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Brandon Miller: 00:00 Our kids are not meant to be a mystery to us. They’re not meant to be this such complex enigma that we’re going to spend our whole life figure that out. Actually, I believe quite the contrary. They are meant to be understood young and further understood as they grow and develop. To your point of front row dads, we ought to be the expert on these people and really awesome when they do as young adults because they know we know them and we have their best interests at heart. Alright gentlemen, welcome to the front row dads podcast.
Jon Vroman: 00:26 If you’re new here, I’m your host John Vroman and today with me is Brandon Miller. He is the author of a book play to their strengths. I should say coauthor, uh, because you’re a your wife. Anilin am I saying that right? He did. Absolutely. This is a fantastic book. I’ve enjoyed it tremendously. A new approach to parenting your kids as God made them. We’re gonna have a great chat today and um, guys, I just want to tell you if you are here again for the first time, I want you to feel welcome. This is the show for family, men with businesses, not businessmen who happen to have families. And we are after these hard charging entrepreneurial minded guys who want to be successful in all areas of life. They want to build an epic business and they want to make sure that they are family men, that they are healthy, that they are great parents, they’re engaged, you know, they have an amazing marriage.
Jon Vroman: 01:14 That’s who we’re after. Brandon, you have some experience in this department. So we’re gonna do instead of a big intro for you. This is what I like to call an interview intro. So let’s start with your epic family. This photograph on page number 20 says a lot, but tell us who’s in this picture. All right. So we have the, we have the tribe. Uh, my wife and I are parents of seven amazing kids. Uh, we range in age. Our oldest is turning 27. Um, we have a 26 year old son or daughter, that 22 year old daughter. Oh, that’s Bailey. At Sierra, they’re each married. So Jordan, Christine and Adam have joined the fold and lanes. And Christine just had their second child. So two grand sons, uh, with Bailey expecting one on the way. So we’ll have three by Christmas we hope we’ll see or the new year.
Jon Vroman: 02:05 And then we have four at home. Sometimes people were like, you have four, like only four at home when you have, when you had seven for [inaudible] number. So in there, right. So 16 is Mckayla, 15 is Madeline, 12 as David. And then our, our firecracker at the end, Daniel is nine. Um, we’re often asked, so those all yours all like, are you a blended family? And we have to tell them like we’re no, all ours, all single births. We’re not Catholic, we’re not Mormon. We played to our strengths and we had this amazing family. Wow, man, that’s really cool. I tell you, I was sitting out back in my house, I was on the lawn, I was reading this and I just sat with that photograph for a few minutes. And what I felt into was all the wisdom, all the memories, all the challenges that you must have experienced over the years. There’s so much to that photograph. And I think, of course you feel that more when you’re a dad and when you have kids. And sometimes we like, we don’t know what we’re doing
Brandon Miller: 02:59 with too. And so when I hear, you know, uh, the tribe that you’ve built, is this really impressive. So I’m excited to get into all this. This isn’t about your business, but it is kind of about your business today. So interestingly, with this call in particular, what you do professionally has a lot to do with what we’re talking about when it comes to family life. So in as short as a few words as you want to explain what you do professionally as it relates to this book. Yeah. And it was actually the segue into the book. So I partner with a gentleman named Derek [inaudible]. We lead a company called 34 strong. We go into organizations and help them think about their people development strategy. We offer them a perspective of focusing more upon people’s strengths than trying to fix their weaknesses. And we spend a lot of time with really great people, leaders and managers and team members that are really wanting to sustain excellence and we’re giving them tools and training to do that.
Brandon Miller: 03:54 And it was actually through a business [inaudible] encounter that, uh, partly this book came out and began to come alive. And it had a lot to do with the stories I would tell in trainings all centered around, as you said, this adventure with all these kids. And along the way, you know, you get, you get asked like you should write a book about the family side of this. This is really where it picks up. And so the dream was born and, and my wife and I had decided a couple of years back, let’s, let’s go on the adventure. Here we are. Yeah. That’s great. I love great stories. I love being in the audience and as a keynote speaker for the last 10 years, uh, I know that stories are what stick. And I know that people, when they come up to me at the end of the speech, it’s always, Hey, that story.
Brandon Miller: 04:34 I tell this one particular story about my son climbing a rock wall and how I totally failed as a dad and that, yeah, the hero of the story is actually the guy who was working at the rock wall. I’ve been there like even my son more than I did about his potential and I learned a lot that day. Do you have a story or two that you tell in your trainings that more so than others, people walk up to you and say, that story got me. And if you do, can you tell it to us? Yeah, so one of the lead stories in almost every single training I give has to do with my Aha moment and big shift in parenting. And it had to do with my oldest son. So dads with sons, we want them to, to do well, be good, be good men, grow up in, you know, leave there, mark, you know, have their adventure and settle into being, you know, as, as you call it, a great dads who then, you know, whenever they do for business on top of that, it’s great but could be a good man.
Brandon Miller: 05:26 It’s on raising my son, you know, I’m trying to look for outlets to really enhance his development. Athletics was a big part of my life and I wanted to see if he would follow the same path so it’s signed them up for football and lance was going to play high school football at the local school. So I volunteered to be one of the assistant coaches thinking this is a great way for my son and I to bond and I can help the team. It was a sport I was passionate about, spent a lot of time playing and coaching up to that point. And so we were getting him ready and um, you know, bustling them around to get the right equipment and coaching them
Jon Vroman: 05:58 up on how to be best prepared. It was his first year playing. We finally got to the, the day of here. It is the culmination of all of our effort and prepared this and now we’re going to go on the field and really show his stuff. And so that last drive to the high school and giving him a speech, in my opinion, you know, this was one for the gipper. I mean I was giving it to him as strong and solid as I could and I’ll never forget pulling into the parking lot of the school and I’m, I’m rounding off the speech and like, all right, you got it. Maybe not a play, be a great team member, were hard hustle, all those things. My son leans over, but he puts his hand on my shoulder and he goes, Hey dad, I just need you to know that I’m not like you and I’m not going to play football the same way that you did.
Jon Vroman: 06:36 And it was one of those moments of literally I was speechless. And that’s really rare for me being a communicator. And it just stopped me enough to just, I think I uttered something like go get him some. Yeah. But it just stuck in my heart that wow, there was a whole lot to that. What he just said really gave me pause. So we played out the season. Football was not for Lance Lance. If one season and he decided all this hitting head things was not for him. I’m not a sport he was going to do well. And but after the season and throughout that first year of high school, I began to pay attention, began to look for ways to understand who my son was. And at the end of that year I really had to take stock of this fact that my son could not have been more correct.
Jon Vroman: 07:20 He is completely different from me as a person. And my goal then became, I needed to figure out who this young man is, who he is meant to be and how I can grow him. And that that’s, that’s the, that’s the signature story because that, that launched me into the journey of really deciding and I bet this works for my daughters and I bet the others as well. Yeah, man, that’s so great. I underlined so much in your book. There was a lot here. This is, you know, there’s a couple of quotes by the way, it would be page number 31 if we can leave you with one thing. It’s this, see your child for who they are rather than what they do. Your child’s identity matters more in the long haul than their behavior. That’s huge. And this is kind of, this was a theme, right?
Jon Vroman: 07:59 It’s, it’s how do we find and tap into our kids’ strengths? Now I want to speak to the audience and, and you know, be respectful that there’s a lot of people out there listening who understand strengths, strengths finder, who brought this into their organizations, who understand it. There’s also folks out there that I know this is a newer idea, and they might be asking like, okay, first of all, why strengths? Why should I care about this so much and how do we find them and how do we tap into them? Right? I want to get to all that, but I want to do it in a maybe more unique way than then typically like just asking those basic questions in order. Right? Get right into a specific question. I’m looking for your coaching, Brandon, I’ve got a specific story here. So one of the challenges that I’ve faced is that my, my son Tiger at 10, [inaudible], he has developed this skill of being really entertaining in front of other people.
Jon Vroman: 08:48 He like, he makes people laugh and he loves it. And it’s great. And I remember this one time when he was, uh, he was climbing on a team here in Austin rock climbing and they were doing like a ceremony and end of the season type ceremony. And they were talking about each kid and one of the coaches had talked about tiger in a way that they had said, tiger, you know, you’re the person that’s like always making people laugh. Like if there’s somebody that can, you know, be the one to like goof off and make people, you know, and you’re so silly and your any just started labeling tiger with these terms. And I remember thinking, Hey, I got it. Like he’s maybe calling out what he sees our strengths and tiger and he’s, but what I got a little worried about, and I actually approached the coach about this, was that if we called those out so much that he would develop the identity that his value in any team is just being able to make people laugh.
Jon Vroman: 09:43 And I saw that as a potential blind spot or a weakness that it got so bad that it’s almost like he wasn’t working out or climbing or focusing because he was so focused on just making people laugh and I thought, Oh man, is this one of those moments where I’m trying to make him into somebody that I want him to be and missing that, hey, ride that strength. Like, hey, maybe he’ll be a comedian one day, maybe he’ll be an entertainer, maybe on the act or maybe he’s whatever and I just need to like totally ride that wave. Or when are we maybe riding a wave that does it really support them? Because one more element to the story, and I could probably stop there and let you chime in, but let me tell you the wound personally of why this might actually be a challenge for me.
Jon Vroman: 10:29 Right? So in my mid twenties I was that guy. I was actually in a company where I was like the entertainer on stage. I would be, I was like the clown who’d be willing to get up there and dress up in costumes and joke around and do all this stuff until one day one of my buddies had said, if you don’t own your life are being more than just the gesture, then nobody’s going to take you seriously beyond just laughing at you on stage. And that really hit me. And it was actually the start of maybe a deeper, more meaningful career for me that I realized I could get love and attention and I was valuable in other ways more than just having people laugh at me cause I did something silly or funny. Right. This is actually a personal, you know, situation that I’m now maybe projecting onto my son.
