My guest today is the author of the book Monday Again and the owner of the Merrinoble Wellness Consulting Agency, which empowers people to be physically harmonious, mentally sharp, and emotionally vibrant. We had a powerful conversation about race,...
My guest today is the author of the book Monday Again and the owner of the Merrinoble Wellness Consulting Agency, which empowers people to be physically harmonious, mentally sharp, and emotionally vibrant. We had a powerful conversation about race, perspective, and parenting that I feel is very important given the recent events in our world.
Marquese is a man on a never-ending quest to add value to the world. His focus is simple, help others discover how amazing they already are by removing the obstacles including mental, physical, and nutritional barriers. As a speaker, actor, author, and raw vegan nutritionist every day is centered on bringing more and more alignment to ensure that simple, important, and yet vast vision is carried out.
"could you tell us a little bit more about the highlights of being black and also the low lights of being black? If there are any kind of specific highlights or low lights?
So, so one of the highlights of being black. Anytime athletics comes up, anytime performance comes up. And one way more subtle that's missed is simply because I was a military brat. So I had the opportunity of living in Germany. I've had the opportunity of living across Washington state and a little bit of North Carolina and around Michigan, because I had that vast experience where I'm interacting with different cultures, different speech patterns and things of that nature.
One of the highlights is because I comfortably articulate myself. I'm sometimes awarded respect as a result of that. So it is a highlight, although it has an underlying sadness to it, but it's a highlight because I don't necessarily speak with slang. At least when I'm in a public sector or interacting.
I know how to, as we call it the low light. Code switch. And one of my coats, which is, unfortunately I don't get to be me at all times. Now I've done a better job as an individual because I've tried to round myself intentionally around that. But the conversation I had with my son will be different than the competition I have with you.
So one of the challenges is knowing when to do that and being comfortable in your own skin without feeling like you have to compromise or become someone else. I'm not talking about the difference between whether or not us use profanity in this conversation. I'm talking about the difference between, okay, what word is going to be the best word? So I'm not looked down upon or do I stay quiet because the conversation's above me. So it's sort of it's things like that.
But let me give you another little light. I have a little light now. So growing up in Seattle, Washington state, this is. A plus, but I'll give you the other side. I remember I was probably 16, 17 years old. I would have a buddy who's a little bit older than me. We're riding around in his truck and we're playing vest at the time. He had big speakers, sub woofers in the back and you're letting it rock. And so we take a nice drive from Tacoma to Seattle. We're in downtown Seattle. We're having a great, great drive evening time sound is bouncing off of buildings.
It's just, sounds cool. I'm a teenager. I'm like, yeah, we're right. So we get pulled over. And, the officer says noise violation. You're too loud. Let me see your registration now. Okay. No problem. Let me go in the glove box, get the registration. I go on the glove box to get to registration. There's a gun now.
I didn't know there was a gun in the glove box, but I trusted this guy and he was pretty cool. Fortunately, well, there's a gun officer sees the gun on both sides of the car. Guns are drawn to our head period. I'm nervous as ever, because I don't even know at the back, I told my mom the other day, she didn't even know I was gone that day ended up, took this ride or that this incident ever happened.
But let me tell you what happened next, because he had a legal firearm with paperwork. The officer said, take your time. Show us the paperwork he showed the paperwork. Guns went away. They said, man, turn the music down. But next time, if you have a firearm in the vehicle, tell us before we come up. So we don't have to panic. I was fortunate.
Now here's the lowlight. My brother, who was stopped by an officer in South Carolina, that particular officer was out for a noise violation except not my brother. Actually, I take that back. He was out for a violation. There was a Caucasian male who was apparently showing himself to children .Showing revealing himself to children or whatever the proper term is.
My brother gets home in his military uniform and the officer pulls him over and he's like, officer, what's the problem. He says, I received a noise violation, which is not actually accurate according to the records.
Long story short, my brother was beat up abused his wife, then wife at that time came out and she was beat up abused and handcuffed as well.
All the evidence and the phone taken away everything for a noise violation. So the other low light behind that is, so this is why I say it. I can only really speak from Marquese's perspective because remember I'm the kid who tries to look through the positive lens, keep my nose clean, so to speak. As I was raised to think and believe.
