How do you express your gratitude?

Since it’s appreciation month for Powerful Words, I’m always looking for great ways to express gratitude.  How do YOU express your gratitude? How do you foster it in your children?

We can express gratitude…
(1) Through a letter: Yesterday we talked about writing a letter to the teacher telling him or her all the ways s/he has helped you or your child.  By writing a letter, you put longevity into words that allows the recipient to read and reread your appreciative statements.  Tell them all the ways you are thankful. What a wonderful gift!

(2) Through a gift: There are plenty of gifts you can give to someone to show your appreciation.  Whether it’s flowers, candy, homemade cookies, or simply something you saw that made you think of them, a little something can say a lot.  Especially when you make it yourself or the gift is personalized in some way for that person, you can really show you’ve been thinking of the other person and what s/he means to you.

(3) Through spending time: As we know, children spell “love” T-I-M-E.  Time together can show how much you appreciate someone else.  Especially when you do something that is meaningful to the other person– see a movie they’ve been wanting to see, or even going somewhere that you know they’d rather not go to alone (like the hospital, to visit someone they have mixed feelings about, etc), you are saying that that person is important to you and that you appreciate all they’ve done.

(4) Through a song, dance, or art: Some of us have a creative spirit.  Use it.  If you sing beautifully, play the piano, write songs, draw, or paint, you can use whatever medium you desire to show someone how much you appreciate them.  And no matter what kind of dancer you are, if you are grateful, you can show your gratitude through your movement.  Just check out the gratitude dancers above!

(5) Through your own words: Just say how you feel.  No  time like the present! We often let time pass without saying a thing.  If your husband is taking out the garbage and your wife has cooked your favorite meal, or your children cleaned their rooms without asking, make sure they know how much you appreciate it.  In many families around the world, other spouses and children might not be as considerate. Don’t let sleeping dogs lie–remind yourself to do it often– tell them today!

Tell us how you express your gratitude.  It’s a great time to let people know how much you care!

Dr. Robyn Silverman signs

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8 Tips to Writing A Thank You Note to Your Teacher

lykes_parentchildteacher

It’s appreciation month for Powerful Words and many of our member schools are getting ready to celebrate “Teacher Appreciation Week.” That means that it’s a great time to write a letter of appreciation and gratitude to all our favorite teachers, coaches, instructors, and mentors in our lives.

At the end of last year, we discussed what to include in a letter of appreciation—but it stands repeating. Whether your child is writing the letter, your teen, or your writing it with them, these guidelines stand. So get your pens ready—and let’s talk gratitude!

  1. Be as specific as possible: Refrain from being too cliché and general. Tell them exactly why you appreciate them.
  2. Use paper or a card that allows you to express your unique self: Sometimes, those pre-written cards don’t cut it. Ask your child to create his own stationary or use a beautiful blank card in which you can write the message instead.
  3. Use a greeting and a closing that shows respect: Remind your kids to forget “hey,” “hi,” and “see you around.” Let’s show our teachers that we respect them and regard them highly.
  4. Handwrite it: Even if you don’t love your handwriting, handwritten notes always beat typed notes any day. Make it personal!
  5. Be gracious: Even if you and the teacher don’t always agree, highlight some of the ways that s/he has helped your child.
  6. Talk about how the lessons will influence your child: Which lessons will stick with your child for years to come? What changes have you seen in your child?
  7. Talk about the past and the future: The teachers and coaches at your local schools and Powerful Words schools have been helping your child for quite some time! What did you think when you first met this person? What did your child think?
  8. Don’t email it! Send the letter through the snail mail or give it directly to the person. Again, it’s about making it personal.

I recently received a beautiful book of letters from one of our Powerful Words Member Schools in Connecticut, filled with letters of appreciation from the students. What a gift that we will cherish! I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to hear how others feel about the work we do. It IS important to send letters of appreciation. You might think teachers know how you feel of that they don’t need to hear it from you, but coming from an educators standpoint—we appreciate it!

Many thanks to our Powerful Parents, our Powerful schools—and to you!

Dr. Robyn Silverman signs

Showing Appreciation and Gratitude for Our Best Teachers

teacher and child working together

Which teachers, coaches, or instructors have inspired you?

Dr. Robyn Silverman

As you all know, the Powerful Word of the Month is Appreciation! All Powerful Words schools are currently gearing up for Teacher Appreciation Week. Of course! We’ve talked about gratitude and 10 great ways to say thank-you to teachers in the past and it’s that time again–Our teachers, coaches, and instructors deserve our gratitude.

Looking back, I still remember my favorite teachers who really made a difference in my life. I remember Mr. Orsini, my 9th grade English teacher, who helped me to believe in myself. When I raised my hand in English class (we were studying Shakespeare), he said “I know you know the answer to this one, Robyn, so I’m saving you for a hard question!” As you can see, I still remember when that happened because having a teacher believe that I was smart meant something to me. During adolescence it’s easy to doubt yourself—and I certainly did.

I also remember Mr. Hendrickson who gave me my very first 100% on a math test. I stunk in math—or at least I believe I did. But Mr. Hendrickson (who we all called “Hendi”) was around during free periods and after school to help the students who needed it. Yes, I needed it!!! He stopped me in the hallway and said, “You did it! You got a 100%!” In all my doubtful adolescence I asked, “are you sure?” And he said, “I’m sure. And I DON’T need to check it again!” It made a difference to me that he was excited for me and that he shared in the achievement because he was there to help.

Finally, I remember Dr. Carlin from Washington University. She was more than a professor—she was like a Mom away from home for me. She taught me how to do research but she also taught me to be bold and ask for what I want. On days when I just needed a home environment, I would stay over at her house with her and her husband and 2 dogs. We would sit on the back deck eating French toast and drinking coffee in our pajamas and terry cloth robes and talk about what was going on in our lives. We were like family. She taught me that a teacher can be more than just a person in a classroom—a teacher can inspire, nurture, and motivate.

There are countless others. Do you have any teachers who made a difference in your life? Tell us about them! We know there are MANY at your Powerful Words Member Schools!

My hope is that I have a bit of each of these teachers lessons inside of me now and use them with my own coaching clients and Powerful Words family members—and of course, with all of our Powerful Families. We thank you all for being a part of our lives.

Dr. Robyn Silverman signs

Diet Doping: The Scary Link Between Body Image and Drugs

scaleDiet Doping: Getting Thin at any Cost

Dr. Robyn Silverman

For many girls and women, “feeling fat” has become a common part of everyday life.  Dieting has become normal.  Complaining about weight is a social expectation.  And doing anything you can to achieve the perfect thin body, acceptable.

A recent online poll of 993 teens and women has suggested that a whopping 1 in 10 girls and women are using drugs to lose weight even though 67% were in the healthy weight range. What does that tell us?  The healthy weight range is not perceived as thin enough.  Hollywood hard bodies and Vogue model legs and abs are what we’re striving for.  No, it’s not often linked to health, it’s linked to looks.

Often, when attempting to lose weight, young girls subscribe to unhealthy practices such as quick fad diets or acts of purging including vomiting and laxative abuse instead of using a healthy regiment of exercise and maintenance of a balances diet.  Girls and women are looking for the quick fix– what’s going to make them thin NOW- not what’s going to make them healthiest in the long run.  In doing so, they turn to what IS NOT healthy.  In fact, in the poll, 10% of respondents to the poll owned up to taking stimulants like cocaine and speed, 26% said they were abusing diet pills or laxatives and one in 5 admitted to suffering form eating disorders. What’s healthy about that? It’s a practice I like to call “diet doping” and I’ll be talking about it in my upcoming book coming out in 2010.

Think it’s only the caucasian girls?  Nope.  The intense pressure to diet has amazing cross over affects.  Studies over the last 25 years have shown that rate of these subclinical eating practices, dieting and purging, and diet doping are increasing among all social and ethnic classes.

It’s very important that we begin conversations with our girls early about what it truly means to be healthy.  In doing so, we must also commit to being healthy ourselves and refrain from criticizing ourselves, using destructive methods to lose weight, or applauding others who lose weight at all costs as being “disciplined” and “healthy.”  Let’s get back to basics. I mean, remember when healthy meant having good balanced nutrition, energy, good support and well managed stress?  Let’s go back to that. Who’s with me?

Be healthy together– I know many of you already are. All you Powerful Parents out there whose families are engaging in being healthy by attending your Powerful Words Member School are showing your kids YOUR definition of healthy. Doing fun extracurriculars, being around positive people, talking about the link between your character and your physical health– you should all be applauded for taking these positive steps. Keep it going!

Dr. Robyn Silverman signs

Got Gratitude? Use Your Own Personal Appreciation Widget

happy_family

What is Your Gratitude Widget?

Dr. Robyn J.A. Silverman

All our Powerful Words Member Schools are focusing on Appreciation this Month. How can Powerful Parents continue the lessons of appreciation that the children are learning at their PW schools at home?

We all need reminders to keep us on track, on task, and aware of what propels us forward or pushes us back. This is especially true when it comes to appreciation and gratitude.  Many of us tend to think negatively so we need reminders to tell us to turn it around and think positively. This is where structures of your own personal “widget” comes into play.

As a success coach, I talk to my clients about using structures often. A structure is a something that serves to remind yourself or your children to do something. In this case, I’m talking about taking time to be grateful and to show gratitude. It can be as old school as tying a string around your finger or as new school as setting your blackberry to go off everyday to remind you to do it. There are millions of structures from vision boards to pictures, to a stop watch or a cabbage patch doll. It’s your diary or plan book or the large quote written above your computer— “look on the positive side!” the fortune cookie insert on your night table “Those who are grateful have sweet dreams” or the magnet on your refrigerator “Got Gratitude?” Whatever works for that person is something that can be used.

I have a gratitude stone on my night stand that reminds me to think of the things and people I’m grateful for before I close my eyes at night.  We need more gratitude in our lives– and I do believe my dreams are sweeter because I think of who and what I appreciate as my last thoughts of the night.  What do you think about? Your to-do list? Who angered you that day? The holiday coming up?  Getting stressed out before bed doesn’t help anyone.  As parents we have to both be an example to our children and teach them directly how to think about the good stuff in our lives instead of dwelling on the negative.

What is your appreciation widget?  If you don’t have one this month is the time to get one!  After all, it’s appreciation month at all Powerful Words Member Schools! Let’s show the children what being appreciative is all about so that they too will embody the Powerful Word and share with us what they are grateful for this year! Make a list and share it with the family.  Write a thank-you note or give a thank-you gift. Start today!

Dr. Robyn Silverman signs

Dr. Robyn Silverman introduces the April Word of the Month: Appreciation

The Powerful Word of the Month is Appreciation! All Powerful Words Member Schools will be teaching the children how to show more appreciation this month at home, at school, in the community, and in their after-school programs.  Studies show that children and teens who show more appreciation and gratitude tend to be happier, healthier, and more successful. That means this is an important and powerful month indeed!

Appreciation Quotes

The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness.” –Dalai Lama

“Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”–Voltaire

“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.” –Buddha

There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.” –Mother Theresa

“Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary.” –Margaret Cousins

“Appreciation allows a group of many to share in the success of one. It’s only right. After all, no one gets to the top without the help of others.” –Dr. Robyn J.A. Silverman

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” –Albert Schweitzer

I would rather be able to appreciate things I can not have than to have things I am not able to appreciate.” –Elbert Hubbard