Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Book Review: The 7 Habits of Happy Kids

The 7 Habits of Happy Kids by Sean Covey

I'm sure this 7 habits phrase is familiar to you. The other bestselling book entitled The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was written by Stephen Covey.  The 7 Habits are based on powerful Principles that have been enriching lives for generations - principles such as responsibility, vision, respect, teamwork and balance. It is a proven philosophy for adults and teenagers that can now be applied to kids. I am just one of the parents who are interested in bringing the 7 Habits into our home and into our kids schools, that why we are reading this book for the nth time. I am thankful that Sean, the son of Stephen Covey took the next steps in creating a version for teens and kids.

This book teaches kids timeless values and principles contained in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People - from figuring out how to take charge of their own lives to discovering why balance is best. The characters depicted in the stories might be the same as our children and their different moods, situations and personalities. They can relate to each story as it might have happened to them or they have encountered them in their friends or classmates lives. Each story illustrates one habit or principles that will help our children apply the 7 habits in their activities. After each story, there's a section called Parent's Corner which has some suggestions on how to bring out the habit in that story.t also include list of questions to ask kids and small steps/ tips that kids may start practicing.

Here are the 7 Habits of Happy Kids:
1. You are in Charge - Be Proactive
2. Have a Plan - Begin with the end in Mind
3. Work First then Play - Put first things first
4. Everyone can win - Think win-win
5. Listen before you talk - Seek first to understand than to be understood.
6. Together is better - Synergize "together everyone achieves more"
7. Balance feels best - Sharpen the saw.

Of all the seven Habits, my favourite is the 7th as it talks about balance and it is also aligned to our family's three goals - Feed your Mind, Feed your Body, Cleanse your body.  We feel better when we are balanced, when we take time to renew the four parts of who we are: body, heart, mind and soul. I like the part when Covey explained in the parent's corner that as the car has four tires, we as people, also have four parts. And to be healthy and happy, all parts need time and attention.

The explanation in the story is simple but adults can relate very well.
"You use your heart when you play with your friends." Build and Nurture good relationships.
"You use your soul when you find something quiet to do that makes you fresh inside." Reflection and time to spend with God through prayer.
"You Use your body when you exercise." Physical activities make you well.
"Use you mind when you read." Knowledge is power.

My children remembered  the illustration we saw on a Christian TV show about the soul man and spirit man fighting or getting weak when the body is weak or in sin and how the relationship with Jesus Christ can lighten and bring the joy, peace and love to the soul man, spirit man and physical man. We need Christ as He is the only one who will make us live a balanced and complete life that he desired for us to have. How blessed, how marvellous this life is and we thank God that even in storybooks or inspirational books like these, it is still going back to Him. Read this book and God will reveal himself to you and your children too. God bless.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Green Apron Behaviour - something to learn from Starbucks

I was listening to my favorite AM Christian radio station from the Phillippines when I heard this. The sharing was timely as I am contemplating on what's important in building relationships.  Everything was falling into place -I've learned about different personalities and how to deal with each, the different parts of the PIE of life and their portion, how to apply Planning, Leading, Organizing and Control management principles and how to balance knowledge, faith, love to live a God-fearing, purpose-driven life and become the outcome of all these inputs.  Yesterday, in church we learned about our inner calling, our gifts, our influence and how to respond to the "calling" and apply it to our daily fishing for God. Yes, it is too big to handle but with the right formula and willingness to obey, one cannot miss this opportunity.

The Green Apron Behaviour that the Starbucks employees were trained to deliver shows why the coffee store stands out.  It's not only the coffee but the "People" factor that contributes to the increasing and retaining customer base that Starbucks is known for.  The Christians who are also called Fishers of men can learn from the Green Apron Behaviour to fulfill the task. Here is list of the attitude that those who work with green apron are expected to show / deliver:

1. Welcoming - you know when you are truly welcome - you are greeted, there is a genuine smile or the talk is more personal.  Remember, they ask your name to put in the cup, that's you, it's personal. When we want to bring someone close to God, we welcome the person regardless of race, color, size and age into our homes, into our circles, into our lives. Hindi porke ibang religion or beliefs, ayaw na natin makipagusap sa Kanila.  Hindi porke inis ang pamilya mo dun na wala ka naman kinalaman dahil away ng pamilya yun, Iiwas ka na rin sa tao na yun. Paano na ang channel of blessings through you? Alam mo yun feeling na welcome ka di ba? no walls, no pretentions, warm and open. Someone  who is willing to accept anyone including the person you just met and who will connect with you right away. Break that wall, welcome one another.

2. Knowledgeable of product - how can we say or promote something if we ourselves don't know anything about it.  Build our relationship with God first. Learn about God, read the bible, pray, have an intimate relationship with our Saviour,  know about Jesus and the gift of salvation, memorize those verses, learn them and store them in your heart so that when the time comes that you need to "share" or answer questions, the Holy Spirit will retrieve the knowledge and reveal it. Like the Barista, he will give you the right coffee flavour suited to you.

3.  Genuine - you build relationships with others, not just your family or close friends. There is true friendship in every fellowship. Did you know that each time you interact or react to someone, you are making an effort to connect to that person? The outcome of the conversation makes or breaks the interaction. Most of the time you will receive kind words, good comments from a barista because they want to connect more with you. Sales strategy? Maybe, but at the end of a stressful day, having someone to vent out our frustrations to makes up a barista-customer relationship. Naalala ko dati sa ATC, ask ni barista, how's your day mam? I will say, bad trip, init ulo, alam na niya ang oorderin ko - ahh Mocha Frapp ma'am? So how are you with a friend who is in need, do you reach out or just even listen to them? Or do we stay away from him because we don't want to get involved. Where is the relationship-building there?

4. Considerate - when I was pregnant or I brought my kids to Starbucks when they were little, the barista asked me if I will have coffee? He would offer non-caffeine smoothies to my children and less caffeine or fat to a preggy like me.   Are you the same with whatever situation your friend is in? Can you easily adapt to a situation?   Would you consider someone else's feelings or agenda, or only your own? What about God's plan? Sometimes and I admit I am guilty of this too, we tend to focus only of ourselves that we miss out on  the opportunity. selfie ika nga.  Let us be considerate of others even if we are annoyed at that person, there is still something good in that person that we are expected to bring up if we show the love, kindness and consideration that we as Christians are supposed to be full of. Kahit nakakainis na siya, or di niya deserved yun, let us give him the benefit of the doubt and bring out the goodness in another. Anak din siya ng Diyos.

5. Involved - this is related to item number 2, how can we be genuine if we are not involved? How can we lend a shoulder to cry on or a listening ear if we are not available? Tucked away in our"comfort zone" with an alibi," problema niya yun, I don't want to get involved." How can that person know that there is hope in God if we are shutting our doors and windows to that person? God will use us if only we allow him to. We need to admit that we are not created to live in isolation and be willing to be used for another person's encouragement or building up.  "It is not good for a man to live alone, I will create a companion for him." "Walang sinoman ang nabubuhay para sa sarili lamang. Tayong lahat ay may pananagutan sa isat isa."

What makes you go or come back to Starbucks? It's not only the coffee, but it's the total "experience" that makes it more attractive. The traits mentioned are not only for Starbucks barista but for all the people, for Christians who are called to bring others to Christ and make him enjoy the experience. Like the barista who stands behind those counter, we can do the same, share the total experience so that others will know and come or return to Christ. We can be Welcoming, Knowledgeable, Genuine, Considerate and Involved and we can show it in so many ways. Not only lip service, I have to do the same and I ask God for guidance, more love, forgiveness, kindness and willingness in my heart to live the kind of life He wants us to live. May God guide us, in Jesus name.

Filling the bucket and its impact to others (long-lasting)

School year started 2 weeks ago and I almost lost the letter sent by Kyle's teacher last summer. I found it at last and I wouldn't let days passed without recording this in my blog. The letter was short but the content was heartwarming and I must admit I feel proud that I'm considering this as my ROI when it really should have been Kyle's. For our nightly storytelling, we started reading the book "Growing up with a bucket full of happiness: Three rules for a happier life" by Carol Mccloud 2011. And it looks like, we are seeing the results of everyday bucket filling.

Miss DeVal of Briarcrest Junior School wrote this last July 1,2015:

To the parents of Kyle,

Here is the summary of what Kyle's classmates said about him this school year. Words have such power. May the thoughts the children in Room 8 have expressed about Kyle be as heartwarming to you and Kyle as they have been to me as I have typed them up.

All about Kyle:
"You are a good reader."
"Kyle, you are a very hard-working person and always try to enjoy a little laughing time."
"You are very kind to others and are also good at drawing."
"Kyle, you are very smart and very kind to others."
"I like how you play fair and make sure myself and others are okay if they are hurt."
"You always know what to write on your paper."
"Kyle, you always help others with their work."
"You are a hard worker."
"Kyle, you speak up when you believe something is unfair!"
"You are intelligent."
"Kyle, you are funny!"
"You always follow through on what you say you are going to do."
"Kyle, you are very smart. When you win games, you don't brag."
"You always try your best."
"Kyle, you speak to me or help me solve a problem when something is wrong."
"You have very good handwriting."
"You are a good friend."
"Kyle you are joyful and kind."

I was dumbfounded upon reading this and until now, my smile is like Yaya Dub's and Alden's in their second meeting. I am thankful for the feedback and brings joy to my heart.  I am encouraging all parents out there to continue their work of raising their children to be caring and responsible as it is more lasting and appreciated than any other recognition. Relationships count more than numbers. 

"The source of much of our happiness is found in being a caring and responsible person." -Carol McCloud
  1. Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.