Nellie Harden, from the “6570 Family Project,” describes our parenting role in providing a training ground for our children’s adulthood. 6570 days is the amount of time we have until our youngsters reach age 18. As a parent of four teenage daughters and having interacted with hundreds of parents, Nellie explores building youngsters’ worth, esteem, and confidence. How do we encourage self-led discipline?
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Steve [Intro]: 00:00 Hello and welcome to the Parents as Learning Coaches edition of the Steve Barkley Ponders Out Loud podcast. Parents and caregivers play many different roles and even sometimes conflicting roles as they support children’s development. The pandemic has shown a light on the importance of parents supporting learners. In this podcast, I’ll share my experiences as a teacher, educator, parent, grandparent, and continuous learner that can support your coaching efforts.
Steve: 00:34 Developing parenting for developing youngsters. Joining our podcast today is Nellie Harden, a speaker, podcaster, writer, and family, life and leadership coach. Nellie started the “6570 Family Project” to draw attention to our parenting role in providing a training ground for our children’s adulthood. That training opportunity takes thoughtful planning and thoughtful decision making. As a parent of four teenage daughters, she has personal experiences as well as interactions with hundreds of parents to add insights. Welcome, Nellie.
Nellie: 01:17 Thank you so much. It’s great to be here with you.
Steve: 01:20 I’m wondering, for starters, if you’d jump in and tell us a little bit about the origin of 6570.
Nellie: 01:26 Absolutely. So, it’s funny, growing up, my dad was in advertising and in our living room, there was our number 2687 above our couch in neon lights, because he got it at a shoot that he did – an advertising shoot, and that was our address. And so sometimes when I hear the number, I’m like, it sounds like an address that I should have a neon light of above my couch.
Nellie: 02:14 One of my daughters is leaving for school very shortly, and she turned 18, six months ago, but it is about the time that we have in this highest impact area. So my entire background is in biology and psychology. I love to know functionality of things, and I love to know how that is then brought out and used in the world, how thoughts are managed, how they are perceived, and how that all works. So I was working actually in the animal field for a number of years out in the wild, which has brought a really unique and interesting perspective to the work that I do now, because I was able to see the black and white of things, of child rearing, of parenting, so to speak, and the real purpose of it in the animal world. And then I retired, and then less than a year later, I was thrown into the very human realm of all of this with my own family first and then about four years later, I was just pulled and called to share it and get out and work in the human realm with families and working on disciplines and positive disciplines and developmet.
Nellie: 03:15 But for me, my husband had a cardiac issue and we were in and out of the hospital for a couple years, and then it culminated in heart surgery. And when he was having heart surgery, we didn’t know if he would come out of it or not. This was in 2010 and at that point, I had a four-year-old, two, two year olds and a zero year old
Nellie: 04:08 We had to have some really hard talks, even with our four year old and two year olds at the time, really bringing about actual communication, not just treating them like “kids,” but we were a team and we were a family. And I was looking at them and I was like, okay, we only have a window here where parents are the biggest impacts that they have in their lives. After that, we are consultants, we are friends, we are people that they come to in need, people that they come to for joy and sharing and things like that. But the biggest impact zone is the 6570. And that’s really where the seed of all of this really started to percolate and what then has developed today into helping parents build the foundation of worth, esteem and confidence in their children before they leave home in this 6570.
Steve: 05:04 Well, it sounds like a big number, but you and I can both testify now to how quickly it goes.
Nellie: 05:12 So fast.
Nellie: 05:42 It does.
Steve: 05:44 Well you have a lot of work online that we’ll make sure at the end that we get to point point people to and I’ve spent quite a bit of time combing through it. And I’ve pulled out some of the phrases that you use that I was hoping you could speak to for our listeners. The first one, you kind of touched on. It’s building youngsters’ worth esteem and and confidence. Would you go a little further with that?
Nellie: 06:13 Absolutely. So when you’re looking at that worth, and that is a tier model, so worth is the bottom foundation, like a three-tiered cake in the second half of childhood. So first half of childhood parenting is very different than second half of childhood parenting. There’s what I call this great transition, which is pretty silent as you’re going through it, right? When they come into your life, when they’re born, you adopt them, what have you, that’s a pretty loud transition. It goes from, you know, from nothing to something. And then when they leave home, that’s a very big transition too. But in the middle, there is this more silent, great transition that happens from first half to second half of childhood. First half of childhood, you’re really spoonfeeding life to them. This is your friends, this is where we’re going, this is what you’re eating, this is what you’re wearing, et cetera.
