Category Archives: Military Families

On Thoughts of Veterans Day: Eleanor’s Prayer (Dr. James Sutton)

Here’s a beautiful story about a woman in uniform during World War II … the uniform of the American Red Cross. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt served her country well, always mindful of the sacrifices being made.

…………………………

Eleanor Roosevelt wasn’t only the most active wartime First Lady, her efforts to improve quality of life, ease human suffering, and promote a more substantial role for women in America went on for many years after her husband, President Franklin Roosevelt, died while in office in 1945.

As First Lady during World War II, Eleanor performed tireless service for her country through the American Red Cross. All of her sons (John, FDR Jr., Elliott and James) served their country, also. (Two were in the Navy, one in the Army Air Corps, and one in the Marines.)

the Pacific TOUR

At one point in the war, the Red Cross wanted to send Eleanor on a tour of the Pacific Theater, so she could meet and encourage the troops, especially those that were wounded and were confined to  hospitals and hospital ships.

On Thoughts of Veteran's Day: Eleanor's Prayer

You can imagine Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz’ hesitation about such a gesture. In addition to the logistics of moving the president’s wife to locations in the Pacific, the war was still going on in many of those places. What if she were to be injured or killed, or what if she were to be captured by the enemy? The admiral’s concerns were painfully real.

But, of course, who can say, “No!” to the American Red Cross and the White House? Eleanor Roosevelt did complete the tour. She kept up a schedule that would have exhausted a younger person, and, in doing so, brought an uplifting message of support and hope from the folks back home.

Admiral Nimitz praised her efforts and shared with her and President Roosevelt the positive impact of her visits with the troops. In the end, he heartily agreed her tour of the Pacific was a huge success. All who worked at the mammoth task of getting her where she needed to go were impressed with her energy, grace, and cooperative spirit throughout the entire tour.

Eleanor’s Prayer

There a low granite wall at Pearl Harbor that carries the text of a prayer Eleanor Roosevelt wrote during the war. It was said that she carried this text in her wallet all through the war. It says much about the character of this great and gracious woman:

Dear Lord, lest I continue my complacent way, help me to remember somewhere out there a man died for me today. As long as there is war, I then must ask and answer: “AM I WORTH DYING FOR?”

Psychologist Dr. James Sutton is the founder and host of The Changing Behavior Network. He is a Navy veteran, and served two assignments in support of the Third Marine Amphibious Force in Vietnam.

The Magic of Storytelling (Guest: Bill Ratner)

BTRadioInt-300x75Storytelling is a great activity for bringing families together in a pleasantly “non-techie” fashion. Voice-over specialist and father, Bill Ratner, shares his experience in storytelling and its effects on his own family.

……………………………………..

Storytelling is as old as recorded time; older, actually. Stories have always had a way of weaving a tapestry of connectedness, of support and dependence upon each other. Stories bring past and present together as they share a medium unique to humans: the spoken word.

The Magic of Storytelling, Bill RatnerBut is the art, practice and opportunities afforded by storytelling, of being and sharing with others, trailing behind our contemporary forms of communication by digital expression? Are we losing something when we can communicate worldwide at a keystroke, yet still be isolated and alone? Have we gone too far with the conveniences of instantaneous messaging? Most importantly, has it taken a hold on our children?

In an earlier interview on the Changing Behavior Network, voice-over specialist, Bill Ratner, shared his most heartfelt concerns regarding screen addiction and digital overload on our children and teens, as well as excessive pressures placed on them by advertising and the media. To address these very issues, Bill wrote Parenting for the Digital Age: The Truth Behind Media’s Effect on Children and What to Do About It. In the book, Bill gives his take on the problems created, as well as potential solutions and needs for reasonable balance.

Parenting for the Digital Age, Bill RatnerPerhaps you’ve never met Bill, but chances are you’ve heard him. He’s a leading voice-over artist and voice actor in thousands of movie trailers, cartoons, television features, games and commercials. Through advertising, he has been the voice of many leading corporations.

But, while raising a family, Bill realized his children were being bombarded by messages he helped create. So, in his concern for the well-being of all young people, Bill founded a program of media awareness for youngsters, wrote Parenting for the Digital Age, and looks to share his thoughts and his experience on the topic wherever and whenever he can.

