Life Stages/Life Challenges


07Mar 2010

Creative Problem-Solving: Ways to Communicate When the Other Person Just Doesn't "Get It"

My wife (Kathy) and I have been married 30 years. We are both college-educated and fairly good communicators. Most people understand us when we talk or write. But sometimes we have a hard time communicating with each other. It is not that we don’t try, or that one of us doesn’t want to understand. But occasionally (I think it is

22Jan 2010

Healthy Extended Families — They Do Actually Exist

In the past several weeks, I have had the opportunity to interact with a few large extended families — both at a personal and professional level. And I have been impressed with some common characteristics I observed across these families, whom I view to be relatively healthy and functional. Given the bashing that extended families take in TV shows and

09Jan 2010

A Tribute: To a Man of Great Character

Unfortunately, when the issue of “character” is in the news today, the focus is usually on character failures — lack of integrity, marital unfaithfulness, greed and dishonesty. So to be able to talk about a man of good character is a privilege. When thinking about the title of this entry, I was indecisive about whether it should be “To a

28Dec 2009

The Problem with Trying to Be "Fair" With Your Children

In my role as a family coach for wealthy families, one of the common issues that arises is the parents’ desire to be “fair” with their children and grandchildren. (I put “fair” in quotation marks because it really is an unusual term that is defined differently by many people and is almost totally based on perception.) For whatever reason, and

17Dec 2009

Creating New Family Traditions Around the Holidays

A “new tradition” is sort of an oxymoron. By definition, (“a long-established, inherited way of thinking or acting”), a tradition is some action that you have been doing for a while. But I believe it is both possible and helpful to intentionally create new traditions for your family. We need to recognize that families go through a variety of life

04Dec 2009

The Dreaded "B" Word: Busyness

OK, first things first.  I am a busy person. Currently, too busy.  (I am writing this as I sit on a plane flying to Chicago for a business meeting.)  So this is one of those entries where I call on the “psychologist’s privilege” of being able to expound on principles that I do not have implemented in my life yet.

21Nov 2009

The Opposite(s) of Thanksgiving

We usually think of opposites in terms of a simple, “either-or” relationship — such as light and darkness, large and small, heavy and light. And these opposites exist on a single continuum, with the opposing characteristics being on the ends of the spectrum. But there are some relationships which are more complex, where there is more than one characteristic that

15Nov 2009

Mentoring — Transferring Information & Experience to the Next Generation

I started reading a good book this week — A Game Plan for Life: The Power of Mentoring by John Wooden and Don Yaeger. It was recommended to me by a good friend, and I always try to pass on worthwhile reading to others. The first part of the book covers the seven mentors that influenced Coach Wooden (for those

31Oct 2009

Managing College & Career Anxiety — for Parents

This past week I had the opportunity to speak to about 70 parents at a private college prep high school.  The anxiety level in the room was moderately high because these parents were there to hear answers about how to get their students to take seriously the process of finding a career path and choosing a college to attend. Earlier

19Oct 2009

Integrating Philanthropy into Daily Life

This past weekend I had the privilege of helping facilitate a board meeting for a family foundation. One of the goals of the meeting was to begin to more fully integrate the next generation (currently twentysomethings) into the foundation’s activities and financial giving over the coming years. Part of the process included looking at philanthropy through the lens of daily

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