I had my incident with the offices in Seattle, thankfully, that went well, my brother had his incident, but here's what happened. My brother called me. I don't even remember when, how soon after, but I can tell you this. It took me and this is a little light, probably two or three years before I actually believed it was even a real thing. And that he didn't actually cause it himself.
Now I share that to say, That's low because I didn't even believe my own family because I was so blinded by what happens in America that I thought my brother definitely did something to cause that to happen. Otherwise it wouldn't have happened.
Here's the interesting thing about that situation. We cry and talk because I had to apologize. I didn't realize how blended I was,
but what made me open my eyes is that the same officer that assaulted him and his wife at the time is the same officer. I don't know, maybe five years ago in South Carolina, he took an African American girl. She, he was, he was assigned a school duty. He took an African American girl. He snatched her out of her desk and body slander. And that was on video and on the news, it's exact same officer. It broke me because I realized I'm living in a fantasy.
I've tried to avoid the realities that many people have experienced by unquote keeping my nose clean, but I just happen to be a more fortunate circumstances than they, but the reality is my own very baby brother was abused and assaulted by the police. And that's a low light because I didn't even believe him. Yeah. For several years. Yeah."
"So my opening question for you, my friend is if you could share with us a little bit about what it means to grow up in America, being a black man.
Absolutely great question. So there are many layers to that, right? So I'll start with this. I know it, but I'll start with this for the sake of the audience. I can only tell you what it's like going up in America, Marquese Martin-Hayes.
Really. And I say that because even in my own home, meaning where I was raised, my brother had an experience. Extremely different from the experience that I had. So each individual, how it occurs for them, it kind of varies.
But from my perspective that every black person in America has some level of PTSD. Now what in the world do I mean by that? Anytime you have to consciously look over your shoulder, get nervous if an officer comes around, wonder if you will stand up against someone who's non-black when looking for a job, wonder if you'll have an opportunity simply because of the color of your skin, it's a real challenge. It's a real challenge. "
" in those micro moments where there are setbacks, how do you not give into cynicism and pessimism and say shit, I didn't get the gig because I'm black or focus on the lessons. How can I be better so that I will be hired next time.
Yeah. so this is a great question. And it can also answer your question earlier about a low moment. I had one probably five years ago where I realized so as an actor, one of the things that I always see, and I look for now, because I understand my skin is different, is I always look to see what companies show a multicultural representation.
Always. I look to see what country companies, not only do that, but also include a black male. And there are very few. Heartbreaking.
So I understand that sometimes when I show up in the room, that might be the component. I may not be a match for what else is in the room. The good news is I also have the experiences where I have, and there was a Nash couple of national commercials out now. So I'm thankful for that.
But the low moment that that was personal for me, where I realized that that was, that I broke down. I just finished a training program, a very, very, very intense training program. It was six months long, several, a couple of meetings a week, lots of internal work, lots of personal things.
And so I was so excited, so excited that graduation was coming up and I was so excited that some new marketing materials were about to come out. It's like, Oh, Madison is just great. What, what are we going to do? What will we look like? we talk about what we do. We've had seminars around it. We've had racial seminars and inclusion seminars. I've been a part of that.
They were phenomenal, phenomenal. Some of the top leaders in the company, phenomenal men of color . They had women of color who were also powerful.
And on the day of graduation, the brochures came out and CK. I looked, I looked and I looked and I looked and, and I inside I started mourning cause I, I might've saw a male Brown hand, but I saw every other representation there.
And when they got to me just the irony of the moment they want to know. So what'd you get out of the class? What did you get out of this training? How has your life been transformed? I don't know if I screamed, I yell, I just started crying mourning. I was so angry. I was so hurt. I was so broken. Like how could you be so careless with the voice you say you are in the world? How could you be so careless? And that was a really, really deep aggravating, agonizing moment for me that I'll never forget.
I'm not scorned by it, but it makes me be that much more intentional. Who's actually intentional because what it appears to be when it's not there, they're not our target market. They don't exist. They wouldn't buy it anyway. So the human is dehumanizing. Mm Hmm. I remember that moment. And it was rough."
