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Ellis, Tyler & Tracy

Mornings with Ellis, Tyler and Tracy…A positive way to start your day!


Today’s Positive Thoughts

Give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men.
Psalm 107:31 NIV

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18 NIV

Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
Hebrews10:24 NIV

Hurt for the Holidays

Hurt for the Holidays – Managing the major grief of those who have major loss

Holidays are not always happy days, especially if you have experienced major loss. Think about it – if you lost a job or a house through foreclosure can you still have a Merry Christmas this year? Some people can manage the loss of material things because they rely on their savings, or extended family for support. But what about those who don’t have access to those resources – what do they do?

What about the wife of a man who cheats and leaves the marriage with another woman before the holiday. What do you say to someone who won’t have a happy family memory on December 25th, because she will be sharing her children with a new woman and her relatives while she sits in the marital home (which is missing half the furniture) alone.

Or think about the family who have to say goodbye to a beloved family pet because of age or illness. How can they celebrate a happy holiday without a trusted animal companion?

Think about the mom and dad who lost a child this year to death. Is there any comfort for those who have lost a son or daughter?

And those who experienced these type of major losses a year ago are coming up on the one year anniversary of feeling these devastating losses all over again. The anniversary of a traumatic time is almost as intense as when it first happened.

Is there any hope to manage all of this loss? I believe there is.

Loss is a part of life, but that doesn’t make the hurt any better. We all know that nothing is forever, but want to slip away from the pain of reality for a few weeks every year over a cultural tradition, which isn’t necessarily harmful because not everyone is going to a funeral before Christmas, or waiting to be evicted from the home they have lived in for decades.

Many people don’t realize how hard it is on others because they are too busy celebrating having all their family together, eating great food and sharing wonderful gifts and experiences.

Maybe that’s what makes it harder on others – that their neighbors are so happy, because when your life is crushed it is hard to celebrate with others who weren’t flattened by the tidal wave of grief that comes after a major loss.

Should some people stop celebrating because others are having a terrible time? Should you tone down your family having a good time so it doesn’t hurt others?

No, but everyone should remember the spiritual principle to “weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice”.

If you have friends or family who are struggling, be there for them. Encourage them, help them financially if you can – and the best way to do that is to invite them over to share the holiday experience together. Take action to push them past their false pride by challenging them to be part of your community. Giving another family joy at Christmas will bring you more value than anything you could buy at the mall.

The spiritual value of kindness is a powerful way to help others manage their painful losses and it comes right out of the teaching of the Bible. Listen to these comforting words from Psalm 34.
4) I sought the Lord, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears.

 

6 ) This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, And saved him out of all his troubles.

 

7) The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, And delivers them.

 

15) The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their cry.

 

17 ) The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, And delivers them out of all their troubles.

 

18) The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit.

 

19) Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all.

 

 

Do you see the pattern?

 

In desperation call out to God, trust that God will never abandon you and wait on God. This process won’t get your job or house back, but it will give you peace inside. A deep spiritual peace that will give you the strength to press on through the toughest of times. And isn’t that what the angels sang about that first Christmas…. “Peace on Earth, Good will toward mankind.”

 

God promises peace, so if you or someone you love is shattered by grief this holiday season start with God and stay with God. I believe He will see you through the tough times so you can experience joy again.

 

About the author- Dwight Bain is dedicated to helping people achieve greater results. He is a Nationally Certified Counselor and Certified Life Coach in practice since 1984 with a primary focus on solving crisis events and managing major change.

Reprint Permission- If this article helped you, you are invited to share it with your own list at work or church, forward it to friends and family or post it on your own site or blog. Just leave it intact and do not alter it in any way. Any links must remain in the article. Please include the following paragraph in your reprint. “Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group weekly eNews, (Copyright, 2004-2013), To subscribe to this valuable counseling and coaching resource visitwww.LifeworksGroup.org.

John Rivers’ Thanksgiving Recipes

Baked Gruyère Mashed Potatoes

Serves 10

5 pounds russet or Yukon gold potatoes

2 sticks plus 1⁄4 stick unsalted butter

1 cup warm half-and-half

1⁄2 cup shredded Gruyère cheese

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

 

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Peel potatoes, leaving about 50 percent of skin on. Cut into 2- to 3-inch chunks. Cook in
boiling, lightly salted water until fork tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain and let air dry for 3
to 5 minutes.

While potatoes are warm, hand mash to desired consistency and transfer to a mixing bowl. Using a mixer or a handheld beater, mix at medium speed for about 2 minutes to fluff potatoes. Add 2 sticks butter, warm half-and-half, cream cheese, salt, and pepper and continue to mix for another minute to combine.

Fold in Gruyère cheese and add additional salt and pepper to taste.

Spread the potatoes into a generously buttered 4-quart baking dish. Top with remaining
butter cut into pats and bake for 25 minutes, until butter is melted and potatoes are warmed through.

 

 

John’s Turkey Gravy

1 Cup salted butter

1 ¾ Cup all purpose flour

1 ½ gallons turkey stock

1 T black pepper

1 ½ Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary

1 ½ tsp salt

 

Melt butter in a skillet over medium high heat.

Make a roux by whisking in flour and continue to cook until an almond color, about 5-7 minutes whisking frequently.  Remove from heat.

In a large saucepot bring turkey stock to a boil.

In ¼ cup increments begin to whisk in roux, allowing the stock to come back to a complete boil before each addition.

When sauce has thickened whisk in pepper, rosemary, and salt.

 

 

John’s Sausage Dressing

Serves 10-12

16-ounce package Jimmy Dean Sage Sausage

8 tablespoons butter

1 cup chopped white onion

1 cup chopped celery

2 tablespoons chopped garlic

1 tablespoon dried sage

1/2 teaspoon celery salt

2 (14-ounce) cans chicken broth

14-ounce bag cornbread stuffing mix

Coarsely ground black pepper, to taste

 

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Thoroughly cook sausage in a large saucepan. Discard grease and wipe pan clean.

Melt butter in same saucepan and add onion, celery, garlic, sage, and celery salt. Sauté until vegetables are translucent, about 6 to 8 minutes.

Add chicken broth, cooked sausage, and stuffing mix. Blend all ingredients until stuffing is thoroughly moistened. Taste and season with pepper if needed.

Lightly grease 9 X 13 baking pan. Place stuffing in pan and bake in oven for 50-60 minutes. Cover with foil and keep warm until ready to serve.

 

 

Sweet Potato Casserole

Serves 8

6 cups mashed sweet potatoes, about 2 pounds fresh

1 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup melted butter

14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

 

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

Combine all ingredients except pecans in a 13 X 9-inch casserole.  Sprinkle with pecans.

Bake 35 minutes or until it slightly puffs.

 

Stress Solutions for Busy Families

by Dwight Bain

Feeling Stressed Out? You are not alone. In fact, families are more stressed, more pressured and more exhausted than ever before. The problem is that stress usually brings out the worst in our lives, making already complex situations overwhelming or worse, shouting matches to prove who is ‘right.’

Is there a better way? I believe there is and it involves moving from focusing on the stress, (or source of the stress), to focus on managing it successfully. Here are some rapid strategies to use to make your home a place of happy memories and peace, instead of a panic filled environment where everyone is ducking for cover.

1.     Speak up instead of Stuff it.

Often we follow the simplistic advice of Thumper’s father in the Disney film, “Bambi” who has the classic line, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.” However, remember this was a young rabbit quoting his cartoon rabbit father. Not the best source of advice. Better is to Speak up when you are stressed, talk to your family, talk to your friends, neighbors or pastor.

