Life is a Team Effort
We came into the world with helping hands and we should live our lives that way. Asking for help, and giving help, should be second nature for us, and yet many people struggle with both. As a Mom, I know first hand that raising children really does take a village. Surround yourself with people who you can learn from, who can help you and who you can help too, in their time of need. As a Family Life Educator, I understand that we don't know how to do everything, nor should we. The world is complicated and everything feels as if it's always changing. When you find people who you can trust, who you can learn from, rely upon and turn to for questions, suggestions or advice, make them your tribe. You are not alone, nor should you ever feel that way. I'm glad that you found Shari Jonas Life Effects. My team and I are here to help you whenever you need us. We are your friends for life.
About Shari Jonas
Every Person Has a Story. It's called Life.
I was 3 years old when my parents divorced. Of course I was too young to understand how that major event would impact my life. But over time, I began to realize that I was very different from any one I had ever known. Divorce wasn't popular back then, however my mother was just too unhappy and although I never thought of my mother as a strong woman, I realize now that she must have been. She ended that marriage with my father, with 3 very young children and no income, because she wanted something more. She believed she deserved that and it wasn't very long before she remarried. Although my father eventually moved back to the U.S, where he was from, he and I made sure to get to know each as adults, and I am very grateful for that. No human is comprised solely of one parent. No matter what type of relationship or marriage your parents have, I believe it's important for a child to get to know both parents. I knew, even as a young child, that I wasn't entirely like my mother and that there was a part of me that must have come from him. Both my parents have passed away now, but I am proud of myself for making the effort to get to know them as individuals. He was far from perfect, as was my mother. But I was going to take the best parts of them and become my own person. At least I wanted to.
I believe that our parents influence us in more ways than we know how. Whether it's the genetic influence, what is referred to as "nature" or simply by modeling their behaviour, known as "nurture", we need to work very hard to pave our own pathways. Self awareness is a powerful skill and the earlier you develop it, the better off you will be. My mother was not an educated woman nor was she ambitious. She was extremely dependent on men, first her father, and then her husbands. Never did she have her own money. This drove me so far the other way that I started working when I was 10 years old and have never stopped. I also received 2 University degrees. Unlike my mother, I have been very independent my whole life and I define myself by my resilience and fortitude. However, I couldn't seem to make good choices when it came to marriage. That was a harder pattern for me to break.
After my son was born, it took me no time at all to divorce his father. I simply couldn't imagine spending my life with a man that was my polar opposite. Even though I had promised myself that I would be different than my mother and not follow her path, I took my son and moved out. I was fearless. I became a warrior single mom who was hell-bent on raising her son to be strong, sensitive, confident, independent, loving, responsible...the list goes one. I was a mother on a mission. I knew the world was going to try to crush him (because the world can be cruel) and I wanted him to be prepared.
By then I had already completed an undergraduate degree in Psychology from McGill University and a Masters Degree in Human Relations and Family Life Education. I was deep into understanding human behavior; why we do what we do. And because I was so self-reflective, I couldn't help but wonder why I chose to marry a man that was so different from myself. It was during that time in my life that I began to research how women’s relationships with their fathers impacted their personal relationships with the opposite sex. "Father Effects: How Your Father Influenced Who You Are & Who You Love," became my first self-published book, available as a paperback and an eBook.
Several years later, I was dating a man, who I fell in love with and became pregnant with my 2nd child. Although I had no desire to get remarried, I stayed with him and gave birth to my beautiful, soulful daughter. Over time, he and I did get married and it lasted 15 years but it wasn't without issues. I stayed in it, made the best of it and when my daughter was old enough, I left that marriage too. But again, my focus during those years wasn't on me. I was tough. I worked a lot. I focused my energy on raising my son and my daughter. They were all I cared about during those years. And I believe that is why I pride myself on my parenting style. I knew that my kids were going to be confident, happy, and well rounded. I love them with every fibre of my being and today I am so proud of the young adults that they've become. It was worth everything I went through.
I share a lot of my parenting stories on social media, not for money or recognition. But because I worry about kids today. I worry that they are more fragile, more susceptible, more anxious, depressed, coddled and lost than any other generation before them. I say worry, but it's more of a deep concern for their mental well being and their future. I'm from a very hardy, self taught, left to our own devices generation. We didn't have parents that micro-managed, over stimulated, helicoptered or bulldozered our lives. We didn't use words like anxiety nor were we medicated for just being kids. The world has changed and parents have lost their way. Tough parenting is tabooed, gentle parenting has gone too far. What is going to happen with them? I wonder about it a lot.
During the pandemic, when we were all stuck at home, I became laser focused on figuring out how I can help. I had been furloughed from my job and had time on my hands to get back into writing and started doing videos. Over a period of several weeks, I painted a wall in my home with inspirational quotes, quite similar to a vision board that I would do annually. But this time, it was a vision wall and once it was done, I wondered who I could share this with, who would benefit from it the most? And it dawned on me. If parents could teach these simple phrases to their children, this could help them to build their self confidence and develop an internal voice that would guide them through life. "My Roots and My Wings: The 24 Most Empowering Life Lessons for Children Ages 3-9," was written, illustrated and published. It was my way of helping parents to help their children to thrive in this crazy world. Even though I taught these beliefs to my children, I knew there wasn't (and isn't) a book like this for kids today. If there was ever a manual as to how to help children feel more confident, maybe this could be it. If I could give it away for free, I would. That's how much I love it and that's how strongly I feel about giving parents the tools to empower their kids.
Looking back at my life, I am the woman (yes, woman) that I am today because of how I've handled all of my life experiences. My life was not easy. It has been filled with great lessons and I wouldn't have changed a thing. I have raised two incredible children who I am so proud of as they are caring, confident, self aware, responsible and highly capable individuals. Now that they are embarking upon their own journeys, I have the luxury of time to invest in educating, inspiring, and connecting with not only parents, but to anyone who might have had a rough childhood and is still battling their own demons. What we teach our children, can also be taught to our inner child, the wounded one who is still struggling today to find their happiness.
I know that we are all here for a reason and I am compelled to help anyone who wants it, because this is your life and if you feel like I do about it, let’s go BIG before we go home, shall we?
Listen to the life effects podcast
Raymond Aaron, Co-author of Chicken Soup for the Parent's Soul
"This book reveals the truth to women who want to tackle the reason for their low self-esteem, insecurity, anxiety, failed trust, emotional voids and sometimes, promiscuity. These characteristics are unfortunately the principle reasons why their relationships fail time after time. FatherEffects is a must read for those who care about their emotional health and lasting, satisfying relationships."
Pearl Rothenberg, M.A., Clinical Psycologist
"FatherEffects is an important book in the area of female psychology. It demonstrates how powerful fathers can be in shaping the psyches of their daughters, by their presence or absence. As a therapist, I would certainly recommend FatherEffects to my clients, not only for those with father issues, but to fathers of daughters as well."
Dr. K. Sohail, Psychotherapist
"Shari Jonas invites all of us, women and men alike, to reflect upon our childhood relationships, to break negative patterns and to improve the quality of our significant relationships. She offers us hope that with proper introspection, insight and support our breakdowns in life can be transferred into breakthroughs!"
Janice E. Rench, LSW, CTC
"FatherEffects is an insightful book taking the reader through lessons that bridge the past with the future, while validating the hurt and helping with the healing. Shari Jonas has done an outstanding job encouraging the reader to move from victimhood to empowerment. This book is a MUST for every therapist that works with women."