With Every Ending there is a NEW Beginning?

What is it they say? “With every beginning, there comes an end” or “with every ending new-beginningcomes a new beginning.” Just like I mentioned in a previous post “everything happens for a reason” or “it is what it is” I have to say that this so called all good things must come to an end also has to be true? Or is it? How do we know when things are coming to end then? What are the signs? Does this also apply to our relationships, education, career, etc.? Or is this saying just the cycle of life and products? Over the last week and if not the entire year, I have been asking myself this and many similar questions. Why? Well over the last year, I have started to pay greater attention to detail and the shelf life of many things including that of my relationships, career objectives, milk, groceries, vehicle, etc. Why if this saying isn’t true, do most things we purchase and consume have an expiatory date? It seems that YES, most things (if not all) have a beginning and an end? Or all good things must come to an end?

So how do we determine what exactly the beginning and/or end is? The obvious is we are born and then we die… YES? How about relationships or your career? If you are young or old you have probably noticed that, most relationships and your job, regardless of how you meet or the job you’re in all have trends. These trends usually go something like this… awesome beginning (honeymoon), an okay middle (comfort zone), and really bad endings (the dreaded unknown). In my life and regardless of whether in a relationship or career these trends seem to always go the same way but unlike the cycle of life (ending in death), I am still alive, kicking, and in the end have come out the other side as better person. I am a better father, a better man with the woman I love, and I am a better man in the job I am in. Does this then mean that we all should embrace change, new beginnings, and endings to things? Or is it just me? Do we need to give more chances to others, our partners, and career paths fostering and/or focusing more on the middle stage(s)?

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Let’s face it, the beginning of anything is downright scary just like my kid changing schools this year. On the flipside, the end is just as scary if not more! Starting something new or letting go of something you care about is extremely hard whether it is a relationship or your career. However, what I have learned over the years (especially raising my son, in relationships, and jobs) is that both beginnings and endings are a necessity of life, just as we are born and we die. In order for us to remain active, happy, and healthy, we must allow ourselves the opportunity for new beginnings in our relationships and jobs, just like we must allow ourselves the opportunity for endings, so we can create more beginnings. This my friends is what we must do because if nothing ever came to an end, nothing could ever begin. Without scary endings and new beginnings, I wouldn’t be the same person I am now just like I know you are. In fact, I couldn’t be happier at how things have turned out in my life with my son, my relationship, and career. Although I can’t say for sure how long I will be in this NEW middle part of my life (hopefully until I die), I can honestly say… For every ending, there is an even greater beginning. Don’t be afraid of endings and surely don’t let yourself be afraid of new beginnings.

Thoughts? If you have any, please feel free to leave your comments here, reach out to me online or in person, and/or through any of my other online mediums. Until next time my friends keep smiling, embrace those you’re with, do away with things stressing you out, and for heaven’s sake create some new beginnings already.

Do Simple “Experiences” Create the Most Long-Term “Memories”

memoryIs wondering why it is that most things we do personally or with our children have to be planned out? Do you ever find or catch yourself creating way to many lists for future endeavors, work, events, shopping, meals, tasks, etc., or better yet do you ever find yourself creating these same lists for your child(ren) future life? Why is it that we all have to plan so much? Is it me or were some of your earliest memories in life or as a child, experiences of things that were left unplanned? Or did you have to go to some fancy place or do something extraordinary in order to have a clear memory ingrained in your life long DNA?

As I continue to grow older and especially now as a parent (single parent), I am continually, asking myself questions such as these, as I continue to provide advice and guidance to my little one. In fact, me and my little guy get out and do a lot of things (experiences) that I truly believe help create (memories) that will last a life time. However and as I have said in previous posts, I believe that some of my own and my son’s best memories are those experiences that are as simple as throwing a ball, doing household chores, or reading together. As parents, I believe that we all have the ability to create positive and happy present day experiences in life that will turn into some of the most impressionable and future memories for our young ones all without having to be rich or attend events that we think are leaving long term memories entrenched into our little ones memory bank. Yes?

