A Parenting Lesson from Buck, the Horse Whisperer

Last night we watched “Buck”, a documentary about a horse whisperer that is an absolute must-see for every parent and teacher.

“Horse whisperer?” you say.  “I raise (or teach) children, not horses.”

Please let me explain.

Buck Brannaman was raised by a bullying abusive father.  As young boys in the 1960’s, he and his brother performed as trick rope artists.  On the surface, the life of these children looked glamorous…fancy cowboy outfits, cereal commercials on TV, traveling across the country.  But behind closed doors, Buck’s father beat them mercilessly.  When a school coach discovered the situation, he intervened and Buck and his brother were sent to a foster home.

Fortunately for Buck, the Shirley’s were loving nurturing foster parents who understood that he needed to learn to believe in himself before he could trust and believe in others. 

Parenting is a very difficult task, probably the hardest job in the world.  And we often model our parenting on the way our own parents behaved towards us when we were children.  Problems arise when our parents were not good role models…and that’s what is so amazing about this documentary.  It reveals that Buck was able to turn his back on the bad parenting he had experienced as a young child and instead, mirror the skills of his foster parents, not only with his own child, but also with horses.

Buck travels around the country forty weeks out of the year giving four-day horse clinics.  People come with their horses to learn how to improve the connection between horse and rider.

Can we take some of Buck’s horse whisperer advice and apply it to our own situations, raising our children and improving the parent-child connection?

We definitely can and should!

1.    Take Buck’s advice, “live in the moment…you don’t have to live in the past”.  If your parents lacked good parenting skills, find other role models and do a better job with your own children.  There are many resources in your area that you can turn to for help and support.

2.    “Horses (and children) are a mirror of your soul”, as Buck so aptly put it…observe the behavior (or misbehavior) and then see what you are doing (or not doing) that might account for that behavior.  If your child is exhibiting a behavior that is inappropriate, you need to act…be consistent, enforce consequences, and always show compassion.  Again, local agencies are available to offer help and support.

3.    Buck says, “discipline and encourage…don’t discipline and discourage”.  If you feel that you and/or any other adult in the home have anger management issues or you have a concern for the safety of your children or yourself, contact Childhelp immediately or call 1-800-4-A-CHILD

You’ll find similar suggestions in my book for parents and teachers, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking. 

 

HAPPY HOLIDAY SPECIAL

GET A HEAD START ON YOUR HOLIDAY SHOPPING

For a LIMITED TIME (October 23 – November 23), we are offering a brand-new signed and inscribed copy of Show Me How! for $19.95.  This is the lowest priceit has even been…over 50% off the cover price!  You won’t find a new copy cheaper ANYWHERE.  This is a ONE MONTH on-line special only on my website where you can purchase the book securely through PayPal and or on Amazon, if you prefer.

What a great gift this book makes for parents, grandparents, preschool and nursery teachers, nannies, daycare providers, babysitters and early childhood education students!  Are any of those people on your holiday gift list?

“The book is both a tool and a workbook that helps loving adults encourage children to identify and safely communicate their feelings, to develop skills to problem solve and to make healthy choices.” – Ellen Levy, MSW, LCSW, Executive Director, Adoption Choice Center, Colorado Springs, CO

  • Story suggestions help you choose the right book to read with your child.
  • Arts and crafts projects are QUICK AND EASY.
  • Recipes are CHILD-FRIENDLY AND HEALTHY.
  • Empowers parents
  • Engages children

Click here for another great review of Show Me How!  And please don’t put off buying a copy at this great price…for under $20 you will be giving a unique personalized gift to a friend, teacher or family member and the gift of self-esteem to a child.

Cinema Sundays: My Picks of Great Flicks: Academy Awards Special Edition

Classic Photo from 1937 Academy Awards at the ...

Image by ExperienceLA via Flickr

Tonight many people will be glued in front of their televisions, watching the Academy Awards presentation. 

All across the country (and probably in other parts of the world), there will be Oscar-night parties and other celebrations to honor the winners (and losers…how can they be “losers” if those nominated were among the top 5 of all actors, actresses, movies, etc. for the entire year?).

My husband and I don’t go to the movies very often.

We actually LOVE watching movies, but don’t like the cost and inconvenience of going OUT to the movies.

