Posts from category "Life"
For us, 2017 wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had some bad years so I’ll take the meh year any day, but at the same time, I’m hoping for greatness for my family in 2018. Another great year at Micron for Brad, a stellar job opportunity for Jordan, an amazing volleyball season for Bailey, and a dream role in a play for Brooke. For me, 2018 is the year that my memoir, A Backpack, a Eurorail Pass and Some Serious Baggage, gets published. No more excuses, no more fears, just jump in and do it.
For those of you who don’t know about this writing project that has taken me the better part of twenty years to complete, here’s a description and a link to a preview.
Jen thinks of traveling Europe with Jeanne and Bert as an escape from her conservative Mormon upbringing and the pressures of conforming to a religion she does not believe in. But she discovers freedom means more than being worldly, having a guilt-free good time, and finding the perfect pint of ale. For Jen, real freedom can be trusting her friends with a secret that kept her captive for ten years.
Click to preview: http://jenniewithers.com/images/pdf/A-Backpack.pdf
Here’s to a great 2018!
“For Hell’s sake, grow some balls and go after what you want!” So telling my daughter to grow balls may not be my best mom moment, and I really wish my rant wasn’t so Freudian, but I stand by the sentiment. Jumping out of an airplane takes little courage compared to the courage required to pursue happiness.
Misery is easy, drama is easy, remaining static is easy, being a pleaser is easy, letting things happen is easy. Easy does not equate to happiness. No matter how many times you use a smiley face emoji or post to social media and tell your friends how joyful you are, it just won’t happen until you have the courage to put in the work to obtain it.
So back to my kid. The thing they don’t tell you when you have a baby is that you can’t make them do anything, much less be happy. You can model the tools and gently, or sometimes not so gently, guide them, but in the end they have to choose to have the courage to work for their own happiness. As a parent, I really hope my kids grow those metaphorical cojones and get the job done because I love them. And honestly, I really don’t want them living with me forever.
If your teen is perfectly capable, and you would like them or need them to find employment, but they are uninterested, there are some effective options besides demonstrating your frustration and anger.
- Stop paying for their stuff. Teens love their cell phones, computers, video games, driving the car, and looking cool. These things may be called essentials by your teen, but in reality, they are not. If your teen refuses to look for a job, stop paying for their stuff. It's amazing how motivating taking away their luxuries can be.
- Make their life at home more work. If your teen refuses to help you out financially, then perhaps they could help you out manually. Give them some added chores. Perhaps if they clean out the garage they can take the car Saturday night, or being in charge of garbage and recycling may earn them a month's worth of texting privileges. Allowing your teen to do nothing is not only unfair to you and your family, it is unhealthy for them. How can a teen learn to be a contributor to society when they haven't learned how to pull their weight within their own family?
- Show them the harsh realities. Talk to your teen about the realities of having no money. Share your paycheck, bills and your budget with them. Find the costs of attending college at their dream school. Volunteer as a family at a homeless shelter or food bank. In other words, it's time to let them in on what all adults know, money is important and it takes hard work to get it, and even harder work to keep it.
- Find out if they're lazy or scared. Teens love to play it tough and act as though they're rebelling when in reality they may be apprehensive. Finding a job for some teens is a scary thing because they realize they have to grow up, talk to adults, take responsibility for themselves, and generally leave their comfort zones. I had really great students in my classes who completely shut down when the topic of jobs comes up. Discuss with your teen why they don't want a job. Let them know you are there to offer suggestions, find resources, research possibilities, and help them through the process of getting a grown up job.
Most teens I've taught can't wait until they're old enough to get a job. But for those few who seem uninterested despite the pushing and prodding from their parents, there is hope. Parents can't make their teens get a job, but they can employ strategies to motivate employment aspirations.
Your Peace is in Your Hands
For my grandma, who I called Gram, naps were for lazy folks, meditation was for hippies, and too much TV would rot your brain. Relaxation for her meant working with her hands and creating something. The only way to relieve stress, to exorcise the Hell’s Fridays, was a project that required sweat equity.
Gram’s favorite project was making bread once a week. She hummed or talked to whoever was in the kitchen as she threw dry ingredients into one bowl and liquids into another. There was no recipe, and the use of measuring cups and spoons was optional. I remember bits and pieces of this part of the process. I think potato water was involved because Gram took living in Idaho very seriously. I also remember the artist’s care she took when creating the crater in the flour mixture for the liquids.
What I will never forget, and the part that taught me all I needed to know about relieving stress, was the kneading. When Gram spread a handful of flour onto her yellow formica countertop, I knew it was time for reverent silence. She placed the dough gently on the counter and gave it a few reassuring pats. Gram took a deep, complete upper body breath and closed her eyes. Then she thrust the palm of her hand violently into the doughy mass and pummelled the hell out of that dough exactly one hundred times. If I listened closely I could hear her counting under her breath. Breadmaking was how Gram reached nirvana, recharged her chi, released the dopamine in her brain, and simply prepared for another week of life.
Exercise is awesome, drinking is divine, even watching TV is great, but if I really need a break from my brain and the thoughts coursing through there, I take on a project. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as you enjoy it. I don’t do baking. For me, it’s like the Indigo Girls song says, “I gotta get out of bed/Get a hammer and a nail/Learn how to use my hands/Not just my head.”
Try a project and let me know how it goes!
Related blog: Happiness Takes Balls, I Mean, Courage