Educational Toys Make a Great Christmas Present

We as parents can give them presents with educational value. We feel no guilt in giving our children presents that help them explore and learn. The holiday is about giving but it can also be a way to replenish art supplies and learning materials at the same time. Giving craft kits to make presents for others teach children value of sharing and caring. When they get that set of loops and loom, they can make pot holders for family and friends. They made it their selves to give to someone else. This gives them a big sense of pride.

Educational toys are still very colorful and kids don’t realize they are learning. Toddlers and babies learn so much in a short time. Why not give them the tools that will help them later on. Learning is fun with the right toys that are introduced.

Just stuffed animals, never, this is a cuddle toy like no other. When the fur is ragged and worn, that toy has done its job of being a little childs’ best buddy to nap or play. When Ty Babies came out they were all the rage and they are still fun for many to collect. This is a good way for little ones to start a collection that can follow through and be enjoyed by their children. Collecting is a great way for kids to enjoy traveling when its something simple they can collect along the way. It can be something as simple as rocks or fall leaves to press in the big catalog at home. Simple things from nature teach them to
respect the mother earth.

When you give a child an ant farm they are thrilled to see the activity. This is a mystery to them without the window to uncover the secrets. Microscopes are a great present that will help them see what is invisible to the naked eye. Science toys are still a great gift and they are learning and enjoying.

Playhouses give little ones a sense of self when they are by themselves to have quiet moments to reflect and read. This is a great place for them to enjoy as a place all their own with everything their size. One is a school bus with the steering wheel in place in the top, large enough to enjoy for meaningful play.

Dress up is a way for little ones to play role models like Mom and Dad. You find out how well you are doing when you listen to the little voices from your children. They hear more than we think they do. Are you proud of the mirror image you are molding into a future Mom or Dad.

How To Successfully Negotiate In Writing

When you negotiate in writing, compared to face to face, do you change your negotiation style? If you don’t, you should consider doing so. After all, cues you would otherwise pick up in a face to face negotiation, you’ll miss, because you won’t be able to discern nonverbal signals and other cues you’d gather in face to face negotiating. How then do you gain an advantage when you negotiate in writing? The answer, you have to be more aware of the meaning of the words in the communications. You must pay very close attention to the placement of the words, and understand how the author expresses and states his position; you should also observe how your opponent interprets the words you use. In essence, as you express your negotiation position, you need to determine the impact your words will have on your opponent. You’ll also have to take into consideration the culture of the other person/people and the meaning that some words have in his/their culture.

There are some things you need to do regardless of whether you’re negotiating face to face, over the phone, or via written communications. You still have to go about gathering background information on the subject you’re negotiating with. In so doing, in addition to the ‘normal’ information you’d look for, when negotiating in written form, you also need to retrieve written samples of that person’s writing style. The purpose of this exercise will become extensively more valuable as you go deeper into the negotiation process.

In my live presentation, I talk about ways to gather background information on people, such as using the Internet, speaking to other people they do business with, people in organizations that they belong to, etc. I also expound on the fact that you should always verify the information you receive, because your strategy, the course of action you will adopt to reach the goals of the negotiation are directly tied to the input you receive from your background gathering activities.

It’s easy to capture written samples. Before the negotiation is due to officially begin (the more lead time you have the better), communicate with the subject of the negotiation and inform him of a circumstance or situation that you’d like his opinion or input on. When he replies, observe his writing style. Continue down the same path until you’ve received what you consider to be sufficient writing samples; that will allow you to get an insight into how he uses different phases to convey his meanings. Once you enter into the official negotiation, match his negotiation writing style against the style he used when he didn’t consider himself to be negotiating. Take note of any word difference, to the degree that the implication of words used before the negotiation takes on additional or different meanings. By noting the conveyance of different meanings, you’ll gain insight into how he might be changing his manner of negotiating; you should also be able to detect when he’s switched from a pleasant mode to one that is sterner.

In the end it’s the change from what you’ve perceived to be a nice and meaningful flow in the negotiation that will indicate the acceptance or level of uneasiness with your position. Nevertheless, by paying attention to how he manipulates phases and the manner by which he conveys his position, you’ll be able to determine how he might respond to additional offerings you ‘put on the table’. By having this insight, you’ll know upon which path to take the negotiation and in the end, you should have an easier path to a successful negotiation outcome … and everything will be right with the world.

The Negotiation Lessons are …

· When you negotiate in writing, raise your level of awareness to the degree that you are highly perceptive to the manner specific words are used by your opponent.

· If you’re not sure of the position your opponent is trying to stake, communicate your lack of understanding to make sure both of you are on the same page.

