Christmas-At Last- Something Worth Celebrating-

I think I have learned to look at the positive things in life-the things we take for granted each day. I wasn’t always like that but a good friend of mine told me about 20 years ago that all I ever saw was what was wrong, what might go wrong, or what happened in the past that was wrong. At first my response was to tell him that all everyone ever did was criticize me…then we both laughed as we realized I couldn’t even fake it for a minute. It really was one of those life changing moments for me, as I was extremely critical of just about everything I encountered.

As the years have passed since then I have realized that there is much more to it then just avoiding saying negative things. There really is power in the tongue. The Bible in the book of James mentions how the tongue has the power of life and death. An illustration of how we put bits in the mouths of horses and that controls the huge animal, also how the tiny rudder on a giant ship controls which way it goes. So it is with the tongue and the words we speak-there truly is power in our speech. Anyone who has been verbally abused by a loved one can attest to that, it pierces the soul.

So when I think about the world today, and go about my daily business, something seems different, even with careful monitoring of what I choose to focus on. It just seems like the everyday joy that used to find its way into some part of our day, is elusive. There is so much negative going on in the world today that one truly has to make a concerted effort to remain focused on what is right. Every once in a while I am reminded of just how fortunate I am, even with some very difficult problems in my own life. One that stands out, is a man I heard on the radio several years ago. He was being interviewed on air by the local dee-jays because he recently won 5 million dollars in some sweepstakes. The man just didn’t seem as excited as one might be in his position. About half way into the interview, the dee-jay got serious and said to the man something like this- ” Sir I know that you recently lost your 8 year old son to cancer. We certainly understand that you would gladly give the 5 million back to have your son back”

The man actually broke down on the other end of the phone and was weeping almost uncontrollably. After he caught his breath and was able to speak again, there was a brief pause before the man said this -” Have him back? I would give the 5 million back just to be able to say goodbye”. There was a pause over the airwaves and suddenly the celebration came to an end, and the reality of the situation set in with everyone. I know that after I heard that brief exchange, my problems instantly became almost non-existent. I am a father, and just the thought of what he must have been going through was more then I could process. I had no idea of his pain. The only good thing I could think of was that the boy was not suffering and that he was with the Lord.

To this day, when I begin to feel sorry for myself, I remember that interview. My problems are real, and truthfully we have had an extremely turbulent decade in my family. Things that never occur even once in the lifetime of others have been regular issues in our lives. Yet, although the problems have caused major disruption and much loss for my family, I still cannot bring myself to complain too long, lest I recall the father on the radio.

It seems as though events like that father’s have become common in the last few decades. It could be me, but when I wake up and go out into the world these days, it takes just a few minutes to hear of a tragedy that takes my breath away. I think we all can become desensitized to the incredible devastating events occurring daily in todays world. Sure, some argue that with todays technology, the internet and all, we are just more aware of such things. There may be some truth to that, but it seems the walls are closing in faster and harder then ever in our world.

How do we respond to this type of climate? I guess there are a few ways to deal with it. One way that seems to be popular is to avoid talking about what is happening, or downplay them. For me, the things going on in Washington alone are frightening. Sometimes I am amazed that we have allowed our current leaders to continue in the direction they are, a direction that appears to be on some occasion the exact opposite of what we need. Yet millions of us stick our fingers in our ears and say ” Lalalalala” – pretending we don’t hear, rather then address the fact that we have terribly corrupt, chronic liars and even acts of treason being committed daily by our leaders.

There is another group that in times like these instinctively shed the non-essentials in life and cling to what really matters, or perhaps things that actually have lasting value, even eternal value. This year, Christmas has been one of the very few days that I could actually dare to really purposely think about all day and not become depressed. I realized how hard the rest of the year has been when it felt unusual today to be okay with being reminded all day of what was happening . I did some reflecting about these things today, and realized that in the last couple years, I have made some changes in my routine without even purposely doing so, but more out of necessity to protect myself form falling into a downward spiral.

I have always enjoyed the morning paper and the evening news. I just liked to keep up with what was going on in the world around us. Today I discovered that it has been a few YEARS since I watched the news even once a week. I get the paper on certain occasions and its not a lot. The fact is that depression can easily set in if we focus too much on what is happening in this dark world. No matter how much we remain positive in our talk, we sometimes need to cut out some of the garbage we are used to feeding ourselves every day. For those that understand the concept of eternity, its comforting to put the paper down, and dust off the Bible, to be reminded that even though the world outside is shocking to us, it is not any surprise to God. As a matter of fact, for the naysayers, most of what is happening today is actually predicted in the Bible.

That may not be comforting to everyone, but it is to those of us who remember the meaning of Christmas and hold fast to the promises in the Bible to those who remain in the faith. We live in a media world where if it bleeds it leads-if we aren’t careful we can get caught up in that bloody mess and forget about the blood that gives Christmas such hope. The blood that covers all the darkness in each of us, and gives us hope each day that we are forgiven just for the asking, and we don’t have to be dragged down with the world’s problems.

Since I was a little kid ( more then 20 years ago-lol)  I have heard the saying ‘” There are no atheists in foxholes”.  I am watching in the world today as everyone takes their cover to shield themselves from the war we are in. Some take cover by numbing themselves, some by denying anything is wrong ( a favorite saying among this group is that history repeats itself). Yet others actually put millions of dollars and much time and effort into avoiding having to think about what might be happening and the idea that we are living in times of Biblical proportion. These are the ones that call themselves atheists-you will know them by the way they tirelessly fight for the removal of Bibles, crosses, prayer and anything else that might possibly remind them of the God that does not exist….( ??)

While I personally am not a believer in atheists, I am intrigued by the amazing time and money that they invest -all to shut down any reminders of a God who is non-existent. If I were to spend my millions on demanding that every state ban any poster or video of spider-man from any public school, I am fairly sure I would be labeled a nutcase. At any rate, I have these people to thank for my faith in a strange way, because over the years when I have been anywhere in public and happened to mention the name of Jesus in conversation with whoever I am with, I am amazed at the looks to kill I get! You would think I just threatened their first born child.  Yet that reaction by the ” atheist” always serves to increase my faith. The reason is because it is the only name that has the power to convict, agitate, and irritate  those who reject the name. I have tried saying other names like buddha, ghandi , mohammed etc– nothing.

So as the day comes to a close, I want to encourage everyone to take a moment and prioritize your life. We all need to put things in perspective once in awhile and we certainly need to train our tongues to speak of the things that are good, not just the negatives. Its not easy at first, I can attest to that! I had the benefit of working as a foster parent for 5 years for an organization that required 15 positive interactions to every 1 negative with the teens I worked with. The delinquent and troubled teens, I might add! They had a man whose job was to come to the house and monitor for an hour or two our interactions, so there was no faking it! That experience changed my life, personally and professionally. It prepared me for parenthood and also for my next 10 years in social work, as an administrator for schools for expelled kids.

I taught parent training for the state for a few years, and by far the hardest concept to get the parents to grasp, was the ratio issue. When I first introduced the fact that no child will ever change a negative behavior pattern by constant negative reinforcement, all I got were blank stares, and a few brave souls dared to ask ” what else is there?” I really spent most of the week teaching them how to catch their child being good instead of catching them in the wrong.  It took time, as it did with me, but once it was learned, the results with their children were amazing. I try to maintain the same ratios of 15-1 in my daily life as well. I don’t always succeed, but even when I fail I am light years better off then if I did it the old way.

Whether you are a person of faith, an agnostic, or an ” atheist” I challenge everyone of us to step things up a notch in our priorities. In todays world more then ever we don’t know if tomorrow is promised, so it makes sense that we make sure we spend the proper amount of time on the proper things. I know ever since the father on the radio interview, I hug my little ones just a little longer and a little stronger each night. I worry less about money and more about treasures in heaven. The fact is that the cross is for anyone and everyone who will believe. God loves the ” atheist” as much as the church going bible thumper.  I think this Christmas, if we haven’t already, we all should turn the television off, and hug our loved ones. Sneak into the kids room after they are asleep and kiss them. Pray for them.

I watched a  great movie the other day. It is called  God Is Not Dead. I recommend it to anyone. I recommend we all take life more seriously and take hold of what s real and important, and let go of the non-essentials. Come to think of it, I also listened to one of my favorite Christmas songs many times this season- its called Mary Did You Know Many people have sung the song  but my favorite by far is the version by Michael English. Take a minute with your kids or by yourself and go to you tube and search Mary Did You Know by Michael English.

Listen to the words! It will be the most powerful and positive 4 minutes you have spent in a while, I promise!

Merry Christmas! Its a Red Letter Day!

Tj

 

 

 

I’m tired of being a Christian

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What A great post about a persons struggle with God and life- Click ” Im tired of being a Christian” then read my comments.

http://http://purposefulfaith.com/power-of-christ/Source: I’m tired of being a Christian

This an article I read that really speaks to what Christians are going through today. One critical issue that was not mentioned, is that it is WE the CHRISTIANS running people away form church. Walking around acting as if we are better then others when the only difference is that we are forgiven for our sins by accepting what Christ did on the cross. It is sad to me that the entire post from this person referenced issues that are nowhere mentioned in the Bible. That’s called bad teaching in the church.
Jesus came to set the captives free, not put us in bondage. Fear, worry, anxiety, doubt, shame, and all that can be gone when you turn it over to Christ. I cannot fault the author for the feelings written. I can only pray that God will raise up some Bible preaching leaders so the world will get the truth, that Jesus is the key to freedom, not a ball and chain of religious activities. If you recall, Jesus shunned the ” Good Doers” who bragged about their righteousness. He went right to the dirty nasty sinners and used them. Why? Simple. people who have been bound in sin would never take credit for the miracles God does through them. They know they are unclean. But now, they are clean, for Christ to use them. Sometime check out the men and women God selected to use greatly in the Bible. Murderers, thieves, prostitutes, and the like. They were humble, they knew they needed a savior. They were honored to be chosen to serve God. On the other hand, the Pharisees wandered around with their long robes with scripture etched on them, bragging of their deeds and putting down the ” sinners “.
Until we get to the point that we understand we all have this disease called sin, we will never be searching for a savior. Some try Buddha, but he is dead, some Mohamed also buried and some make up their own religions, thinking maybe that will earn them a spot in Heaven. There is this problem. Jesus said ” I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man shall see God except through me”
He also said to the disciples, ” if you have seen me, you have seen the Father”- Not to mention the verse in the Bible that assures Every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. There are too many to list. The point is that we all are sinners and we all need a savior. God put a plan together that was discussed some 800 years before Christ was born about this was going to go down. Isaiah 53 speaks of the life and death of our savior, and he lived 800 years before the birth of Jesus. Whether its a cult, a ritual, a religious activity you do, or whatever- none will get you into heaven. When you die you will only be evaluated on one issue regarding heaven or hell; Are you washed in the blood of Christ, or did you reject that offer on earth. That is it folks. Lastly, made up funky cults don’t fool God. Jehovah Witness, Mormons and all the hundreds of man made clubs will lead you straight to hell as well. If you stand before God, who gave His son to suffer and die to forgive us our sins, and whip out some lame story of why you have another reason you should be allowed in, you are basically spitting in the face of God- implying that the work on the cross and the rising from the dead was not necessary since you came up with another plan. On paper it looks pretty stupid doesn’t it?
Guess what, it is. If you haven’t begged God for forgiveness in Christ, consider that you will live eternally. There are only 2 places to go. One is total separation from God with the knowledge that you had opportunities on earth to be forgiven. The other, is to spend eternity with the Lord and all those who had accepted Christ as their savior. Let me double dare you to sincerely ask Jesus into your life and to reveal Himself to you, and make it known He is real. After all, what is there to be afraid of? If its a big fairytale, you move on with your life. But if you suddenly have change in your heart, you have your answer. God loves you, even if you call yourself an atheist. Listen, I am no better then anyone reading this. I just know I am forgiven and try to seek Gods plan for my life. You see, my plan – well it didn’t work. God Bless You and contact me anytime about anything. tjpetri16@gmail.com
tj
www.dontlabelmykid.com

