Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Irresistible “I’m Glad I’m Me” Teaches Us How to Talk to Each Other

Yes, I’m still genre-jumping! My grandson pulled this out of our children’s bookcase yesterday and I fell in love with it all over again. Sheila Aron’s little gem, “I’m Glad I’m Me” is, as an interviewer on FOX news put it, “a parenting guide disguised as a children’s book.”

The book is a dialog, a script. Knowing the positive impact messages of love between parent and child can have, Sheila offers 18 simple, everyday conversation models. It gives you the words you need. And when you read it to your kids, they’re hearing what they need to hear.

I actually met Sheila before her book. Her book signing was the week before mine, and I went just to see how they worked. I was just starting out. She was already a veteran of the signing scene, having done the likes of Barnes and Noble, Borders, and Brazos, the most popular indy bookstore in Houston.

With the event winding down, we sat down with coffee and chatted. She’s a petite brunette, very pretty in a thoughtful sort of way. I asked how “I’m Glad I’m Me” came about. It’s a poignant story. One night on the evening news she heard a story about a young girl committing a horrific crime and it struck a chord deep in her soul. Why do these things keep happening? What triggers it? What can be done?

As she explored the problem, one thing stood out for her: people don’t know how to talk to each other. In this era of tension and uncertainty, chopped up text-speak, emotional disconnection, and parental exhaustion, few can even conduct civil conversations, much less express love.

Here’s an excerpt: “…when we are working together: Thank you for helping me. Working or playing – I love to be with you.” Sound sappy? Think about it. It’s what you feel, isn’t it? It’s what you mean. It’s what you want to say. So say it! Get used to it! Start building your attitude; that positive relationship. The few minutes it takes to read and share this book could impact a child (and you!) for a lifetime.

Beautifully illustrated by Charlotte Arnold, it’s a book a child will reach for. Because of the subtitle, “Weaving the Thread of Love From Generation to Generation,” each book comes with a symbolic multicolored length of yarn, which I've found useful for marking my place when Mikey suddenly needs a potty trip.

Since the last time we talked, Sheila has set up a wonderful website: I close with a quote from it:

Sheila Aron’s advocacy for loving parent-child relationships reaches deep into her Houston community. She has donated copies of I’m Glad I’m Me to various charitable organizations including Harris County Children’s Protective Service, ESCAPE Family Resource Center and ChildBuilders™ for distribution to families served by these organizations.

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