ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Chris is joined by Jessica Lahey, a teacher, writer and mom, who shares strategies for effective parenting that allows children to learn and grow from failure. 

Find show notes and resources: https://beherenownetwork.com/indie-spiritualist-ep-79-jessica-lahey/

Jessica Lahey writes about education, parenting, and child welfare for The Atlantic, Vermont Public Radio, and the New York Times, and is the author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed. Learn more at jessicalahey.com.

English
United States

TRANSCRIPT

00:00:00This podcast is brought to you by fourteen Forty Multiverse Ity check out upcoming programs with teachers like krishna das and sylvia boorstein at fourteen forty Dot or ge slash be here now joined ramdas and mira by bush in their newest book walking each other home Conversations on loving
00:00:19and dying An intimate dialogue between two friends and luminaries on how we can all prepare for a conscious death Now available at sounds True Dot com and bookstores everywhere Everyone this is chris cross a withy indy spirituals podcast on the be here now network and my guest today
00:00:55is jessica leahy jessica thank you so much for joining me you are so welcome this is such a pleasure to be on with you well thank you so as usual on the show i'm just going to read your bio before we jump into this conversation which i'm very
00:01:09excited to talk to you about as jessica and i were discussing we're going to be talking a lot about parenting today something i don't get to talk a lot about on the show so super excited for this but before we get to that jessica lay he is a
00:01:22teacher writer and mom she writes about education parenting and child welfare for the atlantic vermont public radio the washington post and the new york times and is the author of the new york times best selling book the gift of failure how the best parents learned to let go
00:01:41so their children can succeed she's a member of the amazon studios thought leaderboard and wrote the educational curriculum for amazon kids the stinky and dirty show just go every time someone says that it makes me giggle you know i'm trying to hold a straight face while saying i'm
00:01:56like that is so great when i talk to teachers and i get introduced in front of teachers especially the teachers of the younger kids they just giggle and giggle little funny absolutely door though that that's so lovely um and then just a few more accolades we have to
00:02:10share a jessica and a b a in comparative literature from the university of massachusetts and a jd with a concentration in juvenile and education law from the university of north carolina school of law she lives in new hampshire with her husband and two sons and teaches high school
00:02:26english and writing in vermont and her second book the addiction inoculation raising healthy kids in a culture of dependence is to be released in twenty twenty for more information i invite you to visit www dot jessica leahy dot com or if you're checking this out on the beat
00:02:43hear now network simply scroll down a little bit and you will see the link right there so that said again jessica thank you so much for taking the ten shot with me today thanks for getting out that whole long winded introduction no i love it credit where credit
00:02:58to dio you have worked your ass off and that shows you know and i'm sure that barely you know scratches the surface of all you've accomplished but i know and i always feel weird when people read my bios person if i'm doing a talk or on a show
00:03:10but you know i've had to learn like hey you know i have worked hard on some things in life and it's all right So yeah i had someone talk to me about that once they noticed i was squirming a talk once and you know they're like she was
00:03:23like sit up be proud of it that's you know the stuff that you did you did that stuff yeah yeah i yeah square yeah well all right so a sigh can tell from the few minutes we talked before we hit record and by you saying that we definitely
00:03:37have a lot in common i i would have a thing where when i would give talks at festivals or conferences people give my intro and then as soon as i have the microphone and i was going to speak i would always offset that and being like yeah but
00:03:50really i'm just a big who loves the simpsons and laughs and weird stuff but it's like so always something to work on and that's a big part of the show in a big part of what will be talking about today so jumping right into things first of all
00:04:04you have this absolutely incredible book a new york times bestseller very well deserved congratulations on that yeah how wonderful it's called the gift of failure how the best parents learned to let go so their children can succeed and you know as i mentioned to jessica i'm not currently
00:04:23apparent i was married for several years and had a step daughter and i did my best and i absolutely adored that prior to that i also worked at an elementary school for several years with kindergarten through fifth grade i know that is in no way the same as
00:04:37parenting but i sure that because as i'm reading this book it really a lot of it felt counter intuitive to me but it made such sense so that's why i'm so excited to to really talk about this so what i figured jessica it's cool with you to start
00:04:53this off i wanted to read just the first paragraph of the introduction of its called how i learned to let go and i think that's a really great way to set the foundation for this conversation so i'm going to go ahead and read that it says i became
00:05:08a parent and a middle school teacher in the same year and these twin roles have shaped the way i've raised my children and educated my students over the course of my first decade raising two boys and teaching hundreds of children i began to feel a creeping sense of
00:05:22unease a suspicion that was something that i'm sorry that something was rotten in the state of my parenting but it was only when my older children entered middle school that my worlds collided in the source of the problem became clear to me today's overprotective failure avoiding parenting style
00:05:40has undermined the competence independence and academic potential of an entire generation From my vantage point at the front of a classroom at long viewed myself is a part of the solution a champion of my students intellectual and emotional bravery however as the same caution and fear i witnessed
00:05:58in my students began to show up in my own children's lives i had to admit that i was part of the problem too so you know i i applaud you for being so vulnerable with your own situation and really just starting the book on that note so from
00:06:15there can you elaborate a little bit on that i mean there's plenty more that you're going to detail in the intro but i always love it one writer sharing their own words about their experience sure so i think in part in the bio you read i had a
00:06:28law degree and and that was my plan i was going to be a juvenile attorney that was you know in the i guess in the way we're all positive we know exactly what we're going to do over in our early twenties and um i had a mentor i
00:06:41had a job i knew i was going to slide right into in district court working in juvenile court and i went and i taught for over one summer when i was in law school and that was it i mean i was sunk that i knew the day i
00:06:56taught that first group of middle school kids that that's what i was going to be doing with the rest of my life and and it's been um um it's been amazing that's as of this year it's twenty years i was pregnant with my son who's nineteen almost twenty
00:07:11when i walked into that first classroom so it's been twenty years teaching every grade from six to twelve and what i started to realize over time what a teaching in both public and private in hoity toity and not hoity toity schools is that you know the parents were
