Thursday, August 28, 2014

With children returning to school, I hope that children are learning other skills at home.  As we saw in the movie "Nanny McPhee," there are five things every child must learn:  1) To go to bed when they are told (and to say "please"); 2) To get up when they are told; 3) To get dressed when they are told (and to say "thank you"); 4) to listen; and 5) to do exactly as they are told.  

Giving children these social lessons are vital to successful development.

When my oldest grandson was eight years old (he is now sixteen), he told me, "Kids need five things:  to be loved, to be listened to, to know they can learn, to be thanked, and to be taught."  I think he is very wise.

Professional observation suggests that third-graders need to learn four things to be successful in life.  As children learn these four skills before or during third grade, they will be successful in anything the rest of their lives.  In the unlikely event that they do not learn these four things, they will spend the rest of their lives struggling a bit and wondering why they are not as successful (until they learn them).  These four keys to success are:  

  • BASIC WRITING SKILLS (yes, spelling counts, grammar counts, and cursive writing is nice!)
  • BASIC MATH (2 + 2 really is 4!  The brain works on algebraic equations.  It is always solving for "x" and looking for balance.)
  • READING SKILLS (texting and emails do not count, but thanks for asking!)
Happy school year!  Make a great day.

Dr. Susan

Thursday, June 26, 2014


Good Moring All: Travel is good for the body and the soul. Like many behaviors and activities in life, there is a spectrum. We get caught up in the all or nothing thinking of travel is a trip for a destination. Travel can be a quick 5-30 minute break in the yard, the tub, a quiet room, across the street, across town, or around the world. The idea of travel is to "get away" and take a break. We need to travel every day for a few minutes. Take a trip in your mind, with a friend to lunch, play with a pet, enjoy watching children play. STAY AWAY FROM YOUR TECHNOLOGY if you truly want to travel. Many times while traveling I only engage the use of technology 2-3 times a day. I also like to travel where there is no "cell service." We can also do that by "turning off" or walking away from the technology. I read a report that stated in centuries, civilization may look back at us and wonder what that extra appendage is that we had attached to us. Take mini vacations, small trips, and learn to enjoy life every day. There is something beautiful and thrilling in every life in every day. We have to discover it ourselves. No one can point it out to us. Make a Great Day Dr. Susan

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Pay Day (Continued)

Greetings All: Have you had your play day (moment) today? In my blog yesterday, I talked about the importance of a Play Day. Usually we do not get the luxury of actually having a full day. The Play time can be a few minutes to perhaps a few hours. The main purpose of a play time is to relax, get away from the task, (as a task), enjoy yourself and have some fun. For many people a plan time can include task, such as gardening, organizing a closet/room, painting, etc. To each his/her own. My dad use to tell us kids growing up poor and on a farm to make our own fun and that we could, if we wanted to, make anything fun. My father was a great example of making work fun, and enjoying every day of his life. He had plenty of issues, challenges, and difficulties. He taught to rise above them and to focus on the positive. We do get a choice to find something positive every day, or dwell only on the negative. I love roses. Every rose that I have seen, and that I grow has some thorns. I can focus on the beauty of the rose, or on the problem of the thorns. I prefer to focus on the beauty of the rose. We also need to focus on the beauty that is within each of us. Focus daily on 3 things you like about yourself. This can even be part of your play time. If you notice small children then talk about the good things about themselves as they play. We could all learn a lesson from this. Make a Great Day Dr. Susan

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Have a Play Day

Greetings World How many time have you scheduled a play day for your children? How many times have you scheduled a play day for yourself? We all need a play day. Children know the value of a play day. They know they love the interaction. They learn life skills, new skills, relationship skills, and cooperation. Children also learn confidence and letting go, through their play. As parents, we often teach children through play. As adults, we also forget the value of play in our life. It allows us to take a moment and enjoy what is going on around us. If you want to live in the here and now, learn to enjoy moments of play throughout the day. We need to enjoy something every day. Too many of us have such a large task list that we do not get to the enjoyment list. We can actually do both. Work and tasks can also be fun. What do you enjoy doing? Some adults have a difficult time even answering this question. Play will allow you to release negative feelings and thoughts. Play lets you enjoy the moment. Be good to yourself, and Make a Great Day. Dr. Susan

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Best Day

Greetings All: Today can be one of the best days of your life, if you focus on the positive, find something to be grateful for, and laugh at something. These are 3 skills that Vicktor Fankal used while in concentration camps during the holocaust. He stated, "we do not always get to choose our circumstances, but we can always choose our attitude." He also stated that if he could find something positive, something to be grateful for, and something to laugh at I a concentration camp, anyone can do the same think in any situation in their life. Today really can be great, but how we think about what we have, who we are and possibilities. Make a Great Day Dr. Susan

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Lasting Happiness

Greetings All: Are you happy? It is spring - which also means a plethora of different and changing weather. Kind of like our emotions at times. We can obtain temporary or short term "happiness" in the form of shoes, chocolate, spending, media, etc. What I want to discuss today is "Lasting Happiness." Happiness is a term that the definition is in the mind of the beholder. There are many forms of happiness, and many people have their own definition which we may or may not agree with. According to research, in the fields of sociology, psychology and theology, most lasting happiness comes from more intrinsic forms, and less material forms. We do need to have our basic needs met, food, clothing, shelter. As human beings we are more likely to find happiness with people and through things. Simply accumulating "things" and buying may result in a temporary (chocolate) high, but there are few long lasting happy and satisfying feelings that come from accumulation of things. A happier person is the person who has an appreciation for simplicity and not for accumulating more "things." Most people also find more true and lasting happiness by serving other than by being selfish themselves. Selfishness moves us away from God and away from others. When we serve other, we find joy and happiness. We are more grateful and are more aware of the positive things in our life. We become more in touch with who we are, the ore we get out of self, and into gratitude and service. We all have personal strengths or qualities. Each day identify a personal strength or a few qualities. As you do this will be more grateful, have more self-esteem and have more self-confidence. Use your qualities and strengths to "drive" and determine your behaviors. Happy people have close meaningful relationships in their life. Most of us find our closest relationships with our family. These relationships can also be some of our greatest challenges. It is very important to love our family members and to recognize that neither they or we are perfect. We will offend them and they will offend us. Look for the positive and the blessings in self as well as others. Identify something every day that you can be happy about. Make a Great Day. Dr. Susan

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Anger (Friend or Foe?)

Greetings All: Anyone every get angry? What a question. I am pretty sure that we can all give a YES to that one. There are actually times that anger can be a bit of a friend (not all the time, however). We do get a bit of an adrenalin rush when we get angry, and therefore, seem to have a bit more energy or strength. That can be a plus at times. Anger can also be a motivator to bring about positive change in our life. Anger can also assist us in learning what kind of personal boundaries we need to have. Most of the time, when anger goes unchecked, it become more destructive, than constructive. Here are a few simple (not always easy) techniques to manage anger, rather than letting anger manage you. (And as usual, you will need to practice these techniques when you are calm, so that your brain will code them in and they will be more natural to use when the anger bomb is building. First and foremost - Anger is a Choice. Anger is not a primary emotion. Anger is always covering another emotion such as shame, sadness, fear, anxiety,depression, embarrassment, resentment, irritation, guilt, jealousy, hurt, betrayed, etc. Learn to identify the "REAL" feeling driving the anger. Anger is a "CHOICE." People or things, do not make us angry. We choose to be angry, because of another feelings. Some people will use anger to control and get their way most of the time. "When you are right, you can afford to keep your temper, and when you are in the wrong, you cannot afford to lose it." My dad use to tell us, "When you are right, you do not have to say anything. When you are wrong or angry you should usually say less." "You put your life in the hands of any fool who you think can make you mad." Be sure to practice deep breathing daily. When you breathe deeply, you are less likely to get stuck in the feelings that drive anger. Practice asking yourself, "What do I really want to accomplish at this time?" Learn to take 1 minute breaks (I like to take 1 minute vacations), to breathe, get a drink of water, move my body and my eyes. These skills will also assist in dealing with feelings of anger. Happy emotional management:) Make a Great Day. Dr. Susan Nate

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Calm Mind/Relaxed Body

Good Day All: Calm Mind/Relaxed Body - easy for me to say, you say! Actually it is possible for each of us to attain a calm mind and a relaxed body. Just like ot6her skills you have learned, calming and relaxing are also skills, that must be learned and PRACTICED every day. Most of us do not remember how we began walking, talking, feeding ourselves, dressing, toileting, etc. These seem so natural to us, most of the time. (I do admit I have to check my buttons to see if I have them all lined up. I also have to occasionally wipe food off my clothes, or face, and I have been known to trip and fall on occasion. But, alas, I digress.) The reason that we are accomplished at the every day tasks is that we practiced them daily. Fast forward to Pre-school, Kindergarten, or First Grade (no Pre-School, in my early days). Then began the more difficult task of tying, skipping, reading, and the ever dreaded MATH. (Math would some day turn into more terror, with Algebra, when we were told we have to combine numbers and letters and solve for X. (I am still trying to solve for X. What does it mean anyway?!?!?!) Actually, algebra is the way the brain works. The brain is constantly trying to balance and solve and look for what is missing. This is part of the reason it seems difficult to calm and mind and relax the body. A few tips to do this is by simply repeating the phrase, "Calm Mind/Relaxed Body." As you learn the words (simple) and then practice them several times a day (not always easy, will become easier and very effective), you will feel more natural doing them, and you will be surprised and delighted at the effects. If you do not like, the phrase, "Calm Mind/Relaxed Body" you can substitute what seems more comfortable and natural for yourself. (Example: Clear Mind/Peaceful Body, or any other combination of a direction for your mind and body.) Enjoy this new exercise. Make a Great Day Dr. Susan

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Sweet Dreams

"Now I lay me down to sleep" is the beginning of a poem most of us learned as a child. Many of us remember a pleasant comforting bed time routine of a story, prayer, hugs, kisses, and being tucked in. Some of had to have special or favorite animal with us. I, actually loved having a stuffed animal and music. I still keep stuffed animals on my bed (I no longer sleep with them), and I enjoy music or nature sounds at times to go to sleep. As adults we often are not privileged to have such comforting, soothing, bed time routines. We are stressed, worried, anxious, depressed, angry, frustrated, overwhelmed, etc., at the end of the day. We know we have a finite amount of time to get sum precious, much needed rest. So, rather than quieting our mind, relaxing, praying, having a good bed time story, a hug and a kiss, we let our thoughts run helter skelter. We then worry even more that we are not going to sleep. If you find yourself in this situation, ask yourself, "What is the best use of my time right now?" The best answer, is "relaxing and sleeping." "Easy for her to say," you think to yourself. Actually, I would like to teach you a few techniques that will assist you in providing yourself with a lovely bedtime relaxation. Be sure to spend a few minutes before you are preparing to go to bed to meditate. Meditation can be done in a variety of ways. Look at a beautiful sunset for a few minutes. Breathe in and out with slow deep breathes. Watch a child or a pet at play. Write a gratitude list. Thank someone for helping you during the day. Listen to soothing music. Read a poem, or inspirational thought or story. Write in a Gratitude journal. Speak softly what you are grateful for, what has been positive in your day, or qualities that you like about yourself. When you have TAKEN (it really is a choice) a few minutes to relax finish getting ready for bed. To begin the relaxation process, you only need about 5 to 10 minutes. It may well be the best 5 or 10 minutes you have spent all day. When you are in bed, breathe deeply, in and OUT about 5 times. Then notice 3 things you can see in your room, 3 things you hear (in the room, not in your head), and 3 things you feel (externally). As you focus on the here and now, your brain will quiet, you will relax more and sleep better. (More relaxation tips will be coming). Sweet Dreams Make a Great Day Dr. Susan

Monday, February 17, 2014


Good Monday Morning Enthusiasm may be asking a bit much for a Monday Morning. I believe that everything morning, can create enthusiasm - if that is what we want. We are able to create out internal attitude, when we are not always - or rarely - able to create our external environment. We can practice daily acts of random kindness for self and for others. Each time we take a moment to focus on something beautiful, something we are grateful, for a blessing our life, we create an internal environment of kindness. We also become more enthusiastic about life when we are more optimistic. At times enthusiasm is a bit quiet and manifests itself through out optimism. Other times enthusiasm is visible by all. Find something or someone today an everyday to love, appreciate, and to be enthusiastic about. Make a great day Dr. Susan Nate

Monday, January 27, 2014


I have a saying posted in my office. (Actually, I have many) "The Problem isn't the Problem. The Problem is the Attitude about the Problem!" What a true statement. Attitude makes such a difference in everything. Staying positive is one of the most important things we can to. It can, however, be very difficult during times of challenge (which is usually every day) in our life. Viktor Frankl in his book "Man's Search for Meaning" wrote that we are seldom able to choose our circumstances, but we can always choose our attitude. He and a physician decided in the concentration camp that they would find something positive, something to be grateful for, and something to laugh at every day. He stated, "if you can do that in a concentration camp, you can do that anyplace." No matter the circumstances or situation, we can always find something positive, something to be grateful for and something to laugh at. One way to begin to is practice writing in a Gratitude Journal. Just like the law of physics, two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time, two thoughts and two opposing emotions cannot occupy the brain and body at the same time. When we are grateful (an attitude of gratitude) we will be more positive. Worry is a waste of time. Pick a time (5-10 minutes) at the same time every day. Write down your worries and then throw them away. This does not change circumstances, but it will change how you think. Then get up and focus on something positive, write about your blessings, do a small task from your "to do list." If you can actively do something about what you are worrying about, then do it. If you cannot, let it go and focus on what you can control. Most worry is about things or people that we cannot control. Say a prayer, turn it over to God, (He knows everything and has the perfect plan for everyone) and then do something kind for someone. Be the positive person, who people want to be around. Surround yourself with positive people. Check your attitude several times a day. If you find your attitude going into the negative, it is YOUR attitude, change it, and focus on something else. Make a Great Day Dr. Susan Nate

Monday, January 20, 2014

Basic Lessons

We are always learning lessons Some lessons are easy and simple to learn Other lessons are difficult and take a very long time to learn We can learn from other's experiences and mistakes We can learn from our own experiences and mistakes Sometimes it even takes us a very long time to learn a lesson from our own experiences Most of the really important lessons, however, we learn when we are young. Robert Fulghum wrote a book, "Everything I need to know I learned in Kindergarten" Most of what I needed to learn, I learned from my father. Be kind - to self and others Do not judge - self or others Always do your best - really your best Give everyone a smile and a few kinds words Do not take other's actions or words personally - They have their own issues Be the kind of friend you want to have Always be honest - with yourself and with others. Log in again for more words of wisdom from Reed Be kind today and Make a Great Day Recognize the miracle that you are Dr. Susan Nate