A Forgotten Pilgrim Story

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday simply because it is so unassuming. It’s a quiet day, wedged in between the demanding holidays of Halloween and Christmas, and all it asks is that we show up at a relative’s house, eat, and remember our blessings.

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Of Plymouth Plantation,written by William Bradford, gives a powerful firsthand account of the pilgrims’ voyage to America. Bradford tells of a miserable storm that forced the passengers to bear down in the hull of the ship.

A “lusty” young man, John Howland, came up on deck, probably for some fresh air, and was promptly tossed overboard. Somehow, he caught hold of a rope, and even though he was dragged deep under the water, “he held his hold” until he was pulled back up on deck with a boat hook. Howland would later marry Elizabeth Tilney, father 10 children, become “a profitable member both in church and common wealth,” and live another 62 years, outliving all other male passengers on the Mayflower.

While he may have been foolish, he still saw the hand of God that day. Of all unlikely scenarios, he was able to grab on to a rope in that storm. I can’t imagine the tenacity of that young man, holding on for dear life when his chances must have seemed hopeless. But I hope that in many ways he defines who we are as a nation. He is our collective ancestor who gives me courage to hang on to my rope for just a little longer, even when I think I’m at the end of it. It’s in my national DNA.

It’s in all of ours. Maybe it means we’ve got to pay more bills than we can handle, make dinner when all we can find are hotdogs and sour cream, or negotiate the holidays with a difficult ex. But we’ve got it in us, just like the pilgrims did. We also have a divine hand, ready to help if we will only ask.

A harsh New England winter welcomed them when they arrived, and then the men had to find a decent settlement through horrendous weather conditions. Many of them died that first winter of cold and hunger. But despite their tumultuous beginnings, the pilgrims were a harbinger of what the men and women of our country would become — innovative, resilient and full of faith.

This was originally published on Deseret News.  

Finally, a Food Plan that Works for Me

Following diets or food plans has always been hard for me. It’s hard to find time to shop and prepare the food and then actually swallow the healthy food. I mean, even if there is cooked cauliflower in the fridge, am I actually going to get it out and eat it?

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This was supposed to be a picture of me and my healthy sandwich, but I have a couple of hams on my lap.

 

Tasty food is cheap and convenient, and how often am I actually at home when I need to eat my next healthy meal?  It seems like everywhere I go, I’m being offered sweets, (even, ironically at the pharmacy) and stress seems to trigger my need for sugar.

But what’s really frustrating to me is that I no longer trust myself to keep commitments. I may have a great food plan, but then I’m offered samples at Costco or one of the kids gets a chocolate chip cookie out of the freezer, and if I’m having a weak moment (which seems to happen frequently), I’m toast.

So, if I’m serious about eating better, I must learn how to keep a commitment. That being said, my expectations have to be realistic. If I were rank myself on my ability to keep a food commitment on a scale of 1 to 10, I would probably give myself a 2.

So my commitment plan has to match what I know I can actually do. Right now, I have one day a week that is calm enough and organized enough for me to stay on a plan. And when I’m really craving a certain food, all I have to tell myself is, “I can have it tomorrow.”

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My favorite food plans are the ones designed by Dr. Oz that can found here and here and here and here on Good Housekeeping-s website.   (They are all different food plans.  The last is my favorite.)   Even with these plans, I allow myself some flexibility.  If I can stay within the calorie allotments of each meal and snack, I can change things around.  Dr. Oz says that if followed every day, you should lose about ten pounds in one month.

But one day is really stretching me. My last two weeks came down to the wire with me finally coming through on Saturday. I really struggled when our in-laws treated us to the Pizza Pie Cafe on one of those Saturdays. I came SO close to caving in, but I had a delicious salad there and had a huge plate of green beans when I got home. The pay off? Well, there is nothing like waking up in the morning and remembering that I kept my commitment the day before. I just feel so good about myself.

I’m also proud to say that I’ve finished my fourth week, and I’ve lost four pounds. Not bad. How have I lost four pounds by staying on a food plan only one day a week? Well, let’s just stay that I go through a lot of false starts before I get through a day where I’ve followed my food plan. (My commitment is that I have to follow the program one day a week, but it doesn’t matter which day it is.)  False starts help though—if I’m still getting a good breakfast and lunch in, I’m still eating better.  And eating on a plan even on day a week seems to help me with my self control the rest of the week (although I still have a weakness for brownies).

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Why You Guys Really Should Think About Reading Some Sherlock Homes. (It has nothing to do with Benedict Cumberpatch.)

So Debi has stopped crying upstairs, and I have a moment of peace to write.  She’s got a mild cold, and she’s in that stage where she really needs a nap but refuses to take one, and we didn’t got to preschool today because we were both sick and yeah, we are just a wee bit tired of each other.  It rarely happens—we’re usually just crazy about each other.

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Debi and I on a better day

On a good note, I thought I’d tell you that we did finish Hound of the Baskervilles.  That’s a Sherlock Holmes mystery, probably his most famous, and while I expected Sherlock to be the main character, it was the moor that stole the show.

I had forgotten how masterful Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was with setting.  He had a way of making the moor so lovely, desolate, foreboding, melancholy, gloomy, fearsome, and dark.

The setting ties in so well with the characters and plot—Baskerville is the man that has come to inherit Baskerville Hall under tragic circumstances.  Many suspect his uncle was murdered there and his death seems tied in with a dark family legend regarding a phantasmal hound that has plagued the Baskervilles for generations.  The characters, the story, and the setting all converge here to get the reader a sense of foreboding and fear.

Over the green squares of the fields and the low curve of a wood there rose in the distance a gray, melancholy hill, with a strange jagged summit, dim and vague in the distance, like some fantastic landscape in a dream. Baskerville sat for a long time, his eyes fixed upon it, and I read upon his eager face how much it meant to him, this first sight of that strange spot where the men of his blood had held sway so long and left their mark so deep. There he sat, with his tweed suit and his American accent, in the corner of a prosaic railway-carriage, and yet as I looked at his dark and expressive face I felt more than ever how true a descendant he was of that long line of high-blooded, fiery, and masterful men. There were pride, valour, and strength in his thick brows, his sensitive nostrils, and his large hazel eyes. If on that forbidding moor a difficult and dangerous quest should lie before us, this was at least a comrade for whom one might venture to take a risk with the certainty that he would bravely share it.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle gives us even more to worry about when he adds an escaped convict to the moor, a convict who committed atrocious crimes against humanity.  He is hiding out in the moor somewhere and villagers are also claiming to have seen the hound howling out on the moor. So Doyle gives us danger in layers here; and the moor itself seems to be conspiring against our heroes.

Our wagonette had topped a rise and in front of us rose the huge expanse of the moor, mottled with gnarled and craggy cairns and tors. A cold wind swept down from it and set us shivering. Somewhere there, on that desolate plain, was lurking this fiendish man, hiding in a burrow like a wild beast, his heart full of malignancy against the whole race which had cast him out. It needed but this to complete the grim suggestiveness of the barren waste, the chilling wind, and the darkling sky. Even Baskerville fell silent and pulled his overcoat more closely around him.

We had left the fertile country behind and beneath us. We looked back on it now, the slanting rays of a low sun turning the streams to threads of gold and glowing on the red earth new turned by the plough and the broad tangle of the woodlands. The road in front of us grew bleaker and wilder over huge russet and olive slopes, sprinkled with giant boulders. Now and then we passed a moorland cottage, walled and roofed with stone, with no creeper to break its harsh outline. Suddenly we looked down into a cuplike depression, patched with stunted oaks and firs which had been twisted and bent by the fury of years of storm. Two high, narrow towers rose over the trees. The driver pointed with his whip.

My boys loved the book as did I.  As I read it I thought of what Caleb Warnock, my writing teacher once said, “Readers read to experience an emotion.”  Doyle was a master of that–the characters, the plot, the setting were one in making us feel tense, uneasy, confounded, and uncertain.  Isn’t that why people read mysteries?  They want the fear put in them!

The captain decided he wanted a turn reading to the boys (I can’t have all the fun can I?)  He’s started Huckleberry Finn with them.  He read Tom Sawyer to the a year ago, and they just LOVED it.  I think they will love this one too.

What are you reading right now?

Preventing Brain Atrophy

So a few weeks ago I promised I would write about how to not get bored as stay-at-home mom.  Some of you may laugh because you’re so busy getting dinner on and driving your children all over the county that you haven’t had time to ask yourselves this question.

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Crowd control is one of the many demanding tasks of mothers.

However, that brain of yours might be sulking in the back corners, wondering why you’re always neglecting it.  Mine gets in these sullen pouts all the time, and I have to treat it like that queen it is or it just stops working for me all together.   We’ve got to keep that muscle in shape, and you’re favorite little phone games don’t count as good exercise.

But it’s hard for us to do give our brains the treatment they deserve when our modern world is so stuffed with stimulation, stimulation with no depth, stimulation that might leave our brain good and rattled but not any stronger.  If we always choose the shiny and loudest things to entertain us, our brain might become brittle, hardened, and inflexible.  Is that what we really want?

So I advocate that every woman needs to make a goal or two to work out their most important muscle in their body. Everyone may do it differently according to their talents and hobbies, but I’m going to tell you what I (try) to do.

I have this little system in place when I’m home that keeps me sane.  I put fifty things away.  I do something with one of my children (such as fifteen minutes of piano or reading) and then I read a chapter of a book, and it’s usually a book that has some intellectual or emotional heft to it.   This month I’m reading Mansfield Park by Jane Austen.

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I have a goal of finishing one of these books every month.  I also try to read a few critical essays on the piece.  Did you know that Harold Bloom, probably one of our country’s greatest literary critics has compiled over a hundred different books of fabulous essays, each book on a different great work?  I plowed through almost all of his essays on Mansfield Park when we were on vacation to Capitol Reef, and my brain was singing.

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Harold Bloom has a compiled book of essays on almost any classic you might consider reading. These essays bring much more insight and depth to the classics.

We may not think that giving our brain this attention is necessary, but we never know what opportunities are waiting for us. Maybe you want to study a foreign language or learn all you can about horticulture—and who knows?  Maybe you’ll get a chance to live in France or teach gardening classes.

While Ben Franklin’s friends were out gambling and drinking during their free time, he tried to dedicate at least two hours a day to study and self-improvement. And look how he turned out?  He only ran several great newspapers, discovered electricity, invented bifocals and other handy inventions, signed the Declaration of Independence, helped draft the Constitution (and mitigated some pretty intense discussions), and served as ambassador to France.  Not bad, eh?

No more excuses girls!  And boys!  Sorry for the soap box.  Will try to avoid them in the future.

What do you do to keep your brain in shape?

I Have a Confession

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I’ve had something that’s just really been on my mind. I feel like I’ve been trying to impress you guys, and I haven’t been acting like my true self.

It’s just that I really want you guys to like me. But it’s just gotten too hard. I know this is going to be a sifting process here, a time where I will find out who my true friends are.

So here it is.  I’m a nerd.

My son had realized this and has already taken advantage of this information.  He baits me all the time, and I always fall for it.  “Mom, I’m having a hard time understanding Fahrenheit 451.  Could you read it and talk about it with me?”  I jump.  I read aloud with him.  I expound.  I am so into it.

Maybe he even asks me a great question, and I’m all over it.

And then he’s like, “OK, so can you repeat what you just said?”  He’s taking notes.  And while for a minute I hope that he’s taking notes because he wants to remember my words for the rest of his life, I also remember he has a homework assignment due tomorrow.

He is on concentrating on everything I say, not because he wants to understand but because he wants to make sure he puts it down in the right order.  So I say, “You know, you are a smart kid.  I think you’ve got this.”

And then I’m sad.

Taking Apart the Satire

(Many of you have already read this in Satire Deconstructed.  I’m just splitting the piece.)

Before I take apart this satire, can I just start by saying how much I don’t want to do this?  I feel like a magician showing you how I do all of my tricks.   The audience doesn’t want to be told how the magician does it but wants to feel like they are clever enough to figure it out for themselves.  Exposing the secret eliminates the puzzle, the fun, and the wonder.  Also, people in general don’t like to be told what to think and satire lets them draw their own conclusions.  (I want you to do the same although I would at least hope we could agree that this is a satire.)

Why write a satire in the first place?  Why not just come out an say it?  I got twice the traffic on Why Aren’t Our Kids Going to Youth Dances? than I did on my highest ranking post before it.  Jonathan Swift had ranted and raved about helping the poor for ages, and no one listened until he wrote a satire that suggested simply roasting the poor children.  Then people started paying attention.

So here goes this tedious task.  The block italicized quotes are the original satire, while the commentary is in normal paragraph form.

I asked my son if he was going to go to the church dance, and he looked at me like I had asked him to jump over the moon. So I called one of his friend’s moms to see if she was making her son go, and a few hours later, a group of boys, some more reluctant than others, were on their way to the church without a basketball.

