Summer relief is spelled “S-H-A-R-E-D”

Want to know how to get through Summer without breaking the bank, easily filling in the extended daylight hours with activities and still have some time to devote to date night and/or me-time? The answer is to “Share The Summer”.  Here is how….. Get 4 of your favorite families to form a team (your family makes 5) Run a 5-day rotating weekly schedule consisting of a dinner. Each family picks one day of the workweek to be in charge of dinner. Budgets and menus can be agreed upon ahead of time (for example: each host family pays for the meal they are hosting & the menu must include 1 protein & 1 carb) The day of, all 5 families get together for dinner at the host family’s place. Everything from planning, prep, cooking/ordering are the charge of the host family. That done the host family gets the next 4 weekdays off from dinner duties. Weekends can be family-time or can be included in the rotation. Same goes for activities for the kids and clean up after the meal. This way each family need only work on 18 dinners during the 4 months of Summer (instead of 80). For an illustrative tool to put this plan into action go to: http://toniyasingh.com/product/share-the-yoke-calendar/ Welcome to Summer!  ...

The Power Of Speech

It has been over 2 years since I spoke at TEDx Dayton.  Evidently, the message is timeless in that it still resonates. Recently someone emailed me after watching my TEDx Talk for the first time.  He had some questions after watching my story and wanted to share his thoughts on it as well. Upon reading my email reply, he called me to thank me and point out the inherent value of my responses.  It made me realize that our conversation was worth sharing.  Here is that conversation now: He: I Enjoyed your TED talk. Me: Thank you for taking the time to watch it.  I am thrilled to know it still moves people.  Its no wonder I speak for a living now.  There is so much to be said, heard & learned and there is no denying the power of one’s own voice. One of the countless gifts of this talk was that preparing for it was an undertaking in studentship on my own life. As a result, even though I had lived through it up close and personal, there were truths uncovered and things learned about myself yet.   He: A few thoughts – (1) I don’t understand why women are mistreated in so many places in the world when they’ve proved to be smart, rational, and in many instances, more than capable leaders; (2) America is a wonderful country and we’ve welcomed & integrated more immigrants than most countries. We’re not perfect with the process & results, however I’d guess we’ve handled it better than some countries could or would; Me: (1) I think it is because...

Relevant Past Experience

8:00 AM. Time to log in to the system and get to work. As soon as the system acknowledges me, both screens suddenly go blank. A tiny light shows up on the left hand corner of one screen, pulsing as if to say “I am here, you just cannot get through to me”.  Before I could finish my thought on that little light (that ominously reminded me of a life-support monitor), my phone line rings as if on cue and just like that I was laid off. That was 4 years and near 1000 job applications (give or take a few) ago.  No fault or blame on me (or the multitude of others like myself that day), just your regular run-of-the-mill re-org. As if the reason would somehow make our lives quake less. It doesn’t.  The aftershocks are identical no matter how well gift-wrapped the reason.  So yeah the sudden quake sucked, as did I.  Sucked it up and moved forward that is. Interviews? You ask. Check. Networking? Check. Additional Training and Certifications?  Volunteering?  Work for free to get the word out? Check! Check! and Check! The result? Nada. The reason? “Relevant Past Experience” (or lack thereof) 1,460+ days of finding out that my professional past was the yardstick I was going to be measured by, for the rest of my professional life.  No amount of explaining that my resume only listed what I had done, not what I was good at, was enough to convince someone to hire me.  Neither were testimonials, results or sustained, solid and tangible proof of my strong suits. The resume won every time....

Youth Coaching (Part 2 of 2)

Welcome back!  It is the season of Oranges and yellows, pumpkins and ghouls, warm hearts and cool nights.  A perfect time to pick up where we left off the topic of Youth Coaching in the Summer. So we have established a few things: That parenting is important as it is challenging – no news there.  That parenting is just as much a verb, as it is a noun – probably more importantly so.  That sometimes parents are too blind in their love for their child to see their own pitfalls in the parenting role. That being said however, it is important to mention that not all parents are mere namesakes. Actually for the most part, parents are engaged and involved with their children every step of the way and go on to raise some of the most productive assets to humankind. But who can deny that they would love to have a helping hand.  As they juggle the multiple demands of daily living, non-stop, day-after-day, no vacation, no overtime and raise these precious children besides, something has to give.  And this fact further augmented in the case of a single parent – mother or father. Parenting is by far the most important job we will ever be entrusted with and should be respected thusly.  When we hire contractors, landscapers and mechanics to do specialized jobs, why not hire help to sculpt a masterpiece when it comes to our children as well? That is where the youth coach can step into the gap. Consider the following: Children will often listen to an outside voice than they will their parents’. Coaches...

Youth Coaching? (Part 1 of 2)

People often ask me this question, perplexed at the concept. They understand the phrase and its obvious meaning, but the value of the concept is often imperceptible to them. To make something so evident, ‘more’ evident I tell a story of a movie I saw as a little girl. It highlights the best intentions of a parent that prove costly, even deadly, because the parent could not be objective in their blind love for their child.   The movie starts with a prison guard asking a man on death row to state his last wish. The man says he wants to see his mother one last time. In the next scene, the mother and son are standing at each side of the prison bars when he reaches through and begins to strangle her. I’d describe her expression as a mixture of terror and surprise, when the son begins to explain to her that he is being sent to his death thanks to her.   Guards step in, then the cops and the priest who is at hand and the inmate explains that his mother “loved him into a life of crime”, starting with the day he shop lifted a candy bar for the very first time. He was six years old. The entire movie plays out in flashbacks of every age where he would continue to commit crimes and misdemeanors and the mother never brought any consequences to bear on him. She was too busy loving him. That movie made its mark on me then and has remained timeless through decades – even as recently as the case of...