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Don't tell the kids what to do all the time. Give them an opportunity to come up with their own ideas. Hello and welcome. I'm Shane Parrish, and you're listening to the Knowledge Project, a podcast dedicated to mastering the best what other people have already figured out. I'm going to help you better understand yourself and the world around you by exploring the ideas, methods, mental models and hard fought lessons learned from some of the most outstanding people in the world.

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The Knowledge Project podcast is a part of Farnam Street, a website dedicated to helping you think better and live better. Farnam Street puts together a free weekly newsletter that I think you'll love. It's called Brain Food, and it comes out every Sunday. Our team scours the Internet for the most mind-expanding books, articles and resources so you can spend less time searching and more time learning. Discover what you're missing at first DOT Blogs newsletter. Today, I'm talking with Esther would just be the godmother of Silicon Valley, Asta's a legendary teacher and educator, mother of a super family, and wrote a book on how to raise successful people in this conversation.

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We define success, explore why so many seemingly external successful people are unhappy, reveal her time tested methods for raising happy, healthy, successful kids using trust, respect, independence, collaboration and kindness. Trick learn about a website you can use to find age appropriate media for your kids, explore the various roles and bringing up a child between parents, teachers and grandparents and discuss how to teach critical thinking and so much more. It's time to listen and learn.

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The Knowledge Project is sponsored by Medlab for a decade, Medlab has helped some of the world's top companies and entrepreneurs build products that millions of people use every day. You probably didn't realize that at the time, but odds are you've used an app that they've helped design or build apps like Slack, Coinbase, Facebook Messenger, Oculus, Lonely Planet and many more Medlab ones to bring their unique design philosophy to your project. Let them take your brainstorm and turn it into the next billion dollar app from ideas sketched on the back of a napkin to a final ship product.

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Check them out at Medlab Dutko. That's Medlab Dutko. And when you get in touch, tell them Shane sent you. This episode is brought to you by mud, water, mud. Water is a masala chai based coffee alternative that improves your focus. The form medicinal mushrooms that are in mud water give you the benefits of coffee, but avoid the dreaded caffeine crash if you have trouble sleeping at night or can't remember the last time you dreamt TriMet water as your new morning ritual instead of coffee.

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The team at 80 20 can build your next app or website in a matter of days, not months. Better yet, they can do it at a fraction of the cost. You walk away with a well-designed, custom tailored solution that you could tweak and maintain all by yourself without the need to hire expensive developers. So if you've got an app or website idea or you're just ready for a change of pace from your current agency, let the team at 80-20 show you how no code can accelerate your business.

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Check them out at 80-20. Don't think that's eight zero two zero dot i. C. Esther, I'm so happy to have you on the show. I am very happy to be here and thank you so much for inviting me.

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You wrote a book that was passed to me by one of my friends called How to Raise Successful People. And the first question I have around this is what makes someone successful?

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Well, that's a that's a great question. You're getting to the heart of the question right away. I think what makes somebody successful is when they believe in their dreams and also have the support to achieve those dreams and when they feel pretty good about themselves. I think that that's probably the number one definition. I have a success because a lot of people think that what I'm talking about success. I'm talking about having a lot of money. And that's not true because I've seen a lot of people with a lot of money who are pretty unhappy.

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I think having support by people that care about you, love you, and people where you have a good relationship and where you can actually achieve some of your dreams, that success.

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Where do we get this notion that success is tied up in long titles or money?

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Well, I think we get the notion, especially from money, that because you have money, then you have all this ability to do things. And, well, that might be true. You know, you have the ability to fly first class, ability to travel where you want to buy these houses that you have always dreamed about. And I think that money does help. You need some money in order to be able to live in a reasonably decent place and have clothes and have food and and have an ability to take vacations.

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They don't have to be really glamorous. But you don't need to have tons of money. You don't have to have billions. You don't even have to have millions. And I think people assume that if you have the money that you then somehow going to be really happy. But I've seen people who have a lot of money, you know, millions and billions, and they have a really hard time making friends. And I'm talking about friends, people who really care about you and have a good relationship with you.

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And part of the reason they have a hard time making friends is they're never sure whether somebody wants to be friends with them because they have a lot of money or somebody really likes them and wanted to figure that out. When you have a billion dollars, it's hard to figure out whether that person is there because of your money or whether they're there because of you. Very difficult. And so you always sort of keep them at a distance, I would imagine.

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Well, a lot of billionaires keep people at a huge distance and, you know, their houses are surrounded by fences. You know, they can't go to the beach. An ordinary beach like you and I go to, they buy private islands because they're afraid of, you know, all these people. I can tell you being at a private island is really boring. You know, there's nothing there besides sand and, you know, the palm trees and water.

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And I mean, honestly, I go to the beach because it's fun to look at other people. It's fun to meet people. It's fun to be in the water with other people. I don't mind being in the water all by myself. A really exciting thing to do. I think that's one of the real drawbacks of having a lot of money. You know, in my eighth and ninth grade classes, I used to teach a book by John Steinbeck called The Pearl, and I would recommend that it's a very short book, short story.

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It must be 80 pages at the most. And it talks about a fisherman who managed to pull up an oyster with what was called the pearl of the world. And he had the most amazing pearl. And the story talks about what happened to him as a result of having that pearl. So I don't want to give it all away, but I just would really recommend it that it's a great book for everybody to read and especially for young people to read.

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It sounds like a great recommendation. And you were a former journalist, I believe, and you started teaching it. Was it in nineteen eighty four? That's correct.

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What led to the transition from journalism to teaching was the preface that with my passion in life has been journalism all along the way of 14. I've always wanted to be a journalist and I was a journalist. I loved working and in journalism. But then what happened was that I ended up being in a situation where it was very difficult for me to be a journalist. I lived in Palo Alto. All the exciting journalism locations were in San Francisco or San Jose.

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I had three small children. And the question is like, how?

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How am I going to do this with three small kids? And their schedules are different, you know, being a journalist and you have to run out and get the story, you know, no matter when it is. And so and where it is, they can be running all over the place.

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And so I decided that that just wasn't compatible with being a mother and being, you know, and my husband is a professor of physics and he was gone all the time giving lectures and doing his research. So I said, well, OK, I can't be a journalist, why don't I teach journalism? And so that's what happened. I applied for a job as a teacher and Palo Alto High School in nineteen eighty four. And that's how I ended up being a journalism teacher.

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And when I first started the program had about 19 or 20 kids and it was a small journalism program. And of course I was required to teach other things. So I taught English. At one point I taught math. I actually thought that was pretty exciting to be able to teach all those other subjects. But the journalism program grew from nineteen eighty four to nineteen eighty nine. It all grew from twenty students or so to more than 80 students.

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So the question is, what am I going to do now with all these, these kids? There's just too many of them. And that's how the beginning of the Palo Alto Media Arts Program started, because after a while I realized, you know, they all can't be in one class even though I was having huge classes because I don't have enough room in the publication to publish other stories. And I wanted to do that. So I started and additional publications.

