31 October 2009
As seen in the Battleford's Regional Optimist
Do your children listen to you or do they listen to the television? Think about it. You tell your daughter she is beautiful, and smart. The television tells her that she is too fat and needs to be thinner and that she isn’t witty enough to get a boyfriend.
Which influences her more? For some reason the television normally does. The commercials or shows are telling her this, and she doesn’t even know them. But does she know you any better?
You need to show your children that commercial and billboard models are not real. Take them to YouTube and show them the “evolution dove commercial.” That should help them realize the falsities behind the TV. But that still does not mean that your child knows you better than the TV.
I remember a cartoon depicting a child’s family during the 70’s; brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandma, grandpa, parents, and other family member surrounded the child. Than it showed a child in the 2000’s surrounded by the TV, computer, Xbox, and other electrical gadgets.
According to the Media Research Council, 91 percent of parents think that the TV is too violent and too sex oriented. However two-thirds of children have a TV in their room, provided to them by their parents.
Children spend more time with the TV than any other activity, including time with family and at school. Your child, despite how entertaining the electronics are, wants to spend time with you, they are just using other things to fill their time.
Dr. Tremblay of the Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group has given Canadian children an ‘F’ for their activeness.
As such, here are some ideas of activities to do as a family to help your child get to know you and believe you when you say they are smart and beautiful.
This one is a must, have dinner together. If not dinner, have one meal together. Go for a walk scavenger hunt; look for random things like a tricycle, a red car, and the first to spot the list wins. Ask each other “what would you do with a million dollars?” Go stargazing. Play a card game or a board game. Go for a walk and get ice-cream or a slurpee. Challenge each other to crack a smile or laugh with jokes and funny faces.
Most of all spend time with your children. They need to know that you will invest your time with them. Show them you love them. Show them that you care. They will then believe you when you tell them positive things, and will realize that the television is lying to them.This will put parents at the head of the home, not the television.
23 October 2009
As seen in the Battleford's Regional Optimist
I recently attended a conference for Marriage and Family Therapists in Saskatoon. I truly enjoyed my time. I love being able to network and meet new people. However, I love learning new things. So let me ask you, do you live in a box or a circle?
I would say I live in a box because I live in a house. But that’s not what I am talking about. What I am talking about is a system. Let me explain a little about each.
A circle system is a bunch of rings. Think of it as giant family campfire. In the centre is the creator, who ever that may be for you. The children are the first ring around the creator, women are second, who all support the children. Next are the men who are supporting the women in their work. The third ring is the elderly, providing wisdom and knowledge to those inside the circle. The fourth ring contains leaders of all sorts, political or spiritual, and also warriors or military.
I hope you can see this circle and how everyone is involved in supporting everyone, and how the children are the focus.
Now let’s move to a box system. Simply, imagine a school bus. Throw the children in the back seats. Place the women in the middle, and the men at the front. Notice how everyone is sitting in their seats facing forward. Everyone has their own spots and no one is to move or touch.
The box focuses on money, looking good, judging others, and asks the question ‘what is wrong?’ The most important part is to move the bus forward ignoring everything else, including the children in the back.
The circle asks what is true. It accepts, evaluates, and takes action. There is always a seeking to be in balance and in harmony with everyone in the circle. Everyone has value in the circle.
Does mom or dad drive to work every day ignoring the kids in the back?
Do you, as a parent, ask what is wrong with my child? Or do you ask what is my child doing well?
Are your children your focus? Or is it getting the next promotion?
When was the last time you spoke to your elders? Do you value them and their wisdom? Or are you sitting in the bus, just going forward?
Do you support your spouse? Or do they have their own set role which you think they can do on their own?
It is so easy to miss things when children are behind us. However, it is easier to see what is happening when they are in front of you.
In the circle there is love, caring, and nurturing.
Your family is what matters most. Let them know that you support them, and that they are not being brushed aside.
So I ask again, are you living in a box or a circle?
