Friday, March 25, 2016

What does it mean to be a man?

Love this article on the Good Men Project by Jordan Kozey

"Truth be told, a short time ago I was vastly unaware of any concept related to manhood above wage earning, loyalty, and being strong/hard, until an ex-partner of mine quite viciously informed me that I was not a man. “What does that even mean?” I asked myself earnestly, biting back the pain of those icy bullets. In the wake of what obviously became a dismantled marriage, the question still burns in my heart, but it’s lighter, tender, and more fertile than before. Most significantly, I’ve learned that the answers emerge most effectively through self-compassion and care." Read more here!

This applies to all human beings as we journey along into evolution rather than revolution. More men contacted me (over the years) for relationship coaching than women, because they were literally losing themselves in their relationships. The focus was all about attention gained because of how much they spent on her and the reward of her affection for doing so. Women, in general, contacted me to find out “if he would commit.” I realized something was inherently false about how we match up.

Since those days I have researched men in their fathering roles and discovered most of the last century examined mothers relationships to their babies and children and did not include men. Considering the lack of social conditioning as children and the lack of attention by the research community, there are many awesome fathers who have gone unrecognized.

In general I began to suspect our American definition was not working for men any more than it was working for women. Case in point the midlife crisis. A fellow researcher discovered that men may seek a younger woman because of her child bearing years. They worked and became successful during their children’s growing up years and the mid life crisis may actually be triggered by empty nest syndrome. It was postulated that they maybe having an intense reaction to the loss of their relationship with their children. Being successful and workaholic patterns do not support healthy parent-child relationships over the short or long term. Many men who enter into mid-life relationships end up fathering again and do so quite differently the second time around.

I see the new trend of masculine questioning as a step forward for men, women and families. Awesome article! Enjoy!

Dr. Mary Kay Keller
What is coaching?
What men want us to know about fathering.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Fathering in the News!

Why is a focus on Fathering so Important? Not very often I hear from mothers who feel resentful that the focus is now on fathers. As if mothering never quite received its true recognition. I have to say as a woman and mother I do agree. Mothers were the central focus of attachment and bonding studies for almost 100 years, leaving out fathers completely. However, the interpretation of the research was often viewed in a negative light, such as, how much damage we were doing to our children because we were not doing it right. Mothers of the year never seem to hit the news media, indeed only the ones who killed or abused their children were often in the spot light. The reverse is true of fathers. For many years working in direct services, professionals know that the killing of women and children by men is so common placed that it rarely makes the front page of the news.

WHY?  I believe that the world will become a better place when we change the way we socialize our males. It truly is that simple. Research indicates that men who spend more time caring for their infant's experience an increase in the bonding hormone, oxytocin. The hormone that makes us bond with each other as human beings. Through this bonding and connection we become attached to each other. Who can't see where t his is leading us to?

Further more, there are many fathers who have never been acknowledged for their contributions in raising their children. Many times men are doing it all too, only they are quiet about it. Fathers who have been in both roles due to an illness or disease in the mother are not unusual. They are however ignored and unsupported. So here is fathering in the news today, four great articles, thanks to my Google Alerts! Read on and enjoy! 

Today's Post is from the HuffingtonPost Parents! 

What a great article! Thank you to Christopher A. Brown.

"According to the Pew Research Center's recent Parenting in America study, only 39% of dads say they do a "very good job as a parent." That's compared to 51% of moms who say the same about their own parenting.Why, then, do 6 in 10 of dads lack confidence in their parenting? One reason might be dads' lack of confidence in how well prepared they are to be dads. National Fatherhood Initiative's Pop's Culture study -- the most comprehensive national study ever conducted on dads' attitudes on fathering -- found that only 54% of dads "agreed" and 22% "strongly agreed" that they were adequately prepared for fatherhood when their first child was born.
Nevertheless, dads have the ability to learn to be better dads. Unfortunately, they lack the kind of help-seeking behavior of moms when it comes to parenting. In a way, dads are often their worst enemy when it comes to seeking advice and guidance on how to be a good father. As the Pew report on the Parenting in America study states:"
Click here to read the entire article!
"As you know, fatherhood is a joy!
… and sometimes, not so much.
The longer I am a dad, the more I’m humbled about the role. I talk to more and more men who are having difficulties with their kids, and they really aren’t much different from me. They try to do the right thing, they’re highly devoted to their families, and yet for some reason their kids make a wrong turn." Click here to read the full article! 