00:07:27increasingly involved in which is great and increasingly rescuing their kids from you know their mistakes there the consequences of their mistakes you know they would run in with the homework that was do you know and and interrupt class and handed in for their kid and stuff like that
00:07:43and you know at first i was just kind of annoying and then i had this sneaking suspicion that not only was this sort of overly directive parenting style where we sort of tell kids what where when why how to do stuff that it was messing with their motivation
00:07:59which i'm happy to get into but that's well worn territory with dan pink and edward d c but that it was it messes with their ability to learn and that's the connection that i hadn't really seen fleshed out i'd seen you know effects of over parenting on what
00:08:20they call directive or controlling parenting on sort of behavior stuff but i hadn't really sort of put no one had really i think what the two together in terms of their kid's academic and intellectual potential and the answer is is if you're really directive and really controlling with
00:08:35your kids that absolutely impairs their ability to learn over the long term mainly because the most powerful teaching tools i have the most evidence based strongest most important teaching tools in my tool belt are depend on kids ability to get frustrated and to stick with that frustration for
00:08:56a little bit and pushed through it and kids who have been highly directive high highly directed and controlled are less likely to have the emotional wherewithal they need in order to be comfortable with frustration and you know what the same you know at the moment that i realized
00:09:13that i i got really mad at the students of my parents and i'm sorry the parents of my students and the problem with that is there's so many problems with that but also at the same time i realized that i was doing the exact same thing to my
00:09:27own children and that i was raising kids who couldn't be frustrated who they're learning was being messed with their they didn't know how to talk to adults they were scared of their own you know they were scared of making mistakes because they didn't want to look stupid and
00:09:44you know i as angry as i wanted to be it all those parents i you know i had to admit that i was barren which is so highly inconvenient yeah i can imagine you know i really like what you're saying is reminding me of a wonderful guests at
00:10:01on and he's a dear dear friend of mine his name is j p sears he's known as the ultra spiritual fellow with the red long hair it is a very effective videos but what a lot of people don't know is that aside from that whole show stick he
00:10:15is absolutely brilliant and he is very well versed in developmental psychology has studied yung and depth and and a lot of other developmental psychologist and i remember talking with him about childhood experiences and in the role that plays in our later years and regards to addictions or any
00:10:35kind of self defeating behaviors but something that came up for him that and i don't know that it was specifically in regards to that topic but he did say one point talking about the importance of parents allowing their children to make mistakes to fall down and get those
00:10:52bruises and and i remember thinking wow you know like that that's that resonated with me but again as i mentioned earlier reading your book it was a lot of things like that that seem counterintuitive to me because it's been what's instilled in me for my own parents and
00:11:07was thus instilled in them from their parents and you know back so many generations and understandably our parents are doing the best in most cases the best thing you can do what they have but then that's what i love hearing this stuff and reading this stuff because well
00:11:23i don't know if one day i will have a child my own but i sure do aplenty or do a lot of work with ah younger people as i know of course you do too so even if you're not apparent this's such important information to know and a
00:11:37great way to look at things differently so you know that said we could unpack what you just talked about so many different regards and please no moving forward this is a topic that has barely been discussing my shows i've told you so there's nothing well worn in this
00:11:54conversation so no worries there but let's talk a little bit about backtracking a little you didn't mention you were planning on going to school to be an attorney you kind of had that whole game plan laid out before you and here you are now with this new york
00:12:09times best selling book and aside from that you took you write for the atlantic and washing post new york times incredible stuff where was it that the trajectory shifted for you and and basically you know i don't want to say no i wasn't i regret that's a silly
00:12:28waiting to say something but you know gives for me i guess i just give a quick example i never intended to be an author i never intended to be a public speaker i was going to be a some kind of a social worker or substance abuse counselor something
00:12:42of that nature and now here i am so same same as you i had my blueprint laid out and life just is life it does what it will do so yeah if you could talk a little about how that shifted for you and where you're at now with
00:12:55that i think when i first of all you have to know so i've had this really wonderfully meandering career trajectory i've done a little bit of everything but when i look back on all of it ah the the two things that are the through line are teaching and
00:13:14writing so i've written my entire life and you know all the way through you know the classic story i was editor in chief of my school paper that kind of writing has always been something that i knew i knew in terms of expression that was how i got
00:13:30across best and i've worked as i was a speechwriter for us governor i you know i've done all kinds of writing along the way and when i i i wrote a book about twelve years ago that was never published which is good because it sucked but it was
00:13:48sort of that that book that's supposed to remain in the drawer because it's your practice book of course i did that and when i finished that book i sort of turned to my husband i said i don't know what i'm supposed to write about now i you know
00:14:01have exhausted that topic and i just don't know what to write about and he said well the thing that really makes you light up and come alive is teaching so why don't you write about that and i said no one wants to read about teaching i mean like
00:14:17who's going to read that well as it turns out as i've come to find out through the years that you know teachers one of the best things i think about the internet has been that teachers have been invited to blogged about their teaching and to create thes blog's
00:14:31about what's working and what's not working in their classroom and be really frank so that other teachers can learn from it and that was the genesis of my writing about education and that blogged got you know quote unquote discovered and i started writing for some bigger outlets and
00:14:47which led to the new york times which led to the atlantic and all these other places but really it started with just blogging about my own teaching in an effort to become a better teacher and ah you know the book came the nice thing about the book is
00:15:02that my editor at the new york times tells me i'm not allowed to tell people that i got lucky because i while i did i mean obviously there was great fortune involved in writing an article about about directive parenting and how it affects kids in the classroom that
00:15:20went viral and and that's fantastic but i'd also been writing for a long time at that point so when that article went nuts i was able to point to a whole body of writing that i'd been doing for years and it was i was sort of ready it
