Admiration for my Teacher/Mentor/Auntie



Jean Illesley Clarke

This is Ms. Jean Illsley Clarke.

You can Google Jean and find a number of pictures and videos, and also, references to her books, etc. She’s a very accomplished woman in more than one field. (I’ll even list some at the end of this post.) If you are a parent, a teacher or an adult educator, and have not treated yourself to some Jean Clarke, you have a treat in store.

But none of that published stuff tells you what she is like as a woman, a friend, a beloved “family” member.

The first thing you need to know is that clearly, she lies about her age. As of just a week ago, she was claiming something ridiculous like 92! But this is how she still looks! Come on!

Jean has this amazing presence and presentation that invites Guru-type adoration and attention, which she disallows in such a down to earth way, you feel her equal.

She is an unparalleled teacher and workshop presenter, who can tame the most obnoxious, disruptive students or hecklers, without them ever even knowing it…no shame from Jean…ever.

And, as my Mentor of almost forty years, more like a beloved Aunt now, she has taught me more about myself than anyone. And believe me, I have done a lot of therapeutic soul-searching about myself! That’s partly an occupational necessity…I am a Psychotherapist. (that is ONE word, by the way.) When I think I’ve reached down as dark as it gets, Jean encourages me to dig even deeper. She has helped me hang on in some of the toughest moments of my life.

Imagine this: You tell her your most painful story ever, trusting like never before, and here’s her reaction. She locks her penetrating blue eyes with yours for a long time and gently places her hand on your cheek. Then she says “Oh…(insert your name here)…”.

That’s it. That’s all it takes to know you are seen and heard and are absolutely not alone.

Seriously though, Oprah missed this one. Maybe even Dr. Phil. Not that those two should carry nearly the weight they do in terms of public opinion, but more people on the planet should know about this absolutely amazing woman, and hear about what she advocates.

My deepest admiration is of her ability to, no, her insistence on learning from absolutely everything. She is the consummate student of life. And the ultimate translator of these lessons into language the rest of us can easily understand and USE!

This is my favorite picture with Jean. It was a lovely sunset cruise around Puget Sound for our Staff R and R, after a power-packed, five day Training with about forty students.


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Jean Illsley Clarke

Jean Illsley Clarke received a bachelor of science degree from the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) at the University of Minnesota in 1948. She has been a pioneer and advocate for children and families in the state of Minnesota, across the nation, and internationally for more than three decades. She is widely recognized for her book Self-Esteem: A Family Affair that became the seminal work on how parents could raise children with healthy self-esteem.

From Amazon

Jean Illsley Clarke is an accomplished workshop leader and a nationally certified and internationally known parent educator. She is the author or co-author of several books about families including Self-Esteem: A Family Affair; Growing Up Again, Parenting Ourselves, Parenting Our Children; Time-In: When Time-Out Doesn’t Work; How Much is Enough? Everything You Need to Know to Steer Clear of Overindulgence and Raise Likeable, Responsible, and Respectful Children. Who, Me Lead A Group? is about leadership skills.

She has designed, tested, and taught accompanying courses and has offered facilitator training across America and in other countries. Her books have been translated into eight languages. The developmental affirmations have been translated into ten languages and used with groups as diverse as affluent Americans and disadvantaged South Africans. Recently she has been involved in the five research studies on overindulgence.

Overindulgence talks





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Thought a blog might help me develop better writing habits so I could finally finish my book, 16 years in the writing, but so far it's mostly photos and FUN!

4 thoughts on “Admiration for my Teacher/Mentor/Auntie”

  1. Jean is the person whose work has most influenced me, as a person and as a psychotherapist. I consider her to be my primary mentor. I don’t know if you know that I met her years before I started doing my personal work with Elaine.

    (BTW Now that I’m thinking about it, I also wonder if you know that Elaine was my public health nursing instructor in 1973! )

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