Kids- Nobody Likes To Admit It- But When It Comes Right Down To It- The Tail Waggeth The Dog.

teenagers

My second youngest daughter is 8. That age when she starts to be aware of ” stuff” like Iphones, make up and the like. My boys are 21 and 18 and I think things went pretty well with them, discipline wise. They did something wrong, they knew a consequence was coming.
Somehow I seem to have more difficulty issuing consequences to my little princess, or ” poca” as I call her after pocahontas. I am still totally 100% in control, dont get me wrong.
It just seems that she has a certain way of tearing up that makes my heart weak I know she couldnt be doing it on purpose. She must really be taking this hard, poor kid.
The thing is, about 15 years ago I spent 5 years as a live in foster parent for teenage girls, 6 at a time. I do seem to recall it being a common source of manipulation for them to turn on the tears when they didnt like the answer they got…
Surely those girls had deep troubles. My baby girl is as innocent as they come.
Until yesterday, that is. My little princess pushed it over the ” my daddy loves me” line. It was a simple thing really, we were all doing a little cleaning up, and I asked her to bring the dust pan from the room she was in, into the room I was in. First I thought I heard a little complaining, but I assured myself it must be the television. Just then, around the corner she flew, stopping at the door and tossing the dust pan right at my forehead.
Something snapped in me. I am not sure what exactly, but it ended with no television for the night and she was a few years younger it would have been much worse. After a few minutes I began to pace around and question myself. I used to teach on this! I taught teachers on this! Parents too. Now I found myself stuck in an uncomfortable position. Not having to issue a consequences, but having to ask my the question ” Why would my daughter ever feel comfortable throwing anything at anyone”- that was my real issue.

The answer in case this has happened to you, is not that you are a bad parent, necessarily. The real answer lies within the circle of role models the child is surrounded with. Especially adults, the teachers, parents friends parents etc..You are the first line for your children. The old saying ” the apple doesnt fall from the tree ” is right on. Many hundreds of times I sat in meetings at schools, whether IEP or another type. During these meetings I would hear a parent cussing his teen up and down for acting out. The child realized at a much younger age what is acceptable in his home, by the modeling of his parents.

We could go on about this subject for hours, but for now, let me throw in one other critical topic that will help you understand how and why your child has to have postivie and negative reinforcement. I taught parent training for Orange County Public schools, and several other large parenting groups for years.The one thing that was always the biggest surprise, and the most difficult for for parents to change, was what we call ” ratios”. Ratios happen all day each day to your child. They come from you, teachers, and other adult instructors.

During the trainings, I would ask the class , if they had to guess what the ratios of postive to negative comments or negative to comments would be in their house on the average day. Most smirked because positive comments were not all to common..so when we finished the average for each class was about 15 negatives for every positive comment. Why is this important? Because psychologists have proven over and over that positive reinforcement is the only way to actually change patterns of behavior. Sure, if people are yelling and screaming you might get them to stop for the moment by yelling negative comments at them. but that is just a band aid.

Here is one way to start seeing changes in your childs behavior and it doesnt require doctors or counseling -just parents and their kids. The idea is to reverse the thinking which on the average is about 15:1 and try to eventually reverse it. You may be thinking ” YOU ARE NUTS” but I promise you if you try the ” catch -em being good” method you will not be dissapointed. The trick is to forget about what you dont want to see. Look for the behaviors you do want to see. Take a small behavior issue like a child looking down when you speak to him. When you repeatedly ask him to look you in the eyes you get nothing. Now, lets say a week has passed, and you are talking to him, when all of the sudden he glances your way for a second. This is your chance to start turning the behavior around. You stop everything and praise the boy for making eye contact. After awhile he will look at you just for the praise. You can apply this to any type behavior, school work, whatever it may be. 15:1 positive to negatives. If you are chuckling at this, imagine if your boss started praising you 15 times a day. Wouldnt that make you likely to continue it? Of course.
Well, I have to go and clean my daughters room now. We made a deal if I did that I could watch the sports channel tonite.

tj

Dont Complain About The Behavior Of Kids Today- We Trained Them.

When I was little I always heard stories from older folks who would tell of the consequences of their behavior if they were caught doing the things kids do on a daily basis today. Everyone, the kids and their parents shrugged it off and laughed. You know the stories, they had to walk in 5 feet in snow each way uphill to school and how they worked doing chores until sunset. Then the subject of discipline came up and there was never an issue.

Most kids back in the day were lucky if they got a choice between a switch and a belt. And that right there might be for just being disrespectful to there parents. Today kids are hitting their parents and no consequences. In many cases parents do whatever the kid wants to keep them happy since they are now scared of them. When I go out in public and watch the way teenagers talk to their parents, I am amazed. Even after 20 years working in some of the most tough areas, I still get shocked once in awhile.

I think it all started when the state decided what parents can and cant do to discipline kids. I all for keeping kids from being abused and neglected. However none of my 5 ever smarted off or got out of line without a slap on the butt. Of course we are talking during the age when they cannot communicate with words, 2-3 years old. There must be a response cost for negative behavior at that age or it is difficult to issue one at 15.

Another thing that seemed to take us on a downhill turn was to take any moral codes out of our teaching system. All these atheists fighting to get prayer out out of school, and look where we are. God forbid Mr Atheist that a kid might learn some things like the golden rule, or not to steal. What in the world do you have against a kid learning this kind of teaching?

