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

October 6, 2019

S5-Ep283 - 3 Things to do with Your Child Today (April)

 Something strange just happened all across the country – children everywhere were excited to be out of school. Parents everywhere groaned. It was spring break. At least that’s how I sort of viewed it. Of course I wasn’t one of those families who went somewhere and happily posted warm weather photos of them and their happy kids doing happy things. I toiled away on a house repair project while at the same time watching a 3 and 5 year old.  I needed some help.

 But my old friend – the to-do list was helpful at least. And I had a list of about 6 or 7 things that I could pull out in times of need. So if you’re worn out and out of ideas, here’s this month’s delivery. 3 things to do with your child today.

  1. Go to the web. Search for printable mazes. And find some that are your kid’s level. My 3 year old took a while to get the concept, and I had to walk him through it. Luckily there are all types. What clicked for him was “roads” that you had to drive on to get the car to the home. Without that concept, he gladly just crossed all the maze lines to the goal. Done. Easy he thought. My five year old found some interesting where you had to maze your way through but hit all the numbers in order along the way. It was neat to see them experience something for the first time, yet again. I think it expanded their brains – it’s a wide world out there.
  2. Have your children do whatever you do. I say this, even though a lot of the time we’re asking them to go play so we can make dinner, fold laundry, or finish our favorite show. I say this because even when you think what your doing has no place for kids, and will double your effort; kids love it. Today I took my kids into the crawlspace with me to work on something. Sure did double the time to get them ready, and use their headlamps, etc, etc. But they really loved it. They loved being part of it. A lot of us said we wouldn’t be slowed down by kids – well prove it – take them wherever you are going.
  3. Tell your kids - no have them repeat: I am strong, I am beautiful, I can become somebody.

Yea, make a song out of it, sing it, dance it, scream it if you have a crazy one. I think mornings are great to start them out on the right foot this way, but you do you. Have them say it with you; I am strong, I am beautiful, I can become somebody.

October 5, 2019

S5-Ep282 - A look ahead

 New! Improved! Comes in three new colors!   Ok, we’re not new and improved but I wanted to take a few minutes and talk about what we can look forward to. What episodes are coming up and what you may be able to think about, read – in your everyday news browsing, and remember. Then when we talk about it in the next month, you’ll have some input.

   In the next month I want to have a mini series on education. I want to touch on what Bill Gates has accomplished and what he’s failed at in trying to transform education.

I want to talk about morality and how the perspective of morality has completely changed over the last 50 years. – That right there is crazy in and of itself. How does right and wrong change so much, so fast? We’ll talk about it.

I have an episode titled, 57% of people identify as this. And you’ll have to check back in to see what ‘that’ is.

And I want to talk about James’ Clear’s 4 burners theory. The ideas is that you are a stove – with 4 burners. And you only have enough gas to keep 3 of those 4 going. Which 3 will you focus on?
So come back this month, develop a habit to listen, get some good ideas on parenting and let the knowledge come to you. We love to help.


And tomorrow’s episode will be our monthly series – Three things to do with your kids today.

We’re always aiming to provide actionable advice and we hope that at least one idea will spark something in you. If you have a friend or colleague who could use the help, like we could,  please share it with them. We’d really appreciate it.


October 4, 2019

S5-Ep281 - Sometimes it doesn’t go as planned

 This past week was a tough one. Only from a work perspective, luckily. But it was tough. As I say on this channel – we’re real people giving real, front line advice. What works for us, may work for you, but listen, process it, try it, and see if it works. And the benefits to “real” advice are many, but the downside is that sometimes we all run ourselves down and don’t leave much for our wife and kids?

 So what to do, what to say when you get home from work exhausted and have nothing to give?

   Well, while I was on this week’s business trip, we finally connected on facetime on Thursday or so. And my kid asked me how my day was. And I thought for a minute: Do I say it was great and placate him? Do I be honest? And I said, you know buddy, sometimes the days don’t work out like you expect them to and it doesn’t go well. And he seemed to accept that.

  Sometimes we have to deal out a little truth, but in ways they can handle, and hope that it aids to the humility that we’re hoping to teach.

  Keeping the advice short today: Sometimes there are times when the house is a wreck, the husband is gone for the week, and we’re tired as hell. All I can say is keep trying. Do the best you can.

We hang on in these times when it’s rough seas. And when the seas calm down, we work on becoming better people, make ourselves into a better vessel. Because better vessels handle rougher seas better too.

  And as I was leaving the hospital I was working at this past week, a medical helicopter was coming in. And I said, as I often do when I see medical helicopters. “Yup, that person is having a worse day than me.” Keep perspective. Keep trying.  

October 3, 2019

S5-Ep280 - P7) The right journey is the destination

From http://www.marcandangel.com/2017/05/07/sharing-these-20-truths-with-your-child-could-change-their-life/

 Day 7 in the platitude series. We’ve done it a week now. I like these platitudes because they cross the line. They cross the line between being fluffy and being meaningful. They cross the line between being about improving us as parents, and improving our kids as well. So listen and decide for yourself.

 Todays’s topic is that age old mantra – it’s not about the destination but the journey. And I know they’re right. I just have trouble following that advice, being a very goal driven person.  Here’s what the article, (I’ll link it in the show notes” has to say:

   The right journey is the destination. – The most prolific and beneficial experience is not in actually achieving something you want, but in seeking it.  It’s the journey towards an endless horizon that matters – goals that move forward with you as you chase them.  It’s all about meaningful pursuits – the “moving” – and what you learn along the way.  Truly, the most important reason for moving from one place to another is to see what’s in between.  In between is where passions are realized, love is found, strength is gained, and memories are made.  You can’t get any of that without firsthand living.  In other words, the right journey is the destination.  Remember this truth, live by it… set an example for your child.


I think one of the easiest things to do to reinforce this is to go on vacation. Now I’m not advocating you take a vacation for our sake. If I could have that kind of sway, I’d be promoting some high end resort and getting a nice kickback! But there will be things you do as a family this spring or summer. And those are the perfect times to ask your kids if they know why we are going somewhere? It might be interesting to hear the answers! I can just hear some of your kids repeating back to you some of the highlights that you’ve been imagining. But after the vacation is over, I’m willing to bet that the memories aren’t of what you expected. The lesson to reinforce here isn’t that you’re sole focus is on witnessing that Cinderella castle, but on the adventure we all experience in getting there.

October 2, 2019

S5-Ep279 - P6) The lifelong pursuit of happiness is about finding

From http://www.marcandangel.com/2017/05/07/sharing-these-20-truths-with-your-child-could-change-their-life/

 Day 6 in the platitude series. I like these platitudes because they cross the line. They cross the line between being fluffy and being meaningful. They cross the line between being about improving us as parents, and improving our kids as well. So listen and decide for yourself.

 Today we talk about another topic that is out of reach for half of the adults out there. Happiness. So if adults can’t conquer this, how are kids supposed to? Well I didn’t say we guarantee success here, I just asked everyone to try. 

   The article I mention sayd, “Pursuing happiness is not at all the same as feeling happy, which is a fleeting emotion dependent on momentary circumstances.  This is something that tends to confuse us when we’re young.  Happy moments feel great and are often fun-filled – if the sun is shining, by all means we should bask in it.  But happy moments always pass, because time passes.  The lifelong pursuit of happiness, on the other hand, is far more elusive; it’s not based on a particular momentary circumstance.  What you are really pursuing is meaning – living a meaningful life.  It starts with your “why.”  (Why are you doing what you’re doing every day?)  When your “why” has significance, you are living your life on your own terms, which makes the inevitable obstacles that arise on your path that much easier and more fulfilling to overcome.  In essence, you are putting forth effort and pushing forward because doing so brings meaning into your life.  (Do your best to help your child find their “why,” and let them know that it’s OK if it changes over time.)”


Now finding a kid’s “Why” sounds very fraught with problems to me. What if I get it wrong, what if it’s a bad “why”.  But the research I see out there says we all have a deep down “why” and it’s generally formed by the time we’re teens. This means I only have 10 years to find and help my kid here. And while there are dissertations written on child development, I would say to keep focusing on (for example) how your kids felt while playing sports, and not the score of the game. Focus on the effort, and not the outcome, and your kids will naturally find a path that satisfies their goals.

