Q: Without mentioning my exact age, let's just say I fear I've wasted too much time and will never achieve anything worthwhile. I could use some encouragement to get past this midlife crisis, so what's your take?
Jim: Maybe you're in your 30s or 40s, or even in your 50s. No matter your age, instead of giving up, it's a perfect time to move forward. The best may be yet to come.
Many notable figures achieved their greatest work late in life. Consider Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the "Little House on the Prairie" series; her first book wasn't published until she was 65 and the last when she was 76. Ray Kroc was in his 50s when he franchised his first McDonald's restaurant. "Colonel" Harlan Sanders founded the Kentucky Fried Chicken company at age 62.
Julia Hawkins started bicycling in her 80s, then took up running at age 100. In 2017, at the sprightly mark of 101, she set the centenarian 100-meter dash world record by sprinting the distance in 40 seconds.
Then there's Anna Moses. As a 76-year-old widow, arthritis finally forced her to give up her hobby of embroidery -- so she picked up a paintbrush. By the time she died at 101, "Grandma" Moses had produced more than 1,500 paintings and become one of the most celebrated artists in American history.
It can be discouraging to know your young(er) adult years have slipped by without achieving goals important to you. But why not live all of your life? Some people take a little longer to find their true passion and to develop the skills and confidence necessary to achieve their dreams. So don't give up! It's never too late to learn -- and try -- something new. You just might find your niche in the process.
Q: My biggest frustration as a parent is getting my kids to behave. How can I discipline my children most effectively?
Danny Huerta, Vice President, Parenting and Youth: First, understand that discipline is not about punishment. It's about learning, correction and modeling. It requires lots of energy and patience, but that doesn't mean "absorb or tolerate until you pop."
There's not one perfect type of discipline that works for all kids; each child has different needs as they mature and learn. Here are four things to remember as you consider parental discipline.
1. Know what you're you trying to teach and why. What does your child need to learn? What is the moment like from his perspective? How can you teach her to make better decisions? Include these traits in your parenting tool belt: love, respect, boundaries and limits, grace and forgiveness, gratitude, intentionality and adaptability.
2. Empty threats create more work later. I've heard parents say, "If you don't come by the time I count to three, I'll..." Too often they: a) either never follow through, or b) completely overreact. The child, then, becomes focused on getting away with as much as possible until his parents lose their cool.
3. Your child should learn to distinguish "wants" from "needs." Kids need air, food, water and shelter. A smartphone may be presented to you as a need. It's not, so it's OK to say no.
4. When possible, use "could" instead of "should." Most kids see "should" as controlling ("You should stop that now"). "Could," on the other hand, is a word brimming with possibility. For example, say: "You could choose to obey the time limit for playing on the phone that we agreed on and have further opportunities to play later. Or you could disobey and lose the privilege until you regain the trust necessary to have it back." Make sure to define what "regaining trust" will look like.
Jim Daly is a husband and father, an author, and president of Focus on the Family and host of the Focus on the Family radio program. Catch up with him at www.jimdalyblog.com or at www.facebook.com/DalyFocus.
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