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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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December 2, 2019

LifeBalance

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The Eyres’ 20th book was a labor of love, and of personal introspection and struggle. As a very young man, Richard had written an earlier book called LifePlanning, which, as he looked back on it a decade later, felt presumptuous and less than humble, suggesting in the typical self-help mode that we can do anything we want to do and have anything we want to have if our attitude is positive and if we plan and work hard enough. The Eyres wanted to write another kind of a book–one that allowed for reacting as well as acting, and took in the needs of others as well as the needs of self. The result was LifeBalance.

So much of succeeding in life is about balance. Balancing work with family, balancing structure with spontaneity, balancing relationships with achievements. And no one needs to face the challenges of balance more than busy parents who have to think about the needs of their children, of their spouse, of their work, of their bodies, of their church, of their community, often of their aging parents, and on and on.

On the podcast this week, the Eyres talk about their own struggles with balance and give some simple things they have learned that have helped them to bring more balance into their complicated lives. They also want to give each of us an early Christmas gift of their classic book LifeBalance for free. Join the Eyres this week in thinking about getting more balance in your life, and remember to subscribe to Eyres on the Road on your favorite podcast app.

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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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