Annie Fox's Blog...

Thoughts about teens, tweens, parenting and this adventure of living on Earth in the 21st century.

Annie Fox, M.Ed., is an internationally respected parenting expert, award-winning author, and a trusted online adviser for tweens and teens.

My interview with Glennon Melton the truth-teller

May 30, 2014

How come all conversations aren't this full of life?

How come all conversations aren’t this full of life?

I first heard about Glennon Melton (@Momastery) on Twitter. One link led to another, as so many do, and I found myself watching, no devouring her very funny, poignant, smart TedX talk.

I immediately reached out for a review copy of her book Carry On, Warrior: The power of embracing your messy, beautiful life because I love freebies and I actually wanted to get inside this woman’s head some more. I read the book in like two days. Laughed (a lot), thought (a lot), and cried (a bit).  I was hooked on this flamboyant, authentic writer who’s got something special going on. I can say that with authenticity because I read a lot of parenting books. (Shameless plug alert! Why yes, I have written one myself. Thank you so much for asking.) But how can anyone resist a book with delicious sentences and paragraphs like these?

The other night at dinner, Craig and I demanded that the kids clean their plates even though dinner was, admittedly, gross. One nanosecond before this suggestion was made, we were laughing, talking about Daddy’s day at work, planning our upcoming weekend, and generally feeling like a lovely, well-adjusted family. Then–ambushed by ourselves again–there was crying, screaming, heads banging on tables. Immediate anarchy. Instant chaos.

My first instinct is to remember that yes, this chaos is proof that I have ruined my life and the lives of everyone in my home and that we are a disaster of a family and that no mother, in the entire history of mothers, has ever been forced to endure the drama, decibels, and general suffering of this moment. My instinct is to tear my clothes and throw myself on the floor and bawl and cry out worthless declarations like, “I can’t TAKE this anymore!” My first instinct is to allow my anxiety and angst to pour out like gasoline on a raging fire and indulge in a full-on mommy meltdown.

This, Craig suggests, is not helpful.

I, for one, could not resist. Nope. Especially not after reading that last sentence. And apparently a bunch of other sisters of another mother couldn’t either as Carry on, Warrior is now a New York Times bestseller. (Way to go, Glennon!)

So I just had to interview Glennon for my Family Confidential podcast. I did and, oh Momma, did we have a blast. You can listen in here.



A compassionate nudge

May 14, 2014

Let me try to make it better

Let me try to make it better

Unless this is your first visit here, you know I’m all about teaching kids to be good people. What form of “goodness” am I after? Who cares? Good is good. Let’s not quibble.

If I had to choose one flavor of goodness over another, however, I’d say I’m partial to the kind that connects us to the suffering of others with a grip so powerful that we simply cannot resist the temptation to do something to try to make the other guy feel better. This is compassion. Not complicated and yet, in many homes, schools, city streets, compassion seems to be MIA. Why is that? I’ve got a theory. (Unless this is your first visit, you also know I’m very generous with my theories.)

OK, here’s how it works: Within me (and each of you) is a vat overflowing with opinions, assumptions, fears and all the rest of what I secretly stockpile and use to avoid doing the right thing, which is often a scary thing but at the same time, a good thing. Submerged under the fearsome muck lies a luminous pearl. When you pull the plug and let the bubbling crude drain out of the vat, (which just takes an instant because the conscious act of pulling the plug awakens you to the fact that while your inventory is er… interesting, it’s not really you at all) the pearl emerges and vaporizes your resistance to acting compassionately. Which is a helluva lot more helpful than sitting on your butt and simply feeling compassionate.

Speaking of compassionate acts, I’m reading Glennon Melton’s book Carry on, Warrior. (Great writing. Great book. Read it!) When I came to this part in which Glennon writes a letter to her son preparing him for the social garbage he might encounter in 3rd grade, I stopped and smiled. See if it doesn’t have the same effect on you:

“Compassion might lead you to tell a teaser to stop it and then ask the teased kid to play. You might invite a left-out kid to sit next to you at lunch. You might choose a kid for your team first who usually gets chosen last. These things will be hard to do, but you can do hard things.”

Yep. We can do hard things that help each other. Lucky we have this ability because this trip we’re all on is hard. If it was easy (were easy… thank you, Mom) they’d call it a Day at the Beach. Instead they call it LIFE. So keep your hand on the plug and apply compassion as needed.

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