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And today, two thousand twenty, I can't believe twenty twenty. There's over ten publications, including magazines. There's one newspaper, there's television was radio, there's podcasts, there's video production, there's movie making, graphic design. We have something for every kid, and if we don't have it, we listen to them and then we created whatever kind of program they're really interested in doing. So we have over 700 kids now and I have six other media arts teachers.

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It's very exciting. That's incredible. Why do you think journalism is such a good thing to teach students in this day and age?

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Journalism is the subject of the future. It's the curriculum for the 21st century. And it's because just look at what a journalist learns to do first. They learn to collect information from multiple sources. You know, they can be online, they can be in interviews, they can be just observing, walking around. And then you have to take all that information, all that data and figure out what's most important. And I can tell you that's really, really hard for most people.

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They cannot figure out what's most important and all the information they collect. And so this is a skill that students develop. And then not only do they figure it out, they then have to write about it in a way that's engaging, because I always say to them, if the most important part of your story is at the end, no one is going to get there. Even if you tell them you're going to give them a pot of gold film, never find out because the first part lead of the story isn't engaging.

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Then, you know, you've lost the battle. So you teach them how to communicate, how to write really well, how to speak well because they have to work within teams. No one puts out a newspaper or magazine alone. You have to work with people, other people. And then in addition to that, you learn all the tech skills. You learn media literacy because it's all done online. You know, not only do we publish in hard copy, but we publish every publication has an online presence.

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And so you have to learn how to use social media in learn how to understand social media. You are very suspicious when you see a world that does you've never heard of before. You're like, oh, maybe that isn't, you know, maybe that's a fake euro. You know, you kids learn what good resources are. What's a good source? Who do you quote in your story? Are you sure that you're quoting people on both sides, not just biasing the story that you learn so much?

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And this is the age of social media? That's what I mean. That's what governing the whole world. Social media. We all get up in the morning and look at our phone. As a matter of fact, one of the recommendations from sleep experts is don't sleep with your phone. And the other reason they say that is because I think lots of people are sleeping with their phones and that's probably not a good idea, interferes with their sleep, and then you become addicted to your phone.

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And so also. Students need to be able to understand what's important from what's not important in the research that they get when you do a Google search, how do you evaluate the results of that search? That's another thing that we teach in journalism. I mean, journalism is really the curriculum for the 21st century. You don't have journalists. You just have to be a consumer of journalism to need it. I definitely see the role of journalism in the future.

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It sounds so contrary to what I think of when I think of a classroom, which is almost memorization and suffering and listening carefully and following instructions. And did you land on this naturally or like how did this happen? So yes, I, I did land on this naturally. I basically did not want to teach in the traditional method where just as you describe, you know, the teachers in charge, all you're doing is memorizing, memorizing things that you don't want to memorize, that you see no relevance for memorizing.

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So I changed the whole structure starting in the 1980s. And I was, as you can imagine, seen as kind of a maverick, like what is she doing in that classroom? And fortunately, by the time, you know, they got really serious about it, I already had tenure. So it was OK for me to continue doing this, even though there was a lot of sort of oversight of people like, you know, these kids, they need to sit quietly and memorize.

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And I said, well, not my class.

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How much of that was driven by your personality going into it? Or maybe not having a background in sort of teaching through a formal education system and coming at it with a clean slate?

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You know, it came about because my own personal education was both very difficult. I mean, in elementary school, I got into trouble all the time because I didn't listen. I was forced to sit quietly and do nothing. And, you know, most kids, they just get mad. And as I grew up, I realized that if I ever taught I was going to change the system, I was never going to let kids suffer the way that I had suffered.

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And, you know, I became a very good student. I mean, in high school, I excelled. I was really great at memorizing and following instructions, but I was basically a rebel inside. And then I went to Berkeley at UC Berkeley, which is basically in the sixties, the home of rebellion. And I was part of that free speech movement. My theory at Berkeley while I was there was I'm not getting any help as a freshman.

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The classes are huge. Eight hundred people in a class. And then I get to graduate school and then graduate school. There's like eight people in the class. So this is upside down. I needed it when I was a freshman. I don't need it now that I'm a graduate student. I know what to do. I mean, I spent all those years struggling and so I was always sort of rebellious and wanted to change the way that we were educating students and make it more useful, relevant, helpful.

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I saw a lot of my peers just drop out. I mean, I was one of the few kids that went on to college. Most of the kids, they didn't go anywhere. They just went to work. I grew up in Los Angeles in a little town called Sunline Tohunga. The name of the school was Verdugo Hills High School. It's still there. It's still, you know, a big you know, in New York, Los Angeles City High School.

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But I you know, I conformed while I was there, but then I was really happy to go away to school, Berkeley far enough away, you know, at least eight hours by bus. So that was I think that was how I I made the decision. And then when I was teaching first teaching and realized. That if I followed the system that I was told to do by the schools of education, that my students would be just as bored as I had been.

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And so I took a risk and I changed the way I taught my change, the way I change the whole system from in my class at least.

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I think one of the byproducts of that is kids are interested in what makes them interested, like what makes them interested in what you're teaching and or not even teaching what you're sort of facilitating them to teach themselves in a way. Well, what I'm teaching them is to how to express themselves about something that they're already interested in. So I try to make sure that I understand what they're interested in. And I'll tell you, I have a hard time figuring out what they're interested in when they're in the 10th grade.

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That's when I get them. And the reason they have such a hard time is because they're so used to being told what to do and to them, you know, at least eight weeks to figure out something that they want to write about, something that they're interested in. They're waiting for me to give them topics like five different topics and then they can choose between the topics that's like never coming. It's the whole world. You get to pick everything between, you know, whatever you're interested in is what is what I want you to work on.

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And after the first eight or ten weeks, they get better at it. By the time they're in the eleventh grade or the 12th grade, they become experts at it. If you saw the stories that are in the publications, you would say, wow, but there are stories that the kids have come up with. They're all fools they are interested in. I mean, they did a spreadsheet on divorce, for example. And the question was, how does divorce affect kids?

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They wrote it from their perspective, like, OK, we know how it affects you if you're getting a divorce. But how about the kids? And then they wrote articles about feminism and like how feminism works today, what's what's going on there, writing that today they're writing stories about social media and the impact of social media and how it really impacts them and their world. I don't care what they write about. You know, they get to choose.

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And if you came to class, you would see those groups of them. The classes usually have at normally had like 70 kids in it. And they break up into groups and one group works on like the news pages and another group works on the features pages and the other group works on the editorial pages. And I'm overseeing everything together with my colleague. His name's Rod Sadoway, and we oversee we don't dictate. That's what's the key. I mean, it's very it's very small.

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The title of my book, How to Raise except people simple lessons for radical result. There's simple I mean, it's just don't tell the kids what to do all the time. Give them an opportunity to come up with their own ideas, you know, just take a look at home. When your kids are at home, they work on things they want to work on. I mean, they might be doing gaming all the time. Gaming, gaming can actually be very productive.

