Implications of Intrinsic Motivation for Educators: Daniel Pink Part III

Two weeks ago,  I had the privilege to hear Daniel Pink speak about his new book Drive, which is all about what really influences human behavior.   It’s always interesting to hear what various people pick up from listening to a presentation.   My values and life prism filtered the info through the meaning that the surprising results of the research held for educators and the kids served in our schools.

motivationPink made a point of communicating that, “Yes, people still work for money.  They should be compensated for what they’re worth.”  Receiving bonuses for a job well done, doesn’t necessarily rev up the DRIVE to be better employees. Perhaps we should think about the bonuses given to CEO’s in our banks and corporations. (Sorry, that’s not the point of the article, but I couldn’t resist).

Surprisingly, money is not the top incentive for a high level of production at work.  According to Pink enjoyment of work is based on “Intrinsic Motivation“.   People tend to work harder on projects, in which they have freedom to work on their own and create a project related to their job.  They’ll stay with the task and persevere for hours, when given the opportunity for autonomy.

Pink described autonomy as self-directed and not controlled management.   People could be paid very well, but that doesn’t necessarily lead to joy at work unless they are free to engage in their own project management.  As a teacher,  I couldn’t help thinking that I would have been much more effective in the classroom, if I worked with some principals, who weren’t into micro-management.   We’re losing great teachers in our country and people want to blame it on low pay and discipline problems.  However, there is the factor of autonomy that isn’t figured into the equation of teacher retention.   I know some extremely bright highly creative teachers, who have transferred to lower paying positions in private schools, due to the “shackles on” atmosphere produced by NCLB.   They had a passion for teaching and realized that teaching in public schools was literally destroying their love of education.   Taking a substantial cut in pay in a private school with minimal turnover supports the research about the need for workers to have a sense of autonomy.

The 2nd feature of  “Intrinsic Motivation” is mastery.   Mastery means far more than memorizing facts and passing a test.  While grades do motivate students,  I saw first hand how working on a project led to far greater comprehension of the facts about history then memorizing dates.  When 6th graders, who study ancient civilizations, had to portray a noted figure from a ancient civilization—-Guess what????    They remembered a great deal of information about their assigned character, as they did research on how that person’s life impacted civilization.   Getting it right was hugh for these 6th graders.   In my opinion, the motivation to play the character  made a difference of the amount of information they learned, and better yet the knowledge stayed with them, as they had to process it and create a character portrait of a historical figure.     They had a great time and loved learning when given the opportunity.   As I listened to Pink, I found myself asking, “What is our goal in education?”If the goal of education is learning, then why not provide the opportunity for inspired action rather than teaching to pass tests.

girl_deskPink explained that the  last descriptor of “Intrinsic Motivation” has to do with purpose.   Service learning offers students an opportunity to learn based on the academic skills used for raising funds to help non-profits and the research they have to play a part in to gather the information to help the charity.  With regards to teachers, their passion for children and love of learning inspired them to take many hours of education classes and even gain a Master’s Degree, because they saw teaching as an avocation.  They walked in knowing that they were settling to make less money than other career choices would have provides.  Again, as time and laws have shifted the role of teaching,  I found many of the new teachers in my University classes were ready to quit.  They didn’t go into teaching to sit in meetings all day, as most special education teachers do.   With a goal to unlock the minds of students with hidden disabilities, there appeared to be a serious difference in their purpose for pursuing the profession and the reality of what the field of special education teaching was all about.

The subject of purpose doesn’t just apply to the teaching profession.   All humans seem to have a hugh drive to make a difference and to do something meaningful.   Even in the business world, corporate workers want to make a difference.  Maybe someone is working for an accounting firm, but they want to ease the burdens of those going through a tax crisis.  Zappos.com is a company that sales online shoes and they train their employees to solve customer problems.    According to Pink, this is not a waste of human resources; it actually motivates them to work harder.   By coming up with creative solutions to make callers with complaints happier, the company actually generates a nice profit.

I realize that I shared about this topic of Intrinsic Motivation with a definite slant toward education.  Obviously, Pink’s talk was directed toward the interests of a general audience.  However,  I believe that it is possible to teach students in a way that reflects a knowledge and implementation of the research related to Intrinsic Motivation.

