Five Kernels of Corn: An Act of Gratitude and Faith

BTLifesMomentsHere is a story taken from a November 23, 2006, entry in Dr. Sutton’s earlier blog, It’s About Them. The original source of the material was Marshall and Manuel’s book, The Light and the Glory (Fleming H. Revell, 1977). These men did exhaustive research on the material included in their book, often being allowed access to documents and journals not readily available to the public, such as this account taken from the journal of William Bradford. As incredible as this story may seem, it is shared as being true, a testament to the power of a simple, sustaining faith.


On November 11, 1620, the Mayflower dropped anchor in a natural harbor on the inside of the northern tip of Cape Cod. There it stayed. The location was not the Pilgrims’ first choice; they had planned to settle near the mouth of the Hudson.

pilgrimsThe area where the ship made landfall had belonged to the Patuxets, a fierce tribe that took intense delight in murdering anyone who would dare invade their territory. A sickness, however, had wiped them out, leaving their land free for the taking. (Other Indians, fearing “bad spirits,” would have no part of it.) The Pilgrims didn’t even have to clear fields for planting. They were alread there for them.

The nearest neighbors were the Wampanoags, a civilized tribe ruled by Massasoit. The chief and his people accepted the Pilgrims and helped them. Squanto, a lone survivor of the Patuxets, made his home with the new inhabitants and taught them how to survive in this new and challenging land.

Although the bounty of the summer of 1621 brought a time of heartfelt gratitude (the first Thanskgiving), the Pilgrims’ obligation to repay the backers who had financed their voyage left them dangerously close to starvation. Food stores had all but disappeared.

At one point, a daily ration of food for a Pilgrim was 5 kernels of corn. With a simple faith that God would sustain them, no matter what, they pulled through. History records that not a single one of them died from starvation that winter. Not a one.

The harvest of 1623 brought a surplus of corn, so much that the Pilgrims were able to help out the Indians for a change. So joyous were they that they celebrated a second Day of Thanksgiving and invited Massasoit to be their guest.

He came, bringing with him his wife, several other chiefs and 120 braves. All sat down to a feast of 12 venison, 6 goats, 50 hogs and pigs, numerous turkeys, vegtables, grapes, nuts, plums, puddings and pies. But, lest anyone forget, all were given their first course on an empty plate.

They were each given 5 kernels of corn.

Must-Have Marvin (Guest: Christy Ziglar)

BTRadioIntThe concept that people and relationships are far more important that wealth and things is accepted by most folks; it holds a prominent place in our most important values. A review of accumulated end-of-life regrets would find hardly an individual that wished they had worked for more “stuff.” Many folks in that situation, however, have lamented broken relationships. That should tell us something.

ChristyPhotoIt’s easy, isn’t it, to be drawn down paths that entice us with status and possessions? Unfortunately, Madison Avenue keeps those paths well-lit. How many of us can identify a time when we wanted something so badly that we were resolved to have it, no matter what, regardless of its cost in resources or relationships? Then later, we discovered we paid too much.

That realization, as difficult and uncomfortable as it might be, can help us learn a necessary lesson: People are ALWAYS more important that possessions.

Marvin_CoverOur guest on this program, author Christy Ziglar, has written a book for children that skillfully addresses the conflict of values regarding possessions versus relationships. The book, Must-Have Marvin, follows a young boy who has to stumble a bit before he truly understands that friends are more important than things.

Must-Have Marvin is the second book in Christy’s very successful Shine Bright Kids series; plenty more are on the way. These books promote principles for living shared world-wide by the late Zig Ziglar, master motivator, encourager AND Christy’s uncle. Zig’s timeless influence continues on in every page of these great books for kids.

Christy is the founder of the Shine Bright Kids Company in Atlanta Georgia, where she and her family currently live. (29:17)

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Family Talk: Creating a Synergistic Home (Guest: Christy Monson)

CMonsonphotoEveryone’s in a rush today. It seems that authentic and meaningful communication with others is a vanishing skill. Even handwritten letters have given way to quick emails, quicker texts and hasty tweets.

Few of us have enough time to spend meaningfully with others, and it probably shows.

Families are not immune to this “abbreviation” of communication. In many instances, loved ones needing our presence, our time, our words and our support don’t get nearly enough. Oh, families remain intact, but without the strength and bonding that could be there. This is most realized when an emergency or difficult circumstance affects the family.

According to our guest on this program, retired therapist and author Christy Monson, families that focus on becoming synergistic, and put the work into making it happen, not only handle the tough times better, bonds within the family grow stronger and stronger.

Family Talk BookOne important activity of synergism is the family meeting, or Family Council. When family meetings are scheduled, and the time and effort for having them are honored, children learn how their presence and input matters. They learn the facts of family finances and how to set and realize goals. And they learn that conflicts and probles can be resolved, because walking away is not an option. Indeed, family meetings can teach dozens of insights and skills that children can practice for a lifetime.

In this program, Christy discusses the benefits and payoffs of synergistic families, and she takes us through the steps of establishing, conducting and maintaining the Family Council. Her experience and personal examples will make it meaningful.

Christy has authored many books and articles that support and strengthen individuals and families. In thie program we’re featuring her latest book, Family Talk: How to Organize Family Meetings and Solve Problems and Strengthen Relationships. (27:48)


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How to Be A Great Parent (Guest: Dr. Nancy Buck)

PR photo in libraryThere is plenty of evidence to show that the brain processes negative factors quicker, longer and with more gusto than it processes the positive. We tend not to reflect on things that are going well, but just look at what we do when events and circumstances cause us concern.

What does this mean regarding how we communicate with our children and students? Answer: Just about EVERYTHING.

According to our guest on this program, developmental psychologist Dr. Nancy Buck, we want our kids to be SAFE. Our children, however, want to have FUN. These distinctly different priorities can clash into conflict. (It happens often, doesn’t it?) Nancy will show us how our typical responses in these situations can take a toll. In the process of unintended difficulty, relationships suffer.

Great Parent coverIn this fast-paced and stimulating program, Nancy provides the research and rationale for better understanding a child’s wants and needs, as well as methods for redirecting youngsters in ways that are more successful and more pleasant. It takes a bit of practice, but it’s worth it.

Dr. Nancy Buck is the founder of Peaceful Parenting, Inc. She blogs regularly for Psychology Today, and she’s an in-demand speaker and presenter on the topic of effective parenting. Nancy is the author of the acclaimed book, Peaceful Parenting, as well as a just-released work, How to be a Great Parent: Understanding Your Child’s Wants and Needs. (29:17)


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The Joys and Challenges of Foster Parenting (Guest: Dr. John DeGarmo)

JDeGarmophotoIt would be difficult for us to ever fully realize and understand the value of foster parents. Their contributions are ongoing reminders of the resilience of the human spirit and the impact of love, support and assurance when it is needed most. Indeed, there are many successful men and women who were raised in foster families.

It’s a serious thing to remove a child or teen from their biological home, yet circumstances can dictate just that. Through no fault of their own, youngsters’ lives can be changed dramatically as they are placed with a foster family, for not to move them could expose them to serious, even life-threatening, physical and emotional risk.

Although folks who have “been there” will tell you the blessings of being a foster parent outweigh the troubles, it’s understandable how a  child or teen going into foster placement might not be happy about it. Patience, insight, understanding, and sometimes a pretty thick skin are needed to help these kids find their footing on a better road. So, according to our guest on this program, foster parent and foster parenting expert, Dr. John DeGarmo, being a foster parent takes a substantial amount of grit in addition to love and compassion.

Fostering LoveIn this program, Dr. John explains the nature and process of foster parenting, and he freely shares some of the ups and downs he and his wife, Kelly, have experienced in their 12 years as foster parents. He also discusses some of the behaviors and characteristics of youngsters coming into foster placement (especially for the first time), and how they are best addressed. (These could include hoarding of food, boundary issues, poor school performance, difficulty with conflict, problems in exercising trust and fear of rejection.) Dr. John also shows how we all can best assist foster children and their foster families.

Dr. John travels extensively, speaking and training on foster care. He also hosts a weekly radio show, Foster Talk with Dr. John, and he’s the author of a number of books on foster care. In this program, we’re featuring one that has been especially well-received, Fostering Love: One Foster Parent’s Journey. This book is an absolute must-read for anyone thinking of becoming a foster parent. (28:50)

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Solving Problems Collaboratively (Guest: Dr. Ross Greene)

RossGreeneThere’s an old saying that goes, “What’s in the well comes up in the bucket.” Although this bit of country wisdom might explain a lot of things in this world, our guest today, Dr. Ross Greene, strongly believes it does NOT explain the behavior of challenging children and teens. In other words, inappropriate behavior DOESN’T come from youngsters because they are deciding to be difficult or manipulative, or that they are unmotivated or “bad.” He suggests poor behavior happens because a youngster is lagging in the skills to fix the behavior himself.

Dr. Greene will share how the past 30-40 years of research supports a position he states constantly: “Kids will do well if they CAN.” Not only will he make this perspective more clear in this program, Dr. Greene will explain what this means in terms of behavioral intervention, and he will direct us to a gold mine of resources and support as we collaborate toward success.

ExplosiveChildbookDr. Ross Greene is the originator of the Collaborative Problem Solving approach and the author of The Explosive Child and Lost at School. He is an Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and he holds teaching and lecturing positions with Cambridge Hospital, Virginia Tech and Tufts University. Dr. Green is the founder of Lives in the Balance, a non-profit entity that disseminates his model through no-cost, web-based programming. He consults extensively with families, schools, inpatient psychiatry units and residential and juvenile detention facilities, and he lectues world-wide. (26:27)

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Tackling the Terror: Empowering a Child to Overcome Fear (Guest: Michelle Cohen)

MCohenPhotoFear has been described as a guide to wisdom. That sounds a bit strange, but fear can, and does, help keep us alive sometimes. Fear, for instance, is what keeps us from wanting to make friends with rattlesnakes. A little fear, in the right places, is a healthy thing.

