Adopting the Real Meaning of Sorry into Family Life

Adopting the Real Meaning of Sorry into Family Life

Sorry. Miriam Webster defines the word as, “a feeling of sorrow or regret.” But when people say those words, “I’m sorry,” do they literally mean they feel sorrow or regret?

While growing up, that word “sorry” was never specifically defined for me. But when my children were growing up, I had one of those “Aha” epiphany moments when I realized that I’d never defined the word “sorry” to them either. From the time they were teeny tiny all I’d been doing was telling my kids “tell or brother (or sister) I’m sorry” when they had done something wrong.

They were just coming into their teen aged years when I noticed I was still telling them they needed to apologize for doing something. Usually it was for the same “something” they’d done the day before! I thought, “Obviously, they’re not getting it.” There had to be a distinct problem with the way I’d been teaching them. Oh, I knew they knew they’d done something wrong, but why were they continuously doing the same thing wrong, over and over?

So that night at the dinner table, I decided to see if I could figure out an answer. I asked each of them if they knew what it meant to say, “I’m sorry.” They both had pretty much the same answer, “It means I’m sorry for what I did.” (they also both looked at me as if to say, “Duh Mom!”) And for some reason, that was the moment that I’d suddenly “got it.” I realized there is a disclaimer I’d neglected to teach my children all those years when I was saying they needed to apologize, a disclaimer that I’d honestly wished I’d realized many years prior.

I suddenly recognized that, to me, those words, “I’m sorry” don’t just mean to apologize for doing something wrong or even Miriam Webster’s description of, “a feeling of regret or sorrow.” Oh, that’s what I’d thought it meant all those years, but what I always wanted it to mean is, “I’m sorry and I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure it doesn’t happen again.” But never once in all my years of apologizing to people had realized this small distinction. It was actually an epiphany for me and I began trying to teach this to my kids.

Recently, in a required online college course, I was learning to understand my own moral codes, including when I say, “I’m sorry” and how my morals were developed. Because of this class, it got me wondering more and more about my children’s values and moral codes. With my children now in their early 20s, I hoped I’d done everything I could to shape them and help them develop positive morals and values. I’d like to think things like that distinction I tried to teach them over 10 years prior made the impact on their lives I was hoping for. Unfortunately, I’ll never really know for sure.

But this class talked a lot about how we might teach morals to our future generations and what kinds of things we unknowingly end up teaching those around us. Are there missed opportunities (like for me, all my years of not really figuring out what I’d wanted it it to mean to apologize)? Did we set a good example for our kids by the way we live our lives? If we weren’t, how much of an impact, if any, could this make on how problems such as bullying may be developed?

On the discussion board of this class, every single student was really taking a deep look at themselves, a philosophical look. We decided there will always be missed opportunities and we’ll probably never know just how many or what they were. But as far as teaching about bullying, the general consensus of us surmised it could impact our children if were continuous mean to them and others. A classmate mentioned that to him it seemed much easier for his children to learn and understand physically hitting hurts the other person. But what about psychological hurts? How many times in our lives have we been completely blind to the times we’ve hurt our children’s or someone else’s feelings? And how do we explain this to our children?

I decided to ask my classmates their meaning of the words, “I’m sorry,” and although there were various answers, when I wrote about what I’d always wanted it meant, they agreed and said that they hadn’t realized it but that was also their unspoken understanding too.

This particular class played a big impact on my life. It got me more used to thinking about my role, not only in my life, but in the lives of others and especially my children. The class was required to write a paper about how we would like to think about ourselves and our morals, how we would like others to think about us and was that the life we were currently living?

But the premise went even deeper than that. The professor asked us about what changes we would need to make in order to be living the life, having the morals we wanted and were we prepared to make those changes? Many of our answers reflected on how much the way we had always acted had set an example for our children. And how much of it was it was for the good or for the bad?

Every so often, I enjoy rereading this college paper. I helps me to reflect on how I’m currently living. How many of the changes I’d hoped to have made had I actually incorporated into my daily life? And my answers are always enlightening. Each time I reread this, I realize, though there may be several changes that I’ve indeed incorporated, there are a few others on my list to go, things like exercising more and not judging myself so harshly.

But one thing I can honestly say I’ve incorporated into my life is what my honest intention behind my apologizes is. I’m sorry and I’ll do everything in my power to make sure it doesn’t happen again. But I’m always curious of what others mean when they apologize to me and I can can only hope the changes I have made had an impact on my children’s lives.

 Janie Saylor is a professional certified life coach with a degree in psychology and a focus on the emerging field of positive psychology. She is mom to two wonderful children, both in their early 20s. Janie’s published, “The Road You’ve Traveled, How to Journal Your Life.” It’s a book which came from various experiences teaching life journaling to people for 10+ years in the Metro Detroit area. She’s is also co-author of the recently published, “When You’re Done Expecting,” a collection of heartfelt stories from mothers all across the globe. Always inspired by nature and observing the emotions of others, Janie wrote many chapbooks, small books of poetry, also collecting those from others among a small poetry community in her neighborhood in the early 2000s. Janie enjoys uplifting others with positive posts and memes on her Facebook page, Become University, “Your Happy Place.”
The Story of Ellis Island & The People That Arrived

The Story of Ellis Island & The People That Arrived

Did you know Ellis Island officially opened as an immigration station on January 1, 1892? Seventeen-year-old Annie Moore, from County Cork, Ireland was the first immigrant to be processed at the new federal immigration depot.

The Statue of Enlightening the World

Most of us have heard of New York’s Ellis Island and it’s immigration depot. When mentioning Island, it often brings to mind the Statue of Liberty, which many believe both to be located on the same island. But in fact, they are not. The statue welcomed millions of immigrants entering New York Harbor on their way to Ellis Island.

Ellis Island was previously called Gull Island. This was before Samuel Ellis purchased the island in the 1770’s. Samuel had a good sized tavern built on the island, which was used by many Manhattan residents in its day. But “Ellis Island” is also the name given to the immigration depot located on the island, which first opened on January 1, 1892.


Questions Answered Here. 

After I discovered the above information, I was curious to know more. Like what the island was used for between the time Mr. Ellis ran his tavern, when America became a nation in 1776 and when Ellis Island, the immigration depot began in 1892… I had questions like:

1. Where did all if the immigrants to America enter as they came through the New York Harbor between during that century?
2. Why was the immigration depot built on an island in the first place?
3. Were there records of the people who entered America before the immigration depot opened.
4. If so, what happened to them?

So, I set out to do more research and was able to answer those questions, as well as several others that I didn’t even know I had. Although the research was vague between 1776 and 1811, it picked back up just prior to the War of 1812.

Preparing for War

With tensions rising between America and Great Britain due to America’s departure from Great Britain’s rule in 1776, an armament known as the Southwest Battery was built on Ellis Island in 1808 in lower southwest Manhattan. This became known as Fort Clinton. The fort was one of four built within close proximity to each other used to protect New York Harbor.

What happened to Fort Clinton?

Getting back to Ellis Island and Fort Clinton. In 1823, following the war, the fort was deeded to New York City. It was turned into an opera house and theater called Castle Garden for the next 31 years. Castle Garden was a hot spot for cultural entertainment, showcasing not only entertainment venues but also the newest inventions, such as Samuel Morse and his telegraph and steam powered fire engines.

Within a year after Castle Garden Opera House closed its doors, Castle Garden started being used as an immigration station. Here, clerks were hired to process and log every person entering American shores through the New York Harbor from various countries. This was America’s first immigration depot. Prior to this, passengers exited the ships directly onto the shores of Manhattan, often bringing with them many different diseases.

Many of the ill passengers had already been struck by disease before they even boarded ships in their native country, although many also contracted diseases during their nearly twelve day voyage across the ocean.

Somewhere between 8 and 12 million people came through Castle Garden until it closed 1890 when the federal government took over the task of immigration, which happened in part because of the corruption among clerks who were designated to process voyagers at this time.

Corruption such as blatant use of a federal act of 1882 forbidding entry of “lunatics, idiots, criminals and public charges” (prostitutes and other unwelcome professions) by making their own personal judgement calls. Typically, they did this in hopes of be offered bribes to look the other way.

Building Ellis Island Depot

While the first federal immigration depot began being built on Ellis Island, designed by Edward Tilton and William Boring, a temporary depot was located on a barge just off shore of Castle Garden. In 1891, the barge welcomed just over 400,000 passengers.

Ellis Island was no where near large enough to accommodate the new depot, so it was necessary to increase the size of the island. This was done by unloading the ballasts of ships (stones in the lowest level of ships used for balance) and using the dirt and debris from the building of elevated railways in the in New York City.

On January 1, 1892, when the island finally opened, it is said that a young girl, Annie Moore 17 years old, was the first to be processed through the new wooden immigration depot built upon the island. She came on a ship from Cork County, Ireland with her two younger brothers to join their parents who were already in America.

Eventually, Annie married Joseph Schayer, of German decent, a salesman at Manhattan’s Fulton Fish Market. Together they had at least ten children. Annie died in 1924, although my research wasn’t clear as to the cause. Many accounts relay it being a horrible streetcar accident, while others report she died of a heart attack.

Rebuilding the Immigration Depot

It was on June 15, 1897, that a fire on Ellis Island broke out. It destroyed the wooden structure taking the majority of the 1.5 million immigration records of not only those of the island itself, but also the records which were being stored from the Castle Garden days. As a new fireproof structure began being built, the barge depot once again welcomed new passengers. By December of that same year, the new fireproof building reopened and Vice President Theodore Roosevelt appointed the first immigration commissioner, William Williams to manage the depot.

Commissioner Williams fired the vast majority of the depot’s employees in 1902, eliminating widespread corruption and abuse. He began offering awards based on merit and announced any suspected dishonesty were grounds for dismissal. Signs featuring Williams new rules of kindness and consideration were posted as reminders all around the depot.

This new generation of immigrants saw many of Jewish faith, who left their home country due to political and economic unrest, as well as people of Italian decent escaping poverty. Ellis Island welcomed many Polish, Hungarians, and Greeks to name a few, also many non-Europeans from locations such as Serbia, Turkey and Armenia.

Story Of Ellis Island and The People That Arrived | History of Ellis Island | Raising World Children

Why People Came

After learning all of this, I was interested in finding out about specific stories of some people who took a chance to voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. I discovered families like Barnet Chadekel, who chose to travel under his wife, Chann’s maiden name of Mirelowitz because in their native land they were perceived to be wealthy because he owned a glass working shop. In the country they left behind, they were considered to be wealthy and were persecuted for this. Often put to death.

As another aside: For a little over ten years in the early 2000s, I taught a life journaling class to hundreds of senior citizens all over the metro Detroit area. Every person in every class had an interesting story to tell, but many had traced their family histories all the way back to Ellis Island and beyond. What they discovered during their research was that there were many family members who, when they told immigration clerks their name, the clerk wrongly spelled their name the way they heard it so their name turned out to be something different from what it really was. Some clerks shortened their name. And some immigrants, like Iparhos Perdikis (who you’ll read about here) chose to give the clerk at their departure from their home country, a completely different name. I learned so much while working with everyone during these years, about immigration and their personal lives I was also able life lessons, which I still use today.

The Many Reasons Why People Came

The reasons people made the long expensive journey to America vary widely. Some escaped war in their home country, as well as drought, hunger, and persecution for their religious beliefs. People came hoping for jobs, some were only in the States long enough to earn enough money to support their family when they returned to their homeland and some came hoping to get land to farm. But everyone came in hopes for a better opportunity.

Passengers waited in long lines on the island following their nearly two week voyage, some of them waited only to be detained for weeks… or worse, deported because they didn’t pass the interviews with immigration inspectors, who claimed they were too sick or deemed as illiterate. During various different periods, immigrants from certain countries were banned entirely. But this didn’t stop people from coming in search of their dreams.

Nearly 12 million people were welcomed by the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor during Ellis Island depot’s 62 year history. Though due to a multitude of immigration acts in the U.S., immigration to the island dramatically decreased by 1924. Ellis Island immigration depot finally closed its doors in November of 1954.

Meet Giuseppe D’Amico

Giuseppe D’Amico was an electrician by trade. His family was already in America, but upon arriving, he found that in Manhattan, his profession had already seen unionization, which left him unable to find work. Fortunately, a family member, skilled as a seamstress, taught him her trade. Guiseppi went from learning the basic skills of dressmaking and through the years, worked his way to becoming a highly skilled dressmaker, managing a shop, then creating his own business designing beautiful gowns for the women of his day.

Tong Ly Jue Journeyed from China

Tong Ly Jue, a herbalist by trade, immigrated from China. He and his wife, Jeang Quai, settled in San Francisco’s Chinatown. With him, he brought many Chinese herbs and medicines and was able to come to the aid of people afflicted with many different diseases. Tong Ly is said to be among one of the first herbalists welcomed to America.

The Perdikis Family

Lastly, let’s meet Iparhos Perdikis. In 1921, the 16 year old traveled with his parents who settled in New York City. Iparhos chose to completely change his name to Harold Perrin, as many others often did, when he came to America. He studied hard in school before finding his calling and consuming himself in music and dance. Later, he performed on vaudeville stages and in nightclubs all across America.

When reflecting back to his arrival through New York Harbor and looking up at the lights of the New York city, Harold recalls, “From that beautiful city, I got my dreams.”

Over all, from the time Ellis Island opened until 1954 when it closed, more than 12 million people were welcomed into the United States. Today, the island is a National Park and hosts a museum in the main building. Restoration is being done, with the help of donations, to the Ellis Island hospital building. While visiting, you can go on guided tours of both the Ellis Island immigration depot island and our Lady Liberty. You also have the opportunity to take a guided cruise through New York Harbor and much more.

Janie Saylor | Raising World Children | Parenting | Cultures | Diversity | Cultural SensitivityJanie Saylor is a professional certified life coach with a degree in psychology, her focus is in the emerging field of positive psychology. Janie is the mom of two grown children, her son, age 21, and her daughter, age 25. In 2006, Janie published the book, “The Road You’ve Traveled, How to Journal Your Life,” which came from her experiences teaching life journaling to people over the age of 60 for 10+ years in various communities in the Metro Detroit area. Janie’s used her experiences and education as she developed an 8-week online coaching program and has had tremendous success in improving the communication, lives and relationships of her clients. Janie enjoys uplifting others with positive posts and memes on her Facebook page, Become University. Janie calls it “Your Happy Place.”
Are You Ruining Your Child's Friendships With Negativity

Are You Ruining Your Child’s Friendships With Negativity

I came across my high school yearbook the other day and couldn’t help pouring through the pages and reading the words friends from my past wrote to me. Majority of friends wrote things like, “Let’s keep in touch,” and, “Friends forever,” and “I’ll never forget…,” which was followed by a litany of memories that today, I have absolutely no memory of.

Heck! Many of the people I was hard pressed to remember them at all!

Why do we become friends with some and not with others? Why do some friendships stand the test of time yet most do not?

