Back to School Series, Part 1 – Addressing Differences

Back to schoolIt’s hard to believe the beginning of the school year is right around the corner.  With that in mind, I hope to get you thinking about ways you can better prepare your kids for the transition back to life in the classroom.

One of my personal goals Continue reading

RIP Dr. Maya Angelou

Yesterday, Wednesday, May 28th, we lost an amazing, American icon.  Dr. Maya Angelou was a warrior for equality, tolerance and peace.

People will forget what you said
People will forget what you did
But people will never forget how you made them feel.
~ Maya Angelou ~

There are some great articles about Dr. Angelou on her website: mayaangelou.com/news/
Check out the site and please share your thoughts on her work and her legacy.
I can’t wait to hear from you!

Godspeed, Dr. Angelou.  You will be missed!

Maya Angelou speaks on race relations at Congregation B’nai Israel and Ebenezer Baptist Church on Jan. 16, 2014, in Boca Raton, Fla.

Intent vs. Impact – Part 2

iStock_000019965393SmallThis week we continue to focus on Intent vs. Impact.  This concept is so important and can’t be stressed enough when it comes to good, effective communication… with our children, our family members, our friends, even strangers!

When our words are heard to mean something other than what we’ve intended that is a problem.  When we’ve hurt someone, whether we meant to or not, what matters is how we repair the situation. Last week we identified some steps that can be taken towards accepting responsibility for the impact of our words to make things right.

Now, let’s think about getting to the point where we think about impact first.  At what point does the “intent” conversation stop mattering?  After all, what does the intent of our actions really matter if our actions have an impact other than what was intended?

Please share your thoughts so we can continue the conversation.  Let us know how you’ve been able to communicate more effectively and avoid misunderstandings by focusing on the impact of your words.

“What one does is what counts. Not what one had the intention of doing.”
~ Pablo Picasso ~

For fun, check out our Pinterest board ~ intentionally put together for your pleasure!! :)

Happy Friday!

In Gratitude,
Renee

Intent vs. Impact – Part 1

iStock_000019965393SmallLast week I said that I would begin talking about the concept of “Intent vs. Impact” .  I believe this will prove to be a great guide in helping our children (and ourselves!)understand that sometimes what we say and intend are different than what is heard, and how the impact of our words can end up being hurtful, mean, or confusing when that isn’t the intent at all.

Have you ever had an unexpected impact on a person to whom you were communicating and had no understanding as to why?  It happens!  Even to those of us that consider ourselves to be excellent communicators!  Having said that, you can imagine how easily children and adolescences fall into this trap without ever being aware of it.  So what are some ways that we can get our kids to realize the importance of thinking before they act/speak.  How can we help them communicate effectively, in-turn assisting them in making better, kinder choices when it comes to their words?

I was recently at a talk at my kids’ school and a parent mentioned being upset that their child said “he was acting so gay… it was annoying” as he was referring to the behavior of a friend.  The parent didn’t know what to say about the sons choice of words so admittedly said nothing.

Lets break this down:
1.  Did the boy intend to say he thinks his friend is gay?
2.  Does he think the boy would be upset if he heard him use the word “gay” when referring to his behavior?
3.  What is gay behavior in the eyes of a Junior High School student?
4.  What if there was somebody within earshot who is struggling with their identity… how would it make that person feel?
5. How would it make the boy feel if one of his friends said that about him?

Clearly the above example is something that will likely happen in Junior High and beyond, but no matter the age of your child(ren), I’m sure you can plug-in your own scenario and end up with a similar set of issues.  So given that, what can be done if we realize that there is a mismatch between our intent and our impact on a colleague, friend, or someone at home?  Here are some questions we might ask ourselves:

1.  What just happened?
2.  How is the outcome different from what I intended/expected?
3.  Where can I take responsibility?
4.  How do I make this right?

In striving to make things right, you can take the following steps:

1.  Act quickly to address the situation… don’t let the “bad” linger
2.  Be honest about your intention.  Talk with the other person about what they heard and how it made them feel.
3.  How might you communication more effectively or differently in the future?
4.  Take responsibility for your words and actions.

My failures have been errors in judgment, not of intent.
~ Ulysses S. Grant ~

This is just the tip of the iceberg on this topic, so you can expect on-going dialogue for a few weeks.  Check back and see what others are saying and further, share your own scenarios and solutions with us.  We love hearing from you!

Until next time…

In gratitude,
Renee

The Pledge – Part 2: Treat Everyone Equal and with Respect

My World PledgeLast week, we began the process of breaking down “The Pledge” line by line, to examine it’s key words and how we can use them to guide our children towards a lifetime of living the pledge:)

This week, we’re focusing on the word Equal. The Pledge uses the word in its noun form. The definition is simple and one that your kids can easily understand:

Equal (noun) a person or thing considered to be the same as another
in status and/or quality.

For discussion purposes, this is also a great time to introduce the concept of equality. The definition of equality is very similar to the above definition of equal, with the addition of “equal in rights and opportunity.”

