Car-less Paris

Practice makes Prepared (not Perfect)

Yesterday, I experienced Practice makes Prepared…and ended up having a “perfect” outing, despite the rain and the sweat!

Prepared not Perfect while biking in Paris

Yesterday was decreed “No-car-day” in Paris.  We live outside of the city and usually drive in for church on Sundays.

Instead, I bicycled into town.

In my 30 years of living in Paris, this marks the fourth day of my cycling adventures in the city.  Three of them were on no-car days and the other was at 1:30 a.m. (Don’t ask.) Enough to have learned from past experiences (mistakes) and to be prepared to fully enjoy this ride.

I (kind of) had a checklist.


  • Bike & lock
  • Helmet
  • Shoes for biking
  • Extra shoes to look chic
  • Pants that worked for BOTH sports AND fashion
  • Bag to manage the transition between my two “looks”

…and felt ready to roll.

The list was far from perfect.

Under the light drizzle, I would have done better with a waterproof jacket.  Jean jackets get wet…and so do the bodies wearing them.  Learning for next time.

I got lost.  Upon returning home I downloaded the Paris bike-route app.

Not Perfect.  Still wonderful.  And way better than before.

Prepared or Perfect in Parenting?

What are our expectations as parents? 

Truth be told, for many years I expected close-to-perfection from my kids.  These reflected some of the messages I had assimilated, and without thinking, was transmitting to my children.

  • Do it right the first time around
  • I said it once. Five minutes ago.  It should be done by now.
  • Act your age (meaning “Act like an adult!!”)
  • Do as I say…and follow the good examples of what I do
    (and ignore the bad examples)
  • Know what I mean, even when I don’t explain it

But I missed enjoying my children and feeling that home was sweet.

Hummm.  Either I would have to change my hopes (happy with kids) or change my demand for idealized behavior.

In this vulnerable, question-filled mindset, I became aware of alternative messages from a wide variety of “philosophers”

Practice makes prepared to learn from mistakes.  Prepared to grow.

Prepared to plan ahead.  Prepared to be intentional.

Prepared to be creative.

Prepared to do the best you can no matter what comes your way…with the confidence there will probably be a next time when you can do even better.

Kids Prefer Prepared over Perfect

This paradigm shift in my mind translated into allowing the children to be responsible for their mistakes (so what will you do about it?) AND their successes (You must be proud of yourself).

Here’s what it sounds like at our dinner table:

Before – when I was expecting perfection –

Child (with mouth full): “Today…”

Me: “The table is a place for pleasant conversation and good manners.  Please speak when you finished chewing.”

In my search for perfection, I interrupted their creativity and zest for learning!!! Agghhh!

Now – when I am learning about preparation –

Me: “Guys, I am so disappointed in myself…” and I shared about how a professional opportunity slipped by and what that mishap is teaching me to do differently.

Later that week, as I was leaving for work, my lackadaisical son piped up, “Don’t miss an opportunity today, Mom.  Look out for it and go for it!”

My son is getting prepared for life through my imperfections!

Will you let go of perfection for your children to gain their preparation for life?

Will you let go of perfection for your children to gain their preparation for life? Click to Tweet

Everyone wins.  Ready to roll?!

Cover photo from LeParisien 2016 Journée Sans Voiture Paris



Harvard Business School New Venture Competition

SoSooper is a finalist in Harvard Business School NVC Europe

Sooper Exciting News

Our mobile app for parents has been selected as a finalist in the Harvard Business School New Venture Competition Europe!  There were 26 contestants for 5 places.  We made the cut!

We will be pitching to 100+ business folk about being the best parent we can be.

We are honored to be present, knowing that the discussion will cover both business issues (how will we generate income) as well a matters touching our ingrained beliefs:

  • Are “good parents” born or can leadership in our homes be learned?
  • How to accompany parents AND allow freedom to create their own, unique family culture?

As my sister says, “Exciting, invigorating, intimidating, energizing, challenging, exhilarating.”

Many thanks to all who support me so well.

SoSooper is finalist for HBS NVC
European finalists for 2017 HBS NVC Europe

The Story behind SoSooper

A Mom in Need

As a young mom seeking help to manage four boys under seven years old I wondered:

“Folk can go to a bank or a financial counselor and expose very private information regarding money and request advice and this is conisdered intelligent.

Those same people seek advice regarding relationships…and they have a problem.

Humm. I hope someone will do something to remedy this discrepancy.”

And, today, maybe that someone is…me.

Insights from Cosmetics

When I worked in cosmetics, one brand introduced beauty advice on an iPad.  Customers appreciated the anonimity of these tools.

They found it more pleasant to admit skin problems to a machine than to a  made-up beauty who agrees you have blackheads on your nose!

Might the same be true with personal issues?

A New Child

SoSooper, my fifth child, is born. This mobile app helps parents navigate – positively and quickly – challenges with kids.

  • Provides parents with solutions for their Need. NOW.
  • Connects parents with parenting experts and other moms and dads like them
  • Is available on their phone.  Anytime & anywhere.

Read more.

Listen with Open Minds

Dad and daughter may be looking each other in the eye, but they’e not seeing eye to eye.

Explore paradigms, those personalized mental maps, that explain how different people give opposite interpretations to the same facts. Try the fun ways to unblock communication gaps.

We listen through our ears… and through our paradigms.

Stephen Covey (author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) presents paradigms as mental maps that describe the way things are (realities) and the way they should be (values).   Amazingly, highly intelligent people can

  • encounter identical facts,
  • interpret them completely differently,
  • AND both be right!

You and I have a mental map. Kids have theirs too, and they differ from their parents’! (Did you notice how when kids play house, parents always get to do what they want all the time?!)

We act according to our beliefs.

Take the Christmas story. For some, the angel’s conversation with Mary seems absurd. Angels belong in stories or in snow. We know how babies are made, and it’s not that way.  John Lennon and Yoko Ono may have thought that way.

Mary and Joseph also knew those facts, yet central to their paradigm was the belief in God, the one who keeps his promises and makes the impossible happen. When they heard the incredible news about Jesus’ conception, they could be overwhelmed and still believe and act on those convictions.

Yes, our beliefs impact our actions.  Including on our style of discipline.

Knowing your paradigm and understanding your kids’ revolutionizes the way we correct.  What if we could travel our child’s mind map and help uncover some hurtful beliefs?!  By tweaking the misunderstood assumptions, the desired behaviors naturally follow.

When differences don’t attract…

Covey presents two basic paradigms:
– the Personality Ethic (success is a function of our public image) and
– Character Ethic founded on principles such as integrity, temperance, courage, justice, and the Golden Rule.

Imagine the “collision” of these two paradigms!

Junior wants to look KOOOOL in the latest shoe fashion.  It happens to cost a small fortune.  Mom and Dad desire to teach him financial responsibility.


Junior’s Fashion Ethic oulook values spending.  Mom and Dad’s principle of living within one’s means finds worth in thoughtful spending.

How do you identify these paradigms?  Get started with these fun family activities.

Use these fun family activities to discover each other’s paradigms and to communicate more effectively and pleasurably.

Decipher Optical Illusions

Try this zero-pressure, neutral-subject confrontation to introduce the concept of varying viewpoints on identical data.
Read on…

Draw Your Hopes & Uncover Paradigms (best with younger kids)

Compare your view of the “perfect” living room to Junior’s. Are the cushions on the sofa or on the floor? 🙂
Read on…