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Posts Tagged ‘Neighborhood Counselor’

When Jack was a young man, he was a bad stutterer.

“I had a job, but I felt that if I couldn’t communicate verbally, it would hold me back,” said Jack. So 30 years ago Jack searched for the best speech therapy school in the United States.

“I wrote letters, made phone calls, talked to local speech therapists,” Jack explained. The good news was, I located the school, The Institute of Logopedics in Wichita, Kansas. The bad news — the minimum treatment course was three months.

“I had been married about a year and a half and I had just taken a different job. My wife was pregnant with our oldest daughter. I didn’t want to go, but I didn’t feel I had any other option.

“I went, but I went with a real bad attitude. None of my friends stuttered. None of them had to go to Wichita. Why me, God?”

When Jack got to the institute, things got worse. “They treated every imaginable defect,” he said. “Lots of accident victims, stroke victims, children with cerebral palsy. Their ages ranged from 6 to about mid-seventies. It was the first time in my life I had been around a lot of handicapped people. It was real uncomfortable for me to be around those folks, and it added to my sense of feeling sorry for myself.”

At the start of his last week, Jack was waiting outside his therapist’s office when a 7-year-old boy with cerebral palsy came out of the office with his football helmet on. “The CP kids had to wear football helmets from the time they got up in the morning to the time they went to bed so they wouldn’t hurt themselves,” he explained.

On Jack’s next-to-last day his therapist asked if he’d come to his next session a little early. “I got there early,” said Jack. “I was standing in the hall waiting, when this 7-year-old kid walked out with the therapist. The therapist gently pushed the boy toward Jack and motioned for Jack to listen to the boy. “The kid looked at me and said, ‘Hello, Jack.'”

Although the words were somewhat garbled, Jack understood and replied, “Hey, that’s my name. I didn’t know you knew how to talk.” “The kid puffed up like a toad, beamed, and struggled off down the hall,” Jack said.

When Jack went into the therapist’s office, the therapist asked, “What do you think is the longest block you’ve ever had before you could talk, Jack?”

Jack replied, “About 30 seconds.”

The therapist came back sharply: “Well, the longest hesitation I’ve observed is only about five seconds.”

Jack said, “I knew what he was saying. It was like he had punched me in the stomach — it was a revelation. That was some therapy session, and it didn’t have anything to do with fluency. I realized I had been feeling sorry for myself.”

The therapist then explained, “That kid, Robert, he’s been working here for two hours a day, for the last six days, to be able to say, ‘Hello, Jack.'”

“It turns out that kids with cerebral palsy often don’t live as long as others do,” said Jack. “And Robert was no exception. When I found out that he died, the saddest thing for me was that he never knew what he had done. This kid who was in my life for a day changed my life forever.”

“Robert didn’t have much of a vocabulary. And ‘feel sorry for myself’ were words that definitely weren’t in his.”

For most of us it’s easy to feel sorry for ourselves when life isn’t fair, or someone disappoints us, or something doesn’t go as planned. When you start to feel sorry for yourself, think of Robert and his struggle to say, “Hello, Jack.”

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide” and “Thin Becomes You”.

Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com

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Betty and Stan, both in their mid-fifties have been married for eighteen years. Their children are raised. Betty works at her job about 45 hours a week. Stan works about 30 hours a week. Betty also does about 95% of the housework.

Last week after much discussion about the inequity of their relationship, Betty and Stan agreed that the two of them were going to dig in and get their house in shape. Stan would do the dusting and vacuuming, help fold laundry, grocery shop, and grill dinner. Betty would primarily work on the kitchen, the refrigerator, the floor. She would clean the bathrooms, do the laundry, pay bills, and balance the checkbook.

Within a half hour of starting to work, a friend of theirs stopped by and asked them to go to a big garage sale across town. Betty said she’d love to but they had agreed to get their place in shape. Stan looked at Betty and said, “You don’t mind if I go, do you?”

Betty responded by giving Stan a dirty look.

Stan challenged Betty and said, “What’s wrong now?” In order not to argue in front of Stan’s friend, Betty shrugged and the guys left.

Later in the day when Stan returned, the two of them talked. Betty said, “I’m giving notice. The maid is quitting. I am not taking all the responsibility in this house.”

She gave Stan a list of chores and suggested that he pick the ones he would be willing to do each week. She would do the remainder. Stan took the list, dramatically tucked it in his pocket, and said he’d do it all. Betty explained that she didn’t want him to do it all. But to no avail. He insisted he would do all the chores.

When Betty talked to me she wanted to know what she should do. I told her to take Stan up on his offer for several months. When he stopped doing the chores, next week or next month, she could re-open the subject of splitting the chores.

She said she was worried that if he did all the chores she would lose her value. Stan wouldn’t see her as important.

I said I didn’t know many men who stayed in a relationship because the wife was a good maid. But men did stay in relationships because of history, because they have children together, because of finances, for companionship, sex, and love. The other thing, if Betty continues to rescue Stan by doing almost everything, he will have little appreciation for what she does. She will continue to feel dissatisfied with the marriage and probably act accordingly.

Stan and Betty are not alone in their struggle over who does what around the house. It is estimated that husbands have 15 to 20 more hours of leisure time each week than their working wives. Further, in most families, husbands do 20% of the household chores and child care while women do 80% of the chores and child care. This disparity serves neither gender. The wife feels like a victim, sees her husband as a villain, and eventually closes off emotionally. Or, she turns into a very critical mate. The number two reason women divorce is because of a husband’s unwillingness to share chores.

To not only preserve your marriage but to have a healthy one, visit the issue of chores and child care. Divide them up on paper if necessary to make them equitable. If you have an uncooperative mate, do only those chores that must absolutely be done. Try hard not to focus on those that remain undone. It is not a woman’s job because she is a woman to take care of the house. It is the job of each person who lives in the house.

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide” and “Thin Becomes You”.

Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com

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Husband’s bad behaviors invites wife to turn off emotionally and sexually.

Jim came to my office because his wife has left him after 37 years of marriage. He wants her back. She does not have anyone else. She simply is fed up with him.

As we talked, I got him to help me make a list of behaviors that probably drove his wife away.

Worked too much. About 60 hours a week for years.

Unwilling to take vacations because of his job.

Drank too much in the early years of their marriage.

Got too angry when drinking. Never hit her but was verbally abusive.

Continues to get too angry when he doesn’t like what’s going on.

Gives her the silent treatment.

Gives her nice gifts, but they are things he likes. For example, a leaf blower, a big screen television, a new computer.

Didn’t take much responsibility with the children or housework because he was always at work.

Rarely helped make social plans.

Failed to say “thank you” and “I’m sorry” and “I love you.”

Never acted like he appreciated her salary and how she contributed to the household.

Didn’t show much kindness or love.

Showed affection only in bed.

Was too demanding when it came to sex.

Watched too much television.

Jim’s now putting in fewer hours at work. He’s watching very little television. He’s doing housework and now understands how much there is to do. He’s willing to learn how to be emotionally supportive. He’s working to keep his anger in check. He’s sorry and in a great deal of pain. He hopes she will come back.

If he continues to say he’s sorry and clean up his behavior, perhaps she will come back. It’s unfortunate that sometimes people have to leave their mate to get their point across.

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide” and “Thin Becomes You”.

Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com

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A great way to start the fall — or any season for that matter.
Pulling off Getting Organized:

Call a family meeting and designate a Saturday or Sunday for getting organized. Begin at 8 AM and end with a pizza party. If you can’t come up with a date because everyone is going every which way, look at how too many family activities contribute to disorganization.

If you have parents in town, would they be willing to help babysit your little ones or help haul junk? What about asking your sister and brother-in-law for help or hiring someone to help clear out the paint cans and boxes of National Geographic?

When our boys were young we used to have leaf raking parties. Relatives and friends would come and everyone would rake. (I have great pictures of grinning children sitting in heaps of leaves.) We’d end the day with a big family meal — Hard work but great fun.

Many people don’t get organized because they feel overwhelmed when they think about everything that needs to be done. Instead of going that route, focus on specific areas and ask for help. Making a list, having a family meeting determining who will do what, and setting a date to get organized — You’re halfway there.

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide” and “Thin Becomes You”.

Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com

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Change your living environment and feel more in control of your life.

Jane asked me to help with her kitchen. She has too much stuff: Glasses, dishes, plastic containers, potholders, strainers, and cookbooks. Her counter space is taken over by a microwave, a bread machine, a toaster oven, a coffee pot, and a small television. Her window sills are filled with figurines and plants. Her walls are covered with baskets of all sorts and sizes. Her kitchen pantry bulges with paper bags, boxes of cereal and half-used opened packages of food, baking dishes, pie plates, cookie sheets, strainers, and small appliances. No wonder she feels overwhelmed and depressed when she goes into her kitchen.

