John Jen and John Speak

Category Archives: John

Free Ebook: A Thank You Gift. It inspired me, so I hope it inspires you too!

I am so grateful for all of you that have supported me in my art this year. As a thank you gift, I offer you this free downloadable ebook of collages and writing. It inspired me, so I hope it inspires you too!

Click the image below to download the free ebook “Reflections and Visions”.

I wish you all the best!

John Fong

Smile For Success

My kids are growing up so fast. I find myself trying to put their childhood in slow motion sometimes. What I’ve noticed most lately is their unbridled laughter and joy.

Recently, while doing some research for work. I found a lot of data supporting the idea that highly successful people are positive people. Even more interesting is that they were positive people before acquiring material success, and that being positive helped them become more successful. It also showed that positive people had more passion, hope and worked harder overcoming challenges.

It all boils down to how one perceives the world and the concept of gratitude. In an effort to help my kids develop this skill, I have them write down three positive things that happened during the day, and then pick one thing to explain why it was positive and/or made them happy. This also helps them practice their writing skills during the summer.

It’s only been several weeks of doing this. And I can already see positive results. I think it’s common sense: I’ve asked my kids to look for positive things in their lives and now they seek out positive and happy events. I can see how over time they will view their world through a positive filter and feel more grateful for all they have, thus feeling happier and achieving success more quickly.

What are you doing to help your children succeed? Do you think it’s a skill you can teach? Please share your thoughts. I would love to get some feedback.

 

Survival Instincts

By John

I grew up in some pretty tough neighborhoods in New York City. By the time I graduated Elementary school I had dodged a bank robber, gotten away from muggers, lived through a riot during a blackout, and learned how to avoid drug dealers.

When I was ready to start a family, I wanted my kids to have the perfect suburban life. And they do. From time to time, like a kid again, I share in their wonderful, safe, carefree childhood that I didn’t have. It’s a wonderful feeling to laugh, be silly and live innocently in their world.

But now, as my oldest son is about to graduate from elementary school, I wonder what kind of survival instincts he possesses. Is he ready for middle school? Still to this day, I have my spider sense to alert me to danger. I’m really good at avoiding all kinds of trouble. I know how to walk down the street and not look like an easy target, and know when and how to puff up my chest when I’m confronted by a bully. My kids are peacemakers, something that the schools have taught them and a theme that’s reinforced at home. I don’t think my kids have the spider sense to warn them of danger.

So I decided to help my kids develop some survival skills. Yet as I began to develop my plan, I couldn’t stop smiling as I visualized my kids having fun and enjoying life. I realized that my kids have many friends, possess great social skills, have good manners, are very happy and love the world. They have their own set of survival skills.

• They may not know how to get away from muggers, but they know how to make friends and respect others.

• They may not know how to dodge a bank robber, but they know how to deal with a school bully and be involved in school.

• They may not know how to puff up their chest when confronted by a bully, but they know how to do well in their classes and help with the food bank.

• They may not have a spider sense to warn them of danger, but they’re kind, caring, helpful, and as one teacher described my oldest, he’s really comfortable in his own skin.

Yes, I learned how to survive in the big bad city, but my kids are developing instincts beyond fear that give them a future to engage in a world of hope, peace and justice. And even though usually I still have a plan, its much water-downed.

What kind of survival instincts do your kids possess? And what kind of survival skills are you teaching your kids? Please share your tips and thoughts. As a parent you know you’re always looking for a better way to help your family.

Autumn Breeze

Image credit: rankinz302

by John

The night is longer,

School has started,

The wind howls as it chills the air,

The blue sky deepens and crisps,

Monday back pack checks and warm breakfast fills chattering bellies,

A whiff of fluoride, a palm wipe around the mouth, and smoothing kinked strands of hair,

Visions of day-mares that horrify mirrors to cheering squeals,

Dusting off bats, ghouls and head stones,

Sweeping, corralling, twitching crackled lifeless leaves into bean bag-like blobs,

Flip flop cold and hot baked days,

The day is shorter,

Cluster tree tops of fiery reds, mustard yellows, moldy violets and hint of distant greens,

Ends with counting lollipops, chocolate bits and tired belly aches,

And hints of snow dust in the horizon.

