Tuesday, January 31, 2017


You have heard of the term 'Gone fishin' I am sure.

We have just been on a road trip from Nashville, TN to Daytona and Key Largo, Florida.  We went to visit friends who had lovely condos down there and it was just great to walk the beach, read a book, go shopping and besides many other things, enjoy memories together.


Everywhere I look at home, I am reminded of things to do, meetings to go to, shopping to attend to, money to earn, kids to care for etc.  All of those 'things' are absolutely necessary to maintain our everyday lives.  We find ourselves organized, wound up and poised on 'go' all the time.  But is this really what our lives should constantly look like?  NO!  Our bodies need to freewheel sometimes just to unwind.


  1. It loosens our springs and gives our brains time to unwind.
  2. It relieves stress, anxiety,  headaches, back pain, worry and it gives us a better quality of sleep.
  3. It rejuvenates our body cells so that we build up our immune system.
  4. It loosens our muscles, especially our heart.  When working hard it pumps hard.
  5. It gives us something good to plan and look forward to.
  6. It gives us the rest to be more productive at home or on the job when we return.
  7. It creates great memories
  8. It bonds us with our children and/or other family members.
  9. We gain new friends and it may give us insights into others' lives.
10. It releases our 'happy chappies' (endorphins) that give us a sense of well-being.


When on vacation, leave your social media in the bottom of your bag in case of emergencies.
Whatever you think, you are not indispensable!  The longer break you can take the more relaxed you, your heart, your brain and your family become.  They need you and you need them.  If you have to take shorter breaks, make sure you read your body signs.  Are they screaming, "I need time out?"

You have one body and you don't know how long that piece of string called 'life' is going to last.
                                                                  ENJOY IT!

Written by Sally Burgess, Forefront Families

Resource included:  
Lauren MacDonald. Active Beat; '8 Reasons why vacations are necessary for your health'.


Believe it or not, this is one whole family - grandparents, parents, brothers, sisters and cousins.  They live out at Primm Springs and come together for any excuse in the world.  I often see them (children and adults) dressing up for the sake of a little one's birthday.  There are so many of them, they run a home-school on the property.  I know them well.


  1. Creating a strong set of family values that filtrates through the different families to promote
      effective parenting - values such as loyalty, respect, honesty and caring for one another.
  2. Talking to one another on a daily basis - face to face or by phone.
  3. Encouraging and supporting each other in whatever they are into - e.g. sport, planning weddings!
  4. Sharing each others' stuff and giving it back in the same condition.
  5. Including each other in all family events (and believe me this family are masters at events!)
  6. Working together on projects and sharing the spoils e.g. gardens, venison, eggs.
  7. Inviting outsiders to come and enjoy their fun (sharing their enthusiasm with others).
  8. Dealing with issues and conflicts in a timely manner so family members don't split off.
  9. Encouraging the expression of differing thoughts and beliefs.
10. Praying together - 'A family who prays together, stays together.'
11. Having a patriarch and matriarch (Grandparents) who are role models in family management.


The photo below popped up on my Face Book page the other day.  It is one whole family of my cousins and their spouses.  As you can see they are as old as the hills but, there they are in the park thoroughly enjoying the sunshine and each others company.  They are a great example of supporting one another in sport.  Three men in this family were champion cyclists, representing their State or country.  Whenever they rode, the whole family would go and support them.  What a great feeling, having your family members being so proud of their achievements by barracking them on!

This family above all get together for parties and any celebrations.  They gather together when I fly down to Australia to visit them.  That makes me feel very loved an valued because most of the time I am quite disconnected from them physically.  I am thankful for Face Book in this regard.

Written by Sally Burgess, Forefront Families



I have heard many parents say that it is the school’s responsibility to educate our children. Well, yes and no. Parents are the 'f'irst responders' and they need to triage their children and have them ready for the experts to commence the next step. So many children come to school with absolutely minimum skills, knowledge and/or manners because their parents believe that it is the school’s responsibility to educate their children.
 At five, even six years of age, some children cannot count from one to ten. Ask the children to identify colors and they often cannot. Nor can they recite the alphabet. Days of the week or months of the year remain a mystery. Only a few animals can be identified and they cannot recall their address, their parents’ phone numbers, or their parents’ full names. Shoelaces remain undone because they have not been taught how to tie them. Some are not fully toilet-trained, while others cannot do up buttons.


