How is Food is the beginning of Thankfulness?

November 26, 2008 at 7:40 am | Posted in attitudes, Families, parents, Self Esteem, spirituality, Wonderful Wednesday | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , ,

It’s Wonderful Wednesday.  And this is such a special day because, as you know, it is the day before Thanksgiving.

 

I have been having you focus on one thing to be thankful for this week.  To really get involved with why that particular thing is worth being thankful for.  How this thing is connected to your whole life.  Not just fulfilling the basic need you have been taught to think about, but how this thing is a true part of your ability to live with passion, purpose, and integrity.

 

Mine has been food.  Of course food is necessary to live.  No one can live without food forever. Even Mahatma Gandhi had to eat after three weeks.  But we in our lives are not suffering from horrible cultural norms, devastating political outbursts, or even true financial disasters, and although there are natural disasters, we have a very strong support system to help our citizens get back on their feet.

 

So how is food connected to more than my ability to stay alive?  How does food connect to every aspect of my life?  Food is a huge process.  It is a daily task.  Food is a way for my family and friends to be together.  I still have at least two meals a day together as a family.  At the time of preparation there is usually one child who is miserable about something.  That child comes to me in the kitchen and whines, complains, shouts, cries, or stands around with the silent treatment.  The kicking has pretty much stopped.

 

And while I prepare the meal, I can help that child learn and understand how to cope with such atrocities as a sister taking back her favorite shirt, being pushed over out of spite, or just being grumpy for no reason.  I am sure that without meal prep I would still have children who needed support and guidance, but it is during meal prep that some of my most nurturing moments occur.

 

The meals themselves are filled with conversations.  You can imagine with the age spread of aged 8 to 16 at home full time, and having guests regularly. Over the 24 years I have been a parent those conversations have changed, mutated, and developed.  Some themes continue, others come and go.  Many of my fondest memories are when we have been eating.  Memories are a vital part of my spiritual well-being.  When I am stressed, down, overwhelmed I can find a memory to bring me back into perspective. 

 

And there is the clean up time.  This is the never-ending scourge of my life.  There are always dirty dishes, counters, tabletops… I can go about the clean up process with anger and bitterness that I am still stuck with doing it or must nag and constantly remind my kids to do their part.  But I can get past that.  I can see that all this mess is a product of abundance.  And this abundance is not just the quantity of food and dishes we have, but the abundance of living we have.  My family does everything with real gusto.  It comes from our souls and spirits., and the food mess is daily evidence of this.

 

The process of getting Thanksgiving dinner on our table began on Monday.  We made our menu. Yesterday we went shopping.  Today we do prep for many dishes and help my mom with her pies. (She will make four from scratch- crust and all and her 80th b-day is tomorrow.)

 

Now you really know how I have taken food and looked to its roots as to why I am thankful for it.  It is not only my nourishment for my body; it is the nourishment for my values and morals.  Food is more than a simple grab it and eat it thing for me.  It is a process that brings my most sacred and special feelings and emotions out in the open. 

 

Being thankful, living with true integrity to your values and morals is a process.  It cannot be done in one quick instance.  It takes your heart and soul, your actions, and your mind set.

If you haven’t set this process in motion, start now.  Let yourself grow with your thankfulness.  Be the most thankful person you can be, but start with only one thing to be thankful for.

Be thankful with Passion, Purpose, and Integrity,

Grace

Advertisements

How to Use Early Socialization and Keep Peer Pressure at Bay For Life.

August 5, 2008 at 5:23 pm | Posted in children, dads, Families, moms, Mothers, parents, Self Esteem | 1 Comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Of course after slamming working moms yesterday, I knew I wanted to comment on the other side of the coin. 

 

How to Use Early Socialization and Keep Peer Pressure at Bay For Life.

 

When your child is young and impressionable is a wonderful time to set up life values and morals.  Let these be part of how you live and how your child lives.  Let your values be your guidelines.  Hold fast and never waiver.

If your child is in preschool or daycare absolutely only choose a place that you feel is fantastic, comfortable, and loving.  Don’t pick the place that is most convenient and don’t decide simply on price.  Get the place that is best for you and your family.

When you lower your standards, you dismiss your child’s value as a person in the process.  Choose anywhere from three to ten values that you truly believe in.  Live by them.  Use them as your guide when setting up your child’s socialization and activities.

My favorite values are:

  • Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.
  • There is no bad weather, only bad dressing- I am an out door enthusiast.
  • Variety is the spice of life.
  • Every one is neurotic about something; so don’t worry about theirs or yours.
  • Being polite is necessary.
  • With every privilege comes responsibility.
  • You are what you eat.
  • Physical activity is essential for well-being.
  • Love and cherish your children- always.
  • Follow the Serenity Prayer

 

When you become clear about your values and morals, take them to heart and practice them, you can have your children at home full time, in part time socialized situations or in full time day care, and you will be providing your children with the only recipe to enable them to have “solid self-esteem, individual strength and character…and be friendly, well adjusted and smart.”  (Amy- comment from yesterday) 

 

The point is by setting up your life and your child’s life to be set on a solid course of values and morals; you free your child from needing to look to others for approval.  By seeing that even when faced with criticism and problems you hold your ground, you know who you are, what is important, and what to let go of, your child learns from basic living that inner strength, self confidence, and personal resolve create inner peace and harmony. 

Give yourself the credit you deserve.  Put your values down on paper.  Put them right out in front where anyone who comes in your house can see them.  Love them and cherish them. 

If you don’t really know your values now, you can use ones that are already out there.  Every religion has them.  They are all over the place.  And, as you can see from mine, be specific about whom you are and what you think is One Hundred Percent Essential for your family. 

 

As always,

Parent with Passion, Purpose, and Integrity,

Grace

Wisdom Wednesday: Spring Sports and Good Moral

April 30, 2008 at 6:21 am | Posted in 1, children, dads, Families, Family Time, Fun Activities, GEM Parenting Secrets, Health, moms, Mothers, parents, relationships, Safety, Self Esteem, siblings, sports, teens, Tweens, Wednesday Wisdom, Welcome | 2 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Spring Sports and Moral

Sports are such a major part of our lives these days. Parents sign kids up months in advance. They take them to tryouts at younger and younger ages. The practices are anywhere from twice a week to every afternoon. And the competitions take at least one weekend day, with tournaments taking both days. Why in the world do we have our kids “free” time filled with sports? What is the draw? And the bottom line, is it healthy for our children’s self esteem? If it is not healthy, what do we do?

Human beings are by nature group-oriented. We live in societies. We engage in interactions with others. Human beings, also by nature, relish in being challenged, and part of all the stress we create for ourselves comes from this need of ours. Finally, children love to be active and physical and voila, sports for children seem to fit the bill perfectly.

However, why do we have sports for children when thirty years ago, sports played by children was predominantly part of school or ad-hoc empty field games? Why do we have tryouts for young children and organized sports now?

This change comes from some whole culture changes. In the past (50+ years), most children actually had lots of necessary physical activities. Walking was the main mode of transportation. Children would easily walk four to ten miles a day, just getting around without cars. Life was obviously structured without all the conveniences we have, thus physical activity just existed. There was no need to implant it in our lives.

The other major cultural change is electronic entertainment. Again in the past, children had to create their own entertainment. This was often a challenge. It took mental strength and ability. The most popular kids were not the ones with the gadgets, but the ones who had the best imaginations. You can still find these kids, but our media has taught us to look for gadget owners as being the ones to follow.

Our children now need to be entertained rather than create their own challenges. With these two major changes in our society, a huge hole was left for kids. They do not have enough physical activity and they look to be entertained rather than create and challenge themselves. These two cultural changes and our innate human tendencies to need physical activity and challenges makes children’s sports the perfect answer to accommodate our needs.

Given the perfect situation: parents, coaches, teammates, and child all filling roles with enthusiasm, respect, enough challenge, physical activity, freedom to create and play outside the actual regulated sport, then you will have a wonderful time with sports for your children. But perfection is not always the case and as children get older parts of the picture get skewed. That is when sports can and does diminish moral and self-esteem.

So what are your choices? Pull your kid out? Stick it out? Find another team? Make changes where you are? All of these have merit, except stick it out. To make changes first look to yourself. Ask yourself these questions: How am I contributing to the negative aspects of this sport? Check that you communicate respect, enthusiasm, and appropriate disappointment. Be sure to express yourself as your child’s advocate. Your next place to look is how the coach handles the team. If the coach is constantly belittling the players, having too many drills, treating young children as if they were teenagers, forcing players to feel guilty, then you need to talk with the coach. Rather than tell the coach how to be different, find an article, suggest a speaker for the team/parents/coaches. In other words don’t attack the coach. If you are unable to get any change with the coach find another team. If what is happening to your child is seriously detrimental, then pull your kid out right now.

When the parents as a whole are overly aggressive and demanding perfection from their kids, again get some articles that give new ideas, or get a speaker to come. Try not to challenge or attack these parents. Generally if you do, they will shut down to change. As the parent you have both the responsibility and the privilege to help your child grow into the most illuminating gem. Sports can and does bring out wonderful parts of our children. Use that side of sports to guide you in your path of youth sports.

Grace E. Mauzy, M.A.
Founder of GEM Parenting
http://www.GEMParenting.com
Copyright © 2008 ♥ GEM Parenting ♥ http://www.GEMParenting.com

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.