November 2010 Archives

Friends - Here is the text of a Good Housekeeping "sidebar" on resilience (December issue, page 124) that Jacqueline Nochisaki put together after interviewing me:

Four simple moves that'll nurture a bounce-back kid from John Scardina, a school psychologist and parent educator in City Island, NY:
  • GIVE YOUR CHILD THE REINS: When your child is talking about a tough situation, let her finish, then say, "This must be really tough." Pause. "What are you going to do about it?" The key here is to show you are tuned in  by acknowledging the pain she is feeling, but ultimately turn it back on your child to handle it.
  • CAST A VOTE OF CONFIDENCE: As your child formulates a plan, give her a boost by saying, "I see someone who is caring," or "...strong," or "...good at x, y, z." Reflecting her assets back to the child helps her realize she is capable of handling the situation, tough as it may be at first. "Say, 'I know you can handle this, but if you need help let me know,'" says Scardina. "Then leave her on her own."
  • CREATE A GRATITUDE LIST: Help a kid going through a tough phase count his blessings and cultivate optimism: Have your family write up and post a gratitude list of five to ten things to be grateful for. The message: These good things in life are here to stay, regardless of challenging situations. When your child is feeling low, remind him to look over his list.
  • CALL IN THE PROFESSIONALS: If your child has a rough patch and experiences sleep or appetite disruption or lethargy, or a you notice a change in relationships with family or friends, it may be time to have a therapist step in. Ask your pediatrician, family practitioner, religious leader, or school guidance counselor for references. 

An Attitude of Gratitude

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In the midst of our material possessions - even the least fortunate of us often have more than a majority of the world's people - it is easy to take our gifts for granted. Even when beset by hardship, an attitude of gratitude is a valuable tool for emotional well-being. How can we engender this attitude in ourselves and our children?

1)      Say "thank you" like you mean it: don't just toss off that phrase, but make eye contact and give a smile. Work with your child to make this a meaningful exchange: it really sets a tone.

2)      Stop and say grace before a meal: a moment of silence, a simple prayer, a song (my grandchildren like to sing the "Johnny Appleseed" grace) - any conscious moment to be grateful goes far. (It also improves digestion and allows the cook/server to sit down before everyone digs in!)

3)      Make a gratitude list: Have each family member list ten things they are grateful for and post the lists on the refrigerator. When you or your child is feeling especially beset by the world, take out the list and read it.

4)      Realize that it isn't just about you: Human beings have evolved as social beings and need the nurture and care of one another. (Current brain research stresses the development of the "social brain" as a vital part of maturation.) Let your family and friends know that you are grateful for their presence in your life.

5)      Give the gift of "presence" as well as "presents": This phrase has been spoken by many people and is among my favorites. The simplest and most direct way to share of yourself is to be there for another person in their times of need as well as in their times of joy.

Blessings to all as this holiday season unfolds.

 Here's the handout for a talk I gave at Friends Academy on November 2nd:

1)                Circle of Friends (song)

2)               Growing Into Goodness

3)               Continuing Revelation Through Human Development

4)               Following the Testimonies at Home:

a)   Simplicity

                                                 i.      Plain speaking

                                                 ii.    Clutter-free living

                                                iii.   What's really important?

b)    Peace

                                               i.      Rules for fighting fair

                                               ii.      Sandwich technique

c)   Integrity

                                               i.      Speaking truth

                                             ii.      Respecting developmental needs

                                            iii.      Allowing for accountability

d)  Community

                                             i.      Family meetings

                                             ii.      Extended family networks

                                            iii.      World citizenship

e)    Equality

                                             i.      Spiritual rights

                                            ii.      Power versus shared responsibility

f)    Service

                                            i.      Families in community service

                                            ii.    Group decisions re contributions

g)  Stewardship

                                            i.      Respect for the planet

                                          ii.      Right sharing of world resources

5)   Mindfulness/taking time to breathe/presence not presents

6)    Dear Friends


It is my privilege to work with you and this community.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from November 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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