When she moaned to me that she didn’t know where to begin, I wanted to say, “Get those baskets off the wall and throw those dying plants away.” Instead I asked her where she wanted to start. She said, “Maybe my pantry.” I said, “Good, I’ll help.” Three hours later we were laughing and finishing up her pantry. The next day she called to say she had taken down the baskets, put away the bread machine and offered her collection of Precious Moments to her niece. She was on a roll.

What areas of your house need to be organized? Jot down the areas.

If your basement’s a disaster, and many are, what needs to go? Do you really need that old recliner? And what about those old beanbag chairs that keep shedding their fake leather skins, and the coffee table with the broken leg? When your children grow up, they won’t want those things. And you’re never going to use them, right?

How’s the garage? What items need to be discarded? How many years are you going to keep those old ten-speeds and tennis rackets? Will you ever use that tandem bicycle, the four story doll house, and the three old sleds? Are they serving any purpose except making your garage and life more cluttered?

What about your children’s rooms? Perhaps their lives feel more harried and complicated because of all the stuff they have around. How many stuffed animals does your daughter need? Children report having a hard time cleaning their rooms because they don’t know where to go with their toys, games, dolls, books, sports equipment, CDs, and magazines. It’s all too much.

How’s the outside of your house looking? Do you need to do a final leaf-raking? What about those old ladders in the backyard, that extra trash can with the missing lid, and that broken birdbath? Out with them.

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide” and “Thin Becomes You”.

Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com

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Help your child but careful not to take over.

“Be willing to assist your child, but be careful not to over assist or to take over.”

After reading this quote, think back to when you gave your child too much help– coloring his pictures, cleaning his room, typing his papers, actually doing her science project.

Now think about the present. Are you rescuing too much? Do you need to back off some, and if so, how will you do this?

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide” and “Thin Becomes You”.

Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com

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Family Time Makes for Happy Children

Are your children happy?

Even though happiness is genetically linked, only about 50 percent of happiness is driven by genes. The other 50 percent is driven by what happens to a child on a daily basis.

One of the most important contributors to a child’s happiness is doing things as a family. Nothing feels so special and good as when a family goes biking or hiking or spends part of the day at the zoo.

I know one family who has designated Wednesday nights as family night. This is the night nothing interferes. They have dinner and then play board games. Even the 17-year old participates. “Once you set a night and stick to it month after month, year after year, it becomes the expectation,” says the mother, “and our children look forward to it.”

Another happiness ingredient is working together. Spending four hours cleaning the backyard, the basement, and the house each Saturday morning, encourages a feeling of camaraderie and a sense of being part of the team. We’re a family. We’re in this together. “One for all and all for one.”

Research shows that children tend to be happier when parents set expectations and rules. Children do better when they have a set bedtime and when they are expected to do certain chores each week, pick up after themselves, control their language, and show respect for other family members. When parents have expectations, it conveys to a child that he has worth. And meeting these expectations helps a child feel more in control of his own destiny.

Feeling happy and content is also a by-product of feeling loved. Pats on the back from parents and “I love yous” sprinkled throughout the week are essential. And applause for a job well done recognizes a child’s accomplishments.

Happiness involves living in the present. Everyday should be a time to build family relationships. This means: “Let’s talk as we do dishes.” “Let’s put on a CD and dance.” “Let’s watch a movie and enjoy each other’s company.” Too often parents put happiness till later, saying, “Next weekend when go to your cousins…” or when we go on vacation….”

Children feel happier if they have God in their life. God is someone to talk to when they feel anxious and stressed. Or when no matter how good they try to be, they can’t change something in their lives.

Children are happier if family members get along and are respectful of each other. This means no screaming matches, no name-calling, no constant criticisms. Nor should a parent use a child as a confidante, telling him the other parent is not okay. It also means an older or younger sibling is not allowed to tyrannize the family.

If you want to raise a happy child, ask yourself if you are following these guidelines. And if you’re lacking in some areas, now’s the time to make changes. Most parents want to raise and live with a happy child. Following these guidelines, spells success.

Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World” as well as, “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide” and “Thin Becomes You”.

Doris’ web page: www.doriswildhelmering.com

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