Archive for August, 2009

New FETCH Season Coming Soon!

August 27, 2009

What is FETCH?

The Family Education Training Center of Hawaii based at the University of Hawaii, Manoa Campus.

What does FETCH do?

FETCH is a series of family training seminars and individual counseling sessions that have helped HUNDREDS of families achieve a greater sense of family, friendship, democracy, and of belonging to one another.

FETCH not only helps decrease incidences of domestic violence within the home, they help increase domestic peace within the family, in schools, and in the community where every parent and child becomes a better member of society.

FETCH, through a teaching of mutual respect among family members, helps all family members become better citizens in the democratic republic in which we live. FETCH is PATRIOTIC!

FETCH is a tool that helps you be a parent and a friend to your child for your entire lives.

Visit “What is FETCH? to see the team that makes this happen.

How does FETCH work?

Each semester, FETCH holds 12 sessions on Friday nights beginning at about 5 – 5:30pm. Parents and children are invited and encouraged to attend. Parking is $3 at the UH Campus and the most convenient location to park is outside Wilson Hall.

Dinner (included in the price of the course) is served at 5.30pm. Parents then split off from their children to learn Adlerian techniques of parenting as are explained in Rudolph Driekur’s 1964 book, “Children the Challenge” and Painter/Corsini’s 1990 book, “Effective Discipline in the Home and School.”

The children split off with age appropriate Master’s Students, guided by experienced, credentialed social workers and doctors. Infants, toddlers, elementary school kids, and teenagers find either a recluse from the torrents of family life or companionship with kids who are going through the same thing. Sometimes they find both. And, sometimes, they find life-long friendships.

Parents and children learn the same principles of family life through age appropriate teachings and weekly family activities. Families learn the importance of Family Council, natural and logical consequences, and the four ways we all try to belong.

What does FETCH cost?

FETCH is an amazing bargain at $199.00 for 12 sessions for an entire family. There is no other place in Hawaii where you get so many professionals with so much dedication to your family. Scholarships are available for qualifying families.

When is FETCH?

FETCH is coming soon! This semester begins on Friday, September 18, 2009. Ooops! Late change. FETCH is starting on Friday, September 25, 2009!

SIGN UP NOW!

Visit EFETCH.ORG, E-mail to inquiry@efetch.org, or call Melanie at (808) 956-2248.

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Absorbing Wonder

August 26, 2009

We all live to fulfill those moments where our children can experience exactly what we felt when the moment of joy in our lives exceeded all our negative experiences. We found what it is that is worth living for. We can’t explain it, we just want to give it.

A child wants to know it. A child is waiting to receive it. I remember when I was a child, I was always asking, “Is this it?” A year’s long ear-ache? No. Watching guppies have babies, grow old and die? Close. Listening to mice endlessly treading their exercise wheel. NO. Getting beaten by my big brother? Well, I must have done something to push his buttons.

Now, the New York Times reports on a study that actually hints at what a child wants to know. John Tierney, on 8/25/09, reports on “Guilt and Atonement on the Path to Adulthood.”

Show a toy…that you’ve secretly rigged it to break.” Say, “Oh, my.” Then sit and observe the child. What the researchers did for 60 seconds was observe the child; “every reaction as the toddlers squirmed, avoided the experimenter’s gaze, hunched their shoulders, hugged themselves and covered their faces with their hands.

It was part of a long-term study at the University of Iowa to isolate the effects of two distinct mechanisms that help children become considerate, conscientious adults.” Self control and guilt.

The psychologists involved in the study note that self control is an effortful and prescient measure of social awareness. Guilt is that “sinking feeling in the tummy.” Between the two, the child is looking for a way to belong to the family.

Too little guilt clearly has a downside — most obviously in sociopaths who feel no remorse, but also in kindergartners who smack other children and snatch their toys.

But self-control was critical to children in the studies who were low in guilt, because they still behaved well if they had high self-control.

Dr. June Tangney says, “Shame, the feeling that you’re a bad person because of bad behavior, has repeatedly been found to be unhealthy, she says, whereas guilty feelings focused on the behavior itself can be productive. But it’s not enough, Dr. Tangney says, for parents just to follow the old admonition to criticize the sin, not the sinner. “Most young children,” Dr. Tangney said, “really don’t hear the distinction between ‘Johnny, you did a bad thing’ versus ‘Johnny, you’re a bad boy.’ They hear ‘bad kid.’ I think a more active, directive approach is needed.

