Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Blame Game: Or How A Horde of Orc's Changed My Life

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       We all do it at one time or another don't we?  Play the blame game.  The bad experiences we have, and the feelings associated with those experiences, must be some ones fault.  I mean we must feel this way for a reason and Buddha forgive that we hold our selves accountable for our own feelings and actions.  Recently I read something about blame, "If blaming is a game then why doesn't it feel more fun?"
         I believe I have blogged some where before that I feel that blaming is part of human nature.  Unless we have been taught from an early age how, and when, to be humble blame just kicks in.  The people who know how to be humble are more often than not perceived as being victims so people associating with the humble have a tendency to try and take advantage of them, or dismiss their feelings and opinions.  Blame appears to be much more empowering to many; but not really the brave option.
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        I don't think I need to point out the many different ways we as a society blame each other.  Ill leave that all up to your imagination and personal experiences.  What I do want to point out is this.
       Blaming handicaps us in all areas of life.  It causes a stand still to change and progress both as a society and as individuals.  We have a tendency to become so mired in the negative fall out of blame that we are blind to its consequences.  The people who most often suffer are those closest to us. 
       Over time I have spent more time than I can count working with persons who are stuck in the blame game.  They keep on rolling the dice and coming up with critical failures.  They don't understand why they keep on feeling so crappy.  They've identified what they think is the source of the blame yet they keep on getting 1 on the dice.  Maybe some more wrist action would help?  Maybe a new set of dice?  A set with better Juju.
     If it is our goal in life to spread joy, love, compassion then blaming goes against that basic human nature.  Blame supports being a victim, not being brave.  It keeps us from taking the kind, loving, compassionate path.  It wont matter what dice you use or how you role them.  I know I know I just wrote that I feel that blame is part of human nature.  This is where it gets interesting.
      In every spirituality, including science, there is always a reference made to duality, heaven and hell, yin and yang, atoms, protons, neutrons, and electrons.  A path with a fork in the road...supposedly.   I don't believe in the fork, I just believe in the path.  There is good and evil in everything making it work, or not work, the trick is realizing this so that we can become balanced.  Traveling the path while gaining wisdom and experience from the good and bad.
      Becoming balanced takes work.  In Dungeons and Dragons some of the hardest role playing scenario's are those that take place on planes that rely and function on balance.  The game player can be neither good or evil, they must find the middle ground to finish the quest.  How ever in order to have balance you must have good and bad.  Does this mean the whole party, each individual in it, becomes balanced?  Or does it mean that you rely on the good and bad inherently in each person and have confidence that in the end everyone will do their job to ensure a success in the end?  So here's how it works. 
     Shit is happening and you feel like what is happening.  Instinct tells us to blame, and who we usually blame is the one closest to us.  That reaction, not response, is a red flag that we need to stop, think and even feel.  Trust what we feel. 
     Why are we angry?  Is it really the other persons fault?  Or are we angry at ourselves?Did we take an active role in what was going on?  Did we some how fail to communicate our true feelings over the situation and just went along for the ride?  Did some one not validate how we felt and was that some one who you went on the ride with?   Was there enough praise given to everyone involved?
     I always think of my hubby when faced with blame for a few reasons.  I will do this by telling a story about D&D.  Years ago we played in an adult D&D game with some friends.  It was a fun cheap way to spend regular time with each other and other people who's company we still enjoy to this day.  My husband is not a gamer he did this for me.   How ever my hubby is a very good role player and a very mischievous one.  He's one of those people who, while everyone else is going this way he is going that way.  Games really do mirror reality sometimes. 
