Talking About Halloween

Talking About Halloween

 

Talking About Halloween

 

Tomorrow is Halloween. It’s tempting to post about it.

Logic-smart people would expect me to. It’s the logical thing to do. Maybe they’d enjoy hearing the different perspectives on why some Christians don’t have their children participate in the holiday.

Word-smart people might like me to research the history of the word “Halloween.” And, we could read about different candy – how was each invented and named?

People-smart people would enjoy learning how people choose their costumes while getting friends’ reactions while shopping.

Nature-smart people might enjoy stories about how weather affects costume choices and how long children are allowed to be outside going from house to house in inclement weather.

Self-smart people might prefer thought-provoking quotes or poems to reflect upon.

Picture-smart people would enjoy details about unusual costumes and decorated haunted houses.

Music-smart people might enjoy knowing if there are any songs associated with Halloween.

Body-smart people would enjoy thinking about acting out different roles their costumes would require them to play – the happy clown, the old man, the rock star, etc.

Should All 8 Smarts Always be Included?

So, how could I possibly write one blog post about Halloween to please everyone? I probably can’t. Or, maybe I just did (if you’re easy to please).

That’s why I recommend that when teaching one short lesson, we don’t necessarily try to include all eight smarts. We’d have a headache and so would our children. The content might actually not be taught well. The same thing is true in our writing. We can and should make sure we don’t always teach or write to the same smart. But, including them all isn’t always a good idea.

When we teach a topic over time, we can and should include all eight smarts. And, if our lesson or written work is long enough, we can work to include as many smarts as seems appropriate. Our learners will benefit with greater motivation, learning, and ability to apply the ideas.

If you participate in Halloween activities, watch to see how the different smarts show up and influence your thinking and reactions.

Do you interpret people’s body language and facial feedback and use your judgements when deciding whether or not to approach someone and get to know him or her? I do and I check back to see if my judgements were accurate over time. Let’s teach our kids how to interpret body language. Does that stance mean that guy is bored, angry, welcoming, or closed to newcomers? Knowing is valuable.

Listen With Great Compassion

Listen With Great Compassion

 

Listen With Great Compassion

 

On Monday, I encouraged my readers to be in the moment with people who are in pain and people who are joyful. It’s not helpful or loving to try to push people through and beyond their feelings. If you read that post, have you noticed more people’s feelings in the last two days? How have you responded?

As I wrote on Monday, these two verses can instruct and motivate us:

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”

Romans 12:15

“He who withholds kindness from a friend

forsakes the fear of the Almighty.”

~Job 6;14

As my pastor continued his teaching from the book of Job, he shared this insight that’s clear from reading the debate between Job and his three “friends” found in chapters 7-37:

Resist answering the unanswerable.

Maybe one of the wisest things we can do is listen with great compassion and respond with, “I’m so sorry I don’t have answers.” If people don’t seem to be asking questions, we can simply verbalize, “I’m so sorry.” I’ve sometimes sat with people and said it several times.

Not having answers is hard for me. I’m logic smart and word smart so I think with words and questions. I’m solution-focused. On top of that, I have the spiritual gift of exhortation. I’m naturally driven “to urge, advise, or caution earnestly; admonish urgently.”

But, I know answers and solutions are often not what people want. They want me. They want to be heard. To be seen in their moment.

Silence. It’s not easy. But, it’s so often what’s best.

What Can We Do?

