Category Archives: Uncategorized

Need to talk with your children about the facts of life?

Bork CoverBork Reveals The Real Deal about the Facts of Life (For Boys Only)
By Terri Shearer Trenchard

I totally appreciate someone for tackling this topic. My son is nine years old, and he has started asking those questions that make all parents squirm: “Where do babies come from?” “Why is there hair under my armpits?” Sometimes it’s hard to give the answers to these questions because you know that other questions will soon follow, and if you are not ready for these questions, you can be thrown for a loop.

Through accurate illustrations and language that today’s adolescent can understand, Terri Trenchard tackles the topic of puberty. Her character, Bork, is very lively as he discusses such topics as male and female anatomy, stinky body parts, bathing, and shaving, among others. I feel that this book is a great tool for parents and children to broach these uncomfortable topics. The book provides lots of tips and suggestions to common problems that boys face during puberty.
I would highly recommend this book to other families who are at the point where puberty is on the horizon. Having a reference that is written in language that a kid understands is great for my son. It was great for the two of us to sit down and have a real discussion as we read this book. He was free to ask questions as we went along. This book helped to explain everything that my son needs to know as he is growing up. Although it’s hard to see your child grow up, it is comforting to know that there is a book that explains all of the aspects of puberty that you don’t want to.

Reviewed by: Dana E. Walton

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How do you cope?

How do you cope with a bad situation? How do you cope when someone you love has a disease? What if that disease is a terminal disease? When my father was diagnosed with Cancer, I didn’t want to believe the diagnosis. Of course I went through the entire spectrum of emotions- despair, grief, disbelief, denial, hope…. I initially thought that it was a nightmare, and it was. The only problem is that I never woke up from that nightmare. I couldn’t believe that my father- the man who meant more to me than any other man-had Cancer. I couldn’t believe that we didn’t see it… Why didn’t we see the symptoms in time?

My father had a little accident at work one day. I believe it was a fall of some sort. Well he went to the hospital, and it was through their testing that it was discovered that he had Cancer. Had he not had that fall, who knows how long we would have been in the dark about his condition. It was after this discovery that he had to receive extensive treatments to battle this awful disease. Initially, I thought that everything would be okay. I figured that he would be cured, and then we’d go back to living our lives. I figured we had many more years left. I just knew that he would have the opportunity to see his grandsons grow up.

I was wrong. I watched as my father deteriorated. This big, tall, strong, healthy man now had to have chemotherapy sessions, and then his kidneys failed. How does one deal with that? Although the situation was dire, we still continued to smile and do our best to keep his spirits uplifted. That was really hard because all I wanted to do was cry. I felt like my world was coming to an end. I will never forget the day when he whispered to me “Dana, I’m dying.” Although it tore me up inside, I smiled and told him “No you’re not. You are going to be okay.” I remember leaving the hospital that day and driving back to Maryland where I was living at the time. I remember going back to work. I also remember getting to the end of the day- two days later, and my Principal telling me the news that my father had passed. Apparently my mom had called her earlier that morning and told her the news and asked her not to tell me until the end of the school day because she didn’t want me to be upset in front of my students.

I am thankful that she waited to tell me the news. I wouldn’t have been any good if I had known that morning right after it happened. Since then, I have accepted the fact that life is just not fair. Sometimes I still cannot understand why my father was taken from us so soon. I feel like I am missing out on so much. I know that my son and nephew are missing out on spending time with their grandfather and learning how to grow up and be a real man- a lesson I know he would have been the best man to teach.

During those long rides back and forth between Maryland and Florida to visit my father while he was sick, I had a lot of time to think. It was during this time that I knew I had to give some recognition to the most important man in my life. My father instilled such strong values in my sister and I, and he was such a wonderful person. I knew that I had to share him and his legacy with the world. “Bo John’s Train” is the beginning of my tribute to my father, Robert Lee Walton Jr. Sharing his life with others is what I do. Through “Bo John’s Train”, I am able to give others an insight to the man that he was. Seeing the response that others have when I talk about him or do presentations in schools makes me so proud. It took me a while to realize it, but this is the way that I cope.

Who Are You?

Be A Star!

Be A Star!

Too many times in life we go out of our way to please other people. Society teaches us that we must seek the approval of others in order to be happy and successful. Take a look at any TV commercial and you will have proof. How many TV ads make us feel that if we use a certain product, people will accept us? How many times have we seen commercials that make us feel that we’ll be a part of the cool crowd if we eat at a certain restaurant, or if we wear a certain brand of clothing?

