Don’t Do More FOR Your Kids, Do More WITH Your Kids

Face it, and the studies prove it, we overparent our kids. We tell more than ask, direct more than discuss and control more than guide. Maybe it is our scary world that makes us this way (we feel we have to keep our kids safe). Maybe we are just like our parents who were convinced they knew what was best for us that we had yet to realize. Regardless, we are creating a generation of future adults who haven’t learn to think, do and be on their own.

The more we tell, direct and control, the less opportunity our kids have to tap into their own thinking – to start to take their brains for spin to see what they came packaged with (talents, abilities, interests) and how to use it in today’s world. They get acquainted with what they are good at, passionate about and what matters to them the more they are brought into conversations and discussions about life. It is in these moments that they learn – not in the moments of hearing information delivered at them in a one-sided communication event from a parent.

We Can’t Make Our Kids Lives Easy or Great

I know we love our kids and that can’t help but show up in trying to do more FOR them – to make their lives easy and great. But no life is easy and greatness in life comes from each of us discovering who we are and living what is true for us, instead of living to the plans of a parent or another. Doing more FOR our kids doesn’t help them show up and own their lives, know how to do life and show up big to their choices. Doing more WITH our kids creates the opportunity for us to ride along more in life with them, translate what they see in our world, and ask them what their thoughts, feelings and ideas are about what they see. We turn into their coaches, guides and sounding boards. We stop managing their lives and help them to do this work for themselves.

I hear more and more parents share that they are disconnected from their kids – that getting their teens to communicate with them is a challenge. Is it a challenge because much of the time the only communication they know or anticipate from you are directions and instructions, rather than open-ended questions to engage, hear perspectives, gather information and get acquainted with who their kids really are.

Many parents feel that the more they do for their kids, the more they are loved. From my perspective, the way to really show our kids how much we love them is to engage with them – to value the moments with them – to do more WITH them.

Do More WITH Your Kids

See, the more we do more WITH our kids, the more time we spend with them. In these moments, we ask questions, share perspectives, translate the world for them, and start to see what makes them different, unique and amazing. We become their guides, helping them make sense of themselves and their world so they can someday soon, do the all-important matching of where in today’s world do they really fit.

As we make the time to be present with our kids – to do more with them – we connect with them. Couple this with learning to ask more questions and our encounters with our kids become the way we help them navigate life – to find their unique way and for them to own the process of discovering, developing and living who they really are instead of who they have been instructed to be.

Some questions for you:

  1. In your mind, what does it take to be a good parent?
  2. Look at your parenting behavior – do you do more FOR your kids, or WITH your kids?
  3. What challenge with your kids could you address by spending more interested and intentional time with them?
  4. How are you helping your kids learn to understand their world so they can work to find their place in it?

Our kids are amazing, talented and unique – and most of them have no idea about these attributes. Our time with them and our intentional questions help them discover this information about themselves – so they then can learn to build their work and lives around what they do and love best. This happens best when we do more WITH them than FOR them.

At The Top Of Your Game, With Mike Davenport – RFL004

Mike Davenport, head coach of the women’s rowing team at Washington College in Chestertown, MD, founder of Coaching Sports Today, author of 5 books and speaker, joins Jay to share his thoughts on how all of us can get to the top of our games. He shares his practical insights from 34 years of coaching, teaching and working with college students in how to own your performance and show up big to life.

At The Top Of Your Game – Episode Overview

Veteran College Rowing Coach, Mike Davenport, joins Jay for a discussion about how today’s students can get to the top of their game. With 34 years in coaching and teaching students and in guiding other coaches, Mike has great practical wisdom for all of us of how to tap into and develop our greatness, whether playing a sport, showing up in our workplace or figuring what we want to do in life.


Personal Perfomance, With Mike DavenportMike Davenport’s warm, honest and direct demeanor contributes to his success as a coach and adjunct professor. He shares what he watches in students as success habits and offers guidance to parents a a coach in how to support and encourage them. He reminds all of us that performance excellence is always our choice – we choose how we show up to sports, school, relationships, family and all of the things in our lives.

The take away messages for students and parents are:

  1. For students: Your ability to succeed comes from how tuned in you are to your abilities and your passions. You may have ability but without the passion and commitment to keep doing, or to get better, you don’t move to the top of your game. This is important as you determine which things in life are for you.
  2. For parents: Tune in and listen to your kids to know how to guide, support and coach them in life. Make space for the big events of life – to talk about things, get input from them and hold them accountable for showing up to their lives.

Check out the college

Contact Mike Davenport at:

Check out Mike’s great sites

The ‘Stop and Notice’ Challenge

This segment is about noticing your world – about stopping and noticing – about slowing down enough to intentionally see what is in front of you. Most of us don’t do this. This takes practice; this takes effort. We know that the more we practice at things, the better we become – it is the same with stopping and noticing. So, each week I’ll provide a Stop and Notice Challenge – to help you get better.

When you learn to be more intentional about what you notice, you have access to information you didn’t previously have – that information can give you greater clarity to help you make better decisions. Notice YOU. Notice YOUR WORLD. You’ll learn a lot about both.

This week we focus on what it takes to be at the top of your game – to know what helps you succeed so you can use it in every area of work, school, home and life.

Notice when you are at the top of your game in whatever area that is:

  1. What does it feel like?
  2. What did it take to get to this point?
  3. How can you use this approach to raise your game in other areas of your work, school or life?

Notice when you are playing at less than your best:

  1. What does it feel like?
  2. Why is it at a level less than your best?
  3. What would it take for you to raise your performance, even by a small amount?

Stop and notice one thing this week on purpose. Then ask the question, what is something I could do to make this better? This is how to be an opportunity hunter. This is how to discover what is in your world, and what is for you.

Notice ‘Hot Jobs’

Each week, I’ll share a job that caught my eye – a job that is growing in need and popularity. I’ll share some details about the job, like salary, education, core responsibilities and abilities needed to do the job well. You can then see whether it fits your abilities and your interests.

This week’s Hot Job:

Ready4Life Hot JobsWhite Hat Hacker/ Computer Security Expert

  • Average salary: $100K and up

A White Hat Hacker is an ethical hacker or computer security expert who specializes in penetration testing and in other applications to ensure the security and safety of an organization’s information systems, the development of unhackable software or in understanding viruses and cryptography.

As the world becomes more and more connected, systems that contain critical and sensitive data like credit card numbers, medical data, trade secrets and intellectual property, need to be protected from the intentional and unintentional hacker. This has created a new and growing field.

To become a white hat hacker or computer security expert requires study at colleges (computer science majors) or at training conferences specializing in hacking and systems security.

  • A great resource is the site for security specialist Bruce Schneier (

Besides experience and computer skills, computer security experts must be focused, methodical, analytical, creative, curious, driven, strategic, interested in solving, able to think like an attacker and interested in how things fail. Notice the specific attributes that drive success in this role.

Be sure you connect your career aspirations with things you are both good at and passionate about. Focus on what fits you. Listen to your own voice.

Suggested Resources

This week’s recommended resource is the book

True Success – A New Philosophy of Excellence by Dr. Tom Morris

True Success is a primer and a guide for everyone to learn how to determine what success means for each of us. Tom Morris, a previous philosophy professor at University of Notre Dame now business consultant to the top companies in the world, shares his 7 Cs of success – Conception (of what we want), Confidence (to see us through), Concentration (on what it takes), Consistency (in what we do), Commitment (to emotion), Character of high quality and Capacity (to enjoy)

We are given lots of signals from our world and the people in it about what success is – cars, fame, money,  degrees. The only person who can define success is you – for you. This book give you the outline of how to start – to get good at hearing and trusting your own voice – by the clarity, choices, confidence and courage for you to know what you want and the commitment to go get it.

This is a book that belongs in everyone’s library. Follow Tom Morris’  guidance and you’ll find what success – true success – means for you – and how to go get it.

And be sure to review the 12 Entry Jobs with Big Earning Potential. This is a slideshow summary on the great website.

Important Links:

  • All Groan Up – Paul Angone – Advice for surviving your 20s

Key People To Follow:

  • Tom V Morris – Philosopher, Consultant to Fortune 100 companies, wise man
  • Britt Hysen – Editor in Chief of MiLLENiAL – lifestyle and cultural magazine highlighting millennials’ contribution to today’s world.
  • SethGodin– Marketing Guru and wise blogger – constant information about showing up and doing great things at work and in life.

Download our Ready4Life Navigation Guide – it will explain how to use our  Ready4Life GPS – to connect you to the tools to know yourself, know your world so you can find your fit.

Find Your Song, Sing it Loud

What in today’s world gets your attention? What are your passions, interests and dreams? When you know these, part of the world lights up for you. This is important information – information that helps your find your place in today’s wild world.

It is up to you to determine what in life fits you. And when you find it, do it well. This is what it means to find your song – then sing your song and sing it loud.

So how do you find your song and sing it loud?

Stop and notice what gets your attention. Stop and notice what gets you excited. This is your world talking to you. Then, investigate what opportunities you find in those areas.

Here are 2 examples:

  1. Let’s say you love art. You like to spend your time creating it, seeing it, talking about it; art is for you. How can you build art into your life? What careers need your focus on art (design, creation, type of media)? Remember that organizations need designers for products, marketing, IT, facilities – there is art everywhere.
  1. Let’s say you love connecting with people. You crave social events, find great enjoyment talking to everyone and learn a lot about people when you meet them. How can you build social connections in your life? What careers need your social connection expertise? Remember that any role that connects with people such as HR, marketing, event planning, health services including rehab and physical therapy, etc – could be for you.

To find your song, stop and notice what lights up for you. Then, pay attention to the places that connect you to this passion or interest; they will allow you to connect with something that matters to you. From that place you can seek out opportunities that also align to your abilities and talents.

And when you find what matters most to you, show up big to it. After all, it’s your thing so showing up big should be easy for you.

A word of caution:

The world around you likes to tell you what your song should be. It is critical that you discover it for you to find which song is really yours. You’ll sing off key if you are busy singing someone else’s song (aka living someone else’s life).

Take the time and get the guidance to be clear about what is your song. Find it. Then sing it loud.