Podcast 012: How to Handle Parenting Challenges with Early Childhood Educator Mariana Sanford Maynard

Today’s guest is an early intervention therapist by trade, and has such an interesting perspective on life that I just know you are going to love our conversation! Mariana Sanford Maynard has a background in equine massage, is bilingual, raised for part of her life in Brazil (even though she has no accent), and the divorced mom of two kids. Her gentle, loving demeanor permeates our whole conversation, and I felt like I had the knowledge to be a better parent after we were done talking.

Listen for:

  • similarities between horses and children – you’ll be surprised
  • thinking about the system in which our kids live, and how understanding that system can help us be better parents for them
  • how to keep the idea of “family” alive, even after a divorce

If you take just one thing away from our conversation today, I hope it is this: there is real value in apologizing to our kids when we mess up. It helps them know that we are human, we make mistakes, and when we do we atone for them.

I know you’re going to get so much out of this episode, please drop me a line – Karen@weturnedoutokay.com – and let me know what really resonated with you!

We’re Going to (Virtual) Summer Camp!

My brothers and I, toys to attack with water :-)
My brothers and I, toys to attack with water 🙂

We Turned Out Okay is spending the month of July and August on vacation – and we’re taking you with us! Each blog post, every podcast during the next two months will be spent sharing great memories, making great memories, and soaking up the sun. We are talking with some amazing guests and hoping to hear your stories too – share here at the website (in the comments below or at weturnedoutokay.com/contact), friend me on Facebook (Karen Lock Kolp), or share with me on twitter @StoneAgeTechie or #Oldschoolsummervaca

Cheers to a great summer!

Podcast 011: How to Help Your Young Kids Love Reading

Are you concerned about your fledgling reader losing ground this summer? Then you need my guide, Six Ways to Help Your Kids Love Reading! Click the button below to enjoy summer AND foster a love of reading in your home.

(Please note, in Episode 11 I said the button would say “Help My Readers!” but that sounded a little silly, so I changed the text.)
Click Here to Help Your Young Reader

We are headed into summer as I record today, a classic time for parents to worry about kids’ academic work slipping. Is this a thing that you worry about? If so, you are going to love today’s’s show – all about six steps to creating young, happy readers!
No matter when you listen, whether in the middle of an extended summer vacation or in deepest winter, you will love it, because here is where I share my six steps to having happy readers.

Listen for:
How to bond with your kids over books, no matter how young or old the kids are, no matter how simple or complex the books are
Strategies to stop the scourge of trying to be perfect; one of my favorite quotes is from Henry Winkler, a.k.a. the Fonz from Happy Days: “perfectionism is destructive… Beating the sh*t out of yourself is a killer”
Why reading aloud is the single most important thing you can do with your children

We cover an awful lot today, so I knew you were going to want to write all this down – that’s why I created a guide, Six Ways to Help Your Kids Love Reading, which you can get just by going to weturnedoutokay.com and clicking the button! As a bonus, I’ve got a resource section of awesome books included with the guide… Between these six steps and the resource section of awesome books, you will soon have some really happy readers in your home.

Bonus Episode: My Father, My Hero

Dad, my brothers, and me – on a camping trip in our beloved bunkhouse trailer.
Dad, my brothers, and me – on a camping trip in our beloved bunkhouse trailer.

Today I share a great conversation that I had recently with my Dad. After climbing his way out of a working class neighborhood in Montréal, Canada, Dad became a very well-educated, high-powered executive at a large insurance company.

But as his daughter, I knew about that part of his life only peripherally. To me, Dad was and still is a great example of how to achieve your dreams, and especially how to live your life: Dad has an unshakable moral compass and an amazing capacity to reduce the most complex problems down to their simplest form.

