6Sep 2016

Time Magazine: Raising Extraordinary Kids

September 6th, 2016|0 Comments

Usually, I like to highlight my own ideas in these blogs. However, for this post, I wanted to encourage readers to review Time Magazine’s September 5, 2016 lead article on “Ordinary Families - Extraordinary Kids,” Since some of you might not have access to this Time magazine issue, I am going to summarize the article’s key findings. Because I think they are crucial for any parent.   In this Time magazine article, the author examined ordinary families that produced extraordinary kids. Success of those kids was defined by their leadership, service, or achievement; it was not defined by fame or money. The author highlighted how these families were different in so many ways (ethnicity, wealth, areas of interests, etc.), but the author tried to uncover what was common (and necessary) for producing such successful kids. The article discovered 6 key features for raising extraordinary children.   First, each family seemed able to instill a sense of drive in those kids, coupled to a parental expectation for future success. There did not appear to be any additional pressure for success. It was just a perspective that each child was special, that each child had some gift, and that each child would [...]

31Aug 2016

Even Better Advice for Your College Student

August 31st, 2016|0 Comments

In the prior blog I highlighted the importance of focusing on your friendships in college as opposed to focusing just on your grades. However, I wanted to expand the umbrella of that recommendation. Parents should encourage their kids, in the college years, to focus on things that truly matter. Too often in life the things that matter are at the mercy of the things that do not matter. Since college habits often become life habits, it is important to establish the right priorities and the right habits during those early adult years. To illustrate that point, here is a letter to my daughter, Skyler, in her freshman year of college.   Dear Skyler, We received the following bit (below) from a friend and we thought you might enjoy it.          A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. The conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life. Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups ­porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain-looking, some expensive, and some exquisite - telling them to help themselves. After all the [...]

29Aug 2016

The Best Advice for Your College Student

August 29th, 2016|0 Comments

What is the best advice for your college student? It may seem counter cultural, but I strongly encourage parents to encourage their kids, as college students, to shift their focus away from grades. Today’s college student faces enormous challenges. Besides the daily cultural chaos across the world, the current political rancor of our election, and the repeated headline of disasters (terrorist attacks, fires, floods, earthquakes, etc.), they are facing an increasingly competitive world with greater barriers to financial success. The solution is to help them focus on finding real happiness, not superficial acclaim. Happiness doesn’t come through higher grades; it comes through following your passions and establishing friendships. In this world, your kids are going to need those friendships to battle through life and its many challenges. Here is how I addressed the issue with my daughter, Skyler, when she was a college freshman … Dear Skyler, It was fun to hear the account of your Halloween activities and Halloween choices.  Should you go to the New York Halloween parade or stay in your dorm room and write your essay? And the next morning, after you had enjoyed the Halloween parade and gone to bed without writing your essay, should you [...]

23Aug 2016

How to Help Your Teen Transition to College (Part II)

August 23rd, 2016|0 Comments

Once your teen has departed for college, how are you going to stay in touch? I suggest setting up a pattern of frequent communications. For my wife and myself, it was constant cards and letters. For other parents, it may be weekly cell phone calls or regular skype sessions. For some lucky parents, whose kids are attending a local college, it might be frequent visits. In all of these communications, I encourage you to share how much the individual is missed and how much you appreciate any efforts toward increased communication – while giving your teenager encouragement and support on the road to independence. Here is one of the earlier letters to my older daughter, Skyler, trying to convey those points, as she started her freshman year.   Dear Skyler, It's Wednesday night and I am heading upstairs to climb into bed.  As I dragged myself up the stairs, I swung by Austen's bedroom to see if her door was open. She might be only 17 months younger than you, and just a junior in high school, but you have trained her well. Your habits are now her habits. Privacy is sacrosanct. Her bedroom door was closed so I found [...]

16Aug 2016

How to Help Your Teen Transition to College (Part I)

August 16th, 2016|0 Comments

Are you getting ready to help your teenager head off to college? How are you going to react with that departure? What will you say once your son or your daughter leaves the nest? Are you going to offer any advice? Here is my first letter to my daughter, Skyler, after dropping her off for her freshman year at college. Maybe you will experience some of the same feelings? Regardless, I suggest you share your feelings, trying to improve your relationship despite the geographic distance. It worked for me; and I think it can work for you. Just remember: geographic separation does not have to lead to emotional separation. Share more, not less. Then watch how your communication can bring the two of you closer and closer.   Dear Skyler, It is 10:50 pm PST and I have been up since 6 am EST, so my bones are tired, my head is throbbing, and my cognition is more than disjointed, but I would be remiss if I did not make the effort to write you my sincere thanks. Thanks for just being you. Thanks for allowing me to accompany you to your move-in freshman day at New York University. It has always been a privilege to be your father (after [...]