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The Importance of Appreciation

Posted on November 8, 2011 at 12:06 PM Comments comments (76)
The Importance of Appreciation

Nothing teaches character better than generosity. Jim Rohn, The Treasury of Quotes

Appreciation works on many levels simultaneously. It blesses us when we feel it, it blesses us when we share it, and it blesses the world when we teach it. It is a gentle and sincere way to express worth to our children. Being appreciative of others is a wonderful way for children to discover their own sense of worth. Although it costs nothing to live appreciatively, the benefits to all involved are staggering.

An eighteenth-century mother once wrote, "God sends Children for another purpose than merely to keep up the race. . .(He sends them) to enlarge our hearts; and to make us unselfish and full of kindly sympathies and affections; to give our souls higher aims; to call out all our faculties to extended enterprise and exertion; and to bring round our firesides bright faces, happy smiles and loving, tender hearts."

He also sends them to us to teach them appreciation. There can be no love, no joy, no happiness without appreciation. Appreciation is our greatest weapon against one of the greatest social evils in the world today - entitlement. The way to insure that higher aims fill our souls, and that tender affections fill our hearts, is through appreciation. It is pure and simple, an it works.

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Teaching Children Self-Discipline

Posted on September 21, 2011 at 7:26 PM Comments comments (31)
 Teaching Children Self-Discipline

by Dawn Billings, parenting expert and creator of the new award winning,  patent-pending parent tool called CAPABLES. Dawn is also the CEO & Founder of TROVA Business Network and The Heart Link Women’s Network, with excerpts from her book Entitled to Fail, Endowed to Succeed: America’s Journey Back to Greatness. Dawn is the founder of Heart to Heart Media and Find Success.

Self-discipline is one of the top skills your child can possess. Teaching your child how you practice restraint, hindsight and foresight will make the difference between success and mediocrity, but more than that it will make the difference between happiness and misery. That is why I created the CAPABLES Parent Tool.

Self-discipline is not about self-deprivation. It is not about denying yourself pleasure, success, joy or happiness.

Instead self-discipline is about CHOICE. It is about teaching our children to take the time to make a considered conscious choice about the kind of actions and behaviors that will lead them either away or toward their dreams.

Self-discipline is about delayed gratification. Not every whim and desire can be gratified immediately or we can easily trip right off our path to success and into the muck and mire of mediocrity.  Self-discipline is not teaching your children a "go-without" mentality. Instead it is teaching them a “go-toward” mentality. It teaches them to constantly check in and see if their choices will lead them toward their dreams of success.

To reach continually elevated accomplishments, you need to understand self discipline as a means to attainment: attainment of ambition, desire and aspirations. Here are my top secrets for helping your child succeed with self-discipline:

Denying the voice inside them that says, "It’s time to break and gain clarity." The old belief that if you take a break to think and gain clarity it means you are not playing the game of life full out, or worse, you are being lazy. Staying aware of where you are and where you want to go is imperative to successfully staying on your path to success.

Procrastination. Do the thing you don’t want to do, first. When you can teach your child to do that one thing they dread first, it frees them up to be more creative, enjoy their time more, be better time managers, etc. This one great lesson can help them avoid so much unnecessary stress and failure in their life.

When you fall off the "discipline" wagon, just get back on! It is never the falling that matters, it is always the getting up, dusting off, and beginning again without loss of enthusiasm. It is important to teach our children to separate their tasks and efforts from their self-worth as a person. Part of the reason people are not as disciplined as others is because they have the fear of failure. No one wants to be “A Failure” but we all will and I believe, even must fail, in order to become great successes. Teach your children that even if they fail, it is a step toward success. The only true failure is the not taking the risk!

Self-discipline is NOT a trait. It is a skill. Self-discipline is not a trait or characteristic that some people have and others don’t. Now, there is no question that some children have a temperament that is easier directed toward self-discipline, but it is really about skill and developing skill simply takes a commitment and practice. Self-discipline is a skill that continuously needs nurturing, cultivation and encouragement. It’s a skill that needs consistency because like muscles, when you stop working them, they begin to weaken.

