Aug. 27, 2020

37 Perspectives of an outlier dad. Arel Moodie’s journey from welfare to successful entrepreneur

37 Perspectives of an outlier dad. Arel Moodie’s journey from welfare to successful entrepreneur

Arel Moodie is a Jewish person of colour (white mom and a black dad) who grew up in the projects in New York witnessing gang violence and fatherlessness all around him. Arel has built a million-dollar company and made Inc. Magazine’s “30 under 30” list. President Obama has personally acknowledged him for his work.

Arel has two boys (7 and 5). Arel shares his own racial identities and personal identity struggles and how this has shaped him as a dad. We also discuss learnings from his dad, leaving behind our own trauma in parenting, effort and excellence, how Arel empowers his children, how to deal with bullying and preparing kids for a racial divide. Arel talks about playful parenting, owning emotions, non-actions, the importance of language, bonding and the power of routines.

The most powerful takeaways for me as a dad where:

  1. If nothing else, you can control effort.
  2. Seperate your own trauma from your parenting Teach in peaceful moments.
  3. Do roughhousing dads!
  4. Appreciation dinner rounds with the family - I love this!
  5. Maybe the most valuable learning: mom first, kids second. Don’t become two adults who are merely co-living and co-parenting.

If you love this session, please share it. Thank you and enjoy this episode with Arel Moodie.

Arel Moodie (guest):

Books:

Philipp Hartmann (host):

Transcript

AM: 

[00:02:15] Okay. The best advice I can give myself as a dad is raise my sons for who they are and not to try to fix my broken childhood.

PH: 

[00:02:43] Good. All right. I am super stoked to have you. Thank you very, very much for sitting with me. We had a call in the car the last time, and it was very inspirational for me.

[00:02:57] And obviously since I have Googled you and I have checked out your stuff and that is really, really cool. I am incredibly happy to have you. Would you give us a quick intro about yourself as a businessman and to your story, make it short? And then we dive straight into a real dad.

AM: 

[00:03:13] Yeah. So, I am an entrepreneur. I have been so ever since I graduated college, I had different startups, but they all kind of revolved around the idea of speaking and impacting people through speaking. I had an off-campus housing service when I first started, to help college students find housing, roommates and sublet, it was an online company. 

[00:03:30] After exiting from that, I got really into the idea of teaching entrepreneurship, because it changed my life at a young age and traveled around the country, teaching entrepreneurship too. Young people too, you know, adults. It was amazing. And now I spend a lot of my time doing professional speaking, motivational speaking, leadership development, and that has transitioned into me teaching others about how to create online courses, how to impact people through speaking. And I just think that the medium of sharing your voice, whether it is through a podcast, whether it is through speaking, when you can really impact people with the time you spend with them, it's one of the biggest pound for pound ways to make a difference. So just super excited to get through that way..

 PH: 

[00:04:15] Good man. Yeah, that is true. And yourself as a dad. Just give us a quick overview.

AM: 

[00:04:21] Yeah. So, I have two sons at this current age of recording, I have a seven-year-old and a five-year-old and a beautiful wife.

PH: 

[00:04:30] Yeah. So, you are also in the thick of it like me.

AM: 

[00:04:33] Yeah. It is funny because I look at them, one is actually going to be turning eight in a couple of months.  And I was looking at this picture on Facebook that popped up, you know, how they do the like, oh three years ago today, four years ago today. And I realized just how much their face changes in such a year or two, you know, I, I see him every day, so it does not necessarily impact me, but you look at a picture you were not expecting to see, and you see how much they have grown. You get how quick this whole Parenthood thing really is.

PH: 

[00:05:02] Can you share a bit, you said, you said you want to bring up your kids for who they are and, and kind of leave your, your own broken childhood out of it or not have that impact their childhood so much, I guess, as a dad.

AM: 

[00:05:15] Yeah.

PH: 

[00:05:16] Can you share a bit around that? Where does that come from? Just talk about that a bit.

AM: 

[00:05:20] Well, I think what happens and I was on this track, a lot of dads do is they think about where they messed up as a kid, or they could have been stronger or where they could have been better. So, we think about our own lives, where we messed up, and then we have this belief that says, I am going to make sure my kid does not make the same mistakes that I make. So then what happens is you start raising the old version of you and not raising the kid. I will give you a perfect example of this. I remember I was trying to teach my kid when he was young to put his shoes on himself. He would always take his shoes off and cry, complain and say, daddy, put my shoes on. And I was like, no, you got to put your shoes on. And it turns into this big fight. Every time we had to leave the house, like you got to put your shoes on. And then I like to put my pole in the sand, and I was like, no, you're going to put your shoes on. And you got to like fight through your negative thoughts and your negative energy. And you think you cannot do it, but you can.

You got to like, it, became this huge thing. And it was just a kid putting a shoe on. And what I came to realize was I had this fear that my, my son was not going to push through, and he was going to limit himself. And if he did not conquer those negative thoughts right now, he, he was going to have this like horrific childhood where people would make fun of him.

And I remember someone asking me. Well, did you get made fun of a lot when you were a kid? And I said, yeah, I got made fun of a ton. And it was like, so it is not about you trying to get your kid to put his shoe on it is about you trying to protect yourself from being made fun of from the past. And that was just this crazy brain change for me because I realized I was not really just about trying to help him get his shoe on. It was about me going, I got made fun of, because you know, I did not have good clothes and I was not good. And I do not want him to get made fun of, because he does not know how to tie his shoes or put his shoes on and I'm going to like to stop him from getting made fun of, and yeah, it was all of this ridiculous pressure I was putting on my kid, for just putting your shoes on.  And once I realized it literally had nothing to do with him and everything to do with me, trying to fix this broken, you know, being made fun of and all that stuff I was able to relax and just like, dude, like, you are going to get your shoes when you put them on. And the funniest thing happens within like a week when he did not feel me putting all this pressure on him, he was putting his shoes on. No problem. And it was a big eye-opener that, you know, he is growing up in a totally different neighborhood, a totally different personality, a totally different skillset. And if I raise him solely on me trying to fix my past, I am not raising him and meeting him where he is. I am trying to be this like, time-traveler to save me.

