It’s terrifying to be a mom and we men need to do far much more than honor that.

fathers and daugtersWhat most men and fathers are seemingly unaware of is that mothers of our daughters have a truly frightening task: teaching our daughters how to be safe in a world where at least three of five girls will be subjected to sexual abuse  or other forms of gender abuse in their lifetimes.

Our beautiful teenage daughters desire to be boldly and vividly alive, fully self-expressed, socially popular and accepted by boys and peers. They demand of us that we permit them the freedom to dress as they please in pursuit of self-expression, popularity, and belonging. They are furious and resist us when we deny them freedoms they feel they deserve.

Our daughters simply do not recognize the terror we live with on their behalf. Our beloved daughters cannot know what we know – how easy it is for them to become the next statistic: abused, raped, drugged, abducted, exploited, enslaved, or murdered as a result of their female gender.

We adults respond by attempting to suppress our daughter’s natural exuberant sexuality and sense of self-expression. We attempt to hem them in with rules; we (naively) enforce curfews. We’ll interrogate and give the stink-eye to potential male admirers. We make ourselves become gatekeepers in a desperate pursuit for their safety.

To add insult to injury, our nightmares and anxiety will remain with us for the rest of our lives, well after they have left the “safety” of our home. We will do the best we can to numb our anxiety the day we see them drive off without us to protect them.

Part two

And men, we are not as helpful as partners to our spouses as we might be. All too often our female partners, the mothers of our children, feel alone and unsupported by us, as if we did not care about our daughters. We often minimize their all to real concerns.

By way of offering a mitigating defense – I would assert that many males grow up in a world in which some kind of masculine “sucking it up” is our norm.

Growing up in the very same gender-distorted society as our female partners we adapt in our own unique way. We learn to survive our male lives with, “Tomorrow is another day. It’s not so bad. Take a break. It will feel better in the morning. Have a beer.” Or, to quote King Solomon, we’ve learned that, “This too, shall pass.” And it does indeed pass – until it doesn’t.

However, this adaptive male worldview and set of coping, survival perspectives makes us poor partners when it comes to raising our daughters.

In effect, the bulk of responsibility for our daughter’s safety winds up on the plate our female partner’s shoulders.

I’ll never forget the day when my fifteen-year-old daughter turned to me in anger, noting and resenting the fact that, “men were looking at her differently now.” I knew exactly what she meant. I sympathized that that is the way the world is. I tried to explain but I, her dad – had nothing to offer.  Atlas shrugged.

I admire, appreciate and honor all female partners and mothers of daughters for shouldering the burden of our daughter’s safety. I deplore that we as male partners and fathers of daughters have largely left it that way.

So the challenge, for both mothers and fathers is: What is next?

A few suggestions as the man I am who admires the women in my life.

  1. Talk about it.  Talk about our feelings as we watch our children mature and evolve.
  2. Stick to the 80/20 rule – wherein we listen 80% of the time, speak 20% of the time.
  3. Support the mothers of our children – even when we might rather not.
  4. Talk to our daughters and sons, appropriate to their age, as they grow and develop. What they can grasp at age 11 will grow yearly at least till they reach age 25.
  5. Don’t fool ourselves that a some spontaneous generational shift will occur without our personal participation.

Your turn: What would you offer?

Hint: Accepting that our world is and will continue to be a place where women are abused is not an acceptable answer.

Relationships are all about WE and US, not ME.

How many times have you, or someone you know say, “THEY are not making ME happy, there’s something wrong with THEM, MY needs are not being met.” Or alternatively, “If only THEY would… I would be happy.”

One of the couple complains the other defends, the temperature rises in the room, feelings get hurt, the argument escalates, and the relationship goes downhill from there.

WE’ve all had conversations just like these. We are all too aware of how conversations like these will end. WE hate listening to conversations like these between those around us. WE are well aware that our homes, our families, our communities, the public media, popular literature, are awash in conversations just like these.

I call these conversations ME-based conversations. They are full of ME, MY feelings, MY experiences, MY needs, and how I am being frustrated.

But what if shifted the way WE talk about our relationships from ME-based language to WE-based language?

What if WE were to say instead, “WE are not making ME happy; there something wrong with US, OUR needs as a couple are not being met?”

With this simple linguistic shift in the way WE speak about ourselves to ourselves and others WE take our partner off their hot seat, stop making them wrong and the one accountable for our feelings, responsible for the dysfunction of our relationship with them.

Isn’t it a lot easier to hear our partner when they tell us, “WE are not making ME happy,” “There something about US, how WE speak and listen to each other that isn’t working for US.” Isn’t “WE need to take a look at how successfully WE are doing US.” easier to hear than, “if only YOU would…then I would be happy.”

