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Learning to Dad with Tyler Ross 036 - Michael Shea


Speaker 2: All right, we're on. Hello and welcome to learning to dad with Tyler Ross. That's me. I'm Tyler. And I've got an awesome episode today that I'm psyched to talk with Michael Shay, a psychotherapist and a [00:00:30] friend, and it's just, we usually have this different story arc, but this is going to be such a unique, uh, conversation. Thank you for joining me, Michael.

Speaker 3: Thank you for having this is going to be awesome.

Speaker 2: Yeah, it's just good to see you. I'm sorry. We didn't get to hang out in person, but I'm glad that everybody's going to get to see you and see us, uh, talk, talk,

Speaker 3: Right? Yeah.

Speaker 2: Talk a little bit about what [00:01:00] not like who you are, but what you do and the things that you do to help people.

Speaker 3: Sure. So I do integrate a psychotherapy, which is taking a look at the whole person, not just the issue that people bringing, but also the whole person in terms of their strengths. And also what's going on biologically, what might be going on, uh, even spiritual people want to speak about that. And a lot of what I do is bring it from a strengths [00:01:30] based perspective. So people come in a lot of times identifying fraud, but there are areas in their life that they have a lot of resilience and resources that they use to deal with challenges. It's just help him at the advice to the emotional state and dealing with the psychological issues. And that's the precipice upon which I like to, well, people begin to trust themselves and as well, find a best to deal with some of it's stress and conflict that [00:02:00] they're presenting when they come in and see, that's a little bit about what I do.

Speaker 3: I also, the other thing is I do a lot of work with the center for mind, body medicine, and the center works to deal with trauma around the world. And it states, for instance, we've been doing work. Uh, it was school shootings, Parkland, um, done work with the VA, but we work to help people understand that trauma is something that can heal from, by [00:02:30] being willing to deal with exercises that help calm down the mind and the brain and the body in order to be more in a mindful or call a truce state rather than being reactive and tree. It's a little bit about what I do.

Speaker 2: Oh, that, I mean, I can only imagine the trauma associated with a, you know, a school shooting or some other event like that, but just, I would think that that kind of expertise could be applied to anyone. Cause we've got so many inputs [00:03:00] and so many, you know, just things raining on us all the time. It took to get to like normal seems like a challenge.

Speaker 3: Do you think it's a constant stress in our modern day world?

Speaker 2: It's true. It democratized opportunity in a big way, but we've also made it, it's hard to focus. It seems like

Speaker 3: Exactly. And I think that's a great point too, to really hone in on [00:03:30] particularly about being a dad is how much responsibility and focus it takes because of the various roles that fathers play there, their individual cells, there is a spouse or a parent and, and you know, there's a lot of reviews. I think that stress is something that particularly the fact that you're doing, it's a great forum to start helping people cope with some of these stressors and responsibilities, more effective.

Speaker 2: [00:04:00] Thank you. That's definitely my hope and part of the goal and certainly a, uh, going to be a focus of our conversation. You know, I've talked to mostly just dads about, you know, that are entrepreneurs professionals trying to balance all those things. And we're just starting amongst us talking amongst ourselves. So having like a, an expert perspective, um, to share is really awesome. So grateful for your time and willingness to come on here. Know. So what, what, is there any [00:04:30] kind of profile of a person that you often find coming to you dealing with this type of, uh, stuff? Sure.

Speaker 3: Well, you know, there's a couple things I think that that would might be important to talk a little bit about as I talked about the profile. So one of the things I, I pay attention to are trends that change over time. One of those things changed over time is the constellation of being a family. And [00:05:00] so we let's the specific industrial age fathers really weren't involved in as much parenting responsibilities because mothers for the divor, primarily the homemaker, I think since women have entered the workforce and as in a good way, and I think as a result of that and our definition of what it means to be masculine [00:05:30] is evolving because of women's rights issues. I think there's been this sort of identity. Who am I as a dad? What does it mean for me to be male? How do I express my masculinity without it being the new buzz word is toxic positively and ask him, how do I do that in a way that room's good modeling for children? And I think for us to think of children, not [00:06:00] just biological, but all of us as men are witnesses.

Speaker 3: So with that, what I am seeing people coming in, particularly men are they're dealing with issues of how can I be an effective father in a way that I can attend to my responsibilities in terms of providing, or even in some instances being the home, but how can [00:06:30] I do that in a way where I don't feel overwhelmed and my stress doesn't get imparted onto my children. And I set an example, that's either misinformed or not the best thing. And that's a lot of stress that I've been dealing with with Bobby. It's been fascinating for me, particularly because what's been happening around fathers as they become fathers of teenagers. There's [00:07:00] another sort of stress point just because of the developmental issue. So there's this spectrum of things that I'm seeing people come in to talk about parenting issues and being a father what's that responsibility and how can I be emotionally engaged with my child and yet still be, uh, uh, somebody who engages in my behavior, which involves in structure responsible.