Thinking in terms of "all or nothing." The "all or nothing" thinking is prevalent for survival in the animal kingdom, but as human beings, we must learn moderation and consideration. Being a perfectionist can harm and weaken self-discipline. We need to teach our children to strive for excellence but that perfection does not exist. Self discipline is a critical part of personal and professional development. It’s a skill you are guaranteed to find in every successful entrepreneur, businesswoman and corporate executive, so you can see why it is very important to help our children cultivate and strengthen this skill.
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How Important is a Father

Posted on September 5, 2011 at 5:13 PM Comments comments (136)
by Dawn Billings, parenting expert and creator of the new award winning,  patent-pending parent tool called CAPABLES. Dawn is also the CEO & Founder of TROVA Business Network and The Heart Link Women’s Network, with excerpts from her book Entitled to Fail, Endowed to Succeed: America’s Journey Back to Greatness. Dawn is the founder of Heart to Heart Media and Find Success.

How important is a Father. Researchers tell us that a Father’s influence impacts their child’s self-esteem. Not that a mother's doesn't mind you, but differently. No one would say a father is unimportant in a child's life, but sometimes fathers are unavailable, or worse, not good role models.

So let's look at what is self esteem is,  and what determines it? This is a question that is important for all parents. Where does self-esteem come from. Is it your financial status? Your gender? Your age? Yes, on all accounts. Your self-esteem — even low self-esteem — may be influenced by a strange combination of life circumstance, gender, and stage of life.

Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary defines “self-esteem” in two ways:
1. belief in oneself; self-respect                             2. undue pride in oneself

As you can see, the definitions are not the same. One creates an environment for success, the other an environment for disillusionment and failure.

In the New York Times Sunday Magazine, Lauren Slater wrote an article in February 2004 titled “The Trouble with Self- Esteem.” Slater claims that the main objective of school self-esteem programs is “to dole out huge heapings of praise, regardless of actual accomplishment.” As you can see, Slater is working off of the second definition from Webster’s. If there is even a small minority of teachers or parents who believe that doling out heaped praise, regardless of any accomplishment, is the way to successfully build their children’s self-esteem, it is imperative that we, as advocates for families and children, take the time to evaluate, understand, and dissect current strategies and then clarify what practices best aid children in building an authentic sense of value and self-worth.

Experts and advocates for the “self-esteem movement” believe that it continues to represent the cutting edge in cultivating healthy people and healthy communities. Moreover, they believe it represents our most promising and effective means of building social capital and developing sustainable solutions to our most persistent societal   problems.   In  1988,   assemblyman   John Vasconcellos charged the California Task Force to Promote Self-Esteem and Personal and Social Responsibility to lead a public study to investigate whether healthy, authentic self-esteem correlates with various troubling behaviors including violence, drug abuse, welfare dependency, and school failure. In its 1990 report, the task force formulated its definition of “self-esteem,” based on two years of research, public polling, and expert deliberation, as “our capacity to appreciate our own worth and importance, to be accountable for ourselves, and to act responsibly toward others."

As you can see, this definition flows out of the first definition from Webster’s but adds two vital actions to the dictionary definitions. The Webster’s definitions are based simply on a feeling or belief held by a person. The task force’s definition calls for action—calls for a person

to be personally accountable and to act responsibly toward others.

This definition not only better serves our children and our hopes for them, but also succeeds in balancing the first word in this two-word construct: self. The definition developed by the task force alters the focus of self-esteem from that of a feeling and morphs it into a foundation. Self- esteem, when encouraged as simply a feeling, fails children. Feelings are fickle. Self-esteem must be encouraged as a foundation of a child’s character, supported by actions and choices that prove the child’s value to him- or herself. The only way to develop authentic self-esteem is to earn it. No amount of praise can create it. Only by taking actions that a child believes have value can the seed of self-esteem be nurtured. This seed then grows into character.

At the end of each day,
you should play back the tapes of your performance.
The results should either applaud you or prod you.
Jim Rohn

According to a new study by the American Psychological Association, rich, happily married men around 60 have the highest self-esteem. In contrast, the survey found confidence is lowest among young adults. Have you ever asked yourself why?
After peaking in men around 60, retirement and declining health cause a decline in self-esteem. The Daily Telegraph said the study looked at 3,617 American men and women, ages 25 to 104, between 1986 and 2002. The survey rated how their self-esteem changed during that period, the newspaper said.The study was published by the Washington-headquartered American Psychological Association.

Women were less confident than men, only catching up when they got to their 80s or even 90s. Wow, if we live long enough women, we start to feel confident. Isn’t it interesting that men began to lose their confidence after 60 and women begin to step into their confidence in their 80′s and 90′s? A better education, income, health and employment status also affected self-esteem, the report said, with those having those advantages reporting higher levels of self-esteem. Their self-esteem rose as they aged. A happy marriage also led to higher levels of confidence.
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