Little kids are overwhelmed by the spilled mess of milk on the floor. Parents can teach and support them to say ‘I’m sorry’ and to clean it up, maybe leaving the kitchen a little cleaner than it was before.

Maybe giving the kid a window of understanding about how to belong to the family is more powerful than the thrill of a thousand rainbows. They are smarter than we give them credit for. As adults, we too often fail to wonder at a sunrise, fireworks, flying kite, rainbow, or sunset. For a kid, they’re looking for the moment when life is giving back more to them than they could have ever expected.

What do you want to show your child today?

For more info on parental training visit my web site at LiveBeatDad.com.

Blue Canary and other moments of Joy

August 19, 2009

“Moshmons?!?!? ” I looked at the ticket and reached for my glasses to look again. Moshmons, it said. “No. Turn it right side-up!” she said. Oh, Snowshow!

Slava Polunin is the creator of “Slava’s Showshow” playing till August 23, 2009.

Tonight, my girlfriend asked me for some good news. Slava gave $4,050 to the Hawaii Food Bank today.

“Wow! He’s a good guy,” she said. Yes, there’s no doubt about Slava. I would say he is one of the world’s most wonderful people.

So Slava’s clowns do this thing with “Blue Canary,” a very old sounding tune. You can type the phrase into YouTube to see it. Three clowns work an enchanting lip sync that is both unnerving and infinitely pleasurable. The simple routine condenses the feeling that you get from the entire show.

Between the bubbles, the flying balls and the songs, a person loses all sense of being grown up. All stress fades as a clown balances a balloon on a stick in slow motion. A ghostly female apparition swings across the stage and a child clown leads adult clowns on frantic race back and forth across the stage.

A week has passed by with responsibilities, parenting, commitments, and obligations drumming a steady beat. Yet the Blue Canary is more hauntingly beautiful now than before.

I hope you have the chance to see Slava Polunin and his Snowshow. It is a moment of clarity, childlike innocence and joy in our modern confused, compacted, and complicated lives.

The Handwritten Letter

August 18, 2009

As a non-custodial Dad, sometimes the little things are the ones that trigger major emotions. Why did the Honolulu Advertiser publish, “Little postcard note can be a big moment“?

The author, Jenee Osterheldt, McClatchy-Tribune News Service, seems to express wonder at the magiic a handwritten personal note created for her.

I didn’t think it would be hard to stay in touch. She’s in Pittsburgh, but we’re on Facebook. Keeping up with each other is as easy as a few clicks. Only it isn’t. Thumbnail pictures and text messages are no substitute for a midweek lunch and laughing face to face. Finding time for phone conversations hasn’t been easy, and when there’s not a lot of newness to report, you often don’t dial.

And I realize that it is just a quaint notion for those of us old enough to remember what it was like to write by hand before word processors and the internet.

These are not feelings that my kids will understand. My kids do not have decades of memories of receiving (or not receiving) a letter in the mail box.

For over two years, I have been sending my kids post cards and cards with personalized notes. At first, I was filled with fear that my ex would bring this to the police as evidence that I was violating a court order that had no prohibition against sending the kids cards. A fear that has been justified by wild allegations that have arisen in court cases since.

Today, I just envision those cards sitting in a pile in the attic or just tossed out with the trash, never having reached my children.

When your best friend moves away, we all share in the guilt of letting go of such an important part of our lives. When your children are abducted, the dynamics are different.

I still send personalized, hand-written cards not just in the hope that someday that my children may know the experience of receiving letters in their mail-box, but to dispel the false memories that have been planted. My hope is that they will get to the mail-box first one day and realize that their Dad loves them.

To find out more about how your family can be torn apart without your consent, visit my web site at www.LiveBeatDad.com

Family: The Need

August 17, 2009

Over the months, I have been collecting the Active Parenting Magazine with the intention to expand beyond my limited means and provide the community with a first defense against the breakdown of families and the most financially lucrative result for women these days; divorce.

But, I have been overwhelmed with life. Work is a full schedule. Staying healthy gets me out into the beautiful Hawaiian air at least ten to fifteen hours per week. Maintaining an imaginary relationship with my kids occupies a lot of my time, patience, and love. Then, living with my girlfriend and her two kids, takes 30 hours or more each week and gives me a feeling of belonging. In return, I know that I give back everything they need to know about what a Dad can be.

