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Get My Book Early and 5 Ways to Help Kids Thrive in an Era of Distraction, Dependency, and Entitlement
For the next seven days only, the paperback version will be available on Amazon
Hello, good people!
As of today, I am exactly 3 weeks out from the official release date for my book, Setting the Bar. Very exciting. But even more exciting…
For the next seven days only, the paperback version will be available through Amazon! This is an early offer that I’m only telling you email subscribers about.
And, for those of you who like to listen to audiobooks, I’m making the Audible audio version available right away. That means you can have my sultry voice buzzing in your ears for approximately 9 hours and 7 minutes.
If you do not have an Audible account and want to sign up with this link, Audible will pay for my kids’ college, or something like that.
Again, paperback copies are only available for the next week. On November 9th (the official publication date), you’ll be able to get copies of the book in hardcover, paperback, audiobook, and through any ebook service.
One of the coolest parts about the book publishing process has been that it has allowed me to connect with many other authors, podcasters, and all-around awesome people. One of those people is Jeremy Adams, whose book, Hollowed Out, I referenced a few weeks ago. Jeremy wrote a wonderful piece for Quillette this past week, that I wanted to share.
Another is Joseph Wells, who put together a short and inspiring meditation on doing More Than the Minimum.
Finally, I’ve gone back and forth a good bit with Amy Carney, author of Parent on Purpose. Amy recently asked me to share what I would consider The Top 5 Ways to Purposely Help your Child Thrive in an Era of Distraction, Dependency and Entitlement. She then shared her answers with me. I really enjoyed the process of getting straight to more actionable advice and thought y’all would enjoy a look at both lists. I’ll start with Amy’s:
Amy Carney’s 5 Ways to Purposely Help your Child Thrive in an Era of Distraction, Dependency and Entitlement:
1. Aim for adulthood
There’s no need to guess where we’re headed when raising our children. No matter how we decide to play out the details of our family stories, you and I are parenting toward the same goal: adulthood.
Would you ever jump in a rowboat and head down a river without oars, allowing the current to take you wherever it may? I don’t think so, yet this is precisely what we are doing when we jump into parenthood without determining an overarching vision. Instead of intentionally paddling ourselves toward our desired destination, we drift along wherever popular culture decides to take us, which is most likely not where we want to go.
Stop drifting and claim adulthood as the destination of parenting your child today. Get in your boat, pick up the oars and purposefully paddle your family toward launch day.
2. Be the example
We must be the adults we want our children to grow up to be. To become a productive and successful leader for our children, we must first intentionally live out our values in our own lives.
Our kids are constantly watching to see if our actions (what we do and say) match the expectations that we set for them. What do your kids see you value? What do they witness you post on social media? How do they watch you spend your money and your time?
If I say faith is the cornerstone of my life, yet my children see me worship God only when there’s open availability on our busy calendar, what does this show my sons and daughter? It shows them that you can say something is a priority without having to make it one.
If my children see me only helping other people when it’s convenient or comfortable for me, they will grow up understanding that they should always look out for themselves first. What our kids watch us do, not what they hear us say, is what they will know to be true about life. What our children see with their eyes is more important than what they will hear with their ears. Our children will follow our example and not our advice.
3. Allow space for struggle
We must help our child build problem-solving and coping skills by allowing them space in their lives to work through everyday complications. Struggle creates strength. Resilience is built from learning and growing from our mistakes, failures, disappointments, and the consequences of our choices.
Let your student feel the discomfort of receiving a low grade when they don’t study or forget their homework at home. Conversely, let them experience the pride of a job well done.
Expect your child to stick it out on the team with the “bad” coach or in the class with the “lousy” teacher. Because, unfortunately, the chance of them having a “difficult” roommate or boss one day is highly likely, and we want our son or daughter to be able to handle adversity. Life can be uncomfortable at times and better that our child learns that now rather than later.
Don’t fall for the SOS text requests that your children send you throughout the school day. It doesn’t mean we love them any less when we say no to bringing them their lunch, PE uniform, or musical instrument. It means we love them enough to know that they need this learning opportunity today more than they need us rescuing them from the uncomfortable moment.
