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Parenting with a Story Podcast

Updated about 1 month ago

Education
Kids & Family
Society & Culture
Self-Improvement
Parenting
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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, 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. Character Traits include: 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.

Read more

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, 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. Character Traits include: 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.

iTunes Ratings

14 Ratings
Average Ratings
12
0
1
0
1

Ok ok

By poopantor - Jul 27 2019
Read more
I googled would you rather for kids and this came up I’m not trying to say this is a bad podcast but I googled would you rather and all they talk about is their children i’m listen I’m not trying to be that one guy but still

Excellent stories, great podcast

By Pankeyman LR - Jul 30 2014
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Excellent stories, quick, to the point & thought provoking. A great podcast for parents.

iTunes Ratings

14 Ratings
Average Ratings
12
0
1
0
1

Ok ok

By poopantor - Jul 27 2019
Read more
I googled would you rather for kids and this came up I’m not trying to say this is a bad podcast but I googled would you rather and all they talk about is their children i’m listen I’m not trying to be that one guy but still

Excellent stories, great podcast

By Pankeyman LR - Jul 30 2014
Read more
Excellent stories, quick, to the point & thought provoking. A great podcast for parents.
Cover image of Parenting with a Story Podcast

Parenting with a Story Podcast

Latest release on Jun 19, 2020

Read more

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, 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. Character Traits include: 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.

Rank #1: The Shared Blanket: Life’s Most Important Lesson in a Single Story

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Imagine you had to pick a single sentence to encapsulate all of the world’s knowledge about how we humans should behave. What would it be? What one statement could capture several millennia of history’s best thinkers, philosophers, and prophets on the topic of ethics and morality?

I think you’d be hard pressed to do better than this:

Treat other people the way you’d like to be treated.”

The Golden Rule. And that’s probably why we call it the Golden Rule, and why it shows up in just about every culture that’s existed in some form or another.

But even a statement as pithy and rich with meaning as the Golden Rule pales in comparison to the effectiveness of a good story when it comes to communicating that message in a way that will be understood and heeded by people of all ages.

And that’s why I was thrilled to come across this thirteenth-century French folktale:

“La Couverture partagée” (The shared covering)

There was once a family with three generations living under one roof. And one day, the time came when the grandfather was no longer able to work to help support himself or the household. He’d become a burden on his son and grandchildren.

As was the custom at the time, his son told him that he had to move out. But he wasn’t completely heartless. So, to protect the old man from the cold, he told the oldest grandchild to find a nice warm blanket for the old man to take with him.

The child soon returned with the nicest, warmest blanket in the house, but only half of it. And the father noticed that it had been quickly and crudely torn in two. So, he asked his son, “Why did you keep the other half of the blanket?”

The child responded,

Oh, I’m keeping that for you, Daddy, when it’s your time to go.”

As parents, it’s easy to forget that our children learn much more from what we do than from what we say. So, let this story be a reminder to us all to not only teach our children to be good people, but to live out those principles ourselves. If we treat others the way we want to be treated, they’ll treat us that way. Our children will see that and do likewise.”

As with all of these stories, I encourage you to share this with your kids, and then have a discussion about it. Here are some questions to get you started.

  1. What do you think of the father’s decision to send the grandfather out when he could no longer earn his keep?
  2. Do you think he was surprised when his son explained why he only brought back half the blanket? Do you think he might reconsider his decision?
  3. Think about the people you spent time around today. Did you treat each of them the way you would want to be treated?
  4. When do you think it’s appropriate to treat someone differently than you would want them to treat you?

Use these links to subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, or Podbean.

Source: Parenting with a Story: Real-life Lessons in Character for Parents and Children to Share, by Paul Smith.

Paul Smith is one of the world’s leading experts on business storytelling. He’s a keynote speaker, storytelling coach, and bestselling author of the books Lead with a StoryParenting with a Story, and Sell with a Story.

Connect with him via email here.

Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.

Sign up for his newsletter here to get one new story a week delivered to your inbox.

The post The Shared Blanket: Life’s Most Important Lesson in a Single Story appeared first on Paul Smith | Business Storytelling Coach.

Oct 30 2018

3mins

Play

Rank #2: Teaching Your Kids to Think Critically and Detect C.R.A.P. Online

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This week I got a chance to chat with digital literacy educator Diana Graber. Diana is the author of RAISING HUMANS IN A DIGITAL WORLD: Helping Kids Build a Healthy Relationship with Technology and the creator of Cyber Civics, a course taught in 42 States and 4 other countries.

It was an eye opening discussion and I’m definitely going have some different discussions with my kids about their use of technology — and probably my own as well.

Her new book covers a number of topics related to kids and their online behavior, including:

  • What is appropriate screen time per week,
  • How to maintain your privacy online (Hint: Don’t take quizzes! They just collect your information to sell to advertisers),
  • How to protect your reputation online, and
  • Online relationships: cyber bullying, sexting, and safety

But what I wanted to talk to Diana about was a chapter in her book called Critical Thinking, which is really about media literacy and how to not be fooled by everything you see on the Internet. Gullibility to propaganda has caused nations to crumble, and ruined the lives of people unable to spot truth from fiction.

We had a wide ranging discussion that touched on a lot of problems and solutions. Click the play button above to listen. If you’re in a hurry, you can read an excerpt from that chapter of her book below. But the conversation is more fun.

Excerpt from Raising Humans in a Digital World

If you’re at all familiar with middle school kids, then you know they love anything remotely scatological (think fart jokes). That’s why I love telling kids I’m going to teach them about crap. It gets their attention every time. . .

In [his book] Net Smart, something of a guidebook for the digital age, [Howard] Rheingold suggests that a crucial “digital know-how” skill needed today is “crap detection.” He defines “crap” as “information tainted by ignorance, inept communication, or deliberate deception.” According to Rheingold, “Learning to be a critical consumer of web info is not rocket science. It’s not even algebra. Becoming acquainted with the fundamentals of web credibility testing is easier than learning the multiplication tables. The hard part, as always, is the exercise of flabby think-for-yourself muscles.”

I try to help my students exercise these muscles by using crap detection’s handy acronym, C.R.A.P. An unforgettable tool to assess the veracity of online information, C.R.A.P. is a set of four questions you can ask yourself whenever you encounter something dubious online. Variations can be found all over the internet, and here are mine:

Currency
• How current is the information?
• How recently was it was posted? Has it been updated?

