In between overdoing it

Posts tagged ‘love’

5 Ways to Build a Girls Self Worth

5 Ways to Build a Girls Self WorthGrowing up we all had that one friend who would say they were your bestie but the moment someone “cooler” came along they would drop you like a bad habit. These people would return to you when there was nothing else to do or when no one else was around only to flat leave you all over again. This behavior would play on repeat until you would finally decide you had enough and end the “friendship.” These are known as fair weather friends.

growing up I was not the try of kid who would ever hurt anyone’s feelings. Basically I was a doormat. Letting these fair-weather friends walk all over me. Then one day I decided to put a stop to it. Fast forward to today as I watch this same situation play out with my own children. I watch as the fair-weather friend mistreats my daughter. Invites her over then drops her when another friend can come over instead.

I stand by silently as my daughter cries as this little girl brags to her and puts her down. I sit silently and I wait. I wait for the moment when my daughter will fight back. When she will see here own greatness. I wait until the flurry of words explodes from her so that this girl never messes with her again. I wait but it doesn’t happen. My heart breaks as I see the pain on her face.

Honestly, I wish it could jump in and defend her, protect her from this little evil being hurting my little girl. But I know this is not my fight. She needs to find her own greatness, her own self worth. Something I never learned until far to late.

It will happen one day soon when she has had enough but part of me wonders if I can’t help her more. No, I don’t mean Marching in costumed body parts, wearing pink caps and shouting baseless claims of “resistance.” I mean really teaching a girl her worth. Helping her find her self respect. To stand up to other girls as she will eventually have to stand up to other women and men. Here are 5 ways to build a girls self worth.

Don’t raise her as a “pleaser.

According to Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair, EdD, a clinical psychologist, we should encourage her to stand up for what she needs and wants. “Create opportunities for her to use her voice,”  “Ask ‘What do you want?’ Let her make a choice and then honor that choice.” – from

Set an Example

Don’t trash talk other women or yourself. ” …if a mom is gossiping about one of her friends on the phone and the daughter overhears this, that memory is in her brain forever and she will be more inclined to gossip with her friends as she grows up.”- says Lauren Galley, President of Girls Above Society. (Huffington Post)

Get her into Team Sports

According to an article from, playing sports builds self-confidence. “Girls involved in athletics feel better about themselves, both physically and socially. It helps to build confidence when you see your skills improving and your goals becoming reality. Other esteem-boosting benefits of sports participation include getting in shape, maintaining a healthy weight, and making new friends,” it says.

Be wise to media images

Some media images such as plus sized models and female athletes can help young girls feel accepted and empowered. But more often then not TV, movies and magazines are flooded with images that stress “ideal beauty” and appearance. As well as the over equalization of women and young girls.

Girls’ confidence frequently drops in the pre-teen years as they begin to base their feelings of self-worth more and more heavily on appearance and weight,” says Media It is important to limit exposure to media images and have an open dialogue with your daughter about how the media depicts women.

Tell them their value and you love them no matter what

Our girls need to be told tell have value. We often tell them what they have done wrong but we also need to be praise them.  Let them know that their unique gifts, talents, and abilities have value. They are unique and individual. We love them for the person they are not there appearance or accomplishments.

She needs to know that you’ll love her no matter how her appearance might change or how she dresses or how she might perform at something,” says Dr. Mary Rooney, PhD, a clinical psychologist who specializes in adolescents. Rooney adds “Because even though kids are so reliant on their peers for feedback when they’re in their teens, what her parents think of her matters just as much as it ever did.”-




Everyone can learn from Lent

Lessons from LentIf you see a bit of dirt of the foreheads of some people this week, the black mark is not dirt it is Ash. March 1 was Ash Wednesday. If you are Catholic it is the start of the Lenten season, which signifies the 40 days of preparation before Easter.

Why do I mention Ash Wednesday? There is an interesting part of Lent begining on this day. It the ritual of “giving up” something for Lent. Since this blog is not really about religion or faith why do I bring up Ash Wednesday?

