Sunday, June 26, 2011

To Role Model or Not to Role Model

I have always been just me. Even when I try not to be I seem to come creeping back through. Laughing is my favorite thing. When you talk to me, it is not overthought. When I have something to say, I say it. If I like you, you know it. If I don't, well, I learned to hide it pretty well because I find love for you anyway. I do what I want and throw a small tantrum everytime I have to do something I don't. I am usually scared all the time of failing or never reaching my potential. I would rather watch Dr Who than do anything else. I have terrible self worth and sway between feeling guilty for getting what I want or dread that I will never have it. I am always happy and never satisfied. I can be pretty blunt and hurt your feelings when I see a truth that may need sharing. I can be rather self consumed and forget to call you back. I rarely check my voicemail. I am far too overextended and may not find time to spend the time with you that you would like. I say all of this because it is really important information for later. So remember I said this.

Someone has recently pointed out that I am their role model. I panicked. A role model? Not me. I refuse. Thank you but no thank you. I never set out to become or ever thought of myself as a role model. Please take it back. A role model sounds so elitist, so alone, so "better than". After groups, I wake up in the middle of the night realizing that once again, I panic that I said something stupid and say a prayer that parents will not be calling me in the morning. When a girl leaves angry from my office, I cry because it makes me sad and truthfully kind of hurts my feelings. When I yell at my son, do I feel like I can give you parenting advice? When I catch myself judging someone do I feel like the example of love? I am not a role model.

I love my work because I see the commonalities of our humanity. I love my work because I love people. I believe that we are all broken and that we all have our own form of neurotic about us. We all have our own story of how we became. We are all scared, we all hurt, and we all want people to like us. More specifically, we want people to see us and to really know us because if they did they would be a little more careful in making sure they speak love on us and help hold our wounds. I think we are amazing. In the midst of our brokeness there is a strength that carries us forward. We are courageous everyday to put our broken selves into the world and always hope that this will be the day it becomes different. We are determined. We continue to seek our salvation from our thoughts and fears. We are humans living in the type of grace that allows us to demand justice that only works in our favor.

I can be that person for you. I have amazing people who do this for me on a daily basis. I can see you. I am honored to help hold your hurts and your fears. I have insight that comes only from being on the outside of you and being connected to my highest place of Love whom I call God. Together we can forge an authentic and loving relationship and that relationship will heal us both. Sometimes, I will be a step ahead because of something I figured out and sometimes I may drag you down. We will fight and have our feelings hurt otherwise it won't be real. This relationship may refer to me as wife, mother, friend, mentor, coach, or therapist but I promise that it will all be me. And if you remember from the begining, I am so not a role model.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

For Girls Week 2


Hand in hand with understanding is the offering of respect. Respect gets a bad rap sometimes because it feels like you are taking the subservient role instead of getting your point across. It is undoubtedly hard to give respect when you don’t feel you are getting it. This is true. Go back to the idea of who you are though. Are you a person who treats everyone at their level or are you bigger and better than that? This is about you acting in reflection to who you really are and want to be. Acting respectfully with your friends is a given, respectfully with your boyfriends-no doubt, and respectfully with your parents-well it’s worth a shot. Try these simple acts of respect and see what a difference they make!

Listen completely before interrupting or jumping to conclusions. Listening doesn’t mean you have to agree but it does mean you have to take turns. You also may be setting the example of how this new relationship works.

No one likes a drama queen so admit when you are wrong or overreact. It builds on their trust that you have the ability to be rational.

Finally, regularly and consistently remember simple manners matter. Say your pleases and thank yous, it reminds them what a nice pleasant person you are.

Nothing Shows Respect Better than the Willingness to Communicate:

One of the crazy making things that especially moms are known to say is “You just don’t talk to me anymore. I just want to know what is going on with you.” It is one of those statements that sometimes make us cringe and sometimes make us lash out. After all, if we could sit down and explain our thoughts and fears, our hopes and dreams, then we would be perfectly on top of our game and well, who is? Our worlds are often times so full and so chaotic that we wish someone could sit us down to explain what was happening and offer some direction. The good news is that it doesn’t take much to make parents happy. Taking a couple of minutes to talk about the small stuff everyday keeps a strong connection. That strong connection keeps your parents’ fears and grief levels down to remember that they are not actually losing you and therefore they are less likely to react from that emotional place when you ask to extend a curfew or have a mini adventure. It is a win-win for you both so totally worth the effort. It also does you a favor by allowing you to have them filled in on the whos and the whats of things in case you have a meltdown and need that supportive shoulder to cry on.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

For All The Girls Dealing With Moms

At one point in every girl’s life, she will look at her friends and ask “Have my parents gone crazy?” Your friends will laugh and roll their eyes because they know, they have. It is a strange occurrence, a kind of push-pull that makes getting along with your parents nearly impossible. They spend the majority of your life filling you up with ideas that you are bright, beautiful, and capable of achieving your dreams then turn around and panic every time you want to take the car. What is going on? How can you handle the stress of your parents on top of creating your own amazing life?

