Posted in Change, Health, Life, Parenthood, Relationships, Sharing, The Family, Time, Willpower

Make a habit of it!

You know, I was recently thinking about the habits I have. Like everyone I have some good habits and bad habits and it made me wonder why we never think to capitalize on this concept?

Habits are behaviors that are regularly repeated and can even occur subconsciously. Habitual behavior often goes unnoticed, because a person does not need to engage in self-analysis when doing a routine task. Habituation is one of the simplest forms of learning, in which an organism, after a period of exposure to a stimulus, stops responding to that stimulus in varied manners – technically speaking.

Habits are sometimes compulsory. The process by which new behaviors become automatic is habit formation. Old habits are hard to break and new habits are hard to form because the behavioral patterns we repeat are imprinted in our neural pathways, but it can be done.

The general population only seems to be interested in the bad habits. If someone had a habit of helping seniors with their groceries or helping them with chores, no one would care. If a guy had a habit of womanizing, we could draw a crowd pretty quick.

What if we were able to effectively trick our bodies into forming habits that were good for us? I mean instead of just falling into a bad habit, what if we were calculated with forming a good habit? Our bodies seem to respond well to repetition and at least in theory it would work. What if we formed a habit of eating five servings of vegetables and fruits per day? What if we made it a habit of giving our kids a daily dose of encouragement? What if we made it a point to make someone’s life a little easier every day? Whether it’s at home or at work, there are people in our lives who would be affected in a positive way if we thought to give them some unsolicited help.

It is the little things in life that make it worth living. It’s the things that money can’t buy. I need to make a habit of exercising daily. I need to make a habit of building the reputation of a helper. I need to make a habit of visiting my parents weekly. I need to make a habit of eating more salad.

What about you?

http://www.vcita.com/clyde.speaks

Posted in Children, Giving, God, Love, Parenthood, Relationships, society, Sports, The Family

The family constellation

The family is the most important institution in the world. It is the cornerstone of our society and an incubator for the future generations.

It is important to take care of this institution. Our future depends on it.

I believe that we need to apply some basic bible principles of love, collective work and responsibility and faith.

I compare this to a well-oiled basketball team. All the great teams have the same thing in common. Each player cares about the other. The work is shared and everyone wants to do their part. The group also believes in each other and the cause that they are going for — whether it be the championship or striving for the good life.

Each member of the team or family plays an important part. The guards are the first line of defense on one side and the initiators of the offense on the other side. The forwards attack and defend the baseline of the goal and the center brings balance.

In a family of five, one scenario could be a strong wife (point guard); oldest child (shooting guard); the other two kids playing the forward positions and the dad is the center.

Problems occur when some members don’t feel like they are a part of the team or choose not to hold up their end of the bargain. Family commitment is important and this is a good time to recommit to the health and welfare of the family.

Parents need to believe it! Children need to see it! And the world needs to follow the example!

Long live the family!

Posted in Accountability, Change, God, Justice, Life, Marriage, Parenthood, Patriotism, Penalties, Politics, Relationships, society, Taking Responsibility, The Family, Truth, Uncategorized

Truth or consequences?

Jesus, on one occasion, said to let your yea be yea and your nay be nay.

He wanted us to honor our words. If you say you are going to do something, make sure you do it. Keep your promises. Don’t say things that you do not mean. All of these things speak to the character of the one saying them.

Our society has a hard time keeping its word. From government and politicians to the pulpits and preachers and everyone in between, we struggle to keep our word.

It has been so bad that once we are found not keeping our word, the response is so callous and matter-of-factly stated, “oh well.” ” It happens.” “Get over it!”

Wives are not keeping promises to manage the home; husbands and fathers are not taking care of their families; whole school systems have failed to keep their promises to educate; and the governments deceive.

What judgment are we to face because of this? One of the seven things God hates is a lying tongue. We need not to make this too complicated. Imagine a world where everyone kept their word? Imagine a world where honesty is the most important thing and not profit?

Don’t get caught living in lies! For we must realize that we are not merely lying to men, but to God and his judgment is coming.

Let’s make 2012 a better year by presenting ourselves open and honest before God and mankind.

Posted in Achievement, Determination, Discipleship, Faith, Forgiveness, Generosity, God's Promises, Parenthood, Perseverance, Progress

Turning the page on another year

2010 is on its way out.

It ran the course it was supposed to and things happened this year as they were supposed to. So we bid farewell to this year and hopefully look to a brighter 2011.

I find life to pass like reading the pages of a book. Life is nothing but a book, really. Each day is a page we turn. Some pages we want to linger with and others we want to turn away from right at the start.

If we could continue this book theme for a moment, I’d like to share some things with you regarding your life.

Our life is like an open book. We try not to let everyone read us, but sometimes those that are reading, spread the news about what they have read. We try to turn pages and allow our book to be read, and it seems that there are always people who want to turn back to pages that were uncomfortable for you. These people like to remind you of all the bad things written in your book, but they never want to talk about the good stuff.

