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Things That Children Absolutely Need (Which Usually Cost Nothing)

Children are like African violets.  (A type of small very ticklish house plant which housewives of my mother’s generation raised.)  They are very sensitive in terms of their response to the environment in which they are planted.  Children were known to die in orphanages when they were physically taken care of but not emotionally taken care of.  Yet some people give more attention to the African violets in their life than to their children.

As each African violet is individual in its needs for light and air and moisture so is each child individual in his or her needs for attention, love, and support.  When this is neglected, the plant or child withers and dies inside if not outside like the plant.  The payoff of proper care can be great in either case.

Perhaps one can afford to lose many African violets in this process but not even one child.  Children can be resilient but still, can be greatly damaged and become of little use to themselves and furthermore to the society that child dwells in.

Moisture, light, and soil and the addition of fertiliser is needed for a violet to grow; but what is needed for a child to grow in the right direction?  Love, support, attention, and unconditional love appear to be necessary for this to happen.

Caregivers can not neglect one child while caring for another,  This has been shown to happen when a child has a seriously ill sibling.  This child needs attention and care too especially if this child gets neglected while the ill child gets urgently needed care.

The sibling does not need to be seriously physically ill to take attention and care away from another sibling.  Some children are more attractive to one or both of the parents than other children. How important is it for a parent to have an athlete or gymnast or beauty queen or a scholar over a wallflower, a geek, or any child who is not particularly gifted or attractive

Worse yet are parents who really shouldn’t have any children (P.S. I am not opting for abortion, but I am a champion of adoption in these cases).  Sadly what welfare does sometimes does not necessarily encourage parents to be actively involved in bringing children up right.

Wealth is not necessarily the main factor in bringing children up right.  The things that are needed to do this often can’t be bought.  They often cost more time than money.  First is unconditional love which occurs when a person often gives another person love no matter what he or she does or says.

Children need support, not just physical support, but emotional support.  A child can do well at something, but this accomplishment might be ignored and/ or at least not supported emotionally by the family or guardian.  The child can say to themselves, “Oh, what’s the use?” if the effort that he or she puts into something is unnoticed and they receive little or no help with it on top of that!

Prize winning entries at the county fair can go unnoticed and wining or losing a coveted position on a team or in a play can also be ignored.  “You did what?, when said, demonstrates that at least part of a child’s life has gone unnoticed.  Worse yet, a child can be hurt or sick and this goes unnoticed until the child is in serious jeopardy.

Psychological needs that go unmet can cause great harm to some children.  Children that survive such circumstances can be very resilient but those who don’t are a drain on society and can be lost.  Too often the people who make these decisions are incompetent as well.  The judge in my family says that custody decisions in his court are given to the least competent to decide.

 

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The Self-Actualized Lady Bug (Or Gentleman Bug)

rp_5922753845_4206ac2137_m.jpgDo you feel that you and what you do is insignificant?  The Lady Bug appears to be an insignificant insect.  Yet, what would a garden do without them?  They defend and protect it from predators.  They appear to be cute little things and because they are, they might not be expected to contribute much to life.  Except as a pleasant diversion to observe when in the garden.

Lady Bugs go quietly about their tasks and are often overlooked; but what would we do without them?  Maybe you already know some human lady bugs including yourself.  They are needed in every community in organizations like schools and churchs.  They might not be missed until they are gone and there is no one to take their place.

Lady Bugs care about people.  They protect and provide for their friends, families, and communities and (may I add) for their countrys.  In WWII they had their ration books and other conservation practices, and,yes of course, Rosey the Riveter.  They are industrious bunch and they often are self-starters.

They are often very spiritual and are an essential part of God’s Garden.  They do not need fanfare and may not even want it; but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it to them.  It also doesn’t mean that they are aren’t thoughtful people and have the brainpower to back it up.  To be continued….

Let A Smile Be Your Umbrella (Song Lyric)

Facial Expressions?If you smile with your eyes, you are not telling lies.  What do you think?  We have been trained to give a false smile if we want to be polite or to not offend somebody or to not be seen as unfriendly.  Most people smile just with their mouths when they do this.  Do you smile with your whole face?  Do you just “beam” when you do this?

