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Take a deep breath.

You’re doing great!

The last ten days have been full of some amazing opportunities to connect with parents, educators, and camp professionals who share the same goal — raising kids who become thriving adults.

I often start my workshops with the two statements above because I want to make sure participants give themselves the opportunity to settle into the moment, reflect on all that they’re doing well, and be encouraged that anyone who takes the time to attend a workshop is already doing a great job as a parent, teacher, or camp professional!

Spending an evening or an entire day connecting with other parents and learning strategies to help your kids grow into the best versions of themselves shows that you care about helping kids grow into their best selves. You’re not perfect – none of us or our kids are – but you’re open to learning and growing!

South Bay Families Connected/Pages Bookstore

Last Thursday, I spent the day in Manhattan Beach, connecting with campers and parents and having an amazing “campfire” discussion in a circle of chairs at Pages Bookstore. A highlight of the evening for me was watching the interactions of parents who came with their kids, who actively participated in our discussion about raising Happy Campers! We talked about the importance of prioritizing connection and relationship with our kids above everything else and being clear about what we value most. The event at Pages Bookstore was co-sponsored by South Bay Families Connected, an organization dedicated to sharing resources to help youth thrive. I love what they say on their home page:

No matter what parenting philosophies or personal experiences guide us, we all have one goal when it comes to our children: for them to lead healthy, fulfilled lives. Social media, stress, depression, peer pressure, and yes, also drugs and alcohol, can challenge us as parents in our pursuit of this goal. But we are not alone, and neither are our children.
-South Bay Families Connected

I’m grateful to be connected with such an awesome organization. In addition to help bringing me to Pages for the Happy Campers book event, they recently shared an article of mine, How Sticky Notes Make You a Better Parent.

Raise Thriving Kids Workshop

On Friday, Sara Kuljis and I led an all-day workshop in Newport Beach with a fantastic group of parents who opened up and shared about the very real struggles of being parents. Everyone was so authentic and it was reassuring to get together with other parents who share similar goals and many of the same everyday family struggles. I especially appreciated this comment from a participant: “Thank you! Loved the content and the interaction. Appreciate the tools, resources, and links provided!”

We ended the day sharing one simple idea we planned to implement in our families right away. Here are a few of them:

• Write an encouraging note to one of our kids, sharing a character trait we love about them.

• Take one child to an event that he’s really interested in (a car show).

• Assess what household responsibilities kids can start taking on, using the Household Task Audit from my book.

Sara and I will continue to collaborate on workshops and podcast episodes. Get in touch if you’re interested in having us come to your school or organization!

Pennsylvania

On Monday, I traveled to Scranton, Pennsylvania (Hi Michael Scott!) for three events with parents and educators sponsored by A.M. Skier Insurance. I made some new friends in PA and enjoyed seeing the beautiful fall colors of the North East (something we don’t get much of in California)!

At Lakeside Elementary School, I met with a terrific group of educators. Our topic was Creating a Positive, Connected School Culture.

When I asked the teachers to brainstorm the positive traits of their most challenging students, here is the list they came up with:

  • Great energy
  • Perseverance
  • Honesty
  • Outgoing
  • Strong leader
  • Resilient
  • Sense of humor
  • Strong willed
  • Empathetic
  • Curiosity (Asks “Why?” a lot)

Reframing traits that show up as disruptive behavior can help teachers – and parents – focus on kids’ strengths and help bring them out more!

On Tuesday evening, I partnered with Wayne County School District Superintendent Greg Frigoletto for a parent event and podcast recording (comes out next Friday!). Together, we answered parent questions about their biggest challenges.

Parent Talk with Greg Frigoletto, Superintendent of Wayne Highlands School District

My final event in Pennsylvania was a Timely Talk panel about raising thriving kids. We recorded in the WVIA Studios, and I got to channel my inner Ellen Degeneres as talk show host! We rehearsed in the morning and then filmed in front of a studio audience in the afternoon. We had two awesome, articulate kids on the panel – Julian and Anna. They both shared that one important thing parents can do is give them some space and let them feel what they’re feeling. They suggested instead of peppering them with questions, just letting them know that you’re there if they want to talk. Wise kids, indeed.

I’ll share the recording once it’s live!

MAIC Conference in Kohler, Wisconsin

I ended my travels in Kohler, Wisconsin, with an amazing group of camp owners and directors from the Midwest.

Tonight I fly home to California. My heart is full from the amazing connections I’ve made. I am encouraged and hopeful after talking with wise kids and dedicated parents and youth development professionals who are making a positive difference in this world.

I’m tired after all this travel and ready for a restful weekend. I hope you all get some time to breathe and relax this weekend, too!

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