How to Talk To Your Kids About Their Future

How to Talk To Your Kids About Their Future with Tom Morris, RFL15

How to Talk To Your Kids About Their Future – Episode Overview

As parents, many of us want our kids to know what they are going to do for life.  Maybe we worry that they won’t be successful or happy. Maybe we worry that without knowing they will live with us until they are in their 50s. Scary thought. We love them but our role is to groom them to go into the world and show up to it in their unique way and do the thing or things they are inspired to do and to improve our world.

So maybe we need to rethink our conversation with them from “what do you want to be in life” to “now what,” or “what’s next?”

Life is a series of “nexts” that happen as we show up present and aware of where we are in this moment. From this place, new things become available and in view. So, helping our kids talk about the future and learn to find their way requires that we help them learn how to break life into smaller more manageable pieces. Confidence increases as they focus on what’s next instead of the long view.

Attention and Intention

Each episode we talk about attention and intention. Today, our attention is on looking at our future – ours and our kids. Our intention is on rethinking it to be more flexible, resilient and creative to spot and respond to opportunities as they happen – to get good at “nexting.” Life is a series of ‘nexts.’ We zig and zag to accommodate what we know of ourselves and what is going on in our world.

Meet our guest Tom Morris

Tom Morris on how to talk to your kids about their futureI will truly say this – Tom Morris is one of the wisest people you will ever meet and is in my top 5 favorite people to spend time with. Generous with his wisdom and casual in his communication, he is the type of person you can talk about everything and nothing with and still be impressed.

Tom has become one of the most active public philosophers in the world due to his unusual ability to bring the greatest wisdom of the past into the challenges of the present. Couple this with his down-home storytelling and amazing ability to have wisdom about most everything in life, and he finds himself on the road a lot, speaking to people around the globe, including the senior talent in many of the boardrooms of the world’s largest companies.

A native of Durham, North Carolina and a Distinguished Alumnus of Durham Academy, Tom was a Morehead Scholar at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. He holds two masters degrees as well as a joint Ph.D. in both Philosophy and Religious Studies from Yale University, as well as other, honorary doctorates in recognition of his public work of bringing practical philosophy back into the cultural mix. Tom served for fifteen years as a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame.

A prolific author of over 20 books, he has just released the first book in his news fiction series. The first book, The Oasis Within, is focused in our Resources Section below.

Guest Links:

Episode’s Key Takeaways (Morris Wisdom Gems)

  1. Do something as long as you love it and you have something to contribute. If either things change, it is time to make a change.
  2. The only true security in life is living your own personal adventure – be open and ready to make a change when opportunities present themselves.
  3. The things in our lives today position us to be ready for things that are coming – for what’s next. If we are open to knowing ourselves and knowing our world, we will always see new opportunities to build our lives around what we do best.
  4. You never have to figure out what you want to do for life – you only have to figure out what you want to do next. This is called “nexting” – of watching and moving yourself to what is next.
  5. Live a series of adventures within your career – change how you add value and make a difference at work. Watch for ways to change things up to keep things interesting and exciting.
  6. The purpose of fear is to make us act, not to freeze. Fear makes us try, consider, invent and act. If it holds us back, we don’t use it well. When you feel fear, that is the signal you are getting out of your comfort zone – and that you are in something new. Use fear to push your limits.
  7. We each should always be present enough to know where we are, clear about where we want to be, and intentional enough to build a plan to move from one to the other.
  8. One-size-fits-all is not the way to look at life, opportunities, talents and abilities. We are each different, unique and our adventures and roads in life will be different and unique. Each kid will have his or her road, adventures and directions. Each requires a unique approach, unique parenting and unique support.
  9. You can’t pressure a plant to grow – it takes patience, guidance and friendly encouragement. You can pressure your kid to grow, succeed and be happy. This process needs “friendly encouragement.”
  10. Your parenting approach should change over time as your kids change. Shift from tell to ask as you need engage your kids more into the A good question is a wise tool. We can liberate our kids to find their way.

Some question for parents:

  1. How do you help your kids tune in to what they are good at and passionate about (to help them be self-aware)?
  2. How are you helping your kids see the opportunities in their world that fit their abilities and interests?
  3. What decisions do you pressure your kids to make about their futures? Assess how effective your approach is. If this isn’t working, what are others things you can try to help your kids focus on now what – on what’s next?
  4. How are you using what you know of you (your talents, passions and values), and what you know of your world, to make small recurring changes to keep your life and work interesting and improving? This is nexting.

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Stop and Notice Challenge

Each week we ask you to stop and notice – to develop your skill of tuning in to you and your world. This week’s stop and notice challenge is:

  1. Stop and Notice how you look at the future. Is it intimidating and overwhelming – or is exciting, filled with adventures and opportunities?
  2. Stop and notice how you guide, support and coach your kids to looking at their futures? How do you help them learn how to build their lives around what they do?
  3. Stop and Notice those who seem happy and content in their lives. How do they look at work and life and what lessons can you learn from their approach?

Look at your future as a series of nexts – of events and adventures you choose. Know your road and then stop and notice the opportunities on it – choose those that keep life exciting and amazing for you. Do this for you so you can then help your kids learn how to do it for themselves.


Suggest Resource – The Oasis Within By Tom Morris

The oasis withinThis is the first book of a multiple-book adventure series that combines the wisdom of Tom Morris with the adventures of Walid, a young prince. The adventures young Walid experiences share with us the wisdom of learning from our world and how to show up wisely through its challenges, obstacles and joys.

The Oasis Within introduces us to the characters that we will travel with through the remaining books, and to this profound wisdom:

“The real secret of life is to carry in your heart an oasis every day, a place of rest and refreshment within you. Then, when the sun is intense, or if storms lash out, you can have a measure of the peace of the oasis. The oasis within is always yours, if you’ll take it with you.”

By tuning in to ourselves and to some of life’s greatest wisdom, we all can stay calm, composed and unruffled by the stresses of our world. We can tune in to what matters with greater clarity and be better prepared to show up successfully to life. This is the wisdom shared in the storyline of The Oasis Within. Wise, simple, powerful and shared in an engaging story, I am excited for the release of the remaining books.

It is a great book for both parents and kids to ready together. It is a great book to share some of life’s greatest wisdom with your teens – and to talk about what they thought of it. Sometimes our kids need to learn the important things in life from others.