268: Tildet Varon on Positive Parenting & Effective Family Communication 268: Tildet Varon on Positive Parenting & Effective Family Communication

Child: Welcome to my Mommy’s podcast.

This podcast is brought to you by Four Sigmatic, a Finnish company bringing the everyday magic of superfood mushrooms to our daily lives. If you visited my home, you’d notice my homemade coffee/tea bar in my kitchen. Above it hangs 8 wooden cups, called kuksas… one for each member of my family. These have become part of our family tradition as we often sip mushroom coffee or superfood elixers from them at breakfast or after dinner during family time. Wooden cup or not, I highly recommend all of the Four Sigmatic products and you’d also find every single one of them in my kitchen! Here’s how I incorporate them into my day: in the morning, I will drink one of their mushroom coffee blends, the matcha, the coffee latte or mushroom mocha with chaga. Throughout the day I sip their chaga, cordyceps or lion’s mane elixirs on their own since these are all caffeine-free but have a host of benefits due including a major boost of antioxidants. Nighttime always means their calming turmeric tea or reishi elixir with a splash of macadamia milk. Mom tip: I also always keep their activated charcoal lemonade on hand for the first sign for a stomach bug – my kids love it and charcoal always seems to help. As a listener of this podcast, you can save 15% with the code WELLNESSMAMA at foursigmatic.com/wellnessmama.

This episode is sponsored by Genexa- a line of organic and non-GMO products I always keep in my house. Their patented formulas are free of dyes, common allergens, and harmful preservatives. One favorite I suggest you try is Calm keeper for kids. A homeopathic formula that helps with symptoms associated with stress, including irritability, restlessness, sleeplessness, oversensitivity and nervousness. In our house it is the go-to for the pain associate with minor boo-boos that don’t need medical attention and it helps calm them down so they can recover. To shop their full line of organic and non-GMO medicines, go to Genexa.com/WellnessMama and use code WELLNESS for 20% off your order!

Katie: Hello and welcome to the “Wellness Mama Podcast.” I’m Katie from wellnessmama.com. And I am here today with Tildet, who is a speaker and an inner mastery specialist who is fiercely committed to guiding individuals and value-focused organizations to achieve success and maximize their potential. And in this episode, we’re going to talk stress mastery, effective communication with our kids, and resolving conflict in our households. So Tildet, welcome and thanks for being here.

Tildet: Thank you, Katie. It’s such an honor to be here. I’m looking forward to speaking to you and to all the audience.

Katie: I think it’ll be a fun conversation. From what I’ve read of your bio, and what I know of you, you have actually been through a couple of pretty big trials or challenges in your own life that have really shaped, it seems like, the direction of your life and now your mission. So I would love if you could start…I think there’s tremendous power in a story, and so we’d love to hear a little bit about yours.

Tildet: Sure. Well, February 8, 1986, I was sitting on Turkish Airlines flying from Istanbul to New York. I was 22 years old and I had never been to New York before. I was coming because I had met this man on a bus trip in Egypt and I left all my loving family and friends to come to create a dream life. So you can imagine changing countries, culture, and coming to a country that you’ve never been before and you only know 1 person for 10 days. I tell my children, don’t do what I did. Do what I say. I don’t know if that will go or not Katie. Well, I came here and I started understanding how to adjust, adapt, and there were a lot of stressors in my life, but I started practicing meditation and different energy modalities just to keep myself checked in.

But after 20…and I married that man and I had 3 beautiful children with him. But after 20 years of being married, he said that I had one option, divorce. You can imagine how devastated I was because he and my children were everything that I had at that time. I felt like I was totally broken, but I had three children and I had to give my focus, my energy to them and raise them. So I started transforming myself and doing everything I needed to do. And because I was blessed with so much stress, I can say that now. I didn’t say it then. I became a stress mastery specialist, and then inner mastery specialist. And I turned things around and I started feeling so good that I said, “If I can do this, everybody can.” So I started sharing my healing story with others. Before I knew it, thousands of people started coming to my workshops. I started having speaking engagements. And I’m so grateful that I was able to help myself. And through my story, I’ve helped thousands of people in their stress mastery, inner mastery communication. A whole way of really stepping into our full potential and living the life that we love.

Katie: Yeah, exactly. I think it’s so hard to remember that when you’re in those moments and in those trials. But that’s been my experience as well as often our biggest trials in life become our biggest triumphs. If we let them be the lesson rather than be the thing that breaks us. And you know, all those clichés about your trials become your triumphs, or life pulls you back before the arrow shoots forward. They’re all so cliché but they’re so true. And I’m reminded of, for me, when my third child was born, it was a good lesson in a lot of ways. I was planning a home birth and I will admit I was extremely arrogant at that point because I’d had two kids naturally and I thought I knew what I was doing. I didn’t even read the part of the books about C-sections because in my head I was, like, “I’m not a person who has C-sections. I have this birth thing down,” and woke up in the middle of the night when he was still five weeks before his due date and thought my water had broken, and I was hemorrhaging. And basically over the next two days I almost died. He almost died. And very, very grateful that we both made it and are both completely fine, but…

Tildet: So happy to hear that.

Katie: Yeah. It’s interesting because in that moment it would be so easy to dwell on that. And I will admit I did, I had a pity party for a few days, but in hindsight that was a defining moment for me because it made me focus on the positive. It made me have so much gratitude just for the gift of life. And it made me realize like other problems aren’t as big as I let them be in my head sometime. And so I had this amazing perspective for a few months even after that, that I felt like really kind of transformed my mind and my relationship with my husband and just a lot of aspects of my life. And from what I’ve read of your bio, you also had…you had an accident when you were younger as well, right? Am I remembering that correctly?

Tildet: Yes. Yes. You’re remembering correctly, and I think the real healing started then. I was 15, and I was in a nearly fatal car accident where my uncle died and I fractured my neck and I was told that I may never be able to walk again. And that’s what I said. I was blessed with so much stress. There’s so many things that happen throughout my life. I did not accept that diagnosis. I guess I was also lucky and grateful. I really pushed forward and with the help of my doctors and really believing that I can do it today. I can walk, I can dance, I can do yoga, and do all these things. And you’re right, a lot of the times we hear those clichés, but when it really happens, you really understand either you’re going to do something to transform. It is like life is knocking at your door, calling you for certain change. And with the right support and right immersion, we can really change things and turn it around. And that is the power. And I hope that everyone will find hope in what we’re talking about between you going through such a big trauma yourself and me going through different traumas in my life, yet there are ways we can expand ourselves and get bigger and conquer those challenges.

Katie: Absolutely. Let’s go from there. Let’s talk about… Because I think you’re right, everybody in this life has been through those stressful situations and it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’re going to at some point in the future probably face stressful situations. So what are some of the practical ways that we can start to work through that? I know that you deal a lot with stress mastery, so give us some tools that we can use in those moments or after those moments to start to make those beneficial.

Tildet: Yes. First of all, one of the things to understand…I speak to thousands of people about stress and one of the questions I ask Katie is, how do you define stress? I get hundreds of different answers because…which tells me everybody’s experience of stress is different. So, two people can be given the same situation. One will handle stress…one will find it stressful the other may not find it stressful, because we all have a unique relationship with stress. But underneath of all these differences, there’s one similarity which I want to invite you and your audience to think about stress. Stress is when demands exceed your capacity.

So when our internal or external demands are more than our capacity, we experience stress. Now, in some cases, we can take away some of the demands, but in some cases we can’t because life happens, like you thinking you’re going to have a natural birth and everything will go wonderful. Me thinking I’ll be married forever, and then the demands come, we may not be able to control that. But what we can control is our capacity. And how we increase our capacity is through everyday practices that we can talk about. And if we have simple, practical, sustainable habits each day to recharge ourselves and take care of ourselves, we keep expanding on those capacity. When something, a demand greater than us knocks at our door, we may be able to deal with it faster and better.

