It's About Them

Young People … Our Greatest Resource

Maturity: It’s Not About Age

A friend shared this brief quote from Ann Landers. I must caution you; it’s powerful.

“Maturity is the ability to do a job whether or not you are supervised, to carry money without spending it, and to bear an injustice without wanting to get even.”  Ann Landers

You know, you could search for months and not find a better definition. And it’s NOT about age. A 16-year old can be mature and a 61-year-old immature by this definition.

And we’ve seen both, haven’t we?  

Here’s what I got from Ann Landers’ definition of maturity in terms of how it affects instruction to our children:

1. An agreement to do something, whether it’s to build a house or take out the trash, is a binding promise. Why should we have to be supervised to start and finish a job we promised?

2. Money is a tool, and there are places to keep tools until we need them. If we want our tools to last, we take care of them.

3. Those who rise to the top in this world know how to manage their anger and frustration. It’s the sign of a civilized person. Sometime we take injustices very personally when they weren’t intended that way at all. Wisdom is accumulated in recognizing the difference.

 Thank you, Mrs. Landers, for some wise thoughts.

James D. Sutton, Psychologist  

January 26, 2008 Posted by | adversity, Educators, family, Inspirational, Parents, Self-esteem | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Getting Through on a Hug

It’s kinda interesting that my last post quoted Shawnee Chief Tecumseh, because today I spoke at Marty Indian School in the southeastern part of South Dakota, a small community about two miles or so from Nebraska. The school is on the Yankton-Sioux Reservation.

As I was catching my flight from San Antonio, a mother with two children was in front of me trying to get through the TSA metal detector. She was carrying a baby and a little boy about two or three was following her.

Mom and the baby got through the scanning machine just fine, but, when the boy was asked to come through, he froze. He wasn’t crying, not yet anyway. Mom and the very pleasant TSA officer were standing on the other side trying to coax him and encourage him to come through. The more they talked, the more terrified he became.

A line was forming behind him, with me at the head of the line. He wasn’t going anywhere. He stood there, perfectly still watching his mother and baby brother. They could have been standing in the next world for all he knew. Close … but so far away.

Mom did a wise and loving thing. She put the baby in the stroller and stepped back through the screening frame. She got down on one knee, smiled, and opened her arms wide. He threw himself into her arms and she carried him through the detector.

The problem was solved. Not with harsh words. Not with an impatient posture. Not with a response to the building embarrassment that her son was holding up the line. She solved the problem by recognizing he was afraid.

When she removed the fear, he complied willingly. There can be a world of difference between “I don’t WANT to” and “I’m AFRAID to.”

Wisdom is knowing the difference.

James Sutton, Psychologist       

January 19, 2008 Posted by | adversity, Counselors, Difficult Child, Educators, family, Inspirational, Parents, Self-esteem | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On Being Thankful … and Tecumseh

“When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light, for your life and strength. Give thanks for your food and the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies with yourself.” Tecumseh, Shawnee Chief

I was pouring through my collection of quotes this morning and this one came to my attention. I believe what Chief Tecumseh said is not only true and a standard to live by, it’s something we must pass on to our children.

If we cannot express gratitude, we will sour from the inside out. If happiness is a worthwhile state (it could never be a goal, lest we lose it in the capture), much of that state relies on being truly thankful.

Have you ever met someone who was too bitter to be thankful for anything? My guess is you didn’t really want to spend much time in their presence. Besides, bitterness is quite contagious.

On a personal level just the name “Tecumseh” brings a smile to my face. My parents were raised in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Although my sister and I grew up in Texas, and live there still, Shawnee was a very special place … Grandma’s. Anyone who knows the area knows that, when you come from the south on 177 (through Stratford and Asher), Tecumseh is just a few miles from Shawnee.

Tecumseh was near the end of our journey at Christmas and on summer vacations, a sure sign that Grandma was but moments away. I’d have to say that, in those days, I knew more about WHERE Tecumseh was than WHO he was.

But either way, the gratitude is still there.

James Sutton, Psychologist


January 12, 2008 Posted by | adversity, family, Humor, Inspirational, Parents, Self-esteem | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Flag on the Shoulder

Today I flew into Pensacola, Florida for only the second time in my life. The first time was over 40 years ago when, as a young sailor, I attended communications training there at Correy Field.

 I’m pretty sure I was the only person above 30 on the flight from Houston to Pensacola. I had a pretty good idea that just about everyone on the plane (mostly guys, but a few young ladies also), were Navy personnel. After a little discussion, I discovered I was right. They were a fine group of men and women; polite, engaging, and even a little interested in hearing about what it was like in the “old” Navy.

I’d put myself in their hands. I mean it. Some folks think it’s stylish to put down our young people today, but they’re wrong to throw everyone in one big category.

On this trip to Florida I saw a number of military folks in the desert uniform. The next time you see a young man or young woman in that uniform, check out their right shoulder. They carry the American flag there. Some of their ranks have died with that flag on their shoulder.

That’s worth remembering from time to time. Indeed, It’s About Them.

James Sutton, Psychologist

January 4, 2008 Posted by | adversity, Educators, family, Inspirational, Parents, Self-esteem, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment