Articles — Home and Family


A Challenge

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

A Challenge

I always try things that I recommend for my clients to make sure that they are reasonable and achievable. Over the years, when clients have indicated that they are struggling financially I ask them “How much do you spend on groceries in a month?” Then “How much do you spend eating out or ordering in>?” Finally I query “If all the stores were closed and you couldn’t purchase anything there, how long could you go just by eating what you have in your house right now?” Often the replies are interesting. I hear things like: “But I wouldn’t have fresh...

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It Only Takes Two to Get Married

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

It Only Takes Two to Get Married

My mom and dad were married on July 4, 1951. That morning mom went shopping for blue shoes to match her wedding dress. She knew that stores in Regina closed at noon on Wednesdays back then, but she needed the shoes as the ceremony was scheduled for one o’clock that day. The store didn’t have her size, so she purchased ones that were the right colour but too big for her feet! Before the ceremony, my dad, who had great sense of humour told mom, “If I had known how much the flowers were going to cost, I would have...

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Parenting During A Pandemic

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

Parenting During A Pandemic

The pandemic has changed all our lives and for the last few weeks family members have been together at home due to self-isolation requirements. I have noticed that those who are experiencing a great deal of frustration are parents of school-aged children and their teachers who are not allowed to be together in school settings. Following are some of the concerns that I am hearing:   Many children do not have established routines and are sleeping in so miss their internet sessions with their teachers. Parents do not know how to help with the lessons assigned, especially the math. Relationships...

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What Makes Canada Unique?

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

What Makes Canada Unique?

It doesn't seem to matter where you go in the world, Canadians are welcomed. We somehow have developed a reputation as being kind, safe, friendly and helpful. But, unfortunately, not many people even in Canada understand how truly blessed we are to live in this unique country. Canada is:   Large - There are over 3.85 million square miles to visit. We have ten provinces and three territories with three sides that are bordered by water. Beautiful - It doesn't matter whether you like forests, lakes, plains or ice - we've got it all! From the large cities to the...

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It Feels Like the 1950s

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

It Feels Like the 1950s

The pandemic that we have been experiencing has caused so many changes in our lives. I was thinking the other day that a lot of what we are doing reminds me of growing up in the 1950s:   Travel - I remember when, in grade eleven, my parents decided that it would be important for our family to go on our first major trip. We drove to British Columbia where we stayed with a family friend in his cabin on Vancouver Island. We spent a day at Stanley Park. You see, we didn't have a lot of money or opportunities...

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Happy Everything!

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

Happy Everything!

Shortly after my son moved to Medicine Hat and began working in my private practice, he encouraged me to do some downsizing at the office. I will never forget how shocked he was when he found an envelope in one of the boxes. On the front of it, I had written "Mark's First Haircut". His response was "It can't be. You didn't really save my hair for more than four decades!" Of course, I had! Within minutes we had a pile of "treasures" from his youth including notes he had written in a grade five sex education class and miscellaneous...

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Merry Christmas - Not Necessarily a Good Greeting!

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

Merry Christmas - Not Necessarily a Good Greeting!

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines the word "merry" as full of gaiety and high spirits. Unfortunately, that does not describe everyone's experience on any day of the year, let alone at Christmas. There are many during the holiday season who are lonely, sad, or sick. Some face circumstances that involve abuse, addiction or poverty. Many think about unfulfilled wishes or broken promises both given and received. Merry does not describe their situation. The word Christmas usually is referred to as a Christian feast that commemorates the birth of Christ and is honoured as a legal holiday. Not everyone, however, is...

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A New Year With New Goals

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

A New Year With New Goals

January is usually a time for setting goals and unfortunately by February many people find that some of them have been abandoned. The gyms are not as full. The musical instrument may not be practiced as much as planned and the cute little Christmas puppy may not seem as cute when there are puddles on the floor to clean up! There are ways to accomplish the goals though:   Make sure that you really want to accomplish it. Your own passion will drive you whereas another person's idea likely won't have the same effect. Keep it manageable - You will...

