Archives For Parenting

Have you noticed a trend in our culture, especially over the last fifteen years? Let me illustrate it with a few current news stories.

A film is coming out soon, called “The Bling Ring.” It’s another story of a girl, played by Emma Watson, who’s so obsessed with celebrities she breaks into their homes and steals from them. The result? She lands her own reality TV show. It’s a picture of a growing obsession with celebrities and their scandalous lives.

someone else

Second, high school students were surveyed, and asked the question: What would you most like to do in your career? Their top answers may surprise you:

  • 9.5% – Chose a chief of a major Company
  • 9.8% – Chose a Navy SEAL.
  • 13.6% – Chose a United States Senator
  • 43.4% – Chose the personal assistant to a famous singer or movie star

Becoming an assistant to a celeb was their top answer. They don’t want the pressure of being famous; just to be close to someone who lives that fairy tale lifestyle.

Third, online games like “Second Life” continue to attract attention among young people. These games allow a user to pose as someone else; living another life, with other homes, cars and possessions. Most choose some celebrity they admire. They get to live vicariously through an avatar. It’s a preoccupation with pretending to be someone else, perhaps a famous person, and live through them.

None of these realities are earth shattering. But they illustrate our growing obsession with fame; with being someone else who seems to have a better life. I am not sure if this expanding consumption is due to the fact that we’ve overdosed on other people’s Facebook pages, Instagrams, or Tweets and become envious of their lifestyle—but we seem to believe our life is boring when compared to other people. We want fame and intrigue, so we fixate on a person who seems to have it.

Why is this a growing trend? Social anthropologist Jamie Tehrani says it gives people a piece of what they want and feel they lack. Jamie likens it to “junk food for the mind.” Quick. Convenient, but not necessarily nutritious. Gorging ourselves on images of wealth and success appeal to our appetite for prestige. Bumble Ward, a long-time publicist, says, “It makes people feel better about their own lives. Focusing on the trivial pursuits of celebrities has become a national past time. The more banal the information the better. They (celebrities) are more like us.”

What’s wrong with this?

It’s an irony, but in a day of bloating self-esteem—we don’t like our own lives enough to be content with them. They’re not glitzy enough. Many young people have bought into the notion that anything boring is bad. Routines are blue collar. We want our life to sparkle. My belief is—our lives can sparkle plenty, without being famous, if we choose to invest our time and energy well. But we have to shift our compass from the one the media in our culture has given us.

Tomorrow, we’ll examine what’s happened in detail and look at solutions.

 

Back in February, I wrote the blog, “Three Huge Mistakes We Make Leading Kids…and How to Correct Them”. Today, we are going to discuss ten ideas that you can use to lead better as a parent, educator, or coach. 

GL-Podcast

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Episode Summary

In today’s society, we are a very engaged group of adults; I believe we are so engaged that we may have created some unintended consequences as a result of our style of leadership. This podcast focuses on ten ideas that I would use, to correct our mistakes that we’ve made as teachers, coaches, and parents.

Idea #1: Don’t Think Control, Think Connect

  • Our natural tendency is to govern our kids actions and decisions. Oftentimes, become control freaks.
  • Control is a myth. Studies show that parents who over-program their child’s schedule often breed kids who rebel as teens.
  • Seek connection with your students, to earn the opportunity to influence.

Idea #2: Stop thinking Inform, think Interpret

  • This is the first generation of kids that do not need adults for access to information
  • Kids have content, without context
  • Provide a balanced perspective
  • “They don’t need us to access information, but to process information” –Len Sweet

Idea #3: Don’t think Entertain, think Equip

  • Adopt the perspective, “How can I equip my young person for the future?
  • Happiness is a by-product, not a pursuit.
  • Move from busying kids for happiness, to enriching kids for fulfillment.

Idea #4: Don’t think do it For them, do it With them

  • “You can do it, we can help” –Home Depot
  • “Healthy and robust self-esteem actually comes from achievement, not merely affirmation.” -APA
  • Don’t do it yourself, transfer the skill.

Idea #5: Don’t think Impose, think Expose

  • Kids have been overwhelmed by options, which we have used to create fences and boundaries.
  • We need to give them opportunities, that they cannot pass up.
  • Create scarcity and ownership.

Idea #6: Don’t think Prescriptive, think Descriptive

  • Encourage your young people to create a goal and reach it.
  • Provide opportunities for young people to own their method.
  • Help develop their ambition and creativity.

Idea #7: Don’t think Protect, Think Prepare

  • Think long-term- “I want to get you ready, for the world that awaits you.”
  • “80% of last year senior college class intends to move home after graduation.” -Baltimore Sun
  • Greatest gift you can give your child is the ability to get along without you.

Idea #8: Don’t think Tell, think Ask

  • Kids are not ready for the freedom to answer questions. We must encourage self-regulation and lead with questions so they can own their journey.
  • When we lead with questions, we force young people to think and choose on their own.

Idea #9: Don’t think Cool, think Real

  • Kids don’t want cool adults, they want you to be real, authentic, and relevant.
  • We need to be self-aware to let kids see what life should look like in their future.

Idea #10: Don’t think Lecture, think Lab

  • In science class, lecture is often the boring part. Lab on the other hand, is more exciting because it is engaging.
  • Kids aren’t looking for a lecture; they want experiences to try out what they know.
  • Don’t transmit an idea, transform a life.

World-wide, psychologists are discovering the down-side of our obsession over kid’s self-esteem, safety, and happiness. Personally, I want to be a leader, teacher, and parent that young people see as someone who has made these corrections; that are doing this Interpret, not Inform, Expose not Impose, and want to Pull along, not Push along…and that is my wish for you as well.

I encourage you to write down these 10 ideas, so that you can really think about changes that you can make to lead your kids better. Focus on 1-2 of these areas, and I am confident you will see growth in your own leadership journey.

Announcements:

Check out Growing Leaders. If you’re new to the podcast or blog, visit our website to learn more about the resources Growing Leaders offers to equip those who lead the next generation.

What topic would you like for us to address on the next episode of the Growing Leaders Podcast? Leave a comment.

On Wednesday, I blogged about the latest census data, suggesting the dark prospects for American young people entering their careers. The New York Times calls them “Generation Limbo.” After seeing the data, Harvard economist Richard Freeman took it further, saying, “These people will be scarred, and they will be called the ‘Lost Generation’ in that their careers would not be the same way if we had avoided this economic disaster.”

I encourage you to check out Wednesday’s blog post, “Generation Limbo” to see the reality we face. Today, I want to offer a conversation topic you can have with your young people, as they face a bleak economic picture as they launch their careers.

toll booth

Tollbooth or Roadblock?

As we move through various stages of our lives, we reach junctions—points of transition—where we must shift gears and slow down. Suddenly, we realize we have to pay a price to proceed. It’s like a tollbooth. The price might be a tough decision we must make or a situation we must leave behind; it may mean a class we must take or a job we must quit. For many, it could be a career that won’t seem to launch as we had planned. It can be anything that is costly to us. It’s at these moments that we discover that the junction will either become a tollbooth or a roadblock. We either choose to pay the price…or we can’t find it in ourselves to do what is hard. And we get stuck.

In 1962, Victor & Mildred Goertzel published a book called The Cradles of Eminence, a study of hundreds of high-performing people. The authors spent years attempting to understand what led to their greatness, and they searched for similarities in the stories of these outstanding and famous people. Can you guess what they found? The most stunning fact was that 392 of the 415 people had endured great obstacles on the way to becoming who they were. That’s 95% of the incredible performers! They had paid the toll by perseverance, determination and overcoming obstacles—that is, by choosing to pay the toll.

At this point, ask your young person a question: In what area are you stuck right now? Why have you stalled? I’ve found I often stop moving forward when I feel like a victim of my circumstances. In other words, if I feel I have no choice in a matter, that I’m forced to do what someone else wants me to do, I unintentionally stop progressing. The fact is, it may be true that there’s only one option ahead. At times the tollbooths we face are on a “One Way” road. We have no choice but to pay the price. But that doesn’t mean we have no choice in the matter. Never assume that. This is when we get to decide just how we will travel. In short, you may not get to choose where you go, but you always can choose how you’ll travel. We can decide to engage our challenges with passion, to commit to a goal, to compete with our past and improve, to overcome setbacks we face, and to enjoy the journey along the way.

This metaphor is actually a Habitude in our latest book in the series, “Habitudes For the Journey.” To check out the entire chapter and the book, click here.

 HBJ

Meet Generation Limbo

July 10, 2013 — 4 Comments

Generation iY, the kids born since 1990, are now graduating from college.  The youngest kids today, often called The Touch Screen Generation are beginning to graduate from middle school. These young people are considering their careers and wondering. They are finishing school (as graduates or not) and entering the adult world. The working world. And for millions—it isn’t working for them.
generation limbo

New census data casts a shadow over the long-term impact of the recession on America’s young people. In the last decade, the unemployment rate for youth spiked to the highest levels since World War II; 45% of American’s (ages 16-29) are jobless, a double-digit jump from the jobless rate in 2000. Faced with dark prospects, many young adults aren’t leaving home until their 30s. (The number of Americans aged 25-34 living with their parents jumped 25% during this recession.) Last month, The New York Times called these youth, “Generation Limbo.” After seeing the data, Harvard economist Richard Freeman took it further, saying, “These people will be scarred, and they will be called the ‘Lost Generation’ in that their careers would not be the same way if we had avoided this economic disaster.”

The last American “lost generation” was the kids who grew up during the Great Depression. Our world has seen several “lost generations” in the past century. Gertrude Stein first coined this term in the 1920s referring to Europeans who grew up during World War I. Today, it’s used to refer to Japanese youth who grew up during their recession in the 1990s. In Japan, the amount of youth sent to work at temporary or contract jobs doubled during that decade. This led to a mammoth suicide spike. According to author Mike Zielenziger, more than one million simply withdrew from society. They refuse to leave the protective walls of their bedrooms, or they pace the house or play video games, frightened to step out and take a risk.

I don’t know about you—but I plan to work to prevent this “generation limbo” from happening in our nation. These kids are not bad kids, but they’re growing up in tough times. History teaches us that tough times don’t last, but tough people do. Some of the greatest inventions and leaders emerge during troubled times. Let’s seize the day and get these young people ready to do just that.

On Friday, I will offer a conversation topic to have with a young person that can help them approach their adult lives and careers with hope.

 

bullies

It seems every school in America is seeking ways to reduce bullies on their campus.

A Wisconsin community has come up with a new way to handle the bullying issue. In Monona, a suburb of Madison, Wisconsin, police can give citations—just like traffic tickets—to families whose children torment other kids.

This community has recently adopted an ordinance that allows police to cite the parents of chronic bullies, if they’ve been notified in writing that their child is a perpetrator on their school campus. If the bad behavior continues for 90 days or more, the parents can be fined $114 in a municipal court. According to Julie Hertzog, director of the National Bullying Prevention Center, this is the fist community she’s seen pass such a rule.

“For so long, we were just looking at our schools as being responsible for this, but now we understand that it’s about community working together: it’s the schools, it’s the parents, it’s law enforcement,” says Hertzog.  At the same time, some parents have tried everything to stop their kid from being the bully. (One of most frequently downloaded articles on the website of the National Bullying Prevention Center is called, “What if my child is the bully?”)  In those cases, police won’t write tickets. The officers have been given a lot of discretion on the issue.

But this remains a huge issue. About one third of students in America report they have been the victims of a school bully.

So what do you think? Is it right to punish the parents for a bully? Do the schools just need to do a better job? Should the bullies have to pay for their own crime? Who’s really responsible? Let’s have a conversation.