Teen Issue – Accepting Autism

Accepting Autism Featured Image

Good Morning! Here’s the Monday Morning Blog?

Have you reached out to that teen in your life? Our young adults were helping out with log splitting and stacking this weekend. We are getting wood ready to dry out over the summer so we are ready for next year’s fireplace fires in our home. Some of it will make its way to our summer cabin up north too!

April is Autism Awareness Month

Autism Awareness Month graphic

I’ll be focusing the posts this month on Autism not only to raise awareness about what Autism is, but also what we can do to accept those who have this disorder.

Like I mentioned last week, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) has been referring to April as Autism Acceptance Month in an effort to gain acceptance of those who have Autism. Acceptance is one of the biggest barriers to finding and building support systems for autistic individuals. So, what can we do to accept people with autism?

Acceptance

Acceptance is the act of understanding and including something or someone. How can we practice acceptance?

  • Nix judgement – see people for who they are not what they are
  • Acknowledge always – acknowledge other people by saying hello and making eye contact
  • Always give the benefit of the doubt – find the good in other people

What is Autism?

Autism is a serious developmental disorder that impairs the ability to communicate and interact with others. It is also referred to as Austism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Challenges with this disorder vary greatly and no two individuals who have it are the same. There is no cure for ASD.

People who have autism come to accept who they are and the people who support them accept them for who they are. According to an article about Accepting your Autism on WikiHow.com, learning about the disorder can lead to awareness and acceptance. Some of the traits of this disorder are;

  • Having deeply passionate interests which can develop into expertise in a certan area. This can lead to successful careers and hobbies. In the book House Rules I reviewed last week, Jacob Hunt’s expertise was forensic science and he loved to solve crimes.
  • Helpfulness – Autistic people have a high sense of social responsibility and like to help others and solve problems. Jacob Hunt wanted to help the police solve crimes. He had a police scanner and would show up at crime scenes to help.
  • Precision – Austic People tend to focus on the small parts and not the big picture. This can make them very detail oriented. Jacob Hunt would focus on the details when he would recreate crime scenes for his mom to try and solve.

If we practice accpetance by using the three steps I mentioned above and we take the time to understand what makes people with autism different from us, we can become aware of what they have and start accepting who they are.

Awareness and Acceptance

Being aware of something is a good starting point. Acceptance is an action taken on that awareness. Here’s what we can do to start accepting not only autistic people, but others who are different from us.

accepting autism actions

Ask questions about the disorder which will lead to understanding what it is. Understanding what it is all about will help us not be afraid of it. Tell a friend and share your understanding with them. Reach out and include those with autism and those who are different from you. Show your support by recognizing Autism Acceptance Month. And, make a difference, be a role model for others to be aware of what autism is and accept those who have the disorder.

What are you going to do?

What are you going to do to accept autism? If you took the time to read this post, you now have yourself educated a little bit about what autism is. You understand that people with autism may be different from you, but if you are able to take time to understand them, you can also work towards accepting them and others who are different from you. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

The Hard Way turns 4 today!

Happy Birthday picture for The Hard Way

My first book, The Hard Way, was published four years ago today. to celebrate this milestone, I am having a $.99 ebook sale through Amazon.com on April 23-25, 2021. Be sure to pick up a copy so you will be ready to read book two. The announcement of the publication date will be coming soon. So stay tuned.

If you can’t wait for the sale and are looking to get your copy now, here is a link to my books tab The Hard Way.

Have a great week!

Teen Issue – Remote vs. In-Person Learning

Remote Learning Featured Image

Good Morning! Here’s the Monday Morning Blog!

How was your week? Did you touch base with that teen in your life? We are still spending time with just one of our young adults. Our oldest comes back from Arizona this week. We miss having our oldest around, but it is kind of nice to have the one-on-one time with our youngest.

National Women’s History Month

Women's History Month Logo

I’ll be focusing the posts this month towards women who have done inspiring things or have made contributions to our country’s history. This month, I would like to take the time to thank all of the teachers who have been helping teens continue to move forward with their learning even through the pandemic. They have had to do some pretty creative things to get the job done. Definitely making contributions to our history and our future.

