Families & Communication Breakdowns

Am I the only one who asks my child, "What happened at school today?" only to get a disinterested "Nothing" in response?  Or have a spouse who responds to "How was your day?" with "Fine," or "It was OK"?

Doesn't it seem like everyone around us is always rushing off to their myriad of electronic devices: TVs, Play Stations, and smartphones?

We all lead busy lives, and the snippets of conversation we do manage to have - before and after school, or wedged in between activities and homework, or during mealtimes -  can suffer from the halfhearted participation and inattentiveness of all parties. What can we do to rebuild our broken communication systems? How can we make good old-fashioned conversation more appealing than the constant distractions that surround us?

I've asked a few friends and colleagues.  They admit that they are facing the same communication hurdles in their own families. Who can we turn to when we can't find the answers we need?

© 2012 Google Inc. All rights reserved. Google and the Google Logo are registered trademarks of Google Inc.

Ah, yes. Of course! © 2012 Google Inc. All rights reserved. Google and the Google Logo are registered trademarks of Google Inc.

When all else fails: Google it.

If the volume of expert advice out there is any indication, my family must not be the only one struggling with a communication problem! I found some great suggestions, and here is what our family has implemented:

art of manliness

  • But what do you say once you're gathered around the dinner table? Aha! Parenting suggests asking nonjudgmental questions that require real answers. Questions such as “What was the best thing about school today?,” “Do the kids at school ever talk about boyfriends and girlfriends?,” “Who did you sit with at lunch today?” or “How did the soccer game go at recess?” will get you a lot further than “What happened at school today?”
  • Parents Magazine suggests some other conversation starters, as well as helpful do's and don'ts, such as: "Do allow your child to say he just doesn't feel like talking, but don't let him get away with ignoring you...Don't barrage your child with questions if you notice she's getting anxious or seems distressed." Following these tips will help prevent communication shut-downs.
  • Who doesn't love a compliment?  Feeling trusted and appreciated helps everyone feel more open to talk.  Every night, our family plays a little game we made up called "What We Love About Each Other." Each family member takes a turn complimenting another. While these comments are admittedly superficial at times, there are also heartfelt thanks peppered throughout. Sometimes it will be simple - "I love your shirt!" - and other times it will be deeply emotional, like when someone recognizes a sweet gesture or little act of service that happened to them that day. This little activity makes us want to do more nice things for one another!
  • Our son is just 5 years old, and I live in terror of the day I wake up to a teenager. I can only imagine the struggle conversation becomes with teenagers. Yet, talking is never more necessary and the topics never more urgent than during the teen years: friends and peer pressure, driving and responsibility, dating and boundaries, college and independence, drugs and drinking. As a parent, you never want to see your kids in trouble or suffering - but one or the other (and sometimes both!) will happen to our teens. The best way to prevent or minimize this pain - for both you and your teen - is simply by engaging in open and honest communication with them. Check out this list of 10 Ways to Keep Your Kids From Doing Dumb Things, and offer your teen the support he or she needs to make good decisions.

I hope that our family is setting a good foundation for open, healthy conversations - and I hope that perhaps a few of these tips will start similar conversations in your house, too.


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Ronald Reagan picture & quote from http://content.artofmanliness.com/uploads//2014/04/ReaganQuote.jpg

Contributed by Heather Craaybeek.
Heather

Why Do We Celebrate the 4th with Fireworks?

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Christmas has presents, Thanksgiving has a turkey, and Halloween has costumes.  Each holiday we celebrate has its own tradition.  So why does the Fourth of July have fireworks?  Why don’t we hold parties to knit American Flags instead?

JOHNADAMS

John Adams, 2nd President

Although the Fourth of July didn’t become an official holiday until 1870, nearly 100 years after the signing of The Declaration of Independence, we can thank the second President of the United States, John Adams, for the suggestion of how Americans should celebrate the fourth.  Around 1817, Adams wrote about The Fourth of July:

 “I believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival.”  He went on to write, “It ought to be celebrated by pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other…

Declaration of Independence Soon after The Declaration of Independence was conceived in 1776 by our founding fathers, it was read publicly, and supporters of the War of Independence erupted in cheers and celebrations.  In 1777 in Philadelphia those celebrations were done with ringing bells, guns fired, and firecrackers.  However with the country in its infancy at that time, Fourth of July celebrations were not common.  It took Adams’ writings almost a century later, along with the re-circulation of the signed declaration throughout the nation, to jump-start the traditions of the Fourth of July.

The original, smaller celebrations in the 1770’s, and the later, more formal celebrations were separated by so many years, yet it seems we were destined to celebrate the Fourth of July with spectacular explosions of some type.

So while you are enjoying fireworks this Fourth of July take a moment to remember those founding fathers who took enormous risk in declaring our independence and how that has shaped the United States into the greatest country in the world.  But also take a moment to thank John Adams for prompting Americans to celebrate our freedoms and liberties in the loudest and proudest way possible.  Without that we might be celebrating The Fourth of July in silence.

Contributed by Jeff Vice.

Jeff

Shout out to Cincinnati!

I am very proud to oversee the prospecting here at RSVP in our Cincinnati, Ohio zone. Of course we love all of our zones (all 12 of them!) but Cincinnati will always be very special to me. I was born and raised here in Dayton, but I have considered Cincinnati to be my home away from home. Surprisingly enough I traveled there a lot while I attended the University of Dayton. Sometimes my roommates and I would need to get away from it all, and Cincinnati was just close enough to take a day trip. I was fortunate to have one of my roommates from there so she knew all the hot spots.

One of the many things I love about Cincinnati is their beautiful parks. Most of the parks in the area are free to AultParkexplore and even have events and activities in the summer. Ault, Eden, Hyde Park are just to name a few of the many  that are located in the city, all of them unique. My favorite is probably Ault Park. It isn’t the biggest of the parks and it doesn’t have any restaurants or shops. It does have a large overlook that is fun to climb. I think it is one of the most beautiful places.

CinciSubwayStationThe city of Cincinnati is  full of history. Did you know that during the 1800’s Cincinnati was actually considered one of the top ten most populous cities in the country? It’s true! Also, the growth rate during the end of the 1800’s was compared to New York City and Chicago. Wikipedia says that “6 million dollars was going to go towards a Rapid Transit system similar to Boston and Chicago.” In today's numbers, that would be like us spending nearly $74 million on it!  City Council delayed progress on the terminal because WWII had started. After the war the estimation of how much it would cost to finish the subway had almost doubled. The stock market soon hit which made it even harder for the subway to get completed.

Unfortunately the subway never did get completed, but I have faith that one day Cincinnati will have an active subway station that will be a wonderful addition to the city. Until then, twice a year the Cincinnati Museum center and the Over the Rhine Foundation operate tours through the historic tunnels. I haven’t been yet, but it is definitely on my list.

Most recently Cincinnati has been the host to a few big named celebrities. Cate Blanchett has been spotted in the city filming the movie Carol and also Don Cheadle and Ewan McGregor will be in the city to shoot a film about jazz musician Miles Davis. If you’re in the city keep an eye out and you just might run into them or get to be an extra in one of the movies??? Okay that might be a little much, but still very exciting to look out for while walking around downtown.

With the summer coming soon, take some time to visit a new city. Whether it is Cincinnati or just a place you’ve wanted to visit for a long time; even if it’s just a short car ride away. Wander around the parks and explore a little of the city’s history. You will be glad you did!

Happy exploring!

Contributed by Crista Kling.

 

Crista

 

 

 

Perspective from “the New Guy”

new guy

Being a recent graduate of Centerville High School has been an accomplishment and success.  I decided that I wanted to pursue a degree in marketing at The University of Cincinnati.  I felt that the co-op program at Cincinnati offered me the best chance for success in the “real world.”  Having completed my freshman year at The University of Cincinnati, I feel as if I learned a good amount of information about not only marketing, but business in general.

I have just recently started working at RSVP this summer.  Working at RSVP will be a great opportunity to contribute to this business, develop practical real-world experience, further myself in my long-term job search and enhance my resume this summer.  It has been my first real job in the career path that I have chosen.  As I started working at RSVP, I felt as if I needed to prove myself to my fellow employees and demonstrate that just because I am the boss’ son, I can “bust it” and earn their respect in the office.  I have started working part-time, with my first of several assignments being converting hundreds of businesses paper files to our new paperless database.

While I am converting files, I feel that being the new intern with a fresh set of eyes in the business, I can offer new ideas to the company, and more efficient ways to do daily tasks.  Even though I lack experience in the workplace, I feel that I can make up for it in creative and new ideas, and energy and passion for life.

Being “the new guy” allows me to be in a position where I can challenge and inspire myself and others to excel, while simultaneously generating new ideas and process improvements for the RSVP business.  That is a perspective that I have now, and hope to maintain throughout my career.

Contributed by:
Anthony J. Sucato
University of Cincinnati
Carl H. Lindner College of Business

 

AnthonyWeb

Creating a Fun {and inexpensive} Summer To-Do List!

summer

Every summer, as the school doors open and close for the last time, every family wonders the same exact thing, “What are we going to do with our kids for the WHOLE summer?!”

For the past two summers, my family has created a “Summer To-Do List,” and I thought I would share with you some of our favorite no-cost ideas that our kids look forward to doing every summer.

~ Jump in puddles! My children LOVE to run outside after a storm (once all the lighting and thunder has passed, of course) and jump in the puddles and splash around!

~ Catch some fireflies! This is something that I loved to do as a child, and I have passed my love of this to my children. We love to run outside at night and count how many fireflies we can catch and watch glow in our hands.

~ Go for a hike! We like to call them “Adventure Walks” where we count how many different flowers and birds we can find along the way.

~ Have a picnic! Why eat inside on a beautiful day when you can throw down a blanket (preferably in the shade) and eat outside.

~ Build a worm farm! This might be geared towards boys, but who doesn’t love digging in the dirt and finding some worms?

~ Splash Park! If you are lucky enough to live near a splash park then make sure to make use of it! On a hot summer day, this is a great way for your kids to cool off and have fun!

~ Go to the library! In addition to all the wonderful books to choose from, most libraries also have DVDs and video games you can rent for no charge.

~ Go fishing! Go ahead - grab your fishing pole and bait and head to the closest pond and try your luck at catching dinner!

~ Lemonade Stand! What better way to entertain the kids and have them earn a little bit of spending money? The kids will love creating and decorating the stand, and also have a blast serving the best summer refreshment to friends and neighbors!

These are just some of the fun activities you can do with your family this summer. What memories will you add to this list during the summer of 2014?

 

Contributed by Marcella Gillespie

Marcella