Tag Archives: parenting

Leadership. It’s all the Time!

Let's Discuss LeadershipYou are a leader in everything you do. Not just the moments you have positional authority over others. Every second of the day presents the opportunity to lead. This is true whether you are a CEO, receptionist, father, child, coach, or athlete. I’ve been thinking about leadership a lot because it is popping up in my personal life with my wife and kids, at church,  and at work. I’ve also recently transitioned into project management and for the first time in my career, I am managing processes almost exclusively and not directly supervising people. I still deal with a lot of people and I still use essentially the same skill set. However, nobody does anything for me now because of any true authority it’s 100% relationship oriented. I’ve always lead in a way that was dependent on developing relationships. However, it’s still a small adjustment and it started me thinking about leadership in general and how it’s a bit different.

Being a Leader With Your Family:

I was talking to my wife Shawna the other night and she reminded me of something I do consistently that comes straight out of one of my favourite leadership books of all time: The 360 Degree Leader. It was about doing something trivial that everyone knows I do not want or like to do, but I do anyway because I know it is important to set the right example.

“As a leader, the first person I need to lead is me. The first person that I should try to change is me”.  – John C. Maxwell

I’m going to be honest here and say I HATE green beans. I don’t just dislike them, I detest them. However, I am aware they are good for me and I have some picky eaters in my family so I eat them without complaint. Part of it is so they will eat something healthy and see me do it too. Another part of it is so nobody can say: “Dad doesn’t eat green beans so I’m not either!” I was smart enough to know that asking them to eat something they don’t like when I would not, was hypocritical at best and a poor display of leadership. Knowing this, I suck it up and eat them anyway. My wife was using this as an example to one of the kids about doing things you don’t want to do because it is the right thing. Whats funny is this kid knew I did that and acknowledged it. I’ve never mentioned that I do this and I don’t make a big deal out of it, but I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that they know I don’t like them, that I eat them anyway. Honestly I was a bit surprised, but it reinforced the idea that your kids watch and listen to everything you do.

“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” – John C. Maxwell

Another example that is a bit more serious is related to dealing with my Adult ADHD. I had gone 42 years and never been on any sort of ADHD medicine. I didn’t want it and honestly, didn’t think I needed it. Both my ex and current wife encouraged me to try something for years and I just refused for a number of reasons. If I’m being honest, I was aware I had some annoying issues,  but I had learned to live with them and I had what was in my mind a reasonable expectation everyone else would as well. 

I have 3 kids with ADHD all three of whom benefit tremendously from taking their medication. I’m not sure what sparked it but two of them were occasionally resistant to taking it and saying it didn’t help. Everybody knows this is simply not true and I had told them how important it was for months but gaining little ground. I had spent a lot of time thinking of ways to show them how important this was and was getting nowhere fast. Finally, one day I woke up and said: “self, you need to take the same stuff they do.” I had finally realized what a hypocrite I was being. Nobody had to tell me, I just reflected one day and realized I was a huge jerk if I insisted they do something I refused to do. That same day I told Shawna: “I think I need to start taking Intuniv too.” Honestly, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I am so much happier now and I am able to relax in a way I have never been able to in my entire life. I wish I had done it years ago. Besides feeling better, by taking it myself I was able to show that I was 100% bought into the process of dealing with not only their ADHD but my own as well. My entire family is happier because of it. If you are a parent, you have probably already realized that your children are watching everything you do. Because of this one decision all three of my kids are now happily taking their medication and we have a calmer happier home because of it.

“If you are a parent, you have probably already realized that your children are always watching what you do. And just as children watch their parents and emulate their behavior, so do employees who are watching their bosses.” – John C. Maxwell

Being a Leader at Work

One of the most fun things I use to do as a sales manager was to jump on the phone Saturday morning during our phone-a-thons and set some appointments. It was fun for several reasons. First, I’m a great salesperson and it’s fun to do things you are good at especially if it’s out of your norm. Second, I’m competitive and I wanted to set more appointments than anyone because it’s fun to talk a little smack with my top performers and work hard. More importantly, my mid and low performers saw me demonstrating skills I had taught in training and it reinforced that training because I could prove I not only talked the talk but could walk the walk. Finally, I dialed because they LOVED it. Seriously, everyone likes to see their boss do their job and it’s good leadership to join in on Saturday morning when nobody wants to be there.

Opportunities to lead are everywhere if you are looking for them. in everything, you do someone is watching and learning. My goal every day is to make sure they learn something positive.