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My theory with gaming is for every hour that you game, you should spend an hour coding games. Maybe you can read structured games so that they are played the way that you like them. I mean, kids love to do that. So there's there's a lot of ways of working with students that are much more effective than dictating and telling them what to do. Collaborative parenting is what I call it.

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Can you expand a little bit more on collaborative parenting, specifically what parents can do and also maybe dive into a little bit of electronic device usage at home in the role of parents? Or maybe we can start with the role of parents versus the role of teachers at school and then in through each of them.

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Right. So we can talk about the role of parents. So we all have that. We all have things we want our kids to do. And when they're little, it's harder to collaborate with them. But you can still set up the powder. You know about what what is it that you would like to eat? You can have two or three choices. So you're picking what you might want to eat. That's really easy for, you know, a little baby.

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You know, you give three choices. So the idea is setting up choice. That's like what do you want? But then in terms of, like, rules around the house with some of the things are you have to pick up your toys, you have to pick up after yourself. OK, let's set up a program, a pattern of behavior where we're going to decide how are we going to clean the house? What do you think we should be doing?

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How should it happen? You know, Mom doesn't want to clean the house all the time. Dad doesn't want to do that either. You know, you're part of the team. Even though you're smaller, you're younger, you're still a team member. So let's see what we as a team can decide about how we're going to clean the house, how we're going to clean your room, how we're going to do the laundry, things like that, you know, when they see themselves as part of a team effort.

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It's much easier for them to self regulate because they know that they're at they're part of a group, part of a team and, you know, making dinner, for example, coming up with the recipe, just like, what are we going to have dinner for dinner on Sunday night? Do you want to help plan dinner or do you want to help plan? Let's go shopping. Why don't you help decide what we're going to buy for dinner? We never do that.

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Most parents just don't do that because they think, oh, it's going to take too much time. I don't really want to hear what they want to eat. They're going to eat what I tell them to eat. They're going to do what I tell them to do. But if you set up this collaborative idea where a family is a unit, it's a team much easier for your kids to do what it is. What is their part of the team?

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It sounds like it becomes less about enforcing in more inner directed as contributing to something.

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That's correct. It's more inner directed and, you know. You know, it's it just makes so much sense, it works in the classroom, too, so easy in a classroom on the first few days you put up. This is the goal of the class. You know, all classes are goals. It's, you know, the Common Core State Standards. We all know what we should be teaching. The question is, how do we reach that?

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How do we get to that point? How do you learn US history? What are we going to be doing? And if you bring them in and allow them to come up with some of the rules of how we're going to be doing this, then you don't have to enforce it because they came up with the rules. And it's the same way at home, you know, same thing we're not going out until everybody does X, whatever it is that X is, everybody cleans up the breakfast dishes, you know, everybody puts their clothes away.

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Everybody, you know, do know most teenagers, 18 and above going to college. Don't know how to do their laundry. There's a course now offered at UC Berkeley called Adult. Of that winning, it's like how to do how to take care of your laundry, you know, how to balance your checkbook. I mean, it's a whole course that people kids are signing up for because, well, actually, it's going to be required, I think, because kids are coming to school without knowing these skills.

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And we the parents are contributing to this because we do everything for them.

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So walk me through a little bit about what parents can do and maybe the distinction between as a teacher, how do you see the role of a teacher in a classroom and a formal education sort of setting versus the role of a parent or those lines getting blurred? Vertical lines lie?

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Well, I'll tell you, it's easier it's much easier for a teacher to teach something to your child than it is for a parent. And I think one of the reasons we have teachers is because there's this emotional bond somehow that, you know, if your child isn't doing something well, there's some kind of an emotional reaction that comes in there where you get, like, really upset, because I think you identify all those years ago when you couldn't do it and you're like, oh, my God, you know, just do it.

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And so I think teachers have it easier because I don't have that emotional bond, I can see the child more objectively and I am also patient. They don't know how to do it the first time. Oh, no problem. We're going to do it a second time. We're going to do the third time. We're going to do it until you get it right. And that would be anything from that to writing a paper to reading something, you know?

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And so there's no penalty for revision. Kids have no problem doing it. Again, the reason they don't want to do it again is if they get a deal and they're like, oh, my God, you're never going to change my grade. You know, why am I going to ever do it again? I just throw it away. You know, I don't give grades until they get it right. So they don't have a self image, no, no negative self-image about I can't do it.

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My theory is I used to write for multiple professional publications, including Time. And I can tell you my stuff was revised repeatedly. And then when I wrote this book, I mean, you know, I'm working with all these professional editors and they made me revise this and revise that and then they would fight with each other about which revision was better than this. And I was like, oh, my God, it's my book. I'm going to write it the way I want to write it.

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But, you know, there was still a lot of cooks in the kitchen. Yeah, yeah. In the end, they were super helpful.

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They helped me think about it. And so that's what I want to be as a teacher. Super helpful. I want to say. Did you think about this? Are there ways that you might want to do something different? And I have two women, one from The Washington Post, one from The Wall Street Journal, who are what we call writing coaches. They were former journalists who have retired, and they do it exactly the same way. They just say, you know, are you having a problem with your article?

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There's something that I can do to help you. But they don't. If the kid doesn't come to them, they don't go to the kid. And, you know, it's that simple little thing. If this student comes and says, by the way, I'm having problems with this paragraph, they'll help and they'll help with any part of the article. But they're not going to go in there and say, oh, this is terrible. You know, go do the whole thing all over again.

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They're going to quit. They're going to do what I call constructive criticism, which is basically helping the student rethink what it is that they might have done that could have been better at how the school works.

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At least my classes work and use the trick acronym. Can you walk us through that? I walk you through the trick acronym. But also I want to say one thing. I have like seven other teachers, plus there's all of Palo Alto Unified that are all working with the same method now. So it's not just tied to one teacher. We all realize more important it is. Right. So let me just tell you what trick is and what everybody is using.

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Trick Stands Chick is the acronym in my book and I recommend, of course, my book because it has lots of stories and the stories are what people remember. They don't remember data, they remember stories. And so I have stories about trick, trust, respect, independence, collaboration and kindness. And so I have stories about what is it like to have trust in your home and trust in your relationships, trust in the classroom. What does Truss bring to a student that they haven't had before and if you just think in your own life, if somebody that you respect trusts you, just imagine how you feel about yourself.

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And that's when I build on in the classroom, I trust those kids to be able to reach the academic levels that I have because they're pretty hard, which means that they then trust themselves to be able to do the same thing and. The first as a lot of scaffolding, the first time I'm doing it, they need a lot of support, but each time they do it, they need less and less support. And I mean, I can travel, which I do.

