Archive for October, 2018

October 14, 2018

While they, and we are young

by Rod Smith

If at all possible, and, from as young as possible:

Allow your children to be exposed to things multicultural, multiracial, and multilingual. Take the lead and they’ll probably follow.

Expect your children to be responsible for their actions, moods, successes, and for when they miss the mark, especially when it comes to good manners. Assume the lead position so they have someone to follow.

Expect your children to be kind to the ill, the elderly, those alone, those disenfranchised. Initiate, then model such behavior and they’ll think it’s a way life.

Encourage your children to speak their minds, especially if it means speaking up to you. If they can speak up to you with kindness, respect, and forthrightness, they’ll be able to hold their own with anyone, anywhere, and most of the time.

Get yourself out of the way so your children can taste the joy of discovery and learning. And, as much as possible, remain present and engaged as they also discover just how safe you make their worlds. Traverse this paradox while you’re as young as possible and the inner force that propels your sons and daughters into life will find your welcome rather than your surprise or resistance.

I will remind my treasured audience that I am my first audience. Everything I write pertains first to me.

October 5, 2018

Daughter unhappy at school

by Rod Smith

“Yesterday my daughter (14) told me how unhappy she is at school. She says the other girls are picking on her and leaving her out and being really mean. Up until last week she was very happy and talking about her best friends and planning weekend events. This week it has all changed. Do I go into the school? Do I phone her friends’ mothers. How do I fix this?”

I’d suggest you watch things for a while. The change you have seen in the matter of days could also change back – and then all your interventions will come to nothing. Relationships can shift in a matter of days as you have attested. Work on managing your own anxiety rather than trying to reduce your daughter’s discomfort or alleviate her unhappiness. The more she can face herself for herself the better. These are life-long skills best learned as early as possible.


Also, I think it is wonderful that your daughter is free to confide in you. Protect this relationship. It’s a treasure. At the same time try to avoid protecting your daughter from learning the lessons only life is able to teach.   

October 1, 2018

How to mend a broken heart in seven easy steps….

by Rod Smith

Don’t skip a step:

  1. Wail. Spew as much raw emotion as humanly possible. Do it privately in bouts over several weeks. Rent a room in a rural cabin if you must, but cry every available tear. Un-cried tears will turn to poison and make you bitter, angry, cynical, hard, and sarcastic. Don’t deny your heartbreak. Doing so will create backlash in future relationships. This step may take several weeks.
  2. Step one will leave you exhausted. So, rest. When this is reasonably accomplished (it is seldom perfected), purchase several blank journals and leave no stone unturned as you reconstruct your heartbreak on paper. Write as much detail as you possibly. Get your mind off what he or she (or others) did do, or what he or she (or others) did not do. Focus attentively upon your role you played in the romance’s decline and downfall.
  3. Read respected books. I love Harriet Learner’s “Dance” series and David Schnarch’s Passionate Marriage and The Sexual Crucible. I also like Cloud and Townsend’s Boundaries. Ask people whom you already respect for their favorite “relationship” writers, then get to work. If you do not consider yourself a reader, become one.
  4. If, having followed all of the recommendations thus far, you detect some momentary desire for retribution or revenge, or, if you find yourself wishing for some serious illness to inflict your ex, go back to the beginning of this list and start again. The teeniest morsel of desire for revenge will blind you forever. Get rid of it.
  5. Value your integrity above any relationship. Tell the truth about who you are. Decide what you want. Remind yourself that it is you alone who makes decisions about who you will be with, what you will or will not do, and how you will spend your time and resources.
  6. Embrace the fact that broken hearts seldom fully mend. Pain is often the companion of deep, powerful love. While hearts do not always mend, you can be wiser in the future than you were in the past. Take a close look at your expectations, boundaries, and your reactions to the unavoidable conflicts that accompany all significant relationships.
  7. Move on, but not into a new relationship. Allow at least six months for your recovery from any broken romance, even if the romance itself lasted only three months. Following the breakup of longer relationships, allow substantial time to pass – even a year or two – before you think of embarking on a new relationship.
October 1, 2018

In so many ways we are all the same….

by Rod Smith

Take a close look around you. No matter where you are in the world you will see that the people you meet (and the masses you may only see from a distance) are not too different from you. They may speak different languages and dress very differently from you and have lots of behaviors you do not understand, but, in essence they are in many ways just like you. We all want:

  • Respect, a place at the table, and acknowledgement and respect that comes with simply being.
  • To belong, and for our occasional absence to be noticed and missed.
  • Meaningful conversations, authentic affirmations, and affection appropriate to the relationship.
  • To be heard and to hear others; to have an opportunity to hold and to express an opinion and for that opinion to be heard and respected.   
  • Meaningful work; work that counts, that makes an impact, that doesn’t feel like a waste of time and energy and work that is rewarded with a livable wage or salary.
  • To live in peace and to have your belongings protected and your reputation protected and respected.