Finding My Path Back to the Peace Corps by Barbara Joe


Finding My Path Back to the Peace Corps

-a Gateway to a Useful Life

Contributed by Barbara E. Joe 

As a newly minted college graduate, I realized that if I lived long enough, I would meet many challenges while finding my path and a gateway to a useful life.  Finishing my master’s degree was the first step; raising four children and facing head-on the time when my husband left while the kids were still young, proved to be another.  So who could blame me when I thought that the only way from there would be up – surely I had “paid my dues.”

But I was wrong!  In 1994 Andrew, my older son, died after a work accident. It was my darkest hour, the before and after of my entire existence – a divide never to be breached – seeming totally contrary to the natural order. I faced a problem without any remedy or redeeming rationale, no lessons to be learned, only that a child lovingly raised and nurtured could suddenly disappear forever. Then, my Cuban foster son, Alex, an unaccompanied minor who’d arrived during the 1980 Mariel boatlift, died of AIDS one year later.

For many months, all I could do was put one foot in front of the other, going to work, coming home alone to my empty house, feeling thirsty from so much crying, almost reveling in my grief, perhaps punishing myself for having let my boys die. Other parents’ announcements of their kids’ graduations, marriages, new babies, and promotions only rubbed salt in the wounds.  I joined a support group for bereaved parents, The Compassionate Friends, which made me feel less alone and for that I am grateful.

I became hyper-protective of my remaining kids and little granddaughter, anxious about every late arrival and missed phone call. After all, lightning had already struck twice. I envied other parents their innocent belief that their children would always be there to carry on their legacy. I knew otherwise – kids’ lives could actually disappear in a nanosecond, as is the case for each and every one of us.

My awareness that every life is finite, including my own, revived a dream I’d had since 1961 when President Kennedy first established the Peace Corps.  Although I hadn’t been able to join the Peace Corps in my youth, I revisited that dream.  In the year 2000 at the age of 62, I became a health volunteer in Honduras.  This was a homecoming to both my dream and to Honduras, because I was there in 1941 while my father did archeological work in the Mayan ruins of Copán.

How a 62 year old woman revisits her dream of joining the Peace CorpsMy surviving kids were skeptical; I’d often talked about Peace Corps but never followed through. They were surprised that this time I really meant it. Before I left, a man my own age warned that I was making a big mistake, that Peace Corps was only for young people, “Mark my words, you’ll be home by Christmas at the latest.” I followed my passion and stayed beyond the usual 27 months for “three Christmases!” I even started a support group for “over-50” volunteers, OAKS, standing for Older And Knowing Souls.

In the first town where I lived, two of my landlady’s young grandsons died of AIDS, along with the female partner of one of them. At that time, no AIDS remedies existed in Honduras, so my efforts focused on education and prevention. I also trained midwives and helped with deliveries, once participating in a breech birth where the baby died; the young mother should have gone to a hospital, but with the infant’s feet already emerging, it was too late to get her there. To reduce childhood deaths from a common killer—intestinal illnesses—I encouraged women to keep babies with diarrhea well hydrated with breast milk and a rehydration formula made of boiled water, salt, and sugar, consulting their local health center if the illness continued.

I had hoped to leave death behind, but it soon caught up with me. Honduran children died, as did some mothers in childbirth, and AIDS, the illness that had killed my foster son, was rampant.  Those deaths helped guide my work as a health volunteer. Fortunately, thanks to many collective efforts during my time in Honduras, child and maternal survival increased and AIDS decreased. The two Honduran towns where I lived and worked, El Triunfo (The Triumph) and La Esperanza (The Hope), memorialized in my book’s title, Triumph & Hope, reflected the true spirit of their inhabitants and my own frame of mind.

In 2003 I left Honduras after receiving an urgent plea from my 90-year-old mother who had learned to use e-mail to communicate with me.  I was already conversant in Spanish before going to Honduras, but it had become second nature to me there. Thus my new career as an on-call Spanish interpreter in hospitals and schools began, something I’m still doing at age 74. As an interpreter, I’ve helped families with children undergoing painful organ and bone marrow transplants, mothers with preemie babies small enough to fit into your hand, and kids with congenital anomalies such as eye tumors and missing intestines, as well as a pregnant woman with terminal brain cancer, patients with end-stage kidney and liver disease, and roofers permanently paralyzed in falls.

