A Message for Parents and Other Caring Adults

Award winning Courageous Gilbert the Groundhog is a delightful book rich in symbolism for both children and adults.

When you read it and start practicing the techniques with your children, clients, and friends, you will begin to notice some remarkable positive transformations.

When working with children and adults, it helps to first calm the body with deep breathing.


Because if the body is in a state of panic or shock, it will go into the fight, flight, or freeze mode, making healthy responses more difficult.

When you or your child practices the deep breathing outlined in this book, some amazing things happen:

  • The entire nervous system achieves a state of calmness
  • The brain is oxygenated at a higher level
  • The entire body enjoys a safer, more relaxed feeling

Deep breathing can be done at the beginning of the day, at lunch, and before going to bed. Over time, the benefits multiply as the body relaxes and feels less anxious.

We need to teach children about emotions both in and outside the classroom. It is so important for kids to understand how to identify where emotions are held in the body and how to express them.

Unexpressed emotions are toxic and can lead to dis-ease and other lifelong emotional challenges that can impact us as adults in our relationships, our careers, our health and our finances.

This is why it is so important to start identifying and releasing our emotions at an early age. It empowers us to be our authentic selves and gives us the confidence to pursue who we are meant to be.

Why Kids Love Gilbert:

Kids can relate. So many children are facing the same struggles and challenges as Gilbert. With every turn of the page they will see themselves in similar situations.

Once they make this identification, they will be more open to the breathing suggestions, and will be filled with hope that things can get better in their own lives.

Why Parents Love Gilbert:

All too often parents will see their kids come home from school feeling dejected, but when you ask them what’s wrong you get the same “nothing” response each time.

Many times, these kids are keeping the trauma to themselves, not ready or willing to share their experiences with you.

Gilbert is a tool parents can use to connect with their children. This connection creates trust and safety to talk about what is really going on within the child.

We are what we practice. This healing process takes time, and practicing can be done as a family or in a group. Practice involves yelling into your hands, stomping your feet on the ground, and saying “It is not okay to talk to me like that. You need to stop.” And then practice walking away. Too often we are stuck and not aware that we have the choice to leave. A final practice is shaking it off. Literally.

The breathing technique in this book is called “The 4, 7, 8, Breathing for Relaxation.” I learned it from Dr. Andrew Weil’s book 8 Weeks to Optimum Health and have been teaching it to my children and their classmates since 2004.