Saturday, October 23, 2010

It's 9 AM!

Yeah.  I'm going to go take a nap.

Thank you to all those who helped contribute to this day, both as guest, contributors and behind the scences.


More Company

Now my son is up.  He would have gotten up earlier if we hadn't made it a rule a long ago that he can't get up and go into the den - where the video game is -- until at least 7 AM. 

You know how they say there is a law against something because at least one time someone tried to do it?   For example, in Devon, Texas, it is against the law to make furniture while you are nude.  Now I have no doubt that this law came about because someone tried to do it and someone else got offended.

Well we have our video game timetable rule because after we bought a video game we caught my son downstairs playing it at 5:30 am in the morning.


I'm Not Alone In the Dining Room Anymore

My husband is now up and across the dining room table from me.  We have dueling laptops.

I think he just snickered at me.


Why Did You Make The Leap: Oana Hogrefe, Photographer

Recently I ask for some entrepreneurs to share why and how they made the leap from the j-o-b to starting their own business...

I have been pursuing a safe (although difficult) high-tech/science path for many years. I hold a PhD in Physics, and have been holding corporate positions in the IT/software industry for 9 years.

I decided to become an entrepreneur when I realized that the way I spent my waking hours needs to reflect my passions, priorities and what brings me joy. The corporate ladder has its advantages, but it can also feel constricting and many of the limitations are out of ones control.

I am now a full time owner of a boutique photography studio in Atlanta, and I love the feeling of being able to have my business be an authentic extension of myself, my beliefs, priorities, personality and passions..

For people who are looking into owning their own business, here are a few pieces of advice: avoid paralysis by analysis. Move forward daily, even if with small steps. You will never be completely perfectly ready to make the leap. You will not replace your previous income right away. Growing a business takes determination, focus and action. Be a little better every time. Deliver exceptional products or services. Align your actions with your passion, and people will appreciate your genuine spirit.

Oana Hogrefe

CARE-a-thon Part Deux

I am too tired to be brilliant.  :-)

Just like when I do my trainings, I had so much I wanted to convey... Especially about The Power of CARE. All of the things I wanted but didn't get a chance to -- until I was too tired to do them justice -- will have to wait for another day.

Now that I have a better understanding of YouTube, I'll definately use it more.  Be on the look out for more YouTube videos from me. I've decided that this blog needs more information about how the Power of CARE relates to all aspects of our lives...everything we care about.

Is it 9 AM yet?  Not even close...


Monitoring Social Media

Well I've spent the last few hours montinoring my social media presence.  I've been posting and linking the CARE-a-thon videos on various pages and sites.  This one part marketing event, one part experiment has produced some interesting results.  Maybe I'll let you in on them when I'm not sleep deprived and can be more coherent.

This Is Why Hospitals Make Mistakes

Because the staff are all sleep deprived.   How in the world can you do a 24 or 36 hour shift?

Midnight Musings

It's after midnight. What's on my mind after 17 hours of this social media marathon?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Mr & Mrs Smith's Employment Survival Guide

Tips on how to navigate the interview process from husband and wife team Odie and Daval Smith.

Do You Need Someone to Help You Rescue Your Resume?

I had a great talk with someone who cares about resumes even more than I do. So much so, she helps people make theirs better.

For more information about Lauren's company, visit her website.

The Art and Technology of Photography

Even with all the modern technology, taking a great picture is an art.

I took a few moments to talk with photographer Scott Hewitt about his art and some of the new technology that is added new demensions to his work.

For more information about 360 degree phtography, visit Scott's websites.

The 6 Aspects of Beauty

Amanda Schwab has written a book to help women attain greater understanding about beauty. All aspects of beauty.

For more information about Woman Beautiful, visit the website at

Career Sudoku

I had a great talk about strategically planning ones career with author Adriana Llames.

For more information about Career Sudoku visit the website.

Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men...and Bloggers... Go Awry.

When I do my trainings and seminars, so often I end up having too much information to cover in the allotted time.  I do not want to do less than the time agreed upon.  Well, it seems I did the same for this Power of CARE-a-thon. 