Friendship Theories

As I refer back to my college psychology classes, John Bowlby, a researcher from the mid 20th century would say it all goes back to how we “attached” to our main caregivers (our parents) during infancy. His attachment theory stated it was a survival mechanism. Bowlby’s thinking was how we attach to our parents during the first few years of life determines how all of our relationships throughout life will be.

And failure to properly attach was detrimental, with consequences like delinquency, reduced intelligence, anger, and an inability to show affection toward others.

As we moved into the present century, more in-depth research and study has been done. While there’s something to be said for the importance of infant-parent attachment, in that the relationship with the parent can be affected by how we attach within those first few years, having that “vital” period doesn’t play near as big of role on the outcome of our future relationships with others.

During the time Bowlby’s theory was becoming a thing, there was Jane Elliot. Ever heard of her? Neither had I (until I learned about her in a college psychology class), but what she was able to accomplish in the way of making friends and losing judgment, is nothing short of amazing.

How to Ensure Your Child Has Lasting Friendships | Friends | Kids | Removing negativity from kids' lives

The Story of Jane Elliot 

Jane Elliot, a third grade teacher from a small town in Iowa, in my mind, made history with her teaching and all of us would do very well to learn more about her work.

It was a spring morning in April, 1968, which could have gone on like other normal day as Mrs. Elliot’s students came to class. But this wasn’t just any April morning. It happened to be the morning after Martin Luther King was assassinated. With much thought and trepidation, Jane chose to completely toss the days lessons aside. As a matter of fact, she tossed the next several days of lesson plans aside. Little did she know her students of an all white community would learn a lesson they’d remember for the rest of their lives and it completely altered the direction Jane Elliot would take throughout the rest of her life.

Overnight, Jane had devised a plan to teach her students about race, about diversity and about judgement, about friendship, as well as self esteem. Sounds pretty amazing, right? Her experiment was eventually dubbed “Brown Eyes, Blue Eyes.”

Immediately, when the first school bell rang out, Jane was separating her class in two. On one side of the room were the brown eyed students and on the other were the blue. She had neckwear, collars for one side of the room to wear for the next several days. She told her class that from that point forward, everyone with blue eyes were bad people. They weren’t to be trusted. The brown eyed and blue eyed students weren’t allowed to play together or even communicate with each other. She even went so far as to tell the brown eyed students that the blue eyed children were inferior and stupid and to really hit it home, the blue eyed students weren’t allowed to drink from the same water fountain. Sound familiar?

Mrs. Elliot played this to the hilt. When she was doing small group lessons with a mixture of brown and blue eyed students, she went so far as to tell the blue eyed students they were wrong, even if they were right. After several days passed, the rolls were reversed and suddenly the brown eyed children were the inferior ones. Eventually, all of the classroom had “played” both rolls.

The experiment has a whole lot more to it than this, but what the children came out of it learning was they were all very quick to jump on the bandwagon and belittle the “inferior” students. The inferior students grade average plummeted during this time frame.

But one thing is for sure, this experiment was a big example of how negativity can be detrimental to social relationships.

diversity in friendships

Help Your Kids Create Lasting Relationships

How can we, as parents, teach our children about judgement, racism and self esteem? It turns out one of the most important roles we play is to be good role models. The old saying, “children are like sponges,” is actually truer than we might think.

As it turns out, young children actually do have more neurons making connections in their brains than they will have when they start becoming teens. As it turns out, children really do learn much more by our actions than by our words.

Teaching our little ones to be a good friend and how to talk to others starts with us. For example, we want our children to be open and honest with us, but in order for that to happen, we need to practice what we preach, walk the walk, talk the talk, so to speak. It’s important for us to create an environment where we’re able to share how we’re feeling and our experiences (within reason and age appropriate) with our kids.

It turns out, one of the most important aspects in making friends is being able to make ourselves just a little bit vulnerable, to share some of our self with someone else. Perhaps we have a different opinion than the one our friend just shared with us… Do we tell them we feel the same way so they won’t think bad of us? Or do we take that chance and voice our differences and risk them not liking us because of it?

Even as adults, the same thing still applies. It’s those people who listen to our differences and like us anyway who we become closest to. That skill of “listening” is also one of the most important aspects of creating lasting friendships. Many people don’t actually know how to “listen.” They know how to “hear.” What’s the difference, you may ask? Well, listening actually takes conscious practice (In my life coach training, many weeks were devoted to the art of listening).

You see, most people hear what they’re friends are saying trying to find a spot in the conversation to interject our own comments. At the very point where something our friend is saying sparks a comment we want to interject and we hold onto that thought until we can find a break in the conversation… We’ve actually stopped listening. Listening is about being present in each moment as we listen and speak to others.

Lastly, from my experiences, I’d have to say the next most important aspect of being a friend is curiosity. So this is how it works… We have to put ourselves “out there.” Take a chance. Be vulnerable. And listen for your friend as they share their vulnerabilities with you. The act of “listening” allows us to remember our friend’s vulnerabilities and curiosity helps us to ask our friend in future conversations about how the vulnerable experience is progressing in their life.

Unfortunately, throughout life, friendships come and friendships go. Sometimes they go due to a change of location, a change in job, a broken confidentiality. Just like any good relationship, friendship takes time, empathy, curiosity and responsiveness.

And if you’re very lucky, you’ll have a small handful of very close friends who stand the test of time.

So, are you going the extra mile to create lasting relationships for your child ?

Janie Saylor is a professional certified life coach with a degree in psychology, her focus is in the emerging field of positive psychology. Janie is the mom of two grown children, her son, age 20, and her daughter, age 24. In 2006, Janie published a book, “The Road You’ve Traveled, How to Journal Your Life,” which came from her experiences teaching life journaling to people over the age of 60 for 10+ years in many different communities in the Metro Detroit area. Janie’s used her experiences and education as she developed an 8-week online coaching program and has had tremendous success in improving the communication, lives and relationships of her clients. Janie enjoys uplifting others with positive posts and memes on her Facebook page, BecomeUniversity. Janie calls it “Your Happy Place.”
A Glance At : The Other Side of Giving !

A Glance At : The Other Side of Giving !

Just what do I mean by the “other side of giving?” To put it into context, I’ll need to tell you my story.

Like many of you, I consider myself a humanitarian. A philanthropist. Since high school, I can remember enjoying the act of giving. I think it started Labor Day weekend 1979, when my best friend and I door knocked collecting for MDA, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Jerry Lewis telethon.

We turned in our money at the local tv station, then sat by the tv eagerly watching the main tally board grow to surpass the previous year’s giving. Just knowing we played a part in affecting those numbers, no matter how small, made us feel good.

A few years later, when I had kids in school, I’d purchase several turkeys and other dinner items, then would take the grocery bags to our school principal so she could distribute to the families she knew were in need. Through the years I’ve given coats and other cold weather wear. I’ve given hot meals, coffees and cocoa to needy people standing on busy street corners.

Teaching Giving

But some of the most rewarding times, were the years my kids and I sang Christmas carols at a senior living community. We’d watch our audience snap their fingers, clap hands and bop along. There was a sparkle in the people’s eyes and they’d often assist us by singing along. Each year, I watched their tears well up. There really was no better feeling… Except for the many times I saw one of our kids wipe tears from their own eyes in response. Every year, we’d complete the evening at our neighborhood coffee shop with a tasty treat of hot chocolate. My children still recall these times with sweet fondness.

One year at my weekly business meeting, I suggested we adopt a family over the upcoming holiday season. Later that day the president of the group, Trish, called asking if I’d had a particular family in mind, because she did. She asked if I’d mind if she took the lead. No, I definitely didn’t mind her running the show!