Playdate Mantra – The Cause and Effect

by John

As my kids are getting older we are starting to arrange more play dates. Like all parents we talk to our kids about appropriate behavior on a play date. Things like use good manners, don’t play too rough, say thank you and please, don’t break anything, cooperate, be friendly, help clean up and listen to the parent in charge. Our play date mantra is “Kids who behave themselves get invited back”.

My kids easily understand this cause and effect. Once I got them to understand the concept of cause and effect I’ve used it for everything. Things like:

  • If you finish your homework early the effect is more play time
  • If you review your school material and study for your test the effect is good grades
  • If you clean your room up the effect is more friends can come to visit
  • If you eat healthy the effect is more energy and feeling better
  • If you brush your teeth the effect is less dentist visits and no painful cavities
  • If you develop good listening skills the effect is less confusion and better learning
  • If you are friendly and positive the effect is more friends
  • If you read more the effect is improved writing
  • If you practice the effect is improvement
  • If you are willing to try new things the effect is finding more things you love
  • If you care about others the effect is others will care about you
You get the idea. With my kids I’m always trying to find their Ah-Ha moments. Understanding their Ah-Ha moments helps me communicate better with them, lay the foundation to more complicated issues, and helps me rediscover the joy of childhood.

What are you grateful for?

The last couple of years have been a roller coaster ride to say the least. Lately, I’ve had time to thank God and be grateful for where I have landed.

My morning of gratitude:

6:30am – The sun peeks through my window.

6:35am – Snuggled cozily in my big comforter.

6:40am – The warmth of my beautiful wife beside me.

6:50am – The sounds of chatter and restless feet.

6:53am – My dog whining for me to get up.

6:55am – Morning bear hugs and peppy smiles from my kids.

6:58am – The smell of preparing a fresh pot of coffee for Jen and the circling dog reminding me to feed her.

7:00am – Our first class breakfast menu of yogurt, turkey sausages, mini bagels, whole wheat toast, fruit, nuts, cheese, egg whites and milk.

7:05am – The laughter from PBS educational TV and making healthy lunches for my kids. A Lunch menu consisting of PBJs, flat bread pizzas, bagels, grilled-cheese sandwiches, carrots, fruits, granola bars or money to purchase school lunch on Fridays.

7:25am – A meeting of the minds in choosing the appropriate school and weather fashion.

7:30am – Squeezing their little faces, checking their sparkly white teeth and combed hair.

7:35am – Piano practices and beautiful music to awaken sleeping beauty mommy.

7:45am – Brain warm-ups, a little math, a few spelling words and/or the thought for the day.

7:50am – Free play! A little Legos, dolls, Wii, DS, TV, reading, sharing, catching up or anything the kids want to do.

8:00am – Get ready to leave for school. Jen and I get more “I’ll miss you” hugs, kisses and smiling faces.

8:03am – We walk over to the bus stop and exchange good mornings with our neighbors surrounded by trees and our little quiet neighborhood.

8:10am – The school bus pulls up and the doors open to a smiling bus driver wishing everyone good morning!

8:15am – Jen and I go for our workouts. Sometimes we take a walk together, or she goes for her run, and I’ll do my martial arts exercises.

8:45am – I post my first comments, tweet my good mornings to friends, and make my to-do steps to reach my goals.

Recently, I ended a business post that life is like a river, but sometimes it’s more like a hurricane. Like the aftermath of a hurricane, there’s always new life, growth and beauty. I cherish more vividly all the beauty in my life. I’m so grateful for each day. What are you grateful for? How do you start your days?

~ John