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Who Cares?

Who Cares, teachers,Parents, Education

Who Cares?

The school year is coming to an end.  There are so many significant things that happened to our kids this year that are important, many, if not all that call for a celebration of some kind.

In the class of graduates for example, there are those you hear about, the valedictorians, and salutatorians, and some you will never hear about, who are celebrated perhaps because they made it through to graduation despite significant challenges. It is a time of transitions, leaving behind teachers, friends, bus rides, playgrounds, lockers, an elementary or middle school, an entire K-12 life.  There are proud moments our kids will remember and times perhaps that a tough lesson was learned.  In these transitional moments for our kids, we set social media on fire with all the pictures and videos to capture these memories.  I am curious though; do you ever stop for a moment and ask yourself …

 Who cares?

I know, this sounds like a crazy question, right?  But I mean it, really, who cares?  I think that is an important question to ask and to seek out the answers.  In raising children, there are lots of transitions.  We say goodbye to who we were when we arrived in this place along with bit of apprehension about whether we will be able to live up to who we need to be at the next step in life.  It is in these transitions that it is especially important to reflect on the people who care.  The list of those who care is an important one to consider and certainly worthy of jotting down.  They are our Who Cares Posse, the ones we will harken back to in times of transition.  The people who supported us, taught us, gave us words of wisdom – the people who made us feel seen and understood – the ones who really cared.  Parents and kids alike need to have that list in their back pocket and pull it out when they are up against a challenge or feel alone.  And, we must be vigilant in noticing who cares, and keep adding to the list.  It is so easy to fall victim to getting caught up being the Town Crier on social media, sharing every moment, but the “likes” on social media can’t hold a candle to the Who Cares Posse.

My Who Cares Posse list is quite long now having grown children, grandchildren and a business connecting families and schools, so take heed.  Once you start taking note of who cares, the list will grow exponentially and then miraculously the worry and anxiety will subside, and that’s a beautiful thing. 
Let’s do it with love,

Parent Action for Healthy Kids - Barb Flis

Barbara Flis,
Founder Parent Action for Healthy Kids

Stand Up for School Nurses!

School Nurse

This week on May 8 th , there will be a celebration for School Nurses. If your first thought is, “Are there still school nurses?” you are not alone. You don’t see them (unless you have a child with a chronic disease) because they are scarce, hence, extremely busy. They are the only health professional in schools and their mission is to support student physical and emotional health so they can be in the classroom healthy and learning.

This past year, I had the privilege of holding gathering spaces with nearly one hundred school nurses over a five-week period. I was awestruck by the high level of expertise and professionalism they have (the majority were Registered Nurses, many with advanced degrees). The stories they shared about why this became their profession and the love they have for health and learning were profound. Most came from a hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Just as in the school setting, they found great satisfaction in helping a child to health while building relationships with the parents.

It’s seeming cliché when I say they save lives, but they do, more than you will ever know. Because of privacy, the larger school community is unaware of the hundreds of stories that I was entrusted with. I welled up with tears of gratitude as I heard story after story of actual lives saved. Their assessment skills and ability to make quick, informed decisions are impressive. In addition to providing direct care, they also conduct trainings to educate teachers and other staff on diabetes, epilepsy, concussion, EpiPen, Narcan, CPR, mental health, suicide prevention and disaster preparedness just to name a few.

You don’t have to take it from me, seek out the school nurse in your building or district. Most likely there isn’t one just for your school but probably one that works in several buildings. It may be a little like “Where’s Waldo,” but please, look hard, ask if needed, this isn’t a time to be shy. When you locate her, thank her, and, one more thing …..


Will you join me and Stand Up for School Nurses?

How? Let the teacher, building principal, superintendent, school board know that You Stand Up for School Nurses and you want more of them in your district. Why should you do this? Because …

When you Stand Up for School Nurses, you are Standing Up for your Child’s Health in School.

Mother’s Day is a Cruel Trick!

Mother’s Day is a Cruel Trick!

If you are mother, grandmother or a person who supports children, you are a powerful group of humans and have my highest respect.  Being a mother for 41 years and a grandmother (Barbie) for 8, the enormity of the role is overwhelming.  It is even more so for Mothers today than it was for my generation.  From my long view of life, I believe the growing burdens placed on mothers today are totally unacceptable. 

As I contemplated what to write for Mother’s Day this year, I struggled over what to say.  In my more than twenty years in business, I have worked with the entire demographic of mothers.  And, I am embarrassed to admit that it took COVID-19 for me to witness upfront and personal these unnecessary burdens that mothers carry.  Let me offer my most sincere apology for this egregious oversight.