And I think ultimately that is where an incredible amount of frustration and fight and anger comes between parents and children. Hmm,

PH: 

[00:08:24] that is powerful. Thank you for sharing that. Yeah. And it is in a way, I guess that is also, you make a big point on, on effort and you kind of alluded to it now, and you said you have to push through this and like your negative energy in this.

[00:08:39] So I guess what it means is that you allow the child to decide when he was ready to put his own effort in. And rather than having this force externalized by you forcing him to do this, he internalized the effort and then it becomes effortless in a sense, right. When it becomes much easier.

AM: 

[00:08:59] Yeah. It kind of becomes the thing.

What I realized is I thought that it is quite a common thing that if I put my hand against your hand and I push on it, your natural instinct in many terms is to push back just to keep your balance. So, what happens with, with the idea of effort? And that idea is excessively big to me, I spent, you know, years speaking and talking about, we cannot control, you know, our wealth, what we're born into. We cannot control if we are smart or talented, but we can control effort. It is a very controllable thing, but if I force it and push it, like you have got to put in more effort, you got to put in more effort, I am holding my kid to a standard of a, you know, 30 something year old versus holding them to the standard of where he is at like three or four at the time. But by teaching the principle of effort and saying why it is important and then helping him realize it is his decision to make, he then wants to do it because I am not pushing it. And I think what happens to a lot of people is we push so hard for them to be a certain way we are not raising them for who they are.

We're raising them for who we want them to be. And a lot of times what happens is parents will say, Oh, I have given everything, and my kid still pushes and fights everything, it is because we're pushing so hard. We are not letting them internalize the belief system of whether it is effort or whatever it might be.

And I think them deciding for themselves, they want to do it has been the biggest aha moment for me, instead of forcing him to do it, teaching it to him and letting him get it on his own has just changed our entire relationship. 

PH: 

[00:10:36] Yeah. Yeah. And for that, you need to separate your trauma, your own trauma from the past, from your parenting, right? Yeah.

AM: 

[00:10:44] That's a tough one. That is a tough one. That is tough. We as parents, we think that, well, I went through these horrible things I am going to make sure my kid will not go through it. You know, as an example, I grew up in low-income housing in America, right? So, we are from Brooklyn, New York in the projects. It was a very tough environment. You know, I have witnessed people get shot and killed and witness friends go to jail. I have been robbed at knife point and there are these really real situations. And, and thank God, my kid is growing up in a totally different kind of neighborhood. It is much more suburban, less, you know, it is more affluent, so there's not as much quote unquote crime and stuff that's happening here. So I am trying to prepare him for a world that I grew up in that he is not growing up in. So, he does not understand why he must act a certain way. And I am like, he is also not growing up in that environment. So, I need to teach him for the environment he is in versus trying to prepare him for something that it is just not his reality.

And I think when we do that, I allow him to express himself and to share his emotions. And that is just it, if you think your own traumas are your kids, then you are already starting your kids off, like in the deficit versus meeting them where they are, which is the most beautiful thing we can do as parents, is parent our kids for who they are.

PH: 

[00:12:07] Yeah. But it is difficult because it is very conceptual to separate your own feelings from yourself in order to make a decision to act in a certain way so that you can teach your children without your past, that you are your past also, so, you know, you have been hardened by your growing up and, in a sense, and that is just part of you, right?

You cannot just separate yourself from your own past. This is a big, big one. Can you talk about how? How do you convey the idea of putting effort in without pushing so hard? So how do you teach a child? Therefore, effort is important, and this is how effort works in order to get to a result. Without forcing the child to do something. Do you understand what I mean? How do you teach the principles?

AM: 

[00:12:55] So we, I am a, I am an excessively big advocate in the idea of creating call and responses with my kid. So, here is what that means. I say a phrase, he finishes it. So, I say the phrase “effort is”, and then he repeats “everything”.So it is just as quality and responsible. I say, “hey son effort is”, he says “everything”. And I say, “hard work”. He says “pays off”. So, so we, throughout the day, right before he goes to sleep, I will say hard work. And he will say, pays off, effort is everything I say, “Moodie men put in”. He will say “effort”. Cause our last name is Moodie.

[00:13:28] So request that was Moodie Men. So, what happens is, I teach him this, refrain, this, this back-and-forth hard work pays off Moodie men put in effort, effort is everything right? So, we say that, you know, throughout time. So then when we are like playing basketball and he is shooting and missing, and then he's quitting, I'll say hard work.And then he goes, pays off and he will pick up the ball and go back and dribble the ball. So, I'm not like forcing him to say, listen, man, you got to dig deep, and you got to believe in yourself and you got to, you know, I'm not going into this lecture. I am teaching him in peaceful times that hard work is important by having this call and response.

So, you know, I will sit them down and say, hey son, when I say hard work, I want you to say pays off and then I will ask them, well, what does that mean to you? What, why do you think I say that to you all the time, and this is during peaceful times, right? Like there is no, there is no tantrum. There is no like moment he needs to do it. It is just like, we are over dinner and he can intellectually explain to me, well, you got to put in hard work because that's how you achieve anything. And I was like, all right, that is right. That is right. So then when we are in the middle of an experience where he wants to quit, whether it is like he's building Legos and they keep falling, all I have to say to them is hard work. And then he goes, please, and then he internalizes it and then he decides. 

I am not saying you got to finish. I am not saying you got to push through it. I am reemphasizing. And then if he does quit, I let him quit in that moment. And then when he's calmed down, we'll have a conversation and say, hey man, I noticed that when you were doing the Legos, you quit on it. Tell me about what happened, and he will explain about where he was frustrated. And I think one of the most important questions we can ask kids is about effort specifically is which part is the hard part. So, he's building the Legos and he's like, it wasn't working. I go, okay. Which part was the hard part because now it is causing him to reflect on why were my Legos falling? 