Speaker 2: [00:07:30] So you touched on something, uh, the, the kind of in, uh, was close to me, um, the use of the word masculine versus being a male and being masculine. Um, and, and how those things kind of have, I guess, evolved. Like what are some of the observations and trends that you've seen, uh, in terms of what masculine means?

Speaker 3: That's a great [00:08:00] question. And I'm, so here's what I, I pay attention to by early on in my undergraduate program, I was, um, undergraduate in psychology philosophy civically with an emphasis in women's studies. Now why in the eighties would a man go and studies program? Primarily I went into it because I grew up in a home where feminism was just introduced. [00:08:30] I didn't know what that meant. I certainly knew that there was a shift in my own personal experience. And what I know this was what the feminist movement was trying to do is help us understand that every human being is made up of masculine and feminine, regardless of our gender, we're all made up. But I think what we've done is we've limited masculine expression [00:09:00] to the gender, to feminine expression, to gender female. That's not how it works. And the psyche doesn't work.

Speaker 3: That way. All we have to do is look at some of the work call, young. He talks about this and the, of mine, and it was basically masculine feminine today. We're a new age because of the women's movement, where it's okay for us to feel and express our feelings and being more emotionally [00:09:30] connected, but that was not a lexicon or belief system. And a lot of people indoors. I mean, you and I, in some ways are really the advantages of that. So I think masculine, if we look at it from a more psychological to call masculine, let's talk about it. Psychologically, biologically masculine would certainly associated with our last side, granny, which one, logical more moving into having things as a process in [00:10:00] a linear way, being more productive and generative in terms of eight years in creating things. And in terms of work, product ideas that manifest in financial ways or in practical ways. So masculine is, is really blue, but to take an idea and a feeling and express it both verbally written lead [00:10:30] and in communication versus reflecting on it reflections more than interesting. And so part of what I often say to people is how do you make room men, particularly, how do you make room for the feminine aspects of yourself? And a lot of them sort of further head back and they're like, well, a male and having educational process that saved her well, yes, you are a male, but masculinity [00:11:00] and femininity, not gender.

Speaker 3: And having that conversation, some men or more geared to internally to be connected to what we would call a more feminine attributes, which would be much more associative, creative, intuitive, more engaged through processes that are involved. [00:11:30] Um, bring heads of open-minded thinking things don't have a process in terms of 1, 2, 3, they might go like a pinball machine. They might go from one to four, three is sort of a more circular process.

Speaker 2: Yeah. I can see that being a huge, a gap for people that really identify themselves as, as male masculine, even though that's not necessarily, and [00:12:00] like just the communication gap between genders as a result of being, having feminine and masculine traits, uh, the DC, a lot of just having to, you know, spouses and, and, and even like parents from like a gender level, having to accept that feminine isn't doesn't mean that you're anything other than just a, just a description of traits. And that sometimes it's as simple as understanding that

Speaker 3: Exactly [00:12:30] it takes a while. And I think we're still in an evolutionary period of sort of, how do we assimilate this understanding of masculine and feminine? I think we're seeing this in all sorts of ways, you know, whether it's related to sexuality or it's related to, uh, once, uh, identification. I think that's a manifestation of how we're trying to assimilate a set of internal realities. You know, previously [00:13:00] I think prior to the women's movement, we sort of just kept the bows to gender specific. Those traits were very much now masculine, you know, family, and we we've evolved past that. And I think in a way that's, that's really, uh, research has shown the American medical association even published an article about this, that the bonding that's happening today with, [00:13:30] with fathers, it makes a difference with their children. You know, they're less likely to be divorced. They're less likely to act out they're less likely to be involved in drugs because the father, uh, interaction on an emotional level has a different set of receptors activated than if a mother does. And that's biologic.

Speaker 2: So for, for any dads that might be listening to [00:14:00] this, who unbeknownst to them are not embracing their feminine traits, which therefore is like creating an obstacle for their relationships. Is there like a, like a check box, like, like to you to use an overly masculine, like a 21 point inspection, like we could kind of self-assess

Speaker 3: I see you're just combined both of her thought and a very masculine way in order to incorporate the feminine aspect, see you already get it. [00:14:30] So there is there's so one of the things we do in a, and this is why I liked the curriculum and the work we do with the center for mind, body medicine. What happens is, for instance, when let's say, for instance, today, you took five minutes to unhook your day and you decided to do a breathing exercise six times in and out email Xs. [00:15:00] What you'd be able to do biologically, where literally the two parts of the brain are considered masculine and feminine, and you get them together. And that inhalation of six times you actually program your brain to sort of, okay, let's work both sides together. Well, when that begins to happen, we begin not only open to our thoughts, which tends [00:15:30] to be more of a masculine association, but we get to a field that's where I think we are in along the curve as how do we do with feelings there many times they're not convenient. We don't get a calendar invite times,

Speaker 2: Right? Our reception has gone, [00:16:00] Or we lost reception there right after a calendar invite.

