How Dads Tell Conscious Stories

What are the most important 20 minutes of each day with your kids?

How can we as Dads use the power of stories to positively influence, educate and inspire?

In this interview, we’re talking about storytelling and the power it has to connect and move young hearts and minds.

My guest, Andrew Newman, is the author and creator of conscious stories, a series of books that my boys, Tiger and Ocean, absolutely love.

Honestly, I’m not a fan of many kids books.  I ask myself, “what’s the point of this story?”  

I have a special book shelf in my boys’ room filled with books I’ve personally chosen, because they teach something of value.

Hey, I’m all for being entertained, which certainly has value, and yet the real gold is when my kids are being entertained and learning at the same time.  

For years, I was the dad who just picked up whatever book was close by, or whichever one I could get through the fastest (being honest here), but today I’m much more careful about the stories I’m reading, because I’m much more intentional about the young men I’m hoping to empower.

The words we read in the last 20 minutes of the day, become the seeds of consciousness and subconscious behaviors, many of which will be carried into our adult lives.

So to explore this topic of storytelling, I invited one of my favorite authors onto the show this week…

More About Andrew Newman …

Andrew Newman has followed his deep longing for connection and his passion for spiritual development in a 12 year-long study of healing.

He is a graduate of the Barbara Brennan School of Healing and a qualified Non-Dual Kabbalistic healer. Andrew has been actively involved in men’s work through the Mankind Project since 2006.

His portfolio of work alongside his therapy practice includes publishing over 2500 donated poems as the PoemCatcher, volunteer coordination for Habitat for Humanity in South Africa and directing Edinburgh’s Festival of Spirituality and Peace.

Andrew believes that the last 20 minutes of every day are precious.

His latest project, The Conscious Bedtime Story Club, is a culmination of all of these areas of experience, intended to bring parent and child into deeper connection and spiritual union with each other.

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Read The Transcript

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[00:00:03]    Andrew Newman: He’s a very broad human, seems that repeat themselves time and time again and my therapeutic work so much so that they make their way into stories because we need to address them on a broader level. Make it accessible and light.

[00:00:20]   Jon Vroman: All right. What’s up fellas? I hope you are ready to elevate your dad game this week we were talking storytelling with my new buddy Andrew Newman, who is the author of a children’s book series that I am a huge fan of. I’m going to tell you why all that is why he’s such a great guy. Why I wanted to have him on the show before we get into all that. Guys, if you’re new here, welcome to Front Row Dads, podcasts. We are growing so much that I would imagine that a lot of you listening today are listening for the first time. So this is a podcast dedicated to family, men with businesses, not businessmen with families. Small distinction on how we say those words. Huge difference in how we live our lives. And, uh, on this show we want to talk to men about the strategies they’re using that are not only helping them build these epic businesses, but the ones that are really helping them at home where our impact is greatest felt by the people that we want to be most committed to.

[00:01:09]   Jon Vroman: So guys, we’ve got some great shows here for you. Not only today is awesome, but real quick, if you miss, last week with Marcus Sheridan, he had a great podcast interview about getting your kids involved in your business. So here’s the guy who built an epic business and he’s traveled with his kids extensively. And I was particularly interested in that interview because as I record this, by the way, 48 hours ago, I just got back with my son Tiger from a five day trip to Rapid City, South Dakota, where I had two keynote speeches. He sat in the audience. I’m going to tell you all about that adventure and all of what I learned and why it worked, where my failures were. And I’m going to tell you that on my solo show that I’m releasing. I just started these this Thursday. As you listen to this episode, if you’re listening as it’s released on a Tuesday on Thursday, you’re going to hear that breakdown of that trip, the breakdowns of that trip, and why that was one of the coolest experiences of my life ever with my nine year old and why I think that he and I are both forever changed as a result of that.

[00:02:03]   Jon Vroman: I’m gonna tell you all about it. I also want to tell you guys that next week on the podcast, it’s Charlie Engle. If you don’t know Charlie, I’ll tell you one of my buddies, one of our Front Row Dads said, Oh man, you got Charlie on the show, I’ve been following him for years. He’s got this epic story and that is true. I watched Charlie’s documentary about running across the Sahara desert. Literally, the dude ran for 111 days, two marathons a day. This is 50 miles a day without missing a day for 111 days in the Sahara. This is like over a hundred degree temperatures, crazy stuff. And I wanted to talk to him because he’s a dad and I wanted to talk about things he learned about persistence and pushing yourself. And also Charlie’s got a really fascinating story because he was an addict years ago and we talk openly about his addiction that he has overcome and then also about some challenges that his family and his kids have faced as well.

[00:02:58]   Jon Vroman: So that’s going to be a really fascinating show. It is a fascinating show. I know you guys are going to dig that. So download Marcus’s from last week and get ready for Charlie. But today we’ve got Andrew Newman and I’ve been so looking forward to this. In fact, when Andrew agreed to be on the show, I was doing back flips because again, I’ve been reading his books to my kids every night and a super, super great stuff. So I’ve got to tell you this, that I know switching gears here into the interview today and why this is so important. So I realized as a keynote speakers was how I made money for the last decade of my life, that storytelling is critical. Storytelling is critical. And I’ve researched and I’ve read and I’ve learned, and I put a lot of energy into the storytelling aspects of keynote speaking and for my business.

[00:03:43]   Jon Vroman: But what I haven’t put as much attention and energy into is the stories I’ve been telling my kids. In fact, my failure was that for a long time I would read whatever book was handy, whatever was laying around, I would just say to my kids, Hey, go pick out a book and I’ll read it to you. I would try to select books that were the shortest book so I could make it through as fast as I could and get them to bed. It was not an epic strategy. And it wasn’t until recently that I started thinking really intentionally about the books. In fact, I went through all the books in the house. I selected my favorite 25 books that all had great messages. You know, cause a lot of our books, traditional like books that have been around for decades, I would read them and I was like, well, every kid read this book.