Why was it? And then he goes, well, the hard part was this and then I go, okay, cool. So, the next time that happens, what do you think you can do? Well, I could, I do not know. Maybe ask mommy to do that part. Okay, cool. So just try that next time. There was a quote that I love that says when someone is drowning, it is not the time to give swim lessons.

So, what that means is when a kid is in the middle of their emotional storm, when they are in the middle of their tantrum, most parents are trying to pierce their anger right then and there. And I would just say, well, how has that been working? Does it? So I will say, okay, cool. Let it go. And then we have a conversation about it. And then what I have noticed is, by me saying hard work and he says, pays off, he is internalizing, this is a moment that I need to put in effort. And if he chooses to, he will see the benefit of it. And then when he gets the benefit, I like, I am his biggest cheerleader. I am like, yeah, dude, see how you did it, man, I am proud of you, you know, but I am letting him decide versus me forcing it upon them in a moment he is having emotional turmoil.

PH: 

[00:16:20] Yeah. I think it is amazing. It is like a, almost like a, yeah. Implementing this trigger point where you can just trigger that, trigger that response. And he understands, okay, now, if, I give everything now, I have a better chance of actually achieving this, but

PH: 

[00:16:37] yeah. Okay. It is important to say you do not have to do that, and then when you get a good result. Yeah. Sorry.

AM: 

[00:16:43] Yeah, no, no, no. I was just saying, and you know, he is he, I have a five-year-old and a seven-year-old. And what I have noticed is that by having the conversations about it in peaceful times when they are not upset, that is the crucial part. Not right afterwards. It might be dinner. This might happen at 10:00 AM and I will just hold onto it and not bring it up until dinner time when he is totally cool. His blood sugar levels are stable. He has eaten, he is happy. And then he can talk about it objectively and not emotionally. So, it's just really important that that happens. And it is not just in the moment. You are trying to make it better. You got to really have that conversation afterwards.

PH: 

[00:17:21] Yeah. Yeah. So, you wait for the teachable moment. It is it; he actually receives what you're saying. He can hear you. Yeah. Can you talk a bit more on how it was for you to grow up and how much of that plays into you being a dad today?

AM: 

[00:17:39] Yeah, you know, so I was unique where I grew up, so I grew up in, you know, the projects, low-income housing in New York. And one of the things that was fascinating is, the area I grew up in, all my friends did not have a dad, there were single parents, or if their dad was there, he was rarely ever there. I was fortunate where my dad was in my life. You know, he was there, he is still alive, you know, still a major part of my life. And he is you know, muscular guys, super alpha male, but he was also very loving. And so, I got to see firsthand, tThe idea of being an alpha male, like being someone who like, you know, nobody wants to mess with, but he would still give me hugs.

He was still kissing me on my head. He would still tell me he loves me. So, in terms of parenthood, I was very, very fortunate that I had this figure that I could look at and, and, you know, model where a lot of my friends didn’t. And I did not realize how big of a play that was until I’m an adult and I am looking back at where I could have been, you know, and what could have happened to me based on my environment. 

[00:18:47] So my environment was still difficult. Like I still dealt with all the challenges, but I realized I had a dad I can come back to who was playful. So, I model a lot of his parenting philosophies with my kids. And I'm just super grateful that I have that, and I realize that that's not unfortunately a very common practice in more low-income areas.

And I think dads are, I think, I think we have not put an emphasis on the importance of dads, the way that we should, because I can look at my life and say, well, what are some of the factors that made my life so different? And I think it's because I was the only one that I knew of that had a dad that was always there.

PH: 

[00:19:30]  That's so crazy. You know that I've, I've heard of this, or I know this because I, I had two dads on the podcast, Amar and Coley, and Coley had to go to prison to serve a life sentence of 16 years when Amar was two. And so, I had both on and Amar he kept on saying, look, you know, like most of my friends had like a dad who wasn't there, who was incarcerated, even if it was like a non-topic. It's just like, and my dad's in prison. Yeah okay. Carry on. Kind of like, no one would discuss it. Like people would not even discuss it with the kids. It was only normal in that community and mind blowing, like in a negative way. And can you, can you talk about, you said you model a lot of the stuff that your dad did as a father. Can you be specific around that? What did he do?

AM: 

[00:20:17] Yeah, so specifically, you know, he, he roughhoused with me a lot, you know, like literally just physically playing with me. And I got to tell you it blew my mind because that to me is fun. So, it's just genuinely fun for me. I like to wrestle with them, get on the ground with 'em throw them on the ground or jump on my back. And we play, you know we play the floor is lava. I do not know if you have ever played that. But I am the, I am the lava monster. So, they're jumping from like cushion to cushion on the floor, but I'm this monster trying to like to knock them down and stuff. And, you know, I realized that rough housing is so important because a lot of dads I think do not do that. And the only reason why I believe that to be true is because when I play with other kids always trying to rough house with me and the moms always go, ah, man, you know, their dad does not do this with them. And that is why they love coming over and hanging out with you, just like. Pre COVID right. But they like coming around with you because you physically play with them. And I think specifically for boys have, and this may not be true cause I do not have daughters, so it may be true for daughters, but I just have boys. So, I can only speak from my experience. They have so much energy and so much just like this frantic energy that when you, when you roughhouse with them, you let them get it out. 

You let them expel that energy. And there are some kids I know who have all this energy, but do not necessarily expel it. So, nine times out of 10, they do something bad with that energy. They punch a sibling, or they bite a sibling, or they do something like that. So, I have noticed that the more I roughhouse with my kids and they get that energy out, they do not physically fight each other as much, which is always a big problem with small kids as they physically hurt each other, because they are fighting all the time. So, I just think that small thing of expending that energy with them and building that bonding time with them, is almost becoming a little bit lost. In terms of just how dads interact with their 

PH: 

[00:22:12] kids. It is especially important. There are two good books that are not on the topic, but the topic is very much part of the books. It’s called The Boy Crisis, by Dr. Warren Farrell, he was also on my podcast and he has a lot of studies on it actually. And it is remarkably interesting. Often the mothers do not realize how important rough housing is. Dads do it apparently. So that stewards intuitively. And so, the mother goes, Oh, you know, you're winding up the kid again, but he's supposed to sleep now. So, you know, what are you doing? He is expending energy so he can sleep later. And the second book that's big on it is Raising Boys by Steve Biddulph. Particularly good book. I really liked it. I also have two boys and man, they have too much energy. It is true. They only three and I just like to go off and you can't like,

AM: 

[00:23:04] yeah. And you know, I think that I am, I am big into the idea of rough housing and have you ever heard the term playful parenting?

