Stop Trying to be so MAGICAL & Just Relax

magic-kidJust stop it already! That is what I keep saying to myself anyway. Two weeks ago, I wrote an article on saying no more often to our children and it is something that I am continuing to make ends with in regards to raising a kid that is not spoiled beyond belief. Within this timeframe, I have also been asking myself why it is and more importantly, why it is I continue to catch myself saying yes, and trying to make my kids life so magical.

While I spend most of my time as a contractor for FedEx now a days, in the past I have been (still involved but not nearly as much) a blogger, consultant, teacher, and mentor that helped(s) to inspire others, their businesses, families, and children. Through these interactions and the continued evolution in my own life, I have had a front row seat to some good and bad behaviors others are and/or have exhibited in their own personal and business lives. These behaviors regardless of whether they are good and bad have allowed my own personal and business life to evolve. More importantly, I am continually learning that in business and life we do not need to hold some sort of magical halo over others and especially our children (i.e. trying to create some sort of MAGICAL world), as this usually doesn’t allow others (especially children) the opportunity to thrive or gain independence just like saying yes so often. Does that make since?

“We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all of the power we need inside ourselves already.” ― J.K. Rowling

As my time passes at becoming a better parent, my own parenting model also continues to take shape. What I mean most by that is what I (we) need to do more of is focus on the little things in our lives and not on all those magical moments others would lead you to believe are so important. I remember growing up in a world that was less connected online and more connected in real life. Not that it’s bad to be connected through social media but let us not use this as a median to compare ourselves with others all while trying to outduel each other. Additionally and as great as sites such as Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, etc are we should not let these and other social sites dictate to our young ones that there is some magic in doing things in excess to create some sort of magical childhood. Instead (this is especially important in a business acumen) let us get back to basics. Let us all do a better job at stretching our own child(ren’s) imaginations alongside ourselves by laying on the couch, taking a walk, or just sitting next to your little one(s) while you share a giggle or two. This my friends would be getting back to basics in a business since, while helping to create a more magically childhood for our children, not to mention relieving the stress of trying to keep up with the so called Benjamin’s (i.e. others on your friends list that consistently are trying to outduel everyone else on their friends list).

“Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen.” ― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

magical-childhood

Long story short and what I am trying to say here is whether you are going it alone or in a relationship with another person while trying to raise a little one or ones remember that us parents can easily make our child’s growing up magical by being simple. We do not have to take continuous vacations, throw extravagant parties, or take our kids places often. However, what we all should do a better job at is focusing on creating a magical childhood for a kids by simply being there for them, talking to them when times are tough, and simply hanging out. There are an excessive amount of parents out there that don’t even make an attempt to spend time with their children, even call them, or provide any type of support (financial or mental). Do not be one of those parents and simply take the time today, tomorrow, or the next day to spend a few minutes enjoying your child or children because time goes by way to fast for us not to. Don’t be like some of those other parents out there that overdue everything, simply do something, just a little something to create a real magical childhood for your child(ren). Until next time my friends have fun, creating real magical moments not made up ones. Oh ya and don’t forget to KEEP SMILING (͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

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Why Do We Need to Say NO Anyway?

No!

Have you ever asked yourself what the true meaning of NO is? According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, they define no as “a negative answer or reply to a question, request, or offer.” Doesn’t this definition seem pretty simple and straight forward? Why then do most people (especially parents) have such a tough time saying no to certain situations, others, and most importantly to their kids? Let’s face it saying no is probably one of the hardest things to say because most of us don’t want to hear it ourselves or be considered the bad guy especially when it comes to parenting our children, yes?

If you have been a reader or follower of mine for any length of time, you know that for as many years as I can remember (or you have read) I have been involved in sales/service throughout my career. With that comes a lot of NO’s. I have heard no told to me in just about every situation. The good… I no longer let a no get me down. The bad… I’m not completely sure that I am a good teacher to my kid in the no category, as I find myself saying “yes” to him quit often. Why is this? Why can I take a no but not dish out enough no’s in the parenting arena? Well the only way I figure I can combat my own weaknesses with the word no is to actually put into writing a couple ways to use no in a positive manner to actually help myself (more importantly) my kid grow up with a better idea of what no can lead to in the future for himself.

1) Honesty is the Best Method– I often hear other parents being talked into different items at different stores by their children even if they know they can’t afford it. Even if it’s a pack of gum or candy bar, more of us need to do a better job explaining to our children that even an extra dollar spent isn’t/wasn’t in the budget. A little honesty in saying no can/should go a long way and I would like to believe later in life my kid (yours too) should be more equipped to purchase things that he/they really need, not things he/they merely want. Be honest with them now and they will be honest with themselves and us later.

2) Find Replacement Words (Phrases) – Who doesn’t want to use other words that mean the same thing? Using alternative words or phrases for a simple no is a good way to mix things up, yes? We just mentioned that honesty with our children goes a long way perhaps instead of consistently saying no let us try to use more phrases like “maybe another time,” “let’s think about it,” or a simple as “not today!” These phrases are not a clear-cut no and give all us parents different ways to say no without be dishonest.

3) Keep It Simple Stupid (K.I.S.S.) – One of my favorite phrases throughout my sales career has always been KISS. This basically means that the more you talk the less people are going or be willing to buy. Why not use this same approach with our children when saying no? Instead of telling our kids no over and over again or using lengthy explanations, why don’t we try shorter explanations like “it is not okay to take the snack, controller, or toy away from that kid,” then simply give your kid an alternative like another snack, controller, or toy. This eliminates the use of no and replaces it an alternative explanation… KISS!