Of course the invasion of sexual perversion as in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah back decades ago did not help. Now we have convinced ourselves that we may be ” gay” or “bi” or “tranny” or whatever. Actually Ms Jenner just started a whole different category because he says he still has his male parts but feels his female soul coming out. Huh? No more Wheaties cereal boxes for the former athlete. Maybe he will come out with a line of cereal called Sweeties instead, who knows.

Now we find ourselves with huge problems with delinquent behavior and nobody knows what to do. Thank God for the Psychiatrists and big pharmaceutical who have ” saved the day”. They are working overtime to make sure that there is some kind of official mental health disorder to tag these kids with, and the drug companies have been kind enough to help out by rapidly squeaking any kind of drug they can by the FDA , and coincidentally – just in time for the new mental health labels.

Now, we have teens with problems, being sent to psychiatrists as young as 8 or 9 and diagnosed with a mental health disorder and put on controlled drugs! In the world we live in, a mother sitting at home watching Dr. Phil sees a kid acting like her child and assumes their child is bi-polar too. A quick trip to the doc, describing the symptoms she saw on Dr Phil, and she may walk out with a label and meds too. All the while not many people pay attention to the very close relationships the doctors have with the drug makers. Millions of dollars are made by doctors who prescribe a drug company’s newest designer drug. Not every doctor. An article in the Washington Post said that about 94% of doctors had personal relationships with at least one drug maker they used.

What does this mean and why does it matter? It matters because once a person is labeled with a mental illness, especially a child, there is a huge stigma that forever haunts them. Out of the thousands of kids I have worked with who had labels, almost all of them when asked why they misbehaved, would tell me verbatim their DSM diagnosis and that they had no control.

Wow. One day several years ago a doctor gave this kid a label, possibly for financial gain, only to have the kid live out the prophecy. Today it has become so common that there is a pill for everything. Too much laughing, too much crying, the new DSM has one called ” Teenage Rebellion Syndrome” in it. Did they just make a teen who rebels, a mental health patient? I am not 100% sure, but I believe America is either the only one or one of a few that even allows commercials on television for drugs. All day long we see them, do you pee too much, ever feel down? How about your teenager is out of control- well stupid, sedate the kid! Get him to a head doctor.

Now I want to point out that mental health and the need for doctors and clinicians is very real. There are many people out there who suffer from terrible anxiety, phobias, depression and the like. That is not what I am writing about here today. I am talking about those doctors who have literally ruined the lives of others by labeling them. So people ask me all the time, ” well what if they are mentally ill” and that’s a fair question. I never said mental illness does not exist. I do however believe that drug companies and doctors are handing out labels and meds too quickly.

If a child does truly meet criteria for a mental illness, it is critical that the people who love and work with them don’t make that label their identity. It should never be brought up unless it has too.

In a nutshell, we have taken away the rights of parents to even spank a child, taught them there are no consequences for their behavior, taken any hope of them finding some help through school prayer or Bibles, and dumped them on the doctors to medicate. By the way i talk about drugs alot and how they are prescribed. If you want to know the real ugly truth, go onto the public website for clinical trials and the FDA. They have to show what trials took place and how it went, including the results.

Lets just say this; If I was Shire Drug Company, and I was looking to get a new drug approved for mood swings, here is what is required.

First, a clinical trial- meaning a group of say 40 people who agree to stay for 6 weeks for this trial and be monitored each day. Each day the nurse is to check in and rate the patient on their mood. At the end of the 6 weeks, now hear this, if 20 of the 40 say that they think their mood has improved by at least 10%- we have a winner. So when you see on television the commercials that say, ” most people who took ********** drug reported an improvement in their mood. It is now legit to now say that the majority of people who tried this drug felt better! Its a miracle!

The FDA and Drug companies, as well as doctors is another story and much more detailed.

Just think twice before accepting labels, and if your child does have a label, avoid using the term. Focus on strengths. In some cases I have seen parents go for a second opinion and the 2nd doctor found no grounds for any labeling. Just FYI- Peace-Tj

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If Nobody Else Will Address It- I will. We Are Losing Our Kids…

In this blog I have addressed issues to do with parenting, teens, addicts, doctors, meds, abuse by the big drug companies and their cozy ties with psychiatrists who also happened to get some handsome compensation for writing the new drugs these makers put out. I was in a unique position in my career, as worked years on the clinical side for a psychiatrist, and the last 10 years working more behavior based programs. They both have their flaws, and low success rates in general. We talk about ” At-Risk” families and all these programs out there for parenting. I used to teach those. Useless.

These days folks have their 10 year old kids running the streets selling dope for their parents. When kids become a hassle and interfere with the parents drug lifestyle. they tell teachers the kid is out of control, and eventually gets to the doctor for a label and meds which he accepts as his fate and fulfills the prophecy about him..that’s just a small part of this problem, but it is getting big. I wrote a few times about pedophiles and gave everyone a prompt to keep track of the local child predators near you. They are EVERYWHERE. In Florida, in the last week I have heard of 4 children kidnapped, raped and killed at ages 4-7. I live in a decent town and 1 in every 19 people have a record of child molesting.

These are not the days where the neighborhood raises the child. These are not the days when you can let your 10 year old daughter skate to the corner store for a snack. Those are gone. Sick child predators are roaming the streets looking for victims, and there is no cure. Those are one group of people who if convicted, should be released to the parents and family out behind the courthouse, no hearing needed. They should be executed on the spot. We have white color harmless people serving 20 years in prison for cheating on taxes, but let these scumbags out time after time again.

People today wonder why some teens are so disrespectful to adults. All you have to do is put them in a room with their parents most times and you will find out why. The apple does not fall far from the tree. One of the techniques I used on thousands of kids, teachers and staff I trained was to help them retrain there brain on how much they criticize children. The hardest part of any trainings I have ever done for staff, parents, or anyone else, is the ratios of positive to negative statements from the adult to child in one day. When I ask about how many times a day these parents criticize or yell at their children, the answers ALWAYS was somewhere between 13-20 times per day.