Many of us practice denial most of the time and say we are happy or not mad when we really aren’t.  How do we get trained to do this?  I see many people with unhappy, sad, or “down in the mouth” looks on their faces and when i “call them on it” they deny it.  Who are they fooling? or do they really think that they are not showing their real feelings?

Children are great “truth” tellers and objective observers until they learn how to be polite and lie about what they feel, see, or think.  How often are you congruent?  That is how often does your facial expression or body posture match the content of what you say you are feeling inside or how you feel about someone else or something else?

How often do we really look into someone one’s eyes and see what is actually there.  From early on in childhood, we camouflage genuine feelings in ourselves and even punish others, especially children, for saying or acting like what they really feel.

An animated face conveys interest in someone or something and verifies what the person is saying with their voice.  How often do we call people on it when they don’t do this even though they say that they really feel involved and interested?

Once you give up this pretense of being polite and telling white lies, people often think you are acting childishly and not like a grown up when you actually have grown up and are now dealing with reality.

Should You Judge A Book By Its Cover? What Do You Think Is More Important? Looks? Or Personality??

Drp_300px-Kohlberg_moral_stages_vop.gifo you realize we learn to like certain skin colors, hair types, body shapes, heights, and to discriminate between them.  To me, my mommy was beautiful and my grandmas were a “sight for my sore eyes,”  although they were older and heavier than my mother.  My BFF, who I met in first grade, was not judged by me on the basis of her physical size but on how much fun we had when we were together.  I had a cousin the same age as I was and I often got hand me downs from her as she (although my age) was “bigger” than me.  We have to be taught to see these differences as significant.  The standards of beauty and handsomeness can vary quite strikingly from culture to culture and have you looked at wedding pictures and seen that there is a man for every woman and a woman for every man.

I was having a discussion with my daughter-in-law and discovered that an actress that I considered to be no beauty was considered very attractive by my daughter-in-law.  Also men and women focus on different parts of the anatomy when they try to decide if a woman is beautiful and/or and a man is a potential  “chick magnet.”  Haven’t you ever heard a discussion about what physically attracts a man to a woman: her boobs, her butt, her legs, her hair color, or whatever.

Remember the saying, “Men don’t make passes at women who wear glasses.”  Doesn’t seem to face-partsmatter now.  It used to be what attracted a woman to a man was his profession or his ability to be able to support her in the style she was or would like to become accustomed to.   At mid-life or latter some men look for a younger woman sometimes even young enough to be their daughter.  Then there women who are “cougars” and seek younger men.  Ever hear the terms, “sugar daddy”or “trophy wife”?

There is one particular cable news channel that is often on at my house and one of the recurring “experts” I became acquainted with was so ugly, I didn’t like to look at him; however he was very knowledgeable and had a very credible life history to support his road to being this “expert.”  All of a sudden one day as I was listening to him, I realized he no longer was bad looking to me.  His looks didn’t change but my attitude toward them had.

rp_5798468679_59ea50286a_m.jpgI came to realize that I had been selling other people short when I concentrated on their looks instead of their personality, knowledge, and abilities.  I also I noticed I was selling myself short too when I dressed to impress and probably could not afford it instead of wearing something flattering and comfortable so I could be comfortable being me.  I don’t mean that looks don’t count.  You can go too far in this direction to the point of being offensive.

I had planned to post on the fact that the cable news channel had only impossibly beautiful women in at least distracting (if not very conservative) clothes, dangerously high heels, high maintenance hairstyles, and glamorous makeup that required that these women show up early for work in order to attain this look.  Also of course, the men who had the same jobs were often not necessarily tall, athletic, and youthful and wore more comfortable, less revealing, clothes.  I then realized I was judging these women on how they looked but in a negative way.  They didn’t deserve that either.  They invested a lot of time and money into looking the way they did and should not be judged for trying so hard.