"how do you not let those moments push you to resignation and cynicism and pessimism? Because, as I mentioned earlier, especially the doing these micro trauma or major trauma moments, easy to just say, screw all of this: this thing, activity, people, community. I'm just going to be resigned because the world is this way. I'm going to be essentially a victim, at the effect of the world.
So I'm glad that you, you, you asked that and it's really simple. All that learning, growing up my daily incantations, a second item. That's all my daily incantation is I am the one. I am the one. So I'm the one that's wanting to break through. I will be that one.
If I'm the one that's going to bridge the gap between what you thought a black man was and who I am, then I'm going to be that one. Do I get tired? Yeah, sometimes I don't want to be the one to say hi. But it just so happened. I was raised on mr. Rogers and I believe in the neighborhood and the community.
So it's things like that along the way that have just nurtured my spirit that has just helped me not quit. I had that breakdown and I still communicate with the team there. Why? Because I realize it's a microcosm. It's the whole system at play. I can rationalize and think that through, although it still hurts, I can think through and decide I'm going to be that one.
I'm going to be that one. And I tell myself every day now I don't think down to the scale of I'm going to be the black man who does that. That's not what I focus on. I just focus on if there's something that's missing or something that needs to be done, I don't need to look to someone else. I'm the one.
Even if I'm the one that's referring the resource to get it done properly, I'm the one. And so it is the reiteration and the dedication, in my opinion, to those types of habits that have helped me get up, man, let's go, let's, let's go. You might be down a day. You might be down two days. You, you might be down a week, but the bottom line is there's still a burning passion.
It's still a burning belief. And, and, in my religion days growing up, the older people would say simple things. Like, I'm just glad I woke up this morning. I'm just glad there's food on my table. And when I was young CK, I didn't understand. I just kind of thought, that's great, but I mean, how about a steak or whatever I thought was important at that time.
Now that I'm a little bit older, man. That Simple gratitude means the world to me. the fact that I woke up today means there is an opportunity for me, again, to be the one. It means there is an opportunity, again, for me to impact someone else. It means there's an opportunity, again, from me to be a better father or whatever that looks like.
The fact that I woke up, I understand it can harness the energy of the possibility simply because I'm breathing. And I don't say that lightly. I mean, it's the same way the older men and women would say it. And I didn't understand. Now I do."
"Was there a pivotal moment in your life where you made a decision to say I'm going to look at things from a positive light versus from a victim perspective.
Yeah. what's so interesting. I'm so glad you asked that.
No, one's ever asked that in this way where it's triggering something else for me. So one thing we know CK based on science is that racism is taught right. So in the same light, I was raised in an environment where my father spent a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot of time. I was an Amway baby. And to describe what that means is personal development was a normal part of my life.
So at 12 and 13 years old, when I was reading Edwin Lewis, C Cole books, I was reading some Napoleon Hill books. I was reading, thinking, grow how to think and grow rich. I was reading personality plus. And things of that nature. In fact, my favorite story to tell people is that my father wouldn't play the car radio.
No, he'd always put in a tape where someone's telling their story about how they overcame. Not going to be honest. That's a really great story, but the average person, the average person. Black white, whatever you want to call it, doesn't have that exposure. That's the top 5% who do that, right? What is it?
Only 5% of the, I think the current status, only 5% of the people will read a self help book this year. So I happened to have the beauty and the luxury of a father who was in a system of learning that he constantly poured into us and force us to do things we did not want to do. Now, once that I want to pick up one of those books, not once I want to write a one page report, not once.
However, that discipline in my father pushed into me has afforded me more of the highlights. Because I ended up showing up, not as an intelligent black man, but as a man who simply intelligent in a, with a broader perspective of what's possible than the average person. Not because I'm better, but I was part of my education was in that 5% bracket of no, you're going to learn.
You're going to understand you're going to dream. You're going to believe you're going to have a sense that no matter what happens, no matter what happens. said it best if the dream is big enough, the facts don't count. So the fact that I was black, I was raised cultivated cultured to not let it be a thing, even though at times it absolutely was."
