50 Easy Exercises for A Happier Life

Hey parents! Stop for a minute. Take a deep breath and realize that in most cases your kids will end up fine despite your worst fears and worries. Yes, there are cautionary tales out there but if you are reading this, you are one of those parents who really care and spend the time searching for different sources to learn from to improve yourself and your family. Here now is the best piece of advice I can give you. It helped a brilliant but not-so-mainstream artist to “make it big” Don’t worry be happy! (Thank you Bobby McFerrin)

Easier said then done but here are ten really great things you can do to make sure that your life is on the road to happiness.

Wake up and be thankful. That’s right. Every day is a new day. A chance for new opportunities so when you wake up, think about how lucky you are to have another chance to do something good in the world.

Look in the mirror and stare into your eyes. Marvel at the fact that you can see. Think about all the things in your body that have to work just so for you to walk, eat, breath and rid yourself of toxins.

When taking your shower today feel the water as it cascades over your body. Revel in the feel of water. Enjoy the idea of cleaning away yesterday’s dirt and beginning a new day clean and fresh.

Appreciate the people in your home. The wonder of their creation. The image of when you first laid eyes on them and the feeling you first felt in your heart about them that made you feel happy to have them in your life.

Investigate the first food you are about to eat. See the shapes, textures and colors. Smell it. Sample the taste of it and then enjoy the feeling that it unfolds as you slowly chew on it.

As you go out into the world take in all the aspects of nature that surround you. The weather. The sky in all its variations. Trees. Animals. Birds. Listen to the sounds of nature. They are there no matter where you are. Watch the tiniest insect for a moment and be amazed at what they can do.

Find people at work with a positive mental attitude. Make it your goal to be around those people as much as you can and when you are with others, who tend to focus on the negative, try to avoid those conversations and steer the talks to something good.

Choose a moment in the day to take a break. It may be for five minutes or it may be for 30 seconds. Reflect on something that you are striving for (or will start striving for) that will enrich your life and the lives of those you care about. It could be a vacation, a home improvement project, a creative family endeavor or anything else that is out of the ordinary and get everyone away from their routines and “in the moment”.

Take some time to listen at the end of the day to each family member and have them tell you something inspiring that happened that day. They can follow with why that makes them feel thankful.

Write down in a journal three things that you are grateful for that happened today. Make sure that at least one of them is something completely new or at the very least rare.
There you have it! The secret to happiness is focusing the mind away from worry, away from judgment and onto the beauty of the world. It is so easy to let ourselves get lost in the detritus of this existence but remember that there is beauty all around us. Love yourself and your place in the world and be aware of how that can make you feel and how you make others feel by extension.

Be happy. Be thankful. Be giving. Be loving. It’s not easy but it’s that simple.

Wait a minute! Where’s the others?!?

The first 10 Easy Exercises are things to do every day.
The Following are exercises to do once a month.
They follow the same patterns as the One Minute Meditations
And the 365 Mentoring moments.
Those are quick ideas to inspire and keep with you during the day.
The following are actual exercises to try for about 5 minutes a day.

The Daily Themes:
Friday: Observe Something Special
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: Share A Meal
Monday: Communication – You Listen
Tuesday: Generativity (adding something meaningful to your day)
Wednesday: Communication – You Share
Thursday: Free For All! (Whatever floats your boat – spiritually 🙂

This Week’s Theme: Giving Children Their Space

Friday: The best leaders are the best followers Teach your child to lead by letting them have a leadership excursion. Make it appropriate to their age and abilities and let them organize it, lead it and deal with the mess-ups that may occur. Avoid micro-managing, judging or complaining. You will be surprised at who learns the most from this.

Saturday: Walk for adventure. : Let your feet guide you. Your sense feed you. Your heart inspire you. Leave your worries, your planning, your electronics at home. Do this for as little as 10 or as much as 60 minutes. All the great thinkers of times past used one hour walks for inspiration.

Sunday: You are what you eat. Take time to plan your meal tonight. Make something just for yourself that is nourishing to the senses and to the soul. Make sure it also is healthy, colorful and ethically made. Think of those who make all the different parts and give thanks to them before consuming it.

Monday: We learn from listening. Decide today that you will pretend that you don’t know the best answer, the proper quip or the smartest piece of information. Think of yourself today as a miner of the gold in the thoughts of others. You mine gold by sifting through all the crud to the rich nuggets.

