Archive for Social Conscious

Question – How do you build a community?


If the question is how do you build a community, the answer is one person at a time.

When you think of the place where you live, do you get a warm and comfortable feeling? Do you feel connected to the people, and feel as if you’re a part of something? Did you have that growing up? If so, don’t your children deserve it as well?

What we’re learning is that with all our technology, it is a connection to people that really matters.

One of Parental Wisdom’s member wrote in recently about saving their school. The outpouring of support is overwhelming. It is so encouraging to see people so interested in defining their community.

The economic downturn has led a private school in Azusa, Light and Life Christian School to lower tuition cost for the upcoming school year to $3700.00 and the school is offering 45 financial aid packages (scholarships) to qualified families. For more information about Light and Life Christian School, call (626) 969–0182.

As always, your children are watching. Visit Parental Wisdom (free) Reports to read about Simple Acts of Kindness and Generosity.


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When you don’t know what to get someone


When you don’t know what to get someone, they probably don’t need anything. But there are people that do need things, some very badly.

Case in point:

Read All She Wants for Christmas is a New Jaw — and The Braces Cookbook Try to Help

You can help to make a difference in the life of 19-year-old Jalyn Jones. It will give her something that each of us simply takes for granted.

Before you buy one more gift to put under the tree, perhaps you and even the recipient of your gift, will feel better about giving to someone else.

One of the most beautiful compensations of this life is that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Merry Christmas!

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So You Want to Save the World?


One of the most beautiful compensations of this life is that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

There’s a story you may have heard about David & Goliath. In case you’re unfamiliar, the story is set in biblical times where a giant one eyed-giant Cyclops named Goliath terrorizes a small town. All the warriors in the town tried to fight him and were quickly defeated. A young boy named David, armed only with a slingshot, volunteered to fight the giant. The townspeople looked at the brave young boy and said, “Look at the size of the giant and look at you, how could you possibly win?” David had a very different point of view. He said, “Yes, look at him. How could I possibly miss?”

That story is a myth. A myth by definition is an invented story, idea, or concept. But in reality mythical situations happen all the time. A single person can make a significant difference. What a wonderful lesson for our children, and a great time to discuss it.

Saturday, October 27, 2007 is Make a Difference Day, the largest national day of helping others – a celebration of neighbors helping neighbors. Everyone can participate in this USA Today sponsored event.

The good news is that our kids want to help. Toddlers, according to Psychology researcher Felix Warneken proved the capacity for altruism emerges as early as 18 months of age with a simple experiment. 61% of 13- to 25-year-olds feel personally responsible for making a difference in the world suggests a survey of 1,800 young people. It says 81% have volunteered in the past year; 69% consider a company’s social and environmental commitment when deciding where to shop, and 83% will trust a company more if it is socially/environmentally responsible. The online study — by two Boston-based companies, Cone Inc. and AMP Insights — suggests these millennials are “the most socially conscious consumers to date.”

What great news. Need an idea?

Here are two:

The Idea Generator

The Future of Life Organzation

Talk about family fun!

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The Sandwich Kid

I have a sign hanging up at home. It says ‘No Whining’ and has a red circle around it, with a red line through it. I first drew that sign when my kids were little and whining, as young children often do. I remember thinking one day how ineffective a means of communication whining was and that I didn’t want to add any more whiners to an ever growing population.

That is especially true when it comes to me. Anytime I feel overwhelmed or stressed, I realize that there is always someone that has a more difficult time, and none more than parents and families of children struggling with an illness or a disability.

I was surprised to learn that over 650 million people in the world suffer from disabilities, from mild to severe. If you think about how many siblings and family members that would affect, the number is staggering.

Take a look at this brief clip of The Sandwich Kid– a film about special needs families. I guarantee you won’t whine again about the struggles you face. Thanks Judy Winter for sharing this ten minute promo.

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The Real Secret


On February 8, 2007 Oprah Winfrey presented ‘The Secret’ on her show. Email responses were so overwhelming her website nearly crashed.

In case you haven’t heard about it, The Secret is a DVD based on the law of attraction which says like attracts like; we attract into our lives the things we want and create our own reality which is fueled by our thoughts.

That might explain why we have such problems with young people and destructive behaviors. We are focusing on, and giving too much attention to the wrong young people.

Their lives are filled with rehab, DUI, and drugs. Their celebrity status gets them into clubs, creates media frenzy, and introduced words like paparazzi to our regular vocabulary. Does our interest in these stories cause legitimate news networks to run them as lead stories, or is it that we simply can’t escape the news about these women? I will mention their names just once; Paris, Lindsay and Britney, and that’s all I’ll say.

Instead, let’s turn our attention to some positive adolescents. Perhaps the real secret is as simple as focusing on, and talking about good influences. That is, if you want to see more of this behavior….

Mattie Stepanek was a young man who had every reason to be angry. He was born with a rare form of muscular dystrophy and had lost three older siblings to the same illness. He began writing poetry as a toddler and published five uplifting books with messages of hope before he died in 2004, shortly before his 14th birthday. Former President Jimmy Carter delivered a eulogy at Mattie’s funeral and said that although he has known kings and queens, presidents and prime ministers, Mattie was the most extraordinary person he has ever known. I met Mattie when publishing a parenting newsletter for Toys “R” Us, and he wrote that how important it was to remember how to play after a storm.