When asked how many positive comments they made each day it was usually silent for a minute before some brave soul raised their hand and mumbled a number usually between 1-4. There is a big problem with this, not only with children but with adults. Negative reinforcement is a band aid for the moment, which is another nail in the self esteem of the child. It has been proven that negative behavior does not change long term by criticism. Yelling at your child, threatening them with violence, or the like only serves to lower their self esteem and motivation.

One of secrets I used from near the beginning was to reverse the ratios. Psychologist have proven over and over that people who are praised for things will likely do them more frequently. So you have to retrain your brain to give 15 positives to each negative per day. You select the behavior you want, and watch for it. When you see it, you praise praise praise.

With the positive changes you see in the child you can set up little motivators to continue this behavior. For example. if your 10 year old would never follow instructions, ( which btw you need to tell them how) like 1- look at the person 2- say ok 3-do the task and 4- check back. Its easy to teach, easy for them to do, and if they know that if they follow instructions 85% of the time this whole week, they get a special reward, you will see the magic. So start thinking in your mind 15-1 ratios from now on. Catch your kid being good! Just the attention they get is sometimes worth it to them.

At any rate, this a worldwide problem and kids are giving up on themselves since they have these labels that in many cases are so useless. There is an appropriate time and place and child that needs special medication and care. Out of the 88 expelled children I served, we had 2. I am putting a book together on what labeling does to kids emotionally and the way the system is designed to fail them and is money driven. If you or someone you know has been affected by these type of situations, please contact me and share your story. Thanks!

tj

Addict Or Mental Health Patient? Lets Quit Playing Games. I Am Going To Keep This Real Like No Other Post, So Beware.

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I talk about parents and kids and pedophiles and the like on here. However when I scan through the posts I have done over the years I found it very odd that I avoided the one that has cost me the most in my life. Addiction. I worked with addicts/mental health patients ( depending on where they are treated) for many years. The difference between me and them was that I had a secret. I had grown up an ” addict”. My father laid out a case of PBR when I was 12 and from then on it got worse and worse. I was a full blown ” addict” by 16. I made it through jobs, and even did very well at them. That is called a functional alcoholic. That lasts for awhile until eventually it catches up with your ability to function.

My father , brother are both long term prisoners. My dad will die in there. My other brother shot himself in the head right after graduating UF to be a cop. It took me many people praying and many nights of wanting to die to get to the place where I am today. I have been to 30 day, and 90 day inpatient programs, 2 years of AA type meetings ( they have about a 5% success rate BTW)-
If it was not for the praying people around me and the healing that God did in my body, there is no chance I could be writing this. I am being truthful. One surgeon, after my pancreas exploded, came in my room and told me I would not live any longer due to the damage. That night an old christian friend of the family came in my room by herself, leaned over to my ear, and said ” I have a word for you- YOU SHALL LIVE AND NOT DIE”- Then she left the room. I had not seen her in months.

The next morning the same surgeon comes barging in the door to my room holding up an X-RAY to the light. He said ” I dont understand, what happened? The sickness, it is all gone!” Left that day without anything but another nudge from the Lord that He was not giving up on me. I could tell 15 more events that were nothing short of miracles too. As a matter of fact, here is a quick one. I was driving my convertible mustang down the road and doing maybe 45-50 mph. 3 blocks from my house. I blacked out and headed straight for a very big old tree and hit it head on. I remember waking up with the air bag the color of velvet, my forehead torn open, and then a voice. It was a highway patrol man. He stood back about 6 feet, looked again at the car which was totaled like an accordian, and with a soft voice asked me if I could talk. I kicked the driver door open, it was stuck, and walked right along with him telling him what happened.
This is back in the day when I was one of ” those”. I knew I had to go to the hospital.. and i knew that meant toxicology tests…I was not worried about alcohol. I had graduated to higher class type drugs.
I went to the hospital , got the 45 stitches in my face, the doctor gave the tox report to the highway patrol man and after the report, it said ” medical blackout” cause unknown. It could have read a whole lot different.
My point is, most addicts did’nt ask to be addicts any more then cancer patients ask to become cancer patients. I have been through 15 years of hating my life, and then having others tell me how I am wrecking it, like I don’t know it. Where there are many experts, there are few answers. I will be focusing on the myth of addiction in up and coming blogs. One of the reasons I went into the field of social work was to help these type of people. Little did I know I had a live it awhile before I could be any help.
Peace

tj

What Should We Be Telling Our Children About The Crazy Things They See in This World Everyday?

Wow. Not a day goes by that one of my kids don’t point at something then ask me ” why are they doing that “- it used to be a once in awhile thing but in the last decade or 2 things have changed.These days we are not debating if they are old enough to get an earring . I think about the changes being very carefully introduced into society that 20 years ago would not be discussed, yet today things of that nature are commonplace.

I notice that with all the changes most parents try to avoid contact or any accountability. Do any parents ( like me) still cry in bed once in awhile at what our children face each day? I pray that my kids would be so aware of what is right and wrong that their convictions would overpower their temptations.I think each day about how they will handle not flying into la-la land each day believing that what they see in this world is good just because that’s what people are doing. I happen to be a believer. I am a Christian who is is fortunate enough to have been taught the tools of the church (Bible). Even my smaller children recognize sin when they see it, once in a while in our home and out.

I am not preaching the Gospel here, but I am suggesting that you have a home base for all.

In order to do this as parents, we must  model and participate in the types of things we wish for them to learn. I am opposed to sheltering our children from whats out there, as they need to see the consequences of our actions. However today’s world is no longer even realistic, and sometimes it is straight up nasty, and the people who support the nasty  are those high in office. Big problems for us parents. We have got to avoid the mistake of trusting what popular political figures are lighting a spark to so that our kids avoid the inferno ahead.

