Friday, November 30, 2012

Sandra McLeod Humphrey: A Special Tribute To A Special Woman

Everyone's Story is paying a special tribute to Sandra McLeod Humphrey. Sandra was originally scheduled to guest on December 14th. However, she and her husband, Brian, perished tragically in a house fire the day after Thanksgiving. Their children wrote a lovely blog piece, in the style that Sandra would have written herself, and posted it on Sandra's blog, DARE TO DREAM, if you'd like to read it.

Sandra's passion was helping children thrive despite their circumstances. Fortunately for us, Sandra had sent me her blog material ahead of time and it is my privilege to share it with you, showcasing Sandra's heart for little ones, who with help, have a chance to grow and dare to dream for a life they want.


Book Giveaway:
I just purchased 2 of Sandra's newest release: THEY STOOD ALONE! This non-fiction book highlights the life stories of 25 men and women, written by Sandra to encourage children of all ages to dare to dream. Sandra saw these visionary people as ones who "were wiling to question conventional wisdom. And their revolutionary breakthroughs changed and shaped the course of history." (from the book blurb on Amazon) I will keep one copy for myself, and the other copy I will offer as a giveaway to one randomly chosen commenter. The winner will be announced on December 14th, the day that Sandra's blog segment was originally slated to begin running on Everyone's Story. So, with Sandra in my heart, I look forward to seeing your comments. Please leave your email address in the body of the comment for ease of contact. Thank you.


Moral Choices and Our Kids
by Sandra McLeod Humphrey

         In working with young people, both as a clinical psychologist and as an author, I’ve noticed that many of them are lacking a sense of direction to their lives and have no strong set of personal values or belief system.

         Our character is an integral part of who we are and having a strong set of values helps us define our character.

         Strong character is not instinctive. It’s learned and it’s never too early to begin talking with our young people about personal values and helping them define and develop their own code of moral conduct. 

         As society’s moral guidelines become increasingly more ambiguous, it’s more essential than ever that we all have our basic code of ethics well crystallized in our own minds.

         Just as bodybuilding builds strong physical muscle through “sets” and “reps,” we also need to help our kids build good moral muscle. And we can do this by dialoguing with our kids about choices. Moral Choices.

         Life is all about choices and our ultimate objective for our children is to empower them to make their own choices--good choices. And we can help them do this if we can get them THINKING and TALKING about moral issues. Kids love to talk and we just have to give them the opportunity to do so. 
         Here are a few ideas and questions to facilitate some great discussions:

“Honor” is an old-fashioned word. What does it mean and has it gone out of style? (I have found that some kids have no clue what “honor” or “reputation” really means).
  
We all need a “moral compass.” What does this mean to you? Do you have a “moral compass?” If so, how would you describe it? (I have found that kids like the concept of a “moral compass” and can relate quite easily to this question).

How do you test the choices that you make? One good test is the test of time. How will you feel about this choice a month from now? One year from now? (You will probably be amazed at how dramatically our kids’ concepts of time differ from our own).

Is your speech a reflection of your character? Is your speech different in the locker room than it is at home or at church? Do you have more than one language--a different language for different occasions? (This question usually provokes a lot of discussion and disagreement between kids about what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable).

What does “being cool” really mean to you? (This one can stimulate some great discussions with a lot of varied and spontaneous feedback).

How do you decide whether something is right or wrong? Is it just a question of whether anyone else will get hurt? (This one will really get kids thinking and hopefully talking).

How important is winning? Does it really matter how we win? (This one can frequently provoke some unexpected personal revelations by the kids).

Do you think that these days just about everyone cheats to get what they want? (You may or may not be surprised by just how prevalent cheating is and by how many kids admit to doing it).

How much is “trust” worth? If it’s a choice between missing out on a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity or dishonestly exploiting a situation to your own personal advantage, how would you decide what to do? (The kids themselves will come up with dozens of hypothetical situations for this one).


Do you think it is ever okay to break a promise? (This can lead into some great discussions about our responsibility to other people when they are in trouble--e.g. when they are using drugs, hiding an eating disorder, etc.).

Would you choose character over conformity? (This one will stimulate some great discussions about peer pressure). 

         These are just a few of the conversation-starters I use when I visit classes to talk to students about moral choices. The important thing is to get our kids thinking and talking and, hopefully, these discussions will help our young people develop a sense of direction and purpose to their lives which will result in more rewarding and more fulfilling experiences not only for them but also for those whose lives they may touch!

Author Bio:

Sandra McLeod Humphrey is a retired clinical psychologist, a character education consultant, and an award-winning author of eight middle-grade and young adult books.  She’s also the recipient of the National Character Education Center’s Award for Exemplary Leadership in Ethics Education (2000) and the 2005 Helen Keating Ott Award for Outstanding Contribution to Children's Literature. You can learn more about her books by visiting her Web site  at www.kidscandoit.com and she  also invites you to visit her DARE TO DREAM BIG! blog at http://www.kidscandoit.com/blog/


36 comments:

  1. A very lovely tribute. I'm so sorry for the tragic loss. May the Lord be with the family at this time.

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  2. A very helpful blog, and a beautiful soul.

