Remember when I used to blog regularly?
Yeah. That was fun.
Things are changing in the social media intertubes, and my online writing habits are also shifting… plus I’m noodling about a new website and how to merge what happens here with my coaching website. In the meantime, I still love bringing links to you. So… onward. And make sure to catch the special invitation at the end!
A colleague recently linked to this list of guidelines for email, to make messages leaner and more helpful. I found them intriguing. What do you think? There are 10 in all; here are the first three:
An excellent philosophical defense of spoilers. As someone whose enjoyment of a movie isn’t ruined (and may even be enhanced) by knowing what happens, I appreciate this greatly. Jenna Wortham, by the way, is half of the podcast Still Processing, which is my new favorite. So flipping smart.
Every person has to come to terms with — even if just to themselves — the gap between what they believe and how they live their lives. If you happen to be a parent, though, the gap can feel particularly wide and meaningful, the explanation even more garbled and urgent. Ultimately, you’re not just answering to your own conscience, but to your children. They will want to know, they might already want to know, why you did what you did. Why send them to this school? Why make the sometimes Herculean effort to get them into clean clothes and in these particular pews on a Sunday morning? Why live in this neighborhood? Why befriend these people and not those? Why care so deeply about certain rules and let other things go? Kids ultimately care, not just about how you shape them, but how your shaping of them shapes the world.
Thank you to my friend Alex Hendrickson for posting this article recently. Some good reflection and conversation followed.
Speaking of children…
Instead of trusting kids with choices — small at first, but bigger as adolescence progresses — many parents insist on micromanaging everything from homework to friendships. For these parents, Stixrud and Johnson have a simple message:
Stop. Instead of thinking of yourself as your child’s boss or manager, try consultant.
On a personal note, I have found that getting trained as a coach has changed how I parent. The premise of coaching is that clients are “creative, resourceful and whole.” Aren’t our children as well? Yes, there is knowledge we have that they don’t, and it would be cruel not to share that. But “listening them into a path forward,” which is my friend LeAnn’s definition of coaching, seems like a good goal for parenting as well.
I love this approach to figuring out which children are being excluded and may need extra TLC.
When I was growing up, I didn’t chafe at the shallow, exploitative representations of my gender that I saw on screen; I took notes. I added item after item to my mental lists of how to be a woman and the things I should yearn for and tolerate from men.
From makeover shows, I learned that I was ugly. From romantic comedies, I learned that stalking means he loves you and persistence means he earned you — and also that I was ugly. From Disney movies, I learned that if I made my waist small enough (maybe with the help of a witch), a man or large hog-bear might marry me, and that’s where my story would end. “The Smurfs” taught me that boys can have distinct personalities, like being smart or grumpy, and girls can have only one (that personality is “high heels”). From “The Breakfast Club,” I learned that rage and degradation are the selling points of an alluring bad boy, not the red flags of an abuser. From pretty much all media, I learned that complicated women are “crazy” and complicated men are geniuses.
…We need new work that actively challenges and counterbalances old assumptions, that offers radical models for how to conceive of ourselves and how to treat each other. We need artists and studios fighting for diverse work made by diverse creators for diverse audiences because it’s the right thing to do, not just because “Black Panther” is hurtling toward a possible billion-dollar worldwide box-office take.
A simple act of kindness from strangers. Fight back with beauty!
Michael McGregor, professor of creative writing and frequent writing coach at the Collegeville Institute, recently compiled a list of upcoming books by students and coachees. I’m touched that he included God, Improv, and the Art of Living, which is available for pre-order. Some cool-looking books here!
10. And on that note…
I am putting together my street team for the launch of the book, and am looking for people who are willing to:
- receive an advance copy
- write an honest review of the book on Amazon as close to the May 8 drop date as possible
- talk it up on social media
- and generally share enthusiasm about the book.
Is that you? If so, contact me at the contact link here at my website, and I’ll get you set up. Thank you!