Friday, October 31, 2014

Ego-Less Parenting

Being the parent of an only child and having him a lot of activities in order to combat boredom and the “play with me, Daddy” syndrome, I get to watch a lot of parents in action. I see different strategies work wonders in completely different ways, but I have noticed the one type of parenting that consistently works. It is the same thing that we read about in French parenting, and all the parenting fads that are out there encapsulate successful parenting in one important way. That being…remove your ego at the door!

The ego is that part of yourself that tries to make everything about you. Being ego-driven is a common trait of immaturity and teenage behavior. It is what you are supposed to grow out of as you become an adult. The truth is, being ego-driven stands in the way of developing most healthy human relationships and is the root cause of a lot of immature, selfish behavior in all of society.

In parenting, it is difficult to understand the ego. You think you are putting your child first, and your child’s needs first. But you are struggling with your child’s behavior, and you are constantly correcting them. Other people tell you that your child is a great, and you wonder why this child can’t do the same things for you at home. That is when you decide that it must be you, so you start making everything a fight for control because of your ego.

I know I am not preaching something here that a lot of people will agree with, particularly not in this version of the capitalist United States at this moment in history. We are bombarded with salesmen, venture capitalists, politicians, millionaires, and billionaires, and people who we have deemed “successful” preach the virtues of selfish behavior for a few generations now. Yet we still call our grandparents the “Greatest Generation.” Ever wonder why they were so great? It is because they checked their egos at the door and went to change the planet for the better by fighting a truly monstrous evil. This generation, which really was great and was truly something to emulate, gave birth  to the most obnoxious and selfish generation of people this planet has ever seen, the Baby Boomers.

The Baby Boomers will go down in history as the same people who gave birth the sexual revolution and social liberation, yet somehow managed to also become the “yuppie” selfish generation of the early 1980’s. Our parenting styles have evolved with this ego-driven behavior, which has essentially made our children extensions of us instead the unique, wonderful individuals they will have to become on their own.

Ask yourself, are you doing your child any favors by making them an extension of you? Are you letting your children grow into unique, creative adults, or are you creating mindless automatons that will repeat your psychology and your life?

I am not a parenting expert. I am an observer, especially of life. My detail-oriented mind is a great judge of character, and I know that for the most part, parents want what is best for their children. Removing the ego from your parenting will help you truly be there for your children in ways that will help them become the adults we all know they can be.


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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Birthday wishes

Yesterday was my 39th birthday, and like every year, I take a moment to take stock of my life and see where I have been and where I am going. Last year, I took this moment to recognize some truly amazing parts of my life, and how every choice I ever made brought me to this point of my life. This was the most significant revelation I have ever had, as years of frustration and misunderstanding finally melted away.

This awesome realization brings me to this year, where I used this revelation to make some positive changes in my life. In the last year, I made a true commitment to taking care of my family and to taking care of our health.  Circumstances being what they are, I took the role of homemaker and stay-at-home as seriously as the most overworked CEO would.

This past year has seen a true dedication to the healthy eating, healthy cooking, healthy living, and truly sucking the marrow out of life to achieve optimal results. No one can ever be happy all the time, but boy, these days, my life sure feels that way. It is not just the accompanying weight loss, which has been significant and awesome, but it is the whole way that this feels. Taking control of yourself and being in control of your emotions, your choices, and your life is truly inspirational and a gift, even to myself.

The greatest part is showing this to my son as an example. He has watched me get stronger and healthier, and loves doing more active things with his daddy. He has watched his parents choose to eat healthier, and has learned how to love and make healthy choices on his own. Lucas is learning the value of exercise, of meditation, of prayer, and of living in the moment on a regular basis watching his parents make a number of positive life changes in one year. Lucas has learned that the values of manhood are not defined in any traditional sense, but in internal ways.


One year, that is all it has taken. Did this have something to do with me turning 40 next year? Probably! Milestones have a way of blossoming into life changes. I hope this continues, as healthy habits when done over an extended period of time become second nature and part of your body’s natural flow. Good luck to all of you!

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Showers Rock!


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Friday, October 24, 2014

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Parents out there, do you pay attention to the things your children say about what they want to be when they grow up? Do you remember making a list or thinking about this at a young age? I can honestly say that I was not one of those kids, and while I am a perfectly content adult, there is a part of me that wishes I had strived for just one thing above all others. Do you remember what you wanted to be when you were young?

1. Letting kids dream

Part of this exercise is to let your children focus on some different jobs and what they can see themselves doing. If there is one thing they keep coming back to over and over again as they get older, that could be a sign of something to help kids work toward. Regardless, children should feel expectations to succeed in a limitless field of life.

2. Setting expectations

I had a friend once tell me that his parents gave him the option of being one of four careers when he was a teenager: an engineer, an accountant, a lawyer, or a doctor. These are the four career paths that most people would say guarantee some sort of future employment. It is interesting, as my parents did not present me with any options like this, and in fact, most parents I knew growing up just wanted their kids to have fun and find what they liked to do. In the end, I am not opposed to setting some sort of expectation that will guarantee some sort of stability in my son’s life.

3. Giving support

Whatever kids choose and whatever your expectations are, just remember to always support what your kids want to do. My son keeps talking about becoming a policeman, and while I don’t really want him to go into a career that could involve being shot, I am fully supportive. It is a noble thing to want to protect and serve, why would I not support him? Regardless of age, parents should always nurture and protect the dreams their children have for themselves…if you don’t, why would they develop the courage and fortitude to conquer all their fears and accomplish all their goals?


Good luck to all in this noble endeavor. I hope we can help create a world where our kids do better than we do!

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The truth about bullies

There are always many news stories and media outrage about the latest bullying scandals, and they always mention these standard psychological “fact” that makes no sense. Those that have been bullied or experienced any form of bullying will have a fundamental understanding about what I am going to say. We are always told that bullying is a behavior that is masking a certain weakness or insecurity in the person that is doing the bullying. This is a lie.

The truth is that bullies always operate from a position of strength, and always have abnormally high self-esteem. How else do you feel that you have the right to punish those weaker than you? How else would anyone feel that they have the right to abuse another person?

Trust your own instincts with this. Bullies are not insecure. Insecure people are shy, introverted, the furthest behavior from smug you can imagine. Now imagine the bullies you remember from your childhood. The biggest kid, content to revel in his masculinity and physical dominance, bullies weaker kids because he can. The smartest kids in class bully others by making them feel stupid. The funniest kids in class bully others with a sneer and a joke. The richest kids in class bully their classmates by making them feel poor. The most popular kids bully their classmates by making them jealous and preying on those kids that don’t fit the mold.

Where does this behavior ever mask any kind of insecurity? Do these types of people ever experience moments of doubt and loss of self-worth? I’m sure there are some instances where children who become bullies at school are actually abused at home (the old story we were told by teachers and psychologist in the 90s), but for the most part, the people who are bullies experience a great deal of success in life and never have their self-worth called into question. The physically strong kids become athletes, bouncers, or fighters. The richest kids always remain rich. The smart kids stop caring about everyone else because they go off to do smart people things (become doctors, get PhD’s, etc.). The popular kids all help each other get jobs and stay employed, usually becoming the bosses of the very people they used to bully. The funniest kids in class are either the most successful or the most likely to fail spectacularly. I call it Pagliacci syndrome…


The point of all this is to make parents aware of the world our kids are growing into and how awful bullying is as a behavior. The problem with bullying is that there is no ultimate consequence, as the people with the inflated sense of self-esteem and self-worth that become bullies as kids are rewarded for this behavior in the long run. What can we do as a society to stop this from happening?

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