I sincerely believe that it is far more beneficial and far less costly to help a child build confidence than it is to fix an adult who has little or none.

What is a family?

Young Couple with Two Children (8-12) Walking on the BeachWhat is a family?  What should a family be?  A family does not have to be blood-related.  A family should be a loving, caring group of people who support and encourage each other through good times and bad times.

I came across the following poem by Marin McKay that brings all my thoughts together so nicely.

A family is…..

the sweetest feelings 

the warmest hugs

trust and togetherness 

unconditional love

the stories of our lives written on the same page

the nicest memories anyone has ever made

treasured photos

thankful tears

hearts overflowing with all the years

being there for one another

supporting and caring




walking life’s path together and making the journey more beautiful because

We are a family….and a family is love.

This video shows a family that seems to understand this concept and shows it in how they connect.  The dad is driving his children to school and they are having an awesome time singing together.  What a great example of love and togetherness.

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An awesome Sunday

My husband and I got up early this morning to attend Church on the Beach in Crystal Beach, Ontario which is held every Sunday during the summer.  It is about an hour drive, so we headed out about 7 am to catch the service which starts at 9 am.   When we started out, there were some very dark clouds in the sky and the forecast called for rain.  We took our umbrellas but were hopeful that the rain wouldn’t come.

We arrived at the beach about 8 am and people were just starting to arrive.  As the event co-ordinators were getting the tents and music ready, we sat and enjoyed the peaceful view over Lake Erie.   As time went on, the black clouds let some sun shine through and it ended up to be a beautiful, sunny day.

The service started with some great music and then the speaker, Kevin Leman was introduced.  He is an amazing person and the reason that I wanted to attend the event.  Kevin Leman is an internationally renowned psychologist, speaker and author of more than 30 books on marriage, parenting and business.  His book, Have a New Kid by Friday, inspiring me to write my own book on parenting called, Grandma’s Notes on Parenting

After the service was over, they offered one of his books free to every family and we could get it personally autographed.  Of course, I picked one up and not only did I get it Kevin Leman and me church on the beach july 28 2013autographed, I also got a picture taken with him!!  You can see how happy I was.

I also tried taking some pictures of the beach and the almost 500 people at the services, but with the dark clouds, they didn’t turn out very good.  Hope everyone had a great church on the beach July 28 2013weekend!!  God bless!


What do you want your children to learn?

lawnmower fall 2012Today we celebrated my grandson’s second birthday.   His parents had a small family party for him at their house.   We enjoyed barbecued hamburgers, hotdogs, salads and great conversation.

My grandson played with his cousin, who just turned 4 years old and they had lots of fun riding his tractor and running around the yard.  Then his cousin twisted her ankle and the fun stopped.   Sobbing, she hugged her mom and my grandson watched with obvious concern for her pain.  Then he patted her back and put his arm around her neck.

It was very touching to see how caring my grandson was towards his cousin.   What an awesome feeling to know that we have helped teach him by modelling love and respect.   I didn’t realize how much of an impact we can have on our children by being a positive role model.  Positivity breeds positivity and negativity breeds negativity.   We should be teaching our children to be positive by example.

  • If you model love, your children will learn to love
  • If you model respect, your children will learn to respect
  • If you model kindness, your children will learn to be kind

What do you want your children to learn?





You are blessed

Whenever I feel that I lack something in my life, I read this poster that I have in my office and it reminds me how blessed I really am.

POSTER P14 if you have


Kids can help

broomIsn’t it crazy that when kids are very small they want to help you with everything, but when they are old enough to actually be some help, they don’t want to anymore?   This is probably because we have trained them NOT to want to help.   What?  Yes, we often train our children to avoid helping by not taking the time to teach them responsibility.

Children naturally want to be involved with everything their parents and siblings are doing.  They are curious and they want to learn.  If we are cleaning or cooking, they will try to get right in there and help.  Even though they aren’t physically or mentally ready to do most things, they still want to try.   This is a necessary and important part of their learning process.

However, when  children get in our way, especially when they are small, we tend to push them aside and tell them they can’t help.  We say things like, “You are too small, you will get hurt, you can’t do this, you don’t know how, go and play, leave mommy (or daddy) alone.”  When my children were small, I didn’t often allow them to help out when they showed an interest, because it took too long and I wanted things done quickly and properly.  Then I wondered why they didn’t help around the house when they got older.

