Thanks to Stand for the Silent for sharing the virtual stage and allowing me to discuss how to build trusting relationships! Continue to lead, inspire, and give our children a voice.
Here’s why I love Stand for the Silent:
A group of high school students in Oklahoma City, OK started Stand for the Silent in 2010 after they heard the story of Kirk and Laura Smalley’s son, Ty Field- Smalley. Ty (11) took his own life after being suspended from school for retaliating against a bully who had been bullying him for over two years. The organization exists as a platform to allow Kirk and Laura to share their story, and offer education and tools that will prevent their tragedy from happening to another child and family. Kirk and Laura’s mission is to continue to change kids’ lives and bring awareness to bullying and the real devastation it causes.
Since May 2010, Stand for the Silent has reached over 3,000,000 kids in almost 5,000 schools!
Anyone else ever find themselves constantly battling a barrage of reoccurring toxic thoughts? If you are anything like me, it sometimes feels like you are losing that battle. What’s worse? Our thought patterns (i.e. our habit of thinking in a particular way, using particular assumptions) drive our actions. So we find ourselves in what appears to be an infinite toxic loop: our toxic thoughts create toxic assumptions which inform toxic actions. It’s time to breakout of that loop with these three steps:
Step 1: Create New Habits.
As in any other part of our lives, habits are formed by repetition. For example, this morning, my wife asked me, “why are you going to the gym so early if you are not required to go to work until a little later?” To which the only logical explanation I had was, “it’s a habit.” It is so much of a habit that I wake up at the same time (or earlier) even without an alarm, and if I try to lie there in the mornings, my mind will start racing and my body will start aching. So I just get up. The same is true when bedtime comes; I can easily fall asleep mid-sentence/mid-thought! (Ask my frat brothers who would have me out all night partying during college 😅.) Take a second to think about a habit like this you’ve formed over the years. When did you start? Can you even remember? My mom tells me that I’ve been waking up and falling asleep early since I was a young child. As it was when I was a child, that sleep pattern or sleep habit is fueled by an anticipation of what tomorrow holds.
This same logic applies to our thought patterns or mental habits. Whether we remember when the habits started or not, there is one thing that fuels these habits: our assumptions. In a previous post, I discussed my admiration for how our powerful brain gives us the ability to control our emotional responses. More specifically, I highlighted the cerebral cortex which, according to https://www.simplypsychology.org, the cerebral cortex “is the outer surface of the brain, [and it] is associated with higher level processes such as consciousness, thought, emotion, reasoning, language, and memory.” Many neuroscientists believe that our cerebral cortex “saves energy” by operating off of assumptions, and these assumptions are developed by our past experiences.
Author’s note: Most people stop here because they conclude since they cannot change the past and the past develops assumptions and assumptions fuel mental habits, then their mental habits cannot be changed. That is a very logical conclusion… Buuuuuut keep reading.
We can create new experiences! Here are a few tips to get you started:
Watch different movies and documentaries. I am personally a huge fan of action & adventure and comedies; however, National Geographic and The History Channel are also two of my personal favorites.
Take a vacation or travel to a place you have never been (even if it’s only a couple of towns over).
Try new food. I love food, so any post I get to mention food is a plus for me! Again, broaden your horizons!
Listen to a variety of music. We all have our favorite genre, but remember, we are creating new experiences. Listen to different genres and international versions of your favorite genre.
Take an interest in writing. Write about what you see. Write about your fantasies. Create a journal to record your thoughts and emotions or a food log (my least favorite lol) to track what you eat. Write a book if you’d like (I did it and so can you)!
All of these tips will work towards creating new experiences and ultimately developing new healthy mental habits.
Step 2: Indulge in Fresh Thoughts and Ideas.
Now that we have established a way to break our old habits through new experiences, we have to start programming our mind to think differently. In my studies of the Holy Bible, I found an excellent passage that universally applies to thought: “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” -Philippians 4:8 NLT.
Let’s break this down to how it applies to life.
True: Let’s start by focusing on reality vs our perception of reality. One of the first cliches that comes to mind is, “perception is reality.” Wrong! Our perception is the lens through which we view life. (Sometimes our perception can be more like blinders than lenses). Similar to our assumptions, perceptions are based upon our experiences. Therefore, by creating new experiences, we are increasing our ability to see and understand reality through a clearer lens.
Honorable & Right: Despite what we may see on the news, I am a firm believer that mankind is inherently honorable (ethically and morally good). This thought inspires me to show goodwill and serve others, so I encourage others to think the same.
Pure: I love how Oxford Languages defines pure: “without any extraneous and unnecessary elements.” Sometimes our minds get so bogged down with negative things we consume on a daily basis. My recommendation is to be aware of the world around you, but don’t become consumed with the negative aspects of the world around you. My challenge for you is for every negative you read or witness, consume and meditate on at least two inspiring or positive things for balance.
Lovely & Admirable: Have you ever just stopped to take in the beauty of nature? I am a guy who loves warm weather; in fact, I have been frostbitten before, so cold weather and I are not best friends. Even so, I absolutely love a sunny day after fresh snowfall. Although the temperature may not be as warm as I’d prefer, I cannot help but walk outside, take in deep breaths of the cold, crisp, and seemingly filtered air, and smile as I see the sun glisten off of the sparkling snow. This is just one example of the peaceful places I have learned to admire and enjoy. What lovely things can you think of? Where do you go to find peace?
Excellent & Worthy of Praise: Think about the things you are grateful for. Even our worst situation is better than someone else’s best. If nothing else, you are alive and able to read this post. No matter how seemingly small or insignificant, celebrate every single win. You deserve to celebrate yourself, your accomplishments, and your life. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Step 3: Command your thoughts!
If you have ever seen the movie “Cast Away,” you may remember the main character, Chuck Nolan (Tom Hanks), floating on a makeshift vessel. This vessel had no steering wheel, sail, or any way to control or steer. Chuck was at the mercy of the sea–carrying him whichever direction it pleased. Is anybody willing to admit our thoughts are just like this? 🙋🏾♂️ Mine are! Sometimes my thoughts take me to a place of bliss, enjoyment, and peace; but more often than I’d like to admit, my thoughts take me back to the infinite loop I mentioned before if I let them. Sometimes following these negative thoughts seems adventurous and addictive, but I assure you they lead to a never ending cycle of toxic actions and behaviors. Therein lies my final piece of advice:
Command your thoughts!
Identify and write down your reoccurring negative thoughts. This is pretty simple: we cannot and will not get rid of what we cannot identify.
Identify your triggers. What is causing your negative thoughts? Is it TV? Is it the people around you? Is it social media? Take some time away (at least 30 days) from your triggers to see if that helps you improve.
Replace your thoughts with the thoughts we mentioned in Step 2: Fresh thoughts and ideas.
If you are anything like me, you read blogs like this with skepticism. Well allow me to encourage you; I use these steps in my daily affairs, and I have seen a huge change in my mental health and overall enjoyment of life! Start applying these steps to command your thoughts today!
trust /trəst/: firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. -Oxford Languages
Hey parents, teachers, and mentors! We know trust is a must when it comes to leading, but do we all know how to build trust with our children? Let’s have a quick chat.
I was recently thinking about a trip my family and I made to Sky Zone Trampoline Park to celebrate my oldest daughter’s birthday. This is one of my favorite ways to celebrate birthdays because it is fun for the entire family (and we are not on the hook for the after-party cleanup)! While there, my son–who is enamored by ninja warriors–decided to take on the Warp Wall (picture below). After a couple of tries, he made it to the top! There was only one problem; he miscalculated the distance between the Warp Wall and the pole to exit the obstacle.
I instinctively told him, “alright son, go ahead and grab that pole and slide down.” I missed the fact that he was clearly stuck–afraid that he would injure himself if he attempted to come down. I tried to coach him on how to safely dismount to no avail. After about two minutes of rough parenting (I was really struggling to get him down lol), I finally said, “just jump! I will catch you.” Surprisingly, he was more receptive to this idea. “Are you sure?” He responded. “Yes. Trust me.” He finally came down.