The truth of the matter is that we won’t actually be part of the cool crowd if we succomb to what others feel is the correct way to do something. You have to ask yourself- “Who gives these people the authority to determine what “being cool” is? Who gives these people the authority to determine what products are good, or what brand of car is the safest? We are all individuals, and we appreciate things differently. No one has the authority to tell anyone else that his/her choices are not good choices.

At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is how we view ourselves, and whether or not we are true to what we believe and hold in high regard. Everyone has an opinion, and of course, we all believe that our way is the right way. However, that is simply not the case. We are each entitled to make our own decisions. Afterall, if that weren’t the case, then why do we all have a brain? We have been given a powerful tool. Not only does it help to power our being, but it is also equipped with the ability to provide us with guidance and the ability to think for ourselves. Too many times we fail to use our own brains to make decisions that are in our best interest.

Allowing others to make decisions about our fate is not an action that is in our best interest. Failing to take the time to discover your own self worth is a risk that we simply cannot afford to take. When we fail to stand up for ourselves, there are scores of others who are willing to stand in for us. However, will you really allow yourself to fall down and give someone else the opportunity to be empowered on your behalf? Once we take the time to discover who we are, we are able to realize that we each have that special something inside that makes us unique. We each have an inner strength that only we can unleash.

Life very rearely turns out to be the way we plan for it to be. Along the way, there are many twists and turns in the road that leads us on our journey to our destiny. That is reality. There will be conflict, and there will be misunderstanding. However, it is this very same conflict that shapes our character. When we discover and accept who we are, the chances of looking in the mirror at a stranger and asking “Who are you?” are slim to none because we will love and accept ourselves for who we are.

Exploring LIfe’s Lessons With “Bo John’s Train”

Bo John's Train, Dana Walton, father, trains, grief, childrenIt has been said that people come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Although we may not understand someone’s purpose in our life at the time, when we allow ourselves to sit back and observe, many times, their purpose becomes clear. It is up to each individual to use the situation to their advantage and allow themselves to learn from the people that are in their lives.

People come into our lives, and they make an impression. That impression can either be good or bad. In the story “Bo John’s Train”, the main character “Bo John” makes a good impression on the people who lived in the town through which he drove his train. Although many of the townspeople may not know him personally, they know his face; and they know that he is the man who drives the freight train. Bo John makes an impression on those people simply by smiling and waving at them as he passes through town. At other times, he shows himself to be a fun person, someone who is full of life. He gives the townspeople a little ray of sunshine as he rides through town- on his freight train, or in his big, fancy car.

As a result of the affect that Bo John has had on the people of this small town, they really notice when he is absent from the scene. They had become so accustomed to seeing Bo John around town. When he was gone, the entire town felt the blow of his absence. In life, this is reality. When someone who creates an impact in our lives is no longer a part of our lives, that absence is felt. Regardless of the reason behind the disappearance of that person, their absence from our lives is apparent.

Upon Bo John’s return, the town is overjoyed! It is as if they had been waiting, watching, and wondering if he would ever reappear. When someone who touches our hearts walks back into our lives, it is as if a part of our hearts has been restored. We all have the ability to have that type of impact on others. There is no way to ever really know the effect that we have on those people who cross our paths. We never know the effect that our actions may have on another person. Many times, life is all about perception. For this reason, it is important to bear in mind the Golden Rule. When we do unto others, as we would want others to do unto us, our lives may have a different purpose than we originally planned. The things we do- and think nothing of- may mean the world to someone else.

Children and Grief

                                      

Many people feel that grief comes when death sneaks in and steals someone we love.  This is true- when a loved one dies, we experience grief.  For many people, grief is expressed through tears, sadness, and loneliness.  Some fall into a deep depression.  Others may decide to channel their grief in more positive ways- maybe by focusing on work more, or picking up a hobby.  All of these are important, and each method can be an effective way to deal with grief.  The fact of the matter is… grief can come in many forms.  The most important thing, however, is recognizing the signs and symptoms of grief.

It is also important to understand that grief is not simply experienced because of the loss associated with death.  Grief can be defined as keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss; sharp sorrow; or painful regret.  Dictionary.com also defines grief as a cause or occasion of keen distress or sorrow.  So while it is important to note that grief is associated with the loss of a loved one, it is also important to note that the term “loss” can be brought about by factors other than death.

When a child loses a parent as a result of divorce, shouldn’t that also be considered a form of “loss”?  Could it be possible that a child might grieve much in the same way as if someone had passed away?  If this is possible, then what can be done for those children who are experiencing this type of loss?  What can be done to ensure that these children are able to receive the nurturing and support that should be given when one experiences grief? 