Reliability
• How reliable is the information?
• Does the author provide references or sources?
• What proof do you have that the information is reliable?

Author
• Who is the creator or author of the information? What are her credentials?

Purpose/Point of view
• What is the purpose of this information? Is it intended to inform, entertain, or persuade?
• Does the information sound like fact or opinion? Is it biased?
• Is the creator or author trying to sell you something?

Personally, I rely on the C.R.A.P. test a lot. Like most people, I’m a sucker for salacious headlines. But if they seem suspicious, I give them the test (please bear in mind, online misinformation is nonpartisan, examples exist on both sides of the political aisle). Here’s one example:

One day while scrolling through my Facebook feed, a friend’s post caught my eye. The headline she shared read: “Shock Revelation: Obama Admin Actively Sabotaged Gun Background Check System.” Intrigued, I clicked on the article and discovered it was posted on a website called Conservative Tribune. While the website and article appeared current enough, neither seemed entirely reliable. The site was full of clickbait headlines sporting words like “vile,” “stunner,” and “disgraced.”

I checked out the author, and his humorous bio and few Twitter followers (only three people when I checked) made me wonder if he was a true journalist. So, I looked up Conservative Tribune on “Media Bias/Fact Check.” This is a media bias resource site—one of many online—that claims to be an independent outlet “dedicated to educating the public on media bias and deceptive news practices.”

There I learned that Conservative Tribune is a “questionable source” that “exhibits one or more of the following: extreme bias, overt propaganda, poor or no sourcing to credible information and/or is fake news.” I also discovered that the site “consistently fails fact checks, glorifies violence against Americans and Muslims,” and more. Finally, a scroll back through the Conservative Tribune website revealed a distinct purpose and point of view.

The article seemed like crap to me.

Back on Facebook, I returned to where the article was posted and in the upper right-hand corner selected “Report Post.” A box popped up that read, “Help us understand what’s happening,” under which I selected “It’s a false news story.” Facebook presented me with some options. I could block, unfollow, or unfriend the person who posted the story. I didn’t select any of those options, because I don’t want to end up in a filter bubble. Instead I selected “Mark this post as false news” and was done.

This entire process didn’t take much longer than it took you to read what steps I completed. It felt good, too! It’s the small part I can play to help curb the flow of fake news stories online. I encourage my students to take action when they see false information online, too. It’s important for them to use their critical thinking muscles and to feel like empowered digital citizens.

You can find Diana’s book wherever books are sold. Here’s a link to it on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2ENCwcV

If you’d like to learn more about Diana, you can find her at Cyberwise.org and Dianagraber.com. And you can learn more about her cyber civics course here: Cybercivics.com

Use these links to subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, or Podbean.

Paul Smith is one of the world’s leading experts on business storytelling. He’s a keynote speaker, storytelling coach, and bestselling author of the books Lead with a StoryParenting with a Story, and Sell with a Story.

Connect with him via email here.

Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.

Sign up for his newsletter here to get one new story a week delivered to your inbox.

The post Teaching Your Kids to Think Critically and Detect C.R.A.P. Online appeared first on Paul Smith | Business Storytelling Coach.

Mar 06 2019

18mins

Play

Rank #3: Curiosity, and the Invention that Almost Never Happened

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One day, nine-year-old James was in the kitchen with his mom’s sister. Well, while Auntie was sitting at the table having a cup of tea, James was standing at the stove watching the tea kettle boil.

And he was just fascinated with it. He watched as the steam came out of the top of the kettle, and he held a spoon up into the jet of steam and watched as little drops of water condensed and ran down the spoon and dripped into a little cup. He just watched that cycle go over and over and over, just fascinated with it.

Well, eventually his Aunt just got frustrated with his laziness and barked at him, saying something like, “James, I’ve never seen such an idle boy! Go ride your bike, read a book, or do your homework. Aren’t you ashamed of yourself just wasting your time like this?”

Fortunately, young James was undaunted by his Aunt’s admonition. Because 20 years later, at the age of 29, and in the year 1765, James Watt reinvented the steam engine, ushering in the Industrial Revolution that we, of course, all benefit from today, and all based on a fascination with steam that he developed at the age of 9 in the kitchen.

How bad would it have been if that, and his other fits of “laziness” watching steam, had been squelched out of him by his parents or family? Just because your child doesn’t look like they’re working hard, doesn’t mean they’re not doing something important.

William Bennett, the former Secretary of Education, once observed,

The opposite of work is not leisure or play or having fun, but idleness—not investing ourselves in anything.”

Be careful not to discourage play. Discourage idleness. And for the record, watching TV is usually not play.

As with all of these stories, I encourage you to share this with your kids, and then have a discussion about it. Here are some questions to get you started.

  1. What do you think would have happened if James Watt’s aunt had kept him from ever playing with the tea kettle?
  2. Have you ever created anything interesting after just playing around with something?
  3. When do you think you’re most creative? In the morning? At night? When you’re bored? When you’re super busy?
  4. When are some times when it’s important to be serious and not play?

Use these links to subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, or Podbean.

Source: Parenting with a Story: Real-life Lessons in Character for Parents and Children to Share, by Paul Smith.

Paul Smith is one of the world’s leading experts on business storytelling. He’s a keynote speaker, storytelling coach, and bestselling author of the books Lead with a StoryParenting with a Story, and Sell with a Story.

Connect with him via email here.

Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.

Sign up for his newsletter here to get one new story a week delivered to your inbox.

The post Curiosity, and the Invention that Almost Never Happened appeared first on Paul Smith | Business Storytelling Coach.

Jan 30 2019

3mins

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Rank #4: “Is that really what I need to be happy?”: How one Summer in Bombay Changed Me Forever

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Ami Desai Mathur was born in New York, a first-generation natural-born American citizen. Her parents were born in India and immigrated to the United States after getting married. During her first few years of life, Ami spent half the year living in New York and half the year in her aunt and uncle’s home in Bombay, India visiting family. Even after she started going to school, Ami and her mother traveled to Bombay for a few weeks every year or two until Ami graduated from high school.

The home her aunt and uncle lived in wasn’t just the home they lived in at the time. It was the home her mother and uncle had grown up in, and the one her grandmother had grown up in, and her great–grandmother had grown up in.

