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Teaching Our Children to be Reliable


Parents, this might sting a little.  The fact is, it’s very difficult to teach our children how to be reliable and the importance that this valuable life skill is if we ourselves are not reliable.  I know that you and I already know this, however allow me to ask you a few questions. 

If I were to ask your children today, “When your mom/dad tells you that they are going to do something with you, what’s the chances of that happening? For instance, if your mom/dad tells you that you all are going to do something fun, later today or perhaps on Saturday, will you go?  How likely is it that something will come up and prevent you all from keeping that commitment?”  

A few more questions: do you often tell a friend or associate that you will call them soon or email them soon and then you never do?  Have you committed to helping a friend move, meeting your mom for lunch or a myriad of other obligations that for one reason or another, have been forgotten or not followed through with?

I know we want to raise children who keep their commitments and know that when they give their word to others, it means something.  Parents, this will rarely happen if our children do not watch you and I be commitment keepers.  They must learn to trust and understand that trust comes through keeping our word.

May I suggest that we each ponder if there is room in our lives for improvement in this area.  If we identify that there is room, commit today to not only yourself, but to your family that from this day forward, you are going to do better.  It’s difficult to make changes when we do not tell anyone else about our commitment.  We each need accountability.

If you’re not sure that you will be able to follow through with something, do not commit.  If you do however, make sure that your priority each day is to keep the commitments you have already made to others.  If and when things come up, important things that prevent you from keeping your previous commitments, be completely honest and inform the individual counting on you promptly, so that they may make necessary changes.

May we do what we say so that our children can follow our example.

Very best,

Monica Irvine

We Just Need to Be Kinder


I want to talk about a simple topic, but one I think we struggle with at times, especially inside the walls of our own homes.  It's kindness.

If I were to ask your spouse, companion or kids if you were kind, what would they say?

I think we would all admit that oftentimes, it's easier to be more kind to total strangers than to those we live with, but just because it might be easier doesn't mean that it's okay.

We have to put forth every
 effort to just be kind.

How do we do this?  Here are some great suggestions, but as you might imagine, there are endless opportunities.

Speak softly.  The more gentle and kind your tone of voice, the more likely those around you will listen.

Say "good morning" when you wake up and "hello" when you get home.  Remember that greetings are a polite way to address anyone when you first see them that day or after an absence.

Serve.  Small acts of unexpected services goes a long way in showing your love to others, especially your family.  Take a piece of cake home to your spouse, give your son a back rub, ask your daughter if you could help her do her nails--anything to show others you're thinking of them and enjoy making them happy.

Say "thank you" all the time.  "Thank you for doing the dishes."  "Thank you for watching what I wanted to watch." "Thank you for always being there."

Compliment more than complain.  Compliments go much further in creating love in a home rather than complaining.  I know it can be frustrating when you feel things aren't being done like they need to be done, or assignments or obligations are forgotten about, but complaining usually doesn't motivate people to act.  Most of us are inspired when our hearts are turned to someone in a positive way.  We want to please them.  We want to receive their praise.

Smile.  Let's be honest, how much fun is it to be around someone who's always frowning?  It no.  Just smile.  I'm not saying you have to show all your teeth all day every day, but there's a way to have a pleasant look on your face, and there's a way to have a scowl on your face.  Choose the smile.

Do it because you want to, not so you can get something in return.  If you're choosing to serve, to help, to compliment, etc. in order to get something in return, you're doing it for the wrong reasons. Just do it because doing so makes you happy.  If no one notices, if no one says thank you, just be happy because you're living and loving the way you should and there's nothing that can satisfy you as much as being happy with yourself.

Have a great month and remember to be kind!

Monica Irvine

How Do We Teach Our Children to Have Moral Courage?

Can we teach courage?  Can we help our children to develop moral courage, the courage to stand up in the face of adversity, staying true to both themselves and the things that they hold dear and true?  As we look around, it’s easy to see that our society is struggling to not only identify moral conviction, but to also identify when and the best way to stand up and be a voice for good, a voice against oppression of the weak, and a  voice of strength for all that is right.

I believe that we absolutely can teach moral courage to our children who will need it to be engraved upon their hearts and minds in order to leave this world better than they found it.  We start, like with all things, when they are very young.  We start by helping our children to notice injustices, those in need and those who need an advocate.  It’s more than just noticing, but it realizing that we as individuals have enormous power to cause change.  Unless we believe that one can make a difference, than we might shrink at the opportunity to do so.

A great way to start is to continually find and read about and discuss others from the past who have done just that.  There are so many books to read to our children, but why not be more purposeful in the books that we choose, starting when they are very young.  Look for books about common people who have demonstrated great courage, moral conviction and impeccable character and because of these qualities have made a huge difference in individual lives.  We never want to underestimate the importance of the single individual.  

Another wonderful thing we can do to teach courage to our children is to help them overcome things that they are afraid of.  Teaching our children to do hard things is imperative to their success.  Such things might be: going over to another child on the playground and introducing themselves and inviting them to play, role playing with our children what to do when they see another child being teased or bullied so  they are prepared to defend those who need defending, teaching our children to speak for themselves at a very early age by refraining from speaking for our children, and many other things.

Finally, it is important to help our children to identify their own strengths, talents and abilities that God has given them.  As they identify their unique abilities, as parents, it is our duty to help them to understand that the reason God has blessed each of us with these talents is to bless the lives of God’s other children.  When our children better comprehend that they have the power to do great good on this earth, it unlocks the doors of compassion, service and advocacy.

Courage is to act, even when we are afraid, but it takes practice.  Start today.


Just Because You Can Doesn't Mean You Should

I would like to speak about a topic that I'm rather sensitive about as I see our society getting farther and farther away from this etiquette consideration.

It's polite to be aware of who is within our earshot when speaking about certain topics or using particular language.  

Something that has most definitely changed in recent decades is the manner that women and men will speak in the presence of those of the opposite sex.

Today it seems like there are little boundaries about conversation.

Let me give you a few things to consider.

Gentlemen, its not polite for you to speak about vulgar topics, use foul language, or speak about gross or inappropriate things when you're in the presence or earshot of ladies.

Recently I was stuck on a crowded bus with two gentlemen standing right in front of me wearing prestigious suits and holding professional briefcases.  They appeared to be quite the gentlemen.  Then they started speaking.

They began a discussion with me standing right in front of them, that was anything but appropriate.  I thought to myself, "I wonder why they think it's okay to speak like that in front of me?"  It was obvious--they didn't respect me or themselves enough to watch their tongue in front of a lady.  Let me remind you something about manners.

Manners are not lists of dos and don'ts.  They're an outward expression that shows how you feel about yourself and those around you.  That's why it matters.

Ladies, it not polite to speak negatively about men, use foul or inappropriate language, or speak of feminine health issues in the presence of gentlemen, especially those you don't have a close personal relationship with.

As ladies you want to seek helping those around you feel comfortable, and as you speak in a way that is ind, generous, and gracious, others will be more comfortable in your presence.

Both ladies and gentlemen should be careful to keep their conversation positive, upbeat, and cheerful when speaking at the dinner table.  You want to be a source of strength, encouragement, and positive energy to others, and the way you use your tongue will most definitely be a source of strength or a source of weakness to yourself and others.

Do your best to be aware of those around you when it comes to your language and speech.  

Yes, this is a free country, and yes, you may say whatever you want to.  Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

Restraint and respect are two traits that every gentleman and lady has.  Do you?

Monica Irvine

I Wish We Would Notice More

A lady and a gentleman notice.  What kinds of things do we notice?  Well, perhaps we might notice:
  • A little old lady or man standing behind us in the post office line, struggling to stand in the long line.  Wonder if we could change places with them?
  • A mother with three kids trying to carry luggage and kids and stuff, getting on an airplane.  Wonder if we could help carry some of that?
  • A homeless man or lady, regardless of whose fault it is that they’re homeless, who is standing outside a store on a hot day. Wonder if we could buy a cold bottle of water and give it to him or her?
  • A person walking towards us with their heads down, looking a bit unhappy or concerned over something.  Wonder if we could make eye contact, smile and say, “Hello there.  I hope you have a good day”?
  • The clerk at Walmart that looks tired and faking a smile.  Wonder if we could start a conversation with them, helping them to know that people really do care?
  • Our own child, making comments like, “Mom I wish you could play with me” or “Dad, do you think you will have time to play after your important work.”  Wonder if we could recognize the unspoken feelings of loneliness and need for attention?
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s is so very easy to get caught up in our own needs, responsibilities and obligations.  But, here’s the deal.  If we’re too busy to do the most important things, than we’re too busy.  

