I was watching the #AskGaryVee show recently, and what Gary said to one of his callers hit home for me.
He said, “It’s you and your kids against the world. Too many of us think it’s our kids against the world.” For me, that was very powerful, and I truly believe he’s right! We can be so convinced that we have to prepare our children for the world we live in. I have a different outlook on this so I wanted to take the opportunity to share my story and my insights on the topic.
Having my son woke me up!
Up until about 2012 I was highly motivated and knew that one day I would own something of my own. A gym is what I had in mind, however I never know how I was going to make it happen. Due to the poor financial blueprints of my parents, I grew up in a low income family that lacked entrepreneurial energy. They were just doing what they knew.
A year after being at home with my son I became overwhelmed with the realization that I had allowed myself to stop dreaming and stop setting goals. I fell into the rat race; I was blindly going to work and partying on the weekends… living one pay cheque at a time. Now, I was 26 at home with a baby, depending on my husband for everything.
When did I decide this is what I wanted? The truth is that I did want to be a mother; there was no doubt about that.
I just don’t remember deciding it was going to be before I achieved what I wanted to achieve for myself independently.
Why? Because I didn’t decide. I had stopped planning and goal setting, I had lost sight of what was really important to me. One of the most important things to me was to own my own business before having my children. For two reasons;
1. So I could be an ambitious, successful role model.
2. So I could decide when I was there for my children, without asking anyone for permission or help.
So you can see why getting a job seemed just as terrible as being at home and watching time fly by.
Yes, there was two of us. My husband was away months at a time building his company. The year our son was born his company had the most growth of its life.
As you could imagine, I had feelings of envy and resentment towards my absent partner and I found myself having strong, sharp feelings of disappointment.
For six months I felt absolutely helpless. I will confirm that I fell into the emotionally deepest low of my entire life. I was depressed, and I was angry. I cried myself to sleep on a regular basis and I barely left the house. All this only made me feel lower still, considering I knew it wasn’t doing any good for my son. I didn’t know how I was going to crawl back out of it.
Everyday I would aimlessly search online, with no direction.
I figured out the approximate cost to open a gym, and at the time it was quite cost prohibitive; it wasn’t going to happen anytime soon! I searched different online schools for different courses I could take that would allow me to work from home so I could start saving some money. I ended up taking a Personal Trainers Specialist course. That put me into some debt and I realized it was only a job as well and that the job would require long hours away from my son to make any good amount of money.
I searched and searched…
Then, in September of 2015, I spent 30 dollars to get a trial for an online platform in which the company claimed they taught people the skills required for the rising digital economy.
At the time I was skeptical because I felt hopeless, but I was willing to try anything.
Looking back, it was the best 30 dollars that I had ever spent.
When I started going through the modules I realized this was something different. There was questions about my circle of influence and about my financial track record. For some it may seem a little personal. Not me. It gave me a deeply rooted feeling that they were doing something right.
This company started with the mindset. Building a success based mindset is 90% of the battle. They wanted to build successful people not just sell some courses.
This was very compelling, and it intrigued me greatly.
So how does any of this have to do with taking on the world with your children?
After joining that community and spending a year learning new skills for the digital economy, my entire perspective on how to face this world with my son has changed.
The reason we don’t want to prepare our children for the world we live in is because the world we live in is changing right under our very feet and before our very eyes. There is no way we can prepare our children for the traditional world we grew up in when they are going to be making a living in, and dealing with, a digital world.
Instead we must start preparing our children to maximize their authenticity, and to always build on their integrity. After a year of receiving close coaching, mentorship, and building relationships with some highly successful, down to earth, compassionate leaders, I have learned that the only true way for us to set our children up for success is to encourage them to discover who they are and how to go after what they are passionate about.
Each of us are born with unique gifts, but traditional education and parenting techniques many times struggle to teach us to know our core values and to realize and capitalize on our strengths. Instead, they often focus on working on our weaknesses so that we may meet a certain criteria that most times doesn’t hold any meaning in the real world.
This is why we see many people work hard to achieve something and once they arrive there, they don’t feel happy. It is common nowadays for people in very high paying jobs to still find themselves unhappy and unfulfilled.
Money makes the world go around, and no one can argue with that.
However, something truly successful people understand, it that there is real abundance to be made through desire and passion when put to work serving others.
We all have the desire and we all have the passion for something.
What I propose is that we start focusing on assisting our children in finding their passion while teaching them how to be servant leaders.
My aim is not to leave you with this concept, but to share some specific parenting tips. Before I do, though, I want to share a short story. I want to share what I thought of when I heard Gary say, “It is you and your kids against the world “
My son is 3 and he has only started saying a few words here and there. As you could imagine, the doctor sent us to a specialist and made an appointment to have his ears checked. I was all for having his ears checked. I mean, why not? And as for the speech specialist; it can’t hurt, right?
His hearing was perfect.
We started to see a specialist twice a week. He didn’t like going to see the specialist. He was constantly trying to get out of the room and passing me his coat gesturing he wanted to go.
He is a very friendly boy; he’s quick to interact and play with anyone. But proved quickly he was not interested in being the specialist’s friend. Not because he didn’t like her, but because his intelligence told him that he was not locked in that room to play, but to be analysed. And there was absolutely no convincing him.
Deep down I knew nothing was wrong with him. He is so in tune with what’s going on around him. He can communicate clearly with gestures and understands everything I say to him.
However, I still found myself in moments of panic when I thought about his struggle with speech.
Why? Because of the pressure from society, and because of medical standards, I was lead to believe that there was something wrong with my son.
We stopped going to the speech specialist and I stopped pushing him at home. The results were clear, the more I pushed him, the less he tried.
One thing was certain though; when watching my son with other children, I could see that he was very switched on. He doesn’t speak much, but he is a big helper and he shocks me often with his problem solving skills. While other children are chatting, he’s on the move with an extremely outgoing personality.
Here’s the thing. I was blind to how smart he really was until I stopped worrying about the judgment and attention put on his lack of speech and started to just focus on him, who he was and what his strengths were.
This is the difference between taking on the world with your child as opposed to parenting as if you have to prepare your child for “this” world.
I had to let go of nagging him about his lack of speech and start nurturing what he showed me his strengths were.
Now he is coming around with speech on his own. A new word each day, chatting and being bossy just as he should.
Was he late? No, he was just on time.
It’s You And Your Kids Against The World.
5 Ways To Make The Shift.
1. Listen To Your Child Before You Listen To Anyone Else.
OK, so we all know that a toddler isn’t exactly an expert in anything or even a rational human being for that matter. So at this age it is more about paying attention to behavior and interests. For example, I tried to use flash cards to teach him his colours. He would blatantly ignore me, and to be completely honest it got me fired up. I would feel my body temperature rise a bit and I would threaten him “If you don’t do at least two colours with Mommy then you will have to go to bed!”
Of course it didn’t work! My bed threat didn’t magically get him interested in flash cards. All it did was start a power struggle between us. It wasn’t until he became very interested in cars and trains that I could swoop in and use that interest as a learning opportunity. All of a sudden I have him learning colours with me for 30 minutes straight!
2. Never Make Comparisons With Your Child.
If I compared my son to the children who he hangs out with, then I wouldn’t be very proud of my boy and I would worry that I was failing. If I seen my son for how he held up against the other children this is what I would see;
He behaves poorly – Bad attitude and probably needs Ritalin.
He definitely has ADHD.
He is a slow learner – some of his peers are speaking full sentences and doing their colours and he’s not.
Here’s the truth;
He has a bold personality. He knows what he wants and he goes for it with everything he has. When the group is sitting and reading a story, he is off doing his own thing. He is a leader.
If a task is not hands on, it won’t keep his interest for very long. He is interested in the practical, not the theoretical.
The speed in which he learns solely depends on his interest in the topic, and how it is taught to him. If I can teach him this early, he will know what he needs to learn something, then he can seek those teaching techniques throughout his life.
Comparing our children is simply unrealistic, and we can do it without even noticing. While we sit and chat with other parents over coffee, we discuss another child’s progress in a particular subject. If we are not doing it out loud, we are doing it in our minds silently.
Noticing when it happens is the first step to changing our thought patterns from comparing to observing.
3. Be Completely Honest With Your Child.
There are circumstances presented to us everyday that could slowly set the stage for a disconnect between ourselves and our children.
My husband was home through the holidays, when this is the case it can be a bit overwhelming. The routine is completely lost, my son’s behavior changes and honestly I feel like I have two kids all of a sudden.
I stopped my morning routine of excersise and meditation and was sleeping as long as I could. It didn’t take long for it to catch up and my husband and I started to argue and I fell into a slump of overwhelmed unhappiness.
There was one night where I ended up crying due to how I was feeling, so I left the room my son was in and went into my office to hide out. Well, it didn’t take long and my boy was in the room looking at me with wonder. As I started to wipe my tears and tell him everything was fine and to go play… I stopped myself. This was the perfect opportunity to show him I was only human, and just like him I get sad sometimes.
So instead of fibbing, I looked that wonderful, developing little human being in the eyes and told him, “Mommy is very sad right now, I feel overwhelmed and I just need a minute to sit down and think about how I feel.” Some may perceive this as putting stress on my child. I see it as being vulnerable in front of him, to show him it is okay to feel that way and recognize it.
I was honest, just how I wish for him to be in the future.
This situation could have slightly distanced my son and I. Instead, I know these interactions bring us closer. Instead of keeping him sheltered, I opened up my heart and let him comfort me. These opportunities allow our children to step up, and they do.
In life it’s important for us to be vulnerable sometimes, to allow new connections and to allow relationships to flourish.
Always being honest, no matter their age, will present opportunities for them to problem solve and practice compassion. It will also build the relationship on a foundation of trust.
4. Focus On Their Strengths – Let Go Of Their Weaknesses.
I won’t spend too much time here, as my example above explains the meat of it.
There will be times when our children see other’s excelling in something they feel they should be excelling in too. This is when we really need to have their backs and support them.
Times like this are our best opportunity to be their biggest, and most honest, fans. These are the times that we can point out their strengths, and they are the times that we may remind them that everyone is different, and unless it is something that they really love, then it is best to let go and focus on what they’re good at.
If it is something they really love, then it is time to work harder then everyone else. This will be a fork in the road where they must choose the direction themselves.
5. Teach Them To Invest In Themselves
What’s blown my mind the most through this last year of learning digital skills, is how much I have learned about myself. I learned more in 2015 about who I am, what I want, and how to get it than I did my entire life.
This is an asset we can teach our children while they’re young. We can teach them that an investment in a personal development/self-help novel can be one of the best investments they’ll have made throughout their entire lives. When we fail at achieving our goals 99.9% of the time it’s because we are in our own way. Self-destruction, subconscious fears, disbelief in ourselves, false perspectives, and the biggest demon; self-pity.
I highly recommend a suggestion Caleb Maddix made. He’s an extraordinary 14-year-old entrepreneur. He says find out what motivates your children and then give them that for every success book they read and write a report on; what they learned, and how they will implement it.
I will be starting my son on this as early as I can. It will not only have him reading more, but reading something that will have him learning from the most successful minds. It will encourage him to never stop becoming the best he can be.
If your child doesn’t like reading, try audio books.
For me, simply taking this action myself has caused more change in myself then I could have ever imagine, I can see the path I am on, what I want and I can confidently say I know what I need to do to get it.
Encouraging our children to work on themselves before they work on anything else will be the biggest asset we can give them.
Thank you for taking the time to read, I encourage you to share this knowledge with anyone you love and care about, as well as anyone that’s raising children in this quickly changing economy and world.
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Facebook: Britney Auclair – Raising The Next Generation