How to Stop Coddling the Emotions of Your Kids
Today, I have a special guest, Dr. David Murphy. David is one of the world’s leaders in working with children, young adults and families and helping them with their struggles, utilizing time management and organization. He consults with families and addresses the needs of students at all grade levels have been diagnosed with challenges like Asperger’s, non-verbal learning disabilities, social emotional disabilities, ADHD, and all types of challenges related to this time management organization.
Dr. Murphy received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Special Education from the University of Connecticut and is nearing completion of his second Master’s degree in Special Education from Southern Connecticut State University. He earned his Doctorate in Education at Northeastern University.
In our conversation, we get into all sorts of details related to the issues that are facing children, from young children through middle school, and high school. These are things that I have been personally trying to become an expert on with my family. if you have a child at any one of these stages, stay tuned because some of the things that David brings up completely rock my world and they will yours as well.
We discuss topics like, How do you not coddle the emotions of your kids?’, What does that mean with child rearing and growing kids that are emotionally resilient?’, How do you, as a parent, not be afraid of your children failing?’, and How do you underpin family values and a lot of the strategies you deploy as a parent.?’ We also go into how you unhinge limiting beliefs with kids, how you establish a thinking about your thinking; and how you develop the patterns of emotional behavior so that they can be resilient in the face of uncertainty, in the face of doubt, in the face of failure and failing? And, finally, what is the effect of the digital generation on how you help your kids navigate and help families navigate FOMO, the fear of missing out’ effect – with the phone and other digital distractions.
Dr. Murphy shares techniques, strategies and tactics of how you can deploy the right type of approaches to support your family values as it relates to this digital age and how to raise resilient, emotionally very, very strong and powerful children. I hope you enjoy this incredible interview that I had with Dr. David Murphy.
Here are some Important TakeAways from this Interview:
What are some of the big mistakes parents make today?
- Way to much attention to towards coddling the emotions. There is a visceral fear of doing anything uncomfortable.
- Parents outsource parenting. Parents work hard and come home exhausted. It’s easier to ignore than it is to engage, discuss, punish, etc. Too many fathers want to be friends with their child. They give up their role as the alpha male and therefore loose valuable opportunities to guide, mentor, and discipline.
- Parents are afraid to see their children fail. At an early age, children need to celebrate failure, celebrate risk taking, celebrate mistakes. We live in a culture that fosters perfection.
- Justifying excuses and fostering family values. Parenting is hard. Doing it right takes time and attention, and the willingness to take risks and make mistakes.
As early as we can, we need to help our children to see through limited beliefs and excuses and practice and demonstrate “family values”. In my family, my kids know that the word “can’t” is not allowed. Try to connect with them on eye level and use phrases like this to foster family values, “In this family we work together and help each other”, “In this family, we don’t give up”, “In this family we make mistakes and learn from them”.
Too many children love their excuses and turn their excuses into beliefs. “I hate to read”, “I am not a morning person”, “I hate broccoli”, “I can’t do math”, “I can’t do it”.
For parents of teenagers, how do you break through their Snowflake mindset?
Teach them to:
- Start making their own decisions.
- Stop making excuses. Get up each morning, take a cold shower, and face the fears of the day.
- Set some goals that scare you.
- Look people in the eye.
- Give firm handshakes.
- Tell their parents, “Thank you”.
- Take on the burden of greater responsibility. At the age of 4 your child can do more than you imagine. Give them the chance. Chores are the most amazing opportunity to foster grit, family values, and a strong connection to a greater self.
Parents need to know that it’s going to be okay and kids need to hear that. Just because you fail at something doesn’t mean you’re a failure!
Dr. David Murphy became attuned to the challenges many students face through his twenty years of work in the field of special education supporting the needs of students with a wide range of disabilities. He taught for more than a decade before becoming a school administrator, ultimately running private specialized schools for children with Non-Verbal Learning Disabilities, Attention Deficit Disorders, Learning Disabilities and Social Anxiety Disorders.
Dr. Murphy received his bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Special Education from the University of Connecticut. He earned a second Master’s degree in Special Education Administration from Southern Connecticut State University. He completed his studies at Northeastern University where he earned a Doctoral degree in Education.
After completing his doctorate, Dr. Murphy combined his extensive experience within schools with his advanced degree training and began consulting directly to families, students and adults. He consults with families and addresses the needs of students in all grade levels who have been diagnosed with such challenges as Asperger’s Disorder, Non-Verbal Learning Disabilities (NVLD), Social/Emotional Disabilities, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Learning Disabilities (LD) and students who simply struggle with time management and organization.
He currently lives in Duxbury, Massachusetts with his wife and two young children. He is an avid runner and loves spending time with his family and friends.
Bill Murphy: 00:00:01 Hello? And you are listening to Bill Murphy's RedZone podcast. I interview leaders who inspire me in the areas of exponential technologies, business innovation, entrepreneurship, thought leadership, enterprise IT security, neuroscience, philosophy, personal development, and more. Welcome to the show.
Welcome back to the show everyone. This is Bill Murphy, your host of the RedZone podcast. Today I have brought on to this program a special guest. This special guest is Dr. David Murphy. And David is one of the world's leaders in working with children, their families and young adults from their struggles and helping them with their struggles, with time management and organization. He consults with families and addresses the needs of students. All grade levels have been diagnosed with challenges like Asperger's, non-verbal learning disabilities, social emotional disabilities, ADHD, and all types of challenges related to this time management organization.
And we get into all sorts of details related to the issues that are facing children, young children, middle school, high school. So if you have a child at any one of these categories, stay tuned because some of the things that David brings up completely rock my world and they will yours as well. Dr. Murphy received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Special Education from UCONN, the University of Connecticut, nearing to the second Master’s degree in Special Education from Southern Connecticut State University. He completed his studies at Northeastern University where he earned his Doctorate in Education.
He currently lives in Duxbury with his wife and two kids. He is an unbelievable runner. I'm talking he can still crank out, at 40 plus years old, close to 530 miles over three miles, so he’s a very, very accomplished athlete as well. We get into a conversation about how do you not coddle the emotions of kids? What does that mean with child rearing, and growing kids that are emotionally resilient? How do you, as a parent, not be afraid of your children failing? We talked about how you underpin family values and a lot of the strategies you deploy as a parent. We also go into how you unhinge limiting beliefs with kids; how you establish a thinking about your thinking; how you develop the patterns of emotional behavior so that they can be resilient in the face of uncertainty, in the face of doubt, in the face of failure and failing.
Also FOMO, fear of missing out. The effect of the digital generation on how you help your kids navigate and help families navigate the ‘fear of missing out effect’ with the phone and other digital distractions that I have been personally really trying to become an expert in with my family. But from David's perspective, Dr. Murphy shares techniques and strategies and tactics of how you can deploy the right type of approaches to support your family values as it relates to this digital age and raising resilient, emotionally very, very strong and powerful children. So with this, I want to welcome you to listening to this incredible interview that I had with Dr. David Murphy. Thank you.
Well, David, I want to welcome you to the show today.
David Murphy: 00:03:50 Thanks for having me.
Bill Murphy: 00:03:52 This is a very unique episode for today, because I am bringing my brother, Dr. David Murphy onto the show. So, I want you to tell everybody, David, a little bit about ... Let's go back to more from the beginning. Tell me what you currently do today, and then how did you get to that point?
David Murphy: 00:04:15 What I do today ... I'm an educator. I am a special education teacher at a high school level. I do that during the day. When I'm not in the classroom, I am a business owner. I run a successful coaching practice that targets academic coaching, executive function coaching, life coaching, and college coaching as it relates to students and adults. So, we target skills, and we help our clients reach their goals. I really wear two hats, two professional hats, and I really carved out a life for myself that's really exactly what I want to do. I wake up every morning really blessed by the fact that not only does my life not suck but I'm doing exactly what I want to be doing.
Bill Murphy: 00:05:07 I know you are doing exactly what you want to do, and I'm going to go a little off script right now, but for all of you listening RedZone was founded 18 years ago. 18 years ago. David, you were involved pretty much in the beginning of RedZone, and I want to know was there any behaviors you learned in the launching of RedZone that you deployed in the launching of your own consulting business?
David Murphy: 00:05:32 Absolutely. First of all, I think anybody listening will laugh when you say you have to have jobs that suck so that you can figure out really what you want to do in life. So, I think that's a rite of passage to have jobs that suck because you have to cross of certain things off of your list until you start to narrow down maybe something that you're good at. I found out through a lot of trial and error, one was working for my brother Bill, that I got ... It was a very exciting opportunity to work for my brother and to help his business, which he desperately needed my help. Just kidding. But to really find out that I just ... It was a career path that definitely did not match my strengths, my passions, or my interests.
Bill Murphy: 00:06:16 Okay. So, that maps to my second part of my question, which is ... Okay, so we know what you're doing right now, and we're going to get into that much more deeply, but how did you get to the point that you're right now a doctor providing these services to parents and their children? What did this launch actually ... What age do you think that this began, and what did you overcome to get to where you are right now?
David Murphy: 00:06:42 Yes. . I'll see if I can capture this story quickly, but, you know, I was born having to struggle to learn. From a young age, I had to grind out those fourth grade spelling quizzes. I would spend hours at night studying for those quizzes and walk in, take the quizzes, and soon after go right back to being a really crappy speller. But I developed through really my own growth a perspective around what it takes to learn.
In high school, senior year in high school, I went to an all-boys Jesuit school, we had to do community service. I ended up working in a special needs school. From there, I started to realize that I was phenomenal at connecting with kids. I started to pursue that in college.
From there, I went into the inner cities, teaching inner city students. That's something called at-risk youth. And started to realize that I was really good at it. I had extreme patience, but more importantly I could really connect with the kids that no one else has ever been able to connect with. And I could help them learn.
That's really where I found myself, I don't know, just flourishing, and moving into administration and going from there into pursuing my doctorate eventually, realizing I might as well go to the top of the ladder. I did believe that as a Special Education teacher - I would never be a poor teacher, but I would always pursue financial prosperity in my vocation as a teacher. That is why anybody that knows me knows that I'm kind of relentless in my pursuit of not only my passion but the financial benefits that come with it.
Bill Murphy: 00:08:28 Well, for sure, David, you've been an entrepreneur from the get-go, and I think that's why, even though I'm the oldest of eight, it's something that I appreciate a lot about you in hearing about your journey. I think one of the things from my audience is that everybody here has children, for the most part, or they're planning to have children. I think everyone knows that primary development and most important development is zero to seven years, zero to eight years. So, I want to hit that time frame really clearly, because you mentioned that you struggled early on with learning. Back then, we didn't really know, did we? We didn't really know if someone was struggling. All of the tools we have at our disposal today, what can parents do if they notice something going on with their children today?
David Murphy: 00:09:16 As you can imagine, I am surrounded by extremely conscientious parents. I don't get a phone call from a parent that's not conscientious. But when I think back to my childhood, I struggled with dyslexia. I struggled with language-based disability. I had some pretty glaring issues. So, it was real easy for the professionals around me to say, "Whoa, this kid has a kind of a different profile, learns differently. We should get him services." So, I was fortunate.
I was thrown into kind of the service delivery model at a young age, but there are so many kids that fall through the cracks because they're bright enough. They're capable enough. They are good learners, but there are other issues that persist, and parents see it. Sometimes they mask it, so the school doesn't see it. So, the school just carries on, and the parents carry on because the parents have taken on the burden of maybe compensating for their child's challenges so that they look good on paper and they look good to this classroom teacher. That becomes significant.
So, at a young age, I would say the first thing you should do is if there are issues, whether they're academic, social, emotional, is to make sure everybody knows and everybody sees the challenges. Sometimes that means you have to pull back a little bit as a parent. You have to say, "I need to let my kid fail here so that this school understands the significance of the gaps or the significance of the challenges." That's hard for any parent to do is to let their kid fail, but if you do it thoughtfully and you do it deliberately and you do it with a high level of communication, then it becomes more supportive than detrimental.
Bill Murphy: 00:11:00 We are in a very comfortable environment for raising kids in the Western culture, and certainly even the poorest of the United States are in the top 1% of the world. I know you're in a town that is probably in the top 1/10 of 1%. What do you find that mistakes parents ... I think generally most of our listeners are in comfortable communities. We're not on the edge of survival. The kids are growing up just comfortable. How do you establish some amount of resilience and grit in kids? What's been your experience, and what are some approaches you take?
David Murphy: 00:11:37 The one universal theme is this struggle with emotional dysregulation or emotional regulation. So many young kids are raised with an intense relationship with how they feel because they are parented that way. So, we coddle the emotions of our children at a very young age. For example, we eat what we like. That's an emotional relationship with food. At a young age, I would say it's really helpful to get away from that discussion around what do you like, what food do you like to eat.
At a very young age, if you can train your child--and this is really primitive--to learn how to eat food that may not taste good but is good, you can start to use that as just one small little example, but it's multiple times a day, this relationship around emotional strength. We do things out of because they are meaningful. We don't have to do things just because it feels good. I pursue my goals, and sometimes in my pursuit of my goals I have to do things that don't feel great.
Bill Murphy: 00:12:56 Yes. That's so important.
David Murphy: 00:12:57 In doing that, I can only climb that kind of hurdle if I have prerequisite skills around emotional regulation, around recognizing that this doesn't feel good. I'm really good now, because my parents have raised me to be tolerant of that emotional feeling, that, oh, this doesn't feel good, but I can still blaze through it because I've been trained through either language or practice or even having parents that are just amazing role models. A lot of our kids, they watch us, and they watch us struggle, and they watch us talk about our struggles. They watch us persevere, and they watch us talk about persevering. I think that can also play out significantly well as you watch your kid struggle, but eventually they start to realize that I can be just like my mom or dad.
Bill Murphy: 00:13:42 It's interesting you say that, and I want to make sure I understand about food, because personally, my kids, as you know, are 16 ... sorry, 18, 16 and soon to be 14. And I watch their eating habits now and I can tell I just really screwed up. I mean I got a lot of things right, but I screwed up in the eating side because it was more about what they liked about food. And instead of me just laying out really great dishes, whether or not it meant something that their palate liked or not ...
Part of this is people that are too late, I'm too late right now that I can't swing the needle. I really don't think I can switch. If I had started earlier, from ages zero to eight, how could I have done it differently, David? What would have been a different way?