No-Alternative

Saying no to anyone, especially our children is hard. However, most people and more importantly children need to hear it and if they don’t then more times than not you’ll end up with a spoiled rotten brat, friend, or relative. I know this is a work in progress for my little family but I will continue to use my own strategies suggested earlier as well as others y’all might suggest. Until next time, thanks for stopping by and remember to keep smiling regardless of the circumstance.

Parenting: How Old is too Old or How Young is too Young?

parents-make-the-difference Do you ever ask yourself the question… how old is too old or how young is too young? What I mean by that is do you ever find yourself asking this/these questions in your personal, business, or children’s life? Think about it. How old is too old? Or how old is too young to play games or act like a child, how old or young do you have to be to make important business decisions, or how old does your child have to be in order to sit in the front seat of the car, sleep alone, or walk home from school?

Perhaps one of the hardest parts of being a single parent, life, or business in general is asking yourself questions that you may or may not have the answers to, hence another reason why I started blogging in the first place. The how old or how young questions and answers have been really been weighing on me lately, not because of my own decisions but instead because my child is now at the age I believe (he hasn’t mentioned this to me) that he is asking himself some of these same questions.

More importantly and one of the toughest things about being a parent (especially a single parent) is learning when not to become an over-bearing mom or dad by asking yourself the same questions every day. Let’s face it if you have kids or not who hasn’t watched the Pixar movie Finding Nemo? Remember at the beginning of the movie when Marlon (Nemo’s Dad) was thrown into the role of a single dad when a large barracuda ate his wife? Although this movie is fictional, I think that it portrays a good storyline of real life. In fact, this movie shows how parents (especially single parents) can struggle letting go of their children just like Marlon or as simple as when we finally have to let our own kids cross a road by themselves, drive a car, or leave the nest headed off to college.

Relating Marlon and Nemo’s story to real life, can you see the foreseen or unforeseen danger of letting your kids go? If you are like me… Probably not but one thing should be clear and that is if we don’t loosen up the reins on our kids more times than not they will start to rebel against us much like Nemo did when he intentionally sets out to rebel against his father for being so controlling. How old is too old or how young is too young to swim alone? With this in mind, I wanted to take a moment and share some of my own thoughts about how old is too old or young with all of you that perhaps we can all learn from or expand upon them even further.

  1. First and for the last eight years as a dad, I have learned (consistently learning) that we cannot prevent most of the mistakes our kids will make, however we can prepare for the mistakes our children will make by providing them with honest advice as they grow. This does not mean that we lie to our children either whatever the case. It simply means that we tell them the truth even if the truth hurts, as we do not want them to make the same mistakes as we or others in our lives have or did make, right? The simple what is right and what is wrong should suffice. Don’t be like Marlon in Nemo and be to over protecting or make up stories if you want to have an open and honest relationship with our/your children.
  2. Secondly, we all need to do a better job (i.e. parents, family, friends, teachers, etc.) at helping ours and other children become the people they are capable of becoming. Instead of consistently labeling one another as over-bearing, insecure, needy, show-off, helpless, timid, confident, etc., what we should be turning these labels (in marketing terms or in my point of view) “weaknesses” into “strengths” or in Marlon’s case swimming on your own.  Example– A couple of weeks ago my son (8 yrs old) and I were outside throwing the football back and forth to one another just like watching other older students or professionals on television. After a few throws, I realized that my son was having a difficult time throwing overhand and catching the ball (lots of pouting), so I decided to throw underhand and cradle the ball as he threw it to me (just like Marlon cuddling Nemo). Problem solved, right? Wrong, after a couple more throws like this I realized that if I continued to throw and catch this way (over protecting him from disappointment) he would give up trying to become better. So, instead I switched back to overhand, threw the ball up and made several catches to myself, and he got pumped up about the bigger, higher, faster is better approach. By leading instead of catering to him in just this simple game of catch, he realized that if he keeps trying with encouragement from me anything is possible. He now asks to play catch almost every day (positive reinforcement or strength), which is good and bad from an over worked 30 something year old man-lol.
  3. Lastly, we all need to do a better job at giving ourselves credit when credit is due. In other words stop asking how old is too old or how young is too young and start giving yourself/ourselves more pats on the back for being good parents because let’s face it there are a lot of parents that are not so good and involved in their children’s lives. Way to many times in our lives or parenting ventures we all become our own biggest critics or worst enemies. Being a parent is by far one of the hardest thing I done (ya and I have a DBA/PhD) but we don’t have to continually fight ourselves or over complicate things do we? Do we really have to listen to all the negative feedback by others personally in their lives or on Facebook and let that affect our own lives, careers, and parenting? Absolutely not! Lets stop being so hard on ourselves/yourself and start smiling more, admit to our past mistakes, and pass on our real-life past experiences of positivity to others and especially our children. Like social media and its ability to connect others, parenting should also be about connecting but instead of connecting with others we should be connecting more with our kids to show that we are there in whatever capacity (physically, mentally, or emotionally) for them. Today and every day forward, pat yourself on the back, give your kid/kids a hug, and tell yourself and others what a good job you/they are doing in whatever capacity.

Letting GO!

In the end of Finding Nemo, Marlon seemed too had learned from his mistakes and looked at parenting in a completely new light, I even believe they made another movie. Instead of being a parent that is consistently trying to secure your/our children, let’s all try to encourage and also not be such an over bearing insecure one. As parent’s we all must ask the difficult how old is too old or how young is to young but more times than not we need to ask these questions less (or at least I do). In other words, we need to water our seeds less and let them grow more, as they were intended to grow with moderate water and sunshine. These my friends are the trees (our children) that will grow into long lasting landscape that we are really trying to create, yes? Ask but not too much and plant but not too much water in order to maintain those landscapes of our future generation.  As always, I look forward to your opinions and like usual don’t forget to KEEP SMILING, as it really does look good on you!