Dream snatchers beware!

dreams and wishes. 62/365

This is the time of year when I regularly engage in reflective conversations with graduating seniors.  I consider the discussions with these young adults to be an honor.  Why?  Because if you have any experience with teenagers—as a parent, a teacher, a coach, an advisor, or anything else, you know that they can been restrained in articulating their inner thoughts. When they want to talk, listen. 

Remove your parenting hat for a moment. Please.

Teens want to be spoken to—not down to. “Mrs. Cain, I always enjoyed talking to you because our conversations were cool!  You talked to me like I was an adult.”  TJ, a former student, said this to me on many occasions.

My conversations with these young adults are revealing and insightful. The lessons exchanged between me and the students are unending.

A common dilemma for students is, choosing a career path… and with their parent/guardian’s blessing.  If choosing the career path isn’t difficult enough, obtaining their parent/guardian’s blessing is often the greater hurdle of the two.

Today’s conversation involved a respectful student who will receive her high school diploma in two and half weeks.  For over a year, she talked to me and others about pursuing a career in the culinary arts.

I asked if she had followed through on an educational and apprenticeship program (affiliated whit a local community college) that I recommended to her.  As she fumbled over her words, head down, eyes lowered, in a slight whisper, she replied, “Well, my mom said that she doesn’t see me doing culinary arts.  She says that I should go to college and study business.”

My chest rises as I take a notable deep breath.  I loudly exhale.  Wow!  I am deeply saddened and emotionally moved.  I wanted to walk over to her, give her tight hug and say,

 “To hell with what your mother wants!  This is your dream!  Run!  Don’t let her steal your dreams.

Reality check!!!!  I can’t say that!

“Listen KI, while I appreciate the fact that your mother loves you and wants the best for you. I also appreciate that you respect your mom, however, you have to live your dreams for you…not your mom’s dreams for you.”

I am so sick and tired of hearing this same comment from teens.   Parents!  Chill out!  Live your own dreams!  Don’t snatch your kids’ dreams faway from them!

These young adults are being placed in a very difficult position.  They respect and love you as their parent/guardian—they don’t want to disappoint you. Many don’t know how to or are petrified to tell you that their dream for themselves differ from yours. 

Yeah I know– we are smarter, wiser, more experienced, blah, blah, blah….   

Did you know that there’s a college dropouts hall of fame list? The assorted list includes such successes as Mark Zuckerberg, Jay-Z, William Shakespeare, Russell Simmons, Troy Aikman (my all-time favorite quarterback), Jane Austin, Kathy Ireland, Mario Andretti, Louis Armstrong, Ben Affleck, Will Smith, Frank Sinatra, and founder of whole foods, John Mackay.

I mention the hall of fame website to reinforce my point that the route to achieving success, (a highly debatable and vague word) varies for most.   

I do not promote skipping college, dropping out of high school, nor discontinuing ones education. I am comitted to being a life-long learner and encourage students to do the same.

I promote what is best for each individual student. With the increasing debt accrued by college students, it is vital that students who attend college really want to attend.

I don’t claim to know any child better than thier parent.  As a matter of fact, there are times when I am perplexed by my own kids.  

With respect to career advice, I try to guide students individually and avoid the cookie cutter approach; it doesn’t work.

Regardless of our perception of how outlandish a child’s dream is, their dream deserves to be heard and respected.  If our dreamers are hardworking and willing and ready to make the necessary commitments and sacrifices, then, we are obligated to help them in finding the path most realistic and suitable for them.

Have you ever been laughed at for an idea?  Has someone ever told you that your idea was dumb, stupid, or unrealistic?   When dream snatchers intrudes on one’s dreams, they hurt feelings.  The act is like throwing a gallon of water on a lit match.  The water overpowers and suffocates the flame.  We must be careful to avoid asphyxiating the dreams of our youth.  

If you are a parent or have influence over a young adult through other means, I urge you to encourage and to help to stretch the dreams of our future leaders.  

