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Encourage Kids

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How to Raise Great Kids & Leave a Legacy Through Your Children

Inspired by Inc.’s lead parenting columnist, Bill Murphy Jr.’s, collection of science-based parenting advice collected and shared.


As parents, one of our core desires for our children is for them to be happy.  As working parents, we recognize that one of the core tenants of our own happiness is the pursuit and achievement of success, however we have defined it for our careers, our families, and ourselves.  Naturally, we want to raise our children to succeed as adults, but we also want them to experience the emotional health that is supported by their encounters of success (and dare we say, failure) as children, teens and young adults.  If we invest our parenting capital in these five key areas, we can later reap the rewards of that investment in children who become successful and well-adjusted adults (and grown children who still want to come ‘home’ for the holidays).


One | Great Expectations

We all have expectations, and we all know the frustration that results when those expectations are not met (likely, because they were never communicated in the first place).  We also know the power of a boss who sets clear (and high expectations), revisits them often, and celebrates our fulfillment of those expectations.  Our children are no different.  The greater our expectations, when communicated clearly and supported intentionally, the greater our children will perform.  That performance will directly translate into confidence, and improved self-esteem.

Our expectations communicate to our children that we believe they are capable of doing hard things, that we hold them accountable, and that we want them to achieve their dreams.  Establish your expectations, communicate them clearly, re-visit and remind your children of them often, and affirm and celebrate their fulfillment of those expectations.

Two | The Power of Praise

People perform better when they receive praise routinely.  However, in order to support our children in taking risks, and pursuing academics and activities with persistence, the way we deliver that praise is imperative.  Otherwise, we may end up raising vapid egomaniacs, and the world is already full of those.

So, how should we deliver praise? First, know that there is no ideal ratio, but the more you praise your children, the better the results.  In other words, you cannot spoil a baby by holding them too much, and you cannot spoil a child by praising them too much.  Next, it is important that you praise their effort and specific application of skills or attributes, rather than their innate talents.  When you offer praise frequently and ‘correctly’ you avoid the adage of, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard”.

Here’s an example.  Instead of telling your child, “Wow, you are so fast!” praise them instead by saying, “I am so impressed with the way you were determined to push your body to move your legs so quickly.  You didn’t give up!”

Three | Chores, Chores, Chores

According to the longest running longitudinal study in history, there are two key factors people need to possess to be both happy and successful: love and work ethic.  How, as parents can we instill those two traits in our children simultaneously? Chores.  When children participate in chores they learn the importance of work ethic, and they feel loved knowing that they have a purpose in their family life and knowing that they are contributing to that family life.

But, we have to include them.   And that means letting go of some of our own expectations along the way.  They have to learn, and the only way for them to learn is to practice.  Give them grace, and ample amounts of praise, and then learn to live with the missed crumbs –they will get it right, with time.

Four | Be There

In a Love and Logic world, it can be hard to remember that ultimately our children need us there, and they need us to be a safe and empathetic shoulder as much as they need us to walk them through the natural consequence they were just delivered.  When something happens to our children, whether they get hurt, make a mistake, or are confronted with failure, you can (and should) rush to their side.  In numerous studies, researchers found that adults who reflect on their childhood, had a much more positive perception of their parents when they were perceived as being there, rather than modeling self-reliance by maintaining their distance.

You can be there for your children, without ‘fixing’ the situation.  And this is the Love component of Love and Logic.  We don’t sit back when our child trips and falls; instead, we lovingly acknowledge their pain, “Ouch!  That looks like it hurts; I am so sorry that happened. What would make it feel better?” and we offer them Logic when the time is right, “Do you think your shoes being untied caused you to trip? What are your ideas for preventing another trip?”

Five | Champion their ‘Weirdness’ and their Social-Butterfly Aptitude

Children are laughably weird, and it doesn’t take more than a year or two of parenting to also realize, they come to us as they are —wonderfully and wildly unique— with their own interests and passions and eccentricities.  Rather than dejecting their affinity for dinosaur trivia, champion it and channel their interest into some real life connections, like paleontologists or a trip to a dinosaur museum.  Warren Buffet attributes his success to his eccentric tendency toward entrepreneurship as a child.  So embrace their quirkiness, and help to develop it so they can later leverage it for success and happiness.

While we’re discussing comments you may anticipate hearing at Parent Teacher Conferences, if your child is often discussed as being ‘too social’, help them to curtail it…to an extent, and know that children who are perceived as prosocial, later have a significant financial lead.  And if your child struggles socially, seek out opportunities and employ strategies to help improve their social skills and their future.


While there is no handbook for parenting, employing these 5 study-proven and scientifically supported practices will help you to raise children who are both well adjusted and successful.  And, at the end of the day, if “all you need is love”, and your children are loved and secure, you have already started a beautiful legacy.  We are so looking forward to the return on our investment, of a home filled with grown children during the holidays.

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Have you found your passion?

