Tag Archives: Life


Going with the flow, not letting change throw you around remains an major skill To move ahead on the path to the good life.


Thank you Carl D’Agostino for giving me the privilege of sharing your cartoons

Change starts with birth and ends with death. Before thinking about your child and change, think about you and change. The ability to accept change is partly built into us at birth. Some of us rush to the new and the adventuresome; some wait a bit before joining in, and some would prefer to stay with the old.

This inborn responses to change comes with our genes in the form of temperament traits. Jerome Kagan, retired Harvard researcher and professor, sees  temperament traits as one of the first influences on how we become who we are.

So which are you? Eager Beaver? Careful Cat? Shy Sparrow? Extrovert?  Introvert?  Bigger question? Is your child the same as you or on a totally different wave length. That is what the experts call “fit” as in “goodness of fit.”

Often we pick partners who are our opposite. Eager Beaver? You might pick a Shy Sparrow to hold you back or to make you feel bolder and braver.  A Careful Cat or Shy Sparrow You might pick an Eager Beaver might bring you out a bit.

Two of my grandsons are at the opposite ends of the bold to shy, extravert or introvert ways of being. Guess what? One parent is an Eager Beaver; the other a Shy Sparrow.  And I am more the Shy Sparrow, while my husband is an Eager Beaver.

Two other thoughts before a few suggestions. One thought, people are far more complicated than the above shows; according to Kagan temperament is only one of a hundred things that  explain the way we are. That is good news. With a bit of help, A Shy Sparrow might become if not an Eager Beaver at least a Careful Cat.

I am a Shy Sparrow at heart. Know me in some situations and you’d question that. Look at how I stood up on Oprah. My shy self was in full retreat.  I do not even remember being nervous.  Get me to a party where I know no one, and watch me shudder and try to fade into the woodwork or fly away like the Shy Sparrow I am at heart.

In the Oprah situation, I was sharing knowledge that I was confident I knew. In the second, I didn’t know much about what I could share with socially adept strangers. Context matters.

The second thought related to the above: how our temperament plays out in our lives is not set in stone.  Eager Beavers can be squashed in some situations or by some life events. Think of the Eager Beaver child in a classroom that demands more quiet compliance than the Eager Beaver ordinarily displays.  A Careful Cat will do best in such a class room.

My mother recognized my Shy Sparrow and made things like my appearance on Oprah possible.


Parenting tip number one: Know your child’s temperament traits. Honor them; do not try to force a sparrow to become a beaver.

Parenting tip number two: Know the various temperament traits surrounding your child. Label them as such. That will begin to teach your children how to figure some things out about other people, Figuring people out build’s emotional intelligence. Moreover, it helps the child figure out a bit about him or her self, another building block for emotional intelligence.

Parenting tip number three: Encourage both  the Eager Beaver  and Shy Sparrow to acquire some of the Careful Cat’s ways.  The middle way works best in most situations.

Parenting tip number four: Prod don’t push. The turtle wins more races when trying to teach your child a better way of being. One of my Mom’s mottos was “Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gain.” When I was hesitant about something, she’d repeat that and then add, “Try it, you might like it; if not no great loss.”

Parenting tip number five: Strengthen every family members self-soothing skills.  Buy my eBook Self-soothing: Create Calm in Your Life.  Right now it costs less than an ice cream cone  and lasts longer.

Remember you can read Amazon eBooks on any of your devices by using this free application.


Remember sharing is caring and the easiest way to practice kindness is to share this post if you found it helpful.  Share it even if it doesn’t speak to you, it will speak to some. Didn’t like it?  Comment and tell me why and how to improve.


This post was not inspired by this WordPress Daily Prompt, but by  Facebook Friend Dorian Cole. Thank you Dorian.


These links are for those not familiar with Emotional Intelligence or the idea of Emotional Fitness.



Picking the right heroes and heroines for your child

Hero and heroines shape children’s ideals about how to behave, so picking the right ones matter.  Here are two – Queen Esther and and her Uncle Mordichai. The good guys and gals of Purim

As a Jew I do look to Torah to find heroes and heroines. Purim which is celebrated The story of Purim is told in the book of Esther.  This is the short version of the story  as told by the Chabad.

The heroes of the story are Esther, a beautiful young Jewish woman living in Persia, and her cousin Mordecai, who raised her as if she were his daughter. Esther was taken to the house of Ahasuerus, King of Persia, to become part of his harem. King Ahasuerus loved Esther more than his other women and made Esther queen, but the king did not know that Esther was a Jew, because Mordecai told her not to reveal her identity.

The villain of the story is Haman, an arrogant, egotistical advisor to the king. Haman hated Mordecai because Mordecai refused to bow down to Haman, so Haman plotted to destroy the Jewish people. In a speech that is all too familiar to Jews, Haman told the king, “There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your realm. Their laws are different from those of every other people’s, and they do not observe the king’s laws; therefore it is not befitting the king to tolerate them.” Esther 3:8.

The king gave the fate of the Jewish people to Haman, to do as he pleased to them. Haman planned to exterminate all of the Jews.

Mordecai persuaded Esther to speak to the king on behalf of the Jewish people. This was a dangerous thing for Esther to do, because anyone who came into the king’s presence without being summoned could be put to death, and she had not been summoned. Esther fasted for three days to prepare herself, then went into the king. He welcomed her. Later, she told him of Haman’s plot against her people. The Jewish people were saved, and Haman and his ten sons were hanged on the gallows that had been prepared for Mordecai.

The book of Esther is unusual in that it is the only book of the Bible that does not contain the name of G-d. In fact, it includes virtually no reference to G-d. Mordecai makes a vague reference to the fact that the Jews will be saved by someone else, if not by Esther, but that is the closest the book comes to mentioning G-d. Thus, one important message that can be gained from the story is that G-d often works in ways that are not apparent, in ways that appear to be chance, coincidence or ordinary good luck.

This would be, of course, too long and complicated a story for the pre-schooler and probably only good for talking about more fully when middle school is reached. Then the questions can become even more complicated when the child enters the teen years.

Religious Jews celebrate Purim with a kind of costume party where many little girls are dressed up as Queen Esther, but so are the women; boys and men dress up as the King or Mordecai. The main message is celebrating the survival of the Jews.

The media and the Disney media support lots of heros and heroines, and makae every girl a princess and every boy a prince.  Video games also promote different types of hero and heroine worship — some good and some bad. What is a parent to do.

Parenting tip one: Accept that your children will seek and identify with one or another charactor in the stories they are told about heroes and heroines.

Parenting tip two:  Give some thought to the ones you want to promote.

Parenting tip three: Promote the qualities that the child can share with the hero or heroine.

Parenting tip four:  Talk about the hero or heroine at the level the child can understand. With Esther for example “She was brave and didn’t want her family hurt.” is what preschoolers can understand. With Moridecai, teens can be asked to ponder the fact that he gave his niece to the king’s harem. Good or bad?

Parenting tip five:  Kids do sometimes pick “bad” heroes or heroines,  video games seem to encourage that. Sports heroes are sometimes so intent on winning they become vicious.  Handle such choices by finding out what appeals to the child, and trying to find replacement heroes with better values.  Support that but at the same time promote the values of caring as being those that lead to the good life.



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Thank you and work at staying strong until next time,. I work hard to do the same as life is often difficult but staying strong lets me find the good.





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.



“You can do anything you want if you just want it enough” saying cranked me up as a parent and continues to as I age.  Hogwash. Not #emotionalintelligence. Expectation is the root of all heatache.

No matter what the experts say, you cannot have it all.

Parenting advice

Children do best when helped to hold realistic expectations about themselves and about others.  That is one of the main sources of emotional intelligence. How to get your child  there? Here are three tips.

Parenting tip one:  Get you own expectations in order. New parents are always shocked by how fast the bubble of bliss breaks.  Then come the parents whose bubble of competence bursts when a kid turn on them when puberty sets in.  False expectations working.

Parenting is hard work and angst combined with laughs, play, and good times.  Moreover, all society promotes the idea that if a parent does it right all will be right. Hah. Humbug.  Parents do not control all. Live with a colicky baby or a teen in love with the baddest other kid in town and you know what I mean.

Parenting tip two: Assume responsibility for your own happiness. I am a parent watcher and mostly in my treks around town see stay-at-home parents.  Great when they are obviously happy with their lot. Not so hot when resentful.

Saw three mothers yesterday at the swimming pool. One was taking delight in her child’s playing; one was engrossed in her smart phone, but did look up fairly often and smile happily when her child came to her for something; the other was stretched out on a lounger with a towel  over her face, when it started to rain, her kids had to wake her up.  She got up grumpily. Lit a cigarette and gathered her posssessions without a word to her kids.

Maybe she was having sweet dreams, but she was sending a harmful message.   She needs to get happy. Minimally,  to do what the second woman does, but not to konk out.

And yes, I understand, maybe she  worked the night shift;  still, her face and her child’s face showed no warmth for each other and that is hurtful. Better to spend a little bit of happy time together and more time apart then being miserable most of the time together.

And maybe she was a hired care taker.  If that is the case, the unhappiness  worries me also.

Parenting tip three: Remember age and stage. Preschool aged children  live on feelings – a day-dream that feels good is as good as reality. School age kids have a better sense of reality. When adolescence approaches reality becomes clearer.  What to do?

At every stage label fantasy, “Nice, but not real.” Label dreams dreams by saying, “Work hard, and wish for the best.”

Comment  off and on once kids can read  that good happens, bad happens, some things go as planned, something don’t go as planned and part of being emotionally strong is learning to roll with what life gives you.

Parenting tip four:  Learn and teach your child how to get past the bad times and develop a strong protective armor particularly for smaller hurts. I was raised to ignore someone else’s nasty words if sent my way. Saved me a lot of angst.

Two of my eBooks focus  on these skills. Self-soothing and Missions and Goals.  Remember all my eBooks cost less than a latte and provide longer lasting nourishment for your emotional intelligence.

Parenting tip five: Develop a Daily Emotional Fitness Program and practice it with your child. Go here some of for  EFT’s Easy Exercises.  See this Free EFTI poster for some other exercises. 

!2 Easy Emotional Fitness Poster


Thank you for all you do, enjoy and be grateful for all you have been given, practice kindness, like, share or comment. Sharing is caring.



This post relates to this  DAILY PROMPT: 190 Days Later –Back on January 21st, we asked you to predict what day #211 would be like. Well, July 30th is that day — how have your predictions held up so far? If you didn’t reply to the prompt at the time, is this year turning out to be as you’d expected?

My answer, I try hard to keep my expectations realistic. Not easy and the fact is expecting a bit more than I can do stretches me; but expecting too much frustrates.  As I age, I tend to think I am younger than I am and do expect more than is reasonable. No exception in my hopes for this year. That said, I am still on track for some of my goals and hoping to have a bit of luck to meet the important ones.