When children are small, of course they are unable to help very much, but this is the perfect time to start teaching them.  If you push a child aside, they will feel that you aren’t interested in them and that they have no value.  This can have a huge effect on their confidence and esteem and when they get older, they won’t want to bother helping because they don’t know how, they feel it is a waste of their time or they just expect you to do everything for them.

My grandson is just 2 years old and we let him help us with lots of things like vacuuming, watering the flowers and cooking.  He follows us around asking to help.  When my husband waters the plants in our garden, my grandson picks up his little watering can and goes with him.  He gets more water on the ground than on the plants but he is so happy with his accomplishments and grandpa always tells him how helpful he is.  Last week when I was making a cake, he came in the kitchen and said, “up”.  I picked him up and sat him on the counter beside the bowl.  Then I let him hold the beaters with me and mix the cake batter.  After that, he helped me pour the cake into a pan.  Then I put him down and he wanted to help me put the pan in the oven.   At this point, I had to tell him NO because it was a safety factor.  I explained that the oven was hot and that he might get burnt, so he had to wait until he was 0lder before he could cook anything in the oven or on top of the stove.  But I did tell him that I appreciated his help.  Then later when we ate the cake, I told everyone how much he helped me and he gave us all a big proud smile.

If you want to help your child build esteem and feel confident in their abilities, let them help you with the chores as much as possible and tell them how much you appreciate them.  It may take longer and even frustrate you, but it is well worth the time you spend because it will form a close parent/child bond and it will teach your child to become a responsible adult.   When you just don’t have the time for them to help, at least explain that this time you have to do it yourself, but that you are looking forward to having them help you again because you really appreciate them for being part of your family.


Kids and confidence: know your ABCs

Family Running TogetherHere is some expert advice from Antoinette Giacobbe, Psychotherapist and Life Coach, on helping children to be happy, healthy and confident.

A is for “pay Attention”

The highest form of respect is to listen. Try to listen to what your kids have to say and be genuinely interested in their lives. This requires that you stop what you’re doing and not just hear them, but really listen. As your children feel accepted, they feel supported and can start to build a good base of self-worth.

B is for “Be there”

As best as you can, show up and be there for your children. Special “quality” time with your children is perhaps the best gift you can give them. It gives them that “I am worth it!” feeling. This provides them with a sense of belonging — another building block for their self-confidence.

C is for “Criticism”

Try to replace negative criticism with positive feedback. To do this, stay away from blame, ridicule, shame and comments that are judgemental. To provide positive feedback, try not to attack them; rather, look at their behavior and give feedback as to how to make corrections next time. This will teach them that they are capable and have the ability to learn and achieve things.

D is for “Decision making”

Even though it may be difficult at times, allow your children to own their problems. If you keep coming to the rescue, they will remain dependant on you. By encouraging them to participate in solving their problems and looking for alternative solutions, you can help them gain confidence.

E is for “Encouragement”

“Yes you can!” Encourage your children by nurturing belief in themselves and raise their confidence to the level that they dare to do things. And make sure that they engage in activities out of their interests not just their abilities or your interests.

F is for “we are Family”

In today’s fast-paced, ever-changing world, it’s a good idea to make family time and engage in rituals to teach our kids about what’s important and valuable. Today’s family structure has changed and, as we all go through the learning curve, we need to maintain a strong and stable foundation for our children. And that includes consistent discipline.

G is for “Goals”

Help your children set realistic goals. This will provide them with a sense of control, which goes hand in hand with developing self-confidence. Make sure that the goals are not too unrealistic or too high, as this will cause them to feel defeated and may lead to low self-esteem.

H is for “Hugs”

Hugs and kisses are a great way to show love and affection. But to teach them to feel good about themselves, you need to get physical. Why not stop being idle and join your kids in an activity rather than just watch them have all the fun.

I is for “Integrity”

In order to teach your kids honesty, be as honest as you can with them. If you treat them with respect, you can serve as their role model for life.

J is for “Journaling”

Nudge your kids into the habit of expressing their feelings in creative ways at an early age. In today’s computer age, children suffer from emotional illiteracy and have problems connecting and communicating their feelings.  Journaling, for example, will help them to reconnect and communicate.

