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November 18, 2019

Mother, Father, and the Family That Worked

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We all want our families to work! We want less frustration and more fulfillment. We want functionality rather than chaos. But how do we get these things? How do we get more efficient and effective as parents? What “Family Systems” really work? This week on their podcast (“Eyres on the Road”–get it on any Podcast App) Richard and Linda outline ten of the best practices they have discovered around the world, based on their book Mother, Father, and the Family That Worked.

The Eyres have always liked fables, allegories, and metaphors, and this little volume (written under the pseudonyms of Crunk and Moffit) is all three. In fable-like language, it tells the story of a family fraught with problems until they hit on some parenting and home-organizing ideas that change everything and made their parenting and their family begin to really “work.”

The little story covers several of the Eyres’ most popular family systems including the Family Economy, the Family Laws, Sunday Sessions, Weekly Awards, Daddy and Mommy Dates, Tutors and Tutees, etc.

The bottom line is that families can be fun as well as functional. Listen to the podcast and get the book for free:

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November 11, 2019

Free to be Free

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Freedom is defined in many ways and is best analyzed through the question “Free from what?” Scripture tells us that the truth makes us free; Brokers tell us about financial freedom; Retirement Idealists suggest a time when we will be free from responsibility. But what is real freedom? What kind of freedom should we be pursuing? Is there any such thing as freedom for parents with children in their home?

In their podcast this week, Richard and Linda discuss the gift of agency and the process through which agency can be exercised and developed so that it turns into freedom. Ever since the War in Heaven, there has been an ongoing battle between false freedom and true freedom. Freedom from responsibility and difficulties and challenges is the false freedom that Satan proposed in that premarital conflict, which opposed the agency and opportunity for growth (but also for failure) that was championed by Christ. In our lives today, and in our families, we must learn to discern between these two freedoms; we must avoid being the kind of snowplow parents or helicopter parents that remove challenge and growth and the opportunity to fail from our children’s lives. Real freedom is not free, and Richard talks about working for freedom from doubt, from guilt, and from caring too much about what others think.

What do you think freedom is, how can it affect you and your marriage and your children? How are you working to find more of it?

 
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November 4, 2019

A Joyful Mother of Children

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While Richard and Linda have co-authored most of their parenting books, they have also each written individually when the audience was exclusively men or women. For example, they each wrote books recently on Grandparenting, with Richard writing “Being a Proactive Grandfather” and Linda writing “Grandmothering” (both now available on Amazon). One of the earliest single-authored books was A Joyful Mother of Children, written by Linda and re-released in new editions over two decades.

This week in their podcast (Eyres on the Road–on any podcast app) the Eyres talk about that book and about the ups and downs, the highs and lows of motherhood. Richard essentially interviews Linda about her book A Joyful Mother of Children. There have been three bestselling editions of this classic motherhood book, the first of which was written when Linda and Richard’s children were preschoolers and elementary-schoolers, and the last edition when they were teens and college students. Linda discusses how to have perspective, how to simplify, and how to be flexible in “the most important occupation in the world.

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October 28, 2019

The Change That We Call Birth

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Some time after the Eyres wrote their book on Death (The Birth That We Call Death) their publisher suggested that they write a “bookend” book on the other end of life–on Birth. They decided to call it The Change That We Call Birth, and it was published as their fifteenth book. It is an exploration of who our children really are and where they really came from.

Most parents know (or at least sense) that there is a third variable beyond Nature and Nurture that determines who our children are. The Eyres feel that this third variable–the one that makes each of our children different from another of our children–is the fact that they existed and lived in a different sphere before they came into this world. Thinking about that can change how we think of our children.

No matter how many good parenting methods and techniques and ideas we learn, sometimes the most valuable thing we can have is perspective! If we can think of our children as our equals, as our brothers and sisters as well as our children, as offspring of the same Heavenly Father as we, it will give us a sense of stewardship and respect that will make us better parents in every regard. This week on their Eyres On The Road podcast, Richard and Linda start with that beautiful and sacred moment when we first look into the eternity-eyes of our new infant and feel, somehow, that this is an “old soul” and that what is inside is much greater and more ancient than the genetic creation of our bodies. Remembering this feeling can make us better parents. The Eyres book The Change That We Call Birth is the text for this podcast, and if you want to go deeper, the book is free on EyresFreeBooks.com.