International Women’s Day

Do you know what today is? March 8th is International Women’s Day. Like I mentioned last week, it was the founding step to March becoming National Women’s History Month. President Jimmy Carter’s Presidential Proclamation declared this week Women’s History Week to correspond with International Women’s Day. That week long recogntion eventually became a month long one.

COVID-19 Graphic

It was about a year ago…

When everything started…

  • We were sent home from work and school
  • We were told to not go anywhere unless it was deemed essential
  • We were told to wear masks and social distance from one another

It is when we embraced the COVID-19 Pandemic

I saw a lot of Facebook posts over the weekend about this being the time when it all started last year. Hard to beleive it has been a year already.

Teen Issue – Remote vs. In-Person Learning

There were some teens completing their high school experience remotely before the pandemic. But, do we remember when this major switch to all remote learning started last year? Teens were sent home from school with no plan in place to how they would continue school. A year later, with many of the schools starting back in-person, I am wondering how kids are doing with these transitions.

Remote Learning

Some teens are doing really well with remote learning. Sure they are missing their friends and the social aspects of in-person school, but they adapted to the issues of time management and a different type of socialization.

boy in gray hoodie sitting on black chair
Photo by Julia M Cameron on Pexels.com

Time Management

During in-person learning at school, the teacher drives the time management segment. While teens are sitting in their classrooms, they are held accountable for what they are doing with their time with attendance and participation. The same thing could be accomplished through remote learning, but some kids won’t show up. Either they don’t deal well with the format or they don’t have the right technology at home to do it.

While learning from home, it can be harder to stay focused. There can be more distractions at home than at school. Teens may have their parents to help them stay on track, but the time management piece falls more to the teen to manage with remote learning.

Different type of socialization 

How are you doing with interacting with your friends and co-workers on screen? It is the same for our teens. I started a new day job during COVID. It has been harder to learn the job remotely. Can’t just tap a co-worker on the shoulder and ask a question. Have to make a phone call or set up a meeting.

What about the chatter that goes on in class that one can learn from? Not just about class, but about other things that go on in a teen’s life. Sure, some of those same things can happen in an online Zoom meeting or class, but what about what is gained by actually hanging out at school? Or, what are the mental health implications of not being there?

group of people studying together
Photo by Ivan Samkov on Pexels.com

Hanging out at school

One of the biggest social pieces missing right now for kids and teens. Building relationships with teachers and others is an important part of the school experience. It is a huge motivator to student success in school. Not to mention all of the school activities that have been modified or cancelled due to COVID-19.

Mental Health Aspect

The lack of social interaction that cames from hanging out at school and in-person learning has lead to students having feelings of isolation and depression. This is one of the reasons I start every blog post asking if you have checked in with that teen in your life this week? They are going through a lot of new feelings due to having to learn from home. Learning how to interact with people over a computer and giving up many activities including hanging out at school is a lot to have to deal with as a person. Ask them how they are doing and make sure they are okay.

Do you really know how teens doing with the transition between remote learning and in-person? Do we know how this different type of socialization has affected them? Have we checked in and asked them? Please let me know in the comments below.

The Hard Way

Looking for a good teen/young adult read about peer pressure and choosing your friends? How about checking out The Hard Way? Here is a link for more information.

The Hard Way

Cover design of my first book

Have a great week!

Teen Challenge – Respecting Diversity and Inclusion

Good Morning! Here’s the Monday Morning Blog!

Parents and Teachers: Did you touch base with that teen in your life this week?

Teens: Did you touch base with the adults in your life? Let them know what is happening with you? I bet they would love it if you did.

February is Black History Month

With February being Black History Month, I’ll be focusing this month’s posts towards people and events that have shaped our country’s view of different races.

With our country struggling with racial relations, I will be forcusing on the teen challenge of accepting diversity and inclusion of others who are different from ourselves.

Respecting Diversity and Inclusion

When it comes to diversity and inclusion, here are the definitions,

Diversity

Diversity is understanding that there are differences between people. Not only racial differences, but differences in culture, religion, sexual orientation, where you live and how much monry your may make.

Inclusion

Is accepting and including people who are different from ourselves and including them in what we are doing as equal partners.

This quote from Verna Myers, a Diversity and Inclusion Expert explains the relationship between these two ideas.

While we are able to see and understand that there are differences between us and others, do we make a point to include those who are different from us? Or,

  • Do we shun them?
  • Bully them?
  • Treat them differently because they are different from us?

The fact that we have historically treated people differently from ourselves has gotten us to the place we are now. Unable to get along with people who may be different from us. The Respect Diversity Foundation has programs they offer for kids and teens to teach us about diversity and inclusion.

Respect Diversity Foundation

This foundation is located in Edmond, Oklahoma. Its mission is to promote tolerance and acceptance across differences through communication, education, collaboration and the arts. They offer a program to educate kids and teens called “Different & The Same.”

“Different & The Same”

This is an engaging diversity program the foundation created to meet a need to educate kids and teens about diversity. They take this program to the schools and educate not only the kids and teens, but also the teachers and community.

Through this program, teens became kinder and more compassionate towards people. Some even became activists and advocates for diversity and inclusion with other people. This is the kind of grass root level teaching that needs to be done to help heal our country.

Here is a link to more information about the Respect Diversity Foundation and to the “Different & The Same” program.

There is another program out there to teach us about how to bring the ideas of diversity and inclusion into the workplace and other organizations. This college program is offered at Villanova University and other colleges throughout our nation. It would be something to consider if our teens are looking for a way to learn more about diversity and inclusion and become an advocate in companies and organizations they are involved in as adults.

Diversity and Inclusion – A graduation certificate program

Villanova University, located in Villanova, PA offers a certificate program called the Inclusion and Diversity strategy. It is the study of effectiveness of inclusion and diversity initiatives in organizations and other places in their lives. It is a part of the Human Resources course of study and is becoming a popular course of study to understand diversity and inclusion and actively improving those relationships in workplaces, organizations and other parts of our lives and society.

With our country struggling with racial relations, understanding diversity and activating ways of inclusion are important pieces to healing our country and improving how we are relating to one another. Here is a link to more information about the Inclusion and Diversity Strategy Certificate offered at Villanova University.

The Hard Way incorporates diversity

When my editor Michelle and I worked through revisions of The Hard Way, we have charcaters of different racial backgrounds interacting in the story. Not only to show what racial makup would typically be found in a burough of a city like New York City (which Manor City is loosely based on), but to show that characters of different backgrounds could come together as friends. Learn more about the book on the books tab of my website. Here’s the link

The Hard Way

What can we do?

Find out how the teens in our lifes feel about diversity and inclusion of others. Teach them with the programs that are available at places like Respect Diversity Foundation. This will go far to change the current views and to start adopting the ideas of diversity and inclusion in our society. What experiences have you faced with Diversity and Inclusion of yourself or others? Please let me know in the comments below.

PS – Something to check out!

Boys Town talks about Diversity this week

A couple of weeks ago, I talked about Boys Town as a Teen Resource because of their programs and how they advocate for teens. Here is a link to my blog post.

This week on Wednesday, February 10th at 12:00 PM CST, Boys Town will be hosting a Facebook Live event, The History of DIversity at Boys Town. Diversity is a foundational part of their organization. The founder of the organization, Father Flanagan began providing care for children regardless of race, religion or ethnicity. Be sure to stop by their Facebook Page on Wednesday to check it out. Boys Town – Facebook

Have a great week!

Teen Challenges – Differing viewpoints – What happened at the US Capitol?

Good Morning! Here’s the Monday Morning Blog!

How was your week last week?

Did you check in with that teen in your life? Jim took our young adults and new ice fishing gear on a father/son fishing day trip. They caught a couple of fish but learned a lot for the next time that they go.

Did you hear about what happened last week?

United States Capitol Building

A group of people got together in Washington D.C. at a rally down the street from the U.S. Capitol Building, where our elected officials were counting votes to certify the 2020 election results for the positions of President and Vice-President of our country. The people attending the rally didn’t agree with the results that were going to come from the certification of the ballot counting. So, instead of remaining in peaceful protest, which is within their rights as citizens of the United States, they decided to rush the capitol, break windows and get in, unlawfully, to make their feelings known to those people doing the counting.

What should have happened?

The offices of President and Vice-President each have a term that one can serve. In the United States, one term is serving four years. Those offices are limited to two terms (if they are re-elected to serve a second term.) When their term is up, they are responsible for a peaceful transition of power from themselves to the next ones elected to hold the position.

What did happen?

Since our current president believes there were issues in the election process, he also believes he should have earned a second term as president. So, he hasn’t been very cooperative about a peaceful transition of power to the people who did win the election based on the results of the counted votes. His supporters who attended the rally believe the same things our current president does about those results. They wanted to let the people counting the votes know how they feel. So, they went to the capitol and things got out of hand.

According to the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) website, the 2020 election took place during a very stressful time in our history. Between the pandemic, economic distress and racial unrest, a lot strong emotional reactions were being put forth which stirred up disagreements between many Americans. Regardless of the outcome of the election, we have a lot of work to do to heal and move forward as a country.

What can we do?

Moving forward from here, there are a few things to keep in mind

Respect the democratic process – there has been a process we have used for hundreds of years to run the elections, get the results, and transition from one president and his team to the next without violence. If the process is not working, we need to talk about it and make appropriate changes. Until then, we need to respect how the process works.

Channel views and feelings in a positive direction – you may be having confusing feelings about what happened. You may agree or disagree with what happened. Either view point is ok. Be sure to keep your reactions positive. Talk to other people about how you feel but don’t become mean to others or distructive to property in showing how you feel.

Accept people and their differences – the United States is made up of many people who are of different races, religions, and hold different beliefs. We don’t have to agree with everyone else, but respect and embrace the differences we have with each other.

Moving forward from here?

Keep the lines of communication open. Be willing to listen to others and talk about what’s on your mind. If we talk about issues with other people, and listen to what they have to say, we may be able able to understand and work with each other to avoid events like what happened at the Capitol last week.  

Don’t be part of the problem, be part of the solution.

Have a good week!

STOMP Out Bullying – #SeeMe Campaign

Good Morning! Here’s the Monday Morning Blog – Wednesday Edition!

Checked in with that teen in your life yet? I picked up dinner last night and sat down at the table with our two young adults. We didn’t solve any big problems, but had a very nice check in about how we were all doing.

National Bullying Prevention Month

Like I mentioned on Monday, there are many ways you can take an active role in bullying prevention. One of those ways is just to treat other people with respect. Put yourself in their shoes and treat them how you would like to be treated yourself. We all have differences that make us who we are. They should be celebrated and not be made fun of. Would you want someone to make fun of you for no reason? Think about that the next time you are tempted to pick on somone for how they look. You may think you are just teasing, but if you keep doing it, it is considered bullying.

STOMP Out Bullying #SeeMe Campaign

What do you see? What should you see? What should we see?

The #SeeMe campaign focuses on the fact that we are all people. It encourages teens to get to know others who may be different from themselves. There is a lot to be learned from persepctives that are different from our own.

Young people are brought up seeing the world through the eyes of the adults in their lives. They tend to model the feelings of judgement and hatred that adults in their lives display, unless they make the choice to change the culture and embrace others for their differences and not judge them for them. It is something we all can do.

By joining the #SeeMe Campaign, you are helping to make a culture change towards acceptance of the differences in people.

Change the way our culture… thinks

Change the way our culture…. acts

Let’s Change the culture for all of us!

from the STOMPoutbullying.com website

So, what can you do to Take Action?

Join the #SeeMe Campiagn by posting what others should see when they see you. Complete the following sentence,

#SeeMe I’m _______ and I want you to see that I am __________. (Don’t forget to use the hashtag)

So for me, I would say,

#SeeMe I’m Selma and I want you to see that I care about others and embrace them for who they are.

Post this sentence with a photo of yourself on your social media pages. You can also send the photo and the statement to art.stompoutbullying@gmail.com and they will post them for you.

No matter how you decide to take action in the #SeeMe Campaign, the key is to Take Action and prevent bullying. For more information about the #SeeMe Campaign and STOMP Out Bullying, here’s a link to their website STOMP Out Bullying.

Shawn’s Way

Shawn’s Way

My second book, Shawn’s Way, focuses on this teen challenge of bullying. Shawn Townson is a freshman in high school and this is his story about being a target of a bully, who is a teammate of his older brother’s. It is due to be released in November. Be sure to check it out.