2.     Support instead of Solo

Frank Minirth is a Dallas based psychiatrist who often says, “If you have one good friend you can talk to about anything, you will never need a psychiatrist.” I believe he is correct, since the more support you feel during stressful times, the better you will be able to manage the pressure. A burden shared is half a burden as the old saying goes, and it’s true. The more you can find like-minded people to walk through life with you, especially during the tough times, the better you will get through it.

3.     Skills to cope instead of same old way

Rest, relaxation, recreation and releasing pressure through journaling, counseling or exercising is a rapid way to manage the stress and pressure, because you are letting the pressure out faster than it’s coming in. You may be surprised to learn that the most successful people in our country keep a gratitude journal of blessings and add to it every day. Psychologically to focus on your blessings, instead of on your problems will change your mindset and will make you stronger, even during the toughest of times.

4.     Spiritual Strength

Remember you will get through this and you’re not alone. There really is a God who is quite fond of you and desires your best. In fact, the Bible is full of encouraging words to build our strength in tough times. Listen to these words from the Apostle Peter, “Cast your cares on God, because God cares for you.” Do you hear the comfort? Spiritual peace is the beginning of real rest and stress relief. Why not find a quiet place to meditate and reflect on blessings today? As you move from counting problems, to counting blessings you may be surprised at how much better you feel… and how much easier it is to manage the day to day stress because you gained an eternal perspective.

 

Dwight Bain is a trusted professional with over 30 years of experience in solving complex problems. His purpose is to help you achieve maximum results in your personal and professional life. He is a Nationally Certified Counselor, Certified Life Coach and Professional Communicator specializing in managing major change to move from stress to success. He is a life-long resident of Orlando, Florida where he lives with his wife Sheila and their two children. His goal is to make a positive difference in our culture for Christ every day by focusing on strategic change to achieve rapid results. Follow him on Twitter @DwightBain or like his page to find new inspiration at www.Facebook.com/DwightBain

Talking with Your Kids…

Talking with Your Kids about a Community Shooting

By Dwight Bain
Nationally Certified Counselor

Strategies to rebuild you and your kids after a tragedy

A sudden crisis, (like a mass shooting), can terrorize an entire community in just a few minutes, while the recovery process to rebuild from a major critical incident may take weeks or months to sort through. The more you know about how to survive and rebuild after the crisis, the faster you can take positive action to get your personal and professional life back on track. Since community crisis events like extreme acts of violence, school shootings or terrorism are unpredictable it requires a different course of action from natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, fires and floods. What can you do right now to cope with the psychological impact of a major community crisis?

Dealing directly with your emotions will reduce the tension and stress on you, which allows you to have more energy to deal with a difficult situation. However, if you stuff your fears and frustrations in a major community crisis, your emotions can quickly blow up without warning. Exploding in rage on your children, your coworkers or your marriage partner will only make a difficult situation worse. Community crisis events are a terrible situation full of loss and difficulty for everyone. By taking action now you can move beyond feeling overwhelmed by intense stress, anger or confusion. As you follow the insight from this recovery guide, you will be taking positive steps to rebuild with the focused energy of an even stronger life for you and your family after the emergency service workers pack up and go home because your community has recovered.

To best survive a major community crisis, you need a strong combination of three key elements:
- healthy coping skills
- healthy supports and a
- healthy perspective

While things will never be the same as they were before the community crisis, (like a mass shooting); the following guidelines will give you the key elements needed to get past the overwhelming stress and to find even greater strength on the other side.

What are the dangerous warning signs of critical stress overload?

A major community crisis affects everyone however; it becomes dangerous to our health when the stress goes on for an extended period of time. Major stress can affect adults, children, the elderly and even pets, so it is important to be alert to watch for the danger signs of the psychological condition called, ‘Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder’, (commonly referred to as PTSD), in yourself, your family members and coworkers. These symptoms include any dramatic change in emotions, behavior, thought patterns or physical symptoms over the next few days, weeks or even months. Since community crisis events are a terribly stressful time for everyone and often remain stressful for days or weeks to come, there are a number of factors to be aware of to keep yourself and those who you care about safe.

Dangerous Stress Warning Signs

These signs are indicators that the intense stress from the critical incident is beginning to overwhelm the individual. The longer the stress symptoms occur-the greater the severity of the traumatic event on the individual. This does not imply craziness or personal weakness; rather, it simply indicates that the stress levels from the storm were too powerful for the person to manage and their body is reacting to the abnormal situation of having survived a major trauma. It’s normal to feel completely overwhelmed by a community crisis like a mass shooting or natural disaster; however there are danger signs to watch for in yourself or others that may indicate psychological trauma. Adults or children who display any of the following stress symptoms may need additional help dealing with the events of this crisis. It is strongly recommended that you seek the appropriate medical or psychological assistance if you see a lot of the physical, emotional, cognitive or behavioral symptoms listed below in you, your coworkers, or someone in your family or home, especially if these symptoms weren’t present before the crisis.

Physical Symptoms:
Chills, thirst, fatigue, nausea, fainting, vomiting, dizziness, weakness, chest pain, headaches, elevated blood pressure, rapid heart rate, muscle tremors, difficulty breathing, shock symptoms, and so on.

Emotional Symptoms:

Fear, guilt, grief, panic, denial, anxiety, irritability, depression, apprehension, emotional shock, and feeling overwhelmed, loss of emotional control, and so on.

Cognitive Symptoms:
Confusion, nightmares, uncertainty, hyper-vigilance, suspiciousness, intrusive images, poor problem solving, poor abstract thinking, poor attention/memory and concentration, disorientation of time, places or people, difficulty identifying objects or people, heightened or lowered alertness, and so on.

Behavioral Symptoms:
Withdrawal, antisocial acts, inability to rest, intensified pacing, erratic movements, changes in social activity, changes in speech patterns, loss of or increase of appetite, increased alcohol consumption, and so on.

If you are in doubt about these symptoms in your life, or someone you care about, it is wise to seek the care of a physician or certified mental health professional. Better to actively deal with the stressful emotions directly to help yourself and your loved ones to immediately cope with this crisis because these emotions tend to worsen and get more intense if left untreated. Remember that there are many experienced professionals who can help you and your children recover during a time of crisis. You do not have to go through this alone.

Take action now to prevent stress from continuing to overwhelm you or the people you care about. Call a trusted friend to talk through it, reach out to clergy, or call your family doctor or counselor. If you don’t know someone to call about these emotional issues, you can reach out for assistance by calling telephone hotlines which are offered at no cost to you. These numbers are often posted by local media, hospitals, the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army or FEMA. If you, or someone you care about are feeling overwhelmed by stress, anxiety, guilt or grief it’s important to make the call for assistance now to learn how to get past the pressure to begin to feel ‘okay’ again.

How does a community crisis event affect kids?

It depends on the age of the child. The younger the child, the more they look to their parents for emotional security and strength. If a Mom or Dad are “shell-shocked” or “numb” and not able to manage their own emotions or responsibilities; the child will feel that pressure and become very confused and further stressed. Remember, it’s normal to be overwhelmed by a community crisis like a mass shooting. This is why it’s so important to take care of yourself in order to take care of your children and those your care about through the long period of recovery and rebuilding after the crisis.