      So we are in this town, cant remember why.  What I do remember is while we were going this way, he went that a way and next thing we know he is being chased by a horde of angry Orc's that far out numbered us.  A lesson imagined by our Dungeon Master to teach hubby a lesson.  It didn't work.  He found the whole thing hilarious.  Still has pride and a big shit eating grin on his face when ever some one talks about it. 
       Cant remember what the out come was but I can tell you that he was probably to blame for something bad because almost 20 years later the whole party blames him...for something.  That's the thing about blame, you hold on to it long enough with out addressing it properly and eventually you can't remember why you blamed who ever for what ever anymore.  Unlike the D&D story how ever its not so funny in real life.
Image result for horde of orcs running down a street
     Eventually we become so comfortable with the anger associated with the blame that it just becomes second nature.  Then it becomes hard to let it go because, well it must have been important right?  Why else would we feel so strongly about it?  So we look for other things to blame, some one else to point the finger at, just so we can hold onto that feeling that has become so important to us.
      If we let go of the blame and anger what would take up that portion of our lives?  What would fuel us on everyday?  Make us feel what we assume is passion and motivation?  Or worse what, and who, would we blame for our lack of passion and motivation?
      At some point you just have to stop and say, "OK, next time we play D&D if you run down that ally we are not going to save your ass, you will be alone in your decision."  And then just let them think about that for awhile. 
      Just like in D&D in real life we are all suppose to work as a team.  Towards the same goal.  This takes compromise, a lot of compromise, constant get the idea.  If you feel over compromised to the point where you feel you need to blame some one then you need to fine tune your skills of communication.
      So once again, stop, take some time to feel and think, ask yourelf why you feel that way.  Journal what you are feeling, come back to it, re read it, does it sound like you?  Does it sound like who you want to be?  Talk to some one you trust.  Some one who you know will give you a straight answer no matter what and still love and respect you, and you them.
      Another reason I always think of hubby is because of something he said to me once when we were "compromising."  He implied that he was not responsible for how I feel.  I looked at him with a "pardon fucking me" look but there is some truth to what he said.
While we are ultimately responsible for our own feelings it is near to impossible to let some one we love struggle alone.  Hence the reason for the great Orc rescue.  It is with in everyone's right to say, after wards, that we need to do that differently next time because I am not happy with the out come. 
     The Pith of the Matter.  We very often do things for the ones we love with very good intentions.  We try to be unselfish, loving, and compassionate.  These extraordinary deeds should be praised.   It does no one on either side any good if we don't speak the truth of how we feel about the whole situation before, during and after.  While speaking our feelings this should be done with a tone of respect and love. 
      In my 34 years with my hubby I can tell you there has been plenty of blaming on both sides from time to time.  But looking back I can tell you a couple of things.  We wasted a lot of time on blaming that could have been better spent.  Ultimately we both played a part in the out come of every situation so the blame never rested on just one of us.  We were both very unhappy while playing the blame game and so was everyone around us.  When we finally let go of the blame we were happy to find happiness.  In the end, we are wiser for all of it.  Now I look back on that horde of Orc's and praise hubby for a fun filled adventure.  We rolled the dice in the game of blame and in the end rolled a critical success.  Not a fun game to have played while playing it, but looking back now I smile.
Emaho Namaste Peace out