In this interview, Bill discusses the art and practice of storytelling as one avenue for bringing youngsters and families together, face-to-face, as they share in the time-tested experience of stories. As a bonus, this interview closes with a five-minute story told by Bill, a story that was aired on National Public Radio. (27:42)

www.billratner.com/parentingbook.html

www.TheMoth.org (A prime storytelling website)

Bill and his work are discussed in THIS ARTICLE published in TIME

TO LISTEN, use the player below or left-click the link. To access the file right-click and “Save Link as …” to save to your audio device), CLICK HERE FOR LINK


(START/STOP Audio)

 

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

Radio-style Interview, The Changing Behavior NetworkAuthor and retired family therapist, Christy Monson, shares why quality communication within the family is so very important today. We present “Family Talk: Creating a Synergistic Home.”

…………………………..

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 Aren’t Immune

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.

A Family Council

Giving a Child Too Much Power, Christy MonsonOne 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 problems 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 Monson

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

http://www.ChristyMonson.com

TO LISTEN, use the player below or left-click the link. To access the file right-click and “Save Link as …” to save to your audio device), CLICK HERE FOR LINK


(START/STOP Audio)

 

A Salute to Courage: Honoring the WWII Generation (Dr. Davis L. Ford)

The Changing Behavior NetworkHere’s a special program honoring all US military veterans on Veterans Day, 2016. Especially honored are the veterans of World War II. The Second World War has always been an interest of mine (I was born during the Battle of the Bulge), so when word of Dr. Ford’s new book came, plans for this interview went into motion. He and I are both veterans; we hope that sense of service comes through in this special tribute. We are proud to present “A Salute to Courage: Honoring the WWII Generation.” –JDS

………………………………….

Davis L. Ford, A Salute to Courage: Honoring the WWII GenerationMost of us have never known what it feels like to have our personal freedoms put at serious risk. The privileges that come with being an American are, much too often, taken for granted.

The Greatest Generation

But true freedom is NEVER free. More than ever, our children need to understand that. In this program we honor those that journalist Tom Brokaw calls The Greatest Generation: the men and women of the Second World War.

Our tribute here includes those who bravely fought a war in Europe and a war in the Pacific at the same time. They won them both depending on the support of the workers and families that supplied their needs with an industrial output of ships, tanks, planes and weapons that still boggles the mind today.

With passion and courage, everyone had a part to play. They played it as if their very future depended on it … because it did.

But the attack on Pearl Harbor was 75 years ago. Few of the veterans of WWII are with us today. Their children are,  for the most part, retired. Their grandchildren are middle-aged, and their great-grandchildren generally have few memories of being with them. Their lives and their service are preserved in stories, photo albums, picture frames and a few special keepsakes, like an American flag folded three corners.

The Second World War Through Younger and Older Eyes, Davis L Ford

Dr. Davis L. Ford

To help us honor this special group of Americans we have Dr. Davis L. Ford, author of The Second World War Through Younger and Older Eyes: A Personal Journey. His research and his travels to battle scenes in Europe and in the Pacific, as well as his many interviews with veterans that fought in both theaters, come to life in this engaging interview with your host, Dr. James Sutton.

Dr. Ford is a practicing environmental engineer with over 50 years of experience in the field, plus he’s a scholar and Adjunct Professor in the College of Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. He has lectured internationally and has written extensively on the treatment and preservation of one of our most valuable resources: water. Other books he has written chronicle the lives of soldiers and cowboys. (37:13)

www.davislfordphd.com

 

TO LISTEN, use the player below or left-click the link. To access the file right-click and “Save Link as …” to save to your audio device), CLICK HERE FOR LINK


(START/STOP Audio)

 

The Harder You Work, The Bigger the Snowman (Michael Byron Smith)

There is no school equal to a decent home and no teacher equal to a virtuous parent.

Mahatma Gandhi

It starts around October. People, almost exclusively adults, start complaining about the onset of winter. I understand their point of view. Their focus centers on being cold, dealing with icy roads and often dreary weather. I don’t like those things either, but not enough to worry or complain about them.

Few of us have to be in the cold air longer than it takes to walk from our toasty car to our toasty home or office, at least not often. Slippery roads are a nuisance, but where I live in the Midwest, there may be only 10-15 days all winter when the roads are seriously snowy or icy for part of a day. In more northern states, they really know how to deal with their more frequent snowy days and they do it efficiently. There isn’t much you can do about dreary days, but I’ve seen dreary days in every season. With those realities said, I believe any adult that doesn’t like winter has the right to complain about it or move to a warmer climate. But it is also my opinion that children who are raised in areas that have seasons are advantaged in experiences and learning.

