Thursday, June 30, 2011


I was talking to a 14 year old almost-man while volunteering at a camp last week. He was specifically asking me for advice about how he could ask a girl at camp to be his girlfriend. Part of my insides were jumping up and down for joy that he felt comfortable enough with me to ask for help. The other part of my insides were cringing at the thought of his young mind completely distracted by girls.
Although I’ve been a volunteer with teenagers for awhile now, I still have a hard time steering through conversations about dating. It’s hard to know when to say what. When to give advice and when to ask questions. When to warn them and when to get excited for/with them.
With this almost-man, I missed an opportunity. I got frustrated with his fixation on getting this girl to be his girlfriend and told him we were going to stop talking about it. His response? “Well I just won’t talk about it with you.” Bummer. Next time I will be ready with a few more questions and a little insight. 
Here are a few of my favorite conversation starters I’ve used with teenagers:
  • Describe the perfect date. 
  • What are the top 5 qualities you are looking for in a girlfriend/boyfriend?
  • What do you think is the purpose of dating?
  • How do you define love?
How do you guide conversations with teenagers/college students/young adults/friends about their dating life?


Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Ordinarily, I bounce along in life, having a series of wild and wacky and usually embarrassing things that happen to me that I can pass onto you in the context of developing a deeper and richer sex life.
But lately life has been teaching me about something more serious.  Something that causes one to stop, to ponder, to contemplate. Something that is extraordinarily uncomfortable to acknowledge. And yet something that, I believe, is at the heart of why so many people have such pain when talking about their sex lives.

My personal journey started when I was doing that aforementioned bouncing along and I ran smack-dab into a situation wherein I had caused pain to another. To be sure, this was not intentional on my part in any way, but intent did not mitigate the fact that I hurt someone.  I did.  And I felt awful for having caused them pain.

But their reaction to me – whether or not they intended it to be – was devastating.  I was shaken to my very core.  Suddenly my emotions were all over the map.

I cried. I raged. I had dialogues in my head wherein I called upon all my debate skills from law school and trounced them in public. But when all of this subsided, I wondered, “why is this affecting me so personally?” To be completely blunt, I had apologized to them for causing pain, so I could not figure out why I was still in emotional turmoil over this situation!

So, as is my habit when I find myself in unknown waters, I researched.  And to my surprise, my research led me to the concept of shame.

Dr. Brune Brown (a self-described researcher/story-teller), who has spent a decade researching “connection”, says that shame is the fear of disconnection. It is the silent, inner question that we all ask, “Is there something about me that if people see, I won’t be worthy of connection?” And in her brilliant book, The Artist Way, Julia Cameron defines the act of shaming as “the attempt to prevent a person from behaving in a way that embarrasses us.”

We all have things within us that we are deeply afraid to reveal to others. Dr. Brown asserts that all humans capable of empathy have shame and the less we talk about it, the more we have it. We all wear masks that hide the parts of us that we don’t want others to see.

It is my profession to poke behind the masks that people wear and peek into their innermost fears and doubts. I cannot count the number of couples I have met who appeared to all those around them to “have it together” and yet they were secretly meeting with me to discuss their sexless marriage, or the incompatibility of their sexual proclivities or the fact that they loved each other, but were no longer “in love”.

I have also met countless young couples, boasting that they would do just fine in their sex lives because they had done all the research on the quantitative and qualitative elements necessary to sustain a healthy relationship. Later, they creep back to me because, in their youthful zeal, they had failed to see that there are things that you very simply cannot anticipate through theory…only experience can truly test whether you can thrive. Relationships, simply put, are not academic.

But what happens when we say something or do something (intentionally or inadvertently) that rips the mask off of someone and exposes their shame?

Most people resort to blame. (Dr. Brown says the clinical definition of blame is “a way to discharge pain and discomfort.”) For if they can turn the argument around and make you look and feel bad – if they can shame you – then they will feel safe and secure once again with their mask firmly back in place. It turns the spotlight from shining on their insecurities to redirects the light onto you.  For, as we all know, the spotlight can be extremely uncomfortable.

Here is an example from my coaching practice. I met with a woman who had been married for decades and had decided that the sex life she had lived with was not what she wanted for the rest of her relationship. She had come to the place of needing a substantial change if she was going to stick around. After a series of conversations, her husband threw up his hands in disgust and said, “What is wrong with you? Sex has always been good for me!”

This woman, after years of silence, had expressed a desire to change their sex life, and his response was to cover his own shame of being unable to satisfy his wife by telling her that she was the problem. She had embarrassed him, and he responded by shaming her.

So how do you confront shame and blame in the bedroom?

It starts with you. Shift your focus from the other person and onto you. What did they say that made you feel vulnerable, exposed or insecure? Is there any truth to what they said? If so, what changes can you make in your behavior, your choices and your attitudes towards yourself and others? Once you have that figured out, get to work.

Do not deny the pain. Cameron has a profound way of addressing shame and blame. Instead of saying, “It doesn’t matter”, she instead says, “I will heal.” In this way, she encourages us not to deny the feelings that resulted from the blame, but rather to allow ourselves to move past them.

Be patient with others. Sometimes just understanding that we are all covering our own shame gives us patience and grace for others. Furthermore, when we refuse to accept the shame and refuse to strike back in blame, we disrupt the pattern and thereby grow in personal strength.

Be kind to yourself. Because she is a teacher of the creative, Cameron suggests that the very best way to move past shame is to be creative once again. Perhaps you do not consider yourself a creative person, so you think this is not a solution for you. The point, however, stands. Do something that reminds you of who you really are: have lunch with a friend who can kindly speak truth to you, read old letters from people who love and encourage you, or write in your journal about the things you believe to be true.
Move to a place of forgiveness. Eventually, when you are ready (do not rush this process just because it is the right thing to do!), begin the process of forgiveness. If you need pointers, read my article Freedom of Forgiveness.

Of course, putting several bullet points on paper makes the process seem simple. Let me to assure you that it is not. But it is a starting place. If you want to research a bit more, take 20 minutes and watch Dr. Brown’s presentation at TED here.

So what do you think?  Have you ever been shamed…have you ever reacted to someone by shaming them?  Your thought are always welcome!


Monday, June 27, 2011


My Perspective Is Getting Clearer As My Eyes Get Blurrier
Why is it that I can’t get through singing America the Beautiful without tears in my eyes anymore? Can’t say the Pledge of Allegiance without my right hand over my heart and eyes shining?  Can’t talk about the military without getting passionate and defensive? The words haven’t changed – it’s still the same song I sang growing up. And, it’s not like people are spying on who pledges with their hands over their hearts & who doesn’t or people are taping conversations to listen to how respectfully you talk about our soldiers …. BUT, let me tell you, my perspective has definitely changed!
I grew up in a very spoiled time of history – and a very “war-innocent” period. None of our family served in Vietnam and I wasn’t quite old enough for that to impact me. World wars were part of my history curriculum and current war-torn countries were all on the other side of the world. I lived in the peaceful United States of America … where it felt like nothing bad ever happened.
Then came the 1990’s and I became a mother for the first time and our country went to war in the Gulf. I was glued to the TV set trying to keep up on everything we were doing. I was mesmerized as I prayed for our military and for their families in every branch. Selfishly, I was incredibly thankful that my boys weren’t old enough to be overseas protecting us.

Twenty years have come and gone since my first experience with our country at war. And I know one thing for sure, the older I get, the more I appreciate being an American. The prouder I become of what it means to fly the red, white, and blue! And the more overwhelmed I am to experience a freedom that so many have given their lives for. These are no longer words – but deep, deep truths that are a part of who I am.
I don’t think you can possibly understand a deeper meaning of freedom until you’ve lived long enough to have it threatened. As a young person, you don’t realize freedom comes with an incredibly high price tag! Unbelievably high! 

