[Transcript] – Parenting Survival Guide: A Sneak Peek Of Ben Greenfield’s New “Boundless Parenting” Audiobook + His Love & Logic Approach to Parenthood.

Affiliate Disclosure


From podcast: https://bengreenfieldlife.com/podcast/ben-sneak-peek-parenting-audio-book-launch/

[00:00:00] Introduction

[00:01:05] Podcast Sponsors

[00:06:07] The Boundless Parenting Audiobook

[00:07:51] How Boundless Parenting came to be

[00:24:45] How Ben chose the parents to feature in the book

[00:33:32] Podcast Sponsors

[00:39:23] Ben's basic parenting approach

[00:51:56] Books, models, and resources Ben found beneficial for his parenting

[00:56:25] Traditions, habits, routines or rituals that are most important for Ben's family

[01:10:35] Who did Ben look up to as parenting mentors?

[01:15:00] Ben's strategies for educating children outside of traditional school

[01:25:35] Ben's proudest moment as a parent

[01:28:02] Upcoming Event

[01:29:24] End of Podcast

Ben:  My name is Ben Greenfield. And, on this episode of the Ben Greenfield Life podcast.

Often, we'll spend a full month going chapter by chapter through a book I've chosen. Often, that's pre-dinner. My son's assignment is to read the book chapter by the end of the day and to be prepared by dinner time for my questions and discussion with them about that book. We'll then have a 5 to 10-minute talk before dinner about that book often while we're tooling around the kitchen during dinner prep. For example, to create fodder for discussions regarding current events or politics, I recently brought them through a book called “A Rebels Manifesto,” which addresses topics that many parents might sometimes forget to have targeted discussions about with their children like navigating bullying and social media, handling loneliness, sex, pornography approaching difficult conversations about controversial issues or articulating your world view or faith.

Faith, family, fitness, health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking and a whole lot more. Welcome to the show.

Alright. So, you've probably heard about the benefits of blueberries. You may have even heard about this brand-new darling of the longevity and age reversal industry called urolithin A, which you get some amount from in blueberries. You also get some from probiotics, but you got to get really high amounts to significantly increase muscle strength, muscle endurance, mitochondrial health, and everything else that gives you a complete upgrade of what I would call your body cellular power grid.

Now, the way that your urolithin A works is it would be normally made in your gut by the bacteria in your gut, is what's called a postbiotic, but you can also just mainline the stuff. And, that's where Timeline Nutrition comes in. They make a urolithin A jam-packed compound. They've got it in a whey protein powder. They've got it as soft gels for days when you're on the run. I like their berry powder because I can just toss it into yogurt or my smoothie and automatically get massive amounts of NSF-certified, amazing clean pure urolithin A. So, 500 milligrams alone has been shown to significantly increase muscle strength and endurance with no other change in lifestyle and you're getting that and plenty more with any of these doses from Timeline. They call it Mitopure, jam-packed with urolithin A.

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You're no doubt familiar with some of the concerns out there when it comes to EMF like having your phone in your pocket and what science has shown that does to your sperm morphology having heated items producing EMF particularly up near your precious skull or say near the crib or bed of your child, having all these smart appliances just blasting you 24/