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February 17, 2020

Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There

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In their 28th book, the Eyres explode some of the old sayings or cliches and hackneyed old sayings that just don’t work very well for families today. In our busy world, we need to turn it around and say “Don’t Just Do Something, Sit there!” Instead of “If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing well” we need to say “If a thing is just barely worth doing, just barely do it.” We need to relax. Instead of saying “Hurry up” we need to tell ourselves, and our kids, to “slow down.” We need to be present! Instead of “Never put off till tomorrow that which you can do today” we need to “Always put off a put-off-able in favor of a now-or-never.”

It is surprising how much certain old cliches can influence our lives. They become a sub-conscious part of our paradigm and make our lives more complex and stressed. On their latest episode of Eyres on the Road, Richard and Linda talk about their book Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There and debunk 20 or so of these old sayings and replace them with the new maxims that work for individuals and families today.

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February 10, 2020

Three Steps to a Strong Family

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Have you ever wished parenting was a little simpler? Here is the Eyres’ personal story about seeking and writing about simpler parenting: After their 26th book on Teaching Children Values became a #1 New York Times Bestseller, the Eyres’ publisher, Simon and Schuster, signed them to a 5 book contract with complete freedom to write about whatever they wished. In their speaking engagements with parents around the world, Richard and Linda had been teaching the goal of creating a Family Culture that is stronger than all the other cultures that swirl around our children and suggesting three ways to create such a culture. So they decided that their next book should reflect this goal and be called Three Steps to a Strong Family.

This week on their Eyres on the Road podcast, the Eyres talk about the three things that create a strong culture–the three things that every lasting institution has: A set of rules or laws (a legal system), A way of sharing responsibility (an economy) and repeating rituals that hold people together (lasting traditions). If we want our families to be lasting institutions, we must have these same three things–A family legal system, a family economy, and a set of powerful family traditions. If parents build these three things (or three steps) thoughtfully and deliberately, and if they involve the kids in creating each of the three steps, they will maximize their family’s chance to thrive, to be strong, and to last.

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February 3, 2020

Teaching Your Children Values

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What is the single most important responsibility (and greatest hope) of most every parent? To teach their children the values that will make them responsible members of society and maximize their chance for a happy, fulfilling life. Sometimes parents simply hope that their children will pick up their values by osmosis, and that all they need to do is to set a good example for their kids. But it is the parents who deliberately set out to teach their children specific values who succeed. We need the tools of stories and games and any other method available to us to help our children understand each value and know why they need to live by them.

On their most recent podcast, Eyres on the Road, Richard and Linda tell the inside, back story of their book Teaching Your Children Values which became the first family and parenting book in 50 years to reach #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list. It is an exciting story involving Oprah, the Today Show, and two of the largest publishers in the world. More importantly, the Eyres discuss why it is so important to deliberately and systematically teach our children values, and how this can best be done by isolating one specific value each month to work on in your family.

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January 27, 2020

How a Stewardship Attitude Can Make You a Better Parent

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When we think we own things, it is the beginning of pride. Ownership is essentially a lie, because God owns all, and we are the recipients of His gifts. When our paradigm is ownership, we inevitably compare what we have with what others have, and the results are envy, coveting, condescension, and a whole host of other win-lose mentalities and emotions. A much more true paradigm, and by far a more happy one, is stewardship. We are stewards over all things God has given. Even the things we have worked hard for and inclined to think we own. An attitude of stewardship turns everything into a win-win and gives us an accurate and spiritual lens through which to view the world.

And oh how much this applies to families, and to parenting, and to marriage. Parents who imagine that they own their kids–that they are their genetic creations and belongings–become the worst kind of parents, with lots of “power” and very little respect. On the other hand, when we think of ourselves as blessed stewards over our children, we respect them and love them in ways that nurture and help them to grow. Along with serendipity (last week’s show) stewardship forms the book-end attitudes of good marriages and good parenting.

The Eyres’ 24th book–Stewardship of the Heart (28th if we count second editions)–is essentially a celebration of the attitude of stewardship and of all it can do to enhance our parenting, our marriages, our relationships, and our happiness.

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January 20, 2020

The Power of Serendipity

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We would all like to have more control over our time, our kids, our relationships, our schedules, but life happens, and so often things come up that throw us off of our plan and get in the way of our “lists.”

The Eyres’ 27th book, Serendipity of the Spirit, is about their favorite word, Serendipity, and explains that the word can become a mindset that makes us more spontaneous, more fun, and more relaxed. The original definition of Serendipity is “A state of mind wherein a person, through sensitivity and awareness, frequently finds something better than what he was seeking.” This quality can allow us to see teaching moments, to love rather than resent the surprises and interruptions of our lives, and to be more tuned-in to the relationships that matter most. In fact, the Eyres say that an attitude of serendipity may be the most important quality that a parent or marriage partner can develop.

Learn more about why and how it was written on Richard and Linda’s most recent Eyres on the Road podcast.

 
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January 6, 2020

None of Us Planned to Be a Witch!

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The Eyres’ 22nd book was a labor of love by Linda, and a bit of a risk because it is all about our failures and nothing about success.