[00:04:25]   Jon Vroman: I should read my kids this book. And I would read it and I’d go, why? Like I don’t, maybe I’m slow here, but what’s the point of this? What’s the point of the story? I just don’t know. Now if it’s just entertainment, okay, I could buy that. Like there’s a value of being entertained. Yeah, I get it. The chemicals that are released in our body when we laugh or smile or when they’re just fun that there’s a value there. I get that. But my favorite is when there’s the fun and the entertainment and there’s a message there, a message I want my children to feel and experience, one that will perhaps shape the way that they behave tomorrow and perhaps all the way into their adult lives. I know so much of our subconscious thinking as adults started as kids, the things that we’re exposed to the stories and think about for years, for hundreds of years, thousands of years, millions of years.

[00:05:11]   Jon Vroman: That’s how we pass down information is through stories, sitting around the campfire telling stories, passing down wisdom from one generation to the next. So anyway, I got these books together and my favorite authors, you know, a lot of them had written great big kid books. They also wrote little kid books like Matthew Kelly wrote The Rhythm of Life and The Dream Manager, he’s like one of my favorite authors and a great friend and yet here he goes and he puts out, why am I here? But for kids, I’m like, totally Andy Andrews, right? Amazing Speaker and author wrote a kids book, Byron Katie, same deal. So many people have done exactly that. So I wanted to make sure that I was giving my kids the right story so my kids know they pick a book from dad’s shelf and then they could pick any book from any other shelf.

[00:05:53]   Jon Vroman: But I want to make sure that once a night they get a book from my shelf and I’m looking for good authors. I’m always looking for great information to pass along to my children. And I’m also trying to get better at storytelling myself. Like when we make up stories when I’m not just reading them a book, but I’m telling them a story, right? Our guys in the members group, Front Row Dads, at our live events, we’ve talked about how some of the guys are strategists telling their kids stories of their life, you know, their own personal stories. And we’ve even talked about how you can make up stories along the way and how one dad literally had a running story every night the kids would add to the story and it went on for years that they would add on to this story. But there’s so much around storytelling and I’m really pumped to get into this.

[00:06:37]   Jon Vroman: So why are the last 20 minutes of the day is so important to your kids? Well, my guest Andrew knew and believes they are the most critical because of the conversations that we have, the stories that we tell, the ability to influence their minds and their hearts right before they go to bed. And those subconscious thoughts, how the brain is working throughout the night and perhaps a waking up a different person as we enter the day. So not only is it important that I take time at the last 20 minutes of my day to read a thing, can journal, I’ve got my five minute journal, I’ve got all this stuff, but it’s also important that we are very intentional how we treat those last 20 minutes with our kids. And my boy is Tiger and Ocean. Absolutely love the book series from the author that I have on the show today, Mr. Andrew Newman.

[00:07:21]   Jon Vroman: So a little bit about Andrew. So what can I tell you about this guy? For years he has dedicated his life to a spiritual development, a study of healing. He is a graduate of the Barbara Brennan School of Healing and the qualified nondual kabbalistic healer. He has been involved in the Men’s Work through the ManKind Project since 2006 so we had a lot to talk about there with getting groups of men together, getting conversations of groups flowing and moving and so that everybody walks away feeling more connected, more evolved, better strategies and feeling charged to go back and make change in their labs. So he has written and donated more than 2,500 poems. He has been a volunteer coordinator for Habitat for Humanity in South Africa and he’s directing Edinburgh Festival of spirituality and peace. So here’s a guy who’s deeply engaged is the point, right? And the project we’re getting into today is his conscious bedtime story club, which is a culmination. All these experiences in his life, which are intended to bring parents and kids together for deeper connection. And this spiritual union with each other at bedtime. And his books are brilliant guys. The way they start off with a breathing exercise, the way they end with these questions and the illustrations are just gorgeous and the storylines are engaging and entertaining for the kids. And yet all of them have a really incredible story. And I knew we

[00:08:56]   Jon Vroman: were onto something when the first book that I read by boys, The Hug that Got Stuck, my boy Ocean was quoting the concepts and the ideas that Andrew had written about in that book. He was quoting it the next day and I was like, that is a good sign right there. So guys, we’ve got a great show for you today. Enjoy this conversation with my new friend Andrew Newman and guys, if you’re digging the show, make sure to go leave us a review on iTunes. It would mean the world and if you mention Andrew’s name, I will screenshot that and send it along to him. And also by the way, for the first person to write a review and put Andrew’s name in there, screenshot it, send it to me with your address and I’ll pop a gift in the mail to you. Thank you guys for being part of Front Row Dads. Let’s get into it here. Enjoy this interview.

[00:09:40]   Jon Vroman: Andrew, welcome to Front Row Dads podcast. Man, glad you’re here buddy. Thanks for making time. [Inaudibale]. So we get to talk books today and I’m holding in my hand four of your books and I’m just a huge fan. I really am. And I’m trying to think about where I actually found your first book, The Hug Who Got Stuck. Well, man, when I opened this up and I started reading this to my kids, I was like, oh, I was like, this is what a kid’s book should be like. And then you get to the end and there’s like, hey, here’s some questions to have with your kids. And I’m like, who is this guy Andrew? I’ve got to get to know him. And then I see there’s like, what is your 12 books?

Andrew Newman: Well, it’s always going, Jon. I think there’s a 13 market now.

[00:10:22]   Andrew Newman: 14 and 15 are on the way. All in all a beautiful picture books.

                  Jon Vroman: I mean, but dude, if I was going to design the perfect book from like the artwork and the storyline, this is gold. So thank you by the way. And then you sent me a couple others. I read them to my kids. I’ll say, I told you I was going to have something nice to say to you. Do you want it now?

Andrew Newman: Does it come from a five year old?

Jon Vroman: Yes, that’d be really cool. So my boys, both of my boys, nine and four after I’m done reading the book last night, I’m paraphrasing the quote. So this, it said something like, I wish all books could be that interactive. Which of those really cool because even the start of the book, right? The breathing work that you do. Boy Man, Andrew, thank you for making a difference to the Roman family.

Andrew Newman: Such a great joy To my heart to hear you guys finding a way into this story and to hear it from the mouths of babes, the ones the stories are intended for.

[00:11:14]   Jon Vroman: That’s right. Yeah. So dude, let’s start with the big question. Why, why these books? Why are you doing this? What difference do you hope to make in the world through the series?