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Shannon L. Alder
“People that hold onto hate for so long do so because they want to avoid dealing with their pain. They falsely believe if they forgive they are letting their enemy believe they are a doormat. What they don’t understand is hatred can’t be isolated or turned off. It manifests in their health, choices and belief systems. Their values and religious beliefs make adjustments to justify their negative emotions. Not unlike malware infesting a hard drive, their spirit slowly becomes corrupted and they make choices that don’t make logical sense to others. Hatred left unaddressed will crash a person’s spirit. The only thing he or she can do is to reboot, by fixing him or herself, not others. This might require installing a firewall of boundaries or parental controls on their emotions. Regardless of the approach, we are all connected on this "network of life" and each of us is responsible for cleaning up our spiritual registry.”
Shannon L. Alder
Steve Goodier
“An important decision I made was to resist playing the Blame Game. The day I realized that I am in charge of how I will approach problems in my life, that things will turn out better or worse because of me and nobody else, that was the day I knew I would be a happier and healthier person. And that was the day I knew I could truly build a life that matters.”
Steve Goodier

Monday, November 21, 2016

Religious Freedom

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       I have blogged often how in our family we have many different perceptions on religion, God, and spirituality.  When we have talked about this with others, especially those persons in some kind of field of social work, I.e. counselors, economists, etc., they are surprised that it works.  Our family is the exception, not the rule in America.  Why is that?  I use current events to explain my point of view why I perceive this mind set towards our family confusing for many.
        Right now we all seem to have opposing mind sets concerning the mandatory registration of Muslims.  There are two minds sets.  One is that Muslims, but honestly if you do your research you know that what I am going to share next is not exclusive to being Muslim, supposedly are responsible for much of the terrorism going on in the world right now.  Many Muslims entering many country's around the world are not family's, they are males, many single, and put up a red flag of a possible invasion.  All governments of any country pay attention to this kind of activity, and rightly so.  It is their job to keep citizens safe.
       The other more well known knowledge is that insisting that Muslims register is some how a violation of religious freedom, at least in the United States.  Perhaps.  On the surface, when not given any thought, this could be true for many.
      Persons who are driven by anger, hate, prejudice, and fear could certainly perceive it this way.  In my opinion, and personal conspiracy theory, there are probably some high ranking officials who believe that by promoting these negative feelings, and connecting them to religion, they will easily be able to get what they feel needs, and should, be done to protect citizens.  There is another mind set how ever.
      I remember the Dali Lama speaking recently on terrorism.  Basically what he said was that Muslim terrorists, Buddhist terrorist, are an oxymoron.  All religions at their heart promote peace and unity.  Anyone who does anything harmful in the name of religion is not really subscribing to their religion and should be treated as suspect.
      We need to stop saying that Muslims are being forced to register based on religion.  What is happening to them is a basic human rights violation.  If one of our freedoms is freedom of religion then, as Americans, we must assume that what our government is doing is violating human rights.  The mistake that our President Elect made was insisting that this registering should be done at a place were freedom of religion is taking place, or was it a mistake?  (Hence support for my conspiracy theory.)
      To support Muslims we should be insisting that this has nothing to do with religion and point out our history of internment camps during WW2.  Moving Native Americans off of their land and slavery.  Technically all of these had nothing to do with religion.
     A couple of friends, whose opinions I greatly respect, pointed out that much of this history was done in the name of religion/Christianity.  And I agree with this.  BUT here is my question for you.  If we truly oppose anyone, including our government, using religion in any shape or form as means for change and to supposedly make the United States, and other country's around the world, safer are we not we being hypocritical, and actually supporting this idea by arguing that what is happening is a violation of religious freedom?
      Native Americans rights were violated because of land.  African Americans rights were violated due to race and greed.  Japanese and German Americans rights were violated due to fear brought on by a war.  Religion, because it is fundamentally so personal to everyone, was the catalyst that made many people blindly support human rights violations. 
      Everyone needs to be accountable for their behavior right now.  If we ask Muslims to register then in my opinion so should other organizations.  Hate groups of all kinds have participated in terrorism of some kind.
      While this definition does include acts of violence it does not say that it is subject to one specific group of people.  It does not include race and/or religion.  The reason is simple.  Because it includes everyone.  Anyone who attempts to make a change connected to politics using fear, hate, and/or anger, and in doing so causes harm to anyone, is technically a terrorist. 
      Once again supporting my revolution of peace I encourage everyone to watch what they say, how they say it, what they post on Facebook, and what you write.  If you are promoting and supporting equality that includes all of us.  Don't promote fear, anger, hate.  Speak for all of us.  One family who truly believes in peace, compassion, and understanding. In our family it works because we choose not to separate our selves from each other due to freedom of religion.  There is a lesson there for everyone I think.
Emaho  Namaste Peace out

Aung San Suu Kyi
“Within a system which denies the existence of basic human rights, fear tends to be the order of the day. Fear of imprisonment, fear of torture, fear of death, fear of losing friends, family, property or means of livelihood, fear of poverty, fear of isolation, fear of failure. A most insidious form of fear is that which masquerades as common sense or even wisdom, condemning as foolish, reckless, insignificant or futile the small, daily acts of courage which help to preserve man's self-respect and inherent human dignity. It is not easy for a people conditioned by fear under the iron rule of the principle that might is right to free themselves from the enervating miasma of fear. Yet even under the most crushing state machinery courage rises up again and again, for fear is not the natural state of civilized man.”
Aung San Suu Kyi, Freedom from Fear

To vastly improve your country and truly make it great again, start by choosing a better leader. Do not let the media or the establishment make you pick from the people they choose, but instead choose from those they do not pick. Pick a leader from among the people who is heart-driven, one who identifies with the common man on the street and understands what the country needs on every level. Do not pick a leader who is only money-driven and does not understand or identify with the common man, but only what corporations need on every level.

Pick a peacemaker. One who unites, not divides. A cultured leader who supports the arts and true freedom of speech, not censorship. Pick a leader who will not only bail out banks and airlines, but also families from losing their homes -- or jobs due to their companies moving to other countries. Pick a leader who will fund schools, not limit spending on education and allow libraries to close. Pick a leader who chooses diplomacy over war. An honest broker in foreign relations. A leader with integrity, one who says what they mean, keeps their word and does not lie to their people. Pick a leader who is strong and confident, yet humble. Intelligent, but not sly. A leader who encourages diversity, not racism. One who understands the needs of the farmer, the teacher, the doctor, and the environmentalist -- not only the banker, the oil tycoon, the weapons developer, or the insurance and pharmaceutical lobbyist.