A miracle indeed.

The purpose of this paragraph was to laugh at the great gap between what parents and what children want.  There’s also a gap between the sexes here as women (and girls) are generally more excited about dances than boys are.

Before my son left, my husband and I offered to pay him a dollar for every girl he asked to dance. He shrugged his shoulders and grunted, which of course means “yes” for a 15-year-old, and we were elated that we had thought of bribing our son to be a gentleman. Innovative parents were we.

Again, I am laughing at this attempt to get our son to be a gentleman because by very definition, a gentleman cannot be bribed.  It would be very dishonorable you see.  The “innovative parents were we” was not to be taken literally, especially since our idea completely flopped on us.  

Then he texted:

There are like 20 people here.

What? I was confused. This tri-stake dance had been well-advertised with posters and plenty of announcements. Surely, the cultural hall would be so packed with kids that they would have to slow dance with each other the entire time. Sigh.

Again, I was exposing the huge gap between a mother’s hope and our oh so modern reality.  Did I really want them to be slow dancing the whole night?  No!  (But, hey a little slow dancing is fine by me.)  I thought that the “sigh” at the end indicated that this was all tongue-in-cheek.

For those of you that are not Mormon, a stake is a group of anywhere from five to ten congregations.  Thus a tri-stake dance would include somewhere between fifteen and thirty congregations, each with roughly two hundred families.  Thus, this truly was a poor turnout as close to a thousand teens had probably been invited to the dance.

I didn’t understand it. Where were all the youths?** Hadn’t they showed up in droves for the trek? Hadn’t the stake been required to charter seven buses?

A trek is where the teens and leaders do a three to four day reenactment of the pioneers pulling their handcarts over the plains to Utah.  True stories are shared as well giving the teens an appreciation for their heritage.

Still, I had high hopes and waited eagerly for my son to come home. There was so much to ask him. With whom had he danced? Had he talked to any girls? Had he actually tried using complete sentences?

But when he got home, he grumbled and turned on the television.

When I tried to pump him for more information, he said, “Mom, it wasn’t like that, OK?”

I grilled him later only to have him say, “I don’t know, Mom. I wasn’t paying attention.”

His dad asked, “What? You didn’t notice whether people were dancing?”

“Well some were kind of jumping around together and then some were doing the Napoleon Dynamite dance and some were just sitting around.”

“When you say jumping around together, you mean they were just jumping all together in one big group?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he answered.

I’m making fun of the overeager mother (and I shamelessly include myself in that group) who waits for her son with high hopes only to have reality hit her like a semi-truck.

Why don’t kids pair off for a dance anymore? Why is  it so hard for boys to ask? Since asking a girl to dance is such a gallant thing to do, and since most 15-year-old boys are dying to be gallant, I don’t see what the problem is.

I truly thought at this point, I was basically announcing that this was all just fun.  The choice to use the word “gallant” was a deliberate one.  Even as Ms. Blumke pointed out, who really uses the word gallant anymore?   (Apparently only people writing satire and overbearing mothers.  I hope I belong only to the first group although yes, I do have my days.)  The choice seemed good because how many 15-year-old boys even know what the outdated word “gallant” means?  For two, assuming a 15-year-old boy knew what the word meant, we all know that the the last thing he’d want to be is gallant. Again, there’s a huge gap between what a mother thinks her son wants and what he actually wants.

It’s why I felt brave enough to write this outrageous section.  Truly, no one thought I was serious?

What can we do about it? I have an idea that will solve this whole problem. Back in the times of Jane Austen, a lady was given a card that allowed fellows to reserve certain dances with her during the night. Those were the good ol’ days, when there were so many men wanting to dance with a girl that she had to make appointments. If a man asked a girl for the first two dances, then whoa! He was pretty into her. She could go home and put that card under her pillow, kissing his name to her heart’s desire!

Maybe we need the dance cards now, but I think it’s the boys’ turn to get them. After a boy asks a girl to dance with him, she signs his card. Three signatures means he gets access to the refreshment table. Since his best friend Joe has been known to down six of Sister Brown’s famous peanut butter cookies in under two minutes, he quickly finds the girl closest to him, mumbles something unintelligible and points to the dance floor. She smiles at him and pulls out her pen.

Maybe 10 dances get him a free trip to Taco Bell.