The reason I mention this is because even if you are not Catholic, this is idea is something everyone can learn from. It is a little like New Year’s in that it is a defining moment when you can make positive change in your life. By choosing something to give up, you can focus on removing an unhealthy habit. What you give up can not be something easy either. It has to be something that makes a significant impact on your life and daily habits. Also, Lent is a reminder to acknowledge all that we have and, for me, I think of the sacrifices others have made for me.LentCloud

The major thought shift that occurs during Lent is from doing something for an internal narcissistic reason like looking better, or achieving more money. To give up something to signify the sacrifice of something greater then our self.

I think that is where non-Catholics can get on board. It’s about looking towards something greater then our self. By giving up something hard to do for someone or something outside of yourself, you feel a more intense need to achieve that goal or break that habit.

For example, giving up smoking in honor of your grandmother that died of cancer, eating 5 vegetables a day to model healthy eating for your children. Save a portion of your paycheck to donate in support the troops. When you compare the minor things we give up to the monumental sacrifices made by others. It feels like the least we can do in honor of them. By giving up something difficult, it is in that challenge to we honor a loved one, an event or a sacrifice greater then ourselves.



Year of Taking Care of Me- Month 2: Love Myself

Month 2 Love MyselfIn keeping with the Valentines theme of love February was a month to focus on self love and self acceptance. This is not an easy thing for many of us. Many mom’s I know are the most incredible, giving, productive and loving people but to hear then tell it you would think they accomplish nothing. Most don’t acknowledge the amazing feats we accomplish daily. Oh yes we can totally see it in others, we can dole out praise for someone else but never ourselves.

I recently heard a mom of a 3 month old talk about how she has been struggling to get her baby to eat and is waking up hourly to feed him all night long. All this while she has a full-time job and another child to care for! She gets an average of 3 hours of sleep per night but talks about it as if it is something everyone does. No… no they don’t. She is an amazing mom!

Often we are hyper critical of ourselves and only see our flaws and failures. We downplay the amazing things we do as if everyone does them. That is what makes a month like this so difficult.  This 28 days we are challenged to like ourselves and toot our own horn. This month is also intended for us to accept ourselves and accept some of the praise others give us. Not just blow it off or pretend it is intended for someone else.

I struggle with this because, like most Mom’s, I always feel I am failing in some area. Even through we know it is an impossibility, we still strive to be everything to everyone. What we see in this endeavor is our contant unending failure. (You can check out last weeks post “Morning in the MommyHood for my own verision.)

It took a long time before I was even about to graciously accept a compliment without trying to negate it in some way. So this month is about trying to move past my gut instinct to see only failure and try to see the good I produce. There were a few tasks for this month included making a list of things we like about ourselves and another list of what people say they like about us. The intent is to see how we view ourselves and if we see ourselves as other see us. Finally this month we take note of how we have  accept ourselves. Ok here goes…

What do I like about myself?

What do I like? This is so hard because this month I have been under the weather and short tempered ect. Ok I know I know I am only seeing the negative again and that is not what this is about. Here goes 5 things I like about myself. (Boy this feels awkward.)

  • I am honest,
  • I am faithful to my friends and family
  • I am good at creating memories for my family
  • People know I am consistent and I keep my word.
  • I love to learn
  • OK there (this took me an entire day.)

What others like about me

Now on to list 2. Some of the things others have said about me.

  • I am a good mom (This mad me feel awesome!)
  • I am a good cook (Also made me feel awesome)
  • I am an encouraging friend (I hope so)
  • I am a hard worker
  • I am funny (this one from my kids)

Seeing these lists did make me feel pretty awesome. Especially when I hear what my children and my husband like about me. Making the list about myself was tough. It took a lot longer then I thought it would which tells me I have a bit of work to do concerning my confidence and belief in my abilities.

Now for the hardest part about this month. The accepting yourself. Over the weekend I had an unexpected incident with another adult. I innocently made an offer of help I believed to be with the intent to offer understanding and empathy. However to his ears it sounded like an insult. He came back at me with harsh words and I felt my dignity and self worth crawl into a little ball inside of me and blink out of existence.

