Parenting. It’s one of the toughest challenges we face and also one of the greatest opportunities for growth. In this episode we’re going to dive into the playful side of parenting. Actually, I’m inviting you to come on a journey with me. An experiment for parents and non-parents that could unlock new levels of love, joy and happiness.
Welcome back to the show. I’m your host, Nick Broadhurst, and that song you were listening to is an epic remix of my song, Open Wide. And that remix was done by the French artist Teemid. I absolutely love his work. And I chose that song because It’s upbeat, it’s playful, it’s fun and it’s super relevant to today’s episode.
And today’s episode is called ‘The playful side of parenting’. And this is more of a story because this came about after a discussion with one of my major bromances, James Colquhoun and my lovely wife, Melissa. And we found ourselves one night after dinner sitting around the fire.
By the way, if you can hear this noise, that scratchy noise, is because I’m wearing this ski jacket in the bedroom because Melissa, who is a bit un Pitta/Kapha dercover, is hot. And I, Vata/Pitta, am freezing cold. So she won’t let me have the heating on so I’m wearing a ski jacket in the bedroom.
Anyway, so we were sitting around the fire and James is in a very unique situation. And Melissa is also in a unique situation. So Melissa coming in as a step parent, Leo was almost eight years old when we met, and James who has inherited a 12-year-old beautiful boy [inaudible – 02:04], and essentially step parenting as well. That’s not my story to tell, that’s his story.
But it’s an amazing situation because they both have found themselves with these beautiful divine angelic boys in their lives. Very very shining mirrors. And I take my hat off to step parents. I think it is such a unique challenge. It is so challenging, my gosh, because it’s different to being a parent. Because as a parent, the things that trigger Melissa just do not trigger me whatsoever. It’s almost like being a parent there are less triggers than when you are a step parent.
And so we were sitting around the fire after just enjoying a beautiful curry, and the conversation starts around parenting. And Melissa and James both having feeling like right now at this time in their lives, it’s a real challenge. And we kind of discussed it for probably a good hour or so, parenting in general. And we basically came to a resolution, and we realised that we’re missing one massive ingredient in the parenting puzzle, and that is play.
So Leo for example; he goes to this incredible private school. It’s one of the top schools in Australia. They’ve got incredible facilities. It’s an amazing place to be educated. And he sometimes goes to school at 7.30 and comes home at 5pm.
Now, I’m not a massive fan of the education system in any way whatsoever. I do like the social aspect of it. I think that’s great; although Leo goes to a boy’s school, which has its challenges. Unfortunately, there just weren’t that many schools around here with boys and girls.
But school, yeah I do believe has its flaws. And one of those is taking kids; Leo who’s 12, who still feels like a baby to me really. Just gone into high school, getting treated like adults in terms of their time. So almost like they’re working a 9 to 5 job.
But on top of that, when a lot of adults come home from work, they get to have dinner and relax and watch TV. You know, some people bring work home with them. But kids are getting given homework. And I’ll tell you this one thing that the home is not for, and that is work. Home freakin work.
I can’t believe this didn’t click with me before. And it really came out of this conversation; I thought, what are we doing? What are we freakin doing? I mean, it’s great that he goes to a good school and he gets to do an element of play there, but shouldn’t our time at home be the most fun possible? Don’t I want my son to look back instead of having me making sure he’s done this and making sure he’s done that.
Just trust him to show up the way that he wants to show up at home and at school. So instead of coming home and ‘Have you done your homework? Have you done your sax practice?’ What if I just said to him, ‘Alright buddy, we’ve got two hours. I’m totally at your service, what do you want to do? What can we do together?’
Isn’t that a different conversation? My goal moving forward as a parent is to ask this simple question, ‘How much fun can I have?’ Because last year I had very little fun. I don’t want my son to grow up remembering a dad who worked and put others things above play. Because whenever we play it means the absolute freakin world to him. It’s all he wants. He wants time. He just wants time with me. All our kids want time with us.
But what if we turn that time into play? What if we make it a mission and we stick to that question, ‘How much fun ca we have? How much play can we have?’ So this is an experiment that I’m going on, Melissa is going on, James is going on. What if we just play?
Of course amongst that, there are duties. Kids should help out around the home. They should be part of that. There are things which they may not love to do which they’re going to have to do. But why do we let our schools dictate what goes on at the home? They’ve got our children for five, six days of the week sometimes. They’ve got assignments, they’ve got all these sorts of things.
Now, if Leo comes home from school one day and I say, ‘Buddy, great idea! Let’s go surfing.’ And he says, ‘Ah, I’d love to but I’ve actually got to do this assignment.’ ‘Awesome. Okay cool, how long is it going to take?’ ‘Ah, maybe an hour or so?’ ‘Well okay cool, why don’t you do that and then we’ll have half an hour, we’ll go and kick the ball for a bit’.
Isn’t that a different conversation to, ‘How was your day?’ ‘Good.’ ‘Got any homework?’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘What have you got to do?’ ‘Assignment.’ ‘How long will it take?’ ‘I don’t know.’ ‘Alright, well when you get home, just get into it, alright?’ ‘Alright.’
Come on, we can so do better than this. Well, I’m speaking for myself here. But I imagine this story plays out in homes around the world. So I realized I’ve been letting the school dictate. Now, he already has so much homework and then there is this home study they’ve changed it to. 20 minutes of Maths, 20 minutes of Music, 20 minutes of Reading, 20 minutes for another topic. That’s 80 freakin minutes. Where is the play? Where is the play? He got home at 5 o’clock. 80 minutes, are you joking?
If he wants to practice sax, he’ll practice the sax. If he’s got a performance coming up, he’s not sure about some of the music, he’ll ask me for help. He’ll interrupt our game of footy or soccer or whatever and say, ‘Dad, I’ve got to get back and I’ve got to do some sax. Can you help me?’ ‘I would love that, buddy. That would be awesome.’ Can you feel the different energy around it?
So we have to remember that children, they are sovereign beings. They’re on their own path, their own journey. We as parents are guardians, we’re not authoritarians. It’s not our role to enforce our authority on them and try to shape them into something that we believe they should be. I’m going to do a whole episode on conscious parenting soon.
So this is another conversation, but for now it’s important to understand that children are a gift to us. To teach us to mirror back to us all the things that we refuse to see within ourselves. Anything that triggers us in them is a quality we have not accepted within ourselves. They are incredible teachers. We teach them in many ways more than they teach us.
We have to remember that they are sovereign beings. They have their own path. They’re all good. They will be what they will be. And if someone says to me, ‘But don’t you worry about Leo, what’s he gonna do if he doesn’t do well at school?’ I’m like, first of all, he’s doing great, he’s happy. Weather he’s got A’s or D’s, as long as he does his best, that’s all I ask of him.
But what’s most important is that I raise a beautiful, light, empowered child. A child that has not forgotten the essence of play. And as adults, what do we forget? We forget to play. We forget to play. If I could have one word back on my whatever you want to call it, my play every day, it would be ‘play’, because I forget. I forget. I’m so busy creating that I have forgotten as times that it’s time to play.
And what if I took this into my relationship with Melissa? What if we had more play? How much more fulfilled as a couple could we be? What would that do for my health if I was consistently playing more and more? What does that do for my relationship with Leo if he sees me as this freakin cool dude he gets to play with; a friend.
And yes, I do have to be a parent. I do have to be firm at times. I do have to help him to remember things at times. But I believe my role is to play. How much more respect is he going to have for me as he grows up? If I support him in all the things that he loves and we do all those things together as opposed to doing what I’m told to do by the school or think should be done because that’s what I did when I was growing up.
And we have to break the lineage of what we did. It’s not our responsibility to force our beliefs onto our children. We have to tune into them and hear what they’re trying to say to us at all times.
If a child forgets to turn up to piano practice, or leaves the piano music at home, or is always late for piano lessons, is that child telling you, “I don’t want to do freakin do piano?” Possibly. It could just be a child. And sometimes, especially boys, they’re like that.
So this is the experiment. The experiment is play. The playful side of parenting. What if we make it our mission to just play as much as possible? And within that, of course we’ll have our boundaries. We’ll have the respect, they will have respect for us as well. But my mission is to play, and luckily as I record this, I’m in Greece and I get to play nonstop. So it’s a perfect time for my experiment.
But I invite you as parents and as people who don’t have children, how can you bring more play back into your life today? What’s one thing you can do with yourself or your partner or your children today that is going to put a smile from ear to ear on everyone’s face? Especially yours.
What is that going to do to the biochemistry of your body? What would that biochemistry do for your health? What would your health do for your mood? What would your mood do for your relationships? What would your relationships do for yourself? What would yourself do for your self? Your higher self. What if play holds the key to unlocking new levels of happiness that we never dreamt of? So will you come on this experiment with me?
For all the show notes on today’s episode you can head to iamnickbroadhurst.com/87, and you can also get a full transcript of the show if you prefer to read. And I have some actions for you to take today. Apart from playing, which is super important, if you haven’t subscribed to this show, please hit the subscribe button in your podcast app, and please head into iTunes and leave me a review just like Jessica B87 did.
And she said, “I look forward to this podcast every day, 5 stars. I’m obsessed with this podcast. It’s daily inspiration to live a better, happier and more enlightened life. Nick is a natural and so authentic. It’s great that the episodes are short but I can still listen to his voice all day.”
Thank you so much, Jessica. It’s funny because I’ve got a few people tell me on social media that they listen to my podcast to put them to sleep. Not because it’s boring I think. They happen to like my voice which is super nice, so that is a beautiful compliment.
So please head into iTunes, I would love to hear from you. Tell me what you’d love and what you want to hear more about. And if you can share this episode with your friends, with your parents, with anyone, or on social media, and tag me @Iamnickbroardhurst so I can say hello.
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And remember today to look up. See the beauty around you. See the beauty within you and your children and everyone around you. Be gentle with yourself, be gentle with your children. Be love to yourself. Be love to your children.
Play. Play! Have we forgotten this simple thing called play? Ask yourself, how much fun can you have today? Listen to your intuition. And as always, have a beautiful day. I love you heaps. Ciao!
I would love to hear from you, so please tag me @iamnickbroadhurst on social media. Please also leave me a comment below (I read every single one!). And if you could take a minute to leave me a review on iTunes I would be very grateful. Tell me what you want more of! I am at your service.