David Murphy: 00:14:27 Right. I use the food not as a end all be all, but it's, from a parenting perspective, you have to try to grab a hold of opportunities. So, I use that as just an example of an opportunity to allow your child the chance to struggle with the emotional dysregulation around eating what's put in front of you, because that's what we're having for dinner. This is the meal. Having to overcome that struggle around "Oh, but I don't like this," and then coming to their natural conclusion that "When I'm hungry, I'll eat. I'll almost eat anything. But I don't need to get to that point."
But it is about the training ground and the opportunity to train as opposed to just pacifying and moving on, or providing only food that your child likes as opposed to establishing certain expectations around ... In this family, we're always doing stuff that's difficult. We're always doing things that are hard, and we're always having to make decisions around doing what's important, like eating healthy versus maybe what feels good in the moment. You can use that mealtime as a family training ground, as a family expectation, family values, and make it bigger than it really is from a primitive perspective or make it bigger as in terms of this emotional regulation of things.
This is what we see as in a generation. Schools now are promoting this thing called SEL, social emotional learning. They are putting down pens and paper. They are putting down textbooks to promote social emotional learning. This is happening in middle schools, in high schools, across the country. It's this massive initiative. Now, if I were to have prevented this, I would have gone all the way back to when these children were one, two, three, four, five, six, and seven, and I would have worked deliberately with parents on training children to handle the emotions of life through expectations and doing that at a really young age, because that's what just ... That's what you build on. Expectations never go away. Standards don't go away. You build on them.
The resilience of being able to handle the expectations is built at a really young age. You can't just throw the kid into something at 16. You think about how many kids don't work at a young age, and I think work provides a training ground for resilience and affirmation of my independence in this planet. A lot of children, we push them into other activities or no activities. I think as a generation, as parents in this generation, you should always be asking, "How do I continue to develop my child's place in this planet so that they are affirming themselves in their developmental milestones in life?" The license is now outdated but still relevant, and so the certain milestones that my children should be achieving.
As a generation, as parents in this generation, you should always be asking, ‘how do I continue to develop my child's place in this planet so that they are affirming themselves in their developmental milestones in life’? There are certain milestones that my children should be achieving. Chores, at a young age. You throw your child 15 chores at the age of five, and you set the expectation that they handle the emotion of doing that. I don't care if it's emptying the dishwasher. I don't care if it's taking the dog out. I don't care if it's walking around the yard and picking up dog crap. But you set that bar.
Bill Murphy: 00:17:47 I love that. I love the way you frame something. I love the way you use language with the emotional element. I'm not even using it right. I have listened to it. I think it's true, but it's seems difficult.
David Murphy: 00:17:59 Bill, let me add to it. Then your child comes back to you and says, "I hate this chore." I say, "Great! I love that this is pushing you, and I love that you're still willing ... You're still going to take care of it, because you know in this family we always do things that are hard. Even though it may feel hard and even though we want to run away from it, we understand the value of it because you're part of this family, and we take care of each other. So, you let me know if you need help, but I think you can handle this on your own," as you give your five-year-old six poop bags and a bucket to go around and pick up all the crap in the yard. But, again, it's not about a chore. You can make it so much more meaningful.
Bill Murphy: 00:18:41 Well, I love the way you tie it to family, David. You said basically, this is what we do in the family. This is what the Murphy family does. You're bringing me back to a time, maybe five years ago where one of my kids was having an issue and I had to make a global family decision, but it was really only one child that was impacted. I had to say, this is what we as Murphys do. It was much better than just singling out that one behavior pattern. I love the way you've done this just with teaching the kids with chores.
David Murphy: 00:19:11 Yes. We outsource a lot, Bill, as a generation. And you know this. You've talked about establishing family breakfasts, but it's really hard to claim the time to work on that family aspect of things. We've come to a place where we outsource a lot. I think this is one thing that this next generation needs - to become more vigilant and so that these children are connecting viscerally to the values of a family.
Bill Murphy: 00:19:45 , I've got a question about that, because you and I have talked a little bit about this before. I'm going to make sort of a statement that we didn't talk about, but we'll build upon it. I truly believe that much of culture right now is trying to de-masculinize the role of the father because it's uncomfortable with the alpha male approach to child-rearing, at least from a society level. So, tell me what you think the impact is of males raising kids from this type of culture. Can you give me some of your thoughts on that?
David Murphy: 00:20:14 Yes, absolutely. We just talked about this the other day. Not you and I, but ... I have a four-year-old son, so for everyone listening, I'm in the weeds. I have to look my son in the face and say, "I'm going to teach you how to be a man. I'm not going to teach you how to be less of a man." When you think about ... I'm a teacher, so I see how education promotes a passive behavior that has historically been more aligned with female-like behaviors. That's why females crush academics. They crush school because it's more naturally aligned with their innate abilities or innate personalities. Boys, on the other hand, have had to conform to a far greater struggle. So, then that's one significant roadblock.
But for men and for dads, you have to help your son learn what it's like to be a man. We've taken away so much of what men needed, like responsibilities that were far beyond themselves, and now they really don't know what to rest their hat on. They don't know what their identities are anymore. So, they get somewhat lost. They stop engaging because there's really no fire. There's no drive to fulfill a societal role.
Bill Murphy: 00:21:36 I love that.
David Murphy: 00:21:37 This isn't a criticism; it just is what it is. This is a byproduct of the movement to empower women, which has been amazing. I have a daughter that's 10, and she is the beneficiary of that. Then, there's this other side where no one's addressing the men. So, the male tendency may be to just become passive without that fire, without that societal expectation driven into them that this is what a man looks like, this is how a man behaves. This passive engagement that I see across most men ... I mean, if they're not on the hockey field, if they're not on the lacrosse field, they're passive in their engagement.
Bill Murphy: 00:22:23 Well, it's not only are you not ... Just even the conversation we're having gets people riled up. So, for example, I read a book called, Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know, that was a huge-
David Murphy: 00:22:29 Great book. Great book. I give that as gifts, Bill, for new dads.
Bill Murphy: 00:22:36 I might have screwed some things up, but I got a lot right. I read a lot of the literature on raising daughters and Strong Father, Strong Daughter was a complete license to be a man and to be a father. That the females, my daughters, really needed me not to be feminine, but needed me to use my male natural instincts. It taught me to lean into my natural instincts. Fortunately, I had a good counterbalance in the family with a strong feminine role model in my wife, and she allowed me my role. So, it was a great give and take. I love this conversation because it's so necessary.
David Murphy: 00:23:17 It is. I'm not sure if I'm giving the examples or what to do to the audience out there, because it is a very broad stroke kind of topic. However, if I think about my four-year-old son, well, when he has temper tantrums like a boy would, how do you address these matters? So, whether it's the physicality of a child ... Well, do you squelch the innate desire to wrestle and hit and fight and be loud, or do you help shape it? Do you role model it, or do you squelch it, do you punish it; because it isn't passive enough, it isn't behaviors of an appropriate student? I think that's where, as a young man, they have to know that male-like behaviors are okay. How you shape it, how you use those behaviors, to create and to shape worlds and to accomplish goals and to provide and to take care of and to defend, you just use all of that. Use it all.
Bill Murphy: 00:24:45 What's interesting is that ... What do you think about the statement "Kids don't care what they say; they care what you do"? Again, we didn't talk about this, but what happens, do you find ... I think it's almost ... We talked about this a little bit. It's as if you have the zero to eight, and then you sort of have the like 13 to 18. I'm sitting here going, well, there's almost like two audiences. Those years are done, zero to eight, zero to 10. I'm in the back end. What do I do here? But I'm actually, just generally speaking, in how many of the kids do you see the effect of the parents spouting, "Here's what you should do", but they don't actually walk the walk?
