Showing posts from January, 2016

Today’s Generation Gap: Our Youth Are Stressed – Why Is the Pressure Out of Control?

Anxious students abound.  They are everywhere and of all ages.  I’ve seen 3rd graders literally cry from the anxiety of having to take standardized tests on computers.  I have conversations more and more often with parents of teens who are stressed and seeking the help of mental health professionals.  I cannot help but think back to the years when I was a student and wonder at what seems to be a drastic shift in the emotional health of our youth.  Adults in my generation and older discuss our concerns for today’s youth but there is a gap – we really have a hard time understanding what has happened.  Some of us wanted to achieve, too, but we weren’t crippled by it.
I am an achiever, a perfectionist who likes to get things right the first time.  I was always an honor student, involved in school and outside activities and, eventually, I graduated from college summa cum laude (with high honors).  I was stressed sometimes and I certainly made myself a little too crazy about doing well all…

5 Steps to Restoring Kindness, Patience and Joy: How Parents and Teachers Can Refill Their Souls

The wonder and joy of being a child’s important adult is so fragile.  Our buckets of energy, patience and empathy get emptied by the demands of hectic schedules and societal pressures.  We have many layers of responsibilities – financial, relationship, career – and while we may find joy from what we do and the people around us, they all deplete our resources. We need to take time to refill our buckets.  We need to consciously, purposely and proactively restore our joy.  When we are not remembering to see the world through eyes of wonder, we are harming the children around us.
Unintended lessons can come from our experiences and this year has been my year of incidental learning about the bucket that some people call the soul and others call the human spirit.  This has been my Inner City Consulting Year.  I am honored and humbled each time I am hired to work in communities with at-risk children who live in poverty or have specials needs including the need for more love.  I am interacti…

Do You Make the “Big Picture Decisions” When Parenting Your Children or Teens?

Parenting is filled with moments of judgment calls based upon seemingly contradictory goals.  We want our children and teens to be independent and to be able to make decisions; yet, we have to protect them from harm.  Sometimes, it is hard to know if we are giving them too much autonomy.  We also need to be careful not to be those “helicopter parents” who do so much for our children that they don’t know how to function without us when they become adults.  Where is the line between autonomy and obedience?  When should parents take charge of decision making and have an active part in the process?  When is it best to say, “Okay – whatever you think” to our children and teens?
While every situation should be evaluated independently, I do believe there is a guiding principle that parents can use when deciding whether to say, “This is how it will be” or not.  Parents need to ask themselves, “Is this a big picture decision?”
A “Big Picture Decision” is one that lays a foundation for the fut…

If You Want to be a Teacher…

What would you say if you were asked to address potential education majors?  What would you want them to consider and remember based on your experience?  Here are my remarks from when I was asked to offer my perspective.  I hope you will share it with the potential teachers in your life.
If you want to be a teacher, don’t do it because school is all you have ever known.  Don’t decide on teaching merely because you have little world experience and you think you babysit well.  Standing in front of a class every day is not at all like babysitting.  It is not being a camp counselor or a fun neighbor.  It is a rewarding career for the right people.  It just isn’t always easy to know if we are right for a career we’ve never tried and not yet lived with choosing.
Teaching is a calling for quick thinking, patient performers who enjoy plotting and planning.  Teaching is both a natural ability to communicate while being engaging and a learned set of skills.  Not everyone with knowledge can teac…