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What Sparked SPARK Parenting?

Here’s the back-story….

   My husband Kevin and I grew increasingly frustrated with typical American suburban life with two kids – packed schedules, tons of homework, chauffeuring kids in the requisite minivan, media bombardment, rampant consumerism, depressing negativity, disrespect, overindulged/entitled kids, bullying, and whining (from us and our kids). Not to mention, Kevin and I hadn’t had a date night in months, so we grew a bit cranky with the lack of couple time.

   We felt like we transitioned from a blessed life to a blurred existence somewhere around the time our two boys, Trevor (12) and Parker (9), started elementary school. We tried to keep up with the blistering pace of playdates, basketball practice, PTA meetings, fundraisers, birthday parties, Sunday school classes, Cub Scout meetings, volunteer work, camp-outs, field trips, classroom parties … oh yeah, and actually earning an income somewhere along the way. As for exercise? Hobbies? Date nights? Down time? Sporadic, at best.

   Like most families we knew, we seemed destined to spiral down the predictable path of a house divided if we didn’t snap out of our deer-in-the-headlights approach to raising our kids. Our whole family felt rushed, drained and irritable because we were so busy doing rather than being. We wanted to just scream, “ENOUGH!” and move to the backwoods of Montana to start fresh.  (Reality set in – I hate being cold, so we stayed put in Florida. Nevertheless….)

   We wanted to put the focus back on the positive aspects of parenting – doing what’s right, creating a vision, instilling values, living an authentic life—and enjoying a good laugh as we inevitably bungle our way through the process. In essence, we wanted to be more deliberate in how we raised our two kids, and we wanted to put more joy and calmness back into our lives.

   At the same time, we’re human, so we’re bound to make mistakes despite our very best intentions. We sometimes lose our temper, say mean things to each other and our kids, act disrespectfully, make excuses when we mess up, interrupt each other when we’re talking, set bad examples and a host of other improprieties that make us feel some days like we’ve failed miserably as parents . But then we realized that’s how most parents feel sometimes.

   Raising great kids in today’s warp-speed, take-no-prisoners world takes a lot of work. We realized that parenting was the hardest, yet most important, job of our lives, and this task sometimes felt mind-numbingly daunting. We didn’t want to leave it to chance that our boys would turn out OK or let them learn how not to behave by watching FOX TV’s Family Guy. We grew tired of the reactive way we handled things. We grew frustrated with the busyness of our lives. We wanted a plan. We needed to see the big picture to keep us focused on the long-term, and we needed some practical steps to keep us on track in our daily lives where it’s so easy to get off track
   Enter, SPARK Parenting, a fresh way of thinking that helped us take a step back and truly look at the big picture. We discussed values that we wanted to teach our kids, such as respect, responsibility and honesty. We decided what’s truly important to us, things like education and service.  Once we outlined the big picture, we started taking action to make it a reality rather than let it languish as wishful thinking. Slowly, we started making changes that better reflected what we wanted for our family. From pulling back on volunteer commitments to limiting after-school activities to even homeschooling our kids for a few years, we began living a more authentic life in tune with our values and priorities. We’re still on this journey, because it’s a daily challenge to stay on track. And we still screw up, because (don’t tell our kids), we’re imperfect.

   So, now it’s your turn. If you’re ready to …

  • Say no to a reactive rush through life and yes to a purposeful journey
  • Say no to hyper-parenting and yes to joyful parenting
  • Say no to perfection and yes to improvement
  • Say no to hindsight and yes to foresight
  • Say no to feeling frazzled and yes to feeling peaceful

… then you’re ready to embrace SPARK Parenting — the Smart, Purposeful
pproach to Raising Kids.

   We invite you to explore SPARK Parenting to begin your own journey toward a more meaningful, slower-paced, purpose-filled family life.


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