Think about the advice given on commercial airliners to parents traveling with small children. “Should there be an unexpected cabin de-pressurization; oxygen masks will drop from the ceiling. Place the mask over your nose and mouth like this and then place the mask over the mouth and nose of those around you needing assistance.” Take care of your own emotional needs first, and then you will be in a stronger position to help those around you. If you feel overwhelmed in giving your children or others who may depend on you for support, please ask for help. It’s okay to be tired, worn out and overly stressed. That’s normal after a community crisis.

However, it’s not okay to ignore caring for the needs of those counting on you like children, the elderly or pets. Sometimes a parent may need to make adjustments at work or change their own schedules for a while by delegating some tasks in order to have time and energy to help their children avoid feeling more pressure from the difficult experience that surviving a major disaster brings. If you feel that your caregiver ‘tank’ is empty, let someone else help you for a while until you get your strength back. That’s best for you and for those that you care about.

When you can focus and dedicate attention to understanding the needs of young children, notice what they are saying, drawing or doing to determine if they are still feeling overly stressed from the traumatic event.

School age kids
need to talk, draw pictures or take positive action, (like having a lemonade stand to raise money for kids just like them who may have lost loved ones or family members because of the traumatic event), so if you give them something to do to help, they can take positive action and sort through their emotions immediately.

High school age kids
may try to act “cool” about everything, but often are more scared about the changes, losses and confusion than any other group. They are older and may need to experience a bit more “reality” at times to loosen up their ability to talk about what is happening around them. If they are willing to talk to their siblings, other family members, clergy or counselors it often doesn’t take very long before they can grow strong enough to deal with their emotions and get back to feeling like themselves again.

The greatest danger sign to be alert and aware of is by noticing any dramatic changes in behavior. If a child was always happy go lucky before the crisis event and now sits all day to watch video footage of the shooting, or other world disasters on the news channels- then you may want to figure out why they made such a dramatic shift in personality. Watch for other major changes in sleep patterns, school patterns, school performance, peer relations and so on. If you see major changes that concern you, it’s time to seek professional attention for the child with their pediatrician or with a child behavioral specialist

What are some ways to help our kids talk about the crisis?

You can reach out to children in many ways to help them deal with this stressful time. Talking, writing, drawing, or writing poetry about the experience with the disaster will make the time pass more quickly, and may even lighten someone else’s load of emotional pain and difficulty while helping you back through the process. Talking about any crisis event in life can help kids learn the basics of moving from the panic of basic survival to building strengths through problem solving.

Are there any “hidden dangers” in media that parents should be concerned about that might make the crisis worse?

Too much media exposure is dangerous for kids. It is better to get a media “news update” once or perhaps at the most, twice a day to avoid the danger of media over-exposure. Leaving the news on all the time will depress the mood of the person who hears it; since deep down inside we learn to go “numb” to the normal emotions of the stressful event, to press on and burn reserve energy in the process. If your child didn’t watch the morning news programs before the community crisis, be cautious about allowing them to watch TV news alone or having long blocks of unaccounted time with too much isolation. Best is to sort through media outlets-like television, Internet, radio or newspapers, which may contain content that is overly stressful or just too depressing for a child. Then set boundaries to protect them from additional stress in media stories, since it is important to protect their home and minds by managing the media around them.

It’s wise to move from negatives to positives in highly charged and difficult situations like a mass shooting or wide spread community disaster. We have all seen enough negative images to last a lifetime and yet the media will often play scenes from a disaster over again and again.

Also, parents and kids can sit down and discuss why they really need to have so many media and entertainment services available in their homes. Many families found that not having the Internet, cable television and loud music playing in their homes while staying in a shelter allowed them to reconnect as a family with much greater communication. By sitting down and discussing these issues your home can be a more positive place, by creating more positive energy to mange the stress of recovering from this crisis situation.

Since watching other people’s problems in other parts of the country will cause more stress in an already stressful situation it’s better to focus on your responsibilities today, right here in your own community. When things in your life are strong again, you and your family won’t be as affected by the images of crisis from other places. But that’s another day, so for now as you recover, it’s better to focus on getting you and your kids though the day that you have been handed without making it harder because of the hidden stress of media overexposure.

Also, the same principles apply for the aged as for anyone else. Seniors often can spend a tremendous amount of time in front of negative media images which can be harmful to their well being. Better to get involved in helping others, praying for those affected or donating to help as you can than to become overwhelmed with the stressors of others by becoming desensitized from media over-exposure.

How can I help my family get back to “normal” after a community disaster?

It may take weeks or months for people to feel that things are back to “normal.” The actual psychological impact of the storm will vary widely between people based on factors like- age, their previous experiences with crisis events and most significantly how much stress they already had in their life before the disaster. The more stress someone had in their life prior to the traumatic event, the longer it takes to recover.

Here are some immediate ways to bring order and calmness back into your life after the chaos and confusion that follows a natural disaster or community crisis like a mass shooting.

1) Reconnect in relationships
You can’t get through a crisis alone. Since we all were impacted differently, it is vitally important to talk about the stress and pressures you have experienced with the people closest to you. Reach out to friends and family as soon as possible, and call people you haven’t heard from in a while. Just checking in to see if they are okay will only take a few minutes, but it will empower and help both of you. Simply talk about what each of you experienced through the crisis and how you got through it. Tremendous connection can occur through crisis, so this is an especially good time to reach out to friends or family who may have drifted away from your closest circle of relationships. Take action now to reach out to people with words of encouragement and support, but don’t wait for someone else to call you- since their phone may not work! Go find them and then reconnect the relationship while helping each other rebuild.

2) Rebuild your routines
This is one of the most important factors to quickly get life back on track because we all draw strength and security from a structured daily routine. Bed time, dinner time, getting up to go to school, or work, or church or the gym to work out. To regain strength quickly identify what your normal routines were before the crisis-and then get back to them as soon as possible. Even if you are staying in a hotel, shelter or with family members for a while, stick with the rituals that you have typically followed that make up your daily lifestyle. This way you will feel the comfort of your stable and predictable routines, regardless of the stress of the many changes happening around you.

3) Reach out for faith
In times of crisis everyone believes in the power of prayer and the importance of their faith. There is tremendous strength in knowing what you believe and living in harmony with those beliefs and values. Plugging back into your faith after a community crisis will allow you to release anxiety over the things that you know are too big for you, because you can trust God to handle them. Dedicate a few minutes or perhaps even an hour per day to quiet mediation and reflection on what matters most if you want to continue to grow strong in spite of the crisis.
This is especially important when you or your children may feel lost, alone or afraid. God cares and taking time to pray and release those burdens will help you make it through the rest of your day. Many churches and houses of faith have chaplains, recovery teams, support services and even financial assistance available to help their members cope with the crisis. Helping others in need is one of the greatest ways people of faith model what they believe, so avoid the tendency of being “too nice” to ask for help if you need it. Having a committed personal faith combined with the connection of a local house of worship will give you a tremendous sense of community to get through this crisis as well as the ones to come.

4) Retell your story
Young and old alike will benefit from hearing about how other people survived the trauma they experienced. There is tremendous power in telling your story; healing power for you and helpful power for others who will gain insight and strength by hearing how creative people can become through the crisis. As you speak up about what happened, it will make it easier for other family members or coworkers to talk about their feelings of loss as well. Things will never be the same as before, but life will go on and we can rebuild and get through it better together. Telling your story now will give you additional strength as well as connect you to the neighbors and friends as they share their story with you.

