Sep 112013
 

September is National Baby Safety month. Keeping your child safe is not always easy. If you are one of those parents that believe that you are omnipresent in your child’s life, we hope that no one gets hurt while you find out how wrong you are. We have three kids, ages 20, 9, and 6. The oldest was super easy to keep safe. We could tell her, even at a very young age, not to touch the stove because it was dangerous and she would understand and never touch the stove. The middle child was a little harder. By the youngest kid, the one most likely to mix chemicals from under the sink because the purple smoke was pretty, we needed to step up our game.

safety 300x300 Protecting Our Kids   National Baby Safety Month

The youngest was rambunctious, to say the least, and we had a pool in Miami. This was a recipe for danger. We had to do things with him that we didn’t with the others. Each child is different and protecting them does not have a one size fits all solution. Take a look at the infograph and help us keep our children safe. Please share the pictures found here to remind everyone about National Baby Safety month.

 

Sep 102013
 

Cynical adults may sneer when they say, “Youth is wasted on the young.” But young world-traveler Ryan Pearson sees a more positive message in George Bernard Shaw’s often repeated quote.

“I see it as meaning that youth is an opportunity to seize direction, enlightenment, significance and to expand one’s powers,” says Pearson, author of “Green Hope” from “The Element Series,” (www.theelementsseries.com), about a teenager blessed with wealth and fame who discovers he has the added responsibility of super powers.

“It’s sad that so many teens get sidetracked by trying to fit in with a crowd, or worrying that they don’t measure up somehow. At a time when they should be enjoying a new sense of independence and capabilities, they’re often paralyzed by self-doubt.”

Pearson says all teens have super powers – they just need to recognize them:

• Your inner “mutant”: Many teens like to make a big deal out of not caring what others think about them, precisely because they care about what everyone thinks of them. This can make them sensitive and anxious about how they express themselves and what they enjoy, from what they wear to the music they like to the grades they earn. Embrace what sets you apart! No one else in the world is quite like you. Explore your interests and find what you love – whether or not it’s what other teens love. You’ll get a head start on developing valuable skills.

• “Punisher” fitness training: You don’t have to be built like the renowned vigilante from the Marvel universe, but you’ll look your best – and feel your best – if you establish a good exercise routine now. Not only will working out give you a nice physique, it’s a good way to reduce stress and it even gives you a natural high thanks to the release of endorphins, chemicals that make your brain happy.

• Batman’s first rule in fighting: Despite the fact that it would make his crime fighting much, much easier, the Caped Crusader absolutely refuses to use guns. That’s because a deranged criminal with a gun shot and killed Bruce Wayne’s parents when he was a child. The result is that his fighting methods are more moral and creative, and he always knows what to do when a quick decision is needed. Getting into the habit of making your own decisions based on your values and your understanding of right or wrong, instead of following the crowd, will help make even the hardest choices easier.

• Cultivate your “spidey” senses: Teens are naturally impatient, impulsive and impetuous. Slow down! Take your time on the road, in relationships, during confrontations and when contemplating big decisions. Part of why Spider-Man is so fast is that time slows for him during tense situations. Likewise, teens who can slow down emotionally-driven decisions and better understand their consequences, much like a “spidey” sense, will make wiser ones.

• Know your kryptonite: Some kids just seem to have it all: academic excellence, athletic accomplishments, popularity, and a clear complexion to boot. But everyone has their limits, like Superman’s kryptonite. Knowing your limits and learning how to worked around them, or strengthen them, is a lifelong challenge for everyone.

About Ryan Pearson

After completing a Bachelor of Laws degree at age 21, Ryan Pearson took a leap of faith by leaving the beautiful beaches of Australia to travel the world. Eventually, he landed in Montreal for several years before returning home to write about his adventures. He overcame many challenging personal experiences and now embraces an audacious new lifestyle. Pearson writes about his own character arc – involving a supernatural and overzealous way of life – via character Reagan Jameson.

Sep 032013
 

The Internet affords children endless opportunities to get into serious trouble, downloading what they shouldn’t download, looking at what they shouldn’t be looking at, and getting ideas about what they shouldn’t be getting ideas about.

But the good news is that if your kids are like mine, they may be doing some or all of those things…but there’s another ise for the Internet that’s attracting their time and attention.

It’s called teaching.

That’s right—your kids are most likely teaching other kids how to do things that interest them.  The online world, especially YouTube, has turned into an academy without walls, entrance fees, or final exams.  The instructors, just like the students, are barely into double digits.

Take my ten year olds (please!).  My twin sons, Isaac and Walter, are variously interested in unicycling, origami, juggling, magic, Minecraft, jailbreaking their iPods, and similar subjects.  Much of what they’ve learned about these topics has come from YouTube videos.  Much of those videos are written and produced by other kids.  Which inspired my sons to put up their own instructional videos.

Now my sons are in a race with their friends for viewers and followers on their three YouTube channels, MyWalter101, BillyBobRandom12345, and OrigamiAndMagicBrothers.   As a proud parent, naturally I want you to visit their channels and see what they’re doing.  But more than that, this is a unique phenomenon.

You couldn’t get the average kid to stand up in front of an audience and talk about his or her favorite topic.  Or demonstrate a magic trick, or a guitar chord, or a hack on an iPod.   Never gonna happen.  But allow that same kid the privacy of his or her living room, the use of a camera built into a smartphone, and the opportunity to upload a two- or three-minute instructional video on any given topic, and you’ve got solid gold.

As a result, there exists today an underground, invisible network of children taking turns as teachers and students, sharing with each other the skills, ideas, secrets, and technological breakthroughs they cherish.  This university without walls or national boundaries is, without exaggeration, unparalleled in human history.  Children have always been at the mercy of parents, teachers, and school administrators when it comes to the question of how, what, and when they learn.  Now the game has changed and the power has shifted to kids. 

Obviously parental supervision is required; you don’t need me to tell you just how dangerous and inappropriate the online world can be.  What’s most exciting about this phenomenon, however, is the fact that children are taking initiative to become teachers and sharers.  They are not looking to make money doing this—although few would deny the desire to have 5 million followers and the fame (and perhaps fortune) that would accompany such success.  They’re doing it for the love of the video game, hobby, hack, or technique they’re demonstrating to the world.

It’s fascinating to imagine the new world that will arise when these online teachers reach adulthood.  Their ethos is cooperation instead of compensation; amateurism instead of professionalism.  How will they make a living?  How will they translate the teaching skills they are acquiring into a livelihood?  I don’t know, but chances are, some of them will figure it out.  And then they’ll post their learning on YouTube, or whatever sharing technology exists at that time, and give the world the benefit of their knowledge and experience.  Why not?  They’ll have been doing it for their whole lives.

About Michael Levin

Michael Levin, founder and CEO of BusinessGhost, Inc. (www.BusinessGhost.com), has written more than 100 books, including eight national best-sellers; five that have been optioned for film or TV by Steven Soderbergh/Paramount, HBO, Disney, ABC, and others; and one that became “Model Behavior,” an ABC Sunday night Disney movie of the week. He is the father of Walter Levin (MyWalter101) and Isaac Levin (BillyBobRandom12345). The boys’ joint YouTube channel is OrigamiAndMagicBrothers.

Aug 182013
 

It’s no wonder nearly one in 10 Americans suffers from depression.

“Top risk factors include being unable to work or unemployed; having no health insurance; suffering from obesity,” notes psychologist Gregory L. Jantz, citing a Centers for Disease Control study.

“Unfortunately, those topics have dominated headlines for the past five years. What’s worse, by 2020, the World Health Organization estimates depression will be second most debilitating disease worldwide.”

The author of “Overcoming Anxiety, Worry and Fear,” (www.aplaceofhope.com) says these negative emotions along with sustained, excessive stress can lead to depression, which now overshadows other  problems for which patients seek help at his clinic.

“Depression can be rooted in a number of problems, and those need to be addressed – simply taking a pill is not usually effective treatment. Anger, fear and guilt can all be underlying causes, even when the person isn’t aware he’s experiencing those feelings.”

A holistic treatment approach, which may or may not include medication, helps people overcome a bout of the debilitating illness, and learn techniques to manage it themselves, he says.

People at risk of depression can work at maintaining their emotional equilibrium by counterbalancing negative feelings with optimism, hope, and joy. This is most effective if they do this holistically, addressing the four main categories of human need.

“By purposefully feeding the intellectual, relational, physical, and spiritual aspects of your life positive emotions, you can achieve balance,” Jantz says.

He offers these suggestions:

• Intellectual: Be aware of what you’re feeding to your mind. Try reading a positive, uplifting book, and setting aside time in your day to fill yourself up intellectually with constructive, encouraging messages. Be aware of what you are reading and listening to, and seek to counter the negative input we all get with positive influences.