But too much fear can be crippling, a major handicap that limits the quality of one’s life. It eventually can make people sick as it steals the joy from their lives. It’s important, therefore, for one to learn to address and manage fear effectively.

Children are certainly not immune to experiences that frighten them. Real or imagined, their fears, especially fear of the dark, can trouble them greatly. Youngsters expect us, the adults, to “fix” what frightens them.

But do we, really? Is it possible for parents, grandparents and teachers to dismiss a child’s fear by saying something like, “There’s NOTHING to be afraid of.” Well-intending statements like this don’t work very well, and they can often compound the problem.

MCohenbookOur guest on this program, author Michelle Cohen, will urge us not to dismiss a child’s fear, but rather empower them to manage it effectively themselves. Michelle is with us on this program to share her insights and multiple ways to give kids the strength and skills to conquer once powerful fear of the dark, and other fears. Michelle will also offer possible explanations for what children are seeing, hearing and sensing in their moments of fear and distress.

Not only do these interventions work (Michelle calls them protocols), guidance counselors, therapists, psychologists and families have been using them successfully for years.

Michelle Cohen is a creative, multi-faceted, multi-talented producer and author. Her work has been featured nationally in television, radio, stage, film and print. Michelle’s production work includes the off-Broadway mega-hit, “Schoolhouse Rock Live!” and she’s the author of Actually, there IS Something Under the Bed: A Parent’s Guide to Empowering Their Child in the Dark. (28:15)

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Building Character Using Analogies from Nature (Guest: Barbara A. Lewis)

Sometimes the best lessons in life are best NOT taught directly. Telling Tommy how he needs to be more helpful like his sister might only create resentment toward her with no change in his willingness to help others. So how do we effectively encourage desired behaviors and habits in youngsters like Tommy?

Our guest on this program, Barbara A. Lewis, will show us a better way to emphasize and teach positive character traits by using analogies, true stories from the behaviors of animals (and even plants). Since children are naturally drawn to stories and to animals, they not only attend to these analogies, they are stimulated to exercise higher-level thinking skills and, best of all, apply the message. Result: Moral development is enhanced, and youngsters are motivated to create positive changes in a natural and comfortable way.

Barbara has earned national acclaim and many honors and awards for her work as a teacher and as an author. She encourages youngsters to apply their skills in solving real problems. In fact, while Barbara was a teacher at Jackson Elementary School in Salt Lake City, her students were deeply involved in numerous civic and environmental projects, garnering ten national awards, including two presentations of the President’s Environmental Youth Award.

Prominent print and broadcast media, including Newsweek, Family Circle, “CBS World News” and CNN, have featured Barbara and her work. Her current book, written for parents and educators, is Building Character with True Stories from Nature. The book is published by Free Sprit Publishing. (25:56)

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Our Children & Healthy Eating: Bringing the Two Together (Guest: Dr. Dina Rose)

DRosePhotoGetting their children to eat healthy and right is an ongoing hassle for many parents. In many ways the struggle itself can empower youngsters against the parents. That’s hardly a way to build family harmony. Yet, if they DON’T take a stand on what their children should eat and why, moms and dads could feel guilty and ineffective as parents. What’s the answer?

To start with, our guest on this program, sociologist, parent educator and feeding expert, Dr. Dina Rose, suggests that talking about nutrition is the WRONG conversation. As she will share in this program, good, healthy eating for our children (and ourselves, also) is much more about creating positive habits regarding eating. In short, it’s about a change of focus, and it works!

DRoseBookListen in as Dr. Rose discusses the three healthy eating habits of Proportion, Variety and Moderation. She will share how teaching these habits to our children will make any mealtime a more pleasant event, and it will give our kids a “how-to” model for a whole lifestyle of eating right.

Dr. Rose is the author of It’s Not About the Broccoli: Three Habits to Teach Your Kids for a Lifetime of Healthy Eating. Her work has been featured nationally on television and radio, and in print and online news sources. In addition to writing her blog, It’s Not About Nutrition, Dr. Rose writes for The Huffington Post and Psychology Today. (27:41)


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Child-Centered Divorce: Getting It Right, Part Two (Guest: Rosalind Sedacca)

RSedaccaPhotoCouples don’t marry so they can divorce. But, as we all know, divorce is a reality of society and of life. Regardless of the circumstances, divorce brings changes.

How does divorce affect the children involved? Are there signs that signal they are having difficulty? How do we explain and prepare them for a divorce, and how does a parent communicate with their former spouse regarding the activities and welfare of their children?

These are critical and challenging questions; children and teens depend on us to answere them well. Our guest on this program, Rosalind Sedacca, the Voice of Child-Centered Divorce, is an experienced expert on this topic. We are fortunate to feature her in this extended two-part interview.

How Do I Tell the KidsPhotoNot only will Rosalind point out the challenges and pitfalls divorced parents need to address, she will share about a proven, story-based method for explaining divorce and it’s resulting changes to the children. Her approach makes sense, and young people clearly benefit from it.

Rosalind is not only the founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network, she is a contributing expert, author and popular guest blogger on this critically important topic. She is the author of the internationally acclaimed ebook, How Do I Tell The Kids About the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children–With Love. (23:22)

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