Top 5 admissions: Are you trying to kill your children?

Written on July 20, 2014 by David C. Sarnacki

CNN’s Kelly Wallace shows how many otherwise good parents admit to choices that put their kids at risk of serious injury and death.

Spilling your guts and other concerns when preparing for divorce

Written on July 13, 2014 by David C. Sarnacki

Kim Komando adds 5 things to your To Do List when a divorce is coming, as well as an opening warning to think twice before posting to social media. In the column, Komando has tips regarding passwords, social media profiles, personal information, and the kids.

In her introduction, Kim Komando writes (excerpt):
My father used to say, “Things that happen in the home stay in the home.” Divorce is tough enough. If you’re feeling anger or rage, I suggest not running to an online public forum to spill your guts. The post never goes away. You never know who might read it and share it.

Favors make the world go around: “Social wheels” and relationships

Written on July 5, 2014 by David C. Sarnacki

Psychology Today included an item from Susan Krauss Whitbourne’s blog, entitled “How to Ask For a Favor.” She offered 7 specific situations commonly involving opportunities for favors, and she identified 4 core principles.

Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D., explains each of these Four Favor principles (excerpt):
1. Be honest and straightforward. . . .
2. Don’t feel overly guilty or entitled. . . .
3. Recognize that asking for help can serve as a favor to someone else. . . .
4. Be ready to reciprocate. . . .

From sinking to stearing a new course: Divorce later in life

Written on June 29, 2014 by David C. Sarnacki

The New York Times highlights the financial problems for divorce in your 50s and 60s.

Constance Gustke writes (excerpt):
[M]ore Americans are going through so-called gray divorces and the downsizing that follows.
****
“There isn’t much time left to enhance portfolios post-divorce,” said Susan Brown, co-director of the National Center for Family and Marriage Research. “So you have to be careful to get the best settlement you can. Some people may have difficulty recovering.” One solution, she added, is “having a really good attorney and fighting for your fair share.”

Forget your perfect offering: The cumulative effect of imperfect parenting

Written on June 15, 2014 by David C. Sarnacki

On Being includes a post by Parker J. Palmer that, while not intended to focus on Father’s Day, applies to parenting: Have the courage to make small contributions knowing that there is a cumulative power in your imperfections.

Palmer writes (excerpt):
[Leonard] Cohen’s lyrics [in Anthem] remind me that there is a particular kind of courage in the willingness to make one’s small, imperfect offering — saying, in effect, “I don’t have much to give, but I give it gladly as a contribution to the common good.” When we have that kind of courage, we encourage each other. And as more and more people make their small offerings, the cumulative effect can become something big.

She says, you too can rise

Written on May 29, 2014 by David C. Sarnacki

Maya Angelou (1928 – 2014), heart, soul and voice of “And Still I Rise.”

“Imagining Jesus as someone who laughed and who had — God forbid — fun”

Written on May 23, 2014 by David C. Sarnacki

Marquette University’s commencement speaker is well known to Colbert fans–Rev. James Martin, S.J. His remarks–jokes included–can be found at Marquette’s link here.

Best wedding vows: perfect marriage by following science?

Written on April 30, 2014 by David C. Sarnacki

Psychology Today offers us scientific wedding vows.

Samantha Joel’s list includes (excerpt):
1. “I promise to respect, admire, and appreciate you for who you are, as well as for the person you wish to become.”
2. “I promise to support and protect your freedom; because although our lives are intertwined, your choices are still yours alone.”
3. “I promise to seek a deep understanding of your wishes, your desires, your fears and your dreams.”
4. “I promise to always strive to meet your needs; not out of obligation, but because it delights me to see you happy.”
5. “I promise to be there for you when you need me, whenever you need me.”
6. I promise to nurture your goals and ambitions; to support you through misfortune and celebrate your triumphs.
7. “I promise to keep our lives exciting, adventurous, and full of passion.”
8. “I promise to persevere when times get tough, knowing that any challenges we might face, we will conquer them together.”
9. “I promise to treat you with compassion over fairness, because we are a team, now and for always.”
10. “I promise to show you, every day, that I know exactly how lucky I am to have you in my life.”

Essentials, priorities and lifestyle choices: How to set up a quick budget

Written on April 1, 2014 by David C. Sarnacki

LearnVest offers a simple budgeting rule to apply instantly to your household. Your take-home pay is allocated among three categories: essentials [50%], priorities [20%], and lifestyle choices [30%].

