For years I have admired the work of best-selling Parenting Author Richard Eyre. This week Richard generously shares with our readers what parenting tools he’s been working on lately, and shares about how he has made his own family life more fun, easy, meaningful and joyous.
And as a bonus for Kidorable Parenting readers, get a FREE Alexander’s Amazing Adventures story (on Honesty). Just click on this link to ValuesParenting.com.
1. You are one of the most prolific writers and in-demand speakers in the world on topics of parenting and family. What was your life-journey to reach this point?
It was an improbable journey! I was a Harvard Business School trained management consultant and author who was happy with my consulting company which worked with political campaigns as well as businesses. The part of my life I was not so satisfied with was my parenting. I was gone too much and both my wife Linda and I were extremely busy and felt like we needed a better parenting strategy. The parenting books we had were written by behavioral scientists who seemed to think of parenting as a defense rather than an offense—“if you have this problem, try this solution.” We wanted amore proactive strategy for raising responsible, resilient, successful kids. So, we wrote a book together that viewed parenting as a management challenge and to our surprise, the book became a best seller. We wrote another parenting book called Teaching Your Children Values that became the first parenting book in 50 years to hit number one on the New York Times Bestseller list and at that point I made the dramatic career shift of becoming a full-time author and speaker. Since then, for the last three decades, our whole life had been about helping parents prioritize their children and raise them to be responsible adults. Much of our work can be accessed at www.valuesparenting.com
2. What is something you wish you had more courage or imagination to do when you were younger?
Frankly, I wish I had made this career shift earlier. The kind of consulting most people need and value most is not help with their businesses or their careers, but with their families and with their children.
3. How do we protect our children in today’s world, and what can we do to give children you love the courage and imagination to seize possibilities within themselves and the world?
This is a great question. After all of our speeches and presentations to parents, we open it up to questions, and the first question is usually about how we can protect our children. There are a lot of things to protect them from in today’s world, and there are many ways of protecting; but the only answer of lasting value is to teach our kids the values that will protect them when we are not there and they are on their own. In our writing and our work with parents all over the world, we have found that there are 12 truly universal values that parents everywhere want for their children regardless of where or in what circumstances they live; and these values, when thoroughly ingested and understood by kids, not only protect them from danger and from bad choices, but also help give children the courage, imagination, character and perspective that help they seize the opportunities and possibilities that life offers them.
We have had the help of the best experts in the world in creating a program that teaches values like honesty, respect, self-reliance, and service to preschool and elementary age kids with methods that are as fun as they are effective and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to makeAlexander’s Amazing Adventures, (dramatic music and stories that teach each value vicariously to kids) available to all who are associated with Kidorable!
4. Describe something in your family life you have consciously made more fun, easy, meaningful, or joyous.
We had a real breakthrough when we realized that we didn’t have to focus on teaching all of the values to our kids all of the time. Simply focusing on ONE value each month made the whole thing work for us. By the end of the month, our kids really “got it” on that month’s value and were ready to move on to the next one. Since there are 12 values, we cycle through them each year and then start over. It is amazing how kids learn each value on a new level each year. What a five-year-old understands about honesty, for example, is very different from what a six-year-old can grasp.
5. What’s something about your current family life you wish was more fun, easy, meaningful, or joyous?
We always had a tough time with bedtime. And this was another benefit of the Alexander Stories. We just set the policy that a child who was in bed by his bedtime, having brushed his teeth, had his prayer, and with his clothes laid out for the next day, could listen to an Alexander Values story in bed.
6. What is something you treasure from your childhood that you have tried to recreate with your own children?
I think I gained some grit by having after school and summer jobs. It is very hard for kids today to have these outside the home jobs, so we have helped thousands of parents set up a “family economy” where kids have certain jobs to do every day and where allowance becomes “pay day” and is in proportion to how many of their jobs they got done. More on the family economy at valuesparenting.com.
7. What is something from your childhood you have consciously changed in raising your own children?
My childhood may have been too focused on academics. We changed that up and focused our younger preschool children on creative play and on learning of and experiencing certain kinds of joy. (see www.joyschools.com) At about age 7, our focus shifted to teaching responsibility and values.
8. What’s the best thing about being a parent?
Honestly, I think the best part is our Family Rituals and Traditions. We have family traditions for every holiday. We have dinner time rituals and Sunday traditions and we feel that they are not only the glue that holds our family together, they are the most enjoyable and lasting kind of fun.
9. Tell me about your current project, or something else you think I should know about your work.
Well I would like to mention to all of you who are associated with Kidorable (we like the clothes and the parenting principles by the way, and really appreciate your founder who we have known for many years)—anyway to all of you, we extend free access to most of the books we have written. Simply go to EyresFreeBooks.com and download them immediately. Also we have a podcast and a You Tube channel, both named “Eyres on the Road.”
10. Where could I find out more?
Easy question. Just go to www.ValuesParenting.com and click through all of our parenting programs and pick the ones that appeal to you. There is also a “contact us” button there for any questions or comments you may like to make.
In two weeks I’ll give a free Kidorable Umbrella to whoever makes my favorite comment and shares this post on the platform of their choice.