Flip-flop: My kids need to mind their own business

:boats

This is part of a series called “Flip-Flop” – explained here.

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Tim Ferriss and his interviewees continue to mess up all of my plans and ways of thinking. So frustrating and liberating at the same time lol!

I was listening to his interview with Ricardo Semler, who – despite his fame and fortune as a successful entrepreneur – does NOT involve his kids in his business.

He never talks about work with them, he never brings them to meetings, and he does not plan on letting them take his company over in the future.

I used to think that involving my kids in my business was good for them. I thought that it would inspire them to work hard; that it would be a way to show how important passion is; and that they could learn a few skills from their papa.

But I am changing my mind on how to share all of this in a healthier way, and that my current methods may be damaging them.

One of the worst things that a parent can do is force their own agenda on their kids. Sometimes – if they were successful in their field, admire a particular career, or regret not having a certain profession…they can unintentionally try and fit their kid into either one of those molds, and that’s a terrible mistake with long-term – if not permanent – consequences.

It disrespects their child’s individuality, doesn’t allow them to discover themselves on their own, and creates resentment and lost time.

I want to tell my story so that it inspires them, show them how excited I am to have found my purpose, and allow them to help out now and then if they are curious; but I need to remind them that this is me and that true success is finding who they are.

I’m still trying to figure out how to do this optimally, but my message is this: that God made each of us unique – our physical makeup, our talents and abilities, our experiences, and most importantly – our purpose. We as parents can inspire, build boundaries, and point them in the right direction – but I must do so with their separate path’s interests in mind.

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The above picture is from an event my kids participated in, where Christine, their biological dad, and I helped them build their own cardboard boat to race with in a fun competition with other kids. I caught myself at times trying to make my kid build the boat a certain way; and as soon as I realized that, and let go – I was able to enjoy following his lead, and these designs are what they came out with. Unique – just like them =)

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Flip-flop: Letting my kids be distracted in order to stay focused 

This is part of a series called “Flip-Flop” – explained here.

I just finished listening to an episode of The Tim Ferriss Show where Tim interviews Ezra Klein – founder of Vox.com. Ezra was sharing his discovery that he could only retain information at meetings and phone calls by fidgeting with something.
His reasoning for it is that he’s a very ancy person, and if he doesn’t have anything to channel this constant movement, he’ll be very distracted and can’t focus on the conversation or education at hand.
Just because something doesn’t apply to me, doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter. I don’t believe I have this problem myself, but my son Ethan does. Every night when I read him a bedtime story, he’d always try and grab a toy and play with it while listening, to which I grew up believing it was a sign of non-attention and disrespect.
I’d tell him to put the toy down and explain respect – or at least, my idea of it – and he’d do so obediently…but sadly.
My wife is more in-tuned to our kids’ needs than I am – and for this behavior she bought them these bouncy seats to help them move around while doing schoolwork so that they could get their fidgeting out of the system. I’ve been dumb and slow to jump on this train, and I regret not appreciating this sooner.
I need to appreciate that everybody learns things differently. I was unintentionally shutting down my son’s uniqueness and his ability – and enjoyment – of learning…totally against why we are homeschooling in the first place. I also risked creating a gap between “getting” my son and losing ground in strengthening and maintaining a good relationship with him. I know I’m being hard on myself and we learn as we go as parents, but it’s easier said than felt =)
Onward.

Flip-Flop: Changing my mind about allowance

I’m going to create a series of blog posts called “Flip-Flop” where I share long-held beliefs I’ve changed my mind about after getting older, after new experiences, after conversations with people, and/or after repeated failed attempts at being successful operating on those original beliefs. 

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I was listening to a Tim Ferriss Show interview with Pete Adeney aka Mr. Money Mustache – and he shared that he (1) doesn’t give his son an allowance – he doesn’t want him to think that money comes from out of nowhere; (2) pays him for riding his bike – an incentive to get fresh air and exercise; and (3) created a “Bank of Dad” – where he gives his son interest for money that is saved versus spent.
I disagree with #1, want to modify #2, and will incorporate #3.

I understand the thought process behind #1, however my upbringing and faith direct this matter. I do want my kids to know that money is worked hard for and earned – for sure, and that’s why I have a career and multiple companies to model for them; but I also want them to know that they are provided for and more…just like my Heavenly Father wants us to trust Him – and that they don’t need to stress or worry.

Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!” (Luke 12:24)

The world has enough problems for a kid (they grow up so fast and are surrounded by confusing and negative stimuli), and most relationships are torn because of money (not enough of it, less time is spent with family to make it, etc.). I want to eliminate the money issue from their list of heavy and ever-growing challenges that come with life.

Their basic needs are met – clothes, food, shelter, education – and their weekly allowance lets them take care of their wants and it’s an opportunity to practice – consistently and without fail – good habits on how to manage their funds.

We currently pay them $10 a week, and their money is split as follows:

  1. The first 10% of the money is tithing – money that goes to God ($1)
  2. The next 40% goes towards savings – to emergencies and very large future purchases like a car ($4)
  3. The remaining 50% goes towards spending ($5)

Money that is given as a gift (birthday, Lunar New Year) doesn’t count – it’s their bonus.

The goal of 50% is to program their mind to live below their means, and that it’s truly possible to enjoy life with discipline.

As for #2, I am inspired by it – but instead of exercise (my kids love being out and exercising already), I’d like to teach them about entrepreneurship, and thinking of a smarter way to earn money. My wife has been teaching my kids how to make soap and laundry detergent – and that might be their first “lemonade stand” style business – where we can teach them how to cost ingredients, source them from the best quality and priced supplies, package and design them for optimal reception, marketing, sales, management, etc.

More details on that as we move along, but I think that’s an awesome project and teaching opportunity.

I spoke with my wife about #3 and we’re totally on board with creating a “Bank of Mom & Dad” and giving them interest for money they decide to save versus spend. I think it’ll help them understand that their dollars are “green employees” that will work for them if they save and deploy them in the right place, to think twice about what they buy and how much it’ll truly make them happy and for how long, and to live on less.

What practices do you employ around family and finances? 

The thankfulness habit – 01.16.17

Starting 2017 I decided to think of three things that I am thankful for, on a daily basis. They can be as detailed and specific as I’d like them to be, or as simple as the fresh air I’m breathing in.

I want to prime my brain – and therefore my actions and focus – on the positive and help me be more thankful for what I have and can enjoy.

These are just a few of today’s blessings…

I am thankful that my son Deion has been able to save up enough money to buy his very own laptop – the largest purchase he’s ever made. I love that we’ve been able to teach him to give God what’s His and put away a large portion of his money in savings first…and that when done, and learning to live below his means, he can still treat himself. I hope he carries that with him throughout life.

I am thankful to have fun conversations with my kids at bedtime. Reading them stories puts me in a position to capture their attention and hear what’s going through their head. I pray that I always realize how important this is, and that I’m never too busy to spend this time with them. I don’t have much of it left – as tomorrow is never guaranteed and they’re growing so fast out of childhood.

I am thankful for another day to wipe the slate clean through God’s grace, and tackle the day doing the most important things – His work that He set me out to do – and to help as many people as possible. People just aren’t in such a fortunate position – they don’t know Him, they don’t know what’s possible, they are under oppression.