00:15:34wasn't like one of those you know most people i know that seemingly our overnight successes u know you asked them a little bit about how they got started and you realized there was lots and lots of work that went into becoming an overnight success so if the work
00:15:47was all there and i like i said i've always loved writing and then the nice thing now is my job is to find things that interest me research the heck out of him which is my favorite part of the job and then write about them in a way
00:16:01that's understandable to other people and especially you know two people that um may not have one source of really solid evidence based information and in and translated in a way that's approachable and doesn't make you feel like a bad parent and doesn't make you feel like a bad
00:16:20person and doesn't shame you and you know all that sort of stuff is really important to me so you know it's like the best job ever i get tau explore and then write about it i couldn't be luckier really that's absolutely amazing and let me say first of
00:16:33all for listeners going back tio what you're talking about writing a book on parenting and who's going to want to read that are teaching is gonna want to read that that's what i love about your writing is you write it in such a way that it really draws
00:16:47the reader and it's accessible it's entertaining it absolutely again i'm not speaking from a parent's point of view but i would not if i was apparent in anyway feel bad about any of the behaviours i might be doing there not in sync with what you're writing about if
00:17:02anything i would be like oh this is great you know what a lovely way to open my eyes to a different technique or path or whatever the case may be with my child so i love the way you write absolutely thank you know it's that's huge thank you
00:17:16that means so much to me especially since part of my job especially with speaking i spend most of my my time speaking actually during the academic year in particular um i have to say some things that are really hard to hear yeah and in order to do that
00:17:31i have to get people on my side and you know part of the way i do that is through talking about my own mistakes and all that sort of stuff but you know there's just some really hard stuff that we as parents need to think about that makes
00:17:43us a little bit uncomfortable and especially when i start talking about the addiction stuff and being honest about our own addictions before we can hope to talk about our children's that stuff can really be off putting and so there's this very delicate dance to do if you want
00:17:59to be heard and yet also push people into action and and get them a little bit off balance so that they say oh wait this isn't just something i need to listen to this might be something i need to act on yeah absolutely so much to me that
00:18:15the information seemed seemed accessible to you and didn't seem intimidating or off putting so they think so much yeah well and that i i love that that's to me the sign of a great book something that to be honest i normally might not pick up because you know
00:18:30it's not directly in line with something i'm experiencing in my life parenting for example but no the book it was it was captivating and kept my attention the whole time and and i share that with you you know having three books out now myself and trying to write
00:18:44about topics that on making them accessible especially to a younger target demographic so i love that people from their teens the sixties and seventies resonate with it but yes trying to write in a way where it can hold someone's attention talk about things that aren't always comfortable addiction
00:19:04even spirituality using the god we're talking about inter spirituality and you know so many things that could potentially be loaded so it is i'm not saying i'm i've nailed it but it is an art to be able i think you do it in a fairly similar way i
00:19:21mean the the way in is through stories and you know that whether it's the stories of my students the stories of friends the stories you know in this book on addiction the stories in this book are what derived the book and you know as a huge consumer of
00:19:37nonfiction that's my ideal nonfiction book you know sure any any bit of learning that's encompassed inside of someone's fascinating personal narrative i'm all in i'll read anything you khun give me a book about you know even topics i'm not interested in as long as the i'm learning something
00:19:55through someone's personal experience i'm i'm all in yeah that i'm a huge documentary nerd for that same reason like i lovely human exactly yeah well and this book has actually been i mean the secret of this book is and you know if you know the publishing world at
00:20:11all you know that traditional publishing feels they have to market a book in a way that they're used to doing it and that makes sense and you really have to think about what shelf it's going to go on in the bookstore and what category it'll be on in
00:20:24amazon and yes this is always on a parenting shelf it's always in the parenting category in amazon but that's but really for me i wrote this book for teachers and coaches and pastors and anyone who's working with kids because it's about learning and being human and raising you
00:20:43know raising great adults and that's not just done by parents and so really i have teachers to thank for for really keeping this book selling it's been out for three years and my sales are pretty much where they were right after the book came out and you know
00:20:59i have teachers to thank for that because now you know they asked me to come to schools and i get to talk to the teacher i get to talk to the students during the day and then the teachers in the afternoon and we do some professional development on
00:21:10education stuff and then i talked to the parents at night and i get to really do the full you know really close that circle of communication between parents and teachers and kids and that's you know it's it's just amazing to me i love it so much yeah i'm
00:21:25excited to give this book to my brother he is actually also a teacher He teaches math in ah high school here in south windsor connecticut and he's been doing that for my goodness over fifteen years and he also has a two beautiful girls they're roughly about three three
00:21:41and five and i am so excited to give this to him so well and i happen to know where that is and i will be speaking right near him in november's will make sure he gets invited to that was so much healthier the buss signed copy the book
00:21:56and everything before oh wow yes and we'll touch base after it because i would love to but my full speaking schedules always up it just delay he dot com and by the way when i refer to like books or authors and all that stuff if you go to
00:22:11jessica leahy dot com under the menu heading speaking there's a big button that says download speaking bibliography and it's essentially my greatest hits like if people ask me for book recommendations on everything from teaching to parenting too you know screen time stuff all of that all of those
00:22:28books are there on that bibliography so you could find my speaking schedule there and then you know if you pull down the public bibliography you don't have to write any of this stuff down i absolutely love that thank you for doing that like i yeah i in my
00:22:41first two books in the back i put similar like here's some great books to get you started if you're not familiar i have on my website downloadable books you can read i often post pictures of books i'm reading asking people what are you reading because i'm a big
00:22:53book nerd so thank you every week on our i do a podcast on writing with kj del antonia my former new york times editor and close friend and she's ah really she's not a book coming out called how to be a happier parent it comes out in august