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And I can tell you students can do things without a lot of scaffolding, a lot of support, because they then trust and believe in themselves. So this is the same thing in parenting. You trust your child to clean their room or you trust them to make their peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or you trust them to go outside and play in the backyard without being supervised every minute. I mean, they can take care of themselves. You need that kind of trust in order to believe in yourself.

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Otherwise, what happens is you grow up, you become, you know, 18 or 20 year old who's always needing reassurance, always needing to be told that, you know, they're doing things right. And there's a friend of mine who wrote a book, Julie Let Karlheinz. She wrote a book, How to Be an Adult. And I mean, there's a lot of books out there now and being, you know, being an adult or how to raise an adult.

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I think her Julie's book is and she is also here in Palo Alto because she saw the same epidemic that I saw of kids being helped too much, not being given an opportunity to try things and make mistakes. If you if you don't you don't believe in yourself. You believe in your mom helping you.

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So what should a parent do in that case? Like when a child is supposed to clean the room and doesn't and you don't want to be the enforcer, which most parents would probably default to? How do you handle that?

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The reason you want to clean the house or whatever is so that you can move forward with the next day and have a clean house. So there's usually things that you have to do or want to do. Go out shopping, go for a trip, take a walk, go with the dog or whatever. It's like, oh my God, I don't think we can go right now. Yeah, there seems to be a problem with your room and the you know, how soon do you think you can get this cleaned up so that we can go?

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You have to enforce it at least at the beginning, and then you won't have to do it later on, because once it becomes a habit and once it becomes something that they see, oh, this is a block to the next activity, they'll do it. The next activity is really what you know what what what drives. Yeah. No, you cannot go out and use a car. No, you cannot do this and that. You know, we don't we don't want to come back home to a pigsty.

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That's the kind of thing nobody wants to do the dishes. But we all want to have clean dishes and nobody wants to come back home and find all the kitchen full of dishes and everything else that nobody did. And then also, the other thing I would always say to my kids, you know, this is really training for life. This is training for not just doing the dishes, is training for all the other things you do in life. There's certain things you have to do before the next step.

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And so you can't just leave it and then hope it's going to come and resolve itself because it's not going to do that. And so the patterns you instill in your children are the patterns that they continue as teenagers and as adults. Talk to me about respect, respect. So respect also. I mean, I'll start with with the home. So kids come up with the wackiest ideas. I think we all know that. Nothing that I'm saying that is probably a shock.

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You know, you want to go outside in the snow without your clothes or without, you know, OK, I've had a child that we lived in Geneva and she wanted to do that. I'm not putting on my jacket. It's like, oh, my God, it's like below whatever, you know, zero degrees out there. I mean, there's nothing like experience that teaches things. So they go outside with no jacket for, I don't know, ten minutes.

[00:37:47]

I'll tell you, they will not do it again. There's certain things you can allow, just consequences to teach. Sometimes, of course, there aren't things that you allow. You can't allow consequences to teach. You know, you can't like running out in the street. You can't allow that to happen. You know, you can't jump in a swimming pool. You don't know how to swim. You know, there's certain things that kids have to be protected, but there are things that you can allow them to learn by doing.

[00:38:20]

And I do think that small children do need to have a lot of direction, otherwise they're not going to learn to do it. But as they get older, some of their ideas can be respected. And you just have to look for what ideas they come up with. You know, you can say, well, maybe their idea is OK. And one of those things is technology. You know, the use of the phone, the use of a computer.

[00:38:49]

I mean, a lot of kids want to be on the computer 24/7 and this is really bad. So if you work with them and explain that, you know how it affects your brain, how it affects your eyesight, how it affects your body, because you don't exercise if they understand the why and then the you can implement rules of self control, then what you're teaching is you're teaching them to have self-control as they get older. And so you do want to respect some of their ideas.

[00:39:26]

You want to respect, you know, they're all right. They want to play with games that you, you know, you wouldn't let them play with or things like that. But then you have to then say, OK, you can do this for thirty minutes and then we're going to collaborate and you're going to do what I suggest for thirty minutes. We're going to have this collaborative model of making decisions. And I think that shows respect for their ideas, no matter how wacky those ideas are.

[00:40:02]

I mean, I can just tell you some of the crazy things that I've had to respect recently. And one of them involves this thing called slime. Have you heard of slime? No. Let me tell you what slime is. Kids are making this thing, this stuff called slime, and it's looks just as bad as the name. It's sticky. They play games with them. I don't know. It's kind of like play doh, but worse.

[00:40:33]

And, you know, it actually even leaves stains on your carpet. It does all kinds of things you don't want. And that's all they want to do is make this slime. It's like, oh, my God. And then there's videos on YouTube showing how kids make slime, you know, in their kitchen, in their home. I know that. All right. OK, I'm not a slime lover, but I allowed this to happen. You know, I bought the ingredients.

[00:41:02]

It's expensive and they're busy making slime. Not only are they making slime, this one granddaughter of mine videotaped herself making slime and then put the video up on YouTube crazy. So, you know, I had to respect her ideas, you know, seem to make her really happy. Fortunately, that stage is over. Slime is last year. But it was respecting the idea. Right, respecting this idea. You know, and then, you know, sometimes they're ideas that I respect are really crazy and I try to explain why, and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

[00:41:48]

But just the fact that I'm listening I think makes a big difference, because that means that, you know, if you listen to someone, you at least respect their time and the fact that you think that their idea might be worthwhile. So it starts at home and then it continues in school. And one hears one of the big ways that respect for students and their ideas impact on me. I would hand out these evaluation forms to kids where they could tell me what they thought of what I was doing in class.

[00:42:25]

They would be they'd handwrite them. They didn't have to put their name on it. They would complain about whatever it was that I did that they didn't like or what they I said also put some things down that you like, that you want to continue. But those forms, I mean, they helped shape the program because I listened to them and the things that they didn't like, I was like, you know, the right it doesn't work. And if it doesn't work for them, I'm going to have to stop doing it.

[00:42:56]

And I did so that's how the program has changed dramatically. And if you saw the newspaper, it's three sections with it runs usually twenty to twenty eight pages, and it's the full size paper the size of the New York Times. And it's all done by students. That's incredible. Was incredible. And their ideas, I can tell you, I respect their ideas. I mean, they set up a layout on the opinion pages that I thought, oh, my God, this is awful.

[00:43:27]

But I let them do it. And, you know, for a couple of years there, I was like, oh, this looks terrible. But, you know, that's how new things start. If we keep doing the same thing over and over again, then there's no innovation. So I let them do it. And actually they're in charge. So they do a lot of things that they want to do. And I respect their ideas. And I'll tell you that respect it leads to self respect.

[00:43:54]

That's what's going on. They believe in themselves and respect themselves and respect each other and respect taking a chance. You know, you don't get innovation by following the rules all the time. You get it by taking a risk.

[00:44:09]

Talk to me about what parents can do to foster independence in their children. One of the stories of your book, I think, was your shopping trip to Target with your granddaughters.

[00:44:19]

Oh, yeah, that one of the books. One of the stories. There's a lot of stories in the book and a lot of the readers have told me how helpful those stories are. So I just wanted to emphasize that because I think, as I said earlier, I think people remember stories and a lot of the stories are pretty gripping. So what I did and that particular thing was it was my two granddaughters. I think they were either eight or nine.

[00:44:46]

And they're not twins. They're from one Susan's child and the other was Janet's child. And they needed to fly back to school supplies. And I thought, well, who knows best what the back to school supplies are then? The kids, you know, they know what they need. I don't know what they need. So I decided that since I had some other errands to do, I would just drop them off at Target. So I drove up, open the door, let them out.

[00:45:14]

I was like, hey, you guys call me, text me when you're done shopping. And so off they went into Target by themselves. And then my other thing that I had to do is I'd take my grandson, who looked like a Bushi bear, to have a haircut. And I said to him, What the hell do you want your haircut? And I got a lot of mumbo jumbo of like, well, so what do you want them to do?

[00:45:41]

Was like, you know, you can't look like this forever. You're going to have to cut this. And he agreed. And so I said, well, you know, I'll drop you off and you tell how you want your haircut. And so I dropped them off it. I think it was called, I don't know, Supercuts or something like that. Anyway, he went in, he was ten and he sat down and waited and then he told the stylist how he wanted his haircut.

[00:46:09]

Meantime, I got a phone call from my daughter. It's like, oh, mom. So how's the shopping going at Target? That's like, oh, I just dropped them off so they could buy their own school supplies. She's like, what, you drop them in target by themselves? I'm not kidding. There was this gigantic, like, silence on the phone. I said, Susan, last time I've been the target, it was pretty safe.

[00:46:36]

Not only that, it looks really safe all the time. In any event, she's like, well, we're going to have to you have to go back and pick them up, like right away. I was like, you know, that their phone, they can text me if there's a problem, you know, why don't we just worry about, you know, you know, me picking them up. Anyway, to make a long story short, I went back to Target.

[00:46:58]

And of course, meantime, I left out of there having his hair cut by himself. And I went to Target and I texted them. And sure enough, they were having a great time at about small school supplies, all a little crazy to me. I was like, you really need us there. We need it. They checked out. I gave him my credit card. You said I showed them how to slide it, slide it here.

[00:47:21]

And this is how you sign it, sign it. And then they came. They were so thrilled to be at Target by themselves and make these decisions themselves. Then we went back and picked up them and, you know, he looked great. I don't know what he told them to do, but they did a great job. So, you know, it was a success. But everybody was like nervous. Like you sent them alone to all these places.

[00:47:48]

I sent my kids the other day to Wholefoods to to grab something we forgot to get. And I'm I'm worried about the cops showing up at I'm not worried about something. Happening to the kids, I'm worried about the cops showing up at my door and going, like, what are you doing, sending a nine and 10 year old five hundred feet to get some groceries by themselves?

[00:48:06]

Well, I think one of the problems is that it's now in many states it's law. You can't send your child alone. You can't say they can't even walk the dog by themselves down the street at, I don't know, age of nine or 10. And that's considered unsafe. But I think what's happened is society, as a result of all the social media reading stories about kids that were kidnapped at bus stops or kids that were, you know, kidnapped, I don't know, various places.

[00:48:40]

They're all worried about kids being kidnapped or molested or something terrible happening. And so we have restricted the freedom of kids. It's everywhere. We don't let our kids go anywhere by themselves. You know, they can't take the bus by themselves. They can't do anything by themselves. And it's ingrained in the way that the laws are written. And I can't tell you which states are in because I'm a member of the state, but I know there's about eight states that have laws that say you can't let your child walk alone, you can't leave your child, you know, in the store by themselves.

[00:49:18]

And then we wonder why kids are growing up and they're completely dependent on other people. That's right.

[00:49:23]

We wonder about like, why are they completely dependent? Which what age are they considered to be OK? Well, they say 18. But, you know, if you have the first 18 years of your life, we've been taught to be dependent. Well, what do you think's going to happen on your 18th birthday? You think all of a sudden independence? No. Habits are very hard to change. And the way you mold the child is the way that they're going to be as an adult.

[00:49:52]

It's very hard to change habits. And that's one of the big problems that we're teaching. We are molding our kids right now into being dependent, very dependent and also obeying instructions even in the colleges. What are how are you rewarded? The main way you're rewarded is by regurgitating on tests what it was that the professor said. And you're not rewarded for thinking independently, were rewarded for following instructions. And this all was instituted one hundred years ago, maybe a little more Napoleonic times.

[00:50:36]

Napoleon wanted everybody to follow instructions. He wanted a standardized education for everybody. And the same was true in Germany and Bismarck. And then in eighteen ninety eight, the committee of ten here in the United States, they implemented the same ideas. Everybody had a standardized education. That's the subject. Matters were defined. You know, you're studying biology, you're studying history, you're studying English. And there was no interaction between the subject matters. It was like there were all silos where you learn those things, but you didn't learn how they interrelated.

[00:51:19]

That's one of the beauties of journalism. In order to be a journalist, you have to use all the subjects, integration of the whole curriculum. You can't do a math survey. You can't do a statistical analysis without knowing how to do it.

[00:51:37]

I like that way of thinking about it. How do you how do you see the role of grandparents versus parents? I mean, being a grandparent now versus being a parent in terms of children?

[00:51:49]

Well, so I think grandparents grandparents can be very supportive. They can help the parents. Parents need help, you know, and babysitting and things like that. And I think they can play the role of being supportive. But in that supportive role, that means that they are not in control and dictating what the parents should be doing. Because I think one of the pain points, pressure points, is when grandparents try to tell the parents that they're doing something wrong with the kids and, you know, oh, my God, you're letting them go out without a jacket.

[00:52:30]

You know, the kid's freezing out there or what? They're playing computer games. They should be playing any games. When I grew up, we didn't have computers. Those kinds of things create a lot of friction between the parents and the grandparents. So I think the grandparents, with all the love that they're trying to bestow sometimes can be. A little to control and I mean, that's one of the things that you think all grandparents need to learn.

[00:53:04]

I had to learn that as well, too, because, you know, when my first grandchild was there, I would arrive every day with a whole armload of presents, know, so excited. You know, I was buying gifts and toys and this and that. And there's like, you know, pretty soon my daughter's house is beginning to look like a store. You know, you can't you can't keep doing that. You know, you have to check with your child and see what it is that they really they're the leader, what it is that they would like to do and how can you help support their goals and dive into the electronic device usage a little bit?

[00:53:41]

One of the stories that came up when I was researching for this interview was your trip to Napa and how most parents sort of the default is to sort of want to grab the phones and take them away. But you guys came up with a different solution. Maybe you could add some context around that and share that story with us.