Stay Involved, Don’t Opt Out

rp_Feelings.jpgSocial interaction is crucial to children learning language.  Watching a video or listening to an auditory version is not enough.  Are children becoming autistic because people in our world are becoming less and less involved?  What about a good old fashioned conversation or a satisfying read?  Being unable to interact with others is a very real problem and I can see the day when children have virtual play dates?  How removed from reality is this?  Will we all sit home and rely on clouds and the internet to keep us in touch?  Will the ethers be doing our talking?  It will no longer be necessary to read or write as computers will communicate for us just by talking and ultimately will thoughts and images not words be used to share ideas?

 rp_2269499855_31a018a8f6_m.jpg This just started out as a blog about how children need human contact to learn and ultimately to thrive.  Scarey isn’t it?  For example, someday people will not sign their names, not just because they did not learn cursive writing; but because reading and writing are no longer considered necessary.  We have done this since the dawn of the machine age and eliminating the human factor in creating things that we need and use.  Is it possible we are also eliminating the good vibrations that many skilled, dedicated craftsmen and craftswomen put into their work.

Flowers Versus Weeds. How Were You Raised? What Are You Raising?

rp_8150559597_f6b72c73b6_m.jpgIt all depends on your point of view.
The problem is that in your garden you may have been taught to see certain plants as weeds and which should be “weeded” out and others as flowers which should be cultivated.  Many people when they plant their gardens expect to get flowers but the truth is that when you plant a seed, you may get not get what you expected which is someone like you and you don’t know how to cultivate them.  How do you handle this mystery seed as a disappointment or as a wonderful new discovery  if you got what you were hoping for.  Why take it out on the plant, because you have to learn new cultivating  techniques and, for example, provide different amounts of water, different amounts of sunshine or shade, and different kinds and amounts of plant food as well as protection from different types of insect infestation.  Some require  more space than others or grow taller and block the sun getting to other plants and/or your view of them.  You can look on this as a pleasant surprise or as a serious disappointment and/or you might learn new things about growing different “plants”.

rp_300px-Drill.jpgThe famous Kennedy family had their developmentally disabled daughter unsuccessfully operated on to deal with her unconventional behavior and then institutionalized her because they couldn’t cope with her unfortunate behavior changes after surgery and her perceived inability to benefit (they thought) no longer from family life with the other children.  Could she who was seen as an unfortunate weed that needed to be changed been raised successfully (at least for her if not for them) in the in the Kennedy family compound? They felt that they couldn’t cope with her behavior and poor ability to comprehend and benefit from what was going on around her.  It was an unfortunate decision and at the time, they didn’t know that the operation would not help her, but injury her further.

Did you get what you individually needed to grow and flourish as the flower that you actually  were or were you treated unfortunately as an unwanted weed? Also what were your parents considered to be by their parents, teachers, and even peers?  Flowers or weeds? and how were they raised? you-are-exactly-who-you-are-suppose-to-beTaking account of the differences as well as the similarities is important in raising your own off spring or the children you have contact with, students, nieces and nephews,  etc. .  Consider such happenings  as a pleasant  surprise and  as a splendid way to learn new things and see life from a different point of view and not as dealing with an unwanted pest and, at best, as at least an inconvenience to have such a child and set them the child up for the rest of his or her life to be seen as a failure or to be at the least second best when compared with a sibling or or siblings who might more meet your expectations and fit your style of dealing with life itself.

Never Stop Learning New Things. Don’t give up!

rp_2269499855_31a018a8f6_m.jpgOnce you’ve met your peak.  Once you have met your goals.  Don’t give up.   Learning is a life long process and it doesn’t end until you are at “Heaven’s” door.  Once you have the motivation, you will never give up.  Life continues to unfold as you know more and more.  This way you’ll never be a bore.  I have not stopped and I never will.

Many people once they reach the “mountain top” begin to slide down the slippery slope toward life’s ending.  Whatever goal they achieve, they may say to themselves, “Is that all that there is?”  and if they get back the answer, “Yes,” they give up and tread water for the rest of their lives until they get tired of doing it and sink into the throws of life’s end.

rp_Machine-Doest-Have-Brain-Sign-S-8429.gifFor me death is not an ending, it is a transition.  I prefer to call it that because I believe that life goes on in another way when you reach it.   I realize that transitioning can happen at anytime and for many it comes too early and for others, too late.  I don’t like to keep my brain busy with thinking about  it.

