Help Your Kids Take on the World With These Weekend Activities

Guest Blogger: Charles Carpenter

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Photo Credit: Pexels

The weekend’s here again, and you are struggling to find something fun for your family to do. Spending time in front of the television is not good for anyone, so why not plan some time for some exciting, educational activities to enjoy with your kids? Here are some ideas to start. 
 

Explore Your Own Backyard 

You can have educational weekend fun right in your own backyard. Our yards are filled with plants, insects, and animals for your little ones to observe. Even the ground can be interesting when you create an afternoon of geological exploration. You’ll need to pick up some basic tools, like bottles, shovels, magnets, and assorted supplies. Once you have your gear, help your child go through the yard and collect different rocks to take a closer look at. Use a magnifying glass to identify markings and figure out what kind of rocks make up the ground in your backyard. 

Learn Some Fun Science 

Another way for kids to learn about science (and have a blast doing so) is to put together experiments at home. Best of all, no expensive or special equipment is needed. You can use ingredients you likely already have in your cabinets to make your own glass of lava. Be sure to set your kids up in a space that you don’t mind getting a little messy, and use some basic safety equipment, such as goggles, gloves and aprons, to protect those small hands, eyes, and bodies. 


Work on Some Cooking Skills 

Learning to cook is more than just an important skill for kids to have. Baking and cooking require all sorts of measurements and heat that all boil down to basic home science. So, pick a yummy cookie recipe or a basic pizza dish to prepare. Grab some kid-friendly kitchen equipment to make their cooking lessons a little easier and always supervise their work. Accidents in the kitchen can happen in a moment’s notice, so go over cooking safety rules and keep essentials, including a fire extinguisher and first-aid kit, nearby. 

Visit a Local Museum or Gallery 

If you want to get out of the house and help your kids learn something new, why not plan a trip to your state’s best museum? Your children can learn about space, nature, science, history, or just about any other topic you can think of. If you can’t find a local museums, galleries can be a wonderful way to spend time on the weekend as well. Art galleries and museums help children learn by allowing them to process historical information visually. They can ask questions to take the learning even further, or you can come up with questions for them to answer as well. 

Take a Hike Through History 

Did you know that there are over 400 national parks in America? That’s more than 400 locations for you to travel to and explore with your children. Each national park is filled with history, and your kids can learn about nature as well. Consider signing up for a guided tour from park rangers, and encourage your children to ask questions along the way. Spending time outside has other benefits for your little minds as well, such as improving focus and boosting overall mood. 

Explore New Cultures Together 

The minds of your little ones are so open to new experiences and lessons. Take advantage of it by helping your children to explore cultures that are different from their own. You can use music, art, and even dance to learn about a different region of the United States or even another country. Make a day of it, and make several activities to keep things interesting. Take your children out to a different restaurant or cook a new style of food. Look up facts online, or help your kids pick up the basics of a new language. Opening your kids’ minds to other cultures is a wonderful way to open them up to the world. 

Weekend plans for your family don’t have to be stressful. With some fun, educational options, you can keep everyone learning and making memories that will last a lifetime. 

Do you want to get better at positively influencing those you love? Even your parents?! LOL

Then learn from Chris Voss, former cop turned FBI kidnapping negotiator. What he's learned in his law enforcement practice has transformed his life. He's found his skills, tactics and approach to human interaction effective from customer relations to parenting. Now he's helping businesses apply his principles for greater influence, health, and success. We can take Chris' wisdom to our homes as well to improve our relationships, marriages, and parenting.

(click pic for short video)
 

Here are some negotiation basics I've derived from Chris' book, Never Split the Difference:

  • We're driven by cognitive bias, i.e. our subconscious presuppositions which are mixed with our emotions. These instinctual defaults make up the river of consciousness upon which our conscious thoughts ride. If we want to affect each other's rational choices, we'll need to get on the river and not simply what's floating on it. How can we hope to affect where the boat goes if we're not even on the same body of water?

  • Complex hostage situations involve emotional crises; thus it follows that the situation is not one of trying to solve a rational problem. The focus must be on human nature and the mechanisms that affect the emotions and subconscious. Often when we get into difficult relational crises with loved ones, it's because we've been taken hostage by unexamined defaults, outdated rules and limiting beliefs. An emotionally driven narrative is driving us apart. To resolve these tensions and heal these ruptures, we need visibility into the unseen mechanisms and pathways of the interior life. 

  • Framing changes how we make our choices. Making another 10% effort to go from 45 to 55% is more difficult than going from 90 to 100% though both involve the same percentage points. When our frame is too small or the clip we're looking at is too short, our evaluation of current abilities and performance causes us to give up prematurely or not prioritize for effectiveness, which takes time, to occur. Practicing and exercising a fuller perspective keeps our decisions inline with becoming who and what we truly want.


So if we want to effectively influence behavior and communicate with our loved ones, we'll need to learn more about negotiation. Successful negotiation is communication with results. 

A central skill for positive, effective negotiation is tactical empathy. Because the world is not simply a rational place, but very much governed by emotions and subconscious defaults, stop assuming that people should be rational and agree with you; this mindset blinds. Rather, hypothesize what is unseen and experiment; it guides. Inquiry and discovery open us up to different emotional possibilities and help us be intellectually agile.

We do this with active listening and assessing our perceptions with labeling. Labeling is affirming how someone feels by naming the emotion and respectfully sending it back to them. Try these 3 steps:

  1. Identify the others feelings

  2. Label it aloud with, “It seems like, it sounds like...“

  3. Be silent. Wait for it.

Effectively dealing with negativity starts with observing it without emotion and judgment. Then compassionately label the negative emotions being expressed by their words and tone.

What we're really trying to deal with is the amygdala. Labeling helps powerfully undo the power of fear by bringing it into a safe humble space. What exactly are we all afraid of? Feeling insecure and being rejected. We may say we're not afraid of rejection but the reality is revealed by our defenses. When our counterpart feels heard and understood, they're much more ready to show up for positive, meaningful engagement. Accurately and calmly  labeling fears sets the stage for empathy and empathy is a powerful mood enhancer. This opens the way for rational creative thinking. In contrast, when we seek approval based on our own merit, our words, behaviors and actions end up hiding who we really are as well as those with whom we're negotiating.

The sweetest words in negotiation: "That’s right" or equivalent sentiments. "You’re right" is a disaster. "That’s right" is even better than yes because it's the way towards unconditional positive regard and this a game changer; this generates transformation.

Negotiation is never about what’s on the surface. It’s never linear. There are always hidden needs, irrational blind spots, and undeveloped notions. There is a subterranean world of unspoken needs, wants, and thoughts. What are some examples?

  • Misunderstood perceptions of fairness

  • Biased perceptions and analyses of personalities

  • Stereotyping of back stories

  • Immature attitude towards conflict

  • Extreme aversion to pain (physical/emotional)

If we effectively address these, we can help people bend their realities as well as our own.

Compromise driven by fear and hypersensitivity settles for status quo; it’s the easy way out and it is less painful. But we end up as frogs in the proverbial slowly heating pot of water.

Creative solutions through tactical empathy almost always involve annoyance, confusion, and conflict. But we’ve got to embrace the hard stuff if we want to go where the great deals are and that’s what great negotiators do. This kind of engagement is applied people smarts. It's practicing a skill that transforms yourself, your family and even the world.

As more and more parents lead their families in this way, the world will continue to find better and better sustainable solutions to the many systemic problems that continue to plague us.

Ready to commit to growing your influencing ability? Book us time to chat. I look forward to exploring the possibilities!

Music, Brain Development, and Literacy

Most people, me included love music. But did you know about the many benefits it has for human development? 


In this issue, I have the privilege of hosting an article from Charles Carpenter, composer for film. I grew up with a decade of piano lessons (involuntarily like many Asian LOL) and though I didn't enjoy much of it, I've definitely been blessed by music's power. Read on to enjoy Charles' insights!

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Photo Credit: Unsplash

 


How Music Accelerates Brain Development

and Helps Children Excel in Literacy

Charles Carpenter

 

Music is often seen as a fun, extracurricular activity for students to enjoy as they take a break from the more serious subjects in school. It can also be used to soothe children, express emotions, and improve social skills. However, music is much more than that. In fact, it can actually accelerate brain development and help children thrive in literacy. Whether you’re a parent or educator, read on to find out how. 

 

Playing an Instrument

 

If you’re interested in getting your kid involved in musical training, it’s important to consider their personality and interests when deciding on an instrument. That said, if you’re not sure whether they’ll stick with their lessons, you may want to bypass purchasing an instrument and consider investing in a kid-friendly laptop instead. A plethora of online music programs and apps make it possible for your child to get musical training right from their computer. However, be sure to check out laptop reviews before you make a decision.