  • Along with my Mom, whom we hear from in the Mother’s Day 2015 Bonus Episode, Dad has spent the last 17 years (after retiring from the insurance company as Vice President of Customer Service) in Breckenridge, Colorado. Out there, he became a contractor to remodel their home, was a Breckenridge ski instructor for 15 years and continues to teach his grandchildren how to ski.
  • Together, they’ve traveled extensively, circling the globe in a six-month trip in 2010 and spending six months of 2014 traveling through Europe – they were using AirBnB before I knew what it was!
  • Mom and Dad have spent much of the last two years RVing around the US and Canada together; they hike, grill out, make friends on the road – even make and preserve jam in their camper! – always keeping in touch and illustrating the kind of fun you can have in life.

Our conversation today ranges from work, to parenthood, and into grand parenthood. I know you’ll love it because, no matter where you are on the parenting timeline, or if you’re a mom or a dad, you’ll hear a great example of how to live your life. Click preview

A Book You’ll Love

Author Mark Brown and illustrator Amy Brown's new book!
Author Mark Brown and illustrator Amy Brown’s new book!

Gratitude has been a huge part of my recovery from my mystery tendon illness. Listeners to the podcast, especially episode 000, will know that for nearly 4 years I’ve kind of randomly had limbs that just stop working; I spent some of 2011 and 2012 needing a wheelchair when I left the house, stopped being able to use my elbows in 2013, and then devastatingly lost almost all the use of my hands in 2014.

But it turns out that it wasn’t really random, that I’ve had trouble with tendons where the muscles around them are weak. Tendons, for those of you who’ve never had to think of them, are what hold our muscles to our bones. Unhappy tendons scream with pain, as anyone who’s ever had tennis elbow knows. Also, unhappy tendons take a really long time to heal, sometimes years. That is certainly been the case with my tendons!

So what you do when you lose the ability to shave your legs standing up, or walk, or twirl your spaghetti?

You learn.

You learn patience, teamwork, that you are valuable for more than what you are physically capable of.

You learn gratitude.

Of course, we do not want our children – we don’t even want our worst enemies – to learn lessons this way! It really sucked.

So then the question becomes, how do we teach gratitude?

Well, here is what the husband and wife team of Mark Brown and Amy Brown did: they wrote a book about a pig. And not just any pig; this guy has a lot to teach about patience and gratitude, and being in the moment… My 10-year-old called the book “awesome” and especially loved the pictures. I love those, and the sweet poetry that accompanies them.

Additionally, Mark and Amy have partnered with a charity called Know. Think. Act., And through this charity every copy of Zen Pig sold provides 10 people with clean water for a whole year.… So in purchasing this book, not only are you helping teach these principles that, as parents, we really care about. You are helping people in need of clean water get it.

As the pig says: “care for each other/as much as yourself.” I’d love to hear your stories of how you are teaching your children this! Leave a note in the comments, or email me at Karen@weturnedoutokay.com. And then, go hug your little ones and be grateful together 🙂

010: How to Choose a Dance Studio for Your Young Child with Suzanne Lock, Dance Instructor

Do you have a young child, especially a daughter, who desperately wants to dance – but is totally uncoordinated, or whose body doesn’t look like a dancer’s? If so, then you probably know already how cutthroat the world of dance studios can be.

Today’s guest teaches dance in a unique studio, one where the focus is on dance as a fun way of expressing yourself, and where it doesn’t matter what you look like for if you’re a good dancer or not.

In addition to spending her days with tutu-clad young girls, my guest is Mom to very active tween-and teenage boys… As a result, evenings and weekends are all about cheering them on at sports, supporting them in their academic work, and enjoying a great relationship with her husband Rob (a guy who happens to be my brother 🙂

Listen for:

  • some really great tips for choosing a dance studio; how to know you’ve got the right one, when to keep looking
  • Sue’s take on raising children with special needs, and how important it is to work closely with their other parent – you both need to be on the same page to give kids with extra challenges the support they need
  • how to truly enjoy life, even when it’s super busy or throwing challenges at you; for Sue, teaching dance has helped her care for herself, so she can be a more supportive Mom and spouse

If you take just one thing away from this episode, I hope it is this: knowing yourself and what you need to enjoy life makes everything better. And not just for you – but for your loved ones and the people you care for. My awesome sister-in-law is really hitting her stride with this, and as you listen you can hear the enthusiasm and love in her voice… She is a great example to follow, and I know you’re going to love this episode!

