The Garcia Family

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

The PostSecret

I found PostSecret years ago while perusing the internet. I continue to check it every once in a while; I've never read one that made me grateful to share this Earth with someone whom I've never even met!

As many of you know Dan and I are expecting a little grommet in November and are both seeking out affirmation on different parenting methods that enveloped both of our somewhat different upbringings, positive reinforcement techniques, and of course Jo-isms (Supernanny). I had frequented a site before (while writing a paper for a Development Psychology class at Cal State Fullerton) Positive Discipline Association and recently revisited to discover a posting from a mother needing advice on her five-year old who would not apologize to a classmate. I've included the posting below:

Five-Year Old Child Won't Apologize


I am very worried about my 5 yr old kindergartner. She is an extremely bright child and her teachers have been very impressed with her pace of learning. That is why it was worrisome to get a call from one of her teachers. My daughter had pinched a girl hard and pushed her. When the teacher intervened she refused to say anything at all. She heard from the other girl that my daughter had pushed and pinched her because she was coming in the way of her friend. When the teacher asked my daughter to apologize she refused.
Upon coming home, I asked her about her day and she did not say much. Upon probing she came out clean but still does not seem to be apologetic. The teachers in school are nice and my daughter can be stubborn at times. How do I approach this problem positively? I am extremely worried.
Please help,
Mom in distress


Dear Mom in distress,

Your daughter is very fortunate to have you as her Mom! As a parent you are wishing that your daughter would feel sorry and that those feelings could be expressed with two simple words, “I’m sorry.” It isn’t every parent who stops to consider how to teach their children the value of kindness and respect. It is really easier for adults to just “expect” young children to FEEL sorry when they have hurt someone and that somehow children should just be born with the ability to say “I’m sorry” as easily as they cry or laugh. Saying sorry doesn’t mean--feeling sorry. Empathy is a learned skill, not an inborn human trait! Actually, this is a good thing – empathy can develop in children when they experience it and see it modeled by the adults in their lives.

So, let me introduce myself – I’m Mary Hughes, a member of the Q/A panel who answers questions from website. I’m a Lead Trainer with Positive Discipline (living life in the Positive Discipline track since 1987!). I am almost as thankful for Positive Discipline’s influence on my teaching of young children for over 35 years as I am for its’ profound impact on my own family of three now-grown children. (I’m a Grandma of Three ranging in age from 12 yrs. To 20 months.) Your question spoke to the teacher in me, who discovered that while “Love means you never have to say I’m sorry” it does mean you “… DO Sorry!” Let me explain.

Four ideas follow …

1. Child development will help us understand that young children can SAY sorry and not mean it, because they don’t understand the concept but will SAY anything to please the adults in their lives! You may think I’m excusing your daughter, or being permissive – absolutely NOT! What I mean is this: when you understand the development of young children, you know that their minds are not wired like an adult’s – partially because of lack of life experiences, and partially because of the way their brains are wired! New brain research tells us that it is through human relationships that the brain grows the connections it needs to be healthy and fully functioning.

2. Empathy is taught. So, we tailor the learning for the child to help them grow to the next level of understanding what “saying I’m sorry” means and we teach it at the child’s level The book, “Positive Discipline for Preschoolers” and/or the parent book in the Positive Discipline series, “Positive Discipline” by Jane Nelsen can help you and your daughter’s teacher discover many tools that will help teach your daughter and her classmates how to solve these very normal, yet still distressing to adults, behaviors.

3. Young children are very impulsive, and it is a long process to learn to “use your words.”
Many times adults working with children will say “use your words” but they forget they have to first teach them the words and the actions! Young children learn best by example. So, your daughter’s teacher might have said something that goes like this: “Oh, Janey, I’m so sorry Mary pushed you out of the way – I bet that hurt. Mary must have forgotten the words to ask you to move out of her way because she was talking to her other friend. After you feel better, let’s see if we can help her remember them.” Then the teacher asks, “Mary, what can you do to help Janey feel better?” (get a tissue, offer a book, give her a hug or a high five …etc.”

Later, (allowing for tempers to cool so she can access her rational brain – so learning can take place, the scene may sound like: “ Mary – next time, do you know what you could have said instead of pushing Janey out of the way?” To which your daughter may say, “no … or yes ;” Then continue, “It’s important to me and your Mom that you learn some ways of helping someone who is hurt or isn’t playing very well, so I want to teach you what you can do/say when YOU hurt someone unintentionally.” If she says “I forget” (what the words are), then the teacher would say,” Mary – let’s practice so you have the words in your head for the next time.” Then you get the two of them to role play how it could have gone…You could also stage the role play at home with a doll … my grand-daughter at the age of 12 still likes to role-play and talk with me about some of the situations she faces in 7th grade … Then you could ask her what the good outcomes might be when she treats her friends more respectfully. (a couple of these would include being labeled as a friend, feeling better inside herself for asking for what she needs in an empowering way, and teaching her classmates who look to her as a leader and smart, etc..)