Jon Vroman: 11:13 So what do you think about that? Well, I’ll start with identifying the strengths in a child, which is what the coach was accurately doing and you were seeing it as well. So that part of him who is a team player and he’s in, he is an entertainer, obvious charisma and he enjoys that and he’s, he’s finding fulfillment and satisfaction there. [inaudible] is evidence of a strength and that strength can be developed and can be, it can be brought to a greater understanding with also the, the idea that you found later in life that we can overplay a strength but you can go too far with it. So we can, we can be in the moment of the team [inaudible] concentrated on an area that we, we have received
Brandon Miller: 11:54 some affirmations, some encouragement and, but maybe also lose sight of why we’re there. You know, the other parts of being on the team and the other places that we can put emphasis in the energy. And so there isn’t an exact model here that, that we can say, well thus is the this path because we’re complex, people are going to and and development requires an ongoing attention and effort to watch. And to learn and to ask questions in the stake, surest and discovery mode. So maybe at this stage for your son, this is appropriate, this works, you know, you’re letting him explore his personality and maybe there’s a pathway here where his stage presence at his ability to articulate himself are things you’ll start to work on him, how to be more funny and more a better entertaining and learning taming of his efforts where it’s not, you know, in any way disruptive.
Brandon Miller: 12:47 He’s able to keep it in a path while at the same time acknowledging there’s going to be a path to maturity here. There’s a way to develop this and grow this in in other ways. And so you’re threading a needle and, and it’s, it’s the tiger needle. It’s the only one that’s going to fit him. Yeah. And that really is the core emphasis because as you’re talking and through and it’s what you learned later, right. You’re at an age where I could hear that message now I could see that like the volume on my, on my radio, I need to dial this back a bit. Yeah. If I go too far with any good thing, it becomes not so much a good thing anymore and you were ready. And I think that’s the path and the journey with our children that we learn how to to move in that direction.
Brandon Miller: 13:29 Yeah. So as you might imagine, I’ve got a hundred stories on things like this. I have a daughter who is really strong and maybe like your son, outgoing, really good there. But what we learned early is she was overplaying it to the point that her friends started to tell her that. And I’m talking to as well. Yeah, 12 to two about 16 with Sierra. We were helping her to realize when this was, this was being an effective use of a strength and this is where it was too much, but helping her to understand you’re being you. There’s nothing about what you’re doing that’s inauthentic. Yeah. But you’re remembering you’re going to be in the community, in a family, in a group, and so your strengths do matter as they play within the, the parts that you have in life. How did that conversation go with Sierra?
Brandon Miller: 14:17 It was many conversations and in our case it required the, the times when the experience allowed for life instruction based on something that took place. So it was when it went well, let’s talk about what went well and how you leverage that strength and when it didn’t. Okay, well let’s talk about maybe where that, that isn’t as helpful now and we might need to make an adjustment for her. She pursued leadership. She wanted to be one of the student council kids. She wanted to be up in front. She being the one that got to give the instruction. So maybe being third in a family of seven at eight year space between her and the four younger siblings, she assumed that natural leadership at our home. Yeah. Well teacher how to move from the assumption to the earning of respect, the earning of trust and the time it takes a 13 year old doesn’t comprehend that as well as a 17 year old.
Brandon Miller: 15:14 Yeah. Well the time she was 17 and years as, as she would describe it, of those moments of let’s, let’s have this coachable moment. Our daughter today is, you know, 23 is, is just amazing how she’s grown and understood how to leverage that strength. Yeah. Boy, that’s awesome man. I love that. Where do you see most dads failing and where do you see most dads having breakthroughs when it comes to strengths within their families? So the fail that we, I, and I’ll just couple moms and dads in this cause I think it’s a parent thing, but yeah, dads definitely fall in that, that idea that I’m going to model the child after me is, is really difficult and kids pick up our motivation. So if I’m aiming you in a direction, because at my core I want to be proud of you. Whichever Dad does, I’m wanting to be proud of the child that you are, the person you become.
Brandon Miller: 16:08 And the temptation is I’m going to infer my value system, my life system, my, my pathway onto you. And that is just, it’s an easy path to go because it’s the path, you know, you know, I, I know this one, so let me go ahead and guide you down this one. And we’re, we find dads get amazing breakthrough. So, uh, Dan, I was recently meeting with, he’s a third generation ballplayer and, and I mean ballplayer, like minor league, MLB Ball player. And you know, when his son was born it was yes. You know, the next ball player continuing. That’s right. He was grooming them and coaching with them and wanting to bring that out in, you know, during, you know, grandpa and Great-grandpa, everybody like [inaudible] now we get to watch the next generation. But as boy, I like to dance. And so here’s this boy that, um, you know, years and the Bass was like, Dad, I don’t even like this sport.
Brandon Miller: 17:01 I’m only doing it because you like it. Yeah. And he’s like, really? You’d like to dance that much? Dad, I love to dance. I love it. I’m amazing in the kid. Just recently I met with the staff, the kids on his way to the Boston version of Julliard. MMM. They say, you know, here I am, you know, traveling across the country from his home in California to this son of mine that will uh, yeah, maybe pick up a glove every now and then to throw one in the yard with me. But that is not going to be his thing. And he said the day I should let my dream, my vision, my plan for my child, move away from who, what he would do, I’d be more concerned with who he is and the values can still, that’s when dads have an amazing breakthrough with their kids.
