Introduction: The Art of Raising Humans
October 18, 2021
[Kyle]: Hello and welcome to the first episode of the art of raising humans’ podcast. I am your host, Kyle and I’m a licensed professional counselor and a peaceful parenting coach in Tulsa, Oklahoma and I have a special co-host, a very special person to me that I’m looking forward to doing these podcasts with. Hello Sara.
[Sara]: Hi, I'm Sara, I’m Kyle’s wife and I’m also an LPC. I have worked with families for a really long time. What is it? It's 17?
[Kyle]: 15? 17?
[Sara]: 13 years? Something like that, a long time. I have my bachelor's degree in psychology, and then Kyle and I actually went on and got our master's degree in counseling together, and I didn't intend to go into family and children-- working with families and children, but then I kind of fell into it and found that I loved it.
[Kyle]: And I’m really excited to do this with Sara because, so many people in the private practice and all the speaking opportunities I get to do, they don't secretly know that I stole all my knowledge from her. So, I'm really happy to have Sara with me and it's going to be a very-- hopefully an amazing opportunity for you guys to hear how we came along on this journey and hopefully, help you and your spouse, if you're married, to also be able to have these kinds of conversations together about raising little humans.
[Kyle]: So, we'll start there, you know, we chose that name for a reason, we're really excited about that name. So, Sara, what does that mean to you? What does it mean to-- when we say “the art of raising humans”?
[Sara]: When we were talking about a podcast and what we wanted that to look like, we both-- I remember just thinking, “Okay, I love giving the tips to parents, I love giving-- I mean, that's the things I want as a parent when my child won't eat or is throwing a tantrum in Target or something like that. I think, what do I do right now? Or how do I--?”. And I love those tips and those concrete things to do, but parenting is also-- I noticed so much of what happens inside of me as a parent and so, I wanted to do a podcast that would address that, would talk about the children, what to do, how do you want to show up and be a parent, but also, what's happening inside of me, what's transforming and changing and growing inside of me. Which kind of feels like you came up with the title, the art of raising humans and I just felt like that fit, it sort of feels like an art. It feels with art things are changing, you're sculpting, you’re painting, it's something that comes over time and--
[Kyle]: It's like a creative endeavor.
[Sara]: It builds the beauty of it if you allow it and so, I felt like that title sort of captured what was going on inside of me as a parent, inside of my child and inside of our relationship.
[Kyle]: I think you and I both just felt like, a lot of the other parenting approaches that we first started to delve into and read, and we did study a lot of different ones, especially before we had kids and we're already helping kids, at either like a school setting where I was at and you being in a facility working with kids there too. It just seemed like all of them-- many of them just seemed too formulaic, they were very technique driven and there really wasn't this transformational element to it and as we started to really gravitate towards the ones that we're going to teach you guys on these podcasts about, there really was this transformation. So, I’m sure as a listener and if you have children, you know, there really is something different to approaching parenting from that perspective, to where it's a transformational activity that as I’m parenting my kid, what I’m doing, whatever skills, whatever techniques I’m using are also shaping me as much or if not more than it's shaping my own child, and so many times I had clients come in or Sara did as well and they'd want us specifically to give us-- to give them the equation.
[Kyle]: You know, one plus one equals two. It was almost like, it was more like a math driven thing than it was an art form and I started to realize that, yeah, I could give them a technique, but if they really don't understand the heart behind the technique or if they really don't understand the power of the relationship they have with their kid, and then really what's at stake here, transforming them and transforming themselves, then it becomes just very robotic and really, at the heart of raising kids is this relationship that we have with the kids, that's really-- it's a both and, it's not an either or, it's both of us are being changed and molded at the same time.
[Sara]: And that's what I think is the beauty in parenting too, to see that, to be awake to what's going on in the relationship because you can slide into-- there's some great techniques out there and I used them and I still use them.
[Kyle]: A lot of good ones, yeah, uh huh.
[Sara]: And then, they're wonderful, but you're missing some-- I feel like you're missing something when you don't address the deeper. How am I changing? How is my child changing? Where's our relationship going? And I don't have that--
[Kyle]: Why is this tantrum upsetting me so much, you know?
[Sara]: Yeah, yeah. So, you can learn how to “my buttons are being pushed, I need to calm down”. But the deeper work is, “why did that push my buttons?” Because someone else, another parent might not be triggered in that same way.
[Sara]: And so, I wanna explore on this podcast with you, I wanna talk about what's happening inside of me as a parent, what's happening inside of my child and let's go to that deeper work, let's have those conversations because I think the techniques with that behind it, is so much richer, deeper, transforming as a parent, as a person, in all my relationships; it goes into all my relationships and I love that.
[Kyle]: I think I noticed early on, I’m sure listeners you've noticed this as well, that there's so many situations where I would be almost enraged by whatever the kid was doing and Sara saw it completely differently and it blew my mind, and the first thought was “what's wrong with Sara? How come she's not upset about this too?” [Laughter] Instead of me doing some self-reflection going, “what is about the situation that's got me so teed off?” and I think what's funny about parenting and the reason why we called it the art of raising humans, is not only that we like that creative stuff that Sara was talking about and that we were just, you know, kind of having a conversation about, but you know what? So many of us are very passionate about our other relationships, our friendships, our marriages and even with our own family, with our brothers and sisters and there's a lot of skills we have learned, both, you know, dysfunctional ones and also kind of helpful ones that are healthy, and we don't seem to apply them to our own children.
