Gratitude towards sons

TGIF – Shaped by the next generation

It’s Friday and we’re in full swing on TGIF – Trust, Gratitude, Inspiration, & Fun!


I had the pleasure of leading a Present Yourself with Confidence workshop to a group of PhD students passionate about climate and care for our planet, migration and care for our peoples, and ecology and care for our future.

We created a culture of trust within our group and all thirty of them presented their dream job and how they are uniquely qualified to fulfill it.  They all sought to change the world for good.

In recent years, I have been a bit jaded by politics.  Yet these leaders of tomorrow gave me hope.  I am trusting in the next generation to build communities of peace and justice and health.

Find out more about my workshops here.


French Mother’s Day last weekend.  I am grateful for and grateful to my kids.  Without them I would not be the person I am today.

Proud mother and sons

They contributed to shaping me into the person I am today.  As a mom of four boys, I learned early on that I would have to establish an authority that was not based on force.  They have been stronger than I am since they turned ten!

The trials of being a working mother of four boys in seven years led me to the leadership styles which I now transmit to others, both in training professionals and parents.

With my sons I had wavered between being too firm (think policing leader) or too kind (think happiness trumps all).  I felt like I wavered back and forth, feeling guilty for being too firm so swinging to kindness and then feeling ignored and reverting to firm control.  I learned of the alternative: democratic leadership

  • It is NOT that right middle spot between Firm and Kind
  • It IS being Firm and Kind simultaneously

Check out the 3 minute video on democratic leadership and its impact.  Thank you, sons, for having changed my life personally and professionally too.


Thank you, Jody Glickman and the Great on the Job team, for inspiration on how to put my best foot forward.  I participated in the webinar she led for Harvard Business School alumni and learned from her work-savvy insights and down-to-earth tips.

Even though I lead groups in public speaking, I continue to benefit from learning from others. Jody is a quality communicator with inspiration to share.


I begin my week with a Pilates class on Monday mornings.  Usually I arrive with an aching and stiff body…and leave feeling limber and light.  In that sense, it is fun!

This week we learned new positions and I laughed out loud.  The arm shoots out in one direction, the leg stretches in an opposite extreme, and add a twist here with a muscle tuck there.

It looked and felt like torture…and yet once it was over, I felt marvelooooos!

Two insights about fun

  • Fun lies in overcoming challenges
  • Laughing out loud helps me find fun even in discomfort

Wishing you a great weekend and upcoming week.

Tell us about your week in the comments 🙂

pere et fille

Kids change when parents listen

“Dad, listen…”

Yesterday was Mother’s Day in France.  A friend (a mom of teens) shared about her reunion with her parents. “I left utterly discouraged.”  What happened?!

They enjoyed a day full of fun outings:  restaurants, shopping, and culture.  What was discouraging about that?!

Then she spoke her heart. “I shared a video of my work with my dad.  Not even 10 seconds into the video my father began telling me what I did wrong.  Hey, I know the video was not perfect, but critique before listening is not the feedback I need.  I just won’t talk to him about work anymore.”  She’s an entrepreneur; work is her passion.

I doubt this father’s goal was to alienate his daughter…and yet he did.

[bctt tweet=”I doubt this father’s goal was to alienate his daughter…and yet he did.”]

Could you and I do that with our children too?  You bet.

(In)Active listening impacts behavior

And when the children act out of discouragement, we think their behavior is their problem.

  • They are too blasé. “Whatever.”
  • They don’t listen to us
  • They criticize their brother or sister
  • Why can’t they just be motivated?!


[bctt tweet=”Children misbehave out of discouragement…and parents get more annoyed at the kids!”]

My friend is an adult.  “She should know better,” and in a responsible, loving gesture she should go to her father and share her feelings.  But, in her discouragement, she’s opting for “why bother?”

If adults (she’s MY friend.  So, if intelligent, dynamic, and caring adults ????) decide against reconciliation, then what will our discouraged kids choose to do?

Yep.  Our children keep up with that annoying behavior!  And they seek counsel elsewhere.  Aagh!

Father and daughter in conversation. Listening dad.
Father intently listening to his daughter. Body, mind, and heart are all engaged.

What does active listening sound like?

I shared with my friend tips I learned from Positive Discipline about listening styles.

In our classes, we have an activity like the movie “Groundhog Day.”  We get to replay a scene, beginning again as if we were given a fresh start every time.  It’s a roleplay of a child (an adult playing the role of a child) who comes to tell Mom or Dad about his BFB (Best Friend Breakup).

  • Scene 1 – parent is on the phone, distracted
  • Scene 2 – parent criticizes
  • Scene 3 – parent tells child how he should act next time
  • Scene 4 – silence
  • Scene 5 – active listening. “What happened?  What had you hoped would happen?…”

We ask the person playing the role of the child how they feel, what they think, and what they decide to do after each of these scenes.

The first four scenarios generate disengagement in various degrees of intensity.   “I’ll go to my room…I just won’t tell them next time…I’m not good enough so why bother try.”

The Curiosity Questions*, however, built trust between parent and child, helped the kid discover his responsibility in the friendship dilemma, and inspired the child to handle the relationship differently.

(*Curiosity Questions are a tool from Positive Discipline by Dr. Jane Nelsen and Lynn Lott.)

SoSooper “Aha”:  when bloopers help parents become super

These role plays are an Aha! moment.  Oooops.  You mean my kids act the way they do in part because I (the parent) acts the way I do!

John Newton’s Third Law of Motion also applies to e-motions:  For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Father and son having fun in the pool.
For every action, there is a reaction. Play (action) leads to togetherness.

It’s stories like that of my friend that motivate me to keep on developing SoSooper, the mobile app that helps parents equip their children to thrive.

Guess how many tips you’ll find to reconnect with kids WHEN you feel like a recording machine because they’re not listening? 

Check it out on the SoSooper app 🙂

Cover photo from KiddyTrend



Mother and child

Get the Mother’s Day Gift Money Cannot Buy

YOU are a Gift

We’ve prepared a gift of encouragement for you to remind you that YOU are the best mother your kids have.

You are special.  Probably not perfect.  But absolutely precious.

Our Gift to YOU

Discover this gift below… (or click here if you have difficulty viewing it).

As a 24/7 on-call mother, it is hard to stay in touch with that magnificent purpose we felt when we first cradled our babe in loving arms.  We promised to give that child our best.

And we did.

Then came








And somehow it feels like those children know how to bring out the worst in us.  They push our buttons and we mothers “loose it.”

What happened to Home Sweet Home?

There IS sweetness in your home.  (So what if there is other stuff too…  Challenges might hide the treasures but they don’t erase them.)

This short quiz helps bring that mother-wonder back into focus.

Enjoy.  Because you’re worth it.  Just do it.  You’ve come a long way, Baby.*
* From some of my favorite “philosophers”:  l’Oréal, Nike, and Virginia Slims.

Click here for the survey.


Cover photo by journey cloud on Unsplash.  Online survey powered by Typeform