Cardinal in WInterNow I admit that winter comes in last in my list of favorite seasons. Spring, fall, summer, then winter is how I rank the seasons. But I LOVE seasons! In winter, I thoroughly enjoy watching the snow fall while I sit by a fire. And there is certainly beauty in winter if simply a red cardinal resting on a branch with a snowy background.

One of my favorite sensations ever was at my farmhouse in the country, waking in the morning after a heavy snowfall had blanketed the earth the night before. The wind was completely still in the bright morning sunshine. I walked outside and it was the most profound silence I have ever experienced. It was as if the snow had muffled every possible sound, except the squeaky sound of my boots sinking in the snow. The scene was truly a Norman Rockwell painting.

I accept winter and look for those experiences that only winter can provide. This brings me back to children. You rarely hear them complain about winter. They pray for snow and run around outside so much they don’t get cold. When they come in, a little hot chocolate will put the exclamation point on a fun and memorable kid experience. I have many memories of playing outside with friends, coming in with my hands so numb that the cold water from the tap felt warm, and I loved it!

You can join in the fun with them. Have a snowball fight or take them on a hike in the woods. The exercise and cooler weather make it comfortable and invigorating with views no longer obstructed with leaves. And you can sneak in a few life lessons occasionally using tricky little metaphors that may stick with them longer than a boring lecture.

Teachable Moments in Winter
Build a snowman with your children. Maybe you can have a competition for the best snowman. The teachable moment may be, ‘the more you work on your snowman the bigger and better he will be–just like anything else you will ever do’. But working hard isn’t the entire answer to success. You have to work smart also. It’s impossible to make a good snowman with very dry snow, even if you work very hard at it. With a little patience, a warmer sunny day will melt the snow wet enough to be able to build your snowman. The teachable moment: Patience and smarts will often save you a lot of time and effort with better results.

Go sledding with your children. Find a nice long hill and feel the thrill of zooming down. If they want to ride down again, they will have to trudge up the hill. The first ride down is free, after that they will have to work to experience it again. Going down is easy. Going up is work! The teachable moment: Nothing worthwhile is really free. There is always effort required by someone. The only ones who sled down for free are those that don’t have the strength and need the help of others to get back on top. Which of those would you rather be?

Not only are there life lessons to teach, but there are science lessons that will be remembered when they are in school. Take your children ice skating. Skating is best when there is very little friction, allowing them to glide effortlessly. But when they need to stop, they want some of that friction back so they dig into the ice. Friction is like fire. It can save your life or ruin it. How people use it makes all the difference!

Some history lessons can be best expressed in the winter. The strength of our forefathers and ancestors can be demonstrated, when there were no furnaces to warm them up with a push of a button; or when their home was a teepee or mud hut. No snowplows helped them out. Grocery stores were rarely nearby and food had to be grown or hunted. Traveling for just thirty miles would take half a day or more and the only heat was from the horse if you were lucky enough to have one. Not until one thinks about how tough conditions were for others in the past will they understand and appreciate the fortune they have today.

But maybe the most important of all these moments, whether you stop to teach or not, is to be actively engaged with your children, having fun, creating everlasting memories, and making connections to them that will serve both you and them forever. I already mentioned a couple of winter activities, but there are others you can enjoy with your kids including baking things together, movie nights, reading books, crafts, snowball fights, going to sporting events, and so much more.

Take advantage of every opportunity
I wish everyone a great winter season! Make the best of every day no matter the season, and never miss a chance for a teachable moment for your children. And for you older folks out there who hate winter, just think about how fast time passes for us! It’ll be spring before you know it; the recent contrast of winter causing it to be even more appreciated. I can almost see the tulips and crocuses popping through the ground already. Another teachable moment! ###

Article and photographs by Michael Byron Smith, author of The Power of Dadhood [website]
“Helping Fathers to be Dads” blog

 

Recognizing January as Child-Centered Divorce Month (Interview with Rosalind Sedacca)

What is International Child-Centered Divorce Month?

ICCD Month is dedicated to alerting parents about the effects of divorce on children – and how to prevent emotional and psychological damage to children during and after a divorce.

RSedaccaPhotoIn recognition of International Child-Centered Divorce Month divorce experts around the world will be providing free ebooks, video programs, coaching services, teleseminars and other gifts to divorcing and divorced or separated parents throughout January.

What is the purpose of ICCD Month?

