Raising Wild Hearts

Nurturing and Empowering Our Sons with Laurie A. Couture

November 13, 2023 Ryann Watkin
Raising Wild Hearts
Nurturing and Empowering Our Sons with Laurie A. Couture
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Laurie A. Couture, an expert in trauma-informed and attachment-focused research, is talking about the pivotal role mothers play in forming early attachment relationships, the silent trauma of circumcision, and the rising suicide rates among boys and young men.  Tune in to hear Laurie's story of losing her son and how it inspired her to create The Couture Protocol, a program that empowers educators, parents and administrators to follow nature's intent for raising children. Laurie is the author of two books and you can find out more about her mission-driven work here.

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Speaker 1:

What mothers do is everything, because we are the first relationship that children have and so we are the first attachment relationship. Dads are crucial. Babies are having attachment relationships with the dad too, but it really is. The mother must be the first to set that attachment blueprint, because that blueprint forms the blueprint for life, for all future attachment relationships.

Speaker 2:

Welcome, revolutionary Mama, to the Raising Wild Hearts Podcast. I'm Ryan Watkin, educator, mom of three, revel at heart and passionate soul, on a mission to empower and inspire you. Here we'll explore psychology, spirituality, parenthood and the intersection where they all come together. We'll discover how challenges can be fertile soil for growth and that even in the messy middle of motherhood, we can find magic in the mundane. Join me on my own personal journey as I talk to experts and share resources on education, creativity, self-care, family, culture and more. I believe we can change the world by starting at home in our own minds and hearts, and that when we do, we'll be passing down the most important legacy there is Healing, and so it is. Hello, welcome back to the Raising Wild Hearts Podcast. I'm really excited you're here, if you can't tell from my voice and I'm really excited to be here giving this intro. So yeah, today I am speaking with Laurie A Couture, and Laurie has a super interesting story and a possibly triggering story. She lost her son to suicide, so trigger warning if this is challenging for you to listen to, then skip this one. Also, we talk about I didn't know we were going to talk about this. I've been delving into this topic since I had a son, but we dive into and talk about circumcision and the way we talk about it might be a little bit more interesting, but we talk about. It might be a little triggering for some too. Laurie is a strong advocate for not circumcising. I won't say what we chose to do with our son. You could probably infer what we did. I think that's his business to share or not share when he gets old enough to do so. And so, yeah, it's not the conversation I was expecting on having. That's typically how these conversations go, but I always want to give a heads up when it feels like maybe a challenging or a triggering conversation. So heads up there's that. Laurie is an amazing human being. She delivers leading edge trauma informed and attachment focused research and programs to industries that serve children, youths and families. So she's all about systematic change. She's written a book it's called Nurturing and Empowering Our Sons she's very passionate about, and she's written another book. Actually it's called, instead of Medicating and Punishing, healing the Causes of Our Children's Acting Out Behavior by Parenting and Educating the Way Nature Intended. So those are her two books. She's got something called the Couture Protocol for Healing Developmental Trauma and Emotional Behavior and Learning Problems in Children and Youth, and her heart feels very close to boys because she had a son who had mental health issues and we'll talk about this story in the podcast, so you'll hear more. So her work is dedicated a lot to boys and so I think that's a really great lens because I tend to talk a lot about the feminine. The feminine is very close to my heart because the past 10 years I've been healing my sacred feminine and healing feminine relationships in my life, healing ancestral trauma regarding feminine relationships in family and out of family. So that's something that's super close to my heart and so I tend to talk about it quite a bit. And so I'm glad that we got this varied perspective about raising boys, doing better for our boys in school, homeschooling our boys when we can, and that whole you know, the whole question of like, why are our boys struggling? Our girls are struggling too, but you know, to devote an entire, you know book and topic and podcast to it I thought was really important and I thought it was really interesting, and Laurie is very passionate about what she does, so I'm super excited to share her work and this conversation with you guys. Let me know if you have questions or comments, let me know what your biggest takeaways are. You can always email me, hello at raisingwildheartspodcastcom. So looking forward to hearing you, the raising Wild Hearts. Membership is open, people are trickling in, and if you're on the fence, here's what I've done a handful of women's circles over the past handful of years, and I know that for me, speaking of feminine, that healing occurs in group. Healing doesn't occur by ourselves. Healing occurs when we can witness and be witnessed, and so it feels really important to me and really aligned to my mission to host women's circles monthly, and so I'm really excited to start kicking those off and to have some of you join. You know it's going to be on Zoom, so, wherever you are, jump in raisingwildheartsbuzzsproutcom. You can learn more about the details there. I'm also going to be hosting a Lunch and Learn with myself and different experts regarding different topics, and really, if you get in there now, you're going to be a founding member. You're going to have a say of what topics we learn about, and it's going to be a super engaging and informative experience. So, yeah, if you're on the fence, get in there. I'm super excited to see you. We're going to have, you know, a smallish group of founding members where we really craft, like what do we want to learn about? Where do we want to go? How can we witness each other and be witnessed in this amazing healing process. So I'm excited to see some of you in there. And, yeah, that link is raisingwildheartsbuzzsproutcom and you can click on subscribe, I think is the word that it says and you can learn all about the membership there. And just, oh, yeah, it does say subscribe, it's $10 a month. It's a seriously ridiculous value like ridiculous and it will never be this low again. This is kind of a pilot of something that I've had on my heart for a while. So once we get this founding group, the price will be going up as we do that. So, jump in there. It's called the membership revolutionizing motherhood through community and education, and that's exactly what we're doing and that's exactly what I am doing by through this podcast. And then I love it for it to have like a more community feel, because I'm talking to you guys, I'm interacting with the guests, but I don't have a lot of interaction with you directly. So this feels really near and dear to my heart. It feels really aligned. I'm going to just pour the best of the best of the best into this membership. So, yeah, get in there, let's do this thing. All right, let's get into today's conversation, super excited for you guys to hear and I'll talk to you soon. Bye, laurie, welcome to the podcast. How are you?

