Father-son momentA Mother’s Day Letter to Fathers & Partners

Hopefully you are someone who not only appreciates your own mother but is also open to the idea that assisting your children in honoring their mother is a worthy cause as well.

If so, on behalf of mothers everywhere 'thank you' for caring about this role. Respect for your mother is one of those aspects of family life that is often easier to learn when the message is heard and reinforced by others.

I was reminded of this lesson recently when chatting with a friend who is the mother of five. I asked her what she wanted for Mother’s Day and she said that she had already gotten her present and that it was the best Mother’s Day gift ever. Interestingly it came not from her children but from her husband, on a day when the kids were being rather disrespectful. When her husband heard their sassiness he went on a tirade:

"Don’t talk to your mother like that! She loves you and cares for you and does so much for you! Your mother is the most important person in the world and you should treat her with respect!'"

Of course, her kids weren't crazy about the dress down but it did make them more mindful and it was clearly a message they needed to hear. (As well as see modeled!)

As she told me this story I had to agree that it really was the best Mother’s Day present ever. So this Mother's Day, while helping them write a card or reminding them to get her a gift or call her is wonderful, if you really want to get her a present, here is my suggestion. Go on a mini-rant (or just sit your kids down) and tell them how important it is to appreciate their mother.

Here's to appreciating awesome mothers on Mother's Day and Everyday! ~ Annie

p.s. Dear Everyone Else: Kids need to hear this message many times. Especially if there isn't a second parent in the picture! Relatives? Friends? Teachers? Neighbors? Lady in line behind them at the supermarket? Speak up! The more sources the better!

p.p.s. Dear Moms: Don’t forget that you too have work to do. Starting with self-respect in whether you allow your children to talk to you in certain ways (think consequences) AND whether you try to teach them the skills of communicating what you want them to learn. It helps when you can model that respect toward them and toward their other parent! Here's hoping you have a wonderful Mother's Day!


Happy? ShoppersRetailers have their own self-serving excuses for opening their stores on our national holiday. But those who want to shop, just like to argue, or seem to miss the point have come up with some interesting thinking to justify this terrible trend as well. Here are some of the most common reasons I've heard for shopping on Thanksgiving, along with why they are completely wrong or wrong-headed: ...continue reading

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Just say NO shopping on ThanksgivingThanksgiving is supposed to be about appreciating what you already have. Yet major retailers—caring not for Thanksgiving's purpose or their own employees' desires to celebrate it—are opening their stores and counting on customers to not notice and not care.

I'm hoping you do. Because even if you can't make retailers come to their senses—you can take a stand for yourself, your loved ones, workers everywhere, and our national holiday.

All you have to do is make a simple pledge to not shop on this ONE day. ...continue reading

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Save Thanksgiving PledgeLast year when Target and other retailers began opening on Thanksgiving Day, I invited facebook friends to take a Save Thanksgiving Pledge to fight back. It was a mild form of activism that felt right.

This year, I wanted to do more so I decided to write a letter to the people responsible for this decision to open more and more retail stores on the one day of the year in America, set aside not for the pursuit of stuff but for the appreciation of the stuff we already have! Here it is... ...continue reading

happy posterDoes money buy happiness? Well, yes and no!

Money can buy things that give temporary pleasure but because we are adaptive creatures by nature, things only bring fleeting joy.

However when money is used to help you survive – food, shelter, safety – or when you are using it for experiences or to help others, it effects your happiness levels more deeply.  ...continue reading

Happy_posterIf you are lucky enough to have seen Happy: The Documentary by director Roko Belic, you've already learned some powerful - and surprising - findings about what truly contributes to happiness. (If you haven't seen the movie, I hope you do. Its strength lies in finding happiness even when the world does not cooperate.)

The movie has so many inspiring ideas that you might not know where to start. So here is a list of ideas to help you on your journey. But don't get overwhelmed - just pick one that you can see fitting into your life and get started. (You are always welcomed back for another): ...continue reading


Parents' pleas for more grateful children are nothing new. And while sometimes frustrated parents come at gratitude from an 'I'll give you something to cry about' approach, teaching kids to 'give thanks' and notice what they have is a good idea. Not only because children who don't notice tend to be more self-centered, materialistic and prone to entitlement but because research has found that gratitude helps people have fewer depression symptoms while feeling more life satisfaction, optimism, resiliency and connection to others.

Wanting our children to truly feel grateful and helping them appreciate their circumstances gives them a life-long opportunity for happiness. Considering that Thanksgiving is a natural day to kick start your children's gratitude practice, here are some ways do that: ...continue reading

You'll Thank Me Later:

5.0 out of 5 stars A very recommended read that should not be overlooked. Gratitude can be the most important lesson one ever teaches their children. "You'll Thank Me Later: A Guide to Raising Children (And Why It Matters)" is a parent's guide to gratitude. Young people can easily be lulled into a sense of entitlement, if their parents don't teach them the importance of gratitude and how true appreciation can take one far in life. "You'll Thank Me Later" is a very recommended read that should not be overlooked. ~ Midwest Book Review (Oregon, WI USA) January 10, 2010 ...continue reading

For Immediate Release…
Contact: Annie Zirkel Tel: 734-735-5522
New Book Offers Guidance to Parents on Nurturing Gratitude

In the fast-paced, instant-gratification world of today, children's lack of appreciation and, even worse, a sense of entitlement, have become common complaints. Kids' sometimes insatiable desire for 'more', while barely noticing what they already have, is a typical frustration for many parents.

Parenting Consultant Annie Zirkel’s new book, You’ll Thank Me Later: A Guide to Nurturing Gratitude In Our Children (And Why That Matters) gives parents the tools to combat entitlement and ingratitude while instilling the crucial practice of appreciation.

Gratitude is not just saying, 'Thank you.' It is about feeling thankful. And beyond basic manners, the benefits of true gratitude are powerful: more optimism, higher life satisfaction, and a greater sense of connection to others. In fact, research shows that children who practice grateful thinking have more positive attitudes towards school and their families (Froh, Sefick, & Emmons, 2008). ...continue reading