PH: 

[00:23:12] No, explain it.

AM: 

[00:23:13] Man, so I am, I am really, big on the idea of playful parenting. So, for example let's say your kid gets upset and like runs off into their room. Right. And they are just angry at you. Now. A lot of parents, what they do is they will overcome that, their kid being upset, with more anger. So, be like, you better come down here right now. You are not about to disrespect me in my household. Right. You know, like, so they are trying to create this alpha state. And look there's times where you just got to look at this time, you have got to raise your voice. I am not against it. It is not like I never raised my voice, but a lot of times, like, you know, I might make a letter, excuse me, like just take pieces of paper. And write like a big smiley face on it and put it under the door and slide it to my kid. And then the kid will see that. And then, you know when he started reading, I would write notes. Like daddy loves you. I was like, you can be mad at me for as long as you want. And I started sliding like four or five, six pieces of these like notes on the door. And then after a while he opened the door and was laughing at me and, you know, just being playful me and my wife wrote a children's book. On how to stop. It is a, it is a picture book with this playful parenting technique that we came up with how to stop meltdowns and tantrums. So, we call it the Purple Penguin. And basically, the idea behind it is when a kid's having a tantrum. Yeah. The emotional brain is kind of kicking over and they are losing their ability to think logically.

So there is an adult technique where you can picture your room, different colors. Like what would my room look like if it were like a bright orange? So, we turned it into this idea of purple where it's like, can you find anything in the room that is purple? And there was this purple penguin that touches things and turns things purple.

So whenever the kids would get upset, I was like, Hmm, I think the purple penguin’s been here. Let me go. I was like, let us go try to catch him. Now instead of them focusing on this, this anger they are focusing on what is purple. And then when they're calmed down, then it can be like, all right, well, let's talk about what caused you to be angry. 

So you create that buffer and then have that conversation. And that kind of playfulness surprisingly is wildly effective. And it's more fun for me as a parent to be playful and to get the result than to like to be stern and mean and right. And get the same

PH: 

[00:25:24results from your dad. Or did you learn too somewhere else?

AM: 

[00:25:28] This is from my wife. My wife is super, super smart with, I think she reads tons of books and tons of and then she like shares it with me and she shared with me the idea of playful parenting. And I just immediately said, that is a great idea.

PH: 

[00:25:43] I love it. I love it. Especially, I love the, I love the purple penguin, but I am going to check it out. But I also like the one with the letters or with the little notes under the door, because it is, you know, that kind of. Yeah. I mean, the child goes into her room or his room and, and that's already where kind of a separation happens. Right. And so how do you breach that, that bridge or that, that. You know, closed door.

AM: 

[00:26:12] Well, one of the things, one of the things my wife does from a playful parent perspective, which I think is genius is especially people with little kids, we have all dealt with that. You are walking somewhere with your kids and then your kid just stops walking. Right. They just sit down, and they are like, I don't want to walk, like I am so tired or whatever. So, my wife has this like imaginary dust called magic walking powder. So, she goes, Oh, you need some magic walking powder, hold on. As she like reaches into her pocket and grabs like a fake, you know, it is invisible, right? And then she goes, Oh, you need extra magic walking powder, I will give you the extra strength walking powder. It was like, no, your legs are stronger than ever. And then the kids play into it and then he bounced up and then they are like, my legs are super strong now. And it is they are walking. Cause typically what we would do is “get up, come on, my hands are full, like we got to get some”, and then it becomes this yell in this battle.

If you can be playful with it, the kids like it and you get the result that you want and it is just,

 

PH: 

[00:27:06] yeah. Yeah. That kind of distraction is very powerful. Right. Distraction and distracting from the conflict, kind of finding a creative way like your wife does in this case with the powder. Yup. Yup.

AM: 

[00:27:18] And I, I think the big thing, as long as you address the issue later, you know, because again, when someone's drowning, it's not the time to give swim lessons, you know?

So when they're in the middle of their emotional explosion, that's when most parents, and that's what I was giving all my like, Hey, get up and believe in yourself and blah, blah, all that stuff. And it is like you just speaking to like, you know, a man, like in one of the things that I think is a brilliant way to look at parenting is very simply, imagine an adult was going through that situation, whatever the situation with your kid is, would you speak to an adult that way? You know, so like, let us say your wife is crying and super upset, you know, something bad happened, whatever, and she is super crying. Would you say, suck it up,

PH: 

[00:28:05] get over it. You can do it

AM: 

[00:28:09] right once. Like, you know, you would never speak to your wife, you would never like, you know, at least not, if you want to get positive results with speech in that way. So, you know, and in the same way, like this, like this is a great example of like how we speak to them, which is different. So, imagine an adult sits down in a coffee shop and buys a newspaper, right, this is like pre COVID. Right? Since a coffee shop buys a newspaper, would you walk right up to that adult and be like, yo, let me get your newspaper, cause I want to read it. Like no, like as an adult, I would never do that. But with kids, when a kid gets like a new toy and their sibling goes, I want to see that toy, we almost immediately go share your toy, you know, share that is important. And it is like, but I, I would not go to an adult and immediately make them, they just bought a newspaper, give me their newspaper. If they just bought a book, give me the book. I want to read it. So, I think if we can process it through that lens, we can realize how we sometimes hold kids to these standards that we do not hold ourselves to. And I think if kids can sense that I am holding, they are being held to a standard that I, as a parent, I am not living there becomes a disconnect. I just think it is pure like psychology or subconscious mindset. But if there is a disconnect, like you would not do that, but you want me to do that, then there is there's conflict, so I am also aware of, you know, being playful with them, but also realizing am I asking them to do something that I would not. Asking myself to do I do that.

