Saturday, November 28, 2009

Holiday Tips - #1

Stepfamily Holiday Survival Tip #1:

Begin your holiday survival plan by acknowledging to yourself, and for every member of your new family, that it’s OK to feel sad during “happy holidays” (despite what Uncle Sol used to tell you — “This is no time for a gloomy Gus!”). Allow for some down time, but don’t stay there. These feelings that we’ve discussed and which you are starting to feel are natural. They are shared by nearly every stepfamily around the world — over 20 million in America alone!

Realize where you are in your life. This is a starting point to a whole future. Statistics show over and over that it takes an average of four to seven years for families to blend. This means that you will (statistically) suffer growing pains for at least a few years before you will see those dreams come true.

Too many couples enter into a stepfamily with unrealistic dreams. They expect  the kids to fall right into line, loving them like they’re the natural parent. They expect their ex-spouses to suddenly become cooperative, or just disappear. They believe that they will fall right into a happy home life in the first year — or the first months, even!

And when that doesn’t come true, too many of these stepfamilies just fall apart. Instead of accepting that hurts take time to heal, they whine or demand that their new family members "snap to" and make all happy.

If you made that mistake and you’re now panicked because of the chaos you feel around you — relax.
You are in the vast majority. As I said before, stepfamilies experience around a 75% divorce rate. That alone tells you that at least three fourths of them are having problems. What it doesn’t tell you is that most of the others have the same problems you are having, but find ways to survive them.

Accept that blending two families is tough, everyone has the same fears. Then move on.
This is just one holiday season. Get through this one with at least some good times, and the next one will be easier.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
[NOTE: this is an excerpt from our guide book, Beat the Holiday Blues.]

Watch for more guidelines between now and Christmas to help you survive and enjoy holidays with your family!

You are NOT alone! We love you and we can help.

God bless your whole, wonderful family,
STEPcoach Bob Collins

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Day Proclamation

This is the text of George Washington's
October 3, 1789 national Thanksgiving Proclamation;
as printed in The Providence Gazette and Country Journal
, on October 17, 1789.


By the President of the United States of America.
A Proclamation.

Whereas
it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness."
Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.  
G. Washington.

Borrowed this, with thanks, from http://www.wallbuilders.com/libissuesarticles.asp?id=3584 


May you and your family have a blessed, peaceful Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Ten Best Things to Say to Your Child During Homework Time

Found this today and thought they had some good ideas you might like. Enjoy! BC, Stepcoach