Katie: That makes sense. And that’s a good…it seems like a very concise way to explain it. That stress is when your demands exceed your capacity. And so my community is largely women and moms, a lot of moms. And I feel like this is a society-wide problem right now that moms are so overwhelmed where constantly our demands are exceeding our capacity because we have career, we have children, we have households, we have the emotions of the household and the commitments of the family, and all of these things that we have to balance. And that’s something I’ve had this conversation with other women who have both a career and a family and are trying…you know, we want to succeed at all of those things.

Realizing women especially, we have a unique extra set of demands that are put on us. Because while it’s amazing that we have all of these opportunities, none of the previous things that we had to do went away when we got the ability to have careers and to do anything essentially like the world is our oyster. But we still are the ones emotionally managing the household most often, the food in the household, the commitments of the kids, making sure everyone’s happy and healthy and fed. It’s interesting because I’ve noticed for instance I get asked in things like, how do you balance it all. And I’ve noticed guys don’t get asked that question because they don’t have to balance quite so much. You know, so for moms especially, you’re right, I think that’s a perfect definition of stress. And I think moms are uniquely stressed because of all the demands of society. So any specific tips being a mom yourself and a business owner that can help navigate that?

Tildet: Yes. It is hard for a lot of women and we are in the midst of a stress epidemic because of the demands of life like you so well put it. So one of the things that is very hard for moms to do because in that process we are so conditioned to giving. We are conditioned to giving to others but we are not giving to ourselves. And when we don’t give to ourselves at some point we start giving from a place of depletion and that really breaks us down and burns us out. So even if it is three minutes a day, five minutes a day, to have me time is so important. And that may look like taking a walk in nature. It may look like meditating, exercising, doing aromatherapy, reflecting, journaling. There are so many different ways that we can recharge.

But the most important part for that is first giving ourselves permission because it’s so hard to say yes to ourselves yet putting it as if I say it’s non-negotiable. The time that I will spend with myself now is very important because I’ve understood that. And at the beginning that may be very difficult, but that is a life changer. So I hope that each mom that’s listening to this podcast puts aside some time especially first thing in the morning, and five times a day will be best, Katie, and we’ll talk about that. First thing in the morning, last thing at night, and three times during the day, we can take 30 seconds to 3 minutes to recharge ourselves. And that’s possible. We’ll talk those options. That has been a game changer for me, raising my children, having my business and dealing with a lot of other demands of my life.

Katie: Yeah, exactly. And I think, another just tremendous source of stress for a lot of women is if there’s any tension within the family dynamic. So if there’s any conflict with a spouse or if there are…certainly, if kids are not happy, like if there’s stress in the kids and they’re stressing the mom. And so I’d love to like as a segue of this transition into talking a little bit about some effective strategies we can use within a family unit, whether that’s single-parent households or two-parent households, or whatever it may be. What are some strategies that we can use with our children and with our spouses to make sure that we are interacting efficiently and effectively and listening? Because I know that’s something you talk about quite a bit is, how to actually listen and connect with someone.

Tildet: Yes. That brings us to communication. I think one of the best ways to really create positive relationships and meaningful relationships is our communication skills. And unfortunately, in schools or anywhere, we’re not learning about communication skills and we’re just learning it from being in life, and then we think we’re communicating. But a lot of the times I feel as if there are monologues going on between parents and children or between spouses other than dialogues. I would like to talk about a little bit how to have effective communication, active listening. These are really important because this is what makes the relationships work. What makes us come together as a team, whether with our children, our spouses, and having open honest conversation to really understand each other’s needs, desires, and thinking and sometimes we may agree on certain things, on certain things we may not agree, but if we can talk about them openly and honestly, then the relationships start becoming meaningful.