Remember, how we think of our children can make all the difference, and the best way to change how we think of them is to remember who they really are!

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October 21, 2019

The Secret of the Sabbath

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The 12th book Richard and Linda wrote was about the principle of Sabbatical—the natural way that the seventh day or the seventh year can renew and refresh and improve our existence. Thinking of Sundays not only as a change of pace and a time to rest, but also as a time of powerful review and re-creation can make a huge difference in our lives as individuals and in our family life as parents and partners.

This week in their Eyres on the Road Podcast, the Eyres discuss how important Sundays can be in keeping families on track and in helping children learn to set goals and communicate better with siblings and parents. Thinking of the Sabbath not only as a day of rest but as a day of renewal and re-creation can give families a fresh start each week and allow parents and children to “spiritually create” the week ahead before it happens. Holding “Sunday Sessions” as a family where the schedule is reviewed concerns are communicated can draw everyone closer together.

Richard and Linda suggest several methods and ideas for making Sundays a special, anticipated day that children look forward to rather than a restrictive day that they resent. Living the Sabbath in this way can be a great simplifier and clarifier for families that make the deliberate effort to make each Sunday a positive family experience.

Of all the self-improvement ideas ever conceived, the best and most complete is the concept of the Sabbath Day.

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October 14, 2019

Teaching Children Responsibility

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After the Eyres had been on their media tour promoting Teaching Children Joy for the parents of preschoolers, their publisher asked them to consider writing a sequel for the parents of elementary-age children. It had always been Richard and Linda’s philosophy that as kids get to first or second grade, the focus has to shift to helping them begin to understand how to behave responsibly. So it was natural to call the sequel Teaching Children Responsibility.

This is a book about the universal challenge of helping children grow into responsible adults. Many studies show that the single biggest concern of parents worldwide is “Raising Responsible Kids in an Irresponsible World” and Richard and Linda tackled the subject in their eleventh book, Teaching Children Responsibility by breaking down the subject into twelve different kinds of responsibility–one each month of the year for parents to focus on. The twelve things we all want our kids to be responsible for are 1. Obedience, 2. Things, 3. Work, 4. Actions, 5. Talents, 6. Attitudes, 7. Choices, 8. Character, 9. Potential, 10. Smaller Children, 11. Dependability, and 12. Contributing.

The important thing about both of these “Teaching Children” books is that they represent a whole new approach to parenting that the Eyres call “Parenting by Objective” which involves having very clear and intentional goals concerning what you want to teach a child, and then pursuing a plan and a month-by-month approach that implements the objective and gives the child what you have predetermined he or she needs. The old saying “a great offense is the best defense” really applies here, and parents who are proactive rather than reactive have more fun!

Just as Teaching Children Joy became the basis for world-wide Joy Schools, Teaching Children Responsibility spawned Alexander’s Amazing Adventures – a brilliant series of 12 fantasy audio adventures, each of which, through drama and music and humor, teaches one of the 12 forms of responsibility. Elementary-age kids love Alexander and his adventures, which are available here on this site.

Listen to the podcast and get the book for free:

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October 7, 2019

The Awakening

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Years ago, while living with their family in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Richard Eyre, with Linda’s help, began thinking about and writing a novel that would be an adventure story and a romance, but that would also symbolize the journey we all go through in trying to learn who we really are. The story is set in Jackson Hole and Yellowstone Park, but also in Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, England.

In their podcast this week (Eyres on the Road–available on all podcast apps) the Eyres talk about how essential it is to give our children a strong identity as part of a lasting family. Studies show that kids who know “where they came from” in terms of their ancestors and their stories are more resilient and secure than kids who don’t. Richard and Linda focus in on the tenth book they ever wrote, a novel called The Awakening, which is about an amnesiac and his search for who he is. The book is written as an adventure and a romance, but on a symbolic level it is about the search for identity that we all go through and how we can discover what is most important and make what matters the core of who we are.