  • Freedom comes with boundaries that must be maintained – it’s not a whimsical open space. Lines must be drawn and protected.
  • Freedom provides a sense of peace and well-being versus the state of oppression. The loss of expression robs us of more than we realize.
  • Freedom instills and builds a confidence as opposed to life void of destiny or purpose, which in turns leads to a hopeless future. People die without hope.
  • Freedom is dignity with a head held high versus cowering and existing in shame. It’s knowing who you are and why you are here.
  • Freedom is responsibility taken seriously: responsibility to a family, to a community, to a country. It fully recognizes that one doesn’t live in autonomy.
  • Freedom is a costly gift fought for – not an inherent right. May those who have freedom treat it as such!
I am thankful for a clearer perspective and I hope my eyes tear up for the rest of my life every time we sing about our freedom. And when it comes to freedom, I hope your eyes get blurrier the older you get as well.

Let's take all take a moment to share our thoughts on freedom and perspective - what are yours?


Friday, June 24, 2011

THE BIG PICTURE: Alcohol, Role Models, and Me

Twelve years old and running free; I was a preteen, just beginning to formulate my thoughts about life, the world and who I would become.  I spent most of my free time hanging out with friends, and one friend in particular whose mom spent a lot of time hanging out with us.  She was cool, available to listen, and she introduced me to Miller beer.  As I look at the bigger picture in hindsight, she was depressed, an alcoholic, and her daughters were following along in her footsteps.
A larger percentage of American parents are providing their teens with alcohol.  “Half of Australian adults and 63 per cent of Australians on a higher income believe 15 to 17-year-olds should be allowed to consume alcohol under parental supervision at home, according to the latest MBF Healthwatch survey.”  Science Daily* (links provided at bottom of post)
 Studies show teens who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcoholism than those who begin drinking at 21.Alcoholism is the leading cause of death in teens.  It contributes to drunk driving, date rape and violence. Teens today are reporting they are drinking to relieve stress.*  (Does that sound familiar?)
Educators, healthcare professionals and parents are always discussing what we can do to address this crisis of youth at risk.  But there’s one part of the discussion that isn’t easy to bring to the table.
Part of the big picture: our subtle messages
Recently I volunteered with a group of moms to coordinate a lunch for our high school students on campus.  A suggestion was made to make virgin alcoholic drinks for the students.  The moms were in agreement over the idea.  But I was the stick in the mud.  I was concerned with the big picture.  What message are we sending kids if we cannot even have a school lunch without considering an alcoholic drink-virgin or not?  “Here’s your cocktail, Jake.  I know it’s just a virgin drink, but when you are older you will be able to have real fun and drink like a real man.  By the way, don’t drink at Prom”.
There is a growing trend in our culture-it is also growing in the body of Christ-to have an alcoholic beverage with every social event, every restaurant visit, every game on television, every Friday night, every barbecue, and even while visiting our friends during kid’s playgroup.  Now before you get defensive, I am not about to condemn you.  I am not going to tell you alcohol is evil.  I don’t think it is.  But I am asking you to weigh the decision of the measure of alcohol you welcome.  Consider its power and message in your life.
The bigger picture:  You are being watched
You may have great discussions with your kids about drinking responsibly.  But if you are one of the many adults who say “Hoot! Hoot! It’s margarita time”, you are sending a message to your kids.  Your actions speak louder than your words.  Every time you are with your peers are you “Hoot! Hooting!” about the drinks that will be with you?  Every time you have a social event or go out for a fantastic dinner-must the alcohol be front and center?
Our behavior is a powerful teacher.  It speaks messages without words.
In essence our behavior is saying, “If you want to have a good time, good friends, and good dinner, alcohol must be part of it”.  And our kids-who can’t wait to be adults-learn they really can’t have a good time without it.  It doesn’t matter what you say about it, your actions are speaking volumes.
