Sunday, October 4, 2015

Family Council Meetings Can Enhance a Child's Self Esteem

Family Councils are a good way to let children know they are important. Start when they are young.

1.                  Include them in decisions
2.                  Listen to their opinions
3.                  Ask for their suggestions

These meetings are a pivotal place to create and fulfill goals. However, sometimes it's necessary to have a meeting to plan the family council so that you are helping each of your children become the best they can be.

Mom and Dad sat in the porch swing.
Mom shifted in her seat. “Samantha (age 6) has had several temper tantrums this week.”
Dad looked down at her. “I hadn’t noticed. But now that you mention it, you’re right.”
“Sometimes I see her as caught right in the middle of the kids—an older sister who is the star of everything and a baby sister that everyone adores.”
Dad chuckled, “What’s not to love about that little curly blond bundle of energy.”
“I just think Samantha needs a self-esteem boost.” Mom sighed. “I’ve been thinking it’s her turn to conduct family council this week. Maybe we could surprise her with a spot light night. A ‘Who Am I’ poster like we made for school last year.”
“Great,” said Dad.
 “I’ll have Mia (age 10) make up a little song for her. Alexis (age 4) can help me make her favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe.”
“This is all well and good,” said Dad, “but one night isn’t going to fix everything.”
“We haven’t done parent date nights for a while,” said Mom. “I’ll take her to swing at the park. She loves that.”

“Great idea,” said Dad, “and I’m glad we’ve had this conversation. I'll take her on a bike ride a couple of nights a week myself.”
Mom glanced up at him. “I get what you’re saying. The spot light and date night are good, but it’s the little things we do daily that will make a difference.” She sighed. “Maybe I can spend a little more time with her each evening before bed.”
“I call this a great planning meeting,” said Dad. “Let’s do this more often.”

The parents:
1.                  Identified the problem behavior. (Temper tantrums)
2.                  Assessed the unmet need. (Lack of attention and love)
3.                  Set a plan in motion for family council. (Spot light night)
4.                  Planned special activities with the child. (Date night)
5.                  Set aside daily time to spend with their daughter. (Riding bikes and time in the evening)

Learn how to establish your own family councils, set goals, and open the communication with your children. Read more stories like this one in Family Talk by Christy Monson, available in paperback and e readers.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Beauty in Diversity

The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. Thomas Merton

This is my new favorite quote right now. I’m drawn to it because it’s pushing me to be better than I am. I want people to like the same things I do and think like I think.

 I know it’s okay for us to be different, and I try to appreciate those around me for who they are, but it’s easy to enjoy people who are similar to ourselves.

Children accept others with no questions asked. They immediately join each other without even thinking about it. Their minds seem unencumbered with the societal ‘rules’ we all live by.

Two of our grandchildren joined me on a walk in the woods.

Our granddaughter pointed to the bushes. “Can you see the dinosaur hiding in that bush over there?”

I squinted into the sun. “Where?”

She pointed.

“Oh, I see it,” yelled our grandson, running toward the creature.

The two of them were off in their own world of play—no questions asked.

A sweet lady lives down the street from me. She is a meticulous housekeeper, and her yard is immaculate. Sometimes my house is dusty enough that you can write your name on the top of the piano. There are a few weeds in our yard. Yet my neighbor is never critical of me. She always has kind words for those close to her.

I will try to find this illusive beginning of love and appreciate the talents of those around me. How about you?

In diversity there is beauty and there is strength. Maya Angelou

Read more about this topic and others in Christy Monson’s new book, Becoming Free, A Woman’s Guide to Internal Strength, available on Kindle, Nook, and iPad.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Cherish Your Children Teach Them Your Values

Mike, age five, hurried behind his mother into the store. 

"I have to get some milk and bananas for breakfast in the morning," said Mother.

Mike helped his mother pick out the best bunch of bananas and scurried behind her to the aisle to choose the milk.

The checkout line was long. 

Mike looked at the candy bars as they got closer to the cashier. He sniffed them. The chocolate smelled so good. He ran her fingers over them.  He was tired from playing outside and wanted a treat. He glanced up at his mother who was talking to the lady behind her in the line. Mike slipped a chocolate bar into his pocket. He would eat it when he got to the car."

When they left the store, Mike said to his mother, "Look Mother, I got a candy bar."

"Oh, Mike," said Mother. "We didn't pay for it."

"It's okay," said Mike. "The store lady smiled at me. She will let me have it."

Mother explained to Mike that they needed to pay for the things they got at the store, and they went back into pay for the candy bar.

That night Mother and Dad sat with Mike to be sure he understood that they had to pay for the things at the store. Dad suggested that they give Mike some money for helping with some of the household chores. He made his bed and helped with the dishes everyday just because he lived in the house, but if he wanted to help clean the bathroom mirrors and take out the garbage he could earn some money to buy himself a candy bar if he wanted one.

