Cancelling Your Family

Bryan Regan, a stand up comedian, joked recently: “Hey, I saw something interesting today on social media. Somebody posted a very strong political opinion. And somebody replied, ‘Good point. I changed my mind’.”  Of course this got a lot of laughs, because this kind of reply on social media never happens.  Social media platforms are used to bolster support for our own beliefs, not to challenge them.  This especially seems to ring true in our post-COVID era.    There are marker events in history that create observable shifts in our culture.  COVID is one of those events.  It has brought
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Categories: Children, Family, and Relationships.

The Comparison Trap

Over 150 years ago, Henry David Thoreau observed “The mass of men live lives of quiet desperation”.  This would suggest that mental and emotional suffering is a common and constant state of life.  What has changed, though, is we now have the ability to do something about it.  Now more than ever we have available to us tools for self-improvement such as education, technology, and psychological treatment.  That being said, just because we have more ability to better our lives doesn’t mean that we will actually do the work.  Self-actualization, the process of reaching one’s potential, is like anything else
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Categories: Marriage.

Willing and Able, Aware and Care

In the dark comedy movie “Downhill”,  a vacationing family faces imminent threat from an avalanche.  The crisis of the story occurs when Will Farrell’s character Pete runs away right when his wife and family needed him the most.  The rest of the movie entails Pete trying to regain his family’s trust and heal the rift in his marriage.  It’s not really a funny movie in my opinion, but it does illustrate how marriages can experience a symbolic “avalanche” of stress.  The story illustrates how difficult it can be to heal and forgive when we’ve been hurt and abandoned by those
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Categories: Couples, Marriage, and Relationships.

There’s More Than One Grinch Out There

The Big Grinch of 2020 brought with him several Little Grinches.  These other grinches have always been around, but the Big Grinch has really paved the way for them to infiltrate our homes, relationships, and personal lives in new and devious ways.  These Little Grinches are fear, addiction, loneliness, confusion, apathy and mistrust.   I’ve seen an unprecedented level of fear and anxiety in 2020.  Of course there are more issues that have been worrisome this year; the election, the spread of a serious virus, economic uncertainty and plenty of civil unrest.  Many people have dealt with the anxiety by
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Categories: COVID, Family, Holidays, Mental Health, and Parenting.

Dealing with an Unwanted Guest During the Holidays

The holiday season is the culmination of the year.  November and December bring times of celebrating with family, friends and the community.  Occasionally, we have to deal with someone that makes the holidays less enjoyable, like Cousin Eddie in “Christmas Vacation.”  This year, we all have an unwanted presence during the holidays.  Its name is COVID-19.  It’s going to make the Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Years trifecta a lot more complicated and less enjoyable to say the least.  For many, it will ruin any chance of a good time.   It’s been a month since my son contracted COVID while at college.  He’s
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Categories: Marriage.

Tech Tools for Parents

I’ve written quite a bit regarding the hazards and concerns of social media and “screens” in the lives of our children.  The concerns still exist; the addictive nature of social media on the teenage brain, the observed increase in depression and anxiety among individuals who are high users of social media, the addictive nature of gaming, the sexual objectification that is rampant on the internet, the physical health problems associated with too much screen time, and so on.  However, we are not going to forego our phones or our internet.  We have to learn how to manage these tools in
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Categories: Marriage.

Affair Proofing your Marriage

My articles are usually focused on parenting.  While this one is about marriage, it definitely has an impact on families and children.  Affairs, defined broadly or narrowly, have a detrimental impact on the whole family.  Narrowly defined, an affair is understood as an illicit sexual relationship with someone outside the marriage.  Broadly defined, an affair is an intimate relationship that is emotionally intense and sexually charged.  The intensity and sexualized nature of this relationship is kept hidden from the marriage partner.  Usually, the extra-marital person is someone both spouses know; someone from the workplace, neighborhood, another parent known through the
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Categories: Marriage.

Keep it Boring

Airplane pilots describe flying as a mostly boring activity interspersed with moments of panic.  When you are in the air and dependent on the flying machine, you want it to stay boring!  Unless you are an acrobatic pilot.   Daily life can reflect this situation, especially now during the COVID 19 restricted life we are living.  Pilots have a flight plan that they follow as best as they can, and this allows them to get to their next destination as safely and predictably as possible.  Using this as a metaphor for life, what is your flight plan?  Where are you
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Categories: Children, COVID, Family, Parenting, Personal Growth, and Relationships.

Helping Your Kids, Helping Yourself Through COVID

As I write this, it has been a month since everything changed.  At least it feels like everything changed due to the COVID-19 shutdown.  I think of that REM song from the 80s “Its the End of the World as We Know it”.  The world, as we know it, has changed significantly.  Every generation has a defining moment and, based on the hope that nothing more cataclysmic than COVID-19 will happen,  this is it.  Everything hasn’t changed, but so much has changed that its overwhelming.  With massive change comes confusion, chaos and anxiety.  And COVID-19 also brings us social isolation,
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Categories: Marriage.

A Resilient COVID Response

This Coronavirus thing is getting real.  Recently the marquee of First United Methodist Church in Williamstown said “Didn’t think I’d give up this much for lent.”  Isn’t that the truth?  All of us have been affected by the precaution measures in place; from the minor to the very serious. It ranges from “I can’t get my pedicure” to “I don’t have a job anymore.”  Many of us by now have heard that someone we know has the coronavirus, or even died from it.  Through the “stay at home” order in West Virginia, I have been able to continue working from
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Categories: Marriage.