Regardless of whether a child is experiencing grief because of death or divorce, they still need interventions that are designed to help them cope with, and overcome, the grief that they are experiencing.  There are many signs that may accompany loss and/or grief.  When children become nonchalant about the things in life that were once of importance to them, take notice.  When there is a change in behavior, and that child is experiencing difficulties in school, take notice.  If a child’s grades take a sudden decline, it is time to take notice.  There are always signs…. no matter how slight.  As a parent or caregiver, it is up to youto take notice of the changes that children may be experiencing.  No one is going to advocate for a child the way his/her parents can.

There are many options that are available when it comes to helping a child get over the loss in his/ her life.  Most importantly, parents need to spend time with their children and LISTEN to them. It’s okay, and actually encouraged, for parents to have “heart to heart” talks with their children.  Being honest about what you are feeling, will help both the parents and children.  When a parent walks away because of divorce, the parent that remains must be a strong foundation for the children that are involved.  Children need to understand that the divorce was not their fault, and that they are still loved. 

It may also be beneficial to enroll children who are experiencing loss in some form of counseling.  Mental Health Counselor are equipped to handle these type of situations, and this also gives children additional opportunities to speak with someone about what they are feeling.  In addition, keeping that child active and involved provides an outlet, allows the child to make friends, and may even give them an opportunity to blow off a little steam in a positive environment.

Divorce is something that no one wants to experience.  However, for many families, it is a reality.  Through it all, helping children cope with this loss should be a top priority for divorced parents.  Realizing that grief is a part of life, is one thing.  Actually taking the steps to cope with, and resolve, the effects of grief takes guts.  Know , understand, and accept grief as a natural entity, and approach it accordingly.  At the end of the day, when parents work together for the sake of their children, everyone can win.

The Benefits of Traveling by Train

The summer is quickly approaching, and with the summer comes family vacation time.  Many families will use the summer months to strengthen their family bond by participating in a host of family vacations. Some families plan all year so that they are able to make the most of the vacation time that they will spend together.  Many times these family trips are planned between the months of June and August, as this is when most school-aged children have their summer vacation.

One of the primary methods of travel is by car.  Many families choose to take road trips by automobile for several reasons.  Whether it is because of the cost effectiveness, the ability to stop as desired, or the ability to plan sightseeing stops along the way; traveling by car is one of the most popular forms of travel for families.

Another popular method of travel is by airplane.  Of course this form of travel has a huge advantage for those travelers who are ready to skip all of the hoopla and just reach their destination.  Traveling by airplane is very convenient, and most destinations can be reached in a matter of a few hours.

Traveling by passenger train is probably a method that most families don’t normally consider when they plan their family vacations.  Why don’t these families generally consider this mode of travel?  Perhaps it is because they think the price of traveling by train is expensive in comparison with traveling by car.  Perhaps these families feel that traveling by train will take too long.  Maybe the thought may cross their minds that the ride will be uncomfortable.  At any rate, traveling by train is something that should be considered by any traveler who wants to sit back, relax, and ENJOY their vacation.

Think about it… No worrying about driving the speed limit; no confusion about directions; no frustration searching for the cheapest gas station; and no anguish after eating from questionable gas stations or less than savory fast food restaurants along the way.

By choosing Amtrak, passengers have many options for comfort and enjoyment. Passengers can choose to ride in the Coach section, which is quite roomy.  The seats recline, and passengers have plenty of leg room for their comfort.  If Coach is not their thing, passengers can step it up a notch, and opt for a sleeper cabin.  In this cabin, one can lounge and relax during the day, and sleep peacefully in a bunk at night.  Either way, passengers have several options, and the choice is theirs.

Regardless of the option that is chosen, passengers have the ability to walk around freely while visiting the dining car or other passenger-friendly areas of the train.  They will not have the ability to stop at every little country town they pass.  Nor will they have the ability to stop every time they pass a billboard announcing an exciting phenomena, monument, or shopping mall.  However, if reaching the final destination in style is of importance, then traveling by Amtrak may be an option.

There are many options when it comes to travel.  Of course, reaching the final destination is important, but who wants to be tired by the time they reach the resort?  Who wants to be aggravated by their family before they even reach the Family Reunion?  Shouldn’t a vacation be peaceful from start to finish??  Just a little food for thought as you make preparations for your upcoming family trips.  This year, why not try something new?  Take a ride on Amtrak and see the beauty of America- without the usual fuss.

Take the opportunity to add Amtrak to your list of options.  Gourmet dining, sightseeing from your comfortable, reclining seat, and the ability to leave the driving to someone else should all be reasons to make traveling by train another option when it comes to planning your upcoming family vacation.