Lessons Learned from Moms of Champions

On The Sanity Hour (3/15/10), I talked to moms whose children are reaching for the stars. I talked to moms whose children are striving to compete in the Olympics or pro sports, who have written books, and who are aiming for (or now achieving) success on stage and screen. I wanted to reiterate the wisdom shared by these women, all good advice for raising our kids to be great adults, regardless of their goals. The key points about managing life for themselves as moms and their aspiring offspring were:

1) Great achievements are kid-driven, not parent driven. The children in question made up their own minds about the goal. That’s what fueled success. It simply does not work to push kids for our purposes. Parents can be cheerleaders, not coaches.
2) Values are key. Happiness needs to be a touch point: if the child is no longer enjoying the path, it’s time to regroup. Emphasis on being a good person, not just a star, who can inspire and give back to others contributes to success. And it’s critical to uphold values. Ignoring the importance of family time or trying to mold to the preferences of an agent/coach/director is a mistake.
3) Self-care and emotional outlets for mom must be cast in stone, especially exercise and mom’s own goals for her life.
4) Persistence is necessary, to push through tough schedules/commitments for all. Keeping the balance, of course, with values as addressed in #2.
5) Parents must insist on certain elements of regular life as a kid: time to go to the movies, regular bedtimes, homework completed. Parents can’t fear saying “no.” A parent’s job is to foster a well-rounded adult, and sometimes tough choices must be made in favor of normal life and activities.
6) Nothing is forever. Choices can be undone, interests can evolve. It’s about the process, not the destination.
All of these points are excellent rules for raising perfectly good kids, across the board. , not just for raising Olympic medalists or Oscar winners.

(I learned something too–not to jam too many guests into one hour! Apologies to my guests who had more to say, and my listeners who wanted to hear more in depth. This radio show host learning curve can be steep–like so much of real life.)

For information about some of the guests and their children, here are links.
International Chicago High Achievers is Jinnie English’s personal and professional development firm for high achievers, their families and companies. They help clients maintain their competitive edge.

Trent Kowalik is the 15 year old Tony-winning actor of Billy Ellliott

Taylor LeBaron was a torchbearer for the 2010 Winter Olympics. At age 14, Taylor created his own plan that turns fitness into a game and reduced his weight from 297 to 145. The plan is central to his book and blog.

Rada Thomas, of Stellar Presentations, speaks on women, sales, and leadership, when she’s not fostering her son’s football achievements. For more info, email radaspeaks@yahoo.com.

Mary Dressendofer trains aspiring dancers at her studios, including her seven year old daughter who aspires to sing, model, act, and dance.

Dakota Lee , daughter of Mary Ellen, has authored the book Flash of Freedom, and speaks to students and educators.

And if you need a getaway–and who doesn’t–here is a link from Joann Perahia, whose 15 year old sons appeared in the blockbuster film 2012.

Life’s Prizes

It seems to be the season for life’s big prizes, from the Winter Olympics to the Oscars. Tonight on The Sanity Hour I will talk to moms of aspiring kids. We’ll look at how moms support their children in pursuit of big dreams, and what it takes to balance their own and their children’s lives. On the line-up are moms of aspiring/accomplished actors, athletes, singers, and authors.

One of my favorite topics, perspective, is sure to come up as key in keeping our lives sane and balanced. Too often, parents get stressed when they lose track of long-term goals versus the quality of daily life. As parents, we need to remember that parenting is not a competition, and our success as parents does not hinge on external rewards for our kids, even when those prizes are mind-boggling.

That’s why I love this United Technologies Corporation ad from years ago, and try to count these kinds of successes in my own life.

Most of us miss out on life’s big prizes.
The Pulitzer.
The Nobel.
But we’re all eligible for life’s small pleasures.
A pat on the back.
A kiss behind the ear.
A four-pound bass.
A full moon.
An empty parking space.
A crackling fire.
A great meal.
A glorious sunset.
Hot soup.
Cold beer.
Don’t fret about copping life’s grand awards. Enjoy it’s tiny delights.
There are plenty for all of us.

If you want to hear this group of dynamite women between 7-8 pm CDT on Monday March 15, 2010, just click on my link under RESOURCES in the right-hand column of this page. Then click on the box on the top right hand of the page that has blue lettering and says Toginet Radio Live. If you miss it live, you can still listen to the podcast by following this link.