Sharing Giving

As each weekly meeting passed, Trish told us a little more about the family we’d adopted and although I wasn’t able to afford to purchase anything new, as my own financial circumstances were poor that year, I did find a wool coat in near-perfect condition in my closet. But when I offered Trish $10 from coins I’d turned in, she smiled, gently pushed my hand back and said, “It’s okay, I know you can’t afford to do this.” Knowing she was right, I hugged her, wished her a Merry Christmas and returned the bills to my near empty wallet.

My financial circumstances that year had put me behind with just about every creditor and utility company I had. I hadn’t answered my telephone in nearly a month and needed to call the heating company to avoid disconnect.

Before making those calls, I decided to take a few minutes to do some meditation. I knew making those calls would be difficult. So, I went to my room, sat on my bed and breathed. About 40 minutes later, there was a knock on the door. Fearing it was a creditor and hoping they’d go away, I ignored it. The knock came several more times before I finally answered.
A sweet smiling face of a beautiful woman greeted me. She said simply, “I’m here to deliver some gifts.”

Learning to Accept

“You do? Who are you?”

“That doesn’t matter,” she answered.

“Who are they from?”

“That doesn’t matter either. But I’m to tell you there are many people who love you very much. Merry Christmas.” She placed gifts bags on the porch and turned to leave.

“Wait!” I took her hand and pulled her into an embrace. “Thank you so much.” I watched her disappear around the corner of the house, closed the door, then sat on the floor beside the gifts. I peeked inside one bag catching a glimpse of what was inside.

Money! Tears came as I pulled a lovely wreath from the gift bag. Among it’s silver and red ribbons, dollar bills were fanned out and attached as well. Bills of all denominations… I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

Also inside the bag was a stack of gift cards and some decorative tins containing wrapped candies, cookies and even more money. I cried. Hard. Hunched over, forehead on the floor, sobbing. I mean, “can’t breathe, snot running sobs.”

When all the money was counted, the total more than covered the disconnect, as well as several other bills. Tears continued the rest of the week. I used the gift certificates to purchase gifts for my children. Even as I write these words, tears are flowing again.

Thankful For Others Giving

I knew these gifts were from my business group, and we were the family Trish talked about all those weeks. So, I called to thank her.
“For what?” She not so innocently responded. “By the way, no one in the group knows it was you,” she added.

Every Christmas season, I hang that special wreath on the front door and tied an ornament inside it’s greens, a golden angel, as a reminder of every one of my friends who gave to me that year. Every one who gave so generously.

I’m definitely not accustomed to being on “the other side of giving” to that degree. That year’s gift still means more than anyone could ever know. I give a silent toast every year on Christmas… To those who gave to me and to those who give to so many others, I would just like to say, “Thank you my Dear Friends. Thank you.”

Janie Saylor is a certified life coach with a degree in psychology and a focus on the emerging field of positive psychology. She’s mom to two grown children, her son, now 21, and her daughter, 25. In 2006, Janie published the book, “The Road You’ve Traveled, How to Journal Your Life,” which came from her own life experiences and those of many others who she taught life journaling to for 11 years. Janie’s also co-author of the book, “When You’re DONE Expecting: A Collection of Heartfelt Stories from Mothers All across the Globe,” consisting of stories sharing a beautiful perspective of Motherhood. “In writing about my own life so openly, my hopes are for just one person to see their own struggles from a different perspective.” Janie enjoys uplifting others with positive posts, videos and memes on her Facebook page, Become University, “Your Happy Place!”
Don't Let Your Shame Hold You Hostage

Don’t Let Your Shame Hold You Hostage

In October, Rebecca Vijay wrote an article for Raising World Children about her tragic experience of losing one of her twin children. I want to send a giant thank you to Rebecca, for bringing awareness to, not only her own awful experience, but for all of you moms out there who’ve lost children, either within the womb or after they were born.

She expressed her grief in such a beautiful way. I loved learning about the word Vilomah, which Rebecca explains is the Sanskrit word meaning “a mother who has lost her child.”

Rebecca’s work helped me to want to express my own experiences with this. I have lost children. Several times. Many miscarriages when I was 30 and trying to get pregnant. But the very first time is the story I’m interested in telling you today.


My Story 

It started when I was 12 and an older boy, 16, from another school showed great interest in me. At the time, of course, I was far far too young to date. (My parents didn’t know I was.) And far too young to be making grown up decisions… Looking back, (I actually realized this a long time ago. I’m presently 55 years old) this experience with this boy dramatically shaped my entire life and the choices I’ve made.

I don’t remember at what point in the “relationship” he began having sex with me. I say it in this way because he raped me from the very beginning. Looking back, I think about why a 16 year old boy would be interested in a 12 year old girl. And there is absolutely no reason that he should!

But his multiple sexual assaults resulted in a pregnancy when I was 13, just about to turn 14.


First of all, I knew I, somehow, had to tell my parents. But there was absolutely no way I wanted to disappoint them. I can remember being extremely  ashamed in myself. And scared. And sad! Above all, trapped. I was afraid to tell them both. But mostly, I was afraid to tell my Dad. The thought of disappointing my Dad was, back then and throughout my life, something that was very upsetting to me.

After a couple of day, which seemed like a life time to me, I’d decided I was going to tell my Mother first.

I vaguely remember the night.

Dad was working late and both my older siblings were out as well. I cried, as I had been since the moment I felt I was pregnant. I asked my Mother if we could to talk. I was laying on the couch and she came forward and sat beside me. I don’t remember the words I chose, but I do remember her holding me so tight, telling me she loved me and that she would tell my Dad.

This was just the first step of many I was about to face.

For a several weeks, I was determined to have the child. Mom drove me to the doctor quite often as he requested seeing me weekly. Both my parents were supportive of my decision. But one of my last trips to the doctor, when I was just over 2 months along, the doctor sat with Mom and me and explained that he didn’t believe I’d be able to even carry a child to term.

At 13, I had a very small body and frame. He said there was a strong possibility that either I or the baby would die in the process of carrying and birthing. I’ll never forget that day, the ride home and my Mom’s words.

She said, “Up until now, this only affected you and the baby that is inside you. But now, this affects me and the baby that was inside me. You can hate me, scream at me, you can feel how ever you choose to feel about me. But the decision has now been made and when we get home, I’ll be calling the hospital. You’re going to have an abortion.

And oh boy, did I cry!!!

This was in the early 1970s, shortly after the Roe vs Wade decision (January 23, 1973, a woman’s right to have a legal abortion according to the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States), which enabled me to have “the procedure.”

I don’t recall the time frame, between that trip home from the doctor and when “the procedure” was performed. And I only vaguely recollect the trip to the hospital, the preparation or being taken into the operating room.

What I do remember, quite vividly, is waking up to seeing my Dad at my bedside with such a look of love for me. I don’t recall his words. I don’t know if he told me the words, “I love you.” Actually, I don’t think he said anything at all.

But what he did do was hand me a small glass bowl, shaped like a bowl someone would put a goldfish in, but much smaller. Inside the delicate bowl was a partially opened bud of a baby pink teacup rose. No words were necessary. This was all I needed for me to get the message of his love for me. That we’d make it through this. And I cried with relief!

The Judgement

I’d taken a leave from school prior to this day and for several days following. I thought that since the boy was from another school, which was 30 miles away, that my secret was safe among just my family. The school I attended was small. Perhaps only 600 people all together, from the sixth grade through the seniors. I never even told my very best friend.

But, Somehow, when I returned to school, everyone  knew.