So, I accumulated four of these quarterly magazines, saving them for a special occasion, and I found it. I left the magazines in a laundry room on a table where people leave magazines for others with their address torn out.

A day later, I looked to see that only one was left.

I don’t know how many people do their laundry in any given 24 hour period, but what I perceive is this. People need a sense of family. People want to save their families. And people hunger for information about how they can help their children.

I’ve been attending the Family Education Training Center of Hawaii (FETCH) classes for over fiver years. You can find out about these classes online at efetch.org. And, I will be going back this fall semester.

I know I’ll never be the perfect Dad. I will know that I was the Dad that was always refused. Yet, we are not legend. In fact, we are too many too count, too ashamed, and too silent to reach out and tell our children we love them.

I never wanted to be ashamed. False allegations have suffered me to endure shame that is not mine.

I never wanted to be silent. Court orders have permitted the children’s custodial parent power and control over my life and my voice that is not consistent with the family that needs itself; the children who need their parents; and the parents who need their children to succeed in life better than they ever had.

So, these magazines disappeared overnight.

My hope is that someone will understand that help is out here. Nearly every family can be made whole. Divorce is not the only solution.

Our children’s–my kids–future depends on this simple truth.

To find out more, visit my web site at www.LiveBeatDad.com. Click on “Family Education” or call me. Get educated! 🙂

Men vs. Women; Crime vs. Punishment

August 10, 2009

There is no greater punishment than the crime perceived by the masses. So, after Jim Dooley of the Honolulu Advertiser reported on 8/7/2009, “Elderly man accused of killing wife ruled unfit to stand trial,” reader’s reactions were far different than when the Star Bulletin reported on 6/6/09 “Elly Rivera was found not guilty of attempted murder by reason of insanity.

Ms. Rivera, appears more innocent, belied by her fully culpable 27 year-old, than Mr. Jandura, an 86 year-old survivor of the Nazi death camps in Poland. Ms. Rivera, tried only of choking her 4-year-old daughter into unconsciousness, seems like a mere victim to Mr. Jandura’s 100-plus stabbing of his 82 year-old wife.

“”I’m just glad, seriously, that it was the mental illness, because I can’t imagine a biological mother doing this knowingly. That would be so spooky,” said Jeen Kwak, deputy city prosecutor” regarding Ms. Rivera’s case.

“Defense attorney Richard Hoke said that if Jandura is found not to be a danger, arrangements have been made to have him discharged to the custody of U.S. Immigration authorities for deportation to Poland, where relatives have agreed to care for him.”

Most of us ordinary citizens are left wondering, what is the justice of condemning a frail 86 year-old man stabbing a spry and alert 82 year old wife when a fit 27 year-old mother strangles her 4-year-old daughter.

Based upon the reader comments alone, the mother should be forgiven. The elderly husband, however, is clearly a murderer.

“Jandura’s two children in Canada want nothing to do with him, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Maurice Arrisgado said after this morning’s hearing. They expected in a cynical way that their father was going to get off,” Arrisgado said.”

At the same time Watcherz writes, “Gee whiz man. What ever happened to, “You do the crime, you do the time”?? Crime should not have petty excuses. It’s like “justice” goes all out to find ways to get criminals off-easy, while the victims have to sit there and suffer additionally during the process. Unreal.”

Both situations are a tragedy for their respective families. That Janudura’s Canadian relatives are being so cruel hearted makes it a bigger tragedy. That Ms. Rivera’s relatives are not heard from and no one admits advance knowledge of the mother’s insanity reveals a family tragedy bigger than Mr. Jandura’s Canadian family will admit.

No one can guess what went on in Ms. Rivera’s or Mr. Jandura’s mind, their relatives and children included. But family abuse usually goes both ways. I doubt Mrs. Jandura was an angel putting up with the devil. I doubt that Ms. Rivera was an adequate parent finding a balance in teaching her child respect and responsibility.

If Ms. Jandura had stabbed her husband a hundred times, people would be offering her a hundred excuses for every stab wound. Instead, we find a hundred ways to excuse Ms. Rivera’s mental instability. We declare Mr. Jandura a murderer even though psychologists and psychiatrists treating him, as well as two of three court appointed shrinks, found him not fit to stand trial. We find Ms. Rivera mentally incompetent even though her Star Bulletin photo makes her look like a brute.