So we got most of our movies for free from our local library or for $1 from Red box vending machines.:)

This past week, for President’s Day, I’ve written several posts that examine HONESTY, and how it relates to parenting.

So, my movie pick for today is GET LOW with Robert Duvall, Bill Cobbs, Sissy Spacek and Bill Murray.  Although not one of the Academy Award nominees in any category, it’s a film well worth your time.

The movie examines the life of a man who has a secret he has kept to himself for many years.  He takes up the life of a hermit and finally connects with the world only because he wants to arrange a “funeral party”, inviting EVERYONE and ANYONE who has a story to tell about him…but his real reason is that he knows he is going to die soon and wants to reveal the truth…so that he can rest easy.

Look at the word DISEASE…it’s made up of two parts: DIS (meaning not) and EASE (meaning at rest or at peace or functioning smoothly). 

When we are not at peace, we are much more prone to getting sick.

Children start out in life being innocent and honest and forthright.  Some begin to practice deception and dishonesty because they learn that when you tell the truth, if the truth is something unpleasant, you will likely get into trouble.

One of the cornerstones of Positive Parental Participation is listening to our children without judgment.  Please don’t think this means that children don’t have to be responsible for their actions.  A second cornerstone of this parenting approach is to consistently expect children to accept the consequences for what they do.

The gentle parenting tips included on every other page of SHOW ME HOW! BUILD YOUR CHILD’S SELF-ESTEEM THROUGH READING, CRAFTING AND COOKING are one of the coolest parts of the book.  Do you worry that your children will not grow up the way you want them to?  Are you concerned that peer pressure may influence your children to misbehave or stray off the path you would have them follow?

Use the book with your child for just 15 minutes a day and you will be amazed at the positive results!  Head over to my website and grab a copy for half-price…only $22.50!

What will you get for $22.50? 

  • 100 story summaries of picture books your child needs to hear.
  • 100 simple eco-friendly craft projects you and your child will enjoy doing.
  • 100 child-friendly healthful recipes you and your child will have fun preparing together.
  • 100 gentle parenting tips that will inspire you and give you confidence in your own parenting abilities.
  • 365-day money-back guarantee.

Children grown and don’t need a copy for yourself?  Pick one up as a super Mother’s Day gift for a new mom, working mom of preschoolers, homeschooling mom or dad or as a great gift for someone you know who is a preschool teacher, daycare provider, babysitter or nanny.  I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to spend this special time with your young children…even if it is just 15 minutes a day.

Please stop by tomorrow for Make-A-Meal Mondays!

Quotable Timeless Tuesdays: Honesty

Writing the Declaration of Independence 1776 c...

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Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.   Thomas Jefferson (1762-1826) 3rd President of the United States and author of the Declaration of Independence.

Yesterday was President’s Day.  We honored two of our outstanding presidents, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.  One of the most famous stories connected with George Washington is the one about the cherry tree.

Honesty is the best policy.  If I lose mine honor, I lose myself.  William Shakespeare, English playwright.

When asked by his father what happened, young George supposedly replied, “Father, I cannot tell a lie.  It was I who chopped down the cherry tree.”  Although researchers are pretty sure that the story of a young George Washington cutting down a cherry tree in his father’s orchard is false, the message behind it remains true, even today.

  One of the hardest things in the world is to admit you are wrong.  And nothing is more helpful in resolving a situation than its frank admission.  – Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881) British Prime Minister.

For me, however, it is really important to look at honesty as it relates to young children. 

We must make the world honest before we can honestly say to our children that honesty is the best policy.  – George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) Irish playwright.

As parents, we want our children to be honest.  We want them to come to us with their problems and concerns.  If we ask them what happened or how they are feeling, we believe they should honestly communicate with us.

Pretty much all the honest truth-telling in the world is done by children.  – Oliver Wendell Holmes.

I think children start out being entirely honest…they don’t know about evasiveness and lying.  When does it start?  How do they learn?  Why do they lose that innocent openness they are born with?

We tell lies when we are afraid…afraid of what we don’t know, afraid of what others will think, afraid of what will be found out about us.  But every time we tell a lie, the thing that we fear grows stronger.  – Tad Williams

We need to be good role models for our children when it comes to honesty.  Equally important, we must encourage our children to come to us by being non-judgmental.

 Does this mean we can allow our children to do as they please?  NO, I don’t think we can!

Should we refrain from disciplining our children when they have misbehaved or acted inappropriately?  NO, I don’t believe we should!

1.     Children need rules…parents, please be consistent.

2.     Children need to have consequences for their actions…parents, please be consistent.

3.     Children need to learn responsibility…parents, please be consistent.

Please stop by tomorrow for WHAT’S IN YOUR CHILD’S BOOKCASE WORDY WEDNESDAY.  I’ll recommend another picture book from SHOW ME HOW! BUILD YOUR CHILD’S SELF-ESTEEM THROUGH READING, CRAFTING AND COOKING.  For the price of a couple of hot dogs and sodas at the ball game, you can own a copy of this unique resource that will help you build your child’s self-esteem and make planning fun craft and cooking activities a snap!  Stop by my website and grab a copy at half-price!

Make-A-Meal Mondays: President’s Day Special

A pair of cherries from the same stalk. Prunus...

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Every four years, the citizens of the United States have the opportunity to choose a new president who will hopefully lead the country on an upward path of economic and social reform, while staying within the budget.

Every day, three times each day, moms (and sometimes dads) have the opportunity to choose a new dish to serve to their families that will hopefully provide good nutrition and good taste, while staying within the budget.

Hmmm…have you also seen the similarity between running the country and running a household? 🙂

It is true, though, that the responsibility of putting high quality, highly nutritious¸ good-tasting, affordable meals on the table is a heavy one.  I thought that since today is President’s Day, I should offer up a recipe that includes CHERRIES as one of the ingredients.

Why cherries you might ask? 

I’m sure most of you know the story of our first president, George Washington, and the incident with the cherry tree.  As it was told when I was in school, young George went out into the garden with a new hatchet and chopped down a young cherry tree.   When questioned by his father as to whether or not he did it, George replied, “I cannot tell a lie.  It was I who chopped down the cherry tree.”   His father, impressed with his young son’s honesty, did not punish him, but praised him for telling the truth.

Of course, the moral of the little tale is that we should always tell the truth…no matter what we have done or what the consequences of our actions might be.  I know this is what we teach our children…and this week I’ll be examining the topic of honesty in many of my posts.  And, if you are looking for any information or resources about President’s Day, hop over to Mirth and Motivation.  The author of that blog is the consummate researcher…a great writer and funny to boot!  And she is having a Mega-Blog Hop…if you join, you will meet a bunch of awesome bloggers!

But for now, I’d like to provide you with a recipe for lovely child-friendly fruit crisp…full of super foods…and with the option of using cherries (sometimes they are available only in season and can be quite expensive) or substituting other fruits.

CHILD-FRIENDLY COLORFUL FRUIT CRISP

You will need: 5 cups mixed fruit, washed and then sliced if necessary (peaches, plums, apricots, strawberries, blueberries, cherries, apples), ¼ cup white sugar, ¼ cup orange juice, 1 tsp lemon juice, 3 Tb flour (for the fruit), ¼ cup flour (for the topping), 2 cups rolled oats, ¼ cup brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, ¼ cup healthy margarine softened, a greased 9×13 inch pan, and 2 large bowls.

1.     In a large bowl, gently toss fruit with white sugar, orange juice and lemon juice.

2.     Sprinkle with 3 Tb flour, toss gently again and spread in the greased pan.

3.     In another bowl, mix oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and the remaining flour. 

4.     Add the margarine and mix till crumbly.

5.     Sprinkle crumbly mixture over fruit.

6.     Bake 20-25 minutes at 375 degrees until fruit is tender and topping is golden brown.

7.     Serve warm or at room temperature.

8.     Store leftovers in a covered container in the fridge.

9.     Serves about 12.

This recipe has so many super foods: oats, orange juice, lemon juice, cinnamon and all of the fruits…even though it is a dessert, you can rest easy giving it to your family because it is so high in nutrition and fiber while being fairly low in added sugar and fat.  Plus, it is really simple to prepare…your young children will love to help with the measuring and mixing.  It’s only one of the 100 easy-to-make child-friendly healthful recipes you’ll find in my new parenting book, on sale now for a limited time on my website for half price!  Check it out…I think you’ll be glad you did…it takes the hassle out of planning activities with preschoolers.

