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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Can America's children be successful in school?

I am frustrated with professionals that think huge problems can be solved with a specialized approach.  In other words addressing one side of a problem somehow makes all the other sides fall into place.
As a Mommy Detective - and hopefully a relatively smart individual - I understand that our lives are complicated.  That means that our actions are often based on an array of circumstances and variables.  We respond to our world because of the hundreds of interactions in our lives.  Something that happened in grammar school is compounded by a host of other issues that build on the first.  As the problem forms layers, the original issue is masked.  As issue upon issue develops, we begin to respond to our world in a negative way.  Like the layers of an onion, it's hard to tell where one layer ends and the next begins.  It's important to always remember however, that no action is ever based on one circumstance.  We are complicated creatures.

We are constantly being changed by our environment and our relationships.  We find insight and change because of something we read, hear or view.  Most problems can't be solved by changing one situation or interaction in our lives.  Most problems are caused by and must be solved with multiple changes.

For that reason, I get upset when some new author or professional wants to announce to the world that if we changed just one thing - crime would go away, children would be smarter and the economy would grow.

In order to cause real change, we must look at all the issues - not just one.  For example, I watched Michelle Rhee on Fox news this morning (at least until the power went out).  To give her credit, she is a very smart person and knows a lot about education.  She is extremely upset about teachers vs. the reading and math scores of children across this nation. 

I agree that some people choose teaching just for the benefits, money and summer vacations.  But, I also think there are a lot of teachers who are dedicated to their jobs and will do anything necessary to promote the success of their students.  Ms. Rhee agrees with that statement. 

While you can't ignore bad teaching - you can't put the entire blame in that one area.  There are other reasons our children are not succeeding in school.  Ms. Rhee also agrees but continues to come back to the one area of ineffective teachers.  Consider the following....

1.  Parents are not involved in their child's education.  They turn their child over to a school and hope for the best.  With both parents working, time scheduled for every sporting event possible, music and art lessons and multiple chances to socialize - there's no time left for Mom and Dad to get involved in the Academics of their child?

2.  Parents, media and social groups do not promote the desire to be smart.  I hate movies like Dumb and Dumber, all reality shows and most radio talk shows.  They promote the underlying theme that it's more acceptable to be angry, stupid, out of control and a sexual pervert.  They look down on the hard working kid who makes straight A's, wants a virtuous relationship, hopes to marry for love...not just sexual attraction... and plans to work to make this world better.  Instead their vocabulary is incredibly small and the only way they can express their feelings is with cuss words.  (Unfortunately too many parents are infected with this stupidity disease)  They don't promote character but instead center solely on money and things.  Their self-esteem is not based on intelligence, wisdom or solid relationships so they strive for fleeting moments of praise based on looks or anger rather than on real worth.  They think it's smarter to take the easy road to fame rather than the dedicated road to a life of honor.  They would rather act like an idiot for the camera than be smart in designing a good life.  Fun for them is anything that gets attention instead of gaining proper attention for doing something worthwhile.  And then we wonder why children are depressed or having a hard time fitting in..duh!

With these mentally destroying subversive actions being promoted 24/7 by the media and outside sources to our children - it's a wonder any child chooses the path of knowledge and wisdom.  Most parents allow their children to idolize dysfunctional stars rather than promote a healthy self-esteem.  Without good role models...why would a teen want to study?

3.  Socially our children are being taught to strive for the "stun gun" rather than for intelligence.  The "stun gun" approach is anything that you choose to stun those around you - and take their attention away from judging your capabilities.  Instead of striving to be recognized for their abilities most children would rather have the fleeting praise for some outfit, piercing or bad behavior.  When we allow our children to go for the stun gun approach, we eliminate their desire for worthy based praise.  When we eliminate personal competition, we eliminate the drive to achieve higher goals.

4.  It amazes me that parents allow their children to "skip" over the logic of life.  For example, we allow them to follow fads and think  it's an expression of who they are.  Baloney!  Fads drive children to be one of the fit be the walk like zombies and leave their looks in the hands of greedy designers.  There is a difference between "class" and "fad".  Fads usually don't make you look good.  Fads are based on greed.  When a person has more than enough clothes to look his best - designers come out with some new "fad" hoping to force you into spending more money.  Fads are never about making you look good.  Fads are about dipping into your pocket.  Thank God for the parent or child that says - "I'd rather have control over how I look and save my money so I can buy a new car.  I'm not going to spend my money on clothes that aren't flattering so some actor mogul can waste my hard earned money on himself.

Real class on the other hand is a way of dressing so that you look your best.  It's individualistic and will play down your body's negatives and highlight your body's positives.  Looking like a bum will cause you to act and study like a bum.  Looking like a well dressed high achiever will help you psychologically strive to do better.  Duh!