David Murphy: 00:25:23 As boys get older, the burdens should be placed on the child – according to what is typical and what's developmentally appropriate so that they are learning how to bear the burdens of a being young man. Now, we think academics. No, I don't give a shit about academics. I care about raising men. Now, what are the burdens, responsibilities?
To keep with the family story that we've been weaving throughout this talk, what are the developmental burdens that that a young man should take on, and how do they own them, claim them, and affirm his place in the family with them? It's so important. You know what they end up doing? They will find their social media tribe, and they'll start to identify with that. You just see it ... I see it all the time.
Bill Murphy: 00:26:19 So, I have a story that you can maybe help me out. Obviously you know my son, your nephew, and know that he's a high performer. He's in AP and Honors for most of his classes. He self-selected into them this year as a junior, and now the rubber meets the road. We're a couple weeks into the school year, and he starts spouting, "What's the relevance of school? I don't use any of this stuff. I'm not going to use any of it in the future."
I've always been of the thinking that, when my kids were young like yours, David, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, I wasn’t actually not raising a 4-, 5-, 6-, 7-, 8-, 10-year-old. I was raising a kid that's 10 years older, so parenting from a 10-years later perspective. With my son now, I'm sitting here going, well, he's at a divide, at a point where he’s thinking, ‘What's the relevance for this material?” Because it's really about the grit, and does he grind through stuff that he hates or doesn't like or doesn't see the relevance of? How do you coach kids through it?
He doesn't have necessarily and issue, David, but I know you're seeing kids that are sort of on the ... They're really struggling. What would you say to a child like that?
David Murphy: 00:27:23 Well, you know, if you were to go back to the younger children, if you were to say, developmentally, let's go through different ages or categories of life development. For younger kids, if you are always talking about their goals, your goals, the future of things - if you're always trying to paint a picture of what life can look like, or what life should be, then you can train the brain or train the emotions to align with the habits that create those goals. You can start talking about it at a young age. Like you mentioned, children watch their parents and they listen to their parents. So, we can be amazing role models, and they may not demonstrate our role-modeling until years go by. But it is extremely powerful.
But for children with or without disabilities, the goals of life matter. When we have disengaged youth, it becomes far more important that we try to help those children, young adults, affirm their place on this planet, right? Because when they start to do that, they start to find their identity. They start to find their calling. They start to find their mission, their purpose, their drive, and they start to figure out what they're good at, what they're not good at.
When you think about your son, for example, he selected into these hard courses, which is rare. Most kids get put into them by their parents - it's just the way things have been. But to select into them is a testament to him. Now, he just has to figure out how to pull it off. Obviously what the expectation is, ‘no’, you're not dropping. You'll figure it out, and I believe you will, because I've seen you do it time and time again, and you always come out on the other side with the results that you're looking for.
Bill Murphy: 00:29:13 This is going to be funny, because you know the way I approach this. So, you'll be like, "Oh, there goes Bill again," but for my audience this is going to be brand new for them. I said to my son, "Well, you could drop out." I mean, of course, he's going to a private school, he's not going to drop out. Then he smiled at me, I was like, "You could drop out.", "You could go work at Walmart." I said, "They don't care whether or not you're studying British literature, and you can make $10 an hour." Then I said, "Or you could go be a plumber or an electrician. You can be an apprentice and start that right now." I said, "And I don't have to pay for college or anything. You could be making more money over the next four years than the kids coming out with debt and all sorts of issues coming out of college, and making the same money and even way beyond them. I said, "Or you can go start a business. Right now, all this is meaningless, and you could start a business." I said, "But if you're not going to actually go out and start mowing lawns and have that real gear right now. Then entrepreneurship or doing something entrepreneurial is hard. So, that's off the table. Unless you really want to go down the vocational route, and there's nothing wrong with that. It's a great option."
So, I kind of worked through all these decision points that he's fully in control of, and I told him ... I said, "I don't care if you go to college." I said, "But you better have another path." I said, "You better either be an entrepreneur or go in the Peace Corps or do something that is going to be a learning pathway." I don't know.
David Murphy: 00:30:36 Yes, what you're saying, for your audience listening to you - here's a takeaway that I will frame out for everyone - what you've done is you've simply given your child control or his life. You've framed out the reality that they are where they are but there's all these other choices. It's sometimes comforting to know that I have other choices in life.
Now, no option is not an option, like you said. I can't just choose nothing. Like, a lot of kids will ... They just won't pick anything, so therefore by default they've picked nothing. That's that passive, disengaged personality that many parents are fighting against. It's the kid that moves back home after college, and you're like, "What the hell are you doing back in my house? It's been three months." So, no option is not an option, but these are your options. Pick one, or stay exactly where you are and make the absolute best of it.
But regardless of where kids are, I think kids that barely graduate high school, they're living at home, and they have to really plan for their life. Now, they're grown up. You've just decided to grow up much quicker than those kids heading off to college. Now, what do you do? Now mom and dad may still be involved. Well, mom and dad can't be involved. They have to step aside, and they have to really pull the reigns back so that child grows up quickly or else they're going to get stuck, and you're going to develop certain things like the feelings that "Now I can’t break these cycles," because you just get stuck in a permanent rut at a young age, and that's super hard. It's almost like an addiction. It's super hard to break.
So, the younger you start working on these developmental milestones and you start helping children take the burdens and affirm their place, it'll set them up so that, when they do look at you and they say "What's the purpose of school?" Well, ‘I don't know. You tell me, kid’. There are all these other options. Pick one. But if you want to stay where you are, and I know kids that go to vocational high schools and they crush it. They love it. They've found their place on the planet. It was super hard for them to leave their friends and go and do that, but making that stand at a young age… Oh, my hat’s off to them, because they are making decisions that takes strength and a fearlessness where your friends are too weak... They will never do that, because they'd rather be where they are, or something easy.
Bill Murphy: 00:33:08 Too afraid of what other people think about them.
David Murphy: 00:33:11 Right. Suffering rather than to take a leap to a vocational school and pursue something far more aligned with your innate gifts and your interests. I think we live in a generation where people are typically afraid of doing what's not typical, and we live in a generation where there's so many opportunities now outside of this brick and mortar construct of education. To allow children the freedom to look at it and explore it, whether they come back or not ... Your son could have called your bluff, in a way, but whether they come back or not, they are now making their own life decisions.
One of my most important recommendations to all parents is to force your children to make their own decisions. You may frame out the options, but thy must make the decision. Have some conviction. Stand for something. I think that's really important. To have parents that do the same and role model what it looks like is really kind of an ideal - It's a perfect scenario.
Bill Murphy: 00:34:11 So role modeling decision making, role modeling conviction, and you're saying that this is very helpful?
David Murphy: 00:34:20 It's huge. What we are battling as a parent in this generation is the distractions of social media and the online world. There is this term called FOMO, fear of missing out. From a really young age, this creates the potential of getting pulled into groups outside of the family. They're getting pulled into a place where they may potentially identify with other groups - to the point where they have such strong relationships with other groups that they start to form very different belief patterns, very different thinking. They start to see themselves as maybe more than just part of their family at too young of an age.