Knowing what some “experts” think wasn’t enough for me. I asked about this on Facebook to see if someone’s presence satisfied people. It’s fun to do research there. Yes, it’s research. There was a lot of agreement among those who answered this question. These comments reflect those of many:

  • I want them to be engaged in a way that creates connectedness. You can evaluate engagement by a lot of non-verbal communication (are they facing you, looking at you, leaning in towards you, making eye contact, etc.) but there are other ways too. Are they relaxed, comfortable? Being kind and considerate? Sometimes just being means not being elsewhere, whether physically or emotionally. [Read that last sentence again. It’s good!]
  • Mouth closed. Arms, ears, and eyes open.
  • I don’t want to hear what I “should or shouldn’t” be thinking/feeling/doing, I just want companionship, understanding, and hopefully encouragement and camaraderie.
  • Acknowledge the feelings you’re hearing … “I’m sure that’s exciting” or “That sounds really hurtful.”
  • Physical touch – hold my hand, touch my shoulder, hug me, sit close. Don’t tell me your experience and how it turned out (either good or bad). But do empathize and show you understand what I’m feeling. Don’t discount my feelings, let me move through whatever process I need to go through. Do assure me of God’s faithfulness and love.
  • Peaceful companionship. [I love this phrase!]

  • Listening. Not one-upping your situation. Sympathizing or enjoying the moment with you.
  • I want undivided attention. I don’t mind if they share experiences that are similar or that yielded the same emotion I’m working through at that time for I believe that it makes for a very close connection. And I don’t want to be judged or criticized. I want to feel as if I’m being heard and understood and that they are there for me trying to help share the experience. I also don’t want them to fix the problem if there is one unless I ask them how they would do it.
  • Contentment, satisfaction with that moment … not wishing for more or something different.
  • I want true listening and not just hearing me….big difference!
  • A car ride. Best conversations in my life seem to happen in the car.
  • Eye contact and the feeling that they are truly there, truly listening, not wishing the moment would pass so they can hop along to the next distraction

And, communicated by many: No phone in front of their face!!!! [I think she meant it.] And, there’s this one: I want to be important enough that a cell phone or other device do not need to be present.

Is it Different for Teens?

I hope the above list is helpful and motivational. It was for me. What about teens. Some may say some of the same things adults shared. But, …

Many teens (and children) prefer to talk about emotional and difficult things when they’re busy. They’re not as comfortable with silence as adults are. From one Facebook post:

My 14 year old daughter’s first answer was play video games with me. So I said no video games, what else to be in the moment together. She answered watch a movie together. I asked her why not just sit together or chat together but she said to sit in silence is awkward and to just talk is uncomfortable. I guess she feels more comfortable talking while engaged in another activity.

Yes. Based on my experiences and conversations with teens, I believe many or most or all would agree with this teen. I love that the mom thought to ask her and that her daughter was able to be honest.

As I’ve written about before, many teens also prefer talking while we’re driving because our eyes can’t meet. They often tell me they don’t want to remember the look on our faces when they say something that’s disappointing or alarming. This is also why some like the dark at bedtime. I totally get this. Do you?

Why not do what the mom from Facebook did and ask your children and teens if they have preferences. If you have preferences, let them know yours. Sharing during emotional times is important. Let’s learn to do it well.

As always, thanks for reading. Let me know if this was beneficial. And, if you have ideas about other things you’d like me to blog about, I’d love your ideas.

Be Authentically Present

Be Authentically Present

Be Authentically Present

 

When people hurt, do you notice? I want to get better at being aware and fully present. I don’t want to turn away or walk away. And, I want people’s pain to affect me. What about you? Are you good at this? Are you able to feel people’s pain? Willing to feel it? Prepared to feel it?

There’s so much pain. It feels like it’s everywhere sometimes. Much of the time. I ache, and sometimes I don’t want to. It’s hard because I wish I could just fix things. Fix people.

What can we do? What should we do?

The Book of Job is Helpful

My pastor is teaching from Job during his Wednesday Bible study. He chose the book for us to study because of a corresponding sermon series about pain and suffering.

This. This is truth he shared while talking about a section of chapter 2. I want to remember this. I want to do this. Be this.

 

“Meet people at their emotion

before trying to move them through the emotion.”

 

So I need just to wait. Feel. Be present. Because it’s not about me being uncomfortable. It’s about people getting comfortable. And in their own time.

