Weekly Column

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5 Basics for Childhood Learning

The Science of Childhood: Inside the Minds of Our Younger Selves, is a Time magazine special edition. It examines everything from understanding child development and dealing with temper tantrums to the science of play and the secrets of birth order. It’s part of an effort to help parents and other caregivers better understand how children learn…

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What Hurricane Harvey Shows Us About America

Just over a week ago people across the nation and the world watched Hurricane Harvey catastrophically pummel Texas and Louisiana. The hurricane decimated entire towns. Flooding described as “of Biblical proportions” impacted 6.5 million people in the greater Houston area. Thousands had to leave their homes and seek shelter. All of this has been taking…

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Overcoming the Loss of a Child

Christi and Matt Broom married in 2005, got pregnant on their honeymoon and welcomed their son Bryan into the world in 2006. “Bryan was perfect,” says Christi. “I had a great maternity leave over Thanksgiving and Christmas. I planned to return to work in January. It was Sunday morning. I remember waking up at 4…

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8 Ways to Celebrate the Empty Nest

The house is SO quiet and your heart feels a bit heavy. You have definitely shed some tears. You have also stayed awake wondering if you prepared them well to be successful out on their own. Now you consider what you will do with so much extra time on your hands. While grieving what is…

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4 Ways to Be Part of the Racism Solution

As the news started spreading about what was happening in Charlottesville on Saturday, it made me sick to my stomach. It weighed heavily on my mind throughout the day, and it was the topic of conversation at the dinner table and beyond. After watching the news and reading the Sunday paper, I posted the following…

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10 Ways to Help Your Teen Succeed in School

When children first start school, parents usually have a pretty clear understanding of how to help their child have a successful year. But when those kids become teenagers, parents sometimes struggle with their role. Parents usually play a much more active role with younger kids in making sure homework is completed, volunteering in the classroom,…

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The Key to Finding Your Purpose

People who serve in leadership positions are often the ones in the spotlight. They also usually receive accolades for changing people’s lives. When it comes to finding your significance though, Dr. Kathleen Patterson contends that it isn’t all about the spotlight. “During my childhood, I lived in an orphanage,” says Patterson, who directs Regent University’s…

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Adult Children of Divorce Speak Out

In The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: 25 Years of Research, Dr. Judith Wallerstein contends that the major impact of divorce does not occur during childhood or adolescence. Instead, the effects of divorce on children are cumulative. They crescendo in adulthood with the emergence of potentially serious romantic relationships, like when it is time to choose…

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5 Ways You Can Prepare for a Great School Year

Every fall, children head back to school. While some will be going for the first time, others will be making the transition to a new grade or perhaps even a new school. Transitioning into a new school year can be exciting, but some children are fearful. Thoughts about new teachers, concerns over moving to a new…

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How You Can Pass Down Your Family History

If someone asked you about your family history, would you know how your great grandparents met or what life was like for them growing up? Chris Cummings’ mom was diagnosed with early-onset dementia when she was 48. He saw firsthand how a family member’s memories can slip away and impact families. “My mom struggled with…

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Life Without a Father

In 2001, Regina R. Robertson hated her day job, so she was very thankful, and relieved, when she was ultimately fired. She also felt free to pursue a new path, as a writer. Having begun her career in the music industry, she contacted some of her former colleagues for help. She started out by writing…

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How to Help Teens Have Healthy Relationships

What do young people think about relationships these days? That’s what Dr. Richard Weissbourd, director of the Making Caring Common Project at Harvard and his team wanted to know. They set out to identify young people’s challenges and hopes, and who influences the way they think about relationships. Much of what they found surprised them….

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Making the Most of Family Time

Sara and Jonathan Emanuel have five children between the ages of 3 and 13. At one point, their kids participated in cheer, dance, baseball, swim, tennis, Indian Princess and Girl Scouts. “In our home with children involved in this many activities, not to mention school and church youth group, we never had a moment that…

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The Millennial Success Sequence

In 2009, Brookings Institute scholars Ron Haskins and Isabel Sawhill proposed a successful path into adulthood. Called the “success sequence,” this path is most likely to lead toward economic success and away from poverty. It includes finishing at minimum a high school education, getting a job, followed by marriage and then having children. Since proposing this…

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Kids and Sports: What Really Matters

Jim and Susan* were very purposeful in their decision to let their 6-year-old son play baseball. Jonathan seemed to enjoy the game and actually played well enough to make the All-Star team. “The regular season ended on a Saturday and All-Star practice began on Mother’s Day,” says Jim. “They practiced every day that week with…

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7 Tips for Couples Who Work Together

J.J. and Beverly Jerman were dating when they decided to venture into working together. “I was working as a nurse in a GI Lab at the time and developed an allergy to cleaning chemicals so I had to find a different job,” says Beverly. “J.J. suggested that I come work with him, which scared me…

