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I'm Pam, and I'm glad you're here. I hope my thoughts on family, faith, and the flux of life help you laugh, fire you up or just make you think.

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i wonder. . .

Is this a familiar theme in your household?
How was your day? fine.
What happened at school? not much.
Wanna talk about it? not really.
It seems like no matter how hard I try, those questions never seem to get much information. A wise school counselor once suggested I use different words to ask the same question. Just [...]

stop the nagging

How’s your morning routine going? Do you hear some variation of this tape running every day:
“Get dressed. . . you’ve got to eat breakfast. . .brush your hair. . . do you have your homework? . . . don’t forget your lunch. . . did you brush your teeth?. . .it’s really cold out there, make [...]

mind games

Sometimes I feel like my kids are out to make my life miserable. 
I know.  It’s a horrible thing to say, but when I’m self-absorbed, my thoughts get distorted and the Evil Mom tape starts playing in my mind.  I begin to believe my three charming children are doing everything they can to irritate, embarass, or distract [...]

revisiting parenting principles

For the new year, I find it helpful to revisit key principles of parenting, faith and other things.  Here’s a post I wrote in the beginning of my blog about parenting:
I lead workshops for parents to build communication and relationship skills.  I do this not because I’m a perfect parent (far from it), but because it [...]

siblings below the surface

Our vacation time has been sprinkled with the usual sibling quips and quarrels.  I hoped to stem this with the magic letter tactic, but of course, the kids have done what siblings do when in close quarters for a couple of weeks.  They’ve had great fun together, and they’ve had several good spats.
Great opportunities to [...]

holiday harmony? episode one

Vacation began a day early last Friday with a foot of snow at our doorstep.  What a great way to start Christmas!  Visions of sledding, hot cocoa, baking (um. . . maybe), and cozy family time danced in our heads.  Two weeks of happy family harmony. 
Right.
By 8:30 a.m., echoes of yelling, crying, hurt feelings (and possibly bodies) [...]

sorry vs. soulful apologies

Have you ever insisted your child tell another how sorry he is?  Does he ever glare at you with a pouty lip, look at the floor, and spit out “SORRry” in that resentful tone?  Or better yet, does she flip her hair, roll her eyes, and play her best imitation of the latest pre-teen star?  Surely [...]

the fantasy reunion

If money were no object, how would you plan the perfect reunion?
I would invite friends and family who have scattered all over the world and bring them together.  I’d include people from my hometown I haven’t seen in ages, people from college, colleagues from my professional career days, and friends with whom I’ve lost touch.  I’d [...]

finding the gift

“Mom, what’s good about mosquitos?”
My kids ask this on a regular basis, because I taught them to look for a good purpose for everything.  We’re still debating what purpose mosquitos serve beyond spreading disease and feeding bats.  Of course, I do understand natural selection, and the mosquito question is one of the smaller evils that can stump us, [...]

Praise that sticks: “I noticed. . . “

If your child showed you a project you wanted to praise, what would you say? 
Most parents in my workshops respond, “Good job!  Nice catch.  Wonderful story.”
There are two parts to every verbal interaction with our kids:

1)  Our words (good job!)
2)  The child’s internal words (“cool!” or maybe “whatever, mom” or “not really“)

Which one carries more weight?  [...]