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Thu, December 19


The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree


Kim Ades

As with all families, we have accumulated several stories that go down in our history books as legendary. One of these is the story of how my mother, who was a relatively new immigrant to Canada, was driving by a bus stop on a cold winter's day when she saw a young teenager smoking a cigarette. Absolutely horrified, she pulled over, yanked the cigarette out of his mouth, and boldly reprimanded him by telling him never to smoke again. Coming from Egypt where all adults are to be respected, in her mind, it was okay to step in on behalf of all mothers everywhere and discipline accordingly. That story represents my mother in every way - her strong conviction, her unwavering beliefs, and her lack of hesitation to do what she thought was right. When she was asked to explain how she could do such a thing, she explained very clearly that if her own son had been smoking at that age, she would have appreciated having another mother step in and do the very same thing.

A few nights ago (over 50 years after the notorious cigarette incident), Allan and I were driving down the street to pick up Brian (my youngest stepson) from a friend's house. It was 10:15 p.m. and we drove right by a school yard where we saw a bunch of teenagers hanging out. There were easily a dozen teenagers, maybe more. At first glance it looked like they were rough housing and playing around, but within seconds we realized that they were not playing at all. Instead they were deeply engaged in a street fight and beating each other up. I saw one kid punch another kid in the eye and without a moment's hesitation I rolled down the window and used the gruffest, roughest, and most scary mom-voice that I could muster and yelled:

"HEY - STOP THAT RIGHT NOW! I'M GONNA CALL THE POLICE!"

For a split second, they looked up to see where the voice was coming from. They moved apart from one another and began heading toward what seemed like our car. I rolled up the window quickly to watch as the fight broke up completely and the two distinct factions headed in different directions. I stopped a fight and I was proud.

Allan asked me if I had considered what I would have done if the teenagers had decided to turn on us.

The truth is I really didn't give that a moment's thought. I just used my instincts and jumped in with whatever means I had - doing what I felt was right. If my own kids were caught in a fight with other teenagers, I would have appreciated another parent stepping in to do the very same thing.

Funny - the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree.

Sometimes taking after your parents is a very positive thing and evokes an instinct that calls forth a genetic greatness. Other times, however, taking after your parents can wreak a whole lot of havoc - particularly when this genetic predisposition triggers inexplicable fears and self-doubt that hold dominion over your goals and aspirations. I have had many clients who have been deeply affected by the beliefs of their parents. For example, one of my clients has lived his whole life believing that he would never amount to much because he never completed his university education; at least that's what his parents told him. Another was terrified to have children because she was abandoned as a baby by her birth mother and felt that it wasn't in her DNA to be a good mother - after all, her own mother did not believe that she could be a good mother, so why should she?

Often, the actions of our parents, even if they are innocent and meaningless, can deposit a set of beliefs that can have deep-seated implications. For example, I once had a client who felt that her older sister was the preferred child because one time when she was seven years old, that sister was taken to see a play at the local theatre while she was left at home with a babysitter. After that incident, she kept collecting evidence to support her theory. While it may seem like an insignificant event, it had a long-lasting effect on her relationship with her parents, her sister, and even her own children. Of course she wasn't aware of her beliefs until they were uncovered in the coaching process.

This is an important element of Frame of Mind Coaching - to milk the genetic inheritance that builds greatness and to find and let go of the inherited beliefs that create limitations and barriers to success, wellness and happiness.

It's fascinating to become conscious of the beliefs that rule your life - in fact, it's transformational!




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