Coffee & Pearls is a weekly podcast where I share wisdom to help Catholic Moms get a better handle on their lives. If you don’t want to listen to the podcast… no problem! The entire episode has a corresponding blog post that you can read instead!
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I listened to the audio version of Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action
on a long card ride and I thoroughly enjoyed Sinek’s voice. He has a dreamy English accent but with a confident authority that makes me want to do everything he says. He’s like the Mr. Darcy of business consulting. The book is filled with lots of great points about knowing WHY your organization does what it does. He often uses Apple as an example of a company that really understands their WHY.
Here is the first point he makes that I think really applies to being a Catholic mom today:
“The more organizations and people who learn to start with WHY, the more people there will be who wake up being fulfilled by the work they do.”
Simon Sinek, Start with Why
“The more a mom learns to start with WHY, the more she and her family will wake up feeling fulfilled by the work they do.”
Sterling Jaquith, Coffee & Pearls
I will often pose questions to get you thinking about how a particular business tip could apply to your family, but this is one of the few times when I’m going to tell you exactly how this applies to your family. Our goal as wives and as a mothers is to get our family to Heaven. That is your WHY. That’s the goal that each one of us has. Everything we do should be working toward this goal. This sounds simple enough but it’s extremely difficult to apply to life in America today.
What kind of food should I feed my family? Should we continue to let soccer practice schedules rule our family? What kind of car should we buy? When should I allow my teenager to have a cell phone?
There are thousands of practical questions that we ask ourselves and answering them in the context of “What will get us closer to Heaven” can be really challenging. It also can be pretty painful.
For example, if I said, “Sunday is set apart for God and if you’re too busy running around for baseball games to go to church so you need to drop baseball,” well, that’s a big blow not only to your child who probably loves baseball but also your family who is trying to instill discipline in your kids.
Now I’m not saying that you should drop out of baseball but rather, we have to start reframing our questions in terms of Jesus and getting to Heaven. Will this help my child get into Heaven?
I personally think that teaching self-discipline to kids is a great way to help them to get to Heaven. Later they’re going to leave our house and fend for themselves in a world that doesn’t like Catholics and they must be strong. So whatever lessons I can impart, whatever practice I can give them to make them strong, increases the chance they’ll stay Catholic after they leave my home. So I definitely like sports and music lessons for helping kids learn discipline.
But like Simon Sinek says, if we don’t understand WHY we’re doing something, it’s difficult to inspire others to join in and to push through when times get tough. When you and your husband talk about the goals you have for your children and you choose piano lessons as a way to help reach those goals, you’ll feel a more solid conviction when your child whines and says, “I don’t want to go to my lesson. I don’t feel like practicing.” It can be easy to say, “Oh he doesn’t like the piano, let’s find something else.” And that may be true but it may also just be that your child lacks discipline at the moment and this is the very thing to help him learn how to control his emotions. Learning to control one’s emotions will help to fight the many worldly traps that try to lure one away from Heaven. Our children must learn to be strong in this way.
“There are only two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it.”
Simon Sinek, Start with Why
Sinek talks about how we can manipulate customers to buy your products by dropping the price or using fear or peer pressure. But manipulations don’t breed loyalty. Over time, they cost more and more. And they increase the stress for both buyer and seller. I absolutely think this is true with parenting as well. If the kids don’t feel like they’re part of the team, like they matter to your family, it’s likely they’re going to begrudgingly follow your rules until they leave the house and do their own thing.
Instead, if you can create a family mission statement, if you can sit down together and talk about how you all work together to get things done, kids will feel more involved. Here is a book you can get to help you with your own family mission statement: Mission of the Catholic Family: On the Pathway to Heaven
There are two books I love that talk about empowering children so they feel like they’re an important part of the family. Parenting With Love And Logic talks about giving children choices throughout the day so they feel like their own person. You may say, “Do you want to wear your jacket or carry it out ot the car.” Either way, you get what you want, they’re taking their jacket with them but the child feels a sense of independence. A sense that you respect them. There are many books in this series.
Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes… in You and Your Kids
is a fabulous book that talks about using honor as the foundation for everything that is done in the house. Children must honor their parents and their siblings and parents must also honor their children. We do not use rude voices and we all work together to get chores done so the house runs smoothly. That honors the whole family.
“When you compete against everyone else, no one wants to help you. But when you compete against yourself, everyone wants to help you. What if we showed up to work every day to be better than ourselves? For no other reason than because we want to leave the organization in a better state than we found it?”
Simon Sinek, Start with Why
Moms, this isn’t a new idea. We all struggle with comparing ourselves to others and we’re all losing because of it. Instead of looking at Sally Great With Crafts, or Linda Bakes a Lot and wishing you could do better, look at yourself last year. Every time I do this, I feel encouraged. I will look at my parenting style and my marriage from five years ago and think, “Wow, look how far I’ve come!” Then I feel excited for how far I’ll go in the next five years. This motivates me far more than being envious of someone’s amazing handmade birthday decorations.
When you start feeling good about yourself and trying to “beat your old self,” people will notice and they’ll cheer you on. They’ll want to be part of your energy and your momentum. It’s like when you lose 20 pounds and everyone wants to know how you did it. You’ll inspire others and telling your story will also give you extra motivation to stay on track.
Be better than yourself. Never stop trying. As Matthew Kelly says, become the best version of yourself. That’s what we’re here on earth to do.
“For a message to have real impact, to affect behavior and seed loyalty, it needs more than publicity. It needs to publicize some higher purpose, cause or belief to which those with similar values and beliefs can relate.”
Simon Sinek, Start with Why
“Relate your family rules and goals to what Jesus asks of us. This will help inspire your family and motivate you to be consistent about what you ask for.”
Sterling Jaquith, Coffee & Pearls
We have three rules in our family. 1. Obey. 2. Be Kind and 3. Be a Helper. These goals came from the We Teach Virtues program.
And at first I thought, “How can a family only have three rules.” But really, all rules do fall into one of those buckets. And each of these rules can be backed up by the bible. There are many places in the bible where Jesus asks children to obey their parents and then he asks us all to be kind and help one another.
By explaining this to your kids, they have a deep sense of why you’re asking them to do things. If you’ve sat them down and explained what Jesus asks of us and why we have these three rules, it helps later when you say, “Can you please help your sister put her shoes on.” If there is a small protest, you can say, “Oh, I need you to obey and be a helper,” and your child will know what that means.
Now I’m not promising 100% compliance. We still have plenty of time outs for not listening but I don’t need to justify my requests all the time. I’ve laid a foundation for WHY I’m asking the kids to do these things. I also hold them to a high standard because I respect them and I know they’re capable of it and I think children really respond to that. It makes them feel good about themselves to have a job and a purpose.
Here is the Start With Why Worksheet for you to work on these tips!
Go Get ‘Em Ladies! You Can Do It!
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I’m so excited that this day is finally here! I’m ready to share Coffee & Pearls with the world. I’ve been gearing up for this for a few months and I can’t wait to unveil all that I’ve been working on for you. So before I dive into what this program is going to be about, I want to share with you why I felt so strongly about creating the Coffee & Pearls community.
I fell in love with business when I was 11. I went huckleberry picking with my family and as we were enjoying a pie made out of these amazing berries, we were lamenting that you can’t buy huckleberry pies at the store. So I had a great idea to use my brother as slave labor and my grandmother’s kitchen to make my own huckleberry pies and sell them for what seemed like a lot of money at the time. I calculated the price of all the ingredients and called the business High Rise Pies and create a cute logo. I was so into writing this business plan that I never actually got around to making any pies! But it sparked a love of business in me that has never gone away.