In the context of my pastor’s teaching, this applies to people’s pain. Hurt. Heartache. Brokenness. Does this concept work when people are experiencing joy? It’s the same truth. Absolutely!

If I’m not others-centered and fully present to joyful people around me, I can be guilty of wanting them to push through their joy. Get to the other side, people! Enough of this happiness!

It’s true. I’m a thinker before I’m a feeler so sometimes lots of laughter and joy makes me uncomfortable. I don’t know what to do. If I’m not careful, I’ll say something or ask something because I want people to move from their emotions to their thoughts.

But, it’s not about me being comfortable. It’s about others not being uncomfortable. It’s about people being. Just being.

Romans 12:15 is relevant. I’m grateful the Holy Spirit brings it to my mind often.

 

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”

 

So look at this next verse. Wow! Job shares it after his “friends” start the long debate with him about why he is suffering.

I need this instruction. The world needs this instruction. I pray it may bless you today. Let’s act on it.

 

“He who withholds kindness from a friend

forsakes the fear of the Almighty.”

~Job 6;14

—————–

Please make sure to come back for Wednesday’s blog. I’ll expand on the idea of being in the moment, and we’ll compare what this might look like for adults and children.

Dr. Kathy continues talking about how to help young people choose friends by explaining that they can use their senses, experiences, and intuition to identify and determine people’s beliefs and character qualities. She stresses that if our children don’t choose someone as a friend, it doesn’t mean they can be mean-spirited about it.

Using All Of Your 8 Smarts

Using All Of Your 8 Smarts

Using All Of Your 8 Smarts

 

Many parents and teachers ask me how to determine which smarts are the strongest for their children. I understand why they want to know.

As valuable as that may be, I was recently reminded again that talking with children about choosing to engage all their smarts at the same time may have more value. Using all 8 adds joy to every experience.

Last Wednesday I drove through the Fossil Rim Safari in Glen Rose, TX, with my friend, Dede. We used all 8 smarts.

How Did We Use Our 8 Smarts?

First of all, the way that Dede and I used our word smart might be obvious. We visited and talked and shared stories as we drove to and from the park and while we were in the park. But, it’s thinking with and learning with the smarts that are keys. We did that as Dede read about the animals in a booklet. Then, when she read that the Arabian Oryx “can switch from ruminating to eating” we looked up the word “ruminating” at Dictionary.com. I knew it meant to think deeply over and over again when applied to people. We discovered the meaning when applied to an animal is “chewing the cud.”

Because when using logic smart you think with questions, this overlapped with our use of word smart. Also, we asked a lot of questions of each other as we discussed our lives, our friendship, and the animals. For instance, we asked why God created animals that were so strange looking, whether animals with similar patterns in their fur were definitely related, and what was in the food we were allowed to feed them.

Even though I don’t consider myself terribly picture smart, I, of course, used my eyes all day and thought in pictures. I compared the zebras and the giraffes to those I have seen on safari in Africa. I compared the landscape to what it looked like the last time I was on this particular safari. And, of course, just seeing the beauty of God‘s creation made it a very refreshing day.

Using All Of Your 8 Smarts

How Did We Your Music Smarts?

In addition, can you think of a way that we might’ve used our music smart skills while on a safari? I don’t remember that either of us hummed or sang. However one of the animals that appears to be a part of the elk family definitely trumpeted a warning of sorts. We think he was communicating to other males to stay out of his territory. We heard it because we were thinking with our ears and realized that it was a type of music. We heard it again later when we were having lunch at the Outlook Café and were quite far away. This might be one of my favorite memories as I reflect on it.

Self smart because that’s the smart that requires us to reflect and think deeply inside of ourselves. It’s important to realize that I’m drawing the conclusion that it’s a favorite memory many hours after actually hearing the sound. While at the park, Dede and I did use our self smart as we thought internally about our experiences and for whatever reason chose not to verbalize them. It’s not necessary when being self smart.

What About The Last 3 Smarts?