Many of these skills, including tying up shoelaces, can be achieved by the age of three. The problem is that many parents don’t realize that and their expectations for their children's learning are much too low. Kids can do far more than we imagine. They love to take on responsibilities such as chores at this age and love to please you. We often do too much for them and coddle them causing them to miss out on some great achievement experiences. Kids learn more in those preschool years than they probably learn at any other time.

Since you are reading this column you are probably one of the parents that prepare your children for school. You hopefully work in partnership with teachers to educate your children, It is not the school’s responsibility to raise your child, to teach them manners, character nor to give them a set of values. That is definitely a parent’s role! School can help reinforce the things you have already taught them, but please don’t leave it to the school to do.

Our major parental role is to create wonderful adults that have all the skills, education and manners required to have a productive life ahead and be positive contributors to society. If you are a Christian, your role is also to give such an amazing example of Christ’s character to your children that they say, “I want that for my life, too”, and consequently follow Jesus.


Such duties as teaching them strong family values, life skills, positive character traits and basic knowledge before they go to school.

         a)  Ignorance. Some parents are just not aware that it is their responsibility
              to teach their children basic skills, or that their kids are teachable from
              an early age.
         b)  Inadequate role modeling. Parents may lack adequate parenting skills
              because their parents were not positive role models.
  1. c) Busyness or self-absorption.Some parents don’t have time with,or for their kids. 
        Perhaps they are financially pressed and both need to work.  They may not see 
        their children for more than an hour or so each day, so teaching them behavioral 
        expectations is the last thing on their minds. Some are more absorbed with fulfilling 
        their own dreams than training their children. 
  2. d)  Suitability. Some adults who are not geared to raise a child. Ignorance and 
         a regret that they ever had a child is reflected in the child’s demeanor and character.  
To all parents who adequately prepare their children to meet the challenges of receiving a great education and who are working in partnership and harmony with the school, thank you! You are a blessing to your kids’ teachers and are very much appreciated. You express the love you have for your children that way and show the determination you have to see your kids reach their potential. You can look back near the end of your life and see what your children have achieved and say, “We did a good job!” 

If you are a parent who needs help in training your children about acceptable behavioral expectations, there is plenty of help for you. You can ‘Google’ search parenting topics and attend parenting sessions or seminars.  Check out our website at www.forefrontfamilies.org

Written by Brian Burgess, Forefront Families




Anger is caused by many things: injustice, dissatisfaction with circumstances or self, and frustration at not being able to do or get what one wants or needs. Toddlers show their frustration frequently as they try to master developmental stages. They cannot express their needs in words effectively, but they sure do know how to wail. Everyone in the world gets angry and has also felt the effects of being around angry people. It is a legitimate emotion that can be used as a positive motivator for change, or, as a weapon of destruction.


1. Tweens and teens often feel inadequate as their hormones cause their feelings to change, and
     as they adjust from being dependent children to becoming responsible young adults. They may
     demonstrate their dissatisfaction, confusion or frustration by verbal and physical violence, or

2. Kids become frustrated and angry when parents are inconsistent:

    a. With discipline.
    b. With broken promises.
    c. When being treated unfairly - favoritism between children.

3. Kids become fearful and angry when parents do not control their own anger as it creates a
    destructive influence within the family.


Adults learn by experience, that uncontrolled anger has detrimental effects on relationships and job opportunities.  Anger, when channeled as a motivator can also produce positive change.  Lance Armstrong stated in his books that when he was a young rider he used his anger and frustration to motivate himself into winning races. Unfortunately, in his case, he also used drugs to help him win which eventually had devastating effects, not only on his own reputation, but also on the lives of those he pulled down with him.


