Author: Jennifer Cole
Review by Alexis Grewan, edited by Neesa Moodley
Excerpt: “Who your children are is far from incidental.”
My son’s friend’s mother is a writer. When I heard that she had self-published, I was impressed. I received the text from my son, via her son – our children are our best marketers when not being our greatest critics. When I saw the title, I was intrigued and when I read the introductory note, something resonated with me and I bought myself a copy.
In keeping with Margot Bertelsmann’s point that ‘Local reading is lekker’, I’ve chosen to share this little gem from another South African author. It’s not a novel, neither is it a step-by-step guide, but its narrative form makes this book a comfortable read. It is relatable and informative.
The author, through her own authority as a single mother of two children, juggling work, child care and all accompanying responsibilities and demands, manages to walk the reader through motherhood sincerely and honestly. She reminds us that we don’t exclusively raise our children but rather provide the environment in which they can raise themselves. In so doing, we too have an opportunity to be raised. This is a beautiful opportunity.
Excerpt: “As important as it is to instil knowledge and wisdom to them, so too is it essential for us to pause long enough to listen, to observe and to learn from them. It is often from them that we learn our most valuable lessons.”
This is not specifically a how-to-mother handbook. It provides a range of resources, directly and in passing, to which one can refer or about which one might want to learn more. Jennifer offers many book titles if you’re an avid reader wanting to expand your understanding, refers to helpful techniques one can access to cope, such as TRE (Tension and Trauma Release Exercise), EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), psychotherapy, NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming), and introduces tools for self-assessment, such as Dr Hawkins Map of Consciousness. I downloaded the latter to help me become aware of what energy I radiate every day, as this affects how I interact with my children and others.
Raising Beautiful Children in an Often Ugly World unfolds just as motherhood does: multi-dimensional with many activities, ideas and challenges in every chapter but with the child at the centre of it all, and with motherhood recognised for the complex journey it is. It also contains a reflection process at the end of each chapter for self-awareness and to encourage conscious parenting – allowing our children to become who they are rather than what we need them to be.
This book shifts how-to-mother to acknowledging what it means to be a mother.
Although much of my mothering is done, I found this book affirmed what I have achieved as a mother to date. It also offered ideas for my remaining years ahead. I believe it offers younger mothers ways to understand and perceive their roles with openness and compassion – for themselves and their children.
When I asked Jennifer, what prompted her to write this book, she explained that she had a need to share her experiences ‘from the trenches of motherhood’. In published form, she wants her book to offer hope to those who find the motherhood journey difficult or challenging, who may feel out of their depth and who need to know that what they are doing is good enough.
Have a look here at what others have said about the book: https://jennifer-cole.com/books/
Jennifer Cole holds certifications in strategic life coaching, as well as therapeutic art life coaching. Aside from her work around conscious parenting, she is also deeply committed to helping women overcome emotional, psychological and narcissistic abuse.
Self-published | ISBN 978-0-620-88401-3
What is conscious parenting?
Conscious parenting concepts are rooted in ancient Eastern beliefs, as well as Western psychology. Put most simply, conscious parenting asks that instead of striving to “fix” your child, parents look inward at themselves. Conscious parenting views children as independent beings (though admittedly still developing over time), who can teach parents to become more self-aware.
Other books you can read on conscious parenting:
- The Awakened Family by Dr Shefali Tsabury. To give you some context, Tsabury is held in high regard by Oprah and Pink while the Dalai Lama himself wrote the opening to her first book. Other books by her are The Conscious Parent and Out of Control.
- Parenting from the Inside Out by Daniel J. Siegel and Mary Hartzell.
- Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide by Rebecca Eanes.
To learn more about the principles behind conscious parenting, you can read these articles: