Dog Food and Salad Dressing Bottles

Cartoon of a guy embarrassed because he buried his dog in dog food. The caption says,

Here is a cartoon of a guy with an empty dog food bag and a dog smothered in dog food. The caption says, “It wasn’t much of a surprise. Eric had the same problem with salad dressing bottles.”

When I drew this, I didn’t have a pet. My fear of accidentally hurting the poor creature was at the top of my phobias.

Two kids and a half a dozen pets  over the years made me face my fears. Everyone fared well. That is, unless you were an aquarium fish. I really did try, but I probably buried those guys in fish food.

How do you know when criticism isn’t working?

Cartoon of a dog washing dishes and a man
Cartoon of a dog washing dishes. A man says to him, “You missed a spot.”

Criticism is the most popular way to teach someone something, isn’t it? When we someone who isn’t doing things the way we think they should, the most natural way to teach is to correct the individual.

So why do we hate criticism?

  • Because it can tear down a person if we’re not careful.
  • A small problem magnifies a huge problem.
  • Without some tact, we sound brutish and hurtful.
  • The receiver of criticism interprets it through the lens of past experiences.
    • Experience with the one who is criticizing
    • Experience with the task they’re being criticized for.

How can we correct a problem if criticism doesn’t work?

  • Be vulnerable. No one likes to receive criticism if the one sending it displays an air of perfection. People are much more receptive to criticism if we are honest about our own faults.
  • Choose your battles. Is it really worth pointing out that little spot when ninety-nine percent of the job was perfectly?
  • Point out the good more than the bad. It is easy to focus on the bad news, but who likes to hear it? A critical point goes further if most of the time we her positive comments.

How do you effectively use criticism in your business or with your kids?

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How to deal with picky eaters at Thanksgiving

Spear 3727

Thanksgiving can be a real challenge for parents with picky eaters.

When I was growing up, my mother had two kids that would eat about anything and two that were extremely picky eaters. I won’t tell you which one I was, however the fact I was the first-born child may give you a hint. (we first-borns tend to be parent pleasers!)

Keeperofthehome.org has a great article on this subject. They mention this can be a problem of an affluent society where food is thrown away without a thought. This blog had some great tips for dealing with picky eaters.

  • Prepare real food as much as possible. The closest the finished form is from the farm to you the better.
  • Have the children help you prepare the food. We naturally take pride in something we’ve made.
  • Pray and thank God for your food. Just that simple act gives us a different outlook. It reminds us our food didn’t just come from a nameless farm factory.
  • If a child says he or she isn’t hungry, save the meal for the next time. It shows we don’t waste good food and reminds them food is valuable.

The Thanksgiving story is a great example to teach the kids why the Pilgrims were grateful for food. Here is a link of the first Thanksgiving for kids. Forty-six of the original one hundred-two pilgrims died before the next fall.

Find a way to encourage a child to try new things without shaming them. It can be tempting to use the old phrase, “There are people starving in… “ The goal is to teach your kids gratitude, not give them a guilt trip! And if a child gave a food an honest try and they still don’t like it, relax! We don’t have to like everything to be grateful.

See how easily you can spot an unfair rule

Cartoon of a cat executive and a dog employee
© 2013 Kevin Spear

Cartoon of a cat executive and a dog employee. The cat says, “We have a ‘No Panting Policy’ around here.”

I thought of this idea several years ago when my kids were watching the movie, Cats and Dogs. It’s about dog spies and an evil genius cat that is planning to take over the world.

I thought of what would the world look like if cats were in charge and dogs had to bow to the felines’ whims. Then I wondered how many rules and laws are skewed towards the majority culture and we don’t even realize it.

Is it easy to spot those rules? I’m not so sure it is. What seems perfectly normal to one culture could look like oppression to another. It’s mighty hard to abide by The Golden Rule when you don’t ask the other party how they want to be treated.

So how do you spot an unfair rule?

  • Seek the input of all parties involved
  • Listen without being defensive. Besides, is that rule really worth defending?
  • Ask whether an old rule still makes sense
  • Ask why the rule was instituted in the first place