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Each week the Eyres post one tried and proven “Parenting Principle” (or sometimes a Marriage Principle) here on this page, and also on social media (Instagram @richardlindaeyre, Facebook @lindarichardeyre, and Twitter @richardeyre). Please follow, and invite your friends to do the same. Each week the brief, quotable parenting principle will appear with several links to articles, podcasts, videos, or radio and television appearances that give more ideas, instruction and inspiration on that principle.

February 11, 2019

Keeping Our Attention on Our First Priority

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There are so many distractions! We all say that our family—our kids and our marriages—are our highest priority, but so many other things—responsibilities, social engagements, church callings, entertainment, friends—all crowd into our lives and soak up our time and attention.

The urgent takes over from the important.

Perhaps the biggest distraction of all—the thing that takes over our attention and almost holds us hostage—is technology. Our devices, our social media, our FOMO, our following of blogs, and all the rest of it just sucks away our focus and our concentration from the thing that needs us most and that is the most important to us—our families!

We’ve all seen it (we’ve all done it)…a child is asking a question or trying to get the attention of his mom who is brushing him off and saying “not now” or “just a minute” while she scrolls through the screen on her smartphone. Sometimes we need to (like a drill sergeant in the military) just scream “ATTENTION!” to ourselves and get our minds back on our marriage and our children.

There are really only two ways to stop our devices from distracting us. One is to get rid of them (pretty dramatic solution) and the other is to go more often to pro-family web pages or blogs or social media—sites that make us more rather than less aware of our families and their needs. We recommend this website (valuesparenting.com), blogs like 71toes.com or drippingwithpassion.blogspot.com, family information sites like ifstudies.org, and social media like Instagram @richardlindaeyre.

For more on making technology draw your attention to rather than away from your family:

Article 1 Article 2 Podcast

February 4, 2019

We All Need Help with Our Parenting

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The best parents we know have what might be called “A positive, ‘can’t do’ attitude.” What we mean by that is that they acknowledge that they can’t do it by themselves, that they need help in raising their children. Sometimes the difference between successful and unsuccessful parents is simply their willingness to ask for help, and to know when and who to ask!

Getting help with your marriage and your kids is not a sign of weakness—on the contrary, it is a sign of wisdom and strength. First of all, we all need some kind of support mechanism that backs us up on the values we are trying to teach our children. For many of us, that is a Church. Second, we need the help of other good parent friends who we can talk to and be of help to each other’s kids. Third, we need help from grandparents or uncles and aunts or others who know our children and who may have the ”social distance” to help them in ways that we can’t. Fourth, we may need professional counseling or therapy for tough times in our marriage. Fifth, and perhaps most important of all, we all need divine help. Nothing is more powerful than an earthly parent praying to a Heavenly Parent for help with their shared children.

We have discussed that need for help in some detail in the article and podcast below:

Article Podcast

January 28, 2019

Be a Synergicity Parent, Not an Independent Parent

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Synergicity is a hybrid word that we made up, combining “synergy” and “synchronicity,” to mean the acceptance of one’s interdependence with others and dependence on God. It suggests that when we work in tandem and in commitment with a spouse, we can be, together, more than the sum of our parts. It suggests the connection and inter-relatedness of all people and all things, and it acknowledges that there is a natural timing to things that we need to learn to recognize and accept rather than always trying to make things happen on our own schedule. In essence, Synergicity is the opposite of Independence, and instead of saying “I can do everything myself and don’t need anyone else,” it says “I need others; I am interdependent and dependent, and I trust forces bigger than myself.”

One key goal of marriage should be a synergy partnership, especially in terms of how we parent our children, and finding the right timing and being able to sync our hopes with who our children really are can spell the difference between family fulfillment and family frustration.

This new word is fully explained in Richard Eyre’s new book, The Happiness Paradox, and it is also further elaborated in the article and podcast:

Article Podcast Book

January 21, 2019

Be a Stewardship Parent, Not an Ownership Parent

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If we think of our children as our possessions, we respect them too little! If our paradigm is “I made them so I own them and can try to make them into what I want them to be,” we will fail as parents and will feel a lot of frustration while we are failing.

We don’t own our children! When we act as though we do, we make all kinds of parenting mistakes.

A much better attitude to have is that we have Stewardship over our children. This is a beautiful word because it implies that we love and take full responsibility for our kids, but recognize that they came from God as a sacred charge and that they are equal to us and we need to find out who they are—each unique one—and help them grow into all they can be.

This Stewardship paradigm causes us to respect our children, to view each of them as individuals, and to find joy as well as obligation in the privilege of raising them.

For more insight on Stewardship Parenting:

Podcast Article Book

January 14, 2019

Be a Serendipity Parent, Not a Controlling Parent

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Controlling parents try to manage all of their children’s actions, thoughts, ambitions, and behavior, to make their decisions for them, and to turn them into their version of what they should be. They often lose their kids or force them to rebel.

Serendipity parents observe and notice who their children really are and recognize and support their unique gifts and attributes; they see teaching moments and find opportunities to ask involving questions and to motivate kids to plan their own lives and make their own choices.

The definition of Serendipity is “A state of mind whereby a person, through awareness and sensitivity, frequently finds something better than that which he or she is seeking.”

Of course, good parents have goals for what they want to teach their children, and to some extent for what they want their children to become, but if we become too obsessed with our wants for our kids, we can become control freaks and do more harm than good.

Instead, if we can train ourselves to be sensitive and aware enough to notice our kids’ unique gifts and potential, we will find ways to help them grow into their own best selves, and we will enjoy this kind of parenting much more than the controlling kind.

For more insight and practical ideas on how to make this shift:

Podcast Book

December 6, 2018

Top Ten Marriage and Relationship Tips Bonus #11: Elevate Your Marriage Goal

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The problem with “equality” in marriage is that it can induce a kind of confusion with “sameness” and a constant awareness of who is ahead and who is behind. It may produce more competition than cooperation. A better marriage goal is “oneness” where appreciation and cooperation and compensation for each other’s weaknesses can produce a synergy where the total is greater than the sum of its parts.

Hydrogen, by itself, is a gas possessing many unique properties. Oxygen is another gas with its own set of qualities. But when they are combined, in a committed, fused sort of way, they become marvelous, clear, flowing, life-giving water. In a similar way, a man and a woman, involved in and committed to the Oneness of their marriage, can continue to each possess their own individual qualities even as they combine them into a wonderful, synergistic union where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

For additional insights on the idea of oneness in marriage:

Article 1 Article 2 Podcast

November 28, 2018

Top Ten Marriage and Relationship Tips #10: Believe in the Micro and the Micro of Marriage

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There are plenty of discouraging statistics out there about the decline of marriage and worrisome public opinion polls showing a shocking rise in the number of people who don’t think marriage is any longer relevant.

And sometimes these kinds of statistics and polls can tend to make us lose hope for the future of the institution of marriage and even discourage us a little about our own marriages and our ability to continue to strengthen them.

But there is another side to this coin. The fact is that the very best marriages in history are happening right now. Today’s good marriages are very good marriages, representing more equal partnerships and the meeting of more physical, mental, social and emotional needs than marriages have ever met before.

For more data and commentary on what is happening to marriage on the macro, and ideas on how you can be optimistic and positive about the future of your own marriage and of marriage continuing as the most important institution of all time:

Podcast Article 1 Article 2 Article 3 Article 4

November 9, 2018

Top Ten Marriage and Relationship Tips #9: Make it a Three-way Partnership

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To have an eternal marriage, we need an Eternal Managing Partner. When a married couple begins to see a spiritual dimension to their union, it can make a two-way partnership into a three-way partnership and can bring a kind of holiness and perspective into the marriage that lifts it above the daily struggles and deepens the love and commitment.

A large majority of Americans believe in some form of higher power and engage in some kind of prayer. It is only natural to want help from this higher source on the most important relationship of our lives. Approaching marriage spiritually gives it a dimension and a level of commitment that improves its chances of lasting and flourishing.

Getting away together as a couple to communicate and plan and enjoy each other without the kids or cares or distractions of the world can have a powerful strengthening effect, but there is another kind of getting away with a third partner, and it is called prayer. When a couple recognizes not only their interdependence with each other but also their dependence on the Divine, something wonderful happens to a marriage–a new perspective comes, and a kind of help that only the Spirit can bring.

If we think of a husband and a wife as the two lower corners of a triangle, and God as the top point, then the closer we each draw ourselves toward the top, the closer we will find ourselves to each other.

For more ideas and approaches to this spiritual perspective in marriage:

Podcast Article 1 Article 2

Painting by Caitlin Connolly

November 2, 2018

Top Ten Marriage and Relationship Tips #8: The Joining of Two Families

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Whether we like it or not, marriage is not just between two people. It is between two families. The more that fact is honored and embraced, the better! We have friends who began to refer to their in-laws as “in-loves” and we liked the idea so much we copied it.

If we are parents, we should think of the marriage of a son or daughter as just the gaining of an additional son or daughter. We should think of the family of that new son or daughter as a merger with our family and make every effort to make them even more than friends. Visits, calls, and every other kind of communication should be proactively pursued so we get to know them and love them. If you are the one getting married, or even if that marriage happened a long time ago, make a point of prioritizing your spouse’s family and thinking of them as your family. Anything less will be cheating yourself as well as them!

For practical ideas on how to do this:

Podcast Article

October 26, 2018

Top Ten Marriage and Relationship Tips #7: Trade Independence for Interdependence

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We live in a world where independence is the perceived goal of almost everyone, and the hoped-for outcome of everything we do. But there is something better. Much better!

It is interdependence!

In an interdependent marriage or relationship, two people essentially trade their independence for something better. They learn that, through total commitment and genuine love, a certain synergy can develop where the total is greater than the sum of its parts. Within the confidence and security of their marriage, they each drop their facades and egos and allow a vulnerability and accept each other’s help. They compensate for each other’s weaknesses, complement each other’s strengths, and create a new entity of oneness without losing their separate individuality. They develop a wonderful, almost magical interdependence that combines synergy, symbiosis, and synchronicity.

For more detail and how-tos on interdependence:

Podcast Article

Painting by Brian Kershisnik

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