October 1, 2019

S5-Ep278 - P5) Ohmmmm - Reflection

From http://www.marcandangel.com/2017/05/07/sharing-these-20-truths-with-your-child-could-change-their-life/

  Day 5 in the platitude series. I like these platitudes because they cross the line. They cross the line between being fluffy and being meaningful. They cross the line between being about improving us as parents, and improving our kids as well. So listen and decide for yourself.

  Today we talk about gratitude. I’ll try to keep it light here and not dive too deep into meditation and all.

    But in the article I’ve linked in the show notes, They “discuss the powerful benefits of keeping a gratitude journal.  And the really good news is it works for children too.  In one example, Dr. Robert Emmons, of UC Davis, asked teenage students to keep a gratitude journal – over ten weeks, the young undergrads listed five things that had happened in the past week which they were grateful for.  The results were astoundingly powerful – the students who kept the gratitude journal were up to 25% happier, more optimistic about their future, and got sick less often during the controlled study.  They even got more exercise than usual.  The bottom line is that children who keep a gratitude journal are statistically happier, more optimistic, and healthier.  As soon as your child is old enough, help them start one.”


And at this age, maybe we don’t have them journal. I mean my kids’ rainbows are still a bit squiggly, let alone letters. But we can ask. We can lead by example.
One way to lead by example is to startup a conversation with your significant other over dinner tonight. Just you and them. As if your kid isn’t there. And ask each other what you’re grateful for. And there’s probably a 50/50 chance that your kid jumps into the conversation.
One way to ask your child, not at the dining table, is to ask them what they can’t live without. What would you be sad about if it left the house. And when they say, “I’d be sad if the dog left” then you can say, “yes, I’m grateful that we have a dog too, and we should treat her well to show her we’re grateful”.

September 30, 2019

S5-Ep277 - P4) Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference

From http://www.marcandangel.com/2017/05/07/sharing-these-20-truths-with-your-child-could-change-their-life/


 Day 4 in the platitude series. I like these platitudes because they cross the line. They cross the line between being fluffy and being meaningful. They cross the line between being about improving us as parents, and improving our kids as well. So listen and decide for yourself.

 Today’s episode is on attitude. That totally human, thing, that we have trouble controlling, but often makes the difference no matter the situation we’re presented with. When  you say the word attitude and then say your child’s name: You think of a pernicious kid, or a cherub child, or something. But something comes to mind – attitudes are defining. And therefore important.

                Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference. – If you want to be effective in life, you can’t base your attitude on how things are.  Instead, you have to choose your attitude so it supports and expresses the way you wish to be.  It’s not about expecting the best to always happen, but instead accepting whatever happens and then making the very best of it.  Truly, most of our long-tern frustration and stress comes from the way we respond and react to circumstances, not the circumstances themselves.  Learn to adjust your attitude, and all that extra frustration and stress is gone.  Practice this in your own life, so your child can witness the results firsthand.


There are times when our kids head off to a normal day of kindergarten or 1st or 2nd grade, and are a little hesitant to leave their parent’s side. One strategy is to say, “You are brave, and whatever happens today, I believe you can handle it.”   This works because it’s “accepting whatever happens and then making the very best of it." And it reinforces their belief that they are brave and they can handle it – all because we told them that they could. In that moment, that’s the story they’re building inside their heads. And that’s the way to do it. Teach a man to fish, you know.
OK, that’s it for today, we really appreciate you listening, we totally hope we’re helping, and it’s no fun to go at this alone, so share this podcast with a friend and discuss it over a long text message session.

September 29, 2019

S5-Ep276 - P3) The biggest disappointments in life are…

From http://www.marcandangel.com/2017/05/07/sharing-these-20-truths-with-your-child-could-change-their-life/


 Day 3 in the platitude series. I like these platitudes because they cross the line. They cross the line between being fluffy and being meaningful. They cross the line between being about improving us as parents, and improving our kids as well. So listen and decide for yourself.

 Todays lesson is on misplaced expectations, and I think this is important because life doesn’t get easier as we get better. So learning to live with disappointments is important.

The biggest disappointments in life are often the result of misplaced expectations. – When we are really young our expectations are few, but as we age our expectations tend to balloon with each passing year.  The key is to help your child understand that tempering unrealistic expectations of how something “should be” can greatly reduce unnecessary stress and frustration.  With a positive attitude and an open mind, we often find that life isn’t necessarily any easier or harder than we thought it was going to be; it’s just that “the easy” and “the hard” aren’t exactly the way we had anticipated, and don’t always occur when we expect them to.  This isn’t a bad thing – it makes life interesting, if we’re willing to see it that way.


