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Traits2016-12-03T11:06:04+00:00

What are we writing about?

Each week, parents from around the world are writing on a specific topic as part of a year’s worth of introspection on some key traits we want to consider for our kids.

Our writers answer the question, “What do you do to teach your kids about Empowerment, Generosity, etc?”

We understand that no one can focus on 52 unique traits; however, we hope that parents are able to think about each of these ‘traits’ as they are introduced and consider what they are doing to introduce components to their kids.

We think you have something to say! Please Write With Us!

Our Traits

Be Positive
Be Resilient
Be Respectful
Be Mindful
Be Supportive
Be Decisive
Be Empowered
Be Focused
Be Hopeful
Be Insightful
Be Ethical
Be Leader
Be Restless

Be Tough
Be Independent
Be Influential
Be Innovative
Be Open-Minded
Be Inspirational
Be Funny
Be Sensitive
Be Listener
Be Kind
Be Humble
Be Polite
Be Content

What Do You Say? Why We Want Our Kids To Be Personable!

February 27th, 2017|0 Comments

Each time I take my two children out grocery shopping or errand running, I’m very mindful about their manners and social interaction. My wife has the same priorities, and our kids are generally well-behaved, especially in public. They are actually starting to get a bit of a reputation, I learned recently. A few months ago, I was out shopping with both kids at a local “big box store”. We stopped to pick up a sample from one of the tables at the end of an aisle. “Oh, you must be the father!” the sample lady suddenly exclaimed. “Why yes. Yes, I am,” I stumbled, unsure of her meaning.

I am mine.

October 11th, 2016|0 Comments

There are lines in songs or books, maybe even a film that strikes a chord with people.  We all [...]

“Be Open to whatever comes next.”

“Energy and persistence conquer all things. Benjamin Franklin”

Be Patient

September 26th, 2016|0 Comments

“Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.” ― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh Patience is [...]

“Sometimes things aren’t clear right away. That’s where you need to be patient and persevere and see where things lead. Mary Pierce”

  • If you give your kid a cell phone, kiss your family goodbye.

If you give your kid a cell phone, kiss your family goodbye.

September 30th, 2017|0 Comments

I get it. “We can’t organize all of our activities without a phone.” “My kid is different, they only use it for calling me.” “If my kid doesn’t have a phone, they will be picked on.” “Smart Phones are not as bad as everyone says.” “In an emergency, my kid can get help immediately.” All of these statements are decent arguments for a cell phone for a child at a reasonable age. The question is, what is the reasonable age? I believe the negative impacts of a child having a cell phone before the age of 16 far outweighs the positive.

  • Divorce and the Marital Home Explore All Options

Divorce and the Marital Home: Explore All Options.

September 30th, 2017|0 Comments

In my years as a family court judge, I experienced many divorces where parties could not settle their case because of a disagreement over whether to sell the marital home. Specifically, a party wanting to keep the home would often have highly rigid and financially unreasonable expectations regarding the ability to afford and maintain the home into the future without downsizing.

“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said. ”
― Peter Drucker

“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

Be Healthy

August 22nd, 2016|0 Comments

Key Takeaways So for me, there are 3 key areas to focus on which can help us to be [...]

“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

“The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive.”
― John Green

There Are Many Reasons Why People Bully, Some Might Surprise You!

March 4th, 2017|0 Comments

There appear to me to be a lot of mythos surrounding the question as to why people bully. I was bullied for around eight years — probably longer. Since then I have worked with or alongside young people for fourteen years, and I have worked with children for a lot longer than that. I remember one time when I had an interview for a youth work post with someone who was aware of my history of being bullied. They asked me in a very matter-of-fact way “So, how will you stop yourself from bullying our young people?” I was quite frankly gobsmacked and astounded, but I answered her question quite clearly “Some people who are bullied do end up bullying, but that is not a hard-and-fast rule.

What A Child Refugee Taught Me About Compassion – And Other Stories.