My work has proved helpful to others and my part-time schedule allowed me to spend time with my mother before her death in 2006. It was then that I got down to finishing my Honduras memoir, based on letters I’d posted monthly on a website while in service. After it received positive reviews, I was invited to give talks about Peace Corps service at libraries and continuing education centers. I also started going back to Honduras, volunteering with a medical brigade ( and organizing other humanitarian projects partly funded by my book proceeds. I’ve returned eight times so far, most recently in February.

Nothing can bring back my son and foster son, who are never far from my thoughts. But my experience of finding my path back to the Peace Corps offered me a healing experience and opened a brand new gateway to a useful life.

Metamorphosis - Your Stories of transformation and self-realization

 “It is well to be prepared for life as it is,

but it is better to be prepared to make life better than it is.” Sargent Shriver

A gateway to a useful life - finding my path back to the Peace Corps Contributed by Barbara E. JoeBio – Barbara E. Joe, MA   Metamorphosis - Your Stories

“Barbara Joe,” people ask, “What’s your last name?” Well, “Joe” is my last name, thanks to my late Korean father-in-law who chose that spelling. In solidarity with my kids, I kept that name after becoming divorced. A native of Boston, an alumna of the University of California, Berkeley, I’m now 74 with a lively five-year-old great-grandson. From my century-old house on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, I work as a freelance writer, Spanish interpreter, and translator.

I belong to The Compassionate Friends, a support group of bereaved parents. I’ve also joined a local Catholic community, Communitas, a few dozen people meeting for weekly Mass at a neighborhood center for gay Catholics. Most members are not gay, just people of all ages, races, ethnicities, orientations, and abilities, with priests from Catholic University taking turns presiding. As a volunteer with Amnesty International (AI) since 1981, I was a founding member of local Group 211 and have held various national leadership positions, including the last eight years as volunteer coordinator for the Caribbean for AI USA, and also serve as a board member of three non-profit organizations working internationally. From 2000-20003, I was a Peace Corps health volunteer in Honduras and wrote a memoir, Triumph & Hope: Golden Years in the Peace Corps in Honduras (,Kindle, and Nook), winner of three literary awards, including “Best Peace Corps Memoir of 2009” from Peace Corps Writers.

A powerful, inspiring personal story that offers an intimate look inside Peace Corps service, showing that no matter what your age and circumstances, you can always forge a new direction.

I’ve also written several articles about the Peace Corps and my missions to Romania, Sudan, Cuba, and other countries. I speak frequently at libraries and educational centers about Peace Corps service and my book.   In April 2011 I was featured in Woman’s Day and in August 2011 appeared in a video distributed worldwide by Voice of America News.


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I Blinked My Eyes and My Life Happened

“What you are is what you have been. What you’ll be is what you do now.” – Buddha

Laurel Rund's art, poem and music called "I Blinked My Eyes and My Life Happened"

I first wrote “I Blinked My Eyes” in 2003, reflecting upon how quickly my sons had grown up and how it felt like time had slipped away.  

Then, in 2009, after my husband Marty passed away ~ this poem took on a deeper meaning.   It has been revised to be reflective of my thoughts of today.   Even though the essence of this poem is one of regret,  I now understand that one should stay in the present moment because, truthfully,  that is all we have!

I Blinked My Eyes
The wise ones told me not to do it ~ but I was young and foolish.
Challenges surrounded me
and I wished them away, just wished them away.
I blinked my eyes ~ I blinked my eyes
and my life happened.
Thinking things would be  better down the road.
Suddenly it happened ~
I blinked my eyes and time melted away!
It just melted away.
Gently but so swiftly life unrolled itself ~
time was flying,  slipping away, just slipping away.
Now I miss those moments that are lost forever.
Because I know ~ I wished them away,
just wished them away.
And, as foretold
I blinked my eyes ~ I blinked my eyes
and my life happened!
© 2010 Laurel D. Rund

Please listen to the song I Blinked My Eyes composed and sung by Philip W. Leber.  The poem can be found in the book “Emerging Voices-Living On.”

Light from a Different Dimension by James Francis

“Be Not afraid; it is I, Peter”

A Light from a different dimension

by James Francis


Let this be for

  • those who have seen their beloved pass from their view ~
  • those who lie ill and are without hope ~
  • those who are afraid of their human mortality ~
  • and for those who long for peace with life ~

Light from a different dimension a metaphysical experience

The following is my best description of a very personal and a most remarkably true event. I am asleep in my bedroom (3–4 am). I wake up facing the wall to my left, and I raise my head. Compelled for some reason to turn my head, I look then to the right, and there, a few feet from my bed, is a Light.

Not a light bulb, nor light coming thru the window. It was a Light from a different dimension  (Light, that of itself, was alive!) that just opened up in the middle of my small bedroom.

And I was just about to release an audible “huh?” when the Light speaks, “Be Not afraid; it is I, Peter.” I barely had time to blink or feel the fear that was just readying to rise when the voice slowly spoke again, “Be not afraid; it is I, Peter.”

But this second time the voice and words seem to come from literally everywhere inside me and around me. I was immersed in their energy and sound, and I subsequently found myself to have departed from this earth entirely. I was a Light just like Peter.

I was following behind him, not on legs, however, as I had no human body. I was more like a Living Light-filled Expanding Orb of Consciousness, for lack of better words, and all of me was totally sobbing with joy!

And I mean, soul-deep sobbing over and over again exclaiming, “It’s so good to be home again!” and nothing had ever felt better, truer, and more real. Freed from the earth, and finally, Home Again! YES!!!

We were moving in what felt like a diagonal slant upward direction. I saw nothing and no one else. The further we proceeded, the larger I kept expanding, all the while filling up even further with a joy that was truly indescribable and so intense! Incredibly, in just seconds, it felt as though I had swelled to hundreds of miles in every direction! (Could there be too much of a “good thing” because I was losing control?) I was trying to now “hold on” to my (already way the heck out there) boundaries.

I was like a gigantic balloon and my fingertips (that did not exist, though I was trying to use some form of that thought) were stretched to the max and now failing in their effort to contain the now-impending explosion of nuclear joy!  Yikes!?

And as strange or humorously stupid as this may sound, I was suddenly afraid of “blowing up”! OK, sure, with Joy Beyond Comprehension, but still, I’m feeling like this balloon is going to burst and Pop! goes the ME-zel.  I stop.  (Apparently fear acts like a brake, even there.)

Peter now turns to me and says gently and with assurance, “Come, it’s just a little further; you’re almost there,” but I reply, “I don’t know how!” Now is that hysterical or what?

But I really was occupied with the whole “holding on” to some kind of boundary idea, and I feel apologetic (as your brother) that I wimped out at the last moment, a hair’s breath from certain changes to my ego that I sensed might render me void of any chance of retaining a relevant first and last name, leaving me likely speechless and more likely, me-less.

But Peter knew where I was at before I did, and then warmly confided to me “Just wanted to show you, so you know.” And just as suddenly I was returned to this world; me, my body, the room, my bed, and I was delightfully intact with a whole new understanding of the truth of our soul and of our home not being of this earth, but in that of the infinite ether of spirit.

I slid out of my bed and knelt in profound gratitude and thanked my Father and my brother for this most blessed moment of my life. I knew that all of us–you, me, your family, friends, and neighbors– every one of us are actually together forever. That was a very reassuring thing to know with absolute certainty at the young age of twenty-two.

This was not a near-death experience; I was simply taken and returned. It was the coolest trip of my life, and the awe and preciousness of it remains with me always. To say I am grateful is an understatement. For those that may wonder if this divine soul-snatcher is the same entity as Peter the disciple of Christ, the topic never came up. He never said he was, so I cannot tell you he was, and nothing like that mattered at the time anyway – though “within me,” I do know him to be that brother and your brother. Nonetheless,  I would have been equally glad for the lift, no matter the name he gave.