I’ve seen private schools, who got “Intrinsic Motivation“.  Students in these schools were inspired to learn for the autonomy, mastery and purpose that describes the keys to intrinsic motivation.   The teachers took a cut in pay, because their spirits were fueled when they came into their classroom to teach in their own way to reach the students.

The private school, that I refer to, is Kirk O’ the Valley Elementary School in Reseda, CA.   Their test scores are high and the students still learn the state standards.  The school is a non-profit serving children from diverse cultures.   Yet, most students receive very high test scores and truly enjoy school and learning.    Teachers adopt the same programs for teaching reading, writing math and social studies.  Yet, they have the academic freedom to teach these subjects in the way they feel will motivate students to delight in learning.   This school really works, as the turn-over is minimal and many parents stay at the school to be part of the staff.

Schedule a visit, if you’d like to see a model of Intrinsic Motivation in Education.   Kudos to all their teaching staff, administration and families.  Thanks for taking the time and long hours to show that this model of teaching and learning truly is effective.

I’d love to know your thoughts on this subject.   How can be help make a shift in our schools to focus more on learning based on Intrinsic Motivation rather than learning to pass achievement tests and benchmark tests?????

Thanks for your comments.

Mary Ann


Intrinsic Motivation is a Theme of the Future: Daniel Pink Part II

cali-freeway-01It’s my pleasure to share more of the information from Daniel Pink’s lecture on Pink from his lecture in Dallas on Friday night. This is the 2nd part of highlights from his presentation, which captivated all of us.   This fresh insight puts myths about motivation where they belong:  In the Past  (IMHO)

If you’ve ever driven on CA freeways, it is no surprise that punishment is not a huge motivator for human behavior.  Yes, we pay tickets for talking on our phones, speeding, etc.,   Yet, after renting a car at LAX, I continue to see the same  motivation to “Drive”, which  is fueled by the need to get to wherever you’re going in the most creative way possible.

Even a nice letter from the CA Department of Motor Vehicles for being an incredible driver doesn’t make a difference.   To be honest receiving a  “Dear Ms. Lowry, Thank you for respecting our traffic laws while you were visiting our Golden State” probably wouldn’t motivate me to model exemplary driving either.   People are busy and stressed and want to do whatever it takes to save time to be with family/friends/ clients or whoever and whatever in the most creative innovative ways possible.

I was a resident and know several escape routes to avoid traffic.  My motivation was all about my need to accomplish my own preset goals…unless I needed to make a pit stop, which is obviously a biological motivator.  :-)  Getting to Santa Monica to meet friends for dinner is pure intrinsic social motivation for people like me. It’s all about the friends and not the salad, which would be biological.  I did and will continue to find a way to get there to enjoy a hang out night with friends and defy the odds of arriving an hour late via the freeways.

My comments are based on the lecture presented by Daniel Pink in relation to his new book, Drive.    After recycling his words in my mind through my experiences as a parent and educator, it was truly fascinating to hear about three findings based on studies.  You may find these results surprising.   As the cover of his book states, these conclusions support the “The Surprising Truth of What Motivates Us”-Intrinsic Motivation……Findings from the studies were as follows:

When students from MIT in  Cambridge, MA were asked to do tasks involving rudimentary (boring) cognitive skills, it seems that the performance was poorer even when higher reward incentives were offered.  The same findings were also found when the same study was repeated in India.  In India, where the quality of life is really lacking, it appears that higher incentives actually led to poorer performance.  “Creative Thinking was valued higher than rewards”.   Hmm…my “teacher wired mind” did an Daniel-Pink-Drive-768817exorcist spin on that note.
In regards to a study regarding art…commissioned work was rated as less creative as non-commissioned work.   Some artists make huge big bucks for their commissioned work.   Yet,  when expectations and explicit instructions were taken away artists seemed to be more creative.
Note to self and all educators:   (Do I really need to give detailed rubrics for each assignment to motivate my graduate students to produce great work?   Again, I think that I may have wasted my time by designing model detailed rubrics.) Rubrics offer a way for students to compare their work with the expectations for making a good grade on an assignment.      I agree they need to learn the basics, but is there room for freedom to learn to think as students learn?
Interviews of students, who attended an art and design school, determined that those, who chose to attend for external factors (pressure from family, need to do something, need to earn money eventually, etc.) ended up quitting.   However, students, who really wanted to be there (intrinsic motivator) usually finished the program and were successful artists.   The bottom line according to Pink was that “Those, who are least likely to pursue extrinsic rewards usually receive them.”