Please comment with any ideas you have found helpful!

tj

Is This Really Happening? Sexual Predators At Disney?

Another problem nobody seems to be aware of. Sexual predators are being busted left and right trying to have sex with little girls. These guys are full blown adults. Husbands, fathers and going from their jobs at Sea World or maybe a law firm to meet who they think is an underage girl for sex. i am sure we have all seen it 20/20 or some other special. However it is a growing problem and so far in my state of Florida, I have really seen only one man as pissed off about it as I am.

Grady Judd, the long time advocate for these kids is the sheriff of Polk County Florida. He has a passion to get these scumbags off of the streets. If you have children, imagine the horror of finding out that your 8 or 9 year old was brutally raped. Law or no law, if that happened to one of my kids, it would be immediate execution behind the barn. Old school-backwoods and with at least a few hours of relentless torture in places they never knew they even had before any shots fired.

Anyhow, how this ties into my blog is that over the years I have worked with many children who were sexually abused by their own family members, but as to not be revealed, they took their children tho therapists or psychiatrists and reported odd symptoms typical of anti-social behavior, which just by chance are similar to the symptoms of sexual abuse.

If you do nothing else, check your local area on the internet to see where they live by you. Check this article out..By the way, these guys do less time then most no-violent offenders.

tj

“Wherever you find children, you’ll find sexual predators:” Dozens of theme park employees caught in sex stings, child porn arrests

I Don’t Know Everything About Kids. I Do Know Enough About Treatment Options That Can Prevent Years Of Heartache.

expertsThe last few years have been interesting for me. I didnt don’t know how receptive people would be to reaching out for help with personal issues like parenting or mental health.

I have been amazed at the transparency and willingness of people to share their dilemmas.

Folks, there is nothing you can tell me or ask me about that I haven’t personally experienced in my social work career or my own family.

I hope that would never stop anyone from reaching out. I do need to make something clear though. I am a trained, degreed social worker. I am not a psychiatrist,  psychologist,  or medical doctor. Although I used to watch HOUSE alot…so maybe a little knowledge there.

Anyhow what I have studied for 20 years is not how to master a one fits all profession where everyone who walks through the door gets a diagnoses. I have learned how the effects of the treatments have worked, and been able to get a good handle on where the loopholes in our system are.

I know enough about all treatments to see if they do what they commit to with the kids I have worked with.

Right up front I want to say I am not anti-psychiatry or anti-mental health. I am just against the abuse of the mental health profession that is driven by  financial gain.

Most clinicians I have worked with have the best interest of the child at heart. However , a small percentage of practitioners are led astray by the bllions of dollars the drug companies make and generously share with those who use their products.

Most people don’t know that America is one of the only countries in the world that even allows drug companies to advertise on television.  Everyone needs a pill. We all have a disorder and they are making more up all the time, and coincidently the drug companies seem to have a new designer pill to treat the disorder that just became public!

Without getting to deep into it, I just want to mention that all these new drugs that come out just in time to treat the new disorders are supposed to be run through rigorous clinical trials that prove the drug to be more effective then what is out already.

For a good laugh, look up some of clinical trials, where and how they took place, and how they measured results.

Here is an illustration from the food industry that is similar. You are walking through the grocery store and trying to eat healthier. You spot a bag of chips that says 90% LESS fat!

You grab it and think you are on your way to health. The truth is that the 90% they put on there in bold letters could mean 90% less fat than 25 cheeseburgers. They don’t have to mention that part.

In the same way you need to monitor your medicines, if you actually need them.

Recently my relative was prescribed Crestor for cholesterol.  250.00$.

The fact is that Lipitor does the same job and costs 20 bucks. But Lipitor makers don’t have the advantage thar Crestor does. New drugs are patented.  They can charge as much as they want and nobody can make a generic cheaper version.

Does anyone really question it? Not really because we believe what we see on television. We assume the doctor is always right.

Do your homework on mental health medicines and all others.

I just want to make it clear that although I have been able to steer many hundreds of families in the right direction,  I am not going to diagnose anything.

I am in a unique position with my experience and love to help people avoid unnecessary heartache.

So even though I may act like I have all the answers on occasion, I just have a niche. I like to help people avoid pain that I have seen or that I have suffered.

  • Tj

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Tough Question My 8 Year Old Asked Me At Subway…

After school I usually pick up my baby daughter and grab some lunch or do something like go walk on the beach. Today it was Subway and it all seemed pretty vanilla to me. Small talk, nothing heavy, when all of the sudden she breaks out with this ” What happened to Miley Cyrus?”

” Miley Cyrus? I said, umm what about her?” My daughter went on to ask me how she went from being a teen Disney character on a popular teen show to a out of control, no limits, anything goes, young woman. I was stuck. Do I blame it on Billy Ray and ” Dont Break My Heart”? Maybe I should say she got hooked on drugs and went a little crazy. The truth is, I don’t know what happened.

All I know is that I cannot allow any Miley around the girls anymore. This is not a post judging Miley Cyrus by the way, it is about how to explain the world we live in and how much control we should maintain over what our kid’s watch and listen too. I have always been a big believer in reality. Not just reality, but getting the reality to my kids before it finds them.

When my boys were young, I took them to some of the juvenile facilities I worked at. I exposed them to both sides and the consequences of both sides. It seemed to have worked out well, so I stick with it. Here is the thing, if a parent never points out the wrong in society, and just keeps calling it ” tolerance”, you may have a big problem when your child becomes an adult.

I ended up asking my daughter if she would like to live that kind of life, that Miley is living. I left it in her hands for the moment. After some thought, she just shook her head no and made a weird face. I did not threaten her or tell her she better never be like that. That does not work. What does seem to work is every once in a while, expose your children to the good and the bad, and the consequences of both.

There is good and bad, by the way. Right and wrong do exist. Not everyone agrees on what it is, but at some point we need to grow a back bone and tell our children what is for sure wrong. Don’t be one of the parents who goes with the flow and accepts anything the media throws out as acceptable. That is weak parenting.

None of us are perfect parents, but we have got to bring our children up to speed on what is happening in this world. Don’t let your own blood fall prey to the dark things that are invading this world. You are not doing them any favors. I still don’t know why Miley Cyrus ended up in rehab or wherever she is. One thing is for sure, I wont let my 8 year old think it is the path to take.

tj

5 Keys To Success In Parenting-

We live in a different world than it was just 30 years ago, a radically different world than say 50-75 years ago. Parenting strategies need to move forward with the times. I am not saying parents should be more lenient or that parents should give their children any more freedom then they feel comfortable with. I am saying that we all must become a little more ” hip ” if we want to improve communications with our kids today

 

Here are 5 keys to getting the most of your parenting experience.

1- Keep It Real!. Do not pretend that evil does not exist or that some people are in it for the wrong reasons. You may have to get to the point of clearly explaining exactly why strangers can be dangerous. Tell your children what has happened to other kids in the past – not to scare them but to educate.If they do not learn it from you they will learn it on the streets.

2-  Eliminate Soft Cushy Falls From Your Child’s Every Mistake. We cannot and will not be able to be around for their every mistake in the future. Parents who run around trying to get the soft cushion on the ground before their child feels any pain raise kids who expect to never get consequences when they get older. Some call them spoiled brats.

3-Never Play to their Weaknesses but always to their strengths. In my 20 years of working with children, I have yet to meet one who did not have a few strengths. Focus on those as you help them identify what they are good at. This will help them set realistic expectations as they make decisions about their goals, and teach them to focus on their strengths which will add to their self esteem.

4-Set Boundaries. Contrary to popular belief, statistics show over and over again that children of all ages want and need boundaries. As a matter of fact, we adults do too. Imagine what you might feel if you went on the freeway and a new sign said ” All drivers, just do as you like, no more rules of the road”- you may not like the feeling you have. The only difference between us and them is that they will not admit that they want boundaries, and most adults will.

5-Make your Positive to Negative Comments about 10:1.  Yes, you read correctly, you should find at the end of any given day that you made 10x more positive comments then you did negative. Learn to catch them being good, instead of being bad. The reason is simple; positive reinforcement will actually change long term behavior, while criticism only puts a fire out, usually to flame up again soon.

When you use these guidelines you will see a great improvement in the parent child relationship. You will also see the self esteem and confidence levels of your child skyrocket.

tj

May I Please Give You Money ? Why Customer Service Is So Pathetic.

http://cdn.themetapicture.com/media/funny-bear-sitting-table-park.jpg

My grandfather took me to a Wendy’s once when I was about 10. The cashier who waited on us was fairly rude, but basically he just did not pay us attention as much as the girl he was talking to in the back. We waited for our food, and although it was clearly done and on the tray, he continued to laugh with the girl, ignoring us as we drooled over our food which was just out of reach on the counter. My grandfather was very upset, and looked at the boy and asked him if he knew what customer service was.

The boy just smirked and my grandfather with his hard German temper, stormed off with me to the table. We sat down and he looked up at me and said ” Don’t you ever let anyone treat you like that! We will not come here again. I cannot believe we stood there as that boy talked to the girl and our food is right there! No manners, it figures too, since he is a negro.” I grabbed my burger, swung my feet under the chair and pondered what we might do tonight. Gramp often got upset, and this was just another time and he would calm down.

Times have changed in more than one way. Today I feel lucky if I get fair treatment at any store and the word ” negro” is out. I think gramp would throw his reuben sandwich across the counter if he had to deal with today’s arrogant customer service level. It seems as if the expectations for employees have fallen so low that basic social skills, less than 3 felonies, and no drug use on the job will land you a gig. At least it seems that way, and I certainly have not jumped the gun on this. I have been wanting to rant about this for a year, but I always told myself that it must be a fluke, the way customer service was a year ago.

I was wrong. It really does suck. I am hesitant to go certain places just because certain employees irritate me to the point that it stays with me the whole day. I actually find myself looking to see who is working at some places, so I can mentally rehearse my request with the least amount of shame. If I am lucky enough to catch a staff member when they aren’t texting that is, otherwise forget it. There is a woman at the 7-11 near me that makes my nerves twitch. No matter what I do or buy, she always has a smart comment for me.

I bought gas the other day and said ” I am on the far pump in the green truck” since I could not see the number. Her response – ” Hunny do I look like a mind reader? There are 2 green trucks out there. Do you want me to pump the gas for ya too?” Another time the same dame came at me with the old ” Sir, don’t you have anything smaller than this 20?” I replied that all I had was that 20 dollar bill. Of course you would think I handed her 23 shekels and 13 Canadian quarters to deal with the way she carried on.

Finally her response cost to me for daring to bring a 20 in there was to do the 7-11 shuffle…slide across the floor to the safe, put the money in and say ” Well, guess you just have to wait til I get some more bills” I nodded and smiled as to avoid any further talk. But she wasnt done. To the 5 people behind me in line she announced ” Sorry Y’all, I am so sorry to hold Y’all up, but I am waitin on change for this guy, he brought a big bill in.” Big Bill? Twenty dollars are now a big bill? Or could it be that some people just hate their lives so much that they try to make others miserable too?

And what is up with the guilting the customer to the max so the employee does not have to do any extra work? I mean every where I go, if I ask for any help, it is as if I just requested help throwing up in the restroom or something. You would think ” Can you tell me where the batteries are” would cause a short response like ” On aisle 3 sir, right down there”- not  ” (deep breath and sigh) Johnny! We got any more batteries? This guy cant find them, can you look when your done with your smoke? Sir he will be in here in a few to help you. You know batteries are cheaper over at Wal -Mart-

I really believe that just as we lowered our standards for the white house, we also allowed a huge drop in quality in the world of customer service. Maybe the 2 are linked, I don’t know but it sure is frustrating having to ask someone to please take my money and provide that service as best you can…please..sir-heck my mother practically schedules her errands around which people will be working at the stores. She is a senior so she gets it even worse than I do. Then again, she is at the age where a 6% tip for a meal is sufficient, so it could be…that.

At any rate, I believe that we as a nation have simply settled. We do not demand the highest quality of anything. The old school citizens who gave their lives for this place would never have imagined we would have squandered what they fought for. There is a verse in the bible saying if we are not faithful with a little, we will not be given more. If we are given much, much is expected. Fail. We have lowered the bar in almost every area, serving the people who care the least about this country the most and neglecting to tend to those who are the fabric of our framework.

We are afraid to offend anyone so we go overboard and serve the opposition. People are so afraid to mention God but allah and his crew are hired in the white house. Our president donated 3 Billion to the muslim brotherhood recently. They were talking sharia law for a little while. Our own president is so ashamed of this country that he refuses to salute the flag or say the pledge. That is our ” leader” refusing to say the pledge, or salute the flag…of the country he leads..anybody with me here? Our customer service is simply a bi-product of our leadership.

We have become what we have put in charge. A people who have no allegiance, no conviction and who have seared hearts . We have a sense of entitlement and act like the world owes us something. It’s all about us and what we can do for us, not about the community or the common good. We have modeled for us the fine example of someone who has made it to the top without honesty, without integrity and without any fear of God. We chose to make our leader someone who is unfair, dishonest, double minded, deceptive, and whose motives are in question.

So we have this problem with our customer service and we all wonder why things have changed so much. Yet we stand by and watch as our country is literally picked apart, brick by brick, dismantled . Our friends have been made enemies, people have been divided, our economy has failed and our quality of life has dropped. When I see what has happened and with such direct intention, deliberate action to accomplish a purpose and the purpose is to divide, weaken, and disarm, I must question the executor of these things. One divides for a reason, because a house divided against itself cannot stand. One disarms because that house cannot defend itself.

We are in for much more serious problems then the clerk at the store. It is amazing how little respect we have for one another these days. Then again I feel very little respect from government these days. Perhaps we have, like sheep just followed in the path blazed from on top. A path of poverty, weakness, division and destruction. The saying does go ” The apple does not fall far from the tree…”            So whatever place we are in right now, and whatever the cause, we cannot give in or give up. We need to turn this thing around.

One of my favorite singers is Jeremy Camp. He sings a song that is a favorite of mine, called ” I still believe”- it was written about his wife dying of cancer at 22 years old, and how she told him on her death-bed that no matter what happened she still believed. She died, and Jeremy continued in his Christian ministry because of that faith, Today he has a new life, and family and millions of people have been inspired by his music. He never gave up, he saw death but refused to let it take him down.

Today I wonder if our nation can say  ‘ I still believe” and get back on the horse. Can we get back to where we were when we had the favor of God on us? Can we return to the power that gave us breath? Have we had enough of darkness and division and hopelessness? I really hope so, because it is one thing to fall down, but if you get back up it is respectable. However to fall down and lay floundering, is shameful. I wonder if we can rally the troops and go home. I wonder.

Actually, even after all I have seen, I still believe. Do you?

 

tj

 

Big Drug Makers Spend Little On Research- But Enough On Self Promotion To Give You A Headache Disorder-

We have all heard that the drug companies are making billions by pumping out new drugs for children’s disorders and many others. Just how much research is done on the medications they promote? Not much, about 19x less then they spend on self promotion. Read on-

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/09/pharmaceutical-companies-marketing_n_1760380.html

tj

Parenting Series-Doing The Right Thing In A World Of Compromise; Teach Your Children Truth!

We live in a world of compromise. More then ever I hear parents excusing their lack of parenting by saying that everyone is like that, or things have changed. People with no conviction or people that are lazy always use the excuse that times are changing and we must too. That’s true for some things like gas prices and the cost of living, but are we becoming a society willing to adopt and adapt to anything that comes our way just so we don’t disrupt the flow? It seems that parents today are not only letting their children do things that are totally inappropriate- but things that are harmful to the child.

Recently  I read a book that a pastor wrote ( don’t be offended) and the subject of the chapter was ” honoring parents” and how children are supposed to obey and honor their parents. He described the culture we live in as harmful because parents today are allowing their children to disrespect them, to do things that are highly inappropriate and the parents are viewing themselves as progressive or ” cool”. The fact is all they are doing is setting their child up for total failure in this world. In the real work world, respect is a must. Children are not going to keep jobs if they disrespect their boss, wear pants down below their rear end, and talk like they are confused about their culture.

A friend of mine called me last week and told me he was in shock because he glanced at his daughter’s grade school text book to find a page on how to practice anal sex safely. There were specific details about lubrication and other very inappropriate issues that no 12 year old should be reading. He went on to say that the same school who was using the textbooks were coming down on students who were mentioning God or wanting to have a moment of silence in their day to pray. I am pretty understanding when it comes to parenting and I get that different cultures do things different ways. That’s all good and it makes sense, but there is a line.

Right is still right and wrong is still wrong folks. We all know it in our knower and it is very wrong to teach our children that what is wrong is right and what is hurtful to relationships is ok. This dangerous word called TOLERANCE is straight from the pit of hell. The way it is used today anyway is destroying any hope of a moral fabric that this country once had. I am all for tolerance when it means accepting a person where they are and helping them to overcome any obstacles they are facing. However using the word to pretend that things which are dangerous are acceptable, and things that are an absolute abomination are just fine is wrong.

I watched 2 mothers debate what their children should be exposed to recently and it was amazing to me. The ” progressive” mother defended her son being taught that about sexual orientations at 8 was fine and the other mom said that right and wrong had not changed and no matter how weird this world gets, it is still our job to teach right, not to teach popular. Parents- don’t forsake what you know to be true for the ease of it. This is your kid here, tell the truth.

Tj