In retrospect, I probably said about one hundred words in that long two minutes, but “trust me” were the only two words I needed. My son’s trust in me caused his fears to decrease and his confidence increase. Trust is a powerful and vital tool for effective leaders. Here are five ways to build trust with your children.
Five Ways To Build Trust
My generation would simply say, “do you, boo boo!” In other words, be who you are, not who you think others want you to be. On one hand, you do not want to broadcast every intricate detail of your personal and professional life. On the other hand, you do not want to give the perception that you are perfect. If you give that perception, you will inevitably build a tower of high expectations on a foundation of false hopes. Then, when you make a mistake, that foundation will shift and cause the tower to collapse. Be comfortable with the person in the mirror. That’s who your children want/need you to be.
You need to have clear, open, and frequent communication with your children. They should never be surprised by your expectations or thoughts about them. Be completely honest by telling them how their unique skills contribute to your household’s success. Don’t be afraid to show emotion as you lather them in positive affirmations, but try to limit or completely eliminate your negative emotions while correcting them. Being transparent exposes your true motives, so let your children know you have their best interests at heart and prove it through your consistent actions. As I have said before, more is caught than taught.
According to Oxford Languages, integrity is “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.” The key word is honesty. You should strive for your actions to be consistently honest and your decisions to be morally sound regardless of the circumstance. Why? Because your children are always watching! You cannot convince your children that you are transparent with them when your actions wreak of dishonesty and deceit. They would accurately assume your lack of integrity perforates every single aspect of your life–including your relationship with them. Be honest, make morally sound decisions, and consistently demonstrate integrity.
Here’s a general rule of thumb: whatever you do, follow through. Follow through on your promises, rewards, and discipline. Be organized, maintain structure, and be consistent with who you are (authentic), what you do (transparent), and how you do it (integrity). Be physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually present for your children. Always remember this: empty promises lead to shallow and untrustworthy relationships.
Some say, “knowledge is power,” but I believe applied knowledge is power! Nobody wants to follow a clueless leader. So we have to be continuous learners who simultaneously apply what we learn. Our children are counting on us to constantly learn more and refine our parenting and mentoring skills. Guess what? You are working on your proficiency right now by reading this, so kudos to you!
Remembering and applying these five tips will undoubtedly enhance your relationship with your children and restore the power to those two words we discussed earlier: “trust me.” Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you next time!
Proven techniques to help you reclaim your life. Get unstuck and thrive!
Updated on July 24, 2022. Did you miss the Conquer Anxiety & Toxicity conference? No problem! Here are the videos!:
Hello my friends! Imagine being able to stay in the comfort of your home listening to top experts giving you tools and strategies that are proven to conquer anxiety.
Imagine your child’s future of success and resilience. Imagine you being able to feel confident within yourself. Now that’s invaluable! You can join “Conquer Anxiety & Toxicity” for FREE and gain access to live interviews from experts in the industry. Use this link to sign up!
Not convinced you should attend yet? Here’s a little more background:
My friend, Deb Kartz, asked me to help her lead a life-changing pre-recorded summit for parents and professionals to take a deeper look into Anxiety and how it can impact the lives of children, teens, and adults! Yes, anxiety is your body’s natural response to stress and helps us notice dangerous situations and focus our attention, so we stay safe. However, when anxiety starts to interfere with daily activities and routines, and you or your child feels nervous, panicky, or fearful on a regular basis, it is when you need to face those internal feelings.
When you’re feeling anxious or having a panic attack, do you notice your palms get sweaty, and your heart feels like it’s going through your chest?
Is your child glued to your hip and won’t sleep in their bed?
What about your teen who makes all the excuses in the world not to go to school?
Is this what you’re experiencing?
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to reduce your anxiety so you can keep moving forward with confidence? Have you felt stuck and frustrated because your child is stuck in their emotions, feeling anxious, shy, or angry?
If so, I have something mind-blowing to share with you, but you’ve got to act fast before it disappears!