Uncontrolled anger often results in verbal and physical abuse, actions which have long lasting and often irrevocable effects on others. Angry adults are well aware when they have an anger problem. They have usually been told throughout their lives that they need to learn how to deal with it. Prisons are full of angry people. How then do we deal with anger effectively?

1. It is impossible to think objectively in the midst of anger.
    Recognize the emotion within you. Calm down. Take some
    deep breaths. Count to 20. Walk away from the situation long
    enough to clear your head.

2. Identify those 'red buttons' that set you off and deal with the

3. Get professional help if you find you cannot control your
    emotions. Deal with it quickly. Anger spits out hurtful words
    that will always be remembered and cannot be taken back.


The most important aspect of anger management in the home in the long term is for parents to be effective role models. If you are aware of your own emotions you will not allow anger to control your outcomes. You understand that with clear, objective thinking, you will see the situation as it really is and respond appropriately.

Kids will learn by your example and do the same thing. The best way to create objectivity (and not act out of anger) in the home is to create a set of core family values, expectations, and appropriate consequences. When a child contravenes the values, the consequence is already set and the parent just issues the corrective action as agreed and understood by the child!

There are community resources to assist you with anger management. If you, or your children feel unsafe in your home, seek help immediately.

Anger is an emotion that rises from within. As we become conscious of its presence, we have a choice. We can quell it or fuel it. If we don’t deal effectively with the anger then we are making a choice to allow it to fester or accelerate.

Written by Sally and Brian Burgess

Sunday, January 8, 2017


Oh my goodness, how do you teach your kids to appreciate their toys when they have been inundated with so many at Christmas time? I remember visiting a friend just before Christmas one year and being appalled when I saw just how many gifts were under the tree, covering about a 4ft circumference round its base! With such an overload, how can we teach our kids to value all this ‘stuff’?

Have you ever been unable to walk into a store or into your house without almost tripping over bicycles parked or thrown down on the sidewalk right outside the doorway? What about trying to drive out of your garage while scooters, bats, balls, helmets and gloves have been left strewn all over the place? Aggravating, isn’t it! I wonder how all that stuff gets there? Perhaps Gremlins have been playing in the night hours while our kids are asleep and get whisked away on the moon shuttle at the crack of dawn before they can put things away again!

So, why do kid’s leave their stuff everywhere? There are many reasons and here are just a few. Kids do not value gifts when given in great quantities. Neither are they inclined to develop a sense of gratitude when there has been no personal effort put in to obtain them. Sometimes kids get so much stuff there is not enough storage space so it lies out. In this case it would be an excellent idea to only put 3 or 4 toys/games out at any one time so they learn to appreciate all the toys they have. Many times parents give kids ‘stuff’ to replace TIME they don’t feel they can give. A survey was done just after 9/11 and the results showed that when asked what kids most wanted from their parents, the unanimous answer was TIME and LOVE.

Kids can be careless with their stuff when they are not taught how to care for it. When given gifts such as pets, sports gear, or toys, it is a golden opportunity for parents to teach some important concepts – gratitude, commitment, a sense of responsibility, trust, the need to nurture (in the case of pets), the safety of others, correct care or maintenance and the willingness to share. Kids also need to be told the consequences of not following the rules of looking after their gifts, toys or pets. Confiscation of a much loved toy does make a child think more about the privilege of having been given the gift, and it also teaches the importance of obedience. My friend Ron told me that he warned his young son several times not to leave his new bicycle where someone could trip over it. The warnings went unheeded until one day Ron got a hacksaw out and chopped the new bicycle in half. Now, while I thought such an action was extreme, and would have given the bicycle away to some grateful child, Ron’s son did get the message in the end - too late.

There is nothing wrong with giving kids gifts. The problem lies with either giving too much stuff, or in not teaching our kids the responsibility that goes with ownership. Next time you have to step over bicycles and toys that have not been put away safely, ask yourself – why do my kids leave their stuff everywhere? The blame is not always with the kids. They only develop careless attitudes because they have been allowed to. It is never too late to train our children to be thankful and responsible. And lastly - no amount of stuff will replace the personal love and nurturing of a parent.

