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26 Gifts Your Children Will Never Forget

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 September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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