Tag Archives: Humor


A parent? You need to laugh, first at yourself, then with your child,  and sometimes at life. You also need to cry when crying helps. First some humor:

New Parent

Laughing keeps all strong, but when you can’t laugh, it is a sure sign things are bad. Some talk about the “Day the music died,” but laugher dies it is also a clear sign of trauma or a life-blow.

For new parents such times run from the terrible – the baby is still-born or seriously handicapped to the smaller and quick recover times such as exhaustion has you by its teeth. One takes a lifetime to deal with; the other a good night’s sleep.


Knowing the difference between the everyday ups and downs of life and trauma of life blows is a major step in maintaining perspective.  Albert Ellis, founder of Rational Emotive Therapy, speaks of the tendency of all humans to “Awfulize” Think of the teenager who has one zit, no one notices, but refuses to leave the house in fear his or her life will be ruined.

Embed  in your brain, the capacity to sort out mundane hurt from life blows.  Rating skills help. This poster coach shows how to rate anything. The more you can rate your bad, mad, or sad feelings, the less likely you will awfulize the trivial.

Rating scale poster

How to practice  Emotional Fitness Training’s Rating Exercise: Every time you feel tempted to complain, rate the complaint: Trivial is one; Life Changing trauma is ten. Hurts but not for long is five.


Rating scales can be taught to a child as soon as he or she begins toddling. Rate the bumps and bruises that go along with learning to walk with one of these phases:

  1. Big hurt if the child is crying inconsolably.
  2. Smaller hurt for small weeping moments.
  3. Tiny hurt for when child complains but seems able to comfort self.

For the big hurts, keep saying “Big Hurt” as you comfort the child.  For big and Smaller hurts when the child stops crying, smile, hug,  and say “Good job.”

For tiny hurts, ignore or say “Tiny Hurt, well handled.”

By the time a child is beginning to read, you can help him or her make a personal feeling thermometer.  Read this to learn How to Create a Personal Feeling Thermometer

As the teen years approach, have conversations about what matters with your child. Knowing what matters reduces pain. Family meetings are good for doing that. Don’t hold Family Meetings?  Get my book How to Hold Successful Family Meetings.  Well run family business meetings strengthen kids, give them important life skills and are stress reducing skills for all parents.


Remember’s sharing is caring and the easiest way to practice kindness now is to share this post with someone who will find it inspiring.  Thank you.




Like any coach, EFTI’s poster coaches inspire, teach, motivate, and reinforce thinking about what matters.  To use, print up in color and post there it will be seen often.  Poster Coaches can also be used at  Family Meetings to start a discussion about what matters.


Ha Ha Ha Tell us a joke! Knock-knock joke, long story with an unexpected punchline, great zinger — all jokes are welcome!

The post says it all.


Sharing a Jewish Holiday Story and Rituals and some Parenting tips.  Fun and loving holiday rituals increase emotional fitness aka Emotional Intelligence.

At The Sukkah and a story about it by Tsivya Frieder

We celebrate Sukkah with our Aish friends  Barry and Tsivya Frieder. Read on to hear her amusing and thoughtful tale about setting up their Sukkah.

The Sukkah Saga By Tsivya Frieder

 The day after Yom Kippur I unenthusiastically decided to deal with the sukkah challenges.  I knew I was supposed to run to begin working on the sukkah as soon as I broke the fast, but, oy! Iknew I would be dealing with “stuff.”That’s just the way it is, when you’ve got a structure, canvas walls, tools, strings of lights and 200 decorations.“Oy!”

The first year we had this sukkah we had four canvas walls.The second year we had three canvas walls.Now we have two canvas walls, two blankets and a couple of sheets.How could we possibly misplace two large pieces of canvas?

As the day unfolded, the sukkah challenges began. It took hours to find the two heavy-duty staplers, one of which had no staples and the other had only a few (the box of staples never turned up)–the colored lights had artfully hidden themselves under Chanukah material–a tree had quietly doubled in size and was now leaning over 95% of the sukkah, rendering it unkosher-a horizontal beam of the sukkah was two inches away from the vertical beam it was supposed to be flush with–every time I needed any item, it had sneakily crawled under something even if it had been in my hand two minutes earlier- -and, inexplicably, one of the small, domestic staplers fell apart in my hand, which in a house that has maybe a dozen staplers is not what you call an insurmountable obstacle, but in a house where the sukkah is a half-mile hike down the hill and into the gulch can represent an adjustment in the actual work time.  You know, “stuff.”

And I needed skach, and that meant getting out the old chopping tools and doing the pruning I had put off all summer, with the blithe expectation that I would actually have the time to do it so the boughs would be fresh for the start of the festival. (Last year I had efficiently gotten the skach to early that it was all dried and crumbly by the start of the holiday.For the initiated, crumbly skach means oddly flavored food.)

I stepped out of my house and found a hill of skach practically sitting in my front yard.

On the precise day I decided to bite the bullet and deal with skach, my next door neighbor decided to cut down his bushes, the very bushes that had been sitting there unmolested for several decades.

Not only that, but when he found out what I was up to after I was able to speak coherently, he helped me lug the sweet, piney branches down to the sukkah.

But it doesn’t end there. Little miracles occurred all day long.

Instead of dropping  wgat I was doing and running out to buy more heavy duty staples, I decided to use the few I had to hang up the walls and see how far I got.  And, unbelievably, the last staple I had was the last staple I needed to put up the walls!

Unexpectedly, a close friend of ours who removes tree stumps was able to come racing over and remove the offending branch that was looming over the sukkah, rendering it kosher again.He also fixed the problem of the separating beams and then raced off again.

HaShem may be hidden in the world, but at times He’s not very hidden.

And there was more. My plans for being in the eruv were just not working out for Sukkot yom tov. Although I had begun working on pulling things together weeks before, I found myself having to change neighborhoods just days before the holiday started. I had a choice: I could grump about the situation or I could choose to believe that HaShem wanted me on the East Side for some reason. He had some surprises in store for me and I could borch or I could find the gifts.

I decided to do both. I grumped for a while and then put a cheery face on things. Then grumped some more. Then waxed philosophical. And all the while I was wondering why does HaShem want me on the other side of town?

 In short order, it became obvious that the process of seeking out hospitality was putting me in touch with an entire community that I had very little to do with. I realized with a shock:I have grown comfortable and complacent, stuck in a rut!  My passion is building community, and here is large community I’m mostly out of touch with! And what an open-hearted community it is!  The people I reached out to had suggestions and invitations, and some took time out from their hectic pre-yom tov schedules to have long conversations with me and hosts, going over options and brainstorming possibilities.

 In the end we had so many invitations from this very hospitable community—from old friends, people I had known for years but hadn’t visited before, and people I had not met yet—that we ended up hopping from one sukkah to the next, and still ran out of time before we had visited everyone. We heard new devar torahs, participated in Torah discussions that were radically different from the crowd we normally hung out with, and played with totally adorable children and babies (one of whom nibbled her way down the challah I was holding for her and took a bite out of my finger).

Who ever thought that the dreaded Plan B could result in what felt like a three-day party? Hmmm.

Our sages tell us that we can’t know the reasons HaShem causes things to happen. However, we can catch glimpses of some of the effects.

One effect is the possibility that the next time my plans are not working out the way Iwant, I might remember to trust that HaShem knows exactly what He’s doing! Just a thought….

 emotional fitness thoughts

Religion gives  children a start in learning right from wrong. Rituals are fun ways to build a child’s understanding of his or her religion as well as to build a good memory book. Both are important Emotional Fitness Tools.

Setting up a Creche is a Christian family rite. Decorating the Sukkah a Jewish family rite.

The more we understand about each other’s religion the more we can create Peace on Earth.


Tip one:  Whatever your religion, spiritual, or philosphical beliefs, and the younger your child, the more s/he needs to have rituals and stories that teach him right from wrong.  The more s/he can take part in the ritual in a fun way, the better.

Tip two: Make sure the rituals are fun. The younger the child, the more important this is.

Tip three: As you child grows in greater understanding expect questioning. Being too dogmatic or fanatic may drive him or her away.  

Better than arguing is remembering no one does religion exactly the same way.  Pope Francis is not Pope John; The current Dalai Lama is not the last Dalai Lama, Hillel is not Akiba.

This allows you to take a critical view of your religion’s negative teachings and disavow what is not kind.  Being kind and caring is what all religions agree on. Where they disagree is who that applies to and how to treat those outside of the tribe, family, or religion.


Go to the EFTI store and browse its offerings for inspirational quotes or exercises.  Subscribe to be notified of new additions.


Please rate this material. Doing so helps my ratings.  This is what your stars will mean to me. No stars – Not helpful. One star – Reinforced my knowledge. Two  Stars –  New  information.   Three stars – New useful information; Four stars- Very good.   Five stars – Excellent.

Thank you and stay strong.


Picky Eaters? Encourage Risk Taking

One of my kids ate mostly hot dogs, Mac and Cheese, and peanut butter for the longest time. Partly explains his father’s baldness. A laugh and then some advice.

picky eat

Thank you Dave Carpenter cartoonist for this one.

Parenting thoughts

My picky eater changed his ways in time, but it took a long time and much work to stay emotionally strong on our part.  One of the things that helped me was a memory of my mother making me sit at the table until I finished a huge pile of lima beans.  After a will struggle lasting for at least an hour, I gave in. However, as soon as she said I could leave the table, I promptly regurgitated the hated lima beans onto the empty plate and ran to my room.

Now I might call that will struggle a Gotcha War.  Gotcha Wars are disagreements where at least one person tries to make the other person go  bonkers and act crazy.  Usually, the victor gives a little smirk of satisfaction when the loser acts crazy.  I am not sure I smirked, or threw up deliberately, but it was certain a will struggle and one I won; Mom never forced me to eat anything again.