Contact page for the Essence of Laurel website


A Light from Another Dimension describes a metaphysical experienceBio – James Francis

James Francis was born in the early 1950’s in Michigan. Currently James resides in the picturesque mountains and valleys of the Northwest. As a young man his early twenties, his prayer and desire to know, commune with, and serve his Father-Mother Creator was rewarded with several profoundly beautiful, and life changing transformative spiritual experiences which forever influenced his direction, perspectives and understanding of the meaning of Life.

James has shared some of these experiences in detail, as well as a wealth of other information in a short 71 page treatise titled: And the Door shall be Opened – The Spiritual and Mystical Letters, Writings and Visions of James. The work was published in paperback May 1st, 2012 with Outskirts Press, but there is the Free E-book version of this work that can be downloaded from his website at

Regarding the book, the author personally suggests “one bring a sense of humor with their reading glasses (first ten or so pages), as this may be a journey unlike any other you have taken.”


stories about people experienced a life-changing metamorphosis

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It All Starts With The First Step by Gary Goldstein

It All Starts With The First Step

Contributed by Gary Goldstein


My name is Gary Goldstein, and I have learned through the school of life that it all starts with the first step.  I was an “A” student who graduated college with honors, starred in several sports, was popular with girls, and had no problems achieving success in the business world.  Even though I had accomplished so much in life, I was filled with low self-esteem and a lack of self-confidence for years.  I felt that I wasn’t as good as everyone else, didn’t deserve the success I was enjoying, and would never be truly happy.

The story of a man's substance abuse recoveryI am also the author of “Jew in Jail,” the true story of the nearly six years I spent incarcerated in various state prisons in New York for robbery as a direct result of my past addictions to alcohol, drugs and gambling.  Wanting to push my negative feelings away, I chose to self-medicate which lead to my addictions to alcohol, drugs and gambling.  In 1989, due to an overdose, I came close to losing my life.  But even that near-fatal experience failed to get me to change, although I did take a short “break” from using.  Spending six years in prison from 1998-2004 didn’t do the trick either.

It wasn’t until I woke up on October 31, 2007 – which, ironically, just happened to be Halloween – when I finally decided to seek help because it all starts with the first step. I attended an outpatient drug treatment program and chose to remain six months longer than required. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made!

While attending the program, I began to open up about my insecurities and about why I felt that I didn’t deserve to be successful in life. Writing and speaking about my feelings has been unbelievably therapeutic, and I want the person who is reading this right now to know that it is never a good idea to keep your feelings bottled up inside.  I learned that there is nothing you cannot do if you put your heart and soul into it, remain persistent and dedicated, work hard, and see yourself reaching your desired goal. I am proud to say that today I serve as the chairman of the outpatient drug treatment program’s alumni committee, and speak to and counsel current clients in the program.

I am also a motivational and inspirational speaker on recovery from addiction. If you have ever lived with low self-esteem and a lack of self-confidence, then my story can most likely help. No matter what you might be thinking or going through at any particular time in your life, I can absolutely guarantee that someone else has already experienced the same thing.  I certainly did!  By sheer determination, dedication and perseverance, I eventually became that successful and complete person I was always meant to be.   As I said, it all starts with that first step!

I went from being an overachiever to an underachieving alcoholic, drug addict and compulsive gambler who spent time behind bars. Rather than dwell on the past, and sulk over what might have been, I took the bull by the horns and actively went after everything I always wanted for myself.  I have been transformed into someone who is passionate about living life to the fullest, while helping others along the way do the same.

So don’t be ashamed and embarrassed to reveal your innermost thoughts, because we are human and share similar feelings. Whether it is a family member, friend, therapist, or group full of strangers, we are all here to help one another. Once you do get the much needed help you may need, you can go on and show the world that you have unlimited potential, and can do anything you put your mind to. Everyone has greatness within them.

Your confidence and self-esteem will grow, you will look forward to getting up each and every morning to take on life, and people will notice the change in your attitude and behavior.  It begins with you and the choices you make:

• It all starts by your taking that first step!

