Monday, June 29, 2015

Developing Responsibility In Your Children: 5 Ways To Raise Responsible Kids

Play with your children. Remember, as a Dad your goal is raising children who will take pleasure in contributing to and taking responsibility for their behavior and actions. Make the play fun. Give as much structure and hands-on support as you need to all your children for both boys and girls. Take time to sit with your children and help them for the first thirty times they do the task. With you as a guide, they will gain independence and confidence in the activity so that they can do it all on their own.

Give your children an opportunity to contribute to the common good. Acknowledge their contributions, even if it’s just cheering up the baby when he/she fusses. As your children get older, they need to grow into two kinds of responsibilities: their own self-care and contributing to the family community. Research indicates that kids who help around the house are more likely to offer help in other situations than kids who simply participate in their own self-care. Encourage and enable them to do things and to try new things on their own.

Actions speak louder than words. Your children learn responsibility from your role modeling. If you don’t follow through when you promise certain things, such as, to pick up that book from the library or play that game with the children on Saturday, why should your children be responsible about keeping their promises? Lead by example as a mindful, responsible and nurturing parent.

Don’t rush to bail your children out of a difficult situation. Be available for problem solving, helping the children work through feelings and fears, and to ensure that they don’t just sidestep the difficulty. Let them handle the problem on their own while you give support through each step.

Never label your children as irresponsible, even in your own mind, because the way we see our kids is always a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead, teach the skills your children need to be responsible. If your children are always leaving things in the park, for example, teach him/her/them to stop playing when you are about to leave somewhere – friend’s house, pre-school, soccer practice, swim lessons, and count off everything the kids needs to take home.

As a responsible parent, it is our obligation to teach our kids that they not only have the right to be an individual; they also have an obligation to be an attentive one. Studies show that people who take responsibility in any situation are people who see themselves as willing to be different and standing out as respectful humans. That’s the kind of children we want to raise.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Social Etiquette In The Workplace: 10 Things You Must Know For The Office

Cool technology is influencing modern rules about how we work and behave at the office. Technology has enabled us to easily communicate with anyone from anywhere at anytime. But this also leads people to make embarrassing mistakes that may be detrimental to their  professional reputation. How you communicate with people at the office greatly affects the way they perceive you. We have put together 10 rules about workplace etiquette to help you get ahead at the office.
1) Don’t Use Slang In Email Or Texting
Email is of the first impression that people get of you. Make sure to put in a clear subject line at the top – something busy professionals prize. If you don’t have anything in the subject line at all, people may not be sure if it’s something they want to open right away.
An email should be viewed as a formal letter. When composing an email start with a greeting. If the recipient is someone you have never met before, begin with “Dear.” If the person says “Hi”, say “Hi” back. Mirror the person you are emailing. Timing is also important. The rule is you should reply to an email within 24 hours. Even if you don’t have an answer for someone, reply anyway and say “Thank you for the email – I ‘ll get back to you by such and such a date.”
Signing off carries potential pitfalls as well. If you don’t know the person very well, the safest way to sign off is “Best regards.” “Kind regards” and “Warmest regards” convey formality with just a little more affection as well. “Best” is commonly used and works well in most situations. If you want a more formal tone use “Sincerely,” which is a little more distant.
Don’t put unnecessary things in your signature such as quotes or religious sayings. Similarly, photos in signature may not come off well. Not everybody needs to see your picture. While it can be easy to fall into a casual tone, especially if you’re tapping out an email on a phone, remember an email can be forwarded. Keep emotions out of it, and keep it simple.
2) Properly Using The Mobile Phone
While at work, try not take personal calls in your work environment. If you have to, then take the call, but end it quickly so that you don’t disturb those around you – especially if you are working in an open space. Keep your ring tone on low and make sure the music tones are not too loud because the phone ringing can be distracting to your colleagues.
When answering your phone, use a proper greeting voice and announce your full name. Be aware of your speaking volume. Some people just don’t know how loud they are speaking, especially when their attention is focused on the person on the other end of the line.
Don’t answer the phone when meeting with others. At a meeting or meal, if you answer a call, you are basically telling the person you are meeting with that someone else is more deserving of your time than they are. If you are expecting an important phone call during your meeting and there’s no way you can reschedule it, then make sure to let the person you are meeting with know ahead of time.
3) Looking Polished In Office Attire
You spend a large part of the day at work so it’s important to be comfortable, but traditional. Different industries have different dress codes. Find out what they are. As a rule of thumb, if you reside on the East Coast in the United States, you may be expected to dress up if you are meeting with clients. On the West Coast, dress code is business casual.
Think about whom you are going to be meeting with at the start of your day and then plan your wardrobe accordingly. Hold back on the cologne and perfume. There are a lot of people who overdo this. It’s disruptive and many people are allergic to it. If you can’t control yourself, don’t wear it at all.
4) Gossiping Less
We all make friends at the office. It’s perfectly normal to be social and civil to bond with your colleagues. Yell out “WHOOOO!” when you close a big deal. If your coworkers are walking with you to the corner store for the complete story, that’s when you know it’s too much chatting. Know when to stop. After all, you are at work for a reason. Speaking on and on about something can be considered intrusive. If you disclose too much, you become vulnerable and it’s not a good thing in a business environment. If you keep quiet, you will not be invading other people’s personal space.
5) Sharing The Credit
Work is collaboration. Whether you are an attorney, architect, social worker, teacher, game developer, business development manager or an entrepreneur you are working with people. Not acknowledging a colleague’s work can ruin your reputation. You will not come across as a team player, but instead you’ll come across as a self-indulgent individual who just cares about your own promotion. Give credit to people you work with whenever possible or when it is rightly due. They shall work even harder next time and begin to love collaborating with you.  
6) Leveraging Social Media
Remember your manners as you engage with people on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Be considerate and don’t jump in on people’s conversations on Facebook or use your Twitter space as an excuse to be brash or appear illiterate. Take time to write well-versed notes as you connect to people on LinkedIn. Let your thank you notes go cyber as you connect with networking contacts. Make introductions, and write recommendations the same way you would on paper. Politeness and personal respect is something that is expected in interpersonal communications. Having manners is a quality every employer wants in a candidate. Allow your manners to shine through everything you do online and off. In the long run, your efforts will pay off with better relationships in all areas of life.
7) Caring And Genuinely Connecting
Be authentic. Bring your whole self to work. You will be surprised at how many people appreciate real, meaningful connections at work. Care. Make a difference. People can hear that in your voice, the way you move, and your passion. If you’re passionate about what you do and how you can make a difference, work will no longer feel like work. It’ll feel like a mission. And that changes everything. You don’t have to be a corporate robot.
8) Getting Over Mistakes
Everyone makes mistakes. If you linger on too much or dwell on the issues, then suddenly you can’t focus on the task at hand. This can have a huge impact on your present performance. To get over the hump, ask yourself – is this a big issue in 10 days, 10 weeks, or 10 months? What about 10 years? Will this issue matter in 10 years? 99% of the time the answer is no. So stop dwelling on it. Lift your head up high and look forward. You are going to be successful at some things and you’ll fail at others. One of the best things you can do through it all is to own it. People will respect you for that. Why? Because you are willing to show them you’ll own it through both the good and the bad.
9) Speed And Following Through
As work ramps up, you probably have a list of things to do. Remember to quickly follow up with people you have been in meetings with and to stay focused on what’s really important to accomplish each day. Anyone worthy of your time is also worthy of your expediency. Don’t wait two weeks to follow up and let people know you enjoyed the conversation. And don’t just pitch them when you connect. Send them something of value, like a relevant link, so they know that you were thinking of something beside of your own needs.
Every day, try to create a list of three really critical things you need to work on that can have a huge impact on how you are feeling. Stay focused. With focus you shall have speed and with speed – results.
10) Enjoying Every Moment
Time flies quickly. Make the best of what you have. Smile. Inspire someone at work. Tell your co-workers how awesome they are. Go out there. Work hard, and have fun. Because you know what, awesomeness is contagious.
Although business today has become casual, one of the biggest mistakes you can make in your career is ignoring the social codes in the workplace. Hopefully, these 10 rules for conduct in the modern office gets you more opportunities for success that you deserve within your profession.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Expect The Exceptional: Build An Iconic Self

What you do at the gym is not natural. Look, men have pushed themselves in exactly that way for millennia but they had no choice. You do. You could be at home with your best girl and the Mad Men box set and some food from Saffron Indian Bistro. And yet you choose to wake up early to sweat and strain, lift and pull, raise your heart rate and pump your blood. You even pay good money for the privilege of replicating the daily lives of men who no longer exist, mimic the manual labor of our ancestors, all the men who lifted that barge and toted that bale. They did it because it placed food on their family's table. You do it, because you want abdominal muscles like a Calvin Klein model.

This is why serious physical training six days a week is good for the self. It's abnormal. What you do in a gym is carefully choreographed ditch-digging for men who no longer need physical strength or supreme fitness to make a living. Which is almost all of us.

We do it for many reasons, of course, to look better, to live longer, to sleep through the night without waking, to suck the sweetest juice from life's ripest fruit. We train because training is the big difference between fat and fit, between holding back the years and putting one foot in the grave, because training is the best way we have found to feel at peace with ourselves. But despite all the good reason, we are forever fighting the undeniable fact that we could be somewhere else, somewhere much easier. So we need help, as much help as we can get.

We need rituals that make us feel like training like a locomotive early-in-the-morning. We need rituals that will make the gym feel like our natural habitat, like always packing your bag for the next session the moment you get home. We need a personal trainer who can push us in a way we can never push ourselves. We need everything we can find to help us suit the choppy seas of exhaustion, to give us the power to ignore the sweat in our eyes, to override the lactic acid building in our muscles, to blank out those alarming stabs of pain.

Did men wear personal headphones when they built a railroad or worked on a chain gang or when they picked cotton or hoisted a mainsail? No, but they sang. Music, the great destroyer of bodily awareness when we need it most, at exactly the moment when the body is screaming with discomfort was a communal experience. And that is when gym music works best, as something shared. The music should matter, but never too much. You will not be singing along.
Sports psychologists say that there are two distinct breeds of gym users – associators, who turn their focus inward when exercising and – dissociators, who turn their attention to the outside world. If you are an associator, you will be perfectly happy sweating to the sound of silence. Elite athletes tend to be associators. They don't listen to music when they work out. They listen to their bodies. 

If you are not playing sports seriously then you are most certainly a dissociator. Reading your iPad on a treadmill, watching Sports on the stationary bike – this is all misplaced dissociation. It passes the time in the gym yet doesn't help you get any fitter. 

You are at the gym for the sweat and green vegetables that will make you younger next year. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Nothing Is Overlooked: Dads Matter To Children In A Simple Way – Without Them The Kids Wouldn’t Exist

In the opening lines of The Great Gatsby, Nick Carraway relates something his father once said: “Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in the world haven’t had the advantages you’ve had.” In the opening of One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Colonel Aureliano Buendia “was to remember that distant afternoon when the father took him to discover ice.” These literary fathers offer advice and adventure, but there is another quality of fatherhood, which should never be forgotten: spending time with our children, loving them, changing their diapers, helping them with their homework, and so on, causes our children to blossom.

Asking whether a father matters to a child is like asking whether the radius matters to the circle or whether the root matters to the branch. Our society’s failure to acknowledge fathers’ importance is now reflected in the shape of the American family. Fathers are disappearing, and anti-father sentiments are commonplace. Meanwhile, as many as half of American children with divorced parents never or almost never see their fathers. Even in a stable, two-parent households, fathers are unsure of what they bring to the table, now that the nineteen fifties idea of teaching sons what it means to "be a man" has come off it.

Fathers also have a unique role to play in their children’s psychological development. While mothers work to create security and stability, fathers do the opposite, engaging in the rough and tumble play, encouraging risk taking, introducing new words, and bringing home strange toys. Fathers seem to play a special role in helping children enter the wider world. Sons and daughters with more engaged fathers tend to be better with language, and more popular at school. Fathers are also using smartphones as truly mobile workstations to be home early or to be at important events with their kids. There are even areas where fathers are more influential than mothers. Time spent with fathers predicts how empathetic children will be as adults.

Fathers can help their children grow into confident adults, often simply by being available
and open-minded. The truth is we inherit from our parents a mixture of the personal and the impersonal. It matters that our fathers were kind to us when we were children or teenagers – that they loved us, and on Father’s Day, we’re grateful for those kindnesses. But other, more uncontrollable things also matter: whether our dads were stressed out about money thirty, forty or fifty years ago. Whether they ate well, smoked or drank. You can’t really be grateful for or angry about those impersonal elements of chance. And yet they are written into us too. They make up the arbitrary, contradictory continuation of what families are composed.  In a way, that randomness marks the depth of the bond we share with our parents. How do you know you matter to someone? When you affect on another with selflessness and love.