I had quite a few segments that I wanted to do during the day, but I guess I will have to move them to this evening.  I scheduled more interviews than I could humanly do alone and still create my real time videos on my Flip camera.

It just goes to show you that those small business people who seem to have so much of a social media presence, probably have a little help.  Even with technology, it can take up a lot of your time.

Oh well.  While everyone is asleep at my house tonight, I'll be talking into a camera.   I was going to be up any way.  :-)

UPDATE:  No, I wasn't talking into a camera all night.  Too tired.  Will do those segments another day(s).

"The Celebritizer"

You know I love a great interview. When it comes to this blog, I want to be sure I am being a good interviewer. In addition, in those times I am the guest, I also want to make a good impression.

If you do too, you should take a few tips from Gayl Murphy, "The Celebritizer" who has done more than 14,000 interviews and has literally written the book on how to be a great interview that the media seeks out.

For more information about Gayl and her book, visit her at her website.

Socks n Undies Sunday

An example of everyday philanthropy...

Little Helping Hands

Another great conversation with Marissa Vogel of Little Helping Hands.

Check out her other interview.

Interview with the Bliss Mistress

Bliss Mistress, Edie Weinstein and a few other great women are coming to Philadelphia today, but she took a few moments to talk to me.

For more information about Amazing Woman's Days across the country go to

For more information about Edie, visit her website at

Welcome to the CARE-A-THON!

Good Morning Everyone

Welcome to my 26-hour Social Media Marathon....the Power of CARE-A-THON.

Well this is the first of many blog posts today.  I was suppose to have a video, but I'll have to post that later.  Murphy's Law I have had technical difficulties this morning already.

But stay tuned.  We have several interviews planned and I have a great deal to share with you about The Power of CARE. 

See ya,


UPDATE:  Obviously got the video working and posted.  :-)

7 AM First Video | Power of CARE-a-thon

Yes, it is still dark outside. And since I have'nt done my hair and make-up yet, I was not concerned about adjusting the lighting. :-)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dignity Through Underwear: An Interview with Socks'n Undies Sunday's Jennifer Maulsby

Remember what your mother used to say about always putting on clean underwear?  Well for some it is not always possible to do as mom said. 

For those balancing the challenges of homelessness, in addition to trying to obtain shelter and food each day, many must also deal with how to maintain a semblance of normalcy in their personal attire.

In many homeless shelters, next to the food pantry is also a clothes closet that continually needs replenishing.  This is where people like Jennifer Maulsby and the Socks'nUndies Sunday Program comes to the rescue.

I recently had an opportunity to talk to Jennifer about her organization  -- Everyday Philanthrophy -- and its signature program, Socks'n Undies Sunday.

For more information about the Socks n Undies Program, visit their website at

Monday, October 11, 2010

Making Community Service a Family Affair: An Interview with Marissa Vogel

If we are civic minded parents and invest in our community through volunteerism, we hope that we instill that message of "giving back" to our children.  Yet, there is an even better way to develop that belief and practice in our children....INVOLVE THEM.

Anyone in education knows that we all learn differently.  Some of us can hear something once and retain it.  Others need to visualize it.  Still others need to have a hands on experience for the lessons to sink in.  The lesson of community service and volunteerism is one that doesn't have to wait until it's a high school graduation requirement.  It can start in early childhood. 

I had a wonderful talk with Marissa Vogel --  the founder and executive director of Little Helping Hands in Austin, Texas -- who shares this belief and put forth the effort to make family community service easier in her community.

For more information about Little Helping Hands, visit their website.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Power of CARE and Co-Parenting

I had the pleasure of being a guest on Co-Parenting Matters -- a blog talk radio program about co-parenting.  Thank you to Deesha and Mike, the co-founders of and to Talibah who started the website.

This was a chance to use the Power of CARE framework on the subject of co-parenting.