Believe me, though; we were more people smart than we were self smart. When being people smart, we think with other people. Accordingly, I said something and Dede responded. Then she said something, and I responded. It’s through the conversation that clarity and new insights arose. Dede and I did that all day long.

What about body smart? When using this intelligence, you think by moving and by doing. Although we were stuck in my car, so we were limited, we did use our hands to express our joy often. And, our faces lit up, too. Feeding the animals out of our hands and petting a few of them increased the depth of our memories and joy.

Using All Of Your 8 Smarts

That leaves nature smart. We thought with patterns all day long, and we enjoyed being in and surrounded by nature. We especially pointed out the patterns on animals’ fur, the shape and design of the different horns, and the shape of unique trees. I’m not terribly nature smart, but it didn’t matter. I used all 8 smarts and had a great day!

Encourage The Use Of All 8 Smarts

Let me return to my opening statement about parents’ desire to determine which smarts might be their children’s strengths. That certainly is a worthy endeavor. You can use experiences like I had to figure it out. Listen and look.

When you’re having fun doing something or doing nothing in particular, which smarts do you see your children use? What do they talk about and when they do ask questions, what do they ask about? Are they depending on their eyes to think with? Are they moving and acting things out? Do they need to talk with you about their insights or do you see them pondering things privately? If you want to make note of their current strengths, you should be able to.

Just remember that because children’s intelligences are being developed and are growing, they will be heavily influenced by purpose and passion. What you observe your children do often and well today may be very different from a month ago. That’s why keeping your eyes and ears open and never assuming you know for sure how children are especially smart is smart parenting. This is especially true when your children are young.

Who You Are?  Or What You Do?

Who You Are? Or What You Do?

 

Who You Are?  Or What You Do?

 

Here’s what I want you to think about today. Do you believe that who you are is more important than what you do?

If you’ve followed me a while or heard me speak at an event, you know I feel strongly about this. Do you agree? If not, why not and what would it take for you to change your mind?

Also, I wonder if your children believe that who they are is more important than what they do. If you want them to believe it, how could you persuade them?

I communicate this truth in different ways:

  • Who we are is more important than what we do because everything we do we do because of everything we are. (I know that’s a mouthful! Read it again.)
  • Children do what they do because of who they are.
  • We are human beings not human doings.
  • By watching everything I do you can learn a lot about who I am.

Think about your past 24 hours. What did you do? Do you see how your being – who you are – was present at all times? Do you see that at least some of what you did was influenced by who you are? Maybe all of it?

As you become more aware of the intersection of your being and your doing, you’ll be able to see how you can improve what you’re doing by changing who you are in the moment.

Kindness changes actions and words.

Patience changes actions and words.

Love changes actions and words.

Humility changes actions and words.

Joy changes actions and words.

Peace changes actions and words.

Generosity changes actions and words.

You get the idea – who we are matters.

When we want children to understand that who they are matters, we can ask this question:  “Who were you today?” They may respond with silence as they try to figure out what you mean. Some may laugh and question you.

When they answer, “I was Kathy today. I can’t be anyone else!” you have your discussion starter. “Which Kathy were you today? The kind and outgoing Kathy or the silent Kathy? Were you patient like we know you can be or were you impatient?”

“What did you do today?” is a much more common question. It emphasizes “doing” and not “being.” It’s absolutely fine to ask. But, if you value who your children are and you want them to pay more attention as well, also ask, “Who were you today?”

Will you try this? I hope so. I’d love to know how your children respond to the new question.

Relationships and friendships aren’t easy. Therefore, we’re beginning a series of videos to help you help your children and teens. Let’s consider the skill of choosing friends. When you help your children know who they are they’ll be able to identify who they might enjoy getting to know or having fun with. How would they answer the question, “Who am I?”

Are Your Children Confident In Who They Are?

Are Your Children Confident In Who They Are?

Are Your Children Confident In Who They Are?

