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Daily Gratitude – March 19, 2013

March 19, 2013 – I am grateful for having realized that sometimes we just need to put our goals on hold until we’re ready to tackle them. Exhibit A: me and swimming. I have never been able to tread water even in shallow waters and today I was able to do so (albeit only momentarily) in the DEEP end. Without a life jacket, aquatic belt, noodle, or any other aid.

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Yay for my hubby for working with me over the past few years to help increase my level of comfort in the water.

And yay for my nephews who inspire me in so many ways and challenge me to get out of my comfort zone by throwing my own words back at me:

  • How about you try it before you say you can’t do it?
  • Here, I’ll show you how.
  • Wow, good job! See, I knew you could do it!

All of the above comments were from both of my fave little guys with respect to water activities they had me do with them before my lesson tonight. Good thing, since one of the things they had me do was bob (and touch my butt on the pool bottom) and the first thing I had to do in my adult swim lesson tonight was five bobs with my butt touching the pool bottom each time. Thanks, boys. I am glad I was able to perform that task with no problem in class.

I love that my nephews can be positive role models for me as much as I hope I am for them.

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Think on These Things #24 (Feb. 27/13)

I’ve spent the past two days learning with some great people. And one thing that’s become clear: I can practice my passion for gratitude and leadership anytime and anywhere.

And something I realized along the way this week: I reap so many rewards and such incredible fulfillment from my relationship with my nephews and the fact that they allow me to be a positive role model in their lives.

I’ve said it before; and I’m saying it again. I’m blessed. What bliss.

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Words to Live By #16

My nephews have become accustomed to doing homework when I’m around and were delighted (and confused) when I told them we’d be taking a break from homework this week since it’s the last few days of school and they don’t have any assigned homework.

Plus, my sister brought over D for a surprise visit so I told the boys that they could thank their baby cousin for no homework since if I made them do homework they’d have less time to spend with their baby cousin. N kept asking if he should get his math book so we can do a page of homework. LOL – do I have these kids trained or what? He was in disbelief every time I told him that we were going to take a break from homework this week. I reassured him that we’d have time to read and do math homework when we head to the mountains for Canada Day long weekend.

In other news, we all had a blast playing with D, who is crawling like a madman now and who is fiercely independent – he only likes to be held if he’s being fed and even then, it’s best to let him try to hold his own bottle because he is no longer a baby. E&N are really good with D – they watch out for him, let him crawl all over them, share their toys with him (I’m really proud of this one because D still spits up a lot and the fact that E&N love him enough to still share their stuffed toys is really incredible), and just generally enjoy being around him. It probably doesn’t hurt that D is absolutely adorable and has new “tricks” each time we see him – the latest one is he knows how to wave good-bye and he wears a devilishly handsome grin as he waves his little fingers.

This week’s belated Words to Live By is “Let the children play.”

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Think on These Things #8

N has a two-part spelling test this Wednesday and Thursday. We have been practicing the 120-word list since June 6th. Yesterday, N brought home his spelling scribbler from school and as I flipped through the pages while we got ready to review another 60 words (I am a slave driver, I know!) I was amazed to see that N has been getting at least 80% on all of his weekly tests since October. More often than not, he gets 100%. And the times he got one or two wrong, it’s only because he mixed up a “b” and a “d” or he reversed two letters (like “re” instead of “er” in the word over).


I am constantly in awe of my nephews – the fact that they perform as well as they do despite the fact that they only do homework a few days a week. I know they are both wired for positive reinforcement (aren’t we all?) and when I told N that I was very proud of his achievements and that seeing that he had gotten such good marks all year, I said, I expected him to do just as well on his spelling tests this week. He, of course, negotiated how many wrong would be okay by me. I told him I expected him to do really well and that if he got a few of the tougher words wrong then it would be okay but that we were going to focus on those words until Wednesday so that he could have a very good chance of getting them correct on the test.
 
I am learning over and over again that N performs exactly as those around him expect him to and that his sense of his own abilities is completely aligned with the cues he gets from the adult role models in his life. So after I told him I expected him to do well on last night’s 60 words, he got more than 40 of them right – even ones that he found tricky (his word) last week. And of the 15 or so that he found challenging, they were words like “would” and “which” and we practiced spelling them out loud a few times and I think he’ll remember them when we review them tonight.
 
It is scary to realize how much influence I have over my nephews and to know how big a role I am playing in shaping them into the men they will become. I have said before that I have incredibly high expectations for both E&N and those two kids not only live up to those expectations, they frequently exceed them. I really hope and pray that most of what I am doing is going to help make E&N strong, independent, thoughtful, caring, compassionate, and successful men. And I am really looking forward to a summer that tips the scale towards a bit more fun (although we will still be doing some math, spelling, and reading throughout the summer). C & I are kicking off their summer (and rewarding them for another great school year) with a camping trip. We’re all pretty excited. 🙂

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Words to Live By #14

“Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them” – another lesson taught to me by my nephews.

I am incredibly proud of E&N for completing yesterday’s 5 km walk in the rain. And for a long time to come, I am going to remember how excited they both were and how brightly their eyes shone when I told them I was so, so, so proud of them for doing the walk in the rain and for doing it rather quickly (less than 90 minutes).

I am especially proud of N because I know how important it is for me to celebrate his successes – for my own sake as well as his.

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Think on These Things #6

Time got away on me this past week and I kept postponing my usual Tuesday “Think on These Things” post. Turns out this was a good thing — and helps to reinforce for me the reality that things happen for a reason. I say this was a good thing because today was the 28th annual World Partnership Walk. And my nephews, E&N were able to join for today’s Walk despite the inclement weather and some earlier uncertainty that we’d get to spend the day with them. So for this, a fitting quoto:

The above quote is a reminder that when I set my intention and do so with a very clear purpose, then the Universe conspires to help it come to fruition. Also, the sun DID break through today. It wasn’t until after the walk was over and we were already on our way home after a long day. However, today’s rain made for an incredible teaching moment for my nephews and for my teammates – we realized that we are so blessed to be able to CHOOSE to walk 5 km in the on again off again rain in an effort to show our support for global development. We did so with warm clothing, proper footwear, and the knowledge that a delicious BBQ lunch awaited us at the end of the route. The people for whom we were walking often have no choice but to walk long distances for clean(ish) water, education, sharing of resources, medical attention, crops, etc.

I generally don’t grumble about the weather because I have come to accept that it is beyond my control. I have even learned to be glad for the rain because it gives me an excuse to wear my funky rain boots and my lime green rain coat. But today, the rain became another lesson in gratitude. And one that I could share with my nephews – and any time I can positively influence my nephews is a blessing and a gift.

And tonight, as I created my nightly gratitude post, I also had the amazing experience (AGAIN) of realizing just how blessed I am to be surrounded by generous and incredible people who support my vision for thriving communities and people in Asia and Africa.

And on that note, I conclude with quotes from two of my favourite and most inspirational  role models.

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A Life That Isn’t Boring

Three of my nephews are participating in the 28th annual World Partnership Walk. One is only six-months-old, and he and the oldest one, who is seven, have reached their fundraising goals. The middle one, six-year-old Nicky, is a mere $15 short of his goal. Please help him make a difference on the other side of the world. Sponsor him at his page.

My two older nephews already understand that we have a responsibility to help the less fortunate. They have been participating in the World Partnership Walk since they were the same age as my baby nephew. I have no doubt all three will grow up to be incredible men who will have a strong social conscience and will have a deep love for the people and places they have helped since their first steps.

And, yeah, I’m proud of these boys already. Every day, in fact.

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Think On These Things #3

A bit late on today’s post and this is actually a story I wanted to share last week. Here it is without further ado.

One thing I know for sure is that I am teaching my nephews a little bit about self-confidence and being assertive.

E no longer bothers to question if he’s going to win when we race to my parents’ house.

N now carefully picks out his reward stickers after spelling homework and lets me know why he picked the one he did (yesterday he picked “keep it up” and he said, that means keep up the good work not goofing around – oh boy, these kids hear and remember everything, eh?), and they both tell me how things are going to be — E said he’s going to wear his new shirt for the Walk this year not last year’s (they get a new Walk shirt every year for reaching the $100 fundraising mark and becoming official ambassadors) and N said I could take his tree sapling to my house and that he wanted Uncle Craig to plant it. Talk about the student becoming the teacher (and vice versa), eh? 🙂

So today’s “Think On These Things” is about self-confidence and empowerment and the impact we can have on each other if we stand in a place of unconditional love.