[Kyle]: And so, I think a lot of what I’m doing in the practice and Sara's doing when she talks to parents too, is trying to just change the conversation that raising a kid, the same skills I’m using to communicate with my wife work with my children, and in the same way using fear and shame and like, getting into power struggles with my wife, really destroys my marriage, it really makes it really unhealthy and toxic in our marriage and the same is true with my kids and so, I’m kind of almost-- we're kind of wanting to use that name to help you as the listener, to really be thinking about your kid as a human being, not a lesser human being, not a just a smaller thing that has no power that we can dominate and show, but said someone that we're trying-- we're trying to raise up these kids to be healthy human beings who are able then, to really resolve conflicts in their lives, manage their emotions, be able to have a healthy communication with other adults and the way they're going to do it, is if I start now seeing that endeavor begins from the time they're born, you know?
[Kyle]: And so, I think a lot of that is just intentionally reframing how I see the skills I have in marriage and other ones. I know a lot of business guys come in, Sara and when I start talking about this kind of approach, they'll go “I just learned this at a conference I was at down in Texas or over in--", you know, whatever state they just came from, Colorado or something like “they're teaching me how to do this as a manager in my business”, and it's the exact same skills because you're working with human beings and it's the same thing with parenting and I think that, for me was a big shift, you know?
[Sara]: Uh huh, I think another level to it for me is in this, I’m looking at myself and how I’m parenting now, but I can't do that without also thinking back to what has formed and shaped me. What was my childhood, what wonderful things came along that shaped me into how I am now. Again, going there reminds me of art, because things came along that shaped the really beautiful things that I bring into my children's lives and live in my own life, but there were also difficult moments, we all had them to different degrees, we've all had difficult challenges in our lives, and those also shaped me. We've had people in our lives that hurt us, we've had people in our lives that were angels in our lives and brought really great encouragement, beauty, wonderful relationships, trust and we have all of that in ourselves now and that's where we're parenting from.
[Sara]: So, on this podcast I want to explore that, what does that look like to look back at that and what do I do with that now.
[Kyle]: Yeah. Well, how do I incorporate that, right? Really take the best of what was given to us and really jump from that point on.
[Kyle]: You know, I was thinking as you were saying that, a story that popped in my head Sara, was a time when-- I mean, we've got three kids and our oldest was kind of new to this idea of having a sibling, so when our second came along, I remember our oldest daughter had so much fun with us, just one-on-one and I’m sure if any of you have multiple kids, you've experienced this, and there was one day where we were at church in particular and they were talking about peace and talking about having a home filled with peace and the importance of peace and the whole time I’m sitting there in the service thinking “man, my home is so peaceful”. Because at that time it was with just me and Sara and the one kid and then the second one and it was just so beautiful.
[Kyle]: And I remember we came home that day and there was a moment where it seemed as if our oldest wanted Sara's time and Sara was at the time feeding the baby and she couldn't have her attention, couldn't connect with mom in that moment and I remember she seemed to almost flip out in a way I’d never seen that before and she was only, you know, three, four years old, but I remember taking her back to the back room just in an effort, I didn't know what to do. I’m sure you've been in that moment where your kid is flipping out, you have no idea what to do and I was trying to just be calm, I was trying not to use fear, because typically that had been the tactics I would lean on, was just get louder and bigger and dominate the room, but I was trying not to do that, but I didn't know what else to do. So, I remember taking her back to the back room and she was pounding on the door, wanting to get out to go see mom and I kept saying “we're gonna stay back here until we calm down” and the more I talk, the more upset she got and inevitably, I just laid my head down and I just kind of just started saying a silent prayer just kind of asking for peace because I didn't know what else to do, how else to intervene in this moment.
[Kyle]: And I remember there was a moment where she looked at me and said “dad, what are you doing?” and I said “I’m just praying, I don't know what else to do in this moment, so I’m just asking for some help” and it seemed like that kind of softened her and then, I looked at her and said “why were you so mad?” and with tears in her eyes she said “I don't know” and I felt like something in my heart said “it's called jealousy, she's never experienced it”, and when I thought that, a little file on my mind open up of all the times I’d been jealous and if you've been there before, you know, if you've ever felt jealousy, it's a big powerful emotion and I was thinking “oh my gosh! the first time she's ever felt it, no wonder this is so hard for her to manage and kind of bring it back under control”.