Speaker 1:

I'm doing great, Ryan. How are you? Thank you.

Speaker 2:

I'm great, I'm thrilled, to have you here. I was researching your work and it's very, very important work and I'm excited to jump into it because your story is both heartbreaking and inspiring, and those are the stories that resonate with me the most, really. So I appreciate the work you're doing in the world, first and foremost.

Speaker 1:

Thank you. Thank you very much.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So after a few years we've decided to home educate our children, and so I'm really excited to talk to you about homeschooling and unschooling, because it's you know, since they were little like toddlers, I've been like, what are we going to do for school? And so it's this ongoing conversation, and so it's very helpful for me to bounce ideas off of others like you who've done it and been there. So but first, before we dive into that, I would love if you could just tell us a bit about yourself, but then also tell us the story about your son Bryson, if you wouldn't mind.

Speaker 1:

Sure, thank you, and it's. I just want to say I'm so excited to hear that you're home educating your children. That's great, what an adventure it is. Yeah, I obviously did the same with my son. So I'm a by trade, I'm a licensed mental health counselor, I'm the author of nurturing and empowering our sons and, instead of medicating and punishing, I have developed a protocol called the couture protocol, which is a whole child program of treating developmental and generational trauma. After so many years two decades working in mental health and other institutions of our society, such as the educational institution, juvenile justice, social services, I could see the glaring omissions that we had in treating children and families and and why children and families don't get better significantly when they go through these systems, and I basically figured out how to heal children on a holistic level using multiple services, and I'm very excited about it. Right now I'm in the process of starting to write the clinical manual. I basically now I'm a consultant. I help programs that work with children and families to make changes so that their programs are more trauma competent and are focused on the generational trauma, the developmental trauma, in in their services. So it's an overhaul of the existing systems. I have had a long career, but I also personally had experience with child trauma myself and that definitely colored my career and gave me a passion for helping children. I adopted my son, bryson, from the foster care system in 2005 when he was 11 years old. He had just turned 11 and I would have to say that was the most wonderful and beautiful experience of my life. Obviously, my greatest memory was the day I met my son. It's also been the most challenging and heartbreaking, because I not only lost my son, I've lost my granddaughter in all of this to alienation. So I've, you know, I always had dreams of, you know, my son growing up and having grandchildren and just that second stage of my life being filled with joy. I mean, I knew he would always struggle with mental health issues and day by day, and that that's something that I totally accepted. So I've had to really find new purpose for going on, and that's to hold out for my granddaughter and to tell my son's story, which I did in my new book, nurturing and Powering Our Sons and to basically get back out there and help children and overhaul these systems that just have not. They have a. I would say they have a grade of anywhere from a C minus to an F in how they work with children and families, whether it's the mental health field or the educational institution.

Speaker 2:

It's abysmal. And even for families like who aren't experiencing big T trauma who are maybe, you know, everybody has trauma, little T trauma or big T, and we'll break that down a little bit. But even for families who are, like you know, very well put together they've got them two parents at home and caregivers and support. Even then the systems are really terrible for everybody. So let's, you know, let's branch off a bit and talk about trauma. What is it? Why does it happen? You mentioned intergenerational trauma. That's something that I am really, really interested in, because I believe that I'm the cycle breaker in a long history of generational trauma and so this is like a passion for me personally too.

Speaker 1:

You're a hero. Anybody who who consciously attempts to be that, even if they're not perfect at it. The key is the conscious will to do it. Trauma is any emotional experience that overwhelms a child's ability to cope emotionally. It usually leads to some level of dissociation when it's happening. So when, when children have a need, that means that they are no longer at homeostasis and there is some level of distress happening inside of their, inside of them or outside of them. So basically, physically, emotionally, it could be even at a higher spiritual level too, but usually it's those basic needs for love, for physiological homeostasis and for belonging and affection, nurturance, safety, connection. And so what happens is when those needs are not met, when the child expresses them, and that's the key when the child expresses the need, the parent or the caregiver must meet the need ASAP or at least respond with sensitivity if it's impossible to meet it in that moment, but letting them know we're gonna, we're totally gonna do this and you're working at it. And then what happens is, in ideal cases, when that need is met, there is a sense of homeostasis that has been restored. The child feels trust, they feel relief, they feel joy, they feel just calm and all systems on the inside and out are good and that feeling is what is associated with the parent and that is what generates secure attachment. Now, the opposite of that is what most of us have grown up with to some degree, everybody in industrialized cultures, everybody sense the dawn of agriculture. So in other words, the only cultures that pretty much were able to do this pretty consistently it's not perfectly, no parents perfect but but consistently with a Paleolithic, hunter-gatherer cultures. But the dawn of agriculture, when parents started to toil and to expect children to work, children's needs now no longer were the focus of the culture. So what happens is and to put it in today's terms is the child has a need, the child expresses the need and then, unfortunately, the adults do not meet the need and a lot of times, especially for example in a school setting, the, the adults do the opposite of the need. And then what happens is the child certainly doesn't feel homeostasis, they feel further dysregulated and then they feel fear, anxiety, rage, a lack of safety and they associate that with the parent, even if they're in school. They associate that because the parent is supposed to be protecting them and that leads to what's called insecure or disrupted attachment. So attachment disruption is a form of trauma. It it's linked to developmental trauma. So trauma is a may seem like a separate thing, because the trauma is when, for example, something terrifying or frightening, something maybe that's you know unexpected, such as violence or a natural disaster. But it can also happen when one of those needs that we discussed, one of those physical or emotional needs, is not met and it creates such intense or such chronic distress that it leads to dissociation and a feeling of total powerlessness. So trauma to go back to the, to the question of what a trauma is is it is emotional overwhelm with total powerlessness, even if it's perceived, powerlessness as well as dissociation. And, unfortunately, even the oldest adolescents, especially if you put them in a school setting, even the ones that are like stayed back in one grade and they're now going to be 19 year old graduates, they are totally powerless in a school setting. So any child that is under that adult power dynamic is totally powerless, and so they, they, they perceive that. So that is why children the greatest trauma and that is why we call it, when it happens to children, developmental trauma, because it affects every single layer of their development. Now, if an adult has a trauma for the first time, let's say, something horrible happens, they have a crime. It's not developmental trauma because it doesn't affect them on every holistic developmental level as they're growing and and basically changing with their developmental tasks and learning those developmental tasks. Then generational trauma is when that obviously gets passed on generation to generation.

Speaker 2:

Right, this is brilliant. Thank you so much for breaking that down. That's such a clear, concise view. I've always been really interested in childhood development. It was my minor in college. One of the things that came up for me was 17-year-old and 18-year-old kids. They have this sense of powerlessness. Then you walk onto any college campus in the United States and it's a bunch of 18-year-old toddlers essentially abusing alcohol and drugs. I find it so interesting that that's when we say fly the nest, little birdie. That's right. Yet not until four to six years later are their brains actually fully developed. That's mind-blowing that it's even set up like that. If we could, in all of our systems, look through a lens of childhood development, I think that we would be a lot better off for the kids and for everybody as we grow into adults, because I've passed down, certainly, things to my kids that I, even though I'm the cycle breaker, there are still things that are being passed down. Like you said, it's not perfect and it's a lot to carry For one person, right? They say that you can pull seven generations back and that's a lot of garbage that I'm trying to filter through and then let go. Those are some of the things that came up while you were talking. I love this. Let's talk about boys for a minute. I have two girls and I have one boy. Who's the baby?

Speaker 1:

Right In the house. Both that's wonderful. What a joy to have one of each, well, couple of each.

Speaker 2:

It's such a joy. It's such a joy. When I began having children, I always knew I'd be a mother. I wasn't a kid who was like, oh, one day when I have babies, it was a knowing, a deep no-sus that I had in my being forever I would be a mom. When I started having kids, my pregnant girlfriends would be looking around at the pink ruffles and, oh, I just want a girl, I just want a daughter. I'm like, oh no, I'm having boys. Then there was this one photo of me when I was pregnant. We did a photo shoot and a girlfriend of mine at the time said it's a girl. I knew she was right. I knew she was right. God gave me essentially what I needed. I needed to heal my feminine essence.

Speaker 1:

I needed to heal my feminine relationships.

Speaker 2:

That's in full swing. I'm like, oh, I got this down. Then, poof, I got my boy. Not my boy, but I got a boy. I noticed how different it is to parent boys versus girls, temperament, everything. Let's talk about boys specifically right now, because something that I'm playing with is the trauma that circumcision has in the first two days of an infant boy's life.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, they're basically being raped right at birth.

Speaker 2:

It's genital mutilation. I don't want to say what our decision was for our son. I'm sure everybody can infer what we ultimately decided. But so, even if let's say our boys are circumcised, or whether we didn't or did not, there's this element of reckoning, there's this element of coming to grips with this will be a trauma in this boy's life. How, I guess, from that lens and then every other lens, with the things that boys need to go through, on top of the ADD diagnosis at five and the Ritalin prescriptions at six and all these different things that our boys have to face before they're even like seven, but before they're even in grade school, what is going on with our culture that we are treating our boys so badly? What's happening?

Speaker 1:

I speak a lot about that in my book and unfortunately this is a conversation that's just so huge you can't fit it into one podcast, but it really does go back to this feminist ideology that believes that males are predators and females are victims, perpetually victims, and so, unfortunately, that came out of the walls of academia, where it was contained in the 60s and 70s, and now especially, I would say, since 2015,. I mean it started coming out in the 2010s really, but it's since 2015,. It's just exploded into every aspect of the culture and basically this hatred towards males has trickled down into our boys, and it has been since, I would say, the mid 90s, and so this idea that boys are it was actually one of the authors Thompson, I believe, was his name, I'm not certain. He had a quote. I could get you the quote that basically schools treat boys like defective girls and that's sort of what our society has done is treating little boys like they're predators, and so the treatment of them gets worse and worse and their developmental needs are not met. Schools have never been able to meet any child's needs. I mean, they certainly couldn't meet mine. I was an active girl on the autism spectrum, and but for boys, it's even more a hostile environment because they just do not even understand the most basic needs that boys have, especially from movement and kinesthetics. And so, yes, I mean going back to it. Male genital mutilation has been in humanity for thousands of years, but it only really started in the United States after World War Two and unfortunately it is. And this is not to make parents feel guilty, because it's not the parents, it's the medical establishment that pushes this and religious groups that do not talk to families about alternatives, which more and more religious people are coming up with, alternatives to the circumcision. But it is a form of rape. I mean, basically, you're taking a little boy who's just been born, you're taking him away from the mother's breast when he needs to be at the breast at all times and held in her arms, and held in his dad's arms, and you are strapping him down in four point restraints and then usually a female nurse is inducing an erection, deliberately so that it makes it easier for the doctor to do this horrific mutilation. They're mutilating the most sensitive part of the penis which, by the time he is an adult, would be about 75% of the sensitivity and about the size of a three by five index card when he would be full grown. It is removed and then this trauma is completely not spoken of ever again. It is never mentioned in therapy. It is never mentioned and so of course this is not a trauma, he's aware, but it certainly leads to this. It can lead to violence and certain vulnerable boys and young men and men and unfortunately, when this boy grows into a young man that's having all kinds of aggressive problems or problems with his mother or attachment problems, relationship problems, sexual problems and later ED, a rectile dysfunction. Nobody looks at male genital mutilation. They just assume it's something else or they just want you to believe it's something else so they can make money. But I have found that it leads to autistic symptoms and boys, it leads to major attachment disruption with the mother and it absolutely can and does lead to violence and there are even studies linking serial killers to male genital mutilation procedures. So there's a lot to unpack and I have an entire chapter in my book nurturing and empowering our sons about it and the chapter is one of the longest chapters because it is such a huge, huge physical, emotional, sexual, neurological trauma. It not only disfigures and basically stunts the ability of the man to have sex in a natural way, and vaginal intercourse is also negatively affected, but it just destroys him on every holistic level. So what we're doing to our boys is we're destroying them and these youngest two generations, the millennials and the Gen Z boys. They're clearly showing us that, by their failure to launch and their inability to have any sense of hope for the future, that we've destroyed them.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, not to mention the cultural narratives about health and public health and, without going into the sort of pandemic era, the child who's growing up and wanting this future. All of a sudden the world shuts down. And now what for them? So that's like a whole nether layer on top, you know when we were talking about these infant boys, I just I was crying and I just feel this pain so deeply. Someone might be wondering, like what does this have to do with education? What does this have to do with systems? What does this have to do with society? And the answer is everything, because our boys are walking out there, they're getting into relationships with women and you know, heteronormative relationships, whatever. So you know, it's the married couples, it's the, you know when they first start dating, it's, it's everything. So this affects the entire culture and for us as a society to sit here and, you know, put the patriarchy down, because we've been repressed and suppressed for so long as women isn't the fucking answer. Like the answer is and both it's and both Like. We have to work together, the patriarchy, the patriarchy coming together as one. And this isn't some sort of, like you know, dystopian vision that I have of the future. We have to work together. There has to be a balance. There has to be a natural balance of things. So, and it, you know, for me it starts at home. Like the mothers, like we're it, we're birthing and raising this next generation, adopting and raising the next generation. You know, we have a say. Even though it doesn't feel like it, we get to choose how we raise our kids.