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5 Reasons You Should Celebrate Milestones

When our daughter graduated from high school a few years ago, I asked a number of people in her life to write her a letter to congratulate her on this accomplishment. I asked them to include words of wisdom as she moved into her next phase of life. I made a scrapbook with the letters and…

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The Wholehearted Marriage

Greg Smalley first met his bride-to-be during a rather embarrassing moment. Greg had fallen asleep in class. Erin, who sat behind him, decided to have a little fun. She shook his arm and said, “Stand up.” Greg looked at her with a dazed look. Again she said, “Stand up, the professor asked you to pray. Stand…

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7 Benefits of a Summer Job

If you’re a parent, you’re probably bracing yourself for the summer with your teen. There are so many things to consider: everything from what time your teenager needs to be out of the bed in the morning, how much time they should spend gaming, expectations around the house and curfew, just to name a few….

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13 Reasons Why (You Should Talk About Teen Suicide)

While driving her teen daughters home from school, Mom asked them what they knew about 13 Reasons Why, a popular Netflix series about a teen who commits suicide. The youngest was clueless. The older daughter, however, definitely knew what her mom was talking about. When Mom told the girls she didn’t want them watching the…

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Kindness: The Superpower Everyone Can Use

“What if you don’t respect or appreciate your spouse?” That’s the question a woman asked social researcher Shaunti Feldhahn after she spoke at a conference on the topic of kindness. Feldhahn encouraged her to take a 30-day Kindness Challenge. The steps are: Say nothing negative about that person – either to them or about them….

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Four Ways to Deal with Grief and Loss

In their 33 years of marriage, September and Scott Vaudrey had survived a significant season of marital pain and an incurable disease diagnosis for their son that ultimately causes blindness. After what felt like a long time, they were finally finding their way. Their daughter, Katie, returned from her freshman year of college ready to…

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The Long-Term Effects of Childhood Stress

Many children are exposed to abuse, neglect and family dysfunction which experts often refer to as toxic stress. But why can some kids who encounter toxic stress move beyond it and lead a healthy life while others cannot? That’s the question researchers set out to answer in one of the largest investigations of childhood abuse…

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Adulting Is Hard

Throughout her teenage years, she often dreamed about what life would be like when she became an adult. The idea of staying up as late as she wanted, doing what she wanted when she wanted to do it, and not answering to anybody in authority over her made her want to fast forward to “that” day….

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5 Ways to Protect Your Marriage

Vice President Pence has been the subject of many conversations lately. It’s regarding his rule about not dining alone with a woman other than his wife. People have varying opinions on the matter; some think it is a good rule, while others say it is archaic. Regardless of your opinion, there is plenty of research indicating…

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The Effects of Childhood Trauma

Of the 76 million children living in the United States, a staggering 60 percent (46 million) of them will experience violence, abuse, crime and psychological trauma before they turn 18. That’s according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Believe it or not, home life plays a huge part in these statistics. Specifically, children from single-parent…

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4 Ways to Keep Your Kids Safe

People across America paid close attention to news about missing teen, Elizabeth Thomas, and her alleged kidnapper, Tad Cummins. After a nationwide manhunt, authorities continued to uncover evidence of an inappropriate romantic relationship between the girl and her 50-year-old teacher. Experts now believe Cummins had been grooming the student for a while. This is a…

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3 Things Each Person in Your Family Needs to Know

Parents of young children often discuss among themselves whether they are doing all the right things to help their kids become healthy, happy adults. How many activities should they be involved in? How much sleep do they really need? Is it bad to fix something different for each child for dinner? Am I a bad…

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Why Anger Isn’t Good or Bad

Have you ever come home from work with an expectation that blew up right in your face? Your “quiet evening at home” turns chaotic when one of your children says they have a science project due tomorrow and your other child suddenly needs cupcakes for the class party. So much for a calm evening after…

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Choosing a Summer Camp for Your Kids

Just hearing the words, “summer camp” can make people smile. Why? Because it’s hard to forget a summer filled with new friendships and learning new things. This is true whether it involves sports, cooking over an open fire, identifying wildlife, stringing a bow or shooting an arrow. Since school will be out soon, it’s time to…

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Spring Break Safety Tips

It is hard to believe spring break season is upon us. And if you have teens or college-age young adults, you’ve probably had ongoing conversations about how they’ll spend their break. As kids try to get permission (and money!) for the trip, you’ll hear phrases like these. “I’m almost an adult. This is a rite of…

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5 Tips for Raising Good Kids

Any parent headed home with their first child is probably a bit nervous about this whole parenthood thing. You really want to raise good kids, but unfortunately, each unique baby doesn’t come with its own manual. Whether you shop local or go to Amazon for parenting help, hundreds of books offer different perspectives on the best…

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How to Score Those Life Goals

