We have a very cool Christmas tradition in Humboldt County, California.
For the last 20 years we’ve taken our family as a holiday ritual to the Ben Hurd Christmas tree farm.
There we have established a Christmas tradition and legacy that is both compelling and meaningful.
We have enjoyed over 20 years of Christmas and holiday warmth, relationship, and the love of family and community by the simple act of securing a lot of Christmas tree. Here’s how…
- Family tradition– it’s really cool to look forward to a single event that defines and refines our family holidays traditions. Simple act of going to get a Christmas tree is a legacy and tradition in and of itself. It really makes a difference, because the experience and people are so wonderful, warm, and festive.
- The people–Ben Hurd and his family really make the experience compelling. They are kind and gentle folk, who really are hospitable and know how to make folks feel at home.
- The farm– the actual setting of the tree farm is really beautiful. Being surrounded by holiday cheer and hundreds of Christmas trees really brings home the fact that it’s Christmas time.
- The drill– from the obtaining of the saw,the selection of the tree, to the actual cutting of the selected tree… the fun and joy is self-evident.
- The afterglow– one of the things that they do at the tree farm is to provide a hot pot belly stove, fresh homemade wassail, and fresh homemade cookies. This ritual after a tree cutting ceremony is the perfect afterglow for such a wonderful holiday experience.
- The cost– the price is nominal for such a priceless experience. It is certainly the bargain of the year.
- The legacy– this experience is the stuff of legacy and holiday tradition for families. It’s easy to plug into — all we have to do is get in the van and go! Show up, create a legacy… it’s literally that easy.
The relationships, experience, shared tradition, memories, food, time together, and, oh yeah, the tree– all add up for a wonderful holiday tradition that can only be found, if sought after. Get in the van and forget about the tree lot. Blot it out of your mind– it is a thing of your past. Make the tree farm your new family holiday tradition, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly and subtly you’ve created a very cool holiday tradition for yourself and your family.
Be present now—
Where are you right now? Are you here, in your chair, reading this? Or is your mind racing elsewhere – to your unread e-mail, or what to make for dinner? Are you still flashing back to your tuning comment your boss made hours ago, continuing conversations with people who are not even in the room?
Don’t laugh, but time travel is a real – we spent a lot of time in the past and the future. All day, we plan, fantasize, remember and regret, and missed the here and now. There’s a toll for all the psychic torturing – lack of focus, lost energy and hidden stress.
Do some simple techniques to learn to be in the present. When you savor the moment –
1. You probably find your enjoying life more
2. You’ll be less stressed and more productive
3. You’ll enjoy food more even as you eat less
4. The likely some more open and generous
5. He’ll appreciate the people around you more
6. You become a better listener and Observer
7. You’ll find a better communication and connection in your relationships
Who could argue with all that?
Learning to be present, or mindful is a lifelong pursuit. Meditation is all important to that can lead to the skill. There are things that you can do today to help. Many of the techniques involve breathing – focus on it, it’s almost guaranteed to bring you back to the moment requires no special tools or training, so it’s a perfect way to begin.
Try to adopt is one of these ideas, even once a day – whichever one seems easiest. Once you experience being in the present, you can find you want to try other techniques to extend the feeling. Here are a few examples –
1. When the phone rings, don’t jump up to answer it – take a good deep breath before you say hello.
2. Program your computer a watch to beep once an hour. — When you hear the beat, stop and take five deep breaths.
3. Before getting out of bed, take five minutes to do a mental scan of your body-. How does everything feel?
4. Before rising in the morning, utilize your Tabernacle choir–. Remember all the positives of your life. Remember, rehearse, and review all the good things and grace that has been given you.
5. Practice doing just one thing at a time—stop multitasking, it will poison your soul and mind…if you’re eating don’t watch TV or read. If you’re walking… don’t talk to focus on your single activity.
6. As you eat, take small bites into each one 30 times—you will discover you enjoy your food more, and it’s healthier to.
7. Stop look and listen—really smell the flowers, listen to people, focus your attention, and be in the process of the moment. You will be more peaceful, focused, loving, present, and engaged as well as engaging!
