Archive for February, 2012

Several months ago there was a sale at a school and up for grabs were bookshelves, desks, instruments and a million other things. We went, of course, and found three desks for the girls. Problem was they would not all fit in the back of the truck. I came home and hooked up the trailer (a very proud and physically tiring task!) and returned to the sale. The man who helped me load commented that he had never seen a woman tie down cargo quite as well as I had. Proud moment number two! After a successful drive home, I approached the driveway and faced a great obstacle: backing the trailer into the driveway.

I have watched my husband do this over the last 13 years and I remember the ‘steer in the opposite direction’ concept from driver’s ed. classes, but this was the first time I had actually attempted backing up a trailer on my own.

After several failed attempts and even more positive encouragement from my daughters, I did manage to back it in. While learning how to do this, I was completely blocking traffic on our street and had more than one offer from a man to just to it for me. Stubbornness runs fiercely through my blood, and I politely said, “No. I have to learn how to do this.” Luckily, the men just waited patiently in their trucks and laughed at my many comical moves.

My pride was a bit bruised by their laughter, I’ll admit, but when I did finally succeed, those lovely men actually cheered for me. That was worth all the work!

A few days later, my middle daughter was working on a new math concept, her most difficult subject. Working together, she could solve the problems well. But as soon as she was on her own, she forgot what to do next. And so I would model the process again, this time asking her to figure the steps along the way. On her own once more, she would trip and fail. We were both frustrated and I didn’t know what else to do.

“I think you just need to try these on your own. Do one problem then show me. We can figure out the mistakes together, but you need to give this a go.”

She did not like the idea. “What if I get it wrong?”

Ah-ha! That was the problem. Children are afraid to make mistakes and adults are quick to jump and respond too harshly.

Children need a safe place to learn, explore, make mistakes and succeed. There is a line from the movie, Megamind when Titan, the bad guy, tells Megamind that he always fails. Megamind responds with, “I might fail, but I’ve learned from my mistakes.” And he proceeds in successfully defeating the bad guy. (I apologize if that’s a spoiler for anyone!)

I reminded her of that line in the movie. “We learn the most when we try and fail. Sometimes learning what doesn’t work is more important than learning what does. Thomas Edison, in inventing the light bulb, said he found a thousand ways that it didn’t work. He needed to find only one way that did.” (another movie line! Thank you National Treasure!)

“Like when you backed up the trailer?” she remembered. “Those men wanted to help you, but you said no.”

“And now I know how.”

My parents always told me that parenting was a more difficult than growing up because you re-live all the emotions that your children feel. How true! I’ve also discovered that children are learning how to be adults. If, as parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends we can embrace a child’s mistakes and use them to enhance their understanding of this world and how they fit in, we are creating a future of people who can pass along the tradition of knowing the value of the ‘try and try again’ principle. The moms and dads of the world also need opportunities to completely fall on their faces and get back up. What would happen if we forgave a friend who made a grievous mistake that hurt us? Or what would happen if we gave a co-worker, who should know better, the opportunity to re-do a botched project?

In a nut shell, children are being schooled on the idea of adulthood. Adults are taking the test.


Read Full Post »

5 Steps to Gain 6 to 14 Hours of Productive Time.

Read Full Post »

Fact: There are only 24 hours in a day.

Fiction: That’s not enough time to do anything.

Fact: The world has been built, destroyed, and built again within the time constraints of 24-hour days.

Another Fact: It’s possible to find an extra 6- 14  hours in a day to be productive and still sleep the recommended 8 hours a night (unless you have an infant. Sorry.)

We all have dreams to reach for, items on our life-list we want to check off before we are checked off: write a novel, run a marathon, start a business, or read a book a month. Maybe it’s a vital goal that would infinitely improve your life: going back to school, exercise more and possibly join a fitness competition, reading the Bible every morning. Why don’t we? The excuses are the same for every person: not enough time.

Imagine this: your doctor tells you that unless you walk for an hour a day, you will die in less than a year. Would you walk? Or what if a publishing company offered you an ample advance on a story idea you have – a check that would put your kids through college! (yeah, I know…Fiction!) Would you find the time to write that story? One more: you have an idea for a business that will bring in enough income for your family to be forever comfortable. Would you take the risk and start the business?

Well? What are you waiting for?

Oh right, not enough time in the day. You already have a job, kids that need your attention, and responsibilities that make those dreams impossible.

I have one word for that…ok, I have many words for that, none of them nice. I’m going to play it safe with: “WRONG!”

We have 24 hours a day to accomplish some really amazing things! Look at humanity from Creation to the turn of the 19th century. People built entire cities without power tools. They traveled the world on the backs of horses, then wagons, then trains and now planes. Think that happened because the inventors and builders of modern transportation were secretly granted 34 hours a day? Say it with me: “Wrong!”

Here are a few steps we all can take to find those hours we need to stand above the crowd:

1. Gain 30 Minutes. Wake up 30 minutes early. This is perfect for people who want to start their day with a Bible reading, Prayer or Exercise. I’ve also gained substantial ground by writing at least 30 minutes a day. It’s not a long time, but if used wisely, it can make all the difference.

2. Gain 2-6 Hours. Unplug the T.V. Honestly, do it. You will still be able to breathe and life will go on even though you won’t know what happened to Character X or last night’s score was.  T.V. is a great resource for information and stories, but let’s be honest, how many procedural cops shows do we really need? Can the world turn without the Soap scum? I know, these words are harsh, but so is the content of much of what’s out there.  And yes, I have taken my own advice. We unplugged four years ago and in that time I’ve written five novels and have four more in the works.

3. Gain 2 hours once a week by hiring a babysitter. This obviously applies to parents or people who are caring for an aging parent, but it’s so important to find that alone time that isn’t wasted. If you want to accomplish something, hire some help to entertain the kids (or dad) once a week. And I’ll be honest, this has more benefits than you know. After hiring a sitter for over a year, I completed a novel, found peace in the quiet of not being around my kids, gained a forever friend in the young woman who came over each week (Hi Adriane!), and had more energy to play with my children knowing that I had some scheduled ‘time off’.

4. Gain 1-4 Hours. Stay off Facebook and Twitter. Think about how often you check these social networks. It would be very interesting to take a poll to see how many times a day the average person checks for tweets, comments, and updates. You are addicted to these if you answer ‘yes’ to any of the following questions:

– Facebook is my homepage.

– I check Facebook more than once a day.

– I ‘tweet’ more than I speak.

– I have a Farm on Facebook. (Or am a member of the mob or whatever the latest FB game is.)

5. Gain 2-4 hours. Turn off your phone. Did you just gasp with disbelief? Is your hand at your throat, as if the suggestion to turn off your phone would sever the jugular of your existence? If so, you need to turn your phone off for at least the time that you put forth an honest effort to write, exercise, work on your business plan, read, etc.

Our world has really amazing technology and really lazy people. Think that’s just a coincidence?




Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: