Category Archives: Relationship

A Tribute to Mom by Hannah Bland

lynn-blandAnother year has passed by filled with fun and memories, and Mother’s Day has arrived once again. This is a day to recognize all that our mother’s do for us, and the huge role they play in each of our lives. Our Mom’s deserve a day like today. A day that celebrates the amazing women they are .The kind of women who sacrifice out of love for us, the kind of women who care for us when we’re in pain, the kind of women who stay strong when we’re afraid, the kind of women who love unconditionally, the kind of women who want to know who we are inside, the kind of women who are our best friend’s. My mom is a woman just like I described. She’s constantly sacrificing her own wants and needs to provide for me, and she never complains about it but does it because she wants to. She’s always there when I need to talk to someone or when I’m going through a hard time. She’s funny, kind, soft hearted to the needs and pain of others, and tender towards God’s will for her life. She’s a Mom who loves unconditionally, who supports my dreams and ideas, and who is beautiful inside and out. Something I love about her is that she wants to spend time with me whether shopping together or talking. Or when we don’t feel like socializing, and decide to talk to each other instead. Laughing as we make up hypothetical reactions, in case someone ever did try socializing, or glancing into our introverted bubble. I love my Mom so much, and can’t wait for all the fun memories to come. I hope today is a special day for both you and your mom, and I challenge you to do something special that will be a thank you to all the years your mom has done things for you.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Hannah Bland

Acknowledging Mom by Gregory Bland

mothers-day-gregory-bland

Acknowledging MOM’s value should take place each and every day. However,  Mother’s Day is a wonderful time to highlight the Mom’s in our lives.

Finding ways to show respect, appreciation, and express love for Mom not only impacts her positively, but helps our children and teens develop an attitude of gratitude for their Mom that can last a lifetime.

Communicating love and respect daily, or on Mother’s Day, isn’t simply a matter taking mom out to an expensive restaurant.  That may be nice, but more often than not, that isn’t really what she’s looking for.

Taking time to be mindful of what would be most meaningful for Mom will make the most powerful impact upon her.

As you think about Mother’s Day and honouring the Mom in your life consider what would make ‘her’ day memorable.

Some things to consider . . .
What are her hobbies and interests?
Time carved out to include an activity that involves her interests or hobbies communicates your love while providing an opportunity to disconnect from other activities / or devices and intentionally connect with her.

What is Mom’s personality?  How does her unique personality impact the way you will show appreciation?  Should you encourage a large crowd or would she prefer a more intimate smaller gathering?  Will she enjoy something loud and boisterous or more quiet and reflective?  Let Mom’s personality help you in shaping how you will communicate your love to her.

What’s Mom’s  “love language” and how can you tie your gifts to it?
(If you’re familiar with 5 Love Languages it may be more natural to think in these terms.  If you’re not familiar, the 5 Love Languages  are, words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, physical touch)

Practical Ideas for Expressing Love to Mom:
Words of Affirmation: In our family we have taken time to write notes/letters to mom which have proven to be very meaningful for her.  Our letters and notes will revolve around these three topics . . .
a. What do I most appreciate about Mom?
b. What character strengths do I recognize and affirm?
c. This is why I love you . . .

Acts of Service:
Taking the opportunity to give mom a break and take on specific chores or work that Mom normally cares for is a wonderful gift idea.  See Coupon Book idea at end of article for more information.

Receiving Gifts:
If Mom’s love language is receiving gifts, by all means buy a gift, but ensure it is something meaningful for her.

Quality Time:
Quality time cannot be fabricated, however, there are some key ingredients to ensure you have quality time.

  • Quality time often happens within the context of quantity time.  In light of this, I’d encourage scheduling regular times together, without distraction, as a normal part of your week.  You will soon discover that your time together becomes more meaningful and the quality, depth of conversation, and connection improves.
  • Set aside personal desires and preferences in honour of Mom.  It’s does your relationship well to set aside personal desires and honour one another by ‘doing’ something that Mom enjoys.  You will discover over time that this is often reciprocated. In short, resist the temptation to only do what you want to do.
  • Add variety. Sitting in the living room and having a deep conversation is great, once in a while. But don’t expect that every-time.  Add variety and keep the relationship alive and fresh.

Physical Touch:
In our age of electronics and disconnection physical touch is increasingly powerful and seemingly rare.  Encourage your children to give hugs (it’s good for them too), back massages, and if they are brave foot rubs are ok too.

Giving to Mom.
To foster this kind of giving to Mom you could encourage your children to create a coupon book that focuses on the love languages specific to her.

Creating a “coupon” book of things that children and teens can give back to mom has been a great Mother’s Day gift for a reason. It is a creative way kids can ‘give back’ to mom with no expectation of anything in return. Also this gift keeps giving long after Mother’s Day has ended.

They could offer a . . .

“Free Hug. Just Because.”
“Massage. After a long day on your feet.”
“Back rub on a particularly stressful day.”
“Grocery Shop.”
“Various chores.”
“Drive a younger sibling to baseball practice.”
“Clean out and detail Mom’s vehicle.”
“An evening together doing whatever “YOU” desire”
etc . . .

Mom does so much. Let’s show her how much we care, not only today, but each and every day.

Remember. If you don’t live with Mom any more and distance makes it impossible to be present as much as you’d like.  A phone call, or video conversation still goes a long way to keep the relationship alive and thriving.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom!

 

 

Until Next time let’s treat Mom well
Your friend and Pro-Active Parent Coach
Gregory Bland
Pro-Active Parent Coaching
The Legacy Centre

Happy Mother’s Day

Happy-Mothers-Day-Gregory-Bland

Although we need to acknowledge the value of MOM each and every day, Mother’s Day is a perfect time to celebrate the mothers in our lives

Finding ways to show our respect, appreciation, and love for the moms in our lives makes Mom feel appreciated, but also helps our children develop gratitude that will last a lifetime.. It isn’t about spending lots of money or making a huge gesture but rather taking the time to find ways to show that you are mindful about Mom.

Here are three ways that you and your kids can make mom feel extra special this May:

 Make a card

Offer your child some paper, pencil crayons, and unleash their creativity. Some of the greatest cards Mom’s receive are not those purchased in a store, but rather penned from their own child’s hands.

Have your kids make a card for a mom in their life and include something about what they like most appreciate about her.

Homemade cards are special because they are personalized expressions of our love and appreciation. Best of all, they work at any age.

Create a Meal Together and serve to Mom

Taking time to create a family meal together is an incredible way to connect with our children, but also blesses Mom with a break if she is the one who typically prepares the meals.
Give Mom the experience of a ‘night off’ by making her dinner. Encourage your kids to ask Mom questions about herself and share stories themselves while you eat. What’s her favorite movie? What’s the most fun trip she’s ever been on?

Make a ‘coupon’ book

Putting together a “coupon” book of things that children and teens can give back to mom has been a great Mother’s Day gift for a reason. It is a creative way kids can ‘give back’ to mom with no expectation of anything in return. Also this gift keeps giving long after Mother’s Day has ended.

They could offer a . . .

“Free Hug. Just Because.”
“Massage. After a long day on your feet.”
“Grocery Shop.”
“Drive a younger sibling to baseball practice.”

Mom does so much. Let’s show her how much we care, not only today, but each and every day.

Remember. If you don’t live with Mom any more a phone call goes a long way in keeping relationship alive.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom!

Until Next time let’s treat Mom right
Your friend and Pro-Active Parent Coach
Gregory Bland
Pro-Active Parent Coaching
The Legacy Centre

Want to connect with your child/teen? Part 3 by Gregory Bland

not-talking-are-listening-gregory-blandListening connects with one of our children/teen’s greatest felt needs; to be known and understood. Consider for a moment the people that you regularly interact with. Who among them stand out as people who truly understand you, your heart, thoughts, feelings, and desires?

These are truly unique individuals and wonderful gifts to us. Now that you’ve identified them, what characteristics set these unique people apart from others you interact with?

Of all the characteristics you might describe; accepting, non-judgmental, they value me, they are ‘safe’ to speak with, there is a sense of unconditional love. The fact that these people have connected so deeply with you would indicate that they most likely offer you the gift of listening.

Being listened to is a profound experience today, maybe because being listened to is so rare in our hyper busy society. When another person is totally with you – engaged, curious, interested in every word, eager to empathize – you feel known and understood. Deeper still is that sense of feeling loved.

David Augsburger said, “Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.”

Our children and teens are more eager to open up to us than we often give them credit for. They often do not open up because they fear being judged, rejected, fixed, devalued, or having their thoughts minimized.

The act of listening affirms and empowers our children/teens to express themselves with confidence.  When you listen consistently and intently, the message you are sending is,
“You are important!”
“What you are saying is important.”
“I value you and what you desire to say.”

Listening well means suspending our own needs, including the need to feel like we are doing something – solving problems, saying the right thing, or diagnosing what is truly going on. Listening is a gift we give to our children/teens.

Just because you are not talking does not necessarily mean you are listening. You know as well as I that we can appear as though we are listening yet at the same time be entertaining 101 other things within our minds. You may hear what your teen is saying, in part, but are you really connecting to and understanding their heart? Probably not.

When your child/teen approaches you in conversation it is an opportunity for them to process life and consider the deeper matters of their hearts. What they need is an engaged and listening mom or dad. During these moments they are not looking for a response or judgment, an opinion or solution, or your fix for their dilemma gleaned from your multiple years of experiential wisdom. So take time to fully engage in listening.
The following are some tips to keep you on the listeners edge.

  1. Eliminate distractions. Don’t try to multitask when your child/teen comes to speak with you. This simply communicates that you do not value them as much as what is in front of you right now.
  2. Look at your teen when they are speaking with you. This will help you focus upon them.
  3. Watch their body language, what are their non-verbal clues, gestures, and facial expressions indicating you should ask for more clarification on?
  4. Ask curious questions that allow your child/teen to open up and share.
  5. Don’t interrupt, talk over, or correct. Just listen.
  6. Ask clarification questions to ensure you are truly understanding what they are intending.
  7. Thank them for sharing openly with you, while resisting the strong temptation to fix.

    Remember, we cannot make our children/teens open up to us, but we can create an environment where it is more likely that they will. The way you listen to your child/teen goes a long way in determining their willingness to open up and share their deepest thoughts with you.

Taking it home:

The next time your child/teen has something to say, give him/her your undivided full attention for 5 minutes.

Afterward consider:
How long did those 5 minutes seem? How difficult was it for you to stay focused on them? How hard did you have to work to not jump in and say what you wanted to say? What benefits did listening in this way have for you, your teen, and your relationship together?

Until next time, Listen to connect. Sometimes what our children desire most is not our words but our listening.

Your friend and pro-active parent coach
Gregory Bland
Pro-Active Parent Coaching &
The Legacy Centre

The Purpose of Conversation with Teens

 

purpose-of-conversation-gregory-blandConversation with our teens can be an incredibly rich and rewarding experience as a parent. Listening as they begin to ‘put into words’ their passions, hopes, dreams, and even their fears warms the heart.  These are the moments we long for as parents and want to hold them with tenderness and grace.

There are other times when our conversations take a turn and feel anything but rich and rewarding.  In these moments it is important to pause for a moment, regain our composure, breathe, and build perspective.  If possible, before it goes from bad to worse.

In these moments, when conversation becomes heated, the words of Solomon ring very true and clear, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1)

gentle-answer-gregory-blandThis gives me hope.  Although I know that I cannot control how my teen will respond to me, I also know that I have an incredible influence how they might respond.  I need to take responsibility for myself, my actions, and reactions.

