Tag Archives: appreciation

Who is the expert?

By Bruce R Allen, MSW, LCSW

When my daughter was about 16 she was taking the advanced algebra class in high school.  For me, algebra was little more than a traumatic memory and something that stoked a sense of inadequacy that I never wanted to revisit.

homeworkhelp_22552156One night she called out to me and asked if I would help her with a homework question.  I figured, hey,  I finished college, I can probably help with most high school homework questions. Then the fear shuddered through me when I saw that the problem she needed help with was algebra homework.  I secretly thought Well there goes that Dad on a pedestal deal.

She showed me the problem she was working on and explained were she was stuck.  I looked at the symbols on the page, listened to her explanation of the issue and realized that I knew nothing!

I decided to ask her,  “So, are there any other problems in your homework that are similar to this one that is stumping you?”

She looked at it, studied the page and replied “The one before is similar.”  I asked, “Did you complete the one before it successfully? Did you solve that one successfully?”

“Yes, I’m sure I got that one right!”  I then asked her, “So how is the one you are working on different from the similar problem that you got right?”

She looked at the problem again and said, “Ohhh”, now I‘ve got it.”

I stood up to leave the room and said,  “You’re welcome.”

She said, “For what? You didn’t do anything.”

This lesson was a powerful one for me.  I didn’t need accolades for helping her, but certainly I wanted to feel her appreciation.  I realized though that she was 16 and that it was more important for her to see that she had what it took to solve her own problem.

Often when people present us with a problem, we feel that it is now our responsibility to solve it, or at least give good advice.  It was much more empowering for her to base her solution on what she already knew, and have me trust that she could figure it out with just a bit of coaching.

Besides,  I didn’t have to fail in my attempt at solving an algebra problem.

What if we can do this with our friends and the people we work with?  Sometimes finding the right questions to get at what people already know and want is the most potent way to help.

Changing Habits

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

Could you list all your daily routine tasks? What is your morning ritual? How about your evening  process getting ready for and going to bed? Easy, right. Yes, these habits probably change slightly or perhaps more dramatically when you are on vacation or away from home. But most of us have a solid routine we follow throughout our day, whether we are conscious of it or not. We are creatures of habits.

Following these routines in fact, helps us to meet our need for safety and security, accomplishing these necessary chores and tasks mindlessly and thoughtlessly. Being thoughtless and mindless is not a good practice in all areas of our lives. But it is for the daily mundane and necessary habits that take up much of our daily hours.

Take a moment and consider your regular and routine thoughts. Do you know what they are? These habitual thoughts change from time to time as your plans and events change. For instance, you might be considering all you want to accomplish before you take your summer holiday. It is unlikely that you are spending much time and energy thinking about your Christmas or Hanukkah celebration now. But it was only 6 or 7 months ago these habitual thoughts probably filled your thinking.

Just as you can change your morning ritual by brushing your teeth before you eat breakfast (although I don’t know why you would want to) you can also change your habitual thinking. But before you can change it, you need to first be aware of what you are thinking and telling yourself.

For instance:

 When you think about your sibling(s) what are your thoughts? Happy and pleasant?  Sad  and worried? Angry and disconnected?

When you think about your job, your boss or employees, your colleagues, your pay and benefits, what are your thoughts

When you think about your:   children?   finances?   spouse?  friends?  neighbors?             political representative?  weather?

What are you worrying about? How are you spending your thinking time? Are your habitual thoughts contributing to your Mental Health & Happiness? Maybe it’s time to change your thinking habits and switch to joy, appreciation and love. When you spend more time in grateful thinking, your actions, feelings, and physiology will also improve leading to improved Mental Health & Happiness.