 

Do you want to know how you can figure out if your children are secure? Here’s one way. Would they answer this question as my friend’s 16-year-old daughter did?

If you could be any person living now or in the past, who would you be?

There’s more than one “good” answer, of course. Think about it. How would you love your children to answer this?

My friend’s granddaughter had an immediate response when her mom asked her the question. She enthusiastically responded, I would be ME, of course. God created me, and I am special to Him, so why would I want to be anyone else?

How do you respond to that? I had these immediate responses to her response.

Joy for her because she has such confidence in who she is.

Not only that but tears of gratitude for her parents and others who have raised her to be so secure.

Of course gratitude to God for equipping her parents and for speaking truth to the girl.

Hope that she represents many young people who are learning to be satisfied and even joyful about who they are.

At the same time, sadness for all the youth who aren’t satisfied, but are running from who God created them to be.

Let me ask you again: How would you love your children to answer the question, “If you could be any person living now or in the past, who would you be?”

Now, spend some time thinking about and praying about what it will take for that answer you desire to be an immediate response. Then be proactive. I pray for your success! And, if you’re willing to share, I’d love to know positive answers you’ve thought of. Thanks.

Developing Real Relationships

Developing Real Relationships

 

Developing Real Relationships

 

I want to create a relationship with you.

This is how some emails I receive begin. Because they’re from spammers who think this opening line will motivate me to contact them for some business opportunities.

Therefore, I want to scream at my laptop, “Well you don’t get everything you want!” Then, in my mind, I question their use of the word “create.” It’s just wrong. Then I hit “delete.”

We do want relationships. So do our teens and children.

Relationships, which can mature to friendships, start with noticing the people around us and engaging them in conversations. But, that’s a dying art because of texting, social media, and self-centeredness.

So how do we engage people and get to know them? We can ask better questions. We can be fully present to listen to people’s answers and ask follow-up questions that honor them. We’d all be better off if we took the time to get to know people. Right? Let me write that again: We’d all be better off if we took the time to get to know people.

Ask These Questions

Here are my favorite questions to ask when wanting to get to know someone better. Some of them I ask during my first encounter. And others I ask after we have gotten to know each other a bit.

  • What would you like me to know about you? (This is my all-time favorite because it honors them. They can decide whether to share about family, career, their past, their passion, or something else. As a result, I often learn about their priorities by what they choose to talk about.)
  • What are you passionate about? Why?
  • What fascinates you? Why?
  • What concerns you? Why?
  • What’s important to you?
  • What you are most grateful for?
  • What breaks your heart? Why?
  • What brings you great joy?
  • What has been one of your greatest victories?
  • If you could give advice to people, what would you share?
  • Who are some of your favorite people? Why?

More Questions That Will Help You Get to Know Others

I love my Facebook communities so I asked them, “What’s a unique question we could ask someone we wanted to get to know better?” There are some great questions here. I’ve printed this out so I remember these. I want to honor people and get to know them better.

  • What makes you have joy in the midst of a crisis? I am just curious because I see how well you manage your family and your life.
  • What is the most difficult thing you’ve ever faced and walked through?
  • When do you see yourself as the best version of you? (Ex: in a deadline crunch I am my best driven self.)
  • What inspires you? And why?
  • I am intrigued by you. I would love to hear your story.
  • What is one occasion when it was undeniable that Jesus was present and at work in a situation?
  • What is your biggest dream? Why? Are you taking steps to accomplish that dream?
  • What’s the hardest part of your job (or if there’s no ‘job’ insert the words “typical day.”) Or what part do you like doing the least? You could ask the opposite too. What’s your favorite part of your job.
  • What is your passion? What motivates and moves you?
  • Whom do you most admire and why? What character qualities do you most admire in your spouse /or best friend /or child?
  • What is your life motto or favorite Bible verse?
  • If I wanted to get to know you better what kinds of questions would I ask you?

And A Few Fun Questions

  • Do you prefer Star Wars or Star Trek?
  • What makes you smile?
  • What book has influenced you the most and why?
  • Do you have any pets? Why did you choose them?
  • What has your favorite vacation been?
  • Can you picture an elephant in your mind? Describe your elephant to me.
    (This helps to learn how the person thinks/processes/learns.)
  • What is your least favorite food?
  • If you have a few hours of down time to do whatever you want to do to recharge, what would you do?
  • What is the wildest adventure you’ve ever had?
  • Tell me four things about yourself, with a catch. One of them has to be a lie. I will then guess which is the false answer.
  • When I hear someone has gone on a trip I like to ask, “What was your favorite thing?” I prefer that over, “Did you have a good time?” I get more than just a casual ‘yes’ answer.
  • If you could only have one, would you choose salsa or guacamole, and why?
  • When was the last time you cried and why?
  • What’s the neatest thing you ever made?
  • Tell me your story.
  • If you could buy a ticket to anywhere, where would you go?
  • What is your favorite place in the whole world?
  • So far, what month has been your favorite this year? Then, what happened?
  • Say you’re arrested. Who’s the first person you’d call to bail you out?
  • What is your favorite food and how do you fix it?

A Little More Personal

  • You have died and come to heaven. In heaven there is all understanding and completion, but before you step through those gates to become whole, you have an opportunity. A question. Just one question. Anything your heart has most desired to know. What do you ask?
  • How can I pray for you?
  • Who took a chance on you and offered you an opportunity to do something meaningful — even if you, or they, didn’t feel you were totally ready for it yet — and what happened?
  • Hi, you look like a very interesting person. I’d love to hear your story.
  • If you could spend a few hours with anyone who has ever lived in history, who would that be? Why?
  • What are you excited about?
  • What are you hoping for today?
  • If you save one photo from your life what would it be of?
  • What fact most surprised you when you learned it?
  • If you weren’t here, what would you normally be doing this time of day, this day of the week?
  • What circumstance in your life has caused you to grow the most?
  • Who was the person that changed your life and how did they do that?
  • If you could know anything about anything, what would you want to know?
  • How would you like to change the world?
  • What’s on the top of your bucket list?
  • What is your biggest fear? And what do you love most?
  • Can you talk freely about your past? What are your aspirations for the future?
  • What is the one thing you are most passionate about and why.
  • If money wasn’t a problem what would you like to do and why?

Or These Personal Questions

  • What are passionate about? What sets you ablaze? A certain kind of movie, a certain kind of food, a certain kind outdoor activity… like surfing or jet skiing?
  • If you could trade places with another person, who would it be and why?
  • In what ways are you smart?
  • What’s the hardest situation you feel like God bailed you out of in a really cool way?
  • What keeps you busy during the week?
  • What’s your greatest fear?
  • If you could have dinner with one person, living or dead, who would it be and why?

Getting To Know Their Background A Little More

  • Tell me a story of your name and how you got it.
  • What is your favorite childhood memory?
  • As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
  • What did you like about the place where you grew up? What things did your parents do when you were young that you really appreciate now?
  • Where did you grow up?
  • What truth has most impacted the way you live? How?
  • What’s the most heroic thing someone did for you and who did it?
  • How did you come to know Christ?
  • What are the top 3 most significant events in your life that changed you as a person?
  • If you could live in a different city, where would that be and why?
  • What’s on your bucket list?
  • What made you giggle as a child?
  • What book are you reading or what kind of music do you listen to?
  • How do you like to spend your time?
  • What do you love most about your life?
  • When do you feel the most alive?
  • What is a personal goal you have set or achieved?
  • What are you good at?
  • If you could do one thing and be guaranteed not to fail, what would you do?

Will You Use These Questions?

So, what do you think? Will you use some of these? Will you share some with your teens so they can get to know peers in unique ways?  Maybe some would be fun to ask our teens. Let me know how the questions work. I’d love to know!