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May 4, 2020

Empty Nest Parenting

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As we all live through the transition of this pandemic, let’s think for a minute about another kind of transition that all families have or will go through.

Both parents and children undergo a profound transition when children leave the home. As a child heads out for college or for a mission or for a job, he or she is still part of the family, but no longer a part of the household. How that transition is made, and how much thought goes into it will have a lasting effect on family relationships and on how close and committed the family is for decades to come.

In their Eyres on the Road podcast this week, the Eyres talk about how parenting changes but does not diminish in importance as kids leave home. Having a plan for that transition–deliberately thinking through how you will communicate and finding the balance between independence and interdependence can make your relationship grow stronger rather than weakening when you no longer live together. Richard and Linda review dozens of questions that parents ask about the empty nest phase, and then they share the Eyre family’s “Constitution” that they put together with their leaving-the-nest kids in which they came to some agreements for their ongoing social, emotional, financial, and spiritual relationships for the future.

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April 27, 2020

11 Elements of All Happy Families

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On the first page of Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy says “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” The Eyres’ interpretation of that statement is that there are certain elements that are present in all mostly-happy and functional families, and even though every family is unique, all families that seem to work and to last somehow manage to develop each of these critical elements: commitment, communication, purpose, priorities, rules, responsibility, traditions, heritage and roots, and the teaching of values and correct principles.

Some years ago, in their book The Happy Family, Richard and Linda discussed these common elements at length. On their latest Eyres on the Road podcast, they challenge listeners to “Use this Pandemic-given extra time at home with kids as an intermission in which we evaluate our families and decide what we will do better and differently during the upcoming second act of our lives.”

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April 20, 2020

Perspective

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In this time of crisis, uncertainty, and pandemic, The Eyres suggest that one of the things that helps most is to take the long view of things! Yes, this is awful on many levels, but along with the silver linings we have mentioned on past shows, there is an opportunity to pull back and try to see the bigger picture. On their latest podcast, Quoting Shakespeare and Wordsworth, Richard and Linda point out that “sweet are the uses of adversity” and that “our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting.” Seeing things bigger always makes what is happening at the moment seem smaller. Many people of faith believe not only in an eternal afterlife, but in an equally eternal pre-mortal life. On this week’s show, the Eyres talk about this “forever backward” and how it can help us to put the here and now in perspective.

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April 6, 2020

How to Talk to Your Child about Sex

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During this time of isolation and quarantine, while many of us have more time with our children than ever before (which can sometimes seem like a blessing and sometimes like a curse) the Eyres have a challenge for us: Use a little of this “extra time” to have some very important and special individual talks with our children about sex and intimacy.

On their most recent Podcast, (Eyres on the Road–on all Podcast apps) Richard and Linda give us an actual, proven dialogue that has been used by tens of thousands of parents to give their children a positive yet protective view of sex. They suggest several preliminary discussions leading up to “the big talk” which ideally happens when a child turns eight (but with variations for use when kids are a bit older). Parents who have “the talk” will find that it opens a level of trust between them and their children that make all subjects easier and that opens up a higher form of parent-child communication.

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March 30, 2020

An Emotional First Aid Kit for Mothers

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As the pandemic continues, we hope and pray not only for a cure for the virus, but for some “emotional first aid” within our own families. We are truly in a “new normal” as parents with our kids, and we don’t know how long it will last. On this week’s Eyres on the Road podcast, Linda and Richard talk about some simple applications of “emotional first aid” that can help us and our children to not only get through this crisis, but to build some strong family systems that will be valuable even when this pandemic is over. Interestingly, Linda wrote a book called An Emotional First Aid Kit for Mothers.

And we must remember that we need to take care of ourselves as well as our children. Find a way to get out and exercise and clear your head. Find time to meditate and to pray. Find time to comfort and reassure your children. Use technology to stay close to those you love and need emotional nourishment from even though you can’t be with them. You can do this! You are stronger than you know.

 
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March 23, 2020

Spiritual Stewardship: An Alternative to the Error of Ownership

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At this time of isolation, quarantine, and new normal, most of us are more acutely aware of the things that matter most. There are some things that cannot be delegated, that rest only with us, and that are the most important and valuable part of our lives. A good name for these few and special things is “Stewardships.” The most important of these, of course, are our marriages, our children, and all of our family relationships.

Seven years after the publication of Stewardship of the Heart, the Eyres wanted to do a second edition that both expands the definition and application of an attitude of stewardship over ownership and that makes the concept available to all, whether “religious” or not. They called the new book Spiritual Stewardship and as the title suggests, it takes a spiritual but not denominationally religious tone. When Ownership is the trunk of our lives, the limbs that grow are pride, envy, covetousness, condescension, and greed. When we change our trunks to Stewardship, the limbs are replaced by humility, sensitivity, extra-centeredness, spirituality, and a win-win attitude. Learn how to apply a Stewardship attitude to everything, from parenting to career.

Definitions:

Ownership: The mistaken notion that things belong to us.
Stewardship: The more accurate attitude that things pass through our hands, that we are caretakers or stewards over them for a time.

Spiritual Stewardship: The pure, powerful perception that everything belongs to God, that true joy comes in magnifying and serving with what He gives us.

In “normal life” there is often a disconnect between what we know is most important and where we spend our time and mental energy. We all know family is our top priority, but it often gets less attention and effort than our jobs and our other interests. This pandemic, with everything canceled and with kids out of school, may actually help us better align what matters most and where we spend our effort and our energy. This all ties in with the powerful concept of Stewardship and of acknowledging that we own nothing and God owns everything–thus we need to be better stewards over the most important stewardship of all–our marriages and our families. On this week’s episode of their Eyres on the Road podcast, Richard and Linda outline what a Stewardship attitude looks like and how it can help us get through this pandemic and actually improve our priorities and our stewardship responsibilities over the long term.

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March 9, 2020

Families, Religion, and Spirituality

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The Eyres frequently speak of the need for divine help in the difficult and complex challenges of marriage, parenting, and family, and they are often asked about their personal faith. In this week’s Eyres on the Road podcast, Richard and Linda tell the story of their long friendship with Rhodes Boyson, the British member of Parliament who was Margaret Thatcher’s Minister of Education and who had some very deep questions about Richard and Linda’s faith and about their beliefs about the eternal nature of families. The Eyres wrote several long letters to Boyson, and later put those letters into a book called The Wrappings and the Gifts which was an attempt to explain why faith and a belief in a life before and a life after can have such a profoundly positive impact on the kind of marriage partners and parents we become. The book is free at EyresFreeBooks.com. To conclude this most recent podcast episode, the Eyres mention an Abraham Lincoln quote that says “There are times when I am driven to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I have no place else to go.” This is often the way parents feel, and an appeal to a higher source can yield inspiration and guidance concerning what our children need.

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March 2, 2020

Serendipitous Parenting

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What is the single quality that all naturally good parents seem to have? The Eyres believe that a key, essential quality is an attitude of Serendipity! Serendipity, as defined by the man who coined the word, Horace Walpole, is “A state of mind whereby one, through awareness and sensitivity, frequently finds something better than that which he was seeking.” The implication is that we can have our goals and make our lists, but we need to be aware and sensitive enough to notice when something better comes along unexpectedly–an idea, a sunset, a question from a child, a need that someone has, any kind of beautiful and unplanned moment that we could interpret as an interruption or irritation but that we choose to interpret as a serendipity. It is with this kind of spontaneity and sensitivity that we recognize the teaching moments when we can really help our children, and as Richard likes to say, it is good to “Always put off a put-off-able in favor of a now or never.” And when the spiritual dimension is added, Serendipity includes the nudges, the impressions, the inspiration of the Spirit which guides us in our parenting and in knowing what our children need.

In the Eyres’ book, Spiritual Serendipity, (An expanded international edition of their earlier book Serendipity of the Spirit) they tell us the full story of the word–how Walpole coined the word after reading an ancient fable called The Three Princes of Serendip (the ancient name for the isle of Sri Lanka); and how the word can become an alternative attitude to the fatally flawed paradigm of control. Parents who try to control every aspect of their children’s growth are constantly frustrated, whereas those who respect their children and seek to know their inherent gifts and talents usually succeed.

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February 24, 2020

Loving Where and When You Live

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Too often we think life will be better when….or wasn’t it great back then…or if only we lived somewhere else. Today on the show, the Eyres talk about gratitude and appreciation and teaching our kids to appreciate the now and to love where they live. Back in the 90s when Richard was running for Governor, he and Linda wrote a book called Utah in the Year 2000 which was about making Utah a great state for families and appreciating and preserving the state’s beauty. With their children, in a motorhome, the Eyres visited every city and town in the state (over 300 of them) and learned that every place can be beautiful and taught their kids that everyone has a story and can teach us something. Enjoy this look backward and this look forward as we think about teaching our children to “bloom where they are planted.”

 
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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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