Parenting with a Story Podcast: Real-life lessons in character for parents and children to shareAdobe Photoshop PDF

Tell a young person what to do – play fair, be yourself, stick to the task at hand – and most will tune you out. But show them how choices and consequences play out in the real world, with real people, and the impact will be far more effective and long lasting. Based on interviews with over 100 people from around the world and from all walks of life as they reflect on their most profound and unexpected moments of clarity about who they are and how they should treat others.

The lessons help teach 23 powerful character traits that will help your child grow into the adult you’ll be proud to call your own: ambition, open-mindedness, creativity, curiosity & learning, courage, integrity, self-reliance, grit, hard work, self-confidence, money & delayed gratification, health, positive mental attitude, dealing with loss, kindness, patience, fairness & justice, humility, respect for others, friendship, social intelligence, forgiveness & gratitude, appreciation of beauty.

Ambition, Regret, and College Applications: The Conversation I Wish I’d Had 30 Years Ago

What colleges did you apply to in high school? Did you apply to colleges at all? Do you regret those decisions now? And what would you do differently if you could do it over again? Those are the questions I would have liked to have asked my future middle-aged self when I was a teenager. [read more]

The 25-Year-Late Apology

David Hutchens spent his elementary school years in New Orleans, Louisiana. At the age of five, he met a classmate who would become his best friend for most of those elementary years. We’ll call him Pete. David and Pete spent much of their time together as best friends will do. Until fifth grade, that is. [read more]

“Silence, please. My king is coming.”

There’s a difference between respect and reverence. Showing respect involves being considerate and tolerant of other people. In short, treating other people the way you would want to be treated. But reverence is another thing entirely. Reverence is “a feeling of profound awe and respect and often love.” So while most well-mannered people display respect [read more]

The Phone Call My Parents Never Return

The Phone Message I call my parents on my birthday.  I have done this for the past 30 years.  I am their only child. Not surprisingly, they do not answer.  I leave a lengthy message sharing all that has happened with me and my family.  I ask them to return my call.   They never have. [read more]

Two Takes on One Event: What a Difference Attitude Makes

It’s amazing how two people can sit through the exact same experience and have completely different impressions about it. When that happens, there’s usually something interesting to be learned in the reason why, if you bothered to look. Dorinda Phillips looked. Dorinda is an organizational learning expert in Geneva, Switzerland. Early in her career in [read more]

“Because the sky is blue”: An 11-year-old boy’s secret to happiness

Happiness is not something that happens to you. It’s something you choose to be. That fact isn’t really a secret anyone’s been keeping from you. But it takes a surprisingly long time for most people to realize it, if they ever do. Jeremy McInnis learned that powerful lesson at the young age of twenty. And [read more]

Winning the Cosmic Lottery

Dale McGowan is a writer, editor, critical thinking educator, and the author of several books, including Raising Freethinkers, Atheism for Dummies, and In Faith and in Doubt: How Religious Believers and NonBelievers Can Create Strong Marriages. I asked him to join me on my podcast this week to talk about the newest edition of one [read more]

Theft, Lies, and Ninja Turtles

Today, Andrew Tarvin describes himself as a humor engineer. What that means is that he’s a speaker, trainer, author, and coach who helps people be more successful at work by using humor. That also helps explain the partly funny, partly self-depreciating subtitles he chose for the pictures of him you see here. But the story [read more]

Why people do stupid things and who’s to blame

Since we’re all so enamored of our own opinion, it’s sometimes hard to imagine why anyone would do something we see no sense in. So it’s easy to dismiss a decision we don’t understand as being foolish, which means we think the person who made that decision is foolish. And it’s certainly possible she is. [read more]

What Matrix Algebra Can Teach You About Open-mindedness

Sometimes being open-minded doesn’t mean having to admit being wrong. It just means admitting that someone else might be right. Those aren’t the same thing. And to do that, you have to start by seeing things from that other person’s perspective, which doesn’t come easily or naturally to most people. Looking at things from a [read more]