I truly believe that kids see each other as equal. It’s seemingly the adults that aren’t always of this mindset.  However, I believe the topic of treating everyone equal and the idea of equality is important to talk with your kids about.  Here are some questions to assist in starting the conversation:

  • What do you think treating everyone equal means?
  • Have you ever felt like someone didn’t treat you equal?
  • Have you ever seen somebody else not being treated equally, and if so, how did it make you feel?
  • Why do you think it’s important to treat everyone equal?
  • Do you think that the way a person looks or how they dress changes their status or their rights?

If we have ongoing dialogue with our kids about everyday life issues, as well as select topics of importance, they’ll feel quite natural talking to you about other, concerning issues that they may face.  As long as you’re not reactive or judgmental when your kids share things with you, you’ll find they want to share more and more…

Next up, treating others with respect!

Until then…

In Gratitude,
Renee

The Pledge – Part 1: Celebrating Differences

My World PledgeI introduced you to the “My World Friends Pledge” last month.  This is a great way for your kids to start off the New Year.  You can find the Pledge at myworldmedia.net.  Imagine how different our world would be if everyone lived by the Pledge!  Over the coming weeks, we’ll be breaking down the pledge line-by-line and talking about ways to weave these topics into conversation with your children.

On that note, let’s start at the top with “I will Celebrate Differences”. That’s another way of saying “I will be tolerant and kind to those that are different than me”.  What a great thing to talk to your kids about!  Here are a few questions that you might ask your kids:

  • What does Celebrating Differences mean to you?
  • Do you have friends that are different than you?
  • In what ways are some of your friends different than you?
  • Do you think that it’s good when people are different?
  • What are the differences in your friends or classmates that you notice the most (ie. glasses, braces, skin color, eye color, etc.)?
  • What are some reasons you’re happy that we’re not all exactly the same?

It’s simple to weave this topic into conversation about everyday life, and when you have regular, on-going and open dialogue with your children they will know that the door is always open for a chat.  If something is bothering them, something is going on at school, peer-pressure or a dispute with a friend, or they recognize behavior in a friend that is not appropriate, they will feel like it’s natural to talk you about these things.  How important is that?!  As parents we all want our kids to know that we’re here for them and we will listen and help when help is required.  Sometimes just being a good listener is really all they need. When your children confide in you and trust that you will listen without judgment or reaction, it will change the level of your conversations with them.

So, talk-it-out! And then share how your conversation of Celebrating Differences went.  We can’t wait to hear from you!

In Gratitude,
Renee

Back to School Series, Part 5 – Let’s Talk About Happiness

iStock_000010954440XSmallMost kids are already back in school (thank goodness mine are!), and those that aren’t will be starting soon, so to wrap-up our “Back to School Series”, let’s talk briefly about Happiness. Continue reading

Book Reading and Signing on September 20, 2013

StarbucksFlierTopPlease join us from 4:00 – 6:00P as Local Southern California author, entrepreneur and mother, Renee Carter, reads and signs the second book from her inspirational My World Friends Series. Continue reading

Back to School Series, Part 4 – Let’s Talk About Accountability

Doing the dishesAs we inch closer to the first day of school, there is much to be done to prepare our children… school clothes/uniforms, backpacks, and school supplies are some of the standard checklist items.  What about mentally preparing our kids to jump back into the routine?  Are you talking with your kids about your hopes and expectations for them this year?  Accountability is an excellent topic to touch-on.

Definition of Accountability
n.
1. the state of being accountable, liable, or answerable; an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions.

Last week we talked about responsibility, the relative synonym of accountability.  Let’s be sure and understand the difference between the two:

“Accountability” is being answerable to others for your actions, or lack thereof.
“Responsibility” is being liable and dependable when it comes to tasks or actions.

Accountability leads to responsibility. Last week, I used my daughter forgetting to write down her homework assignment, as an example.  I can encourage her to be resourceful in hopes of getting the information she needs, but I will also need to remind her that it’s her responsibility to come home with the assignment.  Further, she needs to understand that the consequences for not getting the information and completing the assignment will be accountability to her teacher the next morning.  What that “accountability” entails is up to the teacher… sitting out of recess to complete the assignment, being given extra math problems, writing down 5 things that she’ll do in the future so it doesn’t happen again, etc.

Essential Questions:
How can we help our children think about accountability before they
take (or don’t take) action?

Being the “A Type” gal that I am, I like lists and charts!  I think a great way to get your children thinking about being accountable for their actions (or non-actions) is to lay it out for them in the simplest format possible and include them in tracking their actions day to day.  The more we talk to them about being accountable and reward them with our time and attention in tracking their progress, the more natural accountability will come to them.  They will also exhibit a great sense of pride in their accomplishments… I call that a “win-win”!

What are some ways that you’ve created a culture of accountability with your kids and in your home?  Do tell!  Let’s keep the dialogue going.  By sharing our thoughts and ideas we can help each other nurture accountability in our young citizens!

Until next time…

Much love,
Renee