Andrew Newman: Jon, in my work therapy, theoretically I can see that we are all as adults dealing with problems that started mostly before we were six years old when we were forming our beliefs about how the world is and so innocently creating our outlook on the world. And it’s so much work as an adult too, redirect or mistaken beliefs that to correct and right relationship with ourselves and with the world around us. And

[00:11:54]   Andrew Newman: so it makes sense just to help the kids, help rod at the beginning, put some resources into the hands of parents who are waking up to the fact that they, they might pass on some of their own parental inheritances and are that are not so healthy that I want to do that anymore. I want the resources to changes as that could conscious parenting movement data, so emergent in the American market more so than anywhere else in the world. When I travel I’m here to help them get it, provide the tools and the resources based on my therapeutic background and my love of kids and uh, my real heartful connection because I think all of those little mechanisms in the book, the breathing practice, the lessons and the stories that activity pages at the end, even a stick is at the end. I took me all around creating connection between you and your little ones.

[00:12:42]   Jon Vroman: Yeah. Well and how cool is that? We get to the end of the book last night and there’s the sticker page. My son Ocean wants to grab the sticker and you puts it on his hand. Is where he wants to sticker, but then it’s the star stickers at the end of the book that you can then put onto the, it’s a star counter. So every time you breathe together and read aloud, you make a star shine in the night sky. You place a sticker or color in a star to count how many times you’ve read this book. That’s awesome man.

[00:13:12]   Andrew Newman: Yeah, that’s good. It becomes a living thing. It’s yours and I mean I write in the front of the book we say, you know, the book does not belong to anyone. It is shared with and uh, you’ve got Ocean and you’ve got yourself and you’ve got the other child and whoever’s in your family. Yes. To get to feel like they’re part of this storytime

[00:13:30]   Jon Vroman: I love this on so many levels and I think you’ll appreciate this too, Andrew. Years ago, and I’m talking 20 years ago I decided that when I would read books that I would sign them in the back of like the date and the location of where I read the book and I would try to send it off into the world. My hope, and I think this is like a very young, maybe even like a little bit, this is a lot ego driven is I was like, I want to start this thing that one day when I’m 50 or 60 years old, like I see a book come back and land in my lap and it’s got all these signatures and dates and locations of the people that read this book. Part of the spirit that was like big ego, wanting to make a difference in the world and be known for it or to feel my impact, but part of it was I feel like the sense of inner wisdom that came from wanting to feel like we could share things and pass along wisdom and that’s what you’ve done here with these books, which is really beautiful.

[00:14:24]   Andrew Newman: Yeah, I’m really okay with both of those, I’m not too critical about that being an unhealthy ego thing. I think it’s often as men, we’re here to, we feel purpose driven, right? You want to, we want to impact, I world want to leave a legacy. We want to nurture kids in our family at the very empty stand of that as a starting point, but yeah, first day, I mean I’ve got a big vision. I’m like, I want to support kids around the world and with today’s technology both in, in internet and in printing possibilities and design things, it’s like, wow, this is really a possibility. These stories are being translated and Finland in Italy, we’ve got interest in China and it’s a little ripple that’s a, that is possible from myself. Okay. Around sitting writing or writing a book.

                  Jon Vroman: It’s hard to pick a favorite or maybe it’s not.

[00:15:10]   Jon Vroman: Can you pick a favorite of the books?

Andrew Newman: The two that I liked the most for different reasons. The one you named already, The Hug Who Got Stuck with a little hug coming out of the hug factory in the middle of the heart and it gets caught in a web of sticky sorts and we get to see how gloomy things are when we’re stuck in a negative belief like, I’m not good enough. Nobody loves me. The kids come up with their own. By that to about six or seven [Inaudible] Look, nobody wants to play with me. And the other favorite of mine is The Boy Who Searched for Silence. And I think it’s a deeply personal narrative for me in some ways. And then it’s also really matters, this emergent language around mindfulness. Uh, mindfulness and education is growing very deeply and kids are thriving when they get the modeling that shows them really what is mindfulness, what does the full essence of it and how can we have this space inside of ourselves that we can fall in with a time and time again and have this sanctuary in a world.

[00:16:12]   Andrew Newman: And uh, that book to me is very special how it was written because it emerged. I didn’t think I was going to write a story, but I happened to be on a four day silent retreat and at the end of the retreat, the book wrote itself in five minutes and I thought, Oh yes, we need the story.

                  Jon Vroman: Wow. What kind of a silent retreat?

                  Andrew Newman: Uh, this is a strange Sri Ravi Shankar is one of my influences is an Indian Guruji who does something called the art of happiness and the art of silence. And if you ever struggling with happiness, then I was pretty much off my face happy for about six weeks of they’re doing its first course. It was great. I loved it.

Jon Vroman: That’s great. Where’s that located by the way? A lot of our guys are like, oh, sign me up.

Andrew Newman: Yeah, it is global.

[00:16:56]   Andrew Newman: Then you will find little local chapters. I know that I haven’t been to the Washington State Ashram, but they have a center there and of course he has very strong uh.

                  Jon Vroman: And what would you Google to find that?

                  Andrew Newman: Uh, the art of happiness and you could just put in Sri, Sri, Sri, Sri and the rest of the club come up.

                  Jon Vroman: Cool. That sounds great. I’ve got a a 10 day retreat coming up soon, so I’m mentally preparing for that. I’m excited. I know that may not sound like the right way to define 10 days of silence.

                  Andrew Newman: I’ve done one, I’ve done one and, and it’s an incredible experience. And, uh, I find it quite austere. I won’t lie. It’s hard. And uh, it marks a particular time in my life when things turned and it marks it very, very clearly when I look back.

Jon Vroman: Interesting. Let’s talk a little bit about [inaudible] realist there for a moment,

[00:17:50]   Jon Vroman: but with the books, you talked about your favorites. Talk about the impact they’ve made your audience so far. Which ones are you hearing about? Which books are people saying, we read that. My kids love that one. This is the one that’s changing our family’s life.