Today we enjoy the luxury of computers , cell phones and more. They perform functions that many of us never dreamed of.  The fact:  someone else envisioned and stretched an idea far beyond its conception and for that we should all be grateful.  

“Press On!”
– The late Rev. Robert L. Cain

 Sites worth a  peek:


http://www.ztcollege.com/ (Zero Tuition College)

Valuable lessons learned from a Nintendo 3DS

“I bit my 3DS [Nintendo] because I was so mad [at] losing. I should not do that because it may give me germs. I could have lost it for good. They [mom and dad] should give it back to me because I’ve done a lot of good things. I found my mom’s [diamond] earring. I’m always good in school. I always get good grades.

I learned my lesson. I could have been grounded. My dad and mom don’t have to give it back to me. Mom tells me to be happy because she says [a lot of] kids don’t have the stuff like our place. They don’t have the money to buy toys, computers, food, bathroom, [a] Kindle, [Sony] DS, movies, TV’s, [a] pool, beds, fireplace, playground, clothes, [a] backyard or rooms, so I should make myself lucky since I have my DS.

I’m happy because I have a dog; I have toys, a sister, a mom and dad, a[n] uncle, a grand mom, a 3DS….”

This is a large part of an essay that my 9-year-old son wrote. He broke his 3DS about two months after he received it as a birthday present. Three months went by before my investigative nature discovered why his Kindle Fire was being used more for games and less for reading.

He’d done wrong. He knew that his actions were wrong.

So he hid his actions from mom and dad.

Although his game was replaced by the manufacturer, we did not give it right back to him. He needed to understand the severity of his actions.

To help my children think about their actions and behaviors, one strategy is to require them to write. They must write essays about the lessons that they learned from making poor choices and better ways to handle similar situations.

Writing an essay is productive. More productive than some of the consequences that I endured as a child. Writing involves being still, being quiet, and constructive thought time. Every child and adult can benefit from the process. To clear my mind, I often write.

After he wrote the essay, I wanted to know more from my son about his potential actions when playing his game in the future. So I asked him, what will he do the next time that he gets frustrated or “mad” because the game is beating him. In a slow and deliberate manner he said,

“I’m going to take a deep breath and let it out slowly. Calm down and try again. That’s what I did to beat Super Mario 3D Land.”

Where does the “deep breath” come from? On and off (more off lately, but we’ll get back on track over the summer) from meditation.

Meditation is good for everyone, including kids. If you recognize that you feel stress– you make a conscious decision to address it constructively. Meditation is a positive way to relieve stress and to refocus. Best of all, you can meditate anywhere.

While his essay may not be written grammatically perfect, neither are some of my writings without consistent and precise editing. Another day he will put on his teacher’s hat and edit his work.

The idea isn’t for him to write a perfect essay. The point is to teach him to think about his actions, choices, and understand that consequences are the result of his choices. Children grow up to become adults. As adults we must also face consequences; some good some not so good. Either way, if we can help our children to understand the connection between the two at a young age, they should grow up to make smarter choices. Making smarter choices doesn’t equate to a perfect life, but it can definitely make life more fulfilling.

I’m fulfilled in what I do… I never thought that a lot of money or fine clothes — the finer things of life — would make you happy. My concept of happiness is to be filled in a spiritual sense.
Coretta Scott King

“Notes For Success”

It is said that, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” So is this sketch. I cannot pin point the moment when I realized my desire to find my passion and to live my life with a purpose; it just occurred and I found myself in the mist trying to discover my passions. No longer driven to seek promotions for the honor of an impressive job title or increased salary, my thinking shifted and since that time, each day I work harder to take one or two steps closer to meet my personal and professional goals. Although the sketch looks relatively informal and simple, it is full of courageous but necessary actions that we should consider to find success. I just had to share Gary Vaynerchuck’s “Notes For Success” with you. Enjoy and please share this, especially with the children in your life.

Thank you June E.!