Tuesday: The three most important rules for mentoring a child 1) Be Kind. 2) Be Kind. 3) Be Kind. How do you do that? Let go of judgments. Give your child a safe place to go “out there” and try things. Let them learn from their mistakes. Be there as a sounding board.

Wednesday: We are either succeeding or we are learning Help show your child examples of great people (or ones you know) learning and doing something outstanding by not being stopped and sometimes changing direction through failures.
The easy example: Edison and the Light Bulb.

Thursday: Be Fletcher Reede The character from the film Liar Liar was cursed into being forced to say the truth. Try the same thing but filter it with kindness, wisdom and only that which will inspire others. A truth told before its time is worse than a lie.

Stay tuned for more!

The Slacker’s Guide To Success – Step 7 – Follow Your Bliss!!!

The Slacker’s Guide to Success is Ken Rabow’s method based on his work with Troubled Teens and Millenials over the past 13 years. Here is an excerpt. Enjoy!

What if you could do anything you wanted to with your life?
What would you do? How would you be? How would you go about it? Who would you seek out? What if it wasn’t what you thought it would be? How would you know when you’d arrived?

Be careful what you wish for. I am going to give you the keys to make whatever you want happen as long as it is for the benefit of all who are touched by your choices. These ideas have been stated many times in many ways by many people, but this one is written for you.

Pick your target: What is it that makes you happy when you are doing it but also contributes to the human collective? If this is something you would be happy doing for the next 10 years, choose this as your target.

Be the arrow: The only thing stopping us is our fears and limiting beliefs. When we eliminate those, anything is possible. If you have reached this stage in the steps to success, you are ready to go after your dreams. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s impractical. Don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t do it. The people who have achieved greatness had everything you and I have, they just followed their bliss.

The Bliss Process
Target– Think of your target. Make this your focus for everything you do from now on. As you get closer to your target, you will receive tempting offers to do other things. If it is not “on target” …. let it go! You will be richly rewarded for staying on your passions.
Aim – Your short term ways of hitting your target require aim. Focus on what you need to hit your target and make this your daily work.
Adjust – Nothing comes easy (unless you truly believe it can). When you aim and miss, be ok with missing and simply adjust, re-aim and do it again. Someone once said; “I’m either getting it right or I’m learning”.

Seek out those of like minds. If you are the smartest and anything-est in your group, find another group. Your life skills are affected by those who you spend time with. If they are successful and happy, you will learn subtle skills and positive subconscious self-speak that will help you succeed and bring you joy and happiness through osmosis.

Reboot the arrow: People never die regretting what they did. They regret what they didn’t do. Having said that, sometimes you dive into something, embrace it with all of your heart only to discover it wasn’t for you. You now have two camps: a) those who say “you started it, you finish it or you’re a quitter” b) those who say “life is a series of experiences bumping into accidents on the way to your bliss”. It’s not what you do but what you learn from the experience that counts.

Pierce the target: Guess what, we almost never arrive. New targets will come, new adventures will unfold themselves to you if you are on your true path. It is only in trying to make the world a bit better, that we leave a legacy of love that resonates beyond the ages. Nothing resonates as much as loving your fellow human being. So many people spend their lives looking at what is wrong with the world. Look for what is right. It’s easier and more fun.

What did you do as a child that created timelessness, that made you forget time. Therein lies the myth to live by”… Joseph Campbell

The Slacker’s Guide to Success – Step 12 – A Full Life

Helping Millenials Have A Full Life
Just imagine… A happy, successful, life where play-time is as fulfilling as work-time and learning-time. Relationships become opportunities for joy, sharing and lots of close, meaningful contact that is mutually satisfying.

But seriously, we’re talking about a full life for teens and young adults. Let’s face it, the teenage years are not easy and they’re not drama-free. Basically there’s lots in them that sucks.

Tell yourself: “You can have a full life that still sucks from time to time. You can have meltdowns and do some really dumb stuff. The difference is, unlike Bart with Rock Paper Scissors, you can learn from it all, if you choose to”.

To the parents: The best way to teach is by example. Try the following exercises and share the experience with your child. Wait for them to ask to try some of it on their own and if they don’t, find a challenging moment for them and when the dust settles, ask how mindfulness might have changed how they would have dealt with the situation.