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Teaching a kid to believe in himself…priceless

I haven’t had a blog entry about my nephews in a while. This week, though, both E&N showed me the value of building confidence in kids (and the flip-side of this is no doubt that confidence is much more easily shattered than it is built and realizing this means that I will try even harder to do my part to empower E&N whenever I can.)

I pick up E from school two or three times a week and when we arrive at Grandma and Grandpa’s, E likes to challenge me to race him to the door. He wins a lot of the time and I win once in a while – sometimes because E lets me. 🙂 And sometimes because I think it’s good for kids to learn that it’s okay to try again another time and to not give up. Well, yesterday E had his hands full with his backpack and some extra homework materials. I had my hands full with his car seat, his coat, my coat, my purse, and my workout bag. E said something about he didn’t want to race this time since he’d probably lose since he had so much stuff.

I thought, TEACHABLE MOMENT! And so I said to E that if he thinks he’s going to lose, he will and that if he thinks he’s going to win, he will. Then I asked him what he thought would happen if we raced. He still said he thought he’d lose. We repeated this dialogue a few times. Finally, I said, well, why don’t we race and see what happens. He agreed. And then he won. So then I asked him what he thought and he said he really wanted to win even though he had a lot of stuff to carry. And when I pointed out to him that he made it happen because he really wanted it and that didn’t he think that it’s a good idea to believe he could win if he really wanted to and believed he could. He agreed somewhat unconvincingly. Then today, as we approached my parents’ house, he declared that he was going to win again today because he had decided that was how the race was going to go today. I asked him if he was sure he’d win and he said, yes, because you said if I think I can win I will. Well, he won again today. Tomorrow might be a different story – I wouldn’t want E to become as cocky as I am just yet…

Now, onto N, who has been really struggling with his spelling in the past few weeks. He and I had a chat yesterday about how smart he is and how quickly and accurately he gets through his homework when he pays attention and focuses. He did a pretty decent job on his spelling words yesterday and I said that he clearly knows how to spell this week’s words and that he could think of it as levels in his Nintendo DS games – each week that he gets his spelling words correct is similar to getting one level higher in a game.

Well, lo and behold, today, N did his list of spelling words in record time (we’re talking maybe two minutes flat for six words) and they were one hundred per cent correct. With only a slight bit of help from me on one word. N was super proud of himself and his face lit up when I high-fived him and told him how proud I am of him. He couldn’t stop telling my parents, E, and me that he got all of his spelling words correct all on his own and that he really is smart. Wow. Then he turned to me and said that he’s going to try to focus whenever we do homework because that means he’s done faster and can get to winning levels on his DS. How cool is that?

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Words to Live By #6

This week’s Words to Live By consists of two images, both inspired somewhat as a result of my catching up on Jillian Michaels’ podcasts since the beginning of this year.

The first one is also a good reminder for me with respect to my nephews and is something one of my BFFs has often reminded me of when we talk about the role that I am fortunate enough to play in my nephews’ lives. Juli always reminds me that every kid needs just one person to believe in them, to take an interest in them, to be a role model for them, to encourage them. Then, in the event that I haven’t connected the dots, she says, “You, Narmin, YOU are this person in your nephews’ lives. Got it?”

Jillian Michaels’ discussed this very concept of positive role models in kids’ lives in a podcast in February. And it is absolutely true – kids need role models. They need someone to believe in them. They need someone to encourage them. To inspire them. To motivate them. To help them achieve their potential.

The first of today’s images for this week’s Words to Live By is a Maya Angelou quote and it is one I love.

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The second of today’s images for this week’s Words to Live By is another topic that Jillian Michaels covered in a podcast this year – it’s about the concept of forgiveness and the toll it takes on an individual who opts out of forgiveness. This really takes its toll and lessons the happiness that we can enjoy. It isn’t always easy to forgive. Doing so frees us of the anger and hurt that takes away from the happiness we allow into our lives. And if that isn’t motivation to learn our lessons and move forward then I don’t know what is.

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Two very different images for today and I couldn’t choose between them so I included them both. So talk to me. Are you a role model for someone? And is it easy for you to forgive?

And now I’ll just admit that these two topics are related. I know how high my expectations are of my nephews and I am always balancing that with my desire to give them unconditional love no matter what happens. Laura, I can see your face as you read this last paragraph. 🙂

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