While you are waiting, my first book, The Hard Way, which focuses on the teen challenge of peer pressure is available through a link on the books tab or for free through your Kindle Unlimited subscription. Free preview of chapter one if you sign up for my email list.

Have a great week!

October is National Bullying Prevention Month

Good Morning! Here’s the Monday Morning Blog!

Have you checked in with that teen in your life yet?

Our two young adult sons took on the adult role of and taking the docks out at our cabin without Jim or I going along. Passing the torch of an annual project. Becoming adults with responsibilities.

October is National Bullying Prevention Month

This is a campaign founded in 2006 by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. Originally a weeklong event, it was expanded to a month to help people across the nation and around the world unite with the powerful message that bullying should not be a part of childhood. Here is a link to their website National Bullying Prevention Center

Today is also

World Day of Bullying Prevention™ An initiative of STOMP Out Bullying™

It occurs the first Monday of every October. On this day students, schools. And communities all over the world go BLUE together against bullying and cyberbullying. It is the kickoff to National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month every October. Here is a link to their website World Day of Bullying Prevention™ An initiative of STOMP Out Bullying™

What Can You Do?

There are many initiatives and programs out there to help build awareness for this issue. By getting involved, you can help the teens in your school and in your community.

What can you personally do to prevent it? It may take you to change how you look at people.

People are just like you. They get up in the morning, they eat, they take the bus, they go to school, they play sports or video games. They may look different. Maybe they have glasses and you don’t. Or they have acne and you don’t. Maybe they are white and you are black. This is no reason to make fun of them.

We must treat people they way we want to be treated. Would you want someone to tease you because you are wearing a red jacket instead of a black one? Sometimes that is the reason why teens become the target of a bully.

Shawn’s Way

My second book, Shawn’s Way, due to publish in November, focuses on the teen challenge of bullying.

It is the story about a freshman at Mulston High School, Shawn Townson and how he becomes a taregt of a bully, just for being someone’s younger brother.

It is Book 2 of The Way Series and a sequel to my first book, The Hard Way. To find out more information about it, check out the books tab of my website.

Have a great week!

Teen Challenge – Back to School and Virtual Learning

Good Morning! Here’s the Monday Morning Blog, the Tuesday Morning edition!

How was your last week? Did you get a chance to touch base with that teen in your life yet?

This week may be the last week of summer for teens who are heading back school after Labor Day. For some teens, schools are already back in session. How are things going?

There are so many different looks to going back to school this year. Are we all virtual? Are we doing a hi-bred model where it is virtual and in person part of the time? With those teens who are physically going back into the school building for classes, are masks going to be the new fashion statement? Or, the new thing kids can be teased about?

Masks from Shop Disney

Some virtual learning has already been happening with online testing and classes. It has its advantages. Just like working from home, there’s no commute, except from your bed to your desk or table, hopefully with a shower and getting dressed on your way there. A little extra time in bed and maybe more casual dress code. For now, it’s a step we are taking to help keep us safe from spread of COVID-19. However, is it the best learning environment for our teens?

For teens who have grown up with a phone in their hand and technology at their fingertips, they will have no problem with the hard skills (technology) involved in virtual learning. They are probably more savvy than some adults with setting up the computer and logging on. Keeping them engaged in the learning process and creating good interpersonal interactions, or soft skills, while sitting at a desk or table at home may be a challenge. It can even be a challenge when they are sitting in classrooms at school. But, a lot of the school experience is found in the comradery with your classmates day to day. Eating lunch and attending sporting events with them. Sure, you can do kind of the same thing online, but it’s just not the same.

Virtual learning is also affecting teachers. Sure, they can log onto a computer and teach from their home office, but physically being in the classroom with their students helps them to pick up on nuances in their students’ behavior. Are they are understanding the lesson? Or are they bored? Students are also able to pick up on things in the white noise of their classroom and through having more interaction with teachers and other students. We know, virtual learning is being done for safety reasons to curb the spread COVID-19, but it may have consequences that are yet to be seen.