More divorces get initiated in January, following the holiday season, than in any other month. That’s why as a Divorce & Parenting Coach and founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network, I chose January to commemorate International Child-Centered Divorce Month every year. ICCD Month is dedicated to alerting parents about the harm to their children when divorce isn’t handled effectively. Repeated studies show that it isn’t divorce per se that damages children. It’s the mistakes that unaware parents make before, during and after divorce that does the harm.

Our purpose is education and mistake prevention. We want to encourage mediation instead of damaging litigation, respectful co-parenting, effective communication skills, and guide parents away from common mistakes that scar children, teens and adult children of divorce.

This is accomplished by providing content-rich products and services that inform and enlighten – all free!

Who are the Expert participants?

Intl Child-Centered Divorce Month logo - newDivorce attorneys, mediators, therapists, financial planners, coaches, educators and other professionals on four continents will be participating. Their goal is to promote peaceful divorce, cooperative co-parenting, and educating parents about how to prevent negative consequences for children affected by separation or divorce.

These family-focused divorce experts from around the world will be joining us to bring a heightened awareness to parents about their responsibility to their children’s well-being before, during and after divorce. They will do this by offering complimentary gifts as well as teleseminars and other events for divorcing and divorced parents.

What’s being offered this year?

Participating experts are providing valuable advice and insights about parenting effectively during and long after divorce — available in several digital formats: ebooks, videos, audio programs, coaching services and more – all free of charge! Just select as many gifts as you desire and click the link to download each one.

How does ICCD Month help children and teens?

We can never overemphasize how parental decisions about divorce can affect and scar children – for years – and often for a lifetime. Our resounding message to divorcing parents is: Regardless of your own emotional state, it is essential to put your children’s needs first when making decisions related to divorce or separation! Often that means letting go of anger and resentment in favor of co-operative co-parenting so your children aren’t robbed of their childhood.

My goal is to catch divorcing parents before they make mistakes they will regret when it comes to their children’s emotional wellbeing. By bringing the world’s legal, therapeutic and educational communities together we can reach out with messages designed to encourage peaceful divorce outcomes. Too many parents divorcing today don’t realize that they have many reasonable choices and viable options for parenting after divorce. They don’t have to walk the path we too often see in the headlines. Cooperative co-parenting and harmonious divorces are not only possible; they’re the direction to choose if you want to minimize the negative effects of divorce on everyone in the family.

How can our readers participate?

The Child-Centered Divorce Network has created a special website where parents can access all the valuable gifts by simply clicking links. The website will be available throughout January at http://www.divorcedparentsupport.com/ebook.

Just enter your email address on the sign-up page and you’ll get my free ebook on Post-Divorce Parenting. Then click on the GIFT page to download as many complimentary gifts as you desire from divorce experts around the globe.

What else is available at the ICCD Website?

Parents can also find listings of free expert interviews, teleseminars, webinars and other special events being held during January on the Events Calendar at the same website: http://www.divorcedparentsupport.com/ebook.

What feedback have you received from previous ICCD Months?

Parents not only appreciate the wonderful resource choices available to them, they also make connections with divorce experts on four continents. These family-focused professionals offer additional services and resources to help parents create a peaceful divorce, transition beyond divorce, co-parent effectively, explore dating and new relationships and help their children thrive in the months and years ahead.

What has touched you the most about ICCD Month?

I am so impressed with the dedication, thoughtfulness and compassion of the experts participating in ICCD Month each year. Their contributions make this such a significant and meaningful event that benefits both parents and children alike.

For more information about International Child-Centered Divorce Month plus access to all the free gifts and special events taking place in January please visit: http://www.divorcedparentsupport.com/ebook.

Would you tell us something about yourself?

When my son was eleven years old I initiated my divorce and was riddled with guilt, anxiety and apprehension about how it was going to affect him. After weeks of sleepless nights I came up with a way of breaking the divorce news to my son, which took the form of a personal family storybook with photos and text. After successfully co-parenting and raising him to adulthood, I decided to turn my concept into a customizable ebook with fill-in-the-blank templates. That ultimately became my internationally-acclaimed How Do I Tell the Kids About the Divorce: A Create a Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children – With Love!

Following that I founded the Child-Centered Divorce Network, which provides expert advice, interviews, programs, coaching services and a host of valuable resources for parents coping with the effects of divorce on their family. I am also co-host of The Divorce View Talk Show and podcast.

