Posts tagged Vision

Building the Gentle Parenting Movement – Please Help – Here’s How!

Baby sleep classes in Calgary

Something really awesome is happening these days, and there’s a good chance that YOU have been a part of it – without even knowing it. In so many conversations and communities and grassroots villages, parents have come together around the shared value of gentle, peaceful parenting. On school playgrounds, in coffee shops, in homeschooling groups, in playgroups, in parenting classes, in wellness circles, and in frank heart-to-heart, mom-to-mom, parent-to-parent discussions, parents have set the example, made difficult choices, supported one another, and learned new ways of supporting their children.

These ways aren’t easy for most of us. They involve internal struggle, changing beliefs, thoughts, and behaviour patterns that were formed in us as babies and children.

Doing things differently involves second-guessing yourself, wondering if you’re really doing the right thing, and challenging, over and over, and often unwillingly, yourself, your family, your friends, and the parents around you in the process. People that love you – or that don’t even know you – may accuse you of being a doormat, of having bratty kids (& no wonder why!), or of judging their parenting, when none of these things may be the case.

And, doing things differently comes with moments that break and uplift your heart. My daughter, at age five, watched an interaction on a playground between another parent and child, slipped her hand into mine, sadly, and said, “I’m so glad you don’t punish me, mama.” In that moment, I could feel the depth of her trust in me.

So many of the gentle parents I know have shared these special moments with me. Sometimes it’s external validation, a shocking, revelatory, “I changed my mind, I think you got it right,” from a grandparent, or a tearful “thank you” from a friend or acquaintance whose parenting journey you affected powerfully, without even meaning to. Often, it’s a moment with your child. (Please share those – we all need to hear!)

Conscious, thoughtful parents – keep doing what you do! You already make a huge difference!

Wow – I’m on a roll here – but here’s the point. I’m starting something really cool that inspires me deeply. There are so many amazing businesses and organizations here that make such an incredible difference to the whole parenting conversation in my city of Calgary (Babes in Arms, Dr. For Moms, APVillage, Riva’s EcoStore, REAP Business Association, to name a few). With their commitment and dedication to goodness, these organizations have created conversations that have already changed the way Calgary families live.

With the help of all of these organizations, and many more, Full Circle Parenting is going to start sharing gentle sleep classes for babies in Calgary on a very regular basis. As you may know, I’ve been doing baby sleep classes and lots of sleep coaching in Calgary for years, but I’m ready to kick it up a notch. These classes will create a foundation for gentle parenting, at a time when many parents are experiencing their very first parenting struggle. They will introduce new parents to an amazing village of organizations and businesses that will continue to support them in their gentle parenting journey, and will give them the information they need to follow their hearts, build lifelong relationships with their little ones, and even get more sleep.

Yawnwatermark2To make this a gentle sleep movement, not just a baby sleep class in Calgary, I need your help. Please share the sleep classes with all the new parents you know. If you know of a great place to leave a bunch of brochures, let me know and I will deliver them. If you know a professional who works with babies, please share the information with them or share their information with me and I will connect.

Use Discount Code FOLK (Friend of Lisa Kathleen) for a special discount to the class ($80 off), or to share your discount with a friend.

Most of all – keep doing what you do! Keep feeling into your heart, getting the information and support you need, and starting the conversations that help you be the parent you want to be. You may not ever have realized it – but you are making a huge difference beyond your family, no matter how imperfect you feel your parenting is.

Sending so much love and support on your parenting journey, and appreciating the change we are making – together – for our children and their world.


Stop Sounding Like Your Mother & Start Parenting From Your Heart


You know those times when you open your mouth and out comes….your mother!!??


My mom is awesome, but unfortunately, the times I sound like her tend not to remind me of when she is her very most awesome. Grrrr….

Sometimes, the ways we sound like our parents just make us laugh and shake our heads, but sometimes we’re stuck in a cycle that we really want to break, to support our children better, to find ways of parenting that are different than what we experienced.
When you can consistently parent in keeping with YOUR chosen values, not your parents’, you’ve broken the cycle and offered your children possibilities of new horizons.
The very first step in the process of parenting in keeping with your own values is taking a good look at what your values are, what exactly you want to offer your children and what messages you want them to absorb from you. Then comes the tricky part – determining what kind of parenting choices are most likely to give those specific gifts to your children.
To help you along in the process of clarifying your own parenting values, and to help you start your parenting off on the right foot in 2014, I’d love to offer you a gift copy of the Full Circle Parenting Peace of Mind Parenting Inventory. It will help you examine your parenting from your own perspective, and figure out what matters most to you in your relationship with your child. AND it’s the first step in my Big Picture Parenting Class starting on January 19th, so it will give you some time to think about some of the Really Big Stuff we’ll be talking about there.
To get your gift copy, just send me an email requesting the Peace of Mind Parenting Inventory.
To register for Big Picture Parenting, or for more information, GO HERE.
Or, just give me a call…403-607-1463. I love to hear from you!


Become the Parent You Want to Be in 2014


It seems like a big and scary goal – The Parent I Want to Be.

At the same time, I can’t really settle for anything less – it matters way too much, and so much love lies in the balance.

So, every year, and multiple times during the year, I re-evaluate. I tweak. I adjust. I take stock of what I’ve learned. I take a deep breath. And I start again, doing my best, with all the information, ability, and heart, that I can draw on, right now, today.

What I love about the New Year is that I am inspired to reset goals, to re-imagine my vision. This year we’re doing something extra special.

I was inspired by the gorgeous family mission statement in the photo.

Each year, my daughter and I have made individual vision posters for the New Year. It has been inspiring and amazing to share that with her, but this year – she’s 8 – I felt it was time to take our joint values and create something really special.

We started with a question, “What do you want our family to be like?” We got out our big whiteboard, and our little whiteboard. We started by brainstorming on our big whiteboard, until neither of us had any more ideas. Then we went through and chose the phrases and ideas that we both felt strongly about, and that included some of the less powerful ideas. We kept these, and erased the others, then began to transfer the ideas to the little whiteboard, to order them by size, to position them, to group them. Lastly, we cleaned off the big whiteboard, and transferred them all back, carefully arranging them as we went.

Then we went out to buy that green painting tape and special acrylic paint markers for writing on walls, and next we’ll paint the most central wall in our home with our Family Vision. I’ll be sure to sub in the photo when it’s complete! In the meanwhile, here’s our whiteboard.


I can’t wait to paint this on the wall!

Creating the vision of the family you want to have, and more importantly, CO-creating that with the rest of your family members, is a key step towards manifesting the reality of your vision. I was amazed at how aligned my daughter and I are in our vision for our family. She designed the final poster, telling me where each idea should fit, and how big to write each word, and most of the time, it was perfect.

As we move into 2014, we will have this solid, beautiful, physical reminder of how we want to be with each other, what our shared values are, and what matters most.

I know that I am a better parent when I am accountable to my children for my behaviour and my choices. I know that I am a better parent when I have reminders of the positive language I want to use when things get tough and I just want to Say Mean Stuff. I know that I am a better parent when I have reminders that we are on track, and a compass to keep me going in the right direction.

There are lots of ways to do this – a framed poster on a single page, a book you write together, a poem, a set of stairs, a painted wall, or something else you choose.

Do you have a vision or mission statement for your family, or for yourself, as a parent? If so, please do share some of the key concepts below! The Big Picture Parenting Class starts by helping you define your vision, clarify the values that matter most to you in your parenting, and express those ideas in ways that inspire you. Come join us! Details for Big Picture Parenting Class of 2014 HERE.

Nelson Mandela’s Legacy in My Family


We were driving the other day when I heard this story-telling monologue from the back seat:

(Holds up one hand.) “THIS guy wants to destroy the world!”

(Holds up other hand.) “THIS guy wants to save the world!”

“This guy’s destroying the world! He wants to blow it up! And this guy’s going to stop him! He’s going to kill that guy! Yaaaaayyyyyy….he’s dead and the world is saved!!!!”

Strangled sounds are coming from the front seat. (That’s me.) “Wow. That was exciting…”


And then I have a flash. Nelson Mandela has just died, and Invictus is my daughter’s favourite movie. We’ve just attended a memorial service. Thank God I have a reference point, a powerful, heartfelt way to offer a different world view.

“Darling? I’m just thinking about Nelson Mandela. What I love about his true life story is that he didn’t have to kill bad guys to change our world. I think it’s really cool that his story was about INCLUDING everyone, that his goal was to SHARE power, that even though he was hurt by others, he knew that the biggest change would come if he opened his heart, and cared about the people that had treated him badly.”

I know that Nelson Mandela’s history beyond the Invictus movie includes his belief that there are times that require physical, armed revolution, but I loved that I could offer my daughter this different paradigm. Maybe we’re not going to need to kill any bad guys to save the world. Maybe inclusion, and speaking our minds, and standing for a deeper truth, and intentional kindness, are really the foundational keys to making big change.

I hope so, and I’m betting on it.

To share in this conversation – to plot with me to save our world – our children’s world – one family at a time, take a look at my upcoming Big Picture Parenting class. I really believe that each one of us, one conversation at a time, is changing the world, as we learn new ways to do things, and teach those new paradigms to our children.

Come join the conversation!

Go here to read about Telling Better Stories. Go here to see the calendar for the next Big Picture Parenting live class. Go here to find out more about the Big Picture Parenting online class.

Please share your inspiring stories below!



Telling Better Stories


I am reposting this from my old, old website, to go with the new blog post I’m posting today…

I unintentionally saw “Avatar” this past weekend.  I had thought I remembered that someone I trusted said I “had” to see it.  Oops.
I admit that life without a TV and only seeing a few movies a year for the past ten years has made me pretty picky about the stuff I watch, but still.  What came up for me was this: we need to tell better stories to our children.

Our children, our teenagers, and we ourselves, need to hear stories that orient us, inspire us, and that mobilize us FOR something worth working for.  Could we create a new paradigm, one in which we are working for, not fighting for, something worthwhile?  Instead of telling stories about how to be the Us that’s better, stronger, and smarter than some evil Them, can we figure out how to tell powerful stories where no one has to win and no one has to lose?

It’s pretty well-known by now that the images we create in our minds with words, create actions. Saying “Walk!” works better than saying “Don’t run!” to establish and change behaviour.  When children see, hear, or read certain stories, they try out the behaviours, ideas, and beliefs they are exposed to.  (I know this for sure – in this past week, Grandma read my girl a book about drawing on walls with markers, and my little girl took to the walls for the first time in her almost 5 years.)  Do you think that if we start to tell and choose stories of cooperation, problem solving, people uniting for the common good, that we might begin to change the way we think about our collective future?
I hear the chorus of voices (I’ve heard them often in my life) saying “Lisa Kathleen, you are too idealistic!  It is human nature to polarize, to compete, to need to kill to win, to need a bad guy!”  I say DITCH that idea. I believe human nature is evolving, but more than that, I believe that if it isn’t, it can. I believe it because I cannot be the only one out here who believes in peace without needing to blame war on anyone. I cannot be the only one out here who wants to watch stories of solutions that don’t need losers. I cannot be the only one who craves a new story, not just new special effects. (I didn’t even get to watch the 3-D version of Avatar, by the way. Some say that if I had, I could have forgiven the whole thing. Somehow, I don’t think so…)
Here are some ways to tell better stories to your children.  1) Tell YOUR stories.  Your childhood, your learnings, your adventures.  The mistakes you made.  How you do things differently now.  The insight you gained.  2) Tell THEIR stories.  Their birth.  Their birthdays.  Their accidents.  Their adventures.  3) Tell their ancestors’ stories.  Find out everything you can, and tell those stories.  If there are learnings associated with them, great.  If not, that’s okay, too.  The connection that children gain from knowing where they came from is key.
What you will notice as you tell these stories is that children, especially young children who haven’t been exposed to our typical cultural stories, don’t need great battles.  They don’t need a bad guy for them to be interested in the story.  They don’t even need much plot.  What they need are stories that orient them to themselves, to their place in the world, and to what’s going on inside of themselves.  (You may have heard me talk before about orienting as one of the primary roles of a parent.  Children attach to adults through orientation.  When we orient our children in the world, we deepen their connection to us.  When our children know that we are the ones who can help them understand what’s happening inside, and outside, themselves, they consistently turn to us for insight.)
When children watch movies, read books, or hear the stories you tell them, they take away understandings about the world.  If the story shares certain paradigms (The bottom line is Us versus Them or Might makes Right) then children, who are gathering information to create their framework for understanding how the world works, use that information to orient themselves in the world.
I am inspired by thoughts about what would happen if we applied this tool to our choices of movies, books, and TV programs for our children.  What if we chose stories whose implicit messages and paradigms say “There is always a respectful solution,” or “When people work together, amazing things can happen”?  What if the bottom line was that when we change common cultural beliefs, we can change the world?
I believe that parenting for sustainability involves sharing models of finding solutions that work.  We’ve spent enough time and energy with quick-fix, might-makes-right solutions that don’t create sustainable relationships on any level.  Let’s share stories that lead to different endings.
Please comment below to share books, movies, or other stories that you know of that inspire us with different paradigms.

Sustainable Parenting


I recently heard someone sigh and say that the word “sustainable” is getting almost a bit cliche. I was a bit traumatized hearing it, actually! Now is the time to maintain, and build, our momentum, towards addressing the things that matter most. I think sustainability is the fundamental lens through which we need to look at our current issues, and it’s a word I want to hear even more frequently, at all levels of culture.

Parenting and sustainability go together, because we love our kids so much that we want their lives to be long, perfect, and full of beauty and love. We know that scary things like global warming, food security, child labour, and war, threaten that vision, and so parenthood inspires people to look deeper and care more about things that may have seemed far away, in place and time, before they were parents.

Sometimes we think that the concept of sustainability means the same as “green” but it’s a much broader concept. Sustainability means that we build systems that nurture themselves, and nurture the things we care about, so that the systems replenish themselves, keep producing the result we want, and self-perpetuate for a long, long, time.

Here are some areas that I hear parents tell me that they think more about since they became parents…

They start thinking more about the Earth and our climate and what we can do about it.

They start thinking more about peace.

They start thinking more about political systems.

They start thinking more about how everyone, around the world, is someone’s child, and they start caring more about things like child labour, war, and famine.

And here’s what I think…three things.

First, parents hold the keys to our future, as they give their children the hope, inspiration, and opportunities to develop the needed skills to solve the problems that humanity has created for itself.

Second, we parents show our children what is worth caring about through our actions and our words. Your children watch you and absorb what they see and hear. Your everyday actions make a profound, long-term difference in your child’s attitudes, perspectives and values.

Third – and this is My Thing – building sustainable relationships is key. Each and every child that knows how to problem-solve with a team and work with others to find solutions that work for everyone involved is a piece of the sustainability puzzle. These are leadership skills, war-ending skills, world-changing skills that matter. These skills and values empower children to build sustainable relationships in their own lives, and to lead others to learn these skills, and sustainable relationships make EVERYTHING easier to fix. To be frank, without sustainable relationship skills, we don’t have much hope. And when we give our children the long-term perspective and empower them to see themselves as part of the solution, we have more than hope – we have possibility.

So, as parents, YES, be green! Be eco-friendly! Be local! But don’t stop there. Focus on the communication and relationship skills – in your family and in your lives – that will tip the scales. The more human beings who can mediate, inspire, find the underlying needs, and successfully create synergistic solutions that truly work for everyone involved, the more hope we have for our collective future.

It’s the only way.

This quote gives me chills…

“The Twentieth Century will be chiefly remembered by future generations not as an era of political conflicts or technical inventions, but as an age in which human society dared to think of the welfare of the whole human race as a practical objective.”  ~ Arnold J. Toynbee

The welfare of the whole human race as a PRACTICAL OBJECTIVE!  So much power in that realization. So much inspiration. So much hope to share with our children, and an incredible glowing vision to inspire us, over and over again, to dig deeper, practice more, learn to bypass our triggers, and, over and over again, show our children empathy, respect, and commitment to advocating for their needs equally with our own.

The welfare of the whole human race is truly within our grasp, and each of us is a piece of this brilliant puzzle. I’m inspired daily by you, as we work together towards this big, big dream.

In sustainability,

Lisa Kathleen





How To Stop Yelling



It’s amazing how we can completely lose our cool with the people we love the most. We KNOW they’re innocent, and littler than us, and we love them more than anything, but sometimes they push every single button, repeatedly, without mercy.  

And sometimes, we yell. Or say mean things. Or even spank, or hit.

And then, inevitably, we regret it, resolve not to do it again, and try to do better next time.

Here’s what I know: There are ways for you to harness the power of your love for your child to change your behaviour!

Here’s what else I know: There is no silver bullet, no one-size-fits-all yelling solution or parenting plan.

Here’s one more thing I know: There are a few things you can do that WILL create permanent changes in the negative dynamic that you’re stuck in.

Here they are:

1) INCREASE UNDERSTANDING: The more you understand WHY your child does what he or she is doing, the more patience you will have with the behaviour. Learn about developmental stages, observe your child closely, and be curious about what your child is expressing, learning or exploring with the behaviour. Formulate a clear understanding of your child’s reason for the behaviour and the pressure will instantly decrease.

2) HAVE A PLAN: Know what your triggers are, and proactively plan to avoid them. When it doesn’t work to avoid them, refer to your back-up plan for stopping yelling immediately. Your plan can be simple, or it can be more complex. Even something as simple as “Take ten deep breaths, and go into the next room for 30 seconds,” will shift your energy around the situation. 

3) KNOW YOUR FEARS: There’s a good chance that your fears are triggers for your anger at your child. If you’re afraid that your child will be like you in some aspect of your personality that has caused you pain, or if you’re afraid that you’re a bad parent unless you can somehow “get” your child to behave better, or if you’re afraid that your in-laws will criticize your parenting if your child whines, then work with those fears. Reframe them, address them, and acknowledge them in the moment. “Yes, I’m afraid that it means I’m a bad mom if my child doesn’t listen to me. I still love myself and my child, and we will get through this.” 

4) HAVE HUMOUR: When your plan isn’t working, compose a funny blog post in your head about the situation, imagine telling your friend about it, or imagine yourself in a cartoon.  Do whatever you can to get out of the emotion and into your head, so that you can THINK instead of acting on the negative feeling. (See “have a plan” for another example of getting into your head.) 

5) FOCUS ON GRATITUDE: Over and over again, come back to gratitude.  The more times in the day that you express gratitude for your child and the relationship, the easier it will be to get past your upset in the moment, and even to access that gratitude in the moment. 

6) DO A PLAY-BY-PLAY: Describe what is going on for you, out loud. “I am so mad that I want to yell and scream and throw stuff. I want to say mean things and I’M NOT GOING TO because I love you so much and because I want to live in a peaceful home! I’m having a tough time, and I want to cry and stomp and do all kinds of stuff!” 

7) IF YOU MUST YELL, CHANNEL MARTIN LUTHER KING: Share your inspiring vision with your children. “I see a family where we all speak kindly to each other and we cooperate to get things done! I see us working together, being a team, and loving each other, even when we’re driving each other a little crazy!”
8) GET IT OUT: At any point, feel free to stomp, cry, or even yell, as long as you are not directing these behaviours in an intimidating way AT your children. Expressing yourself is important, and letting off a little steam in a positive, non-coercive way will help. Yup, that’s right!  Maybe a step in not yelling AT your children is yelling, just to get those big feelings out of your body. Eventually, when you don’t stuff the feelings, you’ll become more and more comfortable expressing them, so the charge won’t build up and cause the hurtful explosion. 
Please comment and let us know your top tips for stopping yelling!  We’d love to hear.

Visionary Parenting

Again and again I am reminded of the importance of vision.  

Today I was feeling tired, after a very busy three days of back-to-school, back-to-work, back-to-routine.  I was frustrated because I hadn’t done all the things during the holiday that I thought I would do, and so I left myself too much to do this week. Again. Sigh. 

Just then, I looked over my kitchen to The Pile, on top of which I had temporarily placed my vision poster for 2013. And I instantly felt my spirits lift, my energy shift, and my heart open. I carried my vision poster with me to my office, placed it where it belongs, above my desk, and sat right down at my computer and started working.  

In the moment I saw the poster, and recognized the energy shift, I felt the power of that vision. I know where I’m going. I know why I’m here. And I know I’m moving closer, year by year, day by day, minute by minute, to the full expression of me in the world.  

I want to emphasize the importance of small steps.  This Bill Gates quote is profound:
“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year, and underestimate what they can do in ten years.” ~ Bill Gates
It reminds us that when we think we’re not going fast enough, we may actually be trucking right along in the right direction.  

In moments of overwhelm, stress, frustration, or disappointment, referring to your vision takes practice. Today, I was lucky that my poster just happened to be there.  If it hadn’t been, I might still be sitting in my kitchen, dolefully eating up the contents of my Christmas stocking. But the reminder was powerful. Next time I feel that way, my vision will be that much closer, the pattern will be that much easier to repeat.  

Each time you interrupt negative thoughts or feelings with your positive, inspiring vision, you come one step closer to establishing a thought-habit and thought-pattern.  

About to yell at kids for yelling at each other: INTERRUPT “I am a peaceful, encouraging parent!” 

About to lose it trying to get out the door without everybody having full-on meltdowns: INTERRUPT “I have a sense of humour in difficult moments!”

About to throw out all the toys not put away: INTERRUPT “I am at peace in chaos!”

See how it works?  The examples above use language, but visual imagery is also very powerful.  

About to use “that tone”: INTERRUPT Envision (and hear the voice of) a parent you know who has a calm voice no matter what happens.

About to hit your toddler: INTERRUPT Envision the teenager that toddler will become hugging you and thanking you for being a gentle, loving parent, no matter what.
I want to encourage you to take tiny steps, trust in yourself, trust in your vision, and look forward, not backward.  Your vision is achievable!!

In honour of the New Year (Here we go!! Again!! Another chance!) I’d love to offer you my “Peace of Mind Parenting Inventory” at no cost.  It will help you to discover what matters most to you in parenting, who and how you want to be with your children, and it will guide you to create a powerful parenting vision for yourself. Just reply to this email to request it, and I will send it to you with love!
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