I continued to write business plans in high school and in college. I was always reading books about entrepreneurship, leadership and general self-improvement. Now anyone who knows me, knows that I have a sanguine personality type. If you’ve never read The Temperament God Gave You, a person with a sanguine personality type often gets very excited about new things but can sometimes lose steam and forget to finish out a task or a project. Because this is absolutely true for me, when I found myself running out of energy or excitement for a project at work or a business plan I was writing, I would turn to these self-help books to give me some extra motivation and to get me back on track.
Then all of a sudden, I had a bunch of huge life changes all at once. I converted to Catholicism, got married, moved to a new city where I didn’t know anyone and had a baby all within one year! Now at first, these changes all seemed exciting to me. But as the newness wore off, I found myself feeling lonely, bored, attending a church that wasn’t very welcoming and terrible at my new vocation of housewife and mom.
To overcome my slump, I turned to the books that had always helped me. But instead of giving me hope, most of them made me discouraged. They made the life of a business entrepreneur look shiny and fun compared to changing diapers and living a life around naptimes. They focused on making more money and growing empires which didn’t really apply to my current situation. My self esteem plumetted even more.
Then I had the idea of turning to books about the Saints. Here I was, a new Catholic, and one of the cool things about our faith is this treasure trove we have of saints and their biographies or autobiographies. But those books didn’t turn out to be helpful either. I wasn’t about to give away all my possessions and live as a monk in 16th century France, so… the wisdom didn’t feel particularly relevant to my life.
I was complaining to my husband that many of the saints had visions of Mary or Jesus giving them guidance about what they should do. I said, “If Jesus came down and told me what to do, I’d DO it! I’d do it even if it was hard.” My husband listened to my pouting and gently suggested I go to adoration and pray about it.
In adoration I stared up at Jesus and begged, “Jesus, if you’d just tell me what to do, I’ll do it! Do you want me to stay at home with my kids or do you want me to use my talents (which you gave me) to start a business or do you want me to volunteer more? Whatever you want, just tell me and I’ll do it!”
And that’s when I heard God whisper into my heart, “I’ve already told you what to do.” And in that moment, I realized He absolutely had told me what to do. He had, in no uncertain terms, told me to be a wife and a mother. So many women spend years discerning their vocation but God had already shown me mine. I swallowed my pride and realized that I had just told Jesus that I would do whatever He told me to do even if I didn’t like it and even it was hard.
It was in that moment that I realized I was going to have to learn how to be happy living in Toddler Land because I was probably going to be there for a while.
So with renewed energy and a better attitude, I went back to my books. I tried harder to use the wisdom on those pages and apply it to my life. And you know what I found? That kids are a lot like employees. Husbands are a lot like business partners. We all need to work on time management, goal setting, budgeting and setting priorities. And the saint books helped me too! I discovered that all the saints were sinners just like me. All of them struggled with self-control. I could use their wisdom to help me get through my days living in modern day suburbia.
The more I learned, the more I wanted to share this information with others and that’s why I started Coffee & Pearls.
I know many of you are struggling. It’s hard to be a mom. Many of us are isolated even though we live in a city of thousands of people. Many of us were never taught how to manage a house or be effective parents. And I know a lot of you feel like you’re drowning so the idea of picking up a few self-help books and actually reading them seems impossible. So I’m here to help!
I’m going to read self-improvement books about business, leadership, time management etc. and I’m also going to read religious books about the saints and how to grow closer to God and I’m going to pull out the points that I feel are relevant to modern day Catholic moms.
Each episode will feature a video, an audio format of the video so you can listen to it on your phone, a written article about the video that recaps all the major points and a worksheet for you to fill out to help you put the pearls of wisdom into practice! Pick which format is best for you and enjoy a new Coffee & Pearls episode every Monday!
I’m really hoping to create a community around Coffee & Pearls. Moms, we need Jesus and we need each other to stay on track. We can always be improving our strategies for being wives, mothers and house managers! Together we can create new habits that make our lives run more smoothly and that help us form relationships that build us up and lead us closer to Christ.
Thanks for being part of Coffee & Pearls! Have a blessed Day!