Archive for the ‘Communication’ Category

If only Chicago listened to three-year-olds

Sunday, October 4th, 2009

With all the preparation and planning to host the 2016 Olympics, Chicagoans focused on how. Any three year old will tell you the better question is why.

Amazing what we can learn from kids if we’re listening and learning.

What Do You Do?

Sunday, April 20th, 2008

Thursday, April 24th marks the 16th annual Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work® Day.

It is so much more than a career day. It demonstrates to our children why education matters, but more importantly, our children can be inspired to learn what it is they might love to do. You can only be really great at something with passion and persistence and that begins by doing what you love.

Now for the bad news. If you’re negative about your current job then I recommend you don’t pull your children out of school for the day since you’ll be doing more harm than good. Instead use this as an opportunity to think about the advice that you would give to your grade school age child so that she is not in the same position.

Here are some ideas:

Do what you love. As a young child, spend the time finding what it is that you love
Test the waters. You can’t know if it’s right until you try it. And then if you think you like something, try it again.
Talk to people (as many as you can) in the field you think is for you. Even be courageous enough to talk to people who have left the profession so you could understand why.
Think about the kind of a life you want to live. Do you want a family? Would you love (or hate) to travel? What if you had to constantly relocate? Do you want to be home for dinner every evening (if this is important to you, don’t even think about politics).

Where your pleasure is, there is your treasure;
Where your treasure, there is your heart;
Where your heart, there your happiness.

The Kids Are Always Watching

Monday, October 29th, 2007


The families of two 5th-graders involved in a pushing incident are called in for a counseling session after words between families were exchanged. After the counseling session ended, an argument and altercation outside the school followed. When it was over, the father of one of the boys was dead.

How do our children learn? What do our children learn? They learn from us, their first and most important teachers. They learn how to behave, how to resolve arguments without violence, and they learn that sometimes they are wrong.


Two best friends try out for the high school varsity cheering squad. Tracy makes it; Allie doesn’t. They walk home together in silence. Allie walks in her house, tosses down her book bag, and tells her mom, “I can’t believe she didn’t say a word to me. I can’t believe she didn’t say, ‘I’m sorry you didn’t make it!’” At the same time, Tracy arrives home in tears. “I can’t believe she didn’t congratulate me,” she tells her mother.

A parent has a tremendous opportunity to help her child, and at the risk of hyperbole, even get us closer to world peace, by pointing out to her child the other person’s point of view. What if the same scenario played a little differently?

What if Allie’s mom replied, “Honey, maybe Tracy was struggling with feeling good about making the squad and feeling guilty that you didn’t. It’s very possible that she simply didn’t know what to say.”

Tracy’s mom could have replied, “Tracy, put yourself in her shoes for a moment. Allie was really disappointed that she didn’t make it. Give her a day to deal with that.”

The world looks very different when you hear the same scenario from the other person’s perspective.

What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.
-Mother Teresa

What Target® can teach us about being good parents

Saturday, October 20th, 2007


You see their striking television commercials and slick print ads. You know where their stores are located, and what they sell. So why does Target® need to continue advertising?

Simple, because they want to constantly remind you they are there. Advertising is repeating the message; sometimes in a varying number of ways. The more you hear it, the more likely you are to believe.

That is the lesson we need to learn as parents. It isn’t enough that you told them once to clean up their room, or their toys, or eat their vegetables, or be respectful, or to stay away from drugs, cigarettes and alcohol. Much like an advertising message, your children have to hear it repeatedly.

Why else would household names, like Coke®, Pepsi®, and Disney® spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year on advertising? Surely their brand position is solid. They want to be kept top of mind.

Don’t we want the same thing? We’re battling popular culture for our children’s attention, and let’s face it – the interests of popular culture don’t exactly match our interests as parents.

Make sure you repeat the message you want your children to hear. Visit Parental Wisdom Free Reports to find ways to communication with children and teens.

No one has made this point better (or funnier) than [youtube=]

The Color of Friendship

Sunday, August 5th, 2007


Once upon a time the colors of the world started to quarrel. All claimed that they were the best. The most important. The most useful. The favorite.

Green said:
“Clearly I am the most important. I am the sign of life and of hope. I was chosen for grass, trees and leaves. Without me, all animals would die. Look over the countryside and you will see that I am in the majority.”

Blue interrupted:
“You only think about the earth, but consider the sky and the sea. It is the water that is the basis of life and drawn up by the clouds from the deep sea. The sky gives space and peace and serenity. Without my peace, you would all be nothing.”

Yellow chuckled:
“You are all so serious. I bring laughter, gaiety, and warmth into the world. The sun is yellow, the moon is yellow, the stars are yellow. Every time you look at a sunflower, the whole world starts to smile. Without me there would be no fun.”

Orange started next to blow her trumpet:
“I am the color of health and strength. I may be scarce, but I am precious for I serve the needs of human life. I carry the most important vitamins. Think of carrots, pumpkins, oranges, mangoes, and papayas. I don’t hang around all the time, but when I fill the sky at sunrise or sunset, my beauty is so striking that no one gives another thought to any of you.”

