Friday, April 29, 2011

Pay It Forward Day

Today, April 29th, is Pay It Forward Day, the annual celebration of the belief that each of us has the power to better someone’s life simply by doing small, random acts of kindness, particularly anonymously.

The idea is to do a kindness without the expectation of being paid back or rewarded, with the hope that the recipient pays the favor forward by helping someone else. The premise was put forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde in her back (and later the movie) Pay It Forward.

As you go through your day today, keep this in mind. Do a random act of kindness, and keep it to yourself. And if you are on the receiving end, pay it forward.

Have a joyful day everyone. And remember to live a flourishing life.

To learn more about how you can live a flourishing life, please visit my web site,

Friday, April 22, 2011

Defeating Powerlessness

"When you do nothing, you feel overwhelmed and powerless. 
But when you get involved, you feel the sense of hope and accomplishment that comes 
from knowing you are working to make things better."
~ Pauline R. Kezer

There are many reasons why we may feel powerless. We may feel defeat and despair because we hold on to the belief that we do not have the power to change things -- that the world is far too complicated and little is within our control -- and so we simply give up.

Sure, there will be circumstances that we truly can't change. Yet, we are never wholly powerless in any situation because we always have the choice as to how we will respond to it.

Resilient people embrace flexibility in their thinking and in their actions. Resilient thinkers embrace a constellation of ideas and then critically explore the possibilities in order to discover new patterns of probabilities.

And once we can see that there are options, we feel hopeful and we begin to take action. Resilient thinking shifts us from powerlessness to powerfulness.

Have a joyful day everyone. And remember to live a flourishing life.

To learn more about how you can live a flourishing life, please visit my web site,

Monday, April 18, 2011

One of our major concerns at KidsTerrain is that children develop healthy self-esteem. So, when in less than a week’s time these new products marketed to young children came across our radar, we felt compelled to raise the battle cry, “Let them be children, please….”

First up, Bebe Gloton, a controversial new doll that comes with a special halter-top that young "mothers" wear as they pretend to breast-feed their "babies." The halter-top has daisies that cover the little girls’ nipples and comes undone just as easily as the flaps of a nursing bra would.

The Spanish toymaker Berjuan developed Bebe Gloton, which translates as “gluttonous baby.” Bebe Gloton cries, signaling she wants more milk, and makes sucking noises as it "feeds."

Despite some outrage, many moms said they support the product. In a story reported on Fox News, one mother was quoted as saying, "I think that it’s great that people want to have a doll that promotes breast-feeding…. Most dolls that are purchased come with a bottle. That is the norm in society, an artificial way to feed your baby.”

This Straw Man response shifts the focus away from the concern at hand: Is introducing breast-feeding to girls young enough to play with dolls inappropriate? What’s next? A special, padded swimsuit-like garment that enables five-year-old "mothers" to “experience” childbirth?

Next up on our “Let Them Be Children, Please….” radar: Meet Clawdeen Wolf, the doll who comes complete with a “thigh-skimming skirt, sky-high boots and heavy makeup, and spends her days waxing, plucking and shaving.” You read that right…waxing, plucking, and shaving. Mattel’s target demographic for this doll? Girls aged 6 and up.

Human behavior expert Dr. Patrick Wanis, in an article by Diane Montgomery said, “These dolls are training girls to feel ashamed of their bodies, to focus on being sexually appealing and sexually attractive from a pre-pubescent age. By sexualizing these young girls, corporations also create another avenue to market and sell more products to a younger demographic.”

And speaking of marketing to a younger demographic, enter Abercrombie & Fitch into the debate. Last week A &B launched a padded bikini for girls as young as 7. The “Ashley” bikini gained attention after a professor at Occidental College posted a blog item calling it “another example of the sexualization of young girls,” The Columbus Dispatch reported.

Abercrombie Kids addressed this on Monday, March 28 in a statement on their Facebook page: “We agree with those who say it is best ‘suited’ for girls age 12 and older.”

As reported by the Dispatch, this wasn’t the first time Abercrombie targeted this market. In 2002, Abercrombie & Fitch offered a children’s-size thong underwear with the words “eye candy” and “wink wink” printed on the front.

It’s time we step up and step back…. Let our children be children, please….

Written for KidsTerrain, Inc. Reprinted here with permission.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Boy's Pink Toenails Called Transgender Propaganda

This week a controversy soared across the airwaves and social media sites surrounding a J. Crew ad featuring a photo of J. Crew's president and creative director Jenna Lyons painting her son Beckett’s toenails. The ad, part of a feature, "Saturday with Jenna," was sent to customers. In the photo, Jenna is pictured with her curly-haired son; the two are giggling with Jenna holding Beckett's feet, showing hot pink painted toenails. "Lucky for me, I ended up with a boy whose favorite color is pink," read Jenna's quote. "Toenail painting is way more fun in neon."