Katie: Yeah, for sure. Okay. So let’s get a little bit more specific on that. I feel like, I don’t have teenagers yet. I’m about to, but I remember being a teenager and feeling like I wasn’t being heard or that my parents didn’t understand me. So I’m curious, give me some strategies when I do have a teenager that I can make sure that he feels like I am there for him and I understand him and I’m actually listening to him. Not that I will always maybe agree with him, but that he feels heard and valued.

Tildet: Yes. I hear this a lot. Now my children are a lot older. They’re young adults, but you know, I’ve been through that and I am also coaching and talking to a lot of parents. Actually, communication does start at an earlier age and if there are parents of younger children listening right now, everything applies to you. But as the kids get older and they step into teenage years, communication becomes a little bit more challenging. The most important thing is listening. Listening is really important and people think because they have the ability to hear, they think they’re listening. But listening, it’s a conscious choice and it’s a skill we need to develop. So instead of having one-sided conversations, correcting our children, nagging, lecturing, interrupting, criticizing, if we could just have a conversation with them, which I call listening with care. CARE, meaning we will talk about…they are the acronyms, concentrate, connect, acknowledge, respond, and empathize. I will go into each one of them as we speak because listening with care really makes a big difference in connecting to our children. Shall I go into it and talk about that right now?

Katie: Yeah, I think this is a perfect time. Let’s go deep on that.

Tildet: Okay. So the first thing when we are listening with care is to really concentrate or connect, which means when we’re talking to our children, let’s be present with our children. A lot of the times because there are so many demands, and I’m not saying these are easy to do, but practice makes progress. Nothing is perfect really. We are constantly progressing. So if we’re talking to our children, let’s do that not when we are cooking or when we are cleaning or we’re screaming at them. But let’s sit with them face to face, let’s be present and let’s make an effort to focus our attention only on them, because that creates a connection. A lot of people think that connection is just exchange of information. But connection is really exchange of our presence, our feelings, our humanity. And because our children are using technology so much on their phones, on their computers, iPads, video games, they are losing that sense of connection. So if we can…as a parent, I think the most important thing we can do and gift them with is that connection.

Once we have that going, the second thing will be acknowledgment. A lot of the times I find teenagers, and having three children myself, I went through this, you know, they don’t want to talk too much. They don’t want to express themselves. Sometimes children, even at a younger age, they don’t know what emotions they are carrying at that moment. Just acknowledging them, you know, just saying, “I see that you’re angry right now. Would you like to talk?” Rather than, “Stop being angry and talking to me like that, and come here and be a human being.” Just acknowledging them is so important.

I remember when my daughter was a teenager and she was going through her moody phase, and she would come home from school and she was so frustrated. And at the beginning, I was taking that personally and I was thinking, “I didn’t do anything to her, why is she being so moody with me?” But when I put my compassion and that hat on and I started realizing what was going on and acknowledging and saying, “Sweetie, I see that you’re very frustrated today. If there’s anything I can do, I am here for you.” And a lot of the times that will bring some tears to her eyes and I would see that this wasn’t about me and her. There was other things going on in her life that she needed to talk about. And when I could open the gateway for her by acknowledging her, by softly being there, giving her space, instead of lecturing her how she should behave with me, things changed. And we have such a beautiful relationship now and can talk about anything and everything, whether I’m comfortable with it or not, whether she’s comfortable with it or not. We trust each other. We respect each other. And I think that comes from that acknowledgment.

Katie: Yeah, exactly. I know that’s a goal for many parents is that their kids feel like they can talk to them about anything, and the actual accomplishing of that can be hard because you…and it’s true. You don’t truly know if you’ve succeeded at that I guess until you’re kind of done at the end of it all. It’s a high stakes game to some degree, and I love that explanation. I’ve also heard for teenagers advice I’ve gotten is like really hard conversations, maybe have them in the car because it’s less pressure because you’re sitting next to each other but not having to like face each other’s eyes, or that stay up late with them, because that’s when teenagers tend to open up more. I don’t know if that’s true yet. I know even at 12, my oldest is like that.

Tildet: Yes. Research is showing exactly that Katie, you’re right on? In the car is the best time. Bedtime is the best time, and knowing…and some children may be a little different and if we’re observing them and really getting to know them, we will know those times when is the best time to talk, not when they are emotional and angry. Those may not be the best times, but times where they’re a little softened when they’re not focused on, distracted with something else. And then that is the point where we can come in and start talking. And I also want to…you know, when we’re having conversation, we think that words are enough but words are only 7% of communication, 38% is the tone of our voice, how we are talking. And 55% is our body language, you know, facial gestures, hand gestures, our body, our posture.

It’s really important to bring everything together and not just think that because we just said nice things or didn’t yell that we are communicating heartfully. Because if we’re rolling our eyes or making facial gestures…and this could be either our children doing that to us or us doing it to them, that’s all part of communication and listening as well. It is not only words and hearing the words. Listening is all about really full heartedly being there and listening with the full meaning of the conversation with your heart, with your mind, with your full presence. And I know when we have so many demands in our lives, how are we going to do that? We need to start in little bits pieces and keep practicing. And that covers the C and the A.

R is about responding, meaning that asking questions for clarification. A lot of the times we hear the children and we immediately want to solve the problem or we want to correct them, we interrupt them, we jump in or criticize them for their thinking. This does not help our conversation. It’s really important to ask questions, like, “Can you tell me more about that? How does that feel for you?” “I know this is what I heard you say, but can we also talk about this?” Or, “What did you mean when you said that? I’m interested. Explain that to me. I understand,” or just nodding our heads, “Tell me more about that.” These are all engaging phrases that shows our interest that we want this conversation.

And it’s really important to ask those questions for clarifications. And engaging them instead of thinking we’re right, we have the answer. And that’s also enabling our children. We really want to create an environment for them where they can resolve their own problems and we are in the background holding the space for them, if you will. And E is empathizing, really sharing in the emotions and feelings of the other person, and trying to put ourselves in their shoes and see where this conversation can go. I call this the heart and the art of communication.

Katie: Yeah, I love that. I think it’s a tough thing, like you mentioned earlier, I think on the second point on the A about not taking anything personally. And I think that’s a challenge for a lot of parents because we obviously do love our kids so much. We’ve literally poured our life into them, but we also have to realize they are not us and we can’t live vicariously through them either. But I know for me one thing that’s helped is the book, “The Four Agreements.” And for anybody not familiar, those are, to be impeccable with your word, don’t take anything personally, don’t make assumptions, and always do your best. And we have that hanging in our dining room as a reminder to me as much as to my kids in our conversations and our interactions to maintain that level of respect with each other. I feel like that’s also illustrated in this analogy that you just gave, CARE, as well. I loved that the words are only 7% of our actual communication. I think that’s an important point too, as more and more people communicate via text most often with their kids. And I know text is easy, I prefer text as well, but for the important conversations, realizing even on the phone, you’re only getting a still less than half. So when you’re in person you can get that body movement and all that. That was such a good point.

Tildet: Yes, exactly. And I’m smiling, Katie, because you asked me what is your favorite book? That’s my favorite book is, “The Four Agreements.” Over 10 years, I think every year I bring that book up and I’ve discussed that with my children and I keep practicing and practicing those four agreements as simple as they sound. I think that’s the foundation really of a good communication. You have my favorite book hanging on the wall and I think everybody should read that book. It is important and we’re not…parenting is hard work and not everything is going to be perfect. But if we have certain foundation and start implementing little things as to maybe having some time in the week that we have these face to face conversations that it could be like Monday nights is our dinner time and we talk about it, or Wednesdays we go in the car and that’s our conversation time, even letting certain times of the week allowing that to be family time, conversation time. Of course there are moments the children don’t feel like talking at that moment but we can still find engaging ways to let them in.

Then I want to talk about there is by through values. When we understand our own values, then we can understand other people’s values and our children’s values, and each person has a hierarchy of values that is different from each other. Even if you have given birth to your children, their value hierarchy might be different than yours. So if we can talk to our children’s values, they feel seen and heard. As people whenever we feel seen and heard, we see and hear and immediately we feel connected. That also opens the bridge of communication. I remember at some point one of my sons was listening to this scream music, which I couldn’t stand and did not understand, but I wanted to really honor him. I wanted to understand, I wanted to know, why was he listening to this music? He would say to me, “Mom, listen to it.” And I’ll listen and I’ll just cringe and I will go, “I don’t understand.” Then instead of saying, “I don’t understand.” One day I said, “Why are you listening to this music? What do you get from it? Can you explain what it means to you?” He told me one of the most profound things, Katie, he said, “The music expresses all the feelings I want to express and I cannot.”

That was very powerful for me. I understood deep inside what he was feeling and now can open to talk about that. I could also understand he was relating to that through his scream music and I was relating to that through my classical music. But we do have these common points as human beings where we connect and it’s just our expression and perception may be a little different. But down in the bottom of our hearts, we all want the same thing, the appreciation, the approval, the need to be seen and heard, and connecting in love and respect and honesty and compassion.

Katie: Exactly.

This podcast is brought to you by Four Sigmatic, a Finnish company bringing the everyday magic of superfood mushrooms to our daily lives. If you visited my home, you’d notice my homemade coffee/tea bar in my kitchen. Above it hangs 8 wooden cups, called kuksas… one for each member of my family. These have become part of our family tradition as we often sip mushroom coffee or superfood elixers from them at breakfast or after dinner during family time. Wooden cup or not, I highly recommend all of the Four Sigmatic products and you’d also find every single one of them in my kitchen! Here’s how I incorporate them into my day: in the morning, I will drink one of their mushroom coffee blends, the matcha, the coffee latte or mushroom mocha with chaga. Throughout the day I sip their chaga, cordyceps or lion’s mane elixirs on their own since these are all caffeine-free but have a host of benefits due including a major boost of antioxidants. Nighttime always means their calming turmeric tea or reishi elixir with a splash of macadamia milk. Mom tip: I also always keep their activated charcoal lemonade on hand for the first sign for a stomach bug – my kids love it and charcoal always seems to help. As a listener of this podcast, you can save 15% with the code WELLNESSMAMA at foursigmatic.com/wellnessmama.

This episode is sponsored by Genexa, a line of organic and non-GMO products I always keep in my house. Their patented formulas are free of dyes, common allergens, and harmful preservatives. One favorite I suggest you try is Calm keeper for kids. A homeopathic formula that helps with symptoms associated with stress, including irritability, restlessness, sleeplessness, oversensitivity and nervousness. In our house, it is the go-to for the pain associate with minor boo-boos that don’t need medical attention and it helps calm them down so they can recover. To shop their full line of organic and non-GMO medicines, go to Genexa.com/WellnessMama and use code WELLNESS for 20% off your order!

Katie: And I think, like one thing I’ve noticed is, parenting is so busy, raising a family is just…it’s a busy phase of life and it’s so easy just to get caught in the busyness that you’re just literally trying to get through the day-to-day and accomplish everything you need to accomplish. But I realized personally a few years ago, when it comes to business, I have all these goals and objectives and plans and my family is even more important than that. So why do I not have these same long-term things that I’m focusing on with my kids? Like, I wanted to really define. What are those things that I want to really impart to them before they leave, and what are the things I want them to feel like that they have had in our family, like our culture, the things that they can take with them when they leave home?

So, like that became a long-term focus for me and it really helped shift away from the stress and the minutia of the day-to-day and into this like long-term picture, which also meant I wasn’t as stressed by the day-to-day because I knew it’s just one day out of many. And it was about like the long term, like the little changes adding up to the long term and about hopefully having this great long term relationship with them. I think you’re right, it goes back to the listening and them actually feeling heard, which I feel like a lot of teenagers don’t feel like they are. I remember that time of life, it’s a very difficult time of life. You are trying…like you’re psychologically wired to get independent, but that’s a hard transition to make. I also think it’s interesting the word communication and community. They share a common root, and I think community is something we’ve lost a lot in recent times and I think all of us are suffering. Parents are suffering from that and teenagers are suffering from that as it’s gone more and more to digital communication and away from in-person communication. So, any additional tips as far as just in a family dynamic of just really nurturing that community and keeping that as front of mind?

Tildet: Yes, Katie, you’re bringing up such an important point that we can have on other podcasts just on that, because connection is so important. I don’t know if you’ve read the book, Johann Hari’s, “Lost Connections.” Where he’s talking about…and the opposite of addiction being connection where all this alcohol and drug abuse increase that we’re seeing in our teenagers and the epidemic we’re going through can really be cured through connection and community. This is really important. Having times where we tell our children…and this is not going to be easy. And people may say how are we going to do that, by saying, “You know what? Fridays we don’t use our technology, we just sit and we play board games, we talk, we have conversation,” or going in nature hiking or doing something that children love. They feel engaged where they’re open, but they’re not by their video games or phones where we are creating these connections, because research is also showing, Katie, when people are feeling isolated and disconnected, it is worse than smoking 15 cigarettes a day. That’s huge.

Katie: Yeah. I’ve seen that data as well, that truly having authentic community and connection with other people as like one of the most, truly most important things we can do for our health, for longevity. The statistics I’ve seen, like you said, it’s more important than not smoking. It’s twice as important as exercising, which we all know we should be doing. I think you’re right, our kids are suffering from this in a really unique way because they’re the first generation to have lived their whole lives with all of this technology all the time. I love the point you made about taking time off. I have a post about how we take a digital day off and we disconnect from technology.

And I think the nature piece is really key too because we can speak of all the health benefits of being outside between the fresh air or the vitamin D, that being in nature in general, all the probiotics that you actually get from that experience. But I think even more importantly when you do that with your kids, it’s not only a bonding experience, it’s not only great to just get away from the normal day-to-day. But I think it’s also very unique bonding and growth experience. And for us, we found, for instance, camping is great for that because it takes you away from technology and also gives you lots of great time for conversation. And travel is great for that because in both of those situations, you don’t usually have your phones, your technologies, the comforts of day-to-day. And we, in our family we say, you were made to do hard things and it’s in the challenges that you grow.

And so those both kind of facilitate that and they do it together. So you’re working together toward a goal, which I think is another important point that I love to talk about with families, which is like if we’re all in this as a team together, focus towards this common goal of our family culture and of all of the children becoming wonderful adults that we still have great relationships with. If we’re all focused on a common goal, it’s so much easier to get there. And then hopefully, again, I don’t have teenagers yet, but hopefully we avoid that feeling like we’re in a battle or feeling like we’re at odds in the teenage years because we’re both outward facing toward a common goal versus butting heads in the moment. You know?

Tildet: Yes. Everything you said. I agree. I agree. I agree. It is so important and if we can start those traditions like since my children were little, they know every celebration we have, every anniversary, birthday is celebrated in nature. So now they’re in their late…my daughter is the youngest, she’s 22. Then I have a 26 and a 28-year-old and they know like Mother’s Day is coming and they’re like, “Mom, where are we going hiking?” They don’t even think we’re going to a restaurant or anything. They’re like, “Where are we going hiking mom? What are we doing?” And traveling, hiking, camping, like you said, I agree with all that. These can be set in as part of family traditions, and when we are growing together and doing things together towards a common goal, the collaboration and the team effort, the community, all that is created from within and they want to be part of that. Because whether they’re born into technology things and they have not seen before Internet days, but they can be trained to do all these things and they are human beings. We all are human beings with the same needs, same desires, and the same goals and meanings and purpose bonds us. That’s our commonality and similarity.

Katie: For sure. We have a similar thing in our family for birthdays and for holidays that we try to give experiences instead of gifts and so like going back to that getting out in nature, which I think from my side, coming from a nutrition background is also important just because then you’re not training them that like happy times equal cake or equal sugar or equal junk food, and that’s important on its own. But also you are training them that happy times and celebration should be tied to people into doing something together, which I think is the more important lesson in that. And I love that you guys do that as well.

Do you have any tips specifically for couples in marriages because in another I think byproduct of the busyness of raising especially small children is that it’s easy for partners to drift apart or to get so caught up in the busyness of day-to-day that they aren’t communicating like they were when they were dating, certainly. And they don’t keep that same connection and community with each other. So are there any ways that we can facilitate that in relationships too?

Tildet: Yes. So important and another podcast, there’s a lot of podcasts we can do, Katie, but one of the most important things is keeping those date nights. And also one exercise I give to couples is, and some of them find it funny, they can’t do it. They can do it. But once they start doing it, they see how effective it is. Like every morning or every night, just locking their eyes and looking into each other’s eyes to connect and to remember why they’re together. Like for 30 seconds, 60 seconds, just looking into each other’s eyes and not talking, but just with your presence. Letting them know how much you appreciate them. Those moments spent together are important for the whole family.

So the date nights, keeping the relationship, the spark in the relationship going affects the children too. They’re watching, they’re watching our relationship, they’re watching us. And we are setting a role model for them to watch how relationship will be, what love is. So, creating the moments of connection with our spouses are as important, even more important than reading that newspaper or listening to the news on the television, but really looking at our schedule and prioritizing. What is the most important thing and what would make the biggest difference in our lives if we take action on it?

Katie: I know one question I like to ask at the end, I think we’ve already touched on which is any books that have really had an impact on your life. I know you said, “The Four Agreements” and you also mentioned the one, “Lost Connections.” I’ll make sure those are both in the show notes. Are there any others like even specifically related to this topic that you think are really helpful?

Tildet: Yes. There are many books I am…well, “The Four Agreements” is a great book. I think because it’s little, it is so effective. That’s the book that I give to almost everyone. There are also, Mark Waldman has a communication, I think “Change your communication, change your life,” I think that is the name of the book. It’s a great book for communication. How when we speak, we need to slow down, how we need to say what we need to say in 10 words or less. Especially for women, we tend to say a lot of things. So our spouses or our children can shut us down because we’re saying so many things. It’s important to be brief. It’s important to be to the point. I think Mark Waldman’s book points to that. I think we can start with those two books will help a lot in the process of engagement, communication and keeping things in mind that will create meaningful and wonderful, positive relationships in our lives.

Katie: I love that. And as we wrap up, any parting advice or a word you want to leave with our listeners today?

Tildet: Yes. I think the most important thing is having compassion in our hearts and really looking at each person with compassionate eyes and empathy and trying to understand, not judging them for their looks, their words, the way they speak, but getting the full meaning of the person and knowing that deep inside we are all the same. And if we can have the compassion in our hearts and the mindfulness, and the mindfulness becoming heartfulness, we can connect to each other and create those communities that are so needed starting within our families, and it just requires us to really lessen the doing and allow some time for the being, and aligning the doing and the being, knowing that, that is our wholeness.

Katie: I think that’s a perfect place to wrap up. Thank you so much for your time today and I think this will hopefully be helpful to a lot of families and I’m really appreciative for all you shared.

Tildet: Thank you, Katie. I am so happy to be here and appreciating you for all that you do.

Katie: Thanks to all of you listening for joining us today, and I hope that you will join me again on the next episode of the “Wellness Mama Podcast.”

If you’re enjoying these interviews, would you please take two minutes to leave a rating or review on iTunes for me? Doing this helps more people to find the podcast, which means even more moms and families could benefit from the information. I really appreciate your time, and thanks as always for listening.

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