The words we speak are powerful. They can uplift and encourage. They can demean and destroy. Yet, in the midst of a busy work-life it’s easy to overlook the power of words, even for the most well-intentioned working mom. That’s why I was excited to receive a copy of Maureen Healy’s new book, 365 Perfect Things to Say to Your Kids.
I had an opportunity to interview Maureen recently about her perspective, her book and her work with parents and children. I hope you’ll enjoy the conversation and use her book as a resource as you speak powerfully into the lives of your children.
A conversation with Maureen Healy
Michele: What do you see as some of the major challenges facing working moms trying to manage their career role alongside their parenting role?
Maureen: Some of the major challenges are lack of time, lack of assistance and lack of understanding the complexity of their lives as working mothers.
365 Perfect Things to Say to Your Kids was created to solve one of these major challenges – lack of time. It has a year full of easy-to-use sayings that any busy mom can use on the way to dropping their child off at school each day. Such sayings were specially crafted to help mothers feel more positive, purposeful and playful in their busy lives nurturing children.
I will also say that I admire working mothers today – whether it is their choice or necessity to work. I believe it sets a positive example for children (boys and girls) to see their mothers not only raising them but contributing their unique talents to the world. Kudos to each of you.
Michele: Thanks Maureen! Now, circumstances are difficult for many working families today, as they face job lay-offs and other unforeseen life challenges. When it comes to parenting, what is a common mistake parents make in the face of these challenges?
Maureen: Too often, in my opinion, parents look at “what is” over and over again. It creates a sort of depressed mindset that pervades their life. And I deeply believe in using challenges and obstacles (i.e. layoffs, financial crisis, loss, suffering) as a stepping stone towards happiness. You see children are always watching and listening. They are looking to figure out this “life thing” and how to handle challenges, obstacles and disappointment.
Parents can teach children by the clarity of their example. As more and more parents focus upon the positive aspects of any situation, begin recognizing more fully their potential and make the necessary efforts to foster change – they will be teaching their children that they can effectively face whatever situation is presented to them in life. This is a huge lesson. It is the development of resilience in children. Growing children that feel confident about their abilities to persevere will be a gift beyond words. This much I know is true.
And I am not in any way saying this is easy. I recognize this can be a painstaking process. My own life led me to Tibetan Buddhism as a path to learn how to utilize troubles on a path towards happiness.
Michele: The theme of your book is “the power of words.” From a child’s perspective, how are our words used to fortify (or unknowingly destruct)?
Maureen: Every child creates his or her world through our words. Children begin shaping their sense of self and others through the words spoken to them. It is for this reason that positive words have the potential to have a lasting and positive impact on children while hurtful words can be damaging.
Such a statement is not intended to scare parents. Parents needn’t be perfect. But as more and more parents harness the power of words they can more consciously raise happier kids.
Put into more psychological terms the words of a parent play a key role in a child formulating a positive self-concept nurturing such qualities as optimism, confidence, courage, connection and self-trust.
Michele: As I read your book, I noticed how the sayings resonated with me personally; for example, “You are here to do what ONLY YOU can do.” Are you finding that parents are enjoying the sayings as much as children?
Maureen: Great question. I have received an overwhelming response from parents that they have deeply enjoyed the sayings themselves. It is these types of sayings that they so deeply yearned for as a child.
Michele: What influences did you drawn upon to develop the sayings in the book?
Maureen: Sayings in this book were crafted from things in my life that inspired me. Such things may include friends, nature, conversations, teachings, books, films and child clients. I was also deeply influenced by my Tibetan Buddhist background to help craft sayings that educate children about emotional awareness and formulating a skillful worldview (one that helps self and others). Plus I believe that I was influenced by leading thinkers from varying backgrounds so it encouraged me to create sayings with a universal appeal (non-denominational).
*originally published on January 18, 2010 on The Integrated Mother. Republished here with her permission.
More about Michele Dortch: Michele Dortch is a professional copywriter, adjunct professor and mother of three. Her ears perk up at the mention of work-life effectiveness, I/O psychology, running, or technology & business trends.
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