" the atomic unit of a belief that you have is, I am someone of value. I am the one . When you don't have that, then it's woe is me. I'm at the effect of, I'm worthless yes, what's the point of living and all of that. So I would say the atomic unit of how you're showing up as a that seed of positivity is that belief that I am of value.
so let me ask you this. What did you get that idea. Was it through religion? Was it through a years of listening to personal development tapes? Was it the words of your father and mother who, bestow on that believe in you, how did you find that belief? How did you find that source of courage to stand up in spite of all the setbacks?
That's a great question because the truth is I didn't grow up believing it. It was around me. I didn't believe it. At some point I realized in my religious community and my personal development community, people would always say, you really got something or I really believe in you, or they would always have affirmations.
But what I noticed was there was a disconnect between what they said and what I believed. I didn't believe that about me. So it was probably somewhere. In my twenties, early thirties, when I, it clicked that it wasn't just synchronicity, that it wasn't just a happenstance that I have opportunities. And
what was the specific thing that happened?
I broke away from religion because for me, the world was bigger and broader. The life was happening or I was in an existence of, as a matter of fact, I do recall it was near my divorce was around the time I was getting divorced. I woke up at around 31 years of age and I realize I'm not happy, but it's not because of anyone else around me. It's not because of anything else happening. That was the moment. That was the moment I said it's because I'm not choosing to be. I'm not going to believe in myself. I'm not choosing to bake on it. I'm not choosing decisions that would lead me in that direction.
It began there. It truly began there. And into my thirties, mid thirties, late thirties, it began to build, there was, there was a crescendoing and then in my late thirties, 40 41, and I got laid off from corporate. it hit me. And I said for the rest of my life, I'm a bet on me, period. A bet on me.
Not because anyone that did me wrong realize that I at 31 have a choice. And instead of hoping, praying, believing that someone else is going to do it for me, faith looks like actually getting out and doing it for myself.
Not letting it go being resilient in spite of the challenges, taking the knowledge that I learned, the books that I hear about the stories that I've heard and now applying them to my life. It's great ideas. Not they made it, but Oh, okay. So you want to be an actor? Oh, okay. Well, you haven't had to live out of your car. Hmm. So, and so that person did and they made it, it's like, Oh, so my situation isn't that bad. No pity party. Let's go next move. So I began to use, I don't typically like to compare, but I began to use the lies of others who had learned to be successful and look at what they had to go through. They compare it to mine and ask myself, am I at that state yet at the answer's?
No, then there's zero excuse. And if I was at that state, the answer was still. So you're going to quit because of that. And I decided, no, I'm not.
And so I surrendered the whole concept of quitting. It just was not an option, even in the D and I'm using acting because that's the one that comes to mind right now telling my children, if I die, practicing the same monologue and having never made it big, because I believed in what I was up to know that I was happy.
No, that I was happy and personal responsibility around how I feel internally. What's the saying, life is 10%. What happens to you? 90% attitude. I knew I could be responsible for the 90% attitude. And so I've embraced that idea.
Thank you for sharing that. So a quick recap on what I heard. You don't necessarily like to compare yourself with others, but you used a biographical information or life of those that you admire and look out the challenges that they had to overcome as a way to inspire you to, overcome your own challenges.
Is that accurate?
That is 100% accurate only for the use of good, not for the use of. I can't woe was me? That's that's just not, it's not, CK, my father used to tell me this, growing up, he'd say real simple, the words I can't together. I'm not allowed in my house "
"for people who are non-black right in America. Yeah. Some of them may be feeling, man. I don't know if I should say anything. Oh, you have anything meaningful to say right now?
I don't want to be construed as someone who is virtual signaling. I'm jumping on the wagon because it's the popular thing to do at the same time. I want to, as you said earlier, engage in this conversation. So not only I can learn about it, but we can also come to a place of understanding of each other.
Right? So from a place of someone who is in the midst of all this, who is a black parent who have lived this life with a history, however painful it may be for you individually. McKees what would you say to someone who want to help want to understand, but is not sure what to do. Well, what to say?
Yeah, I would say, number one, I'm really big on this. No, one's blaming you. Someone might be, but the truth is you're not being blamed. We're just saying take responsibility. Right. And then taking responsibility. That means, okay. First of all, the history books have never actually include anything about African-Americans other than things that are minor or negative.