Brandon Miller: 17:40 Yeah. It’s so good. I love that. That’s such a great story. Let’s talk about how we identify our strengths. We were chatting pre show and you mentioned there are some assessments. So this is a big part of it, right? Is How do we identify where the strengths of our kids are? Tell us about the assessments that exist in the book. Chapter four is where we get into identifying strengths in our kids. So pre-assessment or, or even if you have younger, younger kids, you know, three, two, one you’re able to look at a child and start to notice five different cheese to what makes us strength. So we give you what we call the five e’s. Yup. So the five, these are really helpful because you can, you know, once you memorize them and have an idea of what you’re seeing, essentially you’re looking for what is my kid drawn to?
Brandon Miller: 18:22 Enthusiasm, what? When I picked up naturally it’s easy. What do they do really well? Excellent. So I not only, you know, is my biased opinion that they’re good at it. Others who are unbiased are saying, well your kid’s really good at that. But the third, the fourth [inaudible], it gives them energy. And this is so crucial to identifying strengths in the child and in ourselves. No one can tell you what makes you feel strong. So if I can’t tell you, it makes you feel a strong, you can’t tell me I need to ask questions. Where does your energy come from? So every day, just about every day after school, my sons a, especially these two, cause we picked them up, still are going to be asked the same question, what did you do today, David and Daniel that made you feel strong? And then the answer to that, what made you feel strong are the clues that tell me this is what’s energizing you.
Brandon Miller: 19:12 This is what [inaudible] is where you’re excellent. And the fifth is this is what you enjoy so much that even when it’s hard, even when it’s difficult, you’re going to push her opposition to keep doing it, right? So to assist a parent in this, we developed a simple online quiz called the incredible kids. And unlike some assessments out there where a child, we’ll arrive at an age where they learn their own strengths. This is you as a parent assessing your kids. And so there’s a 179 questions you make your way through. It’s a simple scale of strongly agree to neutral down to no, I don’t see this. And essentially the question is, does this thing, let’s say a cleaning up, you know, cleaning their room every day. Does this make my child feel strong? Does you know leading within a group, make my child feel strong.
Brandon Miller: 19:58 And as you go through it’s going to rank your child on 12 different strengths and our children possess all 12 they just possess them in different levels of intensity. So you know, one, two, three, four and five you could call those, you know, really potentially your kids’ core strengths. And we think of those core strengths. You’re thinking of the ones that, these are the ones that they showed up with, you know, this is, this is hardwired is baked in, but in that layer are what are called growth strengths. Those are the ones that you as a parent are seeing in the child and you’re the one helping bring out of the child or your partners, right? The teachers and the coaches and the, the other mentors in their life, they’re bringing those out. So looking at those, it gives us some words to use. Like a, you know, your son might be a great team player, but he also might be the strength performer, which I would be shocked if he wasn’t basically told me.
Brandon Miller: 20:47 And then how do you cultivate that? How do I play to that to see my kid grow? And so it’ll take you to a website in Olin, brandon.com is where the book goes. Or you can go right to our site and that’s a and a l y n brandon.com parenting resource. It’s a free assessment. You can take it for every single one of your kids and you could do it more than once as the kids mature. That’s awesome man. I love that. When it comes to the habits of nurturing strengths in your kids, I love what you just said. What, what’s one thing that you did today that made you feel strong? Like I’m gonna take that and implement it right away. That’s going to be my conversation tonight. Um, are there other habits that parents need to be aware of or that they could, you know, weave into the fabric of their day to be noticing the strengths, talking about their strengths, complementing their strengths?
Brandon Miller: 21:36 What else can people do? Our guys are, of course, as you know, they’re all action-oriented, so, right, right. Well, here’s, here’s a really key way that the dad can start to really measure progress and it’s called the magic ratio. So throughout a day, it’s really easy to get caught up in what my kid didn’t do that they were supposed to do or didn’t do. In a way I preferred or just flat out, I don’t like it. This is the, you know, it’s nothing against, and the magic ratio is a positive than negative interaction ratio where researchers discovered that if a person spent more time harping on a persons negative behavior, negative qualities, then that would create a separation, diminish productivity, diminished engagement, diminish what we describe in the book as a shine in their eyes. You just see that. And if you balance that with positive interactions, the goal of the positives is that they’re simple interactions.
Brandon Miller: 22:31 I’m going to build you up. I’m going to see the best parts of you that I can see even when behavior isn’t exactly what I’m looking for. Positive intent. And I’m not talking about permissive parenting. This isn’t just letting you know the kids run the run the store. This is, I very intentional in that five to one ratio of positive to negative [inaudible] is a great way to score card myself. Am I having more uplifting, more bond, building, more engaging, you know, good job buddy. Keep that up. Hey, I appreciate that. How does that map, I see you working hard. You can do this versus why did you forget your shoes? You know, hey you, you’re, you’re speaking out of term, which are important to you. The reprimands and the corrections and the, the guidance is key. But as dads especially go getters, especially hard chargers, um, it’s not hard for us to, to spot things that we don’t prefer to see.