First, let’s look at what is happening for your parents. They really are going a little crazy but let’s understand why. Your parents have poured everything about themselves into raising you. You have been their life and their main purpose for everything that they do. Your independence triggers the letting go process for them. While you start to let go with some fear and much excitement, they start to let go and grieve the change in their jobs aka purpose of being. Every time you move forward is a small loss they must adjust to. On top of the emotional rollercoaster of preparing for you to leave, they have fears and insecurities just like you. They begin to question whether they have done everything they could have done to prepare you for the big world and just in case they haven’t, make a point to cram it all in. Underneath the crazy, they really do want you to take risks and have your life.
It all makes sense. Now you know, it’s them not you. As they say, “knowledge is power”, and as Spidey’s Uncle Ben reminds us, “with great power comes great responsibility”. Let’s break down your responsibility in this adult to almost adult relationship. You have the opportunity to create this relationship in the same way you are creating the rest of your life-with total fabulocity! There are four simple things you can do to curtail the crazy and gain your freedom. We are going to look at one a week!

Let’s start with offering plenty of understanding.

Knowing that they are freaking out is a big key to how you are going to choose to respond in different situations. When they are having a bit of a parental fit, and your mind is going to the idea that they don’t understand or trust you, you will most likely throw a fit back. I am not even going to go into the irony about how difficult it is to be understood or taken seriously while you are acting like a two year old yourself. However, if you imagine the same parental fit, and your mind goes to the possibility that they are scared and having a hard time letting go, there is an increased chance that you will act with compassion (a very adult quality) and give them a chance to be heard. Understanding simply means that you are choosing to understand that your parents are not obstacles to overcome but instead human beings that just love you a bit too much for what you had in mind in the moment. Understanding also demands that you remind yourself that it is not all about you. This is a relationship; you get what you put into it.

Monday, May 3, 2010

unethical or criminal?

Another girl killed herself because of online bullying. Did you hear me say another? People magazine covered the story of Phoebe Prince, the news covered the story, experts came and spoke to the public about the phenomenon of online bullying, but she is still dead. Interestingly, all the stories mentioned that the bullies were actually nice kids, popular kids, and good kids from nice families. Nobody agreed whether they should be charged for a crime. While everyone agrees that bullying is a serious unethical act, is it a crime?

Does this question sound familiar? It has been asked a lot lately in regards to certain activities that have taken place in the banking and business world. We saw what CEOs did and most of us demanded some kind of accountability or consequences for the lack of ethics in our economy. We are the victims of corporate bullying. The devastation we are experiencing stems from a group of people in powerful positions who chose self interest over the good of many. One could say that this is so high school.

We have become a Lord of the Flies Nation. We live by our instincts rather than our values. Our behaviors feed our emotions. When we live by our instinctual primitive self we feed our emotions of jealousy, greed, and fear. These emotions place us in a survival mentality, our higher selves shrink and we live in the lower instinct driven place. We lose empathy, compassion, and love. We become justified in our minds to our unethical acts. We become entitled. It becomes our right to post on social networking sites such as Formspring, where people can post anonymously, and Face Book things such as “You should just die” or “I would only date you if I could keep a bag over your head” (actual posts that I have personally seen).

I have asked girls why they allow the posting of negative things people say on their sites. The answer is always the same “It is better to know”. Girls are living on the defense semi believing the statements that are being posted. They are shut down by fear and insecurity making it difficult to live at a higher sense of self. When they see someone getting bullied, they do not make a stand but it is not because they are afraid, it is because it is normal. It is considered normal to be able to say and hear any degrading, hurtful, disgusting, sexualized comment that someone has on their mind. This is in addition to the rise in lying, cheating, promiscuity, and drinking being reported in high school students. This is a snapshot of our society.