I spent the majority of the weekend running the confrontation over again and again and wondering how he could have taken my words so wrong. I felt like a total jerk. In the end my husband tried to help me too understand. Because of my co-dependency issues when I see someone struggling I feel like I need to fix their problem. It is some weird responsibility to remedy every situation, even when it has nothing to do with me. My offer of help was not viewed as kindness because it was out of place. It was not asked for, not wanted and made the person feel like a screw-up.

Even if it was not my intent, my over zealous feelings of responsibility for everyone and everything, insulted this person. As if they were incompetent and in need of rescue. As if I was somehow better. It took a lot to see this side of my actions. It was really hard to accept that I made someone feel this way. You know that “road to hell” and all.

In the past I would have insisted he was the jerk. However, having learned about myself this way I can accept the same sensitivity that makes me good at empathizing and understanding others, can also contribute to my inappropriate feelings of responsibility for them. I think I finally understand I do not have to save everyone, or offer help that was never asked for. I  accept I am not selfish if I don’t take on everyone’s problems, especially when they never asked for my help.

This also could be the reason I saddle myself with so much to do and then complain about feeling overwhelmed. I take on problems that are none of my business. Before this month I never realized I did this. I never realized how it could make another person feel bad about themselves.

This month in an effort to love and care for myself better I am unburdening myself of all of the problems are not mine to solve. I am letting go of all the situations I may have unknowingly forced myself into because I felt like I needed to help, even if my help was never asked for. This will free up time to help the ones who really do need me like my children, my husband. In the end I think this will make me a better mom, friend and a more fulfilled person.

Did you make your lists this month? What did you discover about yourself? How did it make you feel? Would love to hear how you felt about this month. Please share in the comments


A Morning in Mommyhood

morning in the mommyhoodI stand in the shower. To be honest I’m hiding in there, letting the hot water run over my face as I stare at the wall.  If I look down I will see the empty shampoo and body wash bottles that have collected in the corner. My eyes will drift over the bottom of the shower door, full of filmy soap scum and in need of a good cleaning. Knowing I don’t have the time to clean it or even stand in here any longer, I have I hurry to wash my hair. 

It is time to get out but I am reluctant to start the day, to leave the warm, comforting water and small space that is my own right now. When I open the door I will see the collection of messes that have accumulated through my bedroom, then through the house. Knowing full well I am all that stands in the way of the messes and complete chaos.

Get some pant on

As I open the top dresser drawer I say a silent pray of hoping there will be a pair of clean underwear left since I only got to the kid’s laundry this week. Yes, thankfully it is shoved at the bottom between bras that no longer fit. Ok, maybe I can manage to get through today. Hey I have underwear so it might not be so bad. There is a knock at my bedroom door. Well, not really a polite non-intrusive knock more like a door swinging open and hitting the wall as my kids and the dogs barrel into the room.

 No… this is supposed to be my sanctuary. Well at least where I can get dressed right? As I stand in a towel, my wet hair dripping dry into all sort of Medusa like snakes. I hope I can at least get a brush through it before I must be pulled away to find this or locate that. But first back to the underpants, as I gather them together I retreat (because really that is what it is I lost this battle) into the bathroom in the hopes of getting some clothing on before I am forced to locate any more items.

image found on

As I get my undergarments on I realize the toilet paper roll is empty, there is dust on the bathroom shelves and we won’t even get into the look of the toilet. More on my list of stuff to do. Feeling my anxiety rising, I hope I am left alone to get the rest of my clothing together. Then hopefully  flee from all the mess and some of the responsibility I don’t have the time to address right now.

I have nothing to wear

Opening the door, I see for now I am alone. Ceasing the opportunity I move stealthily to the closet and look through my clothes…depression sets in as I realize I have nothing new, nice or well-fitting to wear. What did I expect when I buy all my clothes over the internet. Guessing on what might fit is not the same as what fits. I look longingly to my comfortable yoga pants. The only garment that seems to not judge me. How much I weight. How things in my body have shifted with age and children.