Bill Murphy: 00:34:58 It's interesting.
David Murphy: 00:34:58 This can happen when they're really not mentally ready. We see this when you hand a child a cellphone at the age of 9, in fourth grade. It's just too early. Fifth grade, still too early. Sixth grade, still too early. You'll hear me push the envelope all the way to ninth grade. Because what you're doing is giving them an opportunity to lose themselves when they should just be focusing on the parents, their family, and their school, and maybe a couple of good friends. Honestly you don't need more than that. You don't need more than a couple of good friends. You know why it's two good friends, Bill? Why wouldn't I say three friends? You know why just two good friends?
Bill Murphy: 00:35:37 Why do you pick the number two?
David Murphy: 00:35:39 In case one's not around. But other than that, as a society we seem to push this need for social connection at a massive scale. In doing that, our kids get so confused and distracted and lost-
Bill Murphy: 00:36:06 So, what’s one?
David Murphy: ... a good night's sleep.
Bill Murphy: One of the things I have a question for you about is something that I wouldn't say I totally screwed up, but it definitely is one of my bigger challenges. When we were growing up, we used to gather in the family room to watch anything. I mean, to watch Cheers, to watch any sort of game. You remember, you gathered around the television and watched it, or a big baseball game or whatever was happening.
David Murphy: 00:36:32 You don't want to admit that you watch The Cosby Show, Bill? You can say that.
Bill Murphy: 00:36:35 Cosby Show, oh my gosh, goes on and on. CHIPS.
David Murphy: 00:36:39 CHIPS. Friends….
Bill Murphy: 00:36:42 So, I think it was one of the things that we used to all gather. It was a forced point where you just got the chance to just sit and watch or whatever it might be. Now, the kids can get all that information streamed on a phone or an iPad, and sometimes the school iPad can still do stuff that's outside of school on it. Even though we have a rule that, if you're watching TV, you have to come down. We mean even if you're on YouTube or watching videos on Instagram, watching videos anywhere, you've got to come down to the family room. It's very difficult to police that. Certainly with technology you can certainly take a hold of it.
I have particularly found that a challenge because of the nature of they are doing their homework off and on the iPad of which ... So, the systems are on. They're getting alerts on this stuff. You had some interesting suggestions because ... And the reason I'm bringing this up is, A, four or five years ago you had some really good things to say about this, and I'm seeing that play out now with my daughter in college where she just texted us the other day, and she goes, "I now shut down all of my ... I shut down all of my electronics when I'm doing homework, and I had to sign a policy with ... Each teacher in my college has a policy they have to sign that says they will not bring a phone and have a phone turned on in their teaching environment, in the classroom."
So what can you do? What are some strategies parents can do when they're coming home late from work, kids are all over the house. They think they're doing their homework, but they're not sure if they're piping TV right down to their ... How do you handle this?
David Murphy: 00:38:16 Class. Yes. Yes. I'll give you kind of a professional answer, and then I'll tell you personally. Let me start personally. So, I'm fortunate. My internet service is so old that they don't even offer it anymore. The bandwidth that I have available in my house is so low that you can only stream one video at a time. From a bandwidth [inaudible] this is the best solution ever. My kids just get all fired up. They just can't do anything online. I was like, "Great." But that's not necessarily reality, because kids have to do work online, and they have to be able to flip into instruction. They have to be able to do academic stuff at home, and they have to be able to upload videos and do stuff that may be productive.
But you can still have, and kids love this, you just notice with your children. They will adhere to standards if their parents lead the way. So if you have time zones and locations where this is tech free time zone, this is a tech free environment where you're unplugged, kids actually appreciate that. They don't fight it if you've established the right culture in your family, they don't fight it. They'll typically embrace it specifically if the parents lead the way. You don't have to have the TV on all the time. Have it off all the time, unless there's a reason that it's a family reason to have it on. I don't know. Maybe it's news at 6 o'clock or it's the Red Sox. I'll typically have the Red Sox game on mute. And why? I don't know. I just want to have a family environment where we were appreciating local team-
Bill Murphy: 00:40:02 Appreciating the fourth place that they're finishing this year?
David Murphy: 00:40:05 Oh yeah. But even that, okay, we're failing this year, but we can still cheer them on to the bitter end. I think family should be allowed to do that, and they should be empowered to do that, and that starts with mom or dad stepping up and declaring a break in family values. And I'm losing my children, I'm losing you, I'm losing you, I'm losing you. I have yet to see your eyes. I've yet to see you smile. I've yet to ... you get to see my eyes, you get to give me a hug, all these things that don't happen. And we can just ignore because no one's in danger, right, but I think we have to make that change. It's very different than how we were raised.
And no, we don't have to sit down on a Thursday night and watch a show, but we sure can have quiet time between 7:00 and 9:00, where everybody is doing their work in a common area. I have a huge expectation with all of my families, is you find a common area where children do their work, no longer in the bedrooms. Bedrooms is the worst place. You have to have a very, very intrinsically motivated child to let them do their work in their bedroom. Teach them how to do their work at a young age in a common area and help them understand what it looks like to be a student. And that means removing all the devices, removing all the distractions, and you promote a culture in the house that allows that to happen, meaning, if your children are surrounding you doing your work, you can't be watching TV. You can't have a lot of noise going on. Promote a culture downstairs around productive library like environment, so kids can feel like they can sit around their parents and get their work done. They don't have to run to their bedroom.
Bill Murphy: 00:41:48 So don't do your homework laying down on your back in your bedroom.
David Murphy: 00:41:51 Typically, no. And usually, that's not ... Historically, it wasn't ever a big deal. But because I can find every dark corner on the planet in the comfort of my bedroom, I just have to be vigilant about that. As a parent, I have to recognize the craziness of trying to say that that's appropriate. I mean if that is appropriate, then you might as well let your kid go anywhere they want outside of your house. Just give them a car, I don't care if they're 12, and just let them go wherever they want, because it's the same thing.
Bill Murphy: 00:42:20 There was more friction around getting ... I think I was interested in the same things my son and daughters were in the sense of ... mostly my son. I was really interested in looking at cars and hot rods and looking at the newest shoes and all this. I mean I was really ... and this was without the digital age. There's always an allure with what's around the corner. I remember baseball cards and all this stuff. So there's always friction to get it. There was a comic book or something that I had to reach for, or a catalog I had to get via the mail. Now, if I was interested in the latest supreme shoes, all I have to do is just get an automatic alert sent from that company, and it's boom, it's hitting my phone. And if my phone is adjacent to me, it's a distraction.
I think that's one of the biggest things that I have been ... I'm going to say it's been a struggle, but hopefully, 10 years, 20 years from now, I can look at the effects of my parenting and it will be a success. But to me, the ability to be self aware and be able to have guard rails around things has been both the biggest challenge, and hopefully, we'll see in the future whether it pays out, whether there's guardrails to behavior that they can learn and see.
David Murphy: 00:43:33 Yeah. We're not talking like this is a crisis that parents need to just drop everything and go helicopter parenting. I think there's a truth across this generation that kids have to figure it out. They have to. They have to figure it out. Maybe it's in college, where like you're saying, Haley says she figured it out, and took years of struggle to get to where she is. But she's realizing some simple truths. I'm a far better student when I give 100% of my attention to reading and writing and thinking, right? But there are kids that will struggle for a very long time without help. And those are the ones that I work with.
