Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Remembering Heroes at Christmas

I received this poem today via email, from my brother-in-law. I wanted to share this with as many people as possible, especially at this Christmas season.

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.

The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear..
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know, Then the
sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.

Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

"What are you doing?" I asked without fear,
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..

To the window that danced with a warm fire's light
Then he sighed and he said "Its really all right,
I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night."
"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.

No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at 'Pearl on a day in December,"
Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers."
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam',
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.

I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile."
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue... an American flag.
"I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.

I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.."

"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."
"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
"Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us."

PLEASE, would you do me the kind favor of sending this to as many
people as you can? Christmas will be coming soon and some credit is due to our
U.S service men and women for our being able to celebrate these
festivities. Let's try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of what we owe. Make people
stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for us.

LCDR Jeff Giles, SC, USN
30th Naval Construction Regiment
OIC, Logistics Cell One
Al Taqqadum, Iraq

Friday, December 4, 2009

We are surrounded by heroes!

Yesterday I was able to go to Disneyland with our daughter Jenn, our son-in-law Josh and their children, our grandchildren, Ashton and Emmy. It was a wonderful day! There were many reasons that it was wonderful. The first reason was that I was with our children and grandchildren. Some of the other reasons were that it was a beautiful day, Disneyland was decorated magnificently for Christmas and there was Christmas music playing throughout the park. But the reason that I want to talk about in this post were the people that were at Disneyland with us. I found myself just observing the people around us. There were mothers and fathers, children and grandparents. I'm sure there were lots of other combinations of relationships also, but I noticed the families. People were kind and thoughtful throughout the day. "Please", "thank you", "excuse me", "May I help you", were heard sprinkled through the crowds of people.

A year ago, I might not have noticed how wonderful this day was. I might have taken it for granted then. But since the November Presidential election I have felt an increasingly heavy overwhelming feeling of being surrounded by bad things. Bad people, bad circumstances, bad legislation, basically, bad spiraling out of control. At least it felt like it was not in my control to change things. Yesterday changed how I saw the circumstances I was surrounded by. I was surrounded by thousands of good people, happy people trying to be kind, trying to bring joy to their families, just having fun. It lifted the heaviness from my heart somehow. It brought to mind 2 Kings 6:16, "Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them". The good people out number the bad people. I knew that, but I needed to be reminded. Yesterday was my reminder:)

Recently I have started taking golf lessons. You might be wondering what golf has to do with Disneyland. I think you will see in just a minute:) Tiger Woods' name comes up a lot in my golf class. I have gained a great appreciation for Mr. Woods amazing golf abilities. Until the recent news broke about his "transgressions," I guess I felt pretty secure looking up to him. I guess he was a hero, of sorts. I don't think that I realized that he was a hero until he fell from that place.

I have been thinking about heroes. What power and influence do heroes have on our youth. Maybe they don't even realize that they have had heroes either. Maybe just hearing about celebrities all the time, inserts these people into their hearts and they don't even know it is happening. I think that the people at Disneyland should be the heroes. Parents and grandparents should be the heroes of their children. Just because people are on the news all the time, 24/7, it doesn't mean they are good or worthy of emulation. The quietly good people should be honored and lauded. I would like to make a t-shirt that says "I am my child's HERO", or "I am my grandchild's HERO". We need to see that we are surrounded by good people, trying to be examples for their children and grandchildren. I want to see them. I want to know that they are out there doing the same things that I am doing, trying to be good and follow the rules. "They that be with us are more than they that be with

If you would like a t-shirt that says, "I am my child's HERO", or would like to give one of them to someone, just leave a comment or call me at (661) 889-0862.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Why, "Little Hero Hugs"?

When you are a parent, you have lots of options when it comes to discipline or just basically getting your children to do what you ask them to do. When you are "Grandma and Grandpa", your options are greatly diminished. (I have to say here that our grandchildren are wonderful and occasions where I have needed to discipline them have been few and far between.) But, having said that, we all know that every child has his or her "off" days. Those "off" days, when I was tending my grandchildren, are the times that I found myself without any behavior modification tools that I was comfortable with. The tools that I had used as a parent didn't seem to fit anymore. I can't spank my grandchildren. I know there are grandparents that are alright with that, the parents of the children are fine with that too, so that is all well and good. I am just not comfortable doing it. I didn't have very much trouble with it when our children were little. They would attest to that:) But somehow that all changed when grandchildren came along:)

I came up with some behavior modification tools, for those rare occasions when I was the one in control and responsible for the grandchildren. One of my tools, I called "Little Hero Hugs". These are little capes that I made, that originally I painted with phrases like; "Good Job" and "Outstandingly Obedient" on the back. Superheroes were a big deal at the time. Spiderman, the movie, had recently been released. Spiderman and Superman were pretty much everywhere. I thought that even though our little ones were not stopping trains with their bare hands or flinging buses across intersections, they were doing hard things. They were sharing their favorite train with their sister when they really didn't want anybody to ever touch their train. They were waiting patiently till the grownups took a breath to ask their question, instead of interupting grownup conversations. For little ones, those are hard things to master.

I used the "Little Hero Hug" to recognize positive decisions and behavior, the hard, but heroic things that they were choosing to do. I have some guidelines to using the "Hugs" so that they aren't over used or misused and so become boring or irrelevant. I have used them for a couple of years now. Our children use them with their children and even some of our friends use "Hugs" with their children. They work:) If the "Hugs" are used properly, they not only help change the child's behavior, but they change the parent's perspective and the atmosphere in the home becomes more pleasant, even happy:) The parent starts to look for the good in the child and thus becomes more positive in their outlook. The child starts to recognize that their positive behavior will elicit positive attention from their parents. It is exciting to see it happen!

I startad a business called "Praise Promotes the Positive" to facilitate manufacturing and selling my "Hugs" and eventually hope to manufacture some of the other children's behavior modification ideas I have:)

It would be totally great if I got rich! But honestly, that isn't my main goal. As I said in "My Philosophy" post, I believe that raising the next generation to be good, principled people is extremely important. Children don't come with instructions, as has been lamented over and over. But those of us who have done it, who might have helps and ideas and techniques that have helped us raise our children, can help the parents that might be struggling now. It is very apparent as we see young families in the grocery store or really in any public place, that parents are at a loss. They are tired, overworked, stressed and will do about anything to make the scene that their child is causing, stop. Usually the parent will buy the child the candy they are screaming for, or the parent will yell at the child, loud enough so that all those within hearing will be convinced that they have no responsibility for the child's behavior, "You are such a brat", or "Why do you always do this to me?". Various techniques are used to make the embarrassment go away, I have only named two. I always want to go up to these struggling parents and say, "This could be fun", "You could be in control of this situation". But the situation is never conducive to that.

So, here I am, using this blog to say, "Parenting can be fun", "You can be in control" and "Being a good parent is worth the effort". That is why, "Little Hero Hugs".

Monday, April 13, 2009

My Philosophy

I believe that one of the most important things a person can do is to influence or teach the rising generation to be good, productive, principled people. I could have used lots of additional positive adjectives, but you know what I mean. :)

Because I was a full-time mom of seven for almost 30 years (I am still their Mom, just not full-time anymore:)), I was able to use our home as my laboratory and could experiment with different ideas and techniques to see what seemed to work best with each of our seven children. By the time they were all grown up and out of the house, I started to really understand how important raising children is.

I have learned some principles to help raise children to become good people, but because each child is different, each child responds differently. Parents need to decide which ideas and techniques will work best for their child. That is why I started this blog. If I can come up with good ideas to help parents, I will post them. If you have things that have helped you, please share those ideas. I don't think I am an expert, but I do know that raising children is very important and I want to provide a forum that will assist other parents as they raise their children and at the same time help them to enjoy the journey that parenting is.

In my next post I will explain why I call this blog, "Little Hero Hugs", in case you were wondering.