Once you start developing the ability to be present at certain times of the day, defined in a valuable skill to call on to defuse stress at any time. As with learning a support or musical instrument, the more you practice, the more adept and you’ll be calm. Before you know it, you’ll be nowhere else but here… are you here right now?
The bucket list—
What one thing would you rather be doing right now?
Anything in the world? …
If you could go there and do it right now, what would that one thing be?
Talk of the bucket list has to do with the need for fun, risk, pleasure, midlife crisis and to do what right now is not doable… the concept of the bucket list assumes plenty of resources and time and money and the ability to execute them and implement one’s bucket list.
Not so fast…. Most of us don’t have the time or money or resources to go around the globe and to see the Kilimanjaro in Africa or to go check out the Pyramids of Egypt. Most of us are lucky to get a vacation once a year and perhaps go camping or stay at a Holiday Inn.
Hawaii might be a possibility for some of us, a very few, but for most of us were a bit stuck.
This being stuck is far more than just a lack of resources— it’s a lack of imagination and thinking out of the box. When you really take the time to think about what is possible and doable within your resources and means some really cool example start to emerge…. I call this the mini bucket list.
There are several Mini Bucket List things that we can get done on a local or regional basis. We still have the physical ability to set do some. The idea of something fun and risky and pleasurable before we die is a good idea. The physical decay of our bodies preclude us from doing many of the things that we’d really like to do that are very real radical…. But it still leaves us with many things that become extremely doable.
Here are some of the aspects of a many bucket list….
5. Risk/perceived risk
7. Local or regional
8. Ability to execute and implement
9. Legal moral and ethical
If you take the time and sit and think you can come up with at least 10 things you like to do before you pass, which are local and affordable and doable. Some of these might include:
1. Lunch or dinner out at the best place in town
2. A golf weekend, the best place available
3. Afternoon movies
4. Hike & picnic
5. River rafting
6. Two hour massage
7. Full Spa makeover
9. Fly to Vegas on a deal
10. Rent a cabin in the woods…. Much, much more.
The idea becomes obvious and the execution becomes painfully necessary for those of us who’ve created and lived in routines for years. The Mini Bucket List becomes therapeutic, in that it gives you some empowerment still have a little fun and a conservative and realistic way and still break the bonds of routine and rut. This becomes therapeutic in that it is risk-taking, and yet the perceived versus actual risk is actually pretty safe.
It fills the need for fun, risk and enjoyment.
Write your list.
Book the trip.
Surprise your spouse.
And get out of here!
Really, Get out of here!
- Way to go
- you are great
- I knew you could do it
- nice work
- looking good
- on top of it
- now, you found it
- catching on
- now you’ve got it
- you care
- you’re a good friend
- makes me happy
- you make me laugh
- you are joy
- you are perfect
- you rock
- you’re the bomb
- pure joy
- your perfect
- you’re the best
- say, I love you
- you’re fantastic
- you’re on target
- good job
- that’s incredible
- you’re beautiful
- don’t stop now
- good for you
- I like you
- your darling
- you are precious
- you’ve discovered the secret
- you’ve figured it out
- thanks for sharing
- you are important
- You belong
- you made my day
- you all are a treasure
- fantastic job
- hip hip horray
- you are phenomenal
- you are sensational
- super work
- great job
- super job
- fantastic job
- you’re a real trooper
- you are responsible
- you learned it right
- what a good listener
- you are fun
- you are cool
- you tried hard
- I trust you
- outstanding piece of work
- you mean a lot to me
- you’ve got a friend
- that’s correct
- you are wonderful
- you make my day
- high five
- Way to go
- You as a man
- far out
- Way cool
- so nice
- I thank God for you
- oh yeah
- on target
- You are the best
- You have accomplished it
- I adore you
- you are totally getting it
- you have mastered this
- there’s nothing you cannot do
- you have achieved greatness
- I respect you
- I LOVE YOU!
How to Win Friends and Influence People
This is Dale Carnegie’s summary of his book, from 1936
Table of Contents
- Fundamental Techniques in Handling People
- Six Ways to Make People Like You
- How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking
- Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment
Fundamental Techniques in Handling People
- Don't criticize, condemn or complain.
- Give honest and sincere appreciation.
