Honesty about wants and needs

word of month character

Have you heard of someone being tricked into believing something or someone that wasn’t true? Well of course we have and probably can recount stories of our own. One of the biggest threats that we and our children have today is the the marketing that takes place in the media.
There are many ways that we are enticed to buy products or services including big claims, use of vidid colors, saying “this is the best”, and bringing peer pressure on us and our children. Much of the marketing that takes place today is aimed at our children. As parents we need to be able to help our young ones understand what is happening and to be able to think for themselves to see if this is the best thing for them or just someone trying to sell them something.
How can we teach our children and maybe ourselves the difference between our needs and our wants? Sometimes I look at what I personally have and think of the many individuals and families in the world that do not have the quantity of food or housing that we feel is required for us. In fact I believe that in our quest to be kinder to the earth and world, one way would be to reduce the amount we consume. Not just recycle or reuse, but first reduce.

Gratitude brings joy

word of month character

This is the time of the year when all our students are taking part in the MSP testing in the schools. With that brings a fair amount of stress on the students and therefore on the families they are a part of everyday for the next couple of weeks.
This led me to think about the idea of how much joy is in our life? As I see adults go through their life, many times we are so busy climbing the ladder of success that we don’t take time to enjoy the journey. We begin teaching our young ones how to do that very early in their life too. As students, in what seems in younger and younger ways all the time, we teach them to plan and work hard, and as they have accomplishments we(they) see them as good because they lead to somewhere. The kids are constantly planning and working on going to high school, college, a good job, relationship, always with the next goal or challenge in mind, but none of them being relished or celebrated. But are they or we enjoying the journey? Probably not!
We are not machines and when we reduce ourselves to that, we become mechanical and the joy is gone from living. To increase the amount of joy in our kids / our lives focus our attention on all the wonderful things that happen in our day to day experiences. When we are appreciative of the people and the things around us we are filled with a sense of well being and joy.
Take a minute with yourself and kids each day to show gratitude. Make a short list in the morning or evening of things you are grateful for. If you have a hard time at first it is ok. As you focus on showing gratitude in your life, your joy will grow too.