4. When teachers use these situations to teach that mistakes are opportunities to learn all
the other children in the class will be watching and learning how to DO sorry too, so teaching this to your daughter and another child in the class also makes it ‘hands-on’ learning for everyone. The other children will be watching and reacting to what they see the teacher do; and they will be saying to themselves, “So this is what my teacher expects;” “when I make a mistake and forget what to do, my teacher will help me do better.” … etc….

A loaded question next: “When you are angry with someone, do you FEEL sorry at the time if you say something you didn’t mean or were sarcastic?” Of course not! Your feeling of “I wish I hadn’t said that or even thought that way might come hours later! So, remembering that even adults sometimes have trouble saying or doing “not nice” things can help parents to expect NOT to change the feeling of irritation/jealousy, etc. – we can only hope to influence children to “think before acting.” But you sure CAN expect the child to DO something to help the one that is hurt feel better – that is really how you teach empathy! When you hurt someone, you respectfully seek forgiveness by restoring the relationship – sorry words, even to adults, ring hollow sometimes – so the “doings” are the better and more desired way of SAYING SORRY in ways that will teach both the hurter AND the hurtee.

Thanks for asking this question – it is one of my favorite concepts to teach parents and teachers of young children, because I think it helps teach peaceful conflict resolution. I hope this helps you relax and know that you are on the right track … a book that could help your child’s teacher, if she/he is open to learning another way to teach empathy to children is Positive Discipline in the Classroom. There is a 2-day training that schools can bring to their communities, and there is a 2-day Teaching Parenting the Positive Discipline Way that parents and parent educators attend to learn more about the positive discipline tools in an experiential way. Maybe you would like to bring some training your way? There is a great handout on the website, “WHAT IS POSITIVE DISCIPLINE?” that explains more about the principles that guide adults in their very important work with children.

Sending you MUCH encouragement!
Mary Hughes (Omaha, NE.)

After reading this post I found interest in the idea that though this was being directed at parents in relation to their children, I believe there is an even larger void in the masses of adults who should be educated in the simple ideas of "Do Sorry" and the true meaning of "Empathy". There are people in my very own life who seem relatively ignorant to the idea of forgiveness; a simple idea that a five year old, with the assistance of simple instructions and proper verbiage can understand! I find myself "suffering to love" certain people in my life who have little to no desire to even entertain these very simple principles. People ask, "is an apology that important?" Well perhaps it could be done without if the "doing" part that was spoken of in the article was being displayed or attempted, but at this point that is clearly null and void.

Unlike this concerned mother who wanted her child to apologize for her little-one's wrong-doing, we are soon to find ourselves raising our own little one amongst other parents who lack the very skills necessary to make this world go 'round: empathy and respect.

Can these principles be taught to children by people who lack the very skills they must edify?

I guess we now have a little less than 30 weeks to begin to figure it out. Please note: currently taking suggestions!

The Rebate Scramble

For those of you receiving tax rebates; take this into consideration: big-box retailers Sears and Kmart, both of which are under earnings pressure, as well as national grocery chain Kroger (Ralphs) will give customers gift cards in exchange for their entire stimulus check starting in May. To entice shoppers to hand over up to $1,200 in full, the retailers are adding 10% to the rebate total. Sound like a good idea? I'm no CPA but I'm pretty sure that if you "earn" 10% on your rebate, that 10% is probably taxable next year, and by probably I mean, surely taxable (as surely as the IRS actually having in print the fact that stolen goods are to be claimed on your yearly tax returns).

I heart America! Happy spending!

Researchers have shown that many seemingly mindless mistakes result from a cascade of neurological shifts. In the half-minute preceding an error, activity increases in the brain's at-rest areas (red) and decreases in the brain's focus-maintaining regions (blue).

What scientists are hoping to do is be able to design and market a monitor which will warn a person that they are about to "short function", basically telling a person that today might not be the best day to work on their assembly line, write their essay, or play Operation against their 3 year old (that wishbone can be a pain in the arse). Although all of this seems to me to be just another excuse to stay home from work or just not take that big meeting the board has had planned for months, I most likely would buy one. Just what this world needs, an even larger decrease in productivity in the work place!

*please note: blog written while on my high horse.

Although my husband and I have a totally innocent crush on Cristian de la Fuente, who doesn't...I could not believe my eyes last night; Kristy Yamaguchi could totally be a professional ballroom star in her own right!

Is this even a competition anymore? This is like Carrie Underwood in Season 4 of America Idol; they should just have the finals now! She is amazing!

The E to the C

It's not quite as hideous from space!

P.S I miss my mom! (Ottmar Liebert has been a musical staple of ours for years)

"El Papa" in NYC

As I usually do in the mornings while getting ready to start my day, I flipped on the TV to CNN. Being showcased was the landing of the Pope in New York and him being greeted by Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Patterson. I found it extremely embarrassing that of all the New Yorkers (though these two hold high political offices for New York and the City of New York) that he was greeted by someone who has taken over office for someone who had a damning sex-scandal (Spitzer) yet has a past riddled with his own publicly acknowledged sex scandals (Patterson), and Mayor Bloomberg.

Of both Bloomberg and Patterson I find the most troubling to actually be Mayor Bloomberg. Let me remind you that this is a man who told a female executive to "kill it" after she told him that she was pregnant, referred to Mexicans as "jumping beans", and told a female worker who was having trouble finding a nanny that "all you need is some black who doesn't even have to speak English to rescue it from a burning building".

Considering the Catholic church's Pro-Life stance, I find it beyond belief that Bloomberg receives the honor of meeting and greeting someone whom is revered by millions of believers throughout the world as a proponent for life and equality; personally I do not even think he is worthy of shining the Pope's ruby red loafers, or even cleaning my car (and that is not an easy or enjoyable task).
Must we broadcast that the United States is suffering from it's own theology: the continued socialization of the sexuality "norm". For the past three to four decades this nation has jump-started a slippery slope of sexualization, of which appeals to younger and younger audiences every year.

I blame parents, I blame peers, I blame teachers, I blame politicians, I blame this entire nation, as well as myself for the "everyone is doing it, it's normal human behavior" lesion that has been leeching lies, depravity, and debauchery into any and everyone who doesn't see it for what it really is: weakness! It is now "normal" behavior for boys, young men, and older men and women to look at, "enjoy", and seek out pornography, it is "normal" for men and women to now experiment sexually with multiple partners as long as they are being "safe", it is now in fact normal practice for advertising and marketing executives to base their campaigns around these pathetic lapses in faith, judgment, and self-discipline for economic gain. So many people loudly and boastfully proclaim how they "dare to be different" and "don't follow the crowd": do you really? It doesn't seem to me that many actually do!

I don't think it is enough these days for parents to not watch certain things (TV shows, movies, video games, etc.)in front of their children, adults should have more demands of themselves: and clearly not less than those expectations they hold for their own children.

I think this world should all extend a very Happy Birthday to my Gma, or as I famously dubbed her, "Nana Pancha"!

Please note: by "extending a happy birthday", I really mean shots of tequila and mariachi music!!! She wouldn't have it any other way!

Espresso Anyone?

I guess I should be grateful that my husband is not more mechanically inclined...this would surely be the future for at least one of our Wii nunchucks as well as our expertly engineered DeLonghi.


Pick a word. An important word like truth, harmony, love, fear, shame, kindness, charity, humility, and study it for a time. Discover what the word means and what it means to you. Make the word part of your consciousness daily. I studied the word integrity for the past year. It has changed my life. What I now understand about that word is that to have integrity is to be whole. It means that what you think, what you feel and what you do are all aligned to the same truth. I don't like him/her (what I think). I am nervous when he/she is around (what I feel). He/She comes around me and I say " hey! how are you, so good to see you." Lacks integrity. Lacks truth. Lacks wholeness.

We all do it in many ways. We are human and we are learning. But when you start realizing these things, you grow into the ability to live in more and more truth, and that truth subsequently changes you. Truth takes you where you were/are meant to go. Truth is like life's map for you. Truth makes you who you really are. Truth is hard; life is hard, but when you get to the top of the mountain and achieve the ability to live truthfully, you will know freedom: you will know love and you will know who you are and you will be closer to God because of this.

The word I am working on now is trust. The lesson for last week was about trusting God in a situation where we had no power, it required patience and faith. The lesson this week has been about trusting me and my intuition. For most of my life I have not trusted my feelings. I have denied my intuitive knowledge. When I was a girl I felt it wasn't safe to know and experience all of the life lessons that I had already learned at such a young age, many of which most people go a lifetime without knowing. I imagined I must be crazy to feel what I felt; experience what I had experienced, and know what I knew because of it all.

Now as an adult, I want, need, and seek the truth. I am learning that as a woman I need to listen more to those moments of keen intuition and act on them. It (God for me, perhaps the universe or higher power for you) says clearly: " she/he is dangerous, they don't have my best interest in mind, she/he is jealous of me, don't take the 91 freeway today, I should call her, something just isn't right". As difficult as it may be to realize or for some even accept, I could never believe we rule our daily lives, God does, and he has our best interests in mind, whether we choose to listen is a different story.

