Wednesday, June 15, 2016

EPIC parenting

I am a podcast junkie.  My podcast subscriptions cover a wide range of topics.  2 economic podcasts, 4 leadership podcasts, 1 daily devotional podcast, 1 social science podcast, 1 internet podcast, 1 business podcast and 1 podcast devoted to Hey Arnold! I even support two of these podcasts financially.

One of the leadership podcasts I listen to is EntreLeadership.  EntreLeadership is a Dave Ramsey product.  It's geared towards entrepreneurs.  I'm not an entrepreneur and I don't know why I started listening but I'm glad I did.

I want to share episode 149 with you today.  In the first half of the episode, Dr. Tim Elmore discusses Millennials.  It was fascinating.  Of course, it was mostly geared towards employers who will be hiring Millennials.  I loved that Dr. Elmore is very positive about Millennials.  He recognized that they do have some struggles (they are risk adverse) but he does a great job of highlighting the positives (confidence, enthusiastic).  But something he said has stayed with me.  He quoted Dr. Leonard Sweet saying that Millennials are EPIC

Experiential - they want to learn through doing
Participatory - they support what they help create
Image Rich - they love pictures
Connected - they yearn to discuss with others what they are learning

This has awesome implications for teachers but I want to think about how we can apply these EPIC principles to parenting.

Experiential - I love to talk.  I love public speaking.  But my boys are not going to learn as much from my words as they are from their own actions.  I have to let them fail and then walk them through what they can learn from their mistakes.  This doesn't mean that Ryan and I aren't providing rules and guidelines.  It simply means that I'm not trying to engineer everything to go in their favor.  They get to experiment.

Participatory - On the podcast Dr. Elmore reminds us that kids are used to being a part of the outcome.  Reality TV has them voting for who wins.   How can we incorporate this as parents? Let them participate in setting family rules.  "What days should we reserve for family dinners?"  "I'm good with either 10:30 or 11 pm as your curfew.  You can decide which one." This does not mean we are letting the inmates run the prison (and really, do you want your home to feel like a prison?).  We are getting their input but the bottom line decision makers are mom and dad.

Image Rich - Ain't it the truth? Instagram and Snapchat are their preferred social networks of the moment.  What do those platforms have in common? They're both image based.  I love to send the boys pictures of inspiring quotes or Bible verses.  What pictures could you use to remind them of your family's values?

Connected - Back to social's their playground, their after school hang out.  They want to be connected to their friends.  In middle school and high school, kids are trying to figure out who they are.  They need feedback from their friends during this process.  They need you to lead them well in this area.  Check their social media and text messages.  Give them explicit instructions on what's acceptable and unacceptable. Model appropriate social media use for them.  Don't be afraid to set limits and stick to them.  If you institute a no cell phone policy at dinner, you have to stick to it too. That one has been hard for me.  I have instituted a no headphones rule in the car because I want to use that time to talk to and connect with the boys.  That means the onus is on me to start a conversation. Sounds easy enough, right? But many, many times, I'm lost in my own thoughts and I realize we are all just sitting there in silence.

What do you think?  What are some ways that we can parent these EPIC kids well?

You can subscribe to the EntreLeadership podcast here.
Dr. Elmore also has a podcast called Growing Leaders. You can subscribe to it here.

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