Blog Archives

Why the Coexist Bumper Stickers Bug Me

October 21, 2014

Click here to read my latest post on Huffington Post, Healthy Living.

coexist bumper sticker, expecting more than to coexist, loving our neighbors, red car with coexist bumper sticker, coexist foundation, @coexistcampaign

You know the “Coexist” bumper sticker? It bugs me. I think it’s simply setting the bar way too low.

We already live together with people of all different backgrounds, philosophies, theologies, colors of skin, shouldn’t we want more than to simply be able to be in the same space together? In teaching our children about life, the tippy top lesson is really all about LOVE. Love yourself, love your neighbors.

Manners, household chores, siblings, homework, athletics, kindness in the lunchroom or boardroom, driving, waiting in lines, everything in life boils down to love. Simply love. Coexisting isn’t loving, it’s eeking by. It’s occupying space side by side.

To be clear, I have nothing against the Coexist Foundation or their mission and work. There are so many organizations of good in this world, the generosity is breathtaking, I simply argue with the word “coexist” as being weak and diluted.

Words like tolerance come to mind when I see the coexist symbols. Does anyone want to be just tolerated? No. People want to be embraced, cared for, loved. We can do that through words, actions, service, beliefs, gestures, donations, smiles, letters, and more whether across the street or across the globe.

I see it as an issue of open hearts and open minds, welcoming and accepting and cherishing each individual. We’re not going to bond, hit it off, or even like everyone we meet but I live my life and teach our kids to live with kindness, to act with love and respect toward everyone they meet. And everyone they don’t meet. Listen actively to another person’s point of view, experiences, and opinions. Disagree, sure, but do it with respect and compassion.

There is an absolute need to be culturally open and inquisitive. That’s one of the million reasons I love to travel, I get a glimpse into different histories, different ways of life, different values. It intrigues me, empowers me, and makes me more curious and more understanding. We grow when we can stretch beyond our own ways and ideas.

I feel the same way about someone who comes from my hometown, who lives down the street, who goes to my church, who seems to be similar to me. They’re still different. They have their own histories and life stories, their own experiences and pains, struggles, triumphs. Those stories and points of view are valuable and I love to explore and share in them, too.

We’re all different even if we belong to a group with an identified symbol. Yet, who can be defined just by one affiliation or one belief system? Who fits tidily under one label? We all have more facets than the best cut diamond, there’s no knowing without exploring and looking deeper. You can’t do that by just coexisting.

READ MORE on Huffington Post

© Copyright Leah DeCesare 2013

Why Handwriting Helps You Learn

October 3, 2014

Just this past weekend, a group of us were talking about the importance of kids learning handwriting and cursive writing. Even with the continually increasing use of keyboards and index finger typing, kids need to learn to read and write with their hands. Here is a great infographic based on research on this topic and on why handwriting helps you learn.

Why Handwriting Helps You Learn

September is Menopause Awareness Month

September 22, 2014

fall leaf, changing leaves, The Change, menopause awareness, perimenopause symptoms, pregnant late in lifeToday is the last day of summer. Perhaps figuratively, too. This week, a piece I wrote appeared on the Huffington Post, 44 and Pregnant?, and it stirred a flurry of comments, emotions, private emails, and lot’s of questions and speculations on my Facebook pages. The punchline, it turns out, is menopause. Fitting that September is Menopause Awareness Month!

So as summer creeps into fall outside, it seems it’s also happening within me. Many women reached out to me saying that they have experienced the same moments of wondering and worrying, dreaming and freaking out, that I talk about in 44 and Pregnant. Did you know that women between 40-44 years old account for the second highest unintended pregnancy rate? It’s shocking to think I’m even in the age category to be talking about the “M” word let alone be experiencing the precursors to “The Change.”

Menopause is medically defined as cessation of menstruation for one full year, but every woman’s different and our bodies may start seeing a range of symptoms in the decade or so leading up to menopause, called perimenopause. The Menopause Awareness Month site says: “There are 34 different symptoms of menopause. Some physical. Some physiological. Some psychological. All frustrating and debilitating.”

On the list of exciting possible symptoms include: mood changes and mood swings (that’s always a joy), joint pains, irregular and erratic periods, insomnia, memory loss, itchy skin, headaches, weight gain, and the ever-so-famous hot flashes …. And have you ever experience night sweats? There’s nothing like waking up slippery and soaking. (If it happened to you after your babies were born, you’ve gotten a peek into the future fun.) Oh, and as an added bonus, with menopause, women’s chances of osteoporosis and heart attack increase.