But I don’t get to linger on this long because I realize my hair is almost dry and it is a total mess. Dressing in whatever matching items I can stand to put on my body. Some feeling to lose, others to tight.  Do I have time to run an iron over this? Emerging from the closet (yes where I was hiding again.) I search desperately for one of the 7 brushes somewhere in our home. We have 7 brushes because of the reason you can never find one when you need it. They are never in a logical place where they should be. They are in plastic bags, left in cars, brought to school…etc.. So, we continue to buy them only for them to grow legs and wader off. Like right now…I am left with only a promotional comb from a hair salon missing teeth.

It’s ok I’m the mom. I will make due. Don’t we always? Realizing it is to late to salvage a good hair day, I search for a clip. This  as my children and husband begin Round 2 of the “where is my… have you seen my…?” Q and A. To find the clip I must rummage into the deep dark corners of the vanity and shift out of the way  weeks of accumulated toiletry items, deodorants, colognes, and toothpaste tubes . Realizing this is yet another area I alone will be cleaning I feel more anxiety.

Going to be late for work

Mistakenly glancing at the clock to see I have 4 minutes left before I must be on the road or I will be late for work. Both my children are half clothed. The dog is crying to go out for the third time and I have not packed my lunch or had any breakfast. Oh, and shoes??? What about shoes? Since those are much more difficult to estimate sized of the internet I am down to the few pairs I have scavenged and procured in rushed side trips to the supermarket. They are old and ratty and well… embarrassing but right now they will have to do. The nice ones are from a different era in my life where beauty overruled comfort and practicality. Now I cannot imagine making it through a day at work, then the drive home, then baseball and bed in shoes that hurt.

I slide into my old reliable’s and glance at myself in the mirror. Feeling disgusted and disheveled I vow (again) I will tackle my ailing wardrobe situation, my abominably messy house and my unpolished toenails. (Side note: my husband asked why I never paint my toes anymore…Is he serious? I could totally if you would do one load of laundry ..maybe I could carve out five minutes to paint my nails dear??? -insert imagine of me fluttering my eyes at him.)

Am I a good mom… a good wife?

Realizing this is it. This is all I can reasonably do in the time I have I forgo breakfast, (and pretty much lunch.. Figure I will put some make-up on at stop lights on the way into work. Kissing my kids on the forehead I feel the gut wrenching feeling that I am not a good mom. I should be leaving notes in their lunch boxes telling them how much I love them, should have given them something better than just plain PB & J. Maybe I should have cut it into shapes or something like the “good” mommies do? I don’t have the time and must go to work. My heart hurts knowing I can’t be the mom I want to be or should be. Instead they are stuck with the impatient, always rushing, non-star shaped melon making, frequently yelling, mess that is their mom.

Giving my husband a quick peck on the cheek as I leave I feel the loss of meaningful conversation we rarely get to have without some interruption.  I wonder as he eats his cold cereal, wishing I could make his something better, if I am the wife he through he would have? The way I look now, the person I am. No, I’m not the 20-year-old he fell in love with. In the back of my mind I fear he will get sick of waiting for that 20-year-old to come back from whatever beach vacation she has been on. He will decide to seek out a shiny new model to replace his old yoga pants wearing clunker.

But I’m the Mom

As I glance around my home, the home of two adults, two children and two dogs, I know I should see all of the life that lives here, the love and care. Lately, I only feel anxiety and inadequacies. Today I only see mess to come home too. The one’s that will still be there tomorrow as I lack the time to get to them. My anxiety grows as I recognize here is where I should be. Here is where I am needed. I sigh sadly and recognize there is no way I can do this all. There is no way that I can get these things done. Maid, cook, employee, desirable 20 something, Pinterest mommy, I can’t be all these people.  Somehow, I know I will try to because I love my family and that is what Mom’s do.


Hosting a Dog Birthday Party

dog's birthdayMy sweet, sassy, pain-in-the-butt Beagle/Jack Russell is entering his 16th (or 17th?) year of life. Over the recent months we have seen his health decline, his boundless puppy-like energy evaporate and his sight and hearing disappear. Our family has had to acknowledge that our time with coming to an end.