You may be saying, “Oh brother, Bonnie” or something worse by now.  But consider it.  Do you or do you not believe in the unspoken messages of powerful role models?
Kids sneak alcoholic drinks for many reasons.  Will you consider one of the reasons is the message we portray, “In order to have a good time, you need a drink”?  Why wouldn’t they want to be drinking as teens?  Our actions say its what people do when they get together with friends, and without it they are depriving themselves.
The bigger picture:  You have a weaker brother
We have a society filled with recovering alcoholics, addictive behaviors, families hanging by a thread due to alcoholism and broken hearts who have lost loved ones to drunk drivers.  These individuals exist in your family, your work place, your neighborhood, your church.  Do you know who they are?  You may know some by name, but you likely have no clue how many more wounded people are in your life.
We don’t know who might be one drink away from becoming an alcoholic.  We don’t know who has been devastated by alcohol.  But the Holy Spirit does. He knows every one of their names and He has the bigger picture in mind.  It’s why Paul says, “If I can thank God for my food and enjoy it, then why let someone spoil it just because he thinks I am wrong?  Well, I will tell you why.  It is because you must do everything for the glory of God.  Even your eating and drinking.  So don’t be a stumbling block to anyone, whether they are Jews or Gentiles or Christians.  That is the plan I follow too, not doing what I like or what is right for me, but what is right for them . so that they can be saved”. (I Corinthians 10:30-33)
Have a discussion with the One who knows the bigger picture
My decision to drink or not to drink should not influence your decision.  It is up to each one of us to sit quietly with Jesus and listen to His direction.  The problem is, I don’t think we do.  If each of us were listening to His direction, I hold the opinion that less of the body of Christ would be drinking as liberally as we do.
As you listen, He will tell some of you to go ahead and have a social drink.  He will tell some of you to use more discretion.  He will tell others to stop drinking all together.  As a follower of Jesus and not of the world, will you ask Jesus to clearly tell you what He wants you to do?
Is there a weaker brother I need to consider?  God may not tell you the name, but He may whisper to you, “Yes”.
Am I being a stumbling block to anyone?  Ask God if your social drinking is causing anyone–of any age–to stumble.
Am I relying upon drinking instead of relying upon You?  Invite God to search your heart.  Do you rely on a drink to relax you, loosen you up socially, or to fit in, more than you rely upon Him?  Then it has become an idol.  (I gave up Coca-Cola when I realized I made it an idol.)
It is the season for proms and graduations.  Saturday I will serve my shift for Sober Grad Night until 1:30 a.m., another shift of parents will volunteer until 4:30 a.m.  I don’t know what my little picture job is for the night, but my big picture job is to do my part to protect and raise a culture of mentally, socially, spiritually, physically healthy kids.
Sometimes the big picture compels me to give up my sleep (1:30 isn’t easy these days).   The big picture compels me to give up “what I like and what is right for me”.  It’s part of being a disciple and that big picture job is to be salt in this culture.
P.S. If you want to look deeper, here are some sites and verses to check out:
Many parents encourage underage drinking, Australian study finds This article talks about teen alcohol consumption and its effects on brain development
Teenage Drinking Statistics and Information.  This site includes practical ways for parents to communicate with their children regarding alcohol.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


It was time to fly home from Atlanta to Seattle.  My 18 month old (and only child at the time) was my reason to board the plane first so we made ourselves comfortable before all the other passengers started to get on. She loved people watching as everyone walked by or took their seats in front of us as I silently wondered who would fill the seat next to me. As soon as I saw him, I knew he would be my seat buddy and I have to admit, I was not at top game. 

Here comes this guy with gray curly hair standing straight up in a Lyle Lovett fashion with dirty clothes and wrinkly skin that looked worn and tired of the sun. He looked homeless.  His black grungy boots were sticking their tongues out at me, as if mocking the upcoming torture I was sure to endure and the laces clicked the emergency lights strips with every step.  He squinted at every seat label as he passed to see if he was to 35 yet.  Really?!  Since when do the seats on airplanes go in any order but numeric.   I had no idea his seat assignment but was certain Murphy's Law would plop him right next to me.   He made his way down and sure enough, that empty seat was about to be filled with a furry, drunk, rude man!   Great.  5 hour flight...

His name was Cory and he was the nicest man.  His feet didn't even stink after he took off these big work boots he had been running around in all day. Cory could tell I was exhausted as Caelan jumped up and down in my lap, tearing the pillows out from under peoples heads in the rows in front of us. He kept offering to hold her for a minute to save my legs but she wanted to save all her thrashing for me.  He told me all about his twin grandaughters and how he couldn't wait to be back home to Seattle. With kind smiles and an keen understanding of when to stop talking, the flight went by very smoothly and actually quite enjoyable.  I was glad that God put Cory on that flight to teach me a lesson. How ugly my heart was to assume such things about him but how convicted and changed I felt after sitting next to him in row 35.  Still praying the people around me felt convicted to forgive curious Caelan for pulling out their earphone countless times to ask them "whatcha doin?".


Monday, June 20, 2011


Here is a story that is often told of Gregory Bateson, an anthropologist and the husband of the Margaret Mead. He was asked to come observe a group of otters that seemed depressed to their zookeepers. Otters, if you didn’t know, love to play. You can watch them for hours as they leap, swim, wrestle with each other and get up to all sorts of antics. These otters, however, seemed listless and lethargic.
After watching the animals for a number of days, Bateson dangled a piece of paper on string into their habitat. Before long, an otter came over to the string and began to bat at it. Very soon after, another otter joined in and then both otters started to play with each other. Even when Bateson removed the paper on the string, the otters continued to play.
How did two otters – creatures that are playful by nature – stop playing? Simply put, they got bored.
It is very easy for couples to get bored and, by extension, stop playing with each other when they have been married for years.
I was recently chatting with a client, and she mentioned that her husband liked to pull out a stuffed animal, put on an alter-ego voice, and make silly comments. She didn’t have a clue how to respond. Naturally a very serious person, this activity seemed very confusing to her. When I suggested that she make a silly comment in return – something fun and playful – it made her stop and think because it had been so long since she had been playful in their marriage.
Are you playful together? Believe it or not, this can be one of the most effective tools to making your relationship last. If you are having a lot of fun together, it makes it much harder to split up.
What are you doing to be playful with your spouse? Do you need to introduce something new into your environment to remind the two of you how to play again? What will that something new be? (as a suggestion: you might want to try something different than a just piece of paper on a string!) How can you make your spouse laugh this week? Can you surprise your spouse with something that will completely delight him or her?
As you think about those questions, let me leave you with a video of two otters, taking a nap at the Vancouver Aquarium. They are holding hands so that they will not float apart.

Remember: Playfulness not only combats boredom, but it also engenders intimacy.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Cultivate Yours Sons Character through Powerful Role Models


Can you recall the influential people in your youth?  Perhaps they made an impression because they took a special interest in you, challenged you, or respected your opinions.  Studies show teens that have mentoring relationships are more likely to challenge themselves by taking positive life risks.  Their decisions about drinking, drugs and sex become significantly influenced. (2006 SADD, Inc./Liberty Mutual Group study of 3,312 students)

While Mom is the most influential person in a child’s formative years, there is a natural psychological shift that occurs from mom to dad.  Boys in particular require adult males to respect, get approval from and model their manhood after.   If there isn’t a man in the home, explore ways to incorporate positive male mentors.


My husband and I mutually desire that our sons be able to face adversity as well as mundane tasks with a faithful zeal.  We began introducing ordinary people whose lives exemplify extraordinary faith:

Great Hero Stories for children.  These may include Bible heroes, missionaries, business people, etc.  Several nights a week, give the boys their own time with dad, reading and casually discussing the story.  These stories can be found in children’s books or c.d.’s at your local bookstore and Christian book source.

