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A Shy Daughter in Kindergarten; A Depressed Husband in a Mid-Life Crisis

Mar 4, 2007


I have a five year old daughter who is extremely shy in school. She started kindergarten in September and she doesn't talk to the teacher or anyone during class. I had a parent-teacher conference the other day and her teacher said the rest of the kids realized that she doesn't talk and ask her why. When I went to pick her up I heard two kids telling each other, “Oh! she doesn't  talk!” and it just broke my heart because I noticed that it hurt her too. How can I help my daughter? Thanks!


Dear Suzie:

Does she talk to you at home? If not, you may wish to consult a child psychiatrist. If she does talk at home, I would conclude that it's the result of the school environment. My own experience of school convinced me that school can be a brutal place. Unfortunately, children have a great capacity to be mean. This was one of the reasons that my wife and I decided to home school our four children, from kindergarten through high school. It’s difficult to home school, and it’s impossible if the parent or parents are working. Yet, if there’s a way, I would recommend home schooling your daughter. I believe that some children are so sensitive that they wilt in public schools. More than anything, children need love and support, and some public schools are so tough that it’s like throwing your child to the sharks.

Another alternative is a small, private school, like a Montessori school or an alternative school. If nothing else works, and you’re forced to use public schools, then I’d recommend giving her after school lessons on how to communicate, negotiate and make friends, using techniques like role-playing. Even though she’s very young, she might be able to gain some confidence through rehearsing what to say in certain situations.


How do I get my depressed husband to look for a job again? He has been out of work for over a year, and has trouble going to look for a job without someone going with him, like a friend who does all the talking. We have been married 29 years. This is the longest he has ever been out of work, and [he] does not have confidence in himself to change his career or go back to school to better his chances to find different work.

“How do I get him motivated again?” ~ Texas, USA

Dear Motivated:

Our family recently watched a wonderful movie called Off the Map, with Sam Elliot and Joan Allen. Sam Elliot played a father who was so depressed that he couldn’t do anything. One of the things I got from the movie was that the constancy of the wife helped pull him through his depression. I’m not a psychiatrist, but I believe that the loving support of family and friends is a vital component in restoring a person’s mental health. Your husband may feel that his pride is crushed because he’s not supporting his family. It sounds like a mid-life crisis focused on his feelings of not being valuable.

As a fifty-two year old, I can attest that one needs to feel that one is valuable to others, and to one’s family. The way I’ve dealt with those questions myself is to change my perspective. I’m not a fifty-two year old man who’s wandering into the twilight of his life, who will then die and be eaten by worms. I’m a fifty-two year old young man who’s barely gotten started. After fifty two years I finally feel like I’ve (possibly) entered first grade in the school of life and can do some good for others. On top of that, I don’t believe that my life will end at death. I recently wrote down my long term goals of what I would like to do in the spirit world. If one believes in life after death, why shouldn’t we look ahead and ask ourselves how we can help people and contribute to others, even in the afterlife?

The main point for people in the “second half of life” is to realize that we should die with our boots on. Let’s stay forever active in our efforts to love and serve others. Active love and service will create an undeniable sense of value in our lives. That, I believe, is the best way to combat depression.

On top of that, don't forget all the people who became very successful late in life: from Grandma Moses to Ronald Reagan!

Peter Falkenberg Brown is passionate about writing, publishing, public speaking and film. He hopes that someday he can live up to one of his favorite mottos: “Expressing God’s kind and compassionate love in all directions, every second of every day, creates an infinitely expanding sphere of heart.”

~ Deus est auctor amoris et decoris. ~

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Peter Falkenberg Brown
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