Many of you will be familiar with Penni Sparks, a dynamic presenter who often participates in Rahima Baldwin's Informed Family Life Conferences in California. Penni is a friend and a colleague and I want to warmly introduce you all to her work.
I first met Penni 3 years ago when we were both key note speakers at Rahima's conference in Fair Oaks. Listening to Penni speak, I could barely keep in my seat - "yes, yes!" I wanted to shout - "she's got it!" What a joy to hear someone speak about the strength required by a parent, about the quality of being that she needs to develop, about "being one's own queen." Penni spoke about the inner work required by a parent so that she can absorb and respond to what comes from her children, neither collapsing under demands nor hardening against their needs. And Penni knows about child development! As a Waldorf parent and teacher of more than 20 years, Penni is solidly grounded in the wisdom of Waldorf ideas about the changing needs of the growing child.. And so although she advocates ways of communication which share similarities with Non Violent Communication, she gracefully avoids the verbal diarrhea and pseudo-therapy style so often adopted by those wishing to work out of NVC with children. How refreshing and how empowering for both child and parent.
Penni now has a wealth of cd's and workbooks available for parents to use. I would like to especially recommend her "Ennobling, Not Enabling: Reclaiming Your Royal Authority" cd and workbook set.
For $89 you receive two cd's and a workbook. The workbook is very well presented, filled with lovely colors and graphics to make using it a joy. Although I think Penni's consulting services are very expensive, I think that this workbook set is well-priced.
Penni's premise is to help people - women mainly, but she is careful to include men as well - develop their "inner queen" and to find the inner strength and authenticity to help them in their parenting. And so this workbook is designed as a series of exercises and guided images to help parents tap into the different inner qualities they need to succeed at this task. In six lessons, Penni guides you through "Confidence", "Consistency", Kindness", "Clarity", "Nobility" and "Serenity". These exercises are not about parenting per se, but about the parent's inner development and, as far as I am concerned, will fill a much needed gap in the parent resources market. Penni helps us discover not what we should do - but how we actually go about doing what we need to do! Penni's warmth and gentle encouragement bring this work to life.
I think that the workbook really is excellent and very well thought out. The cd's are a bit of disappointment - though they are necessary for Penni's explanations of the exercises for each section, the bulk of what one listens to is Penni reading the text from the workbook. Another drawback for some people will be the imagery she uses. As a hard-nosed New Yorker, I found it a little hard to sustain the picture of the queen adding jewels to her crown - but it really is a coherent image for what Penni is trying to get across and, I think she does it very well.
Please go to www.pennisparks.com to buy this and other resources from Penni and to find out more about her work.