With this simple clever shift in the way WE talk about ourselves WE take our partner off the hot seat, stop making them responsible for our feelings and upsets. When our partner no longer has to defend themselves in the face of our upset and dissatisfactions – then WE can shift our attention to where it belongs, to US, about WE, and what is going on between US. Once WE have accomplished this, WE can begin to discuss, focus upon those thoughts left unsaid, misspoken, mistaken and misunderstood.

As a WE, speaking with one another as an US, WE have an opportunity to powerfully listen to one another. Together, WE are able to focus upon our WE-practices and take a good look at persistent behaviors and ways of our being together that are hurtful, unproductive, identify and examine those behaviors that simply don’t work for an US, any US.

As a WE in partnership with our relationship at stake, WE can look for what is missing, that if present would make a difference for US as individuals and bring new workability, expanded love, relatedness and intimacy to our WE.

And then We can be happy.




Find Your Authentic Power

Authentic powerWhen navigating the transition from their full time work world, Baby Boomers have the opportunity to increase their self-awareness. As you design your encore lifestyle, what is your relationship between your personality and your Higher Self?

You may have lived your life driven by taking care of your individual demands and satisfying the demands of others. This worldly focus of your personality, or ego, can cause all sorts of discord and discomfort throughout your life. A life filled with striving for personal success indicates that you may have been unconscious of your Higher Self, or Soul.

Now you have an opportunity to enhance your experience of life in retirement by aligning yourself with your Higher Self. This higher energy can speak to you as your intuition and creativity. Your authentic power can motivate you to leverage your knowledge, wisdom, and expertise, to serve others without attachment to the outcome. You may feel a strong desire to live with greater ease and compassion.

My experience

For many years I based my life choices on fear and self-doubt. Finally, a health challenge forced me to reassess how I was living my life. I investigated numerous teachings and practices that all seemed to advise living in alignment with my Higher Self. Through practices of reading, writing, and reflection I have learned to live my life with trust, peace, and harmony. My daily practice of meditation reconnects me with my authentic power and sets me on a course for the day of ease and grace. I invite you to enjoy the same in your retirement lifestyle.

Many authors have written about how to live in alignment with your authentic power, Soul, or Higher Self. The Seat of the Soul Institute at contains valuable information about how to explore this subject more thoroughly.

How will you live in alignment with your Higher Self during the encore stage of your life?

Janice Williams, Retirement Coach,


Gun violence clues lie in early childhood nurturance and neglect

So long as we dwell on red herring surface issues such as gun control, the underlying issues can never be addressed.

Has anyone noticed that none of the shooters are female?

Rather than rehash old arguments regarding gun control and mental health availability, maybe we should look into how we raise and nurture our sons, our male children in this country such that some of them explode into violence.

A late teacher of mine, Charlie Kreiner, once asked us a question I will never ever forget,

“What do you have to do to a male child such that he will agree to kill and be killed in the name of masculinity?”

I ask: “How do we engage with our adorable, delicious, joyous, and loving male children such that they grow up to perpetrate domestic violence and become killers?”

I suggest that there is a clear connection between gender-related nurturance neglect, developing emotional numbness, and the capacity of any individual to perpetrate violence.

Evidence is emerging in neuroscience literature. Watch and listen to neuroscientist VS Ramachandran speak in the TED Talk The Neurons that Shaped Civilization.

The roots of our capacity to empathize lie in early childhood and in the manner we as young children are treated, or not.

We learn that young children are born with an enormous capacity to mimic, mirror, and to reliably reproduce the world they experience. But the number of mirror motor neurons shrinks by about four years of age and their capacity to learn shrinks as well.

Emotionally neglected children do not develop into adults who have the capacity to feel the consequences of their actions.

It is impossible to feel the pain of another if your capacity to feel at all is stunted or missing altogether. Sometimes it looks like the violence perpetrated on elementary school children; other times it looks like domestic violence in the home.

Gun control is a red herring. The clues to the origins of gun violence lie in early childhood nurturance and neglect of children.

Hanukkah memories: sour cream or applesauce?

Lighting the Hanukkah Menorah

“Applesauce or sour cream?” will be one of the most hotly debated issues around family tables this Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights.

The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah begins this coming weekend and will last for eight days. The holiday celebrates the triumph of the Maccabees over the Assyrian Greeks 2300 years ago and of the re-consecration of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

Families everywhere will soon sing festival songs and light Hanukkah candles on a Menorah, an eight-branched candelabra, adding one candle each night until the candelabra is completely filled with light on the very last night of the festival holiday.

