Meet Jennifer Griffin. Extraordinary advocate for families!

Tell me about your family! Where do you live? How many kids? What do you do for fun?

I am blessed to have four children, ages 7-16 years old, who I homeschool in Berkeley, CA. My adorable and super-involved husband is a teacher for Oakland Unified School District. We love to dance at our Jewish temple, urban farm and complete DIY projects, such as building a 40 square foot room for our daughter and hacking alternative health at home.

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Were your parents an integral part of your childhood?  What do you remember most about them?

My father spent a lot of time playing educational and athletic games with me. My grandfather joined us for all our family road trips. I remember most that he had extra long fingernails and I would constantly try to pull them off during our long car trips.
Was your mother an integral part of your childhood? What do you remember most about them?

My mom stayed at home with me until I was nine years old. She was very quiet and concerned for my safety. My grandmother and I were born on the same day and shared a passion for saying what was on our minds and meeting new people.

What is one thing your family used to do growing up that you feel was sort of unique? Any family traditions? Customs? Activities?

My father loves spiders and even took us to a spider museum in an elderly woman’s basement who lived in another state. We always took care to capture spiders alive and put them outside, and of course, this tradition has been passed down to my children.

What do you think the biggest challenge our kids face today? What about five years from now?

Kids are challenged with how to control media usage. From an early age, they are bombarded with technology, which is so easily addicting. Unfortunately, I believe kids will still be struggling with media usage in five years and how to handle the aftermath of having been exposed to so much media.

If you were able to give one piece of advice to every single parent in the world, what would that advice be?

Embrace your child as a gift; learn how their difficult behaviors are a message to you and your partner to look within and figure out what is ready to change in your life. When your child cries or throws a fit, ask yourself and your partner if there is something that you are not expressing, such as did you recently receive an email that bothered you? or is your boss, friend or spouse annoying you?

As a busy parent, how do you balance all of the demands on your time? Do you use any tools, any techniques?

My favorite tactic is empowering my kids to be independent, such as doing their own laundry starting at age 9 and taking the public bus at age 12. This increased independence boosts their self-esteem and saves me time. I also set clear boundaries so my kids will give me time and space to recharge. Carpools are a lifesaver, as is carefully coordinating play date times and locations so that I minimize my time in the car. Surprisingly, I find that I have more time for household chores and myself when I host playdates at my house with kids that my children find easy to play with so that I am free of their, “I am bored,” statements. Another tactic is to break tasks into chunks, such as filling out this form. When I find an extra 5 minutes before leaving the house, I look at it and take the unanswered questions to my daughter’s MRI as I did today.

On average, how many nights a week is your family ‘busy,’ meaning going to and from sports/activities / etc.

Recently we were busy four nights a week with one daughter’s dancing. I asked her to stop because of how exhausting it was to transport her, and she quickly found another dance class and an aerial class, both of which she could get to on her own.

What motivates your family? Do you have any mutual hobbies you all enjoy?

Our family loves to DIY, especially in the kitchen where we make restaurant grade food daily to accommodate the vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and meat eating members of our family. We also enjoy Jewish dancing, making art and crafts and using alternative therapies at home.

What do you do to recharge yourself and your family?

We recharge through camping, Jewish dancing and always having a favorite author or book series to devour.

What is your Resource?

I have written a book (or 2)

What motivated you to start your parent community?

My second child screamed incessantly for 2 1/2 years until we discovered how she was expressing my husband’s unexpressed feelings. She was so inconsolable that no one wanted to be around our family. When my husband began to authentically express himself my daughter miraculously stopped crying. The transformation was remarkable. As I shared my stories with friends and parents that I had met at the park, who reported similar experiences with their children, several people urged me to write a book about this phenomenon.

What is your goal and vision for your community?

My wish is that children would have more freedom and independence and be embraced as a gift and not viewed as a burden. Imagine a world where you would have to pay to play with a two or three-year-old, and that our society valued their incredible ability to live in the present and express themselves so naturally, instead of a society that charges parents to spend time away from their children. I also envision a world of opportunity for multigenerational activities where seniors and children interact freely and effortlessly, leading me to consider starting a multigenerational healing symposium. Please contact me at jen@spiritualgiftinsitute.com if you feel aligned with this vision.

How long have you been writing? Do you leverage other media like video or podcasting? If so, where can we find those?

I have been writing for about six years. For the first five years, I only wrote for about 30 minutes a day during the month of November, which is National Novel Writing Month. I wrote mainly while I hosted play dates or in those five minutes before I headed out the door and ended up with my first book, Understanding Your Child as a Spiritual Gift.

So, tell me what motivates you each day? What are your passions?

As an over-doer, I crave efficiency so I make lists as a guideline for my days. My priority is to be authentic with myself and others so I try to stray from my list when it interferes with my authenticity. I love when my family is in the flow and the right people and activities manifest, which happens when I carefully strike a balance of efficiency and authenticity, ultimately trying to plan some activities while letting others naturally arise. I am also motivated each day out of my love to learn new things and share resources with others.

What is the last song you listened to?

A song from Hamilton because my kids are obsessed!

Do you belong to any groups that help you keep your goals? Church groups, parent groups, etc?

Yes, we belong to a Jewish prayer group.

Please provide me with your social media links!!

http://spiritualgiftinstitute.com
http://twitter.com/spiritualgiftxo
http://facebook.com/JenniferGriffinauthor

Do you have anything else you would like our readers to know about your resource?

Turn tantrums at any age into smiles with my book, Understanding Your Child as a Spiritual Gift, available on Amazon: mybook.to/spiritualgiftxo or sign up for my mailing list at eepurl.com/cHSByv and receive a FREE copy of my book. My next book, Understanding Morning Sickness as a Gift, is coming out in the Fall.

I just committed to @GetConnectDAD! I will spend an extra hour focused solely on my kids this week! Click To Tweet

GetConnectDad is growing at an incredible pace because parents are actively sharing what we are doing with their friends and families.  We are so thankful.  If you would like to receive a bi-weekly summary of articles like this, please fill out our subscription form below.  We are very careful to limit the number of emails we send per month because we, like you, are busy parents!

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Julian Caldwell

Julian Caldwell

Julian Ivey-Caldwell founded GetConnectDAD with one simple goal: Connect more families to their kids. Julian works a day job and spends his evenings (after the family retires) continuing to grow this platform. Because he travels a great deal for his “day job,” he is intensely focused on trying to find better ways for fathers and mothers who work long hours, different hours, or unusual hours find better ways to be engaged.

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