Tell Your Story.  Our boys call these “Daddy Stories”.  They sit in the Jacuzzi or by the fire while my husband tells stories of growing up, stories of struggles and faith in his workplace or mission trips.  Casually he tells the stories, often with laughter, always with purpose.  When our 12 year old returned from his first mission trip overseas, he told his peers, “My original motivation to go on a mission trip was because my parents always told me stories that sounded so fun”.

Serve Together.  Care for a neighbor, serve in a soup kitchen, walk a 5k for the homeless.  Locate opportunities by calling your local Salvation Army, soup kitchen, or church.  You may hesitate now, but your heart will be bursting after your first experience!  I have seen babies, young children, and our own special needs child able to give back to the community.  Your son will learn life is not all about him, he will notice those in need.  The unspoken power of serving beside role models will cultivate his character.


 Purposely introduce like-minded people to your son.

Movie Night.  Boys respond to war stories; great classics that tell true stories of heroism.  “To Hell and Back” was the first war movie our sons viewed. Selfless and courageous, Audie Murphy led by example.  He was small, faced personal obstacles, but became the most decorated war hero in history.  “Chariots of Fire” is another great choice.

Give them You.  Stay involved and interested.  Hang out, have fun, keep communication open.

Casual Mentors with Similar Interests. Contact your local college or church requesting an exceptional student with the sport or skill interest of your son.  Interview him and offer to pay him to coach your son.  Encourage the relationship with family barbeques, etc.

Extracurricular Activities with an organization.  Connect with church youth groups, Campus Life, Junior Achievement, Boy Scouts.  These organizations have volunteers who want to influence youth.  Bill Beausay calls them Pockets of Power, “All you need to do is arrange transportation, give thanks to God for people like this, and get out of the way”. (“Shaping the Man Inside Teenage Boys”)

Woman Gone Wise

Monday, June 13, 2011


It is SO hard to pull yourself out of bed at 5 am. The covers are so warm and squishy, the pillow still has the perfect indent from your nog and everyone around you is still asleep...why get up?
You swing your feet out of bed but they are instantly cold and sockless. "A trip to the bathroom might help wake me up." you think as you stomp off, Neanderthal-esque to the John, scratching your butt and yawning throughout the journey. fell back asleep on the toilet but startled yourself awake when your wrist support for your head gave way. Numbness on your butt has started to kick in which means it is a good time to change locations so AHHHHHHH! As you stood up, the bond of flesh to toilet seat ripped apart leaving you wondering how long you actually sat there and what life might be like if you had a padded toilet seat like your gramma. Thoughts quickly turn back to the math problem as you calculate if you still have time to crawl back in bed before the kids wake up.

The inner argument begins "But there is so much to do. And if I don't do my Bible Study and reading, take my shower and plan my day RIGHT NOW, it will never happen!" Ugh.
Am I the only one who does this?
Of course, following that bold argument, I spend about 20 minutes trying to rationalize how I CAN fit these EVER-SO important aspects of my day in at a later time, meaning I can honestly go back to bed. The interrupted, crappy sleep that will ensue is somehow more appealing than the one-on-one, quiet time with God that I will be overwhelmingly thankful for in the end.
At the foot of my bed, in total hesitation, I have a choice to make. Warm, comfy bed with no chance of a REM cycle that I prefer to call "rest time" OR quiet time with Jesus and prayer that He will sustain me through the day due to my obedience? Today...Jesus won. Tomorrow, another battle but quiet time with Jesus was more refreshing than 20 Diet Cokes. I love that I am taken out of my comfort zone for two hours before the rest of my world wakes up. I love that those two hours of yawning and fighting my heavy eyelids means I am prepared for whatever the day brings because I began by asking Jesus to join me. And I am sure you all love that I showered. :)

PS> Verse in photo is Proverbs 31:15. I try and keep myself in check with what God considers "a wife of noble character". Lately, of course, this particular line stands out to me! ;)

Friday, June 10, 2011


She twirls like a ballerina in her new holiday dress and shiny shoes, “Daddy, don’t I look pretty?” 
She jumps into his arms of safety after he encourages, “Come on sweetheart - you can do it - daddy will catch you!” 
She loves holding her father’s big, strong hand as they walk places and she adores hearing his voice call her his ‘little princess’.
‘She’ is every little girl - and she yearns for her daddy’s love as she begins to grow up. 
Not only would I testify to this for myself but I have had a front row seat observing the relationship between our only daughter and her daddy.
I’ve been taken aback as I have watched the yearning in my daughter’s eyes for her daddy’s belief in her capability. I see the incredible difference her father’s reactions make in her perception of her talents or skills. His words determine the outcome of her self-assurance and potential -- one encouraging word can literally boost her confidence to dream and risk and one critical word can send her straight to the land of insecurity, doubting herself. Fathers affirm competence and set the path for a woman to believe “I don’t have to prove myself. I can do anything.”
It’s amazing how my husband has become her ‘personal mirror’. The truth is that so much of of her self-image is reflected in the way her father sees her, the way he interacts with her, and the way he talks about her to others. If he compliments her and assures of her beauty, she feels like the most lovely young lady in the land. However, a simple throw-away comment or too much teasing can confirm her inner thoughts of ugliness; ugliness that no amount of make-up can cover. Yet, most dads don’t realize the power they hold in establishing their daughter’s self-worth.
Experience shows that fathers are very important role models for their daughters, especially in the puberty and teen years. A father is the first male that a girl comes to intimately know, and he can set the stage for how his daughter interacts in future relationships, especially with men. Just the other day our daughter declared to her dad that “he ruined her!” My husband exclaimed, “What? That sounds horrible - what on earth do you mean that I ruined you?” She went on to explain that, when it came to dating and marriage, he set the bar very high. She admires that he loves God so openly and has such a giving heart. She respects that he is a strong man with a tender heart. But, mostly, she never doubts that he loves his wife completely, creatively, and faithfully - and she has watched it all firsthand. Therefore, she isn’t going to settle for anything less in a young man. 
So, from a mother’s perspective, let me encourage every daddy out there to invest big in his little girl’s life. 
  • Please support her interests and ask questions about what she is involved in. Build her up every chance you get. Be there for her games or performances. There is no substitute for your presence.
  • Please compliment her. Hug her. Tell her how much you love her and how beautiful she is a million times while she grows up. Realize the powerful mirror you are in her life.
  • Please “ruin her” and set the bar high by the way you treat your wife. Make your daughter feel like you want to be close to her. Take her on a date. Show her how she should be treated.
Dads, no one replaces the place you hold in her heart. 

Every little girl and every big girl wants her daddy’s love.
Share with me how your dad made you feel loved or how your husband shows special love to your daughter.
P.S. - Send this to a dad of a daughter.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011