The issue at stake surrounds the humble Latke, a potato pancake, Hanukkah’s signature food. There are a wide variety of opinions regarding how to make latkes correctly, what they should taste like, and whether a latke is best eaten with a liberal application of applesauce or sour cream. Every family has a slightly different recipe and public heated debates have been held surrounding latkes, their use and preparation. I am a sour cream stalwart.

What was Hanukkah like for you growing up? How did your family prepare latkes? Or did your family like make sufganiyot, ball shaped fried doughnuts instead? Has someone actually written down the family recipe?

Did you family give Hanukkah Gelt, spin the Dreidel together, exchange gifts with one another, Christmas-style. Some families give a gift for each night, some only once, and some give no gifts. What are your family’s festival traditions? How has the Hanukkah celebration changed for your family over the years?

Use can ask these questions and find other questions like these on the Memoriesbroughttolife website. Use them as a guide to recover your parents’ and grandparents’ memories of Hanukkah. There are pages you can use either stand alone, or as part of a family Living Legacy LifeBook.

To obtain these free pages, click on the Downloads tab on the Memoriesbroughttolife website and be guided through a very simple process, entering your name and e-mail address to be provided complementary access to all downloadable files available.

These are irreplaceable memories well worth keeping, valuable memories providing a window into the lives of our ancestors.

Discover Your Family Treasure

Stories of familyThe encore years of life offer Baby Boomers a time for reflection and conversations to discover valuable family stories. When you uncover the stories you hold for your own life you create greater awareness of how you fit into your family. And, when you share your stories with others in your family, you expand their perspective of their own lives, as well as of the family as a whole.

Reflections on your own life stories can help you design your retirement lifestyle. What do you remember as the most important? Are there any repetitive themes? How can they inform your choices for the next stage of your life?

Discovery Process

There are many ways you can discover your family treasures, including:

  • Journals and diaries that you and others have kept, or currently write.
  • Asking other relatives what they remember about events that you remember – their memories may be illuminating.
  • Allow other relatives to interview you with their own questions which you may never have thought of.
  • Record your discoveries to share in the future by writing them down, or by making audio or video recordings.

Sharing Your Stories

Family members may think they know each other well when they have grown up together. Other relatives may know each other superficially because they see each one another infrequently. Instead of keeping conversations on a mundane level, I encourage you to share the wisdom you have accumulated throughout your life when you reach your retirement years. Your stories will allow others of all generations to know and appreciate you more. Your perspectives on life can inform family members of new ways of experiencing life.

Throughout the ages, and in other cultures, the wisdom of the elders has been highly regarded. I recommend that you gather your own stories and the stories of your family and actively keep them alive by sharing them with one another often.

What family treasures will you discover in your encore years?

Janice Williams, Retirement Coach,

Thanksgiving Memories: complementary pages to download for your feast

In time for Thanksgiving!

When we stop and think we might notice that Thanksgiving has changed over our lifetimes and the lifetimes of our parents.

Familiar faces that no longer grace our tables, fond family stories of Thanksgivings past, favorite recipes we once shared each year.

As we all gather to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, how about we take the time to stop and remember and preserve memories of Thanksgivings of past years?

Here are complimentary Thanksgiving memory page templates from ready for your download. Pages you can use either stand alone or as part of your Living Legacy LifeBook.

To take advantage of these pages, go to the Downloads page and be guided through a simple process: enter your name and e-mail to be provided complementary access to all the downloads we currently have available.

We would love for you to have them and add them to your collection and capture these irreplaceable stories.

May we all enjoy a truly memorable Thanksgiving.


What Is Your Relationship to Learning?

Learning in retirementEntering the third phase of life gives Baby Boomers a wonderful opportunity to learn new things. When you retire from your full time work world you will likely learn new ways of living your daily life. Beyond that, you can explore new interests and go more deeply into ones you already have.

But, what do you feel when you attempt to learn something new in your retirement lifestyle? When you were immersed in your work, you may have felt very comfortable that you knew the lay of the land and how to function competently in that environment. When you did have to learn something new, the process may have been easy because of the support around you.

You can experience a whole new relationship with how you learn when you retire. Many of your life experiences will change, even the most mundane, daily ones. Be aware of what your responses are with each new learning experience. Do you resist doing things in a new way? Are you impatient when you have to learn something new? Do you avoid learning to do things in different ways altogether? What are some other responses you have to learning?

Four stages of learning

  1. Unconsciously incompetent – you don’t know that you don’t know how to do something.
  2. Consciously incompetent – you realize that you don’t know how to do something.
  3. Consciously competent – you take action to learn how to do something and do it with focused awareness.
  4. Unconsciously competent – you have learned how to do something so well that you have mastered it and it becomes second nature to you.

Your retirement lifestyle will be filled with opportunities for you to do new things and do things in new ways. Think back over some of the major learning experiences you have had in your life: Learning to ride a bicycle, learning to drive a car, adjusting to living with a new roommate, starting your first job. What common patterns do you see in your relationship to learning with those activities?

Learning with ease

  • Be flexible and adaptable.
  • Maintain an open and expanded state of mind.
  • Be patient and compassionate with yourself.
  • Have a lively curiosity and sense of inquiry.
  • Be present in the moment with what is.

What will your relationship with learning be in your retirement lifestyle?

Janice Williams, Retirement Coach,


6 Tips for Mastering Your Healing Process

Healing in retirementWhat is your overall philosophy regarding your health and well being? Most Baby Boomers are likely to live longer, healthier lives during their third phase of life compared to previous generations. Even with the best of intentions, the aging process can bring about health challenges that are unexpected during your retirement years.

How you respond to these challenges can influence the quality of your retirement lifestyle. It is important to understand ahead of time what your health and well being philosophy is so that you, and those who support you, will know what type of care you prefer. Some basic choices include conventional care, alternative care, high intervention, or low intervention.

6 tips for mastering your healing process:

  1. Get an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan from chosen health care practitioners.
  2. Do your own research to gain greater understanding of your condition and treatment so you can manage your own care.
  3. Have patience and compassion for yourself during your healing process. You may have kept on going with your daily activities when ill in the past. Now is the time to let go of resistance to infirmities and take good care of yourself.
  4. Trust that you will recover from temporary conditions, even if it seems to take longer than in the past.
  5. Have courage to live with long term conditions so that you still find fulfillment in your retirement. This can positively influence your overall well being.
  6. Engage in the mutual support of family and friends to assist with each other’s treatment and recovery periods during the third phase of life.

My experience

When I awoke one morning and discovered that the right side of my face was paralyzed I felt very confused because I had no idea what would have caused it. At first, I sought out conventional medical care where I learned that I had Bell’s palsy. I also learned that conventional medical care knows of no true cause of the condition, nor how to cure it. Then, I spent time researching Bell’s palsy to satisfy my own understanding of it. And, I sought out a wide variety of alternative care practitioners to experience their treatments. Finally, I settled on a regimen of treatments that continue to help me regain the functionality of the right side of my face. Throughout my long recovery process, I have been so grateful to have a wonderful support group of friends who continue to inspire my patience, compassion and courage.

What is your overall philosophy for your health and well being during your retirement years?

Janice Williams, Retirement Coach,

The Dance

Seductive ladies dressed in brightly colored, long flowing, backless gowns with thigh high skirt slits, sit almost motionless at small candle lit tea tables at the edge of a polished hardwood floor.  In the shadows slowly cruise men in black, carefully choosing their target while summing their courage to act.  And then ….the first strands of a charged tango melody pierce the air.

First one black form then another leaves the darkness of the surrounding shadows and with purpose head held high stride to the beat of the music across the expanse of the open dance floor.  The only sound is that of the instruments. Not a word is spoken by anyone just the quick, quick, slow of the tango rhythm.

Standing at almost attention, eyes straight ahead, soldier ready in the candle glow of his chosen table he extends his right hand palm up.  The seated lady taking little notice, making no eye contact, as if in her own dream world, slowly places her left hand, palm down upon her suitor’s thus accepting his offer without a word or a shared look between.

He preforms a small bow then a step back he continues to hold her hand as she lifts from the chair revealing the full extent of her beauty.

With the flow of the dance counterclockwise around the room he frames the couple, strong, upright and steady with his embrace. She the color, the fabric within the frame responds to his lead with reaching steps of extended line from toe through hip in a swirl of dazzling gown.

Quick, quick, slow then there is a pause. The classic tango pause.  Each stops and holds their place within the dance and with a sudden turn of the head they look for the first time, directly into each other’s face, eye to eye.  Then just as sudden they look away in unison outward toward their out stretched clasped hands and so continue the circle route of the dance around the room, now cheek to cheek.

Having experienced each other’s touch within the tango embrace for the customary three songs their introduction is complete with a final showy spin.  He with head above the crowd surveys the surroundings and gains his bearings, collects his lady, she taking his arm and they stroll back to her seat at the sideline table awaiting her arrival.  He holds her chair. Thanks her for the dance. The first words by either during their brief encounter.  She in like thanks him before again assuming her dream state in the candle glow, to wait her next awakening from a hand held palm side up.