By: Julie Manriquez


My 12-year-old son expected an Xbox 360 for Christmas. Instead he received an emphatic “not gonna happen, Kid!” He persevered with the drive and optimism of a skilled closer, spouting assumptive comments like, “When I have my Xbox, you can use it to make sure I do my homework and my chores.” Wait a minute, isn’t it the JOB of every 12-year-old to—uhhh—do his homework and chores? After discussing with friends their discontent with the game and their kids’ effective behavior, the hubby and I stuck to our guns and kept the “kid crack” out of our home.

Just to clarify, we don’t have a problem with gaming, even the violent or adult varieties. And anyone who knows us knows we are certainly not big on censorship. The kid watched Gladiator at the age of eight at the hubby’s suggestion to get “pumped” for his basketball playoff game!  We simply do not wish to sabotage our kids’ sometimes limited focus on school and their chosen activities; but, even more importantly, we do not wish to rob them of the gift of pure, unadulterated boredom, which every child needs to expend physical energy, inspire creativity, innovation, and passion for something (anything!) larger than they are.

We proudly stood united and much to his chagrin no Xbox miraculously arrived beneath our rather odd left-leaning Christmas tree. Unfortunately, the largest box under the tree boasted a conspicuous tag addressed to the kid. Later he confided that for a moment he believed we had changed our minds. Even his 14-year-old sister sympathized with him. Truthfully, I had teetered on the edge of giving in, but the bright idea of instantly gratifying my children does not alight so easily in this “mommy” brain.

Ignore your children every day.  This was my mantra when our kids entered the terrible twos, threes…and fours. I observed parents frantically grabbing strategically placed Hot Wheels or plastic Kazoos at the grocery store for their whining children, stuffing Oreos in their strollers at the mall, and purchasing the ubiquitous plush toy at the zoo, at the amusement park, at the drugstore, just to appease. When he was three my son hysterically thrashed about in a shopping cart at the drugstore after hearing the answer “no” to his request for a ridiculous plastic toy that would surely end up in the whirlpool of toxic PBCs growing in our ocean. Over the sound of his soprano screeches I quietly conferred with the store manager to hold my cart of household supplies for a bit. I quietly removed the kid, sternly informed him he had a time out, drove home, placed him in his room and closed the door. He calmed himself within minutes. With clenched teeth and a forced smile I picked up the little angel, backtracked to the drugstore, completed my transaction and once again returned home, only this time with a happier child. Simple? Yes. Uncomfortable? Definitely. Time consuming? Without a doubt. No more unbearable trips to the drugstore? Priceless!

The hubby and I are sprung from families where decisions to purchase anything outside the weekly expenses were…methodical…painfully methodical. So, naturally, we learned to live without grandiose and unearned expectations. We can’t hold a candle to our folks when it comes to creative frugality, but I’m grateful that enough ingrained sensibility rubbed off to keep us grounded as parents in this highly stimulated, entitled, and overscheduled Millennium Culture where children learn that it is “expected” to receive a trophy for simply showing up; it is “expected” to foster relationships through handheld devices and social networks; it is “expected” to bolt to another organization or team when the lead role or first string is assigned to another kid by an “unfair” or “jerk” of a coach. And, my favorite—it is acceptable to opt out of the institution of marriage after 72 days (thank you Kim Kardashian) when married life doesn’t equal what is “expected.”

We all know parents who paralyze kids with agendas fueled by fear, greed, jealousy and their own personal failures. My wish as a mother, ex-middle school teacher, and fitness professional is for our kids to receive the gift of rejection, the invaluable treasure that is a teacher, coach or director who is best described as “asshole,” and the gem of an employer who does NOT recognize our child’s worth. Is there anyone out there who hasn’t experienced and grown tremendously from these little trinkets?

Today’s youth will carry a heavy load indeed. They don’t need medals and trophies; they need boot camp. This cultural trend to pad their bubble with material and emotional abundance while, at the same time, stressing them out with words like Ivy League, coupled in the same sentence with Little League, is simply irresponsible on our part. We need to raise tough and resilient, confident and innovative men and women.

Mission Bay senior finds a way to excel

Mission Bay High School senior, Christina Burkenroad, exemplifies the pure drive that our kids are capable of achieving, even when life is peppered with loss, helplessness, and homelessness. I had the pleasure of working with Christina to help prepare her college application essays this fall. A motherless daughter who shuffled across the country from home to home with a father who had all but given up, and an extended family who turned their backs, Christina held tightly to the one constant comfort in her life—soccer. The San Diego Union Tribune featured her in an article highlighting exceptional teen athletes and followed up with this inspirational story. (Click Here for full story)


One month after Christmas my son flippantly stated, “I don’t really want an Xbox now, just some Beats (DJ-style earphones) for my iPad (he bought it last year with money he earned).” I have to admit I grew a prideful inch for just a moment. It passed when I accepted that he had simply replaced one electronic device with another. As his New Year’s resolution is to be less oppositional and mine is to avoid “going Italian” on him, we are still in negotiations.

And speaking of resolutions, we are coming up on that pivotal 30-day milestone. To be honest, my usual no cussing and no yelling effort is waning. But, my commitment to add pure vegetable juice to my diet is alive. In fact, I am actually enjoying my “salad in a jar.” My schedule requires me to exercise 6-7 days per week, sometimes twice per day (and I’m no spring chicken!). I noticed a drop in energy mid-week and assessed that I could pump up the fresh greens and red foods (beets, red cabbage, etc.).I treat myself to a super fresh, super organic, super juice 3-4 times per week. San Diego readers: try Farm to Fork in Bird Rock on La Jolla Blvd. Eric Ethans of Elevated Nutrients uses the crème de la crème Norwalk Press and sells his juice blends with up to 12 ingredients per bottle. Each concoction is truly a nutrient-rich superfood that will keep you energized and glowing.

Farm to Fork’s John Hart explains that because Americans typically lack a sufficient amount of the minerals calcium, magnesium, potassium and the vitamins A, C, D, and E needed to maintain good health, we are finding ourselves sick and overweight. “This is in part because the nutritional value of harvested foods has declined dramatically over the past 100 years. Studies link many of today’s most prevalent life-threatening chronic diseases to nutritional deficiencies. Each fresh juice we sell conveniently delivers nutrients from two pounds of produce loaded with vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that are essential to good health,” says Hart. (f2fproduce@gmail.com)

Organic juicers are cropping up all over the map. Look for one that is certified organic, pesticide free, and does not add fillers like soy or milk-based products—or even ice—when blending. It’s an acquired taste, but eventually you will crave your juice fix! As organ function and mental acuity improve you will notice that you are not only more attractive, but more intelligent too…Cheers!


Several years ago—just weeks into the New Year—one of my very best pals turned up to my Friday boot camp looking conspicuously svelte. As we finished up our abs before breaking for the morning, one of the girls asked Lisa, “So what’s your secret? How did you trim down so quickly?”

Eat more fresh and fewer processed foods in 2012!

We held our breath as she slyly took in our unblinking eyes. In pure “Lisa” fashion she glibly responded, “Yah, it’s this new diet…the don’t-eat-so-f#%kin-much-diet.” We all laughed out loud. Simple…eat less! Every year I propose my clients try an approach of “less” rather than “zero.” If you are reading this, you are most likely human. Pure deprivation simply creates resentment, anger, and the likelihood of relapse or overindulgence. Instead, consider “less.” Here’s my New Year’s wake up call:

  • Less diet and sugared soda (try mineral water with fresh citrus)
  • Less caffeine (start your day and prepare your system for digestion with warm water and fresh lemon; coffee won’t sound as appealing afterward. Also add alkalizing herbal/green tea)
  • Less alcohol (health wise vodka with soda water and lemon is better than wine or beer…you didn’t hear it from me! Try no drinks during the week, they slow you down and wreak havoc on your workouts)
  • Less sugar and starch (need your fix? Organic dark chocolate with 70% cocoa is rich in flavonoids, contains antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, and satisfies a sweet tooth)
  • Less complaining (consider keeping a daily “gratitude journal” in a file on your smart phone or laptop. When you need a smile read quick entries like, “I’m grateful that the kids picked up the dog poop this morning”)
  • Less red meat (Omega-rich fish and lean organic turkey are better protein choices)
  • Less monotony (mix up your workouts, your daily routine, your evening meals…keep the body guessing)
  • Less processed food (the best foods don’t come in bags, cans, or boxes. Eat fresh whole foods)
  • Less flour (for most, wheat—both processed and whole—promotes inflammation and contributes to myriad health issues. Substitute brown rice, quinoa, millet, spelt, rice/corn flour)
  • Less trans fats/saturated fats (start your day with a metabolism boosting, alkalizing, anti-inflammatory shot of omega rich fish oil. Great for organ health, joint health, hair and skin)
  • Less gas, plastic, paper, toxic household items (hop on your bike to run local errands. Also, try my favorite toxin-free household products www.melaleuca.com)
  • Less stress (learn to meditate, treat yourself to a massage and practice yoga…the world will surely be a better place)

Happy New Year!