Watch show interviews at http://www.divorceview.com. Access all the resources at the Child-Centered Divorce Network at http://www.childcentereddivorce.com. ###

The Power of Dadhood (Interview with author Col. Michael Smith)

BTSpotlightIt’s not unusual for a book to have a back story. Sometimes it’s told; sometimes not, but often that story is the driving force behind a book. I’m betting Mike’s story will warm your heart as it did mine. We were fortunate to have this opportunity to visit with Mike and learn of the circumstances and events that influenced his growth and, eventually, his excellent book. –JDS

…………………………………

Mike, in your book you talk about the struggles you and your family experienced when there was no father in the home. Did these experiences have an impact on the writing of The Power of Dadhood?

 

MSmithphotoExtremely so! Every child is impacted differently when they are raised in a dysfunctional home. It could be anything from mental struggles or out-of-control behavior to excessive shyness. I think our family experienced the entire spectrum. Beyond the social inadequacies and lack of direction that are inevitable, there are special experiences that happen too infrequently–of togetherness, loving moments, and memories of happiness.

As my siblings and I grew into adults, I could see the dysfunction continuing into the next generation for too many of us. There wasn’t a model of effective parenting to follow, nor were there the tools of a proper education, moral direction or mentorship.

The troubles my siblings found themselves in were predictable. That’s when I decided that the prevention was a much better way to handle social problems than correction. Most social issues are the result of father absent homes. I wrote The Power of Dadhood to teach fathers what they can do to avoid the pitfalls children can plunge into if not mentored by loving and knowledgeable parents.

 

Did you write the book from a collection of thoughts and ideas that had been “brewing” over a long period of time, or did the theme and direction of the book come together fairly quickly?

 

It was a slow process. Over time, I saw the consequences of a disengaged father lasting into adulthood and into the next generation. Already my grandnephews were fathering children in their teens without solid educations or relationships. What could I do? My original thought was to write about being an involved father to pass on to my extended family and their children. I couldn’t make them read it, but I could write it in hopes that they would.

MSmithbookPrior to being a book, my fathering project began as a collection of thoughts, ideas, things that worked as parents for me and for my wife, Kathy. Kathy taught me so much from her work as parent educator specializing in mentoring young teen parents. I also read many parenting books and although there was so much useful information in these books, I realized that most young men would never pick them up. If they ever tried to read them, they would likely not connect because of the often academic or complex language. From that, and all the years of work I was putting into this as part-time endeavor, I thought a simplified parenting book could be useful to others beyond my family. I stepped up my goal to write a book written in simple terms to encourage and teach fathers how to be dads. I focused on fathers for two reasons. Fathers are usually the missing or uninvolved parent and I was a father myself.

 

Did you have a sense of closure when the book was finished? If so, tell us about it.

 

The closure comes so slowly. The joy of the accomplishment is like icing a cake more than popping a champaign cork, sweet but not dramatic. Seeing the physical book, however, was a thrill! But the real closure is not the finished book. The real closure is getting the book out to those who could use its advice. I’m still working on that one!

 

In spite of the difficulties you experienced in your early years, Mike, you graduated college, became a pilot in the Air Force where you achieved the rank of full colonel, and you had a successful career as a civilian engineer. None of that happened by accident. A lot of kids in similar circumstances would have given up under a ton of excuses; you didn’t. How do you account for how it turned out for you?

 

I think I was lucky to have a dream and a goal. My dream was to be a pilot. My goal was not to live how I had been raised. My mother was so very supportive, but all she could do with little education and six mouths to feed was to encourage and love me. My dad was the foundation that was missing. He never invested in his family but he still had emotional influence.

My success was not without a lot of pain, mostly self-inflicted. My obstacles were the pain of competing without confidence, and a feeling of being an outsider among others who seemed to have their act together. I made many mistakes but saving characteristic was to keep moving towards my goals. My hard work and persistence allowed me to get a full academic scholarship to a great university which was the help I needed.

I often tell young people without means to study hard and get good grades, and scholarships will be available. The answer I often get is, “Not everyone is like you Mike!” I don’t know understand that excuse! I am not special in any way other than having a dream and accepting the struggle to get there. Don’t be afraid of struggle. It is the badge of honor when earned success comes to you.

 

What would be the greatest compliment someone could pay you on The Power of Dadhood?

 

To hear these words: “I have learned and been encouraged so much from your book, and I will keep it by my bedside as my children grow.”

 

What advice would you offer young people today, especially those that are struggling?

 

It’s important to accept that you must take the incentive to find answers to your struggles. People, books, and actionable steps are there for you if you choose to look for and accept them. My book for dads is one of the countless tools that are out there to help. People help others who are helping themselves. As an example, let’s say you run out of gas while driving. When you are pushing your car to a nearby gas station, others will come help you push. But if you sit in your car by the side of the road, you will not get anywhere soon.

 

How is retirement going? What are you doing today, and what new projects are there for Michael Smith?

 

Retirement is great! It has allowed me to wrap up my many years of work on this book as a rookie author. I have time for grandchildren and a flexible schedule. I am, however, busier than ever as I take on things I never would have had I been working. My wife and I have traveled quite a bit. I have done a lot of work on my second home, a farmhouse in Missouri wine country, and we watch grandkids two days a week. The only downside having written this book, and it is a small one, is that it is always in the back of my head. I’m constantly looking for ways to make it known, and working with the Changing Behavior Network has been one of the joys. But promotion is difficult, time consuming, and it can be very expensive per book sold. I doubt I will ever have a monetary return but that was never the goal. If I could get 10,000 copies out there and not lose a small fortune, I would be a very happy man!

 

In addition to being a retired Air Force pilot and the author of the new book, The Power of Dadhood: How to Become the Father Your Child Needs, Col. Michael Smith is a husband, father and grandfather dedicated to helping fathers to be present and involved dads through his blog, “Helping Fathers to be Dads.” [website]

 

 

“Class” (Zig Ziglar)

BTLifesMomentsThe late Zig Ziglar touched the lives of countless individuals; their testimonials would fill volumes. Although my face-to-face time with him was very limited, his philosophy of life strongly influenced mine. I one asked him what message he would have for young people. He said, “I would tell them to play it straight.” To him that meant honesty, integrity, sincerity and humility in all aspects of one’s life, as well as the ability and desire to encourage others. He certainly lived those values. Here’s a great piece he wrote on the quality we call “class.” There’s no better lesson we could teach our children. –JDS
……………………………………………………

 

zigFrom time to time someone gives another individual the ultimate compliment when he or she says, “You are a ‘class act,'” or they simply describe a specific behavior and say, “That’s class.”  From time to time a master of ceremonies will introduce an individual by saying, “If you go to the dictionary and look up the word ‘class,’ you will see a picture of your speaker this evening.”

A person with class is an individual of integrity, someone you would love to have as a parent or child, a friend or a neighbor, a mentor or an advisor.  In short, class identifies a person who is “top drawer,” one who goes the extra mile by being gracious to everyone who courteously serves them.

I love the description given in comments made by Bill Daniels who said that “class is something you choose for yourself.  It’s competing honestly, confronting problems head-on, taking accolades with grace and humility and not knocking your competitors.  If you have class you’re loyal to both yourself and to those around you.  Class is born out of self-respect and a healthy respect for others.  Everything in this world is not always attainable.  Fortunately, class is.”

Class is the coach who gives every child on the team his turn “at bat” without regard to the youngster’s ability or the won-lost record of the team.

I encourage you to identify someone who is a class act and use that person as a role model.  The individual might not be rich and famous or even brilliant, but a person of class is one we can all aspire to be.  Take the class approach and I’ll SEE YOU AT THE TOP! ###

Zig Ziglar is known as America’s Motivator. He authored 33 books and produced numerous training programs. He will be remembered as a man who lived out his faith daily.

 

The Science of Happiness & Positive Family Psychotherapy (An Interview with Dr. Daniel Trussell)

BTSpotlight

The Changing Behavior Network caught up with Dr. Daniel Trussell to ask him about his very successful approach to family therapy. Here is what he shared with us.

Daniel, you practice positive psychotherapy and positive family psychotherapy. How is that different from traditional forms of psychotherapy?

Rather than looking at the pathology of the family and treating symptoms like behavior or attitude problems, the focus in on teaching the activities and behaviors that flourishing families exhibit. This changes the family dynamic and reduces the likelihood of future mental health problems.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo, is positive family therapy your invention?

Not at all. All the work I do is scientifically based on leading academic research found in the discipline of Positive Psychology – the Science of Happiness.

You practiced within a CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) model before shifting to Positive Psychology. Why did that happen?