No matter what the size of crisis event, you can find strength on the other side. Following the action steps in this resource guide will allow you to begin building strength back into your personal and professional life no matter how big the crisis event was. As you grow stronger you can tell others, which will encourage them to press on as they rebuild their lives, right next to yours. Stronger people create stronger communities and that is the journey you have already begun. I encourage you to stay with it as you build an even stronger life after the crisis, and then reach out to others in rebuilding your community.

Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group, www.LifeWorksGroup.org eNews. You have permission to share or edit this important counseling tool to stabilize others providing you leave the authors name and website as a reference point at the end of the article. Thank you and may God bless your efforts to bring calm after crisis.


Dwight BainDwight Bain is dedicated to helping people achieve greater results. He is a Nationally Certified Counselor and Certified Life Coach in practice since 1984 with a primary focus on solving crisis events and managing major change. Read more Crisis Recovery resources at his website www.LifeworksGroup.org

Hurting the people you say you Love? How To Put Out the Fire of Conflict Before You Blow Up What’s Left of Your Relationships

By Dwight  Bain

You make me  so mad!  You are just  wrong!  You will never get  it!   You bring out the  worst in me!

Heard these comments before? I hope not, because these are the comments  that blow up relationships. Not in an instant way, rather little by little until  the relationship erosion collapses the entire marriage or family relationship.  You see, it’s not usually big fights that end relationships; rather, it’s small  ones. Little conflicts, little disagreements, little resentments and little  criticisms can build up into tsunami sized rage filled episodes. The sad irony  is that people who say they love each other the most, and that they would even  die for the people they say they love, are the very same people who use hostile  words to crush the spirits of those same people.

These type of conflicts aren’t limited to husbands and wife’s either. No,  Parents can have major conflicts with teens, siblings can go after one another  in a rage, neighbors can go to battle over barking dogs, coworkers can go off on  customers and even churchgoing people can start quarrels of epic proportions.

Conflict is as old as time, but the consequences seem to be growing  more intense. Lawsuits, jail time, divorce, domestic violence, assault, battery,  broken families and shattered trust are just the beginning of pain when two  normally rational people set upon a course of action to go to war with one  another. Remember in a war there are no winners, just survivors. Would it  surprise you to know the Bible teaches against irresponsible conflict?  Listen… It only takes a spark, remember, to set  off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do  that.

By our speech we can ruin the world,  turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in  smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell. (St.

James  2:5-6)

Viewing needless conflict as a fire can be helpful since there are four  main ways to respond to a forest fire that are similar to the four main  approaches people use to manage conflict in the relationships.

Several of my friends lived in Colorado where they had  to flee for their lives from the devastating fires that destroyed hundreds of  homes last summer. As dangerous as those fires were, the reality is that  dangerous words full of rage and resentment destroy more relationships than  wildfires during a drought. You can rebuild a house that has been destroyed, but  it may take decades to try and rebuild broken trust from hostile words used  against family members. The four main types of fire response  are:

GASOLINE – yep, I said  it. Gas, which when poured on a fire causes a massive explosion. When parties go  from name calling to full scale attack they are pouring gasoline onto the flames  of conflict. Acting with Aggression will not solve your angry conflict, but it  will make matters worse, sometimes even dangerously so.

FIRE – You’ve likely  heard the saying, to “Fight fire with fire” meaning to stand up Assertively to  protect your rights while fighting back. While it is true some firefighters use  the fire break strategy, if conditions change things can go bad quickly. This is  another dangerous approach.

SILENCE – To let a  fire burn out from an apathetic approach of doing nothing is often the  passive-aggressive way to respond. Remember, relationships are not usually  destroyed by problems, but rather by silence about those problems. Finally,

WATER – This is the safest way to end a raging fire. To Accept what is going  on and take bold action to do something about it, all while protecting against  being drawn into more conflict by others.

If you desire a deeper level of relationship, instead of being destroyed  by it, make sure you are living out the words of scripture, again from St.  James, who said, “My beloved brethren, let every man be  swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man  does not produce the righteousness of God.” (James 1:19-20)

Learning  how to put out the flames of conflict will make you feel stronger, more  confident and protect the place and people you love the most. Making Home a safe  zone from the ‘fires’ of relationship will protect your future legacy and lead  to a world of joy, instead of continual pain and problems.

 

About the author- Dwight Bain is dedicated to helping people achieve greater  results. He is a Nationally Certified Counselor and Certified Life Coach in  practice since 1984 with a primary focus on solving crisis events and managing  major change.
Reprint Permission- If this article helped  you, you are invited to share it with your own list at work or church, forward  it to friends and family or post it on your own site or blog. Just leave it  intact and do not alter it in any way. Any links must remain in the article.  Please include the following paragraph in your reprint. “Reprinted with  permission from the LifeWorks Group weekly eNews, (Copyright, 2004-2013), To  subscribe to this valuable counseling and coaching resource visit
www.LifeworksGroup.org

Back to School Prayer List 2013

Kristina – Tomoka Elementary School

Emily – Conway Elementary

Olivia – Conway Learning Center

Gracie – Thacker Avenue Elementary

DJ – Harmony High School

Natalee – Hickory Tree Elementary School

Seana – Imagine Kissimmee Charter Academy

Maya – Imagine Kissimmee Charter Academy

Angelina – Lake Fern Montessori Academy

Kaileigh – NSB High

Trenton – Imagine S. Lake

Brooklyn – FCCS

Daniel – Trinity Christian Academy

Kesindra – Trinity Christian Academy

Logan – Ormond Middle School

Ethan – Ormond Middle School

Laura – Seabreeze High School

Kaeli – Ormond Beach Middle School

Sadena – Lakeview Elementary

Lina – Brookshire Elementary

Lydia – Brookshire Elementary

Talen – Rock Church Academy

Kody

Cade

Edward – Forest lake Education Center

Alexia – FLEC

Michael – University High School

Elizabeth – University High School

Ricky – Meadows

Kalina – Canoe Creek Charter

Jazmin – Canoe Creek Charter

Karli – Canoe Creek Charter

Julien – Canoe Creek Charter

Kash – Kingdom Kid’s Christian Academy

Logie

Lindsey – Cypress Creek High School

Emmalynn – Hampden DuBose

Chazz – Hampden DuBose

Lace – Legacy High School

Jeren – Astatula Elementary

Colby

Morgan

Kylene – Renaissance Charter

Genesis – Fairlawn Elementary

Isabella

Damien

Angelise

Karissa – Boone High School

Nathan – Glenridge Middle School

Kailey – Winter Park High School

Joshua – Shenandoah Elementary

Cy – The Master Academy

Meghan – Heritage Middle School

Jenise – Osteen Elementary

Eddy – Osteen Elementary

Jack – Maitland Middle School

Hannah – Dommerich Elementary

Owen – Dommerich Elementary

Ana – Faith Christian Academy

Jessica- Profession and Technical High School

Natalie – Profession and Technical High School

Bryan – Deltona High School

Ashlyn – Wolf Lake Elementary

Michael – Enterprise Elementary

Alex – Cornerstone Charter School

Gaby – Cornerstone Charter School

Natalie – University High School

Nicholas – Legacy Middle School

Sabrina – Dr. Phillips High School

Caleb – River Springs Middle School

Michael – Ocoee High School

Chris – Spring Lake Elementary

Sabrina – Wekiva High School

Mary- Louise – Lake Nona High School

Tommy – Boone High

Elizabeth – Boone High

Ethan – New Smyrna Beach Middle School

Amber – New Smyrna Beach Middle School

Aly – Read Patillo

Erica – St. Cloud Middle

Julian

Anthony – Neptune Elementary

Adassa – Neptune Elementary

Jr – Lakeville

Jason – Lakeville

Chris – Riverdale Elementary

Andrea – Red Bug Elementary

Kylie – Red Bug Elementary

Xavier – Clarcona Elementary

Isabela – Clarcona Elementary

Zander – Legacy Middle School

Meranda

Mario – Davenport School of the Arts

Anthony – Davenport School of the Arts

Luke – Davenport School of the Arts

Owen

Dixie – Astatula Elementary

Jaison – Astatula Elementary

Mikaleigh – Oakland Charter School

Courtnie – Tavares Middle

Ryan – Apopka Hight

Nycholar – Piedmont Lakes Middle

Mykailah – Lakeville Elementary

Isabella – Clarcona

Bianca

Caleb

Joshua

Jovan – Neptune Middle

Javier – St. Cloud Elementary

Vanessa – St. Cloud Elementary

Melissa

Matthew

Connor – Brookshire Elementary

Carmen – St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic School

Catherine – St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic School

Amaya – Living Word Christian Academy

Jeremy – Living Word Christian Academy

Ronald – Lake Nona High

Nathan – Westside Elementary

Erin – Lake Howell High School

Jimmy – South Seminole Middle School

Christian – Orlando Science School

Abigail

Lucas – Apopka High

Hannah

Skyler – City of Life

Madison – Florida Tech

Hannah – USF

Riley

Connor

Logan

Alycia – University High School

Angel – Legacy Middle School

Gabriela – Miami Springs Sr. High

Kaya – Osteen Elementary

Angel – East Lake Elementary

Jeremiah – East Lake Elementary

Bruce – Colonial

Nina

Alexander

Tyler – St. Cloud Elementary

Grace – St. Cloud Elementary

Giomar

Matthew – Brookshire Elementary

Nicholas – Brookshire Elementary

Hannah – Lee Middle School

Jake – Lee Middle School

Ellie – Lake Silver Elementary

Erik – Boone High School

Jacob – Timber Creek High School

Page – Leesburg High School

Tori – Oak Park Middle

Robert – East River High School

Nicholas – East River High School

Kelly

Luke

Isabelle Victoria

Jsu

Jeremiah

Jake – ERHS

Payne – Columbia

Shayla

Victoria – Minneola Charter

Hailey – Minneola Charter

Makenzie – Minneola Charter

Sofia – Cypress Creek High

Marcela – Meadow Woods Middle School

Melody

Iyvanna – Pinelock Elementary

Talysa – Oakridge High School

Katy – Good Shepherd Lutheran Academy

Elisa – Good Shepherd Lutheran Academy

Elias – Waterford Elementary

Isaiah – Discovery Middle School

William – Wolf Lake Elementary

Kayla – Ridgeview Global Studies Academy

Brian – WHS

Gideon – WHS

John – WHS

Nathan – WEES

Nathan – First Baptist Church Merritt Island Christian School

Kaeley Anne – Ridge Community High

Naijah – Harmony High School

Marilyn

Tori – Wolf Lake Elementary

Dillon – Gulf Breeze High School

Noah – St. Pete Christian

Madison – Pathways Elementary

Natalia

Kaley – Riverdale Elementary

Caitlin – Riverdale Elementary

Jacob – Campbell Middle School

Sarah – South Daytona Elementary

Robert – Asttula Elementary School

Emily

Bethany

Robyn

Lucy

MacLeod – Hope Charter

Noah – Whispering Oak Elementary

Emmett – Whispering Oak Elementary

Spencer – Sunridge Middle School

Parker – Clermont Middle

Bella – Minneola Elementary

Preston – Minneola Elementary

Lindsey

Corbyn

Brandon

Brianna

Callie – Fruitland Park Elementary

Cody – Fruitland Park Elementary

Corey – Carver Middle

Victoria – Grassy Lake Elementary

Isabelle – Grassy Lake Elementary

Hudson – Grassy Lake Elementary

Hannah

Matthew

Carlie Grace – Lake Hills School

Christian – Trinity Christian Academy

Ashley – Trinity Christian Academy

Ana

Grace

Alycia

Javier

Kalel

Denton

Lianys

Devin – Lee Middle School

Isabella

Richard

Stefan

Shane

Nathan

Jonathan

Victoria – Hagerty High

Dylan – Crooms

Marcus – Colonial High

Brandon – Leesburg

Chase – The Villages Elementary

TJ – The Villages Elementary

Thomas

Ellie

Sam

Xena

Israel

Nayeli

Naomi

Kevin

Tristan – Waterford Lakes Elementary

Hunter – Orangewood Christian School

Ethan – Orangewood Christian School

Kaliah

Gabriel – Leesburg Elementary

Nathaniel – Leesburg Elementary

Saige – Centura

Ryan – South Sumter Middle

Ayla – Bushnell Elementary

David – Auburndale Central Elementary

Samantha – Lawton Chiles Middle School

Jarod – Hagerty High School

Maria – Oakshire Elementary

Erica – River Springs Middle School

Brianna – River Springs Middle School

Hope – Penn State

Sara – Ridge Community High

Anna – Lake Aldred Addair Middle

Miguel – Dommerich Elementary

Matthew – Dommerich Elementary

Krighton – Milestones Community Charter School

Xander – Milestones Community Charter School

tristan – Paths High SChool

Brendan – Trinity

Landon – Three Points Elementary

Taylor – Windermere Elementary

Yazenia – Windermere Elementary

Andy – Suntree Elementary

Jayden Leite – Southland Christian Academy

Emma – Castle Creek

Andrew – Castle Creek

Olivia – Castle Creek

Kade – St. Cloud Elementary

Camden – St. Cloud Elementary

Sidney

Austin

Skyler

Slater

Shane

Jaedyn – Cypress Elementary

Jeada – Cypress Elementary

Ciana – South Seminole Middle School

Kadin – Sterling Park Elementary

Maria – East Liverpool High School

Alex – Beaver Local High School

Brooke – Wolf Lake Middle School

Joshua

Aidan – Southland Christian School

Tommy – Belleview Middle School

Emma – Andover

Stephen – Apopa High

Kevin – Trinity Christian

Amari – Riverside Elementary

Ryan

Rarkwon – Sheeler High School

Katie – Howard Middle School

Braden – Sunshine Academy

Jake – Reading Edge Academy

Alison – Narcoosee Middle

Logan – Harmony Community

Pacey – Northland

Ozzy – Lake Weir Middle

Nick

Logan

Joe

Zachary – Andersen Elementary

Catie – Rockledge Christian

Ryan – GHS

Julian – Harmony High School

Nicole – Arbor Ridge

Sabrina – Glenridge Middle School

Lizzy – Flagler Palm Coast High School

Emily – Flagler Palm Coast High School

Aiden – UCP

Alexa – Apopka High

Gabbie – Apopka Elementary

Collin – Trinity Christian School

Hannah – Tavares Middle

Abby – Astatula Elementary

Levi – Villages Elementary

Noah – Villages Elementary

Elizabeth – Villages Elementary

Jonah – Villages Elementary

Clayton

Abbie

Logan

Sarah

Cole – Eustis Elementary

Caleb – Liberty Christian

Liam

Samantha

Michael

Joseph – Baptist Deltona Academy

Jessica – Boone High

Jarod – Giles Conway Middle School

Rachel – Howard Middle School

Grace – Pershing Elementary

Emma – Columbia Elementary

Jacob – Columbia Elementary

Hayden – PHE

Matthew

Jeremiah

Lauren – Winter Park High

Leah – Dommerich Elementary

Gianna – Dommerich Elementary

JJ – Moss Park Elementary

Sarah

Lauren

Matthew

Kalli – Carver Middle

Austin – Fruitland Park Elementary

Olivia – University

Austin – Woodward Ave Elementary

Presley – Blue Lake Elementary

Mia – Dr. Phillips High School

Dominique – Chain of Lakes Middle school

Dylan – Triangle Elementary

Cassandra

Mason – Eustis Middle

Kylie – Eustis Heights

Evan – Eustis Elementary

Sarah – Astatula Elementary

Brittany

Matthew

Nathan

Kayla

Savanna

Tyson

Aiden

Joshua Ray – Palmetto Elementary

Cassidy – Palmetto Elementary

Tatiana – Odyssey Middle School

Riley – Osceola Elementary School

Katie – Rainbow Elementary

Kaycie – Ocoee High

Benjamin

Caleb

Kaylen – Harmony High

Logan

Alivia – Tavares Elementary

Quentin

Amber

Lacy

Jordan

Jada – Boone High

Brodie – Blankner School

Keaton – Indian Trails Middle School

Jake

Destini – Tavares High

Savanah – Tavares Middle

Blake – Treadway Elementary

Logan – Villages Elementary

Lexi – Villages Elementary

Hailey – Carter Middle School

Ian – Smith Prep

Emma – Humprey’s Junior High

Esther – Humprey’s Junior High

Anna

Sara

Shelby

Jake – Orlando Christian Prep

Hannah – Howard

Kate – Dover Shores

Christian Maynard – Seabreeze High School

Cora – UCF

Terris – UCF

Joshua – Liberty University

Oniel – UCF

Jess – Daytona State University

Ashleigh – Virginia Intermont College

Jenna – Florida Tech

Mollie – UCF Thank you!

 

Teachers & Schools:

Leslie

Jason – Discovery Intermediate Middle School

Englewood Elementary

Jackson Middle

Mrs. Parkkila’s 3rd Grade Scholars at Moss Park Elementary

Why are Arrogant Guys Afraid of Counseling?

By Dwight Bain

Face it. All people have problems, not just women. Yet, the research shows the majority of people who seek professional counseling are female. In fact the majority of counselors are now women, (over 60%).

  • Does this mean women have more problems than men?
  • Does it mean women really are the “weaker” sex?

Or does it mean women are just more honest because they are being healthier by working on problems instead of ignoring them?

This process may explain why men tend to struggle with addictions to sports, alcohol, pornography, gambling, violence or drugs more than women do. Simply put a healthy person seeks out wise counsel when facing a challenge while an unhealthy person refuses help and only tries to figure it out themselves. Here are the most common reasons men avoid counseling situations.

1.       Pride, “I’m not the problem- everybody else is”

2.      Fear of their problems being exposed “for the world to see”

3.      Fear of being seen as “Weak” by not being able to solve all their problems alone

4.      Fear of Criticism from others pointing out where they are not perfect

5.       Pain avoidance, basically “I don’t want to go to a place where they might make me cry”

6.       Humbling to ask others for help

7.      Financial fears – with thoughts like, “Why do I have to pay to bleed out?” Or “Why should I pay a stranger to do what I know I should be doing anyway?” (Note – attending the average professional sporting event costs 3-30 times more than the cost of a professional counseling session. One challenges your thinking the other gives you a few hours to not think about anything. Guess which one the average guy will pick?)

8.      Not having time, or saying they don’t have time to seek help, yet the average man spends over 20 hours per week watching sports on TV.

9.      Big fear of the “Last stop”  which is the insecurity of feeling you have burned through every friend and now no one wants to listen to you talk about your life anymore. Basically everyone has given up on you.

10.  Being “Numb” to life and forgetting how it feels to feel normal, or feel good, or feel joy inside, so the goal is to stay numb by not thinking or feeling anything important… or another version of this is to be able to talk about the entire batting averages of some guy they will never meet to avoid having to learn the names of their own child’s teachers. Major discussions about highly detailed financial markets, yet cannot ever remember the date of their own wedding anniversary.

11.  Negative Expectations – “it won’t get better – so why even try?

12.  Being listed as “Crazy” or being perceived as having a mental illness.

This one is interesting since the American Psychiatric Association is releasing a new guide to outline the diagnosable mental health issues in the United States. The results do not look promising. Early indicators point to 10% of the population have some form of diagnosable mental illness while 40% have emotional issues in varying degrees of severity.  You have to wonder which half the people you work around are in, since the APA suggests that people who don’t seek out professional therapy when needed are actually the emotionally unhealthy ones. And you guessed it… it’s not women who skip out on seeking insight and emotional management, it’s the guys.

So should everyone go to counseling? Yes, but not all the time. Think of it like going to the Dentist, Chiropractor, Eye Doctor or a Car Mechanic. You go to a qualified professional to fix something or maintain it to prevent bigger problems. Same with most counseling- It’s a short term approach to prevent long term problems.  But it takes getting honest about issues, and that is a place where a lot of guys don’t want to go. They would take down a terrorist to protect their family, but when it comes to facing their own selfishness, or anger, or lust, or confronting a rebellious teenager or setting boundaries with a controlling in-law, they act like scared babies and hide.

The Biggest Problem Men Face

The biggest obstacle men face isn’t usually their actual problems. It’s simply admitting they have them. Actually admitting you have a problem isn’t easy, but it is the beginning to solve it.

The odd thing is that most guys like to “fix” everything for others. You know, tinkering with the lawn mower to make it start again, or rebooting a computer, or plugging leaks under the sink, or working on the router to get the Wi-Fi back up… you name it, most guys will try to fix it… unless it’s about improving them or their relationships.  Seems backward doesn’t it? Actually it’s not. Fixing the car doesn’t require opening up your heart to possible hurt, rejection or criticism. Car’s don’t ask hard questions like when a son asks his father, “Why is it okay for you to watch bad TV, but it’s not okay for me?” Cars just sit there and don’t talk, think, feel or challenge a guy’s thinking or hold him accountable to make better choices.

Virginia Woolfe said, “If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.” So understanding emotions are healthy to express, but may cause you to feel helpless at first is a normal reaction. To express negative emotions through journaling, talking or praying is a powerful start, but honestly looking at issues in light of the example of Christ is the most transformational. Deep spiritual insight creates major emotional change.

Here’s a thought, What if the Clutter in a guy’s car, was an actual reflection of the clutter in his mind? While there are no psychological studies to show the connection between messy cars and mental concentration, it is true thatgreater self-awareness leads to greater self-improvement.

It is a direct 1:1 correlation, which is why you always have to change you before you can change anyone else. This is especially true in marriage, yet many guys make blaming their wife or kids for their problems an art form. The sad reality is their wife and kids know dad has problems too, but also know he would rather die than admit to any weakness.

So how can guys break out of the pattern of being average to become emotionally healthy? Simple, just follow these four principles.

1.      Face it

2.      Feel it

3.      Process it

4.      Grow

To face it is to get honest, to make it real. Since once you know you need to work on something like explosive anger, you now have to do something about it, or you have to lie and cover up. Guess which one most guys pick?

To feel it is to allow emotions to be expressed in a non-violent or non-threatening way. Since most guys learned how to “suck it up and be a man”which translated means “shut up and never tell anyone how you really feel” they don’t know how to describe what they are feeling. But they do know how to be angry. That’s why anger is the most common emotion for men to express. They aren’t allowed to cry anywhere except their mother’s funeral, but they can be mad anytime, anyplace, anywhere and at anyone… while everyone around them is supposed to just understand and not take it personal.

To process it is to talk through issues to release the regrets of the past, face the mistakes, take ownership for wrongs and to move forward in character development. This process leads to the final stage which is growth. A growing man will manage emotions instead of just stuff them. This is actually quite prudent since he will become more secure in himself to then lead his family in truth which is a good trade.

God wants men to be strong leaders- not passive couch potatoes. If you are a guy let this article challenge you to lead your family in truth; but if you are the woman in the life of a guy who blames you a lot, then it’s about time for a real honest talk. Will he change? Will he take ownership to really be different? You won’t know until you ask.

 

About the author- Dwight Bain is dedicated to helping people achieve greater results. He is a Nationally Certified Counselor and Certified Life Coach in practice since 1984 with a primary focus on solving crisis events and managing major change.
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7 Key Strategies of Highly Effective Parents

By Dwight Bain

Hundreds of times I’ve been asked questions after talk shows or speaking events about what it takes to set up a child to win at life. Basically people were asking for a step by step guidebook on how to meet the needs of a child, while leading them toward a life of early success instead of long term failure. It’s a great question, but since every child is different and every family has to overcome various challenges at different stages of life, there isn’t a 100% time tested answer to that question. That’s not bad news, it’s just life, but there is some good news if you want a sure bet solution to create strong and healthy kids; which comes from the advice that psychologist James Dobson told me once, “no matter how hard you try, your kids could still break all the rules and break your heart in the process- so stay on your knees and pray hard!”

After you pray for them, here’s a simple parenting formula that can help you to set your kids up to grow, mature and develop at any stage of life. I call it the “N.E.E.D. Formula” because it spells out the word need with the four key parenting strategies necessary to bring positive change to the children or teens in your life. Another important element is that the N.E.E.D. Formula will keep you on track as a balanced parent committed to bringing out the best in your kids without overindulging, over-protecting or over-controlling your children. (See more on this subject in the book “Loving your child too much” by Dr. Tim Clinton, @DrTimClinton ).

Here are the four essential parenting strategies your child needs to succeed.

N- Nourish
This includes parenting a child through all of the basics required to survive on this planet; including, providing food, shelter, clothing, shoes, grooming supplies and training in how to do everything from dressing yourself, tying your own shoes, brushing your own teeth and knowing how to take care of your body with healthy food choices, hydration and getting enough sleep. Add to these basic elements of parenting basic medical and dental care as required by the needs of the child and you have the first category required to raise healthy children.

When this need is met a child feels a deep sense of safety.

E- Encourage
This is the ‘soft love’ that children need to experience so often, which includes hugs, tickles, giggles, praise, ‘atta-boy’s or atta-girl’s’, kisses and lots of unconditional acceptance expressed verbally, like ‘I love you no matter what” especially when a child may be facing a difficult time or trying to recover from a painful experience or rejection.

- When this need is met a child feels a deep sense of Security

E- Equip
This is the ‘hard love’ that is most simply expressed through the word ‘no’. When a child begins to respect their parents, and really listens to the advice, counsel and direction provided by their mom and dad they begin the process of becoming equipped with incredible character qualities like self-discipline, self-control, responsibility and an understanding of boundaries, consequences and taking ownership for their behavior by being accountable to the authority sources in their life. (Like parents, grandparents, teachers and law enforcement officers.)

When this need is met a child develops confidence and strength.

D- Develop
Perhaps the most overlooked element in this process, because many parents forget that that their role of being a mommy or daddy isn’t forever. God set up a system of raising children to become strong young people to then launch them out into the world and let them go live their own lives. (Or as the popular song lyric goes, ‘Give them roots and give them wings).

This area includes coaching, guiding, educating, creating learning experiences, providing classes, training or growth events that nurture and develop the basic strengths of that child to become the man or woman that God designed them to be.

When this need is met a child experiences early success.

Now, let’s get personal – if you are gutsy, score yourself on a scale of 1-25, (25 is the highest), in each category to see how you are doing as a parent. Most parents do a great job in the N and E of the formula, but then begin to drop off on the second E and often get so busy that they never do much with the final D part of the formula at all. If a child has too many things provided for them, they don’t mature on track which can lead to falling way behind their peers in terms of becoming independent thinkers and self-reliant young adults.

Once you have identified the gaps in your own parenting style I challenge you to take positive action to work on your parenting approach so can you get better results with your kids at this stage of life. If you see one of the four key areas that are scored at 12 or below, then you may want to do some research to discover more specific ways to help your child be your best in those categories. If you are below a 5 in a particular category you may want to seek some professional guidance to maximize your potential as a parent in every area of your child’s life.

Fighting back against the biggest roadblocks to raising strong kids

Here are a few other key strategies that may help you bring out the best in your kids every day since I want you to have the best tools and resources possible to help your son or daughter be their best. Do this by overcoming the two biggest obstacles that tend to ‘steal’ your kids away from your parental influence. Those categories are Peers and Media. Solve this by using the strategies below to build stronger connections with their peers, then learning how to make positive connections in their choices of media and finally aggressively building on the natural strengths of your child.

1) Connection to a peer with similar values.

Battle back against negative peers by guiding your child toward peers with similar personality and similar family backgrounds and then nurture your child’s relationship with those positive peers. Sheila and I have rescheduled vacations, holidays and other planned family gatherings to make sure that our kids were able to experience every healthy relationship experience possible. Does that mean we are ‘meddling’ behind the scenes to get a more favorable outcome- you bet! Remember, it only takes one good friend in childhood or the turbulent teen years who can talk you out of making a bad decision, or one bad friend who can take you down. Peers have more power than parents at different stages, so take every action you can to point them toward positive role models and toward building healthy relationships today.

Peers are the #1 influencer during middle and high school so if you aren’t sure how to find healthy kids for your children to connect with, then remember to check out their friends from school or church groups, sports, or perhaps your child could make a great connection through someone they might meet in a specialty camp, like YMCA swimming lessons, Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, or Joe White’s incredibly effective sports camps- http://www.kanakuk.com/ . Our daughter Heidi has made and kept friends through the years who shared similar interests and values through her wonderful summer experiences at the Billy Graham summer program for kids in Black Mountain, NC, called “Camp Cedar Cliff” http://www.bgtc.info/ ).

2) Connection to positive media with a message they really relate to.

Find great movies, (Films like “Facing the Giants” for older kids or perhaps “Finding Nemo” for the younger set), powerful songs or fun TV shows that teach an important message – like the TV show “Are you smarter than a 5th grader”, which is a combination between “Who wants to be a millionaire” & “Jeopardy”. It’s a fun way to connect as a family because it shows that very bright 5th graders are very often smarter than ‘average’ adults in academic subjects so it’s a fun way to get everyone in the family involved in learning the basic facts of science, math or literature.

Another strategy to utilize is to consider how adding DVR or Tivo, (which is an add-on to your cable service and may require a new box), because this technology allows you to auto save the programs you want, and save time by fast forwarding past the commercials. This also gives you the power to pick whatever television shows your family can benefit from so they can watch things that empower, educate and inform when it’s most convenient, and gives you total parental control of the advertising messages they are exposed to.