Act on your knowledge without apology nor explanation, for it is given to you. Do not test or question, or play games with these truths and newly discovered knowledge; to do so is to say you are not sure. You ARE sure, God has made you sure through these intuitive epiphanies. Truth and knowledge does not need justification and cannot be argued with.

It is. You are.

There is a secret to success, and there is no getting around the formula: To whom much is given, much shall be required. The more you are given the more it is required that you give, and the more you give, the more you will get.

God is a great investor. Like all great investors, he puts his money where it is sure to grow. What would you do if you were entrusted with his investment? Do you help him double his money by investing in someone else, or do you keep it all for you?

God puts his money where it is sure to flow. You are meant to be like the river. The bank keeps what it needs to fortify it, and lets the rest flow through it. Earn money, keep some for you, let the rest go.

Keep only what you need, and then concern yourself with the needs of others. Don't worry about how you will get more. Not your job. Yours is simply to help others. You help them, you will be helped. It is law. Be God, but just for a moment. Who would you be giving your money, energy, love, and talent to? The one that keeps creating more and more good in as many lives as possible, or the one that enjoys all the good for themselves alone? What would you do if you had everything in this world to give?

To whom would you give it?

Be that person.

Gone 'til November

Listen with a quiet mind, and without defense to the voices you hear in and around your life. Are they for you or against you? There is no middle ground.

Sometimes the people and things closest to us are those causing us the most harm. Your life- your heart, mind and soul are your home. Look around the house. Open all the cabinets. Don’t enter into argument with toxins. Just throw them out.

My mom once said to me about someone I was suffering to love, “its not what she says, its how she makes you feel.” People do not see, nor really hear each other. We feel each other. Everything is an energy exchange.

Do those around you make you feel good, supported, understood, encouraged and just plain happy? If so, they get to be your guests, if not, show them the door and be sure to get your keys back!

Once the house is empty, trust me, you will begin to re-decorate.

Sports Illustrated:

Victoria's Secret catalog:

People Magazine:

Sports Illustrated:

Not sure who did this, but they should be canned like Chicken of the Sea!

Who does this?

I guess the server should be grateful they were out of BBQ sauce?

Business Week recently, all things considered, created a list of the "Happiest Countries in the World". Below you will find the reason I think the editors ranked it where they did:

1) Denmark- Boasts a small population, there's quite a few people I'd like to kick out of my homeland: exempli gratia.

2) Switzerland- Postcard Scenery (This is Mount Titlis in Engelberg-I couldn't make this up)

3) Austria- The VonTrapp Family (Yes, that is Christopher Plummer and Julie Andrews and I do believe they scaled the Alps, tell me no more!)

4) Iceland- One word: Bjork. Okay, perhaps two words "hot springs".

5) Bahamas- Sex on the Beach, and perhaps the cocktail as well.

6) Finland- 100% literacy rate, everyone in Finland could read this, if it was in "Finnish".

7) Sweden- Maternity and Paternity leave...the government actually watches your kids for you while you act a fool! Okay not really but hey, had you pondering a move right!

8) Bhutan- This is where Business Week clearly hit their crack-pipe: Bhutan has a life expectancy of 55 years and a GDP per capita of $1400.00; no thanks, I think Iraq has a better resume than that!

9) Brunei- Bru-Where? Bru-Why? Cool Name I guess, "sounds French so we'll give you a 9".

10) Canada- Three letters: GSP and a low crime rate, mostly due in part to this guy being the "Sheriff in Town"!

All in all, I guess we're not moving...perhaps some day to Bru-yay! Aye guey?

I came across this site this morning. I must say that it is pretty entertaining; there's a lot of hoopla about whether or not this is racist. Personally being "White" and "Mexican", and fully aware of the fact that this is done solely tongue in cheek, my opinion is this:

Cul-de-Sacs: white people love Cul-de-Sacs
Round Foods: bagels, donuts, pizza, and cups of coffee (expensive ones)

-Doesn't everyone?! That's kind of the point!

I always new someday I would regret spending my weekly allowance on the newest and most poster-filled issue of Tiger Beat!

I guess my friend Christina in the 3rd grade was right when she said Joey was the "baby-face": clearly his baby face has been the only thing to keep him from looking like an orangutan (note: see Danny Wood, far right)

I'm putting NKOTB "On Notice" for not realizing that being born in the late 60's should be clue enough that you can not compete with the likes of the Jonas Brothers!

Deus Ex Machina

Our Family

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity

Colossians 3:14