Speaker 3: Okay. You ready to get ready? So, you know, basically what, what I'm saying is, since they're uncomfortable, they're not part of what this exercise does is it helps to connect the dots between two and people will see that rather than their emotions and their thoughts being separate. [00:16:30] They're actually just through this, they become aware of since each. So, one thing I say to people is practice, particularly mental practice breathing six times, inhale, exhale through the mouth, six times, multiple times a day to check in with yourself about what's going on. Is there worry? What's the, one of the number one things that we would have talked about, men worry about money. Do I have enough [00:17:00] to take care of XYZ? How much does somebody spend their time worrying about money? That would be an important by being that so reflective. Certainly what we're doing is we're stopping the very call, slow down with thinking we're being open and we're being perceptive. Like the stop signs slow down. They feel open and proceeded. You know, this [00:17:30] practice, if you did that with your child, just thing of what happens when a child begins to slow down, think be open to what's in their heart and proceed. Usually they seem pretty insightful things.

Speaker 2: I don't know if anybody listening caught combat that's S T O P slow down think be open and perceive. That's wonderful. Um, so of the 30 plus interviews [00:18:00] I've done, I always ask the question, you know, what's your greatest hope for your kid and male, female, you know, nine out of 10, always say, I want them to be happy. I think happiness is a feeling. And so, and to think that, uh, a father might not be open to their own happiness or feeling, but that's their ultimate goal for their kid. It seems like a disconnect that, you know, everybody, you know, [00:18:30] both of you can be happy.

Speaker 3: Right? Exactly. I'm what I like about that. Tyler, that question is that the question is a hope for wish. And even the dream that might be predicated on other variables, but the emotional content is I really want to see my child experience. That's a loving act. That's an act of love.

Speaker 2: What does that, does that feel like a feminine act? Is that, is that [00:19:00] a dad embracing the feminine and the hope for their dreams,

Speaker 3: Right? It's an act of love. I think it's an act of love that in many ways more sociologically we're used to our mother saying that. So her child, what a lovely thing for a father to be able to see that. Wow.

Speaker 2: Yeah, I'm, um, I've mostly talked to people kind of my age. I've talked to, uh, some folks that have kids that are my age and of course my own family experience the difference in the willingness [00:19:30] to talk about how you feel is, is incredible. And I don't know if it's because that's the type of person that's attracted to talking with me on this podcast. Or if it's a generational thing, are you seeing a trend line and men embracing their more feminine attributes?

Speaker 3: I am. You know, so for instance, let's, let's talk about that trendline, you know, having worked with some vets and people who served our country, [00:20:00] no many instances that, that paradigm, that the military is, is not endorsing of their emotional state. And yet they're still having emotions. So hard of what I've noticed is what we have to pay attention to too is today it's a norm for us to say to our young men, Hey, deal with your feelings. But what about the generations that have had that [00:20:30] and had that process and Dorsey that's where I think the gap has been. And I think the close of that gap actually has been the younger generation modeling to the older generation. We don't have to live this way, says here, let's just see what this is just from a biological level. When we have an emotion before we're aware of it on a mental level, our body, our grain has already processed [00:21:00] those biochemicals.

Speaker 3: It's already happening. I mean, you can't stop an emotion mapping it's happening. Biochemically. We just draw aware of it, usually through a body of sensation, like my stomach's tight, or I'm holding my breath or, you know, I'm clenching my teeth. That's sort of, or, or we're assertive obsessive in our mind. What I like about what we're doing today in our modeling of men is saying, well, let's make a place to identify [00:21:30] our emotions, express them respectfully to us for ourselves and our own wellbeing and the wellbeing of the people that we're connected to and then move on. And I think that formula has been a formula that many older people and people in systems like that, that, uh, are beginning to see has offered them a freedom. And that I'm not separated from this emotions. It's not simply this crazy thing going [00:22:00] on inside. Actually, it's part of who I am. It gives me so I can put this.

