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Veterans Day was originally called Armistice Day. At the 11th hour on November 11, 1918, the Armistice with Germany went into effect to formally end major hostilities of World War I. After an urging from veteran organizations, Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day in 1954 to honor and recognize all veterans. 

Though we are a long way from the days of World War I, it was on the first Armistice Day in 1919, in which President Woodrow Wilson uttered the following words to set the stage for honoring our veterans:
"To us in America the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service, and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of nations."

I draw your attention to the word gratitude. We observe and honor our veterans because we are grateful for their service to all of us. They have protected and defended the freedoms that we enjoy. Let us never forget that. When you come across a veteran, let your words and actions show your gratitude not only today, but all days.
Posted by [email protected]  On Nov 11, 2018 at 4:17 PM
Thanksgiving has different meanings for all of us. For me, it is a time to slow down and spend quality time with my family. I am thankful and grateful for them every day, but on this day, traditionally we are together as a family. Having adult children now, we all go in different directions on a daily basis. So, when we get time together on Thanksgiving, we take advantage of the time to connect. 

I read an article recently on the meaning of Thanksgiving and the author lists three expressions of gratitude for this day.
  • To gather in unity - It is refreshing and invigorating when people come together, in celebration of a common purpose. It is a reconciliation of differences as well as a time of healing. In sharing our victories as well as our struggles, we find strength and hope.
  • To teach the young - In stories retold, each generation brings purpose and significance to the richness of their heritage. Faded pictures, sentimental knick-knacks, traditions before a meal all form a Thanksgiving family legacy.
  • To prepare the heart - In gratitude, we humbly reflect upon all the gifts (family, friends, health) that saturate our lives. By "giving-thanks" we choose to extend ourselves and give to others less fortunate. Out of the abundance of our hearts, we are able to offer our resources to help others.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and find the joy in gathering together.

Posted by [email protected]  On Nov 18, 2018 at 8:50 AM
The wonder I do see,
as I glance upon the sea,
the reflection telling stories,
as it does look back at me.

My image it has captured,
and tales it’s tossed about.
I want to read the story,
to dispel this aching doubt.

Is it full of love, and beauty,
or tainted with selfishness?
Is it someone you’d be proud of,
or cause your heart distress?

History has been written,
the past is cast in stone,
the story’s already been published,
Is it something you do own?

Future chapters await,
it’s your chance to make anew.
Any flaws that pained your eye,
rewrite to be brand new.
Posted by ellen.young  On Nov 26, 2018 at 2:37 PM
The following story speaks to the essence of integrity: building trust.

The year was 1854, a Mormon pioneer named Jacob Hamblin was living in Illinois when he was sent to southern Utah to help settle that area of the country. Hamblin quickly developed a friendship with the Native Americans who lived there. He did business with them regularly and they knew they could trust him to treat them fairly and honestly. He was known as a man of integrity by his new friends because of his consistent actions.

One day he sent his son to obtain blankets from a Native American man in exchange for a pony. The man offered a pile of blankets after examining the pony, but the son, wanting to prove what a good business man he could be, refused the offer, saying he wanted more. 

The man continued to add blankets to the pile until the son agreed to the trade. However, when the boy returned home, he found his father was not proud of his business skill. The boy had taken more than the pony was worth, and he promptly sent the son to return half the blankets.

The Native American man laughed after the boy shared why he came back. He had known Hamblin would make his son return the extra blankets.

Hamblin's actions over time created trust between himself and the Native Americans. Had he not sent his son back to his friend, trust may have been lost as well as his reputation of integrity.

It may take years to build trust with others and a reputation of integrity, but it can only take a second to lose it. Be consistent in your actions and never do anything that will compromise your integrity regardless if someone is watching or not.
Posted by [email protected]  On Dec 02, 2018 at 9:48 AM
Between social media, peer pressures, and even family pressures, teenagers are inundated with decisions every day. Decisions which may require them to make choices of whether or not to be honest and truthful. So how do you teach them to remain true to their values and moral code?

An article in the Washington Post I read recently outlines eight ways to teach them to be truthful. Check out the article for a deeper look at these ways.
  1. Maintain a mindset of curiosity.
  2. Help them see the long view.
  3. Consider the root cause.
  4. Model honesty.
  5. Provide a runway.
  6. Carefully consider consequences.
  7. Don't be afraid to have it out.
  8. Talk about values.

These teenage years are critical. Now more than ever they need our continuous guidance to prepare them for those next immediate steps beyond high school. 