But if you’re picturing a fancy suburban estate the family owned, think again. It was a two-bedroom apartment they’d been renting for generations. In addition to the two small bedrooms, it had an eating area with a simple table and a cabinet against the wall for dishes, and a kitchen about five feet by five feet with a refrigerator, sink, and pot burner. And there was one bathroom with a sink and a hole in the ground for a toilet. By Western standards, it would be considered severely impoverished. But by local standards, it was quite normal.

And Ami has fond memories of visiting Bombay. During those visits, that simple two-bedroom apartment housed six people: her aunt and uncle, mother, grandmother, sister, and Ami. During the day, she would go shopping with her mother and buy all sorts of exotic things with their Western-size bank accounts, which were large by local standards, although quite modest back home in New York.

Well, at the end of one her visits to Bombay, Ami vividly recalls her uncle feeling some pressure to give her a gift before she left for home. And then he gave her, with some fanfare, a tiny gold-plated clock. She said, “I remember they were so excited and proud to give it to me. But I also remember feeling guilty taking it. I knew they didn’t have much money. And we had so much.”

But that wasn’t the only reason Ami felt awkward accepting that gift. The other reason was that while they clearly wanted to be generous, she realized they probably thought what Ami needed to be happy was a gift. In other words, they thought that for her to be happy, she needed more stuff.

The Lesson

That’s when it dawned on her, still at a young age, that more stuff wasn’t necessary for happiness. And she didn’t have to look far to see examples. Her aunt and uncle and grandmother living there were very happy people, and they had next to nothing.

So she started watching how they spent their time and noticed some differences.

In the U.S., what seemed to make people happy was buying a new TV, or some other material possession. But my aunt and uncle seemed so happy just going to the market to buy their daily food, or picking up a visitor at the train station.”

“When we got home every day, my grandma would cook the most wonderful meal for us. Then we would all go out and play together.

And friends and family were always stopping by to visit. We’d have tea and biscuits and talk with each of them every time. Back home in New York you’d need an invitation before showing up at someone’s house to visit. It would be rude to do otherwise. But in Bombay, it happened every day because you had dozens of friends who lived in the same building. We were never by ourselves and never bored. It was like an adventure every day.”

So, how did that trip affect Ami’s perceptions of money and material possessions? She told me, “I remember being upset just before leaving for that Bombay trip because my mom wouldn’t buy me the Keds sneakers with the blue dot that was all the rage at school.

But by the time I got home, somehow it didn’t seem all that important. The cheaper pair she got me at Walmart suddenly seemed just fine.”

Not everyone can afford the time and expense of a trip halfway around the world to learn the lesson Ami learned in Bombay. But you can start by sharing her story with your young person. Then talk about ways to spend your time that doesn’t involve buying lots of stuff.

As with all of these stories, I encourage you to share this with your kids, and then have a discussion about it. Here are some questions to get you started.

  1. How does your home compare to the one Ami’s family rented in Bombay?
  2. If having a fancy home isn’t what they needed to be happy, what do you think made them happy?
  3. How would you feel if you found out that your friends and family thought what you needed to be happy was a constant supply of gifts and other material possessions? Would you agree or disagree with that assessment? Would you be proud of it?]
  4. What does make you happy?
  5. What are the few basic material possessions you think you would absolutely need to be happy?

Use these links to subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, or Podbean.

Source: Parenting with a Story: Real-life Lessons in Character for Parents and Children to Share, by Paul Smith.

Paul Smith is one of the world’s leading experts on business storytelling. He’s a keynote speaker, storytelling coach, and bestselling author of the books Lead with a StoryParenting with a Story, and Sell with a Story.

Connect with him via email here.

Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.

Sign up for his newsletter here to get one new story a week delivered to your inbox.

The post “Is that really what I need to be happy?”: How one Summer in Bombay Changed Me Forever appeared first on Paul Smith | Business Storytelling Coach.

Nov 28 2018

6mins

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SOCIAL Disobedience: It’s like civil disobedience with your friends and neighbors

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The past three weeks have been an almost non-stop parade of protests, all centered around the most recent tragic deaths that didn’t have to happen.

“Yes, that’s terrible. But what can I do?” you might ask. After all, you already changed your Facebook profile for BlackOut Day. And you even attended a Black Lives Matter march. So, you’re good right?

No, not really.

Those things only signal that you’re on the side of making
things better. But only on the side. As
in, the sideline. If you actually want to make a difference, you need to get
off the bench and into the game and that’s a lot harder than changing your
profile picture. And it probably means getting knocked around a little. I don’t
mean literally. This isn’t a call to violence. And I’m not suggesting you
intervene in an active arrest or break the law in an act of civil disobedience
(although both of those have their place, too).

Here I’m talking
about the kind of thing you can do on a daily basis by just calling out bad
behavior when you see it — in your family, friends, and neighbors. And that
takes courage. It might mean temporarily straining relationships with people
you care about. In the worst situations, you might even lose a friend over it.
But in most cases, you’ll end up earning new respect, from others, and for
yourself.

Instead of “civil” disobedience, let’s call
it “social” disobedience
. Because in this case, you’re rubbing
up against generally accepted rules of social behavior, like “If you don’t
have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” or going along with
what everyone else is doing even if you don’t agree with it. Or, more
generally, the aversion many of us have to disagree with or offer even the
gentlest of criticism to people we know for fear of damaging the relationship.

We need to get over
that. True friends will appreciate you being honest and direct with them
anyway.

So, here’s an
example of what that looks like in the context of racial bigotry. But social
disobedience can be used for any worthwhile social change that you support and
from any side of the political spectrum. If it’s important to you, let the
people closest to you know — especially when they themselves are the problem.

Basketball with Torlick

When Ed was a five-
or six-year-old boy growing up in Colorado, he noticed that his was the only
house in the neighborhood painted red. All the other houses were either brown
or green. When he asked his dad why, his father said very matter of factly, “Because
when we moved in, the Homeowners Association told us we could only paint it
brown or green. So, naturally, I painted it red.”

Apparently, Mr.
Tanguay wasn’t much of a rule follower, at least not with rules he considers
unworthy. So you shouldn’t be too surprised at how he responded on another
occasion when he received a more unsettling directive from the HOA. 

