It's Only My Opinion

Things I want to tell my kids that won't fit on Twitter

Archive for the tag “decisions”

8 Keys to Getting it Right: Respect, Responsibility, Reputation

The world is an interesting place. As I sit down to write, there is talk of Nuclear weapons. My 10 year old is asking if we are going to be bombed. Of course, as a parent you want to calm their nerves, say the right thing, and inside you are hoping that what you are telling them will in fact, be the truth. The thing is, we don’t know the future. We don’t know what will happen because I cannot, they cannot, you cannot, control events like that.

RESPECT how we spell respect!So what can we control? We can try and control the way the world sees us, judges us, and interacts with us by teaching our children the importance of the Three R’s: respect, responsibility and reputation. In my opinion, we can consciously choose to help guide them in showing respect to others, taking responsibility for their actions- or being a responsible member of the family and making sure that their actions do not damage their reputation (or ours as their parents) in the process.

As adults, we see, better than our children do, that the road they are on based on the decisions and the actions they are making, may lead them. We can’t, with any certainty, predict what North Korea may or may not do, but we can see, based on what we have observed in and around our own lives, what may happen to our kids.

8 Keys to getting it rightThis is what I usually share with my kids. “Listen, do I know what may or may not happen if you do “this”? Absolutely not. But based on my life so far on the planet, I see that this or this or that may happen. You can continue to do this and you may get away with it. It may not hurt you or anyone else in the future. Or it might. Is that a chance you are willing to take? I am not here to tell you what to do, but I do feel like I need to share with you some of the outcomes as I see them.”

What I do know about (my) teenagers is this: they want as much control over their lives as they can get. They don’t want adults telling them what to do. If I present my insights as opinions and not fact, then they can sift through what I am saying and view it respectfully. I don’t tell them what choice to make; I simply offer outcomes as I see them. My husband and I want our kids to learn and practice the Three R’s. We point out the times when they are not being respectful, when they are given responsibility and how they show they have earned it and when their reputation is on the line. Blair likes to say that when you are responsible with the small things you will be given bigger things to be responsible for. For example, you teach your son about the value of taking care of his bike. You teach him to put it away, to wash it and not leave it in the driveway to get run over by the family car. When the time comes, he will know what it means to take care of a car. If they respect your authority as a parent, your rules and guidelines, they will know what it means to respect a manager or a boss a girlfriend or a husband. They will also recognize when others are disrespecting them (big bonus). If we teach them to make decisions and act according to their values, to protect their personal reputation as they grow up, they will know what it takes to build and protect a professional reputation as well.

Your reputationIf we have any chance is this life, with as much as we can’t control, it will be because our kids learn how to respect others, take responsibility and protect their reputation in the world. In my opinion, The Three R’s are just as important as all the other keys to getting it right. When our kids practice them with consistency, we know we’ve given them a huge gift. We’ve also given their teachers, coaches, and bosses and spouse a gift as well. Don’t you think?

1. Attitude is everything
2. Do the right thing
3. Do more than you are asked
4. Expectations = disappointment
5. Don’t make excuses
6. Everything matters
7. The 3 R’s: respect, responsibility, reputation
8. Have a Spiritual Practice

Catherine Kolkoski on Google+

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7 Keys to Getting it Right – Attitude is Everything

It was the middle of the night and I was thinking about my kids and what my husband, Blair and I , are trying to teach our children. What is it that we think is so important that we say it over and over again? What are the statements, those declarations, we have been making to all of our kids from day one? You know. The things you say so much that one of your kids eventually says to you, “I know Dad. You’ve said that a thousand times.” Those insights you want to ingrain in them so much that, as the parent, you tolerate their eye rolling and the pleading, “I know. I know, you say that all the time.” What are those mantras that you hope will one day be repeated by your kids to their kids? One day it seems that they could have cared less what you thought, and what you thought was important, and now they are, in fact, repeating your words.

I’d like to share 7 of the things that I wrote in the middle of the night. They are, in my opinion, keys to getting it right in this world. My plan is to take some time over the next few weeks to address each one. Why we share them with our kids, why we repeat them and why we try with all our might, to get our kids to understand how important attempting to live by these statements may prove to be in their lives.

  1. Attitude is everything
  2. Do the right thing
  3. Do more than you are asked
  4. Expectations = disappointment
  5. Don’t make excuses
  6. Everything matters
  7. The 3 R’s: respect, responsibility, reputation

Attitude is everything

No matter what you do in your life, no matter what you believe someone else has done to you- you only have control over one thing- your attitude and how you respond. You can’t control what someone else will do or say, but you always have the right to choose your response- your attitude. The more positive your attitude, the more positive the energy you will exude. A positive attitude is infectious. If you have the chance to hang out or do business with a person who constantly complains or a person who is full of positive energy- you choose a good attitude every time (you may choose the complainer but that gets old and you eventually look for a way out).

I’m not saying that you should never be unhappy, that you should never complain or never be depressed. I am saying that you shouldn’t make it a habit. It shouldn’t be what defines you or how other people describe you. It should be a blip on the screen that is you. Make a conscious choice to have a good attitude, to be a person who has a positive outlook . It is a gift you can give to yourself and to others around you. Sometimes life is not going to go your way. Sometimes you will sit on the bench. Sometimes you will not get what you want. It is inevitable. The attitude you have, the attitude you decide to have, will be the difference between if you play the next game or ride the bench again. Whether you get the next job you interview for or if you keep applying to other positions in other companies, whether your friend stays by your side or decides your friendship has had its season. Believe it or not, you have a lot more control than you think you do. It’s only my opinion and I believe that attitude is everything.