"FOR years, dads have been the butt of jokes for being completely incapable of looking after their own kids
They’re so totally hopeless their main role is babysitter rather than parent.
They put nappies on upside down, think French fries are a vegetable, and can never remember what pick-up time is for kindergarten.
Watch him leave the house without the nappy bag! Marvel as he forgets to pack the school lunches – again! See him struggle to put the pram up!"

Mentoring Fathers by By
Every child needs a strong male figure in their life and one Arizona organization is working to make sure those men are prepared for the responsibility. Phoenix-based organization Father Matters aims to give fathers in socially- and economically-deprived communities a strong mentor in their lives and teach them how to become a mentor of their own.

Vance Simms, a life coach, founded the group in 1997, after Simms noticed the “tremendous need” for fathering, according to the organization’s website.  Simms grew up without his father and wanted to be a presence in the lives of his own five children.

The organization does not just target men: Father Matters is dedicated to providing tools to women in order to improve the well-being in their homes and communities.

Click here to read the story!

Remember to find me on Social Media (see the links to the right) and check out my services on the page links above. Best, Mary Kay

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Discipline is not punishment. Discipine means to teach!

So I get questions about how to discipline children. What I find is that most people confuse the word discipline with punishment. Punishment works in the short term, it stops the behavior right now. It does not prevent the behavior in the future. Case in point, going to prison. What are the prisons full of? People who keep coming back. People who will never tell you they were raised and surrounded by love, compassion and understanding. Furthermore, everything science tells us about punishment says it is inferior to positive reinforcement. Reinforcement whether it is positive or negative is certain to increase the behavior that you do want (+) or that you don't want (-).

I love the work of Byron Katie. The work of inquiry of asking ourselves and the people around us empowers us and them. I love the work of the Nurturing Parenting Program. No person incarcerated has ever shared with me, I grew up being nurtured (spoiled). As if spoiling equals nurturing. Spoiling is not about nurturing. Spoiling is about living with out boundaries. I love the work of self compassion by Dr. Neff   I love the work of Dr. Brown the Parenting Manifesto

Children are smaller than us. We as adults are obligated to do our very best, to protect, guide and raise our children with respect, not less responsibility, more responsibility. We are not to be the enemy of children. We do not own our children they are not our property to do was we please.

Enjoy this video of a little boy reading Byron Katie's book Tiger, Tiger is it so? In Grandma's Reading Room. Books I endorse! Grandma's Reading room! 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Children grieve too!

Many times parents ask about talking to their children about death. Often they feel it is better to keep children away from hospitals and funerals. What happens when a child is "protected" is that they are shut out from reality. They feel emotionally abandoned. Children may not always understand death and dying however their bodies and hearts know that something is amiss. If you can't talk to them about death, buy a book that explains it and read it to them. Afterwards allow them to process and ask questions. You don't have to have all the answers, they just need you with them as they journey through life.

I highly recommend the book, I miss you! Here is a link to Amazon Buy Here on Amazon
Today's Reading in Grandma's reading room. 

Remember parenting coaching is an investment in your child's emotional future. Check out my services on the page above. Best, Mary Kay Keller

Friday, January 8, 2016

Grandma's Reading Channel!

Hello Readers,

I am working up a blog post about Grandparents and their contributions in the lives of their grandchildren. There is a lot of controversy right now about grandparents rights to visit their grandchildren due to the prevalence of cut offs (being denied access to grandchildren). There are two sides to the story and I intend to address each side by presenting research and interpretation of said research in story form based upon my training and expertise as a qualitative researcher. I speak of quality because the quality of a child's life is imperative and supersedes (in my opinion) the rights of adults. Babies, toddlers, children of all ages and stages, including teens are developing human beings who deserve a higher standard of care.  Optimal environments are required for optimal development and this is the responsibility of all adults in the lives of children.

