006: How Do We Learn What We Need To Know?

Today’s guest Daniel Wolff has, among many other things, produced a documentary about Hurricane Katrina, been nominated for a Grammy in 2003, and written 10 books on all different subjects including the one that we spend most of our time discussing today, How Lincoln Learned To Read. Written in 2009, this book is a go-to for me whenever I need to make big decisions about about the boys’ upbringing; because Mr. Wolff tells the stories of the childhoods of many prominent Americans throughout history, I learn something different from each one. Plus, a great read that’s fun, interesting, historical – and makes me feel a little smarter each time I pull it off the shelf.

During today’s’s show, listen for:

  • the importance of fun in education; all these years later, we may think of Ben Franklin as old and stodgy, but almost right from the moment he could read, Franklin was quite the mischief maker
  • how author and scientist Rachel Carson’s girlhood, during which she stayed home often from school to play and walk in the woods, helped her grow up into the advocate for national environmental change she became
  • a great piece of parenting advice – my guest shares that decisions became much easier for him when he to “think like a grandparent”

Key Links:

Daniel Wolff’s author page at Four Way Books; here is his new book, The Names of Birds

How Lincoln Learned To Read, a great read that has helped me be a better parent

Amazing poet-four-children-of-all-ages Shel Silverstein

If you take just one thing away from today’s show, I hope it is this: we parents must play a crucial role in helping our children understand about fighting hard for what they want to become; there will always be someone around to knock an idea down, or discourage our kids… for them to truly succeed in life, we must be their true support.

004: Bonus Episode – My Mother, My Hero

Picture - My Mom, my brother Rob, and me
My Mom, my brother Rob, and me – I’m the one in the middle with the sweet she-mullet.

Imagine parenting before the era of Google and social media, before there was 24/7 support – or at least entertainment in the form of middle-of-the-night lurking. Books are great, but difficult to hold while comforting a colicky baby at 3 AM. Now, imagine leaving your beloved home city of Montréal, Canada and relocating to a quiet suburb with nothing but houses in every direction. During the day, your husband takes the family car into work, so now you have a three-year-old and a three-month-old, no wheels, and a super expensive long-distance phone bill. A totally different world, right? My mother, Diane Lock, found herself in that situation (I was the three-year-old :-), jumped in with both feet – and thrived.

From that shaky start, my Mom went on not only to raise, along with my Dad, three children who turned out pretty well, in my completely unbiased opinion. She also has written books, started and run a catering service, and sung a solo for Pope John Paul II (we don’t talk about this at all in this episode, but it is still pretty cool.)

Listen for:

  • The Stuffed Zucchini Theory of Parenting – how to recognize it, and how to alleviate it
  • An unconventional book-writing method
  • Successful parenting amid pretty major culture shock

This bonus episode is my chance to speak with a truly remarkable woman, my Mom. If you take just one thing away in listening today, let it be this: when our children are small, it is easy to forget that we are so much more than the arms that comfort them and clean up after them, the legs that walk them around in an endless, bouncing dance when they cry. In those times, let my mother be an example to you of how much more you are than mere arms and legs in service to your child. Remember the little grey cells between your ears – and smile.

003: Michael O’Neal of The Solopreneur Hour Talks About Confronting Fears and Goal-Setting

When Michael O’Neal was growing up, his teachers repeatedly said that he: a) didn’t live up to his potential, and b) talked too much. In our lively conversation today, these two ideas come up again and again, because Michael is doing much more than merely “living up to his potential,” using his propensity to talk too much by helping people like me every day and making a great living at it too.

Listen for:

  • great stories all throughout the episode, including the one about Michael hitchhiking at nine years old, and the time he rode a bike down a mountainside
  • the similarities of raising kids and raising dogs
  • confronting and transcending our fears
  • why setting goals for ourselves is so important, and how to do it right

If you take only one thing away from this episode, let it be this: anxiety and enjoyment are two sides of the same coin. The more anxious you are, the less you are able to enjoy your life, and vice versa; this is especially important because anxious parents – as I was – pass on anxiety to their kids. We need to learn to limit our anxiety to heighten everybody’s enjoyment.

002: Foster True Grit

Have you ever taken a look at your young child and wondered, how is this kid going to get along in the real world? The expectations we place on our kids, starting from when they are born, influence them all through their lives. In this episode, I take you into the future, linking what you do right now with your future child.

Listen for:

  • tips on figuring out what motivates a child to work hard at something – or give up
  • how to tell if the motivation is intrinsic, coming from within your child, or extrinsic, an expectation placed on that child by somebody else; which situation will your child work harder in?
  • me, dissing my Dad! (Sorry Dad…) I think my father assumed that I needed extrinsic motivation at all times, or maybe he was more concerned with his own expectations for me… But he has really reformed, and as a grandparent he’s really crushing this, giving incredible love and support to his grandson and helping them achieve their dreams, and I can’t wait to have him on the show to talk about this

If you take one idea away from this episode, I hope it is this: from the very start, we parents have huge power over our children in the form of expectations… And we need to use that power for good.

001: Michelle Sharpe on Starting Her Charity, diapercircle.org

 

If you (like me) have never had to worry about where your child’s next diaper, of all things, is going to come from, I think you will be surprised to know how many people face this problem every day. Michelle Sharpe, a music and early childhood intervention therapist with a background in opera, is doing something about this need, through her charity diapercircle.org. Our conversation ranges from how Michelle got into the charity biz in the first place to practical stuff every parent needs to know. Take a listen, you’ll be glad you did!

Key Links:

 diapercircle.org

cradlestocrayons.org

000: Life Lessons From The Unplanned Adventures of Five Best Friends

What curveballs has life thrown you?

In this episode, the traditional Episode 000: All About The Podcaster gets turned sideways, as I sit down with the four people outside my birth family who have known me the longest and best. We share a lot of wine and Sortilege (delicious Canadian maple whiskey) many laughs, and our unplanned adventures.

  • Debbie tells about being in a house fire, how the random conversation she had a week previously with a firefighter – and the good catch her now-husband made that night – helped her survive
  • Bridgitte shares about the challenges she has faced and lessons she’s learned in dealing with fibromyalgia, a very real condition that Bridgitte’s doctors sometimes doubted
  • Dede talks about the key role she played in the final years of her father’s life, and the sorrows – and joys – she experienced during that tumultuous time
  • Shannon describes breaking from tradition to homeschool her three children, talking about their journey in the seven years since as “a true adventure”
  • I discuss the mysterious illness I’ve been living with for 3 1/2 years, tendinosis (chronic tendinitis, or inflammation of the tendons), and share about the scary lows and unpredicted highs I’ve experienced while living with this condition

This episode might be my favorite, because in it, five real women talk about the setbacks that have come into our lives, and the good that has come out of those setbacks. Unplanned adventures happen for every one of us, and I’m including you, listener, in that. Our discussion highlights the true power of looking at a setback not as a dealbreaker, but instead as a learning experience. I hope you enjoy listening to it just as much as we enjoyed creating it!