know your kid

Know Your Kid.

I’m sitting in the kitchen right now having a conversation with John (my husband) regarding parenting. We just heard Gary V address a question regarding the topic.

Me being the feisty one I am, I said, “I’m not listening to Gary V give anyone parenting advice if he’s not a parent! Only parents can really talk about parenting!”

John quickly cleared up that Gary V IS a parent and that he just doesn’t like to talk about his kids on his podcast or in his body of work (understandably so), so I listened in…

“I have 3 children and if you could give me 3 quick things to build their self confidence I’d appreciate it.”

Then Gary V went on to tell this listener what his mom did for him:

  1. She over exaggerated praise when he was kind, empathetic, and polite to others.

2. She didn’t give out 8th place trophies.

3. She made him feel that he was unstoppable and she really believed it. She audited him and figured out what he was strong at, then made 98% of the conversation about that (most people focus 85% on the 2% of what their kids are not). “A child doesn’t need to be a geometry whiz if he loves to sing all day.” Comprenez-vous?

He closed it out with, “know your kid” and “build self-esteem.”

This made me stop in my tracks and realize I often go about my middle kid in the absolutely wrong way. Even though I LOVE him so much, I often spend time thinking, “How can I get him to slow down and quiet down?” That’s such a waste of time! He is who he is. My husband and I both expressed how much we don’t want to break our kids like we were broken. Sure, we are putting ourselves back together now and that’s all great but my goddesss… all the time we spent on someone else’s path will never be given back to us. A dear and very wise friend of mine said to me one day, “If John had had a different upbringing, we would all be traveling interstellar space with our eyes closed right now and living amazing lives until we were 300.” I got what she meant. I understood that she saw in him a potential that was overlooked and stifled. I know he and many other of our peers have felt confused, lost, and stuck in some insufferable holding pattern for a long time due to consequences from disconnected parenting. A parent can change the world. What he or she does with his child can and often do have far-reaching effects that ripple out forever and ever and ever. Imagine if all parents understood the enormity of this? Would we all make attempts at more connection and understanding? I think so.

Under normal circumstances, all parents love their children. No one really argues that I think… at least, I don’t. Despite the love, however, several of the generations that came before us certainly missed the “Know your kid; build self-esteem” memo.

I just want to say to parents, please take the time to get to know your child and when you find out who they are PLEASE build on that. Make them more of who they already are because they already ARE THAT and why try to reinvent the wheel or fight such a strong current? If I would have been tyrannical and nasty enough, I could have perhaps tamed my four year old into submission and quiet behavior long ago, but then he would be broken- perhaps forever.

John and I are lucky. We’re in the process of rebuilding ourselves now that we truly feel our lives are in our hands and have been for quite some years now. WE are eons from where we started. At the time of this writing we are ecstatic about having taken on an adventure by accepting taking on a huge project to Costa Rica and moving our family down there in a couple of weeks.  We are looking forward to many, many things- one of the small ones being the ability to naked sun bathe in the morning in our own backyard. This is one way we know we are eons from our conditioning and upbringing because growing up we were both taught the sun was bad and that our bodies were never meant to be exposed and enjoyed freely. So, we’ve come a long way. But there’s still a lot of road to cover, at least as far as freedom and self-confidence go.

We are going to try to save our kids a lot of time and confusion and allow them their own unique place in the world. We love who they are and we’re not going to confuse them or ourselves by acting outside of love and acceptance due to some faulty programming. 

Thanks for your wisdom today, Gary V.