Tag Archives: coping

Living without Facebook

Day 1

I have been on Facebook since 2008.  The pic above is how I looked back then.  It has been a non-stop eight years until yesterday, February 28, 2017.  Yesterday was Fat Tuesday, the day before Lent.  Lent is the forty-day period before Good Friday and Resurrection weekend (Easter) where Christians (primarily Catholic) give something up to focus on God.  People choose all types of things to give up:  food, alcohol, cigarettes, soda, coffee, or chocolate.  Whatever your vice in life is, you make a conscious choice to give it up for these 40 days.   I equate it to a New Year’s resolution…with a lot more punishment involved.

Giving up something for Lent, to me, is a form of punishment.  You are declaring to yourself and your body, I am going to go cold-turkey without (Fill In the Blank) in 3-2-1…. While that is OK in some respects, it is not necessarily wise.  Even doctors advise you to taper off gradually from meds and habits that may have a physical response if abruptly shut down.  Now I realize that social media is not meds, but the chemical response that social media gratification produces in the body has the same consequences if significantly reduced or removed without a tapering off period.  Well, I did all of the above without tapering off with Facebook.  I am going without Facebook for Lent.  I have not given up Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn because I choose to remain informed by, yet detached from, social media.  Why Facebook (FB) and not the rest? Why now? FB is my first social media account.  It is where I have the most friends, with the most content.  It is the platform for my diatribes and claps-back at people.  I have all of my other social media accounts to feed into FB.  I have my community there.  Its…well, its home.

Why now?  Now is good because it coincides with Lent.  That creates a goal with dates of achievement.  A goal without dates is just a dream.  The dates of Lent create a parameter for my brain.  So in preparation for leaving FB, my brain was telling the rest of my body.. .”Don’t panic! It is only for 40 days.”  Without this parameter, anxiety and stress would set in, others parts of your mind (the self-gratifying side that loves to see the number of responses that you have to the items that you posted) would start the fight or flight language; you can’t do it…it’s Too much, what about your friends (Note the TLC reference)?  What about your hashtags (the pleading verges on the ridiculous), what about the political rants (will not miss those at least I don’t think so), what about…. But parameters set up the boundaries.

Boundaries help to define your life and regulate time.  And with FB inside my boundaries, it was overtaking my life to a certain extent.  It had become my life, from a social media perspective.  I do enjoy seeing and hearing about what’s happening with everyone (thanks for the commentary on the Grammys and the Oscars,) but from a time perspective, it was encroaching on my day.  The time reference, of course, is in retrospect as it has only been 12 hours since deletion and 8 of those I have been asleep.  It is almost paralyzing.

When you make a decision to remove something or someone from your life, the first few hours and days, you are extremely cognizant of it not being there.  You begin to see how much it was a part of your everyday existence.  FB has been just a reach away for so long.  Nightly, on the side table for when my alarm goes off, or I can’t sleep…the red numbers beckon me.  Early morning before I shower, scrolling just to play catch-up.  I have friends in other time zones.  When I drop the kids off at school, I do just a quick check because I may need to respond.  Intermittently during work, when I am in the restroom, during my lunch break, as I wait in line to order food.  It is incessant.

This morning was different.   Last night, after my final post on FB I deleted the app from my phone.  And I second-guessed myself through the entire process.  I was in full panic-mode.  I truly didn’t know if I could do it.  The one saving grace was merely this…”I had made a promise to myself and declared to my FB world and.  It SHALL BE DONE”.  That is a great thing about putting things out in the universe; it makes you accountable.  You are responsible for yourself first and the veracity of your words.  Second, when you give voice to your plans, you enlist the universe and God (Insert your deity as necessary) into helping accomplish that which you have spoken.  The power of your words is astounding, whether for good or evil.  It is so important to be mindful about what we are speaking over ourselves and others.  For  Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. Proverbs 18:21 (KJV).  However, back to the point.

This morning was different.  My routine was the same, however, instead of spending 20 minutes scrolling, posting, and replying, I scrolled quickly through Twitter (you may see some retweets), and I was into the rest of my daily routine.  It was invigorating.  I had redeemed the time and was mentally preparing for my day ahead.  I had gained focus!