Pick a leader who will keep jobs in your country by offering companies incentives to hire only within their borders, not one who allows corporations to outsource jobs for cheaper labor when there is a national employment crisis. Choose a leader who will invest in building bridges, not walls. Books, not weapons. Morality, not corruption. Intellectualism and wisdom, not ignorance. Stability, not fear and terror. Peace, not chaos. Love, not hate. Convergence, not segregation. Tolerance, not discrimination. Fairness, not hypocrisy. Substance, not superficiality. Character, not immaturity. Transparency, not secrecy. Justice, not lawlessness. Environmental improvement and preservation, not destruction. Truth, not lies.

Most importantly, a great leader must serve the best interests of the people first, not those of multinational corporations. Human life should never be sacrificed for monetary profit. There are no exceptions. In addition, a leader should always be open to criticism, not silencing dissent. Any leader who does not tolerate criticism from the public is afraid of their dirty hands to be revealed under heavy light. And such a leader is dangerous, because they only feel secure in the darkness. Only a leader who is free from corruption welcomes scrutiny; for scrutiny allows a good leader to be an even greater leader.

And lastly, pick a leader who will make their citizens proud. One who will stir the hearts of the people, so that the sons and daughters of a given nation strive to emulate their leader's greatness. Only then will a nation be truly great, when a leader inspires and produces citizens worthy of becoming future leaders, honorable decision makers and peacemakers. And in these times, a great leader must be extremely brave. Their leadership must be steered only by their conscience, not a bribe.”
Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem

Saturday, November 19, 2016

What Exactly Did You Vote For? (Its All the Pith of the Matter)

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      We just ended another presidential election and most of us did not get the person who we felt would be best for our country.  During this process the majority of Americans got on board with a language that, as humans, many of us find promotes the idea of suffering.  A voice filled with anger and hate. 
      The voice of anger, fear and hate has been loud and strong.  Many choose to fight back by encouraging and supporting this time with more of the same language.  Protests filled with violence.  Language that is hypocritical in nature that basically sends the message that while it offends it is ok for me to do more of the same because I am protesting and fighting its source.
      The source is us. 
      You cannot fight anger with more anger.  You cannot fight hate with more hate.  If you want to change the language being used you must be the one who watches what you say and how you say it. 
      There is another movement that is not so widely posted on Facebook, reported on the news, or written.  It is one of peace.  People of peace are not ignorant.  We do not put our head in the sand, turn off Facebook, the TV, or radio.  We do not stop reading what is relevant to all human beings.  In fact we choose to use the information we have acquired with a purpose of true change. We choose to not be part of the problem.  We don't repost messages that promote anger and hate.  We don't share messages filled with suffering.  We don't use language that shares pessimism, hate and/or anger.
      We choose to be optimistic and use the language of love, compassion and kindness.  We share messages of equanimity, compassion, kindness, and love. It is very easy to be part of the masses, the norm, that promotes and encourages dissention through suffering.  Who controls using fear, anger and hate.  It is far harder to stand apart, often alone, surrounded by and with peace.  You only need to turn on the news, log on to Facebook, or just go out of your own home to know that finding and holding on to peace is far from a easy thing to do.
    I challenge everyone to stop promoting the suffering of the world.  If a post must be made in the name of informing others of some kind of suffering anywhere then pay attention to the language you attach to it.  Share your wisdom, and knowledge with a message of compassion.  If things must change be a part of it in a way that makes you and others around you feel good.  Don't increase the suffering.

Emaho Namaste Peace out

Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I am committed to cultivating loving speech and compassionate listening in order to relieve suffering and to promote reconciliation and peace in myself and among other people, ethnic and religious groups, and nations.  Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I am committed to speaking truthfully using words that inspire confidence, joy and hope.  When anger is manifesting in me, I am determined not to speak.  I will practice mindful breathing and walking in order to recognize and to look deeply into its roots, especially in my wrong perceptions and lack of understanding of the suffering in myself and in the other person.  I will speak and listen in a way that can help me and the other person to release the suffering and see the way out of difficult situations.  I am determined not to spread news that I do not know to be certain and not to utter words that can cause division or discord.  I will make daily efforts, in my speaking and listening, to nourish my capacity for understanding, love, joy, and inclusiveness, and gradually transform anger, violence, and fear that lie deep in my consciousness.  
-The fourth precept

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Potential of Potential: For parents who want everything for their child(ren).