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  3. I am sure that Sandra's family will find this blog very special in remembering her and her life's work.

    She is a great loss to the world.

    Blessings,

    KB Schaller

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  4. It seems she's left a lasting legacy.

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    1. From what I've been reading in comments left by many, both Sandra & her husband were caring, giving, and God-loving people. That is a true legacy :)

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    1. It's a tragedy on earth for all those who have known her, though a victory in heaven. Thanks for visiting, Nancy.

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  6. I'm posting for Nancy Schuemann:

    "Heaven has another angel. Though she is not with us, her words of wisdom will love on forever. Thank you for sharing her story and her life with us."

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  7. Sudden death takes a place all by itself. I am so sorry to hear of this loss and am still chilled. One life that made a huge contribution to this life and kids.

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  8. How terribly sad, but thank you Elaine for letting us know so that we could honor this lovely woman and her husband in the only way we can.

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  9. That is awful indeed
    But left much behind at her feed
    As it seems many will learn
    And hopefully feel the need to excel burn

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    Replies
    1. Jude, Christine, and Pat, thanks for visiting and paying tribute to this lovely woman and her dear husband.

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  10. A wonderful tribute, and a tragic loss. God bless Sandra and her husband, their family, and the many lives they touched.

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  11. Sandra is an inspiration. Her work will continue, because the Lord will honor her by whispering inspiration into the hearts of those who knew her and those who read her work. Thank you for this post, Elaine.

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    Replies
    1. Diana and Sue, thank you for the beautiful words.

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  12. What a wonderful woman she must have been. Such a tragic loss. Thank you for sharing her precious life with us.
    Bonnie Engstrom

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  13. Sandra was a wonderful woman, thank you for sharing her with all of us and God Bless her family.

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  14. Thank you so much for honoring this wonderful woman with your words of kindness. I'm sure her children are comforted and encouraged that her mom is still touching others. I would love a chance to read her book and then pass along her lessons to my children. Thank you for this opportunity.

    clSwalwell@gmail.com

    In Him,

    Cheri Swalwell
    www.cheriswalwell.com

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    1. Marin, nice to see you though I'm sorry it's for such a sad occasion. Bonnie & Cheri, thanks for visiting Everyone's Story and paying your sweet condolences.

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  15. What a tragedy. Thank you for posting this. I could see where some of these questions would stimulate great conversations between my 11 yr-old granddaughter and her friends.

    patgonzales(at)arkvi(dot)com

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  16. I also would like to express my condolences to Sandra's family. I pray they find comfort in knowing Sandra has probably touched the lives of many young people with her books, her speaking engagements, and her everyday example to young people.

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  17. Patti, thanks for visiting again. You always make my day with your visits.

    I am sure Sandra and her husband are smiling right now, knowing that Sandra's message is helpful to encourage conversation between you and your granddaughter. That's exactly what Sandra wanted.

    May you and your little joy be blessed.

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  18. What a tragic loss, and one that you have lovingly brought our awareness to. What conversations they must have had with their children... such insightful questions, such a wonderful way to educate. May their family feel the love and concern of many around them to help them through this very difficult time.

    Thank you Elaine .. for sharing her story.

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    1. Lynne, thanks for your lovely comments. Sandra & Brian surely left a legacy to pass onto their grandchildren... to all those whom they've met up with.

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  19. A wonderful tribute to a very wise woman. So sad she was called home so early. The world needs more women like Sandra.

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    1. Thanks for your powerful words, Anita.

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  21. Hi, I just wanted to say thank you for writing this. The other kids and I were very touched. God bless you everyone.

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    1. Jade, this was the very least I could do to honor a very special, beautiful woman, as well as your father. May the loving grace of our Lord be with you and comfort you.

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  22. She will be missed.
    Diana
    wwww.dianabrandmeyer.com

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    1. Surely, Sandra will be. Thanks for your kind words, Diana.

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  23. Thank you everyone who have left comments honoring Sandra, and for all those who have visited and read this segment. On this day--ten days short of Christmas--I am about to announce the winner of Sandra's book, and on this day that someone walked into a Connecticut elementary school and killed 18 children and others. Sandra was so devoted to helping children thrive, to dream, to make a difference. I can't quite put my finger on it since my mind is still pondering today's news, but I think Sandra is smiling and hugging those children right now. I pray that she and her husband may rest in peace, that those lives tragically taken today in CT are not forgotten and that God's peace may be with us all.

    And, the winner of Sandra's book THEY STOOD ALONE! is Cheri. Cheri, I'm contacting you in a separate direct email. Happy reading!

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