The fact is almost all the “experiences” that our children encounter daily, weekly, or monthly are helping our children create “memories” that will help them later in life as an adult. All too often, I see others preparing themselves and their little ones for what others want them to be, not what they want to be. We as individuals and parents have great control over our lives “yes” but at least let us use that power appropriately and not use it to create present undue stress or control over our children’s lives. Life is already difficult enough without the added pressure that we place on ourselves at home, work, or at school. Maybe and just maybe if we dumb things down a bit and enjoy more of the simple everyday “experiences,” we would remember many more past experiences that helped up produce some of our best “memories.”

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I know that there are a million and one ways we can all dumb things down but here are three things we can all do today that aren’t subject to unseen future events.

1) Money, trips, and expensive events are not the only things that we should need to do in order to have experience that turn into a long-term memory. Being extravagant is such a big misconception and perhaps one of the most common things I see daily. So, we all need to do a better job at enjoying present day experiences, as we don’t need to spend so much time and money dazzling ourselves and little ones. Instead, we all need to appreciate more the small windows of time we are given with each other and just simply enjoy ourselves and children unconditionally.

2) Rituals are perfect for creating experiences that turn into long-term memories. There are probably endless “experiences” you and/or your family does weekly, monthly, or yearly (i.e. holidays, birthdays, festivals, etc) that help you create lasting “memories.” Instead of waiting for these big events, how about creating new rituals “experiences” such as Friday night pizza, Saturday morning breakfast, or Sunday night wrap of the week to create more long-term “memories?”

3) Finally yet importantly, we all need to do a better job at reinforcing all the positive experiences in our everyday lives. My son and I do this almost every day. Instead of discussing with others the negative things that happened today, why don’t you remember the positive things more by simply discussing the positive “experiences” you had that will ultimately become lasting “memories, not the negative ones. This can be as simple as creating a scrapbook, using social media, or simply writing more positive “experiences” down, so you can train yourself, brain, and little ones to notice these positive experiences, so you can have more positive long-term “memories.”

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Creating everyday “experiences” that turn into long-term “memories” are simple and super important in our lives, as well as our children and others we touch. By using positive reinforcements in your daily life, you will find that you are laying down tile that will last a lifetime, not just carpet that will eventually be destroyed. We all owe it to ourselves and little ones to lead with the good not follow with the bad. I can’t remember all those expensive or fancy things I did as a child but I do have a vivid memory of all those experiences as simple as building a camp, riding my bike, or just simply spending time with my parents, what says you? What experiences in the past do you remember most that you have preserved in your long-term memory bank? Feel free to reach out here, personally, or any of my other social sites with your feedback, as I have said before… it takes an army, not just a team to accomplish more. Otherwise, thanks for stopping by and until next time… KEEP SMILING

What are you creating in Life, LESSONs or RECIPES?

Do you ever wake up in the morning and wonder and/or think about the lessons others have taught you in life? If so, how have the lessons you learned at a young or older age continuing to influence your life so far? As with most things happening or have happened in my own life, I continually find myself reflecting back to things others have taught me most mornings, as these lessons are now helping me teach my own child lessons of his own. On that note, I recently came across a book published last year by the Andersons who are teachers in Michigan titled “Liam’s Fishing Lesson With Grandpa: Life Lessons of Liam and Lila,” that reminds me about some of the important life lessons we are taught but may or may not remember early in life. Needless to say, with any of my posts, there is nothing more that I love to do further than to point readers like you in the direction of other works, writings, and social posts so, you “like me” can continue to teach others (especially our children) about the true lessons of life.

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Additionally, as I continue to build my life around the lessons I have learned, I am also continuing to build this site with quality content and reviews. This is exactly what the Anderson’s book does and represents. The couples book is fictional and tells a real-life story about a young boy who one day decides he would like to go fishing with his grandpa in hopes of reeling in that big catch, which I believe we all are doing every day of our lives whether we are fishing or not… Hoping to reel in that big catch huh? Of course and with any adventure or lesson of life it isn’t always about the result. Rather and wouldn’t you agree that the lesson(s) we learn along the way is/are about… along the way, which this story demonstrates so well by using science, imagination, and illustrations to teach the little ones who at some point may or may not want to look back on the lessons others have taught them in order to teach others. Let us just hope they do for now. Furthermore, this story solidifies the lessons learned with a real life ecology (diagram) project, which the authors also made available in video format via YouTube, which of course… you can Do-It-Yourself (DIY)… Good stuff!