I think the biggest thing that will be affected by virtual learning is the slower development of teen soft skills. We talk a lot about these in business circles, but they are personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people. Remember all of the concerns we had with teens being so attached to their smart phones and possibly missing out on personal interactions to communicate with others? And how afraid we were of them not being able to communicate with others interpersonally? Now with virtual learning and teens not being in the class room, are we perpetuating their continual learning to interact better with a computer or a phone and not so well with other people? Let me know your thoughts.

One of the challenges of virtual learning is how do we engage teens to read things that are good for them to read? I have a good coming of age novel which talks about the teen challenges of peer pressure and the importance of choosing the right friends. How about picking up an ebook copy of my first book, The Hard Way. Follow this link to get a copy for you or your teen. The Hard Way It is free if you subscrible to Kindle Unlimited on Amazon. My second book, Shawn’s Way, is due to come out just before the holidays. Be sure to keep an eye out for it!

What challenges do you see and face with virtual learning and back to school tasks this year? Please let me know in the comments below.

Have a great week!

Are your teens talking about their challenges?

Good Morning! Here’s the Monday Morning Blog.

How was your week? Mine was busy but good. I spent part of it working on business and writing goals. It’s amazing how important your mindset is to getting things accomplished and achieving the goals you set for yourself. My dream has been to become a best-selling novelist. It will happen someday I don’t know how and I don’t know when. However, with the online course I took through the Facebook group, All-In Entrepreneur, the past couple of weeks I learned some great skills which will help me focus my time and energy towards it.

Jim and I went on a mini road trip this weekend. We drove to Red Wing, MN and visited Fair Trade Books, an independent bookstore owned and run by Rick DeVoe and his staff. He was a gracious host while we were there. We not only bought a couple of books we were looking for, but he suggested one for me and one for Jim after asking us about what kinds of things we liked to read. He pulled out a couple of really good sounding options. Especially for Jim, an aircraft mechanic and pilot who loves to learn about how things work, was offered a copy of a repair manual for a Sopwith Camel.

What is a Sopwith Camel youmay ask? Well, it is a British World War I single seat biplane fighter introduced in 1917. It‘s also the airplane that Snoopy flies when he pretends to kill the Red Baron in a dog fight.

Be sure you support your local independent book sellers. There’s a website where you can buy your books online called Bookshop.org. You can select an independent bookseller and they will receive credit for your purchase. As of this morning, Bookshop.org has raised $5,830,300.86 for local bookstores. Here is a link Bookshop.org

Teen Challenges – Are they talking to you or not?

In my writing recently, I’ve been changing the words teen issues to teen challenges. An issue is defined as an important topic or problem for debate or discussion. Challenge is defined as a task or situation that tests someone’s abilities. Issues seem to get talked about a lot, but not always have something done about them. I like the active nature of the definition of challenge. Teens face the challenge of dealing with things like peer pressure, bullying, and the changes brought on by the pandemic we are currently dealing with.

We are all facing changes in our lives due to the COVID virus, staying at home more, cancelling and rescheduling events, wearing masks when we go to public places like restaurants and work, and doing more things virtually, including school and talking to friends. Two big things which are normal activities for teenagers. Do you really know how your teen is doing during this very different time? Is your teen talking to you about how they feel? Not just about COVID, but other things that may be affecting them?

The coming of COVID has given all of us a chance to spend more time with our families. I know for me it has been nice to have dinners with my young adult kids. We have also had more talks since we are more available. Many of those opportunities were lost before when everyone was so busy with their activities or focusing on their smart phones for answers and interactions.

Speaking of smart phones, teens tend to find a lot of their advice through the internet on their phones. As we all know, the internet isn’t always the most accurate place to get information from. I’ve looked to the internet for answers myself and have wound up getting anxious from the many different answers there were. And each one wound up being a little bit off from the truth. Why not direct teens toward sources of information that we know have the right information? Or engage with them to be comfortable enough to come to their parents, teachers and trusted adults to get answers? To get our teens more engaged with us, it may take some creative solutions about reading certain books or using more accurate websites for them to reach out to. Or have them journal about their feelings through writing prompts.