Listen to internet radio with Co-Parenting Matters on Blog Talk Radio

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Two Daughters' Efforts To Increase Access to Healthcare and Empower Women With Cancer

I know all too well what it means to lose a mother to cancer.  Terry Kaye and her best friend experienced this loss too.  And like so many, they wanted their mothers' deaths to have a greater meaning.  But unlike most people, they put that desire into effort.  The result was the founding of the Saralee and Carol Foundation -- an organization whose mission is to increase access to health care and to ensure that all women living with cancer are empowered to be their own best advocates.

For more information about the SareLee and Carol Foundation and to learn more about their project to gain a Pepsi Refresh Grant in the month of October, check out their website.

And for more information about the Mad As Hell Doctors event on October 1st, visit their site.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What's Your Type?: Interview With Author Berit Brogaard

A few years ago, the line to use to describe that guy who just didn't seem to be the one to everyone but you was, "He's just not that in to you."  It even spawned a book and a short lived talk show for its author.

College professor Berit "Brit" Brogaard is taking a new approach to the topic of one sided "relationships" in her upcoming book Lovesick Love.  In it she describes serveral "types" of both men and women that epitomizes those who make the mistake of thinking they are in a relationship when they are really not.

For more information about Berit, visit one of her websites.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Making Wishes Come True: An Interview with Shimmy Mehta of Angelwish

When you were a child did you have a special wish?  Was there one toy you were desperately hoping to receive for a holiday or your birthday? 

In A Christmas Story we empathize with Ralphie's childhood desire -- borderline obsession -- for the "it" toy. By contrast in Jingle All The Way we sympathize with the parental angst and guilt associated with working to get said "it" toy for our child.  Now imagine this childhood desire and parental angst in the context of a family dealing with a chronic illness. 

I had the pleasure of speaking with Shimmy Mehta about his organization, Angelwish, which seeks to connect community angels with children and families with wishes.

Angelwish believes that who knows better what an 8 year old child might like than another 8 year old child. Therefore, they take monetary donations and place them in the hands of volunteer youth shoppers during "Giving Sprees" at toy stores. Here is a great video about one of these wonderful events.

Kyra Sedgwick hosts the the 2nd Annual Angelwish Giving Spree from on Vimeo.

For more information about Angelwish and how you can help make a wish come true, visit their website.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Everybody Wins When Everyone Can Read Well: An Interview with Everybody Wins! Executive Director Rich Greif

Literacy is so important not only in academic success, but success in life. Organizations like Everybody Wins! not only address the issue of increasing literacy and appreciation for reading among young students, in the process, they are creating lasting relationships.

I had a great talk with Everybody Wins! National Executive Director, Rich Greif about this special organization and his own personal story of building long term relationships with young students.

In addition, Rich -- being the master at communication through social media -- gave some insight into how non-profits can use this powerful tool to attain and maintain relationships with partners and prospects.

For more information about Everybody Wins!... Follow them on Twitter. Connect with them on Facebook. Link up on LinkedIn. And check out their website at

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Macolm Gladwell on Spaghetti Sauce: A Culinary Story of Choices and Happiness

Here is an interesting video from TED.  It is author Malcolm Gladwell talking about of all things....spaghetti sauce.  More to the point, he is talking about how choices impact our consumerism and vice versa.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

An Effort to Help the Unemployable: An Interview with George Lee of Jobs Foundation

In this economy there are a lot of people looking for a job; but imagine if you were among the category of "unemployable" and looking for a job. 

Someone who is unemployable does not have a job and is unlikely to get a job, because they do not have the skills or abilities that an employer might want.  Likewise, certain past circumstances might impact ones chances for employment.  Those who were previously incarcerated fall into this category because of potential employers' not wanting to take that leap of faith in a person's rehabilitation.

For those in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, there is the form of George Lee and the Jobs Foundation, a non-profit whose missions is to "empower individuals toward economic stability and find personal fulfillment in their work" by providing paid on the job training to economically under served adults.

I had an opportunity to talk with George Lee about his organization and why he -- a success entrepreneur -- decided to jump into the not for profit arena.

For more information about the Jobs Foundation and how you can contribute, contact them through their website.

Monday, August 30, 2010

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I have a friend who says he knows it's the holiday season when he sees that M&M's commercial where the M&M's see Santa Claus and he sees them and they both realize the other is "real".  I know it's back to school time when I see that Staples commercial with the exuberant father and the not so exuberant kids making their way down the aisle to the sound of the Christmas song "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year".  Funny thing is, I haven't seen that commercial this year.

Despite the lack of my visual indicator of this annual event, the new school year has indeed starting for millions of children and adults.  And with this new school year, many students and their parents are also beginning to concern themselves with if this year will be successful.  One of the variables in student success will be determining how a student learns and when there are challenges to the learning process, how can the parents and educators help.

I had a great talk with Tanya Mitchell of LearningRx.  We talked about how we learn and what we can do to never stop learning and developing our brains.

I hope you enjoy it.

For more information about LearningRx, click your way to their website at

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Happy Anniversary, Happy Anniversary, Happy Anniversary, Haaaaap-py Anniversary!

Today is my 10 year wedding annniversary.  Happy Anniversary to my Tin Man!  Who does have a heart.

I love you honey!

The 10th Anniversary is tin or aluminum by the way.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Interview with Jeffrey Fox

Here's another interview I really enjoyed.

Are you fierce?!?

Author Jeffrey J. Fox has written a new book --  "How To Be A Fierce Competitor".   I had an opportunity to talk to him about some of the things he feels are necessary to be and remain successful in our society; to be not just a competitor, but to be a fierce competitor.

I hope you enjoy our talk as much as we did.

For more information about Jeffrey J. Fox and his latest book, please visit his website.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Interview with Scott Harris

Summertime is usually a time for tv re-runs.  I've been so busy I decided to re-run a few of my favorite interview and articles from the spring.  Here is one I really enjoyed I hope you do too.

Anything worth doing is worth doing well. Doing it well requires you to put forth some effort. To make the choice to be in goal mode and think and act strategically. This is so true when it comes to developing and implementing your marketing plan for your business or project.

I had a great talk with Scott Harris of Mustang Marketing, a full service marketing agency serving the San Fernando Valley and Ventura County, California.

If you want more information about Scott and Mustang Marketing, visit their website at

Friday, August 6, 2010

Happiness Is A Choice!

"Happiness is a choice."  This is a line I keep telling my son. Basically he’s a really cool kid with a great sense of humor, when he is so inclined. The trouble is sometimes he can, as we say in my house, fall into the martyr role. When he does, he takes on a “life is so hard” attitude.

The fact is I have been the victim of the Parent’s Curse. I have given birth to a child so much like myself -- only worse. Almost every exasperated parent has placed this curse on their own child at one time: “May you have a child just like you when you are a parent.” I am sure when I was in one of my moody moments; my mother put this curse on me.

And so, umpteen years later, I was blessed with a handsome, intelligent, creative young man, who puts my self confessed moodiness to shame. He can be the happiest child one moment and then one little thing that does not go his way and his whole day is ruined. And it is at these moments that I start the diatribe of platitudes and clichés many parents pull out:

“Do you know how lucky you are?”

“You should be grateful for all that you have!”

“You have two parents who love you, clothes on your back, and a roof over your head…”

“Do you know how many starving children there are in __________?”

And in the midst of this I also remind him that “happiness is a choice” and that he needs to choose to be happy. And guess what? There are countless adults who need to take this advice too. Are you one of them? Hey, I just admitted to you I am moody. And in recognizing this about myself, I also can choose to counteract this behavior and choose to be happy.

If you’ve been here before, you know I believe all of life – especially relationships – are a balancing act between “because of” and “in spite of” and you have to make the choice of how life’s obstacles will impact and effect your attitudes and efforts. This is no less true then when it comes to your happiness. Now don’t get it twisted. I’m not talking about people who are clinically depressed. And I’m not talking about the temporary sadness or anger that we all have a right to from time to time. This is different.

There are some people who just cannot be happy. They relish in the attention they think they are receiving by being habitually miserable and wallowing in self pity. They have so much wonderfulness that they could focus on, but they choose only to see the negative. I have a family member like this. This person does not seem to realize that they would have much better relationships if they would just tone down the negativity and try to be happy in stead of complaining all of the time. Do you know someone like this?