I Didn’t Plan to Be a Witch chronicles the daily craziness of a family with young children, and Linda is remarkably candid about the messes, the frustrations and the loss of temper and “witch-hood” that it can send mothers into. Though the book offers no advice, it has helped moms across the world by letting them know that they are not alone. A typical reader comment is “Wow, Linda is having even more issues as a mom than I am–maybe there is hope for me after all.”

We all plan to be good parents, even perfect parents, who always keep our cool and always know what to do. But in reality, we are often discouraged, frustrated, and at a loss. And the problem is that we are comparing our difficult reality with the perfect-looking unreality of other families on Social Media or sitting calmly in Church while we are trying to keep our incorrigible kids quiet. On this week’s Eyres on the Road podcast, the Eyres not only showcase Linda’s book, but talk about the virtue of not comparing ourselves with other parents or other families who put their “perfect face” up on Social Media.

The Eyres have also lent their name to an effort to recognize Social Media that actually encourages parents rather than discouraging them. Take a look and even cast your vote for the social media that you think is most helpful to you as a parent.

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December 30, 2019

Deliberate Goals for Family and Parenting in 2020

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The 2020 New Year can be symbolic of the clear vision we want to have–of our families and of the relationships that mean the most to us. Our goals and resolutions for the coming year can include the specific things we want to teach our children during the 12 months ahead. Linda and Richard believe that the goal with preschoolers should be to teach them how to be happy, and to help them understand and feel different kinds of joy, from the joy of the earth to the joy of sharing.

Focusing on teaching one specific kind of joy each month is what makes this effective. The same philosophy applies to teaching elementary age kids responsibility and for teaching kids of all ages the specific values that you want them to embrace. In each case, the key is a focus on one value, or one kind of joy, or one kind of responsibility each month. To illustrate, in their podcast this week, the Eyres read a couple of stories from their 21st book–the second volume of a book of children’s stories that each teach a particular kind of joy to three and four-year-olds. And they end with a challenge to include teaching and relationship goals in our new year’s resolutions.

 
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December 23, 2019

Teaching Children Sensitivity at Christmas

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This Christmas week, parents will want to do all they can to help children feel the gift of giving along with the gift of getting. By making this a conscious goal, parents can set aside a time when all the focus is on children giving their gifts and being praised for their sensitivity and generosity. Their book Teaching Children Charity, featured here two weeks ago, is a highly religious and spiritual book.

After it was written, Balantine Books, a division of Random House, wanted a more secularized version of the book, which was titled Teaching Children Sensitivity. If a parent wants to be deliberate and focused on helping a child to be more empathetic and aware of the needs and feelings of others, there are four steps: First, help the child see and notice more, particularly in the faces of others; second, help the child to listen better and ask better questions; third, help him to express his own feelings more openly; and fourth, encourage and help her to do more or give more service to others.

 
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December 16, 2019

Twelve Children’s Stories for Teaching Children Joy

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Most parents know the value as well as the joy of reading stories to their children, but we often can’t seem to find the time. Well…Christmas is the season to find the time! And there is a wealth of fabulous Christmas stories for all ages. The beauty of Christmas storybooks is that most of them teach a principle and can expand a child’s understanding of giving, of receiving with gratitude, of helping, of caring for those in need. This week on their podcast, the Eyres read three Joy School Stories, one of which teaches the joy of giving, one the joy of loving who you are rather than wanting to be someone else, and one the joy of making good choices. The benefits of reading to children run from close physical contact to the power of listening to learning to be expressive with ones’ voice to talking together about the principles and lessons learned.

The Eyres’ 17th book is a book of children’s stories, each beautifully illustrated and each written to specifically teach one of the 12 joys from the Joy School curriculum.

 
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December 9, 2019

Teaching Children Charity

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After the success of the first two books in their “Teaching Children” series (Teaching Your Children Joy and Teaching Your Children Responsibility) the Eyres knew there had to be at least one more book in the series, this one aimed at the parents of adolescent age kids (Joy aimed at preschoolers and Responsibility at elementary age). As they asked the parents of teens what their biggest challenge was, Richard and Linda concluded that adolescent kids essentially had a problem with “windows and mirrors.” Instead of being able to see through windows and notice the feelings and needs of others, they tended to be always looking into mirrors–thinking about themselves, and wondering what others were thinking of them. This created a self-focus that undermined their happiness and shut out their parents. What parents most wanted to teach their teens was empathy–sensitivity, charity.

Since we as adults have such a hard time with charity, we sometimes assume that it is too big a principle for children to learn. But as it turns out, kids can sometimes be better at empathy and charity than we are! The Eyres analyzed the attitudes and paradigms of a wide cross-section of adolescents and structured the book around the kind of awareness and other-centeredness that would get kids outside of themselves and help them to notice more and care more about others, including their siblings and their parents. The result was the book Teaching Children Charity.

This week’s Eyres on the Road episode is dedicated to this notion of teaching children charity and they are broadcasting from Gilbert, Arizona. where they are joined by their daughter Shawni Pothier of the popular blog 71toes.com. Together they discuss how the Christmas season can be the perfect time to help children think about the concept of charity. The big question is how to mix the “getting” of Santa and stockings with the “giving” of Christ and of charity. The Eyres have some ideas, such as separating the two and totally devoting Christmas Eve to the giving of gifts to each other, with all the focus on the giver, and resigning the getting part to Christmas morning.

 
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