PH: 

[00:29:35] So earlier, you know, your brain is 12 times. So, whatever the age of, of, of the brain talking about my children, three, two I'm 41. So that is like more than that.

So, you know, their brain is simply not developed and that fires on the sharing, I like the word taking turns, but taking turns better than sharing because sharing implies ownership in my mind also. And taking turns is immensely powerful because it means it goes into a circuit. So, you can read the newspaper that the part of the newspaper that, that I've read already. Of course, no problem. Yeah. You know, do you mind if I take that because I’ve put it down and, I am busy reading the rest. Sure. That is fine. You know, but you are not taking it with taking turns in that sense. And I liked that, and I liked the sharing is a big one. You know if you do not share, I think, I think no one must share. In terms of the kids, but they must learn how that sharing is important because you cannot always have ownership of everything alone or use every single loan as often. It is not even about ownership. And if you do not share it, that is fine, but it might be that the next child will not share with you neither.

And then you feed

AM: 

[00:30:48] and that that is where the beauty comes in. I, I love the natural consequences of business because you know, when my, my oldest son gets something and he does not want to give it to his brother and I go, cool, you know, would you mind playing for, you know, maybe for an hour or so, and they will let your brother play with and he goes, no, it is mine. So I go, okay, cool. Just remember you made this decision right now and you are deciding to treat your brother this way. If he gets something in the future, he has the right to do it the same way. And then he just kind of thinks about that, like, wait, wait, wait a minute. And then sometimes the natural class was this, his brother might get something real cool. And then he goes, you know, but my young, my youngest son. Thinks his older brother is like 

PH: 

[00:31:26] a superhero. So, like

AM: 

[00:31:28] he, he can do no wrong. So, we'll still share with him anyways, but then I'll say, yeah, but, but, you know, I'll make sure to say like, man, see how good that feels when your brother shares with you, he'll start internalizing like, you know, it feels good to take turns or share. And, and I think it is a process. I think we expect kids to be these altruistic beings right out the gate, you know, it is, it is a you know, it is a, long-term process. And I think that if we take the approach of, I might have to repeat this 600 times, but if they get it on the 601st time, that success, and you know, I just take the long-term approach with them.I think that they are going to be much better versus me forcing it. Cause I can get, look, I can get really scary if I need to. And I think that I can get scary and then they will do what I want them to do. But are they doing it because they want to, or just because I like intimidated them to do so? I would much, rather than be the types of people that internally share care, give charity cared about their fellow man, because they want to, because then when I am not around, you know, because I am not going to be here forever, they are going to have that as a skillset that is inside of them versus something that they only do because mom and dad said, so

 

PH: [00:32:39] 

yeah, it can be difficult. Especially having that patience. Do you try and negotiate win-win solutions? Do you negotiate with the kids? 

AM: 

[00:32:48] And that is all about, win-win like my whole, like, that is one of the other, like, so we have lots of calls and responses and lots of things that we do as a family. And one of the big things is when my kids are arguing with each other, I do not give them solutions. I ask the question, what is the win-win. So, the brother, the brothers they're fighting with each other, I am not going to say stop it because that's a, that is a non-action stop it. What does that mean? So, I always like to ask my boys, what's the win-win you win here? I was like there is and I believe this in life I always believe there is always a win-win. If you look for it, then I will say, look what right now, what you are doing is creating a loss, lose. Or you are creating, you are winning, he is losing, or I'm losing, you're winning. And we are not about that. We are about the win-win. So, let's think what's the win-win and then I shut up and I say, you have to come up with a solution. And if they can't, I will come up with, I think is, and I say, do you think that is a fair solution? And they say, yeah. And then we will go but I think if more parents just, you know, because I've observed parents when they get upset and I, I get it, cause it is emotional. It is a lot of stop doing that. Do not hit your brother. Don't do this. There is a lot of stop actions. And what I found is when I started making it a proactive solution where it is like, what is the win-win like he is upset. You are not upset. What is the win-win? How do you both win? They are incredible at coming up with solutions because now they must think about it versus just going, I want it is mine. Or if I go, Hey, when you did that, you know, and I, and I am excessively big on the idea of owning emotions and it is not, you're making me upset. I am not saying that because then I am not owning my emotions as a father. So, if they're screaming and yelling, I'll say. Hey boys, when you are yelling like that, I feel like you are not respecting me because I had said I needed 10 minutes of quiet and I feel disrespected. Is there a way we can create a win-win where you can still play? And I can get a couple of moments of silence so I can work, and they'll say, Oh, well, maybe we can go outside. And then, you know, it will not be so loud. Oh, that sounds great. So, they're coming up with it. And then ultimately my hope is that over time, they’re going to see ways to create. Win-wins not just with our family, but in their actual life, and they become better leaders and, you know, someone that people want to be around because they are creating solutions versus focusing on them.

PH: 

[00:35:09] Yeah. That is like textbook pet, parental effectiveness training. Do you know that system?

AM: 

[00:35:15] No, I do not know.



PH: 

[00:35:16] It is powerful. I am doing a course on it now with my wife. And it is a lot around what you just described. Just a different word. There there's language in the system. So, I message. You know, you share your own feeling here, guys. And I feel respected without putting the child down, just sharing your own feelings and then going into well, when they are really small, you go straight into solution mode because they can't. But when they're older like yours, you said what could be when, when, and it's very much about win-win and three different. But what you referred to as when the child is drowning, it is not a good teachable moment they refer to as. The no problem zone, err, sorry, the out of balance area. So, in the no problem zone you can discuss anything, that's a teachable moment, but when there's a big tantrum, you can't, so you have to do it afterwards.  And it's very much around, around what you're discussing, and these principles are very powerful, although they are, it is difficult. You know, like, I mean I struggled, we have twins and triplets, and they are pretty much the same age and it's not always easy to negotiate. The win-win outcomes, sometimes you just got jiust, stop it.