Laura Shin writes (excerpt):
The 50/20/30 Rule can be easy because instead of telling you how to break down your budget across 20 or more different categories (who could possibly keep track of that?), it splits everything into three main categories:
1. Essential Expenses
No more than 50% of your take-home pay should go toward Essential Expenses [housing, transportation, utilities and groceries] . . . .

2. Financial Priorities
At least 20% of your take-home pay should go to Financial Priorities [retirement contributions, savings contributions and debt payments, if you have debt] . . . .

3. Lifestyle Choices
No more than 30% of your take-home pay should go to Lifestyle Choices [cable, internet and phone plans, charitable giving, childcare, entertainment, gym fees, hobbies, pets, personal care, restaurants, bars, shopping and other miscellaneous expenses] . . . .

Graceful disagreement: Guidelines for giving and taking honest feedback

Written on March 30, 2014 by David C. Sarnacki

On Being highlights the work of Brené Brown and offers us guidance on compassionate criticism.

Mariah Helgeson writes (excerpt):
I’m ready to sit next to you rather than across from you.
I’m willing to put the problem in front of us rather than between us (or sliding it toward you).
I’m ready to listen ask questions, and accept that I may not fully understand the issue.
I want to acknowledge what you do well instead of picking apart your mistakes.
I recognize your strengths and how you can use them to address your challenges.
I can hold you accountable without shaming or blaming you.
I’m willing to own my part.
I can genuinely thank you for your efforts rather than criticize you for your failings.
I can talk about how resolving these challenges will lead to your growth and opportunity.
I can model the vulnerability and openness that I expect to see from you.

A Journey: From nursing to foster caring to parenting to individual adoptions to family

Written on March 22, 2014 by David C. Sarnacki

Senior Judge Bernard A. Friedman issued his decision after trial in DEBOER v SNYDER, Civil Action No. 12-CV-10285 (E.D. Mich. 2014). He determined that the Michigan Marriage Amendment, a 2004 voter-approved amendment to the Michigan Constitution prohibiting same-sex marriage, is unconstitutional.

The lengthy opinion summarizes the holding as follows (excerpt)[citations omitted]:
In attempting to define this case as a challenge to “the will of the people,” state defendants lost sight of what this case is truly about: people. No court record of this proceeding could ever fully convey the personal sacrifice of these two plaintiffs who seek to ensure that the state may no longer impair the rights of their children and the thousands of others now being raised by same-sex couples. It is the Court’s fervent hope that these children will grow up “to understand the integrity and closeness of their own family and its concord with other families in their community and in their daily lives.” Today’s decision is a step in that direction, and affirms the enduring principle that regardless of whoever finds favor in the eyes of the most recent majority, the guarantee of equal protection must prevail.
Accordingly,
IT IS HEREBY DECLARED that Article I, § 25 of the Michigan Constitution and its implementing statutes are unconstitutional because they violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the State of Michigan is enjoined from enforcing Article I, § 25 of the Michigan Constitution and its implementing statutes.

What would you do with a $20 bill?

Written on March 8, 2014 by David C. Sarnacki

CBS highlights superhero Myles Eckert, age 8.

Relationship building: Tips for difficult conversations

Written on March 5, 2014 by David C. Sarnacki

Today’s Love and Logic Insiders Club e-Newsletter featured tips that apply to make difficult conversations in life. The specific context was teacher-conferences, but it noted the interpersonal applications as well.

Charles Fay excerpted some of his father Jim Fay’s advice (excerpt):
• Remember that parents who look angry and resistant are usually hurting inside.
• When we remember this, it becomes much easier to avoid becoming defensive or angry ourselves.
• The most powerful skill involves listening and allowing parents to vent about their frustrations…before sharing our ideas.
• “Tell me more.” “What would you like to see here?” or “How long have you felt this way?” are great responses to show parents how much you care…and to get them talking.
• Share your ideas only after making sure that the parent is ready. Asking, “Would you like to hear my thoughts on this?” is a good way of showing respect and testing to see if they are ready to listen.

