I’m Holli Fawcett Clayton, creator of Courageous & Connected, a website about human connection and the ways we can find it. I once chased grades and degrees and job titles and new clients. Now, I chase two teenagers, a first-grader, a dog, dishes, laundry, and new things to write about. Originally from Arkansas (Go Hogs!), I’ve lived overseas and traveled the world. I'm now in Texas with a big, blended family for which I am grateful. I write to connect. You can find my work on my blog site, www.courageousandconnected.com, and also on HuffPost and Grown&Flown.
Music is a powerful thing.
Think about it. The right song can evoke a beautiful, euphoric memory. It can assuage despair and provide hope and inspiration. It can even turn a morning carpool struggle into a blissful commute full of car-dancing and lip-syncing—simply by transporting you back to a happier place in time.
Earlier this month, my 13-year-old son was diagnosed with the flu for the second time this flu season. Yes, a second time. Same illness, different strain. Sigh..
So I decided to ask my fifteen-year-old daughter to make dinner.
We’ve all faced something hard in life. Death. Divorce. Depression. Alcohol and drug addiction. Aging. Illness. Financial woe. Devastating loss. The list is long. And when adversity strikes, we often hear the same words over and over again: Be strong. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. You’ve got this. You’re the strongest person I know, you’ll make it through.
But what happens when strength is not enough?
I’m currently reading a fascinating book called Soul Friends by Stephen Cope. It’s about the power of human friendships and connection. In the beginning of the book, Cope suggests making a list of people you consider to be “soul friends” (i.e., friends who have significantly impacted your life) and taking special time to reflect on how they have transformed you.
A very interesting concept, indeed.
Oh, those New Year's resolutions.
Lose the weight. Ditch the carbs. Hit the gym.
These are all great, but there’s something else that you need to start prioritizing. Something just as important as those reps you’re sweating through as your trainer screams ”five more, you can do it!” Something that might be even more valuable than consuming those heart-healthy omega 3s and leafy greens.
We talk to our teens about a lot of things. Curfews. Grades. Screen time. Saying no to drugs and alcohol. Social media. College applications. Practice schedules. The list goes on and on. Unfortunately, there is one subject that often seems to be missing.
It’s one that might surprise you. One that we, as parents, might be afraid to discuss, because it just seems so… uncomfortable. And no, it’s not sex.
I once heard someone say that a woman’s greatest fear is to become invisible, and a man’s greatest fear is to become insignificant.
As applied to marriage, this makes sense, because if my husband were to list out the things he needed (and expected) from me, I believe that the need to feel appreciated would be right at the very top.
That’s a vague—yet extremely critical—concept. Hold that thought for a moment.
It happens every January. The hype of the holiday season has come and gone, and we’re left feeling isolated in un-decorated houses, regretting those indulgent choices that somehow led to thicker bellies, trying to muster the energy to exercise and tackle a brand new year. It’s enough to make you want to hide away and eat another entire loaf of that delicious pumpkin bread.