Got Your Oxygen Mask? 2/19/18

This Week's Love Letter 2 Parents: Got Your Oxygen Mask?

Every airplane ride begins with a very important plea- when the oxygen masks are released from above, place yours on first, before putting one on your child.  The first time we flew as parents, the oxygen mask instructions took on a whole new meaning.  How could we think of protecting ourselves before our beautiful children?

Showing Up Is Our Power 2/16/18

This Week's Love Letter 2 Parents: Showing Up Is Our Power

The heart pumps blood to itself first before it can take care of the other organs in the body because that is what it needs to do to survive. As busy parents, we need to remind ourselves that practicing self-care is not the same as being selfish. Self-care is essential to our quality of life! She talked about mindfulness, neuroplasticity, and positive coping skills as tools for relieving, managing, and preventing stress. Most importantly, she reminded us to care for ourselves, in the ways that we care for our family and friends. And, when we trip and fall, what will we say to ourselves as we get back up?

Extroverts & Introverts Sharing the Classroom 2/5/18

This weeks Love Letter 2 Parents: Extroverts and Introverts Sharing the Classroom

"School seems to be a lot easier for an extrovert.  Walking around campus and saying hi to people, participating in class seems to come natural for someone like an extrovert. Introverts have to work very hard at putting themselves out there. The extrovert doesn’t have to think too hard to raise their hand or say hello to someone they don’t know well.  Also, something I never really thought about was how hard I have to work to be different than what I’m naturally comfortable with.  It’s good to learn to put myself out there, pat myself on the back for trying, and maybe help others be aware that we’re all doing our best." —Anonymous High School Student

Speaking the Words to Open the Door 1/28/18

This Weeks Love Letter 2 Parents Speaking the Words to Open the Door We can’t tell you how many times we’ve felt like our feet landed in our mouths while trying to connect and have conversations with our kids.  The irony is that, each time, we were working hard to formulate every word and convey our desires to connect. Yet, despite our good intentions, our attempts still backfired.

Living, Learning and Parenting with Courage & Strength 1/21/18

This weeks Love Letter 2 Parents: Living, Learning and Parenting with Courage & Strength Monday’s MLK, Jr. holiday gave us time to reflect on Martin Luther King Jr.’s teachings on respect, empathy and love. In today’s 24-hour news feeds, our kids are exposed to disturbing events, diverse perspectives and different attitudes- things that our parents could shelter us from, if they chose. Teens must filter through the flood of information that comes from social media and critically comprehend what is valuable and what is not.

Welcoming the New Year with Courage and Self-Compassion (1/15/18)

This weeks Love Letter 2 Parents Welcoming the New Year with Courage and Self-Compassion Happy New Year!  Bringing in a New Year means saying goodbye to old and welcoming the new. During the winter break, our families took the opportunity to step outside the comfort of the familiar- one traveled to a new city, the other back to a place that was once home.  Both needed courage- courage to try something new and unknown and courage to face a new reality. The beauty (and fortune) of both was that our journeys and challenges weren’t faced alone. We each shared our experiences with loved ones by our side.

Creating a Culture of Care 1/7/18

This weeks Love Letter 2 Parents 

Creating a Culture of Care

“Life is amazing. And then it’s awful. And then it’s amazing again. And in between the amazing and awful, it’s ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary. That’s just living heartbreaking, soul healing, amazing, awful, ordinary life. And it’s breathtakingly beautiful.” L.R. Knost

How Are You? Letter (12/31/17)

This weeks Love Letter 2 Parents How Are You?

In asking, do we really want to know or do we take the time to find out how someone really is? Do we avoid asking someone how they are or dread being asked? If so, why? Do we not want to know or does listening take us off our path? Perhaps we don’t want anyone asking us how we are, so we don’t ask others. Maybe we don’t ask because we don’t have (or can’t make) time to really find out. Perhaps, we don’t feel we have the time to deal with our emotions when asked or doing the asking. Maybe, we’re keeping busy to cope and answering honestly would mean stopping in our tracks or having to feel and think beyond or deeper than our “to do” list.

Learn From Struggle or Failure, You First Need to Struggle or Fail 12/11/17

This Weeks Love Letter 2 Parents: Learn from Struggle or Failure, You First Need to Struggle or Fail

We overheard a high schooler reminiscing about her middle school days and offering great advice to her younger self: Make sure to relax, don’t stress so much, enjoy your friends, and take in the opportunity to learn about yourself while learning new subjects. Figure out ways to take it all in, while not overwhelming yourself with perfection. Focus on doing the best you can, while learning how (and not forgetting) to care for yourself and others.

