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Laurie A. Gray, JD

Laurie is the founder of Socratic Parenting LLC and co-creator of Token of Change. Her debut novel Summer Sanctuary(Luminis Books/2010) won a Moonbeam Gold Medal for excellence in young adult literature.

How many children do you have?  I have a 9-year-old daughter, two adult step children, and three grandkids ages 7, 5, and 2.

How did you come up with the idea for your company?  My husband and I are both attorneys in our second marriage. After deciding we would not have any children together, we found ourselves unexpectedly expecting. As we considered how best to raise a daughter to become a confident, caring independent thinker, we reverted to the Socratic Method we had learned in law school and Socratic Parenting LLC was born. I’m still working on the book, Socratic Parenting: Know Yourself. Know Your Child.

I wanted to raise my daughter with a gentler and more inclusive spirituality than the fundamentalist Christianity I grew up with. Token of Change creates new mind/body/spirit imagery that both includes and transcends all faith traditions. The affirmation poem uses gratitude to define our relationship with God/the Universe/Life itself and kindness as the way we relate to all living things and our planet. Even when my daughter was only five years old, she would tell people that “perfect health” means that her body knows how to heal itself when she takes good care of it and gets a good night’s sleep, and “prosperity” means we have everything we need and enough to share with others.

My work with teens and tweens as a teacher and attorney has led me to believe that one of the best ways to help kids learn to think for themselves and embrace diversity is through literature. My young adult novel Summer Sanctuary is about a 12-year-old preacher’s kid who meets a homeless teen at the library and convinces her to live secretly in his church for the summer. They come from two totally different worlds and learn a lot about themselves through the friendship.

What’s your favorite parenting tip?  You have to love and respect yourself to really love your kids and teach them to respect themselves and others.

How do you get your family to eat healthy food and/or exercise?  I do all of the grocery shopping, so if I don’t want my family to eat it, I don’t buy it. We really just try to take a balanced approach overall. At home, we eat fresh fruit rather than dessert and save the indulgences for special occasions. My daughter is very active through taekwondo, gymnastics, soccer, and tennis. I work out in the basement in the mornings, usually before I’m fully conscious, and my husband who is struggling with back pain, has his own exercises and tries to incorporate walking and swimming into his schedule. We include healthy activities that we can all do together like bicycling and kayaking on vacations.

How do you recharge your batteries?  Reading is probably the number one thing I do that really recharges me every day. I also enjoy sitting down with other women and sharing ideas over a cup of coffee or a margarita.

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