In January 2006, Kari Janisse was a young woman busy working and planning a wedding. But she put herself second when she heard that a former high school teacher was very ill. In her senior year of high school, ‘Mr. B’ as she liked to call him taught a class that was supposed to be about communication. In reality the class of 22 learned a lot about life. The effect of that class had such a positive impact on her that when she heard her teacher was gravely ill, the student became the teacher. Every Tuesday evening for the year and a half he struggled with brain cancer, Kari would drive to Mr. B’s house after work and read to him. She started with Tuesdays with Morrie, and when done, went onto to The Five People You Meet in Heaven, both by Mitch Albom. He died before she could read For One More Day. As she told me, when people thought he was so lucky to have her constant dedication, her answer was simple, “No, I’m the lucky one to have this special time with him, to thank him for what he has done for me.”

Jason McElwain informally nicknamed J-Mac, is an autistic American teenager who graduated from Greece Athena High School, a suburb of Rochester, NY in 2006. You may have heard about his amazing feat of scoring twenty points in four minutes during a high school basketball game on February 16, 2006; the last home game of the 2005-2006 season for Greece Athena. Jason wasn’t supposed to play that game, and in fact Jason had never played any game, but the coach grateful for Jason’s constant support and encouragement for the team, told him he could suit up and sit on the bench. When the team was ahead, the coach signaled Jason to play. Everyone was thrilled for Jason’s incredible accomplishment, but I was also overwhelmed by the students in the stands. They didn’t know if Jason would actually get to play, but they were prepared waving his picture for every basket he scored. When he threw his last three-pointer with no time left on the clock the crowd went crazy. These were kids who totally supported this autistic boy. Too often we hear about bullying and teasing, but perhaps the support of his classmates is why Jason was able to accomplish the impossible.

Perhaps we all need to hear more about good kids. It also be might be why CBS is introducing a show in their fall lineup called Kid Nation – 40 kids, 40 days, no adults. The question is – can they build a better world than adults? One can only hope.

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The Definition of Insanity


Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Albert Einstein, (attributed) US (German-born) physicist (1879 – 1955)

I’m not sure how we expect things to get better when we aren’t doing anything differently. We have to understand a problem before we can fix it. Unfortunately, we aren’t giving current problems enough attention to actually fix them, so they come back to haunt us.

What you’ll see below is our child-like ability to be easily distracted by the next big news story. Let’s step back a few years and look at the news stories just before 9/11.

In the year 2000, we were watching a million moms march to protect us from gun violence, but that lost news coverage.

If you recall, that summer prior to 9/11 was the summer of shark attacks. Did we ever figure out what prompted the attacks?

That is until the search for missing former intern Chandra Levy focused the spotlight on U.S. Rep. Gary Condit. Did we ever figure out who killed Chandra Levy?

The mystery with Chandra Levy’s disappearance was dramatically overshadowed by the 9/11 attacks; also know as the day the world changed. Did we ever find Osama Bin Laden?

In more recent news we had a series of child abductions where both 13-year-old Ben Ownby and 15-year-old Shawn Hornbeck were found at an apartment in Kirkwood, miles from the rural locations where the boys disappeared 4 1/2 years apart, but we still don’t protect our children well enough from predators.

That story was overshadowed by a diaper clad Lisa Nowak, a Navy captain, accused of accosting Air Force Capt. Colleen Shipman, 30, in the parking lot of Orlando International Airport early Monday and spraying her with pepper spray.

The astronaut story was overshadowed by the death of Anna Nicole Smith which took over the headlines for a very long time.

Which was then overshadowed by Don Imus’s comments about the Rutgers Women’s Basketball team. These were not new comments or new problems – just news. But we are distracted once again, and won’t stop to resolve the root cause of the Imus comments or racial tension that still exists.

Because the Imus comments were overshadowed by the shootings at Virgina Tech which just seem to bring us back to the first line of this blog – protecting us against gun violence.

We certainly qualify under Einstein’s definition of insanity.

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New Jersey and You – Perfect Together??

Remember that great ad campaign? NJ and you, perfect together.

Well, if the NJ Paid Family Leave act passes, it might be. The problem is that some businesses are trying to block this important legislation that can be enormously beneficial to families.

I received a letter from a NJ law firm suggesting that [business people like yourselves make your views know that ill-conceived legislation such as this can be defeated.]

Fortunately, there are organizations such as ‘NJ Time to Care’ that provide information and facts that explain this legislation. Please click on their site link and fast facts so you can be informed.

Listen to a broadcast by the American Public Media explaining why this is so important, as if you don’t already know. Families that have been in situations where family illness, childbirth or adoption requires time off, know what a tremendous difference it would make to have paid leave.

For those that worry this law will make NJ businesses less competitive; it won’t. New Jersey is presently the 48th worst ‘business friendly’ state. The success of a businesses is dependent on sound leadership. Taking care of NJ families will make our families stronger, businesses stronger, and NJ workers loyal.

Sounds like a win-win.

Finally, let your legislators know how important this law is to your family, post a comment to let other readers know what you think, and be sure to tell your friends.

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