Quick Bonding Activity: "All About..."

Occasionally, in church I like to pass around to each family member a piece of paper titled, "All About (Name): (Name) Is..."
And then let each family member add whatever kind observation about that person.

The benefits are simple and important: The writer is able to reflect on the good qualities of that person and the recipient gets to feel great and appreciated. It's a quick, simple, yet meaningful, way to feel connected and to further solidify the family bond and loyalty to one another. It's also interesting and fun to find out what each other notices about each other.

So today, I did one on myself as dad and one for the kids mom. Here's what we learned about each other from our kids.

"Hey Kids: Your Dad Is..."

  • From my daughter (14): "something, funny, goofy, dorky, 'smrat', Jonathin/Jonafat, creative."
  • From my son (16): "interesting, a good drawer, cool, a good sword fighter, good at helping with problems."
  • From my daughter (11): "strange, funny, smart, creative and helpful."
  • From my son (9): "smart, funny, weird, awesome."

"All About Mom: Mom Is..."

  • 16: "good food and laundry--he he--just kidding but really too, loving, caring, funny, a good dancer, can make my friends laugh."
  • 14: "she's prettyyyyyy :), silly , a good cook, good at shopping, distracted a lot, goofy, loving"
  • 11: "funny, nice, pretty, loving, dog loving, sweet, good cook."
  • 9: "she calls dad 'Pootie', she's pretty, funny, likes 'bunnies', best food ever!"

I don't know anyone who tires of hearing nice things said about them. You just can't over-appreciate someone, folks.

Give it a try and share how it goes for ya.

— For more tips, strategies and resources for creating truly GREAT relationships with self and others visit http://JonathanSherman.net —

Teaching Children Anger Management

Taught 11-year-old daughter learning to control her anger is as learnable as controlling a car via the speedometer, steering wheel, gas/brakes of emotion regulation. She felt bad before about not being able to control her anger and was crying, poor thing.

I'll post the copies of the worksheets she and I came up with together and sometime I'll describe the process in greater depth. For now, let me just share: She felt empowered! I love being able to help my children navigate the tricky waters of life.

Dads, Do Your Kids Know?

Dads, do your kids KNOW that you love them? Years ago, before I had children I was taught this quote by a pioneer in the field of child development, Urie Brofenbrenner:

"Every child deserves at least one adult who is absolutely crazy about them."

Amen! We, as fathers, are uniquely poised to be that one to provide our children with the love and protection that only we can provide and that they so desperately crave and deserve.

Today, and frequently, I'll find simple verbal and non-verbal ways to let them know they are loved by their father. For example, today in church I passed the above sheet around to the fam with the simple beginning sentence string of "Em is..."

The lower left hand section are her answers:

"...freakin' awesome ...smart ...different ...musical ...spazzy ...cool ...nice ...unique ...funny"

This is the self-concept I am pleased to see a 13-year-old young woman develop as she prepares to enter adulthood.

This was my answer:

"...my DEAR daughter whom I love, am proud of, makes me laugh, is talented, bright, is AMAZING to me, is lovely in every sense of the word, and is the joy of my life!!!"

Her mom wrote,

...has ticklish bunnies [inside joke], has a great sense of humor, is beautiful inside and out, talented in so many ways, a good friend, a good girl, and I love her!"

Her siblings added a few extra nice and silly things as well.

How likely do you think a young woman with this kind of self-concept is likely to put up with being treated poorly by a guy? How confident do you think she'll feel to try new things? Will she have a place of internal security and refuge to turn to with this sense of self when she goes through the dark times of self-doubt that besiege us in this life?

As you can see, it's a lot more than just a little activity to keep us occupied during a church meeting. As they face a difficult world that often doesn't make sense how crucial it is to hear, and to KNOW, that the most significant and powerful man in their lives is "absolutely crazy about them".

This knowing creates a sense of security and identity that will protect them through all their life's struggles in a way no other force can. Without that powerful knowlege, insecurity and a weak sense of self flourish.

Dads, you are needed. You need to be powerful in your children's lives. They need to daily know of, and see, your love for them. It can be as simple as many sincere, simple and silly little methods as the one above.

So to the great dads out there, and to the ones who are turning it around, I wish you a Happy Fathers Day. Let them KNOW of your love for them. Don't ration it out. Flood them with it.

— For more tips, strategies and resources for creating truly GREAT relationships with self and others visit http://rel8gr8.com —
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