By contrast, I love being around those persons who can be honest about the trials they might be going through, but can see the positive things in their life too. Can you be happy in spite of the fact that your business is not doing as well as you would have hoped? Can you be happy in spite of the fact that you loss your job? Can you be happy in spite of the fact that things are not going as you planned? Of course you can. By choosing to appreciate what you do have that is good.

You can choose to wallow in your temporary misery for a few moments then – as a friend would say – you pull up your big boy britches or your big girl panties, you give yourself an attitude adjustment and you make it your goal to be happy. You make the choice to not remain in “gripe mode” but move to “goal mode” and, if it is within your power to do so, you do something about changing the circumstances.

Every day at the dinner table, I ask my son, “What was the best part of your day and the not so best part of your day?” Through this exercise we develop the habit of communication, but it also helps us illustrate a point.

Throughout any day, you may have countless things happen with you, or for you, or against you. You cannot control everything that happens to you. You can only control how you react or respond to it; how you chose to perceive it. You could have eight hours of wonderful and the last five minutes of terrible and chose to say your day was ruined based on those five minutes. Or you can decide that the best part of your day was those miserable five minutes because they made you appreciate the eight hours even more.

Happiness is a choice. What are you going to choose?

TGIF Everyone!  Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sheena Iyengar on the art of choosing

Here is a great TED Talk by Sheena Iyengar who does extensive research on how we make choices and our attitudes about our choices.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Interview with Ronald Kaufman of Anatomy of Success

I had the pleasure of speaking to author and trainer, Ronald Kaufman about How to Get and Stay Motivated and End Procrastination! 

How appropriate for a Monday morning.  If you are like me you already have a weekly "to do" list that seems to have more items than there are hours in the week.  Well, it's like that old joke, "How do you eat an elephant?"  Answer:
"One bite at a time."

I hope you enjoy the talk, and have a productive week!

For more information about Ron and his book.  Visit his site at

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Teaching Entrepreneurship -- An interview with NFTE Leaders

Across this country, non-profit organizations are meeting their mission of helping to improve their communities. They are meeting these quality improvement and outcome goals through the generous contributions of volunteers.  This is especially true of one organization, the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, which relies greatly on local volunteers and business professionals to bring their experience and expertise to the next generation of business owners.

Successful entrepreneur and new author Tony Hartl has given so much to his local NFTE chapter. I had the opportunity to talked with Mr. Hartl, Laura Maczka, the Executive Director of the Dallas area NFTE, as well as Philadelphia area NFTE Executive Director, Sylvia McKinney about why teaching entrepreneurship to students is so important.

To learn more about Tony Hartl's book, visit

To learn more about NFTE, visit their website at

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Creating a Powerful Brand -- An Interview with Paige Arnof-Fenn

What is your brand? Have you taken the time to think about what is means to craft and cultivate a powerful brand? It doesn't matter if you are a corporation, a small business, or just an individual professional, your brand is your reputation, the calling card that precedes you.

What is your brand? Is it working for you or against you?

I had a great conversation with marketing expert and founder of Mavens & Moguls, Paige Arnof-Fenn about creating ones brand.


For more information about Paige and her business, visit Mavens & Moguls online.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Improving the World One Meeting at a Time -- An Interview with Miri McDonald

You'd be hard pressed to find someone who says they love meetings.  But they'd dislike them a little less if more meetings were productive and dare I say

I had a great conversation with Miri McDonald, an organization development and communications strategist about how we all can have better meetings.

For more information about Miri McDonald and her services, contact her through her website

Happy meetings everyone.

Monday, July 12, 2010

An Interview with Marcos J Cordero of Green Business Bureau

You can care about your business and the environment. Green Business Bureau CEO Marcos J. Cordero gives you a few good reasons why and how you can benefit your business and save the planet.

For more information about the Green Business Bureau, visit their website at

Friday, July 9, 2010

Preserving Their Childhood Through Pictures -- An Interview with Photographer Oana Hogrefe

What does every parent tell you about their children?  "Oh they grow up so fast!" 

So preserving our memories of our children through photgraphs becomes oh so important.  Today's talk with photographer Oana Hogrefe will help you take better pictures of your children.

If you are in the Atlanta area, you can just call Oana and have her take your pictures for you.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Interview with LisaMarie Dias

Are you writing a blog or a newsletter or thinking of starting one? Then you should view this interview with LisaMarie Dias of LisaMarie Dias Designs. LisaMarie Dias Designs helps individuals and organizations "start, optimize and maintain [their] online marketing campaign".

For more information about LisaMarie and her company, visit her at

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Family Dinner

When I got married, we were a blended family. I got a bonus daughter along with a husband. I have a friend who doesn’t like the term blended family, but I don’t have a problem with it. It is rather an apropos word I think, because we had to learn to blend so many ways of doing things. For us, one of the more challenging subjects was the family dinner.

Now I must admit, in this case, when I say blend, what I really mean is I had to get my new husband and daughter to convert to my way of thinking. Many a time I ended up sitting at the dinner table by myself, because they had gobbled down their food and just got up and left me. Or in the middle of dinner one of them would get up to answer the phone. That just wasn’t how I was raised. In my house we had dinner together most nights and it was as much a family ritual as it was a routine.

Even though my father had many evening meetings with clients, he did most of the cooking and we all had dinner together prior to his going out. You did not leave the table until everyone was finished and dinner time was an opportunity to catch up with everyone, laugh, debate and communicate. Sunday dinners were an event. We usually had friends or relatives over for a big Sunday meal after church.

When we were old enough to get chores, each of us kids would do our job cleaning up the kitchen after dinner. As my father used to say, “Why do I need to buy a dishwasher? I have three.” Whoever washed the dishes cleaned the stove, counters and kitchen table. Whoever dried took out the trash to the garage and swept the floor. There was a system. If you were washing, it made sense for you to wash everything down; you already had the wet cloth. If you were drying, it made sense for you to sweep the floor; you were the last one in the room and could sweep without people in your way.

It wasn’t until I visited other people’s homes or we had friends over that I realized, yet again, we were different. I can remember one particular Sunday dinner. We were in the dining room having a wonderful meal and conversation and one of my sister’s friends from middle school was there. Without a word, when she was finished eating, she got up from the table walked out of the room, through the kitchen into the den, sat down on the couch and turned on the television. For a few seconds we all just looked at each other in silent astonishment.

I never investigated her rational for just up and leaving the dinner table, but I suspect that in her household, family dinners were not commonplace. Dinner time might have been more of a solitary event and not a time for family bonding. Maybe she was used to eating in front of the television and she was looking to get back to the familiar.

Fast forward through more years and more living experiences, I am again and again reminded of how to many, the concept of the Family Dinner it not commonplace, but something that is relegated to Thanksgiving or one of the major religious holidays. Yet, I’m here to tell you, there is more to the family dinner than just food. If it’s been awhile since you put forth the effort to make it happen for your family, now’s the time.

Take Back the Family Dinner

“It’s time to take back dinner. Put it on the front burner (pun intended) and basically stop over-scheduling your kids and start scheduling mealtimes together. We multi-taskers somehow manage to meet our work deadlines and get to our kid's baseball games on time, so why can't we actively work hard to plan our weekly meals?” says, Jeanne Muchnick, author of the new book, Dinner for Busy Moms.

Muchinick is not alone in her call to take back the family dinner. Even major brands have incorporated it into their marketing campaigns to get families together…hopefully over a serving of their product. For more than a decade there have been various calls to action by children and family advocacy groups.

The good news is, for some, there was no need to make the call. It was a part of life for Parenting and Life Coach, Barbara Desmarais. “I grew up having family dinners every night. It was the norm and when I raised my own children, it was also the norm.” For Jessie Nagel, it was so much a part of her life that it never occurred to her that not every family ate dinner together. “You might think it crazy, but I was truly surprised to learn as an adult that many families do not eat together. I was raised in a family that ate dinner together every night, with rare exception, and also enjoyed food as the center for many forms of socialization,” says the Hype, Special Agent.

For Ms. Desmarais, coming to the realization that not every family ate dinner together was a long time coming. “When my children entered high school it was the first time I found out that what we were doing was not the norm for everyone. In fact my kids felt very inconvenienced when they had to come home for dinner at a certain time and most of their friends were just eating what was in the fridge and at no set time. It saddened me that this was now a fact of life.

But if you have a protesting teenager, don’t let it get to you. You have to think long term. “Everyone benefits from family dinners. Even if a teenager complains, she or he benefits from a sense of belonging to the family group. As soon as children are old enough, they grow in self-esteem and character by taking on some responsibilities associated with the family dinner. Even a small child feels a sense of pride by performing as simple a task as placing a napkin at each place setting,” says Psychotherapist, Marcia Naomi Berger, LCSW.


“Research supports that families who have dinner together several times a week have less substance abuse, better body image, do better in school,” states Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Clinical Director of Wasatch Family Therapy, Julie Hanks.

So is it that families who eat together already had the benefit of strong parenting skills and higher levels of communication? I say, in part, Who cares! If this is one of those chicken and the egg kind of scenarios and you are one of those families that are not having the family dinner on a regular basis…then start!

Maybe that will start positively impacting other family dynamics. Unless eating your mother or father’s cooking could literally be a danger to your health, only good can come from having dinner together. So order Chinese and still set the table for a family meal.

Do’s and Don’ts of Family Dinner

The family dinner table it a great time for teaching and learning, but parents still have to work at doling out those life lessons with moderation and tact. “There is so much to gain by the family dinner as long as certain ground rules are created by the family. Negotiating the ground rules and practicing them is enormously helpful in teaching children responsible behavior and in enhancing their social skills. An example would be how do we make sure everyone who wants to speak is heard without interrupting another family member. In discussion, parents can teach and model the practices necessary for good communication - seek to understand before being understood, no shaming or insulting,” says Parenting Coach Dr. Richard Horowitz.

Some of the ground rules, or do’s and don’ts of the family dinner table include respecting differences and agreeing on what will and will not be discussed. “It is important that parents do not use this mealtime to either interrogate the kids (Did you pass your test? Did you behave yourself at daycare? etc) or harangue them”, says Kathy Lynn of Parenting Today Canada.

Berger agrees. She says, “Make it a general rule for the conversation [to be] pleasant while eating. Doing so encourages healthy bonding among family members as well as good digestion. The more difficult topics and disciplinary matters can be addressed at other times. During the meal, everyone can be encouraged to share their feelings about whatever is on their mind and about how their day went.”

Raising Healthy Eaters

If you take a look at the average grade school child, you realize that we are in the midst of a childhood obesity epidemic. Even the first lady has picked up the mantle of helping our society make better choices for our children. One of those healthy choices is having more nutritious family dinners. It is at the dinner table that parents help establish a child’s relationship with food and good eating habits.

Many of us grew up being told to “clean our plates” and “not waste food”. It is at the dinner table that we either succeed or fail at helping our children learn about portion control and stopping when we are full. “At the meal table, children take important cues about healthful eating from their parents and witness what a nutritious, well-rounded meal looks like,” says Registered Dietitian, Christen Cooper. Likewise, they learn the balance between not wasting food and not encouraging over eating.

According to Nancy Piho, the author of My Two-Year-Old Eats Octopus: Raising Children Who Love to Eat Everything, “Eating together as a family is vitally important in starting young kids off on the right foot of being healthful, adventuresome eaters!”

Many nutritionists and pediatricians will tell you, it can take up to 10 or 11 exposures to a food before a child will decide they like it. In many a household, including mine, parents have instituted the “No Thank You Bite” rule. Basically, it means you don’t have to eat a lot of something new, but you at least have to try it. Then you can say no thank you. It took my son about four or five “no thank you bites” before he learned to love his favorite fruit…kiwi.

As children get older, the ritual of the family dinner can be expanded to include the children in the preparation. Janet Max relishes that fact that she and her teenage daughters have made dinners together an event, one where her daughters are beginning to flex their culinary skills. Her oldest, Tasha “likes to cook, so she helps prepare meals a lot, even makes some on her own. Lately both my daughters have an obsession with sautéed onions. It’s hilarious. Tasha will cook up a whole pan full and they will fight over them.”