- Arouse in the other person an eager want.
Six ways to make people like you
- Become genuinely interested in other people.
- Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
- Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
- Talk in terms of the other person's interests.
- Make the other person feel important - and do it sincerely.
Win people to your way of thinking
- The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
- Show respect for the other person's opinions. Never say, "You're wrong."
- If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
- Begin in a friendly way.
- Get the other person saying "yes, yes" immediately.
- Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
- Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.
- Try honestly to see things from the other person's point of view.
- Be sympathetic with the other person's ideas and desires.
- Appeal to the nobler motives.
- Dramatize your ideas.
- Throw down a challenge.
Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment
A leader’s job often includes changing your people’s attitudes and behavior. Some suggestions to accomplish this:
- Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
- Call attention to people's mistakes indirectly.
- Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
- Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
- Let the other person save face.
- Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be "hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise."
- Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
- Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
- Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.
Courtesy of the artofmanliness.com
Dealing with criticism is a skill every well-adjusted man should possess. We give and take criticism among our co-workers, our friends, and our family. Criticism is an important part of our personal self improvement, for it is other people who can point out mistakes and shortcomings that we can’t see because we lack objectivity. Unfortunately, many young men today don’t know how to offer and accept criticism like a man. Instead they handle criticism like little boys. When giving criticism, they opt only to give snide, cutting jabs that do nothing to improve the situation. When receiving criticism, they sulk, make excuses, and argue with the person criticizing them. Ask any teacher who has the nerve of giving a student a poor grade. Today’s students will cry and whine their way to a better one. Or worst of all, have their parents intervene. They simply don’t know how to respectfully accept criticism.
Because we all face situations every day that require us to give or take criticism, we provide the following guidelines on how to make the process more constructive.
How to Give Effective Criticism
Go in cool, calm, and collected. Before you begin to give criticism, make sure you have your emotions in check. This is particularly important if the person did something that really ticked you off. If you go in yelling and banging your fist on desks, you’ll probably get the problem fixed in the short term. However, when you don’t take the time to have a cool and reasoned discussion, you miss out on an opportunity to solve underlying problems.
Be specific. If there’s one thing you remember from this post, let it be this: be as specific as you can in your critiques. Don’t just tell the person, “This sucks,” or “This could be better.” Explain exactly why their work or action is subpar. A blanket criticism will put the person on the defensive, and they’ll never be able to correct their problem.
Criticize the action, not the person. Try to keep the person as separated from their mistakes as possible by criticizing their action and not them. It makes the criticism less hurtful and much more effective. So don’t say things like, “Jeez Louise you must be an idiot! Look at all these mistakes you made in this report!” Just because someone makes a mistake, that doesn’t make the person a pinhead. We all have bad days.
Be a diplomat. When giving your specific criticism, it sometimes helps to use diplomatic words. Our old friend Benjamin Franklin was a master at this (which is why he was probably such a successful diplomat). In his autobiography, Franklin said this about using diplomatic language in discussion:
This can help take the sharp edge off of criticism. Sometimes, however, people need that edge to spur them to action. Use your discretion in deciding whether a harsher approach would be more appropriate.
Make specific suggestions for improvement. The goal of criticism should be to help someone make improvements. While specifically pointing out the problem is the first step to correction, if a person doesn’t know what they can do to improve, knowing their mistakes won’t help them one bit. Don’t just tell people what’s wrong with their work, give them specific suggestions on how they can improve it. The key word, once again, is “specific.”
Personalize your approach. Consider a person’s disposition when deciding how to approach the delivery of your criticism. In general, you can be harsher with a man than with a woman. Case in point: at my high school there was an assistant football coach that tore his players up and down for their mistakes. His philosophy was to “tear them down and then build them up.” He then became the girls basketball coach and continued the same uber-harsh tough love approach to coaching. The girls did not respond as the football players had; instead, they broke down and cried and became so nervous before practice that some would throw up. Of course, some women want to hear it like it is, and some dudes are dainty. So think about who you’re dealing with before you lay into them.
