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Learning to Dad with Tyler Ross 035 - Ben Maas

Speaker 2: Hello and welcome to learning to dat on Tyler Ross and the guests today is pastor father, the man boss. Thank you very much for being here.

Speaker 3: Well, thanks for having me. This is a treat

Speaker 2: [00:00:30] My pleasure, certainly, as I was telling you, before I hit the record button, uh, everybody that I know that knows you just adores you to death thinks you're wonderful. Uh, so I'm incredibly excited to talk to you and really kind of get to know you better.

Speaker 3: Well, thank you. I know you, you've got some, uh, audience under five and that's generally where I'm most popular, but, uh, I, it's good to hear that some people over five don't think too poorly of me. So,

Speaker 2: Uh, this is very, my daughter just turned five yesterday and my son will be four [00:01:00] in two weeks and a day. And so both of my kids attend the school at the church of which you are the directors. Correct. So like, tell me about what it is you do there now, um, as rector of the church at St. James in Warrington. Okay.

Speaker 3: Well, uh, the rector generally oversees the church and most churches don't have the kind of activity that we have at St. James. So Monday through Friday, most churches is, uh, getting ready for Sunday, [00:01:30] looking over the bulletins, uh, meetings about outreach and all the other different kinds of things. But at St. James, uh, Monday through Friday is probably the most vibrant time in the week, uh, because we have all of our preschool students and our elementary school students. And so, uh, so not only do I, uh, run the affairs of the church, but I also get to, uh, sing songs, which, you know, for a tone deaf guy, who's, um, as a social phobia, seen singing in front of people that those three and four year olds [00:02:00] have helped me overcome it quite a bit. Um, but for age two through five, I, uh, come and I read a story from the Bible and we sing songs and we pray and, um, give birthday blessings and high fives and fist bumps and, uh, just teach them that they're, they're loved and lovable, and that, that God's got big plans for them and that they can do pretty amazing things.

Speaker 3: So, um, and that's about as much as we try to instill in our youngest students. And then we also [00:02:30] have our elementary and I get to come in and, uh, lead more appropriate church services. When I was a child growing up in the church. Uh, it was about the longest hour and a half of my week. And, uh, uh, I think we try everything we could to at least be late so that I could minimize the damage if not get out of it all all together. And so, uh, one of my commitments as a priest is to, uh, make it more relatable and to make children feel like they're at home and, and, um, ideally even [00:03:00] even encouraged their families to, uh, uh, to participate. So, so part of my job at the school is making a, a service where the children realize that they are full participants and, uh, whether they come from different denominations, uh, unchurched or even different religions that they, uh, get that universal value that they are, you know, made, made in the image of God beloved by God and that, um, that they're to take care of one another and, and, and that they have a responsibility assistance of, uh, [00:03:30] of the world, uh, but also, um, that they're welcome and that they have a place and that this is a comfortable place.

Speaker 3: And, um, you know, it's nice to show up someplace every day and know that you belong fully. And so I try to create that, but formally it's leading the worship, leading the chapel and, uh, often poke my head around the lunch room or the playroom. Yeah.

Speaker 2: Yeah. So did, uh, I love that description of the whole thing, because my second year now, [00:04:00] as a parent of kids at St. James, and whenever people ask me, how do you like St. James? The, the canned answer I have is I drop off my kid, Noah. Now my wife's dropping him off for the last year. I drop off my kids every day, knowing that they're going to be loved all day. I can't speak. I mean, I'm, I'm plugging Saint James now, but I can't speak more highly of my experience for my kids with, uh, their teachers. And I'm going to call out Ms. Cot, [00:04:30] Mrs. Anderson, Ms. Courtney, uh, there's some phenomenal, I haven't, I've just only met Ms. D briefly, but, um, you know, my daughter likes her already, so I, I can't go on more about that. Um, so how'd you find yourself in the church you grow up in a religious household, or

Speaker 3: It's somewhat interesting. My, uh, we were in Navy, uh, Navy brat. So we moved everywhere about every year, two years. And, uh, you [00:05:00] don't realize which other people have, and you don't until you're in that kind of situation where you're looking with a different set of eyes. And so, um, you may not have appreciated that, uh, uh, everyone with white hair and the neighborhood knew who you were and knew whose son you were. And, uh, uh, your parents probably probably encouraged you to toe the line because, uh, they knew who you were and whose family you came from. But, uh, I mean, I was always new to a community, and so I never had any kind of re re roots. My [00:05:30] one set of grandparents lived in Atlanta, the other in Vermont, and we were never anywhere close to either of those states. And so, uh, church was kind of the place where, uh, where I could get roots pretty quickly, where people who didn't look like me or weren't, weren't my classmates or my classmates parents, uh, cared about me and invested in me.

Speaker 3: And so, um, so, like I said, the beginning in a church, wasn't one of the most entertaining part of my week, but, uh, but it, eventually I started realize how much it meant to make as it gave me a sense [00:06:00] of belonging and roots and a place that I might only be for 18 months or at most three years. Um, but I wouldn't have said I was particularly religious, that it wasn't necessarily the content as much as the community, but, uh, uh, the older I get, the more I realized they're, they're kind of one in the same. And, and, and in some respect that the, um, the love we talk about from the pulpit is the love experienced as a, as a child, trying to figure out how to belong in a place they're brand new to. And, um, and so when I start to think about what I wanted to do, when I grew up, and I [00:06:30] went to UVA and started off wanting to be a doctor and, uh, a couple of classes and, uh, maybe too much fun.

Speaker 3: I kept that from being a realistic possibility and went through about every major known to man and finished with a psychology degree. And I was thinking I'd like to teach, uh, or maybe I'd like to go back and get a, a master's in social work, or maybe I'd like to get something in counseling. And, uh, started realized that, uh, as a pastor, I do all three [00:07:00] and I started working with the youth group, uh, and was looking forward to the weekends. You know, I had a Monday through Friday job in pharmaceutical sales and, um, and then in legal editing and in both jobs, I was looking forward to the weekend to, uh, work with the youth and, and do things like that and started thinking, you know, maybe that's where I'm being nudged. And so that's sort of how I came into it. So,

Speaker 2: Oh, interesting. So it was after it was really after college, it was where you moving [00:07:30] around every couple of years, all the way up through high school,

Speaker 3: Through high school. I, my parents were kind at, or my dad, I think probably had enough seniority and was, uh, gracious enough not to move my junior year. I think my junior year, we almost got stationed in Guam. So, uh, wasn't quite sure how, uh, what Guam would be like as a junior in high school. So, um, so we stayed five years there, but pretty much all the way up and through there. And I got pretty active in my high school youth group in, um, [00:08:00] in high school. And then when I got to college, um, I don't think I darken the door of a church unless there was a date involved and I was very EPIs Capelli. And when someone, when somebody else expressed it, but, uh, it wasn't till after, even after college that I started to think, you know, what, that, that's when I felt most grounded and most like myself and most like I was doing and being the person I was supposed to be. So

Speaker 2: That's a really cool concept of being grounded and feeling most like yourself. [00:08:30] Uh, I think to some extent that's part of the exercise for me in this podcast is exploring those, finding that security. Uh, do you feel like part of your, your job as father Ben is to kind of help people ground and to, to find themselves be themselves?

Speaker 3: Yeah, absolutely. I think, I mean, especially the work with youth. I mean, I think so much, and I feel like in a lot of ways, it's better than when, uh, when I was growing up. I mean, I would have bought whatever [00:09:00] outfit, the person that I thought was cool had, you know, I'd paid three times as much for the insignia on it, and I'm sure that's still, I mean, I know it's still very much, but, um, but it's been reassuring to see youth a little bit more comfortable in being who they are and, uh, but, uh, but a place where you can step away from whatever high school might be like, whether it's easy or whether it's, um, uh, a shark tank, you can come to a place where you can be a goof ball, you can act like you're six [00:09:30] years old and we do silly games.

Speaker 3: And, um, and we talk about things of substance without worrying about whether, um, whether when you go deep on something that somebody is judging your inner most thoughts, that's it, it is kind of an important thing. And, um, and with the younger children, I think, you know what I mean, the more secure you are and who you are, uh, the more, you know, that you have value, just because you are who you, who God made you to be, uh, the more you can step out [00:10:00] and, uh, and somehow navigate those difficult middle school years. And, uh, and even though you're going, you know, people, parents worry about going from a S you know, small pond to a big pond, but, you know, if you know who you are, that's the most important thing. And whether or not you're going to be able to say, okay, you know what, I'm not swimming that way. Um, and so, yeah, I think that's an important piece of it. Yeah. Do you think that,

Speaker 2: Uh, knowing who you are is like a static thing, or do you think it's kind of ever-changing,

Speaker 3: You know, I can only say for myself [00:10:30] it's, I mean, it's constantly changing. And I said, one of the great gifts that I have is, uh, uh, in the Episcopal church, we have a three-year lectionary it's same as the Catholic church and Lutheran mainline churches. And so, so I spend a good bit of my week thinking about these particular readings and, um, and they're always correcting me, you know what I mean? They're always recalibrating where I am and the church as a whole, as a community reminds me, okay. You know, that, [00:11:00] um, this is what's really important. These are the values that, that really have weighed in your life. This is, this is what makes you comfortable in your own, in your own clothes and your own self. And, um, those things that you're threatened over, and that's the periphery. But somehow we seem to focus a little bit more of our time on the periphery, especially when we don't have anything that pulls us back and, you know, uh, and that's what, that's what I hope the community does for one another. You know, you come on Sunday and [00:11:30] at your touchstone. And so you recalibrate your week, no matter what kind of stresses, no matter how much the political upheaval on television or on your computer is driving you nuts, no matter how much you're grinding your teeth, uh, about a coworker or worried about finances, you get to church and you realize, this is, this is the core of who I am. This is the core of what matters and, and, and it's set your

Speaker 2: Week. So [inaudible], um, I'm getting all over the place in my head, because I'm thinking [00:12:00] about, I thought about bringing

Speaker 3: You,

Speaker 2: I always have like 25 questions just in case, but I've rarely, I only occasionally reference it, but like I kept, I kind of isolated this conversation and thinking that I'd be talking about to talking to you from your perspective about, you've got a 12 year old or almost 12 year old girl and a 14 year old boy, but I failed to really consider that you have this bird's eye view of kids in the form [00:12:30] of a community from two years old to 12, what, 12, 11, something like that.

Speaker 3: Yeah. Depending on when they start school. Yeah. So, so nine, I think we figured it's nine years. Um, it seems like a lot of schooling before you ever actually get into middle school, but from two years old, all the way through fifth grade, I mean, that's nine years of, um, of development say, and I mean, will you see it? I mean, from the two year olds, when they come in to the, to the five-year-olds when they [00:13:00] come out, is it, that may be the biggest leap and development that, uh, that you see in children in just a couple of years, you know?

Speaker 2: And then, um, um, I'm gonna kinda redirect some of the conversation I hope to have with you now that I'm thinking about it in this light. Um, can I have the, considering the development at those age, that age being so important, I just got to figure out how to really kind of dig us into it, because it's such a great perspective you have. [00:13:30] Yeah,

Speaker 3: It is. And, uh, you know, one of the things I was just listening today to a, I actually to a podcast, um, and it was talking about how hard it is, you know, directives don't work all that well with kids in our foundation at the school is around virtues. And, uh, um, and it really is about it being lived out like me coming in and saying, you know, uh, God wants you to be compassionate [00:14:00] and when you're not compassionate, you're not listening. Um, and it has limited effect, but, um, uh, an act of compassion, you know, uh, when, uh, an example on this podcast was, you know, that the priest was talking about a son breaking his arm. And, um, third grade boy, all interested in being on the playground and playing with his friends, and he's got to sit it out cause he can't sweat in the Texas seat and it's got the cast.

Speaker 3: And so this buddy is his voice says, you know, I'll, I'll sit out [00:14:30] with you. And so, uh, I guess they were in the library sitting out, but they were way too rambunctious for the library. So, uh, so they sit in the infirmary every day for an hour a day. Um, and she was saying, that's, what's going to teach my son about compassion, not necessarily the priest coming in, but if you, if you model it in a lot of ways, so probably high five to the kid, that's looking a little bit discouraged that day probably has a lot more to do with the lesson than [00:15:00] the Bible story, or, you know, me telling them this, this is how you're supposed to live your life. Um, and I think there's a culture created there. That's, that's really neat to see. I mean, I watch, uh, uh, and it's been interesting over the years, your, your son always looking for, uh, for your daughter when she, when he gets into chapel and, uh, you know, and, and the way that she goes and make sure to sit next to him and those little acts, you know, um, those are gonna teach a lot more about how we take care of one another then, um, then the lessons from on top.

Speaker 3: But I [00:15:30] do feel like you can create a culture, uh, but the coolest thing is to watch it lived out and, um, and really gel in inside these young people's. Yeah.

Speaker 2: And then the income to be another commercial for St. James, the, the societal pressure, the cultural pressure on the kids all seemed so incredibly positive, you know? Uh, I think it's incredible. All the kids I know at St. James, uh, are great. So I'm going to preemptively [00:16:00] ask you a question that I usually wait for later, I'll rephrase it later, but, uh, of the, of the kids, let's say the kids at St. James, particularly that you see develop from like two years old, to 11 years old, what are three or four adjectives or characteristics that you like to see them kind of come out as,

Speaker 3: You know, there's a piece when you, uh, when you're comfortable in your own skin. And, um, [00:16:30] um, and I don't always see it early on, and, and there's a place where you get to it at fifth grade. And we always sort of, um, find ourselves in, in my weekly meeting with the, with the head of school, talking about, um, where those fifth graders are and getting that sense of it. But there's a piece in one another. And in each other, that, that invariably comes. Sometimes it comes halfway through the fifth grade year. Sometimes it comes as they're turning [00:17:00] the corner into fifth grade. Uh, you see it emerge between the, uh, early grades where they, they, um, they look a little shell shocked sometimes at, at, at life in general to, uh, um, you know, or when I first try to get them out of the car and kindergarten and, you know, um, you know, they're, they're holding on for dear life to fifth grade when they hop out and, you know, uh, give you a high five and say hello, as they smile and hop up the stairs and you think, man, they, they know where they're going, then [00:17:30] they have that peace and that I'm okay.

Speaker 3: I know who I am. Um, so I mean, I look for that in the, in the development. And then, um, you know, my son, I don't know if I would have innately said, um, that kid thinks outside of himself. Um, you know, I mean, I think a lot of us are pretty hardwired to, uh, we're hungry. We grab it, whether it's the last one or not, you know, we, um, w we're kind cause we're pretty well conditioned to be [00:18:00] kind, but, uh, um, but it's sort of a me first kindness and then to, uh, see him develop a sense of empathy and, uh, and a lens for looking at how other people are, uh, relating to any given situation and to see that develop over the years. And, um, I wish there was a magic formula. Uh, again, I think you create an incubator and then you, uh, you model it, um, more model than tell.

Speaker 3: I mean, we do a little bit of both, [00:18:30] but it's the modeling that I think really it's the, um, the teachers you describe, it's the way they show compassion. It's not that they tell you, you need to be compassionate, um, you know, and give them language to, uh, to express when they don't feel it when, uh, when somebody is, instead of that, person's, uh, mean, and that person did this, you know what I mean? That, um, that person didn't treat me with respect that person. Uh, um, didn't think about my feelings when they did that, or just giving them a vocabulary to talk [00:19:00] about what they expect of others and how they want to treat other people. And so, so those are a few of the things that I think, you know, over the course. Yeah,

Speaker 2: Of course I've done. Have I love that empathy was one of them. I posited to one of my friends recently. I said, you know, Bernie Sanders inspired this idea of paying for college, you know, instead of paying for college, have if we pay kids to go to inner city schools or hospitals or broken families and volunteer six months, build a generation of empathetic [00:19:30] people. I think our world would be firing on all sails.

Speaker 3: Absolutely. And I, uh, tell you a little, little bit more about the Episcopal church, you know, it's, uh, compared to the national average is usually above the fray, socioeconomically and, and Episcopal schools usually, uh, St. James is committed to affordable, uh, to be as affordable, but that's a relative term. And a lot of people, any, um, anything about free is, is a, is a stretch for, for family incomes. [00:20:00] But, uh, um, but a lot of Episcopal schools are considerably expensive. And, uh, and I think if it's an Episcopal school, it should focus a decent amount of its, uh, emphasis, not just on getting them into the colleges their parents want them to get into, or, um, they're already somewhat separated and socioeconomically because of the, the cost of the school that, uh, a primary focus of that school has to be, to create people who have a lens [00:20:30] for, uh, the needs of the world who have an awareness of, um, the fact that they may study in a Camelot like environment, but that's not what the world looks like at large and, uh, and an empathy and a sense of mission for, uh, uh, for the world at large.