An author friend of mine, Stephenie Peterson, is a homeschool mom who is posting daily writing prompts for kids on her Instagram and Facebook pages. What a great and maybe non-threatening way to get teens to open up and think about the challenge they are having and write down how they feel. It is along the lines of why psychiatrists have kids draw out what happened and interpret the drawing. How about doing these prompts as part of our current homeschooling or online learning to get teens to open up? Here is the writing prompt Stephenie posted on July 14th,

She posts them during the week. Be sure to check them out! Here are the links. Stephenie Peterson Author – Facebook and Stephenie Peterson Author – Instagram. She’s also an author of three books written for the middle grade audience. In two of her books, her main character is Nellie Nova, a young girl who goes on adventures back into history. And, her third, and most recently released one is called Grace’s Ghosts, which I am planning to do a review of soon, so keep an eye out for it on my blog. Here’s a link to her Amazon profile for more information about her books Stephenie Wilson-Peterson – Amazon Profile

Or, how about taking a look at my book, The Hard Way? It looks at the challenges of facing peer pressure and choosing the right friends. It’s a great coming of age novel to mentor teens with the story of how one teen navigates these challenges. Here’s the link to my website to take you to Amazon to get a copy for that preteen or young adult in your life. The Hard Way

Or, reach out to your local book store through Bookshop.org and order it through them.

So, this week, why not try and reach out to a teen you know and ask them how they are doing with all of the changes? Ask them how they feel about going back to school in the fall? For a lot of teens, it will continue to be distance learning, which is keeping them out of school and away from their friends. Take the time to check in and see if they just may need someone to listen to them. Let me know what you did in the comments below.

Have a good week!

What is Respect?

Good Morning! Here’s my Monday Morning Blog!

I’ll say, living in Minnesota made last week interesting. I live with my family in a suburb south of Minneapolis, where the arrest and subsequent death of George Floyd happened a week ago today. In my opinion, to say our country is hurting is putting it mildly. The perceptions we have of other people and their life journeys are tainted by our own life experiences. If we are not opening ourselves up to listen to and learn about other people, we can get stuck in misconception. I think this misconception has created the loss of respect for others.

So how we try to find it? Let’s start with what is respect?

When I Googled respect definition, I found two different definitions of respect

-A feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements
-Due regard for the feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of others.

The first definition goes to the question of who do you admire? I’ve read a couple of memoirs lately which are written by women who I admire. I just recently finished Untamed by Glennon Doyle. She talks about struggling with her beliefs while being married to her husband and then coming out in her relationship with Abby Wambach. In her story, she gives readers things to think about in becoming who we truly are by listening to our own inner voice.

I’m currently reading Becoming by Michelle Obama. She is a strong woman who didn’t want to lose herself in the roles she played in her life. She had many roles before becoming the First Lady of the United States. Going to the White House was adding a role with many expectations. Now add on that she was the first black woman in this role, and the added pressure to lay out a certain perception made her have to adapt. I’m currently two-thirds of the way through the book, but from what I can see already, Becoming, is a very appropriate title for her book.

Both women have put themselves out there and taken hits from others who haven’t taken the time to get to know them and understand their path. I admire the struggles that they each overcame to become the people they are today. From reading their stories I also respect who they are because of it.

The second definition of respect goes to how we view other people. Before the internet, your trusted source of information was probably your family, local news stations and the newspaper. And those sources were limited by where they learned or accessed their information. Some of us are basing our beliefs about others on what we read online, which can be a slippery slope. There are so many things you have to understand to determine whether the information you are reading on line is accurate. You have to look at the source of the information and what date it was posted. A lot of the media jumps to be the first one to get news out on the web, in a lot of cases, the information they present is incomplete and maybe even completely wrong. This is the source of a lot of the information that teens and young adults are pulling from with the use of their smart phones and online gaming.

What would be a better way to mold your perceptions of other people? Talk to them. Get to know them and what challenges they faced or are currently facing in their life journey. If you can’t talk to them face to face, then read their stories and follow them on their personal social media sites.

Be open to listening and learning. There are many role models out there that have stories to tell. Both Glennon Doyle and Michelle Obama talk about that in their memoirs. Their stories become relatable to us as fellow human beings and ultimately can help us steer the course on our own life path and understand them as people.

Then respect others for who they are, regardless of what they look like, act like, or even believe. We have all either been the new kid at school or have seen her. Reach out to them and get to know their story. Take time to listen and learn from others who are different from you. Don’t be afraid to do it and don’t be afraid to share if you are asked.

