How do you create a family culture of excellence and achievement when there are so many forces driving your family in a million different directions? We parents are responsible for modeling the kind of behavior we want our kids to emulate, and yet there are so many challenges to spending quality time and effort with each other. Often, we are so busy plugging our kids into activities that we think will benefit them that we forget that time together in mutual pursuits are just as rewarding as anything else.
Here in Houston, the fourth largest city in the nation, our lifestyles are as bustling as our dynamic town. We have an exciting environment that is chock-full of opportunity. But with all of this activity comes a number of demands on our time and energy. And all of this opportunity creates a competitive environment for every member of the family in which we find ourselves juggling all of our options and vying for the ones we have deemed the best. Many of our kids have a school setting where it seems they are always either preparing for tests or taking them. They have sports, which we buy into (literally buy into) in order to provide some enjoyment and physical release. But in fact, our organized sports have become an expensive investment of time and money designed to position our kids for prime places in high school and college. The sports programs, inside and out of school, are on the top of our stressor lists as parents, as we must deliver our kids to multiple practices during the week, and games during the weekend…and fundraisers and out-of-town trips and…. This is not just true for sports. Most of the children’s extra-curricular activities have become major commitments that pull on our every resource—musical instruction, theater programs, boy and girl scouts—the list of activities goes on and on.
How do we do it all? How do we make better choices and better manage the choices we’ve made? How do we strengthen ourselves mentally and physically for all of our work, school and other demands? And how do we prioritize working together as a family to achieve these objectives?
There are no easy answers, no short-cuts, to running a busy family smoothly and optimally for all involved. Neha Gupta, a young and dynamic friend of mine, is answering the call with a seminar for parents and students. She is the principal of Elite Private Tutors, and has joined forces with Michael Morningstar, founder of Great NEWS (Nutrition, Energy, Wellness and Success) Strategies Coaching. On February 23rd, 2013, they are offering a one-day seminar, Peak Performance and Ten Commitments for Great Health and More Energy, through their collaboration, StudentParentCoaching.com. Theirs is a holistic approach to peak performance in all areas of family life. The program includes specific strategies, suggestions and skill sets designed to deal with the many issues students are facing and the myriad challenges for parents. I love that the seminar is offered as a family event. I think two crucial components missing in many family lives are quality family time and family joint endeavor. One of the factors that make our lives so stressful is that our households are divided. We rarely eat together. And we most often do not problem-solve as a family. But when parents commit as a family to a seminar like this one about self-improvement, this action alone makes two very important statements: One, that meaningful family improvement is a family priority, and two, by parents attending and not just “dropping off,” they are acknowledging that some of that family improvement begins with them. These are important messages for kids, especially teens, who often feel that the only feedback from their parents is criticism and thus have learned to tune them out. When our teens no longer hear our voices, then our actions must speak louder than our words.
Gupta and Morningstar are forward thinking and expansive about their concept of peak performance. We usually think of peak performance in connection with sports. And we think of tutoring as a means to get better grades or test scores. As a parent, I want these things for my children—academic and athletic excellence. But I have been a parent long enough to know that I desire much for them. I want them to be balanced, self-aware and confident in every setting. I want them to know what it means to be healthy and I want their “normal” to mean that they are always functioning with high energy and a clear mind. I desire for them to exhibit excellence not just for their own advancement, but with a vision of how they will contribute to the world and make a meaningful contribution by helping others. These require skills beyond an “A” grade and a first place trophy.
Neha says that with these new seminar offerings, she is looking to shift her focus beyond academic success to helping students become “outstanding, contributing citizens of the world.” The factors that impact the lives of students—technological distractions, bullying and interpersonal challenges, isolation and loneliness—will be addressed through the introduction of communication skills and peer group building, with an emphasis on self-confidence development. Michael Morningstar brings a whole arsenal of techniques and approaches that address health, energy and emotional outlook. I suspect there will be some things we parents know already and need help implementing, along with some new ideas to try. But the promise of an interdisciplinary approach to optimal family functioning is very attractive to this old parent who knows the old divide-and-conquer way of dealing with family challenges is not so effective.
I think StudentParentCoaching is onto something big! And I am looking forward to seeing what they are able to accomplish in the Houston community!
For more information on the Peak Performance and Ten Commitments for Great Health and More Energy Seminar, go HERE!