Brandon Miller: 23:24 And so it’s a training of the eyes. Some Dad’s fine, a little note section in their phone and just what do I see that’s right with my kid today with my kids. Do that journaling process in the beginning of the build, that frame, that main frame of you want to talk to me about my kid, I’m going to tell you a thousand things right with them and then, oh by the way. Yeah. I know some areas that we’re still developing. Yeah. That when that ratio lives, it’s a a whole different view from my eyes to my child. Yeah. The little Asado line is what I remember studying. Right. And this, you know, this three to one or even up to six to one ratio. But what I also found fascinating about that study was that it was that once you hit three positive comments to everyone, you know, negative ish challenging interaction up to about six, that was the sweet spot.
Brandon Miller: 24:08 But anything over that too was also started to work against you. If it was all positive and you never had a challenging interaction or you never, we’re honest about something of how it made you feel or whatever it would be that that’s also not good. Right. And if we move into the realm of what some refer to as permissive parenting. So now I am, I am removing the corrective measures I’m removing, right? The Times where there does need to be a serious conversation about value alignment to the values we stand for. This is the bedrock of correct of what we are going to be and this is how you violated that and now let’s talk about how do you do that going forward. Yeah. However, to your point, but when there is that strengths of relationship, because I’ve kept you and I in a mind that I am seeing what’s right in my eyes or generous towards you then where we break into the real test of this over time [inaudible] when the kids cross into the teen years because when they crossed into the teen years, now they are expected to establish autonomy and independence.
Brandon Miller: 25:12 In fact, they have to start to view their world through their filter of how they’re going to engage it. Is the world ready for me? Is it, it’s my time to step out here and the big bad world of junior high and high school are going to do that to them, right? And jobs and sports take on a big meaning. Well, if we’ve built a really solid bank, young, and then hey for dads, if you’ve got teens never too late, um, but really build that in. What we’ve established is I maintained an influence in your life. I, you still trust me because when you primarily come to me, you’re going to hear me talking to you about, okay, well let’s build on where we already know you’re at your best instead of let’s talk about what I don’t like and where you’re not coming from. So it really does create, if you will, a store how sub reserves and what we watch is the resilience it gives to our kids. It’s the gift of resilience that you’re going to get knocked down. Life’s not always going to be easy. And that gift of resilience. I almost can’t give you a better gift in a resilience and wisdom and they go hand in hand. If I can give you these as gifts, I’ve set you up for success. Whatever path you choose. Yeah.
Brandon Miller: 26:18 Hey guys, I want to take a second to tell you about our front row dads retreat. If you would value connecting with a brotherhood of likeminded and like-hearted 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
Jon Vroman: 26:44 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 email@example.com where you can apply for the next retreat now. Hi. 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.
Jon Vroman: 27:24 This is the same concept that works in business where you take a moment, 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. Front row dads.com I like a on page 63 I underlined, do you know what I’m going to get to here? You, you’d flip to the page. I’ll see you there, but let’s see. It says, this is so perfect. I was like, oh, Brandon and I are definitely gonna have a chat about the opening line of that chapter. Pat Chapter Five. You have, you have front row seats to witness and appreciate your child’s beauty and gifting. And I think that’s so awesome, right? I also underlined when parents come alongside a child during a season of struggle, the results can be amazing. So listen, we want to be engaged, right?
Jon Vroman: 28:10 We want to have a, we talk about, you know, front row is about engagement. It’s about getting close to the people, places, thoughts, and things that make you come alive. You make them come alive. It’s, you know, it’s a different experience when you get a one-to-one with somebody. That’s the ultimate front row, right? Is One one. But, so let’s talk about engagement with kids because I think that when we want to pay attention to their lives and we want to notice their strengths, we want to call them out. There’s a lot to be said about natural consequences. Hey, just let them experience that on their own. Let them figure out from their friends that they might be a little too, uh, entertaining, you know? Yeah. We don’t have to tell them all those things. We don’t have to have the conversation. We can just let nature take over.
Jon Vroman: 28:48 And then I hear guys sometimes say like, all you gotta do is show up and love your kids like it. Hey, you know, it’s like, it’s like almost advice to new dads. Like, just show up, love your kids and everything will be fine. And I kind of want to go like, hey, that’s sort of like, you know, yeah, that’s a baseline of what you want to do as a dad. But I think there’s more to it than that. In fact, right behind that, like, oh good, I’m off the hook. I can mess up everything as long as I love him. Right. No, no, no. Look, you got to love them. But there’s a little more than that. So let’s talk about from your perspective, Brandon, when we’re trying to develop strengths and we’re trying to notice them in our kids and we want a front row seat, how do we not become helicopter parents in the process? What’s that sweet spot of engagement in your mind? Yeah, it’s such a great point because being present is number one, you can’t have quality of time without quantity. It requires that investment of I am present, I’m engaged
Brandon Miller: 29:42 with you, I’m a part of your life. My son just, I started sixth grade this year and and he is all about me going on the sixth grade science field trip. Yeah, it’s a week long trip in the mountains at science camp. Now I am pretty darn certain I’m not going enjoy the science part. However, my son’s interest in me being with him, I will eat up every bit of all that science. I’m going to learn in nature and be excited to be there because I would be present. So there is truth to be there with your kids, be in tune and understand who they are, find the nuances of their interest and adopt. Some of their interests as your own. My oldest son is a 2,526 has two kids of his own. We live in California and he’s a Philadelphia Eagles Fan. Try to figure that out and it’s because when he was a kid he watched the show or the movie invincible with Mark Walberg and he’s so love the characters.