Secrets to finding happiness in your life and relationships

Written on February 18, 2014 by David C. Sarnacki

The TED Radio Hour features insights into happiness research and simpler ways of life. The “Simply Happy” episode includes:
Pharrell and his “Happy” song.
Matt Killingsworth on staying in the moment.
Carl Honoré on slowing down to enjoy life.
Graham Hill on decluttering our lives.
Psychologist Dan Gilbert on feeling happy when things don’t go as planned.
Brother David Steindl-Rast on stop-look-go moments for being grateful.

Valentine’s and Violence

Written on February 13, 2014 by David C. Sarnacki

Jim Wallis poses some interesting thoughts about celebrating February 14th. He writes (excerpt):
Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, our annual reminder to celebrate the love we share in our lives. While many may be struggling through aisles of candy hearts and bunches of roses, I invite you to flip this day of mandatory public expressions of love on its head.

What if, along with romantic dinners and expensive chocolates, we celebrated those we love by committing ourselves against sexual and domestic violence? This Valentine’s Day, or V-Day, Sojourners is joining with One Billion Rising to speak out on violence against women — the most hidden injustice in our world. We speak out because one in three women will be raped or beaten in their lifetime. That’s one in three women in my family, in my circle of friends, in my workplace — and in my church.

We speak out because we want a different reality for our daughters.

Why am I not happy? Or am happy? Or not sure? Graphic research findings

Written on February 9, 2014 by David C. Sarnacki


Trent Gilliss at On Being
shares a Webpage FX infographic on “The Science of Happiness.”

Gilliss writes (excerpt):
The infographic above may not capture the details of the science, but it jogs a host of questions and insights. A few thoughts to chew on:
Married people are 10% happier than unmarried people, but having a child reduces happiness by one-quarter of 1% on average. Hmmm… doing the math (tapping finger on temple).

Considering Cosby: comedy with commentary

Written on February 2, 2014 by David C. Sarnacki

CNN-HLNtv offers us a take on Bill Cosby’s “10 greatest lessons.”

Colette Bennett’s slideshow commentary includes these life lessons (excerpt):
1. Age is in your mind: “Old is always 15 years from now.”
2. Fear is all that’s stopping you: “Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it.”
***
6. How to maintain your integrity: “If you speak your mind and if it is true what you’re saying, then I think the integrity of what you’re saying carries through.”
***
9. Humans are pretty darn smart: “We are not a pitiful race of people. We are a bright race, who can move with the best.”
10. The only moment is now: “The past is a ghost, the future a dream and all we ever have is now.”

Sincerity and follow-through: How to apologize

Written on January 26, 2014 by David C. Sarnacki

Steven Stosny, Ph.D. helps us understand how to “[master] the art and science of apology” and shows the wonders of reconciliation–for your relationship, your core self, and your overall well-being.

Steven Stosny writes (excerpt):
Apology must:
1. Come from your heart and sympathize with the effect of your behavior on your loved one. (Focus on what it meant to your loved one, not on how you would have been affected by it.)
2. State how important your partner’s wellbeing is to you.
3. State how sorry you are that you’ve done something to hurt your loved one and/or break your connection.
4. Offer recompense: “How can I make it up to you?”
5. If the offense is recurring, describe an action-plan to prevent future repetition of the offending behavior (which violated your core value to the extent that it hurt your partner or your relationship).

Dealing with unreasonable people

Written on January 2, 2014 by David C. Sarnacki

Psychology Today offers up “7 Ways to Defuse a Difficult Encounter.”

Susan Biali writes (excerpt):
Minimize time with problem people. . . .
Keep it logical. Communications should be fact-based with minimal details. . . .
Focus on them in conversation. . . .
Give up the dream that they will one day be the person you wish them to be. . . .
Avoid topics that get you into trouble. . . .
Don’t try to get them to see your point of view. . . .
Create a distraction. . . .

For your consideration: Resolutions for divorced parents who love their children

Written on January 1, 2014 by David C. Sarnacki

The Huffington Post highlights Kate Scharff’s New Year’s Resolutions for Divorced Parents in a “Dear Kids, Because we both love you” format. There are 26 statements to which parents may aspire.

Kate Scharff writes (excerpt):
. . . This year, we’ll tell you fond and funny stories about how we met, fell in love, and had you. We’ll compliment the good traits we still see in each other, and we’ll tell you how, if given the choice, we’d do it all again — because not being your parents is unimaginable.