In both families, a tragedy has unfolded. One can see, in Ms. Rivera’s expression, these children never had any hope of living their lives. I hope Mr. Jandura’s Polish relatives treat him better.

We are meant to enjoy our kids

August 7, 2009

On 8/4/09, the New York Times “Economix” author David Leonhardt wrote, “The Rewards of Children.”

“One of the more dispiriting results of recent happiness research is that having children apparently doesn’t make people happier. …But now comes word that the problem may be with the happiness surveys, not the children.”

David noted that when researchers changed their questions on happiness from one of “pleasure” to one of “rewards,” children received much higher marks.

Long before I was a parent, I had-like-a hundred nieces and nephews and experiences with children from all ages. I have known for a long time–as I think many other people in large families have–kids do not give you pleasure. They do give you rewards.

Little kids act like us. Big kids (pre-teens and teenagers) act against us and are actually acting like us; it’s just that we forgot what we used to act like. And this is the reward. It’s like looking in a mirror, only these little reflections of ourselves are alive and talking back to us.

David is on to something about the “functional family.” His article is short and he leads right into the author’s work, “Maybe having kids is a good idea after all.” The British Psychological Society is on to something.

Ever since the Dalai Lama and the Monks of Myanmar starting calculating their nation’s Gross National Happiness, the concept of a gross national product has made people feel, well, gross–like cows on a production line.

In the BPS survey of 625 participants rating their prior day’s experience with about 10 significantly memorable episodes per day, it turns out that happiness from pleasure–like sex or watching TV (which apparently increases blood pressure in kids)–was trounced by happiness from rewards–like working and spending time with our children.

As a noncustodial Dad, one learns to appreciate the time devoted to one’s kids.

Which leads me to mentioning Tara Parker-Pope’s NY Times article, “Divorce, it seems, Can Make You Ill.” Do you think the hyphenated name means she is divorced too?

Tara says, “New research shows that when married people become single again, whether by divorce or a spouse’s death, they experience much more than an emotional loss. Often they suffer a decline in physical health from which they never fully recover, even if they remarry. ”

Tara quotes from a national study of 8,652 men and women in their 50s and early 60s. That study found that “marital history is an important indicator of health.” “You’re not sleeping well, your diet gets worse, you can’t exercise, you can’t see your friends. It’s a whole package of awful events.”

Well, yeah! People in their 50s and 60s can be such a downer!

Not to mention, with so many people in the study, the variables expand exponentially. Tara’s report is very dry, talking about the percentage of people likely to have chronic health problems like heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

If 625 of them had taken David’s survey, they might have at least known whether they were happy or not.

“The study does not prove that the loss of a marriage causes health problems, only that the two are associated. It may be that people who don’t exercise, eat poorly and can’t manage stress are also more likely to divorce.”

Tara even goes so far as to suggest that aging telomeres are affecting us divorcees at a cellular level. Like the Bar-headed Goose, we are evolutionarily adapting to the rigors of post-marriage life in the fibers of our muscles. Too bad societal values on marriage and family aren’t happening at the same pace as the continental drift that pushed up the Himalayas.

And Tara can’t help tow the line for the male-bashing, anti-family crowd, “None of this suggests that spouses should stay in a bad marriage for the sake of health. Marital troubles can lead to physical ones, too.” The death bell doth toll for fathers and children.

A long-term acrimonious marriage is bad for the mother, the father, and the kids. But a long-term acrimonious divorce, separation, child-custody, and visitation battle ensures that our children will be the most abused generation on the planet.

For every woman that makes life hell for her children’s father, her children will grow up without the capacity to love or trust any other person. These children are harmed forever.

– –

Special thanks to David and the BPS for the ground-breaking research that helps families survive. Tara might do well to read into David’s findings and go spend some time walking in the woods with her kids.

To find out more information about families that do and do not function, visit my web site at www.LiveBeatDad.com

What’s in Your Heart?

August 4, 2009

The popular TV ad says, “What’s in your wallet?” as if that is what matters most in your life. There are people who get all worked up about how much money they spend and how good they look, and what other people think of them. But where’s the living in that kind of life?