There are also people who are jealous of the things written in your book and they take time away from reading their own books to talking negatively about what’s in yours.

Still there are other people who would have you skip pages in your book and not let you experience every page. Just imagine someone telling you that you were too old for something or someone.

Not only do we have people reading things into our book, we can sometimes be are own worst enemy. How many mistakes have we repeated? I know I’ve made the same mistakes that have appeared on pages 11, 19, 33, 47, 51 and 69. Some mistakes are hard to shake.

There are also negative things in our book that we won’t let go of. We want to sit and sulk about something in the past instead of moving forward.

Turn the page my friend. Allow the new to replace the old and embrace the challenges of the future as you learn from the old things written in your book. So get ready to turn the page on 2010 and don’t be afraid to share your book with others. Your life story may be the only hope they have!

Welcome, 2011!

Posted in Advertising and Children, Children, Parenthood, Taking Responsibility, The Family

The high cost of advertising

No one asked me, but I think America is too stupid for the advertising that we use. I mean when words like “new and improved” make us think that a product is better or that because we see “sale” we think there is a deal, there’s a problem.

We then proceed to spend and spend and spend.

Whether we can afford to or not is not a deterrent. It seems that we spend based on mood. For some of us, if we’re happy and we know it – instead of clapping our hands – we swipe our credit cards. If we are sad and depressed we think to buy something to cheer ourselves up. If we’re angry we think we deserve something new. When we have something to celebrate we buy something. Weddings are celebrated with gifts, as is graduations, births, deaths, going away and coming home parties. There are cards to buy for every occasion under the sun. Hallmark doesn’t miss a thing!

Advertising got us to this point. Although other countries share in the advertising double-cross, in America the Federal Trade Commission is the highest authority. This commission has the responsibility of regulating laws and rules of advertising. Now, although there is much negligence in the way the FTC governs advertising to adults, I want to get your attention by shedding a little light on what they allow to be advertised to our children.

According to the FTC there was 1.6 billion dollars spent in 2006 for advertising to our children. Interestingly enough, there is no universal definition of a child when it comes to advertising. National jurisdiction is supposed to define a child. For the purposes of advertising law, the definition of a child varies from one jurisdiction to another. It seems that,  12 is commonly used as a cut-off point, on the basis of the widespread academic view that by the age of 12 children have developed their behavior as consumers, effectively recognize advertising and are able to adopt critical attitudes towards it.

My oldest daughter is 12 and I have another daughter that’s 10. I would say that my children are definitely true to their age based on maturity. My kids are far more Disney channel and Nickelodeon than anything else. They are still naïve and innocent (Thanks to God!) and they don’t look at commercials and think to themselves, “Wow! That product was geared toward me.” My daughters were watching TV the other day and I noticed a commercial for Dove body spray which had a young girl in the commercial. Afterwards, I asked my daughters did they want to try the product, they responded, “what product?” I smiled. You get that response by limiting the amount of TV.

In any event, you can take a five-year-old down the cereal aisle and watch their expression. Look at where the eyes of the characters on the cereal box are focusing. Who are they staring at? There is a psychology to advertising that should not be allowed. Christmas can almost be considered an attack against us. A deliberate plan to get us to spend money – money some of us don’t have. Our banking system is in cahoots as we are allowed credit limits which exceed our actual earnings. Although it may be too late for us adults, I wonder what it would be like, if the U.S. and the FTC adopted the same guidelines as other countries in regards to its advertising to children 12 and under.

In the United Kingdom, Greece, Denmark and Belgium advertising to children is restricted, and in Quebec, Sweden and Norway, advertising to children under the age of 12 is illegal.

The European Union also has framework legislation in place which sets down minimum provisions on advertising to children for its 27 member States. The EU Audiovisual Media Services Directive sets out several EU-wide rules concerning advertising to children:

Advertising shall not cause moral or physical detriment to minors, and shall therefore comply with the following criteria for their protection:

a. it shall not directly exhort minors to buy a product or a service by exploiting their inexperience or credulity;

b. it shall not directly encourage minors to persuade their parents or others to purchase the goods or services being advertised;

c. it shall not exploit the special trust minors place in parents, teachers or other persons;

d. it shall not unreasonably show minors in dangerous situations

e. Children’s programmes may only be interrupted if the scheduled duration is longer than 30 minutes

f. Product placement is not allowed in children’s programmes.

g. The Member States and the Commission should encourage audiovisual media service providers to develop codes of conduct regarding the advertising of certain foods in children’s programmes.

Source: Television broadcasting activities: “Television without Frontiers” (TVWF) Directive from europa.eu

Posted in Accountability, Children, Marriage, Parenthood, Success, Taking Responsibility, The Family

Who’s your daddy?

A young lady, after seeing the country embrace Mother’s Day, thought to establish Father’s Day. This young woman’s father was a Civil War veteran and had to raise a newborn with five of his other children following the death of his wife at the newborn’s birth. This woman recalls the love and tender care her father had for their family and that fact that he raised them on his own.

