33 | Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso: Listening to the Spiritual Wisdom of Children




Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso has spent a long career engaging children and adults in the sacred texts and practices of Judaism.  In 1974, she became the second women in the United States to complete rabbinical ordination. She and her husband, Dennis, served as co-rabbis at the Congregation Beth-El Zedeck in Indianapolis until her retirement earlier this year. They were the first practicing rabbinical couple in Jewish history.

Rabbi Sandy is the mother of two adult children and a grandmother of three. Her rabbinical work and her status as a women and mother, have led her to press into a deeper understanding of the spirituality of children.  She has written numerous children’s books and is a a sought after speaker on topics related to the spirituality of children, religious traditions in family life, and spiritual storytelling.

In our interview, Rabbi Sandy shares about her life as a mother and rabbi. She also reflects on what she has learned about the sacred from the many children that she has interacted with throughout the years.

To contact Rabbi Sandy or to learn more about her books, visit her congregation’s website: http://bez613.org/about-us/staff/rabbi-sandy-sasso/


32 | The Abundant Life of Emily Plank


Emily Plank

Emily Plank is the mom/author/educator behind the popular blog: Abundant Life Children. She loves to write and in her work she integrates her training in child development with her lived experience mothering three young children. Emily has tremendous experience working with young children and their families. She has been in the field of education for over a decade, filling such roles as educator, mentor, and family child care provider.

Emily values play, spaciousness, respect for children as persons, and a posture of openness. Her presence is warm and gracious.

She and her family are in the midst of their own developmental transition. Earlier this year Emily closed her center and she and her family are preparing to spend several months travelling abroad through a semester at sea.

Her writing has been instructive and encouraging to many and it was a pleasure to chat with her here on Parenting Reimagined.

31 | Rewriting the Rules: Lea Woodward’s Location Independent Life


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Lea Woodward is not afraid of living  life on her own terms. She and her husband, Jonathan, left successful corporate jobs  to build web-based businesses that would allow them to work from anywhere.  They pioneered the location independent lifestyle-  roaming the globe from Panama to Thailand to Dubai and many places in between.

Lea and Jonathan now have two young children and they are in the midst of recalibrating how to travel, parent, stay married and still get their work done.   We had a great conversation about constantly re-visioning  how to “do” family. For more about Lea and her work, check out LeaWoodward.com and locationindependent.com.


30 | The Science of Parenting: A Conversation with Dr. Alan Kazdin



Dr. Alan Kazdin is the John M. Musser Professor of Psychology and Child Psychiatry at Yale University and the director of the Yale Parenting Center and Child Conduct Clinic. His research has focused primarily on the treatment of aggressive and antisocial behavior in children. In 2008, he was named President of the American Psychological Association.

Dr. Kazdin has worked on approximately 700 publications including 48 scholarly books. He recently completed The Everyday Parenting Toolkithis second book for a popular audience. His work on parenting and child rearing has been featured on CNN, NPR, PBS, BBC, and he has appeared on Good Morning America, ABC News, 20/20, The Dr. Phil Show, and the Today Show.  

And now Parenting Reimagined. 🙂

In our conversation, Dr. Kazdin and I talk about his work with the Yale Parenting Center and his recent bookHe is wonderfully warm and humble as he reflects on what he has learned from a lifetime of working with families and studying the science of behavior change.

For more about Dr. Kazdin and his work, check out alankazdin.com.



29 | Longing for Motherhood: Ruth’s Journey Through Infertility


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Ruth Clayton is an ordained Presbyterian pastor and a hospital chaplain. Her professional life is spent providing comfort, wisdom, and spiritual support to those experiencing the failure of their bodies, those who are dying.

For the past two years, Ruth and her husband, David, have been longing to become parents. In the midst of joyful anticipation, Ruth has had to confront the possible limits of her own body. After months of charting cycles and temperatures, Ruth and David entered the world of medical infertility intervention.

In our conversation, we discuss the ups and downs of the trying, hoping, waiting process. Ruth reflects on what is happening in her soul and her marriage as she looks toward the possibility of motherhood. She is also honest about the low points and how she copes with the monthly disappointments of negative pregnancy tests.

It is an open conversation about an experience that is deeply painful and increasingly common.

28 | Far From the Tree: An Interview with Andrew Solomon



All summer I have been talking about the book Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity. It has been part of my conversations at picnics, over coffee, during meetings, in lectures, and in a few therapy sessions. I have yet to come across a book that so vividly portrays the experience of parenting as both heart-wrenching and heart-expanding.  It presents a narrative of immense love woven into a kaleidoscope of stories of all that can go wrong in family life.  It is thoughtful, nuanced, and honest.

I was honored by the opportunity to interview the author, Andrew Solomon.

A native New Yorker, Andrew studied at Yale and recently finished his PhD in psychology at Cambridge. Andrew is a writer and lecturer on politics, culture and psychology. His last book, The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression (Scribner, 2001), won the 2001 National Book Award for Nonfiction, was a finalist for the 2002 Pulitzer Prize, and was included in the London Times list of one hundred best books of the decade.

Andrew’s own story of fatherhood is a bit complex. He is the biological father of a daughter with a college friend who lives in Texas. Andrew’s husband, John, is the biological father of two children, Oliver and Lucy, who live in Minneapolis. Andrew is the biological father of three-year-old George, who lives with Andrew and John. The lesbian mother of Oliver and Lucy was the surrogate for George.

So the shorthand is: five parents of four children in three states and lots of frequent flyer miles.

Andrew lives with his husband and son in New York and London, and is a dual national.