You’re invited to be a part of this amazing summit with expert speakers to help you get unstuck and receive the tools to make a difference in your life and your children. We are putting this pre-recorded summit on so you can get the tools and thrive with confidence.
This event, “Conquer Anxiety & Toxicity,” will give new light and hope to moms, parents, caregivers, and professionals.
Did you know Anxiety disorders are among the most common and most treatable mental health conditions that impact adults, children, and teens?
Parents are uniquely positioned to help their children because children look up to their parents for reassurance and safety.
The biggest misconception about anxiety is people think it should be avoided, which can cause adults and children to fall into a bigger trap and feel anxious, fearful, and angry.
“Conquer Anxiety & Toxicity” will open a new doorway so you will learn new ways to approach your anxiety and your children’s anxiety. With proven techniques, tools, and strategies, you will feel confident in yourself, and you will see your child grow with self-esteem and be resilient.
This 21-Day summit aims to build awareness that anxiety is treatable. You will have new insight into dealing with your child’s stress and see when they are stuck in their emotions; you will be able to work through it together. You will gain confidence in yourself as a parent with anxiety. This 21-day pre-recorded summit is FULL of scientific studies backed with research that gives you the tools to get unstuck and flourish and help your child and loved ones who are suffering in silence with anxiety.
My friend Deb Kartz is a Parent and Wellness Coach and creator of “Conquer Anxiety & Toxicity.” She wants to share this exclusive invitation for you to be fully immersed in your heart’s dream to go from feeling trapped inside your body to feeling confident within yourself and have your child flourish with self-esteem. Deb wants you to receive guidance from experts she hand-picked for their expertise in anxiety.
Deb is a mother of three grown children who once lived a life of complete turmoil and trauma for over two decades. After years of research and education, she has been able to help her children through their trauma and transform her own life. Her passion is to educate and help others understand the importance of nature, nurture, and growth.
Together with my friends and colleagues, I want to give you the encouragement and knowledge to get unstuck with your anxiety and be resilient to promote a nurturing, safe, engaging environment for your children. You will have the tools to encourage your children’s social, emotional, intellectual, and behavioral competencies! Don’t let anxiety take over. You have it in you to thrive; you just need the tools to break the cycle.
I’m one of the featured speakers! (And don’t worry, I brought all of my energy and excitement!)
I’ll be sharing my own methods on how you can conquer anxiety and toxicity! Anxiety and toxicity are just another way that sneaky “shadow” tries to creep into our life and our children’s lives. As my Amazon best-seller Crow From the Shadow says, “The Shadow is a person… or maybe a thing… or a place. The Shadow tells me who to be, how to go, and where to stay.” Not anymore! We are going to expose that sneaky shadow and kick ’em to the curb! Join us for FREE as we #defeattheshadow to conquer anxiety and toxicity!
I saw this article, and I HAD TO share! This is exactly what my platform is all about; parents, teachers, and mentors coming together to guide and inspire our children. The concerned dads saw a need, and they took action!
“Dads on Duty” is an exceptional concept, and I pray we replicate these kind of initiatives throughout the entire world. Well done gentlemen!
We are going to talk about “impact” soon, but first… it’s story time! Last Friday, I hopped in my car to go grab my son from school. This is always an exciting surprise for him; namely because my wife typically picks him up from school due to my work schedule.
Instinctively, I started the car, adjusted my seat, buckled my seatbelt, and began checking/adjusting my mirrors… rearview first, then side view, then one last check in the rearview. That’s my routine. On my latter rearview check, my eyes widened–there was something exciting heading in my direction… The FedEx truck!
Note: This is not a paid advertisement for FedEx… Although I would gladly collaborate with them lol.
As the FedEx truck approached, my anticipation and excitement continued to grow! It was finally time!!
What’s the point??
I’m sure by now you are just waiting for me to reveal what I got in the mail right? What heartfelt gift (or hilarious prop for my silly antics) had I ordered this time??
Welp, I hate to disappoint you, but I was neither expecting nor receiving a package that day.