Her campaign led to the 1966 proclamation by then President Lyndon B. Johnson declaring Father’s Day to be the third Sunday in June.

It seems that the role of the father was short-lived in the home as the liberation of women, equal opportunity for women and minorities and the media all contributed to the destruction of the father.

Now this is not to say that there are not any great fathers today – there are tons. There are still men who care and love their families and have contributed greatly to the success of their children and their mental stability.

What I am saying is that the number of truly great dad’s pale in comparison to the number that are bad, don’t care, are not trying or think they have done enough.

America began to abandon its puritanical concept at the beginning of women’s liberation. Women needed to be liberated from the stereotypical roles forced on them by society. Along with these rules, women were trapped in these roles because our laws at the time did not protect them or provide a way for them to earn a decent living.

Moreover, there were no guarantees to force the men to care for their children if they left.

Today, new laws have given women the chance to earn just as much money as a man. She is now free to open her own door, die in wars, hear all the dirty jokes they want and stand up on crowded buses and subways without a man giving up his seat.

And now the men are just free.

When the women did the work that was stereotypically given to men, men did not, in turn, begin doing their work. This led to women having to work 40 hours or more per week and then come home and cook, clean and look after the kids. There still isn’t a rule that says a man even has to help, although it would be nice.

Following liberation and new laws, the media helped to ensure that the role of the father would never be the same.

The father went from being the steady, solid rock in the home that gave stability to the family and reinforced their core values, to being the buffoon and tail-end of all the jokes. If you are an avid TV watcher or at least enjoy watching TV land and Nick-at-Nite on cable, you will recall strong fathers like Ward Cleaver, Andy Griffith and Howard Cunningham. These fathers were traded in for weaker fathers such as Fred Flintstone, Fred Sanford and Archie Bunker.

Then it got even worse as Peter Griffin (Family Guy), Homer Simpson and Cleveland Brown (the Cleveland show) began to dominate the sitcoms. These TV fathers helped shape expectations of fathers in the home. They have contributed to the destruction of the family and made dad nothing but a joke.

We truly need a day to celebrate dads. I hope that it would be a day that males could be educated on what it takes to be a “real” dad. We need to remember when fathers chose to make sure their families knew they were loved, safe and secure. A time when fathers made sure their families never had to worry about them not coming home. We need to be reminded of a time when the fathers were the real heroes in their families and not some cartoon or some other fictitious character, but imitators in all aspects of our Father in heaven.

Posted in Parenthood, Relationships, Taking Responsibility, The Family

A Prayer for Mama

I couldn’t let this holiday go by without remembering everyone’s favorite girl – Mom!

This is one of the few things in life we all have in common. So in honor of Mother’s Day, let’s celebrate the person, the concept and the substitutes for the work that they have done, are doing and will do.

To the good mothers who are deceased, we pray that your souls rest in peace until the coming of the Lord. Like the Apostle Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 – “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The work that you have done and the legacies you have left behind will live in our hearts and minds for generations. Thank you and we will always love you.

To the good mothers who are living the golden years, we pray that the God of heaven will continue to bless you with years. You hold a special place in our hearts because you are a constant icon of everything that represents the joys in our lives. When we were young it was you who outlasted the great depression and took the lessons learned from it and made sure that we had food, clothing and shelter. You survived WWII and showed us how to make a home, how to stay married and how to love unconditionally. You were able to do a lot with a little and for that, we are eternally grateful.

To the good mothers who are still raising children, we pray that our Father in heaven will continue to give you the strength and patience to deal with all the “new age” problems facing children today. We thank you for listening. We thank you for the sacrifices. We thank you for not allowing a broken or dysfunctional home to be an excuse for not taking care of the children. We thank you for being able to provide for the family when dad is absent, unemployed or incarcerated. We thank you for being phenomenal women and we love you!

To the new mothers and mothers to be, we thank you for enlisting in the greatest army of caretakers on the planet. We thank God that you choose to raise children. We thank you for your desire, example and love. We pray that God will give you healthy babies to love and good men to raise them with. We pray that life’s challenges and opportunities don’t sway you from your task. We pray that you take parenting to the next level and educate our kids for a brighter future. Thank you for carrying the torch!

To the substitutes, step moms and grandmothers, you hold a special place in our hearts and we thank God for putting you right where you were needed. We thank you for bringing peace to troubled situations. We thank you for mending broken homes and relationships. We pray that God will continue to bless the work of your hands and for giving you such a big heart. We love you!

To the bad mothers, we thank God for you because believe it or not you are exactly what it was going to take to make some folks do better. God used you in a mighty way to allow his grace and mercy to shine through. Despite the wounded souls left in your path, we honor God on this day because His will is perfect. Don’t wonder why you are alone on this day. Go mend the broken relationships. Allow for healing by allowing your heart to be soft toward your sins. Ask for forgiveness. The ones that are hurt have been waiting on it. Once you have learned your lessons, teach others.