[00:18:02]   Andrew Newman: Well, there’s a couple of different audience. Once we’ve got a lot of influence in the schooling system and anyone who’s plugged into the Montessori schooling system has a very strong silence, no practice as part of what Maria Montessori designed. And so that again, The Boy Who Searched for Silence paid up by the peace committee in Montessori on that a national basis in America that’s really providing for teachers when I hear is this death. The kids are loving yet another opportunity to learn something that they’re already being taught. And then we find that some other school systems where they don’t have a mindfulness practice, it becomes the first edge of there. And teachers that are going right, we can, we can borrow this, the stickiest one that the kids will take off the shelf time and time and time and time again is that, how could we got stuck or something about the drama in that story there that they love.

[00:18:52]   Andrew Newman: And then The Elephant Who Tried to Tiptoe, uh, which is, uh, she’s not being herself. And in the story she compares itself a lot to all of the other animals. And then she realizes that she’s got some of her own special features and she falls in love with this stuff the way she is. And that particular story is really reaching interestingly girls and their moms in a very particular way that the moms are seeing their own pattern of self judgment and remembering again, hey, I don’t need to do, I’m good the way I am. And you know, if a mum wants to model nonjudgment to her daughter, uh, she has to have it for herself or I have to. Otherwise there’s going to be incongruence in the message. She’s going to go, you know, sweetie, don’t judge yourself, but I’m going to judge myself. And it’s like that’s incongruent. And so this story is really helping in that space and the animals and the pictures and the colors in that one or just really reaching to the youngest three and four year olds beautifully.

[00:19:47]   Jon Vroman: That’s so good to hear. Andrew, you know we think about stories. What type of research did you do or have you discovered about storytelling and kids? And I’m specifically asking because I think there’s a lot of guys out there that are thinking a, how do I find the right stories, age appropriate stories, or even perhaps how do I learn to tell stories? Like part of why I’m asking that is thinking about the art of storytelling and not only will guys, if they have a strong reason why that’s so important. And I think there’s a bit of an intuitive, like yeah, I kind of get it, but maybe you could talk to us a little bit more about that, about storytelling in general.

[00:20:25]   Andrew Newman: Right, so many dads that I hear from are the ones who climb into bed at night with the little one, tucked them in and and make up an entirely new story and I love that. I get a lot of, there’s always a dad wanting to tell me about a moment he had with his kid when they made up a story and things got exciting and I think that that’s a fantastic thing to do with kids to be spontaneous. When I was researching and evolving in deepening my practices of writing, I started to understand that the last 20 minutes of the day are really important. They’re important psychologically as a time of transition and a time of integration and that story at that time transitions us from the role of being. You’re not a way or authoritarian. We might be in an authoritarian position, brush your teeth, put your pajamas on, eat your food, whatever it is we need to do that is very direct.

[00:21:16]   Andrew Newman: It’s straight face to face and when we climb into bed with our little ones and we snuggle and we have a book in front of us, then our posture changes to side by side. And this was fascinating for me to watch what happens when we go from front-to-front to side-to-side and how we get to enter into a journey together and togetherness gets created. And so that’s been a big center point for me and on my work with families as to say open to that shift and posture so that you’re not reading to, you’re reading with and when you read with a, the story can take it and that’s much more important to catch the moments of connection than it is to finish the story. And that means if you turn a page and the little kid goes Giraffe, there’s your opening right there. It doesn’t matter if they’re pointing at an elephant, right?

[00:22:08]   Andrew Newman: The opening is, yeah, look at that giraffe. What do you like about it? Or isn’t it pretty you against another little moment of deepening can happen.

Jon Vroman: For me personally, Andrew, I’ve actually found myself, I’ve caught myself judging myself on reading where I would like if for example, some of the guys out there going to be like, yes, that’s me and other guys are going to be like really, Jon? Like you struggle with that. But you know, like I’m opening the book and I’m reading as I flipped to the first page, right? Once upon a time there was a boy who went searching for silence and then I go, should I just flip the page and then read the next page or should I take a moment and say, what do you guys notice about that picture? And like, what do you think that boy is thinking about?

[00:22:49]   Jon Vroman: And I know it sounds crazy, like somebody could just easily say, well just do whatever you want to do, Jon. I’m like, but I find this inner dialogue is actually happening as I read the book, there is an element of anxiety that’s being created because I’m not doing a good job reading. All right, or I’m not doing it right.

                  Andrew Newman: Well let’s see if we can ease that a little bit for you. I mean, and you’ve named a book, there has some phrase specific tempo on the page turns that can be really, really slow. And that particular story and some of those places, and I know the dilemma that you’re talking about because every time I’m working with a classroom of kids, I have the same dilemma. Am I going to pause to ask a question or am I going to keep going? And sometimes here again, I’m following the lead of what’s happening with the little ones.

[00:23:34]   Andrew Newman: I’m following the mood of the room, um, because some days it will be question and answer time and some days it won’t be. And I think that’s part of the beauty of repetition of our favorite sets it on the bookshelf is there. Some days we’ll just was right to do it. Now the days, the conversation will open. And if you’ve had a day with your kids where for whatever reason that’s been busy and haven’t really connected, you haven’t really heard at a deeper sense how they doing and you’ve got a curiosity, then it’s a great opportunity to pause and interrupt the story when there’s an impulse, a movement coming from them and otherwise no, that you’re dividing this rich atmosphere just by continuing and it’s like we’re just going to keep going and you can always come back and go, wow, what did you feel on this page?

[00:24:20]      Andrew Newman: As men, we’re always doing work of connecting with our emotions. It’s true for women as well, but particularly in the men’s work I do mad, sad, glad, scared, love. Can we actually name and find those experiences? And, and books are a great tool for that because we cannot open to a page. And The Boy Who Searched For Silence where he’s angry, there’s a very clear anger page and we can go, wow, what do you think he’s feeling? And that like, he’s angry, were you angry today at all? Yeah, I was angry when this happened. It’s like, oh, okay. And we’re in, we’re into the conversation and a connection.

                     Jon Vroman: I feel like I might have derailed us, are a little bit from a question where we could have gone a little deeper too, which is about storytelling. How are you coming up with these stories? I’m thinking about the dad’s like, teach me how to tell stories.

[00:25:07]   Jon Vroman: I want to be a better storyteller. You’re writing these books at least, or maybe you’re not. Maybe you’re hiring people that are making these books. Maybe you’ve got a great ghostwriting team. Something tells me that you might be a little bit involved here.

Andrew Newman: I’m very involved. I mean I, I do all of the writing.

Jon Vroman: All right, cool. And it wouldn’t be a bad thing if you’ve found the ghost writer and you could direct this then bravo to you, but okay, so how do you come up with a story? Maybe you could coach us a little bit so I can be a better storyteller when my kids say make a story up.

[00:25:42]   Andrew Newman: I’m still discerning whether or not those are the same skills. And I do a lot of storytelling. I’m often performing at the mosque and enjoying a onstage performance. And it’s got a slightly different arc when it’s an in person, a voice experience, but.

Jon Vroman: All right, tell us about the differences. Jealous about the two. How do you view that?

Andrew Newman: So we want to create atmosphere in buzzes in, and what I know there’s, when I’m working with teachers, giving them the tools to create stories in a classroom spontaneously. This is the meeting point of these two where you say, okay, let’s go. What’s the problem here? Well, the problem is at the moment that we haven’t seen too much empathy coming from our kids. A little Johnny fell over and Jane just ran past. She didn’t stop to see how he was. So how can we take that situation and make a story out of it with creating the shame or guilt in the classroom? And one of the things there is to give it a little bit of time from the incident.

                  Jon Vroman: So there’s a little boy named Andrew,

[00:26:44]   Jon Vroman: and he’s nine and he’s blond hair, blue eyes. He usually sits in the back of the classroom. No, I’m not talking about anybody here in this classroom, but

[00:26:53]   Andrew Newman: Yeah, right this is why we use animals [inaudible]. Okay, fill in the blanks. Once upon a time there was a.  Giraffe. Who lived in the zoo, who’s favorite friend was there and we did this week you and the friend was a rabbit, right? And it’s like, okay, a rabbit and a giraffe. We’ve got an interesting set up. And uh, one day they went to the mall was the aunt. I’m like, mall.  How am I going to work with this? But when we in the enthusiasm of it, and I were trying to make a story and that’s an about empathy, but unfortunately they couldn’t get in the door. The door handle was too high for the rabbit and was too low for the giraffe. Okay. There’s the setup where in the hero’s journey we’ve gone, we’ve made the characters, we set up the environments, we’re poised to set up a feeling. What are they feeling?

[00:27:44]   Andrew Newman: The rabbits feeling shame, the giraffe feeling, let’s see, you know,  whatever it is. Angry. Dammit. I’m too tall. Since the giraffe, the story is just happening. It just comes right out of it. And we can lead the story and give it a little nudge as if we want to create something that will take our kids to a particular lesson. And there is a whole field of work on narrative counseling. It’s not really my speciality, but it’s emerging as part of my speciality as in the books, as the book start to deliver on certain what I would call human messages. We’re all going to look for silence at substantially. All gonna need to learn from us and we’re all going to struggle with youys like the B who couldn’t choose the flour and we’re all going to make our own inquiry into the nature of God, like the printer, sir, extra guide and we’re all going to judge ourselves like the elephant to try to. So, um, these are very broad human themes that repeat themselves time and time again in my therapeutic work. Some actions are there that make their way into stories because we need to address them on a broader level, make it accessible in life and reachable.

[00:28:48]   Jon Vroman: Andrew, I love this idea about designing stories around the lessons that you want to teach because it wasn’t too long ago. I had a guest on the show, friend of mine, longtime friend who was bringing up the idea about our dinner table and he says he really tries to script a great dinner conversation and really put thought into like what questions could he bring up and how are people feeling like, oh, let me take a moment and think about my son Tiger and I think about my son ocean and thinking about my wife and be intentional about cultivating and curating a great conversation. He says, I do it at work when I’m going to have a staff meeting. I’ll think about where everybody is and I’ll think about what questions we’re going to talk about and I’ll kind of end. He goes, why wouldn’t I do that at home?

[00:29:26]   Jon Vroman: Why wouldn’t I bring that level of intention and what I think about here was story time and I’m trying to figure out myself and four other people or with other people. I’m trying to figure out what are those critical moments of being a dad that make all the difference in the world, right. What are those, the little hinges that swing the big doors to quote somebody. Very smart. And I think storytime is one of those things. And so many times I’ve just like, I work really hard. I get home, I work from home, I didn’t walk downstairs, I have dinner, I’m doing the the evening routine with my family and then I get to story time and I know I’m not a great storyteller. They’re like tell us the story. And I’m like, AH, like inside I’m going, oh this is so much work. Like just go to bed guys. Right. And I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to do the story cause they just want them to go. Isn’t there a book that I could quote the book is go the fuck to sleep I think is the name of the book.

[00:30:22] Jon Vroman: It’s so funny. So funny. But anyway.

                  Andrew Newman: It means Samuel L. Jackson has narrated.

                  Jon Vroman: Yeah, that’s right. And he narrates the book. It’s so great. But anyway, the point is that I want to thank you and I want to just bring attention to this point about designing stories around the lessons you want to teach and giving yourself a little breathing room. Even if guys can hold this intention throughout the day, they could be starting to think about these things that then at night they could have a conversation with their kids or tell a story that might fit in the values they want to teach. It could just be another level of engagement here with our kids. The one that I think we only get if we’ve talked about it, thought about it and set our intention. That’s how we want to be as a dad. \

Andrew Newman: And what I’m feeling in a way that you’re talking is the lack the village fire place where the men went off to hunt. And uh, we came back to the village at night and we sat around the fire and we told of the adventures of our day, we can still do that. We have our proverbial fireplace, that might be the dinner table at my feet, you know, a home that become back to the advances of the day can be turned into one of your colleagues at the office might always be the giraffe and the way that they interact with the other colleague and might be the rabbit.

                  Jon Vroman: Yeah. You could.  That is so good.

[00:31:50]   Andrew Newman: You’ll be, you’ll be discharging your own staff is you get to the end of the day because you’ve made the lights of something not critique. It’s good for us to make light of a world. It doesn’t become too serious inside of us.

Jon Vroman: How to turn your kids storytelling time into your own personal therapy. That’s so funny. That’s so great. I think guys know exactly what I’m talking about. They’re just joking around a little bit, but how true, right. That you can literally do that. You can use the experiences of your day and make up characters and how the stories and I think it’s so good. Yeah.

Andrew Newman: But you asked the big question there, John, about what’s the, in a way you said, what’s the, what are the critical moments? What are the peak events and I think that sustained presence and repeated presence and what I mean by presence

[00:32:40]   Andrew Newman: is eye contact, listening, openness to follow the lead of your kids and the willingness to do that time and time again, particularly to shift again out of that role, which is all about authority side on the mop, playful and it will me more like to get an s and the chances are that if you’re doing attract, you actually lost into the moment because you’re having so much fun. That to me is what that does. The work of prepare in a repair. Our kids everyday are going to have an experience that is painful for them. It’s going to happen, it’s normal and we want them to have repair and a regular presence and playfulness can do this. I have one friend, we had so much fun with this little four year old. What we would do is we’d say to him, okay, for the next 10 minutes and we’re going to time it, you are the boss of the game and so you tell us what the game is.

[00:33:39]   Andrew Newman: You tell us what it is we’re going to do, you know, and it’s like we’re going to have truck races. It’s like, okay, what truck am I, you’re going to be the blue truck. Okay, great. And then I’d start doing something and he’d go, okay, no, you got to do it backwards and be like, okay, I’m the blue truck and I’ll go backwards. Does have the rules. Right. And so we got engaged in the moment of that gave autonomy and authority and respect cause this little four year old. Hmm. Um, I think that sort of presence over the longterm becomes very memorable on the interior of the child and gives them the knowledge, that knowledge that, that really welcome that they belong. And when they feel all of those things, their confidence will just rise to the surface all on its own.

[00:34:25]   Jon Vroman: Man. So good. You guys want to take a second to tell you about our front row dad’s retreat. If you would value connecting with a brotherhood of likeminded and lighthearted guys who want to deepen their sense of purpose and meaning as fathers and within their families and to talk about and share the best practices and the strategies for ultimate family success, then this event might be for you if you add value being around high performing guys without the big egos, guys that believe in being family, men with businesses and not businessmen with families, you might enjoy our Front Row Dads retreat twice a year. We’re getting together in person, small groups, cool locations, guest experts and so much more for these events. We’ve now done this multiple times. It has sold out every single time and if you’re excited about it, make sure to check it out at frontrowdads.com where you can apply for the next retreat. Now, hey, one of the things you might be wondering is, does leaving my family make me a better dad or husband? The answer is for many of you, I know you travel a bunch, you do other things and the idea for this one is you have to retreat to advance. You have to take a step back to gain the perspective so that we can go back and crush it within our families. This is the same concept that works in business where you take a moment.

[00:35:37]   Jon Vroman: You think, you plan, you strategize, you work on your family so that you can be better in your family. If that all sounds good, check it out frontrowdads.com.  Andrew, I also know it’s, I don’t know if this is switching gears are just continuing on our path, but I wanted to bring it up because I thought it was really interesting about the work that you’ve done is that you have also done a tremendous amount of men’s work. Yep. What does that mean exactly?

[00:36:03]   Andrew Newman: You know, I got into personal development 20 something years ago and most of it a female was like literally 90% women in the classes and I’d be one of the guys. And then I stumbled over a demand Kahn projects and I got into a men’s work. I sit in a main circle, a weekly I have done since 2006 and uh, that involve me in South Africa, living in Scotland and are living in the States. So this organization is big and it’s global. But what it means for me is it helps me stay on point, comes with creating the world. I want to cry. So I have a very specific view of what I would like to create in the world. And I would like to create an inviting and joyful world. And I do that by inviting people to gather and by asking what’s bringing you joy?

[00:36:51]   Andrew Newman: Now, if you think the odd rehearse that line, it’s because I have, that’s my mission. That’s what I strive to create and the need to do that because I’ve got this part of you that will really create a very serious world. I’m very serious and very controlling. If I forget about my joy and I don’t want the world to be like that. So then the circles become a place where men hold me to account where they check in on whether I’m in integrity with myself and with my agreements with the group and with the rest of the world, and it just gives me become one of my homes, really truly one of my deep pounds to be sitting in circle with men and getting vulnerable.

[00:37:28]   Jon Vroman: So being that, that’s what we’re focused on creating within front row dads is a brotherhood of men who want to be family, men with businesses, not businessmen with families. We want to focus on specific areas of life, health, emotions, relationships, parenting, right? And how do we blend all that together in an integrated life. What I’m searching for, which I’m not sure I’m going to ask the question the right way, so feel free to ignore what question I asked next and just answer it in a way that may give the most value to our listeners. But part of what I’m after is what do we need to know, Andrew, about building a brotherhood here that could allow this to work? Maybe it’s the reasons why it needs to happen. Maybe it’s actually structurally speaking like this is how it works or how often men need to be talking, but there’s no question in our group that, and there’s a different layers, right?

[00:38:21]   Jon Vroman:  Somebody could just listen to the podcast and that’s a great layer. They can join our Facebook group and then have a conversation. They can become a paying member of the group. And then we have smaller groups within that group called bands, right? This band of brothers concept and a little play on the front row brand as well. But do you have bands? Then we get together for these retreats and at our retreats we’re always in a circle and some of the things that we’re struggling with is how big can the retreats get cause they get more and more popular and more and more guys want to come. How big can the circle get now? Do we need two circles? Does that matter? Like right. So like I said, I don’t even know what question I’m really asking, but I’m looking for the wisdom of like what have you learned by being in these circles that can help Front Row Dads to form connect and then to ultimately help raise better families?

[00:39:03]   Andrew Newman: That’s a big question. I love the, I love pointing us to. If I think about what’s been my real take come and when things have work, I do like a group agreements about how we meet and I’ve been in different groups. I have a different times and each group has its own agreement, so I’m not attached to what the agreements are. I’m just attached to the fact that there are agreements that a group at forms those together. I’ve seen great success with in person meetings where there a set number of meetings rather than the sort of like ongoing, Oh, we’re just going to meet every week and there’s kind of like we’re going to meet every weekend and then because there’s a fatigue that comes in at a certain point and we can actually avoid that fatigue coming in. If we say we’re going to meet for eight meetings, who’s with me? And then the some, there’s an edge around both having friends in the group and other words creating deep friendships, which has certainly happened for me that some of my best time is group is with the people who pissed me off the most and who I’m automatically reactive to and I’m very grateful for the fact that they are good processes for me to understand my own projection and not to play that out. And I think that that’s, that’s a really useful to have a common language and common and skill set within the group of guys.

[00:40:28]   Jon Vroman: By the way, this could apply. I’m asking this because it doesn’t just apply to our members are guys that come to our retreats, but guys who are figuring out how to create

[00:40:36]   Jon Vroman: Groups

[00:40:37]   Jon Vroman: within their local communities and I think we need that conversation. Even in our charity front row foundation, our staff is pro currently in a 30 day challenge and we’re meeting every day on the phone, on video from nine to 9:45 AM every single day, including weekends when we’re doing this 30 day challenge. And the group is like, this is amazing. I never would have done this without coming together and talking and right. This has been very, very powerful. I’m almost like completely convinced you’d actually be hard for somebody to talk me out of the idea of small groups, right? Yeah. How are they have in our lives? So when you have an agreement about how you need or when you’re figuring out how long you should meet for, and let’s just use an example, a specific example. Let’s say there’s four guys, right? And they decided to get together and have a small meetup and they’re going to meet up once a week or once a month. How does that group go about determining

[00:41:34]   Jon Vroman: what they’re agreeing to for that group? How does that conversation take place? How does that unfold?

                  Andrew Newman: I think that firstly, once a week, not once a month, once a month is not often enough. I think that the conversation unfolds based on somebody in the group having a lead and presenting an idea and putting it forward and it could come out of their work experience. It could come out of, it’s very seldom there. For people who’ve never got experience in the space end up sitting in the same room together, does that, doesn’t tend to go there. There might be four guys who are playing around of golf and somebody says, you know what? Let’s see if we can transition this from a a round of golf, do something a little bit deep and more meaningful. Who’s with me? My ABC’s on it is a check in. What’s on the surface?

[00:42:24]   Andrew Newman: That’s to deal with the external world tech. Five minutes of quiet time together. If you’d like to light a candle or a burn, some sage or new, something that is in alignment with your inner spirituality, do that. And then drop one level deep Ranga are really, what are you feeling? Where are you vulnerable? If you just ask that question and are prepared to go to vulnerability and each man vulnerability opens up another man’s vulnerability and the next thing you know, you’re looking at each others as across the group and you feel more like you’re part of something. It’s a rich experience and I don’t know how to describe it to someone who hasn’t had it. I mean, eye contact between men can be, can be terrifying if it’s something you’re not used to a, if it’s something that’s only ever happened across the football field and mean something that’s better.

[00:43:11]   Andrew Newman: I think that we actually, if we arrive to each other with the same time in the set, they arrive to our kids and then, uh, our relationships will be really beautiful.

Jon Vroman: Where do you think is the balance, the harmony between being tender, right and being caring or considerate or loving or any of these words that would be on the softer, more feminine side and then also the time where you call somebody out and you challenge them, right and you bring a little more masculine energy to the table to get somebody to rise to the occasion. How do you strike a balance between those two?

Andrew Newman: Well that’s very obvious to the whole world that my nature is towards the a gentler, kinder pot until you press the wrong button at which point ferocious. And what you asked me about, I love what we would call warrior energy in which is sharp and direct and I think that it’s really important that as men we learn how to be healthy warriors and to like hold it out them into account.

[00:44:22]   Andrew Newman: In our work environment we are going to be saying, well we agreed on deliverable on this project. They said that it was going to be complete by Friday. It’s now Friday, it hasn’t been done that there’s a consequence today. And they can be a mix of kind of like kindness and firmness that comes in. The most suffering is caused by the integrated warrior who is a um, and just, uh, uh, a battle axe and nothing else. And I think that we see some of that in our society and in our political environment and then our movies. And it’s a work of men to learn how to have our full power and our full power includes our hot and all vulnerability.

[00:45:03]   Jon Vroman: Andrew, this is awesome stuff, man. I never feel like I have enough time with my guests because I’m so interested in what you’re doing and your beliefs and I want to connect some dots with and for people. So this has been fantastic. Uh, really appreciate this conversation with you man. And I’m just such a big fan of your books and the work you’re doing and the consciousness that you’re bringing to the world in only the way that you can. So tell everybody who’s listening right now where to go get the books, where do they go?

[00:45:37]   Andrew Newman: Uh, John, our favorite place for people to go is to consciousstories.com and uh, that is the home base. That’s where you can watch my TedTalk on why the last 20 minutes of the day matter. You can read about the stories, you can see out of people’s reviews on them. It’s also the only place where families can join the book of the month club. And that is uh, something that’s specially designed to give parents the support of a year long journey of great books coming in every month. And that just reminds them of their intention to make the last 20 minutes of the day something special.

[00:46:14]   Jon Vroman: Yeah. So smart. And we have a discount for our crew here, right?

[00:46:19]   Andrew Newman: Yeah, we do. We’ve got a coupon that’s being set up that uh, it has front growth. 15 is the lucky coupon and I’m sure we put it in the podcast notes and that is a 15% discount through ads. I’ll website particularly encouraging for the how the families that want that book of the month’s club.

[00:46:36]   Jon Vroman: That’s awesome. Well guys, listen for anybody out there. I purchased The Hug Who Got Stuck. It was one of the best purchases of the year. Made it to my bookshelf. I’ve bookshelf in my kid’s room that is like, these are dads books. So when we read books you have to pick one from dad shop and then you could pick any book from anywhere else in the house. But you got to pick one from dad shelf and the, and The Hug Who Got Stuck was immediately put on that shelf. Now lives there with a couple of your other books. We are circle people, uh, how Diablo became spirit and The Boy Who Searched for Silence, they now live on that shelf. I’m so grateful for these books. These are shaping the minds of my kids. Think about that. Like that’s crazy man, that you wrote something that I’m literally sitting down reading to them at night and you’re shaping their world. You’re shaping their life.

[00:47:23]   Andrew Newman: Yeah.

[00:47:24] Jon Vroman: That’s crazy to me.

[00:47:25]   Andrew Newman: And Jon, I’ve taken the care to do my work over long period

[00:47:30]   Andrew Newman: to get to the position where I’m, I’m confident that what I’m representing in the world is a good shaping. And I’ve chosen illustrators who can keep the integrity of the message so that you have great images for this doesn’t happen in a crash. And every story, this is something that’s been very intentional and it’s a delight to have you recognize that this summer actually influence in one book because every book on yourself has got as much influence and it’s uh, it’s an important that alongside.

                  Jon Vroman: Guys, if you’re out there listening, I can’t stress this enough that you’ve got to get really intentional about the books that you’re reading to your kids. You’ve got to make it so that those 20 minutes exists. You have to guard it with your life. You need to be very intentional about the books that you’re choosing to read for your kids.

[00:48:19]   Jon Vroman: And even thinking about if you’re at the place where in the show we talked about, hey, what if you could turn story time, your own personal storytelling time into very intentional time with your kids. Like if you’re having a child is struggling with being shy, then maybe make the story about somebody who was one shy and then overcame that shyness. Right? And I also think about like if you have your book collection on the shelf and you know that your kids are particularly struggling in an area, you can pull the book off the shelf that could closely fit to where they are at that moment in their life and deliver something very powerful and just like, you know, the power of the book, which I think is so cool. It’s like why a lot of times if I tell my kid to do something, it doesn’t land.

[00:49:01]   Jon Vroman: But if we just read it in a book, it does. It’s like the cool uncle effect, right? Where it’s, I’ve been saying that for years, but uncle Bill one time and all of a sudden like, it’s like, uh, same thing, right? This is a critical factor of being a great father. I think I’m gonna tell you one quick thing to, and a shout out to a buddy of mine named Christian Flores, who I was at his house for his 50th birthday party and his girls were telling things they loved about it, their dad, right? So there were all, everybody was giving a speech and a toast and these girls stepped up and they’re just very articulate, wonderful girls older now, right? 14, 16, I think, or the ages. But they said, ah, dad would tell us a story. And every night we continue the story from the night before.

[00:49:44]   Jon Vroman: And the story went on for years. This is no joke. Like the story went on for years. Why I’m sharing this is that not only is that super cool shout out Christian, uh, and to the amazing girls that you’ve, you’ve raised and are raising, but that was what they said. Like of all the things they could have said, they talked about the story time at night, right? This is the thing. And then I think about how does that play a role in your life, guys out there listening, like give yourself a rating and honest rating today, one to 10 scale. Where would you be on your level of commitment to this, on your delivery with this? Be honest, right? Like where are you? And if you don’t like your answer, do something about it today because there’s still time, right? We can always tell stories.

[00:50:25]   Jon Vroman: If you’ve got older kids up kids, you could tell stories and it just, the stories change, but the impact is all there. So man, I’m just so fired up so guys, get the series here. You’ve got to get these books front row 15 is the code. I don’t get any affiliate here, guys. This is not why I asked Andrew to come on the show. There’s no affiliate link. There is just joy and knowing that your kids will be reading these incredible stories. That’s it. It’s all yours. Yeah.

                  Andrew Newman: What you said right there. Perfect. That’s it. I love that man.

[00:50:57]   Andrew Newman: After they’re being great dads to their kids? Oh, beautiful. Inspiring.

[00:51:02]   Jon Vroman: Yeah. I think it’s our most important role. I think. Look, we can build big businesses and we can show our kids that we can be passionate doing all these things, but we’ve got to show up for our families. We’ve got to think about this. We’ve got a plan. Got to get engaged. We’ve got to make some stuff happen and we have to do it now. No matter how old your kids are, it doesn’t matter how young they are, doesn’t matter how old they are. There’s the time is now to get this done. And you’re, you’ve been wonderful man. I hope we continue our conversations and our friendship as the time goes forward. I’m a huge fan of your work. I think that’s clear by this point. So thank you. I’ll be sharing it continuously. Anything else you want to share, Andrew, about, uh, anything we just didn’t button up today or any final thoughts,

[00:51:40]   Andrew Newman: Jon? Yeah, if you’re into the social media conscious bedtime stories on Instagram or conscious bedtime story club on Facebook, come and hangouts, we uh, we love hearing from parents on what’s happening, both the good, the bad and the ugly, the challenges. And if there’s parents out there who need support on a one to one basis and their own development, just a, drop me a line, let’s talk.

[00:52:05]   Jon Vroman: Awesome. And guys, I’m going to put something extra special out there also that if you get one of Andrew’s books, so get it, review it, read it, then write a review about it, screenshot that, email me at jon@frontrowdads.com, j o n at [inaudible] Dot Com I will also pop in the mail to you if you put your address to due to some limitations on my mailing system here, a US only for those international listeners, sorry, but us only send me your address and a screenshot of that review of Andrew’s book and I will put something special in the mail for you to say thank you for supporting Andrew and his books and give it a review. Send it my way. I’ll send you something in the mail. I have to say thanks. So that’s it guys. Front row 15 is the code. Go get it. Conscious bed. What was the website again? The Url

[00:52:52]   Andrew Newman: consciousstories.com

[00:52:54]   Jon Vroman: So good. Andrew, thanks for being with this man. I look forward to more conversation on the road.

[00:52:59]   Andrew Newman: Beautiful. John, have a drywall.

[00:53:02]   Jon Vroman: Hey guys, if you haven’t already done so, go right now to frontrowdads.com/facebook and join the conversation that’s happening right now on line. We designed this group for guys who are entrepreneurial in their thinking that are high performing guys with low egos. We’re looking for the dads that believe in teaching their kids how to think, solve problems and be leaders are looking for guys who believe in being family, men with businesses, not businessmen with families. We’re looking for the fathers who have great knowledge but also believe that they have so much more to learn and we’re looking for men who want to add value by sharing their wisdom and those that are willing to ask the questions that we all need and want answers to. That’s front row dads.com/facebook or simply go to Facebook, type in front row dads and you’ll get to our group and what we put in there links to all the podcasts and videos and other resources that you can’t get access to anywhere else except for in this group. We want to give you the best ideas to help you with your marriage, balancing work and family life communication strategies with your spouse and also your children, travel ideas, and even suggestions on the latest gear that would save you time and help you be more effective. We’ve got updates on upcoming events and so much more. Go right now to front row dads.com/facebook and join the conversation. I’ll look forward to connecting with you there.

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