AM: 

[00:36:24] I mean, like it is, it is if it were easy, everybody would be great parents, you know what I mean? Like it, it takes a lot of, it takes a lot of work, but, you know, ultimately what gives me like hope at least, or what I feel like gives me hope is that I believe thathild cren will remember the general sense of what their childhood was like. You know, they are going to be moments I scream at them. Of course, there is going to be moments where, you know, I make them cry, you know, like that is just going to, there is no way I'm not going to do that. But if the general memory is, my dad loved me, my dad was present, you know, and I'm being like, because I used to travel. I mean, before COVID I keep saying pre COVID, right? Pre COVID. I used to travel all the time for my speaking engagements, and I used to get nervous about like, Oh, like me being away. Is this going to like emotionally to affect them? But then I realized that, you know, there are a lot of dads that are with their kid every day, but they never spend time with them. Or they are looking at their phone as they push the swing and they are not present in that moment. And I think that if you curate quality over quantity and obviously you can have quality quantity, that is ideal. Right. But that's kind of kind of stressful at times as well. But if they have these deep moments with you that is going to be the sense of their childhood, and that is more important than these individual moments where we,

PH: 

[00:37:43] yeah. However, I do think you have to have a certain level of quantity to be able to achieve the required threshold of quality, right? Because you cannot just at the push of a button tap. Okay. Now it is quality. It is not, you need quality.

AM: 

[00:37:57] Well, if you are doing it once every six years, yeah, it is not going to be

 

PH: 

[00:38:00] as effective. You mentioned basketball, you know, you need to shoot so many balls in order to learn how to hit or, you know, not to miss. And that is the fact. So, if you travel all the time and you're only able to be home Sunday afternoons to maybe reconsider how you spend the time, if you want to do that, you do not have to do that. But if you want to do that as a dad, 

AM: 

[00:38:19] then that's, and, and I'm big on the idea of routines, you know, so we every Friday night, like we have a special dinner where, we're Jewish, so we have something called like a Shabbat dinner. So, it's a cool thing where basically every Friday night you have a, it's not just like regular dinner, it's special dinner, you know? So it is like, you know, nice chicken and nice bread and we bring up the nice tablecloth. You make it really fancy. And it becomes a moment where we go around the table and we do appreciations. And I really liked this idea where it is told to me on an airplane. The guy who I was just sitting next to and I was like, I am doing that. I love this. So basically, obviously your kids have to be a little bit older so they can speak, right? If you have babies, it is not as effective, but everyone goes around the table and they say something they appreciate about the other person. Right. So, let's say its mom. So me as dad, I will say what I appreciate about her. And then each one of my sons will say something specific that they appreciate about her, that she did for them that week. So, it's building this kind of, it builds this like weekly time that we show each other. We appreciate each other and there is no TV. There's no phones. There is no, it is just us. And no matter what, how crazy the world might get, that is consistent and that is like a beautiful thing.

PH: 

[00:39:36] Yeah. I love that. I do something similar with my wife. We have a whole routine. That is called check out, check in. It starts with grateful. So, I'm grateful. I thank you for having the kids today. When I want to go surfing then there is a personal high, or we start with personal law, then there is personal high of the day. Horizon. This is on my mind. And then acknowledgement. I have been I do not smoke, but just as an example, I've been trying, I've been really trying really hard not to smoke.

I've I see that. I see that you have been working on that. 

AM:

You do that daily.

PH: 

[00:40:09] We used to do it daily. Now we do it when we sit on the couch and there's time and it just happens. Yeah. But we do it regularly, like at least three, four, five times a week. Yeah. It is just lots of check-in and we go straight into it and what is nice about it is that. You go, and you find, you find a level, you go straight to important things, right? It is personal low today. What is this. And then maybe you linger on the topic and you talk about it a little bit or not, and you just, okay. And what is your high and your again, on something important.

AM: 

[00:40:42] Yep. I like that. I might have to swipe that from you

PH: 

[00:40:47] we swap. I am going to, I am going to take your appreciation dinner round, because I really liked that with the kids. And I think the five-year-old very much would understand the concept.

AM: 

[00:40:55] They do. Absolutely.

PH: 

[00:40:56] Can I ask you about your religion? Is, did you convert when, because obviously growing up, you were not Jewish, right?

AM: 

[00:41:04] No, I grew up Jewish. Yes. So, my, my mother is a white Ashkenazi Jew from like Europe, my dad is a Jamaican man, so black,

PH: 

[00:41:14] but you identify as a black male.

AM: 

[00:41:17] I identify as a person of color. Okay. I, you know because my, my mother's white, my dad's black. Right. So, you know, my, my black identity is especially important to me, but I would never own my personal identity in place of my mother either. so I liked the, I prefer the term person of color because it, I feel like it is more definitive of who I am. I am sure society sees me as a black man or sees me differently. But that is how it is.

PH: 

[00:41:46] It is your own decision, you know, that is like, okay. And that is remarkably interesting. Okay. I have two black children, you know that.

AM: 

[00:41:53] No, I did not know that.



PH: 

[00:41:54] So I adopted, the twins are adopted and they are black and my biological children are white because my wife's white and I am also white. Yeah, it is a totally interesting topic for me. Like how interracial families work. And so how was that for you, interracial family? I mean, it must have been interesting in the project.

AM: 

[00:42:15] Yeah, it is. I mean, so taking into consideration this, I am white and black, and my wife is Asian and Latina, or 

PM:

you must've had beautiful children. 

AM:

Thank you. I mean, I am married up, you know, I am married up for especially important reasons. So, if you have two kids, right. But my kids are Jamaican, Puerto Rican, Korean. Wait, let me try again, right? Yep. Jamaican Puerto Rican Korean Jews. Right? So, they have this incredible mix inside of them. And I it is, it is, it's really fascinating because they're growing up with holding on to, you know, when they see each one of their grandparents looks totally different, like each one of them is a totally different view, we have, you know, my side of the family, that is completely black. We have my side of the family that is completely white. My wife has her side of the family that is completely Latina, Latino, Latin X, and another side of her family that is completely Asian. So, they're growing up in this world where they're seeing this incredible hodgepodge and my hope is that they just think that's normal, right. That like, yeah. Yeah. You know, being around, you know, and, and that is my hope is that to them, it is just going to be like, it should be, you know, you're, you have a different color skin. Yeah. That is fine. Whatever you have a different religion. That is fine. That is cool. Like, you know, that is my hope. So hopefully they get that

PH: 

[00:43:36] I mean are they getting the the concept already of, of identifying or just for them.