When Ed’s older
brother Mark was fourteen, he visited their aunt and uncle, who were on
assignment in the Peace Corps in the Marshall Islands, very close to the
equator in the western Pacific Ocean. Just prior to returning home, he called
his parents to ask if he could bring home a guest for a while. He’d befriended
a local boy named Torlick who’d never been to the United States. Mom and Dad
agreed, and both Mark and Torlick arrived home in Colorado a short time
later. 

As it turned out,
Torlick liked to play basketball. So one day when Mark, his dad, and Torlick
were playing basketball, a member of the same Homeowners Association stopped
and had a chat with Dad. The man told him it was okay to have Torlick as a
houseguest for a while. But if the boy wanted to play basketball, “it would be
best if he didn’t do so between 5 and 6 p.m., when everyone would be driving by
on their way home from work.”

For that request to
make sense, you have to understand that because Torlick was a native of the
Marshall Islands, his skin was many shades darker than everyone else’s in this
very Caucasian Colorado suburb. “We wouldn’t want anyone to get the wrong idea about
this neighborhood,” the man explained.

Since he was still a young boy, Ed wasn’t privy to most of the conversation, just the part his father shared with him. What Ed does recall vividly, however, was that every day for the next few months, his father came home from work and yelled down the hallway, “Torlick! It’s five o’clock—time to play basketball!”

The Challenge

This week I
challenge you to an act of social disobedience. Some time in the next seven
days, someone you know will say or do something you think isn’t right. Instead
of ignoring it, say something. Do something. You can deliver it with all of the
love and kindness you think appropriate. But deliver it. Evil will continue to
thrive as long as good people stay silent and on the sidelines.

Click these links to subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, or Podbean.

Source: Parenting with a Story: Real-life Lessons in Character for Parents and Children to Share, by Paul Smith.

Paul Smith is one of the world’s leading experts on business storytelling. He’s a keynote speaker, storytelling coach, and bestselling author.

Connect with him via email here. Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Sign up for his newsletter here to get one new story a week delivered to your inbox.

The post SOCIAL Disobedience: It’s like civil disobedience with your friends and neighbors appeared first on Paul Smith | Business Storytelling Coach.

Jun 19 2020

5mins

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Meeting Kenny Tedford

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I’ve been wanting to write this post for six years. Seriously. This is the day that I get to start telling the world about one of the most amazing human beings I’ve ever met.

His name is Kenny Tedford. And he’s the subject of my new book that’s being published today, called Four Days with Kenny Tedford. And despite the title, it’s one I’ve been working on for over six years. So, I’m incredibly pleased to tell you that it’s finally on shelves today.

I can also confidently say that it’s the most meaningful book I’ve ever written, or ever will. And once I explain to you a little about Kenny Tedford, you’ll understand why.

Now, I’m going to have a lot more to say about Kenny and this book in other posts. In fact, I’ll probably bring him on my podcast and let you get to know him personally. But I think what I should do here is let you meet Kenny Tedford the way I met Kenny Tedford, which I explain on the first few pages of the book.

So, if you’ll indulge me, I’m just going to share those first two and a half pages to you so you can see how we met, and get to know a little about Kenny. 

Excerpt from the Four Days with Kenny Tedford, page i.

I was sitting in the front row waiting for the next performance to start when I saw him. He was a large man. Sixty-ish. With grey hair encircling a bald head, and glasses thick enough to start a fire on a sunny day.

He walked slowly and deliberately, with a slight list to one side. He made his way down the aisle and sat in the chair next to me.

Following quickly behind him was a twenty-something man with dark hair. The young man pulled one of the empty chairs out of the row, turned it around backwards, placed it directly in front of the older man, and sat down with his back to the stage.

I was intrigued, to say the least.

A few minutes later, the next speaker walked on stage and started her performance. The young man, who’d been staring at the older man, silent and motionless since sitting down, suddenly sprang into action. He lifted his hands in front of his chest and began a flurry of cryptic motions that identified him immediately as a sign language interpreter, and the older man as deaf.

I thought that was pretty ballsy, a deaf guy at a three-day storytelling festival.

I knew immediately I wanted to meet him. So at the next break, I introduced myself. We exchanged a few pleasantries, enough to know that he was an affable sort of guy. But we both had to go to our next set of workshops.

An hour later, I was walking with a tray of food, looking for an empty table, and that same affable fellow walked up to me and asked if I wanted to have lunch with him. I quickly accepted.

We sat at a table by ourselves, his interpreter having been given time off for lunch.

For the next hour, I listened to Kenny Tedford tell his story.

I listened while he spoke with impressive diction, but with the muted tones of a deaf person. And he read my lips, seemingly, as easily as I spoke with them.

But, underneath the telltale tone of his voice, I noticed something else telling. His vocabulary and sentence structure were both charmingly juvenile. As his story unfolded, I started to understand why. His deafness turned out to be only one of many challenges life dealt Kenny Tedford. He was almost blind in one eye, and had poor vision in the other, partially paralyzed on his left side, unable to speak well until the age of ten, and had somewhat limited cognitive abilities, all of which were a result of brain damage suffered at birth. And as if that weren’t enough, in the years since, he’d endured a string of near-fatal illnesses that should have left him dead many times over.

Despite it all, the man sitting in front of me seemed to be the most delightful individual one could ever meet. His temperament and outlook on life and humanity were unquestionably positive in a way I can only describe as childlike. In fact, he struck me as a remarkable combination of Helen Keller and Forrest Gump. Keller, of course, was deaf, blind, and mute. But she was a brilliant thinker and accomplished writer. The fictional Forrest Gump, on the other hand, was a model of physical health once he shook off the leg braces. But he suffered a diminished mental capacity that gave him his childlike charm.

Kenny Tedford, however, had both sets of challenges.

So there I sat, watching this somewhat goofy-looking, old, bald, roly-poly man, smiling at me with enormously distorted bug eyes through his impossibly thick glasses, telling me almost unbelievable stories in the words of a child, but with the voice of a grown man, who’d never properly heard the sound of his own voice.

I was mesmerized.

The hour ended way too quickly. I’d only scratched the surface of Kenny’s life. But it was enough to be fascinated by what I’d heard, and to be frustrated that I didn’t know more.

I wondered how a man in his circumstances could have such a positive disposition. Why isn’t he bitter at life for dealing him such a crappy hand, I wondered. I was pretty sure I would be.

I had so many questions. But it was time for the next session. My chance encounter was over. I didn’t know if or when I would ever see or speak to Kenny Tedford again. But what I did know was that I felt strangely blessed having met him.

. . . 

Well, that was June 28, 2012 at the National Storytelling Conference in Covington, Kentucky. I couldn’t have predicted then what would have transpired in his life or mine in the intervening seven years. And certainly not the four days he would eventually spend at my house with my family, sharing his unbelievable life story.

But that did happen. And this book documents not only his incredible life journey, but the impact he had sharing that journey with me and my wife and two young boys over those four days. He came into our house a stranger, but walked out of it as a family member. And I’ve done my best in the book to bring you into our home with us as we listen to Kenny share his stories and reflect on them and the beauty and wisdom they contain.

And I can tell you that I learned more in those four days about courage, faith, family, persistence, kindness, respect, and humility than I learned in the rest of my lifetime before or since.

In fact, in the final chapter we outline a set of those life lessons for people living with all sorts of disabilities and trauma and abuse and the loss of loved ones, as well as another set of lessons for people who love and care for those living with such challenges.

So, in addition to just being an incredible story, we’ve also tried to offer some practical advice from the life lessons Kenny Tedford learned the hard way.

A Personal Note

And finally, on a personal note, as I’m writing these words, on the day this book is being published, it’s two days before Thanksgiving, 2019 — over five years since Kenny spent four days here sharing his life story. And I’m looking forward to tomorrow when I get to drive to the airport to pick up a man who has now become a dear friend, so that my family and I can spend another beautiful Four Days with Kenny Tedford.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones. 

You can find copies of the book at Amazon and Barnes & Noble and just about anywhere else books are sold. You can learn more about Kenny Tedford at www.kennytedford.com

Click these links to subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, or Podbean.

Source: Four Days with Kenny Tedford, by Paul Smith.

Paul Smith is one of the world’s leading experts on business storytelling. He’s a keynote speaker, storytelling coach, and bestselling author.

Connect with him via email here. Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Sign up for his newsletter here to get one new story a week delivered to your inbox.

The post Meeting Kenny Tedford appeared first on Paul Smith | Business Storytelling Coach.

Nov 26 2019

7mins

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An Angry Therapist’s Guide to a Meaningful Life

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My guest this week is John Kim. He’s a licensed marriage and family therapist and one of the the pioneers of the online life coaching movement.

Interestingly, he calls himself the “Angry Therapist.” It’s essentially an admission that, while he was a licensed therapist and life coach, he was no better off than the people he was helping — and admission that probably made him a more empathetic therapist.  

More to the point of our conversation, John is the author of a new book called, I USED TO BE A MISERABLE F*CK: An Everyman’s Guide to a Meaningful Life which we dug right into. 

John lays out 66 Dos and Don’ts in the book, some of which are listed below. The ones in bold we actually had time to talk about, and you can see exactly where in the conversation those came up. 

John was a lot of fun to talk to. So, please click play above and give enjoy the dialogue. But, be warned, I will fully pronounce the title of his book several times.

John’s 66 Do’s and Don’t include:

  • Do be vulnerable 
  • Don’t be a douche, don’t be a bully, and don’t whine
  • Don’t choose passion over purpose (6:00)
  • Do participate in self-care 
  • Don’t get trapped in your bubble, don’t stay in your comfort zone, and don’t take yourself too seriously
  • Do go on man dates, and also do some things on your own
  • Do admit when you were wrong or when you don’t know the answer to something.
  • Don’t pee in the shower (10:22)
  • Don’t stop courting your partner
  • Do create your own definition of success instead following the definitions of others.
  • Do separate who you are from what you do
  • Do make your bed 
  • Don’t be afraid to fail
  • Do try to understand before being understood (11:55)

We also talked about:

  • How to respond and not react (13:05)
  • Going from Misery to Meaning (15:10), including how he got the name, the “Angry Therapist”. 

You can find John at theangrytherapist.com

Click these links to subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, or Podbean.

Paul Smith is one of the world’s leading experts on business storytelling. He’s a keynote speaker, storytelling coach, and bestselling author.

Connect with him via email here. Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Sign up for his newsletter here to get one new story a week delivered to your inbox.

The post An Angry Therapist’s Guide to a Meaningful Life appeared first on Paul Smith | Business Storytelling Coach.

Oct 17 2019

19mins

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What to Know Before They Go (to College)

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My guest today is Dr. Pamela Ellis. She conducts research into the areas of high school of college transition, parent engagement, African-American males in education, and college completion.

As part of that, she’s visited more than four hundred colleges and universities internationally to understand their cultures and their academic and social opportunities available to students. That’s allowed her to help hundreds of young people successfully navigate the college-admissions process, as well as advise universities and school districts as well.

And she’s also the author of the book, What to Know Before They Go: College Edition.

In the podcast, we talked about:

  • The college admissions scandal involving Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin. (1:30)
  • Should kids pay for their own college tuition? (3:20)
  • Who should think about taking a gap year? (7:25)
  • Dr. Ellis’ top tips for getting ready for college (11:50)

That last one includes ideas like:

Develop independence and self-awareness and self-advocacy

  • Start in middle school
  • Learn how to make friends
  • Spend time alone and be okay with it
  • Less screen time
  • Learn how to ask help from a teacher
  • Let them participate in overnight programs when young 3-4 days
  • Let them handle problems at school, they go to teacher, you don’t

Student owns process for post high school

  • Take an interest inventory
  • Let them do the application
  • Let them research colleges, not mom and dad
  • Let them plan college visits
  • Let them figure out what they like and want to do

Give a listen to our conversation above. . .

You can learn more about Dr. Ellis at https://compasscollegeadvisory.com/.

Click these links to subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, or Podbean.

Paul Smith is one of the world’s leading experts on business storytelling. He’s a keynote speaker, storytelling coach, and bestselling author.

Connect with him via email here. Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Sign up for his newsletter here to get one new story a week delivered to your inbox.

The post What to Know Before They Go (to College) appeared first on Paul Smith | Business Storytelling Coach.

Sep 18 2019

25mins

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Kids, Sex, and Screens: Upping Your Parenting Game

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If you’re curious whether you should stalk your kids online (spoiler: you should, at least for a while), this is the woman to ask.