Speaker 3: And so, yeah, I think it's our responsibility, especially when we're, um, when we're charging tuition and, and possibly taking people out of a environment. Um, yeah,

Speaker 2: I want to, yeah, I want it, I want [00:21:00] it, that's a good opportunity for me to talk about resilience because it's one of my favorite topics for kids because, um, I I'm, I'm, I grew up in a very protective atmosphere in the sense that I went to private school and I live in, uh, you know, uh, Warrenton, you know, and, um, my kids are doing the same and like, I want them to fall down, you know, and I, and I want them to get up themselves. Um, but I feel like to some extent, you know, there are a lot of helicopter parents out [00:21:30] there that don't let their kids get into any trouble. Um, do you have, do you have experience on, on maybe both ends of that spectrum?

Speaker 3: Yeah. I mean, it's been an interesting evolution in our, uh, in our fem. So, you know, we, uh, when Elliot was born, we lived in, uh, downtown old town Louisville. Uh, there was gunshots down the street and, uh, um, you know, it, it was, uh, it was considered by many, a pretty rough neighborhood. And, um, and we felt a, [00:22:00] uh, a real sense of pride in, in, in, in helping our children to see, you know, the, uh, but as I took a call at a church that was in a, in, um, that was in a neighborhood that was a little bit farther down the street, it's still a pretty, uh, um, a pretty diverse neighborhood. And we moved there and it was, um, you know, a place where they had a pretty full exposure, but, uh, but less than less, or at least different than they had downtown.

Speaker 3: And then, [00:22:30] um, and then we move here. And that certainly one of the, uh, things that I do think is a growing edge for this, this community is that, um, it's a peripheral issue, but I think there's a, there's a reason there's not a lot of affordable housing in this area. And, uh, um, and it's one of, I don't think we really want to admit. Um, but I think our children miss a piece of, uh, of what our responsibility is as parents and as community leaders to, um, to give to our children. [00:23:00] And how do we cultivate that? Um, you know, it starts with parents, I think parents really, and that's one of the things that, that we've sort of committed to is, um, talking to our children about, um, the world outside of, outside of Fauquier county. And, uh, uh, when we travel, we, you know, uh, going to cities and, and having conversations about, um, you know, the, the people sleeping, sleeping on the side [00:23:30] of the side of the buildings and, um, what they're protesting at another street corner, or just, you know, what life looks like in an urban center versus here in Warrenton and, and the fact that their social needs in that we live in a more diverse town than we necessarily always experience.

Speaker 3: Um, but, but it's not easy. That is a growing edge. And as a parent here, um, there, there's a comfort and security of your kid can hop on a bike and go to their friend's house on the other side of [00:24:00] town. And, um, and you feel okay with it. And you're pretty sure they're going to come home at the end of the night. And, um, but there's a piece that I wish it was also there too.

Speaker 2: Yeah. I've talked to a couple, I mean, just to drive it directly to money, I've talked to one, one billionaire and a couple of millionaires multimillionaires on the show. And sometimes, you know, it's like one of the greatest advantages I had was that I didn't have a whole lot. And [00:24:30] now one of the biggest disadvantages my kids have is they have a whole lot. Yeah. And it's a funny thing to think. You strive for these things to protect your kids. And then that's what keeps them from becoming tougher, resilient or anything. You're sorry. That's my fault. I got a little, uh, we're recording again now, but excuse me, I want to jump back into Louisville. So were you in Louisville when you had your [00:25:00] first child

Speaker 3: With my children were born in Lowville Wieden, uh, Bishop Goolik, who actually is from your county, and now has retired here to your county. Uh, he was a Newport news and his son and I are best friends. And so when I was thinking about going to seminary, I've visited him on my way to my buddy's college graduation. And he's always asking, what are you going to do with your life? I said, well, I was thinking about this. And they said, well, you can come through my diocese and live in Kentucky. And I said, well, [00:25:30] that's a deal breaker, but we'd love low fall. And we were there. He said, we might like it. And I was sort of skeptical. I thought I'd stay my two years and then moved back east and we stayed almost a decade, so,

Speaker 2: Oh, okay. So how long were you there? Like at what point in your professional life were your kids born?

Speaker 3: So, um, I was ordained in 2003 and, um, Ellie was born in 2005. So about two years in, uh, Lee came a [00:26:00] little after two and a half years later in 2007, and then we moved back here in 13. So, um, and I started one year, uh, helping out at a church as the assistant. And then the, from that point on, uh, had had a church kind of in a pretty neat neighborhood in Louisville. Um, that just loved, but we always knew we'd eventually get back east because that's where, uh, where I'm from, where Ana, uh, my wife's from and my parents go up and down the east coast. So at least, uh, [00:26:30] at least we were aware they had hit us on the way up or down. So.

Speaker 2: Hmm. So what, uh, how did having a kid impact the types of messages that you were delivering?

Speaker 3: You know, uh, they probably are the subject of a lot more than they'd like, and my strangely, um, not at all, why Anna and I are together, but, uh, she's the daughter of an Episcopal priest. And, um, in fact, you know, her, her [00:27:00] dad, when I said I was going to go to seminary, he suggested that she might want to look elsewhere. Uh, but, uh, uh, so she was the subject of sermons for her first 20 years. And then, uh, now it's been recycled for another 20, but, uh, they definitely, they definitely inform it. And, uh, some of the comments they make, you know, uh, one, cause they, like you said, they cut right through it. And so sometimes it's, uh, it may not be the profundity as much as it is the, uh, uh, the fact that they just cut [00:27:30] rice straight to the core of it and made you think, yeah, that's kinda what it's all about, you know, and everybody loves a good story, you know, and they S they generate a lot of them.

Speaker 3: Um, but I, I do think it's, it changes, uh, the lens and I've, I've only been a priest in a church where I could be married and have kids, but it definitely informs a good bit of my ministry. Certainly understanding what it's like, uh, carding kids from a to B and how difficult it [00:28:00] is to get church on Sunday when you've got all the other things pulling at you and, uh, the anxieties you have as a parent. And, uh, certainly, you know, it's a dangerous one because I mean, family, parents, they're all loaded words, so not everybody's experiences the same. And sometimes the idea of God as a parent is a, is a, is a pretty damaging one when you need something that heals, uh, uh, the abuse or whatever the toxicity is within [00:28:30] that, uh, that family system. Um, but for me, uh, being a parent, I understand what must be the, the yearning of God for, uh, um, for any of God's children in grief or struggling with anything or to, uh, or hurting or not, uh, not assuming best in, you know, that, that God has the best interest.

Speaker 3: I mean, my anxiety is around, you know, everything I do is, uh, [00:29:00] to try to help my children and because I love my children, but, you know, I'm sure it doesn't feel that way when, uh, uh, when they've lost video games for two weeks or, uh, um, or when it's more on the constructive side than the, uh, uh, just holding them tight and, you know, let them know everything's going to be okay, but it's funny that discipline can immediately proceed. The letting them know everything is okay. Absolutely. [00:29:30] And yeah, and it's hard. I mean, it is, it's hard to discipline your child and you look in their eyes and every instinct just wants to say, you know what, I have to do this because I want you to be better. And I want you to, uh, to continue to grow. And that's primary responsibility I have, but everything around me wants to give you a hug and just say, you know what? Yeah, never forget that. I love you. You're lovable, you're phenomenal, but I'm not going to stop trying to help you grow.

Speaker 2: Um, I'm reading, [00:30:00] uh, what I perceived to be a really great book right now. And it talks about, and Ray has a chapter where it talks specifically about raising kids and, uh, I'm reminded of it because he talks about discipline and my son was hitting me and progressively harder. And like, um, I'm going to say, I hit my son, but I like, he's three years old. I didn't hit my son. I just, I just gave him what he gave me, [00:30:30] just showing him. He was immediately upset in the person that he came to to for, uh, comfort was me. And, uh, the, the part of the book that was so fascinating was it, parents hold grudges against their kids. Like if, uh, if we hadn't immediately worked that out the next time that he misbehaved and I held that grudge against him, he wouldn't understand where that came from. And so the idea that your kid can immediately forgive you [00:31:00] and that now that the discipline part is over, we're back to normal. We're not carrying it over and it's done now. It was just a fascinating concept to me.

Speaker 3: Yeah. I like it. I mean, I liked that, that it makes sense though, the way that, well, one night, I mean, we are wired largely for self-defense. I mean, he needs you a lot more than a, than he needs to carry that grudge, you know, um, you don't quite have that same dependence. And so, so he's hard wired to [00:31:30] go to what he needs.

Speaker 2: Yeah. And, and I gave him exactly what he needs and I think it was love and a heart. And I, it feels weird to say that I hit my kid and I didn't strike my child. I had somebody on that spanks their kids. And the more I read in the right context, it seems to make sense to me. Um, I don't know if you have any immediate reaction to that

Speaker 3: We didn't, but, uh, [00:32:00] but I know great parents that have, you know, and I, I, I do think it in the right context, if, if they never ever doubt that they can turn that switch and do exactly as your son did, you know, know that, uh, that the hug is right there when he needs it. And, um, um, and it's done, uh, I mean, I think the most dangerous thing we do is we act out of our raw emotion. Um, you know, and you know, my dad, it was just strict [00:32:30] Admiral in the Navy, you know, but, uh, and he, and he spanked, but I mean, it, he was as calm you, he might've been, I raid earlier, but by the time that came, he was as calm as could be. And I always knew that I was new. There was no, I need to get my rage out. And, you know, you're the object of it. That was never, ever,

Speaker 2: It's incredibly important for parents to understand that. And then the book is a 12 rules for life. The antidote to chaos, the chapter is never let your children do [00:33:00] anything that makes you dislike them. I would encourage every parent to read that chapter because it is, uh, it provokes thought and ideas. I don't know if you've ever read that. It's a fascinating chapter that I'm probably going to reread it half a dozen times. But, uh, anyway, I've never spanked my, it was just that one experience. Or if you think your kid pinches you and you pinch a little harder, they pay

Speaker 3: Exactly. You want to show him, you want to show him okay. And you're teaching them. I mean, that's the whole purpose is that [00:33:30] this is what, this is what that feels like. And do you want it done to you?

Speaker 2: Punishment? So it's teaching.

Speaker 3: Absolutely.

Speaker 2: You talked about kids like cutting to the chase. You know, it's not the profundity of it, you said, but the them they're cutting to the chase. What do you think it is that lets them do that?

Speaker 3: Well, I mean, I mean, I think it's somewhat, the they're more impulsive in their, you know, the, uh, all right. I need to be loved right now. So I, you know, this [00:34:00] is what I see, you know, we have so many filters on and, you know, um, and sometimes we can Intuit and see things that they can't because of all those filters that we've put on over the years. But I think their response is kind of unadulterated and sometimes, uh, all those things that we need to deal with the complexity of the world. Um, we can't just take them off just because we want to see something differently. And so, so, I mean, I do think there's a purity there. I mean, you watch children come to the communion [00:34:30] rail and a lot of the adults, um, they want it to mean something, you know, transformative and you know, that, um, you know, or they're still thinking of the grocery list that they're going to go and pick up on the way there. Whereas, you know, a child just comes in and, you know, something, somebody is going to give them something, um, that they did nothing to, to, to earn. And then you see just in their eyes gratitude for a gift that's going to be given to them and putting their hands. And you know, that it's [00:35:00] tough for us to get that on adulterated. Uh, that's stripped down. So, um,

Speaker 2: It's, it's funny how smart they are.

Speaker 3: They are absolutely.

Speaker 2: Yeah. Really young ones. What was, what was raising, uh, um, you know, boy or girl, you know, uh, as a, as a member of, uh, as a director of a church. Yeah.

Speaker 3: There's a reputation that there's probably in reputation to have a reason for developing over time, but I can call it a PK or a preacher's [00:35:30] kid. And, uh, usually it comes with eventual rap sheet and, uh, and, uh, my wife, uh, won't hide from the fact that the, you know, the congregation used to call her Anna rotten and she had five older brothers that were in trouble. One even, it may have burned down part of the church on accident, uh, um, trying to, uh, like the advent rate to make Christmas come a little more quickly, but, you know, um, but there is that, and I think sometimes [00:36:00] it's a reaction against, you know, the, um, the church in the way that everything is black and white. So, I mean, I think hopefully one of the graces of being in the Episcopal church, which is, um, in the whole scheme of things are pretty progressive.

Speaker 3: And, um, church that, that understands the life's got a whole lot of gray and that it's a little bit harder to, uh, uh, rebel against the necessarily the, uh, very black and white. And you're on, you're either on [00:36:30] the right side or the wrong side of every issue. Um, but there is there's that reputation. And so I am always attuned to, uh, to what it's like, but I've only seen the other side. I mean, um, you know, my daughter went to church today and I mean, uh, hadn't been in a, in a while because we've been on sabbatical, which has been a pretty awesome experience with my kids. I have been with them more in the last two months than ever before and in their lives. Um, but [00:37:00] you know, they've all watched her grow up and they were commenting on how she's really come into this middle school self and, and the way that she carries it.

Speaker 3: And she has the thing that I talked about early on about, uh, uh, being in a community where people have invested in me. Um, and so she's had, uh, I think a lot more people concerned about her wanting to see her thrive, wanting to watch her grow, wanting to know more about her than people, um, [00:37:30] you know, shaming her for her mistakes or encouraging her strongly to toe the line or you, uh, I don't think she's felt judgment. I think she's just felt affirmation and belonging and, and, uh, and I say absolutely same for my son. Um, you know, that it's definitely not a natural thing for my son to talk to adults, but he's, you know, and whenever he's there, they ask him, you know, how baseball is going, how's school going, are you [00:38:00] still doing this? Are you still interested in that? And, um, and again, it kind of forces him to come out of himself a little bit. Talk to me about the

Speaker 2: Role of sports in your kid's life. They do both your kids play sports, or

Speaker 3: They do, they do it. You know, I, I will say one of the things that, um, I learned on my sabbatical is that, um, I'm, I'm the, we're both, full-time working parents. I'm the one who lives in town and I see them more. Um, but [00:38:30] we are almost always moving, you know, uh, either, uh, uh, from school quickly to the dinner table, quickly out the door to a travel soccer or a travel, uh, um, baseball or basketball in the winter, or, um, maybe golf or swimming in the summer. You name it. But, uh, um, you know, we don't do the sport together, all that often. You know, my son I'll go play catch every now and then, or I'll throw balls for [00:39:00] him to hit, you know, um, my daughter and I'll kick the ball around, but, um, you know, I love sports. I love what it's done for them as people.

Speaker 3: Um, but I probably be diluting myself a little bit if I said that, um, it's a lot of participatory parenting. Um, usually I'm on the sidelines watching them or dropping them off at practice, you know, it gets them, um, it's one of the great things that we've not had to worry too much about video games because they don't have enough time to [00:39:30] play a whole lot of it. Um, and they're probably busier than, than ideally they should be. But, um, but it's given them a lot of positive things, but I realized as we're camping together, and this summer was the, you know, for 30 something days, we went cross country coast to coast, they got to pick things they wanted to do, you know, on a baseball player, got to go to a Cubs game at Wrigley stadium, a Dodgers game at Dodger stadium. Uh, we went hiking, camping, largely got to see Hollywood and the tour of the stars, houses and all that jazz. So, [00:40:00] um, but you know, listening to him being right next to him, hiking with them, um, spending that much time, not on the run, not trying to do my day job while I'm carting them to practice. You know, I realized still time, totally present time with them, uh, is, is, is more rare than it should be

Speaker 2: Playing on. Or do you have a plan or ideas or practices that you intend to put [00:40:30] into play now that you've had that kind of contrasting experience?

Speaker 3: Perfect question. I mean, I certainly have probably prioritized it now solving it all in, in, in, in, uh, taking an honest look. All right. We're about a month back into the regular fold in it. Am I more present? Uh, am I back to being pretty distracted? Uh they're with them all the time or not all the time, but a good bit of the time, but, but [00:41:00] often wondering where I'm going and what's going next. Um, I'm realizing that if it isn't something deliberate it's going to fall by the wayside, you know, that instincts are, we go back to the same homeostasis we knew before which, and I mean, I don't think I was critical of myself as a parent sometimes. I mean, I, but I think I, um, I think I'm talking to exactly. Yeah. I mean, I think I, I, I noticed some things, I get some things, right.

Speaker 3: I [00:41:30] get some things wrong, uh, but I really felt like I was where I was supposed to be the summer. And, um, and it felt great. I mean, it really felt great to, uh, you know, I ask a thousand questions and it drives my kids nuts and my wife's, you're never, ever going to get all the answers you want in a, um, but when you're with them for, for 10 hours, when you're on the road, you know, uh, you don't have to ask it just sort of, you know, comes out in the conversation. What do you want out of life? What do you need? [00:42:00] And not necessarily those huge questions, but, you know, you start to get little glimpses.

Speaker 2: We're about what presence with your kids means to you. Like, what's that practically look like? Like what if I'm present with my kids? What's that picture look like

Speaker 3: This? One of the things that I said to summer that was a shocking, my kids would ask me for something that I'd have to go get out of check my cell phone to. And I was like, I don't have my cell phone. They looked at their jaw, hit the ground. What do you mean I have your cell phone? You know, [00:42:30] well, that's, if there's an emergency at the church, I'm not the one that call cause I'm, you know, on sabbatical. So, um, you know, so having my phone, if it's on my body, it it's immaterial, you know, that, uh, that it, it isn't in my conscience. I'm not wondering if, if a message is coming in and, uh, you know, uh, still enough that I'm not, you know, uh, one of the things our weekends, you know, because I work Sundays [00:43:00] and often there's a wedding or there's some other thing going on and I've got to get my sermon.

Speaker 3: The biggest piece is, is looming over all weekend. So, uh, generally most of the time that we have together, um, is spent with me thinking about what's next or thinking about what else is on. Um, and that was such a great thing to just, this is all I'm thinking about is this hike or, uh, being at the ball game with you guys and, [00:43:30] you know, um, I mean the phone pulls you to where, I mean, it can pull you halfway across the country. It can pull you out of the dining room table and, you know, and we're trying to be intentional about dining room table, but, you know, but it pulls you out of the living room when you're watching something with the kids or playing a game with the kids. And, um, and I felt like nothing pulled me out of the room. Um, I wasn't thinking about what's next. And so that's kinda what presence, you know. Yeah.

Speaker 2: It's, it's funny how just being there doesn't mean you're

Speaker 3: President. Yeah. Yeah. And, and [00:44:00] the great thing, and your job is probably very similar in that, uh, you're in town, you know, you can create your own schedule up to a certain degree and so that you, you can be physically present a lot, but you're, you know, um, you know, what paperwork has to be done to, to fill out all the things that you did during the day and, you know, um, you know, when contracts are due and, you know, all those kinds of things. And so how do you take that gift, which is the physical presence of being able to be there for [00:44:30] things that other people would go into Northern Virginia and come back, you know, gone for 11, 12 hours at a time don't have, but how do you do it with real presence? So,

Speaker 2: Yeah. Yeah. Um, I'm going to ask you about, um, your role as a, as a leader, as a mentor, as a guide, uh, what is one of the common, uh, familial problems or, or, uh, children, developmental obstacles that you see most [00:45:00] frequently Without calling out?

Speaker 3: That is a tough question. You know, I mean, I, you talked about helicopter parents and I do think, I do think, and I, and I think this place cultivates this in, in, in, in some ways in that it's a wonderful blue colic, um, safe place to raise children. Um, but it does sometimes create a, uh, everything [00:45:30] is about my child's experience. And, uh, and I do think that a child needs to develop resiliency. I do think a child needs to fall a few times and, um, and struggle with school and, and, and, and figure out all right, if I keep doing this, uh, and expect it to be okay, and the teacher keeps saying, it's not okay, then maybe I need to learn that important lesson. And I think, um, I do think families are too concerned about [00:46:00] that moment instead of the long arc of, of, of that child's development.

Speaker 2: You brought that beautifully.

Speaker 3: Well, thank you. And I mean, as a parent, you know, I'm impressed with my parents. Who's first instinct was always, you know, the teacher who, um, is empowered and equipped, uh, might not be the favorite teacher, might not be the best teacher the school has to offer, but, you know, the teacher is [00:46:30] prepared and equipped to help my child grow. And as part of the team that I'm on of helping my child grow and, um, um, you know, and, and I'm thinking now, we generally assume that we're the only ones that, uh, um, that are equipped as parents, you know, that it's us in our child and, you know, everyone else's, um, um, there's at times working for us, but it, you know, it's, uh, I think the teams, uh, concept of how [00:47:00] we all work together to raise, raise children is, is, is getting lost a little bit. It takes a

Speaker 2: Village.

Speaker 3: Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. And I mean, and we have wonderful, wonderful teachers, wonderful parents, uh, but just as a culture, one of the things I've realized over the time I've been a parent at the time I've been a priest, is that, um, is that there is a little bit less of that sense of we're all doing this together. We trust each other and, um, [00:47:30] you know, we're going to let her child fall. We're gonna let her child be disappointed. We're going to let her child, you know, think that they, um, uh, know better than us, but, uh, we're going to try to make sure that, that we work together to help that child grow. And, uh,

Speaker 2: Yeah, the, the eye, of course, the parents, I think natural intuition, as soon as the kid falls as to run over and help him up, as soon as they get a bad grade to blame the teacher, it's their fault. But I think, like you said, the O the, the long term, that's [00:48:00] not the solution it's immediate fix, but it's not what makes your kid the resilient, stronger contributor. It's the opposite of that, I guess.

Speaker 3: Yeah. And you can, you can see the, you can see the deeper you get into parenting, how strong that instinct to, um, to fix everything is, um, um, or to want your child not to be in the wrong, in a particular situation, even if he is, or she is, you know, I mean, uh, um, and to take, [00:48:30] take that child side. And, um, I mean, I think we're called to advocate for our children, but with enough judgment to say, you know, I'm going to trust the situation as a whole. I'm gonna trust the people I equipped with for that.

Speaker 2: So I saw a comic, uh, it was like a, a juxtaposition of the fifties and the two thousands, and it was a teacher and a parent on one side of a desk pointing their fingers at the kid, you know, chastising them together. And then in the, the modern [00:49:00] picture was the kid and the parent chastising the teacher together. Have you seen that?

Speaker 3: I haven't, but it's, I mean, it, it is apropos in it. Um, and I, I really, there are times where I have to step back as a parent and just think, man, uh, this C won't be the end of his, you know, um, and you know, and maybe he's even right about whether or not he deserves that C or not, but, uh, uh, but he'll [00:49:30] learn from it. Um, you know, if, if, if, if, if I use all the persuasion, I have to make it disappear, he won't learn the same lesson.

Speaker 2: Let me get into some kind of short answer type questions. It doesn't have to be short, but like at their canned questions, um, how is the world that you grew up in, uh, that was an advantage you had growing up that your kids now do not have?

Speaker 3: [00:50:00] I think, I think I assumed everything was going to work out. I mean, all the way around I'm in the

Speaker 2: Faith or confidence or

Speaker 3: Not. I mean, not even in that sense of just the cold war was winding down. I mean, we, weren't living in a, uh, getting under our desks for fallout drills, the same way my parents might've been. Um, um, there was, uh, a real optimism in a yeah. And, um, I assumed if I kept my nose [00:50:30] clean and I studied hard, I'd be able to pick my college. There wasn't a sense that competition was so great that I knew. Um, and then if it just, wasn't a worry that there wouldn't be a job for me. And, uh, and I think, you know, the generation that's grown up post school shootings, uh, scarcity of, of, of job fears, the fears around the scarcity of jobs, um, the heightened competition for college spaces. And, uh, [00:51:00] uh, you know, I mean, Elliott, I was, I was very good in math as it led to a year, uh, on track a year ahead of where I was just because, you know, we've been escalating, you know, we've been in, um, and as a parent, this sort of, one of those things that I struggle with, you know, well, if everyone else is doing that, you know, putting them in this, uh, is that for, for his benefit?

Speaker 3: I, I don't know. Um, you know, and, and then I do think we start to create [00:51:30] an environment where I net I don't think I spent a lot of time thinking about the person next to me is someone I might be competing with for a spot in college or a spot on a ball team, or, I mean, I just think we played sports because maybe I'm remembering it differently, but I feel like we played sports because it passed the time and it was fun. We, uh, we studied hard cause, you know, we wanted to do well, but I don't remember the anxiety or the stress around any of these things.

Speaker 2: You know, I was, it's been 15 years [00:52:00] has been asked, been 12, 13 years since I was in college. And I went to no middle of the road college relative to like these Ivy league schools where people are like just brutal competition. So that's an interesting observation. I hadn't thought about that. How about the flip side of that question? What's, what's an advantage your kids have that, that you did not have.

Speaker 3: Yeah. Minutes. I probably could add this to the, uh, to both lists, but, uh, you'd have my [00:52:30] daughter, uh, hadn't seen a friend for a long time and you know, my wife says, oh, your friend was at the baseball Elliot's baseball game and his sibling of, you know, uh, and she knew exactly what was going on and in that child's life, you know? Oh yeah. I saw pictures of her. And, uh, you know, whether you go to Warrenton or Taylor, you stay connected. And I mean, when things go south with social media, that can really go south, but, but they also, they've [00:53:00] got, you know, with texting for, you know, that they've got seven or eight groups of friends that are all communicating with each other and they go to a high school football game and they see folks they've played several sports with and they've kept in contact with, because of social media. And I think it makes the community, um, you know, a little bigger. Yeah.

Speaker 2: Yeah. Interesting. Yeah. That does have both sides of that. I was listening to a YouTube video talking about bullying and how, when I grew [00:53:30] up, when you grew up, probably bullying was manifested in a form of, you know, prolonged agitation or irritation by one or a group of people over days or weeks or months. And now like a microaggression is a, is a form of bullying. But when we went home, it was done, it was done. It was over in the new normal. Now you can't shut it off and it's there all the time. Are you, uh, I mean, even in fifth grade, why, or, or maybe even your kids at 12 and 14, did you [00:54:00] have, uh, observation and that kind of stuff?

Speaker 3: I didn't, but I mean, I, I acutely aware of how quickly it can, you know, and, uh, and, um, I think probably I don't mean to generalize too much, but, uh, I feel like my son is just sort of, you know, it's, it's all just, you know, touching base and, you know, and for folks that don't communicate all that effectively in general, they can sort of in one line, you know, keep connected. And I feel like [00:54:30] he's got probably deeper friendships because of social media, um, just cause it keeps him locked in. And, um, whereas my daughter, I think, you know, that I can see if any friend is on the outs that, uh, that you can feel more isolated, more picked on. Uh, it can get deeper quicker. Um, yeah, overall I think it's, it's, it's potential. Pitfalls are pretty significant, but I have seen it create [00:55:00] a sense of community or like the, my kids go to camp.

Speaker 3: And, you know, when I, uh, would leave, uh, I told you I moved all the time and that was it. That was, uh, but you know, they still have some friends that they haven't seen in person until this summer, uh, in seven, eight years that they're friends with on social media, which they didn't even have back then when they moved. Um, you know, but, or, um, you know, that, um, they can go to summer camp and, and still keep up with his friends all year round. And, you know, when they see them next year, [00:55:30] they know where they are in their lives. And so it works both ways. It definitely

Speaker 2: Sure does. And of course the, the, the good way we don't have to do anything about, we were cultivating that fertilize, it throw all the chicken stuff on it and make it awesome. And, uh, it'll be interesting to see how, because there's no hiding from it. There's no turning it off the bad side. So I guess we're just going to have to figure out how to learn and how to teach people to manage it. Um, and that's weird. Uh, I think about [00:56:00] like K caveman, 12 year old kid, or girl did a lot more than 12 year old now, so maybe they just have to be resilient and tougher sooner or something. Yeah.

Speaker 3: Uh, it's good. And it's, it's not mean it's fascinating when you think of, um, almost all the information that we absorbed came from some adult or another and was filtered through what adults, you know, monitored and let us watch and see, I mean, the TV, when there was one or two TVs in the house, you know, um, it was fairly [00:56:30] and they could turn Turman what cable channels we could have and not have, you know, the internet was just coming into its own when I was leaving school, you know? And, um, but most of the content that I think my kids or my daughter, I should say, pays any attention to our kid generated their YouTube channels and, you know, um, and, and folks like this that, you know, they create their own. Um, and so we didn't have much that was child produced for children, [00:57:00] which is kind of an interesting difference.

Speaker 2: You had appointment television Saturday morning and

Speaker 3: Yeah, some adult thought we'd either be, we'd either be interested in, and then they could mark it well, too know

Speaker 2: That was, yeah. That was adult create a kids are now creating content. That's totally interesting. Um, let me see, uh, is there's just a billion different directions I could go, but, um, I'll stay in the, yeah,

Speaker 3: No,

Speaker 2: [00:57:30] That's part of the fun of this, but, uh, you know, can we talk about discipline a little bit? Like we talked about, you know, spankings and stuff a little bit, but, uh, the goal, I guess, as a parent is to kind of steer your kid in a direction sometimes, or keep them away from stuff. Like, do you have an opinion or recommendations?

Speaker 3: I strobe because my kids' lives are, are overly programmed as it is, you know? And I don't want to cause [00:58:00] them additional stress or take away additional things that are carefree, you know? Um, so, but I also want them to grow and know there's accountability. And, um, you know, my daughter doesn't have a cell phone. My son does, we, if you'd asked us five years ago, how long we wait until they had cell phones, we would've said several more years, you know? And, uh, like I said, we didn't, uh, we didn't didn't haven't spanked or things like that. So, uh, and my kids, they really don't have time [00:58:30] to play many video games anyway. And so sometimes we'll take away video games and, uh, um, that works. But the cell phones we realized about after a week, I was like, this is just a pain trying to get in touch with them, or, you know, um, but those generally are, are it?

Speaker 3: Cause I, you know, I don't want to take away sports. I don't want to take away time with friends cause I don't feel like they have as much. And I feel like we spent a lot of time just hanging out with our friends, you know, that they're running and if they're not running in particular [00:59:00] directions, their friends are running in particular direction. So there's not many days where everybody gets off the bus, uh, goes, grabs a snack and uh, and just spends the next four or five hours playing football in somebody's backyard or something like that. It's uh, it's just a little different than it was

Speaker 2: So grateful to grow up, playing a little football in the backyard.

Speaker 3: I don't to ground in the sense of, okay, you can't leave the, you know, you can't go play for a couple of weeks. So, um, I take away things that I'm not all [00:59:30] that happy with in the first place, like the video games and whatnot. But yeah,

Speaker 2: It's funny that the world we live in is so different than the world. Our kids are growing up in, um, like video games, you know, when we were growing up there wasn't anyone making millions of dollars as a professional gamer in that crazy.

Speaker 3: I mean that's yeah. And they're teaching their classes and uh, and uh, competitions for it all and it's, it is pretty amazing.

Speaker 2: Most attended the live events, [01:00:00] uh, I think was a professional like Fortnite competition or something somewhere. Uh, I don't know which Asian country it was, but it was somewhere I had like 70,000 people or something I made that up. But yeah,

Speaker 3: But that is another thing that, um, you know, that, again, it's a mixed bag it's uh, but you know, uh, Elliot for the short time that he got into Fortnite, I mean, he had some buddies that, you know, a buddy from his baseball team, uh, a buddy from St. James have a buddy from Taylor and they're all, you know, community that [01:00:30] would never, ever probably run into each other in person are all in. And I hear their voices coming through the video system and, uh, um, think, Hey man, wouldn't, wouldn't have put those five people together in any other contexts.

Speaker 2: No, they are working together towards a common goal or killing each other.

Speaker 3: Yeah. Howard whichever team they're on and whether they're on the same team or not. So, but it is interesting. I mean, it's just a D it is a different world. And I do think Warrington, I will say [01:01:00] it does provide a little bit more of, uh, of what we had, you know, literally what you had since you grew up in here. But, uh, you know, I watch, uh, folks at the Christmas parade and a minute, and you could probably put it on top of the Christmas parade 30 years ago, and you probably have the exact same thing, middle, middle school, boys and girls walk in the, uh, uh, sidewalks, looking for each other and, you know, and just, you know, enjoying being able to be free of [01:01:30] adults, you know, while the adults are at least in a year, I shot, um, you know, or you get to a year high school football game. And it's probably the same experience. It was 30 years ago. And, um, and Ellie does get on his bike and go across eight or nine neighborhoods to his, to his friend's houses. And

Speaker 2: That's so, that's so refreshing because so many parents, I talk to it's like the fear-mongering of the world has gotten to them. I mean, I used to have a pocket full of quarters and ride my bike miles and not a whole lot of parents [01:02:00] are willing to do that. When's the last time you had a kid knock on your door and try to sell you wrapping paper.

Speaker 3: I mean, it's yeah. They they've actually, uh, the solicitations for the fundraisers for the middle school say, do not go door to door. Yeah,

Speaker 2: Yeah, yeah. Which is, I feel like that's, I don't know if it's appropriate or not, because I'm not that educated, but it's a shame. I know that that, that we live in an environment where we feel right or wrong, that that's not okay.

Speaker 3: Yeah. Yeah. It is changed. But [01:02:30] I do feel like on the flip side, I do think that Warrington, um, is a little bit sheltered in some ways. And then, um, you know, but I do think it does provide part of that sheltering. It provides at least the closest thing that, that I've seen to a childhood, like it was 30 years ago. And then there's something, something about that.

Speaker 2: Um, one of the examples I like to use, um, as back in the day, when parents [01:03:00] would say something like don't, you dare listen to that Elvis Presley, he'll poison your mind type of thing. Can you think of anything that your parents like forbid you from doing that ultimately felt pretty innocuous?

Speaker 3: Um, actually I don't know if it was innocuous as much as it wasn't as exciting as I thought it was, but I remember I was in eighth grade and, um, um, the local movie theater in Norfolk, Virginia, uh, would play at around 11 o'clock at night, uh, the Rocky horror picture show, but they would also have every, like the, all the characters [01:03:30] acted out on stage and people would bring squirt guns and they throw things. And every, I mean, they knew exactly what to do with every scene. And I remember thinking this is going to be the coolest thing. And my parents were so resistant. I mean, I must have leveraged everything I had to get to go to this thing. And I remember being in a half asleep thinking I don't get it. You know, it just wasn't at eighth grade. I wasn't quite right.

Speaker 2: Since I'm like your parents got it either.

Speaker 3: I don't [01:04:00] think so, but they did let me go amazingly. They let me go. And I thought, man, I cashed in everything for this and it wasn't quite worth it. So

Speaker 2: Is there anything that you look at that your kids are doing now? That may be kind of the same?

Speaker 3: Yeah, that's a great, uh, I mean, I'm always curious about what what's the grand theft auto and some of these video games, you know, and, and Elliot will talk to me, tongue in cheek and he's like, yeah, I had to [01:04:30] give that guy a ton of money. Cause I, uh, pulled his house over off the cliff because, uh, uh, he was, uh, I thought it wasn't really his house, but I thought he was, I thought it was someone else's house who was having an affair with my wife in this scenario. And I'm like, what? And he's like, you know, so I knocked over a jewelry store and I was like, wait a minute. You're not vaping. I said, there's an article about vaping and what's going on right now with vaping. And I just, you know, I've been talking to him quite a bit about, you know, um, [01:05:00] that I was like, stick to your jewelry stores, you know, no vaping, Alrighty, she's sort laughing, you know? Uh, but I'm sort of like, well, I don't remember playing games where the scenario was that I was the, uh, the jewelry thief trying to do X, Y or Z. So that,

Speaker 2: That concept fascinates me, that we, as much as parents will say, well, back when I was this age or back when I was in college. And to think that that directly applies, it's so [01:05:30] easy to do when we're totally wrong, totally wrong. We can't relate to what I, when I was 15, when your son being almost 15, like I had no idea of the world that he's living in. So is there anything that you do to keep yourself in check or anything that you say to other people to say, Hey, remember this?

Speaker 3: Yeah. I mean, I, it's funny. I think I play a little bit even older than I am with Elliot. I mean, yeah. I intentionally called whatever his video machine, the video machine and he sort [01:06:00] of, you know, um,

Speaker 2: Beta tape out of the

Speaker 3: Exactly. And I just sort of, you know, uh, you know, we'll pretend that, you know, that to know anything relevant about social, you know, social media or what's going on in, in, in the celebrity universe. But, uh, you know, I, I do try to, I mean, I think that's part of, part of my lens as a preacher is always sort of thinking in continual terms of when, you know what [01:06:30] I mean, I've got to, I've got to do that in a, what was it like 2000 years ago? Uh, and what does that mean today? And so, yeah, so I'm always sort of trying to, in my mind at least go back and think, okay, you know, uh, yeah. Uh, I wouldn't have been allowed to do that, but then again, I would have the freedom to do this and, you know, and, and what's the trade-off and, uh, how much autonomy did I have? I probably had a lot more autonomy over my life than Elliot or Loralee has over theirs. And so, yeah. So how much should I control the limited [01:07:00] amount that they have? You know, I think

Speaker 2: That is,

Speaker 3: I just don't think I was as busy. I mean, I think, uh, you know, one, I didn't travel to Gainesville or I didn't have multiple practices, uh, a week for any sports. Uh, that's

Speaker 2: Still a choice, right? Like you don't make them play sport. No, no,

Speaker 3: It's a choice, but it's, it's just much more at this age. I mean, I feel like I could have played rec soccer until I was 18. [01:07:30] I could have played rec baseball till I was 18. And maybe you can in Fairfax, but you know, I mean, rec sports kind of go by the wayside by the time you get through middle school and I'm in there. Oh yeah. Either you're playing baseball, uh, traveling all over Northern Virginia or you've decided I missed out my thing. Yeah. There's not a lot of

Speaker 2: Local.

Speaker 3: Yeah. Yeah. And so I, I didn't, I didn't do anything that required me to go 30 minutes [01:08:00] down the road to get to a practice that was two and a half hours long. And it would get me back and, you know, um, start my homework at nine o'clock, you know, and I played sports all the way through, but it was all in my own town. It was usually one until I got to high school practice, know two practices a week at most. So,

Speaker 2: Um, the options are almost overwhelming.

Speaker 3: Yeah. And, and, you know, I sort of felt like in high school, if you wanted to play soccer, if you were coordinated enough to, and you played a few years of soccer growing up, [01:08:30] you're going to make the team. And, you know, you might not be the star of the team, but you do get some playing time and you get the varsity letter and you'd feel like you were still part of the team. And you know, now I, I sort of feel like they've created that environment where, you know, if you, if you haven't been dedicating yourself to this craft for years, you retired by 13, you know?

Speaker 2: Yeah. They're, they're like feeder programs now. They're not recreational. They are intended to go a direction.

Speaker 3: Yeah. Um, [01:09:00] so, so I do think they have less a time. I mean, yes, they could opt out of the hole in a soccer or baseball thing. And, um, but I think their schedules get filled between that and school. I had a lot more just like I said, I dropped my backpack off and what are we doing today, guys? You know,

Speaker 2: I can go wherever. So I'll jump into some, uh, kinda kind of, I call them rapid fire is good. But, [01:09:30] um, so what is the greatest hope that you have for your children?

Speaker 3: You know, there's generic as it is that they, that they be happy. You know? I mean, I, I obviously have a whole lot of, you know, I wanted to do well in school and know, uh, we'd all pick profession, a over profession B, but that the generally they're happy that they enjoy life and, uh, find somebody [01:10:00] that they love and really have everything that, that feeds them and, and, you know, and, um, and that they, and that they'd be good people.

Speaker 2: What do you feel like is the role of a father?

Speaker 3: I think it's a lot, like, I think it's a very much, like I was talking about at the school. You know, that little probably comes from anything that I've ever told [01:10:30] them that they probably were rolling their eyes before they were doing it as deliberately as they do in middle school now. And, uh, um, but I'd like to think that they watch me pretty closely and, and how I treat their mom, uh, how I treat their friends, um, how I listened to them, um, the choices I make and that, that, that will be what has the lasting influence? Um,

Speaker 2: What's one of the better pieces of advice that you've [01:11:00] gotten. Uh, and as far as being a parent,

Speaker 3: You know, I think my dad, uh, once told me, and it was not, when I was a parent, he said, you, uh, I got plenty of friends, you know, he said, I didn't bring you in the world. Cause I needed another friend. You know, he said, uh, I brought you in to this world to, to help you grow and to be the, you know, the best person that you can be. And, um, and they're going to be times where it's [01:11:30] pretty obvious that I'm not, I'm not your best friend. And, uh, um, and I thought, you know, I want my kids to love me. I want my kids to want to be around me and want to do things with me. But at the end of the day, that's not why I'm a father. Uh,

Speaker 2: Yeah. Uh, what are two or three characteristics that, uh, a super dad would have,

Speaker 3: Um, enough confidence that, uh, that they don't need their kid's success to, to validate them. [01:12:00] You know, I think that that sense of wholeness that's in themselves, um, uh, kindness, I mean, uh, just, uh, an approachability that, you know, that even if you're, you know, as you can be as strict as, as you need to be to, um, um, to help them grow, but they know when things, things get messy that they can come to you and that they can tell you things that are going to crush [01:12:30] you. Um, but that you're going to listen and then you're going to, you're going to give them what they need, you know, uh, and, um, and values. I mean, I think a sense of integrity and, um, um, if you tell them to tell the truth and they see you, uh, looking for every, uh, every corner to cut, um, you know, that, that you have enough integrity that even if they don't listen to a word that you say they can watch you and learn that

Speaker 2: [01:13:00] That's, that's been one of my most, uh, one of the best things anyone told me was to just always be truthful, cause then they can rely on you. Right, right. Or wrong. They know you always told the truth. Absolutely. You meant it. If you were to write a book, is your life as a parent, what would be the name of a couple of chapters?

Speaker 3: Yeah. That's, uh, um, uh, uh, [01:13:30] parenting, uh, parenting is much easier when you realize you're not cool. You know what I mean? That's it? Um, I think, um, I think when you're more fun when you're just being yourself and you're being a goofball, I think I learned that from being a youth leader, you know, uh, when I was in my early twenties, I might've had at least a little bit of that, uh, uh, street cred to be the cool young adult, but that doesn't last very long and you're better off to own [01:14:00] who you are than it is to do. Um, this is the best,

Speaker 2: Best one I've heard, I think.

Speaker 3: Yeah. I think I learned that from being a youth leader, but it works as a parent. I'm a much better goof ball, a embarrassing dad than I am a cool trying to look like I'm their age. Um, and, uh, uh, the big learning that I'm still working on is just, uh, being there isn't being present, you [01:14:30] know, and making sure I'm clear about which one I am.

Speaker 2: Uh, I'm going to shoot from the hip a little bit and ask a new question. Um, what do you think is the role of self-development and being a parent?

Speaker 3: Um, I mean, I think it's, I think it's always, it's always big, you know, man, I think I've been just as silly and kind of superficial example, you know, the kids are finally getting to this agent sportswear, you know, coaches have expectations of them and, you know, and, um, [01:15:00] and I'm feeling like if I, uh, if I haven't gotten off the couch in, uh, in months, uh, um, and I'm not willing to go out and do do stuff with them, uh, then, then what can I expect of them? You know, or what kind of credibility do I have or, you know, um, you know, so I was taught myself how to juggle a soccer ball. I played soccer growing up, but never was any good at juggling, but Lorelli's coach, you know, that was there, you know, the summer you're going to work on that.

Speaker 3: And so, uh, uh, so [01:15:30] I figured, you know, I'll teach myself how to do it so that when I asked her, you know, have you practiced your juggling? I can say it with some integrity and, you know, and I think, um, and that's a superficial answer, but I do think, um, that if they see us always trying to grow, you know, do your homework, get good grades, you know, that, uh, all those things we say are in part on them. If they don't see us trying to be better selves, how much integrity does what we say to them? Huh,

Speaker 2: That's good. That's a wonderful example. I, uh, [01:16:00] the book that I'm reading the author, I listened to frequently and he said, referenced Mahatma Gandhi, a kid, a parent brought their kid to him and said, tell my kid to quit eating sugar. Gandy said, come back in a month. And so in a month he brought the kid back and Ganny said, quit eating sugar. And the parents said, why didn't you tell them that a month ago? And Gandhi said, I needed to see if I could do it. Wow. I thought that was pretty cool. That's pretty cool. Just like you're juggling. And you have no reason to juggle a soccer ball [01:16:30] with exception to being an example to your parents as a parent. That's awesome.

Speaker 3: Yeah. I, I think it probably just frustrated my daughter, but, but at least I can say with some integrity. All right, let's go.

Speaker 2: No, I think you may have just inspired me to do whatever it is my kids are doing. If it's ballet, I'm going to go be the best ballet person I can be. And just to be the example. I'm good. So, um, do you have a favorite television add TV dad?

Speaker 3: You know, um, [01:17:00] the dad from one, two years was all this, which would do, do you ever watch

Speaker 2: It was on the edge of my, we

Speaker 3: Skip it. It's worth going back and watching it. So, but, uh, these just kind of are combined. You need dad and the, but it's, it's such a throwback perfect throwback show. I mean, it goes well past my childhood, but it was almost the exact same when I was watching it. It was my dad's childhood. Uh, [01:17:30] while he lamented how much it changed growing up while I was a child. And, um, so now that it's two generations, it's kind of a

Speaker 2: Context.

Speaker 3: Yeah. Yeah, it is. Um,

Speaker 2: Um, uh, one of my favorite questions I stole from Tim Ferris, it's the billboard question. You're on 95 and you've got a billboard and you got to give a piece of advice to all the dads driving by and it has to fit on the billboard. All right.

Speaker 3: [01:18:00] Never make them wonder if you love them.

Speaker 2: That's great. Um, if time money, space was no object and you got to give a gift to every father on the planet. What gifts might that be?

Speaker 3: You know, I, I told you about my, uh, recent, I'd give five weeks of a paid vacation and the resources to take their family across countries [01:18:30] as many days as you can make it through in a tent. Um, and that was the best gift I've ever been given. Then know St. James, I will be forever indebted for creating that space for me in a Fran has worked for being able to get her the time off. But yeah, five years Elliot will be in college and not much longer. My daughter will as well. And, uh, rest of time will always have,

Speaker 2: [01:19:00] Um, when, into your life, do you feel the most love?

Speaker 3: Um, I've been pretty lucky that, I mean, I I've, I work at a job where people frequently, frequently affirm me or do things to make me realize that they don't take me for granted. And, uh, um, and I've got kids who, um, who think I'm a good person, which is nice. I mean, at the end [01:19:30] of the day, that's, there's probably not a better thing. Uh, but I think that if they ended up like me, that, that, that, that would, would be an admirable pursuit, which I think that's, uh, uh, the way they show it in different ways was kinda neat the way that, you know, dad, just because you do that doesn't mean everyone else does, you know, you're always doing it, but I just, you know, I, I think that the fact that they think I'm somebody with integrity [01:20:00] or somebody with exemplary exemplary character, that means a lot to me. Yeah.

Speaker 2: Um, and I don't want you to cheat off your last answer, but this question is what kind of father would you like to be remembered as

Speaker 3: You know, um, a lot more present, you know, I mean, I, um, I I'd like to be remembered as the kind of dad that both kids knew they could always come to. And, uh, uh, [01:20:30] and they were never in too big a hole or made too big of a mistake or were in of crashing too, too hard that they couldn't come to me and say, I'm falling on my face here, dad, uh, that, that they wouldn't be worried that I wouldn't any, anything shame, uh, uh, anger, any of that would, would be my leading, you know, that, that I would know that, that they just need to be held and, and loved. And [01:21:00] that billboards never make it never worry that I don't love you with everything I got. So,

Speaker 2: And this would be my, my last question for you in the event that this recording our conversation gets to last forever, and you had an opportunity to give a message to, to every mosque child, uh, that would survive generations. What kind of message would that be? Okay.

Speaker 3: Um, you know, it's, it's an interesting one because I've [01:21:30] never lived in the same place as the generations that have gone before me. And so I've never gotten that lecture from, you know, uh, you know, you wear the Moss name wherever you go, but I think, uh, um, I, I hope great, great, great, great grandchildren down the road and, uh, realized that, uh, uh, all your great, great grandfather asks of you is that you, uh, is that you take good care of one another and that you lead a meaningful life and don't [01:22:00] worry about class rank or paychecks, you know, just live a fulfilling and meaningful life and take good care of one another along the way,

Speaker 2: Father Ben Moss.

Speaker 3: Thank you. Thanks for this. This made it much easier than I thought in it.

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