Seeing his decline I knew I had to prepare my children to eventually say good-bye to him. After this sad,  difficult conversation my son asked me when his birthday was. This made me recall the day we got him as a 6-week old puppy from a Mall pet store. This was long before me and my husband were married and had any children. We didn’t go in the store with any intention of getting a pet.

He pee’ed his way into our hearts

At that time we still lived in a rental apartment and worked crazy hours. But from the moment we held the adorable brown and white beagle puppy our decision was made. He snuggled into my purse as if to say take me home. As we loaded him on to my lap for the quick car ride, me and my husband were both overjoyed with our new family addition. And Dukie being the one of a kind dog he is, not only left a mark on our heart but also all over my pants as he pee’ed on my lap during the car ride home. Little did I know this was the start of the crazy places that dog would relieve himself (on the batting of our dishwasher, our neighbors carpet, and my personal favorite, in my mother-in-laws purse.)

As I told my kids this story I remembered the pet store paperwork said Dukie wa born sometime in Febuary. This gave me an idea. Instead of waiting for the final vet visit, we should celebrate all the time we have had with our crazy, stubborn, hysterically funny beagle. We should have a birthday party for him and be thankful we have been blessed to have him as long as we have. Celebrate his life and all he has given us, instead of focusing on his death. I mean don’t all of us want that when it is our time? To be remembered in life not missed in death.

Happy Birthday Dukie!

So I asked my children what they thought and they loved the idea. The plan was to create a birthday sign made by the kids. Together we would make Dukie some homemade dog treats I use to make him as a puppy, (which I will share the reicepe of this wendsday. ) and spend some extra special time with our four legged friends. Each of us sharing special memories and something we have learned from Dukie.

In writing this it occurs to me I might have need this even more then my children. He was my first dog when I moved away from where I grew up. No matter how scared I was. How unsure of myself, my new environment, and my blossoming relationship with my then boyfriend. My dog was always there for me.

When my fiancé  took a job that left me alone most of the time, Dukie was my constant companion. I would take him for long walks to the park behind our apartment, bake him special treats and find comfort petting his soft fur.  Don’t get me wrong he was not an easy dog.

As we came to find out Beagles as notoriously stubborn and the Jack Russell side is incredibly high energy. The mix of the two made for a dog that was near impossible to train and extremely mischief making. Even as a puppy he was very destructive, and would somehow defeat any barrier we put up to prevent his roaming (and peeing) all over the house.

I shamfully admit I have not been the best dog owner in recent years. Dukie’s stubbornness and high maintenance qualities made him to needy for me to handle while working full-time and caring for children. My long walks with him became less frequent and my patience with him became much shorter. Out of frustration and the tiredness of a mom I often yelled at him and did not give him the attention I should have.

The many lessons of Dukie

Around when our kids were born we also adopted the dog of a family member. She had returned it to the pound and it was not doing well there. The sweet eyed black lab became extremely fearful and had to be muzzled most of the time at the shelter. The dog was never aggressive but was in such as state of fear and heartbreak not one could get near him. Knowing he it was never going to be adopted we brought him home to live with us.

We worried how this dog would react to Dukie but our worries where for nothing. Being the almost human like dog that he is, Dukie was just his stubborn playful loving self. He let the new dog know where he fell in the pack order. What would be tolerated and what would not. This seemed to give the new dog a sense of a security, belonging and comfort. From that point forward whenever the two were separated the new dog cried incessantly until he returned. Like the frequent times Dukie would find a way to open the front door and go gallivanting around the neighborhood. (Still don’t know how he kept opening the door. I swear the dog had hidden thumbs.)

With two dogs, two kids and working full-time. I was at my witts end with too much to do. My children became Duke’s new care giver. They brushed him and pet him. Played with him and gave him the attention I could not. In turn he protected them, took turned sleeping in their rooms and loved them in a way only a dog could do.

They took over his morning feeding time, played in forts with him and delighted in giving him and the other dog treats. My children become bonded to him in such a sweet and wonderful way. He taught them what it ment to be responsabile for someone else and what it means to be loved unconditionally.

