Tag Archives: relationship

Letting go

by Dr. Ken Larsen

It was one of those winter nights where it was dark by suppertime.  We had a pleasant meal together.  The girls helped cleanup and then it was story time.  I read from one of their favorites, “A Wrinkle in Time”.  As usual there were questions and discussion afterward.  I loved the thoughtful look on the girl’s faces as they pondered some of the deep ideas we had just read and discussed.

father-daughterOne yawn preceded another telling us it was time to trudge upstairs to get ready for bed.  Tonight was my turn to help the youngest get her jammies on, pray together and get her tucked in with a goodnight kiss.

I selected a fresh pair of pajamas from the dresser and laid them on the bed.  The last thing I expected was to have my little angel protest my selection.  She became quite indignant and just a bit vocal, stating that she did not want to wear THOSE pajamas.  She wanted to pick out what she wanted to wear.  She was clear on being a big girl and not needing Daddy to make those personal choices for her.

My first response was indignation and a rising insistence on her wearing what I had selected.  It was the beginning of a little power play.  It suddenly hit me, “What difference does it make?”  I had to ask myself why was it important that she stay with my choice and not her own?

Fortunately, I must have received a bit of “Daddy grace” to give in and let her choose.

Later I had to chuckle over what I had learned about letting go.  Since that time my youngest daughter has shown good judgement, not only in pajamas but in her husband and in her chosen profession.  She recently earned her Master’s degree.  Plus, she is co-creating our 15th grandchild. J

The urge to control the behavior of others, especially our children, seems to be built into us, perhaps as a necessary protection in their early lives.  As time moved on I learned how important it is for my mental health and happiness and the mental health and happiness of my children to slowly step away from control and move into encouragement and support.   Not to do this might build an unhealthy dependence, or an equally unhealthy resentment and rebellion.

I don’t want to leave the impression that we achieved anything near perfection in this process, but we did make progress, especially progress toward healing some of the overly controlling experiences from our past.

I found that I would rather maintain a healthy relationship with my children than enforce my will on their choice of pajamas.


Can you make a difference? You already have.

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

In 1990 there was interest and research in understanding why some children raised in challenged circumstances were able to rise above these hardships while others did not. Was there something about these children that made them more resilient and able to overcome the incredible odds against them? 

What emerged from this inquiry boiled down to one significant and important factor. The children who had a strong positive relationship with one responsible and caring adult had greater resilience, perseverance and grit. This special adult might be a parent, a teacher, a coach, a scout leader, some other relative, family friend, or a relationship that developed with someone who started out as a complete stranger. Who the person is  is not nearly as important as that there is a person. Isn’t that amazing?


Were you lucky enough to have that kind of strong, supportive and encouraging relationship with someone in your life? This was the person you could count on always being happy to see you, who believed in you during those times you had trouble believing in yourself. Perhaps this person showed you kindness when no one else did. Or maybe they were the person who got strong and tough with you giving you that kick in the rear that got you moving again. Were you lucky enough to have that kind of a champion on your side?

Anyone who thinks they are too small to make a difference has never been to bed with a mosquito   Gandhi                                

Take a moment now and realize that you are that person for someone else!  The relationship may not have been for a long time or long term. Perhaps it was only during one school term or coaching season. Maybe it was even more brief. You were the person who smiled at the stranger you past in the street. But the chances are good that you have been the one positive and responsible caring adult who showed support, encouragement and kindness to another person when they needed it. You provided that moment to help with their need for some resilience and grit. Take a moment to consider the impact you are having on the people who share the planet with you?

Today, choose to be that person. You may already have a person in mind that you believe could use a little extra attention, support and encouragement. If not, set your intention to be a kind, supportive and encouraging person today. Be open to whoever the universe puts in your path.

One of the quickest strategies to improved Mental Health & Happiness is reach out and help another person. You already have in ways you may not even be aware of. And today you can make a conscious choice to once more touch another someone.

