?

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Here’s an interesting article on what mass shooters have in common. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2017/09/14/what-do-most-mass-shooters-have-in-common-hint-it-isnt-politics-video-games-or-religion/?utm_term=.6c89f9ef1859

That is a good question and one we don’t have an answer for. So what is the answer? I’m not usually in favor of more regulation, but in this instance until we can find ways to predict who will become a shooter and who won’t, I feel more regulation is the way to go.

First of all, let’s stop these young kids from buying weapons.  No child or adult outside the military needs a semi-automatic weapon. They shouldn’t even be available for the public to purchase.

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We also need to go to the extreme where people who have a history of domestic violence are banned from buying weapons. These people don’t have to have convictions, just a history of it because we all know domestic violence rarely gets reported, and convictions are hard to get.

I know what you’re thinking, but it’s in the constitution, we have the right to bear arms.  You’re right it is in there, but our forefathers didn’t have assault weapons to deal with back when it was written.  I’m not saying all guns, but even the most staunch NRA supporter must see that the general public does not need semi-automatic weapons to defend themselves.

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The next thing we need to do is make our communities stronger, so these people who’ve been alienated from society won’t fall through the cracks. How do we do that? We do it by creating community centers where teens and adults can come together to be socially interactive.

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I would love to open up a community center in my town, especially for teens because the teen years are tough. I love the fact our schools have team sports and band and orchestra, but the problem with these programs is there’s a limit to how many kids can be in the program. What about the ones who don’t make it?

That’s where my community center would come into play. If money were no obstacle, I’d have a center where kids could come after school and play pick-up games of basketball or football. They’d be socially active and learn the skills of team play and how to compete fairly.

It’d be a place where they could hang out and do homework instead of going home alone and playing video games. I feel these community centers would alleviate the social isolation that many teens feel especially if they don’t make the team.  Team sports are wonderful, but like I said before, only so many kids make it.

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I’d have a counselor on staff so kids could talk to him for free and learn healthy coping mechanisms. Let’s face it, some kids aren’t getting the love and attention they need at home so what a great way to try and help those who don’t get the support they need.  I know this won’t solve all the problems, but it is a step in the right direction.

We as a society need to take care of our children. They are our most valuable Natural Resource so let’s do a better job of protecting them.

Bringing back community centers is one solution, but I’m sure there are others. What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment!

 

 

Posted in Parenting, Personal

Surviving the Teen Years

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’ve been busy this week with kid duties and writing. Although, I had to take a break for a couple of days because I got stuck on how to continue my story. On the second day, I went for a run and wouldn’t you know it, all I needed was some physical activity. The plot bunny worked itself out.

Then I got my first MS back from my friend/mentor, Sam, who’s finding all my little peccadillos for me. She truly is amazing and I love her! So, I’m planning on diving into that tonight and making my story that much more awesome!

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But enough about that. I struggled to come up with a topic for today’s post, but while in the shower, I thought of one and so without further ado, here it is.

I know it’s hard to believe but my kids love to push my buttons. They love to get under my skin, and they will take every opportunity to do it. For example, I hate it when someone burps or makes the farting noise at the dinner table. So of course, my boys do this every chance they get. I’ll be sitting there eating my dinner and one of them will start with the fart noise. I’ll look up from my plate and they’ll both be giggling. Here’s a typical scenario.

“Okay. Who did that?”

The boys will look at each other and start giggling harder. “We don’t know,” they’ll cry in unison. I’ll look at hubby, but he’s no help whatsoever because he’s laughing, too.

“Knock it off. You know I don’t like that sound at the dinner table.”

They’ll grow quiet until I look down at my plate again and that’s when another healthy fart sound will ripple through the atmosphere. Of course, things only get worse from this point on.  Every time I look down at my plate one of my little cherubs will rip an even louder one than the last time.

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I didn’t know what to do and many a meal has been ruined for me because of the shenanigans of these two adorable scalawags. Then one day I had an epiphany. I could be just as irritating to them. Instead of me getting all upset and ornery, why don’t I get on their last nerve like they get on mine? The light bulb in my mind turned on. I knew of a way to do it.

So the next day, while at the dinner table the little tricksters started in with their fart noises. I was  twirling spaghetti around my fork when one of them sent the fart sound out into the atmosphere. I immediately dropped my eating utensil and stood up and started singing.

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Yes. Singing. I started belting out the lyrics to the song “You are my sunshine.”

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After all, we could all use a little more sunshine in our lives, right? 😉

My boys’ reactions were instantaneous. They both covered their ears and started wailing. “Stop! Stop singing!”

And that’s when I was able to negotiate a deal. I told them I wouldn’t sing if they wouldn’t burp or make disgusting fart sounds. They agreed.

