The idea for Susie Meal’s most recent book came from several areas, but as her adult children began having children, parenting tips became very interesting to her. “Parenting Your Kids with Purpose” was released on June 1 and to continue the idea of promoting effective parenting, Meals will be giving 10 percent of all her book sales to the Children’s Advocacy Center of Grayson County.
“In my book, I ask you to examine the way you ‘do life,’ the life strategies you use and what your kids are learning from you about doing life,” Meals said in an email interview. “I’m not sure when my kids were young that I really understood just how deeply I affected the character, personality and life strategies that they acquired from watching me day in and day out.”
In the book, Meals challenges people to think about confidence, communication, discipline/self-discipline, decision-making, handling disappointment, developing gratitude, healthy relationships, consistency, and the importance faith and core values and how it develops the other 8 areas.
“There are many themes throughout my book but I will mention three that stand out to me,” her email said. “The most important theme in my book has to do with faith and your core values. When you know and understand your faith, this determines your core values and makes every decision you have to make so much easier because the decisions line up with your faith and core values. Another theme explores how you relate to your kids and what they internalize because of it. And of course, what I’ve already addressed, that you are the greatest influence in the lives of your kids and how you live your life matters and deeply affects the life strategies that they learn from you and take into adulthood.”
Meals, who was born in Sherman and raised in Whitesboro, has five children and 12 grandchildren.
“The book is written from my experiences as the youngest of five children, a parent, a teacher and a youth leader,” she said. “I learned so much from my students throughout the 21 years that I taught. Many of the students I had in elementary school; I had the opportunity to have them in middle school or high school. The last ten years I taught, I was a middle school and high school choral director and a few of those years an assistant band director at the high school as well. My favorite part of teaching was when a student would come to me, looking for encouragement, direction and guidance. I came to understand that they weren’t looking for someone to make excuses for them; they were looking for someone to challenge them and help them become problem solvers. My students really had an impact on the parent that I became for my children. I also had amazing parents who loved me and grew my character through life lessons that weren’t always easy to go through, but prepared me for adulthood.”
While this is Meals’ first published book, it is not her first time writing a book.
“I have always loved writing,” her email said. “I had some amazing English teachers in school that created a passion within me for writing. I also felt it was important to give my students opportunities to write outside of ‘assigned writings.’ Most Fridays in my class schedule, I set aside about 20 minutes and the kids wrote in journals about whatever was on their minds. I would take the next week to read them and respond to them. At the end of the year, I would keep them and if I had an opportunity to have them in class again, they would just continue where they left off. I would then keep the journals and give it to them when they graduated from high school. Some years I was better at this than others. I’m pretty sure I have a box in storage of student journals that hopefully one day I will be able to return to the authors.”
Meals said that she chose the CAC as the recipient of a portion of her book sales because she understands the work they do.
“I’ve just always had a special place in my heart for them and the fact that they don’t always have an opportunity to be heard,” she said. “The CAC does very important work and gives children in Grayson County a voice and supports them through the services in prevention and intervention that they offer.”
For more information, visit http://www.SusieMeals.com.
Future Brown is the associate managing editor of the Herald Democrat. She can be reached at SBrown@HeraldDemocrat.com.