In light of this, the first place to look when a conversation begins ‘going south’ is within ourselves.

For me, I take a moment and ask myself, “What am I doing right now that is contributing to the negative direction of this conversation?”

Consider for a moment  . . .

  • What am I communicating to my child/teen right now with my words, tone of voice, and body language?
  • Have I stopped authentically listening to their story and slipped into ‘telling mode?’
  • Might they perceive that I am passing judgement upon them and/or  trying to ‘fix them?’

If we recognize that we have slipped in any of these areas and are communicating negatively with our teen, it’s time to take action and respond in a mature manner.  Apologize and ask to begin again.

Apologize to my teen?  If necessary, absolutely! Humbling ourselves in moments when we are clearly at fault communicates maturity, responsibility, incredible value and respect to our teens.

  • We model humility and maturity in conversation.  When we are wrong, admit it, and ask for forgiveness.  This provides a living model for them to emulate within their relationships.
  • We value our relationship together and are willing to take responsibility for how we communicate with them.
  • We are giving them the ‘benefit of the doubt’ and desire to truly understand what they are thinking, feeling, desiring.
  • We are building self awareness by engaging our own thoughts/feelings and understanding how we are impacting other’s around us.

The next time you begin to experience a conversation ‘going south’ with your teen, take a moment to pause and reflect, and reengage in that conversation in a healthy manner.  I’d be interested in hearing what happens as a result both with yourself and your teen.

Until next time, let’s use conversation to build a deeper connection with our kids not show them how wise we are and in what ways they need to change.  Remember, you can have a rich rewarding conversation with your teen.

Your friend and Pro-Active Parent Coach
Gregory Bland
Large Blog Image

 

Everyone Leaves a Mark. What will Yours Be? by Gregory Bland

leave-a-mark-gregory-bland
“A child’s life is like a piece of paper on which every passerby leaves a mark.” Chinese Proverb.

It is intriguing the impact ‘others’ have upon our children. Sometimes it is dramatic, and other times it is almost imperceptible, but there is a mark.

Time and time again one of my children has approached me and asked something like, “Dad. Did you notice what ‘Roger’ just did?” Our conversation about what ‘Roger’ just did, or other observations my children make, affirms quite naturally that our children are influenced by the words, actions, and behaviors of others. Whether ‘major’ or ‘minor,’ it leaves a mark.

Several years ago friends of our family encountered some serious marital difficulty and eventually separated. Although these were friends  and not Mommy and Daddy themselves, this experience made a profound mark upon our children.

For the longest time as I prepared to head out for a days work at the office, the children would run and hug me tightly, squeezing with all their might.   As much as I relished these moments of attention, it was their consistent question that haunted me the most.  Their innocent little voices asked with a degree of concern, “Daddy. Are you going to come back home?”

That question betrayed the impact that outside influence had upon the hearts of our children, and a mark was made.

I would assure them each and every time they asked. “Yes. Absolutely I am coming back home.”  Several times through the day I’d call and assure them of my love.

If others, with varying degrees of influence, can so readily mark our children, how much more can we as parents leave a mark upon them?

We are NOT passers by, casual encounters, or subtle influences.  As parents we are positioned to best influence and leave a positive mark upon their lives!

As you reflect upon this think about the mark you are leaving upon your child?

Self Coaching:
Imagine for a moment that it is 10 or 15 years from today. Your children have matured and have launched out from the shelter of your home and they are on their own. Maybe they are married and even have children of their own. You find yourself enjoying a quiet lunch in one of your favourite restaurants when you hear a familiar laugh at a table close by. You sneak a peek and recognize your daughter (or son) enjoying dinner with a friend and they have not noticed you sitting there.

You prepare to announce yourself and say hello when she/he begins speaking about you. More specifically she/he begins speaking about the mark you’ve made upon them as they ‘grew up’ within your home. You pause, and wait, curious to see what they will say. (OK. Now you’re an eavesdropper but try to imagine this for a moment.)

What would they say to their friend about you and the mark that you made upon their lives?
How would they describe your influence upon them?
What would they most appreciate about your parenting and the values you espoused and/or passed on to them?
What highlights would they share?

Listening in on your future son/daughter could be very sobering and/or encouraging.

What Legacy do you desire to leave and how can you begin making a healthy mark upon your children and teens today?

Until next time recognize and know you are making a mark upon your child/teen. Let’s make a good one.

Your friend and pro-active parent coach
Gregory Bland
Pro-Active Parent Coaching and The Legacy Centre

* Photo credit :  DollarPhotoClub 39193738

Teenagers are God’s Punishment for Enjoying Sex by Gregory Bland

gregory-bland-teens-are-trouble

“Teenagers are God’s punishment for enjoying sex.” “Oh. You have teenagers. I’m sorry to hear that.” “You just wait. You will understand shortly why my stress levels are out the roof, when your teen does what mine does.” “All teens are alike; trouble!”

It’s no wonder with the general attitude toward teenagers that so many people fear teens and tend toward a belief that all teens are alike. Trouble.

In a very tangible way we are being conditioned to believe something that simply is not true of all teenagers. I have met, experienced, and know many capable, responsible, caring, and generous teens who genuinely think of others and want to make a difference with their lives.

Unfortunately, these great teens are often overlooked, overshadowed and unrecognized for the value they bring to society because of a stereotypical lens many adults view them through. These teens live with this reality day by day; many adults don’t give them the credit or respect they are due.

For those reading who are parents of younger children, please resist letting other’s negative view of teens dictate how you will engage your child as they approach the teen years. Admittedly, raising teens today is not for the faint of heart, but the rewards of a rich healthy relationship are possible despite what many will say.

Remember, resist letting other people’s negative experiences or worst-case scenarios instill fear within your heart and colour your approach to your child/teen. Their story is not your story, and their teen is not your teen.

Today you can begin experiencing something different and enjoy a rich rewarding relationship with your child/teen.

Until next time,

Remember, not all teens are the same, keep an eye for the good in yours.

Your friend and Pro-Active Parent Coach
Gregory Bland

The Legacy Centre &
Pro-Active Parent Coaching

Building a Legacy of Relational Health for Generations to Follow

 

* Photo credit:Dollarphotoclub # 74667703

It’s More than a One Night Stand by Gregory Bland

love-respect-gregory-blandValentine’s Day is traditionally an evening of flowers, candy, romantic dinners, carefully chosen words, and concentrated time together. Maybe for some, a secret hope of rekindling a flame that has grown dim, others may desire to kindle a new spark with someone special, or for others, sadly, it’s simply an opportunity to get ‘lucky’. Whatever your motive for celebrating Valentine’s Day, one thing is certain, it is universally understood as a time to show your love for someone special.

As a Dad of two daughters’ and one son there is a strong desire to see relationship and love rise to higher standards than we often see around us. I am not naïve either; I recognize that our children learn more by example than any amount of words I use. For that reason I focus more upon developing my own character which flows out in my words and actions. Our lives, Lynn and mine, are living examples for our three children. They watch, observe, and learn.

Certainly, Valentine’s can and is an opportunity for something different, something special, but it does not replace the ‘every day’ relationship we share. Reflecting on our Valentine’s celebration this year leaves one overarching value lingering in my mind.

Showing love, respect, and value for a lady is a daily commitment we need to make as men.

There are 365 days in the year giving us incredible opportunities and time to show our love, respect, and value for the lady’s in our lives. Make the most of every day!

Until next time,
Make the most of every day to show love, respect, and value for the lady in your life.

Your friend and pro-active parent coach
Gregory Bland
Pro-Active Parent Coaching and
The Legacy Centre