Posted by [email protected]  On Dec 09, 2018 at 4:44 PM
The older I get, the quicker time seems to go by. Parents/guardians can probably relate. For this blog, I want to share a few quotes I found about the importance of time. My hope is that you will reflect on these thoughts and share with your teenagers.

"We must use time wisely and forever realize the time is always ripe to do right." - Nelson Mandela

"Time is what we want most, but what we use worst." - William Penn

"Time is free, but it's priceless. You can't own it, but you can use it. You can't keep it, but you can spend it. Once you've lost it you can never get it back." - Harvey Mackay, author and columnist

"Time has a wonderful way of showing us what really matters." - Anonymous

Children spell 'love' T-I-M-E." - Ray Miller, author
Posted by [email protected]  On Dec 16, 2018 at 10:13 AM

A story about responsibility... The year was 1912 and all the talk in the world, especially in Europe was about the Titanic, a luxury ship designed to ferry people back and forth across the Atlantic. However, on its maiden voyage, the unsinkable Titanic struck an iceberg just before midnight on April 14, 1912 and would subsequently sink to the bottom of the Atlantic at 2:20 a.m. April 15. There were 2,224 passengers on board with over 900 crew. But, there were only enough lifeboats to carry about 1100 people. The decision-makers for Titanic irresponsibly decided that because the ship was considered unsinkable, they didn’t need as many. They opted for more deck space rather than keeping the safety of all passengers and crew in mind. That decision cost lives as over 1500 people perished that night.

Of the 900 crew members, 25 of them were engineers responsible for maintaining the inner-workings of the ship including the pumps designed to control any possible flooding. As the Titanic was sinking, passengers were being loaded onto the lifeboats by the deck crew. During this time, the engineering crew remained at their posts to work the pumps, controlling the flooding as much as possible. Their actions ensured the power stayed on during the evacuation and allowed the wireless radio system to keep sending distress signals.These men bravely kept at their work as it was their responsibility. They helped save more than 700 people even though it would cost them them their own lives.

This story shows how irresponsible decisions can negatively impact not only your own life, but the lives of others. The story also demonstrates how following through on your responsibilities can make a major impact especially when you are putting the welfare of others above yourself. Responsibilities are not to be taken lightly. Take time to think about what you are responsible for now. Prioritize those responsibilities and decide on how you’re going to hold yourself accountable to them. For without accountability there’s usually a lack of follow through on those responsibilities. And having responsibilities is a gift for it gives you ownership of your life.

Posted by [email protected]  On Dec 30, 2018 at 5:42 PM
Author Thomas B. Smith said, "If it is to be, it's up to me."

I've often said to students, "At the end of the day, it's going to be your life. So what are you going to do to have the life you want to have?"

I say this to get them thinking about taking more personal responsibility for their future. While we as the adults in their lives are here to guide them, lead them, and facilitate their learning, it is up to them to accept the guidance, the direction, and the knowledge we have to offer. Ultimately it is their responsibility to take what they learn and put it into action.  

How can you continue to help in this process? Ask your teens to reflect more on the skill sets they are learning in addition to the content. Ask them how they can apply what they're learning to their lives. In an ever-changing world, it is the skill sets they learn that will be most beneficial. They already have 24/7 access to knowledge.

Posted by [email protected]  On Jan 06, 2019 at 6:56 PM
Harry Potter author JK Rowling said, "I think you have a moral responsibility when you've been given far more that you need, to do wise things with it and give intelligently."

This all ties back to adding value to the lives of other people. It's an intentional act because you make a conscious choice to give to others. During the holidays, we have several clubs that organize drives to provide for families in need. I am so proud of our kids and their sponsors who take responsibility for adding value to others. Seeing the smiles on the faces of kids and their parents is priceless.
Posted by [email protected]  On Jan 13, 2019 at 5:04 PM
Author of Requiem for a Dream, Hubert Selby, Jr. said, "Eventually we all have to accept full and total responsibility for our actions, everything we have done, and have not done."

We often tell our kids that they are totally responsible for the actions they take, but what about the actions they don't take? The quote from Selby above answers that question. Kids who choose not to complete an assignment or follow through on a promise they made to a friend are responsible for their non-actions. This is really no different for us as adults. If we don't file our taxes, there are potential legal consequences for our non-action. If we don't go to work and let someone know we're not coming in, we could lose our jobs. 

Our kids will continue to learn from the actions we take and don't take. The more we effectively model responsibility, the more our kids will learn about responsibility.
Posted by [email protected]  On Jan 27, 2019 at 1:27 PM
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