A friend's new book impacts life in the South Loop
walking, talking, parenting,
09/28/2009 4:15 PM
It’s wonderful when friends in the South Loop write books. My friend and walking buddy and otherwise informal life coach Mary Ivory, MA, LCPC, CPC, has contributed a chapter to a book called “Parenting by Strengths, A Parent’s Guide For Challenging Situations.” Some of the challenging situations include raising a special needs child and raising a multi-racial child.
I think it’s nice to emphasize the positive “strengths” of the parent--instead of the usual, “you are doing everything wrong, you are weak and ineffectual, here’s the right way, now change….” style of most parenting books these days.
I love that Mary--a life coach and social worker--and her co-authors’ perspective is to identify what parents do right--and then tell readers in many different ways to get on with the positive.
Mary has written the last chapter of seven in the book, a chapter which ruminates on an involved idea that took imagination to write--and even more imagination on the part of the readers to truly internalize and utilize. How do people going through a 12-step program for alcohol and/or drug abuse use some of those basic 12-step principles in dealing with their kids? For example, she reminds readers that recovery from addiction--and the job of parenting--are very similar: both are exhausting, fulltime jobs that need realistic expectations on a daily basis. And both the job of recovery and the job of parenting require memorizing a simple acronym, HALT--don’t get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired.
Mary has been contained in a whirlwind of activity in the South Loop promoting her book. She has to rush home from our morning walks more often than not these days to be interviewed on one radio program or another. She has to foresee questions, and make sure she has answers to queries from people with different personalities and points of view. Her trepidations get our blood flowing at the start of our day, just as much as the morning sun does, or the brisk breeze--or our quick footsteps down Prairie Avenue, and along the lakefront, in front of the planetarium, and in the gardens of Grant Park.
Lately, when we walk along Lake Michigan I have been advising Mary and our other walking pal Janice to look out into the lake--and into areas of the water that have no barriers, no end in sight…to look at the lake as though it went on forever, that Michigan and Indiana weren’t bringing up the rear. I have read that to gaze at water without an edge sets your emotions, your hormones and your mind on a course of peace and contentment in much the same way that exercise ups the serotonin in the brain with the same result.
We do it for just a few minutes, until we have to get back to the grunge work at our computers and elsewhere. (Janice, for instance, juggles between her own home repair/handyperson business--more on that in another post--and management seminars for corporate types, a business she runs with her husband, Jack.)
It’s always thrilling to be with Mary just before a radio interview. Just as it was before the book got published, when we were along for the ride (or should I say “walk”) between the finished pages and the end of the printing process. And then one day, the book hit Amazon.com, not to mention all the cartons of books that arrived at her door. And--ta-da!--her book also landed on the shelves of our most beautiful, wonderful and quaint neighborhood bookstore, Sandmeyer’s--on Printers Row--a day that really called for a celebration!
But that day, like all the others, was all in a day’s work for Mary. A day that started with Janice and I and a look out onto our lake. Toward fate. Toward the unknown. Toward eternity.