Podcast_Parenting Parenting with a Story Podcast Series: Real-life lessons in character for parents and children to share Based on interviews with over 100 people from 25 countries around the world and from all walks of life as they reflect on their most profound and unexpected moments of clarity about: 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. 

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Justice, Conscience, and Backyard Fireworks: An Independence Day Ethical Dilemma

Every culture has a code of conduct by which behavior is measured. Some is written in our laws, and we often learn of those expectations in formal schooling. But much is left for subtler forms of influence. We generally learn those from our own gut reaction and from the reaction our behavior elicits from other [read more]

Showing Up — The First Strategy of Successful People

Woody Allen once said, “80% of success is showing up.” Here’s what that looks like in real life. In this case, the life of a 16-year-old high school student in New York. In most cases when you try to be self-reliant, people around you will encourage you. But it’s not always that way. Sometimes being [read more]

“Do I Really Need to Hear This?”

In 2013, I was having lunch with a colleague of mine who used to work for me in the department I ran. A few months earlier she’d moved to a new department and so now had a new boss. She reminded me of something she’d told me earlier — that in talking to her new [read more]

One Sure Sign You Need New Friends

For most people, especially young people, hearing one person demean another is a particularly juicy piece of gossip. It’s therefore one of the hardest to keep from sharing, especially from the person the insulting comments are about. They sometimes justify it by telling themselves, “I’m just being a good friend by telling her. After all, [read more]

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]