Nonetheless, with any story or lesson in life, they all must come to end or do they? Whether you decide to continue the adventure today by reading this fascinating book with your little ones (wouldn’t recommend it for those under 8) or end the lesson of any other day… that choice is completely up to you. However, remember if you continue the story, the food will still be there for you to eat later, and if you decide to end the lesson or story you need to still fire up that grill to cook the lesson. Or, in other words, fire up your imagination this weekend or any other week/weekend for that matter in order to create more long-term lessons and memories. Oh ya, that reminds me if you decide to read this story (you and your little ones 8+) the authors also leave you with a recipe at the end, which Liam uses to prepare that big one caught earlier in the day. What a perfect way to end a lesson or story especially now that we are well into the heat of summer. What do you think? Are you creating life lessons that your or other children can build upon or look back at or are you just simply creating a lesson to make a meal for that day? Whatever you are doing in life, I hope this story (get the book already) and post helps you realize what roles you and I need to play in order to create additional lessons and memories for ourselves and others we touch along the way.

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As with any/all of my posts, I would love to hear your thoughts and or opinions. Not to mention, if you want to connect further with the authors of this book do so via their Facebook page or connecting further with me on any of my/your social sites. Thanks again for stopping by and as usual until next time… KEEP SMILING  ╍●‿●╍

Do we EVER really find what it is we are looking FOR?

Here you have it: People who know what they are looking for in life are the ones who actually make an effort to figure out what they really want in their life. Say what? In other words, do you find yourself genuinely satisfied or dissatisfied with yourself, income, home, and/or relationship if you’re in one? Even if you are happy with these things, are you consistently finding yourself looking for something better whether it is new landscaping inside or outside your house, a new recipe, job, car, friends, etc.? Do you find that you spend entirely too much time in your life trying to keep up with others, which cuts into your own happiness? I ask again… do you/we ever really find what it is we are looking for in life?

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I will be the first to tell you that are own human nature does not allow us to be content and if you are then lying to yourself, you’re not pushing yourself hard enough to get more, or you just might be content with the status quo. But how can anyone possibly be content with the status quo? Seriously? I’m not saying that there is not a way to be content or people cannot be satisfied in life with what they have, instead I’m saying that most of us blame and/or pretend that other people in our lives are the ones that cause us to be dissatisfied. Make since? Does dissatisfaction actually help create satisfaction? Or does unhappiness actually help create happiness?

“Happiness is not a goal…it’s a by-product of a life well lived.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt

Over the years, I have learned that satisfaction, happiness, or finding what it is we are really looking for is in fact the by-product of living well just like Eleanor Roosevelt stated. We all have the right to be happy and we are the only ones getting in our own way of being satisfied or finding what we are truly looking for. As I continue to age, I am continuing to find what I am truly looking for in life, as my dissatisfaction with many things has indeed helped me to develop, improve, build, and accomplish many more things that I necessarily would not have. In other words and in as simple of a form I can state is that my dissatisfaction in life has indeed created satisfaction in my life. You?

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So, there you have it. Will you ever find what it is that you are looking for? Will you always be dissatisfied with the decisions you make/made or will you actually find what it is you are looking for and become satisfied with the things you do have? You graduated from school, got the degree or degrees, found the job, house, friends, and partner you desired. You have indeed found what you are looking for in life, so stop trying to tell yourself that you have not! Instead of creating doubt or unhappiness today, start creating satisfaction and happiness by embracing the things that you do have in your life (especially our children), as this simple suggestion will not only brighten your own outlook on life but also the outlook others have on their our lives. What is it they say? Happiness or unhappiness is contagious, so let’s all do a better job at transmitting happiness in our own lives, thus creating happiness in others. As always and with any of my articles, I hope you enjoyed it, look forward to your opinions here or on any of my other social sites, and your help spreading this or any of my other works with others. Moreover, until next time, and like always remember to KEEP SMILING, as it really does look good on you (>‿◠)✌

CHANGE is the One Thing We Can ALWAYS Count On

ChangesEven though there are a million and one ways to describe a happy family there is not a universal way to describe the change(s) you and/or your family will go through. In fact, the one thing that is constant in our lives and that we all can be sure of is that… things will change. Yes, this may mean things will change for the better or they might change for the worse, as more and more people struggle to balance life, work, and the needs of their family and/or lives.