 

Listening

 

Both music lessons and listening to music can improve a child’s listening skills. Though hearing may be an innate quality, listening is not. In order to listen effectively, kids must be able to maintain their attention and process the information they hear. Music at all levels revolves around listening, which means children who play or listen to the various melodies, rhythms, and dynamics of a song are expanding their attention span and developing their listening ability. 

 

Moreover, playing a musical instrument as a child can have long-lasting benefits that stretch well into adulthood, such as better auditory attention and hearing speech in noise, better ability to identify emotions in speech, and better ability to process sounds as they age. 

 

Phonology

 

Music also helps children develop phonological awareness. This means that they can effectively recognize sounds in a spoken language and work with them to understand words. That’s why phonological awareness is the basis of learning to read. Through development, it will ideally lead to the ability to associate sounds with symbols, pair the symbols with letters, and link the letters to words. The brain processes the musical notes and tones in a song similar to how it processes the sounds and symbols of language, which is why playing and listening to music can be so beneficial for a child’s phonological awareness. 

 

Vocabulary

 

Learning music is also one of the most effective ways to expand a child’s vocabulary because kids tend to repeat the words of songs over and over again. The importance of vocabulary for success in this life cannot be overstated. When a child is learning to read, they’re learning to comprehend each word so that they can comprehend a sentence, a paragraph, a book, and so on. The ultimate goal is for the child to lay a foundation to build upon so that they can keep developing their vocabulary for years to come and expand their comprehension of the world they live in. Also, the more words a person knows, the better they can listen, speak, read, and write, and it can enhance that person’s competence and confidence in all areas of life. 

 

Confidence

 

Arguably the most beneficial component of music for children and literacy is how it can boost confidence. Lack of confidence hinders many kids from efficiently learning how to read. This is especially true in a class or group setting. Stumbling across just one unfamiliar symbol or word can be enough to shut down a child’s self-esteem when their peers are staring at them. Learning how to play an instrument builds confidence that can carry over to learning to read and write. It provides an outlet for creativity and expression, and helps children grow more comfortable with performing in front of others. 

 

Music is fun, and lots of people enjoy listening to and playing it. However, don’t underestimate the power music can have on your child’s life and education. Encourage your child to get involved in music, whether it’s learning how to compose or simply playing an instrument!
 

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I hope you'll continually make music a source of enrichment in your family's life and that it'll strengthen and beautify your soul to connect with all that's meaningful.

Cheers!

Why should we perpetually pursue personal growth?

Here are 10 rules (from Dr. Cherie Carter Scott):
 

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And 10 regrets and victories (from Robin Sharma):

10 Human Regrets:

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1. You reach your last day with the brilliant song that your life was meant to sing still silent within you.

2. You reach your last day without ever having experienced the natural power that inhabits you to do great work and achieve great things.

3. You reached your last day not realizing that you never inspired anyone else by the example you set.

4. You reach your last day full of pain at the realization that you never took risks and so you never received any bright rewards.

5. You reach your last day understanding that you missed the opportunity to catch a glimpse of mastery because you bought into the lie that you had to be resigned to mediocrity.

6. You reach your last day and feel heartbroken that  you never learned the skill of transforming adversity into victory and lead into gold. 

7. You reach your last day regretting that work is about being radically helpful to others rather than being helpful only to yourself.

8. You reach your last day with the awareness that you ended up living the life that society trained you to want versus leading the life you truly wanted to have.

9. You reach your last day and awaken to the fact that you never realized your absolute best nor touched the special genius that you were built to become.

10.You reached your last day and discover you could have been a leader and left this world so much better than you found it. But you refused to accept that mission because you were just too scary. And so you failed. And wasted a life.
 


10 Human Victories:
 

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  1. You reach your end full of happiness and fulfillment on realizing that you are all used up—having spent the fullness of your talents, the biggest of your resources, and best of your potential doing great work and leading a rare-air life.
  2. You reach your end knowing that you played at a  standard of concentrated excellence and held yourself to the most impeccable of standards in each thing that you did.
  3. You reach your end in noisy celebration for having the boldness of spirit to have regularly confronted your largest fears and realized your highest visions.
  4. You reach your end and recognize that you became a person who built people up versus one who tore people down.
  5. You reach your end with the understanding that while your journey may have not always been a smooth one, whenever you got knocked down you instantly got back up—and at all times, never suffered from any loss of optimism.
  6. You reach your end and bask in the staggering glory of your phenomenal achievements along with the rich value you have contributed to the lives of the people you were lucky to serve.
  7. You reach your end and adore the strong, ethical, inspirational, and empathetic person you grew into. 
  8. You reach your end and realize that you were a genuine innovator who blazed new trails instead of following old roads.
  9. You reach your end surrounded with teammates who call you a rock star, customers who say you’re a hero, and loved ones who call you a legend.
  10. You reach your end as a true Leader Without a Title, knowing that the great deeds you did will endure long after your death and that your life stands as a model of possibility.


