This really happened. I asked my son one day:

Mom says, "You're going to have to do more things for yourself. What if you were on a deserted island?" and the boy says, "Would I get lots of dessert?"

What a dilemma! How to teach kids to face the awful truth without becoming awful in the process.


If I asked you,  “Do you want your child to succeed?”

Would you answer, “No”?

Of course you wouldn’t!

Every parent wants their child to succeed.  Regardless of our dreams for them, no one imagines their child a homeless drifter begging for spare change and sleeping in the park. We all want good things for our kids. And yet sometimes things go wrong. How can we do our best to insure their success?

The dictionary says that Success is:

    1. The accomplishment of an aim or purpose.
    2.  The attainment of popularity or profit

They say it's getting what you want and people to like you.

If getting what you want and people to like you is the only measure of success, then how do you explain all those popular people who got what they thought they wanted and are still miserable? Maybe they were aiming for the wrong thing?


What IS true success, then?


I define success as:

"the ability to take care of ourselves and others and find love in the process."


Make sure to check out the FREE illustrated behavior charts by clicking the picture above!

What a relief it is when kids begin to take care of themselves! It's a big job! First putting on their own socks and shoes. Wonderful.

(And later paying their own rent. Outstanding!)

Taking care of one’s self is more than just physical, too. It means finding your unique place in the universe. Discovering the talents and gifts you’ve been given, to enrich your life and the lives of others, and finding joy in sharing them.


'Taking care of Others' is the part of our measurement of success that has to be there too, or we will never really feel fullfilled. We are inextricably connected to 'others' whether we like it or not. No one else can fill the hole you are in (or the dog's water bowl) better than you can. Irma Bombeck used to say that the cure for depression was to do something nice for someone else. I never forgot that, and everytime I'd feel bad I'd take her advice, and it works!


I believe true success in living comes when we:

  1. Discover who we truly are, while we are
  2. Striving to attain what we want, and
  3. Manage not to hurt anyone in the process

With these character qualities in place you will be a valuable commodity wherever you find yourself. And you will be loved. So what does a child need from YOU to develop this essential foundation that can lead to true success?  The same three things we all need.

A sense of SECURITY,  

The opportunity to LEARN and grow,

and SENSITIVITY from others.

How do we impart a sense of SECURITY?

Starting from the beginning of our life, SECURITY grows from the presence of these three things:


Safety of Body,

Soundness of Mind &

Goodness of Heart.


Safety of Body

When our body’s basic PHYSICAL needs are met as a child, we begin to feel secure. That means having adequate food and water, healthy activity and a place to rest when we are tired (ipod not required).

Soundness of Mind

Regardless of our mental agility, when we feel secure, we feel safe to explore and LEARN. If others are attuned to our engagement in learning and exploring, we begin to develop confidence and a sound mind that opens up to even greater enjoyment of learning.

Goodness of Heart

SENSITIVITY to others comes as we experience love and acceptance from others. Feeling loved enables us to love. We begin to feel a sense that we can extend that same acceptance to others.

What does this all mean? Kids need more than material things to have Security. They each have an individual personality. You're the one who knows that the best. Some need to be prodded. Some need to us to hold the reins back. They need a relationship with YOU to help guide them along. The 'stuff' is just fluff. Spend more time and less money and you'll get more out of any relationship. It's the best investment there is, in any economy!  Picture the benefits they will get from you when you are concentrating on the important things: A clear mind that can think through anxiety without confusion and fear. Becoming an individual who can pursue goals with confidence and without anger and wrong desires. And when you're trustworthy, kids learn how to be too. That's a great commodity you can give to children.

So, to answer the question, "Can your kids succeed without suffering?"

No. Life is full of suffering and hard work whether we become recognized as a 'success' or not. So we might as well be doing the things we love while we are enduring the hard parts. And we have a better chance of picking ourselves up and healing when we know someone is there for us through it all. Better to instill that confidence in them now, while you can, than paying thousands of dollars trying to fix up the mess later in the psychiatrist's office. There are kids out there who don't even have parents, or their parents aren't paying attention.

Everyone struggles, and that's the part where you come in. Never underestimate the power you have to bring some order out of chaos and a clear perspective to a young mind near you!

Enjoy the challenge!

Till next time,

Yours truly,

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