It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. Charles Darwin (1809-1882) English Naturalist

Ever since I was a young boy, I have never been afraid of change. Whether it was going to school, meeting new people, or going to new places I have embraced the changing landscape of my life, which is true to this very moment. However, it wasn’t until yesterday (my niece inspired me to think about this in her Facebook post) that I truly realized that change in my life is the one thing I count on and really look forward to the most. Even though my changing life has had both positive and negative aspects to it, for the most part it has been the negative aspects that have inspired me the most to embrace change further. Yes, I did say negative, since if I never had a negative experience I would have never moved from Michigan to Florida, gotten married/divorced, earned my Bachelor, Masters, or Doctorate, or even became a “Single Dad!”

Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future. John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) Thirty-fifth President of the USA

Why then if “change is the law of life,” are so many people often frightened of change? Why don’t more people embrace changes in things such as technology, their lives, careers, or their family structure? Instead of thinking of change as a negative why, don’t we start to use the negative aspects of change as positive motivations for additional change? If you are anything like me you shouldn’t be afraid of change or failing (trust me it as it seems I have failed more than anyone I know) nor should you value other people’s opinions of change more than your own opinion of change. Don’t look at your disappointments in life as negative aspects of change but rather positive motivations for your long-term success(es).

To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often. Winston Churchill (1874-1965) British politician.

Whether you are single, a cohesive family unit, or even a single parent if you want to be happier why don’t you give change a chance when it comes to advancing yourself, career, or raising healthy/happy children? As a single dad myself, I now realize this more than ever, as change has been the one thing constant enough in my life to help me build additional self-confidence, relationships, and my career even though these things may not had been the things I had always dreamed of. In order to further inspire myself and perhaps you through additional change here are a few things I do/have done over my life to embrace change.

1. Realize that your career and life will consistently change- The economy, people, and your career will change. Instead of feeling sorry about the situation, embrace it and adjust yourself to these changes.
2. Relieve your past experiences- Whether you are looking at positive or negative changes try to mold your future around them. Considering both positive and negative changes in your life will help you avoid these same changes later in life (perhaps this is more easily said then done?)
3. Take note of both positive and negative changes- Perhaps the best thing to do with anything or in this case, change in life is to write them down (i.e. positives and negatives). This should be as easy as starting or maintaining a journal or better yet with the advent of social media use Twitter, Facebook, or anyone of the other social sites to track your changes in your career or family. Remember documenting something in better than nothing in this aspect.

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Everyone whether you are young or old in a relationship or going it alone deserves to live a strong, happy, healthy, and successful life. If you identify both negative and positive changes in your past, perhaps you can do more to shape your future, while molding these changes into motivation that will help you change yourself or others you touch additionally. Remember if you have children to share with them not only the positive changes in your life but also the negative changes, as this also gives are beloved little ones the ammunition they will also need to embrace both the positive and negative changes in their own futures. As with any/all articles I write I would love your thoughts and/or your sharing/connecting further of this article on any of my/your social sites. Thanks again for stopping by and as usual until next time… KEEP SMILING ≧✯◡✯≦✌

Stop Trying to be so MAGICAL & Just Relax

magic-kidJust stop it already! That is what I keep saying to myself anyway. Two weeks ago, I wrote an article on saying no more often to our children and it is something that I am continuing to make ends with in regards to raising a kid that is not spoiled beyond belief. Within this timeframe, I have also been asking myself why it is and more importantly, why it is I continue to catch myself saying yes, and trying to make my kids life so magical.

While I spend most of my time as a contractor for FedEx now a days, in the past I have been (still involved but not nearly as much) a blogger, consultant, teacher, and mentor that helped(s) to inspire others, their businesses, families, and children. Through these interactions and the continued evolution in my own life, I have had a front row seat to some good and bad behaviors others are and/or have exhibited in their own personal and business lives. These behaviors regardless of whether they are good and bad have allowed my own personal and business life to evolve. More importantly, I am continually learning that in business and life we do not need to hold some sort of magical halo over others and especially our children (i.e. trying to create some sort of MAGICAL world), as this usually doesn’t allow others (especially children) the opportunity to thrive or gain independence just like saying yes so often. Does that make since?

“We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all of the power we need inside ourselves already.” ― J.K. Rowling

As my time passes at becoming a better parent, my own parenting model also continues to take shape. What I mean most by that is what I (we) need to do more of is focus on the little things in our lives and not on all those magical moments others would lead you to believe are so important. I remember growing up in a world that was less connected online and more connected in real life. Not that it’s bad to be connected through social media but let us not use this as a median to compare ourselves with others all while trying to outduel each other. Additionally and as great as sites such as Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, etc are we should not let these and other social sites dictate to our young ones that there is some magic in doing things in excess to create some sort of magical childhood. Instead (this is especially important in a business acumen) let us get back to basics. Let us all do a better job at stretching our own child(ren’s) imaginations alongside ourselves by laying on the couch, taking a walk, or just sitting next to your little one(s) while you share a giggle or two. This my friends would be getting back to basics in a business since, while helping to create a more magically childhood for our children, not to mention relieving the stress of trying to keep up with the so called Benjamin’s (i.e. others on your friends list that consistently are trying to outduel everyone else on their friends list).

“Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen.” ― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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Long story short and what I am trying to say here is whether you are going it alone or in a relationship with another person while trying to raise a little one or ones remember that us parents can easily make our child’s growing up magical by being simple. We do not have to take continuous vacations, throw extravagant parties, or take our kids places often. However, what we all should do a better job at is focusing on creating a magical childhood for a kids by simply being there for them, talking to them when times are tough, and simply hanging out. There are an excessive amount of parents out there that don’t even make an attempt to spend time with their children, even call them, or provide any type of support (financial or mental). Do not be one of those parents and simply take the time today, tomorrow, or the next day to spend a few minutes enjoying your child or children because time goes by way to fast for us not to. Don’t be like some of those other parents out there that overdue everything, simply do something, just a little something to create a real magical childhood for your child(ren). Until next time my friends have fun, creating real magical moments not made up ones. Oh ya and don’t forget to KEEP SMILING (͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Why Do We Need to Say NO Anyway?

No!

Have you ever asked yourself what the true meaning of NO is? According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, they define no as “a negative answer or reply to a question, request, or offer.” Doesn’t this definition seem pretty simple and straight forward? Why then do most people (especially parents) have such a tough time saying no to certain situations, others, and most importantly to their kids? Let’s face it saying no is probably one of the hardest things to say because most of us don’t want to hear it ourselves or be considered the bad guy especially when it comes to parenting our children, yes?

If you have been a reader or follower of mine for any length of time, you know that for as many years as I can remember (or you have read) I have been involved in sales/service throughout my career. With that comes a lot of NO’s. I have heard no told to me in just about every situation. The good… I no longer let a no get me down. The bad… I’m not completely sure that I am a good teacher to my kid in the no category, as I find myself saying “yes” to him quit often. Why is this? Why can I take a no but not dish out enough no’s in the parenting arena? Well the only way I figure I can combat my own weaknesses with the word no is to actually put into writing a couple ways to use no in a positive manner to actually help myself (more importantly) my kid grow up with a better idea of what no can lead to in the future for himself.

1) Honesty is the Best Method– I often hear other parents being talked into different items at different stores by their children even if they know they can’t afford it. Even if it’s a pack of gum or candy bar, more of us need to do a better job explaining to our children that even an extra dollar spent isn’t/wasn’t in the budget. A little honesty in saying no can/should go a long way and I would like to believe later in life my kid (yours too) should be more equipped to purchase things that he/they really need, not things he/they merely want. Be honest with them now and they will be honest with themselves and us later.

2) Find Replacement Words (Phrases) – Who doesn’t want to use other words that mean the same thing? Using alternative words or phrases for a simple no is a good way to mix things up, yes? We just mentioned that honesty with our children goes a long way perhaps instead of consistently saying no let us try to use more phrases like “maybe another time,” “let’s think about it,” or a simple as “not today!” These phrases are not a clear-cut no and give all us parents different ways to say no without be dishonest.

3) Keep It Simple Stupid (K.I.S.S.) – One of my favorite phrases throughout my sales career has always been KISS. This basically means that the more you talk the less people are going or be willing to buy. Why not use this same approach with our children when saying no? Instead of telling our kids no over and over again or using lengthy explanations, why don’t we try shorter explanations like “it is not okay to take the snack, controller, or toy away from that kid,” then simply give your kid an alternative like another snack, controller, or toy. This eliminates the use of no and replaces it an alternative explanation… KISS!

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Saying no to anyone, especially our children is hard. However, most people and more importantly children need to hear it and if they don’t then more times than not you’ll end up with a spoiled rotten brat, friend, or relative. I know this is a work in progress for my little family but I will continue to use my own strategies suggested earlier as well as others y’all might suggest. Until next time, thanks for stopping by and remember to keep smiling regardless of the circumstance.

Why Every Family Needs an “AUNT” and/or “UNCLE”

 

 

I love all my aunts & uncles

When looking back on my own life and now my kid’s life, I can’t help but think about how important an aunt or uncle maybe? Moreover, and yes, this also includes all of those aunts and uncles that we used to or now our own children refer to aunt or uncle because they are around so much just like a real aunt or uncle. Do you have or remember those family members or friends that treated you like they were your own aunt or uncle?

I am not too sure if this gives away my age or not? But do you remember Endora from Bewitched here is a refresher if not…


or the movie Uncle Buck?

If you remember either of these thanks in advance for not pointing out my age and I hope you had/have a chuckle on me for this reminder, as both of these characters in these television/movies are priceless. Do you think every family needs an Aunt Endora or Uncle Buck character in their lives? Again, I have to say YES, as these characters or actually people in many cases help our children with emotional and/or physical transitions. In fact, I mentioned these two (show/movie), as they are prime examples of how my own sister and other impressionable women (Endora) and several other men and friends (Uncle Bucks i.e. y’all know who you are) who have helped me and are helping my own child with answers to many overlooked questions. Yes, this also includes those simple questions that I personally don’t often ask or others that my son may and/or may not feel comfortable asking or even listening to me to come up in his own personal life answers.

As for my family, I am completely appreciative of my aunts (Endoras) and other friends/family (Uncle Bucks)  that continue to be a huge support for me and my kids life. Even though I am sure that I will continue to stumble upon topics and interests that I was/will not be able to address and/or handle as graceful as my aunts or uncles, I wanted to make sure y’all know how grateful I am for your support/continued support and advice.

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So my question to you this Sunday morning is, “Do you also have an Endora and/or Uncle Buck in your family, if so who and if not why do you think that is?” I hope posing this question makes you or others realize how important this role is in are young-in’s growth. Moreover, if you personally don’t have and Endora or Uncle Buck in your own life, I hope you at least consider enrolling one or more in your own or children’s life now (i.e. it’s never too late to start something new) in order to help fill those often difficult or overlooked gaps between you and your children (subjects and/or conversations).

Happy Sunday everyone and make sure you take a moment to tell someone close to you or others involved in your or your children’s life how important they are to you today. Until next time remember to keep smiling, as you know it really does look good on you!

Parenting: How Old is too Old or How Young is too Young?

parents-make-the-difference Do you ever ask yourself the question… how old is too old or how young is too young? What I mean by that is do you ever find yourself asking this/these questions in your personal, business, or children’s life? Think about it. How old is too old? Or how old is too young to play games or act like a child, how old or young do you have to be to make important business decisions, or how old does your child have to be in order to sit in the front seat of the car, sleep alone, or walk home from school?

Perhaps one of the hardest parts of being a single parent, life, or business in general is asking yourself questions that you may or may not have the answers to, hence another reason why I started blogging in the first place. The how old or how young questions and answers have been really been weighing on me lately, not because of my own decisions but instead because my child is now at the age I believe (he hasn’t mentioned this to me) that he is asking himself some of these same questions.

More importantly and one of the toughest things about being a parent (especially a single parent) is learning when not to become an over-bearing mom or dad by asking yourself the same questions every day. Let’s face it if you have kids or not who hasn’t watched the Pixar movie Finding Nemo? Remember at the beginning of the movie when Marlon (Nemo’s Dad) was thrown into the role of a single dad when a large barracuda ate his wife? Although this movie is fictional, I think that it portrays a good storyline of real life. In fact, this movie shows how parents (especially single parents) can struggle letting go of their children just like Marlon or as simple as when we finally have to let our own kids cross a road by themselves, drive a car, or leave the nest headed off to college.

Relating Marlon and Nemo’s story to real life, can you see the foreseen or unforeseen danger of letting your kids go? If you are like me… Probably not but one thing should be clear and that is if we don’t loosen up the reins on our kids more times than not they will start to rebel against us much like Nemo did when he intentionally sets out to rebel against his father for being so controlling. How old is too old or how young is too young to swim alone? With this in mind, I wanted to take a moment and share some of my own thoughts about how old is too old or young with all of you that perhaps we can all learn from or expand upon them even further.

  1. First and for the last eight years as a dad, I have learned (consistently learning) that we cannot prevent most of the mistakes our kids will make, however we can prepare for the mistakes our children will make by providing them with honest advice as they grow. This does not mean that we lie to our children either whatever the case. It simply means that we tell them the truth even if the truth hurts, as we do not want them to make the same mistakes as we or others in our lives have or did make, right? The simple what is right and what is wrong should suffice. Don’t be like Marlon in Nemo and be to over protecting or make up stories if you want to have an open and honest relationship with our/your children.
  2. Secondly, we all need to do a better job (i.e. parents, family, friends, teachers, etc.) at helping ours and other children become the people they are capable of becoming. Instead of consistently labeling one another as over-bearing, insecure, needy, show-off, helpless, timid, confident, etc., what we should be turning these labels (in marketing terms or in my point of view) “weaknesses” into “strengths” or in Marlon’s case swimming on your own.  Example– A couple of weeks ago my son (8 yrs old) and I were outside throwing the football back and forth to one another just like watching other older students or professionals on television. After a few throws, I realized that my son was having a difficult time throwing overhand and catching the ball (lots of pouting), so I decided to throw underhand and cradle the ball as he threw it to me (just like Marlon cuddling Nemo). Problem solved, right? Wrong, after a couple more throws like this I realized that if I continued to throw and catch this way (over protecting him from disappointment) he would give up trying to become better. So, instead I switched back to overhand, threw the ball up and made several catches to myself, and he got pumped up about the bigger, higher, faster is better approach. By leading instead of catering to him in just this simple game of catch, he realized that if he keeps trying with encouragement from me anything is possible. He now asks to play catch almost every day (positive reinforcement or strength), which is good and bad from an over worked 30 something year old man-lol.
  3. Lastly, we all need to do a better job at giving ourselves credit when credit is due. In other words stop asking how old is too old or how young is too young and start giving yourself/ourselves more pats on the back for being good parents because let’s face it there are a lot of parents that are not so good and involved in their children’s lives. Way to many times in our lives or parenting ventures we all become our own biggest critics or worst enemies. Being a parent is by far one of the hardest thing I done (ya and I have a DBA/PhD) but we don’t have to continually fight ourselves or over complicate things do we? Do we really have to listen to all the negative feedback by others personally in their lives or on Facebook and let that affect our own lives, careers, and parenting? Absolutely not! Lets stop being so hard on ourselves/yourself and start smiling more, admit to our past mistakes, and pass on our real-life past experiences of positivity to others and especially our children. Like social media and its ability to connect others, parenting should also be about connecting but instead of connecting with others we should be connecting more with our kids to show that we are there in whatever capacity (physically, mentally, or emotionally) for them. Today and every day forward, pat yourself on the back, give your kid/kids a hug, and tell yourself and others what a good job you/they are doing in whatever capacity.

Letting GO!

In the end of Finding Nemo, Marlon seemed too had learned from his mistakes and looked at parenting in a completely new light, I even believe they made another movie. Instead of being a parent that is consistently trying to secure your/our children, let’s all try to encourage and also not be such an over bearing insecure one. As parent’s we all must ask the difficult how old is too old or how young is to young but more times than not we need to ask these questions less (or at least I do). In other words, we need to water our seeds less and let them grow more, as they were intended to grow with moderate water and sunshine. These my friends are the trees (our children) that will grow into long lasting landscape that we are really trying to create, yes? Ask but not too much and plant but not too much water in order to maintain those landscapes of our future generation.  As always, I look forward to your opinions and like usual don’t forget to KEEP SMILING, as it really does look good on you!

Quantity vs. Quality Family Time

Quantity Time vs. Quality Time (What is it ANYWAY)

Quantity-vs-Quality

Lately I have been thinking about all the work, school, and personal responsibilities I have committed to and it made me ask the question… how much quantity time should we spend on these things versus spending quality time with our kids? And what do we need more of quantity or quality time with our children?

If you find yourself asking yourself this or similar questions, I truly believe that the answer could be a combination of both, YES? In fact, last week, I wrote about spending nights around the dinner table with one another (quantity) and this week I think I need to address the (quality) part of spending time with our children, as I think people all too often think that just having their children around would suffice? Is going to a friends, letting your kids run around in the street, or watching television really quality time spent with one another?

 Why Quantity Time IS or IS NOT Quality Time

There are a million and one reasons to spend time with your kids whether that time is in quantity or quality right? Just think about everything you do on a daily basis instead of spending time with your children. Obviously, these things are different from person to person but they often include things such as working, going or talking to friends, letting your kids run around in the street, or watching television like the one(s) I just previously mentioned. Typically, these things are not bad and they are in fact things that others would consider quantity times. However, having a kid or children in your care requires a lot more than just these few things. My little niece just turned 15 yesterday and it made me realize that she has just a couple years left at home before she ventures off on her own (WOW where has the time gone), so like her and many other children they are only in their parent’s care for a limited time. Just think about it, if you want to spend quality time with your kids, you had better do it now. Needless to say, pick up a book, pull out some paper and pencils, take your children shopping (i.e. you don’t have to actually buy anything) and/or just lay down next to those kids of yours who need you by their side. Those my friends are quality activities not just quantity activities.

 Quality Time is more Satisfying than those Other Activities

family-time

Over the years, I have often found myself taking my kid over other friend’s houses but often allow my kid to run a muck, while I chat with the adults my age (how selfish). Granted this is time spent with one another in or at the same location, I also think you would agree that this is not quality time spent with one another, yes? Almost every time that I do hang out with others and my kid does his own thing with other kids, after I almost always realize that this was not the quality time that my son deserves to spend with his dad. Let’s face it there are tons of reasons that the time we spend with our children makes us genuinely feel good. Most of the time our interactions with one another are priceless even if they are just at someone else’s house, playing video games, watching movies, or shopping because these things deepen our relationships with each other. However, at the end of the day our children love us unconditionally, so this/these times spent with one another can/should be more satisfying in the long run. Even though it may be easy to walk away from things in your life like a job, it isn’t so easy to walk away from things in your life like your children. Therefore, let us make sure this week that we all do a better job at spending quality time with our little ones, so we can create more value, enjoyment, and long-term love with those we truly care about (i.e. kids) and not necessarily others in the end. Trust me friends, this quality time spent with our children will not only make a difference today but will continue long after we are gone (if you don’t make changes or break the chain now… no one will).

You Decide in the End

 I realize that your personal, business, and life demands cannot be ignored but spending both quantity and quality time with our kids is something that also cannot be ignored. We are all limited in the amount of time we have to spend with one another daily, weekly, and monthly, so let us all do a better job at focusing are time(s) more appropriately. Long story short and what I am trying to say here is that just because my son and I eat together every night that’s not all I need to do to strengthen our relationship. Of late, I have consciously put forth an effort to spend the most amount of time with my son versus with others (yes, friends and family may or may not agree with this) but in the end, I am led to believe that this time will make a difference between the good and bad decisions my child will later make. None of us wants to be let down by those we love but if we show those we love (especially our kids) perhaps they will be less inclined to let us down later in life. We cannot change fate but we can help it along the way. What do you think? Are there any repercussions later in life or does it matter whether we spend quantity or quality time with our kids? Please comment below or drop me a line if you agree or disagree and until next time… remember to KEEP SMILING EVERYONE!