[Kyle]: And so, she ended up sitting in my lap, but we both kind of cried together in these moments and in that moment, it was so healing for her and I to be able to understand that we were both the same, we were both humans who had these big emotions, we both felt these situations where we wanted something so badly and couldn't seem to get it and there's been times as an adult when I was overwhelmed with that, you know? And she was feeling it now and in this moment I actually get to practice with her how to do that with myself, by also showing her how to do that and I just-- that's where kind of what we're hoping in this podcast will happen, is that through these conversations and these moments that Sara and I have been able to experience with our own kids and many, many other kids like, Sara and I have been able to help hundreds if not thousands of kids throughout our lifetime so far, that throughout these stories we're wanting to help you. Yes, we'll give you techniques, yes, we're going to say “hey, specifically try this” or “I love this one”, there's so many fun ones that Sara and I like to do and many of them are very effective, that's why we're going to share them.
[Kyle]: But inevitably we want you just thinking and approaching this beautiful opportunity in a different way, that you're gonna hopefully come at it with the mind of an artist like Sara was so beautifully expressing, with this creativity of “what do I bring to the table? What is this moment?” and then you start making this beautiful picture called your family. So, that's at the heart of it.
[Kyle]: Now, we want to address this like, if you're listening to this so far in this first podcast, one of the things we want to make sure we talked about was, who's this podcast even for? I mean, I know we're doing a new podcast and of course, we hope you like it and we hope that you very much are helped by it, but who's this podcast for? So, in short, I would say it's for a lot of different people, okay? So, I would say it's for the single parent, it's for the parent in a struggling marriage, it's for the parent in a great marriage, it's for the parent that has a strong faith that they really want to pass on, it's for the parent that doesn't connect to religion, but still wants to be really intentional. It's for the parent that wants to leave a better legacy for their children, it's for the parent that is scared to death that they've already failed and messed up their kids. Sara and I’ve met many, many, many of those types of parents. It's for the parent that desperately wants to raise kids that believe they are loved, not because of their performance, but because of who they are. It is for the parent that doesn't want to make the same mistakes that their parents did, and it's for the parent that wants to take all the good that their parents gave them and just build on it.
[Kyle]: So, if that really connects with you, I hope you will journey with us as we continue to delve into a lot of different topics. Now, basically the way Sara and I want to do this and the way, the format we want to do is, we're starting this podcast, you know, it's a free resource. So, Sara and I, we've always been like, how could we get more information out there to help parents? Because we're so limited in being able to one-on-one, be able to reach people. So, we want to reach more people, so we hope you'll help us do that, if you find this helpful, we hope you'll help us reach more parents, okay? And so, we want to help parents with this free resource to engage in the art of raising humans, to help guide them and using their own creativity to raise children that are self-disciplined, kind, courageous, assertive, respectful and loving human beings. Equip them with the skills to help disciple and guide their kids.
[Kyle]: Sara and I will do our best to make sure the podcast is no more than 20 minutes long, we got a lot of feedback from people when we're starting this up and people were like, “keep it around 20 minutes because we know you are parents and we know you got stuff to do”. I know, Sara's constantly trying to fit in a podcast into her day as she's trying to, you know, do the different stuff she's doing throughout the day with the three kids, homeschooling them and all that kind of stuff, is very challenging, but we will have a specific topic each time and we will discuss in depth, either together or with a special guest, kind of different ways to approach it, different ways to think about that that issue and different specific techniques to use. We will give you specific tools and techniques that you can try on your journey as a parent.
[Kyle]: Now, Sara and I are not promising magic wands, so Sara and I don't own magic wands, if we did, that would be awesome and we'd sell them and make a lot of money, but since we don't have magic wands, what we're going to do is do our best to say “hey, these have worked for us” or “this is what other experts have told us” or “this is what we've seen happen in other families” and then we just, like an art form, be creative, experiment, you know, try new oil paints and you know, chalk and whatever the difference, you know, medium you're wanting to use artistically to be able to express that in your family.
[Kyle]: Now, we may also-- we thought this would be kind of fun, include specific interviews with our kids at times, because all the time Sara and I are running into conflicts with the kiddos and we'll try things out and sometimes, it does not go well. More often for me than for Sara, but when it doesn't go well, our kids are like-- we'd love to share those stories when it worked and when it didn't work, so you can then learn from our mistakes, find out ways that we handle those. Because we're not going to teach you to be perfect parents, far from it, we're going to teach you to love yourself even in the imperfect times, because that's what the kid needs, is your ability to learn from those mistakes and failures.
[Kyle]: So, I’d remind you to please subscribe to the podcast, like it, comment, share it. We're new to this, but we'd like to reach as many people as possible.
[Kyle]: Now, next week what we're going to do, we'll try to put this out. Our goal is to put one out every week, next week we are going to hit the topic of neuroscience of the brain. Dr. Siegel is a fantastic neuroscientist out in California from UCLA and he's got an approach called “Interpersonal neurobiology” and so, Sara and I are just really passionate about understanding the brain, understanding where you're at in the brain, understanding where the kids at in their brain, because you really think it's vital to know what's going on inside the kid, to then be able to help them externally, be able to be the humans that they would like to be, okay? And so, we're going to discuss the neuroscience in depth. Sara and I are going to spend a good time just breaking that down and specific ways in which we use that in our family.
[Kyle]: So, we really appreciate the time that you spent with us and we look forward to journeying with you in the art of raising humans.