Sandi Schwartz has been working with children and families for over 40 years. So, it’s understandable that she would have a lot to say on the subject. With the publication of her first book, “Authentic Parenting Power,” Sandi offers our Educated Writers tips on the writing and publishing process.
Q: Tell us a little about your new book, “Authentic Parenting Power.”
A: In my book, I weave the best of traditional knowledge with the additional perspective of seeing the parenting journey as an opportunity for the entire family to evolve not only in terms of outward success, but emotionally and spiritually as well. This book gives parents a glimpse into their child’s ‘inner landscape,’ the fertile ground for all outer behavior. Spot on advice and answers to baffling challenges are presented from a place of encouraging each parent to tap into their own inner guidance as they develop a pattern of responses that nurture not only material accomplishments and achievement, but inner happiness and healthy emotional development for themselves and their children.
Q: For whom was your book written?
A: My audience is made up of parents and grandparents who are ready to grow, learn and expand their understanding of what children really need from the adults in their lives. This book will be gobbled up by adults who desire to create a home environment of authentic, mutual respect, responsibility and connection. This is not a book for parents who demand that kids do it ‘their’ way. It is for parents who are ready to shift from the old-fashioned paradigm of control, rewards, guilt and punishments to an approach that acknowledges the energy, spirit and changing ‘truths’ of the new generation. This book will unravel the journey and free the reader to be a courageous, conscious, connective parent.
Q: What were some of your writing challenges?
A: My biggest challenge was that I had so many ideas to share and rather than creating an outline I just started writing down my thoughts as they came to me. At one point I had hundreds of pages written and no idea of how to deliver my message in a clear, cohesive manner. I asked my adult daughter to read through the manuscript to offer me ideas for organizing the material and what happened next was a ‘personal miracle.’ I share, in the book, how it was her intense, sensitive spirit that forced me to move past my post-graduate degrees and really learn about the inner world of children.
As Melissa encouraged me to ‘take out the fluff’ she kept insisting that parents needed to understand that these challenging, energy reading kids were not trying to be difficult, but actually experienced life differently than their easy going counterparts. As I started to listen to her adult perspective of what it was like to live in the body of a ‘big reactor,’ I realized that her voice represented many misunderstood children. It needed to be heard and she began to collaborate with me. She is now my partner at Leading Edge Parenting and works with parents of these gifted, highly spirited, creative beings. I also found a genius editor who gave me permission to stop writing and transformed hundreds of pages into a brilliant manuscript.
Q: Describe your writing ritual.
A: At first I just knew that I had to put my whirlwind of thoughts into the written form, feeling like a composer who had to capture the music that raced through her head. Whenever I sensed something important pulsating through my body I rushed over to the computer to capture the essence of the wisdom that seemed to float through and then out of my consciousness. For several years I played ‘catch’ with my thoughts. Often the wisdom came through when I was in the shower, out for a walk or driving my car and by the time I got to the computer they were a jumble of words that lost their clarity or passion. I had to finally acknowledge that I needed a ritual and that the book would never get finished if I didn’t make it a priority and dedicate myself to its completion. During a meditative state I sensed that it was time to release all of my commitments so I could focus on the book. I understood why writers go to an island for solitary contemplation. I gave up my radio show, my public speaking seminars, my college consulting and I spent a week at a friend’s lake house where I immersed myself going within, listening to my heart’s guidance and allowing the thoughts to tumble out onto the page. When I came home, I woke up each morning, ready and willing to complete the process.