The Golden Rule. My parents would remind me of this when I was growing up. Treat others as you would like to be treated.

We are all in this together. It is our society to mold into the way we want it to be. Don’t let haters and people who don’t respect others drive what our society turns into.

Have a good week!

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Good Morning! Here’s my Monday Morning Blog!

Happy Monday!

Being a author who writes about teen issues, I’m wondering how our teens are doing through this unprecedented time. I see stories about how some kids are working through the changes and being as resilient as they can be. But what about the kids that aren’t? The ones that aren’t doing well with the stay at home orders? Aren’t learning as well at home without the day to day interaction with their friends? Those kids may not reach out and remain quiet. Are we checking in with them and asking them how they feel?

Since 1949, Mental Health America and affiliates have observed May as being Health Month. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website, each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness.

There are many messages popping up on social media with resources to help us. The CDC currently has a public Service Announcement which pops up when you search for mental health awareness on Google.

Be Kind to Your Mind:
Tips to cope with stress during COVID-19

PAUSE – Breathe and notice how you feel

TAKE BREAKS – from COVID-19 content

MAKE TIME – to sleep and exercise

REACH OUT – and stay connected

SEEK HELP – If overwhelmed or unsafe

During the quarantine and stay at home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are isolating alone, have major changes to their daily routines that are leading to feelings of helplessness, or are just scared they are going to get the virus. The stress created by this has affected everyone’s mental health, but the tips listed above are good ones to be aware of even when we aren’t involved in a full-blown pandemic. In my research on the topic, I have found a couple of resources for you, your teen, or someone you may care about to look into. Remember, we are all in this together.

“You are Not Alone”
Everyone faces challenges in life that will affect their mental health. Mental Health America states 1 in 5 people will experience mental illness during their lifetime. NAMI joined with the national movement to raise awareness about mental health with their “You are Not Alone” campaign which focuses on the power of connection for those affected by mental illness. Collectively, we can make a positive impact on the millions of people who are struggling and feeling particularly alone given the current situation of social isolation and physical distancing. They are asking the public to share their experiences with mental health conditions at NAMI.org/YourStory. They want to share the lived experience of others to provide a means for people who are struggling to relate to and find comfort in. They also have a NAMI COVID-19 resource guide available in English and Spanish, just follow this link NAMI COVID-19 Resources.

Tools 2 Thrive
Mental Health America’s 2020 theme is Tools to Thrive. They have a 2020 Mental Health Tool Kit that you can download from their website that provides practical tools that we can all use to help improve our mental health regardless of what we are currently dealing with. This year’s tool kit offers printable handouts on topics like Owning Your Feelings, Finding the Positive, Creating Healthy Routines, and others. There are also marketing materials that may be helpful for teachers or community leaders, but may also help families educating from home with some reminders or materials to discuss with their kids. Here is a link to their site Tools 2 Thrive. When requesting the Tool Kit, it will ask for title and organization. If schooling your kids from home, I would enter parent as your title and homeschool or remote learning as your organization.

For as much as we may not like some of the effects of social media and online gaming for our kids and teens, I think it is a saving grace we have it for our kids to stay in touch with each other. It also helps for families and friends to stay in touch during this strange time in our history. Be sure to use the technology to reach out to family members you haven’t heard from in a while. Let your kids have play dates and zoom meetings to just be themselves with their friends online. But, be sure to keep an eye out and ear open to make sure they are doing it safely. We all need to embrace some of the changes that are happening right now on how we interact with one another. But the interaction doesn’t have to and shouldn’t stop.

Lime Green ribbons signify Mental Health Awareness. Be sure to promote awareness by wearing a ribbon or wearing a lime green shirt. Remember to reach out if you are feeling lonely, scared or overwhelmed. We are all in this together.


Happy Mother’s Day!

I hope you all found ways to celebrate with your moms, grandmothers, wives, etc. yesterday. Some of us have moms in heaven that we recognize with flowers and prayers. The traditional ways of taking mom to brunch or meeting up for dinner at her favorite spot aren’t going to be an option this year. Let me know what creative ways you came up with to show mom that she is special in the comments below.

Have a great week!