Being mindful.
We all have moments when we are at our best and nothing can throw us off. Sometimes it can feel like we are outside of ourselves watching the events take place and just knowing what the wise and just responses for anything that comes our way would be. That is being mindful. Then there are the times that we aren’t so mindful. Times when our antics get the ‘rents to ask us: whose kid are you anyways?!?

What follows is a way to get yourself to be present and aware in all circumstances so that on your worst day, you are making conscious choices that can lead to great moments of clarity. I have been teaching this to young adults for the past eleven years and it always has met with success. Just know that sometimes it takes a bit more time to take hold. Don’t give up. It really is worth it and if it was easy, everyone would do it.

It starts with quieting your mind at the beginning of a new day.
Take a few moments upon arising to breath in slowly and deeply, then let out the breath even more slowly. Try to focus, if you can, on the flow of your breath. Imagine letting go of any stress, tension or worries and breath in qualities such as calm, peacefulness or good health. Do this for a few minutes every day.
Taking a few moments to empty your mind of word “noise” can help you throughout the day perceive what is happening around you without your emotional filters getting in the way.

Repeat a meaningful phrase to yourself of something you wish to accomplish that day: i.e.
a) Today, I will focus on being present for all conversations that are important to me and I will be great at it!
b) Today, I am calm, centered and open to being my best.
c) Today, I will share my thoughts deeply, honestly and with kindness.
d) Today, I will be a team player, thinking about what will help us succeed.
e) Make up your own here _______________________________________

Now we shall bring this concept into our learning, work, play and relationships.

Being mindful in learning: It doesn’t matter if your are learning for school, work or a hobby. This is about seeing what learning style you are best at and how you learn. Use this awareness of your strengths to make your own successful learning methods.
a) Take a moment and look at what you need to accomplish today in your learning.
b) Break it down into sections and make a rough estimate of how much time is need for each part.
c) Figure out how much time is reasonable for you to prepare today, taking into account the best amount of time at one sitting for you to work and how much break time is reasonable.
d) Determine how you learn best. Are you visual (V), auditory (A) or kinesthetic (K). Figure out which is first, which is second and which is third. Adjust your learning so that you incorporate at least your two major learning styles in your work. For example if you are VAK, you might read the material, then repeat it aloud. If you are VKA, you might read it then write it in your own words (probably hand written would be best).
e) When you are engaged in learning something, be aware of where your attention is and when it drifts, gently return it to the subject at hand.

Being mindful in work:
There are constant opportunities at work to give more than what is requested of you. Each time you give a little more than what is asked of you from a caring, humble place, you set the forces of the laws of return in motion. The law of return states that: for every action, there is an equal or greater reaction. When you plant a seed and tend to it, you receive not just one seed back but a whole crop of whatever it was that you planted. If you are not rewarded when you have proven yourself, ask for that reward, if it is still not forthcoming, find some other employer who will appreciate your extra effort. Always give more than what is asked of you. You will get noticed for this and rewarded over time.

Being mindful in play.
There are so many aspects to being mindful at play. Not just in the details of the game but also in relating to the other players in the game. How do they present themselves? Will they be assets or liabilities? How are they when they win? How are they when they lose? How are they when something unexpected throws them off? More importantly, how are you in all those circumstances? This tells you so much more than just skill level can. Mindfulness in play is about being aware of the game, the people and a sense of proportion while seeing the metaphors for how to be in life in the act of play.

Being mindful in relationships.
There are those who are always in some sort of a “relationship” and those who have never been in a relationship.
If you are in a relationship, the two most important tools are
1) learning to listen and 2) knowing how to argue well.
Learning to listen requires putting aside what you think is right and understand things from your partner’s perspective. Knowing how to argue well means focusing on what is annoying you at the time, without bringing in the past, judging the person or blaming the person.
If you have not been in a relationship, one thing is for sure. Nothing will get you to grow more than a serious relationship. It challenges all your comfort zones, takes away time from serious vegging yet has so much to offer.
Think of the type of partner you would want in your life. Their qualities, their demeanor and then imagine the type of person you want to be to attract that person. This is still about being you but also growing in relationship maturity to get a mature relationship.

All of these different parts of being mindful make for a full life.

When you are mindful in these parts of your daily life, your life is one of being there. Of really living and not just killing time to go virtual. Learning to care and to matter may be one of the greatest commodities in the coming age of ideas because then your work, play, study and relationship times become places to experience, feel, think and grow.

Live each day like it was the only one you have. Care about people and learn from everything. Most importantly; write, blog, tell stories, share stories and listen to stories because all we have after we’re gone are the stories we leave behind. Leave a good one. Leave stories of a life lived on purpose that was well-lived and touched others in a meaningful way. That is a full life.

When parents embrace the idea that by living a full life we can have a greater impact than all the words, all the images and all the sounds running through a young person’s life today, we can truly change the world for the better.

365 Mentoring Moments

As a Life Empowerment Coach/Mentor, my job is to help young people find their personal success when they have only had people focus on what was “wrong” with them in the past. 365 Mentoring moments is a companion daily exercise to the 1 Minute Meditations, based on the same weekly form and connected to my different articles that ultimately work with my 13 Chapter Book “The Slacker’s Guide to Success”.

Try them! They really change the dynamic in a family and they’re direct from whatever it is that inspires me… Ken

The Daily Themes:

Friday: Observe Something Special
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: Share A Meal
Monday: Communication – You Listen
Tuesday: Generativity (adding something meaningful to your day)
Wednesday: Communication – You Share
Thursday: Free For All! (Whatever floats your boat – spiritually 🙂

This week’s Mentoring Moments:

Week 3 – Picking new things to do:

Friday: Do something together like painting, or making models or something with play-dough
Saturday See how long you can both keep silent with nothing on. Just looking at each other.
Sunday: Try a new game with your child that involves music
Monday: Let you child teach you about one of their favorite foods and you do the same.
Tuesday: Ask you child to talk about one interesting thing they witnessed today. Be patient while they try to find it.
Wednesday: Let you child know which strangers are ok to be friendly with.
Thursday: Ask your child to tell you something special about someone in your family.

Week 1 – Investigation

Friday: Catch your child doing something right.
Saturday: Let go of criticizing, commenting, judging and just look for the good in your child
Sunday: Let your child teach you a recipe and have them guide you. Follow their direction as though you were the student and they were the teacher.
Monday: Listen for anything your child says that is positive and comment on how it makes you feel.
Tuesday: Be generative by adding one thing in your day that isn’t what you “have” to do but what makes life better.
Wednesday: Share your thoughts on a world event and how it can make the world a better place.
Thursday: Watch something your child loves that you couldn’t be paid to watch and see it through their eyes.

Week 2: Judging and Judgment-Free

Friday,Observe something special in nature today and share it with your child.

Sat:Let your child do stuff for themselves today and comment on what parts of it showed intention.

Sun:Share a favorite food of your child’s and invite them to explain what they like about it. Be OK with “Idunno”.

Mon: Listen for what makes your child laugh. Appreciate their humour.

Tue: Be generative today by nurturing something that grows. A pet. A plant or just really hug a tree. (blame me if someone sees you ☺ Tell your child what you did and how it felt.

Wed: Share a moving time from your childhood that you have never told your child before.

Thur: Sing a song! Loud. With all your heart. With all your soul and if someone disses your singing just tell them that they missed the point.

More to come!

1 Minute Meditations

Life is hectic (big shock, I know)
If we can stop for even one moment a day and focus on something greater than our “to-do” list, we can start to let our best nature have a chance to flow into every aspect of our lives.

One minute meditations are based on a weekly plan. Each day has a theme. The meditations can take as little as one minute and can be repeated throughout the day. To make them more profound, share a thought with us on which one touched you and how you used it.

I use these with some of my clients as a springboard for meditation and to get my clients “out of their heads and into their hearts”.

The Daily Themes:
Friday: Observe Something Special
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: Share A Meal
Monday: Communication – You Listen
Tuesday: Generativity (adding something meaningful to your day)
Wednesday: Communication – You Share
Thursday: Free For All! (Whatever floats your boat – spiritually 🙂

One Minute Meditations

Week 1 – Investigation
Friday: Pay attention to how often you use the word “no” during the day and replace it when you can with “yes”!
Saturday: Want to change your life? Take five minutes – empty your mind and …wait
Sunday: At meal time share something you’ve done this week that was positive.
Monday: Stop! Look them in the eyes and let them finish what they are saying. They will feel really heard.
Tuesday: The first step in changing your life is doing something good for yourself daily and keeping track of it
Wednesday: Eliminate one fear by letting someone know one of your strengths and one of your weaknesses
Thursday: You can be great at almost anything once you get past perfectionism

Week 2 – Judging and Judgment-Free

Friday: Catch your child doing something right
Saturday: Change starts by doing 5 minutes a day of good stuff and building on it
Sunday: Let your child cook tonight. Be their sous-chef
Monday: Just for today, when your child speaks take in their words history-free
Tuesday: Start a change jar to give to some coins to charity. Put some in whenever you feel thankful
Wednesday: Do a random act of kindness and share it with your family.
Thursday: Don’t just read stuff on the internet – do something in real life! Now!

Secret S**t Your Kids Won’t Tell You

There are so many things that teens and Millenials think that are simply not being heard by their parents. How do I get to hear it? As a life coach for troubled teens and unmotivated millenials, I ask the simple, slightly obvious questions that it seems no one asks them or takes seriously.

What is weird is that once you hear the answers they seem obvious and they actually work!
This will be series of short facts and solutions.
If you like them or if you have one you want us to look at please comment at the bottom of this blog.

The following are in no apparent order. Just when they are shared by my clients.

Case Study #3 – Why I Have So Much Anxiety Reason # 12

Kid’s Statement: I never know what will trigger it but when the anxiety comes I lose all control and feel lost. I get these attacks 4 – 6 times a day.
Fact: Most anxieties have specific triggers.
Question: How many attacks to you get?
Response: I’m always anxious. I get many attacks a day. I can have between four and six in a single class.
Ken: Are their times you can control them?
Client: Yes.
Ken: When and how.
Client: When they are not taking over. I can just calm myself down.
Ken: What is the range for your anxiety?
Client: My panic scale goes from 1 – 20. Up to six I can calm myself down. At 10, I’d stay home. 10 – 15 is a no man’s land. I’m a crying mess. At 20 I won’t remember saying or doing things. Over 10 I’m sort of out of control. Between 6 and 10 grounding exercises will help me snap back out of it.

Ken: What if I could show you a way to be anxiety free for one day a week?
Client: I would get anxiety without my anxiety.
Ken: That makes sense. Let’s find something that you would be OK having instead of anxiety. That let’s you feel safe. In command. And that you might prefer.

Result: Client now has two anxiety-free days a week and averages two to three panic attacks on other days. Client goes above 10 only once every one or two weeks and the over-all scale is reducing in intensity. Client is also finding that they can enjoy the healthy feelings they are choosing on the anxiety free day and has begun writing brilliant poetry.

Ken’s Comment: There is no way that this sort of issue that presents itself in this way can be dealt with by close family members. It requires an outside coach. My concern is that certain people would be too quick to medicate such a client. Although I am in favor of medication when self-harm is apparent, I do not feel that such a client, in this case required it and in fact, they didn’t.
Sometimes the triggers are not the first place to go. If the client already has some coping mechanisms, I want to get those “solid” before going back to the triggers. Everything is based on what the client’s strengths are. Rules are made to be broken 🙂

TIP #! Daily Showering (or the lack thereof)
Statement: “I only shower when I need to or if I have worked out or if I’m going out somewhere special”.
Fact: They sometimes smell like a homeless person.
Question: “Why don’t you wash more often?”
Response: “It dries out my skin”.
Ken: “What do you wash yourself with”.
Client: “(A commonwealth country) spring”.
Ken: You know, its close to impossible to really tell if you smell ok or nasty at least 1/2 the time. If I got you a quality shower soap, that didn’t have toxic crap in it, had moisturizers and didn’t have you smelling like a tart. would you try it?
Client: Sure!

Client now washes (almost) every day.
Ken’s comment. Up until now the discussion between parent and child stopped at you smell like a homeless person.

