At Wright, we like to focus on the age-old saying, “If mama isn’t happy, nobody’s happy!”
When I was a graduate student at Wright Graduate University, I wrote my dissertation on Expanding Mothering: Raising a Woman’s Awareness of the Opportunities for Personal and Psychosocial Growth and Development in Mothering—A Curriculum Evaluation Study.
A mother of two daughters myself, to say the program and my EdD journey was a profound personal exploration would be an understatement. The program and my studies deepened my relationship with my daughters, as well as my sense of self.
As a coach for sixteen years, I’ve seen time and again the way parenting can both halt and expand personal growth, particularly motherhood. (Although fatherhood isn’t without its own set of growth opportunities.) Mothers, as caretakers, are often balancing what Dr. Judith Wright refers to as the Trifecta of Mothering—mothering children, mothering career and interests, and mothering yourself.
It’s not hard to guess which area is often avoided, put on the back burner, or hidden away during our years as young mothers.
For myself personally, this was the case—I found that I avoided my own emotions, needs and yearnings, often deferring to the needs of my children and my clients, rather than caring for myself and doing my own personal growth work.
Through my doctoral studies at Wright, my coaches, advisors and allies were able to help me reawaken this sense of myself and stir within me the strong desire to help fellow mothers and women in my life stop delaying their own yearnings.
The parenting program at Wright takes foundational work…and brings it to focus in the arena of parenting.
In this program, students engage in coaching and trainings that are deeply rooted in proven theories and methodologies—most particularly Adlerian psychology and methodology.
Dr. Bob Wright has designed parent and child weekend training programs that are laboratories for parents and their children to live the Wright Integrative Model. These fun, structured weekends give a safe place to really strengthen parent connections and apply insights to parenting skills.
On these weekends, parents are challenged to look at what they are satisfied with, or not, in their role as a parent. Mothers receive training and learn skills on how to engage with their children so they are satisfied and have the opportunity to practice those skills immediately on that weekend with the support of other mothers and facilitators.
Wright parenting also includes family system analysis, which fosters deep understanding of the current family system and coaching to bring out the best in each member of the system. Everyone has a different role within the family unit, and it’s important to understand how these roles play out and where they can lead.
The Wright parenting model uses the rare approach of focusing always on the mother’s own self-improvement and having her practice at the task of mothering. In doing so, the Wright model is a framework based on mutuality, focusing on the mother-child dyad and specifically on the mother’s growth and learning in the process.
It charges the mother with becoming aware of her own emotional manifestations and to focus on her own satisfaction, all the while clearing the limiting beliefs that underlie less than optimal thought, feeling, and behavior patterns.
In this new model of raising children, the mother is engaged in her own growth and development as she also nurtures the development of her child. This personal growth focus empowers her to “grow up” with her child(ren)—what the transactional analysis theorists refer to as re-parenting herself.
Founded in 1990 by Judith Wright, SOFIA – the Society of Femininity in Action – is the Wright Foundation’s program for women. Members of SOFIA are trained in feminine leadership harnessing the power of values based in feminine principles such as caring, beauty, cooperation, and feelings at the same time honoring masculine principles as the support to get things done.
In the trainings and curriculum of SOFIA women are exposed to the following concepts: the state of feminine values in our world, the way we as women get in our own way of valuing feminine gifts, an exploration of the limiting behaviors that keep us from becoming who we were meant to be, inspiring examples of women who have broken through the mold to create lives of meaning and purpose, and context about emotional charges and responsible expression.
For a woman who is engaged personal growth and transformation, it is critical she align with her feminine values as they are the medium for deeper connection with her most genuine self. This is incredibly challenging in our culture that values masculine principles over feminine. SOFIA does not propose one is better than the other, rather it shares with women a vision of the two forces working powerfully together for fulfilling and productive outcomes.
It is through the women’s trainings and curriculum developed by Dr. Wright that a woman is exposed to new ways of thinking of herself in the world.
One concept in particular that was introduced to women at the seminar was that because they are women they are already mothers. A woman does not have to birth a child to be a mother when mothering is seen as a feminine quality and something all women share.
A woman can best manifest herself in her full feminine when she uses masculine values to accomplish her deeper desire. Wright calls it, “using the masculine in service of the feminine.” A simple example would be where a woman is in touch with her feminine value of beauty and she uses the masculine value of results and orders flowers to be delivered monthly to her office.
Many times women might feel their status of “motherhood” IS their identity. While motherhood of self, career or children (or a combination) is a powerful role, it’s only a part of who we really are at our core. Our potential goes beyond simply nurturing and caring for others.
As we explore our relationships with others and ourselves, it’s important to look both internally and externally—to gain inspiration and engage with our children, but not to live through them; to be examples of women leading fuller and more expressive and engaged lives; to be leaders and find strength within our femininity.
Doing your own personal growth work and exploration is fundamental uncovering our full potential. If you’re seeking a deeper fulfillment, a stronger connection with those around you, or even to find the power within your role as a mother and nurturer, the Wright parenting program is unparalleled.
Gertrude Lyons is a human emergence coach and adjunct faculty member at Wright Graduate University. Her academic career spans from a bachelor’s degree in Finance and Accounting, a master’s in psychology from Antioch University, and a newly completed doctoral degree from WGU. Gertrude is wife and mother of two and resides in Chicago, IL where she continues to learn, grow, and develop her skills as a human emergence coach with the Wright team.
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Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.