K is for “Key messages”

Communication is a two-way street where the goal is to understand and be understood. Teach your children how to communicate openly and honestly by being calm, clear and consistent. This will give them the key to successful relationships — and a successful life.

L is for “Laugh — a lot”

Get down and be silly! Laughing makes good memories and is one of the best ways to alleviate stress — something kids have as well. If you get serious about laughing, you’ll show them that a sense of humour is healthy.

M is for “allowing them to make Mistakes”

Punishing children for being less than perfect implies that they are “losers”. Instead, reinforce the notion that making mistakes is part of learning. This will help them be less prone to feeling anxious about trying it again and more confident the next time around.

N is for “Nutrition”

Proper nutrition will help give them the health and energy they need to try their best every day.

O is for “Optimism”

Optimism and positive thinking is a choice. Try to remind your children to look for the good in themselves, in others and in whatever the situation may be. Redirect their negative thoughts and beliefs and teach them to think in a positive way.

P is for “Praise”

Remember to praise your kids for their effort and not the outcome. Unfortunately, some of us are quick to criticize but slow to praise. So let them know more often when they do the right thing and how you appreciate and notice their efforts.

Q is for “Question them”

Try to become more involved in their lives by asking open-ended questions that encourage them to think for themselves but don’t make it like an interrogation. Also remember to be interested in their interests and open to them.

R is for “Relax together”

Work hard; play hard. While on some days it may seem impossible to do, try your best to make the time to relax and have down time. You don’t have to plan every minute of the day and if they see you on the run all the time, they will feel the need to do the same.

S is for “Self expression”

Make sure you provide your kids with lots of opportunities for self-expression. Be creative and try different things.

T is for “Tasks”

If you end up doing their chores and tasks for them, you may be missing an opportunity to instil responsibility.  Rather, let them learn through experience, and they can only gain experience and confidence if they do it for themselves. If you let them make their own beds, clean their rooms, or prepare their lunches for school, they will thank you later when they are older and wiser.

U is for “Unique”

No two kids are alike, so show them how special there are. Try to stop yourself from comparing your children to others as this sends the message that they are not good enough. It is crucial for your kids to know how much they are appreciated and accepted just the way they are.

V is for “Values”

Do your best to teach them values and value them. That means you should try to be respectful and not demean or belittle them.

W is for “Well being”

Surround them with a sense of health and happiness by finding balance and being well rounded in all areas of life.

X is for “lead by eXample”

Talk your talk; walk your walk. Kids learn through imitation and osmosis, so be careful, they are watching you.  Remember that your kids also want to be proud of you, their parents.

Y is for “stay Young”

Keep an open mind and realize that we all have a lot to learn from children.

Z is for “Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz”

Make sure that you and your kids get good quality sleep. Leave time to wind down in the evening and ensure their rooms encourage good sleep.


Be a kindness spy


Slide23We live in a culture that teaches people to be selfish.   We are supposed to think about Number One first and do what makes us feel good.   But this is backwards thinking.  When we try to make ourselves feel good first, we end up making ourselves and everyone around us unhappy.

The way to make ourselves feel good is to put other people first.  Look around and see if there is something you can do for another person.   Can you smile at someone who seems unhappy?  Can you buy a coffee for someone who seems down on their luck?  Can you help that old lady put her groceries in her car?  Can you say something nice to that nasty cashier because she might be having a bad day?  Can you take a few minutes to sit and listen to that lonely person at work?

There are so many people in this world that would benefit from a small act of kindness.  Thousands of people have never been treated nicely in their lives and they don’t know how to be kind to others, so we need to be a good example and teach them.  Be a kindness spy and be on the lookout for people who need some attention.  Always be prepared with a kind word or a few minutes of your time.   You could even pick up a few gift cards from a restaurant, discount or dollar store and be ready to give them out to people who are in need.

Are you a kindness spy?