[00:53:58]

So I think one of the biggest battles happening today is that it's the phone battle. The electronic is battle. So the kid first of all, the kids want to use electronic devices too early. One thing that I recommend is don't give your child the phone until at least they're five years old, five years old or older. Because what's happening is when they're zero to five and you're training them that whenever they're bored, they're going to be able to use electronic device.

[00:54:32]

What are you training them to do? Where's their creativity? Where they're where are they learning interaction skills? What they're learning to do is use a phone so don't use phones to entertain small children. So after the age of five, there's a lot of programs that kids can use that will teach the letters, colors, the alphabet, you know, even how to speak another language. And so that's one thing that you can do. And when you set that up, what I like to suggest is that you set it up collaboratively so the child gets to pick some of the videos that they want to watch and then you pick some of the videos that they should watch.

[00:55:18]

So it's a collaborative effort. You're setting up collaboration early on. And one of the sites that I recommend to help you select apps and themes is called Common Sense Media. They review a lot of these, not a lot. All the apps and the movies and things are electronic and give you an opportunity to select what you might think would be good. Then after five, when kids are using devices again, I suggest that it be collaborative. They need to understand why it's not a good idea to use it as much as they would like to use it.

[00:56:02]

And so it's collaborative, then it's easier to implement. So I tell you what happened in Napa. So we took a family trip to Napa and stayed in a very fancy hotel and there were like eight grandchildren at that point. I think all running around. We noticed that a lot of them were just sitting around the pool on their phone and it's like, oh, my God, you're on your phone. And here we are in Napa and there's so many things to do and you're on your phone.

[00:56:35]

So some of the some of my children was like, let's confiscate those phones. Go grab your phone. Well, you know who runs faster?

[00:56:46]

So I was like, no way to get that phone away from that kid.

[00:56:50]

So my suggestion was like, hey, why don't we let the kids come up with a plan? Why don't we let them think about, you know, here we are in Napa. There's so much to do, you know, hiking and swimming and tennis and whatever. Why don't you guys come up with a plan on how to use your phone? So we put them all around the tables. Come sit down and you come up with a plan and tell us the best way that you think phones should be used.

[00:57:20]

Should you be carrying the phone with you? It God, you might jump in the pool with your phone. That'll be the end of your phone. We all sat down and came up with a plan. It took them about an hour. They're all fighting about it. And pretty soon one of them comes like we made a decision about phone usage, how we can use a phone. It's like, fine, let's see what you say. And so we're all sitting there waiting breathlessly for this to come up.

[00:57:45]

The plan. We decided no phones from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. every day.

[00:57:55]

Her family almost fainted because we never would have made it that harsh, you know, and so that was it. They were done. Yeah. And they didn't take the phones out of the room at all.

[00:58:08]

And because they came up with it, it was probably a lot easier to implement. There was no regulating, no implementing, no forcing them to do this or that. None of that. They just didn't do it. And at 9:00 p.m., they got on their phone and they I don't know who they were texting since they were all there, but yeah, it was worked really well. So this has happened also in other family situations where we all the kids agreed no phones at dinner.

[00:58:38]

But you know what?

[00:58:39]

That also it's interesting to listen to this because the kids were like, hey, mom, you have to get out of home because the first big wave of the policy of the parents, like, no no phones at all, you know, sensible. If you give them reasons why I think we don't we don't give them the opportunity.

[00:59:04]

And now we said, how do you think about the role of social media for kids? So this is social media is really tough.

[00:59:13]

Might be tricky given one of your daughters.

[00:59:15]

Yeah, well, so one of my daughters, as we all know, is the CEO of YouTube. And her goal really is responsibility and making sure that the videos there are are really responsible. Anyway, I won't talk for her. You go online and see what she says, but she has five kids and she wants her kids to be able to use YouTube, of course. There are a lot of great things on YouTube, as a matter of fact, everybody uses YouTube for I just used it the other day to learn how to change my furnace heater.

[00:59:55]

I mean, I could have paid one hundred bucks or I just went on YouTube and figured it out. And so YouTube is actually get a billion education hits per day. So how do we regulate it for our kids? I think, first of all, when they're small, there's YouTube kids that you can, you know, instruct you direct your kids to use that. And then there's also YouTube learning. But then there's also things you have to teach your kids what is appropriate and what is not appropriate.

[01:00:30]

And I think that it's the same thing of letting your kids go to a movie that is full of violence or playing a video game like that. There's so many violent video games, we do not sanction violent video games. And I won't name them because there's a lot of them and I'm sure you all know about them, but we do not let our kids play with those games. There's a lot of VR out there these days that is pretty. It's fun and it's harmless and it teaches a lot of physical activity.

[01:01:06]

I think alternatives and the parents should look for alternatives. And as I said, common sense media has a lot of recommendations on that. And then YouTube is doing its absolute best to make sure that the videos are going to be responsible and curated and careful. They're actually even in some cases, having a lot of, you know, humans review those videos. I don't think anybody thought that the world was going to be quite as inappropriate in many ways as it turned out to be, because I think the idea was that human beings are basically good.

[01:01:47]

And so they're going to try to do things that are going to help the world. And I still believe that. I just think there's a few bad situations that people that are doing things that create a lot of problems and those are the ones that we have to to regulate. But I would say 90 percent of human beings are good and it's just the 10 percent that are creating a lot of problems and a lot of noise and a lot of violence.

[01:02:16]

And and I think it starts in childhood, by the way. So if we can change the way we parent, if you look at all those people that are, you know, these people that have had these mass shootings or terrible things that have happened and you look back at their childhoods. Ninety nine percent of them have had very, pretty much terrible childhoods where they were treated very badly. And so I'd like to prevent this from happening by treating all kids with trust and respect with my trek philosophy.

[01:02:56]

You know, it turns out really happy, good people.

[01:03:01]

I like what you said earlier, sort of about playing video games and, you know, giving kids, respecting them, trusting their choices, giving them some independence and allowing them to play, but also sort of regulating that with OK, where you can play for an hour, but then you have to spend an hour coding or something along those lines. Do you have any other sort of habits or tricks that you use around electronics that you think would be useful for people to hear?

[01:03:25]

Well, I think, for example, you know, you can say, you know, you can play on your phone for a fixed period of time, an hour or whatever. But then the following hour, I would like you to be with your friends, call up a friend and play games that you don't involve any kind of electronics. I think what you're wanting to do is to give kids an opportunity to do something that is totally different, but using the lure or the attraction of an electronic device to get them to to do that.

[01:04:01]

And I think electronics I mean, we're all addicted to electronics. I mean, I was just in Beijing last month and I did not have a phone with me and I didn't have my computer either for a variety of reasons. And I can tell you, I felt lost. I couldn't contact anybody. I ended up finally having this absolutely wonderful young man who stayed around and helped me, who had a phone because I couldn't make appointments with people. I couldn't find people I couldn't see what was going on in the world.

[01:04:36]

There were a lot of things that were happening. I mean, I couldn't there were no maps. I didn't have a map. I couldn't get to. You know, everything's on your phone. So we all need these phones. I have to do is be without your phone for a few days and you realize, oh, my God, we're so dependent on these phones. And it made me think back to the 1970s when my children were born and my husband was traveling.