Email me (jamwritingservices@gmail.com) or check out my blogspot for general contact info or to learn more about my writing services: http://jamwritingservices.blogspot.com/


About bbluford
I am an executive finance professional with a love for process and application development (MS Access, Excel, Quickbooks), mostly as it relates to Accounting and Business Functions. I also love to write and share ideas with other people in this world. I'm an admitted Gym Rat who works out excessively. The best summation of me is that I love to teach and to learn.

15 Responses to Expectation…Resolution…Action

  1. Kari says:

    Jules — packed with so many pearls of wisdom! I particularly like “Ignore your children every day.”

  2. Vanessa Cortes says:

    Great motivating article Julie! thanks!

  3. Catherine says:

    Hi Jules
    Loved the article. I could not agree more about our culture of not disappointing children. As an expat from the UK I do admire this country’s emphasis on teaching children to be team players as well as competitors, but where in real life is everyone a winner? We are simply setting them up for failure and disappointment later on. I’m ok with my kids loosing too. From there the only way is up, and only if you learn how to change your situation.
    As for the juice. I became a juice junkie and got quite obsessive about how it was made and whether the veggies were organic or not so I’m now juicing at home and about to upgrade to a masticating juicer ( I know…sounds rude doesn’t it!)

  4. bbluford says:

    This is as relevant a post as I’ve ever read, Julie. Thanks for the tips on nutrition. I think we can all agree that society has taken us further and further away from the natural goodness that exists in… well, just exists- around us. I especially relate to the words of wisdom when it comes to child rearing. The scenarios you outlined represent struggles that I embarrassingly lose more than I win. My hope is to keep in mind and remember the long-term benefits that rejection, boredom, and God-forbid delayed gratification provide. I just hope I can develop the strength over time to stick to my guns long enough to provide those lessons. Thanks for a great post, Julie!

  5. Alec says:

    I am the kid and i want to say that i think i still deserve that x box. I have good grades and am a very respectful kid. Anyone who knows my mom should say that i deserve an x box…thx

    • bbluford says:

      Hey Alec-
      I’ll speak as a parent who sometimes still acts like a kid. It’s not that you don’t deserve the XBox. Your mom is just trying to instill inside of you an appreciation for what it takes to accomplish things in life. You play sports, right? Well, I want you to do some research for me. Take the two teams in the Super Bowl and tell me of the 44 starters on offense and defense for both teams how many of them were high school All-Americans? Not very many, I’d bet. That’s at least in part because they’ve had to work for everything they’ve gotten. So by the time they were in college and then the NFL, when EVERYONE has to work in order to get and stay on top, they knew how to do it. Many times, those who are successful too early, who have things handed to them (figuratively and literally) at an early age, never develop that muscle- the work ethic muscle. Your mom wants you to have to earn some things in life so that you get as strong as possible in that area. It’s tough love, but it’ll work. Promise.

  6. Kayt says:

    awesome words of wisdom, I try to ignore my kids as much as possible!

  7. maureen says:

    Great post as usual! Loving my Glow Juice right now!

  8. Sandi Denton says:

    Loved your article Ju!! I say, save yourself tons of money and ensure that you’re eating organic buy investing in your own juicer. Best money I ever spent 🙂

  9. Curt Frederick says:

    Well written posts hold my interest and thank god… I need the reinforcement on nutrition and eating better foods. This year is an improvement for me. I’m now inspired to continue improving my diet after reading your post. BTW-I ignored my son at one point over the weekend! Thanks again Julie!

    • bbluford says:

      Good to hear from you, Curt. I hope everything is going well. Let’s all remember–like Julie tells us– to take one step at a time, but to always move forward.

  10. Sandy Woods says:

    Hi Julie,
    What a great article, I enjoyed reading about your parenting skills with Alec, especially the time out episode. What an inspiring story about Christina Burkenroad. Sports and other activities are so important for teens, it refocuses there energy and thoughts and changes their life.
    I’m jealous, I wish I was in your boot camp class (although I’m not sure I could keep up). If it’s anything like your Saturday class, it rocks!
    Hopefully, I will see you soon!
    Sandy Woods

  11. Lisa Barnhouse says:

    Julie, Thanks for great post! I love your examples–your stories are fun to read! xo

  12. celestetrudeau says:

    Farm to Fork juices are the bomb! It is my new addiction…don’t even try the Chocolate almond milk! Jamie and John (owners) are a wealth of knowledge and bring a smile to my face everytime I come pick up my juice…get there early, they run out.

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