These findings defy what we’ve been led to believe about human behavior.  I’ve taught the course on behavior management for three different Universities in the Dept. of Education.   I’m truly humbled by this information and certainly want to rewind the tape.

Yes, external rewards do work.   However, they aren’t the chief motivator for human behavior.   Every course I taught had an objective (determined by the powers that be) related to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.   Survival and safety are on the low rungs of our basic needs, so we know why “carrots and sticks” seem like a good idea.   However, pitching “Jolly Ranchers” to students to encourage them to participate in class discussions really short changed the students.   Mia culpa to the 3rd power!

The results are in folk and Dan Pink put the pieces together to defy the myth that rewards and punishment are the key to human motivation.    Think about your own internal drive.   Based on what fuels your passion do you believe that humans were meant to be active and engaged and not passive.    This is certainly true for my life.  How about your life?

I would appreciate your feedback on Intrinsic Motivation as it relates to business or education.   Why do so many people want to “Escape from Cubicle Nation?”   Why do entrepreneurs stayed fueled to hang in there even when the money isn’t coming in faster than we can deposit it?   Does this new information on motivation translate to a different way to raise our children?

As always, I love your comments.

Mary Ann


What Drives Human Behavior? Daniel Pink Part One

On intrinsicmotFriday night, January 22nd, I had the chance to hear Daniel Pink speak about the principles he shared in his new book, Drive.       He began the evening by directly illustrating what motivates us.    I listened through the prism of my roles as an educator and a coach.

As you already know, we are all motivated by a biological drive.   He illustrated this by offering a sack dinner to anyone in the audience, who hadn’t eaten.   As you guessed, he found someone, who eagerly took him up on his offer.   A young man bolted to the stage to show that the biological need to eat and drink was definitely enough to get him out of his seat.   Sex was also mentioned as a biological motivator with giggles from the audience validating Pink’s statement.

In order to illustrate another motive that “Drives” human behavior, Pink offered a woman $10.00 to parade around the stage and hold the book for 1 minute.  While the lady in the front row hesitated, another Texas lady decided that she wanted that $10.00 reward.   She stood on the stage in front of an audience of strangers proudly holding the book Drive, so everyone could see the beautiful front cover for one minute. Obviously, this certainly showed how “rewards and punishment” is a 2nd motive for human behavior.  A reward of $10 didn’t ring one gal’s chimes, but another woman was happy to get the money.  If she hadn’t come forward,  as a coach looking for extra cashDaniel-Pink-Drive-768817 to invest in my business,  I admit that I might have eventually jumped at the offer.   While teens will do anything to avoid embarrassment, my 18 year old niece had that look in her eye that money might have trumped the concern about embarrassment.

Obviously, Dan Pink didn’t come to tell us what we already knew.  The surprise in the book, which was the focus of his lecture, was the fact that Intrinsic (Inner Motivation) is the primary form of human motivation.   As a teacher, I thought about all the money I spent on stickers, candy :-(, and monthly videos to inspire kids to write.   Yes, they wrote, but my greatest success with my middle school students was when I arranged for students to write about accidents at an amusement park.

Given that people work harder and produce better work when they’re curious, engaged and connected in relationship, I understand why this assignment hit a nerve with my students. They worked in teams and were clearly curious about why the local parks didn’t  mention anything about their accident ratings on their website.   When I asked them to determine   “Why?”, they were motivated to find the answers on their own.   These are students, who had diagnoses of attention deficit disorder and learning disabilities.    The content of their reports was some of the best work any of my special education classes produced.

I’d love to hear your comments regarding intrinsic motivation.   What are the implications for the classroom?

Your ideas are always welcome… :-)
Mary Ann


About Motivation and Health

Later today, I’m going to post a series of blog posts regarding Daniel Pink’s new book, Drive. His book is a wake up call about what really motivates us.   Intrinsic motivation is the real “driving force” behind human motivation.

