‘Tis the season for parties, lights, music, presents and….book reports. Before you can enjoy the fun and celebration of the holiday season, you must work for it. This year for us, that means writing a book report. When you are 9, it’s hard to understand how important writing will be in your life. The prevalence of email throughout professional and personal lives makes it critical to learn how to express your thoughts and ideas using words on a page. For many of us, we have been doing it for so long it is second nature. It’s easy to forget how difficult it is to summarize your thoughts chronologically and concisely when you have never done it before. (Some might say they know adults who still haven’t mastered this skill. We all know at least one person who sends the rambling emails that go on forever without really making a point, but I digress.)
Like many parents, I want to jump in and edit the book report to make it sound better. This week, we tried something new. We typed out every sentence that came to mind about the book, characters, story and plot. Then I had him read the sentences out loud. By hearing the words it’s easier to see what sounds “wrong” and to self-editing, updating and improving without any help from mom. After that, we ended up with some simple, basic sentences (which of course is totally normal). As we were talking about those sentences, I said “What can we do to muscle these up? How can we make them stronger?” The idea of the sentences lifting weights to make them stronger ended up being the perfect analogy. It gave us something to laugh about as we envisioned the size of the weights a sentence would have to lift to look buff. It also provided the motivation and sense of challenge to work a little harder to write the best sentence possible. The book report was turned in yesterday. This weekend we have to finish the poster and after that we will be home free to getting into the holiday spirit.
In the spirit of book reports, I thought I would recap a couple of the books I’ve read this year. These would make great gifts, or would be great to cuddle up with and read over the holidays.
The Wisdom of Sundays: Life-Changing Insights from Super Soul Conversations, Oprah Winfrey
It’s no surprise I love this book. It is a compilation of hundreds of interviews with authors and thought-leaders on topics like forgiveness, intention, gratitude, love and connection. You can open to any page and read something that will encourage you and make you think.
How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success, Julie Lythcott-Haims
I was lucky enough to meet Julie this year at Dr. Shefali’s Evolve conference and she did not disappoint. Her book is a no nonsense wake-up call to parents to stop hovering and start empowering our kids. I’ve quoted her in the blog a couple of times: Learning is Messy and Are We Being too Safe?, but there is so much more wisdom in the pages of this book that I haven’t have a chance to share.
Present over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living, Shauna Niequist
On the outside, Shauna Niequist had it all, a successful career, a supportive husband and a wonderful family, but on the inside, she was exhausted and drained. This book is an honest account how Shauna stopped the busyness by asking for help, reevaluating what was important and rebuilding her life around what mattered most.
In addition to reading some great books, I also participated in a yearlong, online class led by Dr. Shefali Tsabary called The Year of the Awakened Heart. When I first became a parent, I often wondered why there wasn’t a class to help people figure out how to be a “good parent”? How do I know if I am doing this right? I started reading books for answers, but that only got me so far. So this year, I tried something new and took a 52-week online class with Dr. Shefali (Oprah’s Parenting Expert). The weekly class discussions, followed by the student conversations in the private Facebook group, created an environment unlike any other. We not only learned from the lectures, but we learned from each other. It has been a fantastic experience. If you are interested, Dr. Shefali has a new class for 2018 called The Year of Manifestation. In this year’s class she will have a monthly theme where she will deep dive on topics such as marriage, money and food. Full details can be found by following this link and clicking on the course for details. I have already signed up, if you have any questions, please reach out! It is going to be a great class and may be just what you are looking for to make your 2018 New Year’s Resolutions a reality.
If have questions about Dr. Shefali’s class, The Year of Manifestation, feel free reach out to me on Facebook or send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I started writing this blog because I wanted to have deeper conversations beyond "How are you?", "Busy", with other parents. Over the years I've shared personal stories, articles, authors and topics to facilitate conversations with parents about the joys and the challenges of parenting.