Kids do have particular tastes and are attuned to more than just the taste of food. Here is another cartoon suggesting part of the problem:

#Parenting Tips about picky eaters

Thank you Google Images for this one.

Not slimy to a grown up might be slimy to a kid and slime triggers nausea particularly in the young.  It is a primitive sign of potential poison.

Parenting tips

Tip one: Try, but if you don’t succeed don’t try again.  Encourage small tastes, but if revulsion follows apologize, say “When you are more grown up that will taste good” and above all do not try again.

Tip two: Bribe a bit. If a kid can stand to eat mashed potatoes, but just doesn’t like them; make dessert the reward for eating healthy first.

Tip three: Let the your child’s doctor tell you when to worry about a child’s eating habits.  Most study’s show that offering a variety of healthy foods and left to their own tastes most kids get what they need nutritionally.


Ramp up your self-soothing skills so you do not betray anxiety about your child’s bad eating habits. Vitamin pills are useful for dealing with parental concerns; practicing some Easy Emotional Fitness Exercises  helps even more.

Thank you for all you do to Practice Kindness. Liking, commenting, or sharing any social media you find helpful is one way to be kind to me. It may seem like a little, however, doing a little matters a lot.


This post was inspired by this WordPress Daily Prompt  Do you love hot and spicy foods or do you avoid them for fear of what tomorrow might bring? Personally, I love hot and spicy and always keep a handy supply of Tums around for what indulgence brings.


Fear control for children

Picky eaters are fearful eaters. This poster coach applies to all fears; as does the Tame the Test Monster link listed below.

EFTI’s Free Poster coaches are digital downloads designed to  improve Emotional Intelligence by teaching or reinforcing Emotional Fitness Exercises.  Best printed up in color on card stock. they can be posted almost anywhere.  Their intended audience? Anyone who wants to improve their emotional fitness or anyone else’s emotional intelligence.  Parents, teachers, therapists, coaches, fitness trainers, school guidance counselors, preachers, and non-preachers.


Kids Ears Clogged?

Parents know kids’ ears are stuffed with cotton balls at least 85% of the time.  Here’s some parent advice to pull the cotton from your kids’ ears, and I  am not talking about bribery.

Cartoon by Dilbert about the value of listening.

Parent advice

Love this cartoon by Dilbert. Problem?  The way most experts offering parent advice want you to get your kids to listen is far from easy and only works some of the time with some kids.

Actually, not listening is easier which is why kids too often reach for the cotton balls when you are talking.

Here are three easy tips for un-clogging  your kid’s ears. These come from Jean Tracy, the woman I go to when I need ideas about how to parent better. Today, she sent these tips as a gift to everyone who subscribes to her newsletter.  Her tips?

Tip one: Use your child’s name when you talk to him. His name is his favorite word and his ears will perk up. For instance give one direction and say, “Jason, please feed the dog before you play.”

Tip two: Pay attention and connect with eye contact. Show interest by saying, “How interesting, Tell me more,” or by asking an open-ended question like, “What did you like best about…?”

Tip three: Model good manners by letting your child complete his ideas. Avoid interrupting and giving your opinions too soon. Make sure he finishes his thoughts.

Good advice, now it is my turn.

My parenting tips about getting kids to listen? 

Parenting type one: Switch communication styles.  Yell occasionally, unless you already yell lots, and yes some good enough parents yell lots.  If you are a yeller, try whispering when you want your kids to listen. If you are not a yeller, try a raised voice or even a yell when you want a kid to un-stuff his or her ears.

Why this advice?

Kids do what the experts call habituate. You do too.  Habituate is a fancy word for “get used to.” My mother yelled more than she whispered.  When she started talking very quietly and very softly, we knew she meant business.

Think back to your childhood and ask yourself, “When did I know my mother or father meant it was time to pay attention?”

I often asked parents to answer that question at my parenting workshops. Every parent who shared, knew exactly when one or another parent meant business.  Your kids know it too. That is when they start listening.

So why does changing your pattern work.  Switching styles creates uncertainty and confusions; both are seen by researcher Jerome Kagan as strong motivators.   In fact the hypnotists use what they call “The Confusion Technique” as a way to put you into a trance and more obedient to what the hypnotist wants.  A skilled hypnotist will start you counting backward from one to ten, count with you and suddenly skill a number or two. You think whats going on here and pay more attention.

Parenting tip two:  Make Jean Tracy your parenting guru.  Go here to see all that she has to offer.  She is fantastic.

Stay strong

Remember what matters: good enough is good enough when parenting, kindness works best.

Finally, share this post if you think it will help another; doing so will certainly help both Jean and me.


P.S. Today’s Daily Prompt ask you to imagine what you would do if time stood still and you could tweak just one thing.  I thought well if I had a magic want, I would wave it so all would listen more and talk less.