About Sparky and Shady

Sparky and Shady is a wellbeing program for kids aged 4-12 and their parents and teachers. It teaches kids who they are and how they work so they are empowered to live happy, loving and fulfilling lives. It is listed as a resilience resource on Beyond Blue and endorsed by clinical psychologist and author, Andrew Fuller.

Parents and teachers take part in the program so you can learn the content and strategies too. With our support, understanding and follow up our children will have everything they need to be physically, socially, mentally, emotionally and spiritually healthy and well. This investment in our kid’s wellbeing will reduce the risk of them developing a mental illness in their teenage and adult life. Current statistics suggest that almost half of Australia’s population will be diagnosed with a mental illness at some point in their lives.

The content is a mixture of self-help, psychology, neuroscience, quantum science and social emotional wellbeing. It took 27 years of researching, trialling, writing and teaching to perfect.

If you are open to the following ideas then Sparky and Shady is for you:

  1. Life is a gift that we are here to enjoy and contribute to
  2. Each of us have an inner loving voice (Sparky) and an inner fearful voice (Shady)
  3. What we believe comes true for us (to a very large extent).

These are discussed more in ‘Kathy’s philosophy’.

There are nine lessons in the Sparky and Shady program.

  1. Who you are
  2. Why you are here
  3. How your body works
  4. How your personality works
  5. How your thoughts work
  6. How your feelings work
  7. How to cope with problems
  8. How to believe in yourself
  9. How to follow your dreams

Once children understand their loving side, scared side and how they work physically, socially, mentally, emotionally and spiritually they understand their whole self.

When children learn to manage themselves, they can solve any problem they may have.

And finally, when children know and apply the four secrets to believe in themselves and follow their dreams they have everything they need to create lives they love!

If you would like a copy of ‘Sparky and Shady for Kids’ (4-9 yrs ebook) to find out more about the content, pop your name in the free ebook section on the homepage.

About Kathy

Kathy Sheehan

Wellbeing Teacher

Author and Founder of ‘Sparky and Shady’

Bachelor of Education (Behaviour Management)

Currently studying Bachelor of Psychological Science

Kathy has two beautiful sons; Ashley aged 26 and Jack aged 15. She lives on the sunny east coast of Australia with Jeremy her handsome husband, Jack their adventurous son and Ranger their loyal dog.

Kathy’s story

On the first day of my fourth year of Uni (studying primary school teaching) I ran into the back of a car on my motorbike and seriously injured my right leg. Over the next five years I had a total of seven operations to get my leg as good as the surgeon could get it. After one of my operations I woke up and thought, “Why didn’t anyone teach me how I worked when I was kid?”

That day I decided I would find out how human beings worked so I could teach it to kids.

Over the next 22 years I researched grief, human development, self-help, philosophy and psychology for answers. I finished my teaching degree with a major in behaviour management and taught in many different roles including; behaviour teacher and consultant, primary school teacher, assistant principal and acting principal. These roles were in public, private, Catholic, Christian and Steiner schools.

One thing that continued to bewilder me, was that no one was teaching kids how they worked or how to manage themselves as a whole person.

In 2013, I resigned from full-time teaching to perfect a program to empower kids.

A year later I published the first draft of Sparky and Shady and started teaching the content to kids in workshops. I soon learnt that if I was going to improve kids’ lives to the extent I wanted to, then parents needed to understand the content too.

After 18 months of teaching and continually improving the content, ‘Sparky and Shady for Big Kids’ was published in 2015 and ‘Sparky and Shady for Kids’ in 2016, followed closely by two teaching manuals. In the same year the program was listed as an approved resilience resource to be taught in Australian schools.

Recently, the first of four online video courses, ‘Sparky and Shady for Kids Online Video Course’  for children aged 4-9 and their parents, was released to give parents and families the opportunity to do the program at home, one lesson a week for nine weeks.

Two-day workshops continue to take place in Coffs Harbour and Sydney for kids and their parents and teachers.

Kathy’s philosophy

Life is a gift

Life is an amazing gift we have all been given.

We are here to enjoy it and live it to the fullest.

Every single human being on earth deserves and is worthy of the best that life has to offer, this includes: love, happiness, health, wealth, material possessions, adventures, loving relationships with family, friends and others, adventures, peace, contentment and fulfillment.

Each of us is also here to contribute the best that we have to offer, we do this when we; be our true selves, share our love, share our gifts, learn the lessons we are here to learn, follow our dreams and make the difference on earth we were born to make.

Our inner loving voice

I believe there is a creative, loving power in the universe.

Every single living thing on earth is connected to this loving power and we are also connected to each other. It is as though everything in nature has a spark of love inside it.

I call our spark of love ‘Sparky’.

In the Sparky and Shady program I don’t talk about the source of this loving power other than to suggest that, “If you believe in God then Sparky is a spark of God’s love and power. If you don’t believe in God, then Sparky is your inner loving power that every human being has inside them.”

It is important to respect people’s religious and spiritual beliefs and for this reason I encourage parents to talk to their child or children about how Sparky and Shady may fit in with your family’s beliefs.

Our inner fearful voice

Fear is a natural and normal part of life. The purpose of fear is to keep us alive and safe and to protect us too.

The problem with fear is that if we do not learn to manage our fear, it can seep into our lives through our thoughts and feelings until we end up believing unhelpful things about ourselves, other people and life.

This is why so many people in the world are unhappy and unfulfilled. People believe the fearful thoughts that have been passed onto them from their parents, grandparents and our society as a whole. Some of these beliefs include; “Life is hard. You have to work in a job you don’t like to earn money to survive. No one is going to go out of their way to help you. You are not worthy of happiness, wealth, a loving partner, love, fun, freedom, loyal friends, recognition and fame. Dreams do not come true for ordinary people like you. You can’t be your true self because no one will love you.” (None of this is true by the way! I call it a ‘load of Shady’! )

‘Shady’ is our fear. Learning to manage our fear includes letting go of unhelpful beliefs.

What we believe comes true for us (to a very large extent)

The Law of Attraction‘, ‘A Self-fulfilling Prophecy‘, ‘A Growth or Fixed Mindset‘, ‘As a Man Thinketh‘, ‘The Power of Positive Thinking‘ or whatever you want to call the theory that human beings have power over their own lives, has a lot of truth to it!

There are a wealth of authors and enough scientific, anecdotal and neurological evidence (in my opinion) to suggest that this theory has merit, which means we have a responsibility to teach it to our children and let them decide for themselves.

The Law of Attraction as portrayed in ‘The Secret‘ suggests that our thoughts are 100% responsible for everything that happens to us in our lives. This idea has understandably, caused heated debate between people from different religious and scientific backgrounds. To clarify, I do not agree that our thoughts create everything in our life. For example; a family receiving a cancer diagnosis for a young child, victims of a natural disaster and winning the lotto, all happen to people who have never ‘thought’ about these things.

Instead, my research and personal experience has lead me to conclude that what we think, feel and believe about ourselves, other people and life comes true for us to a very large extent. I say ‘a very large extent’ because I believe there are things we are destined to experience in our lives, or simply experience through luck (both good and bad) that we have little control over.

When we learn to manage our beliefs, thoughts, feelings, words and actions we can create a life we love despite not be able to control everything! As the saying goes, “You can’t control everything that happens to you, but you can control how you react to things that are out of your control” (Unknown).  The things that challenge us in life give us the greatest opportunities to learn. If we make the most of our learning experiences we become wiser, happier, more loving and more fulfilled.