Archive for May, 2007

Healthy Eating

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

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The Journal of the American Dietetics Association talks about the 72% healthy eating solution.

They claim that meal-servers control 72% of what families eat. Think of yourself as the nutritional gatekeeper – the one who buys, prepares, and serves the meals controls 72% of what their family eats inside and outside of the home.

The family chef shouldn’t worry so much about pleasing picky palates because unlike what most people think, hungry family members are almost always going to eat what is prepared for them.

What we feed our children and the behavior we model is too important to leave to chance.

Plan your weekly menu even inviting every family member to request their favorite meal. This stops us from getting the blame about preparing the same old stuff all the time.

Leave healthy cookbooks and magazines like Cooking Light around the kitchen to encourage new food choices. Make your children part of the food shopping experience which is a great way to discuss healthy food choices, reading packages and weighing items (great math activity).

Watch cooking shows on the Food Network together.

I found a great way to manage family favorites. You will need MS Excel and your family favorites. To see how to create your own simple spreadsheet, visit Parental Wisdom Free Reports and print out a copy of Family Favorite Recipes. You will find a example and instructions how to create your own.

Turn the battle about food into something positive.

A well known story about goals

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

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Here is a well-known story about goals.

An American businessman was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village where a small boat with just one fisherman was docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied “only a little while”

The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more fish.

The Mexican said, “I had enough to support my family’s immediate needs.”

The American then asked, “but what do you do with the rest of your time? “

The fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life, senor.”

The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard M.B.A. and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat with the proceeds. From the bigger boat you could buy several boats and eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise.”

The fisherman asked, “But senor, how long will this all take?”

To which the American replied, “15-20 years.”

Fisherman – “But what then, senor? “

The American laughed and said “that’s the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions. “

Fisherman “Millions, senor? Then what? “

The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.“

How are you doing on your goals?

Encouraging Mistakes

Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

Is it my imagination or are children today afraid of making mistakes? That is so disappointing because making mistakes is the best way to learn. Us older folks know that life isn’t about perfection, but persistence.

Sarah Blakely is the young woman who invented Spanks, which are now a household word and enjoy sales in the 100 million dollar range. For those of you not familiar with Spanks it is the modern equivalent of the girdle and a lot more effective.

In Sarah’s story about how she got to be successful, she credits her father who encouraged her to make mistakes. She would come home from school and say, “Dad, I tried out for Student Council and I lost.” He would give her a high five for trying, not winning.

His response encouraged her to continue trying at lots of things. So when she kept hearing no in response to her revolutionary new design – she kept trying.

It’s simple – reward the effort, not the outcome and eventually the outcome will be the reward.

Let’s teach our kids that you don’t drown by falling in water, you drown by staying there.

Do you want your child to be a plumber or philosopher?

Monday, May 28th, 2007

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With the carefree days of summer approaching, we have a great opportunity to help our children figure out what they might want to be when they grow up. It doesn’t matter how young they are, exploring possibilities is always a good idea.

There are a number of reasons it makes sense to investigate careers early:

Children that see a potentially bright future are less likely to follow bad influences because they realize mistakes could jeopardize their future.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.
Explore…Dream…Discover. – Mark Twain

It gives parents a way to build relationships with children, which puts both in a “learning mode” since neither may be an expert in a
new field.

I am still learning. -Michelangelo’s motto

Discovery is as much about figuring out what you don’t want to do. How frustrating it must be to get accepted to medical school only to learn that you faint at the sight of blood.

It’s not your blue blood, your pedigree or your college degree. It’s what you do with your life that counts. -Millard Fuller

We can’t live vicariously through our children. It is their career, not ours. All the great commencement speeches talk about doing something you are passionate about. Help your children to find out what that means to them.

An excellent plumber is infinitely more admirable than an incompetent philosopher. The society, which scorns excellence in
plumbing because plumbing is a humble activity, and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity, will
have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy. Neither its pipes nor theories will hold water. -John Gardner

For more inspiration, visit Parental Wisdom Free Reports and print a copy of Project Imagine!

Or read the chapter on Project Imagine in Because Kids Don’t Come With Manuals.

For daily inspiration, call the Parental Wisdom Daily Inspirational Call line
(641) 985-5999 ext. 24290#

It’s like a vitamin for parents

Do What Matters Most

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007

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You may have heard the story of the old professor of the School of Public Management in France. He was invited to lecture on the topic of “Efficient Time Management” in front of a group of 15 executive managers representing the largest, most successful companies in America. The lecture was one in a series of five lectures conducted in one day, and the old professor was given one hour to lecture. Standing in front of this group of elite managers—who were willing to write down every word that would come out of the famous professor’s mouth—the professor slowly met eyes with each manager, one by one, and finally said, “We are going to conduct an experiment”.

From under the table that stood between the professor and the listeners, the professor pulled out a big glass jar and gently placed it in front of him. Next, he pulled out from under the table a bag of stones, each the size of a tennis ball, and placed the stones one by one in the jar. He did so until there was no room to add another stone in the jar. Lifting his gaze to the managers, the professor asked, “Is the jar full?” The managers replied, “Yes.” The professor paused for a moment, and replied, “Really?”

Then once again, he reached under the table and pulled out a bag full of pebbles. Carefully, the professor poured the pebbles in and slightly rattled the jar, allowing the pebbles to slip through the larger stones until they settled at the bottom. Again, the professor lifted his gaze to his audience and asked, “Is the jar full?” At this point, the managers began to understand his intentions. One replied, “Apparently not!” “Correct,” replied the old professor, pulling out a bag of sand from under the table. Cautiously, the professor poured the sand into the jar. The sand filled up the spaces between the stones and the pebbles. Yet again, the professor asked, “Is the jar full?” Without hesitation, the entire group of students replied in unison, “No!” “Correct,” replied the professor. As was expected by the students, the professor reached for the pitcher of water that was on the table and poured water in the jar until it was absolutely full. The professor now lifted his gaze once again and asked, “What great truth can we surmise from this experiment?” With his thoughts on the lecture topic, one manager quickly replied, “We learn that as full as our schedules may appear, if we only increase our effort, it is always possible to add more meetings and tasks.” “No,” replied the professor. “The great truth that we can conclude from this experiment is, if we don’t put all the larger stones in the jar first, we will never be able to fit all of them later.”

The Right Person

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

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It doesn’t matter if a cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice.
Deng Xiaoping

62 million people voted in the 2004 presidential election. As you might suspect the number of people that voted for American Idol was larger; it was 74 million.

Just imagine for a moment what life would be like if it wasn’t a popularity contest. Imagine that you could count on the right person being in the right job.

Think about it – you visit a store and the clerk is knowledgeable about the product he is selling.
You visit a doctor, and the diagnosis and treatment are exactly what they should be.
Your mechanic can quickly identify the troubling sound of your car.
Your local politician would put the interest of his constituents above his own.
Life would be good.

Well guess what parents. You can make that happen. How? By not insisting that your child is the right person when he is not, like being placed in honors classes if he doesn’t belong there. By not demanding that your daughter gets the lead in the play. By not bullying your way to the dugout so your little leaguer gets more playing time.

Where do you think it starts? Isn’t it time to stop it?

The Present

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

In the movie Click, Adam Sandler plays a workaholic who gets a universal remote and tries to fast forward through the less than perfect parts of his life. He eventually realizes that he missed most of it, but has the opportunity to go back and fix it.

Most of us don’t get that chance. The spring is a tough time of the year on parents, with school, sports and music events that keep us running from one thing to the next. What we don’t realize is that our perception of the situation is a choice we get to make. Like Adam Sandler, we can rush through it, or realize that it is a moment in time we can enjoy.

For any of us that ever wished for time to pass more quickly whether it was wishing for naptime, or wishing for a baby to start walking, or for a little league game to finally end, we learn they always do.

Funny how when raising the children the hours go so slowly but the years fly by.

Don’t rush through life, because you will get exactly what you wish for. The question is – is that what you really want? I heard a story recently that had me really heartbroken. This past mother’s day, a number of the nursery and pre-schools host morning teas to honor the moms. One mom arrived along with all the other moms and told her little 5-year-old girl that she had to take a quick call and would be right back. She spent the hour in the car on a business conference call, while her daughter cried in the hall the whole time waiting for her to come back in.

Don’t miss it – you only get one chance. The thing to keep in mind is if you see these events as stressful, they will be. If you see these moments in time as gifts – they will be that too. There is a great saying:

The past is history
The future a mystery
Today is a gift – that’s why they call it the Present.

When Mistakes are Costly

Monday, May 14th, 2007

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This same message can be heard on the Parental Wisdom Daily Inspirational Call (641) 985-5999 ext. 24290#

In yesterday’s blog, I wrote about what we can learn from other people’s mistakes. My hope is that the mistakes are not too costly.

On the news front celebrities were coming forward with offers of financial help to find anyone with information on Madeleine McCann, the adorable four-year-old girl who vanished while on a vacation in Portugal.

As I was reading the article, it was there right in front of me – I was so startled that I had to read it several times. She vanished after her parents left her and her brother and sister, both age 2 alone while they went to a nearby restaurant within their hotel complex.

Left their children alone? A 4 year old and 2 year old twins? Are you serious?

I wanted Parental Wisdom’s daily call to be inspirational, but I may have to re-think that. Is it me or should it be obvious that you never leave young children alone, especially not in a foreign country. I feel for these parents – they must be hysterical, but back to yesterdays message. We can learn from the mistakes of others.

Don’t leave your children alone – ever.

Since I didn’t think it was something I would have to say on this call let me tell me share some other obvious instructions. These are actual label instructions on consumer products:

On a Korean kitchen knife
WARNING KEEP OUT OF CHILDREN

On a child’s superman costume
WEARING OF THIS GARMENT DOES NOT ENABLE YOU TO FLY

Portable stroller
Caution: Remove infant before folding for storage

A toilet bowl cleaning brush
Do not use orally

Laundromat triple washer
No small children

Furniture Wipes
Do not use for a baby wipe

Children’s cough medicine
Do not drive car or operate machinery

I hope this little girl is quickly reunited with her family. I hope they never leave their children alone again.

The Beauty of Other People’s Mistakes

Sunday, May 13th, 2007

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This same message can be heard on the Parental Wisdom Daily Inspirational Call (641) 985-5999 ext. 24290#

Do you know what the definition of a consultant is? It is a person who borrows your watch, tells you the time, returns your watch and bills you for the information. Information, I might add that you could have easily gotten on your own.

I can make jokes about that because I frequently consult. You see the value of consulting is usually proving what people already think.

Parents don’t often realize how much they act as consultants. They can be out in public, at school, sports functions or family events and they are often observing others working at the craft of parenting, and the results that follow.

It is easy for us to stand back and watch as another parent gives in to the 28th request for candy at the checkout line, smugly thinking ‘Well, that is the problem right there’. The child just needed a consistent and clear NO and the problem would have been solved. You may be thinking that , when in reality given the same situation you might have reacted the same way?

With the news media so focused on celebrity parenting, we have had yet again our share of learning what we can better.

David Hasselhoff’s 16-year-old daughter Taylor filmed her drunken father on the floor, asking him to promise to stop drinking.

Alec Baldwin’s telephone rant that will forever associate his little girl to being a rude pig.

Paris Hilton’s mom who failed to explain responsibility and consequences.

It’s easier to see some mistakes more than others. It is even smarter to learn from them.

Any family that has been torn apart by alcohol abuse can understand Taylor Hasselhoff’s heartbreaking pain. The video might make a difference and change behavior to a parent battling alcohol to see that their actions have a tremendous impact of the entire family.

Couples battling custody issues might realize how hurtful, damaging and foolish their war is.

And what parent doesn’t realize how unfair it is not to hold our children responsible for their actions by watching the antics of Paris Hilton.

Yes parents can do what consultants do – look in the window of the lives of others and point out the obvious – a better way to do things.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Thursday, May 10th, 2007

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This mother’s day let’s salute and thank all the mom’s who continue to work at this job every day. Let’s go a step further and give them some help.

Husbands, give your wives understanding and support. Real men do change diapers. Some of the best presents are heartfelt expressions of love and appreciation for specific things she does.

Employers, recognize the fact that if you want a good future work force, it is the mothers of this country that will help you realize that goal. They can’t do that if they are working unrealistic hours, because they need to be with their children to be an influence on them. Be more creative. We get it that you goal is to be profitable. We can help you do that. Consider job sharing and flexible hours at every level in your organization. Two part time moms just might be more effective than one full time mom. Give new moms time to spend with their newborn babies, even encourage them to do so by making it possible with paid family leave.

Educators instead of telling parents what their children cannot do, tell them what their children can do. Parents do want to be part of their children’s education, but recognize that today’s family is different than previous generations. If parents aren’t coming into school for meetings and events, you might want think of inventive ways of communicating with them; possibly free conference call services that are available like Telejunctions.

Legislators listen to us, we know what we’re talking about. We are your mothers. Pay attention when we talk about curbing drunk driving and tighter gun laws. Stop talking about American Family Values and do something about it. Parents know what your legislators are doing visit and look up Paid Leave Activity in Other States and be sure to read the report on balancing work and family which proves why paid family leave makes sense.

Moms give other moms encouragement and when possible, the gift of time.

Children, what mothers want most for mother’s day is for you to be healthy and happy. But there are also some great mom coupons that you can make up. Here are a few ideas, breakfast in bed, cleaning up your room without being asked, taking the dog out, taking out the garbage, and anything else that requires taking out. Be imaginative and look around at the things your mom does and help her do it. You’ll find coupon templates under free reports on Parental Wisdom.

Happy Mothers’ Day and have a great weekend, especially to all you wonderful moms out there. I’ll talk to you on Monday. Leave a comment after the beep or post a comment on the PW blog.

This message can also be heard on the Parental Wisdom Daily Inspirational Call Line – (641) 985-5999 ext. 24290#