Point out positives. When criticizing someone, it’s always good to point out the positives in their work or actions as well. Two benefits exist from this exercise. First, it makes the criticism easier to swallow and reminds the person they’re not a complete screw up. Second, it shows the person what they’re doing right and gives them a reference point on which to base their future work. When beginning a conversations with someone, start with the compliments first. Then transition into your criticism by saying something like, “There is just one area I thought could use improvement……”
Follow up. Always, always make sure to follow up after giving constructive criticism. Your criticism won’t do any good if the person doesn’t put into practice your suggestions. Schedule a follow up with the person you’re criticizing. Say something like, “How about we talk to each other next week to see how your changes are coming and to answer any new questions you might have?” By letting the person know you’ll be following up with them, they’re more likely to get their butt in gear and make the needed corrections.
How to Take Criticism
Consider the source. You’re going to receive criticism from thousands of people in your lifetime. It’s important to remember that not all criticism is created equal. Determining the source of the criticism and the motivations behind it will help you know how to handle it. For example, Kate and I sometimes get criticism from people who read the Art of Manliness. Much of the criticism consists of “You are stupid” or “This is gay” or “I’m unsubscribing!” We just ignore this drivel. It’s not worth our time or energy to get upset that some random dude from the internet thinks we suck. However, if we get an email from a long time reader who has contributed to the comments on the blog, we’ll definitely consider their criticism.
If you think the source of your criticism isn’t genuinely interested helping your improve, take their criticism with a grain of salt. At the same time, be sure to honestly assess your critic’s point. Some people are too quick to write off criticism by saying, “They’re just jealous!” Maybe so, but be sure to thoughtfully evaluate the feedback before dismissing it.
Shut your trap and listen. Fight the urge to argue with the person or explain your mistake, and just listen to your critic. You’d be surprised what you can learn if you simply soak it in.
Don’t take it personally. Don’t take the criticism as a personal attack on you. Try to detach yourself as much as possible from your actions or work when receiving criticism so you can look at it objectively. This can be hard to do, particularly if you put a lot of time and effort into something. But trust me, if you make this a habit when receiving criticism, you’ll save yourself from a bruised ego.
Stay calm (even if the other person is being a complete d-bag). The goal in criticism is to keep as much of your emotions out of it as possible. Once you allow your passions to flare up, any hope of making the criticism constructive goes flying out the window. If your critic is being a complete jerk, staying calm can be hard to do. But be the better man. Let the other person do all their ranting and raving, while you sit there looking cool as a cucumber. When they’re done, kill them with kindness. Let them know you understand their concern and thank them for taking the time for bringing it to your attention.
Ask clarifying questions. Make sure you’re on the same page with your critic by asking clarifying questions. Clarifying questions are particularly important if your critic is giving vague or ambiguous criticism. For example, if your critic tells you your report isn’t clear, ask them where things start to get murky and suggestions on how it can be improved. By asking questions, you create dialogue between you and your critic, which in turns fosters co-operation and an atmosphere for mutual improvement.
Take ownership of your mistake. When someone brings a legitimate mistake to your attention, don’t get on the defensive and start making excuses for it. Take responsibility for your actions. Many young men today don’t want to own up to their mistakes. They’re always putting the blame on something or someone else. These men will be stuck in eternal mediocrity because they will never accept their need for improvement. While denying your mistakes can keep the heat off for a moment, it will greatly impede your personal progress in the long run.
Change your perspective on criticism. Instead of seeing criticism as humiliating or embarrassing, view it as an opportunity to improve yourself. Winston Churchill had this to say about criticism:
Instead of avoiding criticism, seek for opportunities to be criticized. You’ll find that getting feedback from an outside source will stretch your talents and abilities.
Thank your critic (even when they handed your butt to you). Always thank your critic. This can be difficult. No one seriously wants to say, “Thanks for showing me that I was wrong!” But swallow your pride and sincerely thank your critic. They took the time to sit down with you and point out areas where you can improve. The least you can do is say thanks.
Take action and follow up. After you’ve received your criticism, take action immediately. After you’ve taken action, make sure to follow up with your critic and let them know how you’ve rectified the problem. This shows that you actually listened to the criticism and respected what the person had to say.
It has now become necessary that fathers understand a few top 10 ways to become a better dad because those days are gone when the mother was solely responsible for the overall upbringing of the child.
The first way that comes to mind is to spend a greater amount of time with your kid. Either you spend time with your kid now or watch him fly away as he grows up. Time comes first. Quality time comes next. Once you have planned the time to give to your child, then, look at ways to make the most and best of this time.
The second way to become a better dad is to take an interest in what the kid is doing. Kids are smart and can tell when the dad is actually interested in what they are doing. They will respond to daddy once they understand that what they do is important to dad. If they can see that dad does not consider their activities and concerns as important, they will take it as a lack of support.
Third is to participate with the children in their activities. Just try and study, play and participate in their activities and see the difference. Any child would love to have the feeling that his day to day activities are as interesting to his dad as it is to him. He immediately gets a friend.
Fourth, trust the kid. He is one small guy, facing the whole wide world and the only person he feels safe with is you. Repose the same trust in him. When he makes a mistake, try and get to the bottom of the problem and resolve it.
Do not blame the kid without full investigation. In case the fault is with the child, try and understand the circumstances. Give the child the understanding so that he can cope with similar situations better.
Another way would be to eat at least one meal together everyday as this is the time when you are most relaxed and you can simply chat with your kid over a meal.
Next be with the kids at bed time. This is the time when they like to be calmed down after an active day. They need to be re-assured that their parents are there just before slipping off to sleep.
To become a loving father to your kids, making a habit of reading aloud to the child at bedtime everyday will give him a sense of steadiness as well as enjoyment.
Praying together is another way of bonding with the child.
Lay down basic rules and be firm, but not inflexible about them.
Get to know his friends and involve yourself in some activity together with them.
These are a few top 10 ways to become a better dad and following them will definitely bring your relationship with your child forward.
Vincent Yim is the founder of http://BetterSmarterKids.com, he created kid’s weblog is for the purpose of providing a platform to all parents who can share and learn valuable ideas and tips in bringing up our children by understanding their interest behaviors viz children healthy foods, educational toys, kids hobbies, clothing, activities and games, schooling and moral values….etc.
How to really whack at your kids… to truly mess up their innocence.—
I was flying on a plane and the folks across from you had a small boy named Alex. Alex was all boy… he was a hopelessly curious, always processing information, thinking, learning and asking questions. What was interesting about the story is that his folks were compelled to constantly correct is data. They corrected his questions, comments, deductions, vocabulary, language usage and so much more. They seemed compelled to be right more than they were about loving their Alex. In my mind, they were whacking their son, and setting them up for some sort of pathology as he grew older.
Children possess a rare innocence in Christ said, lest you become as a child you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. They’re loving innocence and kindness makes them a model to learn from.
We as parents to take this innocence away with our sarcasm and snotty and snippy words and attitudes. Our anger and frustration and ongoing angst truly tends to whack our kids. Many of us have to be correct and right all the time or else... life becomes unchecked.
All of these corrections, reality checks, and “talkin tos” in the name of helping our children equates to cruelty, madness and translating much of our own personal issues and baggage over tour kids… why can’t we just be merciful?
Why can’t we just go with it when they’re in a stream of conscious flow of thought? Why can’t we urge them on as they dream out loud? Why can’t we verbally endorse their process and not worry so much about their content or conclusions, exclusively?
We can always come back later and dialogue and discover what is truth incorrect and right and good— but how can we ever get there if we are so busy correcting little Alex and his plethora of poor communication and logic?
The madness, we parents and adults possess and wanting to be correct– coupled with our moodiness is something that truly monitor and become aware of. … so as to intentionally jettison. We need to see our issues and own and fix them. We need to be in the moment and be present and enjoy our kids rather than hurt their hearts. We need to truly encourage the development and thought process so they can eventually discover the truth, and thereby be set free.
Next time your kid begins to verbally explore their world— go with it. You don’t have to be right or correct or the boss in authority (you are). You do need to be merciful and kind and gentle. You do need to see your own issues and tendencies in moodiness and anger and own them. You do need to be intentional about your issues to fix them. Quit trying to fix other people and go ahead and fix yourself. Quit trying to be correct and illicit rightness from all those around you and concentrate on being right in your own heart.
Be here now.
Enjoy the ride!