A man and his dog

That is not all. Dukie has had an effect on all of us . But his relationship with my husband has always been the strongest. It is a mix of strange, sweet, silly and touching.  My husband who can be quite closed off and at even times cold is a big mush with Dukie. They to have a special bond. I mean I have never heard him gush like he does for this dog.

He makes up silly names for him, carries him like a baby and sings him songs. I know it sounds bizarre…well it kind of is but Dukie brings out the softer side of my husband. More then I have ever seen him with me or my children. Dukie is his special companion maybe more then any of us. I know that my non-emotional husband who did not cry when the beloved father he loved passed away, will shed tears when this dog goes.

It is amazing that one animal, one little spirt with its own uniqueness and personality can effect us so deeply. As humans we feel we are so evolved. We are so smart, so emotionally advanced but we are nothing compared to dogs. They know us, get in our hearts, change us for the better. Protect us and teach us more about life then we could ever understand without them. This weekend we gave a dog a birthday party but we know it will never compare to all that he has given us.

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2017: The year to Let go.

2017 the year to let goRecently it has become trendy among influencers and lifestyle guru’s to select a theme word or phrase to act as the focus point of the coming year. It sounds a little hokey and new age-y, I know but there is some merit to the idea if you approach it in the right way. Last year, I picked the word grateful. With gorgeously designed gratitude journals popping up all over the place and the word grateful being worked into so many things, it seemed like a good selection for the year to come.

But was I truly grateful?

However, in practice being grateful is not as easy as it is on Thanksgiving. Yes, I know people say,

“I am grateful for my family.”

“I’m grateful for my home.”

I am grateful for this amazing fish taco.”

That is all well and good but it totally takes the meaning of grateful and waters it down to a word akin to like.

But when things are not going so well. When your life is throwing you curveballs and is it so easy to be grateful?

“I am grateful for my jerky boss.”

“…grateful for the pain of grief.”

“I am grateful for this sadness and depression.”

…said no one ever.

In this I struggled with the word. If you are truly evolved you can see the lessons in the ups an downs of life and be grateful for them. Or maybe those people are not so evolved and are lying about it. Making them just as ungrateful as the rest of us. Either way, I just wasn’t there yet. I put pressure on myself to try and be like all the lifestyle personalities throwing around the word grateful. Trying to be “that person,” the one who could see beyond the sad, grief and sorrow. To see the good and appreciate it all. I just didn’t. I was just me. No matter how much I wanted to be better, more insightful, more grateful. All I could be was my flaw-filled self.

What I really felt

Happy, sad, upset, cheerful, hurt, angry, grieving, loving, annoying, numb, comforted, rushed, tired these are some of the emotions I felt but grateful was not on the list. That was not truly how I felt most of the time. It might be wrong to say because, yes life is a gift. I get it we have limited time so appreciate it.

Sometime when you just feel bad or something bad happens the raw, real emotions surface. All you feel is the “this sucks,” feeling and there is no grateful spin to on that. No one thinks, I should be grateful during this time. They just hold on until the time ends or the feeling go away.

That is the truth. To be truly grateful all the time is almost an impossibility and something worthy of sainthood. When I choose this word I didn’t consider what people who are really grateful have been through, health scares, bad divorces, tragedies. They know what it feels like to have everything ripped away and have battled to get it back.

They have a strength I have never had to test and a knowledge base I don’t know. It was like I set the bar too high and was trying to be someone I am not. Not now anyway. My feelings and actions were not gratefulness or in appreciation for my life. It was more an attempt to escape how I really felt. To imitate someone else instead of admit to being me.

What a difference a year makes

So with that I learned my lesson about theme phrases of the year. Right now as I reflect on the person I really am I recognize what a difference a year makes. A lot of the fire in me last year has kind of burned itself out. My life like everyone else’s is growing, changing and evolving. Family, and friends have migrated in and out of it. Some left in peaceful, gentle ways but some left me broken.

