My Dad & Me

The WarriorMy dad used to show me how to bring down an opponent with a Judo move, we used to spend hours in the garage fixing a car or boat motor. It felt like heaven. Those were the times when I felt most complete as a boy. Then the divorce happened, I was 14 years old and decided to move with my mom from Africa where we were living at the time, all the way to Russia. From then on, I was alone on my journey. Continue reading

How to make a Mom smile when she’s sad?

Make your mom smile! As a kid growing up, I didn’t get to see my mom that often because she was either working late or I was at swimming or soccer practice.  I remember seeing the joy on her face when she would be at one of my sporting events, whether it was watching me play and chatting with other parents. Remembering the times we got to spend together were always great. It seemed to me that as long as we were together, everything was ok and she was happy.

As I got older, I noticed the joy was no longer there and the days for her became more anxious and frustrating. In my early years, I took many things she did for granted. I always wanted things my way and unfortunately never fully realized all the work a single mom had to do. Until I was about 12 (when we moved to Los Angeles from Canada), I started to pay attention to all of her hard work.

Spending quality time with her and doing the things she liked doing became important to me. I sacrificed my time so I could make her happy.  Whether it was watching her favorite show on TV, doing a puzzle, playing a game or even just talking about stuff. As much as I wanted to have fun with my friends, the reward was so much bigger when I chose to hang with my mom instead. Making her happy was a priority, so I would spend a couple of hours a few days out of the week, hoping she would be just that. I definitely saw a change in her mood and demeanor, which in the end ultimately brought me joy.
Our moms will do anything for us. If you just take a moment to spend real time with her, you will see the joy in her and also in yourself. How many times will you make your mom smile this week?

-Giles, Guest Blogger and Young Warriors Mentor

Sometimes, I feel like I can’t do anything right!

Sometimes I get so frustrated! I have always felt that I was a bright person and was able to learn or do anything. However, as I started to get older, I began to doubt and even question myself. Maybe it was because my father was not in my life or the lack of reassurance from my mom or peers. I can think of countless times, I felt good when I did well in sports, got A’s in class, or started my own business, and there was no one to validate my effort.

As time passed, I started to think I could’ve done better and would beat myself up and constantly question if I was really good enough due to the lack of affirmation. I would hear my friends parents give them high praise for their accomplishments and knew in my heart that I did a better job then they did. I just couldn’t make out why I didn’t have that. I began to notice how insecure I was becoming and because of that, I knew I had to change my way of thinking. Learning how to process tough decisions and build self confidence was a direction I couldn’t afford to miss.

A strategy in obtaining this was going to my family members and especially my friends for advice and support. Another practical step in my journey, was not sulking in my mistakes. I acknowledged my poor decisions in the moment and took that as growth. Realizing that no one is perfect also helped me in many matters. Lastly, I made it a point to search for what my strengths were and focused on that. I searched for my passion and continued to develop improvement in those areas. All of this increased my confidence and led me to a road of success. I could’ve prevented the way I felt most of the times, had I used the tools that I learned later in life. Having close friends and family members you can talk to are the strongest tool you can have to get through just about anything. Lastly, I do believe If I had received the approval that every boy deserves at a young age, perhaps I would have never had to write this blog.

-Giles, Guest Blogger and Young Warriors Mentor