· Make sure you get what you perceive to be a sufficient number of writing samples from your opponent. The purpose of this exercise is to highlight the idea of being able to compare the style of his writings in a nonthreatening environment compared to one that he might feel pressure. By doing so, you’ll gain insight into when your opponent is becoming stern compared to accepting your position.

When Your Past Is Present

True or false? “You can’t change the past!”

This statement is made by many who have experienced painful things in their past. The pain may have been experienced in childhood, in a previous or current marriage, or in some other kind of relationship altogether. Analogous to the “Get-out-of-jail-free” card in Monopoly, this partly-true saying serves as a “Get-out-of-difficult-emotional-work” card for many walking wounded.

The statement is true in part, but not fully. That we cannot change the facts of the past is obvious. What happened – whatever happened – happened. We cannot undo what was done, no matter how desperately we might want to. The funds embezzled by the business partner and squandered on drugs are unrecoverable. The lover who left has not even looked back. The deceased loved one is gone. The fact that you were sexually violated is as irreversible as it is horrible. Indeed, we cannot change what happened.

We don’t live with the facts of damaging life-events alone. We carry away from those events some things that are not immutable. What do we carry away besides the facts? We walk away with our understanding or interpretation of the facts. We carry our conclusions about ourselves and others based on our – sometimes faulty – interpretation of our experiences. We also carry our decisions about how to live in light of our understanding of those facts. Recognizing this difference between the facts and our understanding of them and choices based on our misunderstanding of them is invaluable. The facts are immutable; but many things associated with the facts can be changed, and should be changed.

When we are unable to recognize the difference between the changeable and the unchangeable things, we are set up for one of two serious problems: unnecessary misery or unnecessary exhaustion. The famous Serenity Prayer addresses our situation eloquently: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Consider three essential issues in this prayer. First, we must find peace (serenity) regarding certain unchangeable things – things about which we desperately desire change. Indeed, we need God’s help (grace) to find that serene place of acceptance of what feels absolutely unacceptable. Second, we need courage (perhaps more accurately stated, God’s power released in us) to change even the changeable. Sometimes the “doable” is only done with the help of God and others. That which falls into the category of “changeable” is sometimes terribly difficult and/or frightening; thus, we need courage to do what must be done to effect the change desired. Finally, the prayer affirms our need for God’s wisdom to know the difference between these two – the changeable and the unchangeable. It is not obvious. Our minds can trick us; we can be deceived. We may imagine that we can change the “unchangeable” if only we try harder, manipulate more craftily, or beg more intensely. Of course, this results in our unnecessary exhaustion – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. On the other hand, when we file things in the “unchangeable” category which are in fact changeable, we can live many years in misery unnecessarily, and even with unnecessary levels of misery. If only we had realized that courage and effort would have paid off in time… This prayer for “wisdom to know the difference,” prayed until it is fully answered, can keep us from unnecessary misery or unnecessary exhaustion.

We can agree that the facts of the past cannot be changed. What then can be changed? Sandra Wilson, in her excellent book Hurt People Hurt People, identifies four things that can and must be changed, if I am to be changed. They are:

1. My perceptions of my experiences.
2. My conclusions about my experiences.
3. My choices in response to my experiences.
4. The life patterns I have formed as a result of my experiences.

All of these are indeed changeable, but not necessarily obviously changeable, nor easily changed, and rarely changed over-night.

Much of the family dysfunction in our culture is rooted in these very issues. Wounded people, instead of finding healing, pretend to be well. It may not be too difficult to keep up the pretense in public, but at home we are found out. We are not as well as we want people to think.

If you’ve had painful experiences in the past, and you’ve concluded, “nothing can be done about it,” please consider this “second opinion.” If an honest assessment of your life indicates that your past is showing up in the present, seek the help needed. If disproportionate anger, distrust, suspicion, or defensiveness is evident in present relationships, this may be a sign that your past is pathologically present.

You can “be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). This is true Christianity. Jesus accepts us just as we are, but He never intended that we stay just as we are. He wants to transform us. And the “Good News” of His Gospel is that no one is so badly broken as to be beyond the power of His change; and conversely, no one is so good as to be beyond need of it. Not only will you benefit in this transformation Jesus will bring to you, but those closest to you will be blessed, too. You will probably need help in this transformation – help from books, lectures, and specific relationships. Seek until you find all the resources God has for you.

If you would consider a professional counseling relationship, you might provide a potential helper with a copy of this article. Request that he or she read it and tell you if they think they could help you sort out these issues and effect change in your life. Finally, don’t resist investing money in this process. Most of us readily invest money in education to make a better living; too few invest in counseling to make a better life. Proverbs 4:7 says, “Though it cost all you have, get wisdom, get understanding.” Even in this point – especially in this point, I would encourage prayerful wisdom in making such investments. Invite God to lead you to put the past in the past.