Determination and Leadership - What a combo

I found this amazing video and was so impressed with this coach and what he accomplished with his team!  Words don't begin to describe what you'll see and feel watching this video!  I promise - you'll be glad you watched! The Million Dollar Challenge

All comments welcome!

Honor our Teachers!

Aside from parents, who makes the biggest impact on our children?  Their teachers!  Bless these men and women who dedicate themselves to the growth and development of tomorrow's future leaders.  Take a few minutes and view this video.  Then do something special to acknowledge those amazing men and women! 

Making a difference in the life of children.....

I've been working with children (mostly teenagers) for lots of years.  Encouragement to our youth seems to be something that is needed and unfortunately with today's economy, seems to be lacking.  At a recent Chamber Board meeting, I listened to a proposal from our local school district Superintendent as he explained how many teachers will receive pink slips, what courses will be cut, and how class sizes will increase.  A parcel tax was proposed and passed for endorsement almost unanimously for a special election by mail in May.  A temporary "fix" for now. So - what else are we going to do about the lack of education to the future leadership of our country?  I'm proud to be a part of Rotary International who puts great emphasis on literacy.  As this week is "Literacy Week", many of us have found our way to local elementary schools to "read to the students".  It was most satisfying to have those little faces full of attention as they listened to stories about everything from the alphabet to animals.  Not only are we lacking in the schools - but how many parents take (or even have) the time to just read with their kids.  I can remember back to my own childhood and my parents encouragement to read.  I started like most kids with Dr. Seuss, moved on to Nancy Drew, and from there, a continuous library of reading has been a good part of my life and learning experiences.  My mind opened up to all kinds of possibilities and dreams.  Adventures of story book characters kept me enthralled and as a bi-product improved my vocabulary and imagination.

So, here's where I encourage you, my readers.  Choose a school and volunteer.  Get involved.  Find alternative learning opportunities.  We have a wealth of life experiences to share.  So let's share it.  My kids are grown now with kids of their own.  They love reading and being read to.  My daughter was reading to my granddaughter while still swaddled.  Now, at 10 years old, Anya reads voraciously, sometimes 2-3 books at a time.

Don't wait for a week especially created to "read to our youth".  They need us now!  And that's just the beginning.....

So, you want to communicate with your teenager?

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Are you a lucky parent raising a teenager in today’s world? Pretty scary! We all want our kids to like us. We know they love us, but liking us is another thing entirely. We want communication open and flowing – how do we make this happen?

Does this sound familiar?

You: “How was school?”

Teen:  “Fine.”

You: “What did you do today?”

Teen: “Nothing.”

When was the last time you spent some one on one time with your teen?  How can you have a good relationship with your teenager? Nothing takes the place of getting involved and interested in your teen’s life. We often think of quality time for very young children, but this term still applies when they are teenagers. We forget about it because they’ve seemingly reached that age of “not wanting to be seen with us.”

It’s really the quality of time, not the quantity.  It may take a bit of work to figure out the best way to do this, but trust me, it’s worth it!  What do you think they might say if you asked them to teach YOU something that they’re good at?  Ask them to teach you the “quirks” of texting so that you can communicate with them on their terms.  Ask them what they like best about what they’re studying and YOU study up on that subject so that you have another commonality.  Take walks, hike, bike, attend art, music or dance classes, etc.  Make sure it’s their choice of activity.  Don’t go to the movies unless you both commit to 15-30 minutes of discussion of the movie once it’s over.  The object of this exercise is to communicate, not be entertained.

Do you really Listen to them?

Always pay really close attention to what your teens are saying to you.  Look them straight in the eyes and let them know you care about what they are saying!  When they realize you’re really interested, they typically will let go and really talk to you.  You’ve got to be prepared to stop what you’re doing and listen if they want to talk.  They want to share something with you!  How cool is that?  Isn’t this what we’re striving for?

Everyone has ridiculous schedules in today’s world.  Finding family time can also be difficult, but to keep communication open, you have to make the time.  Meals are a terrific place to start. Try to have at least one if not more sit-down family meals per week. Find a common topic for conversation, and let the family know ahead of time so that everyone can find a tidbit or two to add to the conversation.

Now here’s the glitch – even if you don’t agree with their opinions, find a way to listen, really listen to theirs.  This can be a difficult task, as it can be hard to really listen when all you want to do is tell them your opinion about something with which you don't agree. Whatever you do – Don’t judge them!  It may be best to admit there is a disagreement  and postpone the discussion until you can calm down and be rational.  Then you can go back and say something like, “I’m not sure I agree with all you said, and there are some things I don’t understand.  Let me think about this and we’ll pick it up tomorrow night at dinner.”  By setting a deadline for the conversation, you are acknowledging the importance of their opinion to you, and they will come back to finish up.  Isn’t communication the goal?