Rob Perez of the Honolulu Advertiser was at it again this last Friday. A couple from Minnesota got wind that they could use the Hawaii Family Court to get custody away from a child’s Hawaiian father simply because the father killed the mother. And my ex was involved. She probably raised court costs for everyone, including the State of Hawaii by about a hundred-thousand dollars on that case.

Grandparents adopt Elijah after long Hawaii court fight with killer. Funny / sad / strange thing is Mr. Perez never lets on what led to this alleged killing. Jeffrey White, the boy’s father, is in jail now. You can be sure that the LaDukes will do everything in their power to make the boy forget his father.

The question will always be, “What did that woman do?” Did she threaten divorce? Kidnap the child? Obtain a restraining order? Probably all of the above. Ms. Carlin would have made sure that Elijah’s mother knew all the techniques to inflame divorce and separation. After all, every man has his limits. A woman only needs to push hard enough to get what she wants.

When women aren’t cutting fetuses out of an aquaintance’ womb, see here and here and here and here (oh heck just Google it), the “What’s in your wallet?” crowd has plenty of help from child abductors like Ms. Carlin. When they aren’t jailed for their crimes, these women can have their babies and a lifetime of child support. No man required.

But I had a shock today.

I read the front page of the New York Times and found an article written by a woman who was so emotionally devoted to her marriage and family that she brought me to tears. Modern Love – Those Aren’t Fighting Words, Dear.

Laura Munson is a strong woman and an anchor for her family. “I don’t love you anymore,” my husband said, but I survived the sucker punch,” she writes on 8/2/2009 (in the Fashion and Style section?).

Fashion and style? Not the first place I would expect to find family advice but there was something special about Laura’s piece.

She starts off with the typical guy complaining about a midlife crisis and hurting the family he helped to build. Then she says, “It’s a story about hearing your husband say “I don’t love you anymore” and deciding not to believe him.”

With wisdom she says, “He was in the grip of something else — a profound and far more troubling meltdown that comes not in childhood but in midlife, when we perceive that our personal trajectory is no longer arcing reliably upward as it once did.”

Like a woman we would all want to have for our wife, Laura says, “His words came at me like a speeding fist, like a sucker punch, yet somehow in that moment I was able to duck. And once I recovered and composed myself, I managed to say, “I don’t buy it.” Because I didn’t.”

She knew what she needed to do, “My husband hadn’t yet come to this understanding with himself. He had enjoyed many years of hard work, and its rewards had supported our family of four all along. But his new endeavor hadn’t been going so well, and his ability to be the breadwinner was in rapid decline. He’d been miserable about this, felt useless, was losing himself emotionally and letting himself go physically. And now he wanted out of our marriage; to be done with our family. But I wasn’t buying it.”

Then she asked him, “What can we do to give you the distance you need, without hurting the family?”

Laura parried the naysayers, “Kick him out! Get a lawyer! I walked my line with them, too. This man was hurting, yet his problem wasn’t mine to solve. In fact, I needed to get out of his way so he could solve it.”

Laura says the things that men should be saying to their wives when confronted with the “Every Man Has His Limits” assault. What can I do to give you the distance you need without hurting our family?

Laura gives us a glimpse that women feel the same way when men get pushed aside. “I had good days, and I had bad days. On the good days, I took the high road. I ignored his lashing out, his merciless jabs. On bad days, I would fester in the August sun while the kids ran through sprinklers, raging at him in my mind. But I never wavered. Although it may sound ridiculous to say “Don’t take it personally” when your husband tells you he no longer loves you, sometimes that’s exactly what you have to do.”

And then she sees a transformational miracle, “It was Thanksgiving dinner that sealed it. My husband bowed his head humbly and said, “I’m thankful for my family.” He was back.”

After such a long time, Laura got the reward that she knew would be waiting for a love tried and true. For me, the only love left to go back to is the innocent love of my children.

When my ex stops fighting her own hatred of men, my kids may see that they have a father who loves them. When she stops hurting other families, other fathers and other children, I may find forgiveness too.

But for today; I worked, I talked, I wrote, I loved and I enjoyed the nature Hawaii is so plentiful of.

Gone is the thought of what was in my pocket. I embrace only what is in my heart.

If you see my kids, tell them that I love them!

And visit my web site; www.LiveBeatDad.com.