Nellie: 07:06 Second half of childhood is when you are transitioning to partnering with them to develop, so that they know how to develop themselves and be a self-discipline leader before they leave home. But, in that second half, there’s this three-tiered foundation of worth, esteem, and confidence. And really, if you think about it, those are the foundations of purpose. Those are the foundations of productivity. Those are the foundations of joy and gratitude and wellness and faith, and all of these things. Because without you understanding your self-worth, without you understanding your esteem, which is value and appreciation of self, without you understanding and believing in yourself, which is confidence, you can’t get out there and do whatever you are uniquely designed to do. And that is your contribution to the world. And so, whatever that is, everyone has a unique contribution.
Nellie: 08:09 So this foundation of worth, let’s say, let’s take that bottom, big layer. Like a wedding cake, that bottom layer, super, super thick that you cut into. And that really has five distinct pillars in there of being seen and being heard and loved and belong, and having a purpose, something that goes beyond right now. Something that they’re looking forward to working toward. And when you think of all of the issues that we’re seeing in young people today, whether that be a nine year old, a 13 year old, or a 27 year old, or a 44 year old, I’m still young
Nellie: 09:07 I feel invisible. I feel rejected. I don’t feel like I have a reason. What good is it that I show up? What does it matter? No one likes me. All of these things fit into that worth layer. But the trick is that so much of the world is telling you, is telling our young people, telling us, that your worth is outside in. But the truth is, it is inside out. And if we can build that layer into our children and help them see their worth from the inside out, coming from within, coming from their faith, coming from themselves, and so they wake up in the morning and say, wow, how can I affect the world today? Instead of waking up in the morning and saying, what is the world going to do to me today, that would be so magical. And that’s part of that foundation of worth and esteem and confidence we’re trying to put in.
Steve: 10:01 Well, I have to tell you, I wrote that down the piece that you said, “worth from outside in versus inside out.” That’s, a great way of
thinking about that and the ability to put that thought in front of kids. Thank you.
Nellie: 10:18 Yeah, absolutely.
Steve: 10:20 Then you mentioned the other term, caught my interest, and that was self-led discipline and I think people have a tendency to think of
discipline, I guess outside? Discipline coming from the inside.
Nellie: 10:37 Yes, absolutely. We have a saying in our house and I say it probably daily – discipline yourself so others don’t have to. And we say it over and over, because I want them to understand that discipline is not something that happens to you. Consequences happen to you sometimes, punishments can happen to you sometimes. Discipline is about teaching, though. I know when I was younger, I used to get the paddle. That wasn’t discipline, that was a consequence, that was a punishment. But discipline is really when you teach. I have a daughter that’s going to college, and they have a list of majors, but way back when, it was a list of disciplines. It was a list of things to learn and be taught. And when we are disciplining our kids, that’s a mindset shift for parents that we need to teach them.
Nellie: 11:32 We are literally teaching them life. And this can go back to my work in the animal field. I worked in sea mammals, I worked in land mammals. And when you are looking at the black and white nature of nature, and you are seeing what is the purpose of this unique timeframe that is happening, well, the adults in the group are teaching the children in the group how to live. This is how you hunt. This is how you forage. This is how you build a den. This is how you do whatever that needs to be done. And it was a teaching discipline that they were doing. And you can anthropomorphize it and humanize it and personify it and say, “oh, they love them and everything,” and I can’t say one way or another and there’s so much research in there, that’s not what this is about.
Nellie: 12:27 But the point is that it was about this discipline in teaching them how to do life. And in the much, much more complex and messier human world, we have emotions that are thrown in there as well, which can be so beautiful. And they can also sometimes be destructive as parents, as kids when with frustrations and all of that happening in there. So you have to become a leader of yourself. You need to learn how to discipline your thoughts, discipline your behaviors. Discipline your direction so that you are purposely growing in a direction that you actually want to go. It’s not just, I’m gonna have this behavior and we’ll just see what happens and then it’s like a choose your own adventure every second of the day. Life is a choose your own adventure book, but choose wisely, choose with intention and walk in that direction. Not just throwing it to the wind and seeing what happens. So that’s where the that idea of self-led disciplined or self-disciplined leadership comes in – becoming a leader of yourself. Every person on this planet, whether they lead other people or not, need to be a leader of self before anything else that they can lead.
