About Sparky and Shady

Sparky and Shady is a holistic wellbeing program for your child.

It teaches your child how they work so they can live a happy, loving and fulfilling life making the difference on earth they were born to make.

Sparky and Shady is different from other wellbeing programs because it:

  • Teaches your child how they work physically, socially, mentally, emotionally and spiritually (the science not the religion)
  • Connects your child to their inner loving wisdom (Sparky)
  • Gives your child loving strategies to befriend and manage their inner fear (Shady)
  • Acknowledges the momentousness of your relationship with your child and includes you in workshops and online courses
  • Includes important knowledge and research from many different fields including; humanist psychology, positive psychology, cognitive behaviour therapy, neuroscience, quantum science, social-emotional wellbeing, self-development and self-help.

The similarities between Sparky and Shady and other wellbeing programs is that it:

  • Builds your child’s self-worth, resilience and confidence
  • Gives your child effective strategies to deal with anxiety, bullying, depression and other problems
  • Includes evidence based practices such as mindfulness and cognitive behavioural strategies.

Sparky and Shady is listed as a resilience resource on Beyond Blue and endorsed by clinical psychologist and author, Andrew Fuller.

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 your child understands their loving side, scared side and how they work physically, socially, mentally, emotionally and spiritually they have everything they need to live a loving, happy and fulfilling life.

About Kathy

Kathy Sheehan

Wellbeing Teacher

Author and Founder of ‘Sparky and Shady’

Bachelor of Education (Behaviour Management)

Currently studying Bachelor of Psychological Science

Hello! I’m Kathy, I’m 49 yrs old. I live on the East Coast of Australia with my wonderful husband, Jeremy, our 15 yr old son, Jack and our 4 yr old dog, Ranger. We also have an older son too, his name is Ashley and he is almost 27!

The ‘why’ behind Sparky and Shady

On the first day of my fourth year of Uni I ran into the back of a car on my motorbike and seriously injured my right leg. I broke it in 4 places and cut my knee open. The ambulance guys told me afterwards that they were surprised the surgeon didn’t amputate my lower leg. Over the next five years I had a total of seven operations to get my leg as good as they could get it.

After one of those operations I woke up from the anaesthetic and my first thought was, “Why didn’t anyone teach me how I worked when I was kid?”

I didn’t understand myself at all. My thoughts, feelings and behaviours were out of control and I didn’t know how to manage myself. I decided I would find out how human beings worked and teach it to kids so they could fix themselves up if anything ever went wrong in their lives.

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.

During this time I came across lots of strategies to manage my thoughts and feelings which I tried on myself and on students I worked with. I was continually disappointed that these strategies didn’t provide the long term changes I was hoping for.

One memorable day, around the year 2002, I was timetabled to support a particularly challenging student called Sam. He was a nine year old boy with a history of trauma. I knocked on his classroom door seconds after he had just thrown a chair across the room at his teacher. The teacher asked me to take him outside. Sam swore at the teacher, the class and at me before leaving the room, then he ran down the playground yelling that he didn’t have to do anything I told him to.

I felt totally out of my depth as I sat down at a lunch table in the sun, closed my eyes and asked myself, “How can I help this kid?” I immediately felt a warm, loving feeling come from inside my body. I felt calm, peaceful and as though everything was going to be okay. A couple of minutes later I opened my eyes and Sam was sitting across the table from me, he looked calm too. He asked me, “Did you bring your handball?” When I said, “yes” he challenged me to a game of handball and he won.

That was the day I met Sparky, my inner loving wisdom. For years I’d been asking myself, “How do I help kids? How do I help kids cope with problems? How do I help kids understand themselves? How do I help kids believe in themselves?” They say that if you ask a question long enough you will eventually find the answer. Thanks to Sam, I did.

Fast forward to the present and Sparky and Shady is a complete tried and tested program that helps kids, parents and teachers. It has strategies for managing your body, thoughts, feelings and behaviours at a conscious level (some of which you may be familiar with) and more in depth strategies to deal with fearful subconscious beliefs that limit our lives and happiness in the long term.

This program works for me and for many, many others. I have been teaching workshops for six years now and have many testimonials about the program’s effectiveness.

The updated ‘Why

Your child is here to enjoy the best that life has to offer them and they are also here to make a difference on they planet that only they can make. This difference is good for your child, good for others and good for the planet, it is their contribution to the greater good.

In my imagination I clearly see a world full of happy, loving and fulfilled humans who genuinely love and care for themselves, others and the earth.

Your child has an important role to play on this planet. With you as their parent and with the knowledge and strategies from Sparky and Shady, your child will have everything they need to make their difference.

My 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 you to talk to your child about how Sparky and Shady may fit in with your family’s beliefs. If you have no spiritual or religious beliefs then the program can stay based in science.

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 it doesn’t matter what happens to us, we know we will be okay. 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.