Jun E Caniel's Blog

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Honoring All Pro Moms: Clean out your lockers today

“…You have to work hard, you have to have consistency, [and] you have to do it day in and day out…”

Tony Dungy

The passage is written by Tony Dungy in the forward of, Fatherhood: Rising to the ultimate challenge, by Etan Thomas with Nick Chiles.

Loyal football fans, women and men are very familiar with Tony Dungy from the National Football League. The now retired Indianapolis head coach and National Football player described some of the qualities that he believes are essential to the title of “Pro Football Player.”  Dungy mentions, All Pro Dads, an organiation that he worked with when he was in Tampa. The organization’s title is derived from the makings of a professional football player.

As I read his description, I thought to myself, “Good moms have the same qualities as professional athletes!”  Not to take anything from Pro ball players and All Pro Dads, but you know exactly what I mean. You work hard; either in the home, outside of the home or both.

You tirelessly prepare meals, shuttle your kids to gymnastics, football, soccer, tutoring or some other activity. You make sure that clean undies are on standby for everyone in the home. You might coördinate schedules, doctor appointments, vacations, back –to-school night, and or anything else that needs to be squeezed into the daily schedule.

I Googled “All Pro Dads” and “All Pro Moms,” both netted the All Pro Dads blog, but very little related to the similar concept for the moms. The dad’s blog featured a current post, “A day to honor moms.” I also discovered, Keeper of the Home, an interesting Christian home maker’s blog… definitely worth checking out.

My point here is that Mother’s Day is indeed a special day, even with all the commercialization from big business. The point of Mother’s Day, as a far as I’m concerned, is to set aside time to recognize and to thank the moms or mother like figures in our life. Mothers, grand moms, nana’s, me-moms, aunts, and the rest. Show them much love and do something special for them.

When I recall all the strong women in my life who took part in me becoming the strong woman who I am today, I know that one day isn’t enough.

Why not start an All Pro Moms movement! We can get carried away and change the traditional “happy hour” to “All Pro Moms hour!” Your All Prom Mom hour can be celebrated any hour of the day in any way that you chose. Take a day off and do whatever you want. Some of you may already do this on occasion, but I say we make this official. I say effective today; start marking your calendars at work and at home with All Pro Moms (APM) Days penned in. Of course we’ll have to define this day so that the men in our lives will understand that All Pro Moms Day means, we are not cooking, cleaning, or doing anything else.

If you’re asked what is an All Pro Mom?  You ask, “Do you know what a  pro-ball player is?”  If they answer yes, then tell them, you’re the same in your profession as a mom, but without the inflated salary.

If the response is no, then break it down for him. You know! “I work hard every day in preparing our kids for the “big game” (life).”  You train and make sacrifices, suffer injuries, and more. What is the major difference between the two? We rarely ever get to “clean out our lockers” at the end of the season.

You never turn mothering off, even when your children are adults; you’re still there for them and sometimes others that you take under your wing along the way. Applaud yourself!

Happy Mother’s Day and…

Welcome to the All Pro Mom’s Club!

Post Broad Street Run

The is the front of the line where the 4 minute milers are positioned. Yes! That read 4 minute milers! Lol!

I ran! I conquered!  At least that’s how I feel. Lol!  After a much-needed warm and bubbly bath, my feet are propped up on the sofa.  My son is hypnotized by his Nintendo 3DS game, while my hubby and my daughter are getting their sleep on.  I thought I’d be sleep, but I’m not sleepy… yet.Truly blessed is how I feel.  After getting about 4 ½ hours of sleep, my hubby, daughter and son got up at 5:00 a.m. today to go with me one hour away to Philadelphia for the run.  I was dropped off near the start of the run and they set off to park and to coax our son on to take part in the kids events.  He did not participate.  It was probably too early for him.  What I love most about running events is that there is an abundance of comradely. Runners of all age, gender, ethnicity, race, religion, social status, income, and physical ability all come out.  Most are supportive and encouraging. 