I will add a little side note here. My boys loved my singing when they were babies. I used to sing them to sleep. As soon as they entered the murky waters of the tween and teen years, they turned and no longer enjoy my musical talent.

See how quickly a liability can turn into an asset? It’s all in how you use it. Am I right or am I right?

You’re welcome. We parents need to stick together so we can all survive the teen years.

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Thanks for stopping by and reading my post today. Do you have any parenting tips you’d like to share? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Family, Future, Parenting, raising kids

What does our Future Hold?

 

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Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’ve been working hard on my current WIP. I’ve restarted it twice. I know. Crazy. But what can you do when you come up with a better beginning, right? Anyway, I have about 24,000 words into it and I feel good about them. They’re solid.

Anyway enough about that. Today I’m talking about the future for our kids. I just read an article that paints a dismal picture. Click the link to read: You Will Lose your Job to Robots

According to the article, the majority of the jobs we do will eventually be taken over by robots. This will result in mass unemployment for many people. The article focused on truck drivers and how we’ll soon have automatic pilots for our vehicles like many planes do.

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I’ve also heard jobs like Insurance agents and travel agents will be a thing of the past as well. Even doctors are going to be feeling the heat. Has anyone seen the movie, Big Hero Six? We’re going to have robots handling our health care. Robots will be asking, “On a scale of one to ten, how do you rate your pain?” Then administering medication for us.

 

So this leads me to the question. How do I guide my children to a career that will support them and their families when they get older?

Are we destined for a future like the movie Walle?

Where all the humans are overweight and all they do is eat and ride around on motorized chairs? I sure hope not.

 

I’ve heard  Intellectual Capitalism will be where the jobs are. Check out this post: Intellectual Capitalism

Writers, artists, and creators will be in demand, but the first article tells a different story. That author feels that Artificial Intelligence will become better and better surpassing its human counterparts as fast as 2045.

Yikes! That sounds scary to me. Technology has grown by leaps and bounds. It changes so fast we can’t keep up. What does the future hold for the next generation? How can we prepare our kids for the future?

Should I be steering them toward a career in Artificial Intelligence Mechanics? After all, someone’s got to keep those robots running.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. How do you feel about the future? Optimistic? Or do you feel as if we’re putting ourselves out of business fast? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Family, Parenting, raising kids, Teen

The Time I met A Sociopath

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week. I’ve changed the beginning of my latest WIP and now I suspect I’m going to have to rewrite the story.  Oy!  But it’ll be worth it in the long run because the story will be better, grittier. That’s my hope anyway.

But enough about that. Today I’d like to talk about a new friend who has entered the group my son hangs out with. He’s a smart little guy who we’ll call Damien (not his real name). Right from the beginning hubby and I thought there was something off about Damien. He’d call and ask my son if he could come over and spend the night. My oldest would ask us and we’d say, “Sure. Why not. Have his parents drop him off after four.”

My oldest would inevitably return and say, “His parents prefer that you pick him up.”

Well. We thought maybe there was something going on in the family where they weren’t able to drop him off, so the first time we obliged and picked him up.  However, this started to become a pattern, and we noticed other things too. Damien could tell real whoppers. I’ve never heard a kid lie with such ease. Hubby and I started discussing how something wasn’t quite right about this kid.

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We were perplexed, but we didn’t want to tell our oldest about our misgivings until we had more evidence than just a weird vibe.  A few weeks later, I happened to chat with one of the parents of another friend. We’ll call him Mitchell. Mitchell’s dad had seven hundred dollars’ worth of X-box games charged to his credit card. It wasn’t done all at once, but at times when Mitchell was with him (Mitchell’s parents are divorced), and he believes Damien must have somehow gotten his credit card number because Mitchel would ask before he’d charge anything to his dad’s card. Mitchell’s dad also went on to say that Mitchell had thirty five dollars in his piggy bank and the money had mysteriously disappeared.  Later that day,  Damien pulls a wad of bills out of his pocket states, “I want to buy Mitch a game.”

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Damien flaunted his cash in front of Mitch’s dad. Now, the dad’s totally suspicious but he has no proof so he doesn’t say anything to the kid. After I heard this story, alarm bells went off in my head. I shared this info with my boss who shook his head and said, “That’s sociopathic tendencies right there.”

Click here to see what Sociopathic tendencies are: Sociopathic Tendencies

I totally freaked because my mind immediately goes to serial killer.

 

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When I got home from work that night I shared this info with my hubby and after doing a little research, we sat down with our oldest and explained why we wanted him to distance himself from Damien. I listed the characteristics of the sociopathic personality and my son listened and he agreed with quite a few of them, especially the one about lying.

My son has distanced himself from Damien, he’s still in the group of boys he eats lunch with, but that’s the only interaction they have together. He doesn’t come over to spend the night anymore. Phew! Crisis averted!

