Having the freedom to love

All the heart shaped chocolates in the stores these days reminded me of this e-interview that I did this past summer! I know that part of the process of growing up is figuring out who you are, and I know that the usual teen drama is amplified when teens are struggling with their sexual orientation or gender identity, because there are so many people who haven’t ever thought about something other than their own experiences. I had the great fortune of connecting with the folks at Free2Luv, an award-winning nonprofit dedicated to rockin’ individuality, celebrating equality, spreading kindness & standing up to bullying through arts & entertainment, and they were gracious enough to have both Tonya (President and Co-Founder of Free2Luv) AND a youth volunteer answer my questions!

How did Free2Luv begin?

1 out of every 3 children experience some form of bullying and 9 out of 10 LGBT students experience harassment at school and online.  Further, 20% of high school students say they have seriously considered suicide.  As parents, Tonya and Kym Sandis believed this epidemic needed to stop and Free2Luv was born. “We know the scarring and lasting impact bullying has on our youth, robbing them of their innocence and emotionally stripping them of their well-being.  Coming from the entertainment industry, we understand the power the arts have to heal, uplift and empower and we utilize this platform to spread our mission of celebrating individuality, rockin’ kindness and standing up to bullying,” says Tonya, President and Co-Founder of Free2Luv.

How can shy teens show their peers that they can be free to love anyone they choose?

We like this question as it opens up the reason why we named our nonprofit Free2Luv.  We believe first and foremost, self-love is key, whether you are a teen, child or adult.  When you are confident in who you are and treat others with love and respect, you show everyone around you unconditional love.

“If a shy teen wants to advocate everyone’s freedom to love, I recommend they tap into their passion and share from their place of comfort.  This can be done through art, music, dance, sports, you name it.  We have had youth advocates share poems, art, stories, even their passion for race car driving and they have used it as a platform to spread LUV, kindness and compassion with others,” says Tonya.

“There are many LGBTQ+ groups, either at school or online, that are a great way to express yourself.  They are both a safe space and a place where you can share and be yourself. You can also talk about and share things that you love that are related to your identity; i.e. LGBTQ+ books, music, TV shows etc.,” says Free2Luv LGBT Teen Ambassador.

What can teens do if they are in a situation where it is not safe for them to share the message that love is love?

Safety is of the utmost importance.  If you feel that an environment is unsafe to share your message that love is love, find a supportive community and/or environment.  It could be a gay/straight alliance at school, an online organization such as ours or an informal community gathering.

“Find a safe space online.  There are so many people going through the same thing that want to share and speak out, but are not safe to do so in their home or where they live.  Finding a place online where you can be yourself and talk to others who are going through the same thing can help so much,” says LGBT Teen Ambassador.

What is the best part of being a teen in today’s society?

“As the Co-Founder of Free2Luv, I work with teens and youth daily and I’m so moved and impressed by how socially aware and conscious they are.  If we could focus on that every day instead of all the news we hear through the media and online, there are real, young inspirational people that are true game changers in the world and we are proud to hold hands with them.  There are so many wonderful vehicles today that offer youth a way to express their voice that weren’t available even 10 years ago, so it’s a really exciting time to be a teen.   And with that, also comes a big responsibility because as easy as it is to spread kindness, new technology can also be used in destructive ways to spread hate.  The age-old adage, treat others as you want to be treated, still applies.   We need to model kindness and compassion to create a kinder world for all,” says Tonya.

“Technology is a big part of why being a teenager today is amazing.  The ability to learn anything and learn quickly, the ability to talk to anyone anywhere in the world, the ability to hold the world in your pocket, the ability to be a part of a movement that is happening on the other side of the world and to speak out and stand up is amazing.

I think another, if not the most amazing part of being a teen today is that we are changing the world for the better every day.  We are passionate and we care about the world we live in.  We are using our voices and standing up for what is right.  It’s so important and wonderful,” says LGBT Teen Ambassador.

 What evidence of their work would the Free2luv team love to see in ten year’s time?

We would love to see thousands of advocates holding hands with us in communities around the world sharing our message of love, unity and the importance of kindness and compassion.  We are passionate about growing our empowerment events and workshops and reaching more and more communities throughout the U.S.  We are especially passionate about sharing our programs with underserved youth who may not normally have access to the type of programming we offer.  We know the power of one person to stand up and make a difference and for us, success is one more child becoming self-aware, standing up, speaking out and letting their voice be heard.  Will you join us?

check out www.free2luv.org for more details!