Speaker 2: Um, that's so many, uh, things going through my mind, I, uh, you know, embracing the feminine and embracing our emotions and processing them, not suppressing them, you know, doing whatever you have to do with them and letting them go. It just seems like [00:22:30] it's easy for us to think that this is all for us, you know, just for our own benefit. But it's for the benefit of the people that we have relationships with. Like we are modeling after our parents and their generation, our kids are going to do the same thing. So I like anybody who's listening now who might be embracing their overly masculine side saying, nah, I don't need to do all this horse out. Just push it down. That would be fear. Like a real man does. Like you're, you're not, it's, it's my perception [00:23:00] that that is not to the benefit of your children and not to the benefit of your relationship with your wife or partner or children's parents, or

Speaker 3: I'm thinking in this, your statements brought up. So my dad died in November of last year and one of the things he was at that died at 89, he ran or football officiating association for years worked specifically [00:23:30] in sports. And one of the things as he was getting ready to transition, he said to me that he was grateful that even though it was so tense growing up because of my mother's feminism, that was not how he understood the world, that he was grateful that that tension forced him to start to deal with his emotions, even though he didn't do it well at first. And I think in many [00:24:00] ways there is a learning, but he said, what it did was it afforded him the opportunity to feel connected to us, my sisters. And that left an impression on me because it said, look, there was somebody who very much was fixed in a point of view.

Speaker 3: And even though he didn't like how he was challenged, that challenge afforded him an opportunity for growth. So I often say to people who are very wedded to this, [00:24:30] the source of scripting, it's not that you have to choose in the moment being open to it, into that opportunity to be open to it, to experience your emotions, not as a negative experience, you know, I mean, look at our contemporary, um, to have a romance actually can be a reward and an alive and supportive in that. As much as we can get that for room, we can also get that from one year.

Speaker 2: I [00:25:00] think that's, um, awesome. Uh, uh, one, one thought just replaced another, but I want to like talk just when you said bromance. I think about a couple of my, my guy friends that whenever we hang up the phone, it's I love you, you know? And it's not like Bobby bro. It's like, no, seriously, I love you. You're important to me. And it's know, these are the same guys that you do, all those, you know, quote unquote man, things with. And, uh, I'm very grateful and fortunate [00:25:30] to have people like that in my life that are open to having those kinds of conversations, um, to see if that other thought reenters my mind. Cause I felt like it would be played well with the segue. Um, it'll come

Speaker 3: Back.

Speaker 2: Yeah, yeah. Um, relationships, uh, talking, being open. Oh yes. Um, do you have any, you know, I'm sure you've met and worked with people that are pretty [00:26:00] solid in their point of view that they they're rigid in trying to, do you have any kind of practical advice of an exercise somebody can do, like the breathing that, you know, as a first step towards, you know, saying it's okay to have feelings and share them, talk about them.

Speaker 3: Well, the, to build on the, the breeding exercise, I often ask people to start particularly men to start when they breed, what do you notice in your body? So for example, if they're [00:26:30] doing this, do they notice their extremities are cold? Like their hands or feet, do they notice their stomach is tense? Do they notice that their heart is racing? And then what I try to do is say, if you were to put an emotion, a one word emotion to that physical experience, even if you are guessing, what do you think it would be? What it does is it begins to get people to speak, quote, unquote, language of emotions, which [00:27:00] sounds jargony, unless they are it's alive. We can sound very emotionally charged, But it does because it's important because when we identify it, we identify it to ourselves. What we do is we take it out of just leaving it in the box. It's a lot of times when emotions stay in the body, they affect everything from ourselves development. Now we digest that we sleep [00:27:30] stress. Stress is a lot of times on express motion.

Speaker 2: I am a thousand percent, a Guinea pig for that. I've been seeing a great, uh, doctor that, that has encouraged me to just kind of move around, be aware. And the more like every now and again, I'll, I'll come into a movement, I'll move my arm or shoulder hip, and I'll suddenly feel myself not breathing. And that point, whether it's purely physical or associated [00:28:00] with stress or emotion, I don't know what it means, but I know it means something and that's right. And I think, yeah, the general awareness to capture that is like a huge step for me. Um, so I, I, I just, that has been great for me. Um,

Speaker 3: The other thing I would offer is I say to a lot of men get very fixed in sort of, this is who I am. I often say let's, let's utilize [00:28:30] the mind and the imagination. So what I started to do is ask them, like, what do you wish for, what do you dream? What do you desire? What makes you excited? What makes you passionate those questions? A lot of times men don't get asked. They often associate those attributes to somebody who's more creative and more feminine. I think those kinds of questions are important because what they do is they talk about [00:29:00] our aspirations and our desires in a way that they need to be recognized, not always acted on, but recognized. And I think that's another thing I would like to do is ask people, what are the desires? What are your passions? What are your dreams wishes? They may evolve, but we all have.

Speaker 2: And to piggyback on that a little bit, I, I love lists, you know, to do lists and goal [00:29:30] lists and, you know, visualizing people, you know, I'm not that guy, but some people put up the car that they want or the vacation they want to take and pictures. Right? So that's, I guess an interesting way exercise, the, the wish, the hope, the goal

Speaker 3: Visualizations. That's another great exercise I invite people to do. And I even, uh, even with that, I think to piggyback on the question, you said that you ask him every podcast in the, what you wish for your children. I asked that question, [00:30:00] people, what if you had a dream come true about what you would like for your child? What would that be? Sometimes people go to the answer that you often get and most significant debt, which is I want my children to be happy, but there are some parents and particularly fathers who can articulate. I really have a vision of my son or daughter of the X or a lot. And then what we have to take a look at is does that match your child's [00:30:30] needs?

Speaker 2: Great topic of conversation. I guess that I said to somebody recently, you know, my way my parents grew up, it was, you are going to be a lawyer. You're going to be a doctor. You're going to be done parenting over. So can you, can you elaborate on, on, you know, what's good for you and what you think is good for your kid and all those things.

Speaker 3: So when we're not, so that the key word that I used is nature. So [00:31:00] for instance, what does that mean? You know, w well, our nature is attributed to the characteristics that we would use to describe our, so our values, our skill sets, our attributes, um, and even the places where we might have growing edges that sort of gives us a, those, the compilation of those things, give us an understanding of what someone's insurance. [00:31:30] So let me use a person. Personally, my father was wedded to my, to me being a football player. I'm five foot seven. And since I've been in 10th grade, I've weighed 140 pounds. I'm 54 today.

Speaker 3: That's not gonna work. I was a swimmer and I swam from the age of five year round until I was in tune. But that kind of hope [00:32:00] and dream for me to be a football player. I mean, that's a wish, but it's not consistent with my nature, my physical nature, and also what I was drawn to. But how does a parent deal with, is, does that feel like a loss? Does that feel like a rejection? Is the child being defiant? Is this a, you know, I think part of the way to deal with that, as we can see it most in where our children seem [00:32:30] and where they find joy and what's consistent with them and taking a look at the nature and the different components that I spoke, you know, sometimes what we wish our kids is not their reality and letting go of that and setting them as their nature is really, again, it's an act of love.

Speaker 2: And I think it's, it's hard. Uh, have some, one of a piece of advice that I've received [00:33:00] was, you know, sometimes you take action and sometimes your action is to just get out of the way, um, and let your kids be themselves. But what, uh, is there a symptom to a relationship that has, you know, a parent or father or mother kind of in trying to impose their dreams on their kid?

Speaker 3: Well, I mean, if we could call it a symptom, we could use common, um, language today. That's being used everything [00:33:30] from a helicopter parent, we could call that. And that's one vernacular that you use, but this, you know, that symptom is really demonstrating an issue around who went into control. And that's this thing that we find out as parents in the end, the only control we have, how to be good role models, how to provide good values for our children, learning to listen [00:34:00] is a very good being loving, even when it's difficult, always reassuring a child that no matter what happens, I still love me. And those attributes, those action steps really help deal with sometimes the back that Archer might make different choices than the wish for them. Sometimes [00:34:30] that's reality.

Speaker 2: Yeah. Uh, I could feel like I could stay on this topic, but there's a lot of stuff that we talked about, uh, yesterday that I'd love to try to jam into the time that we have, uh, some of my notes that we, uh, uh, I wrote down from yesterday, or, uh, you know, with social media, um, you know, men having male friends, um, you know, the realities of being a man [00:35:00] today, um, addiction for, you know, parents and kids. Um, so is there anything jump out at you that you kind of want to run with?

Speaker 3: Well, let's start with addiction because it is one of the number one issue we're dealing with. First of all, I think it's a fallacy for us to believe today that none of us self-medicating all of us and whether that becomes addiction or not [00:35:30] is, is not the issue. All of us want to solve you. The body is built to experience pleasure. It's built to restore itself. We want to do anything to not experience pain or to troubleshoot immediately, which is a masculine attribute. How can I not be in this pain quickly? Yeah. So I think when we talk about addiction, we need to talk about it in terms of we're in a [00:36:00] particularly in Western culture, a time period where self-medication is a norm and self suiting, when does self-medicating itself. And that's the part that we're total attention to, is it affecting our functionality?

Speaker 3: Our connection is affecting our work. How bad is it good? Those are beginning to become the markers of addiction. But I think when we know [00:36:30] we have all of us have a propensity to be self-medicating monitoring, that's very important and particularly performance, because when, for example, it's one example. I, I, uh, I spoke about not long ago in that, in seminar, around parenting Saturday nights, usually Saturday nights, no people like to hang out, maybe go out and if their kids [00:37:00] have a sitter or, you know, is it sort of a date night when you're getting ready? And these kids watch their parents get ready and don't buy, they go out and then they come back and there are any brands they're drunk. They're a little overserved that sends a message when kids see that. And the message that it sends is it's okay for me to be out [00:37:30] of control. And it's okay for me to have a good time. Even if that I'm being out of control might put me in harm's way. And there's a message that's unconscious. Then we have to be careful. We don't want to send that message towards because they will repeat what they see. So it's around like substances, [00:38:00] your money for alcohol drugs, sex important to be attentive. How do I utilize those pleasure experiences and not misuse them of you as dumb or this and this, a crutch,

Speaker 2: Uh, the, the observations the kids make and take in. I mean, people say it a hundred times. They watch everything, they see everything, but I can not attest to that more, more, [00:38:30] it's so true. I, the most modest of things gets so any, and that's, it's a consistent topic of conversation among my friends. Any parents listening that don't believe that you're wrong and you need to be aware that your kid knows they see it and they're formulating opinions based on it. Um, so self-medication, we all do it. Um, and you talked about a lot of different things, but what can we, can we put [00:39:00] some of those on the nose that some of the listeners that are self-medicating to the point where they're like really being unhealthy to themselves or their relationships, like, cause you call out some of the most common on the nose. Uh self-medication techniques.

Speaker 3: Sure. So, you know, like I said, alcohol and food, food is a self medicator. Um, what I often say to people stick with those two right now is if [00:39:30] you're noticing the following, I am not a smoker. I have, my physical body is out of balance. I am not sleeping well. I'm not at home with my family members. I'm doing the activity of the alcohol or the substance, instead of talking about those are markers debates. And once it's through a checklist, people can go [00:40:00] online and look at diction checklist and do a self-assessment. And then if the self-assessment indicates it, you know, I think one, three option is always 12 step programs that spring. If you don't just sit and listen to anything, the second option is you could go and call professional and say, Hey, look, I'm self observing that, uh, I'm concerned about this. So once you help them, we're checking the balance to make sure I don't do.

Speaker 2: And I, [00:40:30] I would suggest that that is a real Testament to strength that someone would take themselves out of their pattern or rut and Lord to observe other people. Um, I've definitely, self-medicated, I've definitely, I want to talk about engagement with kids too, because I've definitely been the guy that says, no, I totally engaged with my kids. You know, I'm on their butt, but I'm not there. You know? So in my, I can feel a difference everywhere when I'm truly engaged, [00:41:00] making eye contact interacting. Can you talk a little bit about engagement and the dif what people think it is and what it might actually be?

Speaker 3: Well, I love how you started. Cause I think you've, you started, I context the number one thing, particularly with the child. So let's, let's sort of think about it this way. When we're in a room with a child and we may not be interacting with, they're still hearing, they're receiving, they're always like, they're like little cameras downloading [00:41:30] all the information. Okay. So when we talk directly to, we look into their eyes and we say to them, Hey, look at me, I'm going to say something. There is an immediate response and engagement that we know, even if it's uncomfortable, we're having a moment. It's important getting down. If there are younger kids at their level, rather than speaking up, this is very important because it gives them the sense that we're at the [00:42:00] same level. Uh, I often say to people, if engaging with your kids involves also working on your device, you're not engaging.

Speaker 3: Yeah. And on that note, I think I often say that the number one way to communicate with our children on devices is only for purposes of which is if we communicate how we feel about a situation through [00:42:30] our devices, we're missing out on the engagement line, unless there's a conflict and it's too much to deal with it at the time, take a break and come back to it, take the time out and regroup and make a decision, how to have the conversation. That's difficult in conflict with the intention of saying to a child, no matter what, we're prone to get through this, because that's what we do as our, as [00:43:00] we get through this. I think using words that oftentimes we have in our head, and we think what people know that already, you think of how, when you say your conversation should love you. People don't know that unless we use our words. And that's another thing that is very much a value that seeds, particularly from their fathers. [00:43:30] So those are some immediate thoughts.

Speaker 2: Yeah. That's the, the speaking what's in your mind. Um, I am definitely trying to be better at that, particularly with Sarah, my wife, uh, you know, every time I think she looks pretty, I probably only say it once at every 10 when I don't think she could hear it enough. So, so I I'd encourage, uh, you know, spouses to be [00:44:00] more vocal, especially if that's, you know, a language, they receive information and, um, particularly, uh,

Speaker 3: Your

Speaker 2: Them words use them words, use them words, sound like you're in Fauquier and not in DC.

Speaker 2: Um, in engagement, I felt like I wanted to talk more about, uh, that, uh, let's, let's talk about communication and engagement in like, uh, I see, you know, my sisters are in their twenties [00:44:30] or 19 and 22. I, I forget exactly. Sorry guys. Um, but uh, I feel like people in their generation will have really heartfelt conversations over texts. And of course the other end of that spectrum is, you know, what the opposite of heartfelt is, you know, but her conversations like it's like they're being mean to each other in the same way. They're not watching people, people's expressions change. [00:45:00] Um, I don't know how you get a kid to not engage in that, you know, to not try to manage problems or manage relationships via the written word in 280 characters or less.

