Life Lessons: Educator’s Edition…
JC Shakespeare

Welcome to a special edition of Good Enough Mother Life Lessons! With school right around the corner, we thought it would be great to devote some time and space to the people who are so good to our kids.. educators! Hope you enjoy these special Life Lessons and happy school year to teacher, students AND their parents!

Are you happy at the moment?

Yes, my sense of engagement with my work continues to grow, and that is a very validating feeling. Inspiring other people inspires me, and that equals happiness!

If you could go back and say anything to your 16-year-old self now – what would it be?

You’re going to make it through all of this! But you might want to think about working a little more and goofing around a little less, because the habits you are creating right now are going to stick with you for a long time.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned this year?

That I am never to old to create new habits and form new patterns in my life. Consistent effort is the key to changing things for the better.

What do you most want to achieve in the next 12 months?

I am working on an autobiography because I know a lot of teenagers are feeling lost and hopeless in a scary world. I felt that way when I was younger, and it was more about my attitudes and behaviors than about reality. I would love to share that message in a meaningful way with young people that need a hopeful message.

What’s your secret to happiness?

The more I put my attention on the needs of others, the less I notice my own complaints and grievances. Serve and take care of your spouse, your children, and your community and you will be happy.

What one ritual or practice keeps you grounded?

Centering Prayer, which is a form of silent meditation. I think it is critical that we all find a way to shut out the noise that bombards us all the time. Quiet time is rest, and rest is necessary for growth.

What’s your biggest regret?

Though I do not dwell on regrets, it would have been nice to have had someone during my adolescence to help me discover things I was good at instead of criticizing me for the things I was doing wrong. Everybody needs someone to support them and love them unconditionally.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve taught your kid(s)?

Helping them to recognize and regulate their emotions. This is an ongoing lesson that I’m still learning, but I always share my findings with my children. My oldest daughter has played golf through the First Tee program for three years, and they teach the Nine Core Values that have been a real gift for all of us.

What bad habit would you most like to change about yourself?

I am really working on not judging people who do not share my values and opinions. I think that’s my part when it comes to world peace. I used to do standup comedy, so I still have a brain that is quick to find fault, and I want to slow that process down so I become more accepting and less critical.

Aside from motherhood/fatherhood and marriage what are you most proud of in your life?

I am proud that I have learned to follow my heart when it comes to pursuing my career, and it has led me to be right where I’m supposed to be. You can’t have a better feeling than that.

When were you happiest?

I am at my happiest right now in my life. I have a wonderful family, a rewarding career, a roof over my head and food on the table. I’ve done a lot of complaining at various stages in my life, and it seems like the volume has gone way down on the complaining. I enjoy myself most of the time these days!

What ten words best describe you?

Caring. Curious. Funny. Laid back. Writer. Reader. Father. Teacher. Learner.

How can parents best help you this year?

We are teaching social-emotional skills through programs like Second Step and Rachel’s Challenge. I need parents to pay attention to the homework assignments that come home, and to engage their children in meaningful, thoughtful conversations. If your kids are upset with someone at school, don’t say, “Ignore them!” Give them some tools to work out conflict. If you don’t know how, call a counselor or teacher and ask them how they handle it. That way we’re creating consistent messages and a sense of community.

JC Shakespeare, LPC, counsels teens and young adults through difficult transitions. His training as a family therapist helps parents stay engaged and sane throughout the process. After his own “25 year adolescence,” a personal crisis woke JC up to the fact that his life lacked the sense of purpose that comes only through helping others.

Today he helps teens and young adults who face drug addiction, delinquency, depression and anxiety issues. He works with parents on co-parenting after divorce or supporting their son or daughter through their own struggles.

A former actor and stand-up comic, JC still enjoys the spotlight and stage. Outside of his private practice, he can be found speaking at PTA meetings, large conferences or leading half-day workshops. Both in the office and on stage, JC motivates and inspires himself and others to be the people they were born to be.

JC’s expertise and advice on parenting has been featured in the *Austin American-Statesman* and *Houston Family Magazine*. He holds a Master’s in Counseling from Texas State University, with an emphasis on Marriage and Family Therapy. You can follow JC’s blog at www.jcshakespeare.com/blog.