Our children should be taught to strive for wisdom, intelligence, class and an independence that refuses to let CEO's determine how to spend their paychecks.  Instead we are raising children that are like stupid little sheep being lead around by actors, designers and reality stars who don't have enough talent to fight their way out of a paper bag.  We allow them to teach our children to be angry, selfish and lazy.  They spend more time thinking about sex than their own future and don't see that they are trading real success for fleeting attention.

4.  Parents are not teaching their children common sense.  Children instead are allowed to act as if nothing matters but their desires - and they don't have the ability to put the entire picture together.   For example, because some high school drop out rapper (I think I'm an artist but I'm really not) doesn't have the intelligence to pick out clothes that fit - our teens blindly follow his lead.  Don't they realize that no intelligent person is going to take them seriously when they can't even figure out their body size?  What employer is going to hire someone that can only use one hand because the other one has to hold his pants up?  Who wants to hire someone that doesn't have the intelligence to understand and purchase a belt so both hands can work? 

5.  Manners are an extremely important educational tool.  Manners teach discipline.  Discipline determines your ability to follow through a project, to sit still and listen, to understand consequences and problem solving - manners are vital to your child's success in school.  Show me a child that can't say Please, thank you or I'm sorry - and I'll show you a child that has some type of problem in school.

I've actually talked with teens who insisted they had to follow the fad of bad clothes, greasy unkempt hair, bad language, poor manners and bad grades.  They fussed with me about how important it was to fit in, be accepted and try to be popular.  It's so sad when years later they knock on my door to see if I can provide answers for their lives.  At 30 they cry on my shoulder and wish they had their youth back.  "I'm working a dead end job because I was too stupid to use my school time wisely.  I've wasted my life and now that I have a child it's even harder to try to repair the damage I've done.  What am I going to do now?  Why didn't my parents love me enough to say no?" sad....:(

I'm one of those terrible tough parents who required my children to think about their actions and their futures.  One by one each child has thanked me for forcing them to stay on the road to success.  A parents paycheck often doesn't arrive until a child is 30 or even 40.

Education does not have a one cannon fix.  If we want our society to do better and our children to actually learn - we better look at the social issues that are impacting our children.  We need to change the entire focus of this new generation in order to make a real impact on their future success.

I'm currently reading The Essential 55 by Ron Clark.  I encourage all parents to take a look at this book.  It will give you a great place to start your child on the road to education and success.

God loves you,


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Interview with Debbie - Are there solutions to every problem? #2

Are there solutions to every problem? #2

While I believe that God has an answer for every problem, I also believe that we often walk away from problems that could be handled if we were committed to the work.  Don't get me wrong...I think that we should pray about all our problems and we should allow God to be 100% involved.  But I also think that sometimes we can answer our own prayers if we are willing to work on it and willing to consider all the clues.  Let's look at some examples.

Let's take a newlywed couple that's fighting over money.  Is it really something to fight about?  Shouldn't it be more of a math problem.  Maybe each person should be willing to give 100% to make the bottom line come out in the black.  Instead, they fill every moment with negative thoughts about not getting what they want out of the situation.  They point the finger at someone else without considering that there are some changes they could make. 

I've heard some pretty awful statements about children.  "My child is a brat."  "I don't know why I ever thought having children was the right thing to do."  "I don't wish them harm....but I'm sick of my kids.  I need a break."   Without realizing it, these parents have subconsciously given up.  They are complaining rather than problem solving. 

Yes...I personally believe that every problem in life has a solution. can't magically change a handicapped child into a mentally perfect child; can find ways to make the journey with that child pleasant.  No, you can't make a full bankruptcy go away as if it never happened.  You can work on a plan and get your financial house in better condition.  Even when it seems like your relationship with an old friend will never be repaired, you're willingness to continue to be nice may finally break a frozen heart.

If you want a better life, the first thing you have to do is change your own attitude.  Be determined to find answers to your problems even if it means hard work, a different attitude and an idea that's outside the box.  Be willing to change and you'll always come out on top.

God loves you,


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Interview with Debbie - Are there solutions to every problem?

Do you really believe there are answers for every problem?

Yes, of course I do. I feel that way because I’m a Christian and I believe that God is all knowing and all powerful. What does it say about God if he made the world and all inhabitants but he doesn’t have answers for our problems and doesn’t want to be involved?

Thinking that God is not involved in our lives or that he doesn’t have answers reduces God to a simple creative artist. It takes away his power. I believe God always answers our prayers but he may not give us the answer we want.  He might say one of four things.

1. No
2. Yes
3. Not until you are ready
4. Not until someone else is ready

I’m sure that some folks who have been hit with terrible tragedies feel as though God could have intervened or maybe they are mad that it happened in the first place. That’s a hard pill to swallow unless you look at the facts.

God can be all powerful and ready to help you and give you a good life….but your actions or the actions of those around you - can throw negative forces in the mix that change the dynamics of the situation.

God may also have a marvelous plan for you, but if you stomp your foot and shake your fist at him in defiance refusing to follow the plan – it may not materialize.