00:23:08and she and i at the end of each episode we talk about what we've been reading and that's my favorite part of so great much fun i'd love that well so you've mentioned ah a couple times i know addiction's come up and you do work with addiction and
00:23:24and you've had experience with that so just a broad open ended question to you if you want to talk about that that in relation to this conversation would be wonderful and you can go anywhere with it sure was so i um so i was offered a book deal
00:23:42on the gift of failure in two thousand and thirteen and i had previously already suspected that my drinking was out of control they already knew that this was not news to me i was in deep hiding at mode i was totally ashamed because addiction runs really deep in
00:24:02my family and i i knew that that was the one thing i was i was never going to be like those people you know that kind of thing on dh i didn't have a problem with alcohol at all until i was in my forties i was i got
00:24:15a late start on this whole addiction thing it was just never an issue for me before that and and it very much became an issue for me and there were you know when i go to meetings when i go to twelve step meetings and i hear all these
00:24:28you know all these stories of terrible things that have happened people i'm one of those really fortunate people who got into recovery before i have a lot of not yet so i have a lot of you know that hasn't happened yet kind of thing so my essentially my
00:24:42father came to me right after i sold gift of failure and basically said you're an alcoholic and you're going toe blow this you're going to blow this opportunity and he was right and i already knew that so i wrote a i actually have a piece i wrote about
00:24:59the fact that there's you know you have to give something up sometimes to make you know these huge life goals come true and for me in order to get this book written i had to give up booze i couldn't write and i couldn't write and drink at the
00:25:12same time it just wasn't gonna happen yeah so i gave up drinking and it was i just had my fifth anniversary and it's you know it's been amazing and one year in and i went and spoke with a service thing went spoke at a rehab that's close to
00:25:31where i live that has adolescents they're impatient and i kind of looked at i loved the kids of course and i looked around and i sort of thought wait a second if they're here twenty four seven they have to have some they have to go to school in
00:25:47some capacity and it turns out that's they dio and and there's a school at the rehab and i've been there writing teacher for four years now so it's been you know for me it's it's the best possible situation because i'm continuing to teach on a part time basis
00:26:04and i travel so much i couldn't do it full time sure they are the reason i mean when it comes down to it yes i stay sober because you know it's been a miracle and it's been amazing and my life is blah blah blah but i can't go
00:26:18teach those kids if i'm not so burst and those kids are like one of the most important things i have done in my life teaching those kids so um they're a very big part of my recovery as well and ah it's i honestly and obviously we also talked
00:26:34about this meandering life that sort of shows you what's supposed to come next and after gift to failure did so well and you know everyone saying well what's next what's next what's next and i took a long time to figure that out i wrote a whole bunch of
00:26:48book proposals i talked to my agent incessantly and she's like and you know i don't know that's not quite it yet because i didn't want to do like sort of gift to failure part two and then all of a sudden all these things that i had come that
00:27:01i'd sort of research through gift to failure and all the stuff that i love writing about now which is kids in at really high risk of failure kids in the foster care system kids who have really high a scores ever childhood experience kids who have experienced trauma kids
00:27:18who have you no unresolved issues with learning our unresolved learning issues on addressed learning issues all of that stuff like i was driving on to boston one day for something i had a speaking gig i think and it just clicked all these things it was like you know
00:27:33the all the tumblers falling into place and i pulled over and i texted my two best friends and i said i've got it i know with the next book is going to be and and it took me almost a year to sort of research and write the proposal
00:27:45for it and then we just sold it to my editor at harper just a couple months ago Wow Well congratulations i'm very idea and thank you for sharing about your experience so candidly because it is ah i think really important you know i i'm in recovery that's very
00:28:02obvious we talking about a lot on this show on dh you know i respect a lot of people keep that private they don't do something the sherm that's fine but i think earliest for me i really appreciate when people who are in the public eye to whatever extent
00:28:17do you know talk about there their hardships and their successes and letting people know and i know you've had a chance to look att some of my third book which is that was the inspiration for mine is a big time falling and i too as we're talking about
00:28:33i think pre conversation i do three workshops a month at a sounds very similar it's an inpatient residential with the youth male and female ages fourteen to twenty on dh it was very difficult for me to be away from them during the realtors and and i miss them
00:28:51because i too i travel i speak all over which i love doing but that is where my heart it's interesting i leave there and it's like my part is over my heart is equal parts broken and for you totally fulfilled at the same time um yeah i think
00:29:08i'm of a similar mind i think it's really hard for me you know every single time i'm up on stage and i mentioned that i'm a recovering alcoholic and i do it it happens to fit into even the gift of failure stuff i talk about now because you
00:29:21talk about my students and where i teach i always have people come up to me and kind of whisper you know the whole die of ten years or if i'm doing a search on a plane and they see what i'm what books i'm reading they'll turn to me
00:29:35and and open up that there they have you know x number of years and the thing for me that's really hard about that is i also and part of a family in which for a very for generations that stuff is meant you don't talk about that stuff so
00:29:53i i'm really tauron sometimes i do respect people's you no right to keep that private i absolutely do but i also really strongly feel number one that not talking about it is what keeps us afraid of talking about it and keeps people afraid of admitting to their foibles
00:30:12but also frankly the people i have gotten to know either through talking about recovery or talking about this book i was did the rich world podcast a couple of years ago and rich is this incredible endurance athlete and that's fascinating but it's way more fascinating based on the
00:30:29fact that he was a drug addict i mean his story is really interesting because it's a part of a journey and in the same way that you know when students come to me and they say you know how do i write a really good college essay the prat
00:30:42the hard part for me is that a student that's just had it easy and had everything has been perfect since day one it's real really hard to write an interesting letter of recommendation for that kid for college but a kid that's had a journey and a kid that
00:30:55has been willing to admit to their the mistakes they've made and has really worked hard to push through and become something else those of the kids that i love writing about and those of the adults that i love meeting and getting to know i just it's i'm sad
00:31:12for the people who feel like they have to keep their recovery a secret and i would never ever ever say that they're wrong or that that's the wrong way to be it just makes me sad that that's not a part that's not something that war kids can't hear