In the meantime my own grandchildren have moved some distance away and I like any other grandparent who understands this move with my head, cannot avoid the heartache of missing them. I was so grateful and blessed to have attended each of their births by the requests of my own adult children. I was able to hold them, massage them, bathe them, and sing to them as did my own grandmothers. Being in their early lives bonded us biochemically. This bond, I know from my own childhood experience, lives in our hearts and minds forever.

It was through sitting with my grief and sadness that I was inspired to create these videos of reading to my grandchildren. They so enjoyed being read to as toddlers and when they were in pre-school and even into elementary school before we parted. Additionally, they are growing up, as all children do, and developmentally, their brains are wired to socialize intensely with children who are age appropriate. I know it is time for me to recede into my own life and watch them fly!

I do believe that these videos will be something they can return to whenever they choose and come to treasure when they have families of their own. And in the meantime I think of children who may not know the experience of being read to by a grandmother. Maybe their grandparents died when they were young, or before they were born or their family is estranged for whatever reason. I hope that this is my gift to the world for all the amazing blessings that have been my honor to receive through becoming a grandmother and enjoying the amazing human beings I call my grandchildren.

Grandma will always love you and in my heart you will always be!
Visit my reading room every Wednesday Morning for a new Reading!
Soon I will post a schedule of Live Streaming!
Click here to enter Grandma's Reading Room

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Sometimes we are sad during the Holidays! Go easy!

For many of us the Holidays are not an experience off of a Hallmark Card. I know I tried hard to make the holidays the best for for my children. However, every year I would look around and sadness would over take me for the baby girl I had buried. She would never have the experience of the Holidays as my other three children. I had fun with my living children. It was a bitter sweet experience. It made me realize how precious and sweet they truly are! 

Today's Guest Blogger is Judy Micale the Authenticity Coach! Judy is going to discuss strategies for getting through the holidays.

Holidays and Memories

As a caregiver and someone who has lost many family members, in and around Thanksgiving and Christmas, I have not always liked this time of the year. Each year I have a tendency to dread the Holiday Cheer that seems to be forced upon us. I have finally come to realize that it is not about the material things, it is about the quality of the time we spend with those we love while they are here with us physically. It is about honoring the memory of those who have gone before us.

This year I am adding some new traditions and adding some diminish to some I have been doing already. Thanksgiving will be one where I add a piece by inviting some individuals to dinner with my mom and I who may not have family to eat with. 

My birthday I always give a gift  to someone and this year I will be giving gifts for each of my family members who have passed on. At Christmas I am hanging ornaments that represent all of my family. The tree will be a memorial to all who have meant something in my life.

This time of the year let’s remember to live in the moment, to not get caught up in the bigger is better. Let’s take time to just be present with those we love and let them know how much they mean to us. Let them know what they have done to make a difference in your life. 

Remember family doesn’t have to be blood family. Anyone and everyone who has reached out to you in your time of need or time of joy can be your family. Families are those who support you, wipe away your tears and are there when you need them to be.

Here is to a new way of looking at this Holiday Season.
I’ll be thinking of you this Holiday Season
The Authenticity Coach

 Judy tweets, links up and is on Facebook

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Human Beings! Happy Thanks Giving!

As we gather with our family and friends for this holiday of Thanks Giving may we focus on Human Being rather than Human doing. Remember to breathe in and out connecting to the greatest gift of your life, your body. Center yourself into the human experience. May we all be grateful for this journey we call living. May we live believing we are all connected. 
Happy Thanksgiving to all of my fellow human beings! 

Mary Kay Keller, MPA, PhD

May we be Love!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Thanksgiving - Thanks Giving

Thank You for Everything

      Thoughts and actions related to gratitude and appreciation and thankfulness are in the air, as Thanksgiving is almost here. It is the time of the year that I recall the story I got from Alan Cohen ( about a female Zen master named Sono who taught one simple method of enlightenment. She advised everyone who came to her to say one affirmation many times a day, under all conditions. The affirmation was, "Thank you for everything. I have no complaint whatsoever."

       People from all walks of life came to Sono for healing. Some were in physical pain; others were emotionally distraught; others had financial troubles; some were seeking soul liberation. No matter what their problem or what question they asked her, she said the same thing.  She told them to affirm: "Thank you for everything. I have no complaint whatsoever." Some people were disappointed; others got angry; others wanted to argue with her. And yet there were some people who took her suggestion to heart and began to practice it in their lives. It was said that everyone who practiced Sono’s mantra found peace and healing. 

       Can you imagine what your life would be like if you stopped complaining about anything and everything? Fall is a time of letting go, so what if we let go of complaining? And simply let each of our complaints fall away like the leaves on a tree during fall. Most of us have been conditioned to question, analyze, and criticize everything we see.  We end up questioning, analyzing, and criticizing ourselves. Then we miss out on joy and happiness.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

A newborn's experience being massaged

In my classes when caregivers are learning to massage the baby I will remind them the newborn has been tucked and rolled inside the mom's tummy their whole existence. Thus having the limbs free and flying in the air is a new sensation. So is having the limbs stretched out while being massaged.
Additionally as they grow and exhibit new bahaviors over the next few days and weeks the developing muscles may feel tired as they repetitively kick, throw hands and arms out and lift the head. The head weight accounts for most of the newborns weight the first week. Lifting the head is alot of weight on the little neck. 

After the last massage instruction with parents of a 3 day old baby where the father massaged the baby to give mom a break, the newborn lifted his head up and stared directly at the mom. The long eye contact was engaging. The mother responded by holding the gaze with much love. It was an intense exchange. The father was enamored and pleased with the results of massaging the baby.
We discussed imagining what it must be like for the baby to no longer be in the only world it knew prior to birth and how it must feel to have so many new experiences all the time at first. Just remembering to massage the areas you imagine you would need massaged after running all day like a toddler, goes a long way to building a relationship through empathy, sensitivity and engagement.
And this baby got the massage while the parents relationship benefited too. Dad enjoyed massaging the baby providing comfort while mom enjoyed watching dad massage the baby! It was the ultimate benefit to each in the family unit.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Today's Post is from the Author of "The Loving Art of Infant Massage," Vimala McClure!

— Vimala McClure

         I first learned about the ancient art of infant massage while I was studying to be a yoga teacher and working in an orphanage in Northern India in 1973, when I was 21 years old. I made a connection in my mind observing the children there.

         I loved the children, who always came rushing to me, wanting to hug me, to sit on my lap, and for me to sing with them. I noticed that all the children I saw, both in and out of the orphanage, were delightful. They were open and relaxed and always smiling. They played together — pretend, like all kids — and they also spent a lot of time holding hands in a circle, dancing and singing. In spite of their extreme poverty, they were happy, they had a relaxed way of being in the world, and I often saw both boys and girls walking around with a baby on their hip. I remembered observing children playing in U.S. playgrounds; their games were often games, they gathered in little bunches, bullied the kids. They fought for time on the monkey bars. So different!

         One night, after class, I was walking around the compound, looking up at the stars,which were so bright and different from what I saw in America. I approached the sleeping quarters of the children, and peeked in. A girl, about 12 years old, was massaging a baby and singing. I waited until she was finished, and went in to talk to her. Luckily, I knew some Bengali, which was her language. She told me that massage, especially for babies, was traditional. I asked her if she could show me how to do it. She happily agreed, and allowed me to massage the baby, who was so relaxed and sleepy. I learned how to use oil, warm my hands, and do each stroke. The baby connected with me immediately. She gazed into my eyes, smiled, and drifted off to sleep.

         I was profoundly touched by this experience. I thought about it a lot. I began to think that perhaps Indian children were so kind, inclusive, responsible for the younger ones and happy in their play, because they had been massaged regularly as babies. Massage is a normal thing in Indian families, especially in the villages and towns where ideas have not yet influenced them. Women usually live with their husband’s family; when pregnant, their mothers-in-law massage them every day. After giving birth, they learn to massage their babies as part of their everyday life.