Archives For parenthood

I believe leadership is influence and here’s a twist – time is influence. Time spent is money in the bank. As a parent, I am learning this lesson with my kids. The longer you are with someone, the more impact you have in shaping who they are…especially if you start when they are young.

Now, the type of impact you have will vary based on your on-going interactions with that individual and the motives you have for creating influence in their lives. It can breed loyalty, followers, fans or even disciples. The outcome is based on strategy. So what can we learn from Jersey Shore (MTV) and Mickey Mouse (Disney)? They have a strategy for impacting those around them…and knowing that time is influence…they are more successful at getting the outcomes they desire if they begin influencing those individuals when they are young.

So who is “they”? What are “their” motives? How can we learn from “them”?…

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They say that everyone loves hearing the sound of their own name. In fact, if you take any type of training on sales or read any books on how to influence others, experts will usually suggest to you to try to use the customers name as much as possible. BUT, as a parent, the one thing I love to hear more than the sound of my own name is when my kids call me “Da-Da”. I have three boys and I can remember exactly when each of them said those words for the first time…and being competitive in nature, I am pleased to announce that each one of them said my preferred name, “Da-Da”, before they learned how to say, “Ma-ma” or anything else. And…since I have all boys, their 2nd word was…of course…”ball”…sorry honey.

Rather than bore you with details of my kids’ phonetic journey, let me get to the point. A couple of days ago, my 7 month old…and last kid my wife and I will bring into this world…said “Da-Da” for the first time. After bragging about this on Twitter, I realized something sobering. This was the last time I would hear those words for the first time.

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The turkey has become a universal symbol for being thankful. Even my kids know this to be true. Every time we sit down and “spread out the turkey feast” my kids know that it’s Thanksgiving and the time of year we talk about “What We’re Thankful For”…probably because it’s the only time we actually cook a whole turkey. BUT this has got me thinking…how do I teach my kids to be thankful, not just during Thanksgiving, but everyday…or at least once a week? Do I have to cook a turkey every week or feed them turkey everyday? Come to think about it, as a stay at home dad, I probably do feed them turkey sandwiches and mac and cheese almost everyday for lunch…BUT how do I instill in them an “attitude of gratitude?”

I am reminded of something I say often, “If it’s not in you [as a parent] it’s not in them…” So, the questions isn’t “how do I make my kids more thankful?”, BUT “how can I be more thankful?” Ouch…that one hurts because I think at times I fail to show how much I am thankful for the things in my life. It can be easy for me at times to take things around me for granted. Whether we like it or not, the apple doesn’t fall to far from the tree, and the things that we see [or don’t see] in our kids, is really a reflection of who we are.

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One of the keys to clock management in any game, is the proper use of time-outs. They can be used to stop the clock in the final seconds to set-up a winning score, or to just pause for a moment to talk to a player or team about the next play or series. Sometimes you’ll see a coach or fan go crazy because a player wastes a time-out. Time-outs are valuable, and you only get so many in the game.

I’ve learned this to be true in being a dad, and trying to “manage the clock” in the game of life with my boys. I find at times, I need to just call a time-out and spend some one-on-one time with one of my kids. I need to just stop whatever I’m doing and just listen to whatever it is they want to talk about. Now sometimes I need to call a time-out because one of them just dropped kick the other…BUT that’s a story for another time.

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Currently I am reading about the life of Steve Job’s in his new biography that was released this past month. I have learned a lot about innovation, style, determination, creativity, focus, etc. from the life of Steve Jobs, but one thing I never thought I would learn from studying his life is…how important my role is as a dad. The lesson actually comes from Steve’s childhood and his interactions with his own father.

When Steve Jobs was just a little kid, his father would take him into their garage and teach and show him about the importance of craftsmanship. His dad, who was a great car mechanic, would show him pictures of cars he had restored and pointed out to him the details of the style, electronics, chrome, lines of the car body and other features that the average eye may overlook, BUT that made the car special. In his biography, Steve recalls that when his dad was working on a project or building something for their house, like a fence or cabinet, his dad would always give him a hammer and have him help. Ironically, it was Steve’s dad that gave him his first work-bench to work on projects in the “all-to-famous garage” where Apple was born.

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Currently I am reading about the life of Steve Job’s in his new biography that was released this past month. I have learned a lot about innovation, style, determination, creativity, focus, etc. from the life of Steve Jobs, but one thing I never thought I would learn from studying his life is…how important my role is as a dad. The lesson actually comes from Steve’s childhood and his interactions with his own father.

When Steve Jobs was just a little kid, his father would take him into their garage and teach and show him about the importance of craftsmanship. His dad, who was a great car mechanic, would show him pictures of cars he had restored and pointed out to him the details of the style, electronics, chrome, lines of the car body and other features that the average eye may overlook, BUT that made the car special. In his biography, Steve recalls that when his dad was working on a project or building something for their house, like a fence or cabinet, his dad would always give him a hammer and have him help. Ironically, it was Steve’s dad that gave him his first work-bench to work on projects in the “all-to-famous garage” where Apple was born.

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 One of the things that has changed recently in my life is that I have “switched places” with my wife and now she leaves everyday for work, and I get the joy of working at home and being with our three boys during the day. At first we weren’t sure how this would work out, but I think that it has been one of the coolest things I have ever done. Not because I have the freedom to play video games all day now with my oldest, but because it has allowed me to appreciate even more what my wife does and the time I get to be “just a dad” to my boys.

A couple of months ago, my oldest son looked up at me and said, “Dad I want to be like you…I want to do what you do.”

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