Check out other great resources to help you find the best media fit for your child, like The Truth Project www.Truthproject.org on developing a Christian world view, or the Parents Television Council.http://www.parentstv.org/, the National Institute on Media and the Family,http://www.mediafamily.org/, The Dove Foundation, (which reviews music, films and television),http://www.dove.org/ or the really cool resource for parents to understand all forms of media and their influence on kids, “Plugged In Magazine- Online” at http://www.pluggedinonline.com/

3) Personality is the third factor, which is to find your child’s passion, (strength), as early as possible.

If someone is in love with piano, diving, golf, martial arts, small business, film, cartooning, tennis, skiing, newspaper, art, baseball, football, volunteering at the rescue mission, or FFA, it gives them valuable experience in the areas that they are best suited for, while protecting them from the dark side of culture reflected in the old saying, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.”

I can still vividly remember how my parents guided me during my middle teen years with seeking out opportunities for me to do volunteer work at media stations. My early experiences at WDBO-AM, WFTV-TV9/ABC, WTLN-AM and WMFE-TV24/PBS created a love for communicating through media that lives on to this day. Media communication experiences in my middle teen years led to the desire to learn how to be a public speaker through joining the speech club, Toastmasters International, (www.toastmasters.org/) after high school. My parents wisely planted seeds during my childhood years that have grown into a lifetime of positive career experiences working in the field of communications by God’s grace.

(Side note: The book I recommended for adults to better understand building on strengths is “Now Discover your Strengths” by Marcus Buckingham and Don Clifton. Dr. James Dobson has a tremendous amount of practical parenting strategies to overcome the most challenging of situations at his website, www.Family.org . And if your child struggles with school work or test anxiety, I highly recommend the insightful book by Dr. Mel Levine on the unbelievable challenges that face kids during the middle school years through high school, “Ready or Not, here life comes” or the wealth of information on learning style differences available at his excellent website, www.AllKindsofMinds.comwhich shows how to bring out the best in kids that don’t fit the ‘cookie cutter’ system of education used in many places. One size may fit all in flip-flops but it doesn’t work with children, so search until you find the role models and resources that will help you to best help your child).

Once you know what your child’s passion and strengths are – then actively get involved in building their confidence by developing those strengths by studying the lives of positive role models your child can identify with, or by finding private lessons to help them best utilize their skills, talents and natural abilities, or through summer camps. For instance if your child loved the ocean, consider Camp Sea World, where kids and parents actually do overnight camping in the park next to the Killer whales; or if a child is older they could attend the week long intensive programs offered by Sea World during the summer months and then come home and tell you all about what they learned as they begin to stretch their wings to fly away from home for a little while at this stage, to eventually soar out into the world as a confident young person.

Taking positive action now by planting seeds of greatness inside your son or daughter and then watering and developing those seeds to meet your child’s N.E.E.D.’s in a powerful way will set your kids up to win, and when they experience success early in life so do you! Do whatever you can now to help your kids with the N.E.E.D. Formula because the clock is ticking and you don’t get any time back. Remove any roadblock that keeps you from being the best mom or dad that you can be and do it today!

If this seems overwhelming to you, then here’s a simple strategy from my friend John Trent, PhD who challenges all of us to get involved in our kids lives through a series of tiny steps that eventually bring huge results. (learn more about this user-friendly concept in his book, The 2 degree Difference” available from his website, http://www.strongfamilies.com/) This message is made even more real as you listen to the words of noted author C.S. Lewis, who said, “Good and evil both increase at compound interest. This is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance.”

This is your time to step up to make a positive difference in the life of your kids, so I hope that you will be challenged to meet their N.E.E.D.’s in a new way. Who knows, one day I may get to rejoice along with you as your child experiences early success because of your wise influence as the most important person on the planet to them. Between now and “launch time”- know that you are not alone in the journey and that there are people who will help you past the rough spots with your kids and even more who will cheer as your son or daughter experiences early success in the future from the seeds you planted in their lives today.

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About the author- Dwight Bain is dedicated to helping people achieve greater results. He is a Nationally Certified Counselor and Certified Life Coach in practice since 1984 with a primary focus on solving crisis events and managing major change.

Access more counseling and coaching resources designed to save you time by solving stressful situations by joining the thousands of readers who receive his free eNews full of practical tips to add greater value to your life. Receive these important special reports and step by step resources by subscribing at www.LifeWorksGroup.org

 

Pray for our Troops List

Sheriff Kevin Berry [in Afghanistan]

Steve Shuman [in Afghanistan]

Linda [serving in Afghanistan]

Jorden Culleny [US Army Ft Hood Texas]

Kyle [US Air Force, serving in Guam]

Elliott

Anthony

R. Rosario

Jonathan Hulse

Jennifer [serving in Afghanistan]

William Feger

Wesley Smith

David Sandberg

William Edward Shepler, PFC

SGM Don Gaskins [Recovering from a heart attack]

Captain Yadira Gamio [serving in Afghanistan]

1SG Nelson Gamio [serving in Afghanistan]

Nathan Newberg [Rescue Swimmer]

Stephen Erlacher [serving in Afghanistan]

CW3 Richard Howard

Rik Todd

David Ward

Shawn Langan

Chuck Kindig

1SG Dennis Godfrey

CPT Sean Godfrey

COL James Godfrey [Currently Deployed]

LTC James Godfrey [Retired]

Josh Munger

SPC Justin Gerhart [serving in Afghanistan]

Jose C, Sr.

Jose C, Jr.

Jose A, Sr.

Jose A, Jr.

Nick E

Renny E

Linda E

Erasmo T

Nelson F

Sailor Kyle Hanson

Jeremy Vess [serving in Afghanistan]

James Raney [serving in Afghanistan]

Joey Cerami [serving in Afghanistan]

4 Rivers St. Louis Ribs

St. Louis Ribs

Serves 2

1 full rack of St. Louis–style ribs (about 4 pounds)
2 tablespoons 4R All-Purpose Rub
2 cups apple juice, poured into a squirt bottle
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
¼ cup BBQ Sauce

Prepare smoker

  1. Soak wood for 1 hour before smoking.
  2. Light charcoal and allow to burn to a white ash
  3. Place soaked hickory on top of hot coals and allow the temperature to settle at 225°F.

Cook ribs

  1. Meanwhile, remove membrane on underside of rack of ribs (or score along the length of the rack with a knife, taking care not to puncture the meat).
  2. Apply rub evenly over top of ribs.
  3. Place in smoker and cover.
  4. Check and replace wood and coal every hour to maintain a constant temperature.
  5. After 2 hours, begin to spray the ribs with apple juice every 30 minutes
  6. Continue smoking and spraying ribs for another 1½ hours, until the meat turns a dark brown and begins to pull back from the ends of the rib so ¼ to ½ inch of the bone is exposed and meat is tender to touch.
  7. Remove ribs from smoker. Spray with apple juice and sprinkle top with brown sugar and honey, then wrap tightly in plasticwrap or aluminum foil.
  8. Place ribs back in smoker for 30 minutes.
  9. Remove ribs from smoker and keep wrapped until ready to serve. If longer than 30 minutes, place ribs in an empty cooler and close lid tight to preserve heat.

Finish ribs

  1. Just before serving, heat a gas grill to medium-high.
  2. Remove ribs from wrapping and drizzle with BBQ sauce.
  3. Place ribs on hot grill, bottom side down, for 3 minutes. Flip only once and    grill the top side for another 3 minutes, until meat is slightly charred and sugar from the BBQ sauce has caramelized.