I would feel disloyal to write anything that would encourage mothers to believe that they should carry on making so many sacrifices for their family, especially at the expense of their own health and wellbeing.  While society is quick to tell mothers “To put the oxygen mask on first,” it is in all truth the most contradictory statement of all times.  Hence, this is why I am here to say that Mother’s Day is a Cruel Trick. 

My experience tells me that the “oxygen mask” statement, like Mother’s Day, is really a decoy that distract us.  These little crumbs of attention along with a sprinkling of guilt are tricksters that give us enough energy to get back in the game.  This is trumpery at its best.

I was an adolescent in the middle of the feminist movement.  The uproar over the movement was extraordinary.  Men were threatened and women of my mother’s generation too fearful to end the loyalty to the patriarchal system.  When I started to use the title “Ms.” instead of “Miss,” I was told by the matriarchs in my family that I am a Miss or a Mrs. but not a Ms.  The societal pressure was real and progress in the feminist movement was slow but steady.  The movement advocated for three things for women; freedom, equal opportunity, and control over their lives.  That was sixty years ago and tragically equal, free and in full control is not close to being realized.

So, do we deserve a day of honor?  You bet we do but let’s be mindful of the terminology.  We certainly deserve a day of honor, but it is our right to have freedom, equal opportunity, and control over our lives.  I have two daughters, two granddaughters and countless numbers of young woman I am blessed to know and to work with.  This is my message to them and to you, these are your rights, not something you have to earn or prove. 

I have coached many women through quiet moments of despair these last few years. Many so desperate, they just wanted to run away.  What I say to them and to you is to welcome these moments, don’t fear them.  Use this time to get reacquainted with your unique and powerful genius and you will rise with a conviction to use your power for your greatest good. And of course, let’s not forget that necessity is the mother of invention. 

To all mothers, I stand in awe of you.  Let this Mother’s Day be the moment you step into your power and shine your light so brilliantly that it blinds those who expect you to yield.

Parent Action for Healthy Kids - Barb Flis

Barbara Flis,
Founder Parent Action for Healthy Kids

You can listen to the blog too!

Parent Action for Healthy Kids is on soundcloud!

Do you feel “ghosted” by parents? Maybe it’s the Experts’ Curse!

Do you feel "ghosted" by Parents? Maybe it's the experts curse?

Do you feel “ghosted” by parents?  Maybe it’s the Experts’ Curse!

You have dedicated, passionate staff doing incredible work with children and adolescents, but there appears to be silence on the home front except when an issue or emergency arises. It can often feel as if you are being “ghosted” by parents, abandoning you to go it alone.  You might not be totally off base. Ghosting has a lot to do with a person’s comfort level with communication (yours and theirs). Humans will do anything to avoid feeling uncomfortable or the feeling of not being enough, not to mention the fear of confrontation.

Communication flows easily when we like each other, and have something in common.  The more we know each other and the more we have in common, the easier it is to be ourselves.  Being authentic is where real connection and communication begin. It’s understandable to think that the child’s well-being should be enough commonality to get the communication flowing, but it is not. 

There are a couple of reasons for this. First, we forget a parents’ confidence level can be a roller-coaster, it slowly climbs up and quickly plunges down. The fear of judgment and the feeling that they are not measuring up as a parent becomes a demotivator for engaging in any form of communication. 

Secondly, it’s important to remember we are asking parents to engage in an arena they know little about. This is where the “Experts Curse” comes in. We have so much expertise and are so skilled at navigating and functioning within our system, be it education or health, that we forget the need to translate the lingo and give some context to what we are trying to convey. The playing field of knowledge is definitely not a level one. Parents don’t have your unique content knowledge.

The majority of providers I have worked with really have given a good effort in communication. However, the “Experts Curse” gets in the way when we don’t sort out “need to know,” from “nice to know.” Too much information on unfamiliar content especially to a person with an emotional stake in it will cause a shutdown. An expert is like a website with lots of good information but the consumer can’t find anything because they “don’t know what they don’t know.”

Third and last, believe it or not, parents don’t feel their concern is something they should bother you with so they hesitate to reach out. Sometimes there is the fear of looking stupid, they think they should know the answer already, maybe they were told and they missed it; they hold your role in high regard and don’t want to intrude on your time, and sometimes their child/adolescent is begging them not to contact you.