So why was I so excited? What was I anxiously waiting for? What is the point of this blog??
Ok, I’ll tell you! I was waiting for the FedEx driver to say, “hello!” Seems weird huh? Let me explain. There is this one FedEx driver who delivers in our neighborhood that ALWAYS greets us with a warm smile and wave. It’s like I have known him for years! He even tacks on a “see you tomorrow!”
He used his platform to leave an impact!
As the excitement grew, I realized how impactful his simple “hello” is on my day… My life. I realized how his smile, wave, and “see you tomorrow” actually makes me look forward to greeting him and having a brief yet impactful conversation the next day.
I neither know his name, where he’s from, nor his background. However, I do know he is using his platform (FedEx driver) to positively impact others’ lives–with a simple smile and wave!
So I encourage you; you do not have to be the strongest, the smartest, the wealthiest, or the most famous to impact others’ lives. YOU [we] have the power to positively impact others regardless of how big or small our platform is.
Remember this: The size of the audience doesn’t matter. The size of the impact does!
This week, let’s make a conscious effort to positively impact EVERYONE we encounter. Here are just a few examples of ways you can use your platform:
Donate to charity or someone in need.
Help a friend create a midterm exam study guide.
Help someone refine their resumé.
Visit a friend in prison or visit one of our elderly in the nursing home.
Purchase someone’s groceries or meal.
Allow someone to merge in front of you during busy traffic.
Support a small business or an indie author (I know a guy that writes children’s books… Me…. I’m the guy😁) either by spreading the word or making a purchase.
Smile, wave, and say, “have a great day!”
We have the power to positively impact others’ lives! Let’s do it!
Rejection does not rival success. It reveals the true fighter within.
So there I was; working on a new blog post titled, “Responding to Rejection,” when my brother (Dr. Clement Ogunyemi) posted the below on his Instagram page:
This was so powerful to me that I had to share! Dr. Clement used a simple but extremely effective tool to turn a negative circumstance into a teachable moment. Anyone else have any tools and/or stories like this?
In short, his oldest son (Ethan) was not accepted into the National Elementary Honors Society; something Ethan really wanted. So, Dr. Clement used this as a teachable moment and opportunity to encourage his son.
Moral of the story: whether you are teaching a toddler to stack blocks, introducing geometry, or helping a juvenile parolee find a job, remind the child that they CAN! We believe in them! Rejection is not the end, it is motivation! 💪🏾
Join best-selling children’s book author and Mental Toughness Expert, Niels Van Hove & best-selling children’s book author and U.S. Marine Officer, Olaolu Ogunyemi on Facebook Live as they discuss life, mental toughness, fatherhood, and more! You do not want to miss it. September 1, 2021 at 8:00 PM Eastern.
Exploring the importance of spending quality time with the ones you love!
Hey folks! I hope everyone is doing well on this beautiful Saturday evening. So, I was watching this video on Facebook, and I was reminded of how important time is!
Here’s tonight’s tip!
Take a Break! That’s right. Unplug, turn off the phone/laptop/tablet, and give your family undivided attention.
Invest time into building intimacy with your family! Another word for “intimacy” is “closeness.” This is where you truly get to know the people you live with. Communicate. Ask questions. What makes them happy? Do you know what makes them sad? What are their interests?
Memorable moments. As a country guy from Louisiana, I became extremely familiar with losing power whenever there was a little rain. One of my fondest memories is sitting around a lantern while singing/harmonizing with my family! My parents created such beautiful moments and memories during those times. I encourage you to strive to create and capture (if you can) your own memorable experiences. Your family will appreciate it later!
Enjoy the moment! This is for the super-duper organized planners… Or those that are super-duper busy… Or whatever your “super-duper” is that distracts you. Be an active participant in creating the moment and enjoy every bit of it! Eliminate the distractions.
Alright, that’s enough for this evening. Time for me to get back to the crew. I hope you enjoyed this evening’s Quick Tip about TIME! Check out https://parent-child-connect.com/blog for more great Quick Parent Tips!