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26 Gifts Your Children Will Never Forget

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26 Gifts Your Children Will Never Forget

You love your children. You want them to have a great childhood, and to live a happy and fulfilling life.  As parents, this is 100% your responsibility. Your children will not have another relationship during their lifetime that will have greater positive or negative impacts than their relationship with you, so you cannot take this responsibility lightly.

Being a parent is one of the most rewarding, yet challenging roles we can play in life. Although there is no instruction manual for parenting, there is a lot of great information at your fingertips to support your efforts in giving your children what they need to grow into happy, strong, fulfilled adults.

Below is a list of 26 gifts we can give our children that they will never forget, and are as easy as A, B, and C.

Affirmation

Everyone needs to be told they are valued, worthy, and doing a good job. Your kids are no different. By affirming them you are making them more secure and confident.

Boundaries

Whether we want to admit it or not, we like boundaries. These provide your children clear expectations and certainty, and not only do they like that, but the more consistent we are, the more consistent our children will be.

Confidence

I have two children and above everything else, my # 1 goal is that my children reach adulthood with confidence. The sooner we focus on helping our children be confident, the easier their lives will be. Confident people are simply focused on more productive things rather than getting caught up with drama, worry, and self-destructive thoughts and actions. With bullying being such a big issue in our culture, confidence is the best solution. Self-assured kids don’t bully, nor do they put up with being bullied.

Discipline

Like boundaries, we hate to admit that we need and even like discipline, but we do, and our kids need it too. They need to be guided down a productive path and held accountable when they veer off that path. They need to be able to count on the fact that there are consequences to their actions, both positive and negative.

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Expectations

As parents to young children, we are the “life experts” and if we don’t set expectations and guide them accordingly, they will find another set of values and rules to follow. They need clear expectations.

Friendship

Don’t confuse this with being their friend. Parents don’t need to be their children’s friends: they will have plenty of those. We need to be their parents. Children need to learn how to have healthy and productive relationships with other people, and that starts with us.

Gratitude

Teaching our children to be thankful impacts other things like a positive attitude and appreciation for both people and things.

Healthy Home Culture

Is your home culture productive or destructive? Is it positive or negative? Are you setting a good example? What kind of people are your children learning to become within the walls of your home? We are all the results of the environments we grew up in, and there is no environment with a greater impact than your home.

Identity

Our identity is the result of our past. When our children reach adulthood, their idenity will be the result of their past experiences and relationships with us.  We must lead and guide our children so they have a confident and positive attitude about themselves, helping them avoid self-imposed barriers and suffering from what I refer to as an “Identity Crisis.  When you Google the words “define identity crisis” the following definition appears:

“a period of uncertainty and confusion in which a person’s sense of identity becomes insecure, typically due to a change in their expected aims or role in society.”

As parents, it is our jobs to give our children certainty and eliminate any confusion that will create insecurity and ultimately impact their quality of life.

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Jokes

Some of the best times I have with my kids are in the car where I’m joking around and acting like a fool. My son demands more and my daughter tells me how much I am embarrassing her, all the while trying to stop herself from laughing.

Kindness

No need to elaborate here. Be kind to your children and teach them to be kind to others.

Love

I believe the words LOVE and RESPECT are the two most important words in parenting. We must set the example by not only showing love and respect for others, but for ourselves. We must show our children love and respect while holding them accountable for having a positive attitude about themselves and why it’s important to show love and respect to other.

Mentoring

Our kids get hammered with thousands of messages every single day, most of which don’t do not have their best interest in mind. They are either going to learn things from us, or from someone/something else out there. You want them to learn things from you. I don’t care how you look at it or what you call it. Your children need your attention, guidance, and leadership.

Never Giving Up

Giving up is just a symptom of a bigger problem; a bad attitude. It’s a dog-eat-dog world and our kids are going to get knocked around and challenged plenty. Quitting and giving up is the path of least resistance and if they aren’t challenged to keep going, taking the path of least resistance will become habit. Few people experience fulfillment and success in life by giving up.

Optimism

Few things are more challenging than dealing with people who are pessimistic and negative. Our children must be held accountable for their bad attitudes and it is up to us show them there is a more productive way to live.

Passion

When people are passionate about what they do, the harder they will work, and the more fulfillment they will experience. We need to pay attention to what our children are passionate about and provide the opportunities and resources for them to explore and excel.

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Quiet Time

Many children are over-stimulated to the point they go nuts when they don’t have anything to do. Quiet time allows them to relax, think, and use their imagination. Turn off the TV, DVD players, tablets, phones, and gaming systems and let them figure out how to use their time.

Reading Time

Like anything else, the more time our children invest in reading, the better they will become. This starts with us reading to them at a young age and encouraging them to read on their own as they get older. A child’s reading ability impacts their confidence and enjoyment with school, as well overall confidence and success in life.

Security

Security is the foundation of confidence. Insecure people think about themselves and the world very differently than people who are secure and confident. I am a big fan of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory, which suggests that insecurity impacts the relationships we build with others, as well as our self-confidence, and our ability to reach our potential. I truly believe that if we as parents raise our children to be secure and confident they will figure things out.

Talks

We need to be our children’s greatest influencers and that won’t happen if our children don’t have the ability to or don’t feel comfortable talking to us. The more we talk and build comfort and trust the more they will open up.

Unconditional Love

Our children must know that regardless of who they are and what they do, we will always love them.  Now, unconditional love does not mean you don’t discipline them or hold them accountable.  They are going to screw up and do stupid things, but we are the one relationship they need to be able to count on and we need them to depend on, in good and bad times.

Values

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is one of my favorite books and had probably had the greatest foundational impact on my life. Seven Habits taught me that the most important thing a person can do is articulate their values and create a vision for their life and make decisions based on those values. When a person makes decisions based on things that are meaningful and important to them, they can never go wrong.

We must first understand our values, but also talk to our children about values to that will help them live a productive and fulfilling life.

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Wonder

Wonder and curiosity are the keys to critical thinking and learning. We want our children to look at the world, ask questions, and have a desire to know more. We must be active in their learning when they are young and support them in their process of discovery.

Xenodochial

The definition of xenodochial is “being friendly to strangers”. Our children’s attitudes of the world will be a reflection of our attitude. Xenodocial aligns nicely with the love and respect I talked about above.

Youthfulness

When I think of the word “youthful”, I think of words like fun, energetic, creative, curious, passionate, imaginative, brave, open-minded, and happy.

At 35 I hope I am still all those things. Too many people follow a plan or conform to expectations that leave them unemotionally wandering through life. I don’t want that for my kids.

The world is full of all kinds of great stuff to get excited about and we need to share this with our kids.

Zeal

“Great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective”.

What are your kids passionate about? What cause can you pursue together that will show them the impact they can have on the world with the right attitude and action?

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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