Bill Murphy: 00:44:16 Okay.
David Murphy: 00:44:18 You have to get to know your child, you have to have these conversations. You can say, I will give you a chance to fail. But if you don't figure it out on your own, I'm going to step in. Because I believe that through failure is the most powerful form of feedback. So I will give you that opportunity. But I'm not a fan of insanity. I don't expect you to be making the same mistakes over and over and over again and then complain to me about the results.
Bill Murphy: 00:44:45 What's the best question to ask your teenage kid? Parents are coming home, they're coming in hot from the day at work. Kids are either there already or they're in the car coming back from sports or whatever. What's a good question to ask that doesn't fall into the pattern of like, hey, how was your day? And hey, how are you doing? What's a good engaging question that makes the kids heads snap and be like, holy crap, that was a good question?
David Murphy: 00:45:12 Yeah. If there is a concern around something, the most powerful question any parent can ask is what's up? Now, you're not framing it that way, but that was the first thing that came up as you started to ask the question is, if there is a problem that you know of, but you know your child is struggling to figure out, many parents would jump in with the solution, just tell their kid what to do. I'm not a fan of that, of course, because it doesn't teach anything. So one of the most powerful questions to ask is what's up?
Bill Murphy: 00:45:47 What's up? Okay.
David Murphy: 00:45:48 And as you ask that question, you may follow it up with, and I'm noticing you're struggling. You can finish that maybe if you need to, but maybe that kid already knows what you mean. Or you look frustrated. Or what's up? It's a way of really engaging with a teenager in a non judgment way, which lets them know that you notice something is going on, which is good, good for parent, good for children to know that parents are aware. But it really puts the child on the driver's seat around having to figure it out. Now, you can be a part of the brainstorming and the problem solving, but you're not going to solve the problem. So that's a really powerful strategy for any parent that is chronically solving their child's problems, chronically nagging, chronically in the weeds, really, the frontal lobe of their child.
Now, the first 100 times you say that, you're not going to get much. But on the 101 time, you may start to see your child really answering the question with far greater ability than when you first started. But other than that, I think if you have just a really wanting, just an ongoing, great relationship with your kids, coming home with a certain expectation around discussions around the day can be really powerful, where when you come home and your kids have a chance to come down and connect, talk about what that looks like. Talk about the expectations around just connecting with the kid, connecting on both sides. Do you want to connect with me? I mean, my daughter, she's 10th grade, so she still wants to connect with her dad. It can be framed around, what does that look like? Well, how about we get together in the kitchen and take a few minutes with a cup of chocolate milk and just connect on our day.
My four-year-old is learning right now, Bill, we're celebrating failure this year. And all year, we're just talking about ... and I said, I want to know what mistakes you made. He's coming home from preschool. What mistakes did you make today, dude? Let's talk about it. And what did you learn? And so he's learning from me at a really young age around this mindset of failure and promoting it and celebrating it and it's a part of life. So I want it to be part of our conversation. And when they get older, you can have the same conversations.
Bill Murphy: 00:48:04 Yeah. That's such a huge-
David Murphy: 00:48:05 And then they're more open about ... It's powerful.
Bill Murphy: 00:48:07 I see that as an employer 40 right now, and it's like, there's really a big difference between how the brain reinterprets setback. And if there's one thing 20 years from now, because we won't know if we're right till then, if you look back and see how my kids navigate setback, how they navigate perception of failure, how quickly can they flip mentally from, God, this sucks. My life is ruined, or the situation, I'm a permanent bad math student to, Ha, this is an opportunity. I could actually figure out a way to do ... I mean what a great skill you're teaching.
David Murphy: 00:48:48 Yeah. The other point to that, which is really cool is my four-year-old is learning this is a year to really reinforce with him that can't is a bad word. I make can't a word like any swear, and I get really animated when I hear it. And I get really jokingly serious, right, where I have these kind of explosions of temper tantrums around it. Not because I'm trying to scare my children, because they know I'm joking, but I'm over emphasizing the relationship our family has with the word can't.
Now, he's also learned ... I mean, because I noticed at a really young age he was starting to see failure as a problem. And I was like, oh man, I got to get on this right away. He didn't even want to do any competitive events because he didn't want to lose. And I was like, whoa, hold the bus. And I said, this is an opportunity. And so we just started tackling all these stories, telling him my stories. Ali started, Oh, dad did that with me when I was your age. It was so much fun. We just talk about failure all the time, and make all these mistakes. And we talk about what I learned. How did I overcome it? And so he's learning from his sister as well. But the language that I hate, it's the excuse battles. Okay. I got to teach my child how to conquer excuses. And as parents, we can get really good at pacifying excuses, even to the point where we justify their excuses.
Bill Murphy: 00:50:15 Yeah. I know. That's a never ending ... And I think the parents just have to be really resilient to this because holy crap, does it come hard and fast. I've started young with this, but even now with my 14 and 16-year-old, it's like they're ... My son just gets so aggravated. He says, what story are you telling yourself right now? What's the story? Because he thinks it's reality. And I say, what's the story you're telling yourself? And then my 13-year-old, I'm not getting the math. What are you talking about? You're straight A student. Well, let's toss a tutor at that. And all of a sudden she experiences success. And I said, I guess you're not that bad at math anymore. We just had to compensate it. It's really interesting. It's really interesting, the psychology, the holy mackerel, the impact in our society right now.
Most of the crew listening here is going to be tech oriented, leadership oriented. It's not getting any slower. And the quicker our kids get out of ruts, mental ruts, cognitive ruts, the quicker that they can just easily move from bump in the road to elevation, bump in the road, elevation, bump in the road, elevation. And the more fluid and dynamic their experience will be because life's coming at them too fast to be sunk down to low for very long.
David Murphy: 00:51:26 Yeah. Yeah. The rebound. It's not about whether or not you failed or experience setbacks. It's how quickly can you rebound? How quickly can you learn your lesson and shift and adapt? In my world, it's problem solving. So we're always talking about problem solving skills. What is that? It's a meta cognitive process of thinking, about evaluating emotions, about recognizing what is it emotion I want to respond to? I have kids that say they hate to read. Do you know what your futures like if you identify with that statement? You do not have an academic future. And these kids want to graduate high school, they want to go to college, yet they are adamant in their relationship with I hate to read.
Bill Murphy: 00:52:08 Well, David, how good of a reader were you?
David Murphy: 00:52:10 Oh, my goodness. I mean if there's one person that has every right to hate reading-
Bill Murphy: 00:52:14 You were the worst of all of us, of all eight.
David Murphy: 00:52:17 Brutal. I had to train myself by myself how to read. I had to train myself how to read. My pity party is not really big, right? But recognizing that everybody comes at learning from their own gaps, right, their own strengths or weaknesses, we can get frustrated, I can get frustrated when I see how excuses become the end or a roadblock, right, this massive border wall between the fact and fiction, perception and reality.
Bill Murphy: 00:52:52 So David, sorry to interrupt you, but I want to focus on a teenager now or a kid that is right in your high school. Parent comes to you, and let's say you do dial in on someone that has that limiter, and you can pick another one, but I'm just going to pick on the reading unless you think you have a better example. How do you approach that kid now that's certainly not malleable like your four and five and six-year-old? They sort of have a belief pattern in place? How do you unhinge, disengage, shift to more a capability mindset?
David Murphy: 00:53:23 I think part of the ongoing game is catching the excuses, right? It's the negative thought patterns. And if you can catch them, recognize them, that's step one. So most people on this planet don't recognize their own limitation because they're not aware of themselves enough, right? Like you said about Hunter, what story you're telling. Well, what excuse are you making for yourself? Oh, yeah, it is an excuse. Well, I can reframe this. Okay. Cool. Let's have fun reframing things. And seeing if it actually makes life easier, because typically it does. And by doing that, okay, let's reframe what kind of student you want to be. Well, that has to do with a future pictures. We paint future pictures of ourselves. Okay. What do I look like at 9 o'clock at night? Well, I look like a kid getting ready for bed. What do I look like as a student looking at my report card? What do I see? Right? What do I see? How do I feel? What would I want to see? And how would I want to feel?
Bill Murphy: 00:54:21 I see.
David Murphy: 00:54:21 So this starts to really connect-
Bill Murphy: 00:54:21 Yeah. You're reengaging the vision for themselves, Dave. Is that what you're saying?
David Murphy: 00:54:27 Yeah. As a young adult, it's really powerful because you're breaking any kind of codependency cycles that may play out with parents and really a learned helplessness that may be playing out like, I can't do this, I don't know. And they start to affirm who they are based on what they see, right? What do you envision for yourself? And by doing that, you can do that ... plays out for anybody. But if you do that for a young kid, it gives them a footprint and a place to stand. And it actually gives them control. What every child wants. Every young child, they want control of their life, and they want to learn how to do that. They don't want parents nagging them.
Well, what if I showed you how to get better grades? Would you like that? Yeah. What if I showed you how to get your parents off your back and you can get your cell phone back, whatever the issues are? They're like, yeah. That'd be really great. What if I showed you how to be an amazing student athlete? Not just an amazing athlete, but amazing student athlete? Would you like that? Yeah. Yeah. That'd be cool. All right. But no one ever talks about how to study. We jammed coaches down these kids throats for years, multiple sports a season where they learn how to master a sport. No one ever teaches kids how to master learning, how to master studying, how to master being a student. So they're left to figure it out. And that's powerful. Every kid is interested in that. It's just how do you frame it so that they buy in? How do you frame it so it's-
Bill Murphy: 00:55:51 I like that. I like that. That makes a lot of sense, David, mastering athletics, because that is certainly one way we're trying to develop grit with kids, but nobody's really spending time with mastery of highly productive, high performance academics and learning. That's one of the biggest things from an innovation front, David, that we run into is the ability for the old farts like me, is to unlearn. And for the new kids, how quickly can you learn, and what modality is best for you to learn in. So if you can learn super fast on video versus super fast with text. Do you run into that with kids is kind of re teaching them how to learn, but then which modality they're best suited for?
David Murphy: 00:56:29 So there is a ... Well, that plays out with reading and handwriting. So there's really a handwriting epidemic where most kids' handwriting is pretty bad. And the worst case is when you can't read your own handwriting by the time you enter high school. So you have to own that. I mean you have to own that to such a high level that you have to demand accommodations and certain resources in the room. And that plays out also with reading. So many kids don't read. I mean this generation reads significantly less than the generation before. That has a lot to do with technology and just busy schedules, other activities. They get to high school and they really are behind. The standard hasn't changed. So now they have to figure out how to catch up. So audio books become super powerful.
I have kids that will write a paper using their phone, speak to text on their way to a game. It'll end up in their inbox by the time they get home. They just edit it and they submit it. Now, who's teaching them that? No one. The proactive kid, the intrinsically motivated kid will figure that out pretty quickly, but other kids, no, no one's teaching them. And if the other kid on the bus is doing that, maybe they get ostracized by their friends. But that's a badass strategy.
Bill Murphy: 00:57:44 Yeah. It is a badass strategy. I love that. You actually told me this over the summer, you said kids' handwriting is really atrocious these days because ... I forget why you said that. But primarily I guess because they're not writing as much. Is that part of it?
David Murphy: 00:58:00 Yeah. We don't teach penmanship anymore. We give a kid a laptop and they're typing papers on a laptop at a young age. My 10-year-old is doing that right now. So what I'm watching for very diligently is her penmanship, and she will be going to summer school for penmanship if it ends up getting to the point where the fluency or the legibility is impacted. I just know enough at this point.
Bill Murphy: 00:58:24 Because that's part of the brain. Isn't that a part of the brain which synthesizes between different regions is by actually manually writing? Is that part of it?
David Murphy: 00:58:30 Yeah. I think, well, the penmanship of things, it has a lot to do with just practice, right? If I don't practice as much as I used to, so my penmanship is just stunted. It got to a point where I could spell words, right, and I could write, but then the teachers move right to technology way too early. And so I see kids graduating high school not even interested in writing. Kids don't want to write on paper anymore. They almost refuse. So when you think about other kinds of deficits that play out when I don't write things down, when I don't plan things out in a thoughtful way, you can see the impact of that play out as a young adult, as an adult. So learning penmanship at a young age has so many benefits that are going unrecognized as significant deficits for those that ... and for a generation of kids that really, we didn't put a lot of attention to penmanship. So now they have to go figure it out.
Most do. Most are getting there. But you have to recognize that. You have to recognize that this is harder, man. Your handwriting is illegible. You have to type everything, or you have to practice on your own. You have to teach yourself how to write fast and legibly. That's hard, man. You have to really want that.
Bill Murphy: 00:59:47 Hey, David, I have a question for you as we kind of come to closure here on how do you teach kids that the FOMO, the fear of missing out, and I know you know what I mean? Let me just clarify this question a little bit. How do you teach kids post 10-years-old, 12-years-old to use their technology in a way in which they can engage with a human being and have eye contact, number one, when someone is talking to them, but also they know when to shut down. And there's that urge that grips, even it grips the adults as much as it grabs the kids, it's the fear that they're missing out on something. Have you found a way to help kids self regulate that and become self aware that their urge to grab the phone is a kind of an addiction is not necessarily conducive to high performance?
David Murphy: 01:00:45 Yeah. At a young age, let me back up a little bit in terms of building blocks. The first building block is teaching kids how to read. And I don't mean reading as in reading comprehension skills. What I mean is to be able to sit for extended period of time, and that can be done at a young age. So you can help children learn what it feels like to sit and attend to something for a period of time passively, like reading, right? That skill is lost. And the consequence of that is we have kids that don't know how to sit and attend when it really matters, like upper high school, upper middle school, high school, college, right? They don't have a comfort level with that process, right? So where do you start? You start by having a culture and a family around sitting and reading. Really important, if you want to get this right. It's just the first thing you have to practice.
Now, I didn't read much as a kid. To me, it was brutally painful to read. But I did learn how to sit for periods of time because it took me forever to get through assignments and get through work. And I did everything I could to get through every assignment. Other than that kind of kid, other kids, you have to practice and you have to role model. On top of that, you have to say, okay, when do I give them control over the technology that is going to battle them with this FOMO effect? When do I give it to them? Whenever they earned the right to have it as opposed to it being a rite of passage that isn't a privilege? No, it's a privilege. It should be earned based on milestones. Because you're going to get your ass kicked by the FOMO effect if you are not ready for it. And I'm going to be the parent that's going to deal with the consequences because it's just how it plays out for a lot of these kinds of kids. So I have to be thoughtful about that. You have to have some prerequisite skills established and demonstrated to your parents before I hand you the technology-
Bill Murphy: 01:02:46 Makes sense.
David Murphy: 01:02:46 ... that is going to push that relationship and create more chaos in how you organize priorities than ever before. It's a game of priorities, man. But if I put friends and social life and FOMO higher up on the hierarchy of priorities than it should be, then I'm just going to deal with the chaos of that chronically and I won't know how to figure it out. Because I can't tell my friends I'm not available. I can't not respond to a message. Right? That's why old school is much safer to say my parents won't let me out of the house than it was to say, I don't want to go to the party, right? You save face.
But in this generation, you can't save face. You have the phone. You didn't respond. You're going to have to answer to that. So there's also the social consequence, right, versus my parents take my phone at 9 o'clock. Good night. Everybody knows that. They take my phone at 9 o'clock at night. I'm unplugged. It's just part of the relationship. I want you unplugged at 9:00. I want you decompressing. I want you chilling. I want you just doing something quiet with yourself like reading, chatting with your family, whatever. And not having to be forced into that FOMO relationship. And parents that do that, their kids appreciate it. They get a good night sleep. They don't have to worry about the chaos online. It's like, parents took it. Awesome excuse. They love it.
Bill Murphy: 01:04:06 So the kids that are beyond the middle school and in the high school age, how do you ...
David Murphy: 01:04:10 Yes. Let's imagine you've got that point and they have the control over it. I think there are some things you can do in terms of just the ongoing conversation. But they also need a role model, so they watch their parents. What are their parents doing? I think a lot of kids will call their parents out on doing exactly what they do.
Bill Murphy: 01:04:29 Completely. That's the point I made earlier where it's like, they don't care about what you say, they care what you do. If you tell them-
David Murphy: 01:04:34 Yeah. And they will call you out. There's parents that text and drive and then you get the parent yells at them for texting and driving, like the pot calling the kettle black. So not saying we can be perfect, but the awareness of that your kids are watching. They're watching us, they're watching every move we make. So the moves we make matter if we're trying to establish certain standards, and that can be a really big deal if I set a culture in my house around technology free periods of time. Well, you're going to help your kid with the FOMO effect if the technology free, everyone's in the common area getting their work done. The cell phones, well, it's almost irrelevant. Cell phones aren't really a big deal. It's the notification on a laptop can be the same issue. But cell phones symbolize everything. So they go into the charging dock after school. You just set up a nice quiet standard, and parents have to adhere to it as well.
Now, the other scenario I've thought about is really pushing the envelope around this sudden expectation around cell phones. You know cell phone is the most powerful tool. It's more powerful than a laptop, and what you can do with them. So there's a really cool game that can be played around teaching a child how to use a cell phone as a productivity tool, by helping them to generate income using it. Or they can only get one if they have if they're using it to produce income, or to make a good job. There are kids that have babysitting gigs and they need their phone to communicate with the five families that they babysit for. There are kids that ref little league. There are kids that ref soccer games. There are kids that have lawn mowing businesses. So there's really nothing wrong with teaching your child how to use the technology to produce as opposed to just distract.
So what we do is we give them the tools and let them use it as the most powerful distraction tool on the planet, and then all of a sudden, we expect them to naturally transition into having it be a productivity tool. And that's foolish to think that that's how it works. So I think it'd be really cool if there was a shift around, I'll give you this. You're only getting this phone if you've proven to yourself and to us that you have a need for it, not a want for it, a need for it, so figure that out. When you have the need, then you've proven to us that that need is real, then we'll help support that need by the technology that may be used to support it. Like I have to communicate with my parents that I'm babysitting for.
Bill Murphy: 01:06:59 I love that.
David Murphy: 01:07:00 So that's really cool. I haven't gone anywhere with that, but I think that that is a really interesting direction that I think is so affirming to the kids that would be part of it. It would be painful to negotiate as a child, but the outcomes would be ridiculously beneficial. And no kid 10 years down the road wouldn't look back and say, You know what, I got to thank you for it, mom and dad, because you made it super hard for me to get a phone and you made it relevant to my future with how I got that phone. That's radical.
Bill Murphy: 01:07:30 So Dave, as we wrap up, I want you to talk about your moonshot, what you are attempting to do with your business and with your overall vision and mission. If you could share with the audience about that and then we'll wrap up.
David Murphy: 01:07:43 Yeah. I got to credit you a little bit for this, Bill. People don't know that out there, but Bill is very much a mentor to me. He's usually about 100 steps ahead of me, and does take the time to look back and help out his little brother along the way. In that, there's a vision of things that he's helped me cultivate that I want to appreciate it in this answer. I'm very passionate about the work I do, so that's never an issue. What can be hard for any of us is how do you see a vision in that, right? How do you hold on to a picture that can resonate viscerally with what you're trying to create. So my goal is to impact 10,000 people every year and to have that grow exponentially as I interact in presentations, coaching sessions.
Now, I have a team of coaches that work with me right now. They're phenomenal. And I have a training model that trains everybody on what to do and how to do it. This has been a massive undertaking, but it's been much easier when I hold on to a vision like that. So I just want to thank you, Bill, for kind of helping me to kind of cultivate that and to harness what that vision can look like as it relates to the entrepreneurial kind of drive and outcomes.
Bill Murphy: 01:09:00 There's an old saying, David, I don't know whether it's Buddhist or whatever it is, but there's a teacher, and the teacher and the taught create the teaching. You have done the same for me and I think that the audience is going to gain a tremendous amount from listening to this. And we're going to put on the show notes the best way to reach out to you. Actually, what is the best way to reach out to you? What would you prefer if anybody here listening wanted to get in touch with you to have further conversation?
David Murphy: 01:09:26 I think you could probably find me by googling, but I will probably provide my LinkedIn, you can find me on there. You can find me on Facebook. You could find me at effective effort consulting.com. And you could type in Dr. David Murphy, and you could type in Boston and I would show up, I hope.
Bill Murphy: 01:09:44 Yeah. And it will, I know.
David Murphy: 01:09:47 I spent a lot of work this summer trying to make sure that that would happen. And then I'll have my cell phone. I typically make myself very available. Whether I respond instantly or via text message, I am not far away from anybody who needs help. So I'd be happy to answer any questions that aren't being answered on this podcast, especially as it relates to your struggles.
Bill Murphy: 01:10:10 David, Dr. David Murphy, it's been a great, great conversation. I really enjoyed this. It's been a lot of fun talk to my brother about this fascinating topic.
David Murphy: 01:10:17 Yeah. Super cool.
Bill Murphy: 01:10:18 You're definitely going to transform the world, and it starts with a big vision. And 100%, I'm glad that I can help with that and we can get out to multiple tens of thousands of people that are listening to the show. So thank you, David, and we'll talk to you shortly.
David Murphy: 01:10:35 Awesome, Bill. Thanks for the opportunity.
Bill Murphy: 01:10:37 So there you have it.
How to get in touch with Dr. David Murphy
Books/Publications Mentioned in Interview:
- Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know, by Meg Meeker. Published by Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2006.
This episode is sponsored by the CIO Innovation Forum, dedicated to Business Digital Leaders who want to be a part of 20% of the planet and help their businesses win with innovation and transformation.
* Outro music provided by Ben’s Sound
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