Tools For Learning

Inspiration for Parents & Educators

How Happy Are You? Part 2

You are unique and capable of extraordinary things! Finding pastimes that are best suited to you is one of the great adventures of life, and a source of much happiness. Remember, you and only you can make you happy. If you are truly satisfied and joyful you experience it all as your real, authentic self. Happiness can be sustained beyond just experiencing something wonderful at any given moment. Many times you judge an activity by how you feel about it beforehand instead of how you feel after the venture is over. Many times you don’t feel like practicing for a marathon, but you do it anyway. Once this task is over you’re usually glad that you kept to your rigorous training schedule. Your sense of satisfaction and well-being lasts for a long time after the actual workout is over. That’s happiness! In every moment of your life you choose happiness or not!

When you choose happiness over passing pleasure, it is sustained independently of your circumstances in life: money, material things, past successes, and future opportunities. Happiness can’t be found by pursuing happiness! Many people refuse to think about it, or even believe in this idea. If you set out to find and savor happiness, it will elude you every time.

Happiness is not an an end itself, nor is it an experience. It is truly a by product of every situation, at every step, and at all crossroads on your adventure through life. Is there an aliveness and enjoyment for you in what you are doing and experiencing now? When you are completely absorbed in your favorite pastime and really present in the moment, the result is one of high energy and intensity. An added bonus is that stress is absent, also. Check it out for yourself! You’ll become a believer!

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How Happy Are You Now?

Recent research suggests it’s not a fancy lifestyle or money that makes you happy, but rather any effortless pleasure that strengthens your relationships or gives you a positive sense of control. Many things that can make you happy are inexpensive and well within your reach. There are some easy and powerful ways to bring more joy to your life: five minutes of down time in the middle of the day, a longer but more scenic ride home, a picnic lunch, saying thank you for even the smallest things, and really meaning it, saying NO to one more thing on your to-do list, dancing to your favorite music. You get the picture?

Just do it…something….carve out some time from your busy schedule, and create some peace and relaxation for yourself…and don’t feel guilty. You need it…you deserve it!

Make a list of things that bring you joy. Do you even allow yourself to enjoy the small pleasures of life? Give it some time; soon your thoughts will flow and you’ll wonder, from where did all these amazing ideas come? The answer is quite simple-from your spirit, your real self. It is the wiser you….speaking softly. Be open to the possibilities. Only you can make you happy!


Photo by Lance Neilson, cropped, and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.

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Single Parents – You Inspire Me!

HydrangeasSingle parents, you inspire me! You amaze me! You have the toughest job in the world. I believe you don’t ever get the credit you deserve for single parenting . While I believe, also, that you are not looking for any accolades, high fives, or pats on the back either, but I think it would be so nice for someone to notice and acknowledge your journey and you doing it all alone.

Raising children is a lot of work. Many times it is thankless. What is it that gives you the strength to continue, and push on when you are tired and burned out? I’m sure above all LOVE motivates you, and that comes from deep within yourself. But, what motivates you externally? Sometimes an inspirational idea can help you renew yourselves, and hopefully then you will be filled with the needed strength to fulfill your life’s purpose as a parent – to raise you kids with love, care, ethics, balance, and resiliency – a tall order to be sure! And you do it, every day, 100x a day, and ask nothing in return but to be loved and respected by your kids.

TulipsInspiration comes in many forms. However, the root of all inspiration is the idea that your life is meaningful. Inspiration is knowing that what you do matters deeply to your children, and the universe. When you have that feeling that your actions are meaningful, you will become filled with the strength and vigor to fulfill your life’s purpose whether you realize it now or not.

My wish is that my blog posts, help to inspire you. I hope my “words of wisdom”, tips, techniques, and proven strategies will guide you, and will be useful tools in working with your precious little ones to achieve better results and more positive relationships at home and school.

Yes, I hope to inspire you! But, please, don’t ever forget that YOU inspire ME to keep doing what I’m doing – continually reaching out  to you busy, overworked moms and dads, hoping that in some small way I can lessen your worry, anxiety, and fear as you raise you children to be the best that they can be on a daily basis.

Please comment and let me know what has helped you on your journey. Inspire Me!

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Parenting and The Power of the High Five

High FiveAn inspirational parenting tip that really rocks is the power of the High Five! I recommend that you test the high five upon arriving at your next social gathering, parenting or interacting with your kids, or when a someone helps you out of a trying situation. You will be pleased with the results!

I started using the High Five in my classroom many years ago. Over the years I came to realize I was able to make a lasting impression using the High Five when my students started to give each other this gesture with enthusiasm. They would eagerly comment on the affects of giving and receiving High Fives.

Interestingly enough, the High Five is not an archaic tradition. It has become a key aspect of american culture. It is thought to have occurred for the first time publicly when Dusty Baker and Glenn Burke during the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball game on October 2, 1977 in Dodger Stadium.

I have noticed in several different situations and in most circumstances the High Five makes everyone appear much happier and  more connected. It also helps in facilitating to open the lines of communication when they were previously strained.

I have been an avid proponent of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs throughout all of my professional career. I shared them in most of my parenting presentations. After food, water and shelter, Maslow  includes, love, belonging, and self-esteem as high ranking human needs. The High Five is a spontaneous, quick way to communicate to someone that they are important, unique, and deserving of your attention.

Another key component of the High Five is the physical connection. Tactile communication has been researched and found to increase cooperation, and emotional give and take. It is also a sign of trust and acceptance. What’s really cool about the High Five is that is crosses all social boundaries, age, education, religion, and race. It works with almost everyone!

It still amazes me how doing something I do all the time can have such a huge impact but that’s what inspiring others is all about and that’s why I love it! And so, today’s inspirational parenting tip is to check out the benefits of the High Five in your life and see what happens! You will be pleased with the results. Try it, you’ll like it! Leave me a comment on what happens! Make my day!


Photo by Sean Dreilinger,,  – high five from an unknown cheering parent

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On the blog archives I came across “Seed of Authenticity”: “In this house we do real mistakes. We do I’m sorry. We do second chances.

We do fun.

We do hugs.

We do forgiveness.

We really do loud.

We do family.

We do LOVE!”

While visiting my granddaughter and her mom and dad I found these warm and fuzzy
affirmations the rule of the day in their home. They are not just nice and inspirational
sayings to them but  real rules of thumb for their everyday living. What a great environment for them
to share and raise my granddaughter in her formative years. I truly am a grateful grandma
(G.G.) for this. I, personally, especially love the family hugs!

I think that it’s important, and would like like to address one of the elements that may
give you, as a parent, a little more trouble than  all the rest of the authentic affirmations
presented.  Let’s talk about your kids making mistakes…..

It is most important and helpful to talk to your kids, and discuss that their failures and mistakes are
stepping stones to success. Encourage them to role play with you as to how the situation in question
could have had a better outcome. If you are really brave, switch roles with your kids when play acting
or role playing. Permit your young ones to be you, and you then take their role in a situation
that calls for a better choice of outcomes. This will be an eye opening experience for you to say the

How quickly you will see the results that you seek. This little strategy will almost always give you
valuable insight,  and just the right information that you will need to turn a negative situation around to a more  positive one for your young ones. It will make your life, and your kids’ a little easier. You will gain a new and useful understanding to guide your youngsters in the right direction toward appropriate reactions both at home and school.

I’d like to hear from you if this technique even  helped a little to  ease the issue for your kids learning from their mistakes, and helping them make better choices. Keep up your great work trying to improve the quality of life for your kids. You should be commended. Good luck in all your future endeavors.

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Girl Power and Parenting: Developing Leadership Qualities

Super hero girl

If you are interested in Girl Power and developing leadership qualities in the young ladies in your life, this is your lucky day.  A must read is, 3 Next Steps for Developing Girls’ Leadership by Elena Aquilar focusing on student engagement and developing girls’ leadership qualities. The author so eloquently raises the pertinent questions exploring what leadership truly means to young girls.

Leadership is not just about a girl’s role but it’s all about the stance they take and the way they feel and the actions they take in that role. Girls, too, must be clear about their intrinsic value and their options. As a parent, especially, and as an educator, one of your most significant contributions to the world is to empower girls to lead happy and responsible lives. You can do this most effectively  by modeling and offering guidance that will build young girls’ confidence and self-esteem. It is important that you increase your own awareness of the “rules” you present and reinforce to them.

In her book Stand Up For Your Life, Cheryl Richardson, gives great and sound advice when she points out that instead of you, as a child, being trained to follow rules that may have crushed your spirit, imagine what your life would have been like if you had been taught these instead:

* Be informed
* Stick with it
* Stop apologizing when you’ve done nothing wrong
* Be courageous
* Think big
* Be ambitious
* Be enthusiastic
* Be proud of yourself
* Keep your expectations high
* Go for it!

Ms. Richardson states that her own life would have been different had she been raised with these types of rules. She notes that she would have spoken up in school when she knew the answer to a teacher’s question instead of feeling insecure to raise her hand. Cheryl also mentioned that she would have performed in the high school plays that captured her imagination rather than relegating herself to the audience while longing to be on stage.

Now is the time to give your kids, especially your girls, the opportunity to omit the “could have been” and the “should have been” thoughts from their minds. Give them a new set of rules to live by! You will have many opportunities during the day to implement and encourage these new rules. Explain them. Discuss them. Monitor and adjust them to your own experience and situation for maximum output and success. Integrate them into your young lady’s daily routine. Watch what happens! You’ll both feel empowered! You go girls!

Photo by Lance Neilson, cropped, and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.

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Parents, Let Go of Self-Doubt!