• Be the person you were always meant to be, because you deserve to be happy and live a fulfilled life.

• You are unique and were born with greatness, so take on the challenges life has to offer on a daily basis, as there is no limit to how far your success will take you.

• Never be ashamed or afraid to ask for help if the need arises, as there might be some bumps along the way.

• Slowly, but surely, you will see that you can achieve anything you put your mind to, and your confidence and self-esteem will soar.

• You have greatness in you, so don’t deprive yourself or the world of this special talent – your destiny awaits!

I start each day by first looking in the mirror and feeling happy with who I see. This positive confirmation helps me fuel my desire to continue on the path to success I have always deserved.  I now know that there is no limit to what I am capable of doing and have a bucket list of all the things I enjoy and want to succeed at.  I have chosen to reach for the stars!

“The only way of finding the limits of the possible

is by going beyond them into the impossible.”

Arthur C. Clarke

Contact page for the Essence of Laurel website


Gary Goldstein picture and author of Jew in JailBio – Gary Goldstein

Gary Goldstein was born on October 18, 1961 in Brooklyn, New York. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism from Long Island University in 1983, and is a selected member of Sigma Delta Chi, and Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities & Colleges.

Before Gary’s conviction, he worked for both CBS News and Sports, and NBC Sports, as a researcher/producer, and has also worked at other media outlets and sports production companies in the Tri-State area as well. Since his release in 2004, Gary has also been employed in the construction industry, but is now retired from that line of work.

“Jew in Jail” by Gary Goldstein seeks to relive the author’s life peaks and pitfalls into alcohol, drugs and gambling and his time spent in prison in order to teach readers a tough lesson: “that addiction doesn’t discriminate, and that anyone – from any walk of life – is susceptible to this disease, as well as incarceration, if one doesn’t live an honest, law-abiding life aided by a loving family and support group.”

Gary is single and has no children, enjoys reading, writing, music, working out, spending time with family and friends, dating, and going to the beach. He still resides in his hometown of Brooklyn, New York, and is currently working on his next book project, while also focusing on his motivational and inspirational speaking career.

You may contact Gary at

Metamorphosis - Your Inspirational stories of transformation and self-realization

A Fighter’s Spirit by Jillian Bullock

A Fighter’s Spirit

Contributed by Jillian Bullock


Three and a half years ago, while training in mixed martial arts, I suffered a torn rotator cuff. After surgery and extensive rehab my doctor told me to hang up my gloves – that my days training in boxing and martial arts were over. The doctor said that it was one of the worst tears he had seen and warned me that if I tried to go back to training, I could forever lose the use of my right arm.

This was shattering news for me. I had over thirty years in sports and fitness. As a former competitive athlete, I was making a living as a certified personal trainer, a group fitness instructor and the creator of “Fighting Spirit Warriors” (a self-defense fitness program for girls and women). The doctor’s devastating news felt as if someone had kicked the wind out of me. Not being able to train challenged the fighter within me; I gained over 50 pounds and my confidence and self-esteem began to plummet.

Jillian Bullock talks about her fighting spirit in Metamorphosis-Your StoriesYou see,  my fighter’s spirit was being severely challenged – fitness and training in boxing, wrestling and the martial arts have always been my way of coping with hardships, challenges and obstacles in my life. When I was raped at age eleven by a family friend, I began training in Tae Kwon Do to help defend myself and to ease the raw emotional pain and anger I felt inside. At age fifteen, when I became homeless after my mother kicked me out of the house, I managed to continue going to karate class to get my black belt. In my twenties, I survived a difficult divorce by training to achieve a black belt in Wing Chun. In my thirties, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and turned to wrestling to help me overcome my depression and to “fight” the disease. There has never been a moment in my life when I did not use fitness and training to help me get through some of the toughest of times.

I finally called upon ‘my fighter’s spirit” and did what I knew would be best for me! Using my knowledge and expertise as a personal trainer, I came up with a fitness program for myself. Training slowly and steadily,  I have vigorously worked towards getting back into “fighting shape.” In fact, I now train three hours a day, six days a week. My personal fitness program includes weight-training, cardio conditioning drills, yoga, endurance and plyometric training, as well as boxing and mixed martial arts.

