This is a question that is often asked of me... a lot. Easy...
When you bring your new baby into the world, you are bombarded with "how-to's" and "help guides", support groups, play dates, manuals, classes, videos, blogs, books, cd's, and entire television shows on how to care for your new little infant. If you're a new parent or a repeat offender, the world has you covered to make sure you know what to do with your adorable new family addition.
But as your infant starts to grow and become a little human, your support groups begin to dwindle a little. Your advice columns that you checked faithfully everyday no longer apply to your family situation. And yet, the babies just keep on growing.
Soon, they reach the double digits in chronological maturity and you find you are all alone in the parenting community!! There is no support group, a smattering of blogs, books and videos and no television shows (except the ones showing how the teens are needing new baby help!). A parent can feel awfully alone as their once logical, emotionally stable child goes through these horrifying changes.
It seems that overnight, the baby that they have loved and cared for has become unrecognizable, sleep deprived, mouthy, emotional, secretive, and no longer seeks the advice or friendship with their parent. Suddenly, the parent is on the outside looking in not knowing how to handle these changes. And just as suddenly, the child is on the inside, looking out not knowing why these changes are happening but are certain that no one else could possibly understand.
I saw a gaping hole in the parental/family teaching world and I decided to fill the need. I became a life coach specializing in teens first, then family dynamics and then relationships. There just didn't seem to be much help for families as their children grew into young adults.
When I was a teen, I felt lost. And I made sure my mom was just as miserable as I was. While I know my family loved me and did the best they could with the knowledge we had, they didn't think to teach me the skills of living a successful life, much less what to do with all these surging hormones and changes going on in my brain and body. No one really thinks to do that. Society believes that when a child graduates from high school, they just... know. We turn them out into the world and just expect them to be successful.
Science has now proven that teens go through as big of a "growth spurt" as far as change and learning, during their teen years as they did in the first eighteen months of life! That's huge!! Remember how quickly your newborn learned and changed and grew almost right before your eyes!! Your teens are doing a second round of growing and that is why they are so foreign to you. Information overload!
I am here to support the teens and help them get through this trying season of their life without going too far to any extreme. I don't doctor them or analyze them, I just respect them and help them work through all the stuff in their life. I work with the other family members as well, trying to keep that cohesion which is so important but so very fragile during this growth spurt. I help them make choices and work through this new growth without hurting themselves or others! Lol. I love being a teen-life coach! But there was more...
So I came up with the Total Truth Workshop. A lot of common denominators were coming up in my sessions with teens and so in order to reach several teens at once and focus on some of the core materials and have fun with it, Total Truth Workshop was born!
The Total Truth Workshop is an intensive, interactive weekend that I created to present a small group of teens with the basics of getting through this time in their life and planning for their futures, no matter what they might be. I've made it fun and engaging so they will lock it into their memories and be able to access it for years and years to come. Anytime we can connect an emotion or involve our peers in an exciting way, the information is more likely to stay with them. The Total Truth Workshop is an entire weekend of just that. The teens have so much fun! They meet like-minded people that will inspire and encourage them. They learn valuable life transforming information and skills. Plus they (and I) have a great time doing it!
Speaking totally selfishly, this gives me my teen fix, and it gives me the opportunity to travel! I'll take the TTW to cities all over the United States one weekend at a time. It's a win-win! The workshop can be so beneficial to teens and their families. I have created this in such a way that they get the most information, in the shortest amount of time and still have access to me in case they get "stuck".
There is also a class that follows the workshop for the parents, so they can get an inside look into what was taught and how they can best help their teen get the most from the weekend.
I love working with teens! They have SO much to offer! They are bright, intelligent, creative, funny and coming into their "own". I think because they are caught in that battle of finding out who they want to be that many people get turned off, because while in that battle, comes a lot of attitude, anger, secrecy and rolling of the eyes.
And while their parents are totally thrown off guard at the changes taking place in their "babies", I have the opportunity to be welcomed in as an odd outsider that is still an adult but is still welcomed and usually even respected! And for parents, hopefully, I fill that need for support and encouragement and information, helping them raise their teens without killing them. :)
The Total Truth Workshop embraces and celebrates this valuable time in their life as well as gives them some basic guidelines and tools to help them make the best choices for their present life and their future. My workshop can't fix everything, but it does give them a leg up if they apply the principles.
These are the tools that they will not learn in any school. These are life skills. These are practices that I came up with from learning from my own mistakes and studying how to by-pass the pot holes in the "road of life". I don't pretend to know everything. I am still learning everyday. I do not have letters behind my name, and do not claim to be smarter than the rest of the "experts". But I can promise you that my study has been focused on these issues and this age group for many years. And while the information that I present to you isn't new, I have become an expert in creating memorable learning experiences so when the information that is being presented to your child would be considered boring and forgettable if just read in a book, will be retained, enjoyed and most likely executed because of the unique way I offer it up to them.
I had no idea the culmination of my creating summer camps, homeschool classes, coaching and writing would come to this, the Total Truth Workshop, but I love how all of my loves have joined together for this one special purpose.
Why on earth would I want to work with teens? Because I believe it was my calling, my specialty, my area of expertise. This is my arena. We can't ALL be baby experts! Lol!
I love working with teens.
I love teaching. And now, I can do both and change the lives of teens all over the world.
I can meet and bond with families.
I can see all of the beauty the United States of America has to offer.
And I can write at all the intervals in between!
How perfect for me!
If this is the last thing I do... travel from state to state and city to city working with teens the rest of my life... I couldn't be happier.
I had something completely different planned for my blog today, all nice and neat and written out, but I was side-tracked. So please bare with me. I just have to get this out there...
I am participating in a marketing program that is taking my web-site, my blogs, my writings and the things that I offer and scrutinizing them to find my strongest areas and creating the best ways monetize them. This is so very overwhelming. First of all, yes, I do want writing and training to be a career for me. So, I need to change my way of thinking that I can't just write whenever and whatever I want. It has to shift into more of a business mind-set. When they asked where my heart was; what my passions and personal goals were, I told them MY personal goal is to be able to offer fun and interactive workshops for teens. I want to be able to travel from city to city and give them this amazing opportunity to become the best part of themselves and face their future with confidence. I've called it the Total Truth Workshop. I am really proud of it but have not put it into action as yet. (I was waiting until this marketing team gives me feedback, I guess.)
I enjoy all the aspects of my writing "career", but they, the marketing team, have a point, and it is that I am spreading myself too thin. Try as I might, I cannot be all things to all people. I was told to choose. UGH! The agony!! I want to help EVERYONE!!! Why can't I help everyone??
With my history and my happiness, I return, always, to teens. My work in coaching leads me in that direction as well. I enjoy working with families and I do well with relational coaching and seminars. I have been working with kids for over twenty-five years! Whoa! That's saying something!
That time in their life is such a struggle and it seems like we are in a weird "pretending it's not happening" to "micro-managing" to "it's someone else's fault" way of dealing with things. These kids on the verge of adulthood are amazing but no one gives them the credit or the directions they need to make that transition!! I want to help them get everything they want out of life. I want their teenage years to be happy memories. I want them to have the confidence to go after whatever their heart desires regardless of where they came from. There is no other program out there that is offering what I do. It's fun, it's interactive and it's a life-time of support and new friendships. I am excited to get it out there.
Back to the marketing people...
Teens don't pay for my kind of programs. That's where the parents come in. So they suggest that I work on things for parents and then lead the parents into the Total Truth Workshop.
I can do that. I would enjoy doing that... but...
At the moment, I am feeling so overwhelmed and pulled in several directions. I have my fiction followers, my motivational followers, my relationship followers, my Christian followers, my fitness followers and (deep breath).... I don't want to disappoint a single one of them. I do however need to eat. So I am trying to "chunk down my niche." Not sure how I'm going to do this and for just a moment, I wasn't going to do it at all. I was just going to keep on doing what I've always been doing for as long as I could do it... but then...
I went to a couple of the teen support group pages I regularly comment on, and was so overwhelmed by the sadness that was coming from the posts. So much sadness and confusion. They have no foundation within themselves to turn to for strength when times get hard. I help provide that. I can help them. My workshops for teens are created for them. My seminars for families can help heal them. This is where I need to be.
So, it is decided. I will start shifting things in that direction. Teens and family will become my main focus. I do have some projects that are currently in the works that I will complete but I need to narrow my focus to where my heart is needed most and I feel that I am called. So hang with me as this slow shift happens. The exciting thing is that I still get to do all the things that make me happy, write, travel, speak, create, motivate, help others, I'm just narrowing down my target audience even more than before.
So- if you are part of a family (and there's a good chance that you are) and you need to communicate with others, (my area of expertise) then chances are you still might be able to find some value here on my site.
No! No! No! You've got to stop me!! Don't let me try to go back to writing for everyone!! Lol!! I need you to help keep me focused!! I'm so weak!!
Thank you for letting me go off track and vent just a little... I will get things back on track soon! Please, feel free to leave your comments below. I love to hear from you!
It's back to school season and this time of year always makes me a little melancholy as another summer quietly comes to an end.
I am "momma" to about 15-20 young adults not including the ones that I paid taxes on, and this time of year when I send them back off to school or watch them take on the next level of adulthood or (worse!) stop to look at how much they have all grown, it is a moment that is bittersweet. Some have been a part of my life since my kids were small, others have only joined the family, but seem to fall right into place and still others take a side road for only a few visits and are gone again, but have still known the love of this momma and unique collection of family.
I am so proud at how far they have come in their lives and when I say that I love them all, I truly and honestly feel down to my very heart their accomplishments and their sorrows. My little house is empty now and has been for a couple years, but this time of year always brings back that initial... sadness.
And when they do come back in increments of a few or a whole party and they speak their foreign languages of Magic, Xbox, Robot Chicken and other nerd-isms, it fills my heart with so much joy. I don't care that they keep me up all night long with their talking and laughing, singing and wrestling, I just love that they are there. Nothing makes me happier than when I wake up and see my living room sprawling with bodies that slept where they fell. I am honored that they still find happiness coming to my home and doing their thing. They could easily go any where else, but that they choose to come to Momma's house, makes me extremely happy.
As they grow and don't heed the council of Momma, it makes me so sad to hear of some of the choices that they make. We all have to have our turn to find out which ways are right and which ways are wrong and let me tell you how I was a person who was going to do what I wanted regardless of all the warnings. And now I find myself in my elders shoes. I want to protect them and guard them so that they never know sadness or fear, prejudices ... or cancer.... But then I have to remind myself that my greatest challenges turned into my greatest lessons.
I am who I am today because of, or in spite of the mistakes I made. My heart has been broken, I have been so poor I had to live on popcorn and Pepsi, I have been lost in darkness and found my way back to the light. I am not perfect- I should be- but I still make mistakes. And my kids need to be "allowed" do it too. And now, knowing what I do, I have to let them. I am here if they ever want to talk or need advice or a meal or a bed to sleep in, but I have to let them grow.
So, as you send your "babies" off to school, and you can feel them slowly slipping from your grasp, know that this is the way things are supposed to be. They are only ours for a moment. And in that moment, we do the best we can to teach them and love them and give them a strong foundation to stand on. So when they are ready to take that leap, they do so knowing that no matter how warm and cozy and safe that nest is, they were born to fly. And we, have to let them go.
This is essentially a script to offer you (and me) comfort. Take comfort in the fact that because of that strong foundation and love and coziness, they will be back and cleaning out your refrigerator in no time!