Archive for the ‘Marriage & Family’ Category

Helping Our Children Weather Defeat, Adversity and Disappointment

Lori Vacek

Lori Vacek
Memorial Mommy Blogger

Children will always have opportunity to face difficulty in their lives. And the ways they deal with it are as varied as their personalities, development of coping skills, etc. As a parent, I find I want to make the hurt go away as soon as possible. But no matter how I console them, it really is about giving them time and choices.

Here are a few of the things I have learned in my 30 years of parenting that have helped my children.

  1. Triumph with them even in their defeat. Give them praise for their effort and strength of character to try.
  2. Convey that you love them and are proud of them just for being who they are.
  3. Hug them and reaffirm them with physical affection. Look in their eyes.
  4. Be genuine in your words. Comedy only helps if that is their personality. Otherwise, refrain from making jokes.
  5. Divert their attention to positive solutions or alternatives.
  6. Let them cry and express themselves while not allowing them to get into self-destructive statements or behaviors.

I’m sure you may have some great suggestions as well. But there are just a few of my best to get you started on building happy, healthy children.

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Disclaimer
The views expressed in the posts and comments of this blog do not necessarily reflect Memorial Healthcare. They should be understood as the personal opinions of the author.

Comment Policy
All readers are encouraged to leave comments. While all points of view are welcome on Memorial Healthcare’s blog, only comments that are courteous and on-topic will be posted. All comments will be reviewed and responded to (as needed) within three business days of submission. Participants on this blog are fully responsible for everything that they submit in their comments, and all posted comments are in the public domain.

Linking Policy
This blog may contain external links to other sites. Memorial Healthcare does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information on these Web sites. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended as endorsements of any views expressed, products or services offered on outside sites, or the organizations sponsoring those sites.

Foreign Exchange Student Fills Life With Joy

Laura Jafri

Laura Jafri

Life Can Be Overwhelming, But…
There are so many things in life that can be rewarding. Life is so busy and can pass us by like a blur. In my own personal circumstances, I feel very overwhelmed with the demands that my life presents. I have five young children who are very busy. Most of my time is dedicated to running them around and making their lives “go.” Add to that, two children with special needs. That, in and of itself, is a full-time job. Children, marriage, and having my own business make my life very busy and stressful. Despite all the stress, these are also the things that make my life feel fulfilled.  

People may think that I’m crazy, and maybe I am. It seems that I always take more on. One of those extra things that I took on this year was adding another child to our family. In February, we had a foreign exchange student from Sweden move in with us for six months. We didn’t know what to expect. Who would it be? What would they be like? What kind of changes would it bring to our family dynamics?

Welcome Home
We welcomed an 18 year-old Swedish “daughter” to our house in February. None of us knew what she would be like. It was a bit of a risk considering that it’s a six month commitment. She was nervous and we were anxious. I can’t imagine being 18, traveling half way across the globe and moving into a stranger’s home. She also didn’t know what to expect from us — what a brave move on her part!

Getting To Know Our New Daughter
We spent the first few weeks getting to know each other. She seemed quiet or nervous; I can’t imagine being her. It is incredible to me how attached I have become to her already, just after two short months. Our instructions were to treat her like she was one of our own children. It hasn’t been hard at all. She is such a wonderful person and has brought such an amazing experience to our family. We take her to school, pick her up and take her to all of her soccer practices. I go to her games and I find no difference for how passionate I am for her as I do for my own children. 

She isn’t that shy, nervous girl anymore. She has fit into our family like a glove. We have so much fun with her. I can’t imagine missing one of her soccer games. I love her and worry about her as if I have known her forever. I am already dreading having to give her back.

Open Your Heart
There are many organizations that offer this type of opportunity to Owosso families. Our exchange student came to us through the Owosso Rotary Club. It is something that Ayaz and I had always wanted to do. When the opportunity came up this year, we were excited to do it. I’m so glad that we did. Maybe we got lucky with such a smart, kind and wonderful student. For us, she has been a wonderful addition to our family.  I truly love her and I’m so glad we did this.  I highly recommend people consider taking in an exchange student. It has been so rewarding for all of us to love and learn all about her. I know that I will be crying on her graduation day and I can’t think about the day she’ll leave. 

I wanted to share with you how amazing this has been for us. I really recommend it to the right people. If you open your home and your heart to a child, it is amazing the rewards you get in return. 

Disclaimer
The views expressed in the posts and comments of this blog do not necessarily reflect Memorial Healthcare. They should be understood as the personal opinions of the author.

Comment Policy
All readers are encouraged to leave comments. While all points of view are welcome on Memorial Healthcare’s blog, only comments that are courteous and on-topic will be posted. All comments will be reviewed and responded to (as needed) within three business days of submission. Participants on this blog are fully responsible for everything that they submit in their comments, and all posted comments are in the public domain.

Linking Policy
This blog may contain external links to other sites. Memorial Healthcare does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information on these Web sites. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended as endorsements of any views expressed, products or services offered on outside sites, or the organizations sponsoring those sites.

Memorial FIT Kids Leads the Way for Healthier Futures

By Vicki Hemenway, Guest Blogger
Communications Specialist, Memorial Healthcare

It seems like there are so many extra-curricular activities available for our children these days that it can become overwhelming. If it overwhelms us, as parents, just imagine what it could be doing to our kids. I know when I’m stressed I get short-tempered, or as my daughter says, “snippy,” and my life is pretty simple compared to those of my friends.

In our house, school and homework comes first, then, if there’s time, it’s on to bike riding, basketball, etc. The part that I struggle with is healthy eating for my family. It’s too easy to just warm up a frozen dinner or go through the drive thru to save time, BUT, in the long run, it can do more harm than good.

I’m lucky enough to work at Memorial Healthcare right next to our FIT Kids Facilitator, Becky Dahlke. She is a wealth of information on healthy eating tips, low-fat/calorie recipes, the importance of exercising and more.

Memorial FIT Kids, which is funded by the Memorial Healthcare Foundation, is a joint effort between Memorial Healthcare, area school districts, Project Healthy Schools, University of Michigan, Baker College of Owosso, and the Shiawassee Family YMCA. The program was recently named one of the nation’s top 10 Programs of Excellence by Jackson Healthcare Hospital Charitable Services Awards.

In 2008, Memorial FIT Kids piloted the Project Healthy Schools (PHS) program, in conjunction with the University of Michigan and Corunna Public Schools to conduct CVD risk factor assessment followed by 10 weeks of in-class, interactive health education. Topics covered in the lessons range from assessing advertising to making salsa in class to learn the importance of choosing fruits and vegetables of all colors. Following the 10-week education program, students were re-tested to evaluate behavioral changes and health perceptions and to determine if CVD risk factors had decreased or increased. In 2009, the Memorial FIT Kids program was expanded to include Bryant Elementary in the Owosso District and St. Paul Catholic School, also in Owosso. Ovid-Elsie’s EE Knight Elementary, Perry Middle School, and Owosso Middle School were added in 2010 and Laingsburg Middle School will join in during the 2011/2012 school year.

The Memorial FIT Kids program has proven itself effective in helping to lower total cholesterol and lipid levels according to results from a longitudinal study with a pilot group of sixth graders from 2008. We are seeing a good trend in lowering LDL cholesterol and raising HDL and a significant trend in lowering resting heart rate. Students are also changing their behaviors in a positive direction.

All of the other area school districts receive two interactive lessons during the school year. The nutrition lesson includes information about food portions and how portion size has changed over the years, how the media affects our food selection decisions, and how kids can be healthier in their daily food choices. The physical activity lesson, presented by the Shiawassee Family YMCA, provides knowledge of the importance of aerobic exercise and alternatives to traditional exercise such as Tai Chi and basic kickboxing with in-class demonstration.

For additional information on the Memorial FIT Kids program, contact Dahlke at (989) 729-4852 or visit online at memorialhealthcare.org. You may also become a fan of the program on Facebook by searching for “Memorial FIT Kids.”
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Disclaimer:
The views expressed in the posts and comments of this blog do not necessarily reflect Memorial Healthcare. They should be understood as the personal opinions of the author.

Comment Policy:
All readers are encouraged to leave comments. While all points of view are welcome on Memorial Healthcare’s blog, only comments that are courteous and on-topic will be posted. All comments will be reviewed and responded to (as needed) within three business days of submission. Participants on this blog are fully responsible for everything that they submit in their comments, and all posted comments are in the public domain.

Linking Policy:
This blog may contain external links to other sites. Memorial Healthcare does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information on these Web sites. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended as endorsements of any views expressed, products, or services offered on outside sites, or the organizations sponsoring those sites.

Not a Religion, A Relationship

Tracey Heslip

Tracey Heslip

I’ve been thinking about this month’s blog for the last week. I always pray about what topic I’m going to write about and this is what the Lord has laid on my heart. Here it goes…

There are four mommy bloggers and if you have been following us you have learned a little about us. We are all happily married, we all have children, and we all have faith. We have all shared stories about our families, saving tips, and how we manage our children.  You may think we paint a rosy picture of the perfect housewife and mother, and it may be hard for some of you to take us seriously because of where you are at in your life.

You may be a single mother, or you are in a bad marriage, or perhaps you have teenagers that you find very hard to love. I would like to offer you encouragement. I don’t have all the answers to what you may be going through; however, I would like to tell you that you are not alone. I would say to you, think positive and surround yourself with positive people.  Don’t be afraid to reach out to others that may be able to help you. There are people in the community that would love to help. If you were to ask anyone of us mommy bloggers we would tell you that we draw a lot of our personal strength from our faith. Owosso has a lot of wonderful churches.

I’ve heard people say many times that they don’t want to go to church because of all the hypocrites there. I’m not saying because I believe in God that makes me perfect, far from it. What I am saying is that church gives you a sense of belonging. Churches have outreach programs that may fulfill a need in your family.

Give it a try!!! There may be a lonely grandmotherly lady that would love to adopt a family, or a gentleman who was a “wild child” in his youth that would love to take your teenage son under his wing and show him the error of his ways.

When it seems that you have nowhere else to turn, try church. Find a place where you feel comfortable and at home. The saying in my family is: It’s not a religion, it’s a relationship.

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Disclaimer

The views expressed in the posts and comments of this blog do not necessarily reflect Memorial Healthcare. They should be understood as the personal opinions of the author.

Comment Policy

All readers are encouraged to leave comments. While all points of view are welcome on Memorial Healthcare’s blog, only comments that are courteous and on-topic will be posted. All comments will be reviewed and responded to (as needed) within three business days of submission. Participants on this blog are fully responsible for everything that they submit in their comments, and all posted comments are in the public domain.

Linking Policy

This blog may contain external links to other sites. Memorial Healthcare does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information on these Web sites. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended as endorsements of any views expressed, products, or services offered on outside sites, or the organizations sponsoring those sites.

Keep Those Lines of Communication Open With Your Children

Laura Jafri

by Laura Jafri

There are so many challenges to being a parent and raising children, especially in today’s society. It’s so important to keep communication lines open with our children.  Growing up in present times is so different from the days when I was a child.

There is so much out there available to our children. The internet is a wonderful creation but it can be a curse too. I can think of so many times that I have Googled something and a million options pop up. A very innocent search can invite a number of unwanted answers.  I cringe to think of how many
times that may happen to my children.  It takes a lot of supervision to raise a responsible child.  

My friend, Marianne, touched on this wonderfully in her last blog.  At our house, computers are not allowed in our children’s bedrooms.  Video game systems also must be in a common area of the house.  My kids always have to ask if they want to use the computer or play a game.  My oldest son has a television in his room.  We put it there because my elderly mother stays in his room when she comes to visit.  She likes a TV in there in case she has trouble sleeping at night. My son is not allowed to watch TV in his room unless he asks.  He rarely does because my kids really only use their rooms to sleep in.  We also have a block on all our televisions in the home. If the program exceeds a TV14 rating, it requires my husband or myself to punch in a code.

So how does this all relate to talking to our kids?  I want my kids to always feel that they can talk to me about anything.  I’m not stupid.  I know that there will always be things that my kids don’t tell me or ask me.  However, I want them to know that they can always come to me.  They should feel that they can talk to me or ask me anything.  My children are still young.  I know that the tougher days are ahead of me.  I have tried to lay down a foundation so that when the day comes, they will come to me.  I am starting to see the benefits of this with my oldest child.  He is a teenager now and the difficult questions in life are starting to surface.  I don’t want my kids to learn about life from the World Wide Web.  I definitely don’t want them to learn from their friends.  I think that it is great to have friends to talk to, but I have no idea what values have been instilled in them, so why would I want my kids to learn from other people’s parenting?

I have always told my kids that it is so important to talk about their feelings. Even my 9-year-old approaches me sometimes and says, “You know how you said I can talk to you about anything?” I even got to use that line on him this week when he did something I didn’t appreciate.  

I hope I’m doing the right thing.  I’m learning as I go along this parenting journey.  I guess I figure it can’t be too bad to take the time to talk to, and truly listen to, our children.  I learn just as much from them as they learn from me.

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Disclaimer

The views expressed in the posts and comments of this blog do not necessarily reflect Memorial Healthcare. They should be understood as the personal opinions of the author.

Comment Policy

All readers are encouraged to leave comments. While all points of view are welcome on Memorial Healthcare’s blog, only comments that are courteous and on-topic will be posted. All comments will be reviewed and responded to (as needed) within three business days of submission. Participants on this blog are fully responsible for everything that they submit in their comments, and all posted comments are in the public domain.

Linking Policy

This blog may contain external links to other sites. Memorial Healthcare does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information on these Web sites. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended as endorsements of any views expressed, products or services offered on outside sites, or the organizations sponsoring those sites.

Get Up Off The Couch Parenting

 

Marianne Stuart

Sometimes it isn’t convenient being a parent, but convenient or not, there is work involved in raising our children. Years ago my husband, Guy, and I went to a seminar about parenting. The woman talking was raising eight of her own kids. Some were old enough to date and some were still little. We are now in the same boat. Our children are from 14 months to 19 years old. After hearing her talk, we gathered our children and had a meeting with them.

 

He Picked You

God made us the parents of our children. He picked US to raise them. This is what we told our kids when we had our family meeting the day after our seminar. From now on when we asked a child to do something, we expected it to be done right away.  We call this “Right Away Obedience.”  We don’t give three tries like one popular parenting method calls for. We expect our request to be done the FIRST time. If obedience can be achieved the third time it can happen the first time. How novel.

The picture is from our recent to trip to Rome for my brother's ordination. He was ordained a Catholic priest on Dec. 12. in Rome, Italy. It was an amazing experience! I am so glad we were able to take the kids even though it was a lot of work.

Inconvenience Yourself

We have all been there. We are sitting down enjoying a movie or a conversation and something happens that requires our attention. We can sit and ignore it or get up and handle the situation. I call this “Get Up Off the Couch Parenting.” You might have to pause your movie, ask your friend if you can call them back, or put your coffee down, but good parenting requires us to inconvenience ourselves and put in the work needed for our children to become enjoyable creatures.  

Now Go do Your Job

This parenting technique might involve more than physically getting up to handle our duties. It might mean checking our kids email, phones, texts, social media, and talking with their teachers. We can’t expect others to raise our children for us. God picked us to be their parents, now go do your job.

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Disclaimer
The views expressed in the posts and comments of this blog do not necessarily reflect Memorial Healthcare. They should be understood as the personal opinions of the author.

Comment Policy
All readers are encouraged to leave comments. While all points of view are welcome on Memorial Healthcare’s blog, only comments that are courteous and on-topic will be posted. All comments will be reviewed and responded to (as needed) within three business days of submission. Participants on this blog are fully responsible for everything that they submit in their comments, and all posted comments are in the public domain.

Linking Policy
This blog may contain external links to other sites. Memorial Healthcare does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information on these Web sites. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended as endorsements of any views expressed, products or services offered on outside sites, or the organizations sponsoring those sites.

 

What Do You Want for Christmas?

Laura Jafri
By Laura Jafri

Are You Already Exhausted?
The holiday season has only just begun and as usual, I’m tired already. It seems like every year, Thanksgiving comes and I hit the ground running. I know that I am not alone on this one. Why does it have to be so overwhelming? It’s so hard to enjoy it when all we do is worry about the next thing on our list that we need to do. I have thought about it a lot over the last week. My personality is the type that needs to have everything really organized and if it needs to be done, it should have been done yesterday. It’s a very stressful way of thinking sometimes. I’m really going to try to enjoy things more this year. I always end up enjoying the holidays, but it’s a stressful road. I guess I feel like I’m at a point in my life where I just want to slow down and enjoy what I have. I have a great husband and five amazing children. When you constantly go at a break-neck speed, it’s impossible to really feel good and enjoy your life. I’m making a promise to myself to try to do what I can, but to make sure that there is some real quality time that I spend with my family this year. I want to make memories that I will be able to remember and keep with me forever. It can be hard to do that if your memories are all a blur.  

Take Time to Disconnect
Thanksgiving was nice, but I’m really looking forward to Christmas this year. It’s amazing what happens when people put their phones, iPads, computers, etc. down for a while. We don’t need to have the TV on. All we need to do is look at the people around us and truly enjoy them. Who they are, what they think and what they say. It’s miraculous how, without the electronic distractions, our family can talk, laugh, and play together. It’s so nice to feel like you have time to talk with and listen to your children.

Share Dinner Together
One of my favorite things to do is to have dinner together. Growing up in an immigrant Italian family, that’s what you did. You always ate together as a family and it wasn’t a rushed, crazy time. We sat and talked and laughed. It’s a perfect time to connect with your family members and see how their day was. It’s always a social event in an Italian household and I want that for my kids.  I want them to grow up and have those warm memories.

Taking it Downstairs
One of my children’s favorite things to do is have “downstairs time”—when the whole family goes to the basement after dinner and plays together. There is no agenda—just real, free time to do whatever we feel like doing.

Giving Yourself Is One of The Greatest Gifts
I think that I’m reaching a point in my life where I’m tired of being tired. It isn’t any fun being too spread thin. I want to make sure that I have no regrets as far as the time that I give to my family. I really believe that giving yourself to your loved ones is the greatest gift you can ever give them. That is something that will not only stay with you forever, but it will stay with all of them forever too. I don’t think that I will look back one day and think, “I should have gotten more done instead of having that great night with my family.” We all work too hard and forget what life is truly about.

I think that I know what I want for Christmas this year. I want to slow down and spend REAL quality time with my family—unadulterated time without the numerous distractions of this day and age. I want to make memories that will bless my whole family forever.  What’s on your Christmas list?

I hope that everyone has a peaceful and blessed Christmas!

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Disclaimer
The views expressed in the posts and comments of this blog do not necessarily reflect Memorial Healthcare. They should be understood as the personal opinions of the author.

Comment Policy
All readers are encouraged to leave comments. While all points of view are welcome on Memorial Healthcare’s blog, only comments that are courteous and on-topic will be posted. All comments will be reviewed and responded to (as needed) within three business days of submission. Participants on this blog are fully responsible for everything that they submit in their comments, and all posted comments are in the public domain.

Linking Policy
This blog may contain external links to other sites. Memorial Healthcare does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of information on these Web sites. Links to particular items in hypertext are not intended as endorsements of any views expressed, products or services offered on outside sites, or the organizations sponsoring those sites.