I hope you’ll stop by tomorrow for Quotable Timeless Tuesdays…for an honest look at honesty.

Lesson #1 of Nanny McPhee: NO FIGHTING

Two Sisters

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Do you have siblings?  Do you remember fighting with them when you were children?

I can remember back when my older sister and I were growing up.  Because she was older, she had “more stylish” clothes…and I was JEALOUS.  So, after she had gone to school, I would wear one of her sweater sets.  Of course, it didn’t fit me the way it fit her…I was younger and a little chubby and so I stretched out the knitted fabric.  How angry at me she was when she got home…and deservedly so!  We would get into a fight…she would yell and push me…I would strike back…grabbing her hand and bending her finger back.   OUCH!!!!  Then she would hit me and I would cry and our mother would come in to see what was going on.  My sister would be scolded and sometimes spanked and I would run to my bed and cry.  When my mom would come to ask me why I was crying, I would tell her that I didn’t want my sister to be punished….and I really didn’t.  I just wanted to be able to wear the nicer clothing. 🙂

It seems to be the “natural order” of things…TO FIGHT FOR ATTENTION, TO FIGHT TO GET WHAT WE WANT, TO FIGHT TO KEEP WHAT IS OURS.

If we look around the world, we see that there is fighting going on some level in almost every corner of the world…and this has been going on since forever.

What is it about mankind?  Are we made this way?  Can we not help ourselves?  Is there no alternative?

I am not going to debate this issue on a global level.  There are enough people doing that already.  So I will stick to relating it to parenting.

Can parents issue a NO FIGHTING rule at home and expect to see it carried out?

I believe so.

Perhaps the success of this rule will hinge on putting into place three components of a balanced and harmonious life which is what Nanny McPhee did and, even without magic, we can do it to:

1.     DISCIPLINE

2.     MANNERS

3.     ACCEPTING THE CONSEQUENCES OF ONE’S ACTIONS

It’s definitely easier to start when children are VERY young, but IT’S NEVER TOO LATE!

You’ll be glad you did!  And amazingly, so will your children!

How do you handle fighting between siblings?  Or between your children and their friends? 

 

Stop by tomorrow for a look at Nanny McPhee’s Lesson #2: SHARE WITH OTHERS.

The Five Lessons of Nanny McPhee: Are They Valid for our Children Today?

Have you seen the movie, “Nanny McPhee”?

Nanny_mcpheePhoto courtesy: By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3187092 – Universal Pictures

My husband and I recently watched the sequel, “Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang”.  The original movie came out in 2005 and took place in 19th century England.  A widower is unable to raise his seven children on his own and the children have systematically gotten rid of seventeen nannies before Nanny McPhee appears and saves the day.  The sequel debuted last year and takes place in the English countryside during World War II,   We are introduced to the harried mother whose husband is off defending the country and whose three rambunctious young children never seem to listen to her and are constantly fighting with each other. (Let me know if this sounds familiar.) 🙂

Into the picture comes Nanny McPhee, a no-nonsense woman who has unseen powers and a gift for bringing calm and order to a situation filled with upheaval and chaos. (Nanny McPhee, where are you?)

What struck me, though, were the FIVE LESSONS the children had to learn while under Nanny McPhee’s care.  I truly believe that these are FIVE LESSONS THAT EVERY KID SHOULD LEARN and use, whether at home, in school or ANYWHERE.

1.     NO FIGHTING

2.     SHARE

3.     WORK TOGETHER

4.     BE BRAVE

5.     HAVE FAITH

Don’t you think it would be a wonderful thing if every man, woman and child on the face of the earth could learn these lessons?

After doing some research, I learned that back in August, Twitter Moms (now Social Moms) had posed the following question on Facebook, “What are the 5 lessons every kid should learn?”  I’m sure they had a ton of responses.

But I’m going to stick with my original plan and, for the next five days, I’ll examine each of Nanny McPhee’s lessons to see how we can apply them as parents today.  If you look carefully, you will see that behind the actual lessons are three crucial components of a life lived in balance and harmony: DISCIPLINE, MANNERS, and ACCEPTING THE CONSEQUENCES OF ONE’S ACTIONS.

Your comments will add value to the post…are these the lessons you have taught your children?

Stop by tomorrow for a closer look at Lesson #1: NO FIGHTING