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Mar 30

Detour of Compassion

Posted on Monday, March 30, 2015 in Emotional, How To, Relational, Social, Spiritual, Values

winter_night_1A long day had become a longer night. It was by then a cold and snowy night.

As they often do, snow-covered roads made driving a challenge. And, more than once I heard the rattling sound of my anti-lock brakes trying to slow my slide.

It was 11:00 P.M. and the roads were empty. I saw no one until I bent around the right curve of Brookdale Drive. There walking on the snow-covered sidewalks was a man. We traveled in the same direction.

Mar 9

Life Is Short

Posted on Monday, March 9, 2015 in Emotional, How To, Relational, Social, Spiritual, TreeHouse, Values

001_1This is a picture of my friends Tiffany and Barry. I’ll see Barry next month. I last saw Tif in 1991.

Tiffany, Kris, Jenny, Eric, Rajjon, Adam, John, Beng, and Tyler, all TreeHouse teens. All gone. Way too soon.

Life Is Short

This is post is part of a series entitled “10 for 25.” It’s about ten lessons – most of them hard lessons to learn – that I’ve learned over my twenty-five years at TreeHouse.

Life is short. Our time with loved ones is never guaranteed.

Mar 6

Over My Head

Posted on Friday, March 6, 2015 in Emotional, How To, Relational, Social, Spiritual, TreeHouse, Values

AnnMariePookieI took a left turn into an unfamiliar parking lot. I pulled into an open parking spot. With some uncertainty I stepped out of our car.

I walked around the landscaped wall. Turning right I entered what appeared to be the backyard with a very well designed wood deck positioned to my left. Seeing a door into the building I turned the corner.

Smiling in front of me was fourteen year old AnnMarie. (Pictured on the left next to Rachel)

AnnMarie  walked directly up to me and asked, “Hi! Who the @#$% are you?” That was my introduction to TreeHouse.

Nov 5

Stormy Night

Posted on Wednesday, November 5, 2014 in Emotional, How To, Relational, Social, TreeHouse, Values

treebranchessky-74600_640Gender bashing
Culture clashing

Voices
Cascading
Even louder
Like crashing symbols

Yelling
Screaming
Stammering
Clawing for attention

No!
You’re wrong!
That’s $%^&&*&* up!

Listen!
Point made
Counterpoint

Last night I had the hardest support group I’ve led in more than ten years. Teens yelling, screaming, not listening to one another nearly enough.

At TreeHouse teens learn that they are not alone in dealing with any issue. There is always someone who can relate to what is going on in another group member’s life. Teens learn how to support someone else in need. They are reminded that they are lovable, capable and worthwhile. TreeHouse support groups become a place where youth know that they will always be listened to and that what they say matters to others.

Aug 27

12 Ways To Encourage A Child (Ages 0-118)

Posted on Wednesday, August 27, 2014 in Relational

quantitative-58283_640Angry teens.
Parents in pain.
Explosive children.
Perplexed neighbors.

What can we do?

Every child I’ve met wants to be affirmed that they are lovable, capable and worthwhile.

We can start there.

12 Ways To Encourage A Child (Ages 0-118)

“You Are Lovable!”: Give attention to their character.
– Who they are has greater value than what they achieve.
– Accept mistakes; show grace.
– Bad decisions, poor choices and mistakes can be great teachers.
– Offer unconditional love. Trust can be conditional, love cannot.

“You Are Capable!”

Aug 26

Broken Mirrors

Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2014 in Emotional, Relational, Social, Values

broken-mirror-1128615-mShouting.
Crash.
Slam.

He could hear the yelling from the neighbors’ house every night.

Shouts of anger.
Shouts of pain.
Shouts of passion.
He wondered,
“Was there any gain?”

The Cost of Turmoil

Teens, families, friendships and all kinds of relationships suffer because of the lack of peaceful conflict resolution skills. Conflicts arise, those involved feel hurt, disappointed, afraid or frustrated, and it quickly turns into anger. Anger often erupts in retaliation or brutal honesty. Alienation increases, relationships are broken, and scars are formed.

Aug 25

Mirror Clash

Posted on Monday, August 25, 2014 in Emotional, Relational, Social, Values

mirror-56762-mIf every time you looked in the mirror you saw someone different looking at you at would add to your stress too.

Mirror

The process of adolescence is complex and unpredictable. The young person experiences physical changes that catapult their childish frame into that of an adult. The intellect intensifies to form logical patterns of thinking and begins to formulate future plans. The teen also struggles to form an identity separate from that of a child or a mature adult. Meanwhile, the teen is faced with issues of morality and must make critical decisions about sex, drugs, and other social behaviors.

Aug 11

Captivated by Love

Posted on Monday, August 11, 2014 in Emotional, Relational, Social, Spiritual, Values

heart - daisyToday I’ll be visiting with some special friends. One of the subjects we well undoubtedly discuss is love: Family love. Parental love. Dating love. Romantic love. Marital love. The love for the arts, and love for the artists who create it.

I’m sure we will talk about love.

Tomorrow, my wife, Amy and I will celebrate our 326th month wedding anniversary. We’ll talk about our love.

After all this time you think maybe love would be a breeze, but no.

Selfishness creeps into my heart and mind so easily.

Jul 16

Predictable

Posted on Wednesday, July 16, 2014 in Emotional, Relational, Social, Spiritual, TreeHouse, Values

Note: This is part 3 of the series, By The Numbers. Catch up if you need to:
1. Paint By Numbers.
2. By The Numbers.

photoIt’s 2:38 A.M.

Few people who know me well would be surprised that I’m awake. Almost everyone would be surprised that it’s 2:38 A.M. and I just woke up.

Huh?

I’m a night owl, but last night I had to go to bed early for a 4:15 A.M. wake up.

Predictably I didn’t need an alarm. Predictably, I didn’t want to startle Amy awake at 4:15 A.M. Predictably, I woke up early enough not to need an alarm.

Jun 12

Push Through Your Fear

Posted on Thursday, June 12, 2014 in Emotional, How To, Relational, Social, Spiritual, Values

think-1313532-mYesterday I would have screamed, “Don’t Act Like A Jerk!” if I wasn’t so aware of my tone of voice.

My tone of voice and the underlying thoughts and feelings have tripped me up more than I’d like to admit. Before I got around to admitting it, in this post, I asked: What should you be seeing in your own life? What do you let stand in the way of seeing it?

Hopefully you’ll think about that a while, but in the meantime with an honest assessment in hand, I’ll tell you how I’m dealing with my contribution to the turmoil I tend to create.