Many individuals have asked me to speak at their businesses, organizations, or events because they feel that my “fighter’s spirit” story inspires, uplifts and empowers people from all walks of life. As a fitness expert, motivational speaker and empowerment coach, I use my story, knowledge and experiences to help other people learn how to use fitness to get into shape and to overcome obstacles in their lives.

During my empowerment speeches I tell audiences life is similar to a fight in the ring – that individuals who want to overcome challenges and obstacles should “look into” the mindset of a champion fighter.  The fighter may be getting his butt kicked; may go down to the mat repeatedly; may have broken ribs and a broken nose – but the champion fighter would rather be carried out on a stretcher than to quit or throw in the towel!

Today I am embarking on a tour called “The Fighting Spirit Warriors: Fit 2 Fight to Have A Safe Life.” During this one-year tour I will be traveling throughout the country with the mission “to reach and to teach” one million girls and women about why being physically fit is so vital in helping to reduce their chance of becoming a victim of rape, sexual assault or domestic violence. This includes teaching safety tips and preventive measures about how to spot a predator and the RED Flag Warning Signs of an abuser.

My philosophy is that having a fighter’s spirit is vital in order to deal with everything life throws at you. My motto is  “When life deals you hardships and challenges which threaten your happiness and success, you have a choice – either lie down and quit or stand up and fight!”

I am grateful that I listened to my own “fighter’s spirit” and never gave up my dream to help people. It is my life mission to embolden individuals to be victors, not victims!


Fall seven times, stand up eight  ~  Japanese Proverb

Metamorphosis - Your Stories of transformation and self-realization

Bio – Jillian Bullock

Jillian Bullock talks about her fighting spirit in Metamorphosis - Your Stories

Jillian Bullock, who is a former reporter for the Wall Street Journal, is an author, an award-winning writer and filmmaker, a fitness expert, a motivational speaker and empowerment coach. She is also the CEO of Jaguar Productions, Inc., a film and sports entertainment company and the CEO of Jillian Bullock Enterprises, LLC, a fitness, wellness and empowerment company.

As a former competitive martial artist and boxer with over 30 years in the fitness business, Jillian, who has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and Wing Chun, uses her fighting and fitness education and skills in several roles including a certified personal trainer, a certified group instructor, and a certified kickboxing instructor. Jillian is also the creator of Fighting Spirit Warriors, a fitness for self-defense program aimed at girls and women.

Jillian is currently writing the book Fighting Spirit Warriors: Why Being Physically Fit is Vital for Self-Defense Against Rape, Sexual Assault or Domestic Violence and is also working on her first fitness DVD, which will be available in the summer of 2013.


Jillian Bullock’s websites:;




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Before I was a bully I was a victim by T. Gagliano

Metamorphosis – Your Stories

Stories About Bullying


Before I was a bully, I was a victim…

Contributed by Thomas Gagliano, MSW

Before I was a bully I was a victim.  Some terrible things happened to me when I was a young boy and because of this hurt, I developed a bully mentality. I wanted the world to pay the bill for what happened to me as a kid.

I used intimidation as a child to get other children to do what I wanted. They knew I would hit first and ask questions later so they had better do what they were told.  At an early age I developed a destructive entitlement to placate the way that I was hurting inside – to justify my need to hurt others when things did not go my way.

Over time, I came to realize the damage I was doing to others and myself.  I became aware that I had to find out what was broken inside of me in order to understand what had to be fixed.  That is when my search into why some children become bullies and others their victim began.  Stories about bullying, Metamorphosis - Your stories of transformation and self-realization

Today as an adult and a parent I have learned to give my children what my father was unable to give to me, to become their hero.  I found ways to give my children the positive and loving messages that were denied to me. I give them guidance to get them on track, and a shoulder to cry on when they are troubled or sad. My children can face the world with confidence and know I am here if they should stumble.

When my son was nine, we were watching a baseball game together on television. As the camera panned over the cheering fans, he asked me why the kids in the stands were so excited. I said that the players are heroes to those kids and I suggested that someday one of those players might be his hero. My son paused and said, “They may be my hero someday, but you will always be my first hero.”

The feats of the heroes I describe will not make the front page of any newspaper. But what headline can equal the love and admiration seen reflected in the eyes of your own child? The message is clear – we are our children’s first heroes, whether we want that responsibility or not.

Today, to pay it forward, I now help parents offer their children the inner strength they need to avoid being targeted by bullies.  Here are six key steps which will are important to remember and, from my experience,  I believe will be of help to you,  your children and your extended family:

1)   THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME – If a child doesn’t feel safe talking to his parents or loved ones about his feelings, fears, struggles or sexual orientation, he or she may begin to internalize those feelings and believe they deserve to be punished. There are times your child may tell you something you don’t want to hear but you need to keep all communications open regardless of what they say.  If not,  your child will suffer from an inner pain and many bullies detect this weakness and target their victims accordingly.

2)   BECOME NOSEY – Make it your business to know what your kids are up to. For starters, ask them what’s new and how they’re doing.  Know who their friends are, what they enjoy and be sure you monitor the websites they visit.  They will most likely resist your intrusion, but when they’re older they’ll realize you’ve done this out of concern and love and they matter to you.

3)   LET COMPASSION BE YOUR GUIDE – When your child struggles, try not to overreact. Take a deep breath and deal with it after you’ve calmed down.  Remember, consequences are necessary, but make sure that when you administer them, that once again, they know it’s out of concern and love. Let compassions guide what you say and the way you say it.

4)  DON’T WRITE THE SCRIPT – Children need guidance, but having unrealistic expectations only serves to push them further away. We all want our children to read the script we wrote on the ways they should act and think. Unfortunately there are times we need to relinquish our need to be right and choose closeness instead.  Just listening to them is the best way to get them to listen to you.

5)   ALLOW FAILURES – Let your children know that it is ok to make a mistake and that making a mistake doesn’t make them a failure. If we deny our children compassion when they stumble, we negate a part of their humanity.  If they lose compassion for themselves they will lose compassion for others. This is one of the key elements in the bully mentality.  Many bullies have no compassion for themselves or others.

6)   WORK ON YOUR OWN SHORTCOMINGS – If you are struggling in certain areas of your life, show your children that it’s okay to reach out and ask for help. When you take responsibility for your own shortcomings you are modeling positive behavior for your children.  All of us have an inner critic to some extent. That little voice inside our head that doesn’t go away, reminding us of the things we’ve done wrong, never allowing us to celebrate our victories. If we don’t work on our own inner critic we will give this nemesis to our children whether we want to or not. 

Stories about sychronicities

“And you? When will you begin that long journey into yourself?”  Rumi

Metamorphosis - Your Stories of transformation and self-realizationThomas Gagliano, MSW –  Bio

Along my path to a better life, I’ve had the opportunity to share my experiences and insights with people from all walks of life.  About ten years ago, I started to spend less time in the business world and more time helping those who suffered as I had from negative childhood messages.

Through my life experiences and the insights I’ve gained in my journey, I developed certain techniques which I applied to help others. I achieved this by facilitating  groups in my house, in schools and churches, free of charge.  The people who allowed me to help them are the ones who inspired me to  write my book, entitled  The Problem Was Me.  Also contributing to my book is Dr. Abraham Twerski, a noted psychiatrist and author.

I then went back to school and graduated with an MSW in August of 2011. Now I present myself as a life coach and a key note speaker. The Problem Was Me contains my life story and the story of other men and women who have found a better life through using the techniques in this book, which will bring hope to anyone who is paralyzed by their wounded past. It will also shed light for family and friends who do not understand why certain loved ones reject happiness and help whenever it’s offered.  Finally, The Problem Was Me, will provide the readers with a blueprint to give their children the loving and healthy messages that might have been denied to them.

YouTube Video stories about bullying: Six Bullying Prevention Tips for Parents

Website stories about bullying:  Author, The Problem Was Me

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