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The One Minute Mother - How the Daily Commute can be Transformative

Ever hear of "The One Minute Manager", that classic book from the 80's that advised wanna-be CEO's on situational leadership techniques? I gave "One Minute Mothering" a try today...

With my husband traveling for work most weeks, and my own expanding allergy micropractice, I don't have a lot of time for long heart-to-hearts with my kids. However, I spend a ton of time in the car with them! Usually, we rock out to Top 40 or listen to NPR. However, my boys aren't gleaning as much from public radio as I had hoped. This week, during a story on civil rights, my 3 year old asked me, "Mommy, who is Mr. Sippy?" To which my 6 year old answered, "It's not Mr. Sippy, dumb-dumb. It's MRS. Sippy!"

Therefore, I've decided to re-purpose our time in the car to full advantage. No more hoping they will learn by osmosis. I've got to be a little more proactive. So, my new project is to find quotes that speak to me somehow, and translate each one into a 2-3 minute conversation with my boys, all in the time it takes to drive from home to daycare (or from daycare to karate, karate to home, daycare to football, football to home, etc.). I'll share them here, and I'd love for my readers to share quotes or proverbs that have held special meaning in your lives. The goal is for my children to be able to reflect back upon "car time with Mommy" as something special, rather than just a taxi service.

Today's lesson (in a nutshell): "It is far better to be interested than to be interesting." 

The actual conversation went more like this: "Would you rather hang out with some who cares about you and what you're doing, or with someone who spends all their time talking about themselves and how cool they are?" (Insert child's reply here) "Right! Well, then it's important to always try to be the kind of person that you yourself would like to be friends with. People who are interested in others are always learning new things, which makes them fun and exciting to be around themselves. They also make other people feel special. How do you feel when you know you've done something to make a friend feel special?" (Insert child's reply here) "Exactly! Isn't that a wonderful feeling? Now, on the other hand, people who focus on trying to be the center of attention all the time aren't learning these new and cool things from other people, because they spend all their time talking about themselves. Who would you rather be?"

And now, we have reached the karate dojo, and my little man can reflect on this conversation while he perfects his roundhouse kicks.


  1. "Now is greater than the whole of the past" --REM (from the song "She Just Wants to Be"). I love this quote and used to use this song often in my music therapy sessions with adult psych! I think it is so applicable to so many situations and on different levels! Great post, by the way!

  2. Great idea and great quote. I've done something similar with my boys- utilizing a quote a day calendar. My favorite remains more of a poem, I received it on a graduation day card. I framed it and have had it on my fridge for years. It has "layers" of reminder cues and inspiration.

    Live Each Day to the Fullest

    Live each day to the fullest.
    Get the most from each hour, each day,
    and each age of your life.
    Then you can look forward with confidence,
    and back without regrets.

    Be yourself… but be your best self.
    Dare to be different and follow your own star.
    Don’t be afraid to be happy
    …enjoy what is beautiful.
    Love with all your heart and soul.
    Believe that those you love, love you.

    When you are faced with decision,
    make that decision as wisely as possible,
    then forget it.

    The moment of absolute certainty never arrives.
    And above all, remember that God helps those
    who help themselves. Act as if everything depended on you
    And pray as if everything depended on God.

    ~ SH Payer


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