Written by Sally Burgess, Forefront Families


It feels like we are in the afterglow of Christmas day.  The busyness of Christmas, such as present buying, home decorating, baking and company staying over are now past. We can now settle, take a long breath and relax before it is time to go back to work. Where did last year go?  Did we fulfill any of our 2016 resolutions?  In fact, do we even remember what our last year’s resolutions were?
We can make resolutions any time, but it always seems that, when turning the corner into a new year, it is an appropriate opportunity to visit our hopes and dreams and work to make them a reality. The most common resolution seems to revolve around body image and health…I am going to lose 50 pounds.  I am going to stop smoking/drinking, or I am going to cut down the number of sodas I drink and/or candy I eat.  Some resolutions relate to a change of vocation, going to school to acquire a qualification that will proffer me a better job or applying for jobs with greater challenge and more pay.  Other resolutions might be in managing ourselves e.g. becoming better equipped to handle stress, managing our time more effectively, becoming more tolerant, forgiving others, asking forgiveness or being a more effective role model.  All of these resolutions are about us.


I wonder how many of us think about resolutions that will cause a positive effect on our families and particularly our children?  A survey was performed soon after the September 11th Twin Towers disaster.  Children were asked what they most wanted and needed from their parents.  The resounding answer was TIME and LOVE.  I fear that our kids are getting less and less of both time and love as our lives become so complicated by the choices we make concerning the ‘necessities of life’.  Housing and the cost of living means we have to work longer hours to live what we consider ‘a reasonable lifestyle’.  Parents wanting to follow their own hobbies and dreams above the needs of their children means that they are not available when kids need them most.  It seems, in many cases, others have more input into our children’s lives than we do. 

So, what family resolutions can we create to ensure that each member of our family gets the time and love they need. Here are some suggestions:

    * Create strong family values and teach these to your kids - values such as  honesty,
               respect, loyalty, taking responsibility, timeliness and selflessness.

    * Ensure that the expectations you have for your children are modeled by you.

    * Create a timetable to address all family activities and assign all family members
              responsibilities on that schedule.  By doing this, time can also be allotted for
              fun family activities.

    * Make time for each child to experience one-on-one parental attention.  Tell your
                child you love and appreciate their many attributes. 

    * Ensure that each person in the family has the opportunity to express their own
               hopes and dreams and make ways possible for them to achieve them.

     * Teach them how to create goals to achieve and reward successes along the way.

    * Conduct regular family meetings to review the success or progress of yearly
              resolutions.  Encourage each family member to state the good things about
              family life and also what concerns them.  Work out resolutions.  Have each
              person discuss how their own dreams are coming to fruition and how the    
              family might help if necessary.   

    * Make sure that in your schedule you include whole family participation such as
              game days, vacation times, projects all family members can enjoy and time to
              be spent helping others.
There are many ways to create resolutions that will lead to a purpose-filled life.  The best way to teach your kids how, is to be modeling it within your family.  Maybe you could make this your New Year’s resolution for 2017.

Written by Sally Burgess, Forefront Families

Thursday, January 5, 2017


During a seminar we facilitated my husband talked about how to be effective with discipline. Having previously run a session on how to create family values, the audience now understood that kids do need a clear explanation of parental expectations and boundaries.

Brian demonstrated a very effective method for handling a situation where a child has violated the boundaries and is being uncooperative. He said, “Get down to the child’s level. Make them look you in the eye, and in a firm, assertive voice tell them what you expected, what they did wrong, and what the consequence will be.” He used a member of the audience to demonstrate the difference that the tone of voice makes. At first he spoke quietly and in conversation style, then he really eyeballed the person and added the sound of authority to his tone of voice. It made the other person really take notice.

After the seminar was over and we were packing up, the Children’s Pastor came back into the room and said, “You will never guess what just happened! Jonnie, the little boy we have most behavioral problems with in Sunday school, just threw a tantrum because he didn’t want to leave child-care after the seminar. His parents (who had just attended our session) took him, kicking and screaming, to another room, closed the door, and applied the principles they had just learned. Jonnie just left the church like a little lamb!” It really does work! Here were parents with a 5 year-old who had never been handled appropriately, yet when they eyeballed him, and spoke with authority, the change in behavior was dramatic.

