Children and their thrill in holiday giving

kwanzaRohatsu, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, Christmas, Hanukkah, and Yule. Most of us have some big plans brewing to make happy December holidays for the kids we love.

What makes a holiday experience thrilling?

Its impact on the human spirit or soul.

Because the memories of  “giving experiences” remain vivid long after toys break or fade away.

Because, as Bono said, “love needs to find form, intimacy needs to be whispered. It’s actually logical. Essence has to manifest itself. Love has to become an action or something concrete.”

One family’s story:

When my daughter passed away at the age of 7 her brothers wanted to do something to help other children who are ill and stuck in the hospital or in bed at home, so we gathered books together and took them to the office of the Palliative care team that took such good care of my daughter and our family.

Surprising source of hope for children of addicts/alcoholics

boys-on-matI teach Life Skills courses at drug treatment centers across L.A. County.  Last night I sat across from a woman who asked, “What hope do my children have of avoiding addiction when both their father and I are addicts?” In the first of a two-part blog, I offer my perspective.

Can addiction be prevented?

As I’ve sat with addicts, both in and out of recovery, I’ve spent a lot of time wondering  how we could prevent addiction in the first place, and what kinds of broader societal changes might help.

The solution is probably surprising to the general public.

The solution—while not surprising to anyone who has spent time in AA—is probably surprising to the general public: spirituality.  You can’t do it on your own. You need to turn to a power greater than yourself.

Tired of the small stuff?

“We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.” –Marian Wright Edelman

rain-At times, I fight to believe these words.

Small daily differences don’t bring me recognition. Sometimes not even a thank you. They don’t give me any sense of achievement or accomplishment. Waiting for them to add up to some kind of big difference seems hopeless. At my lowest times, I’ve read accounts of small daily differences, written by the person who observed them, and found inspiration to keep going.