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           Periodically I am faced with other parents who question the success of my sons, for what ever reason, and by association how they were parented.  This bothers me but not for the reasons you may think.  I rarely get up in arms and angry at people who throw out comments about how my sons choose to maneuver their lives.  What I more often feel for these other parents is a deep regret and feeling of compassion.  I wonder if they know and appreciate their own children fully?  While I usually don't say anything to these parents/caregivers, because I don't feel the need to explain, or make excuses, for choices in my life that have nothing to do with them, I do feel the need to share some wisdom that I can honestly share has been successful. 
          This wisdom is not mine.  While it has been adjusted to fit to our family the knowledge has been taken from experts in many different fields of life.  So while reading this know that you also can go out and find the information that will fit your family and lifestyle. 
           When husband and I had our first son we sat down and had a conversation about what were going to be the most important things we wanted our child(ren) to learn.  The things that would help them be successful in life.  Before we could do that we realized that we needed to define what was the meaning of success.
We decided that success is defined differently by everyone but ultimately must include happiness.  The traditional meaning of success usually includes some word that means wealth. 
The definition of wealth includes some reference to money, and material items.  But it is in the second definition of wealth that we focused on. 

2.  an abundance or profusion of anything; plentiful amount:

          Many people believe that wealth, and by association, success, is defined by money and everything it can buy.  When you realize that the statistic's for people who are actually able to obtain, and maintain, this definition is very small in comparison to the over one quarter of American's currently on welfare it becomes clear that the meaning of success does not necessarily apply to everyone and should be carefully defined. 
          Having an education in child development, human development, and social work hubby and I asked the question,"isn't it more important to teach a child certain skills that ensure happiness in life in general?"  On the off chance, and no parent wants to think about their child struggling in life in any shape or form, that they were unable to achieve the 4% of wealth in America? 
          We came up with a list of skills/tools that we felt, and still feel to this day, that would enable our children to find happiness and there for success.

* How to be polite.  Manners should always be used with everyone.  We made sure to teach our kids that insisting on using manners is not a sign of weakness.  Using words and not your fists will get you farther in life.  Being able to use manners when ever confronted with a bully of any age, through all stages of life, defines character.  More importantly knowing that you can be polite when faced with rudeness is an internal motivator.  It feels good when you have succeeded at standing up to a bully with only your words, and character, and encourages you to be brave.  This internal motivator moves us forward to face other scary situations, like a new job, a crappy boss, a new school, moving out of state, your first child, etc.  It also encourages learning, which in turn encourages wisdom, and supports further courage enabling further accomplishments.
* Honesty.  Kids, and adults will progress through stages of life where they lie.  Sometimes this is developmentally appropriate.  Learning how, and when the world can be manipulated is actually an important part of development, so when a child is caught in a lie it should be handled carefully, with out fear, or embarrassment, and always with a consequence that is appropriate. 
          The test of whether or not you were successful at teaching this skill is; did they turn into honest, trustworthy adults.  Are they capable of communicating what they think and feel with respect and honesty to achieve their goals?  Honesty is directly related to politeness.
*Read.  To them, with them, for them if necessary, and encourage them to read what interests them.  (Even if it is comic books.)  This encourages communication, and imagination.
*Imagination and the ability to create.  There are some studies out there that suggest that children who are not exposed to and/or have never had the chance to be creative have a harder time problem solving.  If you cant problem solve how are you going to get that promotion?  More importantly, how will you keep that promotion and continue to climb the ladder.  Let them imagine what ever it is they can.  Encourage it and be involved in it.  Listen to there music, read what they read, play the games they play.  Show them all aspects of creativity and how important it is to all of us in different ways.

*Faith.  While we took our children to church with us when they were young; when they hit puberty they began questioning religion and god.  Give them options to your religion.  Show them that the world is full of all kinds of faith.  Teach them that its not important that they follow your path but they have a path and if they opt to be atheist be the best atheist they can be.  Role model how to live with each other respectfully while having different faiths.  Hubby is Catholic, I am Buddhist, we love each other, and agree to disagree on some points of faith, reincarnation vs. heaven for example.  Being able to do this in your household is invaluable to teaching compassion, which is something all faith's subscribe to.