Speaker 1:

We have a choice. It's everything. What mothers do is everything, because we are the first relationship that children have and so we are the first attachment relationship. Dads are crucial. Babies are having attachment relationships with the dad too, but it really is. The mother must be the first to set that attachment blueprint, because that blueprint forms the blueprint for life, for all future attachment relationship Immediate breastfeeding and breastfeeding until the child weans him his or herself. That means that can go well into the toddler years. In fact, the reason children start to get they have baby teeth is because they, you know they're meant to be breastfeeding past four or five years old and they start to get their adult teeth around five years old, around when breastfeeding naturally starts to end. If you look at Paleolithic tribal societies, there's been research done by James W Prescott that found that when children in tribal societies were weaned before two and a half years from the breast, those societies were violent, and societies where children will weaned on their own, which tended to average around 2.5 years, those tribal societies tended to be have no mass cultural violence. So breastfeeding is crucial. Then, of course, is the constant skin to skin contact, elimination, communication, homeschooling, because is the problem is you have a lot of the traditional attachment parenting literature that I kind of read since the 90s talks all about these great aspects of attachment parenting and then suddenly, when the child's five years old, everything ends. Throw them in school and now their attachment is disrupted. So I don't understand the rationale of handing your precious child over to some strangers who will never, never, never, never love them like you do and a lot of cases they don't even like them and handing them over for them to destroy. And that is what happens when your child goes into school. You may love your child's teacher and let's say that teacher's a gem that year, but they will not get that same teacher year after year after year if the year, unless they're in a Waldorf school. And even still that person cannot love your child like you do and know them like you do. And I am all for gem teachers who are out there trying to help abuse children in their schools and I give them a thumbs up. What I tell them is get out of the school system and start your own school, start a child centered private school. Get out of that system. You're not abandoning your kids, you're encouraging more and more gems to. A whole new thing came up. The one thing I can't stand hearing about the pandemic. Well, one thing I will say about it is that it birth a new, yet another, another way to home educate your kids, or alternatively educate your kids, is learning pods. So there really is no excuse now, because with a learning pod you get the best of homeschooling and then you get the aspect of somebody else teaches your child. So it's like there's really no excuse for a parent who is dedicated and passionate. Even if they you can't do it right now because of circumstances, you can sit down right now and come up with a plan so that you can do it down the road. Now I did this. I homeschooled my son, I unschooled my son through graduation, is a single working parent on an income Most people would say was impossible to live on, and I did it because I was not willing. My child had already been traumatized enough, went before our adoption and, you know, with his life previous to that, especially, you know, when he was in school through the foster care system, I was not willing, even for those few months until our adoption was finalized, to put him in the public school.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, it's so we. I did not think I would home educate. I mean, 10 years ago, if you had told me I'd be a home educator, I would have laughed, and life just has this funny way of you know, leading you with these breadcrumbs of where you're going to go, and it's fascinating to me. You know that. So one of the pieces of feedback I get from parents typically when I say that I home school is like oh wow, like it's, it's that kind of thing.

Speaker 1:

And when you are so crazy it's good, yeah, it's big and it's.

Speaker 2:

It is becoming more than norm, for sure.

Speaker 1:

One of the.

Speaker 2:

It is, it's, you know it's yeah, it's all in divine timing. You know, this really pushed us to go like there's got to be another way and there is turns out, and so look at that, look at what we did. We were the trailblazers, that's right.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I know what are the most annoying ones that every homeschool parent hates hearing is what about socialization and you're like, well, wait a minute, here your kid is getting some of the worst possible socialization that you could ever get, right, so so traumatizing, to the point where people are still dreading their school years decades later in school. So how could you think that homeschooling where you know your child is learning from people in the community, from their family, from homeschool groups, homeschool co-ops? They're learning from the world. They're talking to diverse peoples all day long. Now, if you're homeschooling in the correct way, which is to involve them in the community and homeschool communities, well then, yes, they're going to be. They're going to be socially skilled. We don't want them socialized. That's what they get in public school. They're taught to take their place and they're taught, they're taught to suffer as they're put, you know, basically shuffled into peer groups and cliques, telling them what their lot in life is going to be. You know, are you going to be the queen bee or are you going to be the, you know, the at the bottom of the barrel, you know, or somewhere in between, and that's what school does. That that does not happen in healthy homeschool groups. The only time I've ever seen it in a homeschool group was a homeschool group that was consistent of a bunch of public school kids who had just come out of public school and my son and I we went to one meeting of that and we never returned. This is like no, no, those kids haven't detoxed yet, right.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, exactly so there's. Often I say that there's three boxes that you go into when you go to a public school system and you know there's you know however many billions of us on the planet now and there's. You know that many billions of boxes. There's not. It's not three, it's billions. So it's a really beautiful thing when you can allow the child to just unfold, as you said, nature's intent. They've got their roots, they've got their stem, they've got their bloom and it's going to be different for everybody. And for us, to observe our children is, I mean, one of the greatest gifts we can have as parents, because we really get this intuitive sense of who they are and who they're meant to be. I can remember being dropped off a kindergarten and going like this ain't it everything, this ain't it. I mean, I have the same thing Like don't leave me, what's going on, and I think that's just a very obviously a very you know culturally accepted They'll. They'll be fine to build up the trust, but it's because we know. We know when we're five, that we're not supposed to be separated with our mom yet.

Speaker 1:

I happened to be in preschool. I was put in preschool and I, just, I, literally I just cried and cried and cried and cried for like days until finally the teacher just called my mom and said, yeah, and my, my mom just, luckily I'm so fortunate she pulled me out of there. Unfortunately, most parents are, you know, they have so much pressure that they just ignore those tears and they and they forcibly keep their child there. And you know, and our parents' generation, it was very different. They didn't have the supports for homeschool. That alternative education was not, that was for a privileged few back then. So you know, but now there is so much out there. I have a whole chapter in my new book on alternative education and with the pod, you know, the pod learning, the learning pods, I mean that's a new innovation.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and if something doesn't exist, we're at the point now where we can go out and create it. Like when we first started home educating. We went out with we have a play based preschool in our local community. It's absolutely phenomenal, it's called Sunflower Creative Arts. I always sing their praises wherever I go, and so we started there and we had a community of moms who said, well, what are we doing, what are we making? And we made it. We just like created it we made it ourselves and it was great and that worked for a short time. It's still thriving, it's growing, it's huge. We've like I'm a, I'm a bouncer, so what we bounce. So we're at a yeah, we bounce, so we're at a couple different. Great and it's you know, it's good for them to have varied experience and and all of that. So there are so many options out there, and the biggest question, I think, though, that comes up is like well, how do you do that? How do you know? Because parents, like you said, you mentioned this pressure. We have cultural pressure to work, we have pressure to be at a job for 40 hours. We have, you know, and the way that our society is going. We can make money at our computers, we can start businesses, we can have side hustles, we can, you know. So we're moving away from this traditional paradigm, and everything down to the way our kids, especially the way our kids are educated, is affected when we change our culture. You know when we say no more. I'm not going to sit at a job that I'm going to happy with for 40 hours a week because I don't want to. It's crushing my soul and you know all the different things, but when you've had your soul crushed in a traditional education system for 12 years, you just think that that's the way life is.

Speaker 1:

Well, that is the purpose. You got it, ryan. That is the purpose of traditional public school is to create that sense of hopelessness that this is your lot in life. Your lot in life is to wake up in the morning, go to work or school, go home and watch TV, go to bed and then do that till you die, and that is the system. And so I was willing, you know, at a time when this was not popular to do, to blaze that trail and say I'm not doing this. And so I built my career around a situation where I could take clients at specific days and hours, and then I did a bunch of side gigs of speaking, writing, and then I took a second job where I was able to take my son with me to the groups that I would run. So I I that this did not happen overnight, though again, parents have to plan for this. I planned 13 months for this, and I was planning before my son was even placed with me for adoption, because I Knew he was coming and I knew it would take a while. And then you know what one like it was a couple days before he turned 12, and we, we had just finalized our adoption like the month Couple weeks before that and it was like we jumped right into Homeschooling from this beautiful private child's child centered school that he attended for those months leading up to finalizing the adoption, and that was a beautiful place that basically just kept him safe, and what I loved about it is even at that place I was able to show up unexpectedly to see how they were treating the kids and I was able to go and take my son out for lunch or something and visit him during the day, and that helped me work, help him work on his social skills, because when he came he was on the autism spectrum, of course, but it was also to the fact that he had bounced around so much he had never learned to make friendships. I was able to help him in real time. So if he'd get down on all fours and start barking at the other kids and they'd be looking at him like, oh my gosh, I was able to pull him aside and give him some strategies for repairing that and saying you know what? How do you think you know your friend fell when, when you know, he asked you a question you barked at, barked in his face, and so then he would. All you know he might have felt that I didn't like him. Yeah well, what do you think you could do differently? And so that was the great thing about a child-centered school is they allowed me to be there working with him, and they threw a beautiful party for him when, when he, they threw a beautiful party for his adoption with me, but then also when he was going to leave, you know, they incorporated that too. It was just a beautiful situation, and so you know what parents go seeking for it. That school did not accept, did not give scholarships, nor accept payment plans, and I received both, because I begged.

Speaker 2:

Yep, that's right, so you can do it. There's always a way there. There's always a way, and I think you know, after so much training in a traditional system, which the but I mean, let's be honest, the majority of us did grow up in a traditional- yes and so we think that we need to stay quiet and not rock the boat and just be compliant and, you know, kind of go along to get along and all these things. And you know, I'm at the point in my life and I've always kind of had that rebellious nature. I had this, this knowing, kind of early on. But now I'm at the point where I'm like, listen, people, you know, there's another way and if you know, I changed my midwife three times in my first pregnancy.

Speaker 1:

You know the assertiveness. To do that, you have to follow your intuition. Yeah, ryan, by you doing that, you are putting your child first and yourself first. Before before Gosh, I guess I should just do the right thing and, and you know, and be complacent and be, you know, be easy going and not rock the boat, like you said, and not make trouble. See, people are so worried I'm gonna make trouble and so they don't speak up and then they have a bad experience. So I'm Applaud you, you know.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, thank you. It just comes naturally. I wasn't an easy child to parent, that's for sure. But yeah you know it served me later in life and now look at how successful we are. Yeah, that's right, that's right and I'm really proud. You know it's my greatest work and honor in this world to be showing up for my kids in a way that's helping them Build, that, grow that in themselves they, they have it in. 8. Lee really is what it feels like and part of my job, most of my job as a parent, is just to not like squash that, not to put out their life force, energy, not to, you know, tell them that they're bad boys and bad girls for not agreeing with mommy, it's not that's not my job, you know. I'm not here to raise soldiers, I'm not.

Speaker 1:

Yes, exactly, yeah, exactly. That is a great way to look at it. We are not training soldiers in the military. We are raising Children who will be future adults that have to, you know, negotiate the world socially and financially and, hopefully, creatively. That's what we want. We don't want them to just do what they're told and be a cog in the system and Pull the lever. You know, and that's why, I think, you know, I, I credit the, you know, my generation in the younger generation of parents that were we're changing those paradigms and I think our parents generation wanted to, but they didn't have any other ways. And then our grandparents generation and great-grands. They were just trying to survive. I mean that for them it was all about survival. But at least back then Children got a full experience of being able to play a lot of times, except for the Really impoverished families, tragically the children had to work in the mills. But a lot of the kids in the World War two era did get a full experience of being an outdoor nature play. They didn't have homework. Even the boomer generation. They were probably one of the last generation step to just play all day. My generation, generation X, was probably the last play all day, play outside after school generation. We were the latchkey kids, but you know not me personally, but that generation and we were probably the last generation to To just play with abandoned, but even still we had video games and TV, so it wasn't even as much as the the baby boomers got for play. So it just blows my mind, though, that those generations are okay with I think it's mostly been the last generation okay with. I think it's mostly been the baby boomers that have put in these horrible systems in place in schools since the late 90s of kids basically just being in chairs all day long doing worksheets and now tapping on tablets all day, and Just absolutely destroying the spirit of these kids, especially boys, who then are just drugged in epidemic numbers and I think the call to action here as parents is like it.

Speaker 2:

It can feel like we're small and like we're. You know, don't have a say, but we have a say. We like this is full on permission To walk into your administrators office, to be involved in your kids class, to to make some waves, because this is where the change is gonna start. You know, when we say no more, that it's, it's no more. You know, I was recently on a plane and I had a, a kiddo sitting behind me. He was probably about four and it was a long flight. It was from Denver to Baltimore and so it's like a three and a half four-hour flight and he played on his tablet the entire your time so his, his body posture. You know it was kind of like you guys can't see, but you know his he's just curved and whatever. Yeah, and he was right and I could hear him, you know like he was like moving around in his seat, you know, cuz kids, like you said, are really kinesthetic, and so he's like, you know, it's like a little kind of shooting game, nothing like violin, it was a cartoon, but so and I could see him, and I was just observing him, going like oh, this is so interesting. And then he took a break to have like some jelly beans, and then he got back on it and I thought like how so is? You know, with kindness and curiosity Because this is the lens that I'm trying to do with everything I'm, it's easy for me to judge, like judgment is a very quick and easy place for me to go, but with kindness and curiosity, I instead I thought like God, how's that kid gonna feel at seven o'clock tonight, at bedtime? Is he gonna be melting down? Is he gonna be? How's he gonna feel tomorrow morning? How's he gonna feel in an hour? Cuz I think like as a grown-up, as an adult, I, if I sit on my phone and like go in this mindless place, I feel like crap, like an hour later. And so what's happening then is the symptoms of that is that we're having kids with tantrums and we're having kids that are being aggressive because they're not Having that full childhood body experience and it's it is tampering their development, like you hinted to earlier. So I'm so curious. Let's talk about education for a minute and then we'll wrap up. What if you could teach a class to elementary-aged kids? What would you teach in your class?

Speaker 1:

What would I teach? I would take them all outdoors, in nature, and have them play. That's what I would do. And if they wanted instruction, what I would do is I would myself. I would go wow, look at this caterpillar. Hey, everybody, come check this out. And they would all come around and if they wanted to learn more, I'd go in that direction. Or you observe the children and I've actually done this and if the children are gravitating towards a very specific thing, well then you go with that. If they wanna learn about why is that log falling apart, well then we can talk about decay and let's open it up, let's see what's going on in there. That is how children need to learn, not sitting at a desk and saying I am the authority and I'm gonna tell you what to do, and you're gonna sit here and you're gonna in your seats and ignore all your biological and emotional needs and you are going to do as I say, not as I do, and you are basically gonna tap on tablets and do paperwork all day. No, I mean to me I would die. I mean before I'd do that to a kid Me too. And so that's what I've done when I have taught groups of kids is. I've always made it clay-based, and I wish I could go back in time to when I was an early childhood educator and change things that I had done back then and learned, because back then I had followed the National Association for the Education of Young Children, which is actually a great association. But even that has this idea of putting children in centers, of center play, so everybody in the writing center of this, and so I would have done less of that. I mean, I was always a renegade anyway, but even still I'd go back and do less of that and more of the hey, just whatever. It's hard, though, if you're the only person in there trying to work with 12 little kids, but when I've worked with older kids, I mean I've worked with all ages, but it's always been focused on what their passions and interests are, and if they're not showing any well, then you find something that you're genuinely interested in and show that to them, and then they will be attracted by your own passion. But if you got, that's how I used to teach the toddlers, the preschoolers when I worked in preschool, how to write their names Is I would go up and write my name and then the ones that were interested would come sit around me and we do it. And then the ones that weren't interested they didn't have to join.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, children.

Speaker 2:

Right. We as kids and as adults, it can sense the energy in our room.

Speaker 1:

Right, and this is the case for all ages. This high school kids too. They should be let loose outdoors to play.

Speaker 2:

That's right. They know when we're full of it.

Speaker 1:

They know when we're into something.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I love that. Such a great point. Okay, so where can we find you, follow you and learn more about the amazing work you're doing in the world?

Speaker 1:

Thank you, I'm at laurieacouturecom. That's my website. I have a sub-stack. I just started my Patreon page up again under Lauri Acouture. You can find me on YouTube and I have a Facebook business page, Lauri Acouture author. But the website. You can learn all about my other media that I have been on and you can learn about my books there as well, and you can buy the books on Amazon and at Barnes Nobles.

Speaker 2:

Amazing. And as we now officially wrap up, I'm gonna ask you the same questions. I ask everybody at the end of the interview, and the first one is what's bringing you joy today?

Speaker 1:

Ah, that's a tricky one. In my situation, with losing my son and my granddaughter, joy has been in short supply. But I guess the fact that I honor my son and I'm holding out my son's legacy for my granddaughter and working hard to be the best grandmother I can be when I do see her, I guess that has to take the cake. My an office, my being with my family I mean my family, my nephews, my niece. I have a great family and they bring me joy.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, now just to rewind a teeny bit. Did you lose your son to suicide? Is that what happened?

Speaker 1:

for a reason.

Speaker 2:

Okay, yes, so and what year was that?

Speaker 1:

It was six years ago, just a couple of days ago, in September of 2017.

Speaker 2:

Yes, Thank you for sharing that and I'm glad that you mentioned legacy, because one of the things, obviously, that you're doing is helping make that experience that you've had, and the experience that Bryson had, not in vain. You know, you're educating other people and you're passing along this really important message to make us think and to make us ask questions.

Speaker 1:

So thank you for that and you're welcome and to show that if trauma can lead to suicide I mean suicide prevention has to start with trauma prevention.

Speaker 2:

Right, and one of the leading causes of death of youth in our country is suicide, which is absolutely, I mean and it's something that we've talked about this season a bit because it needs to be talked about it's and it's an epidemic, yeah, and it's also an epidemic of boys too.

Speaker 1:

It's 81% boys and young men in the youth age categories. Yeah Right, very tragic, and the irony of when I was writing the book, it happening to my own son was crushing.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, thank you for letting us hold this space for you, though, while you talk about this, because it's a sacred heartbreak. I feel that and I understand that as much as I can, logically and also with my heart, and yeah, it was hard just getting.

Speaker 1:

We just got through year six and we just wrapped up the you know the activities, the vigil and everything. And I'm still raw because he was missing for seven days. So I still, in my mind, go through every one of these days until we get to the fourth, October 4th, when he was found. He was found on my mom's birthday and my great aunt's birthday. So so I'm a little raw, but we do everything on the 27th. When he actually died, September 27th, yeah, so coming out of it it's like, yeah, yeah, you know.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, we send you so much love, laurie, we are. Yeah, thank you, thank you, and if you wouldn't mind sharing a book recommendation or something you're reading right now and then letting us know who or what you've learned the most from I know, we have like 30 seconds left.

Speaker 1:

Okay. Well, the book is that I love right now 30 Hikes with Kids. So I think it means the New England, I think it means the New England version. Wait when, 30 Hikes with Kids, and it's such a cool book 30 Hikes with Kids.

Speaker 2:

Okay, yeah, the New.

Speaker 1:

England version and I just love it because my sister and I got one, because we take her kids through a lot of hikes and it's just so much fun. It's such a great book.

Speaker 2:

Okay, cool, that's a great recommendation If you live in the Northeast, and if not, we'll look for different geographical areas. And then, who or what have you learned the most from?

Speaker 1:

Oh gosh, I would say everyone. I try to learn from every single person I've met and I've learned so much from the children that I've worked with and from my son and the kids in my family. I mean, they've been my greatest teachers and my heroes are my family. You know my parents, my grandparents, my great grandparents, you know they've all taught me in different ways through their own traumas and through mine, and through the good and the happy times and the joy and the lessons they've given me that have been positive.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, thank you so much for being here and sharing your wisdom and talking to me, and we'll have to do another episode. We got cut a little short because I was running late today but we'll have to have you on for a follow-up sometime soon.

Speaker 1:

Awesome.

Speaker 2:

I appreciate you so much.

Speaker 1:

Take care Ryan so.

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