In this Episode
Jill Stowell and Suzanne McClure - Head of School at MUSE Global Schools in Calabasas - discuss ways to help our kids embrace and value their own differences.
MUSE highly values passion and the idea of allowing students to merge their interests, curiosities, and passions with their academic life.
As parents and educators, whenever we can help kids see that what they're learning in school actually relates to their real life, especially something they're really good at or passionate about, the learning becomes so much more meaningful.
When parents and teachers engage with students around their interests and passions, students develop a sense of confidence and autonomy and ownership.
When students and teachers work together, the students are able to build executive function skills around self-management and self-control.
Encouraging your child's passion may also lead to him finding and keeping friends who have similar interests.
Jill and Suzanne also dig into why the nontraditional approaches to education that both MUSE and Stowell Learning Center take are a key component to the future success of our neurodivergent kids. Teaching kids how to "cope" with their learning challenges will not open the door to possibility the way that getting to the root of the problem will.
In this week's episode:
Jill Stowell and Suzanne McClure talk about how to help our kids embrace and value their own differences:
- How to invite kids' passions into the classroom to help them feel more engaged
- When kids are part of the process, they build executive function skills
- How neurodivergent kids can make and keep friends
"I don’t want kids to have to spend their life compensating for their learning challenges and so we don’t teach them to manage or to cope. We really identify and develop the underlying skills that are actually at the root of the problem in order to remove the roadblocks to reading and to learning."
LD Expert Podcast with Jill Stowell
Embracing Differences and Building Social Emotional Health
Jill Stowell: Everyone is talking about diversity. But how do we help our kids embrace and value their own differences?
Welcome to the LD Expert Podcast, your place for answers and solutions for dyslexia, learning and attention challenges.
Having a bright child who struggles in school can be a very lonely journey for a parent. You feel like you’re the only one whose child is struggling. You don’t know what to do. You don’t know who to talk to. Well, this podcast is for you. We’re here to equip you with knowledge and practical tools for understanding and helping your child.
I’m your host Jill Stowell, Founder and Executive Director of Stowell Learning Centers and author of Take the Stone Out of the Shoe: A Must-Have Guide to Understanding, Supporting and Correcting Dyslexia, Learning and Attention Challenges.
Today, we’re exploring ways to meet your kids right where they are socially and emotionally and to empower them to embrace their differences. My guest for this conversation is Suzanne McClure. Suzanne is the Head of School at MUSE Global Schools in Calabasas, California. She has a long history with performing arts and education including, I understand, performing on Broadway for 10 years and working with students of all ages in performing arts, nutrition and wellness.
Suzanne brought that rich experience to MUSE where she is able to help students bring their passions into the academic classroom, inspiring and preparing young people to live consciously with themselves, one another and the planet. I think you’re going to be inspired too. Welcome Suzanne.
Suzanne McClure: Good morning, Jill. Thank you so much for that beautiful introduction.
Jill Stowell: Well, I was so impressed to learn that you had performed on Broadway. That’s very cool.
Suzanne McClure: It is, it is definitely a wonderful chapter in my life for sure.
Jill Stowell: And I’m sure you run into kids at your school that have those aspirations.
Suzanne McClure: Yes, we do. We have a lot of creatives and artists at MUSE and little mini scientists and mathematicians as well.
Jill Stowell: Well, and actually that’s really where I want to start is by talking about MUSE Global School. This is a very unique school that really celebrates all kinds of differences and creativity so I would love for you to just tell us about the school.
Suzanne McClure: The MUSE journey really began 20 years ago when our founder Suzy had three children under the age of five and she was looking for schools in Los Angeles to have them begin their school journey and after having gone through a lot of schools in Los Angeles with her older children, she realized that there wasn’t one school that was particularly perfect or had all of the elements of the things that were important to her.
That is when MUSE was born. She decided to create and have a vision with her sister Rebecca who was in early childhood education and she wanted to bring Rebecca to Los Angeles and from that decision and from that yes that her sister gave her, MUSE was born and they started with 11 students in a one-room schoolhouse with a little garden bed and their first child came in to school and then from that, MUSE has grown and we have grown that community to around 225 students and now we are continuing to expand the vision of MUSE.
As in 2020, we created a MUSE virtual school which has been our remote learning platform from when COVID hit in 2020 and from that we’ve also brought students back to campus and we have our remote program along with our in-person program on the campus and both of those programs are still growing with a hope and a vision that Suzy had set that intention many, many years ago to have MUSE Globals around the world and we’re exploring those options now that we’re back to as much normalcy as possible after COVID. We’re exploring lots of options and expanding the global element of MUSE as well.
Jill Stowell: You know, one of the things that we had talked about, about MUSE, that just sounded incredible to me was that every student has a passion project that kind of taps into their differences and talents and it sounds like it’s a journey that goes with them for their whole schooling. Is that how that works?
Suzanne McClure: Yes. It’s so exciting. I really feel that our passion pillar is the shining star of all of our pillars. At MUSE we have five pillars and I would say the first two that were really important for Suzy were sustainability and passion. The idea of passion is how do we allow students to take their interests, their curiosities and their passions and have that merge with their academic life.
How can we invite these things into the classroom so students feel engaged? They feel seen. They feel known. They feel as if they’re sharing the things that are making them excited in their hearts and in their minds and how do we have that come into the classroom. So our two-and-a-half-year-olds all the way through our high schoolers at age 18 are given this incredible opportunity that every semester they can bring a passion, a curiosity, an interest into the classroom.
They have the support of their teacher. They have the support of our specialists. They have the support of this network of professionals and creatives and artists and scientists and mathematicians. You name it, we stretch our wings and we go out into our parent community. We go out into our local community. We are Zooming with experts and professionals from all around the world to bring students the information that they’re so craving on these passions and they get to create projects and then present them to the community at the end of the semester. So it’s a really beautiful – it’s really of course one of the most wonderful and exciting things about MUSE. It’s one of the most unique programs at MUSE and it’s a draw for sure that kids can do that every day.
Jill Stowell: Yeah, absolutely and I think, you know, sometimes in – there is just so much that teachers are expected to teach, so many subjects and I think sometimes those talents and creativity and differences of kids that they really are passionate about gets a little lost in there because there’s just so much that has to be covered.
So – and I see that especially with students who struggle. It takes them so long to do the school work and the homework and they often have these beautiful talents but they get pushed to the side because they have so much to focus on academically and it takes so long.
Suzanne McClure: Yeah.
Jill Stowell: So how does the passion project tie into typical school subjects like math and history and language arts?
Suzanne McClure: That’s a beautiful question Jill and I have a fabulous answer for you. So while MUSE is WASC-accredited and we follow all California standards in regards to all of the core subjects, the idea with passion is there is a template. There is a framework at each grade level and in each developmental stage at MUSE.
The idea with passion is how do we take a student’s passion. For example baking. And how do we then bring in the math? How do we bring in the science? How do we explore the history and elements of social studies? What texts can students read about the subject and the passion that they are excited about?
So we want to marry those things together, so there’s a layering. So yes, students at Muse are receiving instruction around core content areas and during passion, the idea is, “What’s some math that I could explore and become a mini expert, the math in baking? Let me think about that.”
The teacher can help with that and especially at MUSE with one meal a day for the planet and our commitment to lowering our global footprint with MUSE, food is a very big deal. Our Seed to Table Program, really important at Muse and one of our most beloved specialist programs. So for a student who might be studying baking or cooking in some capacity, it's wonderful for them to go into the MUSE kitchen with Robin and her team and to then explore the math in baking or cooking and let’s talk about some fun books. Who can I meet? How can I interview Robin and find out more about this?
So the idea is to have that – is to feed and support that student’s interest by the teacher supporting to align the core curriculum and that’s a beautiful way that it’s married together as well.
Jill Stowell: And definitely as parents and educators, whenever we can help kids see that what they’re learning in school actually relates to their real life especially something they’re really good at or passionate about, the learning becomes so much more meaningful.
I remember when my son was 14, I learned a new processing skills program and I really needed to practice it and I wanted to practice with him and he was 14. I mean he didn’t really want to spend his time practicing with me but he was a high level competitive hockey goalie and one of the things I had learned about this particular program was that hockey goalies, after they went through the program, they could see the puck faster and they could respond faster.
