“If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don't have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.” ~ Steve Jobs 

I came across this quote in one of my coach training classes many months ago and it has stuck with me ever since. I started thinking, what if I could apply this not just to projects and business ideas, but apply it to my life?

I have had the longtime habit of living from a place where I avoid what I don’t want as much as possible, and base personal decisions on how I want to move away from certain ideas, habits, and situations that weren’t right for me. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I think it’s only half of what I should be doing.

I read this quote and it got me excited! What if the vision of what you really want your future to look like is what gets you excited every day? You are going to start making decisions and doing things, no matter how big or small, that align with that future as much as possible.

While all of my writings about parenting come from personal experience, my personal life, and decisions I have made in it have felt…. well, muddy and incomplete; with no clear intention of what I wanted down the line. I may have thought I was doing well, and I am proud of myself for how far I have come, but through my training, I realized I could do SO much better! When I say better, I mean with clearer intent and clearer vision.

As a Parent Coach and Mentor, I have learned to apply my training to my own life. You know the saying - “If you're going to talk the talk, you've got to walk the walk”? I have definitely been doing that!  Now, instead of having the habitual mindset of only working on problems I wanted to solve, so I can move away from them by getting them out of my life, I have been practicing envisioning what I want for my own future…. a moving towards, so to speak. This has shifted me from only setting goals, to getting excited for the vision of exactly what I want, so those goals could be even more focused.

In this journey, I decided that in order to help other parents with the same thing, I could find a way to inspire you all to create exciting future visions for yourselves. To help with this inspiration, I have opened up my blog to include stories from all of you!

Do you have a story like this to share but don’t have the outlet? Do you have a blog already and would like more exposure? Do you have an “Ah-ha!” parenting moment that is just too good not to share? Have you taken more control over your life in order to set a better example for your children?

Go over to my website and drop me a message if you’d like to contribute stories that may inspire other parents.


Back in May I wrote a piece called "What are you teaching your kids?" I shared an experience where I learned that my many years of parenting has taught me to stop, observe and listen, without letting my own urges interfere with what my six year old daughter needed from me.  Recently I came across a wonderful piece written by Deliberate Parenting where she shares her experience with the same type of interchange that happened between her and her young daughter.  What I love so much about this is that she found what worked best for her daughter in the moment without fixing everything for her.  Plus, she embodied exactly what I try to get through to people about parenting - Just because you read how someone else does something, it doesn't mean it's best for you.  You MUST feel your way through parenting not just apply the methods you read about.  That is the only way to be sure you are doing what's best for your kids.  Your child's well-being is as important as your relationship with them.

Here is the piece in it's entirety!  Enjoy!  And please do visit her site and leave her a comment!


Why I Didn’t Step In When Kids Told My Daughter to Go Away
Posted by Marisa on September 22, 2013 in The Choices We Make

Children pick and choose play partners. Their willingness to meet and play with other kids is not necessarily hampered by whether they know these kids.  Play groups form naturally whereever play occurs. From school yards to playgrounds, children’s play is critical for practicing how to get along with others, how to make friends, and really just how to keep on keepin’ on.

A Girl Rejected. This weekend while at a birthday party, my three year old daughter, eager to play with kids as usual, climbed up a small backyard slide with a deck and stood politely among three older children (between the ages of 5 and 9). I was sitting alone at a table nearby for the purpose of keeping an eye on her. Though I was about 15 feet away, I could tell by her solemn face and stiff body that they were not having a friendly interaction. As the older kids shooed her away, Greysen stood wide-eyed and unsure, but steady.

I had to decide right there, should I come closer or stay out of it? Having intervened with this group of children at a previous birthday party in July, I was familiar with their routine of “get away kid, you’re bothering me.” The other thing I kept in mind was that while they were older than my daughter, they were children too.

The last time they asked her to leave, my daughter stood alongside her cousin, and together they played through the group of older children, not taking much notice of their dismissive ways. By my moving in closer, the children quieted, and my daughter and her cousin naturally moved away.

This time was different. My daughter stood alone and was acutely aware of their feelings.

As the children continued to speak, my daughter turned to me. I nodded and said, you can tell them, “No, I’m playing here.” Perhaps there were savvier words that I could have suggested, but that’s what I went with.  Fueled by my encouragement, she turned to them and said so confidently. The kids regrouped and talked some more. She stood waiting to get access to the slide, but now she was gripping the side of the structure. She looked at me while they spoke. Her face didn’t seem alarmed or hurt, but rather unsure. I stayed where I was, focused and available should she seem to need me. She looked back to the children and continued to wait. Within moments they spoke to her again and she responded to them again, this time with more determination -”NO.”

She wasn’t looking to me to be rescued, but rather for reassurance. So, despite the ache I was feeling for my daughter who was being told to leave, I stayed put waiting for her to indicate she needed more from me than she was getting.

The children spoke some more amongst themselves before one moved positions, climbing down. This spurred movement amongst all the children, and my daughter took this opportunity to slide down the slide.

She jaunted over to see me. I sat and waited, swallowing my urge to ask whether she was ok, and what did they say, etc.

As she twisted her leg to free her foot from her boot, she had three things to tell me:

1. Those kids were telling me to go away.
2. I’m going to play in the jumphouse now.
3. Can I have a red sugar candy?

I leaned down for a hug and held her for just the briefest moment, in which I felt a sting of the idea that there will be a time where I will not be there when she faces rejection. She may not have me, but she will have had this experience.

Had I walked over to intervene, I could have spared Greysen two more instances of confrontation. I could have even possibility facilitated some play. There was a remote chance that I could have even helped her gain entry into their play.

Had I intervened, I could have taken over all those children’s play. I could have taken Greysen’s opportunity to stand up for herself, to bolster her tenacity, to negotiate, and to really listen to when she needs help and when she doesn’t.

The idea to not ask my child the 50 questions I had read was inspired by this post by Robin Whitcore and a response of approval (when I shared this post) by Lisa Sunbury.

The need to process and analyze may not be their need, but ours. At that moment, I chose to trust my daughter and our relationship. I gave her permission to take the lead of her emotional development since it was a manageable instance, and to not ask her to placate me with details.

What purpose would those questions have served other than to reassure me? When she has questions, she asks them. When she is upset, she cries. If she needed to talk, she would have.

That was that for her. Thus, that was that for me.

I recently had the opportunity to do a guest post for Truth Freedom Love for "Fall In-Love with Yourself February".  Here is an excerpt.  To read the full post, please follow the link <3


Self love…. What a topic!

How many of you are reading this and have certain things pop into your head? Things like “Well, I do love myself but I’m not selfish.” “I know plenty of people who love themselves. I think they are conceited.” “I’m not supposed to think about that. I am only supposed to serve others.” “I know I deserve better than what I allow in my life but it’s not my fault. I must not deserve better after all.” We are pre-programmed with so many knee-jerk reactions.

I admit that I have had a monumental problem with this concept. I have always had the notion that I am only worthy of other people’s love and attention if I earn it. This includes any love I have had for myself. I have felt worthless if I’m not doing for someone else. Raise your hands now because I know a lot of you, especially if you are a female, were brought up believing this!

In order for you to understand where I am coming from I need to give you a little background....

Read the rest here!
Happy New Year!

I wanted to start off the year with some support for a new blogger.  I am pasting his entire blog here because I have tracked you all before to see if you would follow a link to read the remainder of a partial post.  You tend not to.  What I am going to do though is disable comments here so you all have to go over to his site to leave a comment!

I felt compelled to share this because I pay close attention to which of my own blogs are the most shared.  Over the past year you all have gravitated toward the ones that focus on what's most important in life.  Since you all know that I am HUGE on living by example, I thought you'd enjoy Peter's thought provoking post as much as I did.  My hope is that it prompts some real discussion about how we live our lives and the real impact it has on those around us - particularly our children.



The Problem With Men

Posted on January 11, 2012  by phiggins74 under Fathers, Help, Men, Opinion, society, Uncategorized

We, and by We I mean the current 30-40 yr old generation, grew up with NO real male role models. We grew up in a time that was high on immortalizing Sport Heroes because of their stats, not their caliber as a Man…Music heroes, glorified by their separation from the Norm, showcased more on their ability to party than to be Men of character…..We grew up Idolizing movie stars, action heroes, who Fought, shot, and thumped their chest while building body counts…..This is NOT to say that there weren’t good examples of being a man in all of those theaters, there were good men, but they were not glorified, they were not front and center, they were not shown in the same light. As we grew up, we were directed AWAY as a society from the Good male role model by the thing we gravitated most towards…entertainment. I am not saying the entertainment industry is to blame…they are not responsible for OUR decision as a society, but they found what SOLD…Sold products, sold airtime, sold merchandise, and they pounced at the chance to make more by selling more….A generation who idolized, what I WOULD consider the furthest people from being acceptable role models, followed in what they though were the footsteps of those who were merely trying to entertain us. They weren’t trying to tell us how to live, or who to be, or what to strive for, but we bought into it fully.
This mentality, started back in the 70’s, has succeeded through today in every way shape or form. We (by way of buying into the dumbing down of this society through faith in media and entertainment) put characters from movies on pedestals, glorify violence, swim in the escapist mentality and often times put down those who would attempt to come along to try and steer us back in the right direction because…well…that’s not entertaining, exciting, nor does it feed into the fantasy of our societies mentality anymore. Effort is made to shield us from the things we need not be witness of, but it is futile and is more often than not, seen as censorship. The more we see as a society, the more we crave. YOU may not feel this way, but the mentality of the general masses has SHOWN us unequivocally that this is how we are as a collective society.

I do not have a solution, but can only offer a suggestion. It starts with MEN….yes….MEN. Not boys with dreams of being anything more than MEN. A MAN will protect his children from the things seen and heard and witnessed that can harm a child’s mind. A MAN will be a role model for not only HIS children, but all children that may come into contact with him. A MAN will stand for what is right, not in children’s eyes, but what is MORALLY right….Foul language, disrespect of women, bad mouthing others (these are things we are all guilty of, finger points back to me), making judgement verbally to others, inability to leave a bad day at the door…there are countless ways we as men in this country have failed generations of children and I and many others have witnessed this first hand. We cannot be perfect, but WE can be BETTER. Want the cycle of violence and decay to end in our society….THEN BREAK THE CYCLE. LET THE CYCLE END HERE!!!!!! Lower your voices and show compassion even in the hardest of times, love your wife / partner with respect and selflessness and rebuke your children with loving kindness and not out of anger…..a punishment should not be administered out of anger…just my OPINION. Teach that what they see on TV is ENTERTAINMENT and make it age appropriate for crying out loud….NEWS, SPORTS, Movies, All of it, entertainment. Its okay to teach the mentality of “you can be what you want to be in life with HARD WORK, you’re NOT entitled to what you want in life.” And if you feel compelled, teach that even YOU as a Father are only a child in the eyes of God as well….If kids see that we serve something bigger than us then they feel a bit more even in the playing field and will come to accept, through consistent teaching and example, that we ALL answer to someone for our doings.

Again….I am not offering this is the SOLUTION to all problems, just stating my own personal opinion of my observations in my time with you all. And this is NOT in ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM a disclusion of women….I am not a woman therefore I can only speak of my experiences as a man.So men, BE A MAN and TAKE RESPONSIBILITY…EVEN IF YOU DON’T HAVE CHILDREN, YOU CAN STILL BE A ROLE MODEL. Without great Leaders there are no good paths to follow. Let OUR children see good paths that they will want to travel as they too become men.

God Bless.


Thanks to Peter for taking the time to write this and giving me permission to share it with all of you!

Now go leave a Comment at http://thoughtsofthefallenman.wordpress.com/2013/01/11/the-problem-with-men/

___I happened to come across this blog post from a friend on Facebook the other day.  Although it's much longer than posts I usually read, it resonated with me and my own evolution when it came to my kids' television viewing.  I'll let what Vanessa wrote speak for itself!  Enjoy!

Januray 13, 2012

It's peanut butter jelly time!

My circles run pretty crunchy these days so it has been a somewhat lonely adventure, this tv thing. In fact I think I may know more people that do not own a tv than do. But I think many of my friends are curious, so I figured I'd share our experience with television.

I could write a pretty decent essay with awesome references to scientific studies. I went to school for that. I loved it! But there is no study being done on a family like mine, and even if there were, there are so many components to real life that just can't be accounted for. I'm slowly losing my faith in statistics. It's so crushing for a gal like me to realize the world does not fit into neat and tidy boxes.  So I'm gonna just share my own personal journey.

I grew up religious and worried about guarding my heart and senses from worldly material, not because my mom forbid it but because my religion did. I outgrew that but nevertheless I also grew up not watching much tv or listening to music. I'd suck at trivial pursuit unless it was a Bible question. I miss all the references to Saved by the Bell. But given the option to have a tv I could care less if we didn't own one. As a teen my parents even put one in my room. All access any time. I rarely watched it. Once I moved out with my cousin we had two channels. I never missed it. So that's my background. I could easily take it or leave it. Actually I grew to love a quiet house and would prefer to leave it. If I were the only person in the house to contend with that is.

So when I married my husband. . .

Now, Nate, he LOVES tv. He told me once he'd rather eat rocks than cancel our cable. He was for real. So trying to protect my childred from the evils of television proved to be futile. And then I realized it wasn't so evil. I even wrote about it two years ago here. But gosh darn, doesn't a good parent at least restrict things their kids aren't mature enough for?

And so for a few years I did have some limits. Nothing racy (only little kids stuff) and not too much a day. I was quick to blame the tv for bad behavior and frustrated at the thought my kid might prefer tv to that wonderful outdoor play. But it was around, and it wasn't completely corrupting my child.

And then came my venture into unschooling. Radical unschooling at that. And I figured it was time for an adventure. Eventually I lifted all restrictions on tv time. My four year old could watch whatever he wanted whenever he wanted. Clarification: whenever Nate wasn't watching. And then, since Nate watches hours and hours of football on Sunday, I found a $10 tv on craigslist to put in his room so he could watch dvds of his favorite shows instead.

And I was worried. And a bit embarrassed when a friend might see that second tv in a child's bedroom. Scared I may be encouraging laziness and consumerism.

And for months we watched hours and hours of tv. We learned about super heroes. We watched every super hero show on cartoon network and the hub. I dvr'd things I thought he might like. I bought him books, costumes, and toys about super heroes. I played super hero games with him. And I sat next to him as we watched even more tv.

And then one day, as I listed the shows available, he became bored with tv. The next day it wasn't even turned on. The next day either. And we went outside per his request and played. Twice. Then finally it rained and we turned it on and he asked to watch Dino Dan instead. And after Dino Dan he wanted to play more. And play and play and play.  And the next day, no tv again and just more requests to play. And our tv binge was finally over.

I don't think tv is done forever. We've learned that tv is fun, interesting, and incredibly inspirational. It's an awesome resource. I'm sure there will be another subject that we discover and I'll fill our DVR and Netflix que with tons more stuff. But for now he's full. He's satiated. Despite what others might think, a four year old is actually capable of "regulating" himself. Even during our highest tv watching days, there was still plenty of playing and doing, whether in front of the tv or not. When he's done, he doesn't take another bite.

So here are some myths and fears this experiement dispelled for me:

1. Children will only regurgitate shows in their play.

Maybe they will if they are limited to very few shows or movies. Children process through play. Sometimes a theme will show up that Vinny saw but it almost always morphes into his own scene. Transformers pair up with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and GI Joes go to birthday parties and bad guys are frequently rehabilitated, often promising to not to do bad things anymore so they can be "friends."

2. It turns my child a zombie.

It may seem that way, if they are really focused or maybe tired but that's not a bad thing. When Vinny is captivated, it's because he is really interested. Occasionally he zones out but he's a pretty intense guy emotionally. He needs lots of downtime away from people and this is a pretty sweet situation where he can be mellow and still learn a bunch. Though he gets plenty of opportunities to sleep and relax so zoning out is rare.

3. It makes them violent.

On the contrary. Shows like Batman and GI Joes has not only introduced us to weapons but have provided ample material for conversations on ethics and appropriate situations and ways to use weapons both real and pretend. My son knows to always get an adult if he ever sees a gun and how to wield a foam sword without hitting anyone in the face.

4. It turns them into buyers.

When Vinny discovered commercials, he did want every single toy. And I even bought a few things that he requested. Even the crappy stuff. He quickly picked up that the ads often were different than real deal. He became a savvy consumer, recognizing a "cheap" item from one with better play value. He also learned to trust his mama's advice when I say, "that's a toy that will probably break or get boring quickly."  And there has been a few times, I've been proven wrong. That a cheap crappy toy turns out to be totally worth buying because it's so fun! Did I mention he's also taught himself to fast forward through the commercials?

5. It causes naughty behavior.

I loved blaming bad behavior on tv. In hindsight it wasn't the tv. If Vinny acts up it's usually because he's tired or restless. As a growing boy he loves physicality above all else. If I don't find ways to incorporate than into rainy days home, he will. Sometimes his way of "excercising" involves couch jumping, or fighting his brother. A detour to jump together on our little indoor trampoline or a dance party are ALWAYs accepted. There is a good reason why. And it's not the tv's fault. If he were reading or painting or driving around in a carseat for hours a day, he'd still need to move. And as a kid who sometimes would forget to eat if he gets caught up in his playing, that's where my job as a mom kicks in. To take from his cues and help him meet his needs.

6. It's a bad influence.

My kids do pick up on slang and learn quite a bit about things I haven't introduced. For the most part it's things we don't often see in daily life, like surfing or tumble weeds. Sometimes I'll hear a word like "stupid" get tested. Why am I not worried about this? Because as his best source of reliable information he trusts me over the tv. I really am his biggest influence in life.

And when I'm no longer, I trust that he'll have a good foundation of having made plenty of choices with support. If I see something questionable arise either on screen or in person we discuss it. In the simplest terms I can. And if it's something gets too dark or racy, I'll tell him that it's meant for grown ups or teenagers or may be inappropriate for his age. He already knows that he doesn't like scary things or shows that get too emotional and has yet to protest. And if he did, I'd make sure to stay close and watch him watching. Keep a eye on what he's taking in. Does it seem like it's confusing him? Bothering him? And then we'd most likely find out in play.

7. It reduces creativity.

This one kills me. Anyone who knows Vinny or has read this blog can see that couldn't be farther from the truth. If anything it has promoted it.

I've already written a saga here but the next few bullets are imperative. My guidelines so to speak. Here is why I think our experiment was so successful. Enough to hand the remote over again.

1. We use common sense.

Vinny had free reign to choose shows but having some life experience I would disclose if I thought something might be too scary. He's quite sensitive to emotional stuff. Climaxes in movies are the worst. Toy Story 3 was quite the cry fest and he put a stop to movies for a solid year after. Even now I will encourage him to  try a movie I think he'll love and pause or turn it at any time. So I would not tune into Friday the 13th and expect all to be well. I  don't use the tv free zone to watch whatever I want. Housewives of Beverly Hills doesn't get turned on until after bedtime. I also have noticed he likes some of the older shows because they are less realistic (Adam West Batman anyone?), so I've helped him find some of those on dvds.

2.  I watch with him.

Not every single show every time, but I am familiar with his shows and make a huge effort to watch shows he watches for the first time, as well as check in regularly so I know what's going on. If an idea enters our play, I like knowing where it might be coming from. But more importantly I use tv to connect with him. A thing we do with each other vs something I use to get things done. And I've found I genuinely enjoy many of his shows.  In fact I'd go as far as saying it has given our whole family new ways to make connections with each other. Turns out Vinny loves 80's cartoons, the very same ones Nate did!

3. I actively create a rich home environment.

There are beaucoups of things to do here. From toys to crafts there is no shortage of possibilities. Not only does having a lot of toys and craft supplies make for impromptu nunchuck making, but also allows us to jump right into some rich play experience.