Making Dreams Come True

by Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

You gotta have a dream. If you don’t have a dream, how you gonna make a dream come true?    —  Happy Talk from South Pacific 

People who regularly write down their goals earn nine times as much over their lifetimes as the people who don’t, according to Dave Kohl, professor emeritus at Virginia Tech. 80% of Americans say they don’t have goals. Sixteen percent do, but they don’t write them down. Less than four percent write down their goals and fewer than one percent actually review them on an ongoing basis. The one percent are the most likely to be successful in goal attainment.

What’s a goal? A dream! Choice theory psychology explains that our dreams and our goals are the quality world pictures we have of how we want to meet our needs. These dreams, or pictures are based on our experiences of what is actually need fulfilling. But they don’t have to only e based on reality and experience. Our quality world pictures are also what we hope and expect will be need fulfilling for us in the future. In other words, dreams. We don’t need to limit our dreams to what is possible or realistic.

Glasser, in his many books and articles explaining choice theory psychology stated that our motivation comes from inside of each of us. Our behavior is our constant attempt to satisfy one or more of the five basic needs, for safety, love, power, fun, and freedom. Everything we do is initiated by our urge to satisfy our pictures, dreams, goals.

goals_desiresOne of the challenges we each face, however, is that we often want more than one thing at the same time. As you sit reading this blog you may also be aware of your goal to get to work on time, or keep an important appointment, or some other goal you have for yourself today.

Not only does each of us have more than one dream, goal or picture we are aiming for, there may be other people in our lives who make demands and requests, distracting us toward our own goal. Because we probably have an equally important picture in our quality world of maintaining these connections and relationships we allow ourselves to be distracted from the constant and singular attempts toward only one dream.

What’s the solution?

Write down your dream or goal as specifically as possible. Dream bigger than is reasonable as “unrealistic expectations”led to our most profound discoveries and changes. (Think Steve Job’s impossible dream that every person would depend on a hand-held computer that could also be used as a phone, camera and video recorder.)

Aim for a balanced life where you are aiming for dreams in all areas of your life that are important: family, health, career, intimate relationship, education, hobby, spiritual life, finances, adventures or vacation, what else is important to you?

Create a 1 year, then 5 year, then 10 year plan so you know what dreams you are aiming for today, and what part of other dreams you are aiming for today.

Review, evaluate and adjust your dreams/goals as well as your progress regularly, if not monthly then at least with every change of season.

futurequoteCelebrate regularly! Celebrate your dream coming true, Celebrate your hard work as you continue to aim for a goal. Celebrate to inspire you to keep working, dreaming, learning, and living! Celebrate because you can!

Start today by writing down just one dream. If you don’t talk happy and you never dream,then you’ll never have a dream come true, Bloody Mary tells us in South Pacific.

Dreaming a dream, setting a goal, and working towards and for it ensures Mental Health & Happiness.


Trusting-Part Three

By Kim Olver

This is my third and final blog about the healthy relationship habit of trusting. This is something that works for me and I hope it can also work for you. I know in the area of trust, one of the things that gets me through is a faith in the balance of all things. I believe that just like the naturally occurring elements, situations are equally balanced with positive and negative charges.

This belief especially helps me when I have experienced broken trust. While that is a painful experience, I also know there is equal positivity attached to it. I just have to find it. I know there is a lesson, gift or opportunity that will bring me joy or enlightenment so there is no injury when trust is broken.


An example I just learned about this weekend happened when a woman I was speaking with told me about her father committing suicide. It was a terrible betrayal of trust. She was in serious pain over the experience. When she thought about a lesson, gift or opportunity, she said, “Wow, when my father died my sister and I inherited enough money that we were both able to buy our own homes. This would never have happened if my dad were alive.” Naturally, if she could choose, she would want her father back but we often have no control over the broken trust; we only have control over what we choose to do about it.

Learning how to balance out the pain with a lesson, gift or opportunity is one choice you can make that will improve your relationships as well as your mental health!

Can you think of the lesson, gift or opportunity that came from the last time you felt betrayed?