In my decades of work helping to bridge the gap between parents and providers, I can honestly say that ghosting is a two-way street. I know with the hectic pace today, it is hard to ask people to slow down, but for our kids’ sake, we need to do just that. 

Take a few minutes to get to know each other first as people and trust that you will organically move from the delivery of a report to authentic dialogue. I guarantee you the “ghosting” will stop and both experts (provider and parent) will be seen and understood. 

Parent Action for Healthy Kids will be welcoming in spring by hosting two FREE webinars for parents.
I invite you to join us and see for yourself the high level of interest parents have in learning how to best support their kids.

Check out the events page for more details!

Parent Action for Healthy Kids - Barb Flis

Barbara Flis,
Founder Parent Action for Healthy Kids

You can listen to the blog too!

Parent Action for Healthy Kids is on soundcloud!

Three Tips to make Parent Teacher Conferences Worry Free

3 Tips to make parent teacher conferences worry free

It’s Parent-Teacher Conference time and everyone is wringing their hands worrying over how far behind students are because of the pandemic.  Worries and concerns are gobbling up a lot of our precious energy. Not to mention, it’s taking up a lot of headspace with its relentless doomsday story. What if just for Parent/Teacher Conferences we put the worry aside?  Then, what would we have more room for? Here are three tips that can help you park the worry and leave room to see a bright future.

I Like You, You Like Me – Say this to yourself right before conferences. Just repeating this to yourself will bring a sense of calm to the meeting. Our brain has mirror neurons that are always on duty. Your energy is mirrored to others and theirs is mirrored to you. Imagine the disaster when two worry-warts are mirroring each other’s emotions. The best way to help a student, is to help them feel safe. So, their safety net, parents and teachers, have to feel safe and secure so they can mirror that to each other and to the student.

Share the students’ strengths – If the teacher and the parent each share three strengths they see in the student, the foundation for a partnership for student success is well on its way. It also moves both parent and teacher out of the zone of their negativity bias. The brains of humans are wired to look for what’s going wrong in order to feel safe. The pathway of the brain that runs the negativity bias doesn’t know that it needs to check the “not applicable” box for parent-teacher conferences.

Play Offense not Defense – With all the stress and exhaustion these days, the conditions are ripe for being reactive and going on the defensive. A simple acknowledgment to yourself of your emotional state will lessen the chance of personalizing and reacting to what is discussed.

It might not feel like it, but we do have a choice here. We can continue to worry and send our kids a doomsday message that they will never dig their way out, or we can make sure they have the right tools, the adults in their lives, as positive supports, to get the job done.

Don’t forget to check out our events page for FREE Events for parents (and educators too).

Parent Action for Healthy Kids - Barb Flis

Barbara Flis,
Founder Parent Action for Healthy Kids

You can listen to the blog too!

Parent Action for Healthy Kids is on soundcloud!

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do Hero Image

Are you suffering from a Valentine’s Day hangover? Being a day that represents true love, it tends to get magnified and inflicts undue pressure. We shower people we care about with love and if we are honest, we want a few sprinkles from that shower reciprocated. We can say, “it’s just another day,” and that’s true, however, it’s also true that as humans we’re wired for connection with others and to feel we belong. As uncomfortable as it might be to accept the fact that we all need connection with others, it is a hard truth worthy of our attention.  

The first step to true love is being true to yourself. This is where the “break up” comes in. It’s no easy task to undo all the beliefs and behaviors that leave us feeling abandoned and alone. However, if we continue looking outside of ourselves for that shower of love, we will always feel scorched. 

Speaking from experience in my journey to loving and being true to myself, I echo Neil Sedaka’s lyrics from the sixties, “They say that breaking up is hard to do, now I know, I know that it’s true.”  I am a recovering clinger, I resisted breaking up at every turn, I was always sure that I could make everything work if I just try harder. I clung to people, jobs, and things that clearly were not serving my highest good and were begging to be blessed and sent on their way. The resistance to letting go of people, jobs, and things, were fed by deceptive habits and behaviors that my true self was begging to break up with. My brain was standing by waiting to serve me and my body was showing all the signs of an SOS.  

My first breakup was with people-pleasing. It was an intense relationship so it called for a slow, steady, and gentle letting go. Like a relationship with a person, it was a package deal, my people-pleasing had many friends and family, or should I say accomplices, who felt the pang of the breakup. 

Breaking up is hard to do. Even the accomplices started to squirm – perfectionism, comparing, fixing, and the need for approval were quick to squawk, clinging to me desperately as if it was life or death. There was a prideful ruthlessness about them led by none other than my inner critic. This made me realize it was always about them and never about me. If we all need connection with others, then I must feel connected to myself first. Breakups are hard but they don’t have to be ugly. My habits and behaviors were well-intended but way out of balance. There is a time to break up, bless people, jobs, things, behaviors, and habits and send them on their way.  

As odd as it may sound, once the breakup began, the habits and behaviors stopped being so clingy and the urge to grab all the gusto of life, as if there was a shortage, fell away. My brain and body felt peaceful and content. On most days the shower of love is given and received. Breaking up is hard to do, but you are worth it!

What do you need to break up with in order to Make 2022 About You?

Join me for a free event “Make 2022 About You!” on Wednesday, March 2, 2022, 6 -7 pm ET

Parent Action for Healthy Kids - Barb Flis

Barbara Flis,
Founder Parent Action for Healthy Kids

You can listen to the blog too!

Parent Action for Healthy Kids is on soundcloud!

In 2022, it’s okay to be Perfectly Imperfect!

Imperfectly PErfect

When the month of February rolls around, we’re surrounded by images of hearts and flowers. It has become the official or unofficial month of “love.” In a blog I wrote in 2020, How much do you love YOU?, I shared with parents, teachers, and those who are a part of a child’s life, that the best way to love your child is to love yourself. The first strategy was to notice every time you are highly self-critical or self-judging. How did it go? For me, I found my self-criticism to be higher than I expected. Oh my, that striving for perfection is exhausting.

It takes time, awareness, and self-love to find the delicate balance of being reflective enough to see how to improve without beating yourself up or throwing the towel in for not getting it right. In the education arena, teachers strive to instill a “growth mindset” with students. A growth mindset is a belief that skills and qualities are cultivated through effort and perseverance. For example, if your child has put a lot of effort into something and failed, could you congratulate him/her? Are you guilty of influencing or taking over your child’s project so that he/she can shine? I know I’m guilty as charged. Too often we praise our children for the high marks, rather than giving them kudos for their effort and stick-to-itiveness.  

So now, my perfectly imperfect humans, let’s hold up the mirror. When you don’t reach the mark as a parent or teacher, are you able to offer compassion to yourself for trying? Can you say “tomorrow is a new day”? What we practice grows stronger, so making friends with your perfectly imperfect self is the kindest, most compassionate, and loving thing you can do for you and for your children.

Being Imperfectly Perfect

One cold week in February two years ago, my two granddaughters came over to assemble a Valentine Gingerbread House. As is my style, I dove right in without reading the directions. Much to my dismay, the roof kept sliding off our little love shack. I became frustrated because in my mind the final product had to be worthy of a Pinterest post. My then six-year-old granddaughter stood back popping candy conversation hearts into her mouth while I grabbed a glue gun to get it to stick. Observing the disappointed look on my face, she said, “It’s okay Barbie (They like to call me Barbie, not a Grandma), “Once the decorations are on, it will look awesome!”  

I guess sometimes we need a six-year-old to remind us that “awesome” is in the eyes of the beholder. This week, rather than paying attention to what you’re not getting right, pay attention to how awesome you are for trying.

Let’s Make 2022 About You!

Sound selfish? If you answered yes, you are not alone. We often dream about moving ourselves to the top of the “to do” list but feel powerless to make it happen. It’s unselfish to put yourself first. In this session, I will introduce you to a practice utilizing the whole brain and centering your body so that you can bring forward the confidence, compassion, and wisdom that is within you. Making it about you is the first necessary step in helping and being of service to others. You have all that you need, there is nothing to be fixed. It’s just a matter of putting it into practice
This is a FREE Virtual event. Please join us!
Wednesday, Mar 2, 2022  7p – 8p
Parent Action for Healthy Kids - Barb Flis

Barbara Flis,
Founder Parent Action for Healthy Kids

Tips – Parent Teacher Conferences

Family Engagement Parent Action Understanding Families Relationships

Quick Parent Teacher Conference Tips

On a Side Note: Struggling with Transitions?

You can learn more about strengthening your social
and emotional muscles at a free virtual pop-up event Navigating Life’s Transitions – You Are Not Alone, Thursday, October 14, 2021, 7-8pm ET.  

Grab your spot here:

Parent Action for Healthy Kids - Barb Flis

Barbara Flis,
Founder Parent Action for Healthy Kids