I heard the whispers. I saw their faces. I understood their body language. Judgement. Judgement. Judgement.

I’m not sure how long it took for the whispers to stop, but I remember one particular girl who took it upon herself to badger me with her religious values, expressing to me how horrible of a person I was for what I’d done.

Oh not about the unprotected sex so much, but for having an abortion. I’d find notes shoved in my locker. Notes with graphic pictures of what an abortion does to an unborn baby. She’d pass notes to me in the classroom. If I left my textbooks unprotected for any amount of time on my desk, I’d return to another piece of paper shunning me.

I didn’t know what to do to stop them from coming. Day after day !

I remember though the day they stopped. My older sister, came into my classroom and stood up to this bully for me. Unfortunately, it got to the point that my sister had to resort to threatening to cause her bodily harm if the badgering toward me didn’t come to an immediate halt. And that day, they did!

The Aftermath

But what it left was an indelible mark inside me, compounding my own shame toward myself, which I’d felt from the very beginning. My own disappointment in myself. My own guilt. And sadness.

I mentioned in the beginning of this article that these experiences ended up shaping my entire future. Up until today, that is. The boys (and when I grew up, the men) I chose to have in my life were also men who wouldn’t treat me right. Men who said they loved me but their actions were anything but.

Unknowing of what was going on exactly inside me, inside my unconsciousness, inside my body. The nightmares and flashbacks became prevalent. The increasing high startle reflex seemed normal. Many years later when I had children and as they grew, they learned early on not to jump out from hiding to scare me.

I would start crying. I didn’t know why. I just lived with it.

There were so many things within myself that I didn’t even give a thought to thinking they weren’t normal. I never told anyone about the nightmares or flashbacks. I didn’t tell anyone about my fears from certain people for no apparent reason. There was a hidden room, somewhere up in the far reaches of my brain. Tucked away in a box, in the way back dark corners of the attic of my unconscious, so dark and so sealed, not even I knew it was there.

The Epiphany

Cut to three years ago. I was sitting on the back porch of my aunts house with my cousin, (who just so happens to be a social worker) talking and drinking lemonade . I don’t know how the conversation started on the subject, but she was telling me about a close friend of hers who was having great difficulty in her marriage with a manipulative and an abusive husband.

She spoke for five or ten minutes and relayed her friend’s terrible predicament, when suddenly some words simply tumbled out of my mouth. I didn’t say much, just a portion of a sentence. But it was enough that my cousin was able to imply the rest. I remember I quickly covered my mouth with my hand and stopped breathing for a few seconds.

My words came as an immediate surprise to her… and even more so, to me. Her face quickly turned me and she said, “Oh my God, Jane. Did that really happen to you?” With my hand still over my mouth, I nodded. She replied, “Oh Honey. Was it more than that?” I nodded again and she said, “You need to promise me the very second you get home, you’re going to call and get yourself into therapy! See a good psychiatrist. You probably have PTSD!

I have no idea why I those brief few words tumbled from my lips that day. I had NEVER told anyone. Even though I’m very educated and very logical, from the teeny tiny bit that I did recollect from my past, I’d justified away as just being normal. In my mind, I was doing everything necessary to make those relationships work. That day on the porch with my cousin, that very brief moment, also has dramatically altered my life.

On The Uphill Path To Recovery

I did make that call for help the following business day. And I have been diagnosed with PTSD due to sexual and emotional trauma throughout my life. It took nearly two years for me to locate that hidden box in the upper floor of my brain.

And it took even longer before I could actually open, just a small bit, of that box. And once I did, all of the fear came spewing out at me. All of sadness. All of the shame. And a whole, whole lot of tears. Sobbing, snot rolling, can’t catch your breath tears.

The nightmares and flashbacks increased at least tenfold. Probably more.

This, in and of itself, has dramatically changed how I live my life. Five years ago I was enjoying being out with friends and meeting new people, working with the public, and living with that unknown, locked away box, which I had just learned to somehow live with… It all changed to having an uncountable amount of sleepless nights.

And a very uncharacteristic fear of going into public. Fear of pretty much all men. A startle reflex which has been absolutely off the charts.

It’s been a little more than three years of therapy, so far. A few things I’ve learned is that I continued to chose men who would fill the deep, deep void that horrendous experience left inside me. Men, in many ways, with the same manipulative ways as that 16 year old boy. And if I did happen to notice any inklings of red flags, I simply justified them away, just as I had all those years before. And I just knew, that if I tried really hard, I could help them to change. Or make them change. I could, somehow, get them to show me they loved me just as much as their words expressed.

I’ve had to work on (and I’m still working on) something I guess I’ve always had, but failed to recognize in myself, which is disgust. Utter disgust with myself. Feeling as if it was my fault. The logical side of me actually knows it wasn’t my fault. From the time I was just a very young girl of twelve years old and those terrifying experiences with that boy shaped my life.

But now, after years of therapy (which I will continue), and I’m now in my 50s, I’ve been doing my own deep studying, research and homework. And I’m very slowly improving. I’ve remained relationship free at this point since 2004, definitely by design. I’ve learned that I absolutely will do everything I can to NOT follow this pattern into my future. My self learning and therapy has taught me a lot about myself…

Like that I’m courageous, and strong and brave because I’ve lived through all of those years without becoming completely mentally unstable. I’d never turned to suicide as the answer (although I have to admit, there were so, so many times suicidal ideation has taken me over), I’d never turned to addictive drugs, overeating, smoking, or anything other coping mechanism.

But I’m very afraid of actually submitting this piece to Raising World Children for all of you to read. I’m scared to put this out there into cyberspace. I’m apprehensive of what you’ll think of me. The memories of those kids at school when I returned are haunting me right now. Even though I’ve done so much work on myself through therapy and my own self discovery on what other people think of me, and having this quote etched into my brain, “What other people think of me is none of my business.” But I still worry about what you’ll think of me.

I intend to read this piece to my BFF (in the whole wide world) before I submit it. As I’ve been writing this, I’ve been seeking the courage and strength necessary to let all of you read something about me that is so raw. The wound is still open. And I still don’t remember my whole story. After a certain amount of having the old memories come leaping out of that box at me, I still am working very hard to keep it closed. I’m still working on coping with it myself. Very often, I just want the memories to stop. So I work so extra hard to keep the box closed. To shove it back into that dark and dingy corner where it was for all those years…

But somehow, I think it’s necessary for me to tell you my story. I know that others have gone through their own personal hell in their lives. I just really hope that my message reaches the ears of those who need courage. Who need to muster up just a wee bit of strength. Perhaps this will give someone that gentle, yet forceful push to speak out to their family, share with friends, seek out therapy and work diligently.

My thoughts are with you my Friend and I send you my love in return. Do you have a story to share with me now? Go ahead. There’s no judgement here. 

Don't Let Your Shame Hold You Hostage | Speak Up | Affect of Assault on Victims | Let Kids Talk | Me Too | What is affect of sexual asaault ?

Janie Saylor is a professional certified life coach with a degree in psychology, her focus is in the emerging field of positive psychology. Janie is the mom of two grown children, her son, age 20, and her daughter, age 24. In 2006, Janie published a book, “The Road You’ve Traveled, How to Journal Your Life,” which came from her experiences teaching life journaling to people over the age of 60 for 10+ years in many different communities in the Metro Detroit area. Janie’s used her experiences and education as she developed an 8-week online coaching program and has had tremendous success in improving the communication, lives and relationships of her clients. Janie enjoys uplifting others with positive posts and memes on her Facebook page, Become University. Janie calls it “Your Happy Place.”