Steve: 13:56 I wanna make a connection because quite a few parents who will be listening to this are also teachers because my podcast is, is connected in education. And I’ve been working on a piece for teachers to consider what I’m calling their classroom management curriculum. So if you think as a teacher, your math curriculum says, here’s what kids are gonna learn in math, and your language arts curriculum is what they’re gonna learn. But to begin to think that the way you manage the class is actually a curriculum. Stopping and asking yourself, what are you expecting kids to learn from the way that the teacher manages that class? And I was hearing a lot of that come through in that self-discipline piece. In fact, the student is developing the skills to discipline themselves, not to the teachers’ rules and guidelines, but to discipline themselves in the achievement of goals and outcomes that would be important to them and know how to direct their own life in that direction. Am I lining up fairly?
Nellie: 15:08 Yes, absolutely. So we homeschooled for seven years here in our family. And you can homeschool in 97 million different ways, but I was the teacher up at the board in our dining room. And the thing is, my kids are, although there’s a four and a half year spread, oldest to youngest four girls in four years, but they were all very, very different. Even the twins in the middle – very, very different. I call them four corners of a square. And so they learn differently. They perceive differently and they have different outputs. When I gave a writing assignment, I would get four very different papers turned in on the same concept. And so helping them discipline themselves for their best outcome. Becoming the best version of themselves, not the one that I’m telling them that they need to have, because one sister is not going to be like another sister, just like one, any one child, one person is not going to be like another.
Nellie: 16:08 But yes, teaching them how to discipline themselves in a way that gives them the best outcomes. And then I had four excellent papers on four very different perspectives on the same subject. And so just talking with school, that’s what it reminded me of – really helping them. It wasn’t that I gave four different writing assignments. I had some of my kids work in Montessori as well, and that would be that case. Four different, totally different things, very personalized, depending on them. In my classroom, I had four different perspectives on the same assignment, just based off of what their strengths were and what their interests were, and what their perspectives were. And it was a beautiful thing to witness.
Steve: 16:58 Would you just to say a little bit more about raising contributors as a outcome of our parenting decisions?
Nellie: 17:06 Absolutely. I mean, it does not take much to turn on any radio station, any news station or TV station or show even today, entertainment,
to see that we are living in a, give me, give me, give me a taker type world. And the world is thirsty. It’s dehydrated because there’s not enough contributors out there, really genuine contributors, people that are out there in order to give, in order to bring the world more peace, more joy – a better perspective. And there’s a lot of takers out there. We have this exercise that I do with my kids, sometimes. We’ll just go out to eat, or we’ll walk around town, or we’ll go to a big city and look around, and we look around to hundreds, maybe even thousands of people depending on where we are and we’re just like, I really truly wonder – we can’t know, but we wonder looking around who is contributing to the betterment of the world right and who is
just skimming the top and taking from those that are.
Steve: 18:20 Powerful.
Nellie: 18:21 It is very powerful because then it really gives us a sense of, wow, that’s lacking. It’s not hard to see, there’s a lot of people skimming the top. There isn’t a lot of deeper conversations happening right now. There’s just a lot of entitlement that is happening right now. So much entitlement happening right now. When really, why do we face that entitlement? Why do we think we deserve? We were listening to this great book on the way back – we just had a 22 hour drive in a minivan with six of us coming across the country just a few days ago. In a 22 hour drive, there’s a lot of conversations that can happen, and we were all listening to this book together as well. And we were talking about this idea of entitlement and how, I know for me, I have never, ever felt right with the phrase, “I deserve…” whatever that may be.
Nellie: 19:18 “I deserve an ice cream cone” if I was six years old or whatever. It just never felt okay. It never felt right coming off. But I hear it a lot from other people. And it, it always made me question, why do you think you deserve this or that or the other? And I think that’s a lot of that take mentality, but it has been pushed on us over and over again. I was watching a show with my, with my kids, some new, popular Netflix show or whatever that’s happening. And the show is so much about, I deserve, I deserve, I deserve, I want, therefore I get, I deserve, I’m entitled to. And that’s not really the case. And so if we can steer away from that and just bring awareness to it with our kids, that right there can just be so powerful.
Steve: 20:09 Very little press on contributing.
Nellie: 20:12 Yes.
Steve: 20:12 The contributors of the world don’t get a lot of coverage.
