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Helping Holden Series: Reading, Writing, and Martial Arts

Helping Holden Series: Reading, Writing, and Martial Arts

“Your fears are not walls, but hurdles. Courage is not the absence of fear, but the conquering of it.” ― Dan Millman You can find this quotation all the way at the bottom of any email sent to you by yours truly. A college friend had posted this on her Facebook account in early 2008 and I immediately took to it. I had not heard of Dan Millman or the Peaceful Warrior at the time. I only knew I liked the quote and adopted it as one of my “mantras” in my own life. It’s amazing to me how words, phrases, songs, and literacy have the power to connect people. Words are what help us to understand the world around us. Spoken word has the power to heal and help, while the written word captures the spoken word and gives it immortality. Reading Earlier this summer, as I was developing an action plan for Holden I turned literature to help guide through. I created a list of books for Holden to read and a list of books for mom and dad to read. I looked for books about raising boys, kids personalities, and managing family life. (You can find the list of books in the article titled The Action Plan.) The summer reading list has helped us both stay on track as life can easily pass quickly with familial activities and obligations. As a busy mom, I realize that while my time is limited, I must read to continue my own development. I enjoy doing things in 3’s. I read to be entertained, to inform myself on a new concept, idea or way of life, and to be inspired. This does not mean that I read three books at once, what it does mean is that I choose a book, and then I supplement. For example, if I’m reading Raising Boys, I’m also reading through the Internet for quotes that inspire and to adopt into my own life, and reading children’s books for entertainment with my children or short stories for myself. In the genre of self-help, Life Matters by Stephen Covey is a book I keep handy and reread sections often to improve family life. For Holden, the first thing we did early this summer was join the summer reading program at our library. With his new library card in hand, Mondays have become our summer library day....

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Talking to Kids About Body Image

Talking to Kids About Body Image

Dear Better Way Moms, My name is Michelle, and I’m so proud to say that I am in my fifth year of recovery from an eating disorder. My story is very different from most. I lost my mom when she was 46, and I was 15. She suffered from an eating disorder her whole life, and that disorder largely contributed to her death. I want to be clear, I had an absolutely wonderful mother, who happened to be extremely sick. The disclaimer here is that I ask you not to judge my mom’s behavior, as her behaviors were the result of her illness. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate when compared with any mental illness, higher than schizophrenia, depression, you name it, and my life has been living proof of this. A thin body is the ideal of our society. Yet the messages we receive through media tell us that we should be eating whatever we want without necessarily having to exercise. These unrealistic and conflicting messages have caused a lot of harm. Parents often ask me how they can approach body image in a positive way with their children. My mom did not do such a great job at modeling proper food and body behavior. Nevertheless, there were actions she could have taken to aid me in developing a more positive body image. Given what I’ve experienced, I would like to share with you some tips to address eating disorders. Along with these tips are the warning signs, and my thoughts on the dos and don’ts of helping kids have a positive body image. I believe that these ideas are relevant for children, adolescents, young adults and adults. Tip #1: Monitor your environment It is often said that genetics load the gun, and the environment pulls the trigger. One helpful thing you can do to avoid pulling the trigger would be to THROW OUT THE SCALE! You don’t need it. If you really cannot let go of the scale, do not, under any circumstances, weigh yourself in front of your children. If you want to keep track of your weight, do so by the clothes you wear and noticing if your clothes are getting too big or too small. In addition, I know people who have had success by only allowing mirrors in the bathroom of their home. This might sound extreme, but it’s one way to...

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Suffer the Little Children

Suffer the Little Children

There are seven days until Christmas, a time of joy, laughter, wonder and delight. Yet we all have very heavy hearts as we celebrate the season of lights, love and good will towards men. There are 20 homes that will be missing a child on Christmas morning. 20 homes where one little face filled with wonder and joy will be brutally, inexplicably and heart-wrenchingly absent. Every molecule of my being wants to scream “NO!” Not children…not our children. Not our sweet, innocent beautiful babies. No, please. Make it be a dream. Please, make it not be real. But it is real. It did happen. On our watch. Our children, yours and mine. Violently ripped away. I think of my own child in the first-grade. So wide-eyed and trusting. So alive and curious about everything. How could anyone do this? How could anyone look a face like that and do harm? How do we move on from this? Where do we go? How do we heal? Surely the world has stopped…. But the world doesn’t stop. Just moments ago I received a recorded message from our school’s superintendent letting me know that our school’s doors are locked and our children practice lock-down drills. I’m grateful for the call, but I can’t believe we live in a world where calls like this need to exist. As my eyes fill with tears and my breath stops short I just can’t help picturing my own sweet one being trained to protect himself from attempted mass murder. All the while just thinking he’s going through a regular school drill, not comprehending the darkness and terror that’s actually possible. How on earth is this our reality? As I listened to our President last night, at first I found myself balking when he said we had failed our children. But I let the thought rattle around a little bit, and I realized that we have. On many levels. They trust us, they love us and they need us. And we have failed. No child should ever fear for their lives because they walked into their school, or went to see a movie, or walked out the front door. I have to believe we’re better than this. As the wise Mr. Rogers says, “Look for the helpers.” I think one of the ways I’m processing all of this is by diving into the stories about the teachers,...

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How to Savor Summer While You Get Them Ready For School

How to Savor Summer While You Get Them Ready For School

While children and teachers everywhere are looking wistfully at September drawing closer and closer on the calendar, many parents come mid-august are good and ready for the year to start. Is it starting to feel like too much unstructured time, too much of a good thing and too much time together? You’re not alone, believe me, but there are some things that even you, the eager-to-get-back-to-school-parent, might want to savor in the last days of summer. You can actually spend this last bit of summer doing a few small things that will help your child get ready for the new school year, all while savoring these last days. These may seem like small things but they are things that usually take quite a bit of adjustment the first few weeks of school. And the best part is that you can do them while you enjoy the last few weeks by also taking advantage of some simple joys that summer holds. If that bedtime has slowly crept to a later and later time as summer days are long and schedules are more lax, slowly start to bring your child’s bedtime back to the time it needs to be for them to wake in a reasonable mood on school days. This will be a huge help in having them start the year smoothly. I’m talking no more than a fifteen minute difference at a time, making the change gradually will be easier on them and you, and can really help them get through that first week well-rested. Now as I give this advice, I painfully aware that this falls under the “do as I say not as I do” category. I think this is a great idea and I think it can make a huge difference in your child’s adjustment to that first week of school, but I was never good at imposing it on myself. When I was teaching full-time, I was always up until at least midnight the night before the first day. While I always made it through the first day on the rush of excitement, it caught up with me and I was exhausted by the end of the week. Imposing an earlier bedtime will ensure your child is well rested for those first days and she can end the week as cheerily as she began it. Oh, and you can be the one shaking your head...

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You Taurus Child

You Taurus Child

You child’s birth chart is a snapshot of the heavens reflecting the gifts and challenges of your child’s life and its many cycles. This knowledge is an invaluable tool to assist in understanding the unique nature of each person young or old. As a parent, it would also be helpful to find out about your own chart and discover your strengths and weaknesses in parenting. Knowledge is power. This is the twelfth and final article in our series on Children’s Astrology. Taurus birthdays begin April 20th at 06:18 am PDT, and 09:18 am EDT. (If this description does not accurately describe your Taurus child, there may be strong modifiers coming from other planets or sensitive points in the Natal chart which can overshadow Taurus characteristics.) Taurus (April 20 – May 21) Taurus babies, like the bull are slow and may not show much activity in the beginning. They don’t like change and disruption or anything sudden. Provide them with a feeling of security and lots of comfort with soft and cuddly blankets and toys with many textures and colors. They become very attached to their comforts and pleasures and will become upset and frustrated when they are changed. Move them slowly and reassuringly. Keep their necks warm and covered especially when it is cold as they are ruled by the throat and when over tired or upset they can easily get a swore throat. Little Taurus might early on have a pleasant speaking and singing voice which should be encouraged. They could talk early and will often use words to get their way. Your Taurus baby will have great stamina and persistence which can turn into stubbornness. They are patient and steady until they become angry and then watch out as they will charge like the little bull. Work at solving their issues before it reaches their threshold. Taurus is a fixed sign and even an older Taurus child will resent being rushed or having plans and routines changed. This can seem like stubbornness, however, they naturally resist change. This is not something they do to cause trouble for you. Be patient and after a time of adjustment they will come around. Taurus is deeply connected to the physical world with reliance on the physical senses and the accumulation of possessions and wealth.. The physical senses and beauty are so very important to these practical Bulls. They enjoy looking...

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Your Aries Child

Your Aries Child

While there are many philosophies on child development and parenting, their weakness can be in the lack of personalization. Astrology provides that personal factor. There is no better information to assist a parent then an understanding of a child’s astrological makeup. It is a child development strategy written specifically for your unique son or daughter. Every parent wants to do what is best for their child. Astrology can give you the insight you need. This is the eleventh article in our series on Children’s Astrology. Aries birthdays begin March 20th at 07:21 pm PDT, and 10:21 pm EDT. (If this description does not accurately describe your Aries child, there may be strong modifiers coming from other planets or sensitive points in the Natal chart which can overshadow Aries characteristics.) Aries (March 20 – April 20) As the first sign of the Zodiac, Aries relates to beginnings of all kinds, the primary energy that gets things going. Full of fire energy and that of an initiator, Aries is a self-starter. Willful and with a strong drive and desire to be first, they are always looking for a new adventure, challenge, project or experience. Intent on the preservation of individuality, Aries may display a preference for doing things by themselves at an early age, insisting, “I can do it myself, Mother.” It is best to give your Aries child as much latitude as possible, within the bounds of safety, allowing them to learn from mistakes, for they will resent you for imposing your will on them. Try not to show amusement or anger by their intense need for independence. Humiliation will produce combative behavior. Because they prefer to live life on their own terms, approval from others is not as necessary as for other signs. As long as they can do exactly as they please, it doesn’t matter what others think. Aries is a highly aggressive and impatient energy. They bring in wonderful ideas and initiate their desires usually leaving the finishing details to more pragmatic signs. Their life theme is “I AM”. This life is all about them and becoming who they are. Aries are the butterflies of the Zodiac as they light on a project, suck out all the nectar, get bored, and then fly off to light on something more exciting. They prefer to talk rather than listen. Aries has a strong unconscious drive for competition and will...

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