I still find a lot of value in using interventions embedded in cognitive behavioral therapy and DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) as well. But over time I saw the limitations of CBT. A lot of my work has to do with attachment, family system dynamics and increasing family life satisfaction. I understood the importance of including a richer therapeutic experience than just diagnosis, symptom management and support to maintain treatment compliance if I wanted to help a family acquire the skill set to build resiliency, improve well-being, support self-determination and reduce tension.

What is the focus of positive family psychotherapy?

The Science of Happiness demonstrates that those who report optimal well-being and highest life satisfaction share common characteristics. Seligman found that optimal well-being only occurs when there are an abundance of positive emotions, engagement, positive relationships, meaning and purpose and accomplishment. Langer determined that people with highest life satisfaction share the traits of being generous, loving, authentic, direct and open to new experience. Emmons et al show the health benefits from expressing gratitude. Altogether there are eight primary themes in positive psychotherapy.

What is a typical course of treatment in positive family psychotherapy?

First I help the family identify the activities that support optimal family functioning and those that cause the family to flounder. Next, we explore parental expectations and family attitudes along multiple dimensions and push aside barriers that keep the family from functioning well. This requires careful negotiation from each family member. Typically this includes an analysis of family rules, consequences for not following the rules, tasks that each member routinely performs to maintain household harmony and a reward system for successful outcomes. We look at how each individual’s unique strengths contribute to healthy family functioning and insure that activities are set up so each family member thrives.

How can our readership learn more about the Science of Happiness and positive family psychotherapy?

UC – Berkeley provides a fantastic free online course on the Science of happiness. You can go to www.EdX.org to register for this self-paced course. You might also want to pick of a copy of the How Families Flourish Workbook by Daniel Trussell for step-by-step instructions on optimizing family functioning.

Dr. Daniel Trussell can be reached at drdanieltrussell@gmail.com for more information on positive family psychotherapy. [website]
To access Dr. Trussell’s radio-style interviews and articles on The Changing Behavior Network, use the search box on the right, typing in “Dr. Daniel Trussell.”

 

Four Steps to Help Parents Reduce Holiday Stress (Dr. Thomas Phalen)

BTAboutThem

The holidays are coming up, and although many parents look forward to having their children home from school, they also find that after a few days it isn’t so easy having the kids underfoot all the time. The youngsters are all excited about Christmas, they start fighting more often, and when they’re not doing that they complain to their parents that they’re bored.

TPhelanphotoThis season is one of those odd times that combine a lot of fun with a lot of stress. It isn’t easy having the children right on top of you again, especially when they’re all pumped up about the presents they’re going to get and can’t seem to leave one another alone. Here are a few ideas for maintaining sanity during these both enjoyable and difficult times.

1. Help Kids Plan or Structure Part of Each Day
With school-age kids, help them plan or structure part of each day, then let the youngsters figure out what they are going to do to entertain themselves for the rest of that day. Do not fall into the trap of seeing yourself as the resident entertainment committee! You might help Emily by allowing her to have a friend over to eat dinner, watch a video and then sleep overnight. The rest of the day your daughter decides for herself what she’ll do. Or you might take Ryan out to lunch and then to a movie, but the rest of the day he entertains himself.

boys_sled2. Be Clear About the Rules from the Start
Make the above rules clear as soon as the vacation starts, so when the kids come up to you and say, “There’s nothing to do,” you can reply, “You and I will be going out at 4, but in the meantime I’m sure you can think of something.” Above all, don’t keep making suggestion after suggestion after suggestion, only to have a child shoot down each idea as soon as it’s out of your mouth. Making a lot of suggestions to your children for what they can do implies that you are responsible for their keeping busy and feeling entertained.

3. Plan Lots of One-on-One Fun
Plan lots of activities one on one with your children. Just you and one child—no spouse or siblings. Not only does this eliminate the fighting, it offers the opportunity for real closeness and bonding. Most parents find that it’s a lot easier to have fun when it’s just you and one child, rather than the whole family together. This may sound funny, but family fun is overrated! Kids love having a parent all to themselves, and under these circumstances each youngster is usually much easier to get along with.

4. Avoid Feeling Guilty
Don’t feel guilty if—two days before December 25—you find yourself wishing the kids were back in school already. You have lots of company! It’s not easy having a lot of wound-up little ones chasing each other around the house.

Dr. Thomas Phelan is a clinical psychologist and the author of 1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12 (1.5 million copies sold). His most recent book is Tantrums! Managing Meltdowns in Public and Private. Visit www.123magic.com for more information.

Email this page