 

Looking for UNSTOPPABLE CONFIDENCE?

hey self”

“yeah”

“you suck”

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“Hey voice in my head”

“yeah”

“tell me something you like about me”

“you, uh…well…”

*****************************

“Hey voice in my head”

“yeah”

“you suck”

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Get OUT of this cycle of thought and turn that inner critic into your inner coach.

Join me for HEART POWER for teens: Transform your inner critic into your inner coach for authentic confidence.

This is a 3 part webinar series.January 31, February 7, February 14, 2017

CLICK HERE to register

I look forward to seeing you there!

Deanne

What new possibilities await you in 2017?

Are you declaring 2017 to be a year for YOU?

Are you ready to step into your life in a way that is deeply aligned with your values?

Is a part of you feeling guilty that focusing more on YOU will mean focusing less on your teens?

I know that adults who are focused on their own growth and development are MORE aware of how they can support their teens in ways that are sustainable and lasting.

Go ahead- make this the year that YOU step into your own life, and get clear on your role in your teen’s life.

I’m here to help.

Happy New Year!

Deanne

Show your teens some LOVE

I know you love your kids. I also know that sometimes you pour so much love into your kids that it hurts. It hurts because you’ve sacrificed  a lot of your time, money, and life force energy to support your kids.

It hurts your heart when you feel like you should’ve done more.

It hurts your heart when they don’t seem to appreciate all that you’ve done for them.

It hurts your heart when you give and give and give and feel so depleted.

This kind of giving is not sustainable.

So how do we figure out how to show them that we love them without depleting ourselves?

How often do you give YOURSELF the time, money, and life force energy and support that YOU need?

Even more than showing our teens that we love THEM, we need to show our teens that we love OURSELVES.

We need to love ourselves to model for our teens that they can love themselves.

The sooner we’re able to teach our children that it’s their job to figure out what they need, and to find a way to give it to themselves, the stronger our teens will be.

Teens who can fill themselves up are more confident and make healthier choices because they’re not looking for other people to give them the feelings they crave.

So, how can YOU start to show YOURSELF some love?

Let me just say it,

Self love feels selfish.

Whenever I schedule in some time just for me to do something that I enjoy (like have a long bath, or go for a walk by myself, or drink a cup of tea and look out the window), I feel like I’m taking time I could use to work, or be with my family, or run some errands. Once I realised that if I feel like I’ve been deeply nourished, then I can be more playful and present with my family when I’m with them, then I no longer felt like I was TAKING time, instead I was GIVING my family the best version of myself.

CAUTION. If you haven’t been taking some quality time for yourself, you will feel like you are a bottomless pit. After one blissful hour to yourself, you’ll feel like an hour isn’t enough. It will feel SO GOOD that you’ll worry that you’ll need more and more time away for yourself.  You’ll feel like you could just check in to a hotel for a few days and then…just…never…go…home.

Don’t worry. That’s just a signal that you need to schedule more time for yourself, and once you get the hang of incorporating time for yourself into your schedule, you’ll realise how NECESSARY this time is to be at your best. Once you’ve started giving yourself the time, and space, and emotional availability to listen to your deepest needs, you’ll have a greater sense of clarity around what YOU need, and what your family needs.

Of course, you will go home, because you’ll start missing your family. You’ll remember all the quirky and wonderful things you love about them and you’ll be interested in what they have to say. What an amazing gift for your family to have you back with them with love in your heart for yourself, and for them.

When we give ourselves love, then giving love to others is no longer depleting, it is sustainable because we have a better sense of clarity around how to best show our family that we love them.

With love,

Deanne

P.S. What would really nourish you on a deep level? Jump on the phone with me for 30 minutes and we can create an amazing plan that will have your LOVE levels so high, you’ll have love to give! CLICK HERE to connect with me!

JOY Detective

What makes you jump for joy?

When we told our 3 and 5 year old kids that we were going to get our Christmas tree, they literally jumped for joy! They jumped, and giggled, and looked at each other, which kept the jumping and giggling going for a few minutes, and my partner and I smiled, and laughed too. Joyful enthusiasm is contagious!

The opposite is also true. Sometimes it’s not “cool” to show true joyfulness. It’s as if JOY is a hallmark of the childish, ignorant or unintelligent.  Sometimes it seems that the only acceptable use of JOY in the teen world comes out as, [sarcasm] Oh, JOY! [eye rolling]

Even for adults, Joy might be remote. I’ll admit, Joy isn’t one of the emotions that I experience very often. I am often content, pleased, and grateful, but joy comes in such erratic bursts that I have to really take note when it happens. I’ve become a bit of a “joy detective”; I’m always on the lookout for what brings me a moment of joy. I have a “Joy Jar” on my kitchen counter. Whenever I have a joyful moment, I write it down on a slip of paper, and stuff it in the jar.