It’s time to remove the bubble wrap and let our children experience life’s speed bumps as they come their way.
4. Create healthy habits in your home
In a world obsessed with technology and endless entertainment, it’s important that we set boundaries around all of culture’s distractions. Limit the junk you’re allowing to enter your child’s mind, body and soul.
Create much needed limits on technology by designing a family media plan. Be sure to carve out space for boredom and free play. Cultivate a habit of gathering for healthy meals around the family table as often as possible. Make mealtimes a consistent place for family conversation and connection.
5. Bravely live out your values
Stop looking at your neighbor, sister or best friend as to how you should be spending your precious family time. Decide to purposely invest your time and treasures in ways that will help your children learn what you deem to be most important in the world.
If we, as parents, don’t take the time to get clear on our values and desires, we will spend the journey raising our children in reaction to what happens around us in the day to day, stuck in the urgent disguising itself as important.
As parents, one of the most important things we can do is regularly evaluate our family priorities and if we are truly living life in accordance with what we say and believe to be important. Is there a gap between what you say you value and your current reality?
My own 5 Ways to Purposely Help your Child Thrive in an Era of Distraction, Dependency and Entitlement:
1. Helping children thrive today has to start with the parental model
If we want our kids to eat well, we have to start by eating well. If we want our kids to read and explore a variety of interests, then we will need to read, explore, and develop passions. If we want our children to develop a growth mindset, then we have to cultivate a growth mindset. If we want our children to communicate well and have healthy relationships built on respect, then we'll have to do the same. It starts with our model.
2. Cultivate passions that go beyond your children
So many problems today stem from a parenting culture that doesn't hold any values above the immediate gratification of one's children. This tends to slip into spoiling kids, shielding them, and trying to be their friend rather than teach necessary lessons. We certainly want to give children our attention and love, and should strive to have fun with them, but it is not good for kids to expect that their parent's world revolves around them. The best gift we can give is to show them that life is about pouring yourself into projects that matter.
3. Craft an environment that promotes learning and exploration
When I was young, we had table mats that had a map of all the states and capitals, the planets, or the presidents on them. My father would quiz my brothers and I on these after dinner each night. As we got older, we'd ask him to quiz us on all sorts of other things. Similarly, the author Michael Lewis eats breakfast with his son each morning while listening to a work of classic literature on Audible. Keep globes, maps, board games, and especially books in the home! Lots of them. Go to bookstores and walk around. Go to libraries. Eat dinner together. Show a genuine interest in what your kids are learning at school and expand on these. In addition to learning implements, promote real free play with trampolines, ping-pong tables, etc.
4. Craft an environment that discourages junk food and passive entertainment
The technologies we wield today are far too great to be passive about. Media and food is built explicitly to promote excessive consumption. It won't matter how many books are on the shelves or how many board games you have if there is infinite access to video games, smartphones, etc. Simple steps include:
Keep TVs, smartphones, and all screens out of the bedroom.
Expect no phones at the dinner table. Have a family phone charging station outside of the bedroom. Delay getting kids smartphones until at least 8th Grade (see Wait Until 8th initiative). When you do allow kids to have a smartphone, utilize resources like the Bark or Screentime App to eliminate smartphone use at late and early hours and to restrict devices from porn, some social media, etc.
Make a family media plan
Make most of the foods available at home minimally processed foods (teach kids to cook)
5. Invest in an environment that promotes the behaviors you care about
Whether we like it or not, our children will take on the patterns of the world around them. If none of their friends study, they'll be less likely to study, etc. Therefore it is very powerful to seek out communities that share your values. An example: When my wife and I were looking for a pre-school we saw a wide range. Some wanted every student to eat the breakfast and lunch that the school provided (pancakes with syrup, chips, hamburgers, etc.) Some allowed us to bring lunch, but kids spent most the day in small classes. Then we found an amazing outdoor based school where they explore, ride ziplines, and play/learn outside through the majority of the day. Similarly, I know many families who rave about the high quality relationships they've found in martial arts.
Thank you very much for taking the time to read today and share this with your kindred spirits! After years of work, it is such a pleasure to be able to share this with the people who have supported me.
Have a wonderful week and, as always…
Life is too short to be normal,