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The Month of October

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

The Month of October

Have you ever wondered about the origin of certain words? This weekend I was thinking about the word "October" and decided to look it up. The Roman calendar only had ten months as January and February were not included at that time. Winter had cycles that were divided into eight-day weeks but not into months until later. At that time, the last four months of the year all ended in "ember" which doesn't seem to have a significant meaning. The prefix for the last four months of September, October, November and December, however, were derived from the Old French words...

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Giving Back Because of Thanks

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

Giving Back Because of Thanks

When my mom died I "inherited" boxes and boxes of black and white photos. Many of them showed soldiers in uniform with their arms around her. I really don't know who these men were but remember the powerful stories that she told about how many of her friends went off to war and never returned. They were committed to serving our country and seeing other lands but, at the same time, like most youth were naïve about the price they would pay. In fact, many small Saskatchewan towns lost great numbers and cenotaphs with their engraved names were erected in...

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Our Heritage

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

Our Heritage

Even though there are a variety of names in Canada for the first Monday of August, most areas of the country observe it as a public holiday. In Alberta we call it "Heritage Day". There are different ways that people celebrate as well as different ideas about what heritage even means. I like to think of heritage as the investments or gains that we have received because of our past including the following:   Roots - Today I went for blood work and referred to Saskatchewan as "the old country". The lab tech, who is an immigrant, was surprised and...

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Where Is Your Home?

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

Where Is Your Home?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary has several different definitions for the word "home". One states that it is a place of residence. Another defines it as a familiar or usual setting or congenial environment and a third states that it is a place of origin. The dictionary goes on to define the term "at home" which includes being relaxed and comfortable, in harmony with the surroundings and on familiar ground. I think we all recognize the fact that a home is more than just a building, but individuals may conger up very different meanings when they hear or use the term "home"....

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Stand On Guard

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

Stand On Guard

When I was a child, we were taught about patriotism. Every morning at school we would stand erect facing the flag at the front of the room while singing O Canada and God Save the Queen, followed by recitation of the Lord's Prayer. Arms were to be at our sides and posture correct as the lyrics included the line "We stand on guard for Thee". Whenever there was a community event, we would all proudly sing O Canada together. Over the years I have noticed that our national anthem is not used as often as in the past. Frequently, a...

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Pretend You Live Alone

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

Pretend You Live Alone

So often I hear family members complain about how others make a mess and are not willing to help with the cleanup. They want things done a certain way at a certain time and feel upset, blaming everyone else who lives in the house for this mood. When they come to me as clients, they believe that I have magic powers that will instantly change everyone but don't expect what I have to say about their dilemma. I frequently see looks of surprise when I tell them that I live alone and therefore don't have anyone to blame when the...

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How to Succeed In Life and the New Year

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

How to Succeed In Life and the New Year

I have seen more than 8,000 clients over the years that I have been in Medicine Hat. The other day I was thinking about what I would tell every single one of them if I was only allowed one nugget of wisdom to share. After a few minutes of deep thought, I decided that the best advice that I could give anyone is for them to focus on the right things. It is very easy to become distracted by world events and disasters, relationship drama, financial stress, career challenges or addictions. There are also some very simple practices that, if...

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Create Christmas Spirit

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

Create Christmas Spirit

I have learned so much from my family, friends and clients over the years. Many of them have had very good reasons to feel sorry for themselves or bemoan their negative circumstances. Instead, they reached out to others who needed help. Much better than sitting at home, staring at a wall and pouting! We all know the expression "It is better to give than receive" but many either don't practice this or miss out on needs that we have right in our own neighbourhood. One of the things that I have been encouraging people to do this Christmas is to...

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A Movie Christmas

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

A Movie Christmas

With all of the available technology today, it is very easy to binge on watching Christmas movies. In fact, some channels are bragging about how many new Christmas movies that they will air this year. It doesn't take long to realize that the template for each is basically the same. 1. Unhappiness - Most of the movies start with characters who are overworked, lonely or experiencing a need that hasn't been filled. Sometimes children seek a parent who has died or left them. Often a romantic relationship breakup has just occurred. Trauma of the past might be the cause for...

