2) St. Patrick’s Day – Big day around here although I’m not sure our town is so very Irish. Richmond is big on craft beer so maybe that’s a thing with St. Patty’s Day. I love celebrating because of the patron saint Patrick, all the green decor against the gray of winter, and corned beef and cabbage.
Does being Scottish make a difference in how much I love this holiday?
3) 14-year-olds & Adulting – When do we begin preparing our children for adulthood? Is it middle school or earlier? Definitely waiting until high school will keep us to often in catch-up mode. Still it is never too late hopefully. My favorite book on this topic is Escaping the Endless Adolescence by Joseph Allen and Claudia Worrell Allen.
Instead of asking: “What will keep our teens out of trouble?” “What will make them happy?” or “What will get them into college?”, we need to switch our focus to a different set of queries: “How can we introduce realistic elements of adulthood into their worlds?” What activities best provide real feedback about their effort and skill?” and “Which other adults can we recruit to help pass our values on to them?” In short, we need to switch our focus from activities that reflect living happily as a teenager to activities that let our young people actually use their energy, connect with adults, and make choices that matter in order to begin moving successfully into adulthood. – Allen & Allen
In their helps for parents of teens (and younger children), the Allen’s coach how to guide kids to become contributing members of the family, how to give genuine, real-world feedback toward maturity, how to connect their kids with role model adults (including the parents themselves), and how to positively stretch their kids toward skill- and confidence-building.
This topic has really pressed in on me working with refugee families in the US. These children are in a world of change, trying to pick up language, school content, and American culture. No wonder they try to escape into their after-school screen lives. Chores exist but not much opportunity to engage with a larger community…especially where it really counts for them to show up and help.
What do kids need to be successful heading into high school, besides the grades and understanding of school culture? Are there responsibilities (“response abilities”) which all young people need as part of their skill set?
Ellen Sturm Niz’s 12 Basic Life Skills Every Kid Should Know by High School warns against doing too much for our children, preventing them from learning how to do for themselves (AND others). She shares a list of basic life skills from How to Raise an Adult by Julie Lythcott-Haims. Any you would add?
- Make a meal.
- Wake themselves up on time.
- Do laundry.
- Pump gas.
- Pitch in.
- Advocate for themselves.
- Pack their own bag.
- Order at restaurants.
- Talk to strangers.
- Go grocery shopping.
- Plan an outing.
- Take public transportation.
Stuck in Endless Adolescence – CBS Video – Interview with authors Joseph Allen and Claudia Worrell Allen, discussing a Pew Research Center study that 70 percent of people under 30 live with their parents.
4) Soundtracks of Our Lives – Our kids recently gave me the Jon Acuff book Soundtracks: The Surprising Solution to Overthinking. Such a surprising and encouraging read. One cool thing about Acuff’s writing is how he gives practical counsel from the first chapter. He doesn’t make you wait. Acuff defines soundtracks as “repetitive thoughts” – those memories and reactions that keep playing on repeat in our minds that cause us to choose a direction in life, often to avoid rather than embrace life and relationship. Overthinking too often communicates our fears back to ourselves, as if they are true and justified. Instead of ruminating on those moments of perceived rejection, felt failure, or self-doubt, we change up the soundtracks playing in the background of our lives. In moving away from broken soundtracks to new healing and helpful soundtracks, Acuff tells us to consider, “What do I want to be true?”
One of my broken soundtracks has been “I don’t finish well.” Too fuzzy-boundaried, distractible, interruptible. What if I flipped those parts of my personality? What if they became super-powers? What we tell ourselves about ourselves (and others, also) powerfully impacts the decisions we make and the directions we take. What if “finishing well” in my mind included compassion for others, curiosity, and wonder? Instead of beating myself up over what are perceived weaknesses, what if I disciplined them to be strengths?
For you, a broken soundtrack could be a hurtful memory that feels so real and ugly that you can’t imagine it could ever be healed. So you build walls around your heart to keep from thinking about it or the person who perpetrated that harm? Is it possible that your memory of that event has been made uglier by years of mulling it over and over in your mind? [Please do NOT hear me discount trauma. I do not.] What you can consider, as Acuff writes, is that memory can be re-visited such that it doesn’t determine your direction today. New possibilities are available to you, even in re-thinking the memory. Healing is possible.
4 Soundtracks to Survive the Holidays – Jon Acuff Podcast – great advice for any time of the year; any family gathering or work retreat, for instance.
5) Wonder – Wonder is my word for this year. It is defined as “a splendid or conspicuous work, a miracle, a marvel”. We are surrounded by wonderful, beautiful, tangible objects, processes, and people. And wonders beyond our reach that cause us to pause and…wonder.
Our short-sightedness at such things can be an effect of where we settle our gaze, or hearing, or thoughts. Screens can either point us to wondrous things beyond our experience or shrink our worlds to the size of a phone, tablet, or computer/TV.
Look up. Get close. Be quiet a moment and listen.
Let’s never lose the wonder of the beauty that surrounds us. The beauty we experience…even in hard places. Even in suffering.
That’s it for this week. So many faves to choose from. Any you want to share? Comment below. Until next time. Thanks for stopping by.