Firebirdlifecoach's Blog

Pursuing a Passionate Life

Through the Eyes of a Child December 13, 2013

eyes
(As some of you may know, I am a regular, contributing expert on divorce for several online publications. The below post, is actually a copy of my most recent submission, so the “voice” of the article may sound a little different than what you are used to here. That said, I think it’s an important topic, particularly at this time of year, so I thought I would share it here, too.)

“Sorry I couldn’t give you that game console you asked for, if your dad paid his child support on time, maybe I would have been able to afford it.”
“It looks like it’s just you and me for the holidays this year, your mom is so wrapped up in her new family, she doesn’t have time for us.”
“Is your father going to do anything at all for the holidays, or does he just expect that I will do everything, just like I always did when we were married?”

When you read words like that, you may think, “I would never say such a thing in front of my children, even if I was thinking it” and if that’s the case and it never happens – then great! You are doing well, with something that is often very difficult to “master” in the wake of a divorce, particularly, if it was a contentious one. But for many it is hard to not let your feelings and frustrations bubble over, particularly at this time of year, when added responsibilities and financial pressures can make you feel squeezed beyond your normal tolerance level. It’s hard, it’s really hard and sometimes even with the best of intentions, we may vent in front of our kids often in an effort to explain away what we are a experiencing as some sort of inability to create the holiday memories for our children that we had wanted to. But clearly, allowing ourselves to let these sort of comments, slip out can be a lot worse for our kids than whatever it was we were trying to justify or explain away in the first place.

Have you ever really thought about what your child hears and feels when you say something like this? Chances are, it is not what you intended.

It doesn’t give them a better understanding of why there are less presents under the tree. It doesn’t prove to them that you are the parent who has their best interest in mind. And it doesn’t benefit anyone to have them “choose a side”. All it really does is – hurt.

This is their mother or their father that you are talking about. Children need to know that their parents love and care about them and undermining that, doesn’t really just undermine your ex, it undermines the very foundation of a child’s self-worth and self-confidence. It is true in some circumstances, the other parent may be disengaged, non-supportive or even abusive – but driving that home isn’t really the best message you could be giving your child; not at the holidays and frankly, not anytime.

If you need to vent, write in your journal, give out a scream when you are driving alone in your car, talk to your family, friends, therapist, coach or support group – but leave your kids out of it. The best gift you can give your kids this holiday is: yourself. Let them know, you are there, that you love them, are proud of them and a grateful to have them in your life. We can all go without “stuff”. One more video game left on the store shelf due to lack of funds, pales in comparison to the warmth and confidence of a child who knows they are valued and cared for. Do not let your disappointments become theirs. It’s not about the stuff, it never has been. Look through the eyes of your child, take a moment to see the world as they see it – and then give them what they really need. It doesn’t and will never come in a box.

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The Power of Us, Indeed! December 6, 2013

MA ConfAlmost exactly a year ago, I wrote a blog about my experience attending my first MA Conference for Women https://firebirdlifecoach.wordpress.com/2012/12/07/the-power-of-8000-women/. Now a year later, I am writing this post, about my experience at the same conference that I attended yesterday. And while the words whirl around inside of my mind looking to form themselves into clear and coherent sentences, I shall borrow a comment from last year’s post that more simply encapsulates the experience of the day – Wow!

Working on the sheer magnitude of the event itself; the gigantic space, the caliber of the speakers, and the number of attendees – it was at the least, impressive and more accurately, awe-inspiring. This year’s attendance total topped the previous year’s record-breaking numbers, with a sold-out crowd of 10,000! Making it the largest women’s conference in the country. Holy cow! Do you have any idea how large a space has to be to accommodate a sit-down luncheon for that many people? Well I didn’t before I saw it with my own eyes. In all honesty, it took my mind a moment to comprehend what my eyes were taking in. http://www.maconferenceforwomen.org/

Like last year, the experience was highlighted by some fabulous keynote speakers. Susan Cain, author of Quiet, a powerful book that is bringing introverts out of the shadows and into their gifts. Linda Cliatt-Wayman, principal of Strawberry Mansion High School in Philadelphia, who saw a need, and made a choice to uplift, empower and love some children who desperately needed the intervention of her caring and dynamic presence. Doris Kearns-Goodwin, world-renowned historian who has documented and illuminated some of history’s most significant leaders. Blake Mycoskie, founder of Tom’s Shoes, who found a way to create a business model that “gave back” every step along the way. Leymah Gbowee, Nobel Peace Laureate, peace activist and women’s advocate, who used her power and compassion to create real change in the lives of women and girls whom life had forgotten. These were only some of the movers, shakers and luminaries – from keynotes to break-out session leaders – whose stories alone were worth the price of admission.

But this year, the thing that stood out for me the most was the privilege I had to represent the International Coaching Federation – New England Chapter as one of fifty certified coaches that provided coaching services to attendees. http://www.icfne.org/
What a wonderful experience that was! In the space of two hours, I had the honor of meeting and coaching, six beautiful women, each on their own journeys, each with their own challenges, gifts and goals – and to share my gifts and talents with them to aid them on their paths forward. It is hard to put into words, the sense of gratitude and honor I feel to have been able to contribute and connect, even for such a brief time with these individuals. To these women, and in fact to all of us who were present yesterday, may we be fueled by the inspiration that the day provided to step into our own power and to step out into the world and make a change for the better. I am proud and honored to have been there with you! – Lisa

 

One More Item for the List December 2, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — firebirdlifecoach @ 6:42 pm
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December Sunset(I don’t generally “cross my writing over”, but for the sake of economy – today’s blog is the text from my monthly newsletter. Freeing to birds with one click, if you will… For those who receive both – sorry for the overlap.)

Well, its December already, how the heck did that happen? Many of us find that this time of year brings a lot of “extras”, extra shopping, extra cooking, extra socializing, etc. And while most of you are likely not going to welcome the fact that I am about to suggest that you add one more thing to your already growing lists – I promise this is one you may want to do. 😉

As our calendar year draws to a close, this is a great time to do a little internal reflection on the year that is about to draw to close. As we get ready to bid farewell to 2013 and begin a new in 2014, why not spend a little time reflecting on what the past year has been like for you? Consider where you were as 2013 rolled in and what changes and developments have taken place for you.

  •  What were you most proud of?
  • What have you learned?
  • What were your struggles?
  • What were your achievements?
  • How have you grown?
  • What memories do you want to savor?
  • In what ways did you take care of yourself, the people and things that are important to you?

It won’t be long before we are beginning a new year, when often we begin again in earnest to commit ourselves to those things that are important to us both personally and professionally, so taking stock before moving forward makes sense now more than ever.
You don’t have to make a big deal out of it. If you choose to ponder the year and write down what comes to you then great. If you choose to just let yourself consider these questions as wait in line at the mall, then that’s fine too. Planning forward is great but missing the lessons you have learned along the way because you didn’t make time to acknowledge them is a gift lost.
Reviewing where you are and where you have been allows you space to envision where you want to be. It’s a part of the process and an important one, so go ahead add it onto the list, it doesn’t cost anything, there’s no clean-up, and no wrapping paper – but it is still a gift you can give yourself during this busy holiday season.