Homework can be a battle or a breeze. It can create conflict or cooperation. It can produce tension or focused attention. Which of these outcomes occurs in your home depends in great measure on how you talk to your children during that important time period. To help your child's homework experience be productive and stress free, consider the following ten best things to say to him or her during homework time.
1. "It's study time." Don't even mention the word "homework." Have a study time, a study table, and study materials. Study time occurs whether there is homework or not. This eliminates the common child response, "But I don't have any homework." Some parents prefer to call this time period feed the brain time. Whether you call it study time or feed the brain time, it is important to make this a family commitment. We all feed our brains during this time. If you are not willing to make this commitment as a parent to feed your own brain during this important family time, don't ask your child to.
2. "Let me know if you want my help." Refrain from giving unsolicited help. Help that is not asked for is resented and is often not even needed. Give your child the space to ask for help if he needs it. Learning to ask for help is an important skill that every child needs to learn. So is struggling on your own for a while.
3. "Act as if you know." Children will often tell you, "I don't know how to do it." Resist showing them right away. They are doing their "I can't" act. Know that it is an act. Encourage them to choose a different act by saying, "Act as if you can." Other ways to send the same message include: "Pretend like you know how." "Play like you know." "If you did know how to begin, how would you begin?" "If you did know what to write, what would you write?" Asking children to "act as if" does not mean they will do it correctly. It gets them started. It gets them doing something. You can correct incorrect doing. Not doing anything is impossible to correct.
4. "You have a lot of assignments to do here. Which two do you think are the most important?" Do not let your children study for long periods of time. Family time is MORE important than study time. When the teachers give more than is doable in the study time you have structured (90 minutes for high school, 60 minutes for middle school, 30 minutes for elementary school), call the teachers and let them know they are assigning too much material. Ask your child, "Which two of your assignments do you think are most important?" This requires her to think and to set priorities, teaching her a valuable life skill in the process.
5. "Study time is over." Pushing beyond the set study time creates diminished results. Set a limit and stick to it. Hold to the set time schedule for study time.
6. "It's time for a time out." Frustration may occur. Suggest your child take a time out if you see her becoming overstressed. Shoot some baskets, ride bikes, go for a walk. Get away from the schoolwork for a while. When she comes back to study time, she will bring a fresh mind and a fresh attitude.
7. Use descriptive praise. Refrain from making evaluative comments such as "good job" or "excellent paper." These global remarks do little to teach why the effort was good or excellent. Instead, make your praise descriptive. Simply describe. "I can read every word." "This sentence got my attention and I wanted to keep reading." "You stayed right on it and finished that section in ten minutes." These factual statements give valuable information. Descriptive praise also allows the child to make the evaluation. When he says to himself, "I did a good job," the evaluation is coming from the inside out.
8. "Do you want me to check it?" Sometimes children want your checking help. Sometimes they do not. Let them make this decision.
9. "Let me show you an example." This is teaching, not doing it for them. Show your child a sample, example, or possibility. Allow her to decide how to apply your idea. Let her do the problems she was assigned.
10."Would you be willing to put your name on it?" This statement is not used to check whether your son or daughter remembered to put their name on the paper. It is a statement about the relationship between pride and effort. "Would you be willing to put your name on it?" really means, "Are you proud enough of it to sign it?" Help your children learn to develop an internal standard of excellence so they know how this piece of work stacks up against their personal standard.
Your Parent Talk around study time and school assignments is critical. It can help or hinder, motivate or discourage, inspire or wound. Use the statements above to help you create a helpful study time for all. In fact, why not study these suggestions and put them to use during your next family feed the brain time?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Twas the month before Christmas

Twas the month before Christmas
When all through our land,
 Not a Christian was praying
 Nor taking a stand.
 See the PC Police had taken away,
 The reason for Christmas - no one could say.
 The children were told by their schools not to sing,
 About Shepherds and Wise Men and Angels and things.
 It might hurt people's feelings, the teachers would say
  December 25th is just a ' Holiday '.
 Yet the shoppers were ready with cash, checks and credit
 Pushing folks down to the floor just to get it!
 CDs from Madonna, an X BOX, an I-pod
 Something was changing, something quite odd!
 Retailers promoted Ramadan and Kwanzaa
 In hopes to sell books by Franken & Fonda.
 As Targets were hanging their trees upside down
  At Lowe's the word Christmas - was no where to be found.
 At K-Mart and Staples and Penny's and Sears
 You won't hear the word Christmas; it won't touch your ears.
 Inclusive, sensitive, Di-ver-si-ty
 Are words that were used to intimidate me.
 Now Daschle, Now Darden, Now Sharpton, Wolf Blitzen
 On Boxer, on Rather, on Kerry, on Clinton !
 At the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter
 To eliminate Jesus, in all public matter.
 And we spoke not a word, as they took away our faith
  Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace
 The true Gift of Christmas was exchanged and discarded
 The reason for the season, stopped before it started.
 So as you celebrate 'Winter Break' under your 'Dream Tree'
 Sipping your Starbucks, listen to me.
 Choose your words carefully, choose what you say
 Shout MERRY CHRISTMAS ,
not Happy Holiday !
Please, all Christians join together and
wish everyone you meet during the
holidays a
MERRY CHRISTMAS
Christ is The Reason for the Christ-mas Season!

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