Monthly Archives

September 2011

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Joy Conveys Joy


A Great Idea …

“A child who is exposed to adults who joyfully practice and benefit from virtuous activity is likely to acquire a natural affinity for such activities and the pleasures they provide in adulthood.” (Philosopher Seamus Carey, in his book, The Whole Child p. 43)

In Other Words …

We want our children to grow up to be good people. The best way to teach this is to be joyous people of character ourselves. Children are naturally drawn to those activities that bring us joy. If they see us enjoying loving relationships and generous service, they are likely to incorporate those same actions into their lives.

How This Applies to You …

What noble activities bring you joy? Let your joy show to your children. Can you involve them in some of those activities-like visiting a beloved family member or helping your neighbor? Even when you cannot directly involve your children in some of your joyful activities, maybe you can describe your experiences to them.

To Find Out More …

For more great ideas (or to share your ideas), visit our Navigating Life’s Journey blog.

For an excellent (and free!) program on parenting, see The Parenting Journey at www.arfamilies.org and, if you have children less than 6 years of age, check out See the World Through My Eyes.

For more in depth reading on parenting, we recommend The Whole Child by Seamus Carey or The 10 Basic Principles of Good Parenting by Laurence Steinberg.

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Getting Past The Words


A Great Idea …

“I believe [most conflicts] develop because people attach different meaning to the same situations…But if they can keep talking to one another and describing how they find meaning in their positions, they may reach some common ground, a place where meanings merge and compromise is possible.” (John Gottman, Ph.D., marriage researcher, in his book The Relationship Cure, p. 208)

In Other Words …

We regularly misunderstand each other. We wonder why our partners say such foolish things. And we wonder why they don’t understand our sensible perspective. We can misunderstand each other for decades-or we can take time and use empathy to understand and appreciate our partners’ points of view. When we better understand our partners and the way they view the world, we can better work through conflict.

How This Applies to You…

The next time a conflict arises between you and your partner, stop trying to push for your view. Take time to learn the meaning that your partner attaches to the situation. Ask your partner to describe the situation from his or her point of view. See if you can understand and appreciate that point of view.

To Find Out More…

For more great ideas (or to share your ideas) check out the Navigating Life’s Journey blog

For an excellent (and free!) program on marriage, see The Marriage Garden at Arkansas Families.

For an excellent book focused on marriage, read The Relationship Cure by John Gottman or The Marriage Garden by H. Wallace Goddard and James P. Marshall.

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Find The Gems In Your Past


A Great Idea …

“Anyone who wants to find a gem must be willing to search for it. Likewise, we find treasures in our life stories when we are willing to dig through the challenges and disappointments to find them. Those who find and cherish the gems in their past are those who live the best lives.” (Family Life Professors, H. Wallace Goddard and James P. Marshall, in their publication The Personal Journey)

In Other Words …

Every life has blessings. They aren’t hard to find when we go looking for them. We may feel a special joy revisiting childhood experiences. We can also look back at the end of every day and discover new treasures. But we may have to dig past some boredom and struggle to find the gems.

How this Applies to You …

What are some of the blessings you have found along life’s path? Write down 10 gems in your past. You may even find radiant gems in times of great pain and challenge.

To Find Out More …

For more great ideas (or to share your ideas), check out our Navigating Life’s Journey blog

For excellent (and free!) programs on improving your personal well being, check out The Personal Journey and Managing Stress at www.arfamilies.org. To further explore The Personal Journey, look for sets of questions for each site along The Personal Journey. Those questions together with the journaling pages can give you greater gratification in life.

For more information, we recommend Authentic Happiness, by Martin E. P. Seligman.