How Thanksgiving Became A Tradition In America

How Thanksgiving Became A Tradition In America

Perhaps, like myself, you’ve gotten curious about how Thanksgiving came to be. We all know the stories we learned in elementary school, about the Pilgrims celebrating the first Thanksgiving with the American Indians.

Presently, we celebrate by serving turkey (and crafting turkeys! Remember all the different ways our teachers came up with constructing turkeys for us to create through the years?), we dine on stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, pumpkin pie, and I can’t forget the unusual family favorite, cranberry sauce.

What WAS Thanksgiving Like ? 

But my curiosity ran deeper than that. When WAS the first Thanksgiving? What was it REALLY like? Did the Pilgrims dress like the images we depicted in our drawings? With the women in matronly dresses wearing the bonnets on their heads? And the men with formal three piece blue or gray suits and wearing tall hats?

I was out to find the TRUTH. What really happened all those years ago? So I Googled “The history of American Thanksgiving,” which of course, brought back thousands of hits.

I sought out, what I felt, were reputable sources, the History Channel and and with pen and paper in hand, began feverishly writing down what I found. According to them, the first Thanksgiving occurred in 1621 with the Wampanoag Indian Tribe.

It was a celebration of an abundant autumn harvest where the Wampanoag had given lessons to the Pilgrims on how to enhance their crops growth. Some of the crops, according to written account by William Bradford, the governor at that time, were wheat, barley, peas Indian corn and another variety called flint corn. But contrary to our present meals including mashed potatoes and gravy, potatoes had yet to be introduced to the colonies.

The meal was also rich in fruits and berries, from mother nature’s own harvest. As far as the plentiful types of meats which were served, of which turkey was one of them, there were also multiple types of fish, mussels, lobster and a variety of water fowl. Another type of meat which was served was venison, or the meat from the deer.

It’s interesting to me how of all of the large variety of foods served in 1621, our traditional Thanksgiving meals are typically comprised of turkey dinners.

Thanksgiving Becomes A Tradition 

Also, as it turns out, this first Thanksgiving didn’t go by that name, and it also wasn’t an annual event. It wasn’t until almost 200 years later, in the mid 1800’s, that it became celebrated annually in a just few of the state’s and colonies. And it didn’t have a preset annual date, like we have now.

It came after particularly great fall harvests. Some of our presidents, such as George Washington, John Adams and James Madison called for having a day of Thanksgiving, but once again, the celebrations were sporadic.

But it was a woman named Sarah Josepha Hale, the author of the classic poem “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” who relentlessly devoted 36 years of her life writing letters to various large newspapers in the 1800’s and letters of request to every president elected and reigning in that time, pleading for a day of thanks to be annually celebrated in honor of that first meal in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621.

It was President Abraham Lincoln who finally took her words to heart and in 1863 made Thanksgiving a national holiday. His hopes, at the time, were to bring together all of America’s citizens during the dreadful times of the Civil War. It wasn’t until much later that the last Thursday in November was the date to be devoted to the holiday.

The Story of Squanto – The Real Giving

As I delved in farther to the history of Thanksgiving, I found a website created by the Manataka American Indian Council giving their own account of that first Thanksgiving almost 400 years ago and their depiction is dramatically different in many ways. They write about the Pilgrims bringing the small pox virus to their land, in which a good many of the Indians couldn’t survive. The Pilgrims, believing they were coming to a new free land, where they would be able to stake their claims to land where ever they pleased, actually brought on wars which slaughtered many more of the American Indian tribes… And much of those who did survive were allowed to live only to become slaves to the Pilgrims.

But there was one Indian in particular named Squanto, who came to learn the English language, taught many of the Pilgrims what he knew about hunting, fishing, and growing an abundant harvest. And it was Squanto who initiated and and brought together the new people of their land and the Wampanoag Indians with a treaty. It was following the first full year of honoring this treaty that the Wampanoag and the Pilgrims celebrated by giving thanks.

The account given by the Wampanoag does continue to tell the stories of boatloads of new settlers coming to the new country creating havoc by taking over the Indian’s land and enslaving many. As you can see, this side tells a vastly different story than that of people like William Bradford’s account and I’m curious to know who’s account is more accurate? Perhaps it was somewhere in between?

Thanksgiving Today

At any rate, these days, Americans celebrate Thanksgiving by honoring the people and occasions in their lives they’re grateful for. The majority of families celebrate by bringing extended families together and sharing the traditional turkey dinner. Everyone eats way too much food causing them to loosen their belt buckles or simply undo the snap of their slacks (as for me, I learned a long time ago to wear pants with an elastic waistband to our Thanksgiving meal).

Many of us even perform the ritual of going around the table and enjoying listening to each person recite some of the things their thankful for. Another traditional event which happens every Thanksgiving is that the television is almost always turned on as everyone’s eyes are glued to their sets watching a full day of football.

Americans also celebrate this day every year with parades. Cities and towns big and small, across the country bring communities together with a parade full of floats, in which volunteers work extremely long hours to create something new and innovative. They’re built on trailers of various sizes and pulled by cars, trucks, motorcycles, tractors…

Some are even built right atop these vehicles. High school marching bands march along in formation, rock, jazz and other musicians play, sometimes marching along, sometimes having their instruments and microphones set up upon flatbed trailers. You can find clowns often tossing candies to the children, Future Farmers of America groups, and veteran groups marching with pride, I’ve even seen bagpipes and fife bands. You might find people walking on stilts, riding on unicycles, and who knows what else!

You never know what fun and interesting groups each community has to offer. But I can promise you a great experience. If you’re not from America, and are contemplating a visit, during the Thanksgiving holidays is an awesome time to do it. Please, come and experience how the city or town and family your visiting, celebrates this American historical holiday.

Each will offer you a local parade they’ve made uniquely their own, a delicious and filling meal, and after dinner, you get to kick back in a recliner, let your very full stomach settle from all the food you just ate, and watch how maniacal we Americans can get as we watch our favorite teams vie together in the football game on television. And just when you think the meal is over and there’s absolutely no way you possibly eat another bite… a plate of pumpkin pie appears in your hands, and surprisingly you eat a little more.

If you’re from America, I’d love to hear about how your family celebrates Thanksgiving, and those from abroad, I’d also love to hear from you too. Does your country or culture have a holiday inspired by giving thanks for what you have? What time of year is it celebrated and how?

I’m so incredibly curious to learn about how different families, different countries and different cultures come together and celebrate. Please feel free to write about it to me in the comment section below.

The Real Story of How Thanksgiving Became A Tradition in America | Raising World Children | Stories for Kids

Janie Saylor is a professional certified life coach with a degree in psychology, her focus is in the emerging field of positive psychology. Janie is the mom of two grown children, her son, age 20, and her daughter, age 24. In 2006, Janie published a book, “The Road You’ve Traveled, How to Journal Your Life,” which came from her experiences teaching life journaling to people over the age of 60 for 10+ years in many different communities in the Metro Detroit area. Janie’s used her experiences and education as she developed an 8-week online coaching program and has had tremendous success in improving the communication, lives and relationships of her clients. Janie enjoys uplifting others with positive posts and memes on her Facebook page, Become University. Janie calls it “Your Happy Place.”
Cyber Bullying

How To Talk To Kids About Cyber Bullying

Cyber Bullies. These types of people have always existed. I’m curious to know if you’ve ever been bullied? I was. The worst of it was back in middle school in the 1970s. In those days we still had outside time, in essence, it was recess. But none of us called it that… “Recess” always sounded so little kiddish. Out in the schoolyard there was a few girls who never liked me. I’m not sure why exactly, but aside from being called names, I was also punched and kicked quite often, for whatever reason.