“I’ve fought the fight – life lessons through a football great”

peyton manningYou may or May not be a sports fan. You may or may not be a football fan, but you would have to be living in a hole not to know who Peyton Manning is, and what significant event happened today.

You can call me different than many women. I grew up in sports. I now have only sons and our lives revolve around sports. I would not wish to have it any other way. I watched a man today cry his eyes out thanking the world for the career of a lifetime. I cried right along side him, by the way.

I’ve been lucky enough to meet a lot of professional athletes in my lifetime (including Peyton) – but I can tell you after the heartfelt speech that Peyton delivered today – I would be STAR STRUCK to meet him again. Not because of his stats of an incredible hall of fame career, but because of the man he is. Because of the role model of who little boys and young men should strive to be – OFF the field.

Father, brother, husband, son, friend, teammate, leader, ambassador to the community – he excelled at all.

Peyton thanked many, and had several quotes today that stick in my mind but a couple jumped out. First,

“There were other players who were more talented, but there was no one who could out-prepare me.”

There are so many lessons in this statement. He led from the front. He never asked his teammates to do anything that he also did not do first. He led with integrity, high standards, incredible determination and a no quit attitude. Everyone can learn from these attributes and apply to anything in life.

At the end of the day – Peyton over prepared – he was ready for anything that was going to be thrown at him , even adversity, injuries, critics, business politics, the media. But he never gave up. Peyton retired today after 18 years. He retired on top, with another championship. He’s leaving on his terms – no one else’s – the great people get to decide that.

It brings me to another thought. Training for football is what this man has been raised to do. So what now?

Yes, he has his wife and two young children, all the money in the world – but with his passion for the game – there will be a void. He answered that question best. To paraphrase, “I’m going to take a vacation. I am going to enjoy this time, but I know that whatever’s next its going to be the start of something great.”

This reminds me of a great quote I posted just the other day:

“The things that you are passionate about are not random. They are your calling.” 

So get out there and find your passion – I know #18 will.

Peyton also said, “football has taught me not to be led by obstructions and setbacks, but instead to be led by dreams. Because every moment, every drop of sweat, every bleary-eyed night of preparation, every note I took and every frame of film I watched was about one thing: reverence for the game.”

He concluded with a final thought. A scripture reading 2Timothy 4:7: “I have fought the good fight and I have finished the race. I have kept the faith,” I have fought the good fight. It’s time.

So I ask you this – what are you passionate about? Go find it. Because when you combine passion with a career – it’s a gift. NO one can take a gift away. I thank Moms Making Six Figures every day for giving me a gift no one can ever take from me.

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Ban Bossy. Encourage Kids To Lead.

Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl SandbergWho’s the Boss?

There’s been a lot of buzz about “bossy” women these past few months.  Launched by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg paired with the likes of Condoleezza Rice, Jane Lynch and Beyoncé, the Ban Bossy campaign has garnered reactions from hostile rants to devoted pledges to nix the word from the name-calling lexicon.

The concern is that there aren’t enough females in executive positions. That by calling little girls bossy, we are discouraging them from embracing qualities that make effective future leaders. And that young men are typically applauded for assertive actions, while girls are subjected to negative labels for taking the same initiative.

In reaction to this and other disparities, these female celebrities, executives and political figures formed Lean In, an organization whose purpose is to empower women. Shortly after posting, their Ban Bossy video went viral.

After watching it, I struggled to recall a time when being called bossy was a disheartening blow to my dictatorial nature. After all, who doesn’t want to be lumped in with these powerful public figures declaring that their childhoods were plagued with chides? But, to be honest, I could only remember my typical reaction to such slander: fold arms, chin up, close eyes, extend tongue.

It’s possible the women in the video had similar reactions, as being called bossy doesn’t seem to have hindered their success. And while I’m no world leader (except maybe in the eyes of my son), it has hardly hampered my success either. The same qualities that landed me that label gave me courage to pursue my interests and adopt a leadership role at work as well as at home. It has given my female colleagues the drive to start new businesses and fellow moms the mettle to raise respectable children.

Of course, we should check our behavior and that of our kids if we are exemplifying the more unappealing aspects of the word. Whether you’re a boy or a girl, a man or a woman, being officious is never appreciated. But otherwise, it seems bossy isn’t so bad.

So, though it’s doubtful the expression’s expulsion is the most effective means of encouraging leadership in young women, there’s still something to be admired in the spirit of the campaign. If nothing else, it spotlights an enduring double standard where authoritative men are routinely respected while women with the same qualities are too often regarded as another B-word. You know the one.

To discard such gender stereotypes, perhaps we, as parents, could motivate our boys and girls by asking for their opinions and emphasizing positive aspects of leadership. Teach them to respect leaders no matter their gender or background and push them to take on a little more responsibility and initiative, even if it means we have to get a bit bossy to do it.

Be the boss

In what way have you encouraged your kids to lead?