TIP #2 Reasons NOT to study – Reason #372

Kid’s Statement: I always intend to study and the day just slips away from me. Before I know it, the day’s done.
Fact: You know you’re not going to study and we know you’re not going to study.
Question: Why aren’t you studying?
Response: I just can’t seem to get organized.
Ken: If you started doing three 5 – 15 minute sessions of study a day, do you think you could handle that?
Client: I think that is do-able.
Ken: Let’s just start with that and figure out in each day the best time to get those sessions in and see what happens. Tick them off in a chart so we can figure out your best patterns.
Client: I can handle that.
Result: Within one month, client is doing three 15 – 25 minute sessions and learning how to take brakes (and what kind to take) and get back to studying.
Ken’s Comment: Parents pointing out the problem or telling them to “just do it” only reinforces the child’s self-condemnation. It’s kind of like the Chinese finger puzzle.

Stay tuned for more Secrets!

Finding The Confidence ……. To Find Love

As a life coach for troubled teens and unmotivated Millenials, I work with a lot of people with mental health issues ranging from anxiety to schizophrenia. What is really a great honor is to have people in their teens and 20’s trust me enough to share their deepest thoughts about their lives with me.

Sometimes, these thoughts need to be shared. I am doing so now with permission.

Meet Reginald (Really? You think that there is a twenty-something schizophrenic living in Toronto in the 21st century named Reginald?!?). No, it’s not his real name. He is on a fair bit of medication which he takes consistently since we have been working together. Reginald has gone back to university and is following my regimen of taking one course in semester one, two in 2nd semester, all the way up to five once he has learned how to study efficiently, prepare to write papers (not in the 24 hours before its due) and work with T.A’s and teachers when something doesn’t make sense.

Regg is doing famously. He is also in a wheelchair, more round than tall and although when I met him he radiated “I know more than you” (which he often did) he now radiates the warmth, the grace, the brilliant humour which is how I know Reginald to be.

So here we are. Doing great at school (low 80’s), contributing really well in class and what should come along? Valentine’s day! And who is sitting next to him in class but a warm, sensitive woman who seems to “get” Regg’s humour and he senses there is something there. Now remember, this is Reginald 2.0. Through the work we’ve done he has found new faith in himself and his self-worth has grown with every task we have set upon doing and succeeding or figuring out how to rise above.

They go for coffee. They share thoughts. They share fears. Esmeralda shares the fact that she used to be a cutter and then Reginald tells her that he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Esmeralda’s starts shifting uncomfortably in her seat, not making eye contact and shortly afterwards excuses herself due to a very bad headache. She also doesn’t sit on the same side of class anymore.

I see Regg twice a week, which I do with all my clients, better to reinforce good habits and less time to acquire bad ones. We meet the next day and he shares the Esmarelda incident with me.

What do you say to someone who is the most thoughtful, astute, wise and sensitive guy you could know who has just had all his self-worth shattered. His greatest fears realized. “No one will ever love me for who I am”.

This is not just the cry of all the Reginalds in the world. It is the call of a great many people out there who feel less than worthy.

I told Regg the simple truth: “Regg, you are special. There is no one like you and I feel honored to work with you, laugh with you and learn from you. There is no question that there are other people out there like me who will see you for who you are and women who will not care about any labels you may have. They will fall in love with you”.

You can’t just give up because you haven’t found love or met people who live their lives based on appearances or fear. You know that. Tell yourself: “I deserve to be loved. I deserve happiness and I will be patient and relentless in my pursuit of both”. Say it again.
Say it everyday into the mirror while looking into your deepest self.

To all the Reginalds and the Esmeraldas out there: Keep your eyes sharp, your hearts open, your faith strong and your resolve everlasting and Happy Valentines Day to those who are loved and those waiting to know that there is a lover out there who will love them as they are.

Check out more of Ken’s articles on Huffington Post by clicking here

Valentine’s Day, Romance and Millenials

From Romeo and Juliet to Pyramus and Thisbe and beyond, Millenials having been teeing off parents in their romantic choices for thousands of year. If this has been going on that long, what chance do we have in getting today’s Millenials to do any better?

Let’s imagine the following to be true for a moment:
1) It is in a Millenial’s DNA to want to experience romantic love. (remember, people didn’t live that much past their 30’s for most of recorded history, so families were being made right after puberty)
2) It is also deeply ingrained in Millenials to challenge authority. (This would come in handy when caveman “b” didn’t want cave-Millenial “c” to rub those sticks together and make that fire thing because that wasn’t what grand-cave-pa “a” did).
3) It is very much part of every Millenial to want to be part of a collective. (Back to our cave … more people together, less likely that you are the saber-tooth’s happy meal)

So how does this play out for today’s Millenials if it is in their DNA to want the above three things which puts them at odds with their families? Throughout history, we have had many elders that the upcoming generation could go to and learn from in different ways of being. It was through ritual, tribe and faith (with a special nod to fear) that the clans survived.