Get some education, go find out what it means. There's a book right now on Amazon - white fragility. It's a great book. Whether you're white or not in America, there's black, there's white, right? It will begin to help you open up and look within and go and discover how you have had a headstart, how you've been afforded opportunity that was not equally afforded to others. Just take the road being vulnerable.
I get it that it's not easy being vulnerable unless you really, really, really feel safe. Never is easy, but it's the fastest, most effective way. If you're sincere to open your heart and actually learn what there is to learn and understand, for example, I realized how much, I didn't know, because I'm a product of the exact same system you are.
I'm just on the lower end of it. Ruby bridges, the young lady who was the first African American girl to integrate into a school man, the irony of what I'm here to tell you. Today's my mom's birthday. Ruby bridges is 65 years old, bro.
That wasn't that long ago at all. And I didn't know that.
And in 1955 and in Belgium, these are the things, as you learned them, they began to bring perspective and open you up. So then, what works or how to respond 1955 in Belgium? I don't remember what it was called, but in the newspaper, there was a zoo who featured an African American girl in a cage as part of the zoo, exhibit 55.
the fuck? Yeah.
Like it's the reality of it. And so it take the time to go learn about systematic racism, watch movies like the documentary by Ava DuVernay called 13th, and you'll understand how the prison system actually works. You understand why black people are largely in the prison system? It's not because they did something right.
You'll discover your favorite presidents, the Clintons, the bushes, whoever death, both sides of the line. We're active and making sure black boys and black girls are seen even tougher sentences. Push smaller issues by simple words as prevalence. Calling them super villains. So the humanization of black America is what has caused this problem. Your responsibility if you really want to learn, you really want to make a difference. You start to educate yourself. It's easy. I understand the system and life has it such that we're so busy that we don't have time. And if my life's not disrupted, then I'm sorry, you're at a disadvantage, but I have these things that I need to take care of.
That's been the problem all along. It's timeout for that. We literally have to take the time and invest ourselves in the lives of our country and what has been happening. Here's the good news. The good news is the underground railroad. Lots of white people had lots of non black people participating. So it's not even new, right?
Like we understand that everyone has to help, but for those of you who've been out of it, the toughest thing has been, it's been out of our education. It's been out of our eyesight. It's been like me. I thought my brother was just a hot head and he caused the incident.
So take the time, educate yourself, be willing to be vulnerable and that's going to be scary, but there are lots of movies. Hey, I'm gonna tell you like this. Yes. The end thing right now, it is the end. I end thing right now be a part of it. Learn it, ride the wave to educate yourself because here's the reality: if you don't. Then you are only contributing to the problem."
"I'm curious to know with all the work that you do personally, how much of these powerful processes do you share with them as a way to help them quiet, their internal chatter, their internal disbelief, their internal.
There's empowering, identities. Does that make sense? You share any of those work with that. and if so, how do you calibrate times to be a father? Just listen to them versus be the coach and actually be the therapist, actually helping them quiet their internal chatter.
Yeah. So there's a lot, there's several things I'm working towards one.
I always try to ask better questions. I realized that traditionally as a male, traditionally, I am point blank. So to speak, I'm learning to be more exploratory my questions in an, in an attempt to help evolve our conversations so that they're not just real simple. And in, through that process, what I've seen on occasion and what I'm hoping for more of.
It's just more open dialogue so that instead of throw the book at it, read the book on this. Right. Cause that's how it was for me. It just, I remember one of my mentors, there was a conversation we were having, there was a disconnect for me go, Hey, read this, I'd read it. And I go, Oh, that's what you were talking about.
So I elevated my, my vocabulary that doesn't work for them. So I'm learning to ask better questions and exchange. And then like you said, just listen. Just listen. And then the other thing that I'm doing and that I have done that I have to do more of as much unquote success as my son has experienced people say, man, you're a great father.
And I say, hold on, hold on. I love being a dad. I'll hold on. The truth is we had a village of people that help cultivate, who he has become. So I've been looking at and trying to expand the village for my daughters. Right. Because if you have a similar experience, as we talked about earlier, it's easy to just simply follow that trail.
Right. So I'm trying to broaden their village. So they get a broader perspective of who they are while at the same time in Protestant. Understand if someone doesn't like you, it really isn't a matter of you. Regardless of the reason it's their own preferences, it's their own experiences. It's their own judgments.
And it simply means that's not the person for you in whatever capacity that relationship is. Let's just find someone else because there are people who embrace, celebrate and honor your existence and all of you, but I'm working toward as a parent."
"I love that so much. So how do you then teach that to your children, right. Again, right. They have to go through their own journey as well. You didn't learn it until when you were in your thirties, in spite of people giving you that affirmation externally, like, Hey, you can do this, you got something right.
So as a father, as a space holder, as a parent, as a guardian Of these young spirits, how are you cultivating that belief in them? Because again, this is my deep belief at the source of everything. If you believe that you are someone of contribution and value, that is the beginning of whatever great things you want to do in your life, but you don't have that.
If you believe that you're worth less, no amount of external success trophies money in the bank, accolades is going to make up for the void that you have within yourself. Right? So the source of a truly successful and fulfill life in my mind is that core belief. So are you helping your kids to believe that.
Yeah. So I'm glad you asked that because I'm at a very interesting time right now. So my son growing up, he's 26 now doing some amazing, like, amazing things. I'm jealous of his life. it's it's funny. but I remember when he was growing up, I would wish I would always tell him, son you a leader. I just, I didn't know exactly what to do, but at son you're a leader.
And so I whispered to him when he was on his way to sleep. And, I would, whenever opportunities arose where it confirmed or look like, pardon me, leadership, I would affirm him and say, Hey, you're a leader. I mean, this is an example. And then, and then when I needed to use it to also nurture the idea of in my mind, at least of things, I didn't want him to be a part of I'd explained the reason why not because you're a leader.
And if you went and did those things, that doesn't, that doesn't move things forward positively. But I remember when he was 12 or 13 years old. I was talking to him. He says,
i am not a leader why are you telling me i am a leader
why are you burdening me with this responsibility? I didn't want the first place
I laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed. And now at 26, he's a professional DJ. He's a professional coder. He has two degrees in finance and econ. He's climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. He's doing all these amazing things.
People want to want his podcast all the time. He's read the law of success by Napoleon Hill and took notes all the way through. I mean, he's reading more now than he did in college. And so that worked out well, then there's my second daughter, Zion we're allowed to, like, our birthdays are about 10 days apart and, It just wasn't as difficult.
It wasn't as difficult to really nurture that. She just kind of, it took a while, but, she began to develop it kinda through watching me more than me having her do the same thing. So stepping one step back when my son got in trouble as a teenager, I would, the discipline for him had moved towards.
I'm going to make you read a book by someone you respect around the concept or principle you broke so that it may be, their words can help you build. So that was how I've nurtured and built that in with him. My middle daughter, it was a little, it, it didn't require that as much. And she was so active and then I was active as well with other things that it wasn't as systematic.
The approach was a little bit different. And, but when I talked to her about things, she'd go, I know dad, I watch you. And I was just kind of like. Wait, does she actually get that principle from watching you or she just trying to smooth me over, but that happened. Yeah. And then I see her Excel at something or not let go for me.
I'm like, Oh, she did get it. She got it from watching me. So it's like, okay, well, great. So I had this, so I shifted to her because honestly they're all uniquely different. And then there's my last one. Who's amazing. Amazing. She's 14 now. Me trying to force her to read. It's not working CK. I don't know what to do to do I've failed now.
No, we're working. I've learning what works for her because the thing we'll go to, they don't work for her man. And she's brilliant. Like she's been a straight, a student, six years in a row. She's an artist, she's a dancer. She can sing. She has so many skills and talents. It's literally. We all think she could potentially want a small country someday, like literally no exaggerating, but how I'm nurturing her is still a work in progress.
I haven't figured it out.
Thank you for sharing that. Wow. I'm not a parent yet. but it's something that I, I think about because I have a lot of friends who are parents and they didn't share with me their, what they're doing as a way to not repeat what their parents did or reinforce what their parents did.
Right. So I so appreciate this conversation.
So one of the things that that comes to mind is just a little bit for looking at this as a, suggestion, as an idea is how are you enabling her to get more satisfaction out of the thing that you want her to do with her initially?