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Why Christmas?

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

Why Christmas?

So there are only a few sleeps to go until December 25th. Many of us have areas in our homes that are infiltrated with shiny packages holding large-screen televisions, new clothing and books that we will be giving to others. One last grocery shopping trip will secure the ingredients for the extensive menu that could feed twice as many guests as we expect. We are exhausted from all the Christmas parties, concerts and extras. The car is fueled for travel that leads to the second or third Christmas feast of the season. Everywhere we turn there are decorated venues and...

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Are You Truly Free?

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

Are You Truly Free?

The Oxford Living Dictionary defines freedom as: "The state of not being imprisoned or enslaved". As we near Remembrance Day we often think about military members who risked their own lives with threats of being imprisoned, enslaved or worse so that we could experience freedom from foreign domination or despotic governments. Most return from their tour of duty with haunting memories of what they saw and did. Many have physical problems that are service-related. All of them realize that they have precious missed time with family and friends as well as the "normalcy" of life at home. It is sad...

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Inter-Generational Fun

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

Inter-Generational Fun

INTER-GENERATIONAL FUN! I had such a wonderful long weekend! My grandson, Justin, who is nineteen years of age, called and asked if he could come for a visit. He had recently been promoted at work to a management position and got a raise, so he was financially able and excited to make the trip from Saskatoon to Medicine Hat. I believe it was the first fairly major adventure that he planned and undertaken all by himself! Justin had been living with his dad but recently decided to move in with a couple of friends. That was when he first realized...

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O Canada

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

O Canada

This year I will be celebrating Canada Day in the Maritimes. Air Canada had a wonderful Mother's Day Seat Sale and I just couldn't resist! Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island is known as the birthplace of Canada. From September 1 to September 9, 1864 meetings were held to discuss the possibility of Confederation. Originally the only ones who were to participate were Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. These three were hoping to have more political and economic independence from England as well as military power considering the American Civil War. Newfoundland and the Province of Canada which consisted...

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Royal and Non-Royal Similarities

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

Royal and Non-Royal Similarities

When we think about the royal family, our minds automatically include castles, riches and pageantry. What we forget about, however, is the fact that all families have things in common and, like us, the royals are not excluded from problems. Queen Elizabeth has been admired for several reasons. One is that she has been on the throne for sixty-six years and has committed to serving for her entire life. A second is that she does not air any of her relatives "dirty linen". In fact, she has never allowed a media interview and does not talk publicly about her personal...

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Easter Blessings

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

Easter Blessings

We are all standing on the threshold of one of the most recognized Christian celebrations of the year. For some people, Easter is merely a long weekend. Schools, on the other hand, usually plan a week-long break for the children. For still others Easter observance spans for several weeks with specific parts including Lent, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Pentecost. Devoted Christians view Easter as one part of a life-long faith walk. Not everyone who attends church is a Christian and many who are Christian do not attend organized religious services. Reginald Bibby, who is known for research he did...

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How to Mess Up Your Children

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

How to Mess Up Your Children

So often adults use the adage "Do as I say - not as I do" and then wonder why their children have problems while growing up and when they become adults. Your bad habits and theirs can continue on for decades and even down to the fourth and fifth generation. It is therefore important to look in the mirror, do a self-inventory and make changes before you create a monstrous situation. Here are some things to consider:1. Never make promises that you won't or can't fulfill. Often I see disappointment in youngsters who wait by the window for a parent...

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The Family Orange

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

The Family Orange

I love looking at the fresh produce at the grocery store. Often I have been enticed by large, beautiful oranges and then am disappointed to find that what I have purchased is mostly peel! You can't eat the peel but it does serve to protect the fruit that lives inside of it. Sometimes it is juicy and nutritious. Sometimes it is small or rotten. Families can be like oranges. Each of us was raised in an environment surrounded by boundaries or peels that separate us from the world. Often, the thicker the peel, the more dysfunction in the family unit....

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