But of course, here's the challenge: HOW?

Each of us have a different path to become and achieve our potential. But a primary commonality we all share is how we lead ourselves. And how we lead ourselves depends on the extent to which we know ourselves and also how we know ourselves. 

When personal growth becomes an integral part of our life practice, it fosters increasing knowledge and attention to our interior, behaviors and outcomes.

The discipline of personal development consistently builds us up to be ready to encounter life's most difficult struggles: marital and parenting challenges, dynamics of aging (others and our own), and the fears that drive it all.

As we head into the 2nd half of 2018, I encourage you to prioritize and commit to ongrowing leadership development in yourself and those you live and work with. It's the only way to prevent regrets and effectively overcome life's many challenges.

Life And Fishing

In a moment, I’m going to share about an exciting new offering. So stay with me and I’ll explain exactly what that is.

It has to do with fishing and living.

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They're both fun and at times, frustrating. But more importantly, they're about connections.

To connect with fish:

  • Get on a body of water. Obvious right?
  • Determine locations.
  • Decide on a bait to use.
  • Cast to high percentage areas, where fish are likely to hang out, ie. weeds, downed trees, rocks, etc.

To connect with life:

  • We go to various locations, determined by our relationships and responsibilities.
  • We try different things, learn what works, develop meaning, and commit to a particular path to achieve our goals (i.e. land that job, find the love of our lives, become fulfilled).
  • And when we navigate the path of life effectively, we connect with love, the unifying force of the universe. 

But as we all know, connections are not always easy. They can be challenged, threatened and even compromised.

In fishing, weather and water conditions are significant factors; gear can fail; we make ineffective choices on where to fish and what to use. 

In life, relationships and emotions are significant factors we must give attention and priority. If they aren't healthy, it will be difficult for us to become persons who live effectively. Why? They hugely impact our decision making.

To overcome these challenges, we need to be secure connectors, able to help others do the same. This requires experience, education and encouragement.

In fishing, there are a lot of resources for improvement but one of the most helpful and important is time on the water. Information and tools are helpful but the experience you gain from making right and wrong decisions and the results which validate (or not) your decisions  are essential to becoming a better angler. Only on the water can you know what's underneath the surface, from bottom composition, structure, and cover to the presence of baitfish and predatory fish (your target species). With real time data, you make informed choices, casting what you think will work. Getting bit confirms your thoughts and actions. It's all about real time effectiveness.

In the same way, to get better at connecting with life, you need to spend time on the water so to speak. It's not just doing things together. But it's being present in ways that meet the needs of the heart. And this comes from time on the water of one’s inner life. This is how we develop an effective understanding into managing perceptions and perspectives (emotions, narratives, attitudes, beliefs and values). Time on the water is the time you invest to know and lead yourself and to work at lovingly caring for what matters most, your heart and soul.

If you want to better connect with your loved ones, you need to be a healthy presence. To make better choices for long term health and success, you'll need to start with yourself. You can't give what you don't have.

Because challenges in life and fishing are not easily figured out, we need a healthy mind, heart, and soul. This means having an openness to learning from the good and bad. This is how we make better decisionsconsistently synthesizing internal and external factors and meaningfully understanding them. Thus both in life and fishing, ideas, experimentation, data, and results all help us dial into what works to fulfill our hard-wired purpose: loving and being loved.
 

I want to invite you to an exclusive on-location coaching expedition. We'll spend a day on my boat, fishing and exploring the connections you want to give more attention to. At the end of the day, you'll walk away with your next steps with greater clarity and motivation. If you're interested, message me for more information.


Trip Details:

  • Duration: 7am-5pm
  • Destination: SF Bay Area Freshwater Bodies of Water
  • Activities:
    • Retreat for your mind, heart, soul
    • Coffee and Mapping
    • Determine High Percentage Areas
    • 5 hours of Execution, Experimentation, Learning
    • Synthesis of Connections
    • Identify Next Steps

Looking forward to our time on the water.

Whether it's your home, church, or work place...

If you have some degree of autonomy, you're overseeing something whether it's a family, cubicle, a team, a department, or a company, your number 1 job is to foster organizational health.

According to Patrick Lencioni, organizational health is The Advantage we need for real success. I believe his principles for business have parallels across all areas of life.

As an individual, your personal organizing principle determines how you manage the various areas of your life  (spiritual, financial, emotional, physical, relationships, your character, your physical environment, etc).

If you're a parent, regardless whether your children are babies or adults, your top priority should be making  your home a place that  matures character and decision making abilities, especially in the greater areas of relationships and personal life management. If not, don't be surprised when you're loved ones end up on a path to unhealthy self-neglect and your relationships decline.

Whatever level of management you may be in at work, if your organizational health is not well, systemic issues will increasingly diminish your effectiveness, vitality, and outcomes.

How do you know if your organization is healthy?

  • Minimal politics (lack of power struggles, resentments, passive aggressiveness)
  • Minimal confusion (values can be seen and articulated by all)
  • High levels of morale and productivity (people love being there and get a lot done)
  • Low turnover (good people don't leave)

All those in charge would agree that their organizations/families need those qualities but whether they actually exist and get substantial, consistent time, attention, and resources is another story.

This kind of health must rise above all other priorities.

Why?

Systemic dysfunction.

It's the number one hindrance to lasting success and thriving for all. Moreover, it sucks the soul out of people and is a major cause for compromise, corruption, collusion, and internal collapse.

How does an organization (family, church, company, etc) become healthy?

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It's increasing the clarity of values through your behavior, attitudes, and what you consistently prioritize. It's what gets  communicated and reminded the most. But it doesn't stop there, it also gets reinforced. Structures for accountability get created. How, how often and where you do this determine the effectiveness of your team's development,  collaboration and long term success.

For a family, what gets clarified in this way determines the wellness and direction of its members and their relationships. Too often, there are disconnects between spouses, parents and children because we lack clarity on what matters most. We all love our family members but many families experience heart breaking outcomes because of mixed, confusing messages. The outcomes affirm the effectiveness of what was or wasn't clarified. 

Rather than clarity and intentionality, systemic dysfunction ignores the critical elements for effectively prioritizing what matters most. This occurs when we do not have awareness of unexamined defaults. We are so focused on others' expectations, and we're driven by unaddressed insecurity and anxiety caused by limiting beliefs and outdated rules. We don't give attention to these underlying conditions because we presume that's just the way things are or we simply fixate on productivity.

In order to effectively deal with defaults, we need to think and talk through fundamentals like the following:

  • Meaningful and relevant context for why what we do matters
  • Healthy values that are inviolable because they truly help all thrive
  • Knowing what business we’re in, especially when it comes to family
  • Making intentional decisions that distinguish us and help us succeed
  • Being aware of our season in life; knowing what is most important in the next 3-12 months
  • Who must do what to succeed, especially top level leaders

When these are not clarified with substantial depth, defaults like the following (shaped by family of origin and culture) take the lead:

  • I don't have enough time, money, and resources.
  • I'm not good enough to deserve better.
  • I'm not enough; I will always be catching up.
  • Money must be central because that's how the world works.
  • Talking never helps.
  • I should be farther along.
  • It's too late to change.
  • I have too many responsibilities. Got to keep all the plates spinning.
  • I can't subtract anything. Everything I'm doing is important.
  • Busyness is a badge of honor.
  • I'm nothing if I'm not being productive.
  • I don't know who I am and it doesn't matter anyway.
  • It's too difficult and it'll take too long to change and it won't be worth it anyway.
  • Work is the main thing that defines me and gives me worth.

When they take the lead, our organizations unknowingly perpetuate unhealthy beliefs, values and behaviors. Much needed real change in real time doesn't happen and those we lead, care for and serve do not experience the success and fulfillment they desire or deserve. And these sacrifices are made for the 'good' of the organization. But Jesus said, "What does it profit to gain the world but lose your soul?" Unhealthy organizations continually  propagate instinctual beliefs  that oppose Jesus' priority of the soul.

Unhealthy defaults must be addressed if parents want to cultivate  growth by centering the family around healthy ways of communication, stemming from healthy emotions. This promotes balance of challenge and support to liberate each member to achieve their potential.

Failure to pursue organizational health prevents us from envisioning and experiencing greater long term success. We get confused with trying to get others to fulfill our hidden ego-centric desires. We look for commitment and loyalty to our cause rather than looking to bring liberty and revolutionary love into the world.

Here are a bunch of ingredients that contribute to clarity and organizational health:
Courage and compassion to manage and lead one's own interior life, soulful connections, real heart felt trust, vulnerability/humanness, love, humility, honesty and affinity for truthful dealing of brutal facts, goodness/benevolence, whole heartedness, patience and kindness, mindset of sufficiency rather than scarcity, heart and soul as more important than anything else, self care and keeping of  one's soul healthy and thriving.

Are you living and leading towards greater organizational health and effectively addressing systemic problems at home and work? This is the mission of Family Connections Coaching! Let's create new, healthier systems within ourselves, our families, and our organizations.

We're at the dawn of the Conceptual Age.

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...here are my take aways:

We've come from the Industrial and Information Ages, where manual labor then left brain thinking dominated. We've gone from factory workers and tradesman to doctors, lawyers, engineers, and CEO's. And society has rewarded those positions well. 

But to evolve and become a world where more people win and thrive, we will need more creators, artists, empathizers, meaning makers.

Why?
 

The paradox of modern day prosperity: although standards of living have increased substantially, happiness, fulfillment, and thriving in personal relationships and family have not budged. There is still a craving for transcendent fulfillment and meaning.

In order to move into this arena, we must move from the text to the context, from analysis to synthesis. This will require much more right brain work.

In the past success has been defined by left brain activity. But in the future this will not be enough. 

Today, spiritual and intangible inequity is the greatest injustice. People have plenty to live on but nothing to live for; they have the means but lack meaning.

According to Pink, the transition from material want to immaterial want is happening at an unprecedented rate. To thrive in the Conceptual Age, we need to start taking spirituality and happiness seriously.

Spirituality is being understood by professionals as searching for meaning and purpose. Effective leaders are finding this is what helps their organizations and companies reach their most important goals. Deep life experience is the next wave of business evolution. 

The good life is no longer good enough. In our societies of material abundance, a calling is the most satisfying work. It's pursuing meaning by using our strengths to better the world. It's moving meaning to the center of our lives. 

Furthermore, the abundance of material wealth and choices, the outsourcing of white collar jobs to Asia, and the power of automation will increase the need for more and more of us to live and work with a whole, new mind. Because in the conceptual age, putting together tons of data, interpreting it to derive relevance and meaning, imagining where to go with it, and implementing the steps to get there will require non-linear, holistic, narrative focused actions—all which are done by the right side of the brain.

Grab a copy of Pink's book and learn about the 6 senses that will strengthen your right brain: design, story, symphony (synthesis), empathy, play, and meaning. 

Then book some time with me to discuss the personal growth and development you want to commit to that will take your leadership and management to the next level.

Easter is Owning What Matters Most and Building Something New

Happy belated Easter!
 

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In this issue, I'd like to share some insights from my meditations about Jesus' death and resurrection.

In the Old Testament, there were many shadows of Jesus, i.e. the tabernacle and its furnishings, the priesthood and its practices. Even the many regular festivals spoke of the work of Jesus, i.e. the Passover and the Year of Jubilee.  

According to New Testament writers, Jesus was the fulfillment of the law, by His own declarations as well as their understanding of Jesus. Here are some passages stating this:

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” Matthew 5:17-18

The blood sacrifices ceased because Christ fulfilled all that they were pointing toward. He was the final, unrepeatable sacrifice for sins. Hebrews 9:12

So what exactly happened on the cross? God took His law (embodied by Jesus) and died to it. Meaning, He turned away from it because it was ineffective in producing the righteousness He desired. 

What is the righteousness He desired? Resurrection.

Coming back from the dead is not of this world. Before Jesus, no one had ever heard of someone coming back from the dead. It's not natural. It just doesn't happen. Everybody and everything dies. But living outside the norm is exactly what resurrection is about. It's being powered by the supernatural in an unstoppable way: the way of the cross, vulnerable, faith-filled, loving.

Resurrection is what happens when we receive God's freely given, indescribable Gift. When we become centered by true love, fear loses its grip on us and we can die to our old rules and expectations. We can live empowered by His Spirit of grace and truth, having an unstoppable belief and confidence yet have the discipline to face the most brutal facts. It is engaging the most difficult with unceasing hope and uncanny wisdom.

Jesus embodying the law, being crucified, and resurrecting is God owning the source of our systemic failures and building something new that redeems and restores us to become liberated lovers of life.

Essentially, the death and resurrection of Jesus was "the best ending that was actually the truest beginning".

Huh? I got that quote from the K-Drama, "Revolutionary Love"  lol. 

God modeled the way of transformation, i.e. letting go of old rules and expectations in order to create openness and opportunity for long term, benevolent connections: genuine friendships, fulfilling marriages as well as liberating leadership and effective partnerships. Freely chosen love based on a vulnerable heart of belief, like a child's. This is the pathway to creating a world where everyone wins.

"Transformation does not negate what has gone before; rather, it fulfills it. Creating the context of a world that works for everyone is not just another step forward in human history; it is the context out of which our history will begin to make sense." Werner Erhard.

Easter is the quintessential event that God desires all of us to experience.


My own Easter journey: 

For 25+ years, I had been serving in faith communities to help people grow spiritually. I was passionate about God, the Bible, and incarnation (Jesus).

But as I developed my faith and practice, the organizations I was a part of did not share my direction for ministry. I became disappointed, dissatisfied, and disillusioned. I found myself frustrated with systemic challenges, which I wasn't positioned or equipped to change. What to do?

I decided to step out and build my own business to give more attention to my vision for healthy leadership in homes. 

Looking back, I see the desire and inspiration came out of God  encouraging me to fully own my internal struggles. I complained  and grumbled about my circumstances. I felt sorry for myself. I was resentful, bitter. But I dove deeper into understanding my hurts and dysfunctions. I followed a slowly emerging hunch that there was much to glean. 

In 2010, a friend invited me to a discovery session about life coaching. Immediately I saw it's power and application. I jumped into a training program and since then, I've had coaches help me consistently move forward. And of course I've used it to support others in personal and professional growth to become more effective at home and work. 

Making the Easter move redeemed the value of my seemingly negative experiences. By owning my own issues more fully, I'm in the process of creating something new, even becoming someone new.

If you'd like to own and build to a greater degree your life, your family, your organization, take these next steps:

  • Book 2 hours of complimentary coaching.
  • Email me your goals and current situation.

We will spend our time with questions and action design to move towards your goals. No expectations or obligations attached. Just 2 hours of getting clear and moving forward with what matters most to you.

Or pick up a copy of my book, Growth Centered Family, where I go in depth about owning what matters most to cultivate a home or organization that effectively supports the growth of every member. Message me your thoughts as you go through it and let's get a conversation going.

Cheers!

Mom2Mom: Your Life as a Mother with Disabilities

In this issue, I have the pleasure of hosting guest blogger, Ashley Taylor of DisabledParents.org! She's shared some great ideas with us. You can find more helpful information and resources on her site. Enjoy!


Clear the Clutter

Clutter is something that just happens. It happens over time, and when it comes to clutter in our own homes, we learn to turn a blind eye. But when you have a baby on the way, it has to go. This is especially important if you have a disability that affects your ability to safely maneuver obstacles such as throw rugs, cords, or low-lying furniture. Spatial and visual impairments that inhibit your peripheral vision are also factors that should trigger a mass decluttering of your home before having a baby. Your attention will soon be focused on your child, and you may not be as acutely aware of your surroundings, making clutter a tripping hazard.

 

Brighten Things Up

Good lighting, according to the International Association of Lighting Designers, enhances the desirability and mood of any space. But more importantly, having a well-lit home will help you keep an eye on your child as he/she grows from bundled baby to teetering toddler.

 

Invest in Adaptable Gear

A quick trip down the baby aisle of any department store will reveal a virtually never-ending array of baby gear designed with the intention of easing the burden of parenting. And while many of them are little more than marketing hype, there are adaptable products that can make your life as a parent a little less taxing. HomeAdvisor notes chairlifts, soft-structured baby carriers, and velcro baby gear offer benefits if you have spinal injuries or limited hand mobility. A modified baby stroller is also worth looking into.

 

Baby-proofing Before Baby

The act of baby-proofing is not limited to parents with disabilities. We all have to take preemptive measures to ensure our children’s safety. Parents offers links to dozens of different baby-proofing ideas. Regardless of which route you choose to go, get it done well before the baby arrives. This will give you the opportunity to adjust to the small changes prior to dropping a helpless human being into the mix.

 

Hello Home Improvements

There are a number of minor home improvements that can drastically enhance your hands-on childcare skills as well as the safety of yourself and your child. Grab bars in the bathtub, for instance, can help you get up and down while assisting young children at bath time. Lowering your kitchen counters may help you more effectively prepare meals. Replacing entry stairs with a ramp will help you transport your child in and out of the home without fear of tripping while lifting your feet over an obstacle.