18 October 2009
As seen in the Battleford's Regional Optimist
I sat down to watch my two hours worth of TV. The digital TV recorder is a quite something, cause I am able to record my shows and fast forward through the commercials! Anyhow, I was watching Global News on August 17, and they were talking about the recession, and some of the effects it has been having on our daily life. In particular scaling back on expenses. What was being scaled back wasn’t wonderful news; meals and medicine were receiving the axe.
Fourteen per cent, of those in the nation wide survey, stated that they stopped buying, or delayed buying prescription drugs. Two percent more opted out of a meal. An overwhelming third of the survey spent less on groceries. This is scary.
Global News interviewed a lady who was struggling to make ends meet, and was one of those people who skipped meals to save money. One of the screen shots showed this woman’s balance book of ways to save money, such as not eating, and what she had to pay for. Her list of bills to pay was: groceries, phone, cell phone, cable, internet, water, and hydro. I was appalled. This woman was not eating so that she could have money to pay for cable. She may have been spending less on groceries so that she could pay for the cell phone. There needs to be some rearranging of priorities here.
I believe that everyone should make a list of their current bills. List them in order of what can go in times of hardship. For example, if the bank account is getting small, cut the cable. You can easily go to the public library and rent movies for free or for a small fee. Speaking of the library, it has the internet too. Usually for free, sometimes, again, for a small fee, but a lot less than what someone is paying monthly for the same amount of use. The library is a wonderful asset. Use it. It can help minimize bills.
There are too many things, little objects, that we think are necessities. Blackberry, iPod, internet, Xbox, and others we feel we can’t live without. But we feel we can live without food, or medicine that will help us live. You can’t chew on your cell phones battery when you are hungry and have no food. That won’t satisfy you at all. You need food. You need water. You need a place to live. A cell phone is a want. Cable is a want.
There are only six things everyone needs to live: air, water, food, sleep, clothing and shelter. Those should be our priorities for our selves and for our families. Those should come first before anything else. Without them, you really can’t have anything else that we value and want so much.
I admit. Even I need to remember to put my priorities in order. Looks like I will be going back to bunny ears and to the library.
12 October 2009
09 October 2009
As seen in the Battleford's Regional Optimist.
Let’s really read the word: Thanksgiving.
Some words and phrases I have said so many times that they really have lost their actual meaning. You know, you have been saying newspaper for years. But then you realize it is called a newspaper because it is news that is on paper!
Or inside and outside. You are inside because you are in something, and outside because you are no longer in that something. Or my favourite, birthday. Used so freely. “It’s my birthday.” Yes, it is, because your birthday is that the day that your mother gave birth to you.
However, there is a holiday coming up that I think has lost it’s meaning. We often associate this holiday with Turkey and having family over for dinner. Thanksgiving. Thanks to be given.
Have you really thought about thanksgiving. Think about the things you are grateful for. House, car, family, the pets, and food. All good, but think deeper.
What are you holding this paper with? Your fingers? If you have ever broken your fingers you know how often you use them. That’s something to be thankful for. Your feet, your legs, your arms. Your beating heart. Your lungs. Even if your health is not stellar, you are still living on this little planet called Earth.
Think of the Sun that brightens and warms our days. Think of the fireplace and how so many advances have come from the creation of fire. Think of all the “things” you may have in your life. Your very own home phone, and maybe even a cell phone. There are places in the world where the street has to share one line. Fresh running water to drink and wash yourself. Electricity. There are so many things to be thankful for.
Your relationships. Your spouse. Your children. Your parents. Your friends. Aunts, uncles, neices, nephews, cousins, and the list can go on of relationships. Some may not be what we expected, some may have turned sour, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be grateful for what once was or may be.
I encourage you this Thanksgiving to sit down and write a list of all the things you are grateful for. Write until you have exhausted all thoughts. Post this list in your room, your bathroom, or the kitchen; somewhere you will see it. This list can brighten your day when it seems like everything has gone wrong.
Remember this Thanksgiving to give thanks to all those around you, and to everything. You do have a lot to be grateful for this season.