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September 30, 2019

Simplified Husbandship, Simplified Fathership

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We really believe that the role of “Father” has taken on a new pro-activity in the current generation of dads. We see more dads becoming full and equal partners with their wives in the raising of children–changing diapers, driving carpools, telling bedtime stories, and giving the tender, nurturing kind of care that used to be thought of as the preview of moms.

We like to tell the story of a friend of ours whose daughter asked her one day “Mom, how hard is it to be a mom?” She said the question caught her off guard and while she was trying to think of how to answer it, the daughter went on to say “Mom, sometimes is it just so hare that you wish you were a dad?”

Funny as that story is, the fact is that today’s dads are more and more involved in the “hard” part of raising children and being equal partners in the home.

Years ago Richard Eyre (with a lot of help from Linda) wrote a book advocating this greater involvement from husbands, and suggested that men take a more proactive approach both to parenthood and to marriage.

In their podcast this week the Eyres expand and expound on the principles of this book which is directed at fathers and husbands and which attempts to give men four key concepts or words that can be programmed into their minds to form their attitudes and approaches as husbands (“Partner” “Protect” “Patriarch” and “Priority”); and four other principles or word-pegs that can form their approaches to fathering (“Confidence” “Calmness” “Consultant” and “Concentrate”) Each of these eight words is fleshed in with stories and illustrations of how they can make us into the type of dads and husbands we want to be. At the beginning of the show, the Eyres pay tribute to the dads and husbands of today and how much more involved and committed they are than those of previous generations.

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September 23, 2019

Lifeplanning

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Can we write our diaries in advance? Can we set goals and make plans so precisely and powerfully that we are actually creating the future? Are statements like this true: “Whatever the mind of man can conceive, and believe, it can achieve,” “Beware of what you want, for you will get it,” “You can achieve anything if you plan your work and then work your plan.”?

This week the Eyres discuss their seventh book, called Lifeplanning (co-authored with Paul H. Dunn), and candidly admit that they are not happy with everything they wrote in that book. They worry that it suggests that we have more control of our lives than we really do, and wish that they had written more about how important it is to be flexible and to adjust our goals and plans as unexpected opportunities or problems enter our lives. But the core idea of goal-setting and planning is sound, and we need to have “relationship goals” for our marriages and our parenting as well as “achievement goals” for our work and careers. How well we set these goals, how frequently we review and adjust them, how prayerful and guided we are, and how diligently we work on them can determine our happiness as well as our destiny.

Since it’s writing, Richard and Linda have made significant adjustments in their personal approach to life, and now believe that goals and plans can be powerful tools, and can help us examine our lives and seek our destinies, but that it is extremely important to balance relationship goals with achievement goals and that an attitude of serendipity (watch and pray) must accompany our attitudes of stewardship (work and plan). These added ideas are reflected in a subsequent book called LifeBalance which will be briefly reviewed here in coming weeks.

For a more thorough review of the “good parts” of Lifeplanning:

 
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September 9, 2019

Teaching Children Joy

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Today’s featured “Eyre Book” will come as no surprise to visitors to this website, because it is the book that started it all–that became the basis of Joy School, and that caused the Eyres to shift from their management and music careers and become full-time writers and speakers.

A preschooler’s absorbent mind can learn just about anything, so the question is, what to teach them. Many parents opt for early academics, but studies show that this may make them bored when they start school and that other kids will catch up by age 7 or 8. A better option is to let kids have a real childhood, free from the school pressure that will come soon enough. The thing to focus on with preschoolers is the emotional and social skills or “Joys” that will make them happy people.

The Eyre’s eighth book, Teaching Children Joy, came about in resistance to all of the pushy, early-academics preschools that they encountered while living in suburban Washington DC. In the book they break Joy down into 12 separate “Joys,” three that are physical, like the Joy of the Body and the Joy of the Earth, three that are mental like the Joy of Imagination and Creativity and the Joy of Order and Goal-Striving, three that are emotional like the Joy of Family Identity, and the Joy of Individual Confidence and Uniqueness, and three that are social, like the joy of Communication and Relationships and the Joy of Sharing and Service.

The book became a best-seller, was translated into a dozen languages, and spawned Joy Schools, a do-it-yourself preschool that has now been practiced by more than 200,000 families.

Hear the Eyres tell the personal story of how the book came about and get the whole book for free online:

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