My guest this week is Dr. Jillian Roberts. She’s a child psychologist, a professor, and the associate dean at the University of Victoria. And she’s also the author of the new book, Kids, Sex, and Screens: Raising Strong, Resilient Children in the Sexualized Digital Age.

I asked Dr. Roberts to explain the problem she’s trying to solve with this book. She explained that when she first started practicing as a psychologist, the clients she had referred to her had trouble wetting the bed, or a failed math test, or a bully on the playground.

But now the challenges she sees are much more acute: children being solicited online, being addicted to screens, and stumbling on sexual material before they’re ready.

As a result, she’s devised what she calls a 7-Point Compass of solutions for parents to deal with today’s challenges. An outline of the compass is below. But please click play above and listen to our conversation as she explains each of them in more detail.

  1. Start talking early – before they get online. 5 or 6 years old
  2. Give unconditional love
    • Don’t shame them when you find a child being curious
    • Don’t react in anger
  3. Stay current – Be nimble and aware of online influences.
    • Get a Snapchat account
    • Teach them how to be a good digital citizen
    • Follow them online, at least for a while, while they’re learning
  4. Set smart boundaries
    • Self – be true to yourself and your values
    • Family – are you violating family expectations?
    • Community – what are your community’s standards?
    • Online – are you sharing shallow minutia? Purpose of your sharing? Something helpful? Consensual? Advocating for a cause?
  5. Nurture relationships IRL, not just on-line.
  6. Lose stigma and prejudice around taboo topics
    • Get rid of the awkwardness of talking about sexuality. Be very matter-of-fact.
  7. Build resilience
    See list of 40 top things in the book that parents can do to build their kid’s grit and resilience.

You can find out more about Dr. Roberts and her work at drjillianroberts.com or familysparks.com.

Click these links to subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, or Podbean.

Paul Smith is one of the world’s leading experts on business storytelling. He’s a keynote speaker, storytelling coach, and bestselling author.

Connect with him via email here. Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Sign up for his newsletter here to get one new story a week delivered to your inbox.

The post Kids, Sex, and Screens: Upping Your Parenting Game appeared first on Paul Smith | Business Storytelling Coach.

Aug 27 2019

36mins

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Montessori Parenting Without a Montessori School

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You’ve no doubt heard that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin were educated at Montessori schools and attribute much of their success to that upbringing.

So, what if you want those kinds of opportunities for your kids, but you don’t have the resources or the opportunity to do that where you live?

The answer, according to a Montessori teacher in Amsterdam, is that you can create the same environment at home, without the school.

This week on my podcast I was joined by Simone Davies, author of the new book The Montessori Toddler: A Parent’s Guide to Raising a Curious and Responsible Human Being.

She shared a few simple ideas parents can use at home to get those same Montessori school benefits at home. Listen to our conversation above, and check out her book here.

You can learn more about Simone, her book, and her ideas at https://www.themontessorinotebook.com/.

Click these links to subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, or Podbean.

Paul Smith is one of the world’s leading experts on business storytelling. He’s a keynote speaker, storytelling coach, and bestselling author of the books Lead with a StoryParenting with a Story, and Sell with a Story.

Connect with him via email here.

Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.

Sign up for his newsletter here to get one new story a week delivered to your inbox.

The post Montessori Parenting Without a Montessori School appeared first on Paul Smith | Business Storytelling Coach.

Apr 16 2019

31mins

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Teaching Your Kids to Think Critically and Detect C.R.A.P. Online

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This week I got a chance to chat with digital literacy educator Diana Graber. Diana is the author of RAISING HUMANS IN A DIGITAL WORLD: Helping Kids Build a Healthy Relationship with Technology and the creator of Cyber Civics, a course taught in 42 States and 4 other countries.

It was an eye opening discussion and I’m definitely going have some different discussions with my kids about their use of technology — and probably my own as well.

Her new book covers a number of topics related to kids and their online behavior, including:

  • What is appropriate screen time per week,
  • How to maintain your privacy online (Hint: Don’t take quizzes! They just collect your information to sell to advertisers),
  • How to protect your reputation online, and
  • Online relationships: cyber bullying, sexting, and safety

But what I wanted to talk to Diana about was a chapter in her book called Critical Thinking, which is really about media literacy and how to not be fooled by everything you see on the Internet. Gullibility to propaganda has caused nations to crumble, and ruined the lives of people unable to spot truth from fiction.

We had a wide ranging discussion that touched on a lot of problems and solutions. Click the play button above to listen. If you’re in a hurry, you can read an excerpt from that chapter of her book below. But the conversation is more fun.

Excerpt from Raising Humans in a Digital World

If you’re at all familiar with middle school kids, then you know they love anything remotely scatological (think fart jokes). That’s why I love telling kids I’m going to teach them about crap. It gets their attention every time. . .

In [his book] Net Smart, something of a guidebook for the digital age, [Howard] Rheingold suggests that a crucial “digital know-how” skill needed today is “crap detection.” He defines “crap” as “information tainted by ignorance, inept communication, or deliberate deception.” According to Rheingold, “Learning to be a critical consumer of web info is not rocket science. It’s not even algebra. Becoming acquainted with the fundamentals of web credibility testing is easier than learning the multiplication tables. The hard part, as always, is the exercise of flabby think-for-yourself muscles.”

I try to help my students exercise these muscles by using crap detection’s handy acronym, C.R.A.P. An unforgettable tool to assess the veracity of online information, C.R.A.P. is a set of four questions you can ask yourself whenever you encounter something dubious online. Variations can be found all over the internet, and here are mine:

Currency
• How current is the information?
• How recently was it was posted? Has it been updated?

Reliability
• How reliable is the information?
• Does the author provide references or sources?
• What proof do you have that the information is reliable?

Author
• Who is the creator or author of the information? What are her credentials?

Purpose/Point of view
• What is the purpose of this information? Is it intended to inform, entertain, or persuade?
• Does the information sound like fact or opinion? Is it biased?
• Is the creator or author trying to sell you something?

Personally, I rely on the C.R.A.P. test a lot. Like most people, I’m a sucker for salacious headlines. But if they seem suspicious, I give them the test (please bear in mind, online misinformation is nonpartisan, examples exist on both sides of the political aisle). Here’s one example:

One day while scrolling through my Facebook feed, a friend’s post caught my eye. The headline she shared read: “Shock Revelation: Obama Admin Actively Sabotaged Gun Background Check System.” Intrigued, I clicked on the article and discovered it was posted on a website called Conservative Tribune. While the website and article appeared current enough, neither seemed entirely reliable. The site was full of clickbait headlines sporting words like “vile,” “stunner,” and “disgraced.”

I checked out the author, and his humorous bio and few Twitter followers (only three people when I checked) made me wonder if he was a true journalist. So, I looked up Conservative Tribune on “Media Bias/Fact Check.” This is a media bias resource site—one of many online—that claims to be an independent outlet “dedicated to educating the public on media bias and deceptive news practices.”

There I learned that Conservative Tribune is a “questionable source” that “exhibits one or more of the following: extreme bias, overt propaganda, poor or no sourcing to credible information and/or is fake news.” I also discovered that the site “consistently fails fact checks, glorifies violence against Americans and Muslims,” and more. Finally, a scroll back through the Conservative Tribune website revealed a distinct purpose and point of view.

The article seemed like crap to me.

Back on Facebook, I returned to where the article was posted and in the upper right-hand corner selected “Report Post.” A box popped up that read, “Help us understand what’s happening,” under which I selected “It’s a false news story.” Facebook presented me with some options. I could block, unfollow, or unfriend the person who posted the story. I didn’t select any of those options, because I don’t want to end up in a filter bubble. Instead I selected “Mark this post as false news” and was done.

This entire process didn’t take much longer than it took you to read what steps I completed. It felt good, too! It’s the small part I can play to help curb the flow of fake news stories online. I encourage my students to take action when they see false information online, too. It’s important for them to use their critical thinking muscles and to feel like empowered digital citizens.

You can find Diana’s book wherever books are sold. Here’s a link to it on Amazon: https://amzn.to/2ENCwcV

If you’d like to learn more about Diana, you can find her at Cyberwise.org and Dianagraber.com. And you can learn more about her cyber civics course here: Cybercivics.com

Use these links to subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, or Podbean.

Paul Smith is one of the world’s leading experts on business storytelling. He’s a keynote speaker, storytelling coach, and bestselling author of the books Lead with a StoryParenting with a Story, and Sell with a Story.

Connect with him via email here.

Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.

Sign up for his newsletter here to get one new story a week delivered to your inbox.

The post Teaching Your Kids to Think Critically and Detect C.R.A.P. Online appeared first on Paul Smith | Business Storytelling Coach.

Mar 06 2019

18mins

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Curiosity, and the Invention that Almost Never Happened

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One day, nine-year-old James was in the kitchen with his mom’s sister. Well, while Auntie was sitting at the table having a cup of tea, James was standing at the stove watching the tea kettle boil.

And he was just fascinated with it. He watched as the steam came out of the top of the kettle, and he held a spoon up into the jet of steam and watched as little drops of water condensed and ran down the spoon and dripped into a little cup. He just watched that cycle go over and over and over, just fascinated with it.

Well, eventually his Aunt just got frustrated with his laziness and barked at him, saying something like, “James, I’ve never seen such an idle boy! Go ride your bike, read a book, or do your homework. Aren’t you ashamed of yourself just wasting your time like this?”

Fortunately, young James was undaunted by his Aunt’s admonition. Because 20 years later, at the age of 29, and in the year 1765, James Watt reinvented the steam engine, ushering in the Industrial Revolution that we, of course, all benefit from today, and all based on a fascination with steam that he developed at the age of 9 in the kitchen.

How bad would it have been if that, and his other fits of “laziness” watching steam, had been squelched out of him by his parents or family? Just because your child doesn’t look like they’re working hard, doesn’t mean they’re not doing something important.

William Bennett, the former Secretary of Education, once observed,

The opposite of work is not leisure or play or having fun, but idleness—not investing ourselves in anything.”

Be careful not to discourage play. Discourage idleness. And for the record, watching TV is usually not play.

As with all of these stories, I encourage you to share this with your kids, and then have a discussion about it. Here are some questions to get you started.

  1. What do you think would have happened if James Watt’s aunt had kept him from ever playing with the tea kettle?
  2. Have you ever created anything interesting after just playing around with something?
  3. When do you think you’re most creative? In the morning? At night? When you’re bored? When you’re super busy?
  4. When are some times when it’s important to be serious and not play?

Use these links to subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, or Podbean.

Source: Parenting with a Story: Real-life Lessons in Character for Parents and Children to Share, by Paul Smith.

Paul Smith is one of the world’s leading experts on business storytelling. He’s a keynote speaker, storytelling coach, and bestselling author of the books Lead with a StoryParenting with a Story, and Sell with a Story.

Connect with him via email here.

Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.

Sign up for his newsletter here to get one new story a week delivered to your inbox.

The post Curiosity, and the Invention that Almost Never Happened appeared first on Paul Smith | Business Storytelling Coach.

Jan 30 2019

3mins

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“Is that really what I need to be happy?”: How one Summer in Bombay Changed Me Forever

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Ami Desai Mathur was born in New York, a first-generation natural-born American citizen. Her parents were born in India and immigrated to the United States after getting married. During her first few years of life, Ami spent half the year living in New York and half the year in her aunt and uncle’s home in Bombay, India visiting family. Even after she started going to school, Ami and her mother traveled to Bombay for a few weeks every year or two until Ami graduated from high school.

The home her aunt and uncle lived in wasn’t just the home they lived in at the time. It was the home her mother and uncle had grown up in, and the one her grandmother had grown up in, and her great–grandmother had grown up in.

But if you’re picturing a fancy suburban estate the family owned, think again. It was a two-bedroom apartment they’d been renting for generations. In addition to the two small bedrooms, it had an eating area with a simple table and a cabinet against the wall for dishes, and a kitchen about five feet by five feet with a refrigerator, sink, and pot burner. And there was one bathroom with a sink and a hole in the ground for a toilet. By Western standards, it would be considered severely impoverished. But by local standards, it was quite normal.

And Ami has fond memories of visiting Bombay. During those visits, that simple two-bedroom apartment housed six people: her aunt and uncle, mother, grandmother, sister, and Ami. During the day, she would go shopping with her mother and buy all sorts of exotic things with their Western-size bank accounts, which were large by local standards, although quite modest back home in New York.

