Thanksgiving is a week away and you might be wondering how to handle technology. Your kids may want to use it all the time, thus disappointing older relatives. What if technology was a discussion starter and a bridge between generations rather than a big divide? Oh, yes!

Multiple Intelligences: Being Intentional With Our Thankfulness (Part 1 of 2)

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Teaching about multiple intelligences is one of my favorite things to do. people are always encouraged – and that includes the moms who attended the recent Hearts At Home convention.

Figuring out how children are smart benefits them and us in numerous ways – primarily because it can help them believe in their abilities to learn and they can choose to invest more energy in school/learning, therefore being more successful.

What if we applied our understanding of how children are smart to the theme of gratitude since Thanksgiving is right around the corner? This can work for adults, too. Do you have someone to thank or are you grateful someone is in your life and you want to remind him or her?

You can also use people’s smarts when figuring out what to buy them to express your love and appreciation.

How can we “say” thank you to those we know have these intelligence strengths? Or, since we have all eight, how can we communicate our gratitude in eight different ways that can be well received? Here are examples for three of the smarts. Come back Thursday for the rest.

Word smart – Write a note full of specifics explaining why you’re thankful. Use synonyms and strings of adjectives to amplify your point. Or, read the note to your friend or just tell the person how you feel. Record it for them so they can listen over and over if they want to. If you want to purchase or make something, they appreciate books, paper, and different pens/pencils to write with.

Logic smart – Let these people know they’re appreciated for their problem-solving abilities. Tell them you like the questions they ask you because they help you to think things through well. They tend to appreciate puzzles to solve, games related to logic, science experiments, and chances to discover how things work. A day at a children’s museum would be great for them.

Picture smart – You probably appreciate these people’s artistic abilities, use of color, and creativity. Tell them or, better yet, show them by taking or drawing a picture to express your love and gratitude. Ask them to show you their favorite colors and pictures and why they like them so much. Go with them to a showing at the art museum. Go to a craft store and buy something to create with your friend.

My niece, Katie, is very picture smart. During her middle school years, she talked a lot about becoming an interior decorator. For her birthday one year, I purchased two books filled with pictures of rooms and houses that someone with that career might have used to get inspiration. At the time, I didn’t think that’s what Katie would become, but I honored her by listening closely and she LOVED her gift. She poured over those books for a long time and thoroughly enjoyed her dreams and telling others about them.

Have these examples generated your own ideas? Great! We should probably all express our gratitude more than we do. To your success…


“Knowing which smarts are our strengths helps us make informed decisions about how to be more successful in all of life and at school. We’ll have new ways of listening, studying, and memorizing. We’ll also learn how to enhance relationships, our career, what to do in our spare time, and how to lift depression. We also can choose to strengthen our weakest intelligences, which will improve our lives.” Please click here to learn more about multiple intelligences and  Dr. Kathy’s book, How Am I Smart? A Parent’s Guide to Multiple Intelligences.

Living Gratefully

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With Thanksgiving right around the corner and Christmas quickly following, I thought I’d repost some important blogs about gratitude. Oh, how I wish more of us had beliefs that resulted in consistent thankfulness rather than circumstantial thankfulness! The ideas in the next four posts will be relevant to expressing gratitude during this season. 

Is living gratefully a choice? Is it different from being grateful?

To some extent, living gratefully is a choice. It’s rooted in certain thinking patterns, though. Without being exposed to those, would be hard (if not impossible) to be grateful consistently.

If we want children to be grateful, we need to be grateful. But, we shouldn’t assume they’ll figure out why we are grateful from just hearing us say “thank you” occasionally. They might adopt the pattern of saying it, but it will mean their gratefulness is rooted in circumstances instead of beliefs. If we talk about our beliefs and thinking patterns, there’s a greater likelihood they’ll adopt them. That’s powerful!

The thinking patterns are also essential if we’re going to live gratefully and not just be grateful when something occurs. Self-respect, self-control, and respect for others won’t be birthed by circumstantial gratitude. They will be birthed within children and adults who live gratefully.

What beliefs or thinking patterns that result in living gratefully would you add to this list? When we’re grateful:

  • We are more aware of what we have than what we don’t have, what we know than what we don’t know, where we’ve been than where we’d like to go, etc.
  • We acknowledge the differences between our wants and our needs.
  • We don’t compare ourselves and our things to others and decide whether to be grateful based on our comparison.
  • We know there’s more than material possessions to be grateful for. Many of us are first and foremost grateful for our relationship with God. We are also grateful for people to love and people who love us.
  • We are grateful our daily, practical needs are met. We don’t take it for granted or have an attitude of, “I deserve this.”
  • We are grateful for talents, strengths, challenges that mature us, and so much more.
  • We say “thank you” and do things to express gratitude without expecting anything in return.

Which is it for you? Are you living gratefully or being grateful? Neither? Any changes you want to make? Go for it!

The ideas and suggestions Dr. Kathy shares in this video can help all your Thanksgiving visits with relatives go much better than you had hoped. Do some of this in the next two weeks and there will be a good payoff. Her ideas are relevant to upcoming Christmas celebrations, too. You may be surprised by what children and teens have told her.

An Object Lesson From Blake The Mystery Dog

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Linda and I pulled into my driveway late Sunday afternoon. We were both tired from our successful time in Maine and Minnesota so when she asked what a dog was doing in my backyard, I wondered if she was seeing things.

DogLookingUpFrom where I was standing, I could see my neighbor’s dog. I thought that was the dog Linda saw. I kept trying to explain that my neighbor has a dog and Linda kept asking things like, “But isn’t there a fence that divides your two yards?” I couldn’t understand why she was so confused.

Then I walked over to where she was to point out what I meant. Then I saw it. A large – large – dog in my yard. My yard!

Linda loves dogs so she marched right up to it. I stayed further back. My neighbor came out to tell us she saw it in my yard often while I was gone. Such a mystery.

Your questions about homeschooling will be answered by Tina Hollenbeck, former teacher and full-time homeschooler, and Dr. Kathy. All questions are welcome regarding curriculum, specific lessons, contemplating homeschooling, records and whatever else you wonder about.

You may have gotten to know Tina from her articles in our newsletter. Her insightful commentary on homeschooling, being a mother, and her personal life are full of practical ideas and are life giving.

We look forward to your presence at our online seminar!

When you register, feel free to type questions that you would like us to answer into the comment box. You can also ask questions live during the seminar.

Date: November 19, 2014
Time: 2:00-2:30/2:45pm CST and On-demand whenever it’s convenient for you. (If you register, you’ll be sent the replay link that allows you to listen whenever you want as often as you want. Your schedule does not need to be a factor in determining whether to register.)
Event: Home Schooling Questions and Answers with Dr. Kathy and Tina Hollenbeck
Sponsor: Celebrate Kids
Venue: Online Seminar
Public: Public
Registration: Click here to register.

Tapping Into A Child’s Interests Increases Healthy Development

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When I taught second graders, I sometimes grouped them by their interests to increase enthusiasm for our reading lessons. It helped them learn and enjoy the experiences. They also got to know peers better who they normally didn’t spend as much time with.

As if it was just a week ago, I remember the year Shawn, John, George, and a few more boys were grouped together because they all wanted to know how planes worked. They had a great time and made an excellent presentation to the rest of the class about what they learned.

One boy felt terribly left out. No one else chose the topic he chose. He almost begged me to let him drop his choice and join the other group. I didn’t. Rather, I supported him and he began to enjoy his opportunity to work at his own pace and dig into what interested him. He, too, made an excellent presentation to the class. It was the interest that motivated him; he didn’t need his peers.

What children are interested in is an important part of their identity. There may be others with the same interests, like the boys who all wanted to learn about planes. This serves as a great connection point and enhances their belonging. Or, they may find out their interest helps to explain their uniqueness among their peers.

Dr. Kathy believes one of the most important things parents can do is pass their values on to their children. Have you ever thought that voting is a very practical way to do that? Of course, this means we talk with our children about why we vote the way we do. As Kathy explains, this is so much more beneficial than something else we might do. Curious? Please watch.

“A Heart Of Joy” – A Tribute to My Friend Gary

GaryKarenCrumpI heard my text alert while in the jet bridge. After a two-hour weather-related delay, I just wanted to get on the plane. I read the text though.

And just like that, I found out my friend, Gary, was gone. His suffering was over and he was free from pain. Just like that. Unexpected.

Gary had endured six major surgeries in the past six months. Monday’s shoulder replacement surgery was the last procedure scheduled to repair his body and relieve his pain. This surgery, though, was too much for his heart.

God numbers our days. By faith, we declare His timing is perfect.

I’m not surprised by Gary’s wife’s immediate response that she was happy for Gary. In the 25 years I’ve know them, that’s been Karen’s focus – Gary’s joy and well-being. Why would I expect anything different now?

Life sometimes collides loudly with death. It’s ugly. Out of sync. There’s anger. People talk about love when there was little evidence they lived with love.

That’s not what happened for Gary and Karen. He was loved and he loved. I’m not implying Gary won’t be missed. He will be by many. But he lived with death in mind so there’s no collision with life. He lived life to the fullest because he knew every day mattered and no more days were promised. He embraced people and moments. He was a steward of every opportunity. If you’re a reader of this blog, you know I write about really living. Being alive. Living alive. Being alive because you’re living. That was Gary.

Embrace Courage, Choose Life!

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Death is all over the news. So is life and courage.

For instance, you might have heard that Brittany Maynard chose to end her life Saturday with drugs provided by a doctor. She didn’t want to go through what might have been a difficult end-of-life experience due to her brain cancer. It’s not our place to judge, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have feelings about what she did.

I’m rarely speechless (surprise!), but this news almost did it to me. As a believer in God, I’m honestly grateful He numbers my days ( Job 14:5 ). He is in control  ( Jude 1:24-25 ) and that’s fine with me. He chose when I entered the world (in the middle of a Milwaukee Braves baseball game, which my mom’s doctor liked to remind her of during every visit after my birth). I’ll let Him choose when I enter heaven.

Suffering is rarely chosen or desired. However, God designed us to benefit from challenges that can include suffering. We learn in His Holy Word ( Romans 5:3-4 ) that these are the times when we grow and mature. They’re when character and hope are strengthened. What if, when near the end of her life and while suffering, Brittany would have called out to her Creator? People can come to trust Him and know Him more intimately during His ordained times.

Have you heard about Maggie Karner? Maybe not, because those who decide which stories are newsworthy have apparently decided it wouldn’t be as popular. After all, decisions seem to be made based on what will go viral. Sadly, Maggie has the same cancer as Brittany. But, she’s made a different choice – to live each day God provides.