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A Daily Parenting Advice Podcast. Non-Pretentious. In less than 3min a day!

S5-Ep307 - The 2nd Lesson for 21st Century Parents

October 30, 2019


 Today is part two of the series in which we analyze Yuval Noah Harari’s lessons from his book ’21 lessons for the 21st centry’. We aim to change the culture we live in, for the better, through our children. And you, being a parent, have a direct role, a direct way to leave a legacy of positive change. Of course it turns out that being a parent, and effecting this change, isn’t easy. But listening to a 3 minute podcast is. So keep hanging in there with us and we’ll work on making it easy for you.

 What is Harari’s 2nd lesson? The 2nd one that I want to focus on is the phrase:

Happiness = Reality — Expectations.

Happiness = Reality — Expectations.

And you can see this in various stories we’re told in the news, in books we read, by our friends.

Think of your richest friend. Or richest acquaintance/family member. Whom you may have heard say, “Our vacation to Hawaii wasn’t as great as we hoped it because it was cloudy”. Most of us are like, ‘boo hoo, I’d love to that problem.”

But it was the expectation of sunny beaches that made happiness elude them.

Now I’m a math kind of guy so I look at the equation and say if you want to maximize happiness you need to increase reality or decrease expectations.  It’s math.

And increasing reality is something that we all strive for. We take side hustles for more money, we buy 7$ Starbucks coffees, we fret over the right sofa fabric to match our living room décor.

But the richest bastards among us, the .1% ers – those people are some of the unhappiest, pill popping people that I’ve heard of. And even thoug “today’s poor live better than yesterday’s kings,” Americans are taking antidepressants in astounding numbers.

So setting correct expectations must be the answer. Without getting into more of my personal philosophy – it’s worked for me.
But for your kids – at this age of 6 years old or so – we need to set the expectations for them. And as they get older we will have to help them figure out expectations for themselves. But for now, I will continue to tell my kindergartener, “Yes, you may play with your legos after you get dressed for school, and if there’s still time.” This sets the expectation that getting ready for school is priority and you are in control of your time if you get that done. Rinse and repeat – keep doing this setting of expectations for the drive home, choices for dinners, and bedtime routines. You’ll create a happy kid.