So whether it be the task itself, cause some people get deep satisfaction from whatever the task is. Right. And, and some people, actually get deep satisfaction from how this work is going to benefit others. Yes. Potentially. I don't know if you can articulate what she is interested in, who she wants to serve and the kind of satisfaction she wants to create
so some of that's still coming together. I love that you brought that up someone, but still coming together and trying to understand what it looks like. So she's. Talking, she loves color. Right? And so she loves how color helps heal and how color plays into that. But she also enjoys coding.
So she's thinking she should get an in this, this is her thoughts. She thinks she should get an engineering degree while also an art degree, so she can merge the two together so she can help people heal. I have not built a bridge between what I want her to do and what she wants to do to get her to read or take these particular actions.
I'm still dancing with her and learning her. I was talking to her mother yesterday and she said, she's uniquely different. You've always admired her for having her own voice. And now she's having her own voice and we're just gonna have to keep finding angles until we find the one that works best for her.
And then she said, and she's 14 living in COVID stay home orders. Can't see friends just graduated eighth grade, couldn't close it, popularly again, properly getting ready to go to a new school. And I just kind of said, okay, I'll follow your lead. So it's a dance. We're still figuring that out. C K, that big dream.
That thing that drives her, I know she loves color and engineering and helping that, but I'm still uncovering it. Still figuring out what's her ticker for that to move to the next level.
I wish you success my friend.
Thank you, man. I need it"
"bringing back to the topics of our time, Corona virus, police brutality as a parent, tactically, how are you having these, I would say challenging conversations, but very meaningful conversations of this time and as a way to help guide your children at a pivotal time of their life.
Yeah. I love it. You're asking phenomenal questions, ones that I'm still dancing with as are happening. Here's the deal?
here's a low light as a father of black daughters, right? It is a real thing. When you're already talking about women and girls who are developing their psyche. Am I pretty enough? Am I beautiful enough? Am I good enough? Right. So I have, I have that already happening. Then you throw in that they're black or African American and, or Canadian American technically, and I'm having to have those conversations, right?
I and have those conversations about, for example, my 19 year old, who was when she was in high school, she was attracted to a particular Caucasian guy and he liked her as well. It was pretty evident. And then two weeks later, He vanishes or ghosts as it calls it as a pilot. I didn't understand it. I didn't know what happened.
She didn't tell me here's how I found out. She then went to the counselor's office because she was so traumatized by it and wanted to know what happened. She didn't feel comfortable enough to come to me with her mom, but she went to a counselor and the counselor said to her, well, I've seen it before.
He's just basically not comfortable in his own skin yet. And so he can't handle it and she was left. I try to figure out what that meant to her.
So it's not an easy time. It is a very difficult time because a lot of the conversations, although we can intellectualize and they really do get the intellectual, right.
They understand the systematic oppression and racism. They get it. Like they get it. Their mother's highly intelligent finishing her doctorate in education. Like, so we have these conversations, but the hard conversation. She just released, I think it was eight different poems on Instagram, all about her experience being a black girl.
And even though she, by the time she became a senior, she, the school, their mascot is the Ramblers. She won. The rambler of the year award, which means she was the individual that represented the school the best by far and the school awarded it to her. So even though she was that girl, that chick, it does nothing when it comes time for her to find out, am I beautiful enough?
And are you not being my friend anymore because I'm black dating me any longer because I'm black and having to process that. So I would love to say. I cracked the code. The fact of the matter is I haven't, I haven't, and it's just a constant conversation. I mean, I always like, remember I told you, I told my son you're a leader, you're a leader.
I told him that. Right. So always told my daughters you're beautiful, absolutely beautiful their whole life. And you're smart and all these other things, it got to the point where I just said, dad, you're just saying that because you're my dad. She talked about it. She said, I'm a heterosexual girl. So even though we want to, this is me paraphrasing dismiss.
It shouldn't matter about my looks. It shouldn't matter about my skin. And the fact of the matter is I'm a heterosexual girl and it does matter. I don't have the answer. My friend I'm working with day by day."
"Do you put limitations or hard rules and policies around social media usage for your kids.
And ask that question specifically, because social media is a firehose, and when a not controlled, it's very easy to go towards more and more extreme or whatever . So as a parent, as a steward, as a, as a guide, as a Sherpa, how are you helping them with their social media usage?