Nellie: 20:16 Yes, exactly. John Krasinski, who was Jim in the office over in America, during COVID, he had this show called “Good News,” and it was
about a lot of contributors, but it was literally him and his living room, and he had his six year old make the sign behind him that scribbled “good news,” but it became so popular because people were feeding into it looking for that good news, especially during COVID, but let’s be honest, we need it all the time, because that’s not what we are being fed out in the world. How can we contribute? What is the good news out there? What is that person doing in order to bring greatness to their community? And the more we can feed that into our kids and serve with our kids, serving with your kids is so impactful. Serving with your classroom as a school, as a teacher, as a leader, that is so impactful. The more we can serve, the more we can get that contributor mentality in.
Steve: 21:20 Before we move to closing out, you touched on this, but I’d just do a little quick revisit as to the consideration that parents need to be playing as our kids move close to that the adulthood years. You touched on it, but I find that’s a pretty challenging time, especially kind of those middle school years.
Nellie: 21:46 Oh, yes. I have four kids in there. My kids are 18, 15, 15, 15. So I get it. I’m living it. I’m right here, we’re in the communities. I have a middle schooler, two high schoolers, and now a freshman in college. And so it is a super challenging time. And the fact is, it’s always been – since the dawn of children, it’s been an impactful and really resilient and as a parent, you need resiliency, as a child, you’re building resiliency and independence, and it’s been a challenging time. But today with world connectivity, everywhere, with four second videos being the most watched things ever and time span, all of this, everything has made it much more challenging today. But it still comes down to the roots. So if you have a child that is going through – we’re in the second half of childhood and there is no light switch for that, by the way.
Nellie: 22:49 It could be starting at seven. It could be starting at six. It could be starting at 11 or 12. It’s different for every child, and it’s more like one of those, you know dimmer switches on the wall. And sometimes you’ll have a bounce up, but it’s a dimmer switch that happens over time. But especially if you’re in the second half, you just need to ask yourself, do they feel truly worthy? What do they look like in their alone time? What are they doing in their alone time? Have those conversations with them. What are they thinking about? If they are on any sort of social media, share that space with them. Be like, “oh, did you see this video?” I actually only have one daughter that’s on social media. The other ones have said, no, we don’t want it yet.
Nellie: 23:39 But with her and I, we share videos back and forth, just funny things, inspiring things or whatever. We share that space and talk about who each other is following and what we’re learning. So it’s not this other world that is totally cut off from you as a parent that you have no idea about that your child is in. So share that world. But the point is, it comes down to the basics. Do they trust themselves? Do they feel worthy? Are they being a chameleon when they’re going into different situations? That’s a very dangerous place to be. If they are, I promise you, one or more of those five are not being met for them. They’re being a chameleon and trying to be this person in that crowd, and that person in that crowd because they don’t feel seen, heard, loved, belong, or have a purpose.
Nellie: 24:29 If they do, they can anchor in that. And so the five anchors of worth for sure, do they trust themselves? That’s where esteem is going to come from. You can value and appreciate yourself if you trust yourself. It’s a relationship with yourself. How comfortable are they in that relationship with themselves? If you have a relationship with your spouse, you’re listening to this or your child or a neighbor, a relationship is built off of truth and trust. Do they have that with themselves? Because their relationship with themself is going to be the most important earthly relationship that they have here. And so do they trust themselves? And then do they believe in themselves? Do they believe that if they see a challenge, they can try out different ways in order to accomplish that and go over the bridge of that challenge and get to the other side? And that failure is okay, because every success in life that anyone has ever had was paved with failure. Failure is just the way to success. And helping them understand and be okay with that is going to be a part of this training zone, this this leadership that you are doing. You want to love and lead them in a way that teaches them to love and lead themselves before they leave home.
Steve: 25:52 Thank you so much Nellie, I’ve just really, really appreciated appreciated this time with you and I’m sure the listeners will in many cases want to follow up with you. So can you tell folks easy way to find some of the resources that you have and touch base with you if they’ve got a specific question?
Nellie: 26:12 Absolutely. You can find everything – I like to keep it simple, the world’s complicated enough, right? So nellieharden.com, you can find
everything on there, my communities that you can connect with, masterclasses resources, anything that you want, you can find on nellieharden.com.
Steve: 26:33 Thank you. Thank you so much.
Nellie: 26:35 Thank you for having me.
Steve: 26:36 You bet.
Steve [Outro]: 26:39 Thanks for listening, folks. I’d love to hear what you’re pondering. You can find me on Twitter or LinkedIn @stevebarkley or send me your questions and find my videos and blogs at barkleypd.com.