Lifestyle

Positive Brainwashing!

It’s 2019 and we are up against the odds as parents to raise our children so they can go out and get after life. While the resources and technology are at the fingertips of more children now than ever, the culture around them to be distracted is vastly beyond the wildest dreams amongst of even those of us who were in our teens in the…..GASP….90s!

As parents we have to find the time, no matter the sacrifice to motive kids to be healthy physically, mentally, and if you are into the yoga thing (Ommmmmmmmmmmmm) spiritually as well. After all, this is a health magazine and when I was asked to do an article I waited to dig deep inside and touch as many of you as I can.

We are gonna break it down into 5 key ways to positively brain wash your kids so let’s go!

1. Challenge comfort zones

As adults we all have comfort zones, right? Somewhere along the way we decided just how far we would go to get what we want. I’m not referring to robbing banks or bungee jumping, I’m referring to grinding. Our comfort zones are shaped as kids. Our parents are the ones who wired our brains to establish how hard we need to work, how much we should play, our participation in sports and the arts, and how much time we were allocated to spend with friends. How much has that mentality changed as adults?

I work with kids on a daily basis as I teach them to dig deeper not only for what they want, but to do it with less hesitation. A lot can be lost along the way in 1 second. I’ll get more into that in another one if the keys, but grinding in life is utterly important. If they have identified a want, they need to go after it!

I work with kids on a daily basis as I teach them to dig deeper not only for what they want, but to do it with less hesitation. A lot can be lost along the way in 1 second. I’ll get more into that in another one if the keys, but grinding in life is utterly important. If they have identified a want , they need to go after it!

If your 4th grader doesn’t want to audition for the school play but at home she loves to put on a show find out why. If your high schooler keeps talking about a girl at school and he close to but is afraid to ask her out, encourage him to do so! Whether it is failure or success in these early life transactions there is so much to gain… confidence and character.

Sports are a great way for kids to get past their comfort zones. Whether they are the star of the basketball team, they take 2 group tennis lessons a week, or they are the last player on the lacrosse squad  there is so much to be won in the right setting. If your child goes out and gives 100% with you motivating them and sometimes FORCING them to honor their practice schedule you are on the right track. If they go into things with the I WILL NOT QUIT attitude, later in life that will translate into self motivation.

2. Be present at the moment 

As adults we have a lot on our plates. We are all different in the way in which we approach parenting, of course. However, there is one thing that remains the same across the board for every one of us….the clock will be a tick in’. There are no do overs. We have to be present in the moment.

I work with most kids ages 5 through 14. From the kids that I see once a week to the ones I see 5 days a week, I plead to them at times to be present in the moment. The kids who are the most distracting to others or those that have the least physical talent are the ones that I feel strongly I can make the biggest difference with. There is no give up today n me within reason. That comes from the way I was raised. Every kid deserves not just a chance, but a close look.

Does your kid need to dial it back a tad or is your kid hesitating? Hesitation is where so much is lost when it comes to opportunity. Some people are lucky? Luck is when preparation meets opportunity. So let us guide our kids to conquer the opportunities they prepared for.

What is happening in the moment should be the most important to them. Remind your kids to have a singular focus on what is going to help them the most in each activity they partake in. A singular focus is that one thing they can key on to achieve a greater success.

As a parent we are dealt with a particular hand and it is up to us how we play it. We can’t force it, but we gotta guide it. Even if you only get to be a parent one weekend every other week, you can still be guiding them throughout every day with what you give them. When they are at school, focus in the classroom and build friendships when it is social time. When they are playing a sport, remind them to give their all and keep a steady head. When they are with family encourage attention and love to family. Being present in the moment will lead to an enriched life.

3. Organization (agendas)

Have you ever gone on a beautiful vacation and the family sits around and doesn’t know what to do once they get there? Do you look back at any part of your life and really cherish those hours in front of the television? Well, I think we all need agendas.

I had the opportunity to teach tennis in a remote location to one of the wealthiest humans in the world and it was a real treat. He arrived on a helicopter, didn’t drink, was a wonderful man. First class all the way…he even picked up his own balls. It was a pleasant experience to observe how some of the extremely wealthy are genuinely down to earth people.

Each and every part of his family’s day was scheduled for what they were doing and when they were doing it. Here is an example of a portion of their day :

7:00-7:45 breakfast
8:00-9:30 tennis with Luke Stephens
10:00-11:00 water activities
11:00-12:00 free time – board games, squash, bowling
12:00-1:15 lunch dockside

The part that stands out for me the most is the schedule specific free time. I have put this into play for a honeymoon, 3 day family trip, and even weekends at home! I have also carried this into play professionally with specifying my lesson plans for my time on the court. I don’t do it all the time, but when I take the time to plan I am far more efficient on the quality of time I create. Kids will appreciate this as well. Kids appreciate  being aware of what they are asked to do with their time and when they are doing it. Winging it isn’t always mean creative, it sometimes means we are being lazy. Family agendas will help them blossom into more organized adults who taste the fruits of life.

4. Screen time 

I think this one is obvious and we can be self inflicting ourselves with this poisonous activity. However, you’re reading a magazine so there is hope for you yet!

Being present in the moment is utterly important in life. Kids with their faces into an iPhone aren’t gonna be catching the little accents and flavors of what life has to offer. Encourage them to be with out or even take away (gasp!) the electronics and watch their social skills improve.

What kind of world will it be when a boy asking out a girl for the first time in his whole life was via text. The one we are in! Encourage and inspire your kids to look up into the beautiful and ugly world around them.

5. No excuses

We will make this one short and sweet. It is simple, really. Cut down on the excuses because they will infect your kids. This goes for us as well.  Either have some sort of an excuse policy in place which will help guide your children to limit the excuses or generally look to cut down on them.

This is you and your co parent’s show. Make sure you let the kids know who runs it. Not doing homework? No excuse! Missing tennis cause you have a headache? No! Didn’t make your bed cause you forgot? Go do it! Self sufficient children are what we are striving for…not kids who can’t take care of themselves later on in life.
“Losers make excuses, winners find a way!” – Wayne Stephens aka my dad.

Wrapping it up!
It has been an absolute pleasure putting this together. I’m looking forward to reading it once it comes to print and with my wife motivating ourselves to use these 5 keys to polish up on our parenting experience. If you don’t love all of em’ maybe there’s one you can go with to be helpful. If not, that’s okay. I’m not a doctorate of child development. I’m just a guy who loves his family and works to live not lives to work. I teach tennis over at the beautiful Wellington Tennis Center. Text me or email me if you have any thoughts on these words.

Happy brainwashing!

Luke Stephens 
561.236.4988
[email protected]

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