Yeah, so great question. Right? So the 19 year old, she's going to do it. She's going to do 26 year old.
He's going to do it. He's going to do the 14 year olds a different conversation. So a lot of work, man, honestly, we try to get her to sh we, at one point we were saying, okay, nine o'clock or eight o'clock cutoff you're in bed by nine, no later than 10. And it just, yeah, your point is so valid. It it's such a drug.
Such a drug I'm actually reading about a digital delusion right now in the book, limitless around the idea of how it's draining us and how is, is sucking life out of us, even though it's a really great tool at the same time, it truly is. It has been a, it has been a challenge. It has been a true challenge, especially now when that's the only way that they can really communicate with one another.
So I grew up with a hard and fast religious view that says, yes, Sure all the don'ts can't do these things. No, no, no, no, no, no, no. But what I realized was the no, no, no, no, no. Didn't allow me the opportunity to truly assess the options and choose for myself. So I've let go of the concept of the no, no, no, no, no.
And I'm trying to find ways. This sounds really sad, but it's really true because I'm wanting to develop individuals. I'm trying to find ways to compete with social media. Really that's really what it's coming down to sometimes at dinner. Yeah. Put the phone away. But outside of that, it's like, wait a minute.
If I try to distract them or take away, what's so culturally normal for them, then all I'm doing is really trying to control them. When in reality, I want to influence them to think for themselves. So I don't have as harsh lines as I used to, I just follow it to the nth degree. No one, they could have a ghost account.
I understand, but I'm not interested in trying to chase all that down. I look at their main accounts. What are they talking about? What are they sharing? And then I also participate with them. I send the funny type Instagram messages that they like. I don't have a tick tock, but if I come across one, I send it to them so that I show them that I'm a part of where they are and it can be used for good.
Here's the deal CK. At no point, has anyone on this planet ever stopped a kid from doing what a kid really wants to do? Just like an adult. So my job is to try to influence and be a part of the culture as much as possible and show the life that's available through it. And I know, I know for a fact part of what I'm struggling with to get this other information in is really dealing with social media and that psychology that happens there, but I'll just keep chugging away. I'll keep chugging away.
I love that you, are focusing on using more power and influence rather than force in rules and guidelines. I love that. And then you have to do the internal marketing necessary to, guide them the traction and magnifying rather than, like a, like a SmackDown of when not to drink, because.
The egoic mind is automatically allergic to, any kind of force. Right? Cause I remember when I was a teenager, my parents tell me not to do this. Guess what I'll do. I'll definitely do that."
" thank you for sharing that I want to underline, something that you said yes.
You said you wanted to have a network of people to help co-parent your kids, right? Idea of. I love the ideas. back in the days when we have tribes were villages, it's not just a singular parent. entity, to pass down knowledge and the wisdom to the children. Rather, they have a council, tribal elders where, everyone may specialize in some perspective, as on special craft or skills, then, the, the village raised the kids, not just single or parents raise the kids. So I love that idea. So I want to underline that. So as you are helping her, build this council of elders, what are some of the criteria that you use as a way to curate, the, the sources of wisdom that they can receive?
Yup. So great question. So one of the things that I try to look for is one what's their world view like for you to have a broader scope had, are they an interracial relationships? are they an expert in their field? Because even if they're an expert in their field with a limited view, the reasons in which we're going to them will offer us what we need.
Robert Kiyosaki's book, rich dad, poor dad is just a classic example of what that looks like. Right? If you want it to learn, when he wants to learn about money, he went to his rich dad, his best friend's dad. For that, we want something about education and family. He went to his dad. So I, without holding judgment all the way around the board, I encourage them and ask them about resources or I share.
Okay. My daughter was thinking about going to India to teach English. And so I have a friend over there who is from Columbia. And so we were building that partnership relationship and then COVID and other things happen. So that didn't happen. But I, I look at the people in my life who just love me, and then I connect them with my kids whenever possible.
the reality is I don't know all of their influence because I don't live in their world in a, in a, in a context of who they see as important. And when I do obviously reel them in, but outside of that, I look to people who, who just have a broad worldview who are, tend to be open minded. And first and foremost kindhearted, cause they're kind harder than asking them to share or be a resource that comes a lot easier for me."
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