The point I am making is this:  it is easy to lament what you give up, however, what you learn or create as a result may be well worth the loss that you experience.  I am still having withdrawals and trying to discover what other productive things can be done instead of lamenting the lack of scrolling.  And here is a note of caution:  I will not replace one questionable habit/addiction with ANOTHER!!!  But know this; the possibilities are endless!  Option # 1 “Back to Blogging!” That’s a good, positive habit to have.

The Theory of Specialization – Sports


How does the Theory of Specialization relate to sports? Is it real and why is it gaining traction across the country?

The theory of specialization was first introduced by Plato. It is an economic term and basically states that the need of a state could be supplied by four or five individuals. This theory was advanced through history by Adam Smith and Karl Marx. Smith believed that specialization of labor allowed companies to produce more goods and increase each worker’s ability. This theory, although not applied to sports in an official capacity, has been gaining traction throughout sports in the league ranks and is permeating the high school ranks as well. It seems to have skipped the middle school areas because middle school sports are more about inclusion rather than exclusion.

The theory of specialization, as it applies to sports, relates to how a parent, coach or other significant adult in a child’s life would lead a child to drop other sports and focus one particular sport in order to be really good or “specialized” in that area. That makes sense to some degree, but when a child is still growing physically and the body is changing does specialization help or hurt the child?

The body needs to use all of the muscles all of the time in a growing child and especially in an athlete. And the most natural way to do that is to participate in multiple sports. This is why in schools PE teachers have the students participate in all types of activities. This is to work all of the muscles. Cross-fit, the new take on cross-training from the 80s, is the new craze in fitness. It works all of the muscles. It makes for a well-rounded athletic specimen.

Specialization too soon can hurt the child and lead to the following:

  1. Impaired muscles
  2. Injury
  3. Sport-burnout
  4. Resentment

You can put this list in any order that you want. No matter how you slice it, the results are not healthy or helpful for a child pursuing sports.

The body needs to use all of the muscles in order to grow properly. If a person begins to specialize in one sport too soon, using the same muscles repetitively year round in this sport, the other muscles begin to suffer. This leads to the non-dominant muscle becoming pulled in an abnormal way because the dominant muscles are so much larger because of repetitive use.

Since the body is built symmetrically, it is designed to be relatively the same on both sides. But you can tell even in small things which part of your body you use the most. Here is a mini-experiment to prove my point: Look at your hands. Notice that your dominant, or writing, hand is slightly bigger than your non-dominant hand. It’s the same thing with your feet. The one that gets the most workout is the one that is bigger.   And the same thing applies with your entire body. If you are right side dominant then that side tends to be bigger because it does most of the work.

When the muscles specialize, they tend to shorten to the specific task that they are required to do. However, when the tasks change on a regular basis then the muscles becomes more flexible and elastic so that it is prepared to do any task asked of it.

So, back to specialization. Am I saying that specialization is wrong? No. It becomes necessary if your child is going to advance in sports beyond high school or even as a career choice. However, specialization should be done based on the desires of the child, not the desires of the coach or even the parent. A child should be allowed to be in all of the sports that he/she feels capable of competing in until they decide on what sport they want to specialize in. After all, your child is the one doing the work. And with kids if the work is not fun, then it is not worth doing.

Also, just because you get some attention from a recruiter in a sport, does not automatically mean that you should drop everything and focus solely on that sport. *CAVEAT* If you know the reality of you getting recruitment looks and possibly advancing in the 2nd or 3rd sport is very minute beyond high school then by all means do what is best for your child.

As parents you do have to perhaps limit the sports to what you can handle financially.   However, even if you don’t do all the summer leagues and just narrow events down to one league sport for the summer, you can still keep your child going in the other sports with summer camps. My daughter plays three sports and is also in an elite triple jump program for track. She does volleyball camps and does summer basketball league. Her primary focus in summer is track because that is her sport that she wants to focus on in college and also wants to use to go to the Olympics.

All of these sport things are subject to my daughter’s schedule and what events take priority. However, she is in full control of what she wants to do and when she is going to begin to specialize. Its only fair because she is the one that has to do the work.  She knows her body and how much it is capable of enduring.  And as long as its fun for her she will continue.

Your child should be given the opportunity to play as many sports as he/she can so that they will have more chances to be really great at the sport of their choosing rather than the sport of the coach’s demand or the parent’s desire. Many times a child will incorrectly infer that they are not good enough for another sport if you want them to specialize too soon.

After all, the child is the controlling partner in this investment. They put in the work, they go out and produce and they deal with the consequences of their actions on the field or court. Our job as parents is to guide the child to the best possible scenario for them, and teach them how to navigate their lives in such a way that the each decision made is driven by the motivation of giving them the most successful outcome for the work that they put in.

10 Steps to Navigating “The Bad Performance” Meltdown

Compass and Map

We have all been there and we have all witnessed it…That moment when your child has an awful performance when he/she should have had their best. The meltdown is brewing just under the surface and you have to help your child save face. Here is a list of 10 things to help your child get through “the bad performance” meltdown moment.

1.  Remember: This is NOT about you!

  • I know you feel badly for your child and you wanted so desperately for them to do better. It pains you to see your child in turmoil, but he/she has just endured what feels like the upset of a lifetime…your focus is on them. You can grieve later.

2.  Get someplace private quickly.

  • My vehicle is my place of choice. No distractions, semi-private, and can be moved to a more secluded area for additional privacy.

**NOTE: DO NOT drive while doing these steps! You must be fully present in the moment and give your child your undivided attention.  Your child’s mental well-being depends on you in this moment. FOCUS on them.

3.  Give your child room and permission to let it out.

  • Let them know you are there to listen then keep quiet and do it!
  • No judgment, no censorship.

How you feel about what he/she is saying is not important. Your child is entitled to their feelings.

4.  Don’t rush the moment. Give it time.  

  • Let them find their own words. No prompting.
  • I know the silence is deafening and you want to fill it with all the many quips, quotes and “isms” to make it all better. NOT NOW! This is your child’s time.

5.  Let them vent.

  • Do not attempt to console them or make it better.
  • Trying to console them is our selfish attempt to assuage our own discomfort at their situation. It does not help the child.

6.  Listen to them! Really engage.

  • It is their moment, their feelings. Remain focused. Being distracted will damage trust if he/she asks you a question “mid-vent” and you haven’t been listening!
  • Make mental notes of things that you wish to clarify AFTER the venting is complete.

7.  Correct erroneous, derogatory or self-deprecating comments that your child makes about him/herself.

  • For example: “Yeah because I suck!” or “I’m a screw-up!”
  • Those must be addressed immediately.
  • Interruptions, at this point, are allowed, but do not steal the floor.
  • Help him/her distinguish themselves from the event.
  • Example: “Yes, perhaps you did not have your best performance today, but you are still the same person who set the record, hit the note that brought the crowd to its feet, choreographed that killer routine, got the sack, interception, TD, goal, free throw etc. just last week. And you are still that person right now. Tonight is an event in your life, it is not you.”

8.  Give them time and opportunity to grieve the moment.

  • I allow my child 5 minutes to do whatever he/she needs to engage and express the intense emotion that comes with a loss or disappointment.
  • She can scream, cry, roll around on the floor, jump around, yell or punch a pillow.
  • Profanity, self-inflicted pain, and property damage or destruction is NOT allowed.
  • Teach appropriate behaviors for dealing with grief.
  • While watching your child rolling on the floor may make you uncomfortable, it is a lot less painful than other things that your child may find to numb unexpressed pain later on.
  • This can become quite the comical moment, but try to remain focused on the gravity of the situation.
  • At around 2 minutes the grief subsides. (It does not last forever even though it may feel that way.)
  • At about 3 minutes she begins to feel silly because it doesn’t hurt anymore.

**NOTE: It is important that you emphasize that once he/she has this moment to grieve, that the pain and emotion of the situation is over. The event can only be revisited and used as a learning tool, not to be worn as a badge of one’s inferiority.

9.  Wash away the physical residue of the moment/event.

  • Once she is done with the grief, then it is time to get some comfort food, a good movie, ice cream, a hot bath or whatever lifts the spirit to a happy place.

10.  Find something good in the situation

  • Even meltdown moments have flashes of brilliance. Emphasize the good in the midst of the bad so that your child knows that all is not lost and he/she WILL live to perform another day.