“Mom, I have something to tell you”.
I looked up at my youngest boy, grimacing as he often does.
“I put a dent in your van door.  You can’t see it much, but I did it.”
Sometimes I can’t tell what the truth is with that little grimace of his.  “Are you joking?”
As we stepped through the hall the self-talk began, “Stay calm, Bonnie”.  The Spirit of God reminded my heart, “It’s only temporary”.
I glanced at the van and the first of many dents which will remain unrepaired.  Then I gathered my thoughts, “I have 3 things to tell you”.
My son leaned against the van as the words came calmly.  “First, thank you very much for telling the truth.  I appreciate that.  You made a good character choice.”
“Second, just because I forgive you doesn’t mean you can start bashing our belongings around and- -“, his defenses began to build and he interrupted with his reasons why the dent occurred.
“Wait quietly please while I finish”.  He stood up straight as he uncharacteristically zipped his lips.
“Third, even if we take super good care of this van, do you think it will get many dents and scrapes over the years?”
“I think in about 20 years this van is going to be a piece of junk.  But in the years to come, I am certain you will never become a piece of junk.”
He giggled.
“I think this van will be like all of our other belongings, they will rust or rot and get pretty crappy.  But you won’t.”
He began wiggling, giggling and loosening up while he listened.
“Jesus says all of our material things will pass away, but people and the Word of God will last forever.  So what do you think means more to me, this shiny new van or my boy?”
His cheeks rose high as he smiled a confident smile.  “I do”.
We turned back into our home and he ran upstairs giggling uncontrollably.  His heart was filled and affirmed with his Mama’s unconditional love.
He shouted from the top of the stairs with a voice bubbling over in joy, “I’m sorry Mom, but it was worth it!”
My heart was filled with its own joy.  I may even be thankful for a tiny little dent which helped a tender heart grasp a huge eternal perspective and a deeper knowledge of being loved.

Monday, June 6, 2011


I am the mother of a six-year-old and despite the subject matter that I speak about, write about and research for my day job, we are extremely conservative at home. Just the other day, my daughter chastised me for using the “D” word. It’s probably not what you think…I had commented that something was “dumb”.  And, for the record, the word “stupid” might as well be cussing in our household.

When it comes to my own profession, I also realize the prudence in speaking openly about sexual questions that come up. A few have with Riley…although not as many as I was expecting by this age. When she does broach the subject, I ask for clarity on what it is she is trying to learn and why, so that I can answer the question simply and truthfully but not answer too much. (There’s the old joke of the Dad who went into a lengthy explanation about sex to his child who asked “what’s sex”, only to find out that the child had been told by his mother that “dinner would be ready in a few “secs”.) I try to balance healthy candor about the subject of sexuality with the fact that we hold pretty conservative values as a family.

So, I was horrified to learn that Abercrombie & Fitch has just marketed a bikini for 7-year-old girls with a PUSH UP TOP.

Really????  Seriously!?!  Are you kidding me!!???

We are facing an epidemic of little girls growing up believing that their bodies are inadequate because of the ridiculous amount of media pressure to be a perpetual size 0, and yet they want to send a message to our 7-year-olds that their pre-pubescent chests are inadequate? It’s ludicrous.

But, as CNN’s LZ Granderson points out, companies such as Abercrombie & Fitch would not sell such items if there were not parents who buy them. Companies have increasingly pushed the boundaries on what is and what is not appropriate for teens and children for years, and have been allowed a ridiculous amount of latitude from parents. As parents, it is our duty to make sure that our children wear items that reflect a healthy amount of self-respect rather than just what is the latest fashion. As Granderson says,

I don’t care how popular Lil’ Wayne is, my son knows I would break both of his legs long before I would allow him to walk out of the house with his pants falling off his butt. Such a stance doesn’t always makes me popular — and the house does get tense from time to time — but I’m his father, not his friend.

Thank you, LZ for making the point that is so often lost on my peers. We did not give birth to children so that we could have life-long buddies. When we chose to produce off-spring, we were making a decision to train these little beings how to love themselves and how love others. Decisions that fall within these parameters do not necessarily make us popular with our children, but they do make us good parents.

Because of my job, I get asked all the time how to talk to kids about sex.  There are lots of opinions on that subject – when to start, how much to share, what’s age appropriate information.  But I don’t even have to broach any of those points to get to the basic premise here: Talking to your kids about sex includes how you let them dress – or how you choose to dress them.

That’s my take-away for this blog post.  But in the interest of fairness, I should say that Abercrombie & Fitch have agreed to remove the term “push up” from the title in favour of the less incendiary “striped triangle”, but have continued selling the padded bikinis.

What are you thoughts?

Canada's Passion Coach ®