[00:43:40] It is like,

AM: 

[00:43:41] That's a good question. I do not think so, because I asked them about it, like basically pride, like, Oh, I am Korean, I am Puerto Rican. Like they will they say it with pride, but I do not think they've gotten, they haven't had the life experience yet, or they haven't been exposed yet to where I think someone questions who they are yet, you know? Because that is the big thing for me being black and white. It was fine for me. I did not have any issue with it until I started getting questions, like, why do you have a white mom? And I was like, my mom's white, but like, I didn't even know that would like to grow. I got it. It was just mom. It wasn't, there was no qualifier, you know.

PH: 

Did your parents prepare you for that? Because that is a big topic for me too. You know, my children will get questioned. Yeah.

AM: 

[00:44:21] Oh my, my, my racial identity was probably the biggest. It was the single biggest part of my personal identity struggle, probably pre-teen to19 years old, 11, 12 to 19. Well, I always felt like I was too black for my white friends, too white for my black friends. I did not know. You know, where I went to school in Brooklyn, there was a table and all the black kids sat at that table and it was a table and all the white kids sat at that table. And I had friends from both groups and then it was kind of like, well, which one do I sit at? Like which 1 am I choosing? Which am I identifying with, and then you add the Jewish part, you know? And when people look at me, I do not look like a typical, like what people imagined Jewish person looks like. So, you know, when you add that part, you know, it becomes a part where you get made fun of, you know, as a kid, anything that makes you different makes you yeah. You get made fun of, you know, so in terms of preparing for it, you know, I mean, maybe they did a good job, you know, maybe I was not wise enough at that age, so appreciate it. But it just became like, I went through a phase, like for sure, where I hated it. I just wish I was black, or I wish I was white, or I wish I was Christian, or I wish I was just something that wouldn't make me different from everyone else, because, you know, I hate it. The funny thing is, is if you just wait long enough, which I discovered is the stuff that you get made fun of when you are a kid becomes a thing that makes you memorable when you are an adult, it makes you, it gives you something special, you know? So there, there is a lot that, you know, I think the kids need to prepare for it and we prepare them. So it's actually interesting. In like business school, I did not go to business school, but for my knowledge of business school, they do a lot of teaching through the case study methodology. Right. So, they give you a case study. Here is what happened. And then you have got to figure out what to do, and I was thinking to myself, well, if case studies are the best way to learn, which I do think they are. I just put my kids into basically case studies, you know? So, I'll say, all right, so what, what would you say to someone if they said, Oh, I don't like you because you're Jewish. What would you say to someone that says you're ugly because you're Brown or, you know, so I run them through these scenarios? Because when they are in them, I want them to be able to be like, well, I've been here before I've done this already versus just saying, be proud or care about who you are. No, I am going to give them, like, your friends are going to say, Oh, I do not want to play with you because your eyes are slanted or they're going to say something horrible. Right. When they say that what do you say? Who do you, what do you do? And I am giving them all these, I am not going to be able to cover them all. But if I can at least give them some case studies. And they can like, you know, prepare when it happens. It is not as like jarring to their soul because they are just

PH: 

[00:47:14] prepared for it. It is a very real problem. I spoke to actually a few athletes, but Conrad Stoltz, he's 10 times across strikes on a world champion, sorry, 10 times African seven times worlds. Two times at Olympic athletes, was crazy and he, I mean, you know, triathlon and cross drives long. So, to compete for like six years, you really, really have to put yourself through a lot of pain for a long time and you have to be able to manage that. And he said, one big part of the trick was that he preempts every possible scenario. Like you just said, what are you going to say to someone who is going to call you ugly? Because you’re brown. He has a, he goes through the motions of every situation, around tyre and whatever, whatever bad fall whatever. He just comes up with everything that he is going to do once the situation happens so that he does not have to think about it in the, in the competitive situation where he needs to win the race. You just execute on what you thought about before you meditate around it. It is very amazing.

 AM: 

[00:48:21] Yeah. It's really, I mean, it's honestly like game changing. Yeah. I think if you think about it, because then when you are, I think uncertainty creates fear, paralysis you know, bad choices. But if you are like, you know, I have been through it a thousand times going into sports cause not again, the  exciting, because I like sports. I remember Colby Bryant who passed away this year, they interviewed him about how he was able to hit so many clutch shots and I thought his response was just so beautiful, which was I have trained for those exact moments a thousand times in practice. So I just did what I knew how to do. And in my mind, I was like, he just, he, so there is an idea that we do not rise to the level of the occasion. We fall to our level of preparedness. Right. So, if we prepare ourselves, so if we, as, as dads prepare our kids, like, look, what are you going to do when someone does this? What are you going to do? If someone says this to you? Well, okay. Your house is small. What do you do if someone has a bigger house with an attic, in front of your house or your house is big, do you think someone would have smaller houses, any different, like you run them through all these scenarios, then they're prepared so when they are in it, they are not so low. I just think it is, it is a beautiful way to prepare our children for, you know, the craziness that is life.

PH: 

[00:49:41] Do you understand? I mean, this is, I do not know if you even want to talk about it because probably everybody talks about it all the time, but on the black lives matter subject, do you prepare your children or have you explained to them that their color of their skin can have an impact in a daily situation? Like other than like a serious impact. Have you explained that disadvantage?

AM: 

[00:50:06] Yeah, we explain it in probably a way that I do not know if it is controversial. I do not know, but it might be because I am not fully sure, but we try to explain it in a way that says there is no matter what you do, there's going to be people who like you and people who don't like you. Right. So, your job is just to be so excellent that you can't be ignored. You know, like, yeah, there is going to be people who are not going to like you and treat you differently because of the color of your skin. But listen that you, you, you just got to rise to excellence. You must rise to a level like if they were fully wider, fully black or mixed, I would still teach in this level of, this is like you look and there’s going to be times where people are not going to treat you fairly. And you can either complain about it or you can rise to a level of excellence. You know, so obviously that to me is the solution, you know, but obviously that does not talk about systemic racism and all those other things that exist. But like, if I get pulled over by a cop, you know, if my approach is, I just need to be the most excellent person who has ever been pulled over by a cop before. So, you know, I am going to roll down all my windows, turn on my dome light, take the keys out of the ignition, put it on the dash, keep my hands on 10 and two on the wheel. Talk to the officer and explain what was happening and see, you know, how do we diffuse any kind of stress they may have

PH: 

[00:51:24] sounds like a war situation. That is correct.

AM: 

[00:51:27] Yeah, it is not. But if I create a better environment, it gives me a better chance of getting out of that, you know, alive and maybe even without a ticket rising. So, you just got to teach them how to be excellent. 

PH: 

[00:51:37] Yeah. That is such a crazy, crazy situation, but on that.I mean like what you just described going through the motions of diffusing, any potential conflict. Just from being pulled over because obviously you black, you see, you look black when someone looks at you cannot make that distinction just by looking at you. Right. So, that would be difficult?

So the way you described it sounds to me really like, Hey, this is he is really diffusing any potential conflict that just might arise, you know, rolling on all the windows, taking the key out, putting the that's. That is sad, actually that situation that in the States

AM: 

[00:52:28] have that yeah. It's sad that it has to exist, you know.So, you know, I think that, and this is my kind of like getting on my high horse for a second. So, I'm going to get on my soap box and then get off of it here. But, you know, I, I think that we are moving to a place where hopefully we are going to get better as a society where things like this aren't necessarily. Hopefully we get there until we get there. My job is to prepare my kids, to have all of the skills that I think I can teach them so that they can behave excellent in all situations so that, you know, they diffuse it and they can just do what they need to do so that they can be the best, whether it's in school, whether it's being pulled over by the cops, whether it's starting a business, you know, did you teach the skills of excellence? And then hopefully we will live in a beautiful world where people will treat people with respect and love and honor.

PH: 

[00:53:14] Yeah. I want to, is there anything where I did not go to yet that you want to share with dads that’s important and moms, as many months, listen, important experience, something that made you grow or something that was difficult or something that was beautiful, important, a moment where you learned



AM: 

[00:53:32] something. Yeah. You know, one of the things that I am, I am big on because of a personal experience I had I was making a big mistake where. If I were traveling or if I were working and I would call my wife, my first question was, how were the kids or how the boys, right. Or at the time, how is my son when we just had one son. So my first question was always checking in on the kids. And I had this experience where my wife felt like I was not caring about her. I was like, what are you talking? Of course, I care about you. She is like, yeah. But you always seem to care about the kids first. And that was an aha moment for me because when I would come home, I would run to the kids, the kids would run to me, I would give him a big hug. And, you know, I talked to him on the phone, let me speak to them. And then when I realized that she was feeling like I was making her the second fiddle, like she was least important. And I am like, that is a big mistake. And I did not realize it until she checked me. And I said, you know what, my wife is the most important person in this household. And I need my kids to know mom first, kids second, like there is an awfully specific order to this. So now when I talk to her on the phone, it is always about her first. How are you? What are you dealing with? What are you going through? And then I will ask about the kids. Or if I come home, I make sure to say hi to her first and then the kids learn to wait. And then I say hi to them because you know, for, for those of us who are dads, who are currently in a relationship with the mother of our child and we want to keep that relationship. We do not, I realized, I think what my wife was alluding to was that we could have become two adults that were co-living and co-parenting and not married. And that was a big aha moment. And I'm grateful that she calls me to the mat on that. Because I think the reason why divorce is so high and why it happens, there is obviously very, very many reasons. I think one of those reasons is that the two adults become just co-parents and not husband and wife or, or whatever. So just put that relationship first and pour into each other. Your spouse is at a high level and then let the overflow go into the kids versus. Giving nothing to the spouse and all to the kids. And then that creates a lot of a lot of challenges. So, I'm just that was a big aha moment for me. And I do not know if a lot of people functionally think of it that way, but I think your  spouse should be first and your kids get the overflow of that love. And then that creates a beautiful,

PH:

[00:56:04] yeah. That is, that is a V what's your wife's name?

AM: 

[00:56:08] Yolanda. 

PH: Thank you, Yolanda right, tonight, all the dad at dadicated, we will make sure that the wives get a chocolate flower or whatever, floats their boat first. And for the next week, I want everybody to check in with the wives first or the first yeah,

AM: 



[00:56:23] yeah. Check with the partner first. How did you know? Yeah, damn. I am just telling you it will change everything because you know, when you're happy. Life is good. And you know, for us with wives if mom is not happy, ain't nobody happy. So, make sure mom was happy. 

 PH: [

00:56:43] That's a beautiful ending. Thank you. And make sure you give us a rating and a review as well.

AM: 

[00:56:49] Yeah, absolutely.

PH: 

[00:56:50] Cool, man. Hey, I thank you very, very much. This was really, inspirational for me and it was a good session. I can take a lot of that and yeah. Thank you.

AM: 

[00:57:00] Dude. Thank you very much, man. I appreciate you putting this together. I think that it is I think it is beautiful. Were you able, I know I did an intro for you to two guys? Were you able to get in touch with them?

PH: 

[00:57:09] I did, but they never responded. I

 

AM: 

[00:57:10] think the guy was at karate,

PH:

[00:57:13] right. And

AM: 

[00:57:15] world champion.

PH: 

[00:57:16] I think they did not respond. I will check in with commune again. She is scheduled out, meet and greet calls and to all the way until the end September now, because Warren gave me like 25 dads, one restaurant.

And so I am like sinking, drowning, but it is good.