While participating in Seth Godin’s The Marketing Seminar (TMS) #5, a friend I met there asked a very powerful question. What do parents want for their kids?

Of course, there are 1000 great answers. Maybe a million.

A boy hikes up what was formerly part of Cinder Cone National Monument is now a part of Lassen Volcanic National Park

Hard work! Up the cinder cone. ~ The pic doesn’t capture the steepness. (steep!)

Some of my friend’s included:

  • Safety / security
  • Happiness / health / peace of mind
  • Physical, mental, emotional, and financial strength
  • Adventure / delight / learning
  • Friendship / romance / community / a sense of belonging

What fantastic wants for all children!

I’m was grateful for my friend’s invitation – via a powerful question – into a powerful conversation.

A man hikes along what was formerly part of Cinder Cone National Monument is now a part of Lassen Volcanic National Park

360 degrees of incomprehensible scope, scale, and perspective

I added to the conversation the following:

  • fun-loving
  • musical
  • broadly traveled
  • openminded
  • inquisitive
  • tending to live in the moment
  • tending to make good choices
  • free from anger
  • without criticism, blame, or sarcasm
What was formerly part of Cinder Cone National Monument is now a part of Lassen Volcanic National Park

Engulfed in the vortex. The staggering scope of (formerly) Cinder Cone NM, now part of Lassen Volcanic NP. Our child near the bottom.

Of course, these qualities exist on a sprectrum.

Even the kid someone wouldn’t (and I don’t know why) describe as musical, is actually exposed (if not well-exposed) to music, probably has music they like and even love, and could easily “become” musical with the right direction.

What was formerly part of Cinder Cone National Monument is now a part of Lassen Volcanic National Park

How do we walk, my child?

Same for the negatives.

On a podcast recently, I heard mentioned together for the first time criticism, blame, and sarcasm. So moved (convicted) I was that I introduced the idea to my wife and then to our kids.

A father and daughter skip down what was formerly Cinder Cone National Monument, now part of Lassen Volcanic National Park

Skipping down the cinder cone. Arriving at the bottom (in the distance)

Experience tells us that cynicism, in many forms, can weave its way into even positive and healthy cultures, relationships, and families.

I’ve not encountered the team, yet, that is wholly free from negativity. (How could it be?). But I’ve experienced some that are slaves to it.

What was formerly part of Cinder Cone National Monument is now a part of Lassen Volcanic National Park

Potent inquiry: what do YOU want for your kids?

I believe its my role as dad to lead. I believe I am largely responsible for where our family exists on the spectrum. They hold me accountable.

Syblings being sworn in as national park junior rangers.

Affirmed at swear-in. Junior ranger program in full effect.

In the long run, the best hedge against negativity is to prioritize making the good stuff happen. The stuff in the list above.

Travel, fun, music, self-directed learning, following opportunity, practicing to choose.

This is our family business. Our busy-ness.

These days, there’s no business we’d rather tend.

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