 

Other Ideas

  • Label children’s food/breast milk with braille labels

  • Install a whole-home intercom (Google Home now has this capability) so you can quickly interact with your partner no matter what room you are in

  • Set baby monitor volume to max while you sleep

  • Widen doorways to improve maneuverability if you are in a wheelchair

 

Your preparations will be unique to your situation. However, it never hurts to eliminate hazards around the home and to get yourself acclimated to changes before your family of two becomes a family of three – or more. If you are looking for more ways to prepare, your greatest resource is the parents who have “been there and done that.” You can find local special needs family groups onMeetUp.com or via your community Facebook page.

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Want to explore how you want to prepare for your family's future? Book a consultation and get a free 30 minute coaching session to get things rolling. No obligations whatsoever; purely focused on your desired future and actions to get there.

Effective Parent = Effective Executive (at home)

Time doesn't stand still and things change. People change. To thrive and succeed, you and your family members will need to lead and manage effectively.

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"The most common cause of executive failure is inability or unwillingness to change with the demands of a new position." 

Drucker, Peter F. 

How true this is in parenting! We become the most important persons in the world for another human being (for a limited time), often without clarity about the demands of the ever-evolving role.

Sure we can figure out sleep patterns, feedings, diapers and cleaning up poop. But once we master that, the little ones become mobile and probably verbal. They start testing our instructions and decisions. They're extremely adept at letting us know they're upset. If we have not become proficient in regulating our emotions, we're going to have a rough time comforting our kids.

Are we able and willing to change with the dynamic demands of being a parent?

As our children develop autonomy and initiative, we want to wisely provide boundaries for their safety but also opportunities to foster their ever growing capacities and abilities. Again, if we have not fortified our management of our interior, it's likely we will become unbalanced, either too controlling or too lenient.

When the time comes for K-12th grade academic learning and extracurricular experiences, our children are developing competencies and character for future success. With the abundance of offerings, we find no shortage of activities and programs to fill our schedules. By this time, if we still have not addressed our need for integration and emotional health, our schedules are busting at the seams and our souls are dying. We're exhausted and unprepared for the most challenging season of our children's lives—adolescence. 

The transition from child to adult is never easy for anyone: parents, teachers, coaches, siblings, as well as the one going through it. It's a time of letting go of the old and discovering one's true self. This is absolutely essential if one is to integrate head and heart to effectively collaborate with others to create and contribute to a desired future. 

If we haven't successfully individuated, we're still living encumbered with others' beliefs and values (most likely cultural and family or origin). And this is fine if we've had the freedom to evaluate them and decide we want to keep them. This transformation frees us to design a life that is relevant, successful, and fulfilling. Along this path, we are able to grow healthy, intimate relationships. And as we develop our capacity and ability to live and work closely with another, we become people who make a difference, positively impacting how things are done and made. 

To be an effective executive requires tracking where our time goes and giving time to activities that take advantage of opportunities. This keeps our focus on creation and innovation that will prove most helpful as our loved ones get older. This can  also be the best way to solve problems. Because often times, directly reacting only addresses symptoms rather than root, systemic issues. 

Let's say your child is chronically grumpy and disrespectful. Simply reprimanding them is a waste of time and causes further distancing. Not helpful. What may be needed is creation of time and space for play, rest, and family. Rather than trying to change our children's attitudes, we need to rework how we are connecting and recharging. This shifts our attention to potential rather than what we find upsetting.

Becoming a parent is taking on the role of an executive. To be effective, we must understand that it begins with how we lead and manage ourselves. Our children are substantially impacted by the environment and rhythms we create.

The culture we create reflects our inner life. If it's one of peace and joy, so will be our home, regardless of size. But if we're anxious and reactive, our kids will be adversely affected. They will naturally, unconsciously  try to accommodate and adapt. 

It's not that we need to make everything perfect for our family. Rather we want to help them  be ready to weather storms and prepared for opportunities. But we shouldn't be the source of uncertainty. We don't want to be the ones who stumble them in their development.

In our kids' formative years, we are the source of trust and security that empowers them to explore their expanding world. Without our effective leadership, they will struggle with mistrust, shame, doubt, guilt, and inferiority. If we don't make changes by the time they become adolescents, their challenge evolves into role confusion and isolation.

I'm not saying we are absolutely determinative but our influence cannot  be underestimated. We must see the need to take our leadership at home to the next level so our love effectively benefits our family members for long term happiness and fulfillment.  

Elevate your effectiveness as an executive at home by prioritizing awareness of your interior and create experiences that impact your fundamental organizing principles.

Next steps:

Email me (familyconnectionscoach@gmail.com) to start a dialogue about life changing experiences.

Pick up a copy of my book, Growth- Centered Family for more in-depth content on this.

Book a free 30 minute coaching session!