We had the good fortune of connecting with Sandi Schwartz, M.A. Ed. and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sandi, would you say you are following and pursuing your passion?
My work has been driven by the passion of my soul….I know it. I can feel it. From the time I was a teenager I resonated with a desire to understand why people behave the way they do. I knew I wanted to teach…but it wasn’t curriculum that interested me…it was the inner world of children that I so wanted to reach….During the 40 years that I taught and directed programs I worked with students and their families from a rich tapestry of varied socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. I discovered that parents were all experiencing similar challenges and that the magic they were looking for was clear to me. I am passionate about helping them discover their authentic power so that they and their children can move beyond daily struggles into joyful, resilient, mutually respectful and emotionally healthy relationships.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I was very successful in my teaching career and so I believed that when I became a parent I would be more than ready and surely know how to raise happy, thriving children. Little did I know that being an educator and being a parent were totally different experiences! Our first child came into the world with an easy going spirit. Everything I did seemed to work and I secretly took credit for his easy going, cooperative nature. I watched friends struggling and believed that if they only approached parenting from my knowledgeable background, all their issues would disappear. I wasn’t aware of my ego becoming bloated and was not prepared for the arrival of his sister! When Melissa came into the world it felt like that nothing I did soothed her very sensitive nature. Everything I knew about children seemed to dissolve into frustration as she struggled with sensory overload and what I thought were exaggerated reactions to life. I wondered what could be ‘wrong’ with her. Back then we knew very little about high sensitivity or sensory processing challenges. Having two very different children became a blessing in disguise. I was determined to learn more, to understand children from beyond a college curriculum. I had no idea that part of this journey was to look more deeply into myself, into my own childhood and beyond the intellect…into the world of inter-generational influences and the effects of unspoken messages…I began to understand children through a different lens and it empowered me to approach daily challenges with a combination of academic research and soulful wisdom. As I began writing my book, “Authentic Parenting Power’ I found myself asking Melissa to give me feedback. With the ferocity of a mother lion she insisted that I acknowledge all the mis-understood children, the sensitive ones, those who have the tantrums, who do not walk a straight path…Before we knew it, she was working alongside me, coming to my presentations and answering questions from parents. They all wanted to know what it was like to be ‘that’ child. And so it began….Leading Edge Parenting became a mother-daughter journey. We keep each other honest and continue to clarify the parent-child perspectives. Together we have helped thousands of parents around the world. Melissa has become the ‘voice’ of the children, offering strategies and understandings that end the tantrums and soften the challenges. I am the ‘voice’ of the wisdom of the parent, bringing compassion and clarity to the never-ending wild ride that comes with parenting in the twenty first century.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would take them to Temecula. The wineries are fabulous and the views are breathtaking. We would take an early morning hot air balloon ride, followed by a great massage at a spa and relaxing time by a hotel swimming pool. Or….take in 18 holes of great golf! In the evenings we would go to Old Town, which has become a hot spot of music, eating and dancing. Saturday mornings there is a fabulous Farmer’s Market which is surrounded by new and exciting shops. And, there is always Pechanga and Pala – two giant casinos with Vegas type shows and gaming.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
As I look back over my career I realize that what I know about children, parenting and educating them began with receiving my Masters Degree from Columbia University… but as I point out to the young teachers in my own college classrooms…as well as to the parents who attend my parenting classes….loving kids, having children and receiving a degree is just the first step in ‘living’ with them. I dedicate my shoutout to all the children who touched my life, from the pre-schoolers through the teenagers….each of them pushing me to learn more, become more compassionate, and to be the role model of what I expected from them. I would also like to acknowledge my adult students and parents around the world, who share from their hearts their personal stories, hopes, fears, challenges and triumphs. Together we have supported each other to live a more conscious understanding of unconditional parent love.
Other: (Other FB page) www.facebook.com/highlysensitivechildren (Our private FB group) www.facebook.com/groups/highlysensitivechildren (Link to “Authentic Parenting Power” on Amazon) http://www.amazon.com/dp/1492168246?tag=IDleadingedgepa-20