So when I told him that, he was like, “Well, can we start today?” So if we can find ways to connect learning to the things that are really important to kids, they become so much more invested and excited about their learning.
Suzanne McClure: Absolutely agree. It is. It’s like it’s engaging them. It’s like a hook. It’s a hook. It works.
Jill Stowell: Yeah.
Suzanne McClure: I watched it work for 11 years at MUSE and when I was new to the community, I did a lot of observing. I was around incredible, exceptional teachers that create the magic of MUSE. That’s what Suzy and I call it.
And when I was observing the ways in which teachers were engaging with students around their interests and passions, it was incredible to see the relationships that formed. There was trust that was built. There was a deep knowing, a sense of time and space for teachers and students to get to know each other. Teachers bringing their passions into the classroom. Students then sharing their passions with their peers, with their teachers, with administration, with the community at culminations.
There was a sense of confidence and autonomy and ownership and I’m going to – I mean you will see second graders get up in front of 30 people and share about their passion, as little experts.
I mean it’s exceptional and every year, there are new passions. There is never a year at MUSE that is ever the same as the year before. There are new students. There are new passions. There are new ways of presenting those passions and it has truly been a tremendous joy to watch that over 11 years and to remember and to watch the students along that journey.
As you mentioned earlier, the way that travels with them, it has – seeing students go through a life, an educational journey at MUSE.
Recently a senior who had been with us from first grade, there had been countless passion projects for her and how that led to what her next step is going to be for college and how that allowed her to explore what she loved, what she liked and then how to think about that of, “What am I going to now do with my life as I step into the post-MUSE journey?” and I’m deciding to – if I’m taking a gap year, if I’m going to college, to university, to community college.
How can I let all of that exploration inform me and guide me and not – I mean there’s just nothing like it. There’s nothing like it.
Jill Stowell: You said something when you first started talking about it, about kids feeling known and seen and I can really see how integrating their passions with education. You know, there’s emphasis on the exploration and what they can do as opposed to what they can’t do or what’s difficult. I really, really appreciate this discussion because I think it would be incredible for every student.
But particularly non-traditional thinkers, when you put them into a traditional school setting, that can sometimes be a real mismatch and what’s hard as a parent is we’re so tied to what we know that it’s really hard sometimes to think that it’s even OK to do something different. Do you ever run into that with parents, that they know they need to do something different for their child, but they’re kind of afraid of taking that step away from the traditional way?
Suzanne McClure: Yeah, it is scary and we do run into it and approaching or allowing your child or giving them an opportunity to come to a school like MUSE or to work with professionals such as yourself that have different and alternative and effective ways of supporting students with differences. It’s scary. It is scary at first because as we all know, our own experiences of school. We have an idea in our minds of what is this thing called school and how do we engage with it and what does it look like. Where did I fit into it? Now where does my own child fit into it?
When our child may not fit into what we’re calling that traditional model or when we feel like they are a circle, trying to fit into a square, what do we do? How do we handle it? And that means we have to be open. We have to allow ourselves to be on this journey, to research different opportunities that could support them and it goes back to what you said at the very beginning of the podcast, Jill.
You mentioned that we want to meet children where they are and that requires us as the professionals and the adults and the parents in this story to look, to listen, to be open to seeing that maybe my child is just needing something a little bit different. Who do I go to? Who do I turn to? It feels scary.
Yeah, right, things such as your podcast and having conversations and going to schools where students are looked at as individuals. At MUSE, we do not look at a child – if they are entering sixth grade, they’re entering sixth grade, great. But we’re not looking at them per se in comparison to all of the other sixth graders that we are welcoming into that community. We’re looking at them as individuals.
Where are they? What are we seeing in reading and writing here? What are we seeing in math and science? What do we know that doctors have shared? What do we know that the parents have shared? What are the patterns of behaviors that we’re seeing? What are the ways that our teachers and all of their experience are noticing that the student learns best, the preferences around learning, the tips. There are very small subtleties that come up, that gave us a lot of wonderful information and clues as to how this child is working best and thriving and we have to be open to those things. We have to say, “Oh, my kid isn’t the kid that can sit for two hours and read their book and be ready for that comprehension conversation the next day.”
So if my child does better with 20 to 30 minutes of reading and maybe they want me to sit with them, and we’re going to read together. There are so many variances there but it requires parents to be present in the journey. You have to want to be in the conversation. You have to want to understand and it does require some releasing of the fear of it and allowing the incredible resources that are out there.
You and I know Jill for sure that there are incredible resources and people, modalities and programs and it’s just a matter of kind of being open and in that conversation to find what some of those solutions may be in the many stages of growing that your child does.
Jill Stowell: Right, right, and I think if we’re really going to serve kids and help them to live their best life, we sometimes have to be like them and think outside the box a little bit. There are so many more opportunities and so I think the whole world is kind of in that stage of taking baby steps out towards other things.
At our learning centers, we are also untraditional in our approach and we’ve been around for a long time and have felt over the years a little bit of the pushback because at first when people think about a student who’s struggling because of dyslexia or a learning disability, the first thing people think is, “Well, they need to try harder. I need to get them a tutor. We need to teach them to work around it.”
I don’t want kids to have to spend their life compensating for their learning challenges and so we don’t teach them to manage or to cope. We really identify and develop the underlying skills that are actually at the root of the problem in order to remove the roadblocks to reading and to learning.
But surprisingly, there has been over the years a fair amount of pushback on that because it doesn’t look like traditional tutoring. So we are pioneers.
Suzanne McClure: We certainly are. Yeah.
Jill Stowell: Yeah.
Suzanne McClure: We certainly are. I think there is. There’s a fair level of expected skepticism, yes?
Jill Stowell: Yeah.
Suzanne McClure: And the idea for us at MUSE is that when we meet a family and we feel that their child could thrive at MUSE and why and how can I share that story with them. How can I open them up to the world of how we do what we do at MUSE and what makes MUSE different as a school? Then in their minds that’s what school looks like and what it feels like and sounds like and then really the proof is in the pudding as they say, right? That when a child steps in or when they come to a learning center such as yours and you begin to see the light, you know, and the sparkle comes back as Suzy says.
She watched her older son and that light was dimming. Physically he was hunching down. His head was down, disengaged. The spark and the passion had disappeared and for her, what we have set forth at MUSE from that was a curriculum that is alive and on its feet.
Students have their preferences of where and how they learn. We’re not asking kids to be at desks for 50-minute periods all day long with little play outside.
The idea are tables, small group areas, large group areas, one-to-one opportunities. Get outside and be in nature. You can have math outside. Yes, you can and in the 22 acres of MUSE in the Santa Monica Mountains, what better place to be outside having math? And there can be deep and rigorous learning there and we don’t want to confuse that. When you come into an alternative learning space, it does not mean that there is an academic rigor. In fact those environmental preferences and shifting that switches things on in a child’s brain.
They can then become keenly aware of what’s happening in a much deeper way actually because they’re in their learning preference and maybe they like to be at a table alone. Maybe they want to be with a buddy side by side and they’re working along together. Maybe they want to be in a small group. Maybe they need some one-to-one time with the teacher or sitting at the table outside. Because we have the luxury of having small classroom sizes at MUSE and strong teacher ratio, student-to-teacher ratio, there is opportunity for all of that.
That really is driven by this beautiful learning environment which is a conscious choice that Suzy made. She wanted those spaces to be clean, a lot of natural light, a lot of creamy and natural colors and textures. We are a dye-free, toxic-free, chemical-free school and of course students are eating delicious, organic, wonderful food every day and these are luxuries. However, we are seeing traditional classrooms take on some of these things. There are schools that are taking on alternative learning spaces. Just changed around. Gets them tables and chairs instead of single desks.
Create some soft spaces where kids could be sitting on a rug and working. Allow students to be outside more often. Bring more natural light into the space and shut off the fluorescence. There’s a lot of easy options and the idea would be that parents can – I think when they see it in action, then they can open their minds to it and buy in.
So I think it’s about a lot of conversations such as this because when parents can hear these kinds of conversations, from the people that are in the trenches as we say, working in these ways every day and this is what we’ve given our lives to, then they can breathe and say, you know, “What could I possibly be losing by trying something different?” because what’s going is not working or there’s issues.
So what is there to lose really? It’s the idea of just like taking the risk and trusting that there are other ways and with that little bit of trust, you can then see that huge change within your child that can quite literally change the outcome of their life. It really can. You and I know that.
Jill Stowell: So one of the things, if you think nontraditional, how then do we look at evaluating student progress? Because letter grades are pretty ingrained. I think there can be a place for letter grades but we don’t want grades to define our child’s education and more and more I kind of feel like we’ve gone that direction. That certainly doesn’t work for a lot of kids. So how do you feel about that?
Suzanne McClure: Yeah, yeah, that’s a great question. So if you look at the 20-year history of MUSE, approaching 20, we always had a different approach to assessing students and how do we then record that data and looking away from the model of traditional letter grades.
So it began really with narratives, which are the stories. It is a way to communicate to parents what has been happening in the classroom in story form that is unique to your own child and about five to six years ago, MUSE was honored for our tool of assessment and our way in which we track.
So at MUSE, our “report card” is called the blueprint and parents receive progress reports midterm and they receive two blueprints per year at the end of each semester. The blueprint looks at the whole picture of the child across all five of the pillars. So we begin with academics. Students are assessed around passion. Students have connection and assessment around sustainability. Students are then also tracked and looked at in the socioemotional pillars of MUSE which are self-efficacy and communication.
So across all five pillars, from the ages of 2 to 18 at MUSE, no matter where you step into our community, you as a parent and as a student are co-creating this storybook together with us. Every teacher has a hand in writing and being a part of the documentation process in our blueprint and the students are a part.
So if you are a middle schooler at MUSE for example, you are writing self-reflections in each of the quarters about different areas of your study. So the idea is really listening and the teacher listening, the administration listening, the parents listening to how is a student feeling about what is happening for them at school.
What are their goals? What are the ways they want to attain those goals? Who are the people they need to support them and what exactly? The idea is getting into the heart of the matter with the student of what exactly is a student asking for in order to be supported on this journey. If it’s a social goal, if it is an academic goal, if it’s a passion goal, whatever that might be.
So the blueprint is really this beautiful piece that was really co-created by many educators at MUSE over a course of time.
Jill Stowell: I love that. What you’re talking about, about the student being a part of this process, because really everybody talks about executive function these days and of course that’s our self-management, our self-control and a part of that is evaluating what we need, where we are. You know, how what we’re doing works for us and so, I love that they are involved in that process and looking at those different pillars.
One of the things that I do want to talk about a little bit is that socioemotional piece. I imagine like us, that you have many extremely bright kids at MUSE and a lot of times gifted learners are actually really critical of themselves and may even be afraid to try new things for fear that they’re not going to get it perfect the first time and then, “Oh my gosh, what does that mean? Does that mean I’m not smart?” Do you run into that and how do you help kids kind of get past that?
Suzanne McClure: Yeah, we certainly do and it’s a great question. I myself am a recovering perfectionist and so what I love the most about one of our pillars which is our self-efficacy pillar, we have three words that support students in this pillar and the standards that we have at each grade level around this pillar. Our three magic words are “open,” “resourceful” and “persistent”. The idea is how can we be open, resourceful and persistent in each moment as we move through our day?
Jill Stowell: I love those words and if we can build that into students all of the time just throughout their education, wow, we’re setting them up quite well for the future.
Suzanne McClure: That’s it and this is a language and these are words that we use as adults at MUSE. How can I be open, resourceful and persistent in this moment of challenge? And the different ways that shows up, there are opportunities for us to embrace one of those three words almost every minute of every day and the idea is if that’s a common language amongst the adults at MUSE, the students at MUSE, that our parents are learning about these words through our pillars as well in their trainings. We offer the self-efficacy training at MUSE to parents. We offer the communication workshops at MUSE to parents. These are incredible tools that become a vocabulary amongst all of us to just wrap this student. Wrap this child in support as they’re on this little journey and it’s a big journey. It’s not little. It’s big.
I just absolutely think that it’s the sort of ever-evolving, spinning wheel of our pillars. There is never a moment that one pillar really is more important than another. The idea is how do we have those continually work in support and connection to each other.
So there are moments that that passion piece is always – it’s ever present, right? It’s ever present and then of course we’re going on these academic journeys and we’re working to hit standards and milestones across all of the different core subjects and in that, we have to embrace each little person that is in that room and what is – where are they in their journey? How are they learning best? Are they well?
At MUSE, child’s well-being must come first. It must. There is no way that a student can be open to learning and able to learn if they are not feeling safe and well and that has to be a priority. Absolutely has to be a priority so the wheel of the pillars and the work in each of the pillars has to be constantly moving and that requires creativity in the classroom and it requires MUSE to be in a place of going back to one of our founding pillars which is ever-evolving and we must be in a place where we can challenge our own norms, that we can say to ourselves, “Well, this may have served us 3 years ago or 15 years ago. But that’s not serving students now and why? What about that process and that way needs to be shifted?”
That means an ongoing creative journey with the team at MUSE and I think that as educators, if we can all embrace that ever-evolving sort of dynamic as parents, if we can realize that our children are ever-evolving and we must allow them to evolve and that means that we must be on this journey with them, knowing that once things get comfortable, right, we know something is going to change and the needs will be different. How are we going to do that together in a way that’s joyful and not scary?
Jill Stowell: Absolutely and to look at it like that. It is a journey. It’s not just staying in one place. One of the things along the way I’m sure that you really focus on there are connections and relationships. Sometimes our kids who are exceptionally bright or have learning challenges or unique thinking styles, they sometimes have difficulty making and keeping friends. They just think differently. So that can be a challenge and so just listening to you, I know that’s built in there at MUSE. But what guidance do you have for parents around this idea of making and keeping friends?
Suzanne McClure: Yeah. That is a tricky one and it is such an important part of childhood experience and the school experience, right? I think the biggest piece of advice that I could give kind of goes back to passion because I feel like when kids can meet other children that are interested in the same things, that can be one way that you can find like a tool and a cord of connection with others, right?
So taking your child’s passion even if it’s obscure, right? Because it may not be soccer and it may not be ballet and it may not be things that we know there are a lot of opportunities out there. So the idea would be get a little creative on where and how you can find other children for your child to connect with that are passionate about the same things and then follow that thread. Pull it because that like-mindedness is I think a key to connection and sometimes friendships can bloom in the most obscure of places as well.
So on the other side of that, there are – we all know there’s like incredible friendships where these two individuals are really different and there’s beauty in that as well and again I think it means the parent being really present. I think parents rely on school to be the place that children can make and find strong social connection and I believe that. Of course it’s just time, right?
They’re at school every day, Monday to Friday, 8:00 to 3:00. So there’s time for those things to happen and in a world that is so connected to devices and we’re living in this digital age, right? That face time away from devices is very important. So making time for that and giving your children sort of that space to have just play and exploration and that you’re a part of it. Get to know the parents. Find things that students can do, children can do together to explore away from screens, so that there’s eye contact. There’s play out in nature.
Jill Stowell: And you really get the opportunity then to learn from your kids, to let them be the leader in their passion and to just get excited about things together. Plus you said something about outdoor time and as a learning specialist, oh my gosh, time outside, moving your body supports attention and learning like nothing else. So we definitely want that as well.
Suzanne McClure: Yeah, absolutely. At MUSE that’s a key piece for us because we’re not in traditional buildings like most schools. We are in 22 acres in the mountains with cabins and each cabin is a classroom and so when students are going from class to class, they don’t run down the hallways. They run down driveways and the sun is shining on them. They’re breathing clean, incredible air. They are out in just hearing – you know, hearing the sounds of nature in this little picturesque home that we have in Calabasas which we are very blessed and lucky to have and yeah, they can be in the pool. They can be at the rock wall. They can be at the basketball court. They can be playing games on the field. They can be near the pond. They can be on our hiking trail. They can be in our garden beds and that piece, as I said, that Suzy had envisioned almost 20 years ago of a program that was alive and on its feet, that is key. It’s really key to get them up out of the chairs and moving and grooving no matter what subject is happening.
Jill Stowell: Absolutely. Well, it sounds amazing. So I want to shift gears just a little bit to something that you and I had an earlier conversation about. You mentioned the drama triangle and we definitely want to meet our kids where they are socially, emotionally. But we don’t necessarily want to be pulled into all of their drama. So talk about the drama triangle a little bit.
Suzanne McClure: Yeah, absolutely. So when the pillar of self-efficacy was born at MUSE about 11 years ago, that was really centered around the three words we talked about, open, resourceful and persistent, and there are trainings for our parents. There are trainings for our teachers and these are tools we use in the classroom every day with our students.
In that work and in the training, you learn a little that about some of the 1960s research around the drama triangle. There are three roles in the drama triangle that we all can have a choice or given the circumstance we can step into one of those roles. There is the victim role, there is the persecutor role and there is the rescuer role.
At any given time in a situation, when conflict arises, we often fall into one of those three roles and then what happens is we call all the other players into the scene with us. So if we take on the persecutor, there is surely going to be a victim and there is surely going to be a rescuer.
That happens in many circumstances and we talk about a little bit of the science around that and the research that was done in the 1960s. And how does that show up in family dynamic? How does it show up in a classroom dynamic? How does it show up in just even encounters that we may have with people we don’t even know in the world every day?
So fascinating work for sure and I think when you become more in tune to the drama triangle, you can watch it unfold in your life. You can kind of pull yourself up a little bit and you can become aware of wow, I am wagging my finger and turning into the persecutor almost every day with my child.
What’s happening? You should have done this. You could have done that. I wish you would have done that. And that sort of – and then of course they can take on another role, right? They can then become the victim and what’s happening when we’re creating that dynamic over and over again and potentially then the other parent that then becomes the rescuer and watch the cycle go round and round. For me it was an incredible tool of awareness and observation.
Jill Stowell: That’s what I love is it gives you a way to look at things and start to become more aware because awareness of course is the first step in any kind of change but also then in – you know, as our kids become more independent, as they become teenagers, the dynamic between parent and child changes and so just being able to see that, you know, I think helps us to end up in a healthier space with them.
Suzanne McClure: Yeah. You’re right. Awareness is one of the biggest keys and I’ve watched parents that have been with MUSE for a long time and they have taken our workshops in self-efficacy and communication and they come back to it.
Jill Stowell: I think that’s such a great adjunct to the school that they’re able to – that the parents are also getting educated. If we can all grow along with the kids, it’s incredible.
Suzanne McClure: Yeah, it’s a beautiful opportunity and I’m honored and grateful to be – to just be in that conversation with families from year to year. It’s truly an honor and a privilege and it allows me to feel connected. So the thing that I’m passionate about, here we are, back to passion. The thing that I’m passionate about, I’m able to share with other people and it allows me to feel connected to the small world, my small world here but to the greater world. It allows me to feel like we’re all connected as we’re on this crazy place that we call earth right?
Jill Stowell: I love hearing about all of this and I’m so grateful for the work that you’re doing. I know it’s having a huge impact and so thank you for sharing your insights with us today.
Suzanne McClure: Thank you Jill.
Jill Stowell: It has been a really fun conversation.
Suzanne McClure: Wonderful. I applaud you and the Stowell Learning Center and for what you’re bringing and to all families as well and to our future generations and I love that we’re in each other’s backyards in a way.
Jill Stowell: Oh, yes.
Suzanne McClure: So grateful for this partnership and this conversation today. Thank you.
Jill Stowell: At Stowell Learning Centers, we help children and adults eliminate struggles associated with dyslexia and learning differences. We want to make this journey easier for you. Connect with us on social media and on our website StowellCenter.com for information and free resources. We just have tons of stuff for you there to support you.
The struggles associated with dyslexia and learning differences can be eliminated. Help us get the word out by sharing this and leaving us a five-star review. Let’s change the narrative together.
- Episode 69: Embracing Differences and Building Social Emotional Health – Suzanne McClure
- Episode 68 – Executive Function Tips for Parents, Teachers, and Students + T.E.F.O.S. – Part 2 – Seth Perler
- Episode 67 – The Executive Function Online Summit PLUS a Special Message for Kids – Part 1 – Seth Perler
- Episode 66 – Auditory Processing and Managing Anxiety – Jill Stowell on the Re-Focus Podcast with Angela Stephens
- Episode 65 – “Smart but Struggling” – What Does it Mean? – Jessyka Coulter, Love to Learn 2023
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