Parenting by the Seat of Our Pants 12/3/17

This Weeks Love Letter 2 Parents Parenting by the Seat of Our Pants

Parenting teens in today’s world is very much a “learn by doing” (or by the seat of our pants!) experience. As we approach the time of year for giving and receiving, we started wondering about the things we give to our children and families. After all the publicity for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday and the push to buy and give, we paused to reconsider what are absolute needs. We reminded ourselves of the difference between giving others “presence” and “presents,” recalling how fun it was to have “game nights” and “movie nights” (and how much easier they were to plan!) when they were little.

Creating Stillness in the Chaos 12/3/17

This weeks extra Love Letter 2 Parents Creating Stillness in the Chaos

Tryouts for winter sports means relief and excitement for some and heartbreak and disappointment for others. Upcoming finals usually means stress, and we know it comes in all shapes, sizes and colors. Freshmen may be feeling this kind of stress for the first time and may not understand it or know what to do. Whatever they are feeling or however they are manifesting stress, it is common for kids to feel like it is them (a character flaw rather than a compound set of issues). They may see it as their issue and theirs alone rather than a common set of feelings shared/felt/experienced by many and intensified at this time and under these circumstances (tryouts, grades, time change, college applications, etc.).

Wisdom From Our Past 11/26/17

This weeks Love Letter 2 Parents Wisdom From Our Past

Wooden’s words are simple, profound, and apply to us all. Teens often feel they do not have much control. They also may not know how to handle situations when they actually have control. These days, they likely do not realize how much influence social media use has on their thoughts and feelings and that they have the capacity to exert more control over its influence. Whether they’re a star on the athletic  team or a student sitting in the back of the room, not wanting to be seen, Wooden’s words may be hard for a teen to grasp. Yet, it feels like an important idea to help them understand for it could add significant value to their lives. (As a parent, how often do you recite the serenity prayer?)

Thank You! Gracias! 11/23/17

Thanksgiving Love Letter 2 Parents Thank you! Gracias!

The simple phrase has such an impact. It’s easy to say, feels good to hear and can immediately transform one’s mood. Saying it recognizes the other’s efforts, another’s intention or gesture, and what’s in their heart. The praise acknowledges appreciation and connection to another. 

Defining Your Own Happy 11/19/17

Defining Your Own Happy

"Nothing ever great is achieved without enthusiasm." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

We currently live in the “Happiest Place in America and arguably the world,” but living here doesn’t guarantee happiness any more than our bank accounts do. Our thoughts, actions and relationships are what lead to and sustain our happiness. We also have the science and research to support this as happiness research has taken off i n the last ten years and many books, movies and documentaries are available on the subject.

Finding Kindness in Everyday Life (11/12/17)

This weeks Love Letter 2 Parents Finding Kindness in Everyday Life

People will forget what you said, they will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel. -Maya Angelou

The wildflowers are blooming and fresh leaves are surprising us from the bare branches of their sleeping trees. What a gift to have a fresh start, and an opportunity to keep an open mind- looking beyond what we may see on the outside and offering a show of kindness by removing judgement. Each one of us, including parents and teens, has a story and muriad of activities in our lives, and by offering kindness through our thoughts and actions, we connect beyond ourselves.

Smiling Can Be A Super Power 11/5/17

This weeks Love Letter 2 Parents Smiling Can Be A Super Power

Words are powerful. Sometimes they are hard to find.  The emotions and feelings are all locked up inside, but struggling to be released. Words alone have the power to both heal and wound. Being intentional with the words we use matters for they can encourage and connect or harm and divide.

The Life Preservers of Parenthood: Finding Ways to Stay Afloat (10/30/17)

This weeks Love Letter 2 Parents The Life Preservers of Parenthood: Finding Ways to Stay Afloat

“What actions will you take (to cultivate well-being)?”

When it comes to supporting and promoting our kids’ well-being, it takes all of us, the village, beginning within our families and expanding out to the world around us. Well-being involves figuring out how to tread water when things are tough so we can stay afloat. Being buoyant gives us the ability to be well and stay well, so that we can do such things as learn, perform or compete, build and nurture relationships, take risks, and lead engaging and rewarding lives. How do we find out if our kids are staying afloat?

Promoting a Healthy Sense of Well-Being (10/27/17)

BONUS Love Letter this week LOVE LETTER 2 PARENTS Promoting a Healthy Sense of Well-Being

This has been a big week for us personally. In preparing to speak at the Suicide Prevention Forum, we recalled many painful and wonderful moments. Our preparation also gave us an opportunity to revisit the work we’ve been doing over the past eighteen months and all that we have been learning along the way. Our reflections and conversations have been difficult, but also healing.