Many times this year I have felt underwater trying desperately to bring my head above the surface, only to have a sense of being submerged again. Eventually, I stopped coming up for air. Depression, it does that to you. I have spent a lot of this year trying to figure out how to be me again. Realizing only recently that I can’t.

Life, like I mentioned before, it changes you, stretches you, transforms you into something else. Something new. So no, I won’t be the me I was last January. The me full of lists, plans and far too many goals. Never again, will I be the same person, but really it is ok. This is part of remaking myself. We have to take apart what was there. Let go of who we thought we were, to form ourselves into who we are now, today, in this moment.  That is why, for this year my theme phase will be “letting go.”letting go

Where will this take me?

There is a lot to that. But unlike grateful, I have a much clearer direction of where this will take me. It means letting go of people who are toxic and harmful to me, letting go of old hurts, of trying to be everything to everyone and nothing to myself. Shedding the skin of who I was trying to be. This means letting go of activities I knew never fit me no matter how bad I wanted them to (Sorry Biz Ladies, Beachbody you were wonderful but I have to let you go now.)

Most of all, I have to let go of repressing myself for fear people won’t like, love, or respect me. Saying sorry all the time even when I have nothing to be sorry for. Feeling guilty and responsible for situations I never caused and can’t fix. Mostly, I need to let go of the constant fear of judgement, and over emotional emphasis for what others think of me. My phrase this year seems like a lot of work because it is.  But really it is all about unclenching my fingers, healing my thoughts and well… letting go…

Stop it…Just stop it now… there are kids watching

Are we teaching kids how to be intolerant?How do we teach your children it is ok to disagree?

How do we teach our children you can disagree and still be respectful? How do we teach our children people who are different from us are not bad, stupid or ignorant? How do we teach our children these lessons when adults are struggling to do this.


The nastiness is plastered all over social media. News and TV have made what should be civil discourse into a circus of misinformation and fear. People think it is generating from this election but this is something that has been around for a long time. No, I don’t expect people to get together and sing kumbaya but I am personally saddened by the nastiness from all sides, the uptick in hatred and name calling of and by every color,  nationality, every sexual orientation or political and religious belief. People all over the place are making snap judgement about each other based on assumptions feed to them by the media, Facebook meme’s, Hollywood and others.


In this past week alone I have been called a ignorant, white-privileged bitch. Friends of mine were told they need to get “back on the boat.” Co-workers have had doors literally slammed in their face because of their nationality. Family members and acquaintances are blaming each other for events that have not even happened yet. And Facebook bullies are making assumptions about peoples character based on political posts.

So I ask you what are we teaching our children? One side shouts at the other, the other side name calls back. But not one is hearing each other, no one is listening. Well, our kids are. They are learning that different opinions are wrong. They are learning that if your neighbor doesn’t think, look or act like you they are to be blamed for our countries ills. They are the problem.

Lessons in bad behavior

This squabbling, bitterness, anger and fear are teaching them it is ok to be intolerant of others. It is teaching them to stifle their own ideas if they aren’t in agreement with their friends. Our children are not learning to listen to both sides, they are not learning to be open-minded. They are learning to make snap judgements with little information and to be angered by differing opinions. Civil discourse and open communication are no where in sight, instead they are getting a lesson in stereotyping, non-conformity and name calling.

Who is teaching them this? Why, it is us of course. No… not one side or the other, it is all of us because well, it takes two to fight. So yes, we are all to blame for setting this example for our children.

It’s time to stop

Let’s be honest, we where never thinking of them. We were thinking of how wrong the other guy was, why would they think this way, why would they believe that? We were so caught up in proving the other person wrong that we all just kind of forgot our kids where watching. They we’re listening. But they saw your angered rant on Facebook, heard you yell at the TV commentator, watched as you argued with friends and family.

So how do we teach or children it is ok to disagree? How do we teach them that differences are not a bad thing? We teach them tolerance, respectfulness and civility, by doing it ourselves. That’s it… that’s all. Maybe we all lost our heads for a little while. But we all need to stop the nonsense, get off Facebook, make up with our friends and get back to living our lives because our kids are watching.


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