The Dalai Lama defined being ethical as refraining from doing harm while being moral is to put good into the world. Our nation is in the midst of an ethical crisis. If we do not seem able to refrain from doing harm how can we put love into the world and change the standards of acceptable behavior? Parents are responsible for the moral upbringing of their children. This means purposefully teaching your children to intentionally put love into the world. This is our job as individuals and our job as parents and we need to take it very seriously.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Fear is scary

Someone asked the Dalai Lama how he dealt with fear to which he replied "I invite it in." Well, I don't usually invite strangers into my house so I thought it would be great to make it more familiar.

Fear is an emotion. It is pretty straight forward. Fear is a warning signal that goes through the brain to let the system know that you are about to experience a change in the current state of being.

Think about being in a bubble. You are standing in the center of the bubble and everything around you is safe. When something on the outside approaches the bubble an alarm goes off. "DANGER! Do Not Pop the bubble!" When we hear that alarm and look up at a dangerous threat to our safety we now have the information we need to move our bubble. BUT when we are inside looking out at something we want, we step forward to get it and guess what? The alarm goes off again! Our decision becomes to step accross the alarm to make something happen or step back into the center.

For this reason, hope can feel like fear. The funny thing about fear is that it is only an alarm. It does not have any messages or truths to offer you. It does not predict the future so it cannot tell you that you will fail. It cannot tell you that you are the one person on this planet that is neither good enough or never gets what you want. Those messages come from other places. Old places. Fear is just fear.

When we can recognize fear as fear, then we can fight it. How? Well, this becomes the work. We weild the weapons of perserverance, discipline, and determination. These are the tools that move us from inside to out of comfort zones. These are things that bring success. We strengthen those muscles every time that we face our fear and move toward what we want. Sometimes we will choose to honor ourselves and know that facing the fear is enough for a start and go back and build up the determination and perserverance to move later. That is ok too.

Underneath it all, to face fear is to trust in who we are at a level we didn't know we were capable of.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Inside Outside Upside Down

I was very sad when I heard that Brittany Murphy died. She was very beautiful and very talented. As I watched Clueless in her honor, I began to connect her journey through the film industry to the girls making their journeys through our society.

Both the high school society and the film industry hold similar values. Both value appearances over authenticity and both create an amazing expectation of perfection or flawlessness. Image is everything.

When we have the expectation of flawlessness we develop a crazy split of who we are versus who we think we are supposed to be. We begin to perceive our true selves as full of the flaws we are trying to avoid. So we create another self that is more acceptable to the standard image. We change our appearances as well as our friends. We begin networking instead of forming intimate relationships. The people in your party bus at senior ball can make or break you. The opinions of others carries more weight than the deep intuition of self. We become limited and disown everything we were created to be. It is a rutheless time whose messages carry into adulthood.

These next few weeks in group we are taking a very honest look at our core selves and all the mixed up messages that get in our way. At our core selves we are powerful as well as beautiful and even more than that we are strong. To even get there is difficult. It is a very painful, very scary, to go back to the place full of flaws and sort through the crazy mixed up messages that says we are not ok.

If only we could transcend without the need for perfection. If we could embrace our flaws and use our individuality for shared strength instead of competition we would have so much more freedom. We would know our strengths and our power and then we could change the world.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Friday Information Corner --Kristen Routh

Do you remember your first crush as an adolescent? Maybe that special-someone grabbed your attention in the hallways at school? Your heart would beat a little faster when you spotted your crush in the cafeteria or you sat behind that person in class. It seemed like you could think of nothing else but getting to know your crush, talking with him or her, or maybe even “going out.” You used all means necessary to capture your crush’s attention: “accidentally” bumping into him or her in the hallway after rehearsing how you would smoothly apologize seconds later; leaving notes in his or her locker revealing you thought your crush was cute; or maybe even gathering enough courage to ask for your crush’s phone number so you could talk to him or her outside of school hours.

Many of your children are experiencing crushes like these. Just like you had romantic daydreams focused on someone who remained agonizingly out of reach, your children are becoming enamored with the idea of having a boyfriend or girlfriend and are conceiving plans to grab the attention of that special someone. However, with the accessibility of modern-day technology, your daughters and sons have powerful new tools at their disposal what can help them turn their innocent dreams of social connection into what could become dangerous realities.

Technology and cyberspace now add new dimensions to youthful socializing and romance. Adolescents are branching out on the internet and using other forms of technology to make friends, flirt, and even date. Research from the American College of Obstetricians (2003) suggests that more than 1/3 of teenagers in the United States have a computer with Internet access in their home and that percentage increases substantially in more financially-affluent neighborhoods. Most adolescents use the internet at home for personal use including chat rooms, instant massaging, and social networking. With the increasing popularity of teens socially networking over the internet, more teens are sharing personal information online, including photos and videos, without your knowledge or consent.

How are your children connecting using technology? Here are just a few of the ways:
Adolescents keep their social networks buzzing with news of who’s-dating-who, who’s-cute, who’s-meeting-up-later-for-fun. With the accessibility of E-mail on computers and cell-phones, notes left in lockers and passed in class are being replaced with quick e-mails.
Instant Messaging: More commonly referred to as IMs, these online communications allow your children to carry on conversations in real time. IMing is now more popular than the home phone as a way for teens to talk.
Web logs: Known as BLOGS, teens pour out their thoughts, feelings, latest news on webpages rather than the pages of a diary.
Websites: Online gathering sites like and attract young people who come to meet others or even vent their private feelings through “status updates.” Photos and videos can be posted for public viewing as well as, messaging, emails and “wall posts.” Kids can search for existing friends on-line, view pictures of potential “crushes,” and even send private “friend requests” to people who your children may or may not already know.
Chatrooms: These are essentially electronic conference calls with many people talking at once. Adolescents often set up their own private chats, but some bolder chatters enter discussions with strangers in public chat areas.
Cell phones: Most parents buy their kids cell phones for safety reasons, however adolescents often view this device as a lifeline to their social lives. They can call, text, send photos, e-mail, and even remotely connect to social networking sites. Cell phones allow kids to reach out even more to people without the necessity of a home-based computer.
Camcorders/Webcams: No longer reserved for capturing major life events, video recording devices are used by adolescents to capture images of their friends and themselves in often embarrassing situations. Posting their videos to websites like allows the entire cyber-world to view and comment on your children’s videos.

Although there are many positive aspects of meeting and greeting online, parents need to be aware that misuse can lead to broken hears and bashed reputations. E-mails and IMs allow rumors to spread like wildfire on the internet. Someone intent on damaging another person’s reputation can easily send a message, photo, or video to hundreds of classmates at one time, by pressing one “send” button. In a 2005 survey conducted by MindOHI, an education company that focuses on character education, nearly 80% of the teens surveyed said that they had read or spread gossip on line. When that gossip has to do with a young girl’s sexual reputation, the emotional damage to that girl can be devastating.

The same survey by MindOHI found that 50% of the teens surveyed had seen a website that made fun of their peers. Teens dump their boyfriends or girlfriends “publicly” on webpages, or even post photos of other teens after Photoshoping or morphing their faces into embarrassing creations. Teens often take camera-phone photos or videos of other teens caught in public displays of affection and upload the private moments to the internet or post to websites where millions may view it, causing deep wounds to teen’s reputations.

Parents may blame the Internet when something bad happens such as their child’s hurt feelings, or even more serious problems such as children meeting online strangers in person. However, blaming the Internet may backfire on keeping your children safe. Many adolescents who are teased or tormented in cyberspace withhold that informations from their parents, fearing that they will be forbidden to go online. Hey reason that it’s better to tolerate the teasing than to be cut off from their social world.

Here are some things to consider to encourage open communication with your children about the proper use of technology:

  • Focus on the behavior of your children, not on the technology. The technology may have changed, but kindness and decency should still be at the top of both you and your children’s list. If your daughter is going to break up with a boyfriend, she shouldn’t send him an e-mail or text message to do so.
  • Talk about public versus private with your teen. A young girl may think it’s okay to pour out her innermost thoughts on a public website. Point out how that information may be used against her or might be used to fuel rumors.
  • Consider your child’s age when buying a new technological device. Does a 10-year-old really need a camera phone, or will a basic model suffice? Can you be sure your child won’t misuse a webcam? If you decide to buy a technological device, instill the message to your child that there is a responsibility that comes with receiving the new device.
  • Talk about romance and relationships. Kids may have a lot to teach parents about new technology, but parents have more to teach their children about relationships and romance—on and off the Internet, with and without technology. If parents neglect to talk about the excitement of love, crushes, and relationships, adolescents will get their information from peers, the media, and the Internet.

    How are your children connecting using technology? Talk with them, and find out today.