Red could stand it no longer he shouted out:
“I am the ruler of all of you. I am blood – life’s blood! I am the color of danger and of bravery. I am willing to fight for a cause. I bring fire into the blood. Without me, the earth would be as empty as the moon. I am the color of passion and of love, the red rose, the poinsettia and the poppy.”

Purple rose up to his full height:
He was very tall and spoke with great pomp: “I am the color of royalty and power. Kings, chiefs, and bishops have always chosen me for I am the sign of authority and wisdom. People do not question me! They listen and obey.”

Finally Indigo spoke, much more quietly than all the others, but with just as much determination:
“Think of me. I am the color of silence. You hardly notice me, but without me you all become superficial. I represent thought and reflection, twilight and deep water. You need me for balance and contrast, for prayer and inner peace.”

And so the colors went on boasting, each convinced of his or her own superiority. Their quarreling became louder and louder. Suddenly there was a startling flash of bright lightening thunder rolled and boomed. Rain started to pour down relentlessly. The colors crouched down in fear, drawing close to one another for comfort.

In the midst of the clamor, rain began to speak:
“You foolish colors, fighting amongst yourselves, each trying to dominate the rest. Don’t you know that you were each made for a special purpose, unique and different? Join hands with one another and come to me.”

Doing as they were told, the colors united and joined hands.

The rain continued:
“From now on, when it rains, each of you will stretch across the sky in a great bow of color as a reminder that you can all live in peace. The Rainbow is a sign of hope for tomorrow.”

And so, whenever a good rain washes the world, and a Rainbow appears in the sky, let us remember to appreciate one another.

— Author Unknown

Child of the Day

Friday, June 1st, 2007


Kathy couldn’t handle her two young children’s bickering; each one was vying for her attention. More importantly, she didn’t like playing the role of an umpire. To turn it around, she started “child of the day” at her house. Each day, Mary or Kenny would be child of the day, and his name would appear on the family calendar that hung on the fridge.

“Child of the day” was a combination of responsibilities and rewards. For example, the child of the day gets to choose which book is read first, who takes a bath first, etc. Although each child is responsible for his or her own chores and cleaning up after himself, the child of the day is responsible for the little things that come up, like getting a spare roll of paper towels.

It worked so well that the petty arguments virtually disappeared. Years later Kathy asked each child to tell her who her favorite was. They each replied, “Me!” That’s when she realized “child of the day” worked. Both children were right; each child is her favorite.

How else could you explain how parents find enough love in their hearts for each child that comes along?

Don’t Lose the Lesson

Saturday, April 14th, 2007


We need to be reminded of the children’s poem “Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never harm me.” After listening to the articulate and heartfelt comments by the Rutger’s team of talented, educated young women and their coach we know that it is not true; words can harm you.

Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn’t mean you are wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar. – Edward R. Murrow

These ‘wrongs’ are protected by our rights. This country is still the greatest experiment in the world and does allow freedom of speech. We are divided various issues that largely center on the words we use and who can use them. This is a slippery slope. Who will make decisions on freedom of speech?

Don’t lose all the lessons that we’ve learned from this news du jour experience. Discuss what happened with your children and most importantly how they should treat people. Why was this offensive comment highlighted when Don Imus and others have a history of making offensive comments? There were a number of reasons:

The comments made by Don Imus were targeted to a specific group. Much like tossing a pebble in small pond, the ripple effect of those comments was hurtful to real people. While other comments are equally offensive or worse, they impact such a broad audience that people don’t feel the comments are directed to them and tend to be ignored, similar to tossing a pebble in an ocean. It would require a large group to mobilize and challenge those comments and hold the offender accountable.

We are in a world of 24-hour news, YouTube and convergence of technology so you will see those comments hundreds if not thousands of times. Important for young people to remember that pictures and video captured and posted on the Internet is there forever, so don’t be foolish about what you do and say.

Address the root cause of the situation and explain to your children why stereotypes are unfair and wrong, and encourage them when disagreeing with someone how to deal with that. Name calling is clearly not a solution.

Explain that when children feel something is wrong, they have a choice and can call a sponsor to say that content is offensive. If they feel very strongly about it, they can let the sponsor know that if the sponsor continues to support a particular show, as a consumer, you will no longer be a customer.

Finally, let’s celebrate and discuss the news we should – the accomplishment of these young women to reach the NCAA finals. They earned and deserved that moment.

They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.
Andy Warhol, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol US artist (1928 – 1987)

Getting to Know You

Thursday, March 8th, 2007


We will need to disconnect before we connect with each other. Parents – our primary goal, our most important job, is to raise happy, healthy, well-adjusted, independent children that contribute to society. Our children need to have empathy and listening skills which leads to good relationships and feels like a ‘psychological hug’.

Unfortunately, with iPods, text messaging and instant messaging, we’re not talking at all – at least not face to face. When getting together to go out, kids actually don’t go out at all – they watch movies or play video games. Their social skills are at great risk. A by-product of poor social skills is a lack of empathy. How could our children care about others when they don’t even take the time to know their friends?