*Compassion.  In this world full of so much anger, hate, and confusion the best thing you can arm your child with is compassion.  Knowing how and why people do what they do.  This must be taught with empathy.  While we are born with empathy it is still a skill that must be role modeled and nurtured.

*No.  I remember having clients who didn't want their child to hear no.  While the intentions were good this sets up children for failure.  If you choose to raise your child in a world where they never hear no they will be disappointed as adults...often.  The world is full of no.  The trick is teaching them that its nothing to be afraid of and to get out there and try again.  To be brave. They gain confidence with no by being allowed to say no and knowing that you are going to listen to their reasons for saying no and periodically back them up on their decision.  YES it is your job to sometimes say to them I'm sorry you don't want to do this but you still have to.  BUT it is also your job to sometimes respect their reasons for saying no and let them have it.  Knowing some one will listen to them builds confidence and more importantly keeps you connected with them through all the difficulty's of their life.
           Lastly but certainly the most important one.  Our children our not an extension of us.  They are their own person.  ON the flip side having them make lots of money, drive big fancy cars, have a big house, does not define what kind of job I did parenting them.  Do we really need to be proud of our children only for how much they make?  What is it exactly that we are suppose to really be providing for and to each other. Isn't it more important to be proud of the kind of person they are and how they treat those around them? It is our job just to give them the tools, support, love, compassion, they need to go out into the world and forge their own way.  With that said I want to explain the potential of potential and how everything I just shared ties into this.
          As a parent it is out jobs to watch our children for strengths and encourage them on a path that encourages those strengths so that they may be successful and ultimately happy, and if not always happy (because expecting that is expecting perfection) at least confident, in their choices.  BUT it is not our job to push and/or imply in any shape or form that we think they are on the wrong path and not meeting their potential.  Suggesting that they are not meeting their potential will more often than not cause your child to feel unsuccessful and backfire on you.  No one can define anyone else's potential. (This is why IQ tests are rarely used anymore.) Potential is a discovery, a journey, to be experienced by each of us at our own pace.  As a parent have confidence that your child will find the way. 
          YES it is hard sometimes to sit back and do nothing when every ounce of you wants to rush in and recuse them, protect them, and show them the easier path, the right path (in your opinion).  But you cant. Well you can, but unless they are doing harm to themselves or some one else I wouldn't recommend it. 
          You may feel the temporary feeling of satisfaction that comes with thinking that you did what was right for your child, but more often than not what usually happens is they will do it their way after all, and end up slightly resenting you for putting them on a path that wasted their time.  So its ok...they can figure it out for themselves.  And I don't say this in a vindictive, angry tone of voice kind of way. I mean in a they can, and will, figure it out with out you, have confidence in them and your parenting, kind of way.
          I have ultimately always been more proud of my kids when they do it on their own with out me and/or hubby.  I have been proud of them when they really screw things up because they learn from their mistakes.
          I wanted to send strong, independent, compassionate, honest, respectful adults out into the world who all made a difference in their own way.  If they wanted to be a garbage man then be the best garbage man they can be.  If they wanted to work at McDonalds then be the best darn Mcee D's employee there is.  No matter what their choice was, or is, just do it to the best of your ability and your will discover your own individual potential.  Once anyone figures out they are capable of more, then they want more, simple as that.  Its not anything that can be taught, it must be experienced.  Give them what they need to experience life to its fullest and how to be good at it and it will be ok.
          The Pith of the Matter is this. When you walk your own path with love, respect, politeness, compassion, and confidence you will get what you need to be happy.  To be successful and obtain all the wealth you need in this life to sustain you.  Be a thoughtful person and you will raise thoughtful children.

Leo Buscaglia
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a
listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all
of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
Leo Buscaglia
Sarah Dessen
“The choices you make now, the people you surround yourself with, they all have the potential to affect your life, even who you are, forever.”
Sarah Dessen, The Truth About Forever

Fred Rogers
“Part of the problem with the word 'disabilities' is that it immediately suggests an inability to see or hear or walk or do other things that many of us take for granted. But what of people who can't feel? Or talk about their feelings? Or manage their feelings in constructive ways? What of people who aren't able to form close and strong relationships? And people who cannot find fulfillment in their lives, or those who have lost hope, who live in disappointment and bitterness and find in life no joy, no love? These, it seems to me, are the real disabilities.”
Fred Rogers, The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember