I am a product of the California state adoption system. As I said before, 38 years ago, my birth mom fell on hard times and had to give me away. That decision translated into a childhood chocked full of low self-esteem and negative self-talk. Life started for me in Long Beach, California, and I got beat up and picked on unmercifully as a boy on the schoolyard. I did terrible in school and had what professionals call a learning disability. I didn’t know how to fit in with the social crowd. By the time I was in fifth grade, they had me on over 100 mg of Ritalin per day because I couldn’t sit still in class. Luckily my kids don’t have to go through that, and they know where they came from. The fact of the matter is…it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter where you come from or your beginnings. It just matters what you do with them. 

A good friend shared this with me the other day. Zig Ziglar said, “You are who you are and what you are because of what has gone into your mind. You can change who you are and what you are by changing what goes into your mind.” 

Our kids face a mighty mental mountain right now in so many ways. They need constructive tools and real human relationships to become productive members of society. All human minds have the tactical advantage over our emotions and our decision-making. Our kids have been stripped of their virtue as well as their educational structure. A powerful mindset is our greatest weapon against the many atrocities occurring in children’s lives today. Love is good, but it isn’t enough. I realized this year more than ever that I have to live out my mindset. My kids need a positive, compassionate leader at all costs right now. I must show them how to navigate circumstances I cannot control. Of which there are too many to list in this article. 

I’m sure many of you can relate. I’m sure many of you are feeling burnt out. My heart goes out to you. Don’t give up. My expression of feelings and reactions are empty. My kids are experts on reactions. They can watch that on YouTube. My kids don’t need to see reactions. My kids need to see me take action. They need me to give them small solutions combined with encouragement and self-discipline. They need a powerful mindset to endure the loss and recover from what has been taken from them this past year. I’m honestly not currently capable of this, but I’m determined to make it a reality. I’ve pretty much exhausted all activities with my kids during this pandemic. I’m also not that smart, so I ask many questions. One thing I haven’t worn out is The Internal Locus Of Control. Julian B. Rotter created the concept in 1954. It simply states that we have the ability to decide how we react to external forces in our lives. My kids didn’t start COVID-19. They didn’t mastermind a pandemic. They didn’t close businessmen and women down and render them broke and homeless. They also didn’t ask to have their friends taken away, and their schools shut down. Now they have a choice—a choice to decide how they are going to adjust their mindset to accommodate their reality. I have a choice to lead them or give up. I have a choice as a parent to use my internal locus of control or not. I have a choice to choose freedom or emotional incarceration. I have a choice to show love or be soft and rollover. One thing I know for sure. No matter what I choose, it’s going to stick with them forever.