Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Helping Children Appreciate Life

Our children’s lives can become clogged with school, sports, getting the video games they want, and thinking about what kind of entertainment is most important at the moment. How do we teach them the value of life itself—gratitude for the things they already have and the beauty that surrounds them?

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others. Cicero
As we get caught up in the daily hustle and bustle of life, we sometimes forget to take our time and enjoy the beauty of the moments around us. Appreciation can’t be hurried. It must be savored—slow down and let gratitude into your life.

Young children are naturally curious. They will stop to watch a ladybug crawl across a leaf or giggle as they chase a grasshopper through the grass. Kneel down with them and explore their world.

Have a “Appreciation of Nature Day”
1.                  Take a nature walk in your area.
2.                  Make a leaf sculpture—include pinecones, acorns or the like.
3.                  Dry some wild flowers and laminate them into bookmarks.
4.                  Identify the birds and butterflies in your area. Draw and color them and put them in a scrapbook.

Kids love doing things with their friends. Discuss with them the things that make their friends special. Help them understand how friends make life better.

Have a “Appreciation of Friends Day
1.                  Throw an appreciation party and share something special about each of your friends.
2.                  Tuck a thank you note in a friend’s backpack.
3.                  Compliment each of your friends during the day.
4.                  Invite your friends to a sleep over.

Sometimes we don’t appreciate those we live with and love. Take time with the whole family to talk about everyone’s good qualities. Examine the ways our relationships make us better people.  

Have a “Appreciation of Family Day”
1.                  Draw names for a Secret Family Pal. Do something special for that person.
2.                  Make your mom a special ‘I Love You’ card.
3.                  Play ball with your dad.
4.                  Read your little sister a book.

Look for the good in the people around you and the beauty in your surroundings. It will improve your quality of life and enhance your children’s view of their world.

Read more about this subject in Family Talk by Christy Monson

Friday, September 19, 2014

Love Creates Change

Learning, change, and growth take place in the context of a love relationship.
People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. Maya Angelou

Tarlika, a woman in her mid-thirties sat on her back swing with her head in her hands. Her friend Dorothy sat beside her. 

"I hate my job,"  said Tarlika. She worked for a temp agency, sorting warehouse items for shipment because she had three teenage daughters to support. It was a hard vocation—long hours on her feet. She wanted to look for better employment, but she was afraid.

Tarlika and Dorothy had been friends for several years. When Tarlika felt depressed and suicidal, Dorothy sat on the back swing with her, and they talked. If Tarlika needed a ride to church, Dorothy picked her up. They were friends on face book, and texted each other often to ask about daily happenings.

Tarlika sighed. "What if I'm not smart enough to work somewhere else? What if I'm too slow? What if . . ."

"Stop," said Dorothy. 

"I'll help you find something. You're a hard worker and very dependable. You'll be great."
Dorothy took Tarlika to register with an employment service that had a great mentoring program. She drove Tarlika to the meetings every week. 

With each meeting Tarlika gained confidence. Toward the end of the course, she had enough courage to apply for a better job. She was scared, but at her last meeting with the employment service, she reported that she had an interview with the new company. The teacher videotaped Tarlika rehearsing the job interview.

"You did great," said Dorothy when the class viewed the tape.
"I did okay," said Tarlika with a smile.

Two weeks later Tarlike received a phone call from the new company. She got the job. She called Dorothy and asked her to come sit on the back step with her. She had good news.

When she and Dorothy were settled in the back swing, Tarlika said, "I got the job."
Dorothy grinned and hugged her. "I knew you would. Congratulations."

Tears welled up in Tarlika's eyes as she looked at Dorothy. "I think of you as my mom, and I couldn't have a better mom than you."

Dorothy, in her quiet way, had loved Tarlika enough that Tarlika had courage to change her life. Others helped. The employment agency teachers were great, and other members of the class cheered Tarlika on.

Surrounded by love, Tarlika became better than she thought she could be.

I have a goal every day to find a way to make someone's life a little better—a little richer. Helping others feel loved, brings love into your own life. Try it! 

Love is contagious.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Which Comes First? Love or Joy

Do I love because of the joy it brings me or do I love because of the joy it brings others?

After my husband and I retired, we decided we would give service. That journey has taken us many places—standing by a death bed, giving words of comfort to the family, listening as a friend shares joy and sorrow, helping a young child learn to read, caring for a family member ill with cancer, and many other cherished experiences.

The last few months we have worked with the poor. The experience has brought us great joy because of the love we feel for these people. Here are a few of the thousands of joyful experiences we have had.

We took a young eleven-year-old boy shopping for a pair of shoes. He had been wearing his teenage girl cousin's work shoes.

We bought a six-year-old a happy meal. He was so thankful. All he'd had to eat that day was a hot dog wrapped in a piece of white bread.  

A young child laid her head on my husband's shoulder and let him comfort her with a rocking motion. "Daddy? Daddy?" she asked. She had never seen her father.

"Thank you for helping me find a job," said a father who hadn't worked for many weeks.

After a scripture and prayer, a young grandmother threw her arms around us. "You've blessed our home."

There is a joy that comes from loving others that can fill one's soul to overflowing. Give away your love today. Make the world a little better for someone along your path.

Listen to a friend.
Hug a neighbor.
Touch a child's shoulder.
Smile at the grocery checker.

Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. Mother Teresa

Do I love because of the joy it brings me or do I love because of the joy it brings others?

No matter the answer. The end result is the same. Love enriches the lives of those around us, including our own.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Two-Minute Marriage Project

Great new book out that will enrich your relationship and change your marriage.

“Often it’s the simple daily doses of small loving actions that nurture a relationship.
The Two-Minute Marriage Project is a celebration of the little things that
can make love last. Filled with the latest marriage research, personal stories,
and anecdotes from happy partners, this book contains everyday tools that can
actually make a difference.”

Margaret Paul, PhD, best-selling author of Do I Have To Give
Up Me To Be Loved By You, Healing Your Aloneness, and Inner Bonding

Author, Heidi Poelman has great insight, every day examples and good common sense to share with readers. Buy her book, read it, and create synergy in your relationship.

Heidi Poelman received her degrees in communication from Brigham Young
University (BA) and Wake Forest University (MA). In graduate school, she
focused specifically on interpersonal communication and conflict management.
She loves researching and writing about subjects that help strengthen
families. In addition to The Two-Minute Marriage Project, Heidi is the author
of the children’s book A is for Abinadi: An Alphabet Book of Scripture Heroes.
She lives in Utah with her husband and three children. Learn more at www.