Brandon Miller: 30:36 Like I am an eagles fan whole life. So even as an adult person I am finding ways to commune and connect with Lance. Yeah, for the adults. So we got eagles tickets last year, you know, I’m, I, I got an app on my phone like hey man, how are the eagles doing? Because it’s a way that fits my son. No. But at the same time I want to be present enough that when the window opens for the conversation that is instructive, constructive it, it’s an opportunity to invest in and be there that I am, I am attentively waiting. I am like crouching on the edge of my seat. Just give me that moment more. The scene presents and I can now speak into something. I can model something, I can share something because the keyword for us as dads is influence. We are going to have it in our entire, our kid’s life, their entire life.
Brandon Miller: 31:31 We are probably the primary voice they are hardwired to care about above any other in their life. Yeah. It will be except that then we start to realize I’m playing for keeps, I’m looking for windows. These windows are are my golden opportunities, my golden ticket to step in and hopefully be a voice that builds and encourages and guides and and re reframes. And so to add to that, I would say this, we as dads that when we are in a state where we’re present and we are paying attention, then we have that opportunity to step in and begin to very intentionally and specifically call them out because I’ll speak for sons and daughters. What they want to know is that you see that you know me and every chance we can get to demonstrate, I see you, I know you. I think you’re thinking this and they just light up a case.
Brandon Miller: 32:22 You get me, you get me in and you’re okay with me. And that’s, that’s such an important part of our role. I love that, man. I’m just, I’m writing that down. You get me if you’re okay with me. I love that. That’s such a big thing. I think about some of my best friends in the world and yeah, I about a even think about bye. My wife, we first started dating. When you really connect with somebody, you almost feel like you get me right. You’re okay with me. That’s, that’s just such a brilliant phrase. Yeah. I really appreciate that, man. That’s a good thing for me to hear so many times in calls like this. For me at least. It’s like I’ve had a feeling about something and then somebody else, my guests articulates it in a way that I’m like, you just gave me the words to articulate that feeling that I’ve had for a long time.
Brandon Miller: 33:07 That’s awesome. Good man. You mentioned earlier Brandon, the child assessment. Did we get into the parent assessment cause there’s two. Did we talk about that? No, we didn’t. And I, I’ll tell ya that, uh, to this point of being an engaged dad, there is probably, you know, of gifts we’ll give our kids. Probably one of the greatest ones we’ll give them is that we are self-aware enough to know who we are and where we show up strong and to know who we’re not and where we won’t because our kids are not meant to be a mystery to us. They’re not meant to be this such complex enigma that we’re going to spend our whole life. [inaudible] actually, I believe quite the contrary. They’re meant to be understood young and further understood as they grow and develop. To your point of front row dads, we ought to be the expert on these people [inaudible] and be that person that, you know, when they come to us, they, they’re coming, whether it’s in there, you know, early childhood, school, age teen and really awesome when they do as young adults because they know, we know and we have their best interests at heart.
Brandon Miller: 34:09 But at the same time, that requires us as Dads, we kind of know ourselves. We gotta be okay with, you know, this human here. And so when we thought about this, my wife really the loves chapter seven in our book because we, we pull from the, the movie the Incredibles. Yeah, yeah, I remember this. Yeah. And so that was a great one. I love that you use that. That was good. This is her, it’s her favorite chapter. She wrote a big part of this chapter, which was just this idea that Bob Parr, you know, is out there having to live a false narrative. You know, he has to live a life that isn’t him. And they just, they do such a great job in that cartoon of just characterizing the drudgery of, of being an imposter. The drudgery of having to live a life not true to yourself.
Brandon Miller: 34:57 Yeah. And so as a dad becoming more familiar with, you know, whether it’s true, your own journey of self discovery, certainly assessments help. There’s a ton of them out there. But we, uh, you know, what would really help a, a mom or dad get to know themselves to restraints perspective. So we thought about parenting strengths. So the, the first assessment in the book is incredible kids. The second one after chapter seven, his incredible parents and it’s a really quick assessment. It’s 40 questions, it’s a quick scale and there are eight parenting strengths and you get them in order and I’ll tell you, it is so enlightening to look at that list and go, Yup, that’s me as a dad, those top that. That’s why I’m going to be and with your spouse to be able to compare the two and check it out. Well I tell you such an a when we done workshops, light bulbs going off of Oh this is how I’m going to be this great data.
Brandon Miller: 35:50 And as you know John, in our age of social media, there’s so much out there telling us what kind of be this dad, no, be this dad. No. Be like that guy. And when a person in a position of authority can learn too, as much as we want to engage and be aggressive and, and you know, take no prisoners a life but lashing, learn the power of resting and who I am. Rest in your identity. No you are because that’s the person your kid can trust. Hmm. That’s the person your kid can get behind because you’re going to be the same you each time you show up. Hmm. That’s what they’re craving is. Hey, Hey dad, you’re going to have some ups and you’re going to have some downs, but could you just be the same one so I know what to expect and how to engage with you.
Brandon Miller: 36:32 And you know, my boys know for example in life when it comes to them learning how to do anything with tools, I am not the guy that are going to talk to anything. I spent my early years as a teen and young adult trying to figure out if I could be handy and and oh about my early twenties I figured out, Nope, not, not my job. You want a treehouse belt, let’s go call your uncle cause your dad will kill you. So we’re not going to have dad do that activity. But I have, this is where your tribes is so important. Right. But I know dads that are the the great, you know, people that don’t want to fix things or they know to build things and that security allows me to be, but I’ll tell you what, when it comes to coaching, yeah, I got that job.
Brandon Miller: 37:16 That’s me. I need, whether I’m formerly coaching or I’m just behind the scenes coaching, that’s, that’s where we’re gonna live together. So being aware of that is really crucial. That’s really cool. Brandon, this has been a fun chat man. I really appreciate this. I know we could talk about strengths and we did keep digging into all aspects of the book. I really want to encourage people to pick up a copy and dig in and do the assessments. I think that’s really fun. I want to change gears for just a second because I think that what could be an add on to this entire conversation without being too far of a derailing us, but a little bit about who you are and your style and what you see in others. So as an example, what do you feel happened as a kid for you that helped you become the man that you are today?
Brandon Miller: 38:00 That other dads out there might be able to say, hey, if that so meaningful and impactful for Brandon, maybe I might be able to implement a little bit of that. So from the kid perspective, right? Like what, since you were one at one point, what did adults or parents or whomever do with, or for you, however you want to look at that. Right. Well, let’s start there with that one. So your childhood and how that impacted your life today. My father is a great man and what my dad, uh, really does well and he’s done it with all four of his kids is he, he was very careful not to try to over shape who we were, but to give permission to grow as, as we were directed. At the same time, I have a very strong mom and mom was more deliberate in value formation.
Brandon Miller: 38:46 That was her primary concern. She didn’t care what you did, she just wanted you to know m which stood for, um, she’s a passionate person in regards to know who you are, know what you stand for, cause the world’s going to try and knock you off that and get really, really clear there. So I was blessed with the childhood, with parents that, that partnered well. And I have memories of my dad where he made a goal to be at every single event and he would not just show up, but he would show up. He, you know, when they had the big huge cam quarters back in the 80s, he was the one out there on the sideline, you know, filming games and being a part. And it wasn’t so that he could sit and critique me after he just wanted to show me. I watched it.
Brandon Miller: 39:24 I was there with you and, and I feel like growing up I, um, really had some, some amazing opportunities to then discover and determine which pathway I would go. But I’ll give you the pivotal moment for me. In My, uh, senior year of high school, uh, had been dating a gal for going on about a year and a half and I’ll never forget the day she showed up on campus and her face was white as snow. And I knew that she had a bend down to the local clinic that morning to see if she might possibly be pregnant and when she walked in and let me know that congratulations, you know, you are a 17 years old and I’m 16 but we are now expecting a child and that’s a tough bit of news to bring home to your parents who have aspirational goals for, you know, where I was going to attend school and the athletics I was going to play and the academics that I had achieved to get me there had to go.
Brandon Miller: 40:17 Yeah, well life just changed dramatically because I’m a dad now and I have some really important decisions and I’ll never forget and it’s still lives deep in me that they walked through that with me. Hand in staff, I mean began to give me permission for a couple months to sort out what was I going to do [inaudible] to them once I could arrive at a decision that I’m going to marry this person and I’m going to start a family right here, not life. Your outcome and their willingness to to jump to it, put a wedding together in three months, be the primary person who would care for my own, my oldest child, Bailey, right out of the gate. I mean, to this day, my mother who has 22 or 24 grand, I forget the numbers sometimes I use 2122 grandkids every single Tuesday night. They have what’s called Nana Papa night and they invite every one of their grandkids over for pizza or spaghetti or some kind of gathering.
Brandon Miller: 41:10 And my daughter Bailey has had that experience now 27 years. Does every now and then she’ll just show back up to visit the cousin who’s now four years old because she beautiful. It is. And, and so my parents, you know, I, I honor them at the front end of my book just to say, you know, your input was awesome and even to say, I hope this next phase of, of articulating something that I think some parents have been doing, you know, very naturally, very much part adds to the benefit, not to it, but the pull away from, you know, the style that I was raised in because I am who I am because of that. But then to hopefully add to the conversation working go further. Yeah, that’s a great story. It’s really cool. [inaudible] on the flip side of that, let’s talk about another dad that, uh, maybe you’ve witnessed in your life that was not your own, but perhaps a father figure or another guy that you know now, a man that you know, that you admire and respect because of the way they show up as a family man.
Brandon Miller: 42:07 Who is that? Can we give him a shout out and what is it that you respect so much about that man? So like I got a a really uh, awesome friend, colleague, partner. His name is Brian Sharp and B sharp is a uh, he’s a hard charger. You talk about go get her a humans. This guy is just awesome in that regard. CEO of his company, you know, it’s just come back from disappointment challenges. He’s got a great story of just how life hit him hard. And he came with it and Brian, like a lot of Alpha guys, Brian, like a lot of hard chargers sound that it was not difficult at all. In fact, quite natural for him to become unbalanced where work started to weigh out more then the engaging in interaction with his wife and three kids. And there was a day that Brian and I had a really cool conversation where we got to talk about his intensity of achieving.
