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.

Simplify your child’s life…and your own

We live in a world that is complicated.   Daily pressures cause us to try to do way more that we should.  We try to pack so many things into 24 hours that we are exhausted at the end of the day.  Work, family, daily chores, meetings, sports, other activities….it is all too much for many of us to handle.  The stress we feel is handed down to our children when we place our own expectations on their little lives.

Children are not allowed to be children anymore.  They are pressured into growing up quickly and filling their time with endless activities.  When I was small, life was simple.  I spent hours playing by myself and using my creativity to do projects like painting, sewing and knitting.  Toys and games did not fill my room and I wasn’t bored.  Instead of spending hours playing on a computer or an i-pad, I was outside riding my bicycle or having adventures in my backyard.

I see children today who are involved in so many things that they don’t have time to enjoy their childhood.  Their schedules are so full of activities like sports, dancing, martial arts, video games, parties and other events that they don’t have time to use their own creativity.  Then when they do have down time, they go to rooms full of toys and games and are bored because they have nothing to do.

Parents often smother their children with too much, thinking it shows love.  We all want our children to have nice things but when it is overdone, it can result in emotional problems.  Kids feel frustrated, stressed, unsatisfied and feeling entitled to having everything they want.   We should give our children less stuff and allow them to have more free time to build their creativity.  We should give our children less activities and more family time.  More is not better.  More is stressful.  We need to simplify the lives of ourselves and our children.

Here is a great article I just read that explains more deeply what happens when we simplify life.

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The power of low esteem

Many people struggle with low esteem and it affects every area of their lives.  It affects how they feel about themselves, it affects the way they interact with other people, it affects the way they communicate.  Low esteem is destructive.

  1. It makes people feel inferior, that they are worthless, that they have no value.
  2. It makes them feel that they don’t measure up to other people; that everyone else is smarter, better looking, has more friends, is better off financially.
  3. It makes people feel unloved, unappreciated and unwanted.
  4. It destroys relationships.
  5. It leads to communication breakdowns.
  6. It holds you back from using your abilities and skills.
  7. It stops you from reaching your goals.
  8. It destroys your dreams.

Having low esteem will cause you to struggle through life believing that there is something wrong with you.   Often we develop this low opinion of ourselves from living in a negative environment, surrounded by people who struggle themselves with low esteem.  Instead of continuing to believe things that are probably not true, we can change the way we feel about ourselves by challenging our beliefs and learning to develop a positive perspective about ourselves and life in general.

what-you-think-of-yourself-is-much-more-importantWe are all valuable, unique individuals despite what others have led us to believe. Do some self-discovery and find our what an awesome person you really are!  Visit my website at for more information on building confidence and self-esteem.

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Do you gossip?

The truth is we all gossip.  Gossip is idle talk about the personal or private affairs of others.  It is a natural and expected part of our lives and helps us learn how to relate to others.  If we are sharing good news about something positive and exciting, gossip can be a good thing.

However, problems can arise when we start talking about things that are mean, nasty, inaccurate or incomplete.  If we discover a person doing something we think is wrong, we may want to share the information, not even knowing if what we saw has a good explanation.  We can even add information that isn’t true, just to make the story more interesting and to make the person look really bad.  This can start vicious rumours that embarrass or humiliate the person.

Gossiping that is intended to hurt someone is NEVER appropriate.  Often we don’t know the whole story behind what we saw and it isn’t our business anyway.  The only time we should gossip about something serious is when it is a matter of life and death.   We certainly wouldn’t like other people to gossip about us, so we should extend the same courtesy.

Do you gossip?  Does it hurt other people?  If you are a parent, gossiping is a bad thing to model to your children.  You are teaching them how to hurt other people and this will eventually end up hurting them.  Be a positive role model.  Be careful with your words and try not to gossip.  If you catch your child gossiping, talk to them and discuss why it is wrong.  Explain how it can hurt people and damage relationships.  Help them develop empathy and make sure they apologize to anyone they have hurt.


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What kind of parent are you?

To Build (or Break) a Child's Spirit - by Rachel Macy StaffordThe way you parent your children mainly depends on what kind of environment you have been raised in.  Most parents will use the same methods of parenting used by their parents and grandparents even though they may have hated the way they were raised.  Every child wants to please their parents and they will try to model their behaviour.  They may even believe that this is the way normal parents behave if they  have never encountered a different approach.

There are basically 3 types of parents. The terms vary depending on what information you are reading, but I like to use the terms powerful, permissive and responsible.  Each one has a different impact on the child as to what kind of parent/child relationship they have and what type of parent they will become.  Think back to your own childhood and determine what kind of parent you were raised by.

  1. POWERFUL parents are those who make their children behave by controlling them with angry words or forceful actions and punishments.    They make most decisions for their child and allow them little freedom.  They use their size to intimidate their child and may ignore, harass or even physically abuse them.  Children of powerful parents behave out of fear rather than love and will eventually grow to resent their parents, often rebelling in some way.   They will grow up with insecurities and fears and will likely raise their children using anger and intimidation.
  2. PERMISSIVE parents are those who allow their children to do almost anything they want.  There are few or no rules and parenting is inconsistent.  They make things as easy as they can for the child, often doing things for them that the child could easily do themselves.  This robs the child of self-respect and self-esteem and invites rebellion.  Children of permissive parents often are confused and make poor choices because they have no guidelines to follow.
  3. RESPONSIBLE parents are those who convey love and show respect to their children and other people.  They provide their children with opportunities to make their own choices and hold them accountable.  They use consistent, loving discipline and lead by example.  They encourage, support and protect their child and help them develop good self-worth.  Children of responsible parents learn how become a responsible adult by watching and modelling the positive characteristics of their parent.

Powerful and Permissive parents have a negative affect on their children.  Most of these children will struggle in school, work and in their relationships.  They will likely become the same type of parent with their children or in some cases, they can go to the other extreme.  Children raised by powerful parents might become permissive parents because they don’t want their children to be controlled and will allow them complete freedom to do what they want, falsely believing this is showing love.  Children raised by permissive parents might become powerful parents because they believe that children need rules and may go way overboard in taking control, causing the parent/child relationship to suffer greatly.  Neither method works well.

The Responsible parent is the best method of parenting.   The parent works with the child to build a loving relationship.   Mistakes are made but lessons are learned and the child develops a positive perspective on life.

It is also extremely important that both parents use the same parenting method.  There needs to be continuous communication between the parents so they discuss and work out any problems.  When parents use different parenting methods or the parents are divided on any matter, parenting WILL fail.  Children are a lot smarter than we think they are.  They will divide and conquer every time.  Make sure you are working together as a team to raise your children in the best way possible.  And if you make a mistake?  Well, you are human and nobody is perfect.  Apologize, start over, do whatever it takes to keep those lines of communication open!

So what kind of parent are you?  And what kind of parent do you want your child to be?


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A new beginning

We are almost at the beginning of a New Year.  Are you ready for a new beginning?

Think back over the past year.  What has happened to shape your life?  What memories were made?  Were they  happy or sad, rewarding or disappointing, powerful or pitiful?

We will always remember the really good times and the really bad times because they make a huge impact on us.  The problem is, when we focus on the bad times more than the good times, we are going to feel bad and not live our lives to the fullest.  We will hold ourselves back from trying something new or enjoying an event because we fear failure and want to protect ourselves from getting hurt.

Try hard to focus on the good things that have happened and treasure them in your heart.  See the bad things from a positive perspective and treat them as learning experiences.  What can you change in your life and how can you face these problems with confidence the next time they happen?  How can you treat people in a different way and not allow them to hurt you?

Each year we have an opportunity for a new beginning.  Start thinking about the changes you can make that will improve your relationships and your outlook on life.

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Our biggest problem is right under our nose

Have you ever stopped to consider the power that you have in your tongue?  Just one small part of your body speaks volumes about the type of person you are.   When you open your mouth to speak, you can reveal a lot about your character.   Your words can show love or hatred, calmness or anger,  encouragement or criticism, modesty or boastfulness.  Your words can tell the truth or they can lie.  Your words can help or they can hurt.  It all depends on what kind of mindset you have.

If your thoughts are mostly positive, they will produce positive words, positive actions and positive results.  However, if your thoughts are mostly negative, they will produce negative words, negative actions and negative results.

What is going on in your mind?  Are positive or negative thoughts floating around?  If they are negative, it is time to start thinking about what you are thinking.  Be aware of your thoughts, stop yourself before anything comes out of your mouth, and try to change anything that is negative into something that is positive.   At first it may be hard, but the more you practice, the easier it gets.  Just taking a few seconds to breathe and think can stop you from saying hurtful, damaging words or doing something that you might regret.

Our biggest problem is right under our nose.  The tongue is so powerful and we need to learn how to control it.



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Not enough love as a child?

Do you feel that your parents didn’t give you enough love when you were a child?  Did they ignore you or treat you badly in any way?  Did they criticize everything you did or push you too hard to accomplish things?

Parenting is a difficult job and most parents are ill-prepared for being a parent.  They don’t take classes, read books or go to parenting seminars.  They aren’t being a bad parent intentionally, they just don’t know how to parent.  Most of us just “fly by the seat of our pants” using whatever methods we learned growing up, often making the same mistakes that their parents made, not really thinking about what we are doing.

If we haven’t received enough love as a child, we won’t understand how valuable we are and won’t be able to love ourselves.  This creates insecurities and fears that we carry with us through life and causes problems in our relationships.  If we don’t have love, we can’t give love and love is the key ingredient to a happy and successful life.

Did you receive love as a child?  Are you receiving love now?  Are you giving love?  If your answers are ‘no’, then you need to start building your esteem.   How?

  1.  Become aware of who you are.  Discover your abilities, skills and personality traits.   What do you enjoy doing?  What do you do well?  You are a unique and special individual.
  2. Accept your imperfections and flaws.  Focus on your positive qualities and not on the things you don’t like about yourself.   Everyone is flawed and imperfect, even those people that you think has everything all together.  Never compare yourself to anyone else, just be the best person you can be.
  3. Maintain a positive self-image.  Show other people that you are an awesome person and that you like yourself.   Be nice to other people and always be friendly especially with those who seem unhappy or withdrawn.  If you show confidence and give love to others, people will feel comfortable with you and you will get love back.

Just because you didn’t get love from other people, doesn’t mean you can’t start loving yourself and giving love to other people.  Treat yourself with respect and kindness.  You deserve it!

For more information on building esteem, visit my website at


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The Cheerios Effect

box232Cheerios has been my favourite cereal since I was a child and it is still one of the most popular cereals sold today.   Growing up I ate the original Cheerios with sugar and milk but now I really like Honey Nut Cheerios just with milk because it is sweet enough without adding sugar.  I also like eating it as a snack, dry and right out of the box. As I was eating breakfast, I read the back of the box.  This is something I haven’t done for a long time.  As a child, I would sit and eat and read every side of the box over and over again.  There were interesting ads, colourful pictures, puzzles, contests, offers of free items inside the box, cut-outs and offers for stuff that you could send in for like badges, rings and games. On the back of my cereal box, it explains what the Cheerios Effect is.  Do you know that when you take 2 cheerios and drop them in a bowl of milk, the result is that eventually they come together?  Isn’t it amazing!  Scientists apparently call this the ‘Cheerios Effect’ and it is even more amazing when it brings 2 people together.  People love to connect and we were all created to be in relationships with other people. So try creating your own Cheerios Effect and start connecting with other people!

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People are like mosquitoes

I was reminiscing about a time in my childhood when I attended an annual summer church camp.  For a period of 10 years I enjoyed going camping with my friends and taking part in all the exciting activities.

One particular summer, when I was about 12, I remember settling down in my cabin for the night.  The day had been hot and sticky with no relief in sight as darkness fell.  Needless to say, it didn’t take long for those nasty bloodsuckers to start buzzing around my head but I was armed and ready for them.  I grabbed the can of mosquito repellant sitting on the shelf beside my head, spraying my body and in the air around me.   However, for some crazy reason, the buzzing didn’t stop and actually got worse.  I sprayed again and then finally gave up and covered my head with the sleeping bag.   Sweating profusely, I finally fell asleep from exhaustion.

The next morning, I opened my eyes and rolled over to see a can of spray deodorant sitting on the shelf beside me.  My mosquito repellant was nowhere to be seen!! Now I understood why the mosquitoes were having a party around my head the night before.  Instead of chasing the mosquitoes away, I had invited them with the sweet scent of my deodorant.  Yikes!!

People are like mosquitoes.  They buzz around trying to get close to people and make friends.  But when we buzz around people who feel insecure or have been hurt, we might just get sprayed – not with mosquito repellant but words that are negative and full of self-pity.  This just chases us away and often leaves the person wondering why nobody likes to be around them.

So put away your mosquito repellant and join the mosquitoes.  Instead of chasing people away, start chasing people.  Become more confident and start spraying out love and kindness.  A confident person will attract lots of mosquitoes.  Sorry, I mean friends!




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A junkyard of dreams

Everyone likes nice things.  I certainly do.  But sometimes getting nice things takes priority over the more important things in life.  Have you ever driven by a junkyard or landfill and looked at the piles of stuff that has been thrown away?  Did you ever think about where the stuff came from?  Most of it came from people’s houses:

  • worn out furniture
  • ornaments that are no longer wanted
  • old clothing
  • appliances that don’t work
  • electronics that have been traded for the newer model
  • broken toys

People probably worked long hours to pay for all these obsolete items that no longer have any value to them.   Some of us are even considered to be workaholics and put our work and the desire for money and possessions ahead of everything else.  We don’t spend enough time with our families or have any quiet time for ourselves because we are just too busy.  But at what cost?

Instead of investing in things that don’t really have any value, we need to spend more time creating and keeping good relationships with our families, friends, neighbours and co-workers.  We also need to take time each day to relax and take care of our bodies and minds.  Don’t spend your time building up a junkyard of dreams.  Spend your time creating a beautiful world around you.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.”