A recent news story where a man was found dead after a year with his TV still blaring made me realize were we setting a good example about caring about our neighbors? The man had no contact with anyone for a year, despite the fact that he suffered from blindness and diabetes. Fortunately a water pipe broke, or we still might not know.

A family with two young boys came home from school ahead of their parents who were teachers. The house had been broken into and the boys hid in the backyard until their parents arrived home. Why didn’t they go to a neighbor’s house? They didn’t know any of their neighbors, even though they lived on that block for over nine years.

Not caring is not new. The story of Kitty Genovese still sends chills up my spine. It was 1964 and a young woman coming home from work was brutally stabbed to death while no fewer than 38 of her neighbors witnessed her attack. It would take them three hours after the attack to call the police.

Some might excuse apathy for fear of getting involved. For the record, I don’t buy that theory. The concern is that the simple act of our kids not even getting to know their own family and friends through simple social interaction because they are engaged in being connected may have just the opposite effect. They will be completely disconnected.

Parents – encourage your children to unplug and break out the art of conversation.

When Peer Pressure Is A Good Thing

Tuesday, January 30th, 2007

In a January 18th post to this blog, I wrote about how the most terrifying seat in the world was you in the passenger seat next to your teen driver.

There is another seat even more frightening; where your teen is the passenger in a friend’s car. Your child’s friend may be a good kid, but not a great driver. We have to arm our children to speak up if they feel their friends are driving recklessly and learn as much of cars as they can from sources as the Automotive News Center, so they can use this knowledge to know when the car is failing and more and avoid accidents and other issues. This is where peer pressure is a good thing.

I am not a fan of statistics since I don’t think teens listen to numbers, but I am not writing to your teen; I am writing to you. There is one more interesting statistic, but let’s phrase it in the form of a question. What is the most dangerous time for your teen to drive? Between 3 and 5pm weekdays.

Use this information as a way to start your own conversation with your teen. Watch the Ad Councils video and give your teen a way out of dangerous situation.

Bravo to the Ad Council for starting this terrific campaign which encourages teens to be the spokesperson against reckless driving.

Here are some facts from their site:

• Teens Will Listen
Eight in 10 teens say that if a friend told them their driving behavior made their friend feel uncomfortable, they would listen. (Source: Ad Council)
• Influence on Friends
Nearly 70% of teens say they have a lot or some influence to stop their friends from driving recklessly when they are a passenger. (Source: Ad Council)
• Concerned About Friend’s Driving
Four in 10 teens say that in the past six months they have been in a situation when they felt concerned that a friend’s driving behavior put them at risk as a passenger. (Source: Ad Council)
• Risky Driving Behavior
Three in 10 teens say that in the past six months they have been in a situation when their own driving behavior put them at risk. (Source: Ad Council)
• Issue Importance
Nearly 80% of teens call the issue of youth reckless driving prevention extremely important to them personally. (Source: Ad Council)
• SUV Rollovers
In 2000, SUVs had the highest rollover involvement rate of any vehicle type in fatal crashes – 36%, as compared with 24% for pickups, 19% for vans and 15% for passenger cars. (Source: U.S. Department of Transportation)
• Speeding
Sixty-seven percent of high school drivers say they speed and 27% say that speeding is safe. (Source: SADD/Liberty Mutual study)
• Cell Phones
Sixty-two percent of high school drivers say they talk on a cell phone while driving and 24% say that talking on a cell phone is safe. (Source: SADD/Liberty Mutual study)
• Safety Belts
Sixty-seven percent of high school drivers say they wear their safety belts while driving and 75% say that not wearing a seatbelt is unsafe. (Source: SADD/Liberty Mutual study)
• Afternoon Crashes
Nearly as many 16- and 17-year-old drivers are involved in fatal crashes between 3 and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday as on Friday and Saturday nights between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. (Source: AAA)
• Passengers and Crashes
Crash rates increase drastically for 16- and 17-year-old drivers with every additional passenger in the car. (Source: AAA)
• Male Death Rate
In 2002, the motor vehicle death rate for male occupants age 16 to 19 was nearly twice that of their female counterparts. (Source: CDC, 2004)
• One out of Five Teens…
One out of every five licensed 16-year-old drivers will be in a vehicle crash. (Source: IIHS)
• Teen Deaths
In 2003, about 44% of all teen deaths were attributed to vehicle crashes – more than triple the number of teen suicides and more than double the number of teen homicide victims. (Source: NHTSA)
• Teen Passengers
In 2002, 61% of teenage passenger deaths happened when another teen was driving. (Source: IIHS)
• Teen Crashes
Per mile driven, sixteen-year-olds are involved in more than five times as many fatal crashes per mile driven as adults. (Source: NHTSA)
• Teen Percentage of Crashes
In 2003, teenagers accounted for 10% of the U.S. population and 13% of motor vehicle crash deaths. (Source: NHTSA)