What’s Really Important In Your Life?

I want you to drop everything and go watch the following YouTube video, which is kind of long but really worth it:

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch.

Go ahead, I’ll wait for you.

Back? Great.

I blogged about The Last Lecture in my homeschool blog, The Stone Age Techie, years ago – before I had my run-in with mystery tendon problems.

Then, as now, I felt that Mr. Pausch was the universe telling me to really think about the most important aspects of life. I love his concept of building a safety net, and really thought about my blog as part of that safety net, because, when my boys are all growns up, they’ll be able to look back on that blog and realize how very much I loved them and strived (strove? well, anyway, worked really hard) to support them as they grew.

But now, having been through these years with the mystery tendon problems, I recognize something else in Mr. Pausch’s lecture: a sense of gratitude. He is so vibrant and full of life that idea of gratitude is communicated through everything he does, there is just the sense of a real zest for life, even as he is dying. It’s clear that he is thankful for every moment he’s had and will have, that he’s grateful to have had the chance to fulfill his dreams, and especially that he’s grateful for the chance to help other people fulfill their own dreams.

I feel like that is the essence of gratitude: it’s not just about me, it’s about what I can do for others.

So that’s this week’s homework, friends and folks: answer one of these two questions.

1) What are you grateful for? What has someone done for you, or given to you, that you feel a true sense of gratitude about?

2) How are you helping others achieve their dreams? And, who are you helping achieve their dreams?

Tell me about it here at the website (in the comments below or at weturnedoutokay.com/contact), by friending me on Facebook (Karen Lock Kolp), or sharing on twitter, where I’m @StoneAgeTechie… Who knows but that we can help each other achieve our dreams? The universe is a funny place.

009: 3 Lessons My Kids Have Taught Me

Do you ever find yourself so stuck in the daily grind that you forget what’s really important in this life? Then you are going to love today’s show, all about the three most important lessons my kids have taught me. Usually, we think of this in the other direction – we are the teachers, they are the learners.

But here are three key lessons my boys have taught me:

1) Humility – how my then eight-year-old taught me to look at a homeless guy, and see a real person

2) Adaptability – how my then five-year-old aced a grueling surgery and months-long recovery

3) Experience Wonder – how my youngest’s mind-blowing questions reminded me that wonder is everywhere, and we need to revel in it

If you take just one thing away from this episode, I hope it is this: we parents are not the only people in our families with valuable lessons to teach.

What have your kids taught you? Please share by going to weturnedoutokay.com/contact, or find me on twitter@StoneAgeTechie.

Thanks so much for listening, and I can’t wait to hear from you!

How the 5 C’s of Leadership Will Help You Be a Better Parent

As a Mom or Dad, do you think of yourself as a leader? I never did. I thought of the president as a leader, or the heads of corporations as leaders, somebody with CEO, COO, CIO attached to their name, but surely not me!

That was before I heard the podcast Labrador Leadership with Dr. Bob Nolley. Prior to starting the podcast, Dr. Bob spent years as a leader in the corporate world, and then moved on to teach about leadership in a university setting, always with a view toward helping the people around him get what they want out of life. With specialization in subjects such as negotiation and conflict resolution, or emotional intelligence, listening in as Bob speaks with his millennial cohost (some of my favorite shows, thanks Alex Mossa!) or interviewing entrepreneurs and leaders in diverse fields, Labrador Leadership has become a favorite show with insight into how to make family life better.

One such leader, Rich Rierson from episode 5 of Dr. Bob’s podcast, spoke about the idea of the 4C’s:

  • Calm – so you can think clearly and keep from saying things you’ll regret
  • Confident – so the people around you know you can help them
  • Courageous – speaking up for what you believe in
  • Consistent – so you become known as trustworthy

In episode 5, the conversation is mostly centered around the 4C’s as you might hear about them in a corporate setting. But I kept thinking about how thoroughly they apply to family life!

One recent example (of probably a zillion) from my own life involves a week in which each boy attempted to lie to me. They don’t often lie, and thankfully they’re not very good at it, but for whatever reason this week each tried to look into my eyes and pull the wool over them.

I found out about the second one at 9 o’clock at night on a Sunday, after a weekend in which I’d been away with my dear friends – the ones from episode 000, go back and take a listen because they’re awesome – and got about eight hours’ sleep total the entire weekend… All I wanted to do was take a cup of tea into my bedroom and read for the three minutes until I fell asleep. But instead I found myself thinking about the 4C’s because:

I got up the courage to go to my guy and calmly discuss the lie with him. I confidently explained that I knew about it, and consistently gave him the message while we talked that he’s a good boy, and that while I’m disappointed in his actions I know that he will learn from his mistake and be honest from here on out.

No yelling, no drama, no sarcasm, no “how could you be such a bad boy?” Of course, all of these things went through my head – but I was able to recognize them as either counterproductive or, in the case of that last question, completely untrue. My boy was very upset and disappointed in himself, but I think he was relieved at not having to lie anymore, and especially he was relieved because even though I knew the worst of him, the message he got from me was that I love him so much and that he is a worthy person.

We all make mistakes, and we all deserve the chance to learn from them and be supported by the people we love.

Which brings me to a fifth C: Community.

Our little family of four is a community, and in our way each of the rest of us supported my boy that night: one of the toughest parts for our son was when he had to tell his Dad what he had done, and to have a calm response – to have his beloved Dad tell him “thank you for telling me this, it was brave of you” meant so much to him. You could see him visibly relax!

His big brother played a part as well, in allowing me to share with his little brother about the lie that he told earlier in the week, and what happened about that. Little brother, it turns out, has been feeling jealous of big brother, views him as perfect in every way and could not believe that big brother would ever have told a lie.

And when I told little brother about the time I took money from my mom’s wallet when I was about his age, told him about the note of apology that I wrote and signed Stupid Karen, he sat up a little straighter. When I told him about his Uncle Rob’s theft of a candy bar at age 3, and about how our Mom made him bring the wrapper and money back to the store, apologize and pay the manager – he couldn’t believe it. All these people in his life, he sees as perfect and honest, all these people have made mistakes? You could see him thinking, “if they’ve all done it and learned from it and turned out okay, maybe there is hope for me.”

There is definitely a place in leadership for the fifth C of Community.

Thanks Dr. Bob for helping me use the 5 C’s of leadership!

What about you, dear reader? Do the 5C’s come into your life at all? Have you ever caught your kid in a major lie, or committed one yourself? Please share! Leave a note in the comments, or email me at Karen@weturnedoutokay.com, and thanks for sharing 🙂

008: Parents ARE Leaders: Talking With Dr. Bob Nolley of The Labrador Leadership Podcast

Do you think of yourself as a leader? Maybe not, but as parents, the decisions we make every day – resolving conflicts, allocating money, making decisions that involve our kids – call us out as leaders whether we think of it that way or not.

I used to think of leaders only in a public or corporate sense; the president’s a leader. Heads of corporations are leaders, but certainly not me! Dr. Bob Nolley’s Labrador Leadership Podcast completely changed my views on leadership when I first heard him in January 2015, helping me realize that to lead has much more to do with our hearts than the size of the group we lead.

Listen for:

  • the Big Rocks exercise (Dr. Stephen Covey’s idea) to help you figure out what’s most important to you
  • how to make a list that will help you relax while also getting done what needs to be done
  • two examples of leaders in unusual places: one runs a quick-oil-change shop in Richmond, Virginia, and the other is Dr. Bob’s cohost on Labrador Leadership
  • conflict resolution and the art of apologizing

if you take only one thing away from today’s episode, I hope it is this: you are a leader! Thinking of yourself that way will help you both support the people in your life you care about most, and enjoy the life that you share with those people more.