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My journey of balancing small business and small kids


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Does my 5 year old have racial bias already?

This morning my five year old helped me take out the trash. She was dancing around in the drive as I cleaned out evidence of my many fast food lunches crushed into the corner of the passenger seat of my car.  I’m a Realtor so I eat a lot of lunches in my car.

We started making our way to place trash bin at the curb when she noticed about thirty birds eating birdseed that our neighbors had tossed in their driveway.

She looks at me and tells me that it looks like a birdie restaurant.  That it did with thirty doves quickly picking up seed and eating as fast as they could, much they way I must have looked creating my pile of fast food bags.

“Look daddy there is a one black bird, he must be the waiter.”

The waiter, the waiter! Why would she think the black one is the waiter? Does she think that since he’s black he must be the servant? We haven’t broached the topic of slavery from a historical perspective. We’ve taught that all men are equal and all birds too.  Where is she getting this from? Why would she think this?  We probably go out of our way to treat other races better than we treat ourselves. Does that make me a racists against my race and hers?  Heck she’s bi-racial so by offending ourselves I’m offending two races.

For a girl who has only known an African American President and knows that daddy’s favorite golfer among all the white guys is an African American, how the heck is she seeing racial bias.

All of these questions flooded my mind in a split second like a MSNBC reporter at a Trump rally.  I pictured myself running for city council in a few years having to answer questions about how my little girl obtained racial bias and not having any answer other than “I don’t freaking know!!!!”

So I asked, “sweetie, why is the black bird the waiter.”  She looked at me with innocent eyes and said “Because he’s wearing a black uniform like waiters do.”

Phew! She’s not racist just observant (not that we eat at many restaurants with waiters in tuxes, Chili’s waiters have been known to wear black).

I know that racial bias will creep its ugly head into my child’s world through TV, the internet, music, class mates and yes through her parents.  It’s nearly impossible to avoid. The problem as I look at it is not that its there but how we handle it. I honestly believe we have become  conditioned to see differences over the last many years in a way that I didn’t feel growing up.  I’m thirty-seven and think about race more now than at any point of my life. I had African American, Hispanic, Anglo and Asian American friends growing up. To me they were just friends and race was just a thing.  Sure I’ve felt odd being the only Hispanic at times when I’m certain places but  when I stopped thinking about it all was good. I have always just considered myself an American who’s family came from Spain and Mexico a long time ago.  My race is just part of my history. I’m not disowning it, I just don’t let if define me. I like the cultural elements of my heritage, especially the food.  I just believe my character is what should define me. That’s my choice and others have the right to think different.

We are all different and that’s a beautiful thing, yet we are all humans and love flows from and to us the same. Cultural differences make the world an amazingly awesome place. It would be boring if we all act the same way. If the whole world was like Texas it would be boring, well run but boring. We need Californian’s, New Yorkers, Europeans and everyone else.

The difference we as parents can  have is to make sure our children understand that we are all the same  in that we are all unique and we all need love.  We need to discuss these issues with our kids because if they don’t learn from us they will from someone else.  First to discuss the world from this standpoint we must really take a look at how we see others and the world. Our beliefs pass on to them.  Both hatred and love are taught. We can change the entire world in one generation if we all just really grow up and think like an innocent five year old who just observes the word through fun eyes.

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“KNOW THYSELF” – Plato

There is one common element in the journey to grow a strong family and business, it’s you.  That’s right, you are with yourself 24 hours a day.  From the boardroom to the bedroom you are there with you.  The interesting thing is that many people don’t  really know who they truly are. We have all heard the stories of people taking trips and time to go “find themselves.”  If it was only as easy as looking up “ME” on EBAY. I was curious what would turn up. The search resulted in pictures and post cards about Maine. I can tell you I am definitely not there (I don’t do cold well).  On Amazon the results were a bit more interesting. A face aging app, some odd novels, and a book by Ricky Martin titled “ME”.  Not on my short list to read no matter loca my vida gets.

So where does one go to “Know Thyself?” The answer, IN.  That’s right you must venture into the most scary place of all mankind, your inner thoughts. Without going “nuts” on the psychological and self-help ideologies I truly believe there are three areas in which you must know yourself that will feed into your family, business and all spaces in between.

1. You must know what you BELIEVE

Belief systems are the basis of all decisions we make and actions we take.  How we view the world, ourselves, religion, our children, the industry we work in is key to our success in life. The belief that success is possible is the start.  Next week I will go into more detail about how belief systems as a parent and business owner need to line up and work together. When we have contradictory beliefs we create friction in our life.  To “Know Thyself” you must understand what you believe and why.  Where did it come from and why do I really believe this? Challenge yourself and strengthen your beliefs or change them.

2. You must know HOW YOU RELATE TO PEOPLE, your personality and communication styles

Do you know your personality style?  There are bunch of great tests out there. Have you ever taken one?  Everyone in the entire world should take one. I have done several. The coaching company I employee has a very detailed program that my wife and I took together. It truly helped us understand how we operate and communicate. Patience is one of the greatest expressions of love we can show. When you understand how you relate to people and how your loved ones, co-workers relate you can be patient with each other. I recently had DISC profile done and went through a great class to learn how the styles interact. I had one done for my 5 year old as well in order to better understand her (if understanding a 5 year old tween wannabe is possible).  I will get into detail on this in a future posts as well. In the meantime consider that the way you see the world is not the same as the way those around you see it. People don’t even hear words the same. Some people hear tone more than verbage and many people are the opposite. Knowing these differences make the world and it’s people easier to deal with. You can’t change others, however you can change how you relate to them.

3. You must know WHAT YOU WANT!

Having a vision of what you want your life to look like is crucial. You must have a vision for your business and for your family.  It’s not just numerical goals or resolutions. Think about how you want your life to be day to day. The type of people you want in your business. Think about how your kids behave and treat others. We all want well educated kids, but what does that mean. More importantly we want children who have great character and influence. I recently heard Andy Andrews say that we should not focus on having great kids, instead we should focus on raising on kids who become great adults. That is the truth. Greatness is a journey that can only be achieved with vision. If you don’t know where you are driving you’ll find yourself in a place you never wanted to go. One of the best exercises I have ever done is writing a letter to myself from the future. On the top of the page write the date January 8, 2019.  Then tell your current self how your life is in 2019. This is a best case scenario future. It’s your ideal life so dream big. Explain what your day looks like. How does your family begin it’s day. Where are your kids, what are their ages, how do they interact with you and your spouse. How is your relationship with your spouse. What does your company look like?  Do this for all areas of your life. Ask and answer great questions of yourself. Take 15 minutes to just free write. It’s an amazing experience and you’ll find yourself taking a lot more time.

Knowing your vision, your personality, and your beliefs will be the first steps on truly unlocking who you are and aiding your journey as a parentpreneur.

Go forth and learn thyself.