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I can see this kid when he’s older getting caught doing something illegal. Maybe he goes to a store and steals something. I can see him blaming it on his companion without feeling any guilt.  Sociopaths have no moral compass and that’s bad news for anyone who ends up being friends with them.

It’s fodder for a story, because as you know real life is stranger than fiction, but it’s also another example of why parents need to be involved in their kids’ lives. If we hadn’t been, this situation could’ve escalated into something irreversible.

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Sociopaths are among us. Most of them haven’t suffered child abuse or been neglected so there’s no way to tell who they are until you get to know them. Your child doesn’t have the life experience to understand the consequences of hanging out with someone like this, and the sociopath is manipulative. He can easily gain control in the relationship.

I’m still shocked I’ve seen one in action at such a young age. Sorry. I’m not a psychologist, but I totally feel this kid is one. To what degree, I can’t say, but I know he’s heading down the wrong road. Luckily,  my son won’t be travelling with him.

How about you? How do you handle it when one of your kids brings home someone who’s headed down the wrong road? Does your child listen or does he defend the kid? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

 

Posted in Future, Parenting

What Should We be Teaching our Future Generations?

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m talking about some vital skills our future generations will need to survive on our planet.

 

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Our kids are going to inherit this messed up world we inhabit and they’ll inherit all the problems our greedy society has created in our quest for more. More money. More possessions. More power. More. More. More.

 

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The thing is we’re teaching our kids that striving for more is the only way to be. It’s not.  We need to teach our kids the concept of enough and the concept of balance.

 

Why?

 

Because being in Striver mode all the time is not good for our health.  If we continue in Striver mode and we continue to reproduce at the rate we are, we’ll soon be fighting over smaller and smaller space. We’ll be producing more trash and our landfills will overflow. This is a problem. By any chance did you see the movie “Wallie?” The Trailer is below.

 

 

In the movie, humans have to leave earth and move out into space into a floating world because earth is no longer able to sustain life. It’s covered in garbage and all the humans are too heavy to move or exercise. It’s an awesome movie and I’d recommend watching it with your kids if you get the chance.

That’s where our society is headed if we don’t start taking care of our planet and each other. Haven’t you heard? Obesity is an epidemic.

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We need to teach our kids to slow down and take care of themselves.  Because we’re in Striver mode, we eat fast food and processed food. We do this because it takes less time to prepare and gives us more time to work. What happens when we reach that pinnacle of success? We have more money than we ever dreamed of, but we can’t enjoy it because we don’t have our health.

 

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Sad.

We need to slow down and teach our children to garden and how to cook for themselves so they can control what they put in their mouths. By doing this, they control their health.

 

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  We need to teach our kids to be fair. We can do this by teaching them to empathize with their fellow man. Empathy? How do you teach that?  By encouraging a love of reading.  By reading about different characters, our kids step into their worlds and learn about them.

 

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The more knowledge and tolerance they have for others, the better they’ll be at getting along with their peers. A vital skill when space is becoming smaller and smaller, wouldn’t you agree?

Reading you say? Yes reading. It’s also an awesome coping mechanism when you’re dealing with stress. Just an FYI. 🙂 Sadly, it isn’t a cure-all. We need to teach our kids how to communicate, using I messages so they can resolve conflict without a lot of negative feelings.

These Negotiation Skills will be in high demand in the future.

How can we teach this? By having our kids interact with their peers. Don’t let them play video games all day long. Don’t let them use their phones as their only means of communication.  Arrange play dates and get them outside, playing games, and solving their own conflicts.

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Last but not least. Teach them a love and respect for nature. Walking in nature is good for you. It’s called “Forest Bathing.” This practice originated in Japan, and there’s scientific proof it’s beneficial. Something I’ve known for a long time, but didn’t know there was actual proof of it.

 

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“A 2010 research review found that forest environments promoted lower concentrations of cortisol, lower pulse rate, lower blood pressure, greater parasympathetic nerve activity, and lower sympathetic nerve activity than city environments. [6]

Forest environments have been found to be advantageous with respect to acute emotions, especially among those experiencing chronic stress.[7]

Nature isn’t just good for you, we as a species need the trees and the bees in order to survive. The bees are our biggest pollinators. Thirty percent of our food crop depend on them to grow and ninety percent of our wild plants depend on them to flourish. That’s a tall order for those tiny bees wouldn’t you agree?

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And trees? They provide oxygen. It takes TWENTY-TWO trees to provide enough oxygen for one person. There are 7.442 BILLION people on earth. That’s a lot of trees. Now do you see why it’s important to have a love and respect for nature?

 

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So there you have it.  My view on some of the essential skills our kids will need to survive on a shrinking planet. Are there any vital skills I’ve missed? Share your thoughts!  I’d love to hear from you!