March 3rd, 2017|0 Comments

Here in the UK, there has been quite a bit of news about child refugees, as our Government has decided to reduce the number that they are allowing into the country. All of this made me think back to the time when a child refugee changed my views on compassion, especially in relation to children. It was 2006, and I was working at a Christian retreat centre in the Yorkshire Dales. At that time I was suffering from severe depression which had yet to be diagnosed, a depression that would see me try and take my own life a few months later. We had hosted a number of events while I was there, but this one would be different for me. You see, the closest city to us had a high population of refugees, and we were to host a getaway for them all. I wasn’t actually on the team that weekend, but as always those not on the team had jobs to do around the house.

Celebrating Rare

March 1st, 2017|0 Comments

Starting a family had always been part of the plan for my wife and me. When we first learned that we were going to be new parents, the raw excitement was palpable. If you have chosen the path of parenthood, you know that feeling. It’s a mixture of joy, delight, fear, and panic – all neatly rolled into a 9-month wait time (or longer, as our experience with adoption taught us, which is a whole different topic for the blog).

Why Fostering A Child Could Help Your Own Children To Understand Empathy

February 24th, 2017|0 Comments

Many people are cautious about fostering children when their own children are still at home, which is why fostering is so popular with empty nesters. However, not many people know about the positive impact fostering a child can have on your family. Choosing to become foster carers is a decision that should involve your entire family, as it will impact everyone in some way – even if your children don’t live at home anymore. For young people growing up and learning to make sense of the world and how we should treat others, being a foster sibling is a positive way to teach some essential life skills.

“The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive.”
― John Green

4 Ways to Use Vulnerability as Your Parenting Power Tool

June 2nd, 2017|0 Comments

As men, we are told that we need to “suck it up”, “man up”, “never let ’em see ya sweat”. Whether it was from your parents or from society in general, the message was clear. Don’t be vulnerable. Protect yourself and don’t let other’s notice your weakness or sensitivity. Vulnerability movements in male circles are gaining momentum and that’s great news. However, there is one area where I feel that it is still not addressed, though most badly needed: parenting.

The Hall Of Fame That Matters

February 28th, 2017|0 Comments

I picked up my alumni magazine. For not the first time, I found myself feeling down. Feeling like I’ve accomplished nothing. Jealous. Lists of Hall of Fame alumni. Successful people. Heads of companies. Authors. Show creator. Men in suits with brilliant smiles that look like they never stopped working out.

Be Yourself

January 26th, 2017|0 Comments

What does it mean to "Be Yourself?" This is something that I have been struggling with for the past 8 [...]

Our Selves

August 12th, 2016|0 Comments

We were created, not without form or void, but fearfully and wonderfully made. When two of our worlds cross paths— [...]

Dear Dad

June 19th, 2016|0 Comments

I wish you were still here to see all the things I am doing. I started playing guitar after you died. You would love what I am doing with my children’s music. I remember when you gave Kim the guitar. You never knew I would be the one who would learn to play. I’m working on my fourth CD for children now. You would be so proud. I miss you so much and I miss your love and support. I asked you on your deathbed what you were thinking about and you said, “my family.” I know that you didn’t always get what it meant to be an involved father and you did a lot of things wrong, but I heard you as you knew and regretted those mistakes. You loved us all very much and I know if you could come back you would do so many things differently.

Dear Dad

June 18th, 2016|0 Comments

Dear Dad, Thank you for everything that you provided for our family as I was growing up. As an adult I sometimes think back and remember how comfortable I was growing up, and I don’t recall ever really wanting for much. However, I also recall that as I grew older, you didn’t interact and spend much time with your children. Over the last several years I have tried to figure out how that happened. How could you be such a good provider and create a comfortable home life, but not be a part of other family life activities? As I mulled it over the last 2 or 3 days, I think I finally figured it out.