In case, you hadn’t connected the dots, I’ll confess that it’s ironic to write blogs on the topic of Motivation when I have been AWOL from my blog for a few weeks.   I love writing my own blog and connecting with you.   You have some super ideas and your comments and private e-mails stimulate my thinking.    My readers are some of my best teachers.

When my doctor told me to rest, I took the advice to heart and gave my body a chance to heal from some ongoing physical stuff.  While intrinsic motivation is strong, biological motivation certainly is a factor.   I’ve already  learned one lesson about losing my healthexhausted.   I decided that I didn’t need a repeat lesson, so I hibernated after our book “Changes of the Heart” was launched.

If you don’t have your healthy, it’s more of a challenge to stay in the game.   I’m a huge believer in listening to my body.   The exhaustion signaled a need for sleep and I let it happen.

You all are so faithful in reading my content and communicating with me that I feel connected and want to give you the scoop whenever I stop writing for awhile.   I’m up and running again,  since my medical hibernation has ended.   My body always wins and I encourage you to adopt the same practice.  We need you and your gifts.   Word to the wise: think about the cost of giving your energy away to fight your health battles.   Your body is ready to serve you, if you’ll just let it have a voice.   :-)

Stay Well,

Mary Ann

P.S.  “Changes of the Heart” makes a great Valentines gift.   Go to www.changesoftheheart.com to see what I mean.


Dreams Do Come True!!!! Tales of Published Authors!!!

Changes of the Heart Front Cover

Changes of the Heart Front Cover

Greetings Blog Readers!!!!

I admit that I’ve been Missing In Action,  AGAIN!!  Sorry About That!

I’ve been busy writing and doing all the prep work to launch a book that I had the opportunity to co-write with 12 other Martha Beck Coaches.

It started with a conversation between 13 women through a coaches’ forum.   As we compared notes, it seemed that most of us had been courted to write a chapter for various publishers of “self improvement” genre.

Someone mentioned that it was too bad that we couldn’t write our own book.    Suddenly, fingertips behind computers throughout America and Canada started typing away asking, “Why Can’t We?”

Everything in life has a starting point.   Books don’t just happen.   The author gets an idea and is inspired to action.   This time several authors’ collective brains started making all kinds of neural connections.     A vision was planted in the minds of coaches, who totally believe in the power of faith and/or “the law of attraction”.

When Anna Paradox, our editor, shared that we absolutely could co-write a book, the dream or the “Wildly Improbable Goal” (WIG),   was launched in our minds.

Thirteen Martha Beck Coaches responded to the challenge by claiming “I’M IN!”   Although there is no non-verbal in e-mail and that can get all of us in trouble, according to Daniel Goleman, the excitement was contagious.

Inspired by the enthusiasm of the other coaches, we all committed to the process of contributing a chapter.    From the beginning,  many of us felt in our hearts the incredible high that usually comes after the success of a project.   Martha Beck, our mentor,  continues to promote the truth that the “Feelings Come before the Circumstances and the Circumstances Don’t Create the Feeling”.  With this mantra in mind,  we had a winner before one word had been typed.

If you’ve read Steering by Starlight by Martha Beck, you’ll remember how she invites her readers to watch the magic happen when we see the big picture of our life through the vision of the “Stargazer”.   Like the magic described in the book, I saw all kinds of signs and experienced synchronicity over and over again through the process of seeing our ideas take form and become a tangible book.

As I opened my e-mail one night, the music through the radio started playing “We Are the Champions!”.  Ironically,  the e-mail was from Anna Paradox letting all of us know that our book was now on www.Amazon.com!   The timing of the song with my sensation of feeling like the book was a “winner” before one word was written is just one example of receiving a “high five” to the soul.

After I received my actual copy of the book, I took a copy into a boutique to show the owner.   She agreed to sell the book locally and decided to purchase copies of the book  for herself and family.    This is just another example of the magnetic attraction that Changes of the Heart seems to generate.   I owe a great deal of gratitude to Rey Rios, who generously donated his time to design this “winning” cover.  Thanks to Martha Beck for writing the most incredible foreword.   Reading any words that come out of Martha’s mind are incredibly rewarding!!!   When people see the book, they seem to feel a genuine invitation to read it.

I know the book will be a winner, because it’s going to touch tons of lives for the best.   I hope your life will be enriched by one or more of the chapters in the book.    The book covers topics that address life challenges-some mild and some really tough tough times.    Amy Johnson, one of the co-authors, described it as a “bedside life coach”.    In Changes of the Heart: Martha Beck Life Coaches Share Strategies for Facing Life Challenges: parenting, money woes, work issues, grief, self-acceptance, health crisis, transformation, losing weight and learning about life from savoring the experience of motorcycle riding, etc.

My part of the book is just one slice of the pie.   I’ve thoroughly enjoyed sampling the whole pie with my eyes, as I’ve read the chapters submitted by my colleagues, friends and co-authors.    Karen, Alina, Holly, Dee, Amy, Polly, Anna, Jo, Erin, Ned, Valerie, and Roma, you all wrote words of hope, encouragement and offered a way out of lives that aren’t working.   Thanks so much for your dedication to settle for nothing less than mega excellence.

Join us at our launch party from the comfort of your home by visiting www.changesoftheheart.com on December 1st and 2nd and to receive all the free stuff from e-books to mp3 downloads to teleclasses, etc.    contributed by the authors and Martha Beck Certified Coaches and friends.


Mary Ann


Thanksgiving…Celebrate the Scale Going Up????


I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!   Hope you enjoyed time with family and a bit of a break via the long week-end!

My scale didn’t go in the right direction, so I’m back on the “body compass” eating mode.   I have a way of ignoring my body’s hunger signals when there is a lot to eat.   I know that sounds like a bit of a complaint.   Well, maybe I would like a little pity.

Do you ever wish that you could just eat all of you want and not have the number on the scale go south or stay the same???

I use to wish the same thing.   However,  I’m starting to REFLECT on everything these days…Kudos to Dr. Daniel Siegel!!!

One of the reasons that we should celebrate when the numbers on the scale go up is due to the fact that it means that “Your Body Compass is Working!”   I’ve spent the year learning how to listen to my body, as I’ve battled the bulge.  Thirty pounds and about a year later,   after hours of coaching and self coaching,   I now realize that my body is better than any diet program.

Your body is the same way.   By being mindful regarding your body’s hunger signals, you have an automatic system in place to keep the weight in check.  I try to stay at a hunger range between (-2 to +2).   When I note the slight pangs of hunger, I eat slowly and note when my body registers satisfied. For more information on this system of eating, check out Brooke Castillo’s web site:


Brooke was the brilliant life coach, who discovered that our body gives us the “Stop and Go” signals, helping us to determine when we are truly satified and truly hungry.

I began celebrating Thanksgiving week  early in the week.  I enjoyed the food so much and was not in a great place emotionally.  That is not a great combination for me.   I began to eat when my body signaled and then screamed “STOP NOW”.    You can probably guess what happened, if you’ve ever been prone to emotional eating.    My body was “Stuffed”;  just as stuffed as the chef’s best gourmet turkey.

Man I'm Stuffed!

The problem is that I wasn’t meant to be a turkey…..and by the way…a stuff turkey has left this earth.   I’m not ready for that yet.

My body is so programmed to pay attention to the signals to tell me to STOP, so I paid dearly for my deliberate plan to go ignore my body.

Yes, I did pay dearly with my weight gain.  However, that’s not the main thing.  The main thing is that eating beyond when my body registers “Stuffed” shows that the body compass hunger scale is priceless.   I never leave home without it.   :-)   It literally felt so physically awful to eat that way after a year of mindful eating that I realized how much I had abused my body in the past.

The scale verified the fact that I stuffed myself, +5 pounds worth.    I’m eating via the “hunger scale” again rather than via emotional eating.   My body compass hunger scale is very effective and I have the tangible proof from the scale to prove it.

There is a wonderful question that I ask my clients, when they’re going through a life challenge or a truly turbulent time.

“How is That PERFECT?”    It’s one of Martha Beck’s favorite coaching questions.

I think I answered what was perfect about gaining weight via this blog post.