Along the course, I saw a young mom pause from running to bottle feed her baby in a jogger’s stroller.  Not even an infant prevented her from partaking in the annual run.  If she can do this, surely anyone can.

  A healthy life style is a conscious decision. 

Confinement to a wheel chair hasn’t stopped this participant!

You choose to participate. Runners of all shapes sizes and ability run the course.  The time on the official clock is of no importance to the average runner.  What ultimately matters about time is that living a healthy lifestyle may add to one’s life. I said, “may.”  I know that only life and death are guaranteed.

Mom loathes when I speak of a healthy lifestyle.  She is quick to name those who ate well, never smoked, and exercised yet died from cancer or another terminal illness.  I also point out the data that supports the principles of maintaining a fit régime, but it doesn’t matter. 

I believe that to change our perspective we must be open to new ideas.  If we’re not open to new viewpoints, then no amount of data or persuasion can adjust a person’s thinking.  I accept that and stop trying to convince her to take better care of herself.  She believes that at 78 no one can change.  That is her truth, which I now respect.

Most runners set personal goals.  Perhaps complete the race because it is their first run.  Possibly run the entire event versus a walk-run.  I try to improve my time but regardless, I am overjoyed at completing another organized running event and wish that I could bottle the feeling for other days that are more challenging.  What’s next?  I don’t know, but more running for sure.  I also want complete a mud run and a triathlon. Don’t they sound like fun?  Lol!

Here are more pictures from the Broad Street Run.

Okay so if you are incredibly fast, you do receive special treatment. No!! I am not nor have I ever been considered an “élite runner!” Behind the sign was a tent that looked like it had food and beverages…most importantly, a bathroom that did not have a long line.

Dozens of portable potty’s service thousands of non-elite runners. Thankfully, I had my own tissues.. there weren’t any in my potty. The potty was well stocked with hand sanitizer. I hope that everyone used it. Hmm…

Lol! I am standing in the grey corral waiting for the race to start. There are just as man runners in line behind me. It took my group nearly 20 minutes to get to the official start line. I felt a little like herded cattle.

Me and Amy Buckman posing at the front of the runner’s line. I also wanted to take a picture with CecilyTynan, but I think she was hiding from me. One of my friends probably told her that I was looking for her. Six ABC News is my favorite news station.

I picked up my race packet on Friday. This is near the beginning of the line! The line moved quickly though.

If you haven’t participated in a run or run/walk event, I suggest that you give it a try.  You will love the feel of accomplishment when you complete the event.

Although I feel short of my goal, I finished the run and I am happy!

This is me before the run. I dressed really bright so that my family could easily spot me.

I finished in 1:32:45
Pace:  9:17 minute/mile
Time of arrival: 10:26:45

Keep it movin!


Sunday morning adrenaline rush!

It is 6:30 a.m. Sunday morning. I am so psyched!!! Why? I am headed to Philadelphia this morning to run in the Broad Street Run. The BSR is the biggest 10 miler in the country. 30,000 runners will run through the start gate at 8:30 a.m. It took me 2 1/2 hours to register online, but I was determined to get in.

My stomach is all knotted up, my heart is racing & all kinds of nonsense is going through my head.

“Did I train hard enough? Am I dressed right for the weather? Please don’t let me have to poop when I get there!” The portable toilets are disgusting.. I did bring tissues with me this time. Last time, rolls of toilet paper were being passed around in the potty line. Yup! No shame in my game. My girlfriend and I eagerly and gratefully took a handful from the roll before handling out business.

My goal this year is to run an 8 minute mile range pace. A few weeks back, I ran a half marathon (13.1 miles) at a 9.22 min/mile pace. Recovery from a foot injury last year has gone well. Even though I didn’t push hard, my time was good (for me), so if I run harder, I can do it.

My only concern is that I am running on only 4 hours sleep! Lol! The adrenaline rush should help.

So since I am writing this update from my iPhone on the Atlantic City Expressway, I am making this short. Also, I need to keep an eye on hubby’s speed limit… He is blowing down this roadway to get me there.