As a northeasterner my whole life, I’ve always said that I love the four seasons, the changing air, temperatures, colors, and ways of life as the year circles round. So on this, the last day of summer, my optimistic nature also makes me look at perimenopause with a positive lens. What comes next? While the symptoms might be difficult, annoying, and worse, what will life bring as I age? I enjoyed life with three of my four grandparents all of whom lived into their mid-late 90′s. I want to live long and see my grandchildren have children, I want to be a great grandmother, too. I feel so blessed that my own kids knew my grandparents so well.

I watch my mother and women her age, and older, who are so vibrant, active, and who are living life fully and giving much to others and the world around them. The autumn of life brings an easing of the daily tasks that life with children at home and active schedules brings, it affords more leisure, more time to slow down and do things you care about most. That’s a lifestyle I aspire to, and I try to implement those lessons now, instead of waiting for later.

Keeping Your Child Safe From Cyberbullying

September 1, 2014

Thank you to TeenSafe for this guest post and helpful infographic on Keeping Your Child Safe From Cyberbullying.

Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat. . . Each of these sites can be a great way for teens to build relationships and connect with their peers. Judging by the growing popularity, it doesn’t look like they’ll be disappearing anytime soon. And while social media sites do have their perks, they are also becoming a breeding ground for hurtful comments and humiliating photos.

Cyberbullying has transformed the bullying of years past, where school hallways and playgrounds took the brunt of the problem. Now, children have no place to hide from their tormentors. Bullies find it easy to inflict emotional pain from behind the safety of their computer screens and often believe that their actions will not have any consequences. However, it’s time for parents to step up and gain the knowledge necessary to fight back against this epidemic.

 

Being aware of what your child is doing online is the first step toward ending cyberbullying.

Check out the infographic below, by TeenSafe.com, for tips on how to help your kids online. Knowledge is power, parents. Let’s do what we can – starting today.

Naked Parenting Webinar

August 17, 2014

Naked Parenting: 7 Keys to Raising Kids With Confidence

Join me for a Webinar on August 19, 9:00 – 10:00 PM EDT

I’ll present the 7 Keys to Raising Kids with Confidence and answer questions. You’ll leave the webinar with practical tips you can start using right away.

Register now at:
https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/354589086

Naked Parenting is parenting stripped down to the bare basics to focus on seven keys to raising kids who are self-sufficient, confident, respectful, and resilient. In this session, we’ll discuss these seven keys: love, honesty, communication, responsibility, discipline, mistakes and gratitude.

Naked Parenting approaches parenting in an honest, direct and realistic way. Guiding children with love, nurturing their strengths and self image, and instilling personal responsibility are at the heart of this approach.

Title:
Naked Parenting: 7 Keys to Raising Kids With Confidence
Date:
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Time:
9:00 PM – 10:00 PM EDT

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

Kappa Kappa Gamma’s Lifestyle Learning webinar series is open to the public. You are encouraged to share this Kappa-sponsored learning opportunity by forwarding the invitation to others who may be interested. Thank you.

System Requirements
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 8, 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server
Mac®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.6 or newer
Mobile attendees
Required: iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ phone or Android tablet

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Sexting at School

June 10, 2014

sexting at school, book about sexting, girls and sexting, parenting teen girls, advice for parents of teen girlsMy thanks to Benjamin Dancer for this guest post. As a mother of two teens, I am happy to learn and share this information as a means to continue to keep updated and aware. There are so many challenges and things to keep on top of with kids in our high-tech world, it’s important to stay vigilant and educated to best guide and protect our kids.

I love Benjamin’s advice in Sexting at School which is so important to remember: “She needs you to be confident in your role. … Jessica loves you, and she knows that you love her. This is universal: the teenager wants desperately to have her independence, and she is terrified of it. Jessica is not aware of the fact that she is conflicted about this. She’s just a kid. As much as she pushes you away, she wants you to be strong, to love her.”

This is a great, quick read written for parent’s of teen daughters. Download the article-length ebook for free.

SEXTING AT SCHOOL by Benjamin Dancer

I’m a high school counselor, which means I work with parents every day who could use a little grace in their lives. Because I’ve made a career out of my work with adolescents, I see as a matter of course what a parent might be seeing for the first time. This includes a long list of unfortunate life events.

As a parent, I have a lot of empathy for other parents. It’s not easy, especially when you’re going through something for the first time. My life, on the other hand, is a little bit like Groundhog Day. In a sense, I’ve never left high school. Every school year I see the same things. Different kids, but the same behavior: alcohol, drugs, tobacco, bullying, kids running away from home, pregnancy and something newer: sexting.

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