When University of Tennessee at Chattanooga wrestling coach Heath Eslinger spoke to Chattanooga’s Downtown Rotary Club in February 2017, he shared a story about watching his daughters play basketball on their second and third grade team. “It was late in the fourth quarter and the score was tied. With about 10 seconds to go, our…

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What Americans Think About Marriage

A January 2017 60 Minutes and Vanity Fair poll asked Americans about their views about marriage, and what they found may surprise you. In 1960, 78 percent of American households were married.  Compare that to 48 percent of today’s households. Why such a dramatic drop? These days, many factors contribute to a decreasing marriage rate. Some say the…

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Football and Marriage

Every year on Super Bowl Sunday, both hard-working teams hope to carry the trophy home to their city. And they’ll do everything they can to win the game. As in any sport, there will be plays and penalties that the other team thinks are unfair or just plain wrong. From holding and pass interference to offsides…

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What’s My Risk for Divorce?

I was in my late 20s and Jay was 30 when we decided to marry. Both of us are children of divorce. I also had a lot of debt from putting myself through college, and I loved Jay and totally thought he was “the one.” But, I would be lying if I told you I…

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Dealing with Homework Pressures

At the beginning of the school year, a second grade teacher in Texas sent this letter home to her classroom parents: After much research this summer, I am trying something new. Homework will only consist of work that your student did not finish during the school day. There will be no formally assigned homework this…

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How to Help Kids Handle Rejection

When Sara left home on the first day of sixth grade, she was super-excited about starting middle school. She was anything but excited when she got in the car at the the end of the day. Sara told her mom that her friends since kindergarten had decided to end their friendship. The leader of group had told them,…

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How to Help Children Handle Their Emotions

How do you feel when your child has a meltdown? You probably do everything you can think of to help them, but absolutely nothing works. It could be in the store checkout line, at bedtime, the second you walk in your friend’s house or at a birthday party. You may find yourself at wits’ end…

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Make the New Year Great

The past year was an unsettling one for many of us. So, it’s no surprise that many people are relieved and grateful that another year is finally over. Knowing the page has been turned and new opportunities await gives us all hope for a brighter new year. No matter what happened over the past 12 months, keeping things in perspective…

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The Best Christmas Memories

For many people, Christmas marks one of the most special days of the year. It is a day to spend with family and to celebrate the birth of Jesus. As the day unfolds, people make memories they will remember forever. When I asked people to share some of their favorite Christmas memories on Facebook, here’s what…

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The Gift of Relationships

Between the tragic bus accident, wild fires and tornadoes, it’s been a very difficult and challenging time for the state of Tennessee. These unexpected events have changed many people’s lives and entire communities forever. Clearly, the families who lost loved ones, those who lost their homes and/or businesses, and the survivors have a long road…

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Ideas for Celebrating Christmas

As Christmas approaches, some eagerly anticipate celebrating in the same way they always have.  Others are ready to shake things up a bit and do something a little different. The thought of buying presents for all of their children and grandchildren overwhelmed Terri and Bill, especially when nobody really needed anything.  After several conversations about what to do,…

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A Parents Holiday Survival Guide

The song says it’s the most wonderful time of the year. And, in a lot of ways, it is wonderful.  Something about the season seems to bring out the best in many folks.  However, too much of a good thing can lead to serious meltdowns for children and parents alike. As you prepare to enjoy…

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Give Thanks All Year Long

A culture of consumerism, the recent election, fires, job loss, family distress and other factors have the capacity to create a dissatisfied mindset about life.  This discontentment can lead to feelings of depression, bitterness and resentment. Are you tired of the negative vibe? Interestingly, studies indicate that people train their brains to think a certain…

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A Holiday Without Regrets

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. And depending on how you look at it, this time of year can be filled with joy–or it can be filled with tremendous stress and regrets. Whether you decide to do what you’ve always done or leap into unchartered territory, a different approach could be a very good thing….

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The Second Half of Marriage

When the kids leave the nest and are almost off the payroll, that second half of marriage is within sight.  You finally have time to breathe.  But suddenly you have questions… What in the heck will we do with the second half of our marriage? How will we handle the challenges of aging parents, crises with the…

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Tips for a Highly-Happy Marriage

Do you ever feel like you and your spouse are roommates instead of lovers?  Does it feel like your marriage is in a constant state of chaos?  Have you caught yourself wishing for the life you don’t have? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you aren’t alone.  Truth be told, there are…

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Mom, Take Care of Yourself

It was a typical morning around the house. Between dressing and feeding the kids and making herself look presentable, this mom wondered if she even knew who she was anymore. She enjoyed her children, but always felt like she lived in the mommy fog and had no time for herself. She felt guilty about being…

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How to Be a Family-Friendly Workplace

If you were a CEO or business owner, how could you help increase productivity, improve your bottom line and decrease employee turnover? You might think it all boils down to money.  But what if the answer was to simply help your employees lead more fulfilling lives and be better family members? In 2009, the Sloan Center…

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