If I knew the reason then, I certainly don’t remember it now.

Those experiences, even though I don’t recall the reasoning, very much shaped my life. It dramatically lowered my self esteem and it was the beginning of 40 years of falling for the wrong people. People who I allowed to treat me badly.

Talking About Bullying is Paramount

When I was young and getting bullied, I never told my parents and I told a teacher only once, because their advice was more than unhelpful. I was told to “toughen up and ignore them.” As it turns out, research today shows situations like telling the bully to stop and pretending it’s not happening can actually make the situation worse.

It may help your child to know that even grown ups can be cyber bullied and hopefully, in knowing this, it will help your child to be able to report it to you. As a matter of fact, there are many celebrities who’ve been cyber bullied, which, unfortunately, often forces them off of particular social media sites. Some of celebrities who’ve been cyber bullied are:

Ed Sheeran, singer:

In an interview, he made a comment in which Lady Gaga fans interpreted him as saying he disliked her. Those fans went on to say, what Ed calls, “very mean things that were ruining his day,” and were upsetting him very much. Very soon following, Lady Gaga made a statement in his defense. It turns out Ed decided not to quit the social media sites because he and his father had conversations there, but he stopped reading all the other posts.

Normandi Kordei : 

Fifth Harmony singer and you may know her from being a Dancing With the Stars contestant: Normandi was cyber bullied with comments saying things like she “isn’t black enough,” as well as many other racially charged comments. Normandi also says many people had said “some of the most rabid and disgusting” things about women’s bodies and hers in particular.

Zelda Williams:

Daughter of the late Robin Williams: After her father’s death, Zelda reports social media users verbally attacked her and even went so far as to send her photos of a dead man lying in a morgue who resembled her father.

Josh McDermitt.

Actor from the hit tv show, Walking Dead: Josh says that because of his character, Eugene’s role on the show, he received comments of extreme hatred toward him and even death threats. He says people were unable to differentiate between a character on television and Josh’s real life.

Rumer Willis,

Actress and daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore: On the morning television show, Megyn Kelly Today, on September 27, 2017, Rumer talked openly about being cyber bullied.

What is Bullying? 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC) defines bullying as “any unwanted aggressive behavior by another youth or group of youths involving an observed or perceived power imbalance and is repeated multiple times or is highly likely to be repeated. Bullying may inflict harm or distress on the targeted youth including physical, psychological, social, or educational harm. A young person can be a perpetrator, a victim, or both.”

What’s missing in the above description is the fact that bullying occurs to people of any age. And today’s technology brings on another whole host of ways people are bullied. Cyber bullying. It’s so incredibly prominent and cyber bullying includes, not only bullying done through social media channels, but in using any electronic source, such as through text or via email as well.

It is very easy to write things to a person who simply is a name on the screen or at the other end of the line.

Understanding The Need To Be A Bully

One might think bullies have a strong sense of themselves, they probably feel superior and that bullies are just highly opinionated and mean people. What we may not know is bullies actually feel so bad about themselves that breaking someone else down is a way for them to attempt to make themselves feel superior.

It is difficult, perhaps, to look at it this way but bullies are very much hurting inside. I know, most bullies think it’s funny. Don’t get me wrong! I’m not saying we shouldn’t do everything in our power to stop bullying from occurring. As a matter of fact, research shows being bullied, as well as being a bully, can cause an increased risk of problems in their future, such as academic issues, substance abuse, violent behavior, as well as mental health problems. And both the bully and their victims have an increased risk of suicide. We need to provide empowered assistance to both the bullies and the bullied. 

Cyber Bullying 

Over 50% of teens have been cyber bullied… And only about 10% of those kids will talk to a parent about it. Something cyber bullies don’t keep in mind is there’s consequences. Once bullying comments are made online, it’s practically impossible to completely remove all its traces, which can affect the person doing the bullying for life, even if they’ve apologized to the other person.

These days, prospective colleges are searching online for these occurrences, as are employers. Bullies can face legal charges, and in the situation of “sexting” (which means transmitting naked or inappropriate words or photos), bullies can face the possibility of legally being a labeled as a sex offender.

My Experience as a Parent

My 11 year old son son wanted to play an online game his friends were playing called Runescape. He and I had a long discussion about the privileges and problems of what playing a game where people from all over the world and all ages are playing. It is a tender subject, but I explained about pedophiles by telling him about people posing as youngsters and how incredibly patient they are in order to cause you harm.

I told him these people will befriend you and wait to start asking personal type questions, like your real and full name, address, telephone number, email address and so much more. I told him the only “friends” on the game he was allowed to have were his personal friends from school.

We discussed his password and that I was the only other person who will know it and that I would be going on the game under his password to check up on him. (I also emphasized if there was ever a time I tried to get onto his game and he’d changed the password, he’d be grounded.) We also talked about cyber bullying and what he was to do if it happens (don’t respond, save the comment and tell me immediately).

And lastly, I explained that the only way he could play the game was that I would be playing the game as well. After our very long talk together, I actually drew up a contract and the not we talked about what signing a contract means.

What you can do:

1. Know what sites your child visits. Tell them you will be going onto their accounts. Tell them it’s your job, as a parent, to know what they’re doing and protect them.
2. Always know your child’s passwords.
3. Explain to them the privileges and safety measures that come with being online and having access to the sites you’re allowing them to visit.
4. Set up parental controls, but don’t rely on parental controls alone.
5. Add your children to your “friends” or “follow” lists.
6. Explain to them about cyber bullying and what they’re to do if it does happen (don’t respond, keep the message and tell you immediately.)
7. Block the bullies
8. If a friend of your child communicates to them that they’ve been being bullied in some way, encourage your child to tell you. Also tell your child to encourage their friend to tell their own parents, teachers or school counselors.
9. Always keep the lines of communication with your children open. In order to expect them to be open and honest with you, you also need to be open and honest with them. In sharing things with your children and risking some of your own vulnerabilities, you actually make them feel much more comfortable in sharing their vulnerabilities with you.

How To Talk To Kids About Cyber Bullies | Raising World Children | Bullies | Online Bullies | Protect Kids


Check out this resource on bullying –

Janie Saylor is a professional certified life coach with a degree in psychology, her focus is in the emerging field of positive psychology. Janie is the mom of two grown children, her son, age 20, and her daughter, age 24. In 2006, Janie published a book, “The Road You’ve Traveled, How to Journal Your Life,” which came from her experiences teaching life journaling to people over the age of 60 for 10+ years in many different communities in the Metro Detroit area. Janie’s used her experiences and education as she developed an 8-week online coaching program and has had tremendous success in improving the communication, lives and relationships of her clients. Janie enjoys uplifting others with positive posts and memes on her Facebook page, Become University. Janie calls it “Your Happy Place.”

Cultural Family Events in Michigan

Kilts and Tartan and Scots, Oh My!

In the state of Michigan, festivals and cultural cities and events are abound. From Hamtramk where Michiganders can taste the absolute best Polish punchkes in the state (punchkes are a special jelly filled donut-like delectable treat which are typically only available across the state during a short time in the month of February).

The city of Dearborn, which has the largest population of Lebanese in the United States. Frankenmuth is all about the German heritage, which is the home of the ever popular Bavarian Inn and Zehnders Resturants. These two famous landmarks have been serving German fare since 1888. And then there are the cultural areas around the city of Detroit with names such as, Greektown and Mexican Village. But nearly all of them are filled with family type fun, learning and adventure.