00:31:25about because i think that the force of other people's stories is what keeps us moving forward towards you know healthier life outcomes so i wish more people felt free to talk about it yeah greed and i'm you know i've seen a shift in that there was a great
00:31:42film called the anonymous people done on this i don't know if you've seen it but yeah connecticut resident gregg williams did it really wonderful film and it's nice to see that in some regards that is shifting but then you know i get messages on a daily basis a
00:31:56lot of them are you know just very nice they read the book watching interview her to talk and even if they're not in recovery and help them understand why their loved ones and recovery or this or that but what is difficult for me just to read is is
00:32:10similar to what you're saying a lot of messages i get are people saying thank you for sharing so vulnerably about your experience i tomb and recovery whether their new or several years in but they don't talk about it you know in some cases they don't let their not
00:32:26immediate but extended family no like that they don't know that their parents know where their siblings they're ashamed of that and and i get that i understand it to a certain extent even in my case i unfortunately suffered erna suffer but experienced a number of relapses and no
00:32:44i don't want to talk about that i don't want to write about that i still i still feel guilt and shame and embarrassment i i'm the cognizant level i know better but i still feel that and that's the last thing everyone was right about hey here i am
00:32:59someone has written books on the addiction and recovery process and experience and i still relapse but well it and as you know i mean i think that that makes it even more important for you to talk about it because as you well know relapse is a really big
00:33:14part of kids stories mainly because of the way the way treatment works for kids or often doesn't work for kids is that you know kids have so little control over their environment and then we just you know often i know i'm looking at my student and i know
00:33:30we're sending her back to the same home where she's parenting her parent because their parent is a drug addict and you know how on earth she's supposed to stay sober or why she's supposed to stay sober in the first place kind of eludes her on deludes me and
00:33:44i don't really i can't do much more than give her a hug and tell her that i believe in her and hope that i don't see her again but i do i see these kids over and over and over again we just i just said goodbye to a
00:33:56kid i've seen four times now and he has no incentive to there's not only no incentive he has no support for staying sober so your story you know my story is you know neat easy peasy i you know went into my first twelve stuff meeting him stayed clean
00:34:16ever since but that's not most of my students story and what's really telling to me interestingly is when i i'm this big dork i look like a big academic geek you know i i i love research i let you know when we were talking about like where words
00:34:32come from i get all lit up on the huge dork and i laugh about it all the time and then they find out that i'm in recovery too and they say inevitably they say oh wow you don't look like um alcoholic and that's the problem i mean i
00:34:47do look like an owl alcoholic i know a lot of alcoholics who looked just like me anderson until until you know until we can get to a point where my students don't look at me and say well you really don't look like an alcoholic i don't think we're
00:34:59going to get very far with helping people understand that it's just one of those afflictions that does not respect any class race wealth boundary lines at all and then the beautiful thing though it's neither does recovery you know so and that's what i love about the the toffs
00:35:16up programs and and even if i know playing people they've recovered without a program our twelves that they do with their own way god bless whatever works for you that's what i advocate for but it's funny as you're saying that i'm thinking well sure i probably fit that
00:35:30stereotypical mold heavy heavily covered in tattoos big holes in my ears there have been times jessica i've gone to speak in detox is or rehabs and the people think i'm actually a client or a resident who and i'm like oh no no no you just speak so i
00:35:46always get a kick out of that but i did want to go back and talk about you made such a good point about the children parenting the parents because yes that's same here just last wednesday i was doing one of the workshops att the facility i go to
00:36:02teach at and there's a fourteen year old boy there it was it was a second impatient program at fourteen years old and one of the other young boys mentioned how his dad beats him and this boy said the same thing he's again and i i understand my dad
00:36:18does too he goes but then he goes but i deserve because i'm a real screw up i mean my heart just my heart in my stomach like just sank and i was like white do you feel like you deserve it and he's like well you know i've lied
00:36:33to him my five i failed him so many times and he was felled by his parents and he's an alcoholic and you know and i'm like oh my gosh you know i know you don't deserve that and that you know there was that conversation is beyond beyond the
00:36:48scope really what we have time for this but it's so hot i think you know i think one of our biggest jobs working with these kids there's a fantastic book called making hope happend by a shane lopez and shame died just a year and a half ago and
00:37:04ah miss him terribly but his book about hope being the thing that allows especially some a kid to not on ly have hopes and dreams toe have goals and hopes and dreams but make them happen to get out there and actually make their make their lives better that
00:37:24thing is hope and often you know i talk about what my goals are as a teacher often my goals are just too get a book in the kid's hands or often my my one goal for one kid is just to make them see that there's something else for
00:37:40them than living in the situation they're living in and that that gift of some tiny kernel of hope sometimes is you know the the most important thing i do for these kids and it's shocking to me how many kids live in situations where they have absolutely no one
00:37:58offering that to him to them so yeah yeah let's keep doing what you're doing because that's what you're offering as well and vice versa and on the topic of hope i'll share really quick story and then i want to jump back into your book but i've i've sure
00:38:11this on the show before but it's been a while and i think it's worth mentioning it's such a wonderful um reminder for me but anyway so i have the word hope tattooed on my left hand across my knuckles and it was like yeah it's it's so important to
00:38:27me and i got this right after i'd gotten out of my first inpatient program back in two thousand for because hope you know it just meant the world to me on dh s o i was sober for about fourteen months and i was visiting rome i'd always want
00:38:41to go there and i had a friend too was there she was a language major in connecticut yeah but during summer she would be a tour guide there so i had a free place to stay just had to pay for my plane ticket in food it was a
00:38:50wonderful item own personal tour guide for nine days in rome has moved fourteen months sober and i went on june first it was her birthday my birthday's june third and so's there for two days and i was a cabin it's over fourteen months i can't drink i'm fine
00:39:07and that thus began my first relapse yeah you know when in rome took it a little too literally but the story that proceeds or follows that is i'm on the bus it's about two a m and you can drink openly in rome i have one of those big
00:39:21foster's cans of beer and there's a gentleman sitting across from a slightly diagonally to my left and he's looking at at me and i'm used to next life A lot of tattoos but usually when i look at people who give me they look away this guy did not
00:39:35and but he's in his like late eighties and you know what am i going to do so i just kind of sit there in about five minutes past and i'm ready to actually at this point i'm getting frustrated i'm ready to say something to him but he points
00:39:46at my hand and he says hope in a very broken dahlia in accent and i was like yeah and he goes that's the last to die and i was like wow and i share that because i sense them have subsequently experienced a number of relapses but during each
00:40:04one it was as if you know i heard that man saying those words to me when i was at the bottom of the bottom ready to throw in the towel i mean it was eerie it was like he was speaking them right into my ear hope it's the
00:40:17last to die and it was just it helped me kindle that that little flame within my heart to keep going and so i do like to share that whenever i get the chance because maybe somebody listening to this is struggling right now but there is always hope until
00:40:32our last breath so i think there's we underestimate one you know that the tiny things we say we sort of figure you know no one's really paying attention to what we say but every once in a while you know i i get to hear something at a meeting
00:40:48or in my classroom from a student and it stays with me for a really long time and ends up being the rescuing sentiment that ah that makes me think oh no no i can't this is would be a really bad time a bad idea for me to have
00:41:02you know a beer because you know my student said you're the only person that's ever taken me seriously and thought that i could be anything other than you know a kid who ends up in prison this you know i have students tell me that all the time that
00:41:15every all the men and their family ended up in prisons there really washington expect anything different on the idea that a kid would say that to me and thanked me for being you know the one person who thinks that maybe he won't end up in prison well there
00:41:27you go right there there's no way i'm going to take a drink yeah absolutely well so thank you for the work you're doing is well and anyone listening who is doing this sort of work or any work to be a benefit out there thank you You know with
00:41:40the world is in need of it no more than ever and and so my my sincere thanks to you and all the listeners Yeah but see the secret thing is it's the most fun best work ever yeah i don't know if you experience is but i feel weird
00:41:54even calling it work you know it's it's it's i actually thought i was volunteering at first i really did i thought i was volunteering and then i started getting paid a little a token amount per class so i just decided that all goes to books for the kids
00:42:07i've never taken i've never pocketed money for teaching these kids because it's such a gift to me and and then you know when they steal the books which they inevitably tonight like those books were supposed to belong to them exactly so yes they order a lot of copies
00:42:24of my books too at the facility and i don't you know there's a little confusion are we allowed to take them aren't we and you know so when when a young man or woman or young teenager whatever is getting ready to leave though often asked me to sign
00:42:38it's like yeah and i just play stupid so you know it same same thing you know who knows but if they've benefited enough want to bring it home awesome and same with you you know how great is that and who knows if they'll pass it along and the
00:42:51ripple effects it could potentially have so that's lovely so yeah let's jump back in this books we have about fifteen minutes left and we've touched on maybe one or two of the actual questions i put down which that's a great thing i love on the conversations go organically
00:43:06in their own direction this has been a real pleasure but you know like i said this book is absolutely phenomenal and i would be remiss if we didn't talk a little more about it so i think one of the ways we can do that is you know it
00:43:20broken down all these questions and samples to read from different chapters but since we're running short on time with the book you sent me there was this really great bookmark that on it has five tips for parents so if you're game for this maybe we could run through
00:43:36those tips which i think are a great overview of what's covered in the book of course there's a lot more than this but it gives i think the audience are really great overview of this so essentially there the fight when people say you know how can i leave
00:43:50here tonight and change the way i sort of approach parenting there like those distill the posts so i'm glad to go over them yeah so i figured let's if you're game will do each one will go one by one i'll read it and then if you want to
00:44:04just elaborate because they are simply just a simple concise sentence which is great but if you want to just share a few thoughts on each one if you're game for that well maybe do that teo to talk about the book awesome so number one value the process of
00:44:19learning over the product of grades i love that yet so this is a biggie mainly because for two reasons when and i talked to parents about the way they connect with their kids and connection is a really important part of building sort of kids intrinsic motivation of wanting
00:44:35to learn for the sake of learning itself one of the most important things is this connection and what i hear a lot is that kids when i pull kids about whether they really truly feel in their hearts that their parents love them or when they do well in
00:44:49school unless when they do poorly about eighty percent of middle school students tell me raise their hands and say yes to that onda about ninety percent of high school students dio on one of the ways we can get around that which by the way that's called withdrawal of
00:45:04love based on performance one of the ways we get around that is by really valuing the process over the product of the process of learning and instead of just saying oh i really care about is the learning we really do talk about that process The other nice thing
00:45:20about valuing the process over the product is that increasingly what I'm seeing a lot of his really anxious kids and kids who are really hung up on being perfect and really anxious about never making mistake always looking perfect if we constantly bring the conversation back to the process
00:45:37of learning instead of the end product the grade the award or whatever then they really will believe us when they when we tell them that we care more about the learning than the end result and that can really help kids get over their anxiety i do ah i
00:45:54do a set of videos on youtube called frequently asked questions about the gift of failure and one of them is about howto sort of help kids who are really anxious and perfectionist into over into the o c d realm and valuing the process of the product is one
00:46:10of the best things we can do for kids love that thank you so much moving on to number two offer up more support in less control yeah so controlling parenting or directive parenting is what leads kids tio well to a lot of things they lie to us more
00:46:30number one kids like if kids were heavily controlled or directed they tend to lie more to their parents but they also are afraid to take risks and they don't really get a sense of what they want so rather than sort of try to fix things for them or
00:46:44try toe pave the way for them or control how they do things i believe in them believe in the idea that they can do it themselves but have some belief in their competence and say you know well how would you solve this problem and that sort of support
00:46:59is really from a teacher that's what we love to hear is that parents they're sort of instead of handing over the answer are saying i'm totally here to support you and you finding the answer but i'm not going to just hand you the answer excellent and i absolutely
00:47:13see how that works you know fortunately for me my parents were kind of in the middle of that but yeah that really helped me do not feel as pressured you know sure they were trying tio they mean they were they were your typical parents they started controlling to
00:47:27certain extent you know i guess you need to do that but i do feel very very grateful in the sense that they really let me find my own way in many regards and and that's how they specially my spiritual bath they never forced me to go to church
00:47:40never forced me to believe anything never forced fed me anything so certainly grateful to them for that which i know is a little digression from what you're talking about but kind of hand in hand so absolutely thank you so number three remember that every rescue is a lesson
00:47:56lost and the any right about rescue i love this in the book i know if you want to talk about that but yeah go ahead well so as a teacher again i mentioned that increasingly i was seeing situations where parents were suddenly you know a kid would forget
00:48:14his homework and i would spend you know as a middle school teacher in particular my job is to watch kids grew up every day and then help them find solutions and not give them solutions not tell them what to do but to help them find their own strategies
00:48:29and solutions and increasingly what was happening was that you know the parent would show up with the homework and sort of all right eradicate the lesson eradicate the moment to get rid of it you know suddenly the kid is like well that's my strategy right someone's always going
00:48:43to show up and hand in my homework for me or you know rescue me s o every time you know they're little things like when i travel a lot sometimes i take my younger kid with me and you know you have to go to those kiosk at the
00:48:57airport and it's a little complicated getting your information and checking in well i don't know when exactly i thought my kid would just suddenly figure that out on his own i used to walk in and just do it myself and the at a certain point i started saying
00:49:11oh wait a second no no no here you at kid walk up to that walk up to that kiosk and you do it because you're gonna have to at some point and i don't know when you're supposed to learn that if not right now so there are all
00:49:25these small moments throughout the day or throughout you know running errands or traveling or whatever when you know we sort of tend to take those lessons away from kids so stop every once in a while you know i know it were in a rush i know we're under
00:49:39pressure i know we're over scheduled but every once in a while take just stop and take a breath and say would this be a really great opportunity to give my kid a moment to figure out his own strategy or a problem solving and i feel this is a
00:49:52great place for me to interject that meditation really helps with that i know everyone soon because he already i completely get it but you know if you can even dedicate five minutes out of your day any time even if it's on break it works in your car coming
00:50:08back and pausing for a moment like you just said becomes a much more habitual in natural thing in your life throughout the day it just makes it that much easier and it from parents i have talks or when i was parenting it made me much more present for
00:50:22my children or my significant other so well and i even tell parents go so far as to plan to have an extra moment like when you are walking out of the house and the most parents say that they really dislike you know morning it's just too hectic it's
00:50:35crazy but if you plan ahead and sort of say ok look before we head out the door today i'm going to stop for a minute and say kids every time i walk out of the house i have to do a little mental checklist do i have my phone
00:50:49do i have my keys do i have my whatever let's all take a minute just to do that right now and then that sort of teaches kids instead of just telling them don't forget your backpack you could help them come up with their own ways to realise that
00:51:05they are forgetting their backpack and to strategize themselves and i've never ever been so grateful the speaking of meditation than for the fact that my younger child loves to do yoga and meditation with me and that is thanks to a mutual friend of ours ah emcee yogi and
00:51:23wife amanda giacomini there he got into ah emcee yogis music and started doing yoga largely because of that and that's been something that we've shared together for the past couple of years and has been i think one of the best parts of parenting this kid it's it's wonderful
00:51:40to see a kid adopt this mindfulness practice from a young age under his own steam yeah how special well i'll try teo incorporate that into the workshops i do with the young adults and often i'll bring my guitar and do a music meditation give him a simple breath
00:51:57just before that and because i know for younger younger people it's not interesting you know i want to play my video games or do this or that but it's always so great to see younger children getting interested or even teenagers so how wonderful so that's great what a
00:52:13special bond so number four view fail er failure this a big one view failure as opportunity for growth yes so there's a fantastic book i love it's a business book by tim harford called adapt the paper book back has a picture of a chameleon on the front and
00:52:30tim harford talks about all these instances in business when it wasn't the fact that someone made a huge mistake that was the important part of the story but there approach their positive adaptive response to that failure that ended that created their eventual success and the thing you can't
00:52:51do is blame someone else for your mistakes or pretend it never happened or you know fall apart because of your mistakes you have to move forward and say okay well what didn't work and what did work that last time around and what i'm going to bring forward with
00:53:05me and what am i gonna leave behind which is what's so funny about working on the stinky and dirty show because that's what that show is it's a dump truck and a digger who are given a challenge you know this truck broke down it's full of bowling balls
00:53:17and we have to get the bowling balls to the bowling alley how are we going to do that and they have to innovate they have to come up with mechanical solutions and and recycling they use trash from from dirty stinky is hopper to you know sort of make
00:53:32that happen but they also make a ton of really silly mistakes along the way and through sort of experiencing those mistakes and supporting each other through those mistakes they realized how to move forward and that's what we need to be doing for kids is understanding that this mistake
00:53:50is not a disaster it's not you know the end of their hopes for harvard it's not it is a really important moment that we need to take advantage of and embrace and talk about and not deny but but figure out how to do better and move forward and
00:54:07part of that means that we have to be making our own mistakes and talking about our own failures in front of our kids and modeling that for our kids we can't ask them to be brave about our mistakes and our failures and the way we adapt if they're
00:54:20not seeing us do it so we have to do a little bit of that role modeling is just so important yeah agreed as you're talking i was thinking wow yeah i tried to do that in my own life you know a zit a big adult can't that i
00:54:32am so absolutely and that signal is wonderfully into number five where you talk about art says model intellectual and emotional bravery for kids so one of the most important things one of the things i realized i was not doing for my own kids that i was doing for
00:54:49my students is at the end of each class there were always questions i'd have or something i need to research for the next class i'd always think about you know what went well on what went wrong and sometimes that required me to apologize to my students and say
00:55:03you know what we have this lesson yesterday and i thought it went really well but it's pretty clear that like half of you are confused about this thing we talked about and that's my mistake not yours so let me go back and fix that now and doing that
00:55:16in front of my students is really really important and with my advises i was often we talk a lot about goals we talk about i don't as their advisor i wasn't that wrapped up in their grades i was more interested in are they achieving their personal goals and
00:55:30they're growing as human beings and for some crazy reason i was not doing that same stuff with my own kids so we started we stopped talking about grades pretty much we definitely don't put report cards on the refrigerator we definitely you know don't freak out and send pictures
00:55:46to grandma and all that kind of stuff what we do instead is we try to talk a lot about what our goals are short term and long term and i share mine and my kids share there is my husband shares his and want the rule though when we
00:55:59especially we first started doing this is that one of them had to be a little scary one of them had to be something that pushed us outside of our comfort zone and for me those have included going back to algebra one in orderto undo this sort of i'm
00:56:17bad at math ah self fulfilling prophecy that a teacher sort of lay it on me when i was like twelve i went and learned some guitar because that's well really just not something that i took guitar lessons with my my kid who's now nineteen he excelled and could
00:56:36play layla by like the fourth lesson and i can barely change chords but you know if if anyone's ever read if you've ever read carol directs mindset you know that the way we think about our intelligence is really important if we understand that our intelligence becomes greater and
00:56:52more powerful and stronger the more we push ourselves to try things that make us uncomfortable or you are outside of our comfort zone the more intelligent we become the more we show our kids that the more we make goals for ourselves that are a little scary and they
00:57:08see us make mistakes and not achieve those goals and then we talk about them in front of our kids and how we're going to do better next time um you know we're showing them that our life goals are always going to be much more important than the individual
00:57:23grades we get along the way and that those long term goals are really what shape our lives and i have to put a shout out there's an incredible documentary it's only fifteen minutes long it's called follow through and it's by our it was made by ari i the
00:57:39recreational outdoor company with this woman this frisky your ship full disclosure such a former student of mine named caroline glick ah who wanted to ski all forty of the um the roots in a book called the shooting gallery it's ah wasa in the wasatch mountains there these really
00:57:56difficult steep slopes and she wanted to do all forty of them and she made that her goal and she didn't just jump out and start skiing them she had to learn mountaineering she had to become certified an avalanche detection and prevention and that kind of stuff she had
00:58:11to you know do all of these things in order to achieve her goals and the thing we know about it about writing down our goals is were automatically more likely to achieve them the minute we write them down and so over and over again i show that short
00:58:26documentary to my students and say look if you are feeling lost or you're feeling like you don't have any power of your life look at this person who was being um she had a troll she had a stalker who was basically telling her that she had no business
00:58:40being out in the mountains that she's just a pretty face she has no skills she's just a sports model and she needs she's going to die like her brother and her stepbrother did in an avalanche and she didn't listen to any of those people and she achieved her
00:58:55goals and that follow through is something we really need to start modelling for our kids i try to do it for my students and for my own kids and i just i can't tell you how important it is to have goals that's awesome and working people check that
00:59:09documentary out is it on just to go follow through ari i caroline ge like jelly i ch by the way she's also one of the best instagram follows out there is that this is a woman who has just and she's also i tell her story and the gift
00:59:26of failure as well this is a woman who's just willed herself into the most amazing career as a professional athlete endurance athlete sports model a mountaineer she's an incredible incredible woman i have so much respect for her and um yeah this documentary is well worth fifteen minutes of
00:59:44your time yeah can't argue fifteen minutes that's exactly well so jessica thank you so much we absolutely barely touched on any any of the questions i prepared like a set at all these excerpts from your book as going to read and i think we covered a lot of
01:00:00very important ground this was a really treat for me but i do want to give you the floor if there's anything that we did not discuss in your book or in general i mean we've talked about your website jessica lady dot com you can visit that see where
01:00:15jessica speaking see some book recommendations things that have influenced her life but that's that is there anything that we didn't talk about that you would like tio close out on you know if you if you end up reading the book and you have any questions as i mentioned
01:00:31there these gift of failure frequently asked questions little videos i made just a sort of answer the questions i get most often and they range from you know howto i motivate a kid who just wants to coast or how do i help a really anxious kid or what
01:00:44about my special needs kid and there's even an answer to the question i get a lot which which is how do i get my kid to start showering so that's on there but also the really if you sign up at jessica lady dot com you get an auto
01:00:59respond with every one of my favorite books links to bibliography links to videos i like links to other educators i like links to articles that get requested and get talked about the most often um sort of my greatest hits stuff so if you're ever sort of interested in
01:01:18just finding out more i guess the best thing for you to do is to sign it but just go lady dot com and wait for that auto reply to show up in your in your mailbox and it'll have every possible link you could ever want in their lovely
01:01:29well jessica thank you again this has been super fun yeah i was gonna say yeah that wonderful thank you You know i'm thrilled this has been a blast and i love any time i get to talk about you know working with kids i'm unhappy so yeah what our
01:01:45treat so again for anyone listening just goalie he dot com or if you're on the be here now network simply scroll down click on the link the name of jessica's new york times best selling book the gift of failure how the best parents learned a let go so
01:02:01their children can succeed is available everywhere books are sold i sincerely cannot recommend it enough parent or not this is a book i believe that khun benefit anyone who reads it So that said jessica we will certainly have you back on the show Maybe talk more about this
01:02:17Talk about your next book Talk about all sorts of interesting things This has been a fantastic thank you very much absolutely Support for this podcast comes through fourteen forty Multiverse ity a place to discover explore and enquire what matters most Learn more at fourteen forty dot or ge
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