• Relational: Think of a person you really enjoy talking to, someone who makes you feel good about yourself or someone who’s just fun to be around. Plan today to spend time with that person this week, even if it’s just for a moment or two. Make the effort to verbalize your appreciation for his or her positive presence in your day.

• Physical: Physical activity is a wonderful way of promoting emotional health. Engage in some mild exercise this week. Take a walk around the neighborhood. Stroll through a city park. The goals are to get your body moving and to allow you to focus on something other than yourself and your surroundings. Greet your neighbors, stop at the park and watch someone playing with his dog, or cheer at a Little League game. Intentionally open up your focus to include the broader world around you.

• Spiritual Support: Take some time to nourish your spirit. If you are a member of a religious organization, make sure to attend services this week. If you are not, listen to some religious or meditative music. Spend time in quiet reflection, meditation, or prayer. Intentionally engage in an activity that replenishes and reconnects your spirit.

If you are not depressed but feel anxious and stressed, have trouble sleeping or find your not content much of the time, Jantz says it’s time to start taking care of yourself.

“Depression is painful and as debilitating as any other disease,” he says. “Take steps to de-stress your life and to work on emotional balance before it gets worse.”

About Gregory L. Jantz, Ph.D

Gregory L. Jantz has more than 25 years experience in mental health counseling and is the founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources, near Seattle, Wash. The Center, “a place for hope,” provides comprehensive, coordinated care from a treatment team that addresses medical, physical, psychological, emotional, nutritional, fitness and spiritual factors involved in recovery. He is the best-selling author of more than 20 books, including “When Your Teenager Becomes…The Stranger in the House.” If you’re concerned you or a loved one may be depressed, visit www.aplaceofhope.com and click the “Are You?” tab for a self-evaluation.

Aug 152013
 

Our friends and family know one thing about us other than our fabulous hair and nauseating cuteness, we love to cook. In our family, Paul is the baker and I do all the hard stuff (don’t tell him I said that). We are always trying new things and finding new and exciting ways to jazz up our meals. This is why doing this feature is not only a pleasure but so exciting we have had a hard time keeping it to ourselves. Our fine friends at Key Ingredient sent us their Key Ingredient Recipe Reader to review and share with YOU!

cake 300x200 Recipe Reader Giveaway

First, imagine if you will, finding a recipe online as we do at least once a week. You either print it out which is so wasteful or you bring your laptop or tablet to the kitchen where you run the risk of getting something on it. The Recipe Reader sits on your counter, propped up, and is built to take a kitchen beating. Not only will you have your recipes right in front of you, the Recipe Reader has the coolest kitchen necessities like:

  • Substitutions: If you are like Paul, he never has everything he needs to bake with and sometimes would like to try a different flavor or ingredient to see how it turns out. The Recipe Reader actually has a button that helps you make the right adjustments to the recipe and substitute what you want!
  • Timers: I never have a good timer in my kitchen. I have bought at least a dozen over the years and none can do the job. The Recipe Reader has a built in timer.  Easy peasy.
  • Conversions: If you are like us, we get recipes from everywhere. Sometimes these recipes call for measurements you are just not equipped to follow. A great example was the cake Paul was baking last week that called for all ingredients in dry measurements of weight even the oil and eggs!! This also helps when you find a recipe for 4 and you want to make it for 6. Sure, we know you can multiply but this makes it much easier.
  • Wifi: Yes, it has wifi! So all you do is plug it in, search your recipes on Key Ingredients and get cooking!
  • Add Recipes: This would be silly if you could not add recipes…. Key Ingredients has new and exciting recipes every day. Just sync them to your reader.

reader 240x300 Recipe Reader GiveawaySo we decided to put the reader through its paces and help us with Sunday Dinner. For the last year we have made it a point to make a nice dinner on Sundays including a dessert. This last week was no exception. I made Swedish Meatballs and Paul made a kitchen sink bread (zucchini, banana, pineapple). Check it out! (No pics of the meatballs because they went fast!)

The Key Ingredient Recipe Reader made cooking easier. And now, because these guys are awesome, we have the opportunity to give one of these bad boys away to you!

And the winner is…. Film Guy. http://parentdumb.com/archives/1083#comment-575 I will contact you in a PM. Congrats!

Thank you Key Ingredient for giving us a Recipe Reader to review and one to giveaway. All opinions are ours.