For Further Study:

If you are looking to improve yourself and be a better leader in every situation I recommend you buy John C Maxwell’s The 360 Degree leader. 

For Discussion:

Tell me about a hidden leadership opportunity you found in the comments!

Knowledge will set you free… Or will it?

What is the Function of a School?

There is a lot of talk about education right now and a lot of blame cast on the schools for not doing their job but I think it’s important to consider what the job of a school is. Most people would quickly agree that the job of the school is to impart knowledge. I read a very interesting article that talked about the difference between knowledge, wisdom, and insight and I had a bit of an a-ha! moment… if the following is true:

Knowledge VS Wisdom VS Insight

Knowledge is the accumulation of facts and data that you have learned about or experienced. It’s being aware of something, and  having information. Knowledge is really about facts and ideas that we acquire through study, research, investigation, observation, or experience.

Wisdom is the ability to discern and judge which aspects of that knowledge are true, right, lasting, and applicable to your life. It’s the ability to apply that knowledge to the greater scheme of life. It’s also deeper; knowing the meaning or reason; about knowing why something is, and what it means to your life.

Insight is the deepest level of knowing and the most meaningful to your life. Insight is a deeper and clearer perception of life, of knowledge, of wisdom. It’s grasping the underlying nature of knowledge, and the essence of wisdom. Insight is a truer understanding of your life and the bigger picture of how things intertwine.

via What Are the Differences Between Knowledge, Wisdom, and Insight? – Lifehack.

The Function of the School in Education

Then the job of the school is to present the student with facts and information and help them develop some research and investigation skills. That’s really all they are on the hook for. It’s our job as parents to teach values, impart wisdom, and hopefully, help them develop insight. The gamer in me is going to come out here for a second… In Dungeons and Dragons Intelligence (knowledge) and Wisdom are the two primary character statistics related to intellect.  In application: a knowledgeable character knows a situation is dangerous and what type of danger is present. A wise character has a solid strategy based on experience to deal with that situation, and an insightful one knows how to either avoid it all together or benefit from the danger.

The function of the school is to present the student with facts and information #education Click To Tweet

The Role of Parents in Education

I started thinking about parents I know and students I see at the school where I work and it got me thinking about the fact that many parents rely on the school to teach not only knowledge but to also values and wisdom. The trouble with that is that simply isn’t reasonable or wise.

It is not the school's purpose to teach your child a new set of values. #education #parenting Click To Tweet

Knowledge is simply not enough to ensure success in life. You must have the wisdom to apply that knowledge for it to do any good. That wisdom can only come from experience and our job as parents is to provide that. Moreover, I do not think it is smart or wise to rely on strangers to impart a value system on my children. I want them to have their own strong, well-developed value system to the point that they can stick up for their own beliefs.  I do a lot with my kids. We play games, work out, talk, read, and travel together. I also try to expose them to the arts through film, theatre, and music… and you can see when talking to my kids they are very bright. They figure stuff out quickly… That’s what it takes to be successful. and they do this because they have actively involved parents.

Knowledge is simply not enough to ensure success in life. #education #parenting Click To Tweet

What I am Doing

I do a lot with my kids. We play games, work out, talk, read, and travel together. I also try to expose them to the arts through film, theatre, music and museums.  Because of this, you can see when talking to my kids they are very bright and capable. They figure things out quickly on their own and are effective problem solvers even in unfamiliar situations. That is what it takes to be successful. and they can do this because they have actively involved parents.

What My Parents Did

When I was a kid my dad took me hunting and fishing. I spent time in the mountains, we sailed, played sports, and built and repaired things. He spent a lot of time talking and teaching with me. This was not him talking AT me but really talking TO me, and I think that is a big part of what made me successful despite their lack of formal education. My parents owned my success and failure in life and viewed the school system as a tool… I’m not sure as a society we do that anymore.

I have some BIG plans for my kids: backpacking trips, hunting, fishing, vacations, sports, church, volunteering, etc… varied experiences where they learn about themselves and where I can help them apply the knowledge they have gained to be not only wise, but god willing insightful.

For Further Study

There are two books I recommend parents take a look at if you are interested in raising smart wise, godly children. The first is Shepherding a Child’s Heart and the other is Instructing a Childs Heart. Both of these books are going to challenge you as a parent to re-examine your thinking and make changes to how you do things. However, the long-term benefit of purposeful parenting is well worth the effort.

