It can feel sometimes like the world has gone mad. Public discourse is filled with anger and confusion; people sit together in crowded spaces staring at their own flickering screens, isolated by the technology intended to connect them. And throughout the world, parents look for answers: How do I raise healthy, happy children in this complex world? How can I guide their behavior without punishing or spoiling them? Is it possible to build strong relationships in a fractured world?
The answer is yes—but it takes thoughtfulness and commitment. And the foundation is both simpler and more complicated than you might think. When parents are asked what they believe is most essential to raising capable, healthy children, most of them offer the obvious answer: love. But as it turns out, some of the things parents do in the name of loving their children are not helpful or effective. Children need more than love alone.
Imagine an infant lying contentedly in her crib. She may be watching her hands or gazing with fascination at her own feet when she suddenly becomes aware of a need. She may be hungry, or wet, or lonely, or tired. Whatever the cause, she cries to let her caregivers know that she needs them. And those caregivers usually rush to pick her up and soothe her. Especially when parents are new to the job, it may take several bumbling efforts before the cause of the baby’s distress is discovered and resolved. Eventually, however, the baby goes back to resting contentedly and her parents breathe a sigh of relief—until next time.
How many times in a day do you think this little scenario unfolds? Dozens, even hundreds of times—and each time, a baby learns more about trust and about the family she is now part of. If this cycle continues consistently throughout her childhood, she will develop what researchers refer to as “secure attachment”, what Alfred Adler and Rudolf Dreikurs called a “sense of belonging and significance” more than 100 years ago, and what in Positive Discipline is simply called “connection” (www.positivediscipline.org). This sense of being wanted and cared for unconditionally sets the stage for everything children will learn in life. Continue reading
2016 was a particularly stressful year for many of us. Families and friends were divided politically, socially, geographically and that can force us to reconsider all we took for granted and expected from our relationships. What if we don’t agree? What does that mean for all of us? While this can feel scary, we want to consider a different and more empowering question. What will love look like when it’s full of intent?
We are excited about the opportunity to take an active role in deciding what love will look like for us. We are excited to be purposeful when it comes to loving those around us and beyond. To love with intent is to give our best effort at making a difference.
Today our intent is to decide what love will look like for us.
You too? Consider what it’ll look like to love these 3 groups of people in your life: Continue reading
New Year – a new chapter, new verse, or just the same old story? Ultimately we write it. The choice is ours.
– Alex Morritt
The year is currently a blank slate laying in front of us, which can actually be a very daunting thing. What story will you write?
There are the things you should do…
The things you could do…
The things you want to do.
Likely the truth of what you’ll put down on your pages is somewhere in the mix, but where do you start? Have you considered what you love? We don’t always think about it. The things that make us come alive can feel like things that should be preserved for personal time, but what if those are the things that we should spend this year investing in? Instead of saving it for the spare moments, perhaps it’s time to operate our of our love and passion. So what is it? If you have no clue or don’t remember, now is a good time to dig in!
Our intent? It’s to find the thing that excites us! You too? Here are 3 things to help: Continue reading
I stare with awe at the Brooklyn Bridge every time I visit New York because I know that it wouldn’t be there if it Emily and Washington Roebling hadn’t faced down every conceivable challenge during its fourteen-year construction.
Whenever I visit Boston, I wonder at the life of John and Abigail Adams, who of necessity, lived apart more than together during the tumultuous birthing of America.
And when I enter the hospital room of a loved one, I thank God for Pierre and Marie Curie, who worked side by side nearly every waking minute of their entire marriage to produce the miracle of radium.
The fact is, if we dug into the back-story of most of the world’s grand accomplishments, we would undoubtedly be impressed with how many of those accomplishments are the product of grand marriages. Continue reading
It has been sixty-five years since my parents’ wedding, a ceremony celebrating their commitment to love each other forever. Many years of dedication and shared experiences after they wed, Alzheimer’s disease stole the memories of this promise. After their diagnoses, I watched in amazement as my parents newly discovered each admirable trait which brought them together decades before.