4. I'm aware of my own baggage with tv and keep it my own.

Like I shared before, I have my own story. I want Vinny to create his and to do it in a healthier way. I have a lot of influence and my disapproving attitude could have easily manifiested into something negative between him and I.

I love this quote:

As a child I was taught that fashion and all it entails was "wordly" and that Barbie stuff promoted low self esteem. Baloney! What promoted low self esteem was being told my interests weren't worthy.- Ren Allen

I really think this quote gets to the heart of what parents get wrong. My mom was always a super supportive lady but her subtle comments on a shirt she thought was too flashy because it had too many colors really impacted my future decisions. I don't think it was a coincidence that I spent many years in early adulthood buying monochromatic jackets and sweaters. Maybe I was just too sensitive but I'm taking that experiece to mean, my lack of trust, even in minor things, is a really big deal. And TV is no exception.

5. We stay home a lot.

My kids are little and need lots of downtime. Time to play and time to pursue interests. Time to be bored and time to veg. If we are going from activity to activity, they'd have to prioritize and it's possible that tv or video games would bump outdoor play or dramatic play down. I don't know how much that would matter but I do know right now we have plenty of time to do all of their favorite things. Perhaps when they are older they will choose to do these things and the balance will shift. And school would probably take away quite a bit of that precious time. But I'm getting way ahead of myself. . . Right now we ample of time to play, socialize and you guessed it, watch tv.

So in conclusion, I didn't start off as a tv person and even advocated to be a tv free family. But it never felt right, trying to take away something my child and husband loved. And I went with it. It has really worked out for us. And I don't think it would be so unique to my family. I'm not encouraging others to drop all limits but I do hope if tv is something rationed and controlled by the grown ups to at least think about why that is. I'm not saying that what worked for us would work for others or whether all my bullet points would transfer the same, but I am saying that it's something worth thinking about if you are talking to others about those "myths" as facts, especially without your own experiment. I certainly expected to be proven right and I turned out to be completely wrong.

I really do feel that patience, a lot of involvement and trust has paid off in a big way for my family. I think if I had been more controlling about tv I would have missed a major opportunity to get to know and connect with Vinny. And while there are plenty of other things to connect over, tv is one that has really counted.

Here are some excellent pro tv articles that inspired me to take the plunge:

This one is my all time favorite and has been super true for us


This one is a plethora of fun tv thoughts


And this one hits the core of the matter. The connection with out children.


Joyce's site is similar to Sandra Dodd's but with a different flavor, all her tv stuff is on the left.


This one is a bit off topic, touching on book worship but same general vicinity:


This one is another book one for shits and giggles, (for the record I LOVE books! Just ask Nate):


And here are a few books on the top of my to be read pile, no review except it proves there are two sides to every argument with tons of scientific references:



Vanessa is mom to four year old Vinny and 2 year old Rocky. She lives with her husband Nate outside of Boston in a magical yellow house. Since they made the decision to skip preschool she documents the time they spend learning through play so on her blog http://bonboneater.typepad.com/bon_bon_eater/
I read something this morning that I feel compelled to share with you.  The link below is to a very long blog, but please set aside the time to read through the entire thing.  This is a well thought out opinion about the sexualization of women from a blogger that I have been following for a while.  You will probably start reading it and react to this or that along the way, but stick it out to the end because he does address probably every thing you may have had a reaction to.

As a side note, he has recently questioned his own words regarding the ladies covering up more part, so understand that this is a writer that took the time to get past the BS and write something as honestly as he could, even if he later was questioning some of what he wrote.  The integrity is there and that's what really counts, in my opinion.

I hope that you can take at least a few of things from the perspective he shares and apply them in your own way.  You all know how strongly I feel about setting the best example for our children that we can.  Our children learn from what we DO even more strongly than from what we SAY.  It's about time we take our power back and stop buying into what is sold to us and acting mindlessly, as Dan puts it, like Pavlov's Dogs.

I hope you enjoy this fresh perspective as much as I did!

single dad laughing - Worthless women and the men who make them

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