 

Here are a few moments from my “Joy Jar”

  • Dancing in the living room with our kids
  • Riding my bike on a beautiful fall day
  • My son playing with his toys as he sings “Everything is awesome”

These are the simple, sweet, wonderful moments that make my life worth living. Not only are those brief moments of joy so wonderful, but I can actually re-live them by writing them down and savouring the memory. When I’m feeling low in the joy department, I take a few papers out of the jar and read them over, a smile crosses my lips, and I know that I can continue on. Not only that, but I have a clear image of what actually brings me joy.

The old adage “what you look for, you will find” is so very true. When I’m planning my day, or my week, I’m wondering how I can create an opportunity for joy, instead of just letting it happen (or not). I know from experience that I’m more able to feel joy I I’ve spent some time taking care of my more uncomfortable emotions like anger and resentment. If I’ve given myself some time and space to process those emotions, I am more able to be present in the moment to experience JOY.

You don’t need to let your emotions happen to you. You don’t need to wait for joy to come along; you can create joy. I’m not talking about pumping yourself up, I’m talking about creating the conditions that will bring you joy. If you feel like joy is too much of a stretch, think about moments in your life that you’re grateful for. Make a list. Notice what qualities these moments share. Then ask yourself- how could I make these moments BETTER? Teens are great at this!

What would make a long car ride better- my favourite movie soundtrack!

What would make an obligatory family dinner better? If I could choose the restaurant!

What would make going to the grocery store better- if I could drive, the car, Mom!

Whether you’re a teen or a parent, become a joy detective in your own life. If joy feels too big, become a gratitude detective. Start noticing the moments that bring a smile to your face. When you really dig into what brings you joy, you’ll find ways to create those conditions more often.

What brings you joy?

 

With tidings of comfort and joy,

Deanne

P.S. If you’re serious about cultivating JOY in your life, and you’re excited about the idea of becoming a JOY DETECTIVE, I am here to support you! Book a call with me today to create you very own JOY DETECTIVE treasure map to find up what really lights you up inside!

 

Teens finding HOPE amidst despair

Does your teen dare to hope?

Teens are reporting higher levels of anxiety, stress and overwhelm each year; despair looms larger than hope. Many of my students feel like everything has already been thought, it has already been said, and they wonder what they could possibly contribute to the world. In this disconnected and isolated space, hope becomes a radical proposition. I’ve heard from many parents who are worried because their teen DOESN’T have any hopes or dreams.

So, how do we nurture our children’s hopes and dreams? How do we hold open the door of possibility?

Hope is all about having a new perspective. It is about seeing the evidence in the present moment that good things are on their way in the future. My students who have been involved in service projects or community groups all see evidence that that their presence is valuable.  Whether they volunteered at a Senior’s home, spent time babysitting small children, or volunteered at a community event, they all report feeling connected to the people they serve, and knowing that their presence makes a difference. Teens need to see evidence of their efforts being worthwhile. If they can see the face of a child or a senior light up, they have the undeniable instant feedback that THEY MATTER. This is just one way of providing our teens with the HOPE that their life will continue to matter.

Another powerful way of nurturing dreams and cultivating hope is through inspiring stories. In October I have the incredible honour of interviewing Mark Black for the LIT FROM WITHIN speaker series.

Mark Black is a man who knows about hope. At age 23 Mark faced an unimaginable challenge; His doctor informed him that his heart was failing. Without a rare and dangerous heart and double-lung transplant he would not see his 25th birthday. Three years later, after receiving his second chance at life, Mark ran his first marathon. Since then, Mark has gone on to run more marathons, develop a successful career, and raise a family. Mark Black, CSP (Certified Speaking Professional) is a Heart and Double-Lung Transplant Recipient, 4-time marathoner, resilience expert, speaker, and coach. Mark helps people “Thrive in Challenging Times”.  A Certified Speaking Professional, Mark has inspired more than 100,000 people in more than 350 presentations. CLICK HERE for the interviews

Not only is telling stories of hope about other people important, but as you’ll see from Mark’s interviews, the stories we tell ourselves are also critically important. One of my favourite take-aways from these interviews was Mark’s question about “which bucket are you rummaging around in?” which is really his metaphor for asking which stories we are telling ourselves, about ourselves, most often. One of the most powerful themes of the LIT FROM WITHIN speaker series is the importance of training your mind to focus on thoughts that are helpful and life-affirming. When we can tell ourselves the best version of our story, we can dare to dream about a compelling future ahead.

CLICK HERE to enjoy this video encore with Mark Black. My hope is that you’ll be inspired to dream a bigger dream.

Expand.

Open the door to possibility.

Think bigger.

HOPE

Helping teens manage the READING in high school

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There is so much READING in high school!

It’s true. Most of the homework assigned in high school is READING. The amount of reading material that high school students have to get through in a short amount of time can be overwhelming. Trying to get through three chapters of biology, five chapters of a novel, and two sections of math every night can lead students to tears, avoidance, and overwhelm. The truth is, reading in high school is an endurance sport; both take skill, a daily commitment, a positive mindset, and a culture of achieving excellence.

As an English Literature teacher, I know this all too well. When we ask students to read a novel, it is like asking them to run a marathon. Most of the students I’ve worked with are walkers. We learned to walk long, long ago, and every day we walk to the car, up the stairs, and we are grateful for our functional walking ability. Students read every day. Teens are reading all the time; texts from their friends, articles on Facebook, ads on the internet, instructions on food packages. Just like some people enjoy a good weekend jog, some students might enjoy reading because they love a good story. And yet, people who walk and occasionally jog are not fit for a marathon.

When students enter an English Literature class in high school, we are asking them complete a marathon. Many students have not acquired the mindset for endurance. Even more, they know that they can read, and so they underestimate the amount of time and effort they need to continue to commit to reading.

That’s why I’m inviting you to join me for this FREE 60 minute LIVE webinar,

High School Reading Mastery: The 5 Essential Steps to Eliminate Homework Stress and Boost Your Grades.

We’re going LIVE on Saturday, December 3rd  2016 at 11:00 am MST >>CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

I’ve pulled together my 14 years of teaching English Literature into this FREE webinar designed for teens who are ready to tackle the challenge of high school reading, and for parents who are wondering how to set their teens up for success. In High School Reading Mastery you’ll discover how to help teens:

  • Develop a solid reading schedule
  • Do the reading whether they “feel like it” or not
  • Read things they’re not interested in
  • Focus on short-term daily reading goals to get to the long-term goal of good grades
  • Create a culture of reading mastery

Click THIS LINK to access the registration page now for High School Reading Mastery. If you’re not available to attend LIVE on Dec 3rd, don’t worry!  Register today and you’ll get the link to the recording. This is an opportunity you won’t want to miss!

With gratitude,

Deanne Barrett

P.S. Brain science shows that teens are not always skilled at long-term planning and anticipating the outcomes of their behaviour; teens need the support of adults to help them to plan for success. Please share this webinar with the teens and parents in your circles who are ready to make a difference. For your FREE access to High School Reading Mastery: The 5 Essential Steps to Eliminate Homework Stress and Boost Your Grades CLICK HERE

How to influence teens to be more confident, independent and resourceful

Have you seen the November cover of Time magazine?

My heart dropped into my stomach when I picked up a copy of November’s Time magazine with the headline, “Anxiety, Depression and the American Adolescent”. I couldn’t help but think of the 15 year old student who told me so matter-of-factly about her sister’s recent recovery from cutting. Then I thought about all the times that a student would be absent from my class for a few days before I got an e-mail from the school councellor telling me that the student had been hospitalised for mental health reasons.  Time magazine’s November issue is highlighting what those of us who work with youth have known for a long time. Our youth are not doing well, and it’s not just THEIR problem, it’s OUR problem. The epidemic of youth depression and anxiety is a signal that we need to change…but where do we begin?

copy-of-copy-of-the-resilient-teen-blueprint

Many of you were wanting to know more about teen resilience, so I’ve created a 50 minute webinar for you to hear more about what we can actually do to impact the lives of teens.

Click THIS LINK to join me for The Resilient Teen Blueprint: How to influence teens to be more confident, independent and resourceful

 

I offered 50 minutes of FREE training LIVE on Monday, November 21 at  7:30pm MST and npw you can watchthe replay!

Click THIS LINK to access the replay.

With gratitude,

Deanne Barrett

P.S. Our teens need us now more than ever. Please share this invitation with the teens and teen supporters in your circles who are ready to make a difference. To watch the replay of The Resilient Teen Blueprint: How to influence teens to be more confident, independent and resourceful CLICK HERE