For Discussion

Without overtly slamming the public school system, I’m curious to hear what other people think about this idea. How are you helping to prepare their kids for life? I have not had time to fully develop my thought on this and am interested in the conversation so please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Mayfair Games- Le Boomb!

I love fast small games so when I saw Le Boomb at PAX for just $5 I HAD to buy it and give it a go!

Mayfair Games Le Boomb
a game using dice that is very similar to hot potato

Well folks, I’m happy to say I wasn’t disappointed! For $5 this game is a pretty good value! You get the special Le Boomb Dice and also the black bomb that acts as a carrying case for it. the rules are fairly simple. Roll the dice… If you get the bomb with the fuse your good. If you get the bomb you have to hold the bomb. If someone rolls the explosion while you hold the bomb your out. I know it sounds overly simple, but it is fun and I hear that there is NO WAY this could be converted to any sort of drinking game! ( he he he!)

Anyway… I played this at Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) while waiting in line for events and again with my wife and 3 year old Sarah this morning and the game was a BIG hit. Sarah got it immediately and had a blast! She did NOT want to stop playing. I can see this as a good backpack/ purse game that you could pull out in a restaurant and play with friends or to keep the kids calm or as a warm up game while waiting to get your weekly RPG going.

For such a simple game I have really enjoyed it so far and highly recommend it for anyone looking to kill a few minutes with good clean fun!

Do you have games like this that you enjoy? Share them with me! I love learning about new games and am always looking for new stuff to play!

 

Day 15 – The Great Trash Run of 2011

After a long week I was ready for a short fast run. Sophia and I suited up and headed out the door at a fairly good pace. However, less that 100 yards from the house she stopped to pick up a piece of trash and told me all about how bad littering was. I applauded her commitment to the environment and encouraged her to continue on. About 15 paces later she found a Wal-Mart bag and I knew it was all over… from that point on we both stopped to pick up everything we found around our 1 mile loop. I was a bit annoyed at first because I was ready to run, but her saving the earth song brought a smile to my face… I wonder how much nicer everything would look if everyone who ran took a day a month and picked up their usual loop? Mine looks pretty good right now!

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Day 14 – 3 miles with Sophia!

I know I go on and on about this, but I can’t tell you how much I enjoy running with Sophia. We really have a LOT of fun and she may slow me down sometimes, but this early in the game it is more important that I get out regular than it is to be fast or log a ton of miles.

Today we ran down the Centennial Trail. I usually run on a short flat section of this trail right in front of my house, but today we drove down to the big trail head and took a different route for a little variety. Walking in the forest was a lot of fun, because it was a cool teaching opportunity for us as we discovered new birds and plants. We also had a great conversation about cougars because of the big orange warning sign. This route had a much bigger hill that slowly climbed 390 feet over about a mile. It’s not a huge hill, but it is LONG and steady. It was nice to get a change-up from the short steep hills around my neighborhood. the details are below:

Day 12 – Running with my 6 year old!

Today was an exhausting day… All week has been building to an operational review with the company COO. As I sure anyone knows this type of thing causes a lot of stress. Things went ok for me all things considered, and it is a BIG relief to not have to think about it any more. I swear when I left the office at 6:30 I was about to fall asleep at my desk as a few days of stress and sleep deprivation have started to catch up with me. On the positive side, when I got home at 7PM I was greeted by Sophia who was rip-roaring to get out of the house and run. Mom was leery because it was 30 minutes until bed time, but she acquiesced to the request and let her go with me.

I have to say, one of the BEST things to come out of this running challenge has been the quality time I spend with my oldest daughter Sophia. Today’s workout was short, and not very fast, but we had a GREAT chat about eating healthy food and how some people go without… This lead to a talk about charitable giving, why it is important, and how we should be thankful for the many blessings we have received in our lives. We also talked about the value of education and hard work why dad is still in school and works so much. That’s a LOT of deep topics for a 6-year-old, but she was up for the task and really into the conversation. She ask good questions and had a lot of solid input. I don’t think enough parents get to spend this kind of time with their kids and it makes me happy she is so excited to get it. I dread the day she becomes too cool for me; but I am happy to know I have had so much quality time like this to help prepare her to make good decisions as an adult. I have a belief that our job as parents isn’t just to get our kids to 18 and out of the house, but to get them to act like adults and prepare them to take care of themselves because someday I wont be there to solve all her problems. Anyways, this is a running blog, so enough of the parenting philosophy… except to say if you don’t run with your kids try it. Its awesome! 🙂

Here are the details of todays workout: