Raising Able (…not Cain)

Raising Able (…not Cain)

empowered-kid-520x346You are not raising kids. You are raising adults. You’re raising a friend and spouse, business partner or employee, your grandchild’s parents and neighbors. There’s a thought. No pressure.

What kind of adult are you raising? Keeping the end in mind could help us redirect our parenting mindset. We can choose to interact with our kids so they become successful, able adults.

Imagine a husband, or a coworker…who is unable:

To fix a problem
Avoid risk
Crumbles under stress
Makes excuses or blames
Is incompetent
Is not responsible, detailed or willing to work through challenge
Overly dramatic and passive aggressive
Sees criticism, suggestions, or denial as personal attacks.
Unable to resolve conflict…
Cannot adapt or overcome obstacles

Actually, the best way to ensure your kids struggle and fail as an adult, is to keep them from experiencing any of those things as they’re growing up. In our zeal to be good parents, we work hard to shield and rescue our children from anything that is challenging, disappointing, uncomfortable or unhappy.  We protect them from anything that is painful or hurts.

In doing so, we disable them. They are not enabled to succeed.

If you want your children to be successful, then enable them to gain strength in the required traits from the beginning.

Let them know what they are able to do. Let them enjoy doing what’s appropriate and theirs to own. Let them become responsible and make choices, developing their own preferences. Let them resolve issues that belong to them; situations either they find themselves involved or consequences of choices they have made. Weigh in and provide insight, but let them make choices on things that aren’t permanent or life altering. Let them define a strong individual identity.  Let them do what they are able to do.

Let them know they are able to take risks. Encourage them to experiment and stretch a little further than is comfortable and safe. Let them experience “safe fails” under your roof where they can find guidance in thinking through the results and managing the consequences in a way that propels them to learn how to make a better decision and move forward positively. Let them laugh at mistakes and feel the rush of accomplishment.  Let them understand how to adjust and move forward.

Let them know they are able to handle future situations. As you have kept a growth mindset that is a perpetual learning cycle, your child will become capable of managing themselves and just about any situation they may face as an adult. They become confident…

Problem solvers
Risk takers
Successful…adults. They become achievers, influencers, innovators, game-changers, leaders and shapers of the next generation.

Tough parents raise strong kids.



Raising an Olympian? The Smart Guide to Parenting Any Kid to an Elite Level

ImageThe Games of the XXII Olympiad are approaching.  I overheard a daughter ask her father, while watching national level athletes, if she could ever go to the Olympics.  As families watch the Olympics, that question will be asked in countless living rooms.  My daughter watched the summer games and pointed at the screen when she was 4 years old and said, “I’m going to do that someday, Mommy”.  It happens.  As some of those kids show passion and natural talent, parents may find themselves actually having future Olympians or other elite level athletes.  In other cases, parents put their child on the fast track to success hoping to manufacture one.  So, what’s the smart way to raise a child to an elite level of anything?  No matter what, you want to handle your child well so they can become all they dream of becoming.

< P = Z x C5 x E

1.  Perspective:  Begin with the end in mind.

  • Have clarity.  Be intentional.  Make decisions with the big picture in front of you.
  • Decide to raise a champion:  one who is capable and prepared to achieve much, not just a single goal, but continuously achieve whatever they decide to accomplish.
  • Dream big.  Start within your child; their center. Explore and fuel your child’s interests.  Identify and strengthen their natural talents, surround them with what they need, encourage them to see how far they can go.  Maximize their potential.
  • Life is bigger than any one goal.  While working towards making dreams reality, life happens.  It will go on whether the goal is achieved or not.  Be invested in the long-haul.  

2.  Plan:  Enjoy the ride.

  • Love your child.  The one you have.  Guard your relationship, their heart and soul over any aspiration anyone has for them.
  • Focus on developing the whole person.  It will serve them well to develop the mind, heart, and body of a champion.  Don’t overestimate talent and underestimate character in determining success.
  • Balance:  Allow your kids to explore, to risk, to try.  Let them be challenged, struggle, fail.  Don’t make it easy and don’t rescue them every time.  Have high standards and expectations.  Be neither too demanding, nor too permissive.  Reward the effort to learn, adjust, move forward.  Embrace the process not only the destination.
  • Expect surprises.  It’s best to do things well; to help your child lay a wide, firm foundation that will not only support specific goals, but will serve them in pursuing wide range of achievement.  Don’t rush the process, but pace through each course of development.    Wrenches, twists, and road blocks may cause the best laid plans to be redesigned and new goals set, but if the foundation is in place, the movement will continue forward. 

This begins a 6 part series of posts that will help you be a guardian over the right physical, mental and spiritual foundation being built into your child so that they can become the best they can be.  It’s what has to be in place for a child to move into elite levels of athletics or anything at a distinguished level.

I’ll be sharing my knowledge and experience as well as expertise from teachers, child development experts, sports psychologists, D1 university and club coaches and trainers to give you a simple, boiled down and practical grid of what’s important, both physically and mentally/spiritually to put into place during the elementary, middle school, and high school years to ensure success both in achieving great things, but also in life.

With rising champions in our house, we’re excited to watch the next winter Games in Sochi.  It’ll be on 24/7 in our house.  Looking forward to Rio 2016.  Go Team USA!



Publik House Discourse: Tiger Mom’s Controversial New Book


Do you think it’s possible to engage in productive civil discourse on a controversial topic?


Instead of throwing stones as so many impulsively do; discuss and debate, reason and consider?  It seems in our era of “tolerance”, once again we immediately attack the person who presents information that makes anyone uncomfortable or paints an unflattering portrait of real behaviors, attitudes, or beliefs.  We cast stones at the likes of Phil Robertson for stating tenants of his faith and personal preference before we even consider what he was saying, why and engage in reason about what we personally believe and why.  We call them bigot, racist, conservatives…and we walk away from their carcass after stoning and kicking them to near death. We jump on a bandwagon to stifle certain lines of thought.  I wonder why.  Are our own beliefs so insecure and threatened we can’t consider an opposing thought without getting a surge of adrenaline that leads us to fight or flight?


I’m anxious to read, learn and consider Amy Chua’s points in her new book, “The Triple Package”.  It takes a look at cultural groups and compares the commonalities among groups that are “successful” and those who are perennial “failures”.  I’m anxious to see if the three traits she’s identified as those necessary for success are the same as those I’ve found in parents who raise champions.  The language may be different, but I’m wondering if the core traits are the same.  I’m not afraid to read and reason, debate intelligently with my own beliefs, gain more knowledge that supports or refutes her conclusions.  I encourage you to do the same on topics you are passionate about.


….would LOVE intelligent debate on the topic of:


Whether there are, in fact, character traits that determine a person or group’s level of “success” (defined by outcomes of income level, occupational status, test schools etc, not the process of maximizing individual potential)?


Are there, in fact, cultural groups that generally value and develop those character traits in their children than others in comparison to other groups that either don’t hold the same values or invest energy in developing or holding high expectations of them?


< P = Z ⋄ C5 ⋄ E  I believe there are 5 Character Traits that are common in those who imagineer a big life, maximize their potential, and accomplish amazing things that benefit all.


In order to comment:



Debate the “thought”…the idea..


Do not express opinion about the person expressing the controversial thought.


Be intelligent.  Unless you really have some genuine knowledge on which to base your personal thought or opinion, hold your conclusion until you’ve gained some facts or considered the information others present.


What are your thoughts?


Resolutions: Good Things Gone Bad

ImageMy body is screaming to stop the madness of holiday indulgence.  While crazy tasty, the concoction of Christmas hor d’oeuvres, massive meals, chocolatinis, cookies and treats has made my system reach it’s processing limit and my derriere hit epic proportions.  Like many well-intendeds, it was time to start my resolution to lose the weight I’ve gained since Thanksgiving.  I had enough, so I launched into resolve two days ago, December 28, after yet another huge dinner…of Christmas dinner leftovers.  After happily skipping off to sleep anticipating a wonderful new day of health, I woke, felt my stomach eating the other side and growling loudly and instantly reached for the homemade Biscotti on the counter to dip into my morning coffee.  I had made it three full hours.  Yeah.  Technically I have until January 2 to begin, right?!

Resolutions are good things.  But the wheels inevitably fall off and thus they go bad.  Quickly.

The typical pattern is the same.  We are energized by the fresh start, the new beginning.  We cast off feelings of failure and disappointment and pain associated with the year behind us and we’re anxious to make the new year better.  We make our list of goals for the new year and may even post them on the refrigerator:  get fit, stop drinking, be nice, etc…  Week 1, we begin with vigor, week 2 our normal routine kicks in and we struggle against the rut we’ve created but keep trying.  Week 3, we’ve failed so often, we give it a few fleeting final attempts, and by week 4, it’s DOA.  It’s an accomplishment to have made it that long.  The intent was good.

Maybe we just need to change the method.

Maybe instead of listing goals that often focus on ceasing negative habits, we focus on ONE WORD for the entire year.  Maybe we determine a core character trait that we keep in front of us, make choices that lean into that character, and grow the entire year.  Maybe if we chose a positive trait, something we work to become, we’d find ourselves actually accomplishing many of the things on our initial lists, but achieve them because we’re gaining the character needed to do so.

Champions have common threads of character they pinpoint as essential to achieving pursuits.

  1. What goals would you like to achieve this year?
  2. What character traits must you put into gear to accomplish each?  (Discipline, creativity, determination, perseverance, focus…pick the word with the shade of meaning that will propel you forward this year.)
  3. Choose ONE word from the pile that resonates the most or would be the strongest catalyst for accomplishing most. 
  4. Create a bulletin board or use the fridge door.  Have an area for each family member.  Write your ONE WORD creatively and put it in view.  Add pictures or any illustrations of what developing that trait will help you accomplish.  This becomes your goal board.
  5. You can go a step further:  Keep a small notebook on your early morning workspace.  Write your ONE WORD and what  it will help you accomplish specifically each particular day.  At the end of the day, write the positives of the day:  small accomplishments to big things you appreciated.  This is a great practice that keeps your head in a positive, productive space.

I’m still musing on my word for this year.  In the past, I’ve chosen: whole, confidence, forward, new 

Daughter 1’s word:  RELENTLESS

Daughter 2’s word: FOCUS

What’s your ONE WORD?  Reply and let us know!

The original idea for One Word came from http://www.myoneword.org.  








Tails of the Herd: The Day I Realized I was following the Asses in Front of Me

Unknown-1I remember waking up one day and feeling pretty much like Simba hanging on that limb for dear life, hoping to survive the stampede of the wildebeast herd.  Simba was out romping as children do, when the herd rushed around him and swept him up.  He starting running, remember the scene?, desperately trying to keep up, not to be run over or stomped to death.  God knows where he would’ve ended up if he just kept running.  He knew he had to either keep up or get out of the crush or it wouldn’t end well.  That was a smart move.

There was that moment for me.  I grew up, romping happily.  I followed the rules.  Did what I was told.  Listened to the “big” important people around me.  I washed behind my ears, got good grades, came home 15 minutes before curfew.  I went to college, got a job, a house, kids…

and then I began repeating the circle of life and guiding my children to do exactly the same.

Until I looked up and realized I was following the tail of the one ahead of me and I asked myself why I had my head up somebody elses…rumpus.

It all started when I had no idea where I was in life or how I got there.  I had just been blindly following those before me and expecting to end up in the land of everyone’s adolescent dreams when we slowed at the end.

It doesn’t work that way.  You end up where the stampede carries you, unless you find that limb and climb out of the fray until the masses rush by.  By that point, though, you’re so lost and far from home, it’ll take an act of god to find your way back or start over.  I wished I had seen it coming and never gotten swept up in the herd.

Their destination became my destination. I chased after whatever the leader of the herd was chasing and so on back to where I was.  Their course, mine.  It wasn’t planned and wasn’t all bad.  It was just a life of default.

So, I made a conscious decision to get out.

This meant I had to figure out where I was and where I wanted to go instead.

It seemed like most everybody was racing ahead to something great.  They were rushing towards “success”.  I think that’s what we thought we were doing.

Fame and fortune.  Prizes and reward.  Glitter and tinsel.

Power.  Control over life, people, circumstances.

Applause.  Attention.  Approval.

The path of least resistance.  Aka:  comfort, leisure and ease.


It didn’t seem like the means mattered quite so much as long as it ended in “success”.

The issue was that I wasn’t arriving anywhere close to where I expected.  It didn’t seem others around me were arriving there either.  I knew I was off course and I was rapidly ushering my kids to end up in the same place.

That’s when it became clear that I wanted to go someplace different and take my kids with me.  I still wanted to be “successful”.  I just wanted to define what that meant.  I wanted clarity.

After a lot of thinking, looking at the others still running and where they were ending up, studying those who were actually achieving big things, getting advanced education in giftedness, and analyzing some more, I set a new course.

The clarity changed everything.  It changed how I saw each day, filtered decisions, how I guided and encouraged my children, and even how I viewed myself, them, our endeavors and futures.  It freed us.

The funny thing is, that in breaking away from the masses, gaining clarity on where we now intended to go (and how we’d get there), we’ve been carried further than we ever expected.  The view has been MUCH better too.

Here’s a topic of convo for the table or car (of course you have to begin having convo’s with your significant/kids about all kinds of topics so it’s not bizarro that you’re suddenly having a thoughtful conversation with them).  Think of all the common destinations people have and any words that define what success is to them or others.  If you want, put the words on individual scraps of paper or cards.  Then play “Would You Rather”  Put two cards together and ask:  Would you rather have xx or yy?  Maybe it’ll sound like, “Would you rather be rich or famous?”  Then leave the “winner” and replace the “loser” card with a new word. “Would you rather be famous or have total control and freedom over your life?”  Play again and again until there’s a final card that trumps all the others.  There winds up being good discussion about the pros and cons of each.

Our winner became:  maximizing our individual potential.  < P

It was the beginning of discovering the formula.  We discovered the product:  < P = Z ⋄ C5 ⋄ E

We’ve elaborated a little on that since:  maximizing our potential in a way that brings valuable contribution to everyone around us.

Where you are heading and why?

Determine your destination.

The Small Formula for Pursuing a Big Life


What do you want to be when you grow up?


Rock star.  The doctor that cures cancer.  An Olympic gold medalist.  NFL quarterback.  Movie Star.  Famous novelist.  President.


I wanted to be Miss America.  Imagine that.


What did you want to be?  What do your kids want to be when they grow up?


It’s a pretty big question.


We all had pretty big ideas when we were little.


But then, we grew up.  And most of us didn’t become what we thought we would.  Down deep we wish we would have.


I’m not sure many of us know what happened.  We grew up like the kids next door.  We did what everybody else basically did, but some achieved great things, others didn’t.  Some seem outrageously content, others not so much.  And the connection between “success” and satisfaction hasn’t proven to correspond.


So, what the heck?  Is there a secret?  Was there a fairy that came with dust and nobody told me we were supposed to put our hopes and dreams under the pillow so they turned into something big?  Is that why others went on to live big lives and we, well, seemed to have missed that train so far?


Me?  I just grew up.  And I am where I am.


My parents really didn’t guide me.  Maybe they thought the guidance counselor handled my path into the future.  The counselors were preoccupied with paddling the delinquents and figured the parents had it covered.  Neither did.


Two things happened since…


One.  I have been fascinated by the mystical factors that projected the chosen few to accomplish great things.  Maybe because I always felt that I had something big that was supposed to happen with my life, but since nobody was taking my hand to show me the way or pat my po-po, I have been determined to figure it out.  So, I’ve asked questions, studied, watched, listened to those who’ve accomplished significant things.


Two.  I had kids.  Three of them.  I thought it best to live vicariously through them.  Isn’t that what most parents do?!


Actually, I wanted to be intentional in guiding them into their future, to encourage them to pursue big goals and take every opportunity to do cool things.  I guess because I was a teacher, I wanted to engage my kids, guide them, be a bit more proactive in teaching them life lessons.  Build in character.  And watch them take off and fly.


I’ve got a lot to tell you.


I’ve learned a lot.


My kids are growing up.  All three are “successful”.  They’re pursuing big goals, living big lives, hanging with some fairly impressive people and having a ball.  We’re all in process of maximizing our potentials.  That includes me.


Along the way, I’ve discovered factors that make the difference.  They fit into a formula.  A formula that’s simple, clear and practical.


It’s the formula for the fairy dust that propels anyone to become all they’re meant to become.  It’s not mystical.  It’s not only for some.  It’s for those who will simply choose to live it.


It’s a practical formula for us to apply to ourselves.  It’s one that ought to be used to guide our children.


I’ll be spending my days sharing with you all I’ve learned through analyzing, studying, and applying things to my kids and other students who’ve thrived.  My intent is for you and your children to live big lives and become all you’re meant to become so you can share your best with the rest of us!


< P = Z ⋄ C5 ⋄ E


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Did you have anyone guide you step-by-step so that you’re more successful than you expected yourself to be?


Are you actively engaged with leading your children to become all they’re meant to become?