And I think back to a lesson from one of the world’s best investors, and he said this about his own life, “When I did it better, the struggle never became easier”. And I think that’s important to realize. This is a guy who has mastered Wall Streeet – after a big blunder or two, and who we would think of as successful. And even he doesn’t have a carefree life.

In conclusion, this one is hard. How do we impart the wearisome knowledge that life is continuously hard but to keep their chin up? I’m not so sure, but when things go wrong for them, acknowledge that while what they expected to happen, didn’t – that life often times provides a window to open when a door gets shut.

September 28, 2019

S5-Ep275 - P2) Everything is hard before it’s easy

From http://www.marcandangel.com/2017/05/07/sharing-these-20-truths-with-your-child-could-change-their-life/

   Day 2 in the platitude series. I like these platitudes because they cross the line. They cross the line between being fluffy and being meaningful. They cross the line between being about improving us as parents, and improving our kids as well. So listen and decide for yourself.

Here’s today's:

Everything is hard before it’s easy, and we get stronger as we go. – One of the best things you can do for your child as they grow is to let go and allow them to do things for themselves, allow them to be strong and responsible, allow them the freedom to experience things on their own terms, allow them to take the bus or the train and learn from life firsthand – allow them to be better people, allow them to believe more in themselves and do more by themselves.  Journeying through life on your own two feet is a learning process – you become stronger as you go.  It’s like a little girl who struggles to find her way home from school without her parent’s help – doing it the first few times is daunting and scary, but in the long run she’s safer and better off having learned the way.

 And for me, it’s a constant game of pulling back my hand from reaching in and helping. Like literally, reaching in.

   An additional benefit for kids is confidence on top of this. That’s what they don’t mention. Kids who do, are confident.

 And the benefit for us is a more relaxed lifestyle. A life where kids get themselves ready in the morning and we don’t have to do all of our things, and theirs. But there’s something hidden in the back of our heads as parents too that’s fighting against this transformation. And that is, ‘we like to help our children, and we want them to be dependent on us’. It’s something that’s not often talked about. A sort of taboo. But honesty is the best policy and asking yourself, ‘to what degree do I like my children dependent on me?’ is a great place to start. Everyone has a varying level of this, so don’t feel ashamed. Just try to answer honestly. Remember – everything is hard before it’s easy.


September 27, 2019

S5-Ep274 - P1) Learning how to think is far more useful than what

From http://www.marcandangel.com/2017/05/07/sharing-these-20-truths-with-your-child-could-change-their-life/


Welcome, I’m your host Matt

 Over the next few days I am going to take on a few phrases that may seem like platitudes. So I’m calling this the “platitude series”. I like these platitudes because they cross the line. They cross the line between being fluffy and being meaningful. They cross the line between being about improving us as parents, and improving our kids as well. So listen and decide for yourself. Decide if they are something you already do and can improve upon. Decide if they are a missing link in you or your best friend’s parenting styles. And talk with your friends about them. Better yet, share this with your friends, we’d love to spread our mission of helping parents create a better world through their children.

 Todays platitude is “Learning how to think is far more useful than what to think.”

Here’s an excerpt from a parenting article. (Link in the show notes).  

Learning how to think is far more useful than learning what to think. – A big part of your life is a direct result of the decisions you make; if you don’t like your life for some reason, it’s time to start making changes and better decisions.  And the same is true for all of us, including our children.  It’s crucial that our children gradually grow to understand that THEY must learn to make good decisions for themselves, without us.  Parents can only guide by example and put their offspring on the right path, but the final forming of a person’s character and life story lies in their own hands.  You can walk beside your child most of the time, but not in their shoes.  And someday, when you’re not around, they’ll come to a fork in the road that forces them to think for themselves.  Which is why it’s important to teach your child how to think, not what to think.  (The remaining points in this series will help you do just that.)

So the question to me is ‘are you becoming the type of parent that will allow this to happen?” I see people who are blindly charging into the parenting jungle. All full of gusto, good intent, and a lot of bravery. I respect all of those qualities. But charging into the jungle without a map is a poor idea even if you’re as big as the Rock and and brave and collected as Sullenberger. The end point will be letting go, and letting your child make decisions for themselves.

September 26, 2019

S5-Ep273 - Don’t tell them they can be anything they want


 According a survey of 400 teenagers, conducted by market research agency C+R Research, young Americans … aspire to be musicians, athletes, or video game designers, even though these kinds of jobs only comprise 1 percent of American occupations. In reality, jobs in health care or in construction trades may be golden in future decades.

Now, 400 teenagers isn’t really a big study, so the first lesson here is to take these things with a grain of salt, but I have heard of other studies which point to “millennials” very much wanting to be Instagram famous versus anything else. There is a troublesome ethos in there of wanting to be famous for nothing. (cough – Kardashians). You may not want to believe it, but previous generations grew up protesting unjust wars or civil rights abuses. This generation grew up watching the Kardashians make sex tapes. Now I’m a big believer in this generation of millennials who focus on teamwork, have a for the greater good ethic, and know that we’re totally slaughtering the environment. I’m bullish on our future, but we’re not raising millennials. We’re raising the next generation and our kids will be the ones who define our legacy.

 From that’s study: 15 percent of Americans currently have office or administrative jobs, which is the largest of 22 segments of the U.S. labor force. Yet 0 percent of the surveyed teens want to do this kind of work when they grow up.

    Aspirations are good, probably best for the teen years, but you are a parent. And parents are supposed to be buzzkills. Why not drop hints that they could ALSO do well in well-paying professions in which there will be a huge shortage of workers? And there are ways outside of your profession to make yourself happier too.

As Kurt Vonnegut said, “there are lots of things worth doing that are no way to make a living. They are agreeable ways to make a more agreeable life.”

September 25, 2019

S5-Ep272 - Parent Child Chats

 Admit it, or not, but there are moment of silence when around our children. And everyone is different. Some enjoy those moments, marking the memories in their brains for recollection later. Others scramble to fill the void with frivolous banter.

 But here are two tips for chatting with your child in the most constructive manner possible, and a little memory game to round out your evening.

   To make chats more meaningful:

  • Phrase questions thoughtfully. Questions that require more than a one-word answer will lead to more informative answers. Try “What made you laugh today” rather than “How was your day”.
  • Show your paying attention. It’s easy for busy parents to respond out of habit without focusing on what youngsters are really saying. Instead, look your child in the eye. She’ll know that what she has to say, matters to you. This happened to me just last night. A full school day, a rare family dinner out at a really loud restaurant, and when we got home, my brain was fried from the noise and that whole work day ahead of it. My five year old wanted to describe his playing with a miniature skateboard to me, telling me what all the tricks were. Except he could tell I wasn’t focusing on him, and he asked me to “look at this”. . Kids want the focus. They want the eye contact. It means a lot.
  • And that memory game which may just take you into the evening without needing any tv. Well, researchers say that “working memory” is defined as “a system for temporarily storing and managing the information required to carry out complex cognitive tasks such as learning, reasoning, and comprehension”. So this is the part that’s important.
    1. Build a story chain. One person starts with a sentence like “I’m riding a ___ to the ____”. Filling in the blanks. The next person repeats the sentence saying “I’m riding a bicycle to the supermarket”, then adds his or her own sentence. Continue on until someone skips a sentence, says them out of order, or can’t remember one.


September 24, 2019

S5-Ep271 - Bigger Trips Will Come.

 I have a list of vacation ideas. Vietnam, Malaysia, Australian outback, Iceland, Rome. The Grand Canyon, Long Beach California, and many, many others. And of course, I don’t have the time or money to do such a list, but my point is that parents dreams can often be limited by our children. The phrase, “bigger trips will come” has popped up a few times over the years.

 So how do we balance this personal wanderlust with our children’s routines?

   Well, search the internet for your desired answer and you shall find it. There will be parents who work full time jobs, who happily post Instagram stories of them jetting off to Singapore and imply that you are weak if you let your kids slow you one bit. There are other parents who say you should homeschool them and spend every moment homesteading to teach your child.

The reality is in between for all of us, but I tend to believe that children younger than 6 get no real benefit from going to Iceland. And that’s sad because I want to go to Iceland!

But being an adult is limiting the voices in our head. And those voices often talk us into things that WE want to do, not what’s best for our child.

And there’s a parallel here. Yes, I wanted to get out my philosophy, (and you can agree or not, I don’t care) that young children don’t need to see the Grand Canyon, but there’s a life lesson on enjoying what’s in front of you instead of struggling to get to the edge of your vacation comfort zone.
When my men were little, like 2, I used to take them on the free city bus around town. We did this every few months, and to them, it did not get old. They liked watching the world go by just as much as seeing the awe of the Grand Canyon. And I tried to teach myself to sit back, and enjoy the ride.

September 23, 2019

S5-Ep270 - Lessons from the Tundra

  Yesterday we learned that there is a group of humans out there that spend all of their time outdoors, live off the land, and raise their children in a 180degree reversal of us. And they turn out to do just fine. They have cultural bonds that we don’t, and I can’t say if they’re happy people or not, but I am amazed that you can walk around the planet and find such different thoughts and actions to what we think of as our ‘baseline’

 So what was this lesson 2?

   Lesson 2 was storytelling. Part one was not lashing out in anger. The article says,

"Shouting, 'Think about what you just did. Go to your room!' " Jaw says. "I disagree with that. That's not how we teach our children. Instead you are just teaching children to run away."

So how can we discipline our children without showing them that we’re serious? In some ways, our culture requires our children to grow up quickly – too quickly, and while we’re justifying our actions with our children, intuit children, like all others, simply get the message – even if it’s from a silly or even downright lie of a story.

Here’s an example from the article.

“how do you teach kids to stay away from the ocean, where they could easily drown? Instead of yelling, "Don't go near the water!" They tell a special story about what's inside the water. "It's the sea monster," they says, with a giant pouch on its back just for little kids.

"If a child walks too close to the water, the monster will put you in his pouch, drag you down to the ocean and adopt you out to another family," Jaw says.

You and I sit here and say, I can’t lie to my child. That story is ridiculous, who would believe it?
A child would. But what they hear in this story is “don’t go near the water”. You said, “There’s a monster”. They heard, “Don’t go near the water”.  Kids see things differently.

So next time you have a problem with listening, use this one:

To get kids to listen to their parents, there is a story about ear wax, says film producer Myna Ishulutak.

"My parents would check inside our ears, and if there was too much wax in there, it meant we were not listening," she says.

Say it in a fun and playful voice, not a demeaning one – and your kids will get the lesson.

September 22, 2019

S5-Ep269 - Modern Migrants vs the Intuit


  I was sent an article about intuit parenting the other day. I will link the article in the show notes, available on youtube or on our website. And it was fascinating in a space alien sort of way. First, the premise of the article was that intuit parents don’t ever yell. In fact they don’t ever really get mad. “Frustration, or irritation was considered weak.”  The anthropologist goes on to say, “children are …  upset about something, and you have to figure out what it is.” And they “saw yelling at a small child as demeaning. It's as if the adult is having a tantrum; it's basically stooping to the level of the child, Briggs documented.”

This is fascinating, like watching aliens live, because it’s so radically different from the world we live in today.

 So can we, modern migrants, actually be helped by these extra-terrestrial parents?

   I say no, and yes.

First, no – we are never going to be perfect – and I actually think what the intuits are doing here is perfect. We have a lot of new listeners, thank you for joining up, so most won’t know that at the very beginning of the series, we gave you the answer; the one answer for parenting. I’ll let you go back and find it and listen, but this echos that. If I could not react, that would be great – but I’m not perfect so I can’t do it.

Well, that’s the “No”. The Yes – this can help – goes back a dozen or so episodes to talk about the 1 in 100 philosophy. Take this article as 1/100th of our parenting bible. Don’t put all our stock in it, but let us guide us. And there are a few lessons that I think can alter our parenting path toward a better future.

First- the article goes on to say that these indigenous people, have parenting classes. Which group of people would you think have a meet-up and get education and instruction on parenting? The modern millennial? Or the people who live on the tundra in tents in the summer? It’s the latter. So lesson one – try.

Lesson two – Storytelling. But before we can fully tell that story – well, enjoy some time with your little ones today, see if you can practice a moment of ‘not showing anger or yelling” and then come back for lesson two tomorrow.