Now…go enjoy the holiday season ……without leaving your body hunger compass at home.

Happy Thanksgiving Week-End!

Mary Ann

P.S.  Thanks to Bridgette Boudrea, Erin Postle and Tonya Williams for being awesome Weight Loss Coaches!!!


Freedom from Discipline Worries…Class To Empower Parents

Are you wondering if you’ll ever have your life back again?mother driving kids

Does the thought of taking your child out in public seem overwhelming?

Is discipline a much tougher gig than you imagined?

Are you worried about regaining your authority as a parent?

Is homework time a huge energy drain?

If any of these statements apply to you,  register for my parenting class  “Becoming Your Child’s Life Coach”

Based on my professional knowledge as a special educator and my experience raising my two sons,   I’ve put together a class to teach parents how to parent with “Mindsight”…..really having insight into your own mind and understanding your children’s emotions, behaviors and words.

Discipline doesn’t have to be so tough.  It is absolutely possible to raise awesome children while honoring their unique talents and skills.

Go to my website and register for “Guiding Your Children to Their Own North Star” filled with tools adapted from Martha Beck’s work and designed for children.

The class will be recorded, so you may take it live or….   listen to the downloads and the recordings.    happy-children

The live class begins on Tuesday, October 20th at 11:00 a.m. PDT and repeated at 6:00 p.m. PDT

However, you may register anytime between now and November 30th.

Register at www.createanewseason.com

or e-mail me with your questions:  maryannlowry@mac.com

The six session class is only $99 and includes two complimentary personal coaching sessions.

I’d love to connect with any of my blog readers.

This class is designed to be very “user friendly” for parents, but it’s based on the latest research from neuroscience, positive psychology and interpersonal neurobiology.   Class will incorporate some of Dr. Dan Siegel’s insights on parenting taken from

“Parenting from the Inside Out”


Mary Ann


Reflections from a Boomer About Balloon Boy

Two weeks ago,  I had the privilege of listening to Dr. Daniel Siegel talk about “Mindsight”.    He stressed the need for all of us to make “reflection” part of our daily practice.   I’ve definitely put that into practice and have found myself analyzing anything and everything.

“Should I get a pedicure or save my money, since I don’t wear sandals in the fall?”

“Why did the possibility that a little boy was riding in a helium balloon by himself capture the nation’s attention?”

Write me privately, if you want a commentary on the pedicure.   I promise to write back.

As for “balloon boy”, like everyone else,  I’m thrilled that this news story had a happy ending.   I usually don’t watch T.V. during the day, but a friend told me about this story.  It immediately captured my attention.  Obviously, based on the ratings and the fact that Wall Street was focused on this breaking story,  America was watching.   Understandably, a local affiliate would interrupt programming to alert the community to the fact that a little boy might be flying high in a balloon, alone.  However, this was covered by CNN, Fox News, and global news

I don’t really want to ask, “Why did we care?”   I think it’s an awesome sign that we all cared and worried about the safety of this six year old ch420x600balloon-boy-cnn-420x0ild.

Most of us are stressed over health care, the economy, the ongoing war, President Obama, bumper to bumper traffic, etc.   You name it and you’ll find that someone is complaining about the issue.   However,  this event showed that we are able to rise above all of the stress and devote time to hoping and praying that this child would be found alive and well.   Of course, there was drama in this breaking story, but I want to hold onto the thought that many gave up time to monitor the story out of concern for the welfare of this little guy.

Compassion and empathy are still traits that most of us have held onto even during a tough time for our country.   Based on my parents’ stories about the “Great Depression” that was true then.   My grandmother always had extra food for the people in need.   My Daddy’s extended family all lived together in one big house in Houston, TX.   He was a little boy, but only remembers the happiness of the time.   There are many more stories that you could share with me about the fact that our best traits often come out during the toughest times.

Martha Beck has said that she goes to her “Core of Peace” when the most frightening things occur.   While her brain was mapped by a neuroscientist, she meditated to calm down.   The scan showed that she was calmer, but still highly anxious.  That doesn’t make sense, but when she began to remember the times in life that were most frightening……the imaging showed her anxiety had diminished greatly.

I’m tying this all together with the conclusion that there is a strong chance that the story of the “boy in the balloon” would have captured our attention in the good times.   Our country has always been known for our humanitarian spirit.   However,   we haven’t given up our spirit of compassion and empathy while things are incredibly tough for many Americans.  It’s so easy to become bitter cynics when so many of us have been harmed financially or through the tragedy of war.   Yet, most of us still care for our fellow man.

My reflections may be a bit on the naive optimistic side.   However, I really want to believe that Americans are truly still holding onto our best traits during this recession.   I want to be right, but go ahead and feel free to tell me where I’m wrong.


Mary Ann

P.S.  Just learned that this was covered globally.  What does that mean?


Parenting With Mindsight Resembles Parenting As Life Coach

mother_and_childOur childhood shapes our brain in many ways—and so it determines our most basic ways of reacting to others, for better and for worse. When parents consistently practice empathy toward a child—that is, they tune in to the way that child views and feels about her world—they help instill in that child a sense of security and an ability to empathize with others later in life. But when parents act dismissively toward a child, they can make it harder for that child to be in touch with her emotions and connect with other people.

Daniel Siegel has done years of research to support these conclusions. Siegel, a psychiatrist at the University of California, Los Angeles, founded the field of “interpersonal neurobiology,” which explains the brain basis for our habits of bonding with others. His research shows how we can overcome emotional disadvantages that might have arisen from difficult childhoods.

“Let’s say a child’s angry and is starting to throw something,” says Siegel. A dismissive parent focuses on stopping the behavior, instead of acknowledging the emotion that might have caused the child to throw that object. “The emotion behind the behavior is not recognized. It’s not seen.”

If parents consistently fail to acknowledge and discuss the connections between a child’s behavior and her emotions, says Siegel, the child won’t gain any insight into her own thoughts and feelings, nor will she appreciate other people’s emotional states. Siegel calls this ability “mindsight,” and he argues that it serves as the basis of self-awareness and empathy, while also predicting what kind of parent that child will grow up to be.

However, Siegel points out that actual childhood experiences are less important than how we make sense of those experiences. In other words, we can learn to think about our experiences in ways that can help us overcome them. This is good news for parents who had miserable childhoods. In fact, it’s never too late for adults to develop mindsight, because we can always rethink our childhoods, gain a new understanding of them, and thus avoid repeating the mistakes of the past with our own children.

“GUIDING YOUR CHILDREN TO THEIR OWN NORTH STAR:  BECOMING YOUR CHILD’S LIFE COACH”  is a tele coaching/class I offer from time to time.   Since my professional background included years of studying metacognition (teaching children how to think), it’s gratifying by no coincidence that Dr. Siegel’s research validates the practical info that I give parents.

Go to my website and register for a free preview call to learn more:   www.createanewseason.com

Register today for the freebies.  i’d love to have you as part of the call.


Mary Ann


Top Ten Reasons for Blogcrastination!!!

My poor blog is collecting dust.   I’m sorry that I’ve been away for so long.

Combine finishing the certification requirements to be a Martha Beck Master Coach with settling an IRS audit and a cross country move and I literally had to put my life in triage mode.

Things are settling and I plan to begin blogging on a weekly or bi-weekly basis from this point forward.  Really I do!   The number one rule for blogging is to post something and show up daily, weekly and I broke the rule.

I decided the best word for the reasons a blog writer doesn’t show up could be caused “Blogcrastination”.     So why do dedicated bloggers fall into the dreaded blogcrastination???

10.   Challenged by ADHD

9.      Listening to too much Texas talk radio.

8.    Brain needs a good reflective flossing.

7.     Mentally challenged by Twitter world.   How does one tweet or retweet?

6.     Busy contributing to other blogs as a guest writer for other bloggers.

5.    Obsessed with Chicago’s bid to host 2012 Olympics.

4.    Waiting for Michael Jackson to be laid to rest.

3.     Addicted to Facebook.

2.    Forgot to pay Internet bill in June…service just restored.

And the number one reason………  Contribute your own reason!!!!!!!   In your view what is the number one reason for blogcrastination?????   Whether you are a blog reader or a blogger or a bloggest,   why does “blogcrastination” happen to the best of us.

1.   Waiting for your ideas!!!!!!