#41 (10/1/20) Teen Parent Therapy: When Your Kids Don't Like Each Other Laurie & Matt, responding to the outpouring of thanks they received after sharing their struggles with parenting teen boys, experiment with a new Thursday format they're calling "Teen Parent Therapy." Realizing that part of the struggle with parenting is battling the constant feelings of failure and thinking that somehow you're responsible for every ill-advised action your teen takes, Laurie & Matt go in search of relief instead strategies. The truth is, we're not alone (even though most of the parent posts on facebook would have us think otherwise), and there is value in sharing your struggles and helping others through theirs.
With this episode, Laurie & Matt discuss the frustration of having children that don't seem to like each other. In a world brimming with best friend bros and sisters for life, why do our kids barely talk to each other? What did we do...again? Laurie & Matt reflect on their childhood and their relationships with their siblings, how they've raised their kids, and the reality that there are many sibling relationships that mirror their own kids'. Acceptance and patience may be the only advice they have, but these episodes aren't about giving advice, but rather talking through our trials and forgiving ourselves. And maybe, just maybe, letting some other teen parents know they're not alone.
#42 (10/5/20) Heart & Soul Interview: Tyler Dilts Laurie & Matt reconnect with an old friend, Tyler Dilts, for the next installment of their Heart & Soul of a Teacher series. Laurie & Matt both met Tyler while theatre arts majors at Long Beach State, Laurie logging some extra Tyler time years later when they both spent time in an office.
Tyler would eventually find success as a writer of crime fiction, which would allow him the opportunity to pursue his true passion, teaching. Tyler recounts his journey from high school dropout to junior college, where an attempt to fulfill an arts requirement as easily as possible may have saved his life. At the very least, changed it deeply. And it wasn't the subject, it was the teacher. Online teaching, meditation, and the need for the old people to get out of the way and let the kids take a shot at it are discussed.
To connect with Tyler:
#43 (10/12/20) Heart & Soul Interview: Ryan Sagare Laurie & Matt continue to gather data on the heart & soul of a teacher, this time collecting choice insights from Ryan Sagare (pronounced SAY-GAR, like if you were drunk and tried to say "Sammy Hagar" and it just slurred together). Laurie & Matt got to know Ryan through School Rubric, the international education website Ryan co-founded. Matt affectionately refers to Ryan and Wallace, another School Rubric co-founder, as the "School Rubric Dudes."
Now based in Austin, Texas where he works as the Coordinator for Distance Learning at the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas, Ryan traces his educational path from the Pacific Northwest, to the Midwest, to South America, and eventually the Lone Star State. He informs of us how his mother forced him into his first teaching job at age fourteen, which sparked a journey that would include some questionable outdoor education, luxurious digs in Brazil, and an embracing of online learning. Ryan shares his belief that passion burns in the heart & soul of all great teachers, along with how he married the Girl from (almost) Ipanema.
To connect with Ryan:
#44 (10/15/20) Teen Parent Therapy: Helicopter or Hands Off Laurie & Matt continue with their bi-weekly Teen Parent Therapy sessions, this time exploring their struggle to find the right balance of being helicopter or hands off parents. They find themselves careening between the two, rarely with thoughtfulness and purpose, and more often reacting to the failings of their current parenting modality.
Remembering that these sessions are not about solutions and advice, but rather about honesty and exploration, Laurie & Matt open up about their missteps and wonder how they could have done things differently, and whether it would have made any difference at all. Laurie admits that hands off is a style she can adopt for only the briefest of moments before the helicopter blades start turning, and Matt opens up about his compelling sense of duty and whether it's insufficient as a primary driver of fatherly actions. So, no answers were found, but the questions asked and the confessions made are sure to resonate with other members of the Teen Parenting Club.
#45 (10/19/20) "Are We Having an Educational Existential Crisis?" Laurie & Matt return from their Heart & Soul of a Teacher Journey to visit a dark place where few venture intentionally, but where many often end up. They revisit their regular format to address the question, "Are We Having an Educational Existential Crisis?"
Grappling with the demands of distance learning and the strange alternative universe they seem to visit everyday, where they stare at black boxes and try to coax work out of and build relationships with the teenage humans they believe are behind the dark rectangles, Laurie & Matt let it rip on the mixed-up emotional state they find themselves in. Admittedly thin on practical advice, this episode explores the emotional and psychological grinder that teachers are fed through daily, and the warped reality it is creating. When the people of the future discover and analyze this podcast, it will definitely be definitive of Laurie & Matt's "dark period."
#46 (10/26/20) "Why Do You Teach?" Laurie & Matt get philosophical, but in a good, practical way. Noting that our shift to distance learning brought with it a deluge of "how to teach," as newbies and veterans alike were forced to earn minors in computer science to facilitate student learning this year, Laurie & Matt hit pause to ponder the vital question, "Why Do You Teach?"
Quoting Nietszche, again, Matt points out that our "hows" are made bearable by our "whys," and it's time to make sure we have one, or dust off the one you penned in your credential program and do a little revising. Laurie shares a list of personal whys to get the conversation started, and Matt makes the connection that prior to our distracted existence, people seeking to live their best life all had a list and checked it daily. Like soldiers experiencing battle fatigue that need a rousing Patton speech to remind them of the mission, our personal "whys" are necessary as motivation and navigation, and they can offer stress relief as well. Your homework: make a list of the reasons why you teach, put it somewhere and meditate on it every morning before you start your day, and then reflect afterwards on how you lived your values.
#47 (10/29/20) Teen Parent Therapy: Why Are We Parents? Laurie & Matt have been living in the land of WHY lately, having explored the question "why are we teachers?" on their previous episode as an exercise to pinpoint those core values that provide both motivation and navigation, along with easing the burden of decision making by providing a clear framework for determining "yes" (because it serves my why) or "no" (because it doesn't). This led them further down the path to "Why Are We Parents?"
Beyond the obvious biological underpinnings of why they are parents (which at different points during the show cause Laurie to revert to her 13 year old self), Matt questions whether it's a fair question to ask because we can't do anything about it, unlike a job that can be changed if the "why" fades. They do, however, fumble their way to a destination that they recognize as a waystation more than a final port. It's the life they signed up for, the life they love, the life that kicks their butt, and the life that fills their souls. Why? Because.
#48 (11/2/20) "How Do We Stay Healthy in an Unhealthy World?" Part 1 Laurie & Matt open up about their routines as they, like all of us, are wondering "How Do We Stay Healthy in an Unhealthy World?" As if staying healthy, body, mind, and soul, weren't already challenging in a world where sugar is in everything and escaping into the matrix is as simple as inserting an airpod, an invisible and deadly virus seems to be hanging in the air everywhere, forcing us to spend even more time on our devices.
Laurie, forever the seeker of personal health wisdom, starts off the conversation talking about what we've learned from the Blue Zones, those pockets found around the world where the inhabitants have found the secret to long-term health and well-being. Intermittent fasting is discussed, as Laurie & Matt are firmly into their second year as practitioners and staunch advocates. Appropriate levels of exercise are discussed, as is old school, pen and paper journaling.