Sometimes it is better to focus on the present moment and enjoy what happens.  For example, a person with early memory problems may enjoy a phone call or reading a card; but then not remember everything that was talked about.    Should family and friends stop communicating with this person because they will not remember all of what is said?  My answer is, “No.”  There is still pleasure in the moment.  Why deny them that?

rp_5238574678_75a3ca1b14_m.jpgFor the person above the pleasure of learning “new” things happens over and over.  Why deny them that pleasure.  Why deny yourself the pleasure of learning new things or of seeing things in a new way?  Holding too strongly onto the “old” can deny yourself the pleasure of the “new”.  Who knows what is left to learn?  Learning new things is known to keep your brain young.  Sharing the joy of learning can bond people of any age.  Why be a “bore” or a “stick in the mud”. Especially to yourself!

Take A Trip This Christmas And Leave Your Worries Behind

Take a trip this Christmas.  It doesn’t matter where you go  if you know you won’t have to do anything but enjoy the ride.  That is what I am going to do when I take a Christmas shopping trip tomorrow.  Somebody else is driving and I don’t have to worry about getting in and out of the vehicle and finding a parking space.  We are going out to dinner and seeing Christmas lights.  The most it will cost me is a small fee for the ride and whatever I decide to pay for my food at dinner.  I have nothing in particular to get and I will be happy to get out and about no matter what stores we go to.  It is out of my hands and I like it that way.  There will be no drama as far as I am concerned as I don’t expect more than what I have described on this trip.

rp_300px-Face-smile.svg_.pngI leaving my worries and bills at home.  My motto at home is ” what house gets kept I keep”;  and I am sure the household chores that don’t get done before I go will be there waiting there for me when I get home.    I will empty my mind and leave room to experience the gift of the present.  I will not be concerned with whether or not I will make friends. . I just want to get along with the other passengers.   I won’t be rude or crude.  I don’t care which seat I get in the bus.  I won’t fight over a window seat .  I won’t try to take control of the group riding the bus and demand that they sing Christmas carols, the ones that I want to sing

I am going to let go and no matter what happens (even if it doesn’t make me deliriously  happy) I am going to accept it and realize that the privilege of getting to go on the trip is enough  and so is having a chance to to leave all my cares behind.  Now your “trip” might not be my “trip”; but do it anyway.  Just let go and do something with few expectations about what will happen.  Give yourself a break.  If  possible, leave all or as many of your responsibilities behind as you can.  You can always take them back up again when your “trip” ends.

Rediscovering Yourself

meditation stonesI went to Sedona to rediscover myself.

Rediscovering your self is a process that you go through many times in your life.  You may think that you already know who you are and then you discover what you really are is really someone else.  Have you become society”s conception of what you ought to be.  Make your own plan, forge ahead blindly not knowing where you are going but knowing you have the freedom to do so.

Meet your soul, the person you were meant to be, not letting other people or other things determine who you are.  Do you not know what you want.  although you may know what you do not want.  Unfortunately the unconscious only understands positive statements and we waste a lot of time having negative thoughts and not converting these negative thoughts into positive ones.  We don’t want to be disappointed so we warn ourselves that we must protect ourselves against losing things that have come to mean a lot to us.

rp_300px-ThinkingMan_Rodin.jpgMost of us were warned against having a “big head” as a child or even as an adult and this prevents  us from promoting ourselves.  Fortunately or unfortunately men more than women are encouraged and reinforced for creating a name for themselves and for getting respect from others.  Think of the accomplishments a man can line up: school board president, kindly old physician, preacher, evangelist, solid businessman.  Someone whose opinions and comments count.

Some of us have been encouraged to step back and let others have the limelight.  “Pride goeth before a fall.” A male “expert” often gets more recognition than a female “expert”. We think for  “the chosen” to have powers, others must shirk or shrink from the limelight.

Our self-confidence is often  so fragile that we can become depressed and procrastinate and feel  doomed to fail.  We think that there is no room in the inn for us and we must settle for the stable.    We spin our wheels and get nowhere.