“We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.”
― May Sarton

Be Accountable

  • Someone Has to Pick Up the Other End

Someone Has to Pick Up the Other End

March 20th, 2017|0 Comments

Men cannot move couches by themselves. You need someone on the other end. A week ago, I had a family I had been helping out offer me a brand new couch. They had it for their mother who would no longer be able to use it. Our sleeper started to get holes and a new couch was on our “someday” wish list. In two days, I had to figure out a way to get rid of our sleeper and to get the couch to a few blocks over. I needed some help.

 Do you know how to teach your kids to be accountable?

March 15th, 2017|0 Comments

The opposite of accountability is entitlement. Your kids live in a culture that stresses entitlement. Last week two of our granddaughters played upstairs without direct supervision for well over an hour. The sounds of soft laughter and agreeable conversation heard from the den below astounded me. All I could think was, “Surely my grandkids are the best on Earth”. Then, without warning, the almost four-year-old brought me back to reality with a loud scream. Immediately my mind checked through the potential causes like pain, fear, and anger. The sound and intensity of what I heard clearly communicated the third option. So, after allowing a few minutes for her and her sister to resolve the issue, it was time to go up and give them some assistance. The problem: little sister decided she wanted big sister’s favorite blanket, but big sister was not in a sharing mood.

“It is wrong and immoral to seek to escape the consequences of one’s acts.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

Be Faithful

  • Dear Dad

Dear Dad

October 15th, 2016|0 Comments

You are an amazing father. You need to hear that more often, and hopefully, in ways big and small, [...]

  • ..on Faith

…on faith | Raising Kids With Faith Outside Of Religion

July 29th, 2016|0 Comments

Our son and daughter go to a kindergarten run by the local anglican church. Most non-profits seem to be run by the church here in Germany, in a benevolent Sound of Music kind of way. My daughter loves to sing the songs she’s learned at kindergarten at the top of her little lungs all day and all night. Her favorite song of late goes like this: “lasst uns miteinander, lasst uns miteinander – SINGEN, BETEN, LOBEN DEM HERRN!” (that last part is where I need to cover my ears so I don’t lose what little hearing I have left) The translation is, in effect: “Let us, with one another – SING, PRAY, and PRAISE THE LORD!”

“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.”
― John Holmes

Be Happy

  • Be Happy

Be Happy: keep your head up and to keep going!

June 6th, 2017|0 Comments

When my daughter, Harper, was two-years-old, we were all enjoying a big bowl of spaghetti – a favorite of my daughter’s. She was tired of putting the noodles into her mouth so she decided to see what would happen if she put the noodles in her ear, in her nose and lastly… between her toes. My wife was having none of this and sternly said: “Please don’t put spaghetti between your toes!” I looked at my wife and thought: this is our new normal, and it made me happy.

  • Encouraging Happiness

Encouraging Happiness: Our children get one chance at being a child.

April 27th, 2017|0 Comments

It’s inevitable that as a parent you will be asked, in a convincing way by your child to support their newest interest. Kids are naturally curious and spend a lot of their lives trying to find their place. What interests them, will it continue to interest them or are they going to stick it out and eventually be great at it. We as their parent have a few ways to respond to this but not all are going to encourage them.

  • My Life’s Purpose Is To Make You Happy - Twitter

My Life’s Purpose Is To Make You Happy

February 5th, 2017|0 Comments

As I sit to write this, I am the 28-year-old first-time father to an almost 6-month-old daughter. She is on a blanket surrounded by her toys and her best friend, her dog Abby. Today, she’s working on sitting up longer and has found a new sound to make in Abby’s direction. I break from typing every minute or so to keep her from tipping to one side or the other (I told you, we’re working on it).

There is no need to rush parenting, just let your child blossom.

July 20th, 2016|0 Comments

Usually, when I sit down to write, I find myself easing into a natural flow of words, sentences, and paragraphs as my mind ebbs and flows its contents onto the pages like a calm river on its journey towards fulfilling the knowledge of the sea. However, when I tried to sit down and think how to write about happiness as a trait, I found myself hit with a challenge that I wasn’t sure how to overcome.

Be Generous

“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.”
― John Holmes