Encouraging children to be a part of the planning and making of the meal not only helps their self esteem, but also prepares them for a more self sufficient future.

Family Dinner as Backdrop of Family Dynamics

For so many families, the significance of Sunday (or Sabbath) dinner was magnified exponentially when interplayed with other family characteristics. When Judy Woodward Bates was very young family meals were not just about the food, it was a social event that cemented familial relationships. “My parents would always take me and my sister to a huge Sunday dinner gathering at my dad's parents’. Since I was number 34 of the 34 grandchildren and my dad was the youngest son, my grandparents were in their late 60's when I was born. Their health declined rapidly and these fun times ended by the time I was 7, but I'll never forget the organized chaos of those Sunday afternoons.

The kids were ordered to stay outside and play until the grownups had eaten and play we did! I don't think Big Mama (my grandmother) ever sat down - she was like a bustling whirlwind - running between the kitchen and dining room with mounds of fried chicken, homemade "catheads" (as my Papa called her huge fluffy biscuits) and cornbread; baked sweet potatoes; fresh field peas; sliced tomatoes and onions; and gallons of sweet tea. All that was generally followed by cutting a watermelon (and the subsequent seed-spitting contests among the grandkids) and churning homemade ice cream, with all us grandkids vying for a chance to be the one who sat on the ice cream maker while one of the men cranked it.

For Claire DeRosa, the truth of her internal family drama that was happening around the dinner table was not clear at first glance. "I grew up in a family of six. Our household included my parents, grandmother, sister and brother. We did not have much of anything. My father ate before any of us and my mother would serve him. When he was finished we would then have our dinner. My mother never sat down with us to eat. When we were finished she would then scrape the plates into hers and then eat. My mother passed away when I was 15 years old. Now years later I realize she never sat down with us because there wasnt enough food. As kids it never entered our mind what the true picture of this dinner drama was in reality."

My Blended Family

In my family, even after ten years, we are still in a continuous game of negotiation around the dinner table. My husband still eats faster than the rest of us. Now my son is the slow poke of the table, far surpassing my slow pace in the family. And my bonus daughter, who is now in college, seems to have the most challenge with the no phone rule. But just recently, after a few subtle and not so subtle hints, she left her cell phone in another room. And when I could hear the tell tale pings of her text message alerts and she didn’t rush to go pick it up, I said thank you. My son asked what I was thanking her for. I simply said, “She knows”, and smiled.

Next up...teaching her how to cook.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Marketing Strategically -- An Interview with Mustang Marketing's Scott Harris

Anything worth doing is worth doing well. Doing it well requires you to put forth some effort. To make the choice to be in goal mode and think and act strategically. This is so true when it comes to developing and implementing your marketing plan for your business or project.

I had a great talk with Scott Harris of Mustang Marketing, a full service marketing agency serving the San Fernando Valley and Ventura County, California.

If you want more information about Scott and Mustang Marketing, visit their website at

Friday, June 25, 2010

Are You A Couch Potato? Then Greg Ladas Has A Diet For You.

The best chance for a long and healthy life is to make the right diet and exercise choices. Most of us are not as active as we should be. For those of us who are maintaining a more couch potato existence, Greg Ladas says you can still make more healthy diet choices and still lose weight.

The author of The Couch Potato Diet, Greg Ladas took the time to be a part of the Power of CARE Talks series. Please view our conversation about his book and some choices you can make to live the Couch Potato Diet.

If you want more information about Greg Ladas and his book, visit him at his website.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Interview with Author Jeffrey J. Fox of Fox and Company

Are you fierce?!?

Author Jeffrey J. Fox has written a new book --  "How To Be A Fierce Competitor".   I had an opportunity to talk to him about some of the things he feels are necessary to be and remain successful in our society; to be not just a competitor, but to be a fierce competitor.

I hope you enjoy our talk as much as we did.

For more information about Jeffrey J. Fox and his latest book, please visit his website.