I recently came across Marala Scotts’ tweet: “Once doubt infiltrates your mind it will impede or stop your progress.” After reading this post and talking with many busy parents, young moms and dads, I get this reoccurring feeling  that today’s parents experience self-doubt on many various levels, especially nurturing and guiding their children.

Parents, as soon as you make peace with the fact that you won’t get everything you want in life, the playing field is leveled. While it’s tough to let go of something you want, or want to happen, if you release yourself from the relentless pull of your “if only” thinking, a sense of calm, and even joy, will rush into that mental state instead, notes C. Leslie Charles, author of Why Is Everyone So Cranky? When you can just “be” with a situation but not liking it, things usually begin to slow down, turn around, and reshape themselves for the better.

By letting go in a negative situation in parenting, you decide not to give into thoughts and actions like doubt, worry, or regret that waste your time, and not dwell on what you think you don’t have in your family life.That can be  a real motivator for a more joyful, less stress filled life. Trust Yourself! It is harder to accomplish than it sounds but it can be done with a few simple steps.

To help learn to reduce self-doubt, start to make a list of all the times you went with your intuition – and you were right. Do it regularly. Refer to the list any time you feel unsure about your decision with and for your kids.

The more you practice listening to and acting on your own inner voice, the more you come to trust the wisdom inside of you for parenting. This is a vital key in building the family life you desire. Giving yourself the gift of slowing down, carving out some time for reflection and thanksgiving during your busy day will help you recognize what it is you truly need to create the life that you and your family deserve to enjoy together.

Parents, take some precious time daily to “trust your gut”. Your intuition is usually never wrong. Go for it!

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What To Do? My Child Hates School!

At some point every parent hears the phrase: “I hate school! Sometimes it comes at the end

of a frustrating day, or a bad week. If, however, your child’s dislike for school is becoming

chronic or causing him or her to fall behind, you need to figure out what is at the root of the




Did you have a fight with someone? Did the teacher say something that upset you?

Did you get a bad grade on a test? Are you having trounle at the bus stop or on the bus?

Are you having a hard time with one of your subjects?





If your child has difficulty making friends, you can boost needed social skills  by role playing

various senarios that can help your child to approach peers in a more confident way.



If your child isn’t willing to talk or can’t articulate why he/she hates school,  the teacher may be able to shed some

light on the subject.



Ask about distractions: Can you see the board clearly? Can you hear the teacher? Are you sitting in the back of the

classroom? Keep probing until you are satisfied that the problem is not physical.



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Morning Tips For Parents

wpid-Discpline750.jpgUse these tried and true methods that I have collected over the years from parents who

want to get their kids off to a great start! Just found similar tips and strategies from


1. Pre-pick clothes

I can personally vouch for this super tip. It really does cut out all the indecision, moaning

groaning, and arguements on school days. This simplifies getting dressed in the mornings.

2. Make wake-up time easier.

Get everyone their own alarm clock- no matter how young your kids are. Teach them to set them.

This helps deflect any annoyance that may be felt away from the parent to the inanimate

alarm clock.

3. Centralize papers

Establish a central location for your kids to place permission slips, homework, tests, and

and any other important papers. Stacking trays or any type of file folders work well for this

purpose.  Use them like a mailbox. Kids deposit papers there when they get home and get their mail

when they leave for school in the morning.

These are my top 3 tips to make your kids’ mornings go a bit smoother. What other great tips can you offer and share? I’m sure they will be greatly appreciated! Thank You!

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Believe In Yourself

Mary AnnKnow who you are. Know what your unique strengths and gifts are, then be it, and do it. Great provoking thoughts by Brian Johnson @Philo_Notes and and Services. But where do we go from here? I believe the lesson here in simple language is uncomplicated and quite understandable: BELIEVE IN YOUSELF!

Faith in your abilities is the fountainhead of your peace and happiness.You want to be steadfast and make the right decisions, but you sometimes grow weary. You can’t do it alone. You were not meant too. What is important for you to realize is that others, and external events don’t ever have the power to hold you back, and keep your dreams at a distance. If you believe otherwise, you are undoubtedly very unhappy.

There is no one or anything that can steal your joy, ever! Start now by accepting, but not liking, the negative circumstances in your life. Before you can change anything, you have to recognize that what you have or don’t have. what you’re experiencing, or lacking is the way it is for NOW. If you accept the fact that you have some unpleasant things, people, and circumstances in your life, they cease to have power over you.

When you accept but not necessarily like what’s going on in your life, you are ready to accept blessings. YES, BLESSINGS! They often sometimes come by the way of an idea on how to improve your situation, an ad on TV, a sign in a store, or the support of a co-worker, or family member or close friend who offers advice.You only have to seek them out. Blessings are available to you when you accept what is, rather than resist the negativity around you. When you accept the circumstances in your life, and create the action plans for modifications, then you can finally move forward on the path to more joy and peace in your life.

Many Blessings To You now and forever! You deserve them!

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