If we’re too busy to stop and serve others, then we’re too busy.  

Surely we can all see that at the end of the day, and even at the end of our life, all that will really matter is who we have helped.

Have a great month.
Monica Irvine 

Dear President Trump,

I implore you, please remember who you are.

You are a representative of the United States of America, a country that was built on principles of integrity, honor and protecting human rights.  As our leader, when others interact with you, they must be reminded of these principles, as it reminds them of the greatness and goodness of this country.

Of course you must represent strength, as this characteristic gives confidence to both Americans and the world, however you must continue to show your strength by showing humility.  Humility means that you are teachable, that you listen, that you are willing to admit when you have been mistaken.  When someone says, "I was wrong" or "I'm sorry" or "I spoke too soon," that is someone who others can trust, because they know that this person is not above being wrong, which means their desire to be honest, outweighs their concern with being weak and human, which we all are.  There is nothing that shows greater strength, than someone who can admit their follies.

To be honorable, means to be true to the principles of goodness, fairness, kindness, forgiveness, and honesty.  As Americans, we want so desperately, and need so fervently, for our President to be someone that we can all point to with admiration and gratitude for their goodness, so that our children will know that the goodness of this country, is based on the goodness of its people.  Yes, of course even the President cannot be perfect, but he can be perfect in trying his very best to be honorable in all things, in all places--with his speech and with his actions.  Surely, we deserve this kind of President.  Surely this country deserves nothing less.

America was defined from it's beginning as a country striving to understand and protect the rights of all human beings.  The rights that both you, Mr President, and I have to pursue happiness, worship according to the dictates of our own hearts, and determine our own course and future, must be protected at any cost.  Unless you and I believe with our whole heart that every human being deserves these rights, than we cannot govern and protect this country and its principles in an honorable way.

Mr President, please please be more kind.  Please please be more considerate.  Please please show more restraint.  Please please spend some time on your knees every day, seeking the wisdom of God as you make your decisions.  You do not  have all the answers, but he does.  We need divine guidance to govern this country successfully.  This guidance and counsel is available to anyone, who is willing to seek it and obey it.

What will it take?  What will have to happen to help you to understand, the mantle in which you bear, is the mantle of a people desperate for a righteous leader?

Very best,
Monica Irvine
American--wanting to be proud



Speak to Your Children with Love

Parents, we must stop speaking to our children behind clinched teeth and with with angry eyes and cuttingly sharp voices.

I have seen time and time again, and it seems more often these days, parents speaking and handling their children with such contempt and hostility and impatience that it breaks my heart in two.

When we continue to interact and speak with out children without love patience and sincerity, we are contributing to them growing up as angry, unhappy children who will bear the scars of emotional damage.

We may not think of ourselves as child abusers, but I assure you, if we are continuing to break our children's spirits, we are indeed child abusers.  We have only a small amount of time where we have the opportunity to be our children's heroes.  When they are young, they are so impressionable and want so desperately to please us and to be loved and cherished as we all do.

Children will react and exemplify the behavior they learn from their parents and caregivers, every single time.

I worked in a preschool during college, and while there I learned an invaluable lesson.  I had some children in my class who were aggressive, who were often angry, and who struggled to have healthy relationships with other children.

In contrast, I had many children who were kind, gently, happy and content with most situations.

As I met and got to know the parents of all the children, it soon became evident where the children learned their behaviors.  (Please know that I am not speaking about children who suffer with real behavior issues, cognitive disabilities, social disabilities, and the like.)  What I witnessed was the parents who were most often aggressively pulling on their children, impatiently removing or putting on coats, threatening to discipline once home, etc. were the ones who had the most aggressive children.

Then I noticed the parents who came in smiling, hugging and being gentle with their children, both with their words and tone, as well as physically, were the parents with the most gentle children.  The softer the parents spoke and behaved, the more kind were the children.

You may argue against this idea.  You many want to discuss all the variables that can lead to children's behavior and personality, and I know you would have many valuable points and truths.
I also know there are exceptions.  However, regardless of all that, if we want gentle, kind children, they MUST see it and feel it from us.

Please let's speak with kindness, handle with gentleness and be much more patient with these beautiful souls entrusted to us.

Love Much,

Monica Irvine