God might then go to work to develop a new plan…a plan that will get you out of the mess you are in, but no matter how much information he sends your way…if you aren’t listening how can He help you? Like a little two-year old in a mall and on the run….no matter how much God calls you and demands that you come back, you keep running.

Sometimes God says No because he knows there's something better coming at a later date. 
It’s important to remember that even though God is loving and does all He can to help us…He ultimately works through us. Our participation in His plan is a key element of success.

There are also times when God demands that we use our brain.  He expects us to study hard, be careful to make good decisions and use His instructions to be wise.
Of course there are times when we are simply victims. We didn’t do anything to cause the problem and like Job there’s not a lot we can do to get out of the problem. Car accidents, abductions, rapes, evil men and women and yes….even some Christians can create true victims that have little power over the situation they are in. That’s when the rest of us must be compassionate and allow God to use us to bring about a God inspired solution to other people's problems. To me, the greatest sin of all is when God asks us to be involved in a solution for someone else and we refuse.  While our faith does ask "everyone" to work as hard as they can on their own problems....our faith is also based on compassion and love.

Again, if we as by-standers listen to God’s gentle voice, become A+ biblical students and dedicate our lives to living for Him; we can be part of the solution to the majority of problems in our lives and others as well. 

God loves you,


Monday, August 15, 2011

What a fantastic month I've had!!!

July/August 2011 is one of those times I'll look back on and laugh about.  It has been a wild ride and I'm loving every minute of it.

The first of July I made a trip to Georgia to visit with my folks.  We had a great time!  We had a lovely 79th birthday party for my Dad.  Mom is 83 and seeing them together, visiting in their home, talking about all the great times we've had - sigh :)  it was great!

I met with my agent's assistant while I was there.  She participated in the 2011 International Christian Retailers Show held in Atlanta.  I held my breath and prayed for God's guidance when she explained that the producer for a well known nationwide radio show was interested in me as a guest.  I was thrilled but prayed all the way home that God would be my focus and that he would guide my steps.

I left Mom and Dad's and drove to Nashville.  My new agent provided a fantastic hotel room in the heart of the music district.  I met with Rebeca Seitz (my agent), Steve Feldman (3 time Hollywood Emmy winner) and their assistant Jessica Dotta.  We talked for several hours.  Steve made me feel so comfortable that I didn't even pay attention to the large camera he was holding.  I have two pages of projects to complete ASAP.  I hope you will click over and take a look at the agency Reclaim Management.  They have the wonderful vision of taking great stories through the entire process.  They not only represent the author but they take care of the author.  And if the project is worthy, they plan to move it through all points of digital media as well as on the big screen.  It's a big vision but one that needs to be realized.  I hope you will pray for every one at Reclaim, for all the artist and for God's help with funding.

You can be part of their vision.  They have a program where you can donate the price of one movie to their cause.  That small donation will build with others to provide the funding for great movies with a traditional conservative view.  If you would like to see better movies being offered then join with them and help fund great movies for everyone!  You can write or call the agency for more details.

Feeling a bit overwhelmed by all that I needed to accomplish, I talked my way back to Ohio.  Well...I dictated a lot of notes into my phone.  I would like to have plunged right in, but after two days of catching up with Ron, doing laundry and getting ready to go again - I gave Ron a kiss and headed for Michigan. 

In Michigan Jamie took commercial pictures for Dr. Lazar.  He's a talented doctor.  He's helping Jamie and I get our physical lives in order.  I'll tell you more about him later.  I also talked with him about doing a seminar in Ann Arbor. 

Next Jamie and I scurried to Chicago.  I met with my editor, Ginger Kolbaba of Marriage Partnership and  We had a great time together.  Ginger is a wonderful young lady and the dearest of friends.  In fact, I love all the workers at Kyria.  They are talented, dedicated women who are working hard to help equip their readers.  You must click over to and check it out.  You can subscribe to an online digizine (which is wonderful) or read some articles for free.  You can also download these awesome resources for almost any meeting you can think of.  It's a fantastic website!  Be sure and search for my name so you can my articles. ;)

Ginger suggested several writing assignments and I have a ton of notes on articles to come!  I hope you will at least sign up for the Kyria newsletter so you'll be informed when my articles post.

We left Chicago and traveled to Iowa to be with the Jansen clan while Jamie did Senior pictures for cousins.  Then it was back home.  I had 36 hours to prop my feet up and catch my breath before Amie arrived.  She was a bit tired from her 16 hour trip from Tucson, Arizona, but she had big news....SHE HAD REALLY BIG NEWS.....On or about March 31st, I'm going to be a grandma!  Wow!  How cool is that???  Amie was here for a week.  We shopped and registered and giggled and talked.  It was a great time.

What a fantastic month!  But now it's time to get down to business.  It will take me a bit to get everything organized, changed, tweaked and out the door for you....but, I hope you'll stay tuned.  There's a lot of exciting things to come.

God loves you,