Tuesday, May 27, 2014


Growing up in a family where professional educators were more prolific than coconuts on the beach on a tropical island, it was disastrous for Susan when her own education was punctuated by feelings of inadequacy and inferiority. A number of these family professionals had become school administrators, but Susan became disenchanted with her education and failure was a constant companion. Susan was dyslexic and reading pained her brain. Writing was reading's best friend and both seemed to mock and play mind games with Susan's head. School was not a positive experience and years of self-doubt and failure caused Susan to believe that she had no decent future.

To hide her personal pain Susan medicated herself with pills and soon addictions and depression wove their way into her daily activities. Despite marriage and the birth of a daughter, Susan had not overcome her demons and divorce soon followed. A new marriage and the birth of a son was a great experience, especially since she had married a man who was devoted to her and wanted the best for her. She felt really loved and her son whom she doted on became her miracle child. Susan spoiled and babied him and when respiratory problems became evident she tended to over-protect him causing him to miss a lot of school.

When I met Susan and she shared her life's journey with me my enthusiasm to help peaked. I explained how my cousin's son who was dyslexic had gone to a Doctor/Therapist in New Zealand. The Doctor put different colored plastic sheets over the words in a book. When he came to a particular shade of blue my cousin's son said, "Dad, there's no explosion of light around the words. The letters aren't all jumbled. I can read! I can read!" His dad burst into tears.

When I told Susan this story and gave her some Internet sites to look up, she did her homework and guess what? She told me that with the support of her supportive husband she has begun to learn to read using this method. Her whole demeanor has changed. I told Susan how proud I was of her. Everything I have suggested she has taken up. Among them are:
  • She is now sending her son to school more regularly and giving him more responsibility.
  • Susan has given him chores to develop his sense of responsibility and he loves receiving stars on the chores chart that she has developed.
I told Susan that I have seen hope grow in her. She wept. Recently I told her to dream big dreams and that I want to be present when she walks the stage to receive her Bachelor's degree. She's going to get there! It will be hard work, but what a remarkable story that will be!

If you relate to this story, I want you to embrace this hope. Dream big. Get professional help and GO! GO! GO!


If you or someone you know suffers with dyslexia and you want to try the above method, just contact us for possible resources.

Written by Brian Burgess

Sunday, May 25, 2014



Wrong? Me? What do you mean ‘wrong’?

While we genuinely try to do our best as parents, I think we would all agree that sometimes we do get it wrong.  We know it is our responsibility to be fair, to give equal love, attention and protection to each of our kids, but we can't always account for the variables like tiredness, frustration and irritation that are often present in our lives.

Sometimes we jump in before we know all the facts or we issue a consequence which is unfairly harsh.  Sometimes we lose our temper or are inconsistent with our discipline, leaving our kids confused.  Perhaps we favor the child who causes no trouble while constantly jumping all over our strong-willed child.  There are times we use our kids as sounding boards for our own worries and our kids become stressed because they don't like to see us sad or afraid, yet are far too ill-equipped to know how to comfort or fix their situation.  Perhaps we create expectations that are too high, or worse still, have low expectations for our children.

Sometimes we need to tell our children we are sorry.  No doubt there was some transgression that caused the altercation in the first place and they need to know that.  However, we may need to apologize for the way we responded.

When we acknowledge our mistakes (where appropriate) to our kids, they will also learn how do deal with inappropriate responses as they grow older and have their own families.  The main thing is to learn what it is that causes us to deal with our kids unfairly and to act proactively so as not to repeat the wrongs.

Take heart!  We all feel inadequate as parents on many occasions.  Fortunately, our kids are pretty resilient and as long as we are right a lot of the time, they are not usually unduly affected.  When we have strong family values, each person in the family knows the expectations and boundaries.  Knowing the consequences to negative behaviors means they learn to make wise decisions.  With praise, open affection and support our children are more likely to grow up with a positive and caring attitude and become great parents themselves.

Written by Sally Burgess

The best method of prevention is to create a set of family values. These values cover all aspects of family life and provide a set of expectations for the family to respect one another as well as live peaceably in the world around them.

Sunday, May 18, 2014


I saw a Face Book entry yesterday that went like this:
Dad: "Sarah, I am going to wash dishes and get the dinner ready.  Could you sweep the kitchen floor?"
Sarah: "No, Dad.  Sweeping is not my thing." And she walked out the door.
Obviously something is very wrong with this picture!


Yes! Absolutely!  How else will our children learn how to manage their own households as adults? 

An effective parent:
   a) Trains kids how to perform particular life-skill tasks.
   b) Teaches kids good time management e.g. I do my homework, then my chores, followed by
       dinner, an hour to do what I want, and then off to bed.
   c) Creates opportunities for them and their kids to work together to accomplish an end goal
       e.g. putting toys away, washing the car, creating a meal, growing and tending a garden.
   d) Encourages kids to think of others.  It is not all about them and their needs, but how we
       can best serve each other.  Doing chores, especially without being asked, is a sign of
       respect for others.
   e) Gives kids a sense of value. They enjoy being recognized as a contributing family member
       when they are praised for doing a good job.
   f) Allows for more time to enjoy family activities e.g. once we have done our chores, we can
       go fishing, swim at the lake, or go to the game.
   g) As they get older, children will gain respect because they so willingly take on the responsibility
       to help others.

My husband, Brian, has supervised in the school cafeteria in the past, and occasionally would ask a
child to pick up trash that another child had left behind.  He would often get the retort, "I didn't put it there.
I am not picking it up!"  Wrong answer! 


    a) From the time our kids are two years old they can learn to pick up toys and straighten their
    b) Create the expectation that each family member pulls their weight in the home.  That means
        both parents and kids are busy with household chores.  Your kids are not going to do a perfect
        job immediately so be careful to encourage rather than chide them on their early attempts at
        new chores.
    c) Make up a fair schedule for all the children, changing it around so they learn all tasks as they
        are able.
    d) Create incentives e.g.
        - when they are not reminded to do their chores, they get to spend a little more time doing 
          something they particularly enjoy.
        - they get to be queen or king for the day - can choose the meal they want for dinner.
    e) Have a plan to introduce your kids to more difficult tasks until they are fully equipped with all the
        skills necessary by the time they leave home to lead an independent life.

I know that sometimes we think we can get the job done faster if we do it ourselves.  We find ourselves
doing things because we can't stand our kids protests.  I must confess I have fallen into that trap myself.
However, it doesn't prepare our kids to be great home makers and role models for their children.

Start them doing chores when they are very young and give them lots of encouragement about how their
contribution to the family is making a real difference.  They are much more likely then to be happy to do
their part rather than protesting.

Written by Sally Burgess


I couldn’t help but notice in our Mothers’ Day church service a 14 year-old boy being openly affectionate to his mom as the pastor spoke in superlatives about mothers. After the service I told him how great it was to see him showing such affection and encouraged him to never stop demonstrating his love to his parents. He and his dad both smiled in acknowledgement. “Even if your mother brings something to you at school, be prepared to hug her in front of your friends,” I said to yet more smiles.

If only there were more families where open and deliberate affection was shown! Why is it that some people find giving affection so difficult? Maybe the parents, or one of them, grew up in an affection-sterile home. We had a friend like that. Hugging her was reminiscent of trying to hug an ironing board.

Affection is essential to the development of a human being. Everyone needs it and inwardly desires to be held, touched, kissed, hugged or spoken to in an affectionate way.

Girls: Some dads who raised a ‘daddy’s girl’, sometimes back off showing physical affection to their daughters once they reach puberty for fear of being accused of molestation. This fear is real, but unnecessary. Sure, some of the things you used to do like tickling and smooching would have to be curtailed, but hugging, holding, kissing a cheek and affectionate words should never cease.

Boys:  Boys may like to appear tough but they long for physical affection by their parents, too. Patting them on the back, ruffling their hair, hugging them, giving them ‘atta- boys’ and high fives all assure boys that they are valued.

Boys usually accept being kissed by their dads until around puberty. You just need to read the body language to see how they receive it and be prepared to back off if the signal indicates they are uncomfortable. (It seems that moms can get away with kissing and do all the affectionate things right through their children’s lives).

Research shows that children look elsewhere for affection if they don’t get it at home. Many equate sex with affection and that could lead to promiscuity. Many boys join gangs where a different form of affection and loyalty is exhibited.

If you were not a hugger in the past, there is still time. You need it and your kids deserve it. You are not encroaching on loved ones' personal space,

so just take the plunge. It feels good to hug someone else and equally good to feel someone hugging you back. It says, 'I care about you and value you as a person'.

Showing affection can transform your whole home environment and tells your children in a tangible way they are loved.

Written by Brian Burgess

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


We often become concerned when our kids don't naturally join in games and conversations with others. We label them as 'shy' too quickly. There is a big difference between a quiet child and a child who is actually withdrawn.


The quiet child is not one who is too scared to speak. It is more likely that they enjoy listening to what others have to say rather than feeling the need to hear their own voice or draw attention to them all the time. This child may come from a very noisy environment where they don’t get the opportunity to speak much or, they may come from a quiet home where parents enjoy peace and quiet, also.

If a child is merely quiet by nature there is no problem. It is part of their personality. Some people are quiet while others gregarious, with many variations in between. As long as the child will look you in the eye when you are speaking to them, they do not shrink away in the presence of strangers or large groups, they are happy to share concerns with trusted others and are generally well behaved, then the quiet child is not likely to have a ‘problem’. Be aware that in some cultures, it is considered rude to look directly at someone in authority.


The withdrawn child is a completely different scenario. Their negative reaction to other people, groups and circumstances that would draw attention to them is often instigated by fear or embarrassment. They tend not to look others in the eye, and may be loathe to be part of a team or group for fear of not being accepted or good enough. Their self-worth has either not been developed or has been challenged in some way.

When a child is withdrawn, parents may put it down to shyness rather than the fact that there is an underlying issue e.g. a sense of worthlessness, fear or anger. It may come to the point where their feeling of lack of control and uselessness pushes them towards violence. It is vital that we recognize the signs of withdrawal in our kids and get professional help as soon as possible.


a) Monitor your child carefully. Is their behavior deteriorating? Are they particularly uncomfortable
    around certain people or in certain circumstances? Do they seem afraid or angry?

b) Take your child somewhere they will feel at ease, and talk. Give them the chance to say what is
     bothering them. They may be being bullied, or physically, sexually or psychologically abused.

c) Make an appointment with the teacher to see if they can shed any light on the issue.

d) Do not allow your child to spend the majority of their time alone in their room or with kids
    who may be a negative influence over them.

e) Discuss your concerns with a professional counselor and act on their advice.


Watch for changes in your child’s behavior. Talk to them, ‘one-on-one’. You are much more likely to discern their worries when you talk casually and regularly with them. Sometimes they just want someone to listen and not judge them. Make them feel that their thoughts and opinions have value. Don't put your kids on the spot to ‘perform’ in front of others. If you wouldn't like it, then they won’t either. Don't label them in a negative way e.g. shy, timid or a sissy. Instead, think of positive descriptions e.g. thoughtful, focused or prudent. Gradually introduce children into small rather than large groups so they don't feel completely overwhelmed and afraid. Remember your child will not automatically have the same personality type as you. Don’t try and force them out of their comfort zone.

Source and for further information refer to:



happy Mother's Day

 This weekend we celebrate our mothers.

Each mother is uniquely special to her own family.  She may give birth naturally or she may adopt, foster and offer friendship, advice, shelter and support to those who seek it.
Mothers love us unconditionally.  They drop everything and come to our rescue when we need them and even when we don't think we do.

Mothers shed tears of joy as well as tears of sadness on our behalf.

Mothers' hearts fill with pride when we do well and stand with us in difficult times.

Mothers sacrifice.  Think of times of war.  Think of times of financial hardship.  Think of her time.

Mothers picture us as their kids, no matter how old we are. 

Thank you Mom for guiding, protecting and supporting us.  Thank you for becoming our dearest friend.  You are faithful, giving and loving.  We salute you today and everyday.  We love you, Mom.

Cartoon by Piero Tonin.