Speaker 3: So, you know, I like how your frames too, because you know, way, our words do matter. And yet we also need [00:45:30] custody of our words. So think of it this way, our words are vessels that can either help, they could get information. They can also hurt in addition to the tone and timing. And I, I find that when I say to people, use your words, use your words with intention. And also with the support of staying connected, [00:46:00] if we use our words to do a one-upmanship or we do our words, use our words to hurt somebody we're not so connected to that, we're not engaged in how we could as a unit, potentially help one another support one another, even help one another as well. So I find it's important for people in communication to be fuckable of what we say the one now to [00:46:30] go back to your example of these, you know, long texts, in some ways that's a great way to have a communication pattern.

Speaker 3: The problem with that way is there's some foods that we miss out on a biological level. When we communicate directly to the person, there's a research that was done about whether or not automation versus actual human [00:47:00] interaction made a difference and actually customer service space, that personal interaction makes a difference. So we apply that to just two young adults talking to one another. These are the texts in a long heartfelt conversation, think of how much richer that conversation would be if they were in person. Now, it might feel more vulnerable, [00:47:30] more intimate, a little bit more uncomfortable back, actually on a biological. It's better for us because we're, we're present in a way that's not removed. And we're having to be more of intention because in the moment we're going to see how the other person respond and that makes it busy

Speaker 2: Truly. And, and, and that, but they're sitting behind that mask of not having [00:48:00] that biological or chemical reaction, uh, C on the other side to, you know, if somebody talk about masks, exactly. You know, these, these riots and protesters and things, I don't think half that violence happens. If these guys aren't wearing masks, um, anonymity gives people some kind of permission to be jerks, um, anyway, uh, but message messaging and using your words appropriately. What about the flip side of that in receiving words in [00:48:30] a particular way?

Speaker 3: So when you know the receiver and that's it, it's a great description. There's a couples Mo a couples therapy model called modular therapy. A book was written by a horrible hindrance called getting the love and the one. And he talks about the, the person who message and the person who's the receiver. So what happens if I'm in a conversation with somebody? [00:49:00] And I don't like what I'm hearing, you know, I mean, I'll talk about it from my vantage point. My heart might raise a little, I might sort of be very inclined to be reactive, responsive, and maybe even yes, but somebody, or do all those kinds of defensive reactions. What I often say is that when somebody is a receiver and they're uncomfortable with something that's being said, I literally say, I need [00:49:30] to take a time out and stop because I'm not really hearing what you're trying to say. And the way you're communicating me, we're about ready to get into war. And I'm probably not going to like Lindsey. So I'm going to keep going until I have. And that's what sort of happens. But if we stop, because we know we're defensive, [00:50:00] we actually are communicating to the other person by stop and saying, Hey, look, I'm not like we're actually demonstrating the value of even in discomfort.

Speaker 3: Not all everything I'm going to say is going to be easy for somebody to hear, but I'd like to be able to say a little way that they can hear it because the connection more important me then [00:50:30] that's, what's most important. So then in terms of receiver, that's one of the pieces of that. I would pay attention to the other thing that if it's not uncomfortable, how do people listen? Well, there's two pieces. There's the auditory part of listening, but then there's the listening where I'm listening. I'm evaluating what you're saying. I, uh, evaluate or being critical on judging it. I'm analyzing it. [00:51:00] That's not, that's being need a preparation, but this could be a debate. Or for me to, uh, dismiss what's being said, well, listening is paying attention to what somebody says to me and notice some inside of myself, how am I receiving this?

Speaker 3: All I'm getting tense. This is really interesting. I don't like what's being said, or I do, like what's being said, and [00:51:30] I'm a little uncomfortable because I'm not used to somebody saying compliment listening to what's going on inside me so that I can respond to the other person. Not about so much the content, but how I'm experiencing the content. And at times taking a look at, can I actually repeat back what the other person says, or is my head doing a yes [00:52:00] or comes some kind of analysis that I miss the message. And so I often say to people, practice listening by self observation. And can you repeat back with the other question?

Speaker 2: Th you've just so eloquently put to words, like one of the greatest victories I feel like I've ever personally had is when I, yeah. Interrupted my own thoughts, listening to Sarah, talk to me because I was judging them. I was analyzing [00:52:30] them. I was combating them and I interviewed a gentleman named Ben Herro. Uh, he, uh, was a vet and he, he used to have to, you know, under fire, get onto a mic and call in, you know, airstrikes and you're under fire. People are shooting at you. People are trying to kill you. He'd take a breath, tap his foot a couple of times, and then to express the message he had to do it calmly. And collectedly [00:53:00] because if he didn't, he might affect the motive of everybody there. And so I'm thinking if he can do that under fire, we can all do that as husbands or wives. So, you know, take a beat and allow the message to sink in, take a breath and, and either take the time out, like you said, or, you know, express yourself from a place that's not defensive or a of, of repeating back, whatever the message was. And understanding that was a huge victory [00:53:30] for me and my communications with my wife, or a hundred times better,

Speaker 3: Or mean to hear not for you and Sarah. And then extending the example to this gentleman, Dan, there's a way to your example of yours and sharing his story. It there's a lot of focus about it. It's not, it's not always easy to message or to receive those that are uncomfortable, but [00:54:00] if we could slow down and this is where the best work we could slow down and really think about that, our words and make a difference. And how would you say the amount of tension that could be bloated dwindle integration with Mississippi? People don't feel like you're at a Hotsy

Speaker 2: And being at odds with one another in front of your kids is the wrong thing to do.

Speaker 3: And it's, it's, [00:54:30] it's hard because how do you know, for instance, there's a moment, you know this with kids, you have two young kids, you're having a moment with your spouse. One kid is eating the other kids running around, and suddenly you had a moment about a subject that probably needs more than a minute discussion already, you know, at a 10 and defensive. How do you do these are where those, like having conversations with [00:55:00] different parents, you literally have to practice the same principles that we practice with our children. Okay. We're going to have to bookmark this and get back to the secure a timeout because now's not the time there's a baby needs that and the other one's running to the room and I don't want them to get into my toolkit.

Speaker 2: Yeah. Yeah. And actually to, to continue on down that path a little bit, um, there used to be a time where I'd want to put a pen in a conversation and say, you know, this is not the time or place let's do it later, but I'm so proud of the way that we're [00:55:30] learning to problem solve that. I almost want my kids to see us go through the process to say, here's where it was escalated. Here's how it got diffused. This is something that we're practicing. And this is, you know, not, we don't hit each other, you know, it's like, we, we, we talk it how I feel like we're trying to set a good example. I don't know if that's a good idea or bad idea if it's,

Speaker 3: And I think what you're doing is you're modeling, Hey, even if they see the tension, they get [00:56:00] to see the tension, maybe not all the data of the discussion, but they could see potentially the tension like mommy and daddy went and talked and now we're in a better place. And they can see at least sophomore arc of that process. And that, that actually good role model. It really is.

Speaker 2: Yeah. Thank you. I appreciate that. It's always a work in progress. There's never [00:56:30] an end point.

Speaker 3: That's in peace forever. I think that most people don't understand being a parent is a job for life. It's a lifetime commitment and one does not end that job just when their children leave home. We're still in this doing attachment. So it's amazing. The amount that the two of you are trying to find a way to model for your kids.

Speaker 2: Thank [00:57:00] you. Um, I'm going to pull something out because I did not print it out. Um, but I'm going to ask you a couple of the same kind of short answer questions that I've asked a lot of guests. Uh, uh, let's see. I know we're going to, we're going to get out of here in about five, 10 minutes. So let's say, what is your greatest hope for the children of the world?

Speaker 3: [00:57:30] Uh, wow. That's a really good question. Wow. My greatest hope for the children of the world, that they come up with ways that improve the world, both in terms of using resources for everyone to share that they use utilize their talents [00:58:00] and skills as a way that demonstrates the best part of their nature and that they learn what it means to be a good citizen, not just individual, but we think the power of self-awareness is most actualized beyond just our own awareness of self, but our awareness of self in terms of community, the citizen. So I'd really love for our kids to be learning how to be good citizens.

Speaker 2: [00:58:30] That's beautiful. So that needs to be stenciled on every wall, uh, uh, every everywhere. Um, all right, you've got a billboard you're on 95 and it's the Michael shade billboard with one piece of advice that he can give to parents that are driving by at 90 miles an hour. That's the fit on the billboard? What piece of advice to you yet?

Speaker 3: He's Mr. [00:59:00] Bumper sticker

Speaker 2: With the book gift time, money, space, no object at all. You get to give a gift to every parent alive. What, what gift would you give to every parent?

Speaker 3: Uh, what a beautiful question. Uh, I think the number one gift I would give to parents is [00:59:30] the gift of recognizing that parenting is hard or hard work and an endorsement that it's a growth process along with their children. So I would be a validated a hundred percent validated. Is this work

Speaker 2: Awesome. And let's call this my last question for you, Michael. The, um, when in your [01:00:00] life do you feel the most love?

Speaker 3: Well, I mean, I feel a lot of love right now helped me feel connected and the fact that you've invited me. And so that's this, I think it's moments like this, you know, when I'm with people and we can speak freely, openly sink about ideas. And I find that I feel a connection with something [01:00:30] bigger than myself, because I don't have own inserts. And I actually learned most from other people and being dialogue. So at square, I often feel above the mouse when I'm feeling connected to other people.

Speaker 2: Michael Shay, thank you so much.

Speaker 3: Pleasure. Thank you.

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