Now refined through trials and seasoned with life’s experiences, their attraction was magnetic. My parents’ shared disease made me wonder: what keeps marriages strong despite the challenges of life we all face? I believe it is more than sheer grit and determination. Experiencing my parents’ love on autopilot led me to believe the key to lasting love is in developing basic traits which become the essence of who we are. Continue reading
Have you ever looked back on a relationship and asked yourself why you had even been with that person in the first place? Although there are many things that can attract us to someone, if you’re looking for a partner in life, there are a few very important qualities to look for.
Obviously, you want to look for someone who has the core qualities that you desire such as honesty and integrity, but there are a few key qualities that most people don’t ever think about. In this article I will outline the three most important qualities that I find people overlook when entering into relationships. Continue reading
In the movies and on TV, relationships happen very easily and quickly. Tension builds as the program progresses. Characters show obvious signs of liking each other. Usually, the tensions build to such an extreme that in one dramatic moment they can’t take it anymore, stare into each other’s eyes and kiss passionately. They don’t talk, they don’t even discuss whether or not they like each other. They are inexplicably drawn together by the desire to kiss (and possibly participate in other intimate activities) all within the short span of about 15 seconds.
Just like real life, right? Ugh, No.
In TV, this is the “perfect” relationship. One where two people like each other so much that they just get together and live happily ever after. They look beautiful, sound beautiful and everything is perfect every time. What percentage of people have relationships start like this and live forever together without ever dealing with misunderstandings, assumptions, and annoyances?
When you look at deeply at any relationships, you recognize there is no such thing as a perfect relationship. Continue reading
Being married for any length of time is truly an accomplishment these days. Just last week a woman asked how long I had been married and when I said forty years this July, her eyes got huge and she said, “To the same person? How is that possible?”
When we got married people were taking bets on how long our marriage would last. The average bet was between two weeks and two years because of our age difference and personalities. Let’s just say, my husband is calm, wise and conservative and I am the exact opposite. I do remember feeling really shaky when I said my vows. … “for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and health, till death do us part.” Now that’s a huge promise! Could I really do this?
Flash forward forty years. We are still married, happy and love each other, although it hasn’t been an easy road and our relationship has been tested on many occasions, and I’m sure more will come as we navigate through our senior years.
Someone once said, “I married you for better or worse, but not for breakfast and lunch.” I never really understood that until now. Obviously, when couples first get married, it is exciting challenging, romantic and fun. And then if children come along, the marriage gets even more interesting and challenging as people try to raise their kids, together. But after the kids are gone, and retirement looms, people start to feel displaced as their roles in life change. Who are we without our careers and kids? What do we have to talk about? And why do we keep bumping into each other in the kitchen?
So in order to keep a marriage going all the way to the end, here are six rules of engagement to keep the fires burning. Continue reading
I’m very interested in the role of TV-watching in our happiness. After all, after sleeping and work, it’s the biggest consumer of the world’s time.
So I was interested to see that new research suggests that for couples who don’t have lots of mutual friends, watching the same TV show (or reading the same book or going to the same movie) can help both people feel that they inhabit in the same social world.
It turns out that couples who have lots of mutual friends tend to have the strongest bonds, and for those who don’t have a lot of mutual friends, having “shared media experiences” helps them to feel connected. Continue reading
Hi everyone! Today I want to cover the topic of intimacy, something vital to each of our lives, and a topic that is a big part of love addiction and codependency.
A lot of us have found that in relationships, we have lost ourselves, and a big struggle is trying to rebuild our behavior patterns in relationships so that we can have healthy relationships where that doesn’t happen. We have also found that the people we choose to be intimate with are unavailable to us emotionally, or maybe we have even found someone to be intimate with, but we push them away and sabotage our relationships. Intimacy can be scary! Continue reading