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June 17, 2019

The Benefits of Learning Together

Wishful means having or expressing a desire or hope for something to happen. The parents who made up Team Wishful had a desire to learn how to be the best parents they can be for their children.

Team Wishful met for four days during a two-week period at First Presbyterian Church in Sarasota. In these four days, the team and facilitators created authentic, attentive, trustworthy, and caring relationships that allowed each participant the opportunity to learn and share.

The group consisted of mothers, fathers, and grandparents who were at different parenting stages of life, including infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and school-age children. The team also benefitted from the participation of a grandfather who was a former child psychologist. He shared and affirmed nuggets like “kids need to play” and “parenting is hard work.” The members of Team Wishful grew stronger from their interaction together. The variety of ages, parenting levels, and experiences helped us gain understanding as we expressed our desire to be more intentional in ways we interact with kids.

Team Wishful shared thoughts about the trials and tribulations of being a parent. Some shared stories of food battles, temper tantrums, and talking back. A solid connection was made among the team as they actively learned from each other’s perspectives and experiences. Many classic dilemmas of parenthood were shared, and it gave comfort to some to know that they were not alone in many of the issues they face as parents. One mother of three children, an infant, toddler, and preschooler asked, “How do I react to my toddler when she is having a temper tantrum? How can I do this using Mind in the Making principles?” Another, a new father to a 10-month-old daughter asked the entire group, “What do you wish you knew when you first became a parent?” In both situations, the principles of facilitated learning emerged, and the room became a safe place of sharing tips, stories, and suggestions.

The benefits of gathering, learning together, and sharing our thoughts and feelings became more clear as the group established trusting relationships and built “connective tissue.” There were many light-bulb moments as the Mind in the Making material and the earned wisdom of the participants was shared. During one of the sessions, we learned about the research that supports praising a child’s strategies and work ethic rather than praising their overall intelligence. It was easy to see the impact on the parents as one of the team members said she would start to be more mindful of this when complementing her children.

There were countless nuggets of wisdom and wishes that parents shared as they came together to ensure their children’s success as much as possible. The techniques these parents gained from the Mind in the Making research and each other gave them concrete ways to turn those wishes into reality.

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