Parents could be a great support. When the boy comes home, he better have 15 names on his dance card or it’s going to be 15 days before he sees his Xbox again. They may even have to call a few of the girls for verification, just to make sure the signatures aren’t forged by a few of the buddies who proudly claim they can write like a girl, but I’m pretty sure the system will work.

Apparently, many people thought that I really meant this proposal.  Just to be clear on this, NO, I didn’t.  This proposal is ridiculous! Preposterous! If actually implemented, it would be catastrophic! The truth of the matter is, I was just cracking up when I thought of buses parked waiting to take the boys to Taco Bell, the bus drivers being required to check for the ten signatures (in the dark).  But then again, I have a wacky sense of humor.  For the record, I truly do feel for teens who must who must navigate the modern dance.  It’s truly awkward and confusing for both them and the chaperons, and if anything, I think we need to have a little more compassion.

Now some of you may wonder whether this story is really true.  Yes, it is although, in the attempt to mock myself, I painted myself a bit harsher than I really am.

2.  So.  For the entire story.  

Yes, I did call a mother to see if her son was going to the dance.  She called me back to tell me that she was surprised to find out that her son wanted to go to the dance.  The boy and his friends, in turn, invited my son, who went to the dance without any prodding from me.  Was my son still reluctant to go to a dance?  Yes, because it was a dance, but the friend factor trumped all.

Another point of clarity.  We just moved and the transition had been really hard on my son.  While he is usually an extrovert, this move left him feeling insecure and shy.  He was feeling too nervous to invite other kids to do anything, and while he wasn’t thrilled about the venue, he was thrilled to be invited.  Memories, anyone?  (I’ve got loads.)

Did we try to bribe him?  Yes.  Even now I don’t know if it was the greatest idea, but for those of you that haven’t raised teenagers yet, parents are generally trying to get teens to do things they don’t want to do (school, homework, shower). Direct confrontations are brutal and so yes we sometimes resort to incentives as well as positive peer pressure. While some of you might think these attempts are quite nefarious, please understand these attempts for what they truly are—desperate.

Also, yes, I was excited for him to come home after the dance although given his texts, my hopes weren’t too high.  I also admit that I am shameless fan of Downton Abbey, Jane Austen, and any other production that requires a lot of fancy dresses and starched shirts.  That being said, I was mocking myself. Shannon Hale wrote the hysterical Austenland which was about a place where die hard Austen fans could actually live the Austen experience. While even Shannon Hale is an avid fan of Austen, she completely mocks all of us over the top fans in her book and movie (and yes, I loved them both!)  So yes, it is possible to love something and mock yourself for loving that something at the same time.

The conversation between my son and me and my husband actually happened.  (I asked my son more in depth about the dance when I was preparing the essay so I actually took notes.)

Finally, one more think you might like to know. I’m not a mother that forces my son to endure dances every weekend. (For that matter, I’m not really good at getting my kids to finish their homework or brush their teeth, but I digress.)  Before this dance, my son hadn’t been to a church dance or school dance in over a year and neither had his friends in our old neighborhood.  On weekends my son hangs out with friends, playing sports and far more video games than I would like.

The reality is that our church dances are a waning enterprise, and we don’t even know when they are holding a dance nor are we on the ball enough to figure out when they are.  (There’s a pun in there if you look hard enough.)  I don’t blame this on our church; I just that the decline of the dance is following modern trends.

My grandmother used to talk about her dances—dancing all night with boys in the Navy on their way out to serve in World War II.  While I know it’s nostalgic to remember this, I don’t think that looking to the past is an entirely bad idea.  There might be some things that can be rebooted!  (One commenter has been doing just that, and the dances she has been running are all the rage.  Jitterbug, anyone?) However, I think it’s important to look to the future,and the best way to to that is to listen to our teenagers.  So, I hope we’ve cleared the air here!  There’s no hard feelings here.  I will deconstruct my other post about dances tomorrow.  Or maybe next week  Do you guys really need it?

** Mrs. Bluemke criticized my use of the word “youth” saying this made me seem out of touch.  This again is a matter of Mormon culture.  Our church refers to teens as the youth and that encompasses kids ranging from 12-18.  This term has been used by our church for years which is probably why it seems outdated.  We have not switched to the word teen because the church’s definition of youth (12-18) is different than the definition of teens (13-19).  Turning twelve in our church is a big deal since these “youth” get to participate in week night activities, do baptisms at the temple, go to girl’s camp, and go on scout trips.  They are invited to start attending church dances when they turn fourteen.  However, if any of you have another hip word for youth, I will be sure to pass it on!

Child Psychologist Offers 5 Ways to Help Teens Overcome Shyness

After all of this hoopla over the teen dance articles, I thought it might be nice to share something truly wonderful.  I interviewed Randy Hyde for the Deseret News.  I’ve known him for years, and he is just one of those charismatic, outstanding, truly wonderful people that makes you feel like a million bucks.  He shares how he does it here.

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Randy Hyde and his lovely wife, Carolyn

I originally published this in the Deseret News. The entire article is found there.

What do you do when your teenager is having a hard time making friends? Maybe you encourage her to reach out, but she tells you that you just don’t get it. You ask her if she would like to throw a party, but she says, “Nobody throws parties anymore.” Are your suggestions completely outdated?

Randy Hyde, a Ph.D. child psychologist of 30 years, says that the same principles of kindness and generosity still apply in relationships, even relationships between teenagers.

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Kids often lose their confidence as they get older. Parents can help them get it back.

Here are five principles parents can teach their children to help them overcome their shyness.

1. Other teenagers are feeling insecure too

It might help your teen to understand that other teens are also feeling insecure. Because many teenagers struggle with feeling confident, they may not act as nice as they truly are.

“Kids are hitting a stage where they are discovering themselves, and there’s a lot of comparing,” Hyde said. “Kids want to be strong and powerful and tough.”

Unforutnately, many teens think that being nice is being weak, and they don’t want to show any vulnerability. They feel safer acting aloof than they do acting friendly.

It may help your teen to understand that if other kids aren’t reaching out to him, it’s not because there’s something wrong with him. Other teens are also afraid of being rejected, and they might find it easier to play it safe. Helping your teen understand that many teens feel the same way he or she does helps them realize that they are not alone.

2. Look for role models who are both strong and kind 

Because teens often fear that they might look weak if they are nice, parents need to persuade their children that “power and strength come from being empathetic and nice and considerate,” Hyde said.

Great leaders such as Jimmer Fredette and Thomas S. Monson are strong but also compassionate and kind. “When a kid meets someone like that who is warm and genuine and kind, it rocks their world,” Hyde said.

Parents need to tell their children that kindness creates power and that they too can have that power when they are kind.

3. Work to build others up 

Show your teen how great it is to build others up, and they can “practice” being kind to their family members.

Hyde suggests saying simple things like “your hair looks really good today” can mean a lot to a little brother or sister.

Kids do not receive a lot of compliments, so kind words can be very impactful. According to Hyde, the average junior high student gets 12 negative comments for every one positive comment at home — and it’s even worse at school, where teens get 18 negative comments for every one positive comment.

“Here’s all these empty buckets,” Hyde said. “Just a little kindness, a little warmth, has miraculous results. … It’s easy.”

When Hyde was a teenager, he did not get along with his younger brother. One night, Hyde was lying on the bottom bunk of their bunk bed wondering why his younger brother got the top bunk. But as he lay there feeling upset, he heard a voice say, “We’re losing your younger brother. You are the only one that can save him.”

The next day, Hyde skipped his own track practice to cheer on his brother at a high school baseball game. When he got there, his brother said, “What are you doing here? Go run.”

Hyde held his ground, though, and when his brother started pitching he said he turned into the “world’s most obnoxious fan.” Hyde was screaming his heart out, annoying all the fans that sat around him. But after the game his brother came up to him and, without saying a word, gave Hyde a big hug.

“That changed everything. We became best friends,” Hyde said.

Building others up is a powerful path to friendship.

4. The quickest way to build up your own self-confidence is to reach out to others 

If your teen struggles with self-confidence, the quickest way to build it is to build up others. Carl Rogers, an eminent psychologist, found that while love is critical to our emotional health, we build ourselves up three times faster when we give love than when we receive love.

Likewise, Hyde encourages teens to consider how they feel after they’ve complimented someone else. They will feel stronger and better about themselves.

5. Smile

Encourage your teenager to smile often. “The most attractive feature on a person, the research shows, is their smile,” Hyde said.

Even if you walk by someone you don’t know at school, still smile. They might smile back, which makes both of you feel stronger.

Why is a smile so powerful? It’s because, Hyde explained, “it’s instinctual across the globe that a smile simply is conveying, ‘I accept you and like you.'”

Why do you think it’s so hard for teenagers to reach out?