Next time…Do the right thing

Catherine Kolkoski on Google+

London Calling: Olympic Inspiration

I like watching the Olympics with my kids. The Olympics are full of people with amazing stories. Stories of hopes and goals and dreams come true. From what I have seen they are people who usually knew, from an early age, that they were meant for something bigger. Most were encouraged by family and friends. When my kids were very young we turned off the TV for an entire year- no TV for 365 days and nights. That was an amazing year as my kids learned how to be creative. They did so many other things with their time and because of this opportunity they learned to create, to entertain themselves, to play together and to just- be. We turned our TV off for an entire year except for 10 days: when the Summer Olympics were on. We watched the games every day and then during the commercials the kids would run outside and pretend they were Olympic Athletes. They’d see how far they could throw a stick – the javelin or how fast could they run across the driveway- the 50 meter dash. They were young and carefree and creative. (Man, I would love to turn the “boob tube” off for another year. )

I want to watch the Olympics with my kids again because I want them to see what is possible. I want them to hear the interviews with athletes, to see what hope sounds like, what hope looks like. I want them to hear someone their own age talk about what happens when you decide to do something and then set your heart and mind and body to accomplish it. What sacrifices you have to make, what dedication you have to have, what obstacles you have to overcome. And then what success and triumph and glory looks like.

Lately,  I’ve been studying a lot about having dreams and setting and achieving goals. The one consistent  message  I have heard is this: Do not give up. Never give up. Never quit. Don’t stop.

In my opinion, every Olympic Athlete that is in London these next 10 days knows this- has lived this. Watching the Olympics, I am hoping my kids hear that message as well. That no matter what you want, if you want it badly enough, if you commit to it with all your heart and mind and body, and never give up, you can do whatever you want. You can be whoever you want. Isn’t that part of what is meant by “The Olympic Spirit”?

That inspires me.

Freedom

Today is the 4th of July. Independence Day. Our independence as a country from Great Britain.  So we celebrate. We eat a lot, some people drink too much. In most parts of the U.S. we light fireworks (sorry DE, MA, NJ,RI, NY ). I am older now and I am thinking about “my freedom.” What does that mean to me? What am I free from? What am I free to do? Not to do?

I’m a big believer that you don’t get something for nothing. If it seems too good to be true than it’s a scam and run the other way. If it is any good than it always costs you something. Take the price you are willing to pay for your freedom. The price you are willing to pay for it can be a lot like bidding on Ebay. You go in wanting it for a set amount. You get attached to it. You wait for the “time left” to inch down minute by minute. Then you enter your maximum bid. Instantly, you are outbid. You bid higher. You are outbid. You bid higher because you have to win. You have to have it. And before you know it- you’ve spent more than you were planning. Without a thought you gambled it all away because you were “in it to win it”. You had to have it and were swept away, even committed, to doing whatever it took to get it.

What would life be like if we were all committed to making our little part of the world we live in the best we could?  How much would you bid? How much would you sacrifice? How deep would you go? Would you get swept away because you had to have it and would give anything to get it? How much are you willing to pay for your freedom? What price did others before us pay for our opportunity to even consider this idea?

We need to treat our freedoms; our right to choose, to pray, to play, to work, to speak, to love, to even have an opinion, like something on EBay that we have to have.

In my opinion, we have a lot more freedom than we think we do. We just may not fully realize that we can’t have it for free.

Your Decision – Your Consequence

The only parenting book I have ever read was, Parenting with Love and Logic by Foster Cline and Jim Fay. When I find something that makes perfect sense to me, something that resonates with me, I stick with it. The philosophy of the book is this: kids like to have some control in their lives no matter how old they are (1-18). As parents, we should indulge them that freedom by giving them things to choose from that we, as parents, can live with.

For example, when younger kids want to pick out their own clothes to wear to school, you could lay out 2-3 shirts and 2 bottoms and let the little one choose between what is offered. The same applies to lots of kinds of choices.  The other concept in the book that I think is powerful is the idea of consequences. A child makes a choice and then, as long as he/she won’t hurt themselves physically, lives out the consequence of the choices they make. How many times has your child wanted to go to school without a jacket, thinking it was warm enough they did not need one. Why fight with them? Why argue? Let them go without a coat and let them experience being cold. Next time, they will make a better choice for themselves because the experience they had was based on a choice they made and also lived with the consequence. In my opinion, kids, no matter how old they are, need to make choices and then live with the consequences. That is how they learn.

I wish for, I pray for times when my children can make choices and then experience the consequences of their decisions- good and bad. The thing is, the younger they are when this happens, the smaller the consequences. The older they are, the more serious the consequences. I don’t eliminate the opportunity for them to make choices for themselves. I pray for consequences they can live with and learn from. My husband doesn’t always agree. Two of my kids are in high school and I believe that the grades they get are their grades. Not mine. I try and explain what I believe could happen in their lives with good grades and what options there may be with bad grades. Do I shirk my responsibility or punish for bad grades? Not really. I may take privileges away, things I believe are distractions (phone, Xbox, etc) but I don’t punish. I do not sit in their classes, I cannot study for them or take their tests. So I believe they need to be responsible for their grades.

In my opinion, my job as a parent has less to do with telling my kids what to do as it is to try and discuss their options, support their decisions and watch them enjoy or suffer through the consequences. So pray for consequences when they’re young. When they’re older it could mean the difference between keeping or losing a marriage, a job or their lives.

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