Kids really do want clear expectations and boundaries. They feel insecure without them. They not only want to know what your expectations are, but they want AND need to know why you have created particular family values and why they need to behave certain ways.


1. Model the behaviors you want your children to demonstrate.

2. Remind them of expected behaviors. Give them time to get it right.  Don’t just pounce.

3. Praise your children when a desired behavior is demonstrated.

4. Be consistent. Say what you mean and mean what you say.

5. Remember that children are different and consequences may vary.

6. Don't compare one child with another.  Never find yourself  saying, "Johnny
     is such a good child. Why are you so rotten?"  Believe me, it happens!

7. Be prepared to apologize if you have misjudged a situation.

8. Don’t keep reminding your child of past failures. Move on.

Children need to understand how their misbehavior affects others; that it shows disrespect, and that unacceptable or uncontrolled behavior WILL damage their own reputation in later life.

You will know you have done a good job in being a fair yet firm parent when your kids consistently behave well at home as well as when they are out of your sight.

Written by Sally Burgess, Forefront Families


We have just come to the end of the Presidential election process and, oh my goodness, what a war of words went on!  I have never seen camps so divided or claws so sharpened to hammer another person down for sharing their own heart-felt views, not to mention the cruel words that were flung at, and about, candidates.


When someone shows me kindness e.g. brings me a batch of cookies or flowers, visits or calls me on the phone for a friendly chat, fixes my car, offers to help me without being asked, invites me out for lunch, gives me a hug - how does that make me feel?  It makes me feel valued, cared for, respected, connected and even loved.  It creates an emotional bond of trust with the other person.

When I show kindness to another person, how does that make me feel? I feel happy to have made a difference to somebody's day.  If I make something to give my friend as a surprise, I get a kick out of making it and also enjoy the surprise they will get.  My motivation is that I make a positive difference in someone's life.  I feel needed, worthwhile and enjoyed as a friend.

5 SIDE EFFECTS OF KINDNESS (Dr David Hamilton PhD).  

In part -
1. Kindness makes us happier. We feel good.  It is tapping into something deep and profound
    within us.
2. Kindness is good for the heart - creates emotional warmth, producing oxytocin which plays a
    significant role in cardiovascular function.
3. Kindness slows aging - the oxytocin reduces levels of free radicals and inflammation in the
    cardiovascular system and so slows aging.
4. Kindness improves relationships. It reduces emotional distance, creating bonds between people
    and strengthening existing friendships.
5. Kindness is contagious.  It inspires others to experience the value in caring for others.
                                                         -  http://drdavidhamilton.com/the-5-side-effects-of-kindness/


Cruel words spoken or deeds done to hurt another person are destructive.  They cannot be taken back.  They prove what a person really is thinking.  They require no prior thought or preparation.  They are thrown out there without restraint.  They create distrust, impenetrable walls, burnt bridges, low self-esteem, anger, vengeance just to name a few emotions. The Bible says that bitterness dries the bones - in other words it eats away at our physical body, destroys from the inside while trying to destroy others.

KINDNESS IS PROACTIVE - CRUELTY IS REACTIVE. We choose one or the other.  I know which I would choose. The one that leaves a legacy of goodwill, selflessness, hope and love for generations to come.


If you see your brother standing by the road, with a heavy load from the seeds he's sowed
And if you see your sister falling by the way, just stop and say, you're going the wrong way

You got to try a little kindness, yes, show a little kindness
Just shine your light for everyone to see
And if you try a little kindness, then you'll overlook the blindness
Of narrow-minded people on the narrow-minded streets

Don't walk around the down and out, lend a helping hand instead of doubt
And the kindness that you show every day, will help someone along their way

You got to try a little kindness, yes show a little kindness
Just shine your light for everyone to see
And if you try a little kindness, then you'll overlook the blindness
Of narrow-minded people on the narrow-minded streets

Sally Burgess, Forefront Families