Kindness like a boomerang, always returns.  ~Unknown

In a world full of people who couldn’t care less, be someone who couldn’t care more.  ~Unknown

Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.  ~James Matthew Barrie

Love someone who doesn’t deserve it. ~Unknown

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.  ~Aesop



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Friday’s storm

This past Friday, my husband and I drove to visit my daughter who lives about 3 hours north of us.  We have to drive through Toronto Canada, and this can be a real challenge on a Friday when there is heavy traffic, slow-downs and sudden stops causing delays that could result in double the driving time.  We decided to avoid these problems and take a secondary highway through some small towns.

As we drove, we noticed that some black clouds were forming overhead and hoped it might rain to cool things down.  We’ve been experiencing a heat wave that has hit Southern Ontario and parts of Eastern US.  Temperatures have reached over 30 C for the past few days and the heat has been unbearable for many people with health issues and those who don’t have access to air conditioning.

The afternoon got terribly hot, but thankfully there was a good breeze, so when we arrived at my daughter’s house, we were able to sit comfortably and chat.  My daughter was doing her laundry and she brought it outside to hang up.  My husband likes to keep busy, so he puttered around in the garden and then started cutting the grass.

As we listened to the hum of the lawnmower, we watched as the black clouds got blacker and then felt a few drops of rain.   My daughter went out to grab her laundry and my  husband was just finishing the grass.  As he was putting the lawnmower away, the wind suddenly picked up and the lawn chairs flew across the yard.  The sky was black and the rain poured down.  We rain into the house, soaking wet.  Within seconds, the lights went out and we stood there watching the storm through the window.  Below is a picture of the sky overhead.

sky over mel house juy 19, 2013

The storm only lasted a few minutes but it did a lot of damage.  Power was out in many areas, trees and branches fell causing damage and people were hurt.   A cool front had mixed with the heat and humidity causing storms which resulted in the severe weather.   So I did get what I hoped for – things did cool down.  I’m just thankful that more people didn’t get hurt.

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Do you love dead things?

man and moneyIf you were asked what do you love most in your life, what would you say?

  • money?
  • power?
  • possessions?
  • people?

A lot of people in this world love “dead” things more that they love people and they don’t even realize it.  Money, power and possessions are all “dead” things.  They can’t give back love or fill your emotional needs, yet they often take priority over other more important things in our lives.  We often neglect the emotional needs of our family and friends by working too much or putting our energy into accumulating possessions.    Then when we find ourselves in a situation where we want love and support, all we can find is our accumulated “stuff” that can’t talk to us, hug us, comfort us or give us the love we need.   We do need money and ‘stuff’ but these should never be our priority in life.

Research shows that many people who are obsessed with materialism often have low-esteem and are not happy or satisfied with life.   They believe that money, possessions and power will make them happy and successful.    However, the more people have, the more they want and the unhappier they become.  Countries that are the wealthiest have more issues with addictions and depression than countries that are poor.

Our culture constantly bombards us with the message that having more ‘stuff’ will make us happy.  This is a ploy to make us feel bad so companies can line their pockets with our hard-earned money.   We have to realize that our value is not in our possessions, our value is in who we are.

Think about what is important in your life.  Does it love you back?

Instead of loving “dead” things, put your love where it counts, in the people around you who can love you back and fill up your emotional tanks.


Won’t you be my neighbour?

mr rogers


Do you remember Mr. Rogers?  He was a very entertaining and interesting man who taught children many good values and I thoroughly enjoyed watching his program with my own children.

Mr. Rogers was an ordained minister who decided to work in television because he did not approve of the programs he saw and wanted to influence viewers with his ideas.

He got a job working in children’s television programming and started developing some of the puppets, music and ideas that would be used in the Emmy award winning program, Mister Rogers’ Neighbourhood which aired in 1968.

Mr. Rogers started every program with the song, ‘Won’t you be my neighbour?” What a wonderful phrase for children to think about.  Each episode taught children to love themselves and others.   There was no anger, no violence, no inappropriate language like you see on television today.  After watching the program, you felt happy, calm, peaceful and secure.

We need more wholesome, family programming today like Mister Rogers’ Neighbourhood.  Rogers believed that this type of program helps children to become responsible, caring adults with a positive perspective on life and I totally agree with him.

Rogers died in 2003 but he will be remembered for all the good work he did in trying to reach out to children and encourage them to express their emotions in a healthy way.

We should follow his example and try to be a good example for our children to follow.  Let’s start working on building good moral values in ourselves and our children.