[01:05:04]

I had no idea where he was. I would wait for that one phone call at night to find out like where he was and how he was. And then when my daughter when Susan was traveling, Susan went to India for a year after college and I didn't have any communication with her. It was just I used to get those air mail, air letters. There were blue and I just would wait for a letter. And that was how I communicated.

[01:05:30]

So I know why we all want our phone, because it improves communication a thousand percent and it helps you navigate the world. And so I understand our dependence on it. It does facilitate a lot. But I think there are other things that we need to appreciate, like nature and, you know, exercise and interacting with our friends. I mean, without relationships, we have nothing. You know, relationships are everything. And it's not just relationships on your phone.

[01:06:07]

It's relationships where you actually see the person and, you know, you do things together. And so I think it's important for kids to realize that the world is not on the phone and not on your computer. It's face to face. That's how you learn empathy. That's how you have relationships. You know, nobody wants to have their best friend be a robot. And so we need to remember that. Can you elaborate a little bit on that's how we ruin empathy?

[01:06:39]

Well, you ruined empathy by not having an opportunity to interact with other people. I mean, when you interact with other people and you see how they feel and you see their emotions and then you can put yourself in their shoes, that builds empathy. And what are the things that I try to build into all my children and all my students is empathy, empathy for those of us who don't have everything that they need, empathy for people who have bad luck or, you know, get a disease or don't have enough money to pay for things that they want.

[01:07:22]

I mean, if we don't have real world interactions with people, we cannot develop that kind of empathy. Because on your computer and on your phone and in the movies, we see. These things happening, we develop the roots of empathy, but we can't really do it because the other person isn't really there, there's no real human being. I mean, I have a story in my book, which is one of the stories about empathy. And I did this actually, I guess it was just my personality when we went out to buy a Christmas every year we would buy Christmas trees.

[01:08:02]

We didn't cut them down. Some years we did. But most of the years we went to a lot to pick a Christmas tree. And I would always say to the kids, why don't we pick one of the trees that doesn't look as good as all the rest. Let's pick a tree that no one else would want and decorate it to make it into the most beautiful tree. And that's what we did every year. We would pick the trees without the branches or trees that were lopsided or trees and by accident.

[01:08:39]

Yes, I guess I didn't have empathy in the back of my mind at the time. But that's where that developed is like those of us that need help or that aren't perfect or that have all kinds of problems, we need to take care of them. And they, too, can be great with love and care and support. And so that's another one of the stories in the book.

[01:09:05]

How much do you think our lack of exposure to different parts of society is causing a lack of empathy to in the sense of it seems increasingly and this is just anecdotal, like we live in our neighborhoods, we don't go out as much, we interact a little bit sort of socially. But even in our neighborhood, it's more about the social interactions tend to be less and less like walking up to somebody and striking up a conversation. It's really hard now because people aren't used to it.

[01:09:35]

They don't know how to approach it. They don't know how to do it. And then on the receiving end, it's almost awkward or weird when somebody does that.

[01:09:41]

We need to do more of that. We need to do that in the schools. So, you know, Brown versus the Board of Education, we're trying to integrate the schools that didn't work or a little bit. What was it? Can you explain that? Well, I don't know.

[01:09:58]

Brown versus so the Supreme Court decision, which forced integration of the schools. So the busing came out of that where, you know, your neighborhood school was no longer your neighborhood school. Your neighborhood school was a school where people were integrated. They were bused in from different areas of the city. So the neighborhood school became a melting pot. And that was an attempt to bring kids together so that they would understand each other's culture, so that they would understand that if your skin is black or if your skin is white or whatever color your skin is, whatever your ethnicity, we're basically all the same.

[01:10:41]

And we can make friends with all these people. And so that works to some degree. But as we can see, inner city schools, there are usually one ethnicity, either black or Hispanic or or both or something like that. And so the flight of the you know, the white privileged is to private schools. So they don't it doesn't impact the private schools. This decision, the Supreme Court decision did not impact the private schools. And so a lot of a lot of kids don't have this opportunity to know other people from other ethnicities, just like you said earlier.

[01:11:23]

And, you know, if you're first meeting somebody from another ethnic group when you're 20, it's not like growing up with them. And it's better for kids to grow up with different ethnicities, different cultures, and to know that we're basically all the same. And I mean, if you look at all the different religions, I mean Muslim and the Catholics and the Jews and, you know, the Buddhists, every single person, their religion at the core of it is kindness.

[01:11:58]

Treat other people with kindness and respect. And somehow or other, it gets lost because we put all these labels on it that somehow we make it seem like they're really different, but they're not different. They're our bodies are all the same. I mean, we don't operate on different ethnicities differently. We all have a heart. We all have lungs, we all have skin. And so we all need to take care of each other and appreciate each other.

[01:12:29]

And just like what you were saying, you know, you come up and start talking to somebody from, you know, different group and they. I think you're kind of weird. I think we need to emphasize more how we are alike, more togetherness than what we're doing today in America. I mean, we're so separate. It's really it's frightening. And there are stories in the paper about how how to cope with Thanksgiving dinner when you can't talk to your relatives.

[01:13:00]

I mean, is what is really a terrible situation. I'm sorry to say I don't want to get political here, but it seems to be promoted by what's going on in Washington, D.C. And this has to change. If it gets worse, I can imagine. I mean, it can get worse. You know, you keep thinking it can't get worse, but every year it gets worse. So we need to appreciate all the diversity in the world and diversity, especially here in the United States.

[01:13:33]

We're a country of immigrants. Every single person in this country, their ancestors were immigrants, everyone, and to not to treat the refugees and these immigrants with dignity and respect. It's just terrible. Every day I feel it's so sad and I do whatever I can to help. But, you know, you're fighting the government on this.

[01:14:02]

It's definitely sad.

[01:14:04]

Definitely. We it's something that we as a country should adopt a policy where people need to be treated with dignity and respect, no matter where they're coming from and especially all those poor children. I mean, I don't think we want to get into that here. No, wholeheartedly agree. Switching gears just a little bit, though, like how do you think about the difference between public school and private school or so private schools? A lot of the private schools are following my trick philosophy.

[01:14:36]

As a matter of fact, most of them are they trust the kids, respect them, give them a lot of independence, allow them to collaborate and treat them with kindness. And the reason they do that has if they don't, the parents don't pay, they take their kid out. And so I think that the private schools are doing a great job. Public schools need to do the same thing. They need to I mean, ninety five percent of American kids are in public school.

[01:15:07]

We need all kids to be treated with trust and respect and given a lot of independence, you know, allowed to collaborate with each other and treat it with kindness all the time. And it will make a huge difference as they grow up and become members of a democratic society.

[01:15:27]

Do you think class size makes a huge difference?

[01:15:30]

I think in elementary school and in kindergarten and first grade and second grade, probably it does. You can have large classes if you have more AIDS. So in kindergarten, you might need to have a ratio of one to 10. Well, first grade, second grade, maybe one to 10. As they get older, they can work more independently, work in groups. So you can raise the ratio maybe one to 15. But I really think as they like in my classes, you know, I can have one to 70 or why do I have that?

[01:16:05]

Because the kids are working in teams. They're independent learners. They don't need as much control. But yes, elementary schools do need a lower a better ratio, a lower ratio, because otherwise it's harder to teach those kids.

[01:16:21]

Two more things I want to touch on before we go. What do you see as the difference in generations? You've been teaching for a while now. How do you see kids changing?

[01:16:32]

I was just with the group of my friends who brought their children up in the 70s and the 80s, and we all talked about how different it is today. Back in the 70s and 80s, we trusted our kids, you could walk down the street, you could go to the store, buy yourself my children rode their bikes to the swimming tennis club by themselves when they were seven or eight years old. They went swimming and they were there swimming by themselves.

[01:17:03]

There was a lifeguard at the pool, of course, but, you know, they were eight years old. And I didn't worry. And I and there was no phone. So there was no way for me to, like, call them and say I have to come home right now. So there was a lot more trust and kids were growing up with a lot more independence. That is the biggest difference between what was happening in the 70s, 80s, 90s and today.

[01:17:31]

And how does that manifest itself in the kids that you see today?

[01:17:35]

More dependent, more afraid to make a mistake, more afraid, more. They always have to check with somebody. And I see it in the college graduates and I see it in the when these people are actually in the real world as employees, they always are afraid to make a mistake. They're always looking for reassurance. Yes, this is right. Keep doing it this way. Yes. The fear of failure is much greater now than it was before.

[01:18:05]

And is there a way to change those? Like if you're an employee or your team, you're managing a team and somebody comes on the team that's like that is constantly seeking the reassurance. What are the ways that you would recommend handling that with an adult to sort of foster more independence?

[01:18:24]

I think the number one way to change that, first of all, to discuss it, have a team discussion about how this is part of the culture today and how it is OK to take a risk and to fail. And I think right now people are terrified of failing. And as long as they're terrified of making a mistake and failing, never going to change. So there has to be. It has to be. A, you know, one of those off days, but it can't just be one day, it has to be embedded in the culture where you're meeting once a week and talking about some of the things that you tried that didn't work out.

[01:19:12]

And it's OK and that you're being celebrated for trying and for doing things that might not have worked out. I mean, Einstein says we cannot we can't fix mistakes with the same thinking that we used to create those mistakes. Right, and that's what we're doing, we're just terrified of making mistakes when it's not the older generation, that's the newer, younger generation they need to be, it's OK to believe in yourself.

[01:19:47]

The last thing I want to touch on before we brought this up is how do we teach? I mean, one of the skills that I feel like we're not doing as good of a job is we can be doing with it. It's critical thinking. How do we teach critical thinking to kids as parents, as teachers?

[01:20:05]

So you can read about critical thinking, you can read novels, stories about things, and then try to analyze what went wrong and whatever it was that that character was doing that helps build critical thinking. Math helps build critical thinking also. But in fact, the thing that helps critical thinking development the best is doing it. And that's where the whole journalism thing comes in, because you have to think critically every day when you are writing stories and analyzing data and figuring out who said what and does it make sense and are they lying and are they telling the truth?

[01:20:57]

That is how you develop critical thinking by actually doing it. I just recommend that an easy way for parents is to read books and then talk about the characters and the decisions that they made and whether those decisions were good decisions or bad decisions.

[01:21:20]

Just reading the book by yourself, I mean, you can do you know, it's helpful. But the learning comes comes about in the discussion and the speaking and talking about things that happened and going back, for example, through history and looking at some of the things that happened historically and how they impact the world today. I mean, one of the most impactful assignments that I gave to my students was nineteen eighty four. The book. They had to read the book.

[01:22:00]

And most teachers just have you write about what happened in the book and you know what the author's message was and the thesis and all that, I said they had to go back to that book and find part of the book that were happening in the world today and then talk about how that type of thinking is impacting the policies we make. That was a critical thinking exercise. That sounds like a pretty powerful way to not only engage with the kids, but get them interested in what they're reading, because then they can they see a way to apply sort of the information going in or pattern match, if you will, with what's going on today.

[01:22:46]

That's right.

[01:22:47]

Yeah. They like they love the assignment. It was I mean, the discussions in class were incredible. So I just think that a lot of critical thinking can be taught in schools if it's not just regurgitation, if it's analysis and thinking about whatever it was that the author talked about and trying to understand how it could have impacted our world today, it sounds like a great approach.

[01:23:17]

Can you recommend any books you recommend to The Pearl earlier? But are there any other books you would recommend that kids maybe in the age range of seven to 14, 15 would benefit from?

[01:23:30]

I have a whole list of these books, but I'm sorry I don't have this list right now, but I would be happy to send you this list. Perfect. Yeah, that would be awesome. And is there is there any books that strike you that parents would benefit from?

[01:23:47]

Well, I there are some books. There's one that just came out now in addition to my book, which I recommend, it's called Failure to Launch. And it talks about some of the same things I'm talking about and the failure to launch are the kids that failed to launch, and it's because of the parenting problems that we're having today. So that's one book. There's another one written by a colleague of mine at Harvard called Dark Horse and talks about the the kids who are the nonconformists.

[01:24:32]

And the ones that the parents are pulling their hair out. Oh, my God, it's going to end up doing nothing. You know, it talks about how those kids are the ones that really change the world. I think that that's that's a book that I recommend.

[01:24:51]

It's a pretty powerful message because in a way, we want our children to conform just until they leave the house and then we want them to, you know, because that makes our life easier as parents and then all of a sudden that we expect them to not conform and make a huge difference in the world or try something new. And it's really hard, I think, to break those.

[01:25:08]

And then in the business world, there's a good book written by a friend of mine, Jonathan Rosenberg, and also Eric Schmidt. And it's called The Trillion Dollar Coach is about Bill Campbell. Bill Campbell was this amazing human being, this coach who coached a lot of Silicon Valley CEOs. And actually his message is the same as my trick method. But it's written from a corporate perspective. It's the same thing trusting your employees, respecting them, giving them independence, promoting collaboration and then treating them with kindness.

[01:25:53]

He even said loving them. So I recommend that book to us.

[01:25:59]

Thank you so much. This is a great conversation.

[01:26:02]

Well, thank you for inviting me. And thank you to all your listeners for listening. And I wish everybody a very happy twenty twenty. You can find show notes on this episode, as well as every other episode at F-stop blog slash podcast, if you find this episode valuable, shared on social media and leave a review to support the podcast, go to F-stop logged membership and join our learning community. You'll get hand edited transcripts of all the podcasts and so much more.

[01:26:37]

Thank you for listening.