Alma, Michigan

This month’s article is focusing upon Alma, Michigan, located in the ‘heart’ of our lower Peninsula. First, let’s discover why Alma is on my list of cities providing culture to our glorious Mitten State.

The community of Alma, Michigan, also now known as Scotland, USA, is near the center of our lower peninsula and was so named in reference to the Battle of Alma during the Crimean War in the mid 1800’s. The Battle of Alma being named due to its location along the River Alma in Crimea. About this same time, the small Michigan community was in the process of being formed.

In the 1880’s, Alma College was established, they used the nickname of the Fighting Presbyterians for nearly 50 years until in 1931, until the faculty and student body held a contest to rename their current mascot. Although several names were considered, the name which won the contest (which came with a $5 prize) left Alma College to be known as the Scots. Why the Scots? Alma had become affiliated with the Scots due to a particular regimen who fought in the Battle of Alma representing the British called the Scots Guard.

In May of 1968, the city of Alma and Alma College worked together to establish an event for family fun within the community with its very first Highland Festival, featuring the Alma College marching band and many Highland activities, such as band competitions, competitive dancing for people of all ages and even cabor tossing.

What began as a small “one day” event back then, has now developed into a large three day event, which includes not only all of the competitions from its roots, but now offers a parade, an arts and crafts fair, Scottish heritage teachings, and many children’s events as well.

This annual event, always occurring the last weekend in May, now has literally thousands of families coming in from all across the United States and Canada to participate in the festivities of pretty much everything you can think of that’s Scot. The Queen of Scots and Miss Michigan make an appearance, all things bagpipes and tartan, Loch Ness monster sightings, Border collie shepherding, and so much more.

The Alma Highland Festival also boasts tons of food vend0rs, area restaurant specials offering Celtic favorites and historic reenactments of the Battle of Alma to keep its roots fresh in the minds and imaginations of young and old.

Yes, the state of Michigan is ever rich with cultural areas and specialty family fun filled events. In the future, I’ll feature articles on some of the other cultural events taking place across the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of this great state.

But in the meantime, I’d love to hear about the cultural events which take place in your area of the World. What are they like? Have you ever attended? And just how much fun did you and your family have there?!

 Janie Saylor is a professional certified life coach with a degree in psychology, her focus is in the emerging field of positive psychology. Janie is the mom of two grown children, her son, age 20, and her daughter, age 24. In 2006, Janie published a book, “The Road You’ve Traveled, How to Journal Your Life,” which came from her experiences teaching life journaling to people over the age of 60 for 10+ years in many different communities in the Metro Detroit area. Janie’s used her experiences and education as she developed 8-week online coaching program and has had tremendous success in improving the communication, lives and relationships of her clients. Janie enjoys uplifting others with positive posts and memes on her Facebook page, Become University, where she’s aptly dubbed it “Your Happy Place.” You can contact her at either or at
Disciplining In Times of Online Video Games

Disciplining In Times of Online Video Games

Discipline. Specially in the times of video games and Nintendos is hard. Parental discipline varies throughout the world. What’s the norm for one culture is considered overly harsh in another. A study from 2010 from six different countries showed that the discipline techniques across various cultures tends to be most effective depending on what that area of the world deems as the norm.

With my own children, now 20 and 24, discipline styles differed between their father’s house and my own, my house being much more lax in discipline. Not to say that I didn’t discipline. Quite the opposite. The difference being, my style had strong communication at it’s core.

Personal Journey with Disciplining My Son

I reflect back to a time when my son was 11 and had been playing an online game at his father’s house. Once he got ahead in the game, my son had access to communicate with people from all over the world. I wasn’t happy in this particular phase. But I tried to figure out a way where all of us could be happy.

[bctt tweet=”I had to find a way to instill values in him while making sure I don’t take away his favorite hobby.” username=”contactrwc”]

I gave my son a host of rules and regulations on a handmade ‘contract,’ which he had to sign and agree to follow. I also told him I would be playing the game as well so I could keep up with his conversations with others and keep an eye on the activities.

A silver lining which I didn’t expect, was that it gave the two of us something to talk about. Something we had in common. Where many sons are pulling away from their parents, I was pleased that we were creating a bond and communicating more and not just about the game.

After a couple months of him and his friends playing this online video game, my son came home from his best friend’s house and told me he was unable to sign in to the game. What he didn’t know was that I was able to access a particular area of the game.  This allowed me to see any inappropriate conversations he had with other people in which he had been ‘reported’.

While he stood over my shoulder watching me access this area, he started to get antsy. What I discovered was that he was swearing at strangers and even in one instance, got into a conversation with someone where the topic of girl’s chest were being discussed.

I told him how sad it made me to see that he broke the rules. I told him I was extremely disappointed in the language he had chosen to use. In an effort to defend his stance that he did nothing wrong, he blamed it on his friend playing on his account. I called his bluff and said I would contact his best friend’s mother. I knew that she would want to be informed that her son was using such foul language.

I have to admit, the sheer panic and desperate pleas where almost humorous. I knew perfectly well, this was my son’s own doing. For more than forty five minutes, I simply and firmly expressed my disappointment in his choices. Finally, his shoulders slouched down in defeat and he asked, “Can’t you just spank me and get this over with?”

“No, as a matter of fact, I can’t,” I told him. I made him call his best friend to apologize for his poor behavior and he also was to apologize to his friend’s mom. For using such bad judgement with his inappropriate language, at her house and with her son.

Immediately after disconnecting the call, I turned to see my son was standing there with silent tears rolling down his face. We spoke about the circumstances for a bit more then I sent him to his room after grounding him from the game for for two weeks. I actually changed his password so he was unable to play.

A day or so later, he was laying on the living room floor watching TV. He told me his stomach really hurt. “Are you thinking about what you did?” I asked. He quickly sat up and asked, “How did you know!?”

I sat beside him and expressed my happiness that his stomach hurt. He looked at me with utter confusion. I said, “I’m glad your stomach hurts because that tells me that you now know that you have done something very wrong. If your stomach didn’t hurt, I would be very concerned that you hadn’t learned a lesson here.”

I reached out and hugged him. As I did, I whispered in his ear, “Do you think some ice cream might help your stomach, sweetheart?” The two of us went out to the local ice cream parlor and as we ate, I made sure not to bring up the previous day’s bitterness. The focus was now completely on the lessons he’d learned.

I know I’ve been far from perfect in disciplining my children, but it is these experiences which turned out to be the ones they still remember now that they’re young adults.

Now getting back to the 2010 discipline study, what was found was that in all six of the countries included in the study, the more harsh the type of discipline used in an attempt to correct poor behavior, the more aggression, anxiety and other problematic behavior was left in it’s wake. I feel we can all learn something as we read through this important study.

So no matter what your culture’s norm, try taking a breath. Muting our own reactions to our children’s poor behavior, is said to improve our results. What do you find works during disciplining? Specially, in this digital age.

How To Discipline Kids IN The Times of VIdeo/Online Games #onlinegames #videogames #discipline #parenting

Janie Saylor is a professional certified coach with a degree in psychology, her focus is in the emerging field of positive psychology. Janie is the mom of two grown children, her son, age 20, and her daughter, age 24. Being the mom of a recovering addict and an advocate for addiction and recovery, also brings a new dimension into Janie’s writings and life experiences. In 2006, Janie published a book, “The Road You’ve Traveled, How to Journal Your Life,” which came from her experiences teaching life journaling to people over the age of 60 for 10+ years in many different communities in the Metro Detroit area. Janie’s used her experiences and education as she developed 8-week online coaching program and has had tremendous success in improving the communication, lives and relationships of her clients. You can contact her at >