So, to transpose that into today’s world: we have supplanted romantic love with inhuman cosmetic ads and reality TV shows with medically altered contestants.
We have replaced the authority of family with scientists (9 out of 10 doctors proscribe bland-ex) and our predilection for tribes shows up for the best and worst in flash-mobs and social media.

Can you blame a kid for feeling messed up about romance?
How do we model romance in a world where companies spend billions of dollars a year convincing us to consume stuff to compensate for the inadequacies that they convinced us we had?

Facts about romantic love:
The best thing a father can do for his daughter is love his wife.
The best thing a mother can do for her son is love her husband.
Taking the time for each other as parents and showing one’s affection for each other creates a great model for romantic love.
Arguing with each other using healthy conflict-resolution skills will help your children in many future situations.
Taking quality time with your children from reading to them in bed, to letting them teach you what they have learned or about their hobbies empowers them and allows them to seek out similar people who want to embrace the best in life.

So when your young adult comes to you in puppy-love wanting to give or get some flowers from someone you are not sure you want in your house, smile and make sure they remember the following:
Romance, rising above your parents and finding like-minded people can become the passing of the torch to Millenials in the very best of ways when we commit to loving, healthy relationships and bring these qualities into our daily family lives.
And for those who can’t…. there’s always bland-ex! 🙂

What’s the Point of Doing This?… The Teenage Mantra

So, you’ve asked your teen for the 400th time to do whatever.
You scream in front of their “friends”. Your yelled back at. Doors are sent slamming and just as the door is about to close you hear the words: “What’s the point of doing this anyways!!!”

I was just Skyping with one of my younger clients who seemed to have the nervous habit of tapping continuously at his keyboard while we Skyped. When I occasionally asked why he was doing this, he responded; “I’m not doing anything! I just like to tap.”

One day, he tapped the wrong button on his laptop and the sound of a snorting beast being zapped by a space ray filled the room. So there you have it, the “moment of truth”.

(First, confirmation)
Me: So, you’ve been playing this game for the last six sessions while we’ve been Skyping?
Skeeter: Well, not all the time.
Me: Most of the time?
Skeeter: Yeah. Pretty much. It’s so addictive!
Me: I can understand that. But, you’ve been telling me that you weren’t doing anything, right?
Skeeter: Yeah.
Me: Can you see where I’d have a problem with that?
Skeeter: I guess.
Me: What do you think the problem with that is?
Skeeter: ‘Cause I was lying?
Me: And what’s wrong with lying?
Skeeter: It’s …. Bad?
Me: Why is it bad?
Skeeter: I dunno.

(Time for left field)
Me: What do you know about Abraham Lincoln?
Skeeter: He looked weird, he became president. He got shot.
Me: True. Do you know anything about his life?
Skeeter: Nuh-uh.
Me: When Lincoln ran for president, he was an unknown and considered a “hick”. He was running against three of the greatest hopes for the presidency yet it was he who won. One of those men, Stanton, wrote about the new President’s choices as “the painful imbecility of Lincoln.” Yet, Lincoln saw a greatness in Stanton that would help the country and brought him into Cabinet.

When Lincoln was assassinated it was Stanton who said: “There lies the most perfect ruler of men the world has ever seen. Now he belongs to the ages”.
Lincoln was a man of great character that even his detractors could recognize.

(The Point?)

I’m not going to ask you every time if you are still playing that game anymore.
I’m just going to ask you one thing.
Skeeter: What’s that?
Me: Do I have your word of honor that you won’t play the game while we work?
Skeeter: Yes.
Me: Longer, please.
Skeeter: Yes, I give you my word of honor.
Me: That’s all I need. I know I don’t have to worry about that again
(And Skeeter never did play that game during our Skype sessions again).

So, why do I tell you this story?
Because there is no answer to “why should I bother!”
There is only the opportunity to find some way to challenge a young person to want to be a person of good character.
I don’t know why we don’t champion that in daily life anymore but let’s start.
Share with me an example of how you inspired you child to be a person of good character.

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