Well, at the end of one her visits to Bombay, Ami vividly recalls her uncle feeling some pressure to give her a gift before she left for home. And then he gave her, with some fanfare, a tiny gold-plated clock. She said, “I remember they were so excited and proud to give it to me. But I also remember feeling guilty taking it. I knew they didn’t have much money. And we had so much.”

But that wasn’t the only reason Ami felt awkward accepting that gift. The other reason was that while they clearly wanted to be generous, she realized they probably thought what Ami needed to be happy was a gift. In other words, they thought that for her to be happy, she needed more stuff.

The Lesson

That’s when it dawned on her, still at a young age, that more stuff wasn’t necessary for happiness. And she didn’t have to look far to see examples. Her aunt and uncle and grandmother living there were very happy people, and they had next to nothing.

So she started watching how they spent their time and noticed some differences.

In the U.S., what seemed to make people happy was buying a new TV, or some other material possession. But my aunt and uncle seemed so happy just going to the market to buy their daily food, or picking up a visitor at the train station.”

“When we got home every day, my grandma would cook the most wonderful meal for us. Then we would all go out and play together.

And friends and family were always stopping by to visit. We’d have tea and biscuits and talk with each of them every time. Back home in New York you’d need an invitation before showing up at someone’s house to visit. It would be rude to do otherwise. But in Bombay, it happened every day because you had dozens of friends who lived in the same building. We were never by ourselves and never bored. It was like an adventure every day.”

So, how did that trip affect Ami’s perceptions of money and material possessions? She told me, “I remember being upset just before leaving for that Bombay trip because my mom wouldn’t buy me the Keds sneakers with the blue dot that was all the rage at school.

But by the time I got home, somehow it didn’t seem all that important. The cheaper pair she got me at Walmart suddenly seemed just fine.”

Not everyone can afford the time and expense of a trip halfway around the world to learn the lesson Ami learned in Bombay. But you can start by sharing her story with your young person. Then talk about ways to spend your time that doesn’t involve buying lots of stuff.

As with all of these stories, I encourage you to share this with your kids, and then have a discussion about it. Here are some questions to get you started.

  1. How does your home compare to the one Ami’s family rented in Bombay?
  2. If having a fancy home isn’t what they needed to be happy, what do you think made them happy?
  3. How would you feel if you found out that your friends and family thought what you needed to be happy was a constant supply of gifts and other material possessions? Would you agree or disagree with that assessment? Would you be proud of it?]
  4. What does make you happy?
  5. What are the few basic material possessions you think you would absolutely need to be happy?

Use these links to subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, or Podbean.

Source: Parenting with a Story: Real-life Lessons in Character for Parents and Children to Share, by Paul Smith.

Paul Smith is one of the world’s leading experts on business storytelling. He’s a keynote speaker, storytelling coach, and bestselling author of the books Lead with a StoryParenting with a Story, and Sell with a Story.

Connect with him via email here.

Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.

Sign up for his newsletter here to get one new story a week delivered to your inbox.

The post “Is that really what I need to be happy?”: How one Summer in Bombay Changed Me Forever appeared first on Paul Smith | Business Storytelling Coach.

Nov 28 2018

6mins

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The Shared Blanket: Life’s Most Important Lesson in a Single Story

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Imagine you had to pick a single sentence to encapsulate all of the world’s knowledge about how we humans should behave. What would it be? What one statement could capture several millennia of history’s best thinkers, philosophers, and prophets on the topic of ethics and morality?

I think you’d be hard pressed to do better than this:

Treat other people the way you’d like to be treated.”

The Golden Rule. And that’s probably why we call it the Golden Rule, and why it shows up in just about every culture that’s existed in some form or another.

But even a statement as pithy and rich with meaning as the Golden Rule pales in comparison to the effectiveness of a good story when it comes to communicating that message in a way that will be understood and heeded by people of all ages.

And that’s why I was thrilled to come across this thirteenth-century French folktale:

“La Couverture partagée” (The shared covering)

There was once a family with three generations living under one roof. And one day, the time came when the grandfather was no longer able to work to help support himself or the household. He’d become a burden on his son and grandchildren.

As was the custom at the time, his son told him that he had to move out. But he wasn’t completely heartless. So, to protect the old man from the cold, he told the oldest grandchild to find a nice warm blanket for the old man to take with him.

The child soon returned with the nicest, warmest blanket in the house, but only half of it. And the father noticed that it had been quickly and crudely torn in two. So, he asked his son, “Why did you keep the other half of the blanket?”

The child responded,

Oh, I’m keeping that for you, Daddy, when it’s your time to go.”

As parents, it’s easy to forget that our children learn much more from what we do than from what we say. So, let this story be a reminder to us all to not only teach our children to be good people, but to live out those principles ourselves. If we treat others the way we want to be treated, they’ll treat us that way. Our children will see that and do likewise.”

As with all of these stories, I encourage you to share this with your kids, and then have a discussion about it. Here are some questions to get you started.

  1. What do you think of the father’s decision to send the grandfather out when he could no longer earn his keep?
  2. Do you think he was surprised when his son explained why he only brought back half the blanket? Do you think he might reconsider his decision?
  3. Think about the people you spent time around today. Did you treat each of them the way you would want to be treated?
  4. When do you think it’s appropriate to treat someone differently than you would want them to treat you?

Use these links to subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher, or Podbean.

Source: Parenting with a Story: Real-life Lessons in Character for Parents and Children to Share, by Paul Smith.

Paul Smith is one of the world’s leading experts on business storytelling. He’s a keynote speaker, storytelling coach, and bestselling author of the books Lead with a StoryParenting with a Story, and Sell with a Story.

Connect with him via email here.

Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.

Sign up for his newsletter here to get one new story a week delivered to your inbox.

The post The Shared Blanket: Life’s Most Important Lesson in a Single Story appeared first on Paul Smith | Business Storytelling Coach.

Oct 30 2018

3mins

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iTunes Ratings

14 Ratings
Average Ratings
12
0
1
0
1

Ok ok

By poopantor - Jul 27 2019
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I googled would you rather for kids and this came up I’m not trying to say this is a bad podcast but I googled would you rather and all they talk about is their children i’m listen I’m not trying to be that one guy but still

Excellent stories, great podcast

By Pankeyman LR - Jul 30 2014
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Excellent stories, quick, to the point & thought provoking. A great podcast for parents.