Brandon Miller: 43:06 I mean, he’s just such a, a fantastic achiever competitor, you know, the guy, just a visionary. All of these amazing strengths and we’re having this conversation about how we take all of our passionate energy that we’re out here. You know, hunting and gathering and slinging and growing for these people. But sometimes we forget these people along the way and I’ll never forget Brian having a moment of choice where you realize that the same effort and energy he put toward being so great at what he did, he can apply the same concept to his kids, which was a foreign idea that if I set appointments and I build my calendar and I do things to build, you know, the, the brands I’m a part of and the efforts only part of it, I can actually do the same thing with my kids. I can segment time that works in my head that are like setting appointments and time blocks and make sure that they fit in the puzzle of my life that I, I have set goals for where I want to be with them and how the relationship goes, but really cool goals.
Brandon Miller: 44:06 Like my son and I are going to go skate park and our goal is that we’ll both be able to skate the park. You know the pool together are goals of like my is going to be able to ask me for the teddy bear and I’m going to be able to like just, yeah, that might look from the outside in like that’s a goal. [inaudible] to him, the interactions counted. We got together this last year and went to a a ball game. We’re San Francisco giants fans and so we were going to make our way out and we’ve got to go watch Barry bonds and they were going to retire his numbers. As we’re driving out there, he starts to share with me just about, he’s like, hey man, I just need to know something. He said, I really took to heart this conversation we had these years ago and I really reshaped the entire way that I approached my, my family and I, and I had already known this because I had watched just incredible things come from his effort.
Brandon Miller: 44:51 His two young boys started a nonprofit to reach out to people who were disadvantages. Daughter was a part of that. He and his wife just set a great example and I just so appreciate it that understanding that I’m going to still be the same president of a company, but I’m going to apply those same talents here as my priority. Knowing that who I am in business will only see the benefits of it. So big shout out to a B sharp. Awesome. Awesome. Dad did a great job out there. Cool man. Thanks for all of this. Really enjoyed this conversation. This has been a lot of fun. This is gonna make a big difference to my family. Is there anything else, Brandon, that we didn’t get to that we want to get to before we say goodbye and one of those needs to be, again, you gave a URL earlier, but tell guys where to go get more so final words and where to find you.
Brandon Miller: 45:41 What are the chapters in the book that my wife and I love the most affects the last two chapters, stage specific strategies. Because sometimes when we hear a message like this, unless their kids are already later teens or young adults, well we’ve had dads say, gosh man, if only I had known this then and my, my comment to you is it is never too late for a duo. If you’ve been down a path where you can recognize, you know what, I, I can apply new learning. It’s never too late. You’re always there dad. And taking a shift and taking a pause and taking a reflect. They will welcome it, give it time, let it mature so that stage specific, don’t be afraid of the young adult new or not quite connecting or the teen in new, you’re a little worried about it. The gap exists.
Brandon Miller: 46:29 Get in there, engage there. They will thank you for it. It will bless them. And then the resources again [inaudible] that’s a n a l Y N Brandon B r a n d o n.com. A lot of resources there, the parenting resources or where you’ll find the assessments and uh, we welcome you to, to see what might fit best for you, Brandon. Man, we really appreciate you being with us today. It’s been a lot of fun. And, uh, I know the guys will get a lot of value out of the book. I hope you guys pick it up, play to their strengths. There it is. Right there. You see my markups? This is great. Really appreciate you man. This was actually the topic of our breakfast discussion this morning. We’ve been doing a morning circle as a family. We get around the table and we talk about the day and what our intentions are. And I was reading out of this book today. Awesome. And it was really fun. So I will mention for the, uh, the audible readers, which I am one, um, this book is on audible. So if you’re a, that’s a big way. If you’re a listener, it’s out there and it’s cool. My wife and I bounced back and forth and they did a really great job with.
Jon Vroman: 47:29 Awesome. Well guys, uh, if you do end up reading this book, uh, please let me know about it and please give Brandon a review on this book for all authors. Man, it’s such a big thing when you give a review. So Brandon, as soon as we hang up here, what I’m going to do is I’m gonna do a video review on this book for Amazon and I just want to say thank you for writing this. I hope you guys pick it up. If anybody out there is listening, I want to give you also an assignment
Jon Vroman: 47:54 which is buy a copy of Brandon’s book and give him a review and then screenshot that and send it to me and I will send you a copy of our book, the front row factor at no charge to say thank you. So a and I’ll do that for the first person in the u s that writes Brandon a review on his book screenshots it emails me, j o firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you a copy of the front row factor to say thank you for supporting Brandon. Brandon, thank you Ben for being on the show. I look forward to more conversations right on. I really appreciate it John.
Jon Vroman: 48:28 Hey guys, if you haven’t already done so, go right now to front row dads.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 real leaders. We’re 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.
Speaker 3: 49:55 [inaudible].