Everyone is important just as every child is precious.  Do you not think that your grandchild or son or daughter is or was precious.  Their eyes, their nose, their mouth were perfect.  Every saying they made or thing that they did or created was or is  precious.  Something to be cherished and remembered.  What happened to you?  When did you stop being a cute little kid?  God’s or nature’s perfect gift.

rp_303404356_6ff7a23b4b_m.jpgSelf confidence and courage do a lot to keep a person from having cold feet about what they want to accomplish.  Most of us suffer from the that we can’t debilitating have or do what we want so we stop wishing and visualizing the perfect future for us.

Sometimes we focus on one objective  that was chosen by ourselves as an acceptable one or by others for us to the exception of all else.  Remember when we free to explore all outlets of life back when your artwork or other creations were considered to be significant and not a waste of time.  Yet you began to work harder and harder to meet the one goal that you thought was achieveable whether you liked it or not.

The opportunities are endless if you believe in their existence.  Don’t limit yourself and don’t let others limit you.  Are you the friend everybody likes because compared to you they are successful in life?  “Oh, woe is me”, can be an endless litany and those who listen to it can become tried of it eventually.  When should you start discovering your real self?  THE TIME IS NOW!

 

 

Here I Am, I Can Not Do Otherwise

rp_182075622_e2c5a99240_m.jpgDo you stand up for yourself especially when it means going it alone.  Unconditional love can be hard to find.  And when you give unconditional love, you may not get it back.  Risky isn’t it?  Condemnation comes more easily than acceptance.  Do you want to hurt someone before they can hurt you?  Babies and puppies and kittens can be very trusting and can give their affection without realizing that they might get hurt by doing it.  Back in the teenage years and later as a young adult, a person may not have wanted to make the first move when dating for fear of being rejected.  Rejection can be a very dangerous thing if you are small.  Who can you depend on to meet the needs that you can’t yet meet for yourself?  Do you know at that age that the rejection most likely won’t last and you will be secure again?   What stock of experiences stored in his or her memory does a child have to depend on to be sure that  he or she is will be safe and will be accepted and cared for once again.  Love withdrawal because of this is a dangerous form of discipline.  It is the act that is disliked not the person but the child doesn’t know that.

When a child starts having a peer group, that is another place where a child can suffer from rejection.  Child often learn to quickly gang up on another child and by rejecting that child, make his or

Gossiping

Gossiping

herself feel more secure.  Isn’t being ostracized or shunned often the worse thing that can happen to a person.  How often do we look around at the people in the group that we are in to determine what is the safe thing to do or say?  For example which is safest? being a Christian or being a Muslim or for being for abortion versus being against it.  Isn’t it often that the person that says what other people are afraid to say is the person that is doing the right thing.  Worse yet you can be killed by standing out from a crowd in this way and such uncalled for slaughter is often a satisfactory way of warding off dissent.

rp_8402039996_b8ea3fb471_m.jpgSometimes aren’t animals more loyal and self-sacrificing than humans?  In this case which one the animal or the human is more moral?  Humans can be self sacrificing and share all they have with others in their group.  Giving can be more satisfying than receiving.  I have a wonderful spiritual friend who just bubbled over when it was suggested to her that the most fun in the world would be to be able to give people something they really wanted and couldn’t ordinarily have.

Even some murderers and many other  wrong doers have some sort of a conscience and this is often what trips them up and gets them caught.  There are, however, people out there often called psychopaths or sociopaths who do not even have a remnant of a conscience and can get away with doing horrendous things because there they have no conscience.  Role models are important in the building of a conscience.  If somebody does something for you that they don’t have to do and is even self-sacrificing, you may want to imitate them because when they behave this way they make you feel good.

Life for me is making a closer and closer approximation to a person who believes that other men are his or her brothers and sisters and that certain “truths” rp_The_Meaning_of_Life_with_Gay_Byrne.jpgare worth standing up for and fighting for.  I know when I am not living up to this standard and I believe I have been purposely put on earth to do this.  Current studies of animal behavior also demonstrate loving and caring behavior in such nonhuman animals as dolphins and elephants as well.  Here I stand, I can not do otherwise (Martin Luther).