"Buddha Never Raised Kids & Jesus Didn't Drive Carpool: Seven Principles for Parenting with Soul" by Vickie Falcone

By Christie McKaskle

Vickie Falcone's book, "Buddha Never Raised Kids & Jesus Didn't Drive Carpool offers just what the byline suggests, seven principles for parenting with soul.

I'm the only person I know who ever giggled at a monk - when he wasn't being funny. My family, newly relocated, was visiting the congregation that has become our New Thought home. Tibetan Buddhist monk Bhante Wimbela was speaking. I was impressed to no end, and he didn't disappoint. His very essence was a pleasure to encounter.

Bhante's talk was about the effortlessness of love. If I remember correctly, my giggles became audible when he said that love is what makes a mother get up in the middle of the night to change a dirty diaper and not mind doing it. My husband answered my giggle with a look that said, "Spoken like a man who's never changed a diaper."

Fortunately, I've always been able to make allowances for spiritual teachers that don't have any experience with parenting. We've all had to. I've always sympathized with the disciple scolded by Jesus for asking the kids to back up a bit. Anyone can tell you, it's easy to welcome the children when you're a visitor. But what do you do when you want more than anything to welcome the little children, but your conditioning butts in and pushes them away?

You pick up Buddha never raised kids & Jesus didn't drive carpool by Vicki Falcone. Based on her parenting classes called "Parenting with Soul," this book is genuinely encouraging, because it upholds parenting as spiritual practice, without romanticizing family life. Falcone recognizes that, when you choose to become a parent, you choose to be challenged wherever you are not fully awake, alive, and connected. There's nothing effortless about that kind of love - but it doesn't have to be hard.

The seven principles for Parenting with Soul are Connect, Awaken Your Intuition, Create Consciously, Integrity, Gratitude, Abundance, and Peace. "Connect" takes up the first half of the book, and it's worth every page.

It's not only that we have to be reminded to seek connection. It's that we don't always know how to connect, least of all in those hectic moments when it would make all the difference. By leading the reader through strategies for connecting with herself first, Falcone illuminates the path to connecting with children.

Perhaps the most powerful of the connecting practices is to move toward your child with love. Falcone discovered this for herself when she had laryngitis and had to go to her children, rather than call (or yell) across the house, when she made requests. The purpose of connection is to PHIL up your child. That is, to let your child know s/he is Powerful, Heard, Important, and Loved.

While not given as many pages, each of the other six principles is just as thoroughly discussed. For instance, the principle of Conscious Creation is illustrated by the 90/10 Rule. This rule, practiced successfully by Falcone and her students, is to focus 90% of the time on what you want and only 10% of your time venting (to spouses, friends, God) about behavior you want to be rid of.

All seven principles are illustrated by applications just as practical. Integrating these principles into your life, you'll learn to love doing those things you used to mind doing, because they bring more love into your home and family.

It's nice to finally have a spiritual teacher who has a clue when it comes to parenting. Now, the trick is to place her book where you can find it in the middle of the night.