Their informal family council meeting taught Mike:
1.         I have to pay for what I get.
2.         I can earn money for what I want.
3.         I can work hard.

The family council meeting sent Mike the message:
You cherish me enough to teach me your family values.
You respect me enough to help me learn from my mistakes.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Feed Your Family Healthy Foods the Easy Way

The Healthy Family Slow Cooker Cookbook Christina Dymock  

Have you ever been so busy during your day you have no time to prepare dinner? I have. I love Christina's recipes and ideas for the crock pot. It's fun for me to take a few minutes early in the morning and get dinner planned. I feel so much better about myself and what I'm feeding my family.

Feed your family the foods they love—with a healthy twist.

Everyone knows slow cookers are a busy mom’s best friend, but it can be a struggle to find healthy Crock Pot recipes your kids will actually eat. Not anymore.
These delicious family-sized meals are perfect for parents and kids alike.
  • Chicken and Artichoke Fettucini
  • Teriyaki Pulled Pork
  • Cajun Rice with Shrimp
  • Butternut Squash Soup
  • Chicken Quesadillas
You’ll even find some tasty ideas for sugar-free desserts, like the Blueberry Pudding Cake. And every single recipe can be made in the morning and ready to eat by dinnertime. With a little prep and planning, you’ll soon be enjoying nutritious, healthy, home-cooked meals every night of the week!

About the author:
Christina Dymock is a graduate of the University of Utah. She has had careers as an editor at an advertising agency, an adjunct instructor at Salt Lake Community College, and author.
An avid cook, Christina divides her time between the kitchen, her computer, and books and her family of six. (Naturally, the family gets the biggest share.) Because she reads everything, she also feels compelled to write in several genres. Her latest book, Blue Christmas, reached the Amazon top seller list in 7 categories as part of the Christmas anthology, Christmas in Snow Valley.
Christina attends multiple writer’s conferences each year, is a part of several critique groups, and enjoys learning about writing. She has been featured during the cooking segment of several local morning shows, published in Woman’s World Magazine and the Deseret News, quoted in Womans’ World Magazine and Parents’ Magazine, published in seven Chicken Soup books, and has published clean romantic fiction under the name Lucy McConnell.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

What Values Are You Passing on to Your Children?

A couple of years ago I read an article in the New York Times called Stories That Bind Us by Bruce Feiler. Strong families have a strong narrative. Did your parents and grandparents tell you their stories? What are your family tales of struggle, success, and fun? Do you share them with your children? We can find our way along the path of life if we know what's happened on the road in the past.

My great great grandfather came to the United States from Denmark. He was a wealthy dairyman who sold his possessions to emigrate. The story is told of his generosity in helping others come to this country who couldn't afford the passage.

My great grandmother married and settled in a small town in rural Idaho. She became a midwife and helped mothers all over the county give birth.

My grandmother was widowed at a young age. She found employment as a social worker even before such government agencies became well established.


My mother was also widowed when I was a small child. She went back to school, earned a PhD, and taught at a university, helping many of her students find a better life and launch their own careers.

After our children were all in school, I became licensed as  Marriage and Family Therapist, establishing a large practice in Las Vegas. I worked with families of all shapes and sizes.
Each of our children has followed a different career path: a math teacher, a baker, a kindergarten teacher, a librarian, a salesman, and an artist.
But all their paths contain the gift of service to others. This way was firmly established for all of us by our great great grandfather, and has come down through the ages as a mantra for all of us because of our family stories.
What are your family stories?

Talk about the strengths, the struggles, and the triumphs you and your family have experienced. Stories are your path to wholeness. If you see your stories as tales of failure, look more closely and find the courage and hidden valor of your ancestors. They are there.

Happy story telling!

Here's a link to the entire New York Times article.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Roses, an Expression of Love

Roses, a Connection to the Past, an Expression of Love, and a Conduit to the Future.

Springtime always reminds me of my grandmother. I can see her pruning and spading the rose garden. She loved to plant little annuals to highlight the roses along the edge of the flowerbed. My mother had care of the roses after my grandmother was gone.  She spent hours, making sure the mulch and fertilizer were perfect for producing large blooms. Now it's my turn to nurture the rose bed.

I feel a bond with the past as I turn over the rich black soil. It's as if I know my place in the world—I'm a link in the chain to my past.

My children and grandchildren love the rose garden. When they visit, we take time to examine each flower and admire the shape, color, and smell. 

The families that live close keeps fresh roses from the garden in their homes all summer long, whether early or late in the season.

Who will care for the roses in the future? That's still up in the air, but it will happen the way it's supposed to happen. Another link will add itself to the chain.

In our family roses are a connection to the past, an expression of love, and a conduit to the future. 

What outward extension of love do you have in your family that creates the generational chain?