Social conservatives, such as Erin Brown of the Media Research Center, called the ad "blatant propaganda celebrating transgendered children." Brown’s position has little to do with children, and a lot to do with politics, as evidenced in her opening paragraph: “J.Crew, a popular preppy woman's clothing brand and favorite affordable line of first lady Michelle Obama, is targeting a new demographic--mothers of gender-confused young boys. At least, that's the impression given by a new marketing piece that features blatant propaganda celebrating transgendered children.”

She goes on to write, “J.CREW, known for its tasteful and modest clothing, apparently does not mind exploiting Beckett behind the façade of liberal, transgendered identity politics. One has to wonder what young boys in pink nail polish has to do with selling women's clothing… Propaganda pushing the celebration of gender-confused boys wanting to dress and act like girls is a growing trend, seeping into mainstream culture.”

Advocacy groups are also fighting back, calling the reaction to the ad "ridiculous."

"This is not how the world works and not how children work, and not even how trans advocacy works," said Mara Keisling, executive director of National Center for Transgender Equality. "Complaints about the ad are totally blown out of proportion," she said. "It's just a cute ad with a cute mom-and-son scene and the kid wants to wear pink nail polish...It could be the kids just wants to spend time with his mom."

There is no simple explanation for transgenderism. Many psychological theories have been proposed and more recent research has focussed on looking at biological causes. Most research on gender identity and sexual orientation concludes that neither is a choice. Nor can they be shaped by a parent's wishes, said Dr. Jack Drescher, a New York City psychiatrist. Drescher, who serves on the American Psychiatric Association's committee that is addressing sexual and gender identity disorder for the DSM-V. DSM-V is psychiatry's encyclopedia of behavioral diagnoses, told Susan Donaldson James of ABC News, "I can say with 100 percent certainty that a mother painting her children's toe nails pink does not cause transgenderism or homosexuality or anything else that people who are social conservatives would worry about," he said.

No one knows what causes transgenderism. "Certainly, research shows that there are gender preferences in the way kids like to play, and boys may be rougher than girls," Drescher said. "But then there is a broad range of children who don't fit into larger categories and for some families it causes panic and for some, it's not a problem at all…. The idea that a parent is indulging a child's interest in unconventional gender behavior does something to the child has no scientific basis."

We’d like to hear your thoughts on this.

Written for KidsTerrain, Inc. Reprinted here with permission.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Stay Connected

The strength of our connections to others is a key factor in determining our resiliency. Caring relationships that convey understanding, respect, and mutual interests vital.

Are you giving the people who matter greatly to you enough of your time? Or have your connections dwindled to 140 character on Twitter or 160 on Facebook?

When is the last time you picked up the telephone and spoke with a dear friend or met him or her for a cup of tea or coffee?

Take a few moments to ponder this question: How can you strengthen and build your connection to others, particularly the people in your support network?

An underlying stronghold of resilience is cohesion, a sense of belonging, and communication. Stay connected.

Have a joyful day everyone. And remember to live a flourishing life.

To learn more about how you can live a flourishing life, please visit my web site,

Friday, April 1, 2011

Just For Today...

As many of my readers and students are aware I believe in the kaizen approach, that is, on making little changes on a regular basis. Kaizen is about finding new, creative and effective ways to improve one’s life…from tackling the mundane to managing our stress, to attaining our life vision.

So just for today, I will focus on living this day positively. I will seek out an inspirational quote or a few paragraphs that will guide me, or I will watch a short video clip that will inspire me to take a positive action.

What will you do for yourself, just for today?

Have a joyful day everyone. And remember to live a flourishing life.

To learn more about how you can live a flourishing life, please visit my web site,

What I learned today...

There are three distinct kinds of happiness: the Pleasant Life (pleasures), the Good Life (engagement), and the Meaningful Life. The first two are subjective, but the third is at least partly objective and lodges in belonging to and serving what is larger and more worthwhile than the just the self's pleasures and desires.

Authentic Happiness synthesizes all three traditions: The Pleasant Life is about happiness in Hedonism's sense. The Good Life is about happiness in Desire's sense, and the Meaningful Life is about happiness in Objective List's sense.

Authentic Happiness further allows for the "Full Life," a life that satisfies all three criteria of happiness.

Excerpt from Authentic Happiness