Essential Reading

Written by Michael Jospe Posted in Parent Coaching, Wilderness Guiding

Essential Reading

There are two books that I would like to recommend (actually there are a bunch, but we’ll start with two) one for my family clients and one for my guiding students. However,  both of them are applicable and useful regardless of your relationship to EBI.

The first is called Parenting From the Inside Out: How a Deeper Self-Understanding can Help Raise Children Who Thrive, by Daniel Siegel and Mary Harztell.  Daniel Siegel is a neuroscientist who focuses on mindfulness, what he calls “mindsight”, and the dynamics of interpersonal relationship, attachment and connection. This book offers a scientific approach on how the parent-child relationship (all relationships, for that matter) works and why it is so essential for parents to examine their own patterns and beliefs.  In fact, later this summer, Equine Therapist and father, Jean-Jacques Joris, and I will be offering a group for fathers (for fathers-to-be and new fathers) that utilizes the wisdom offered in this book combined with the healing power of the horse.  My favorite chapter in this book is called “How we feel: emotions in our internal and interpersonal worlds.”  It explains how emotions are what binds us together in relationships, and how important it is to develop the skill of clear emotional expression.  Clear emotional expression (that is congruent and coherent) is something that I continue to see in myself and in the families and clients that I work with as a challenge. Yet, I have also learned that it is one of the most essential factors in successful communication and sustained connection through challenging times.

The second book is called Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature, by Jon Young, Ellen Haas, and Even McGown.  This will now be the text book for the first semester of the Transformational Wilderness Guiding Certificate Program.  This book is awesome, not just in its breadth of wisdom but also there is nothing else out there like it.  Several years ago, Jon was a mentor of mine.  His teaching have had a profound impact on me and are central to much of the coaching, mentoring and teaching I do today.  He’s wrapped it all (and much more) up in this book. Jon has been dedicated to teaching a process called “Nature Connection Mentoring” that has it’s roots in indigenous education and learning.  I believe that what is taught in this book is essential for all wilderness guides, outdoor educators and environmentalists to know. I also believe that if parents and families began practicing these skills we would make great strides in mending our cultural relationship to the Earth.  There are many aspects to this book that stand out for me, but one in particular is called the “indicators of awareness”. These indicators are what we begin to see in others and ourselves as we strengthen our ecological consciousness and become more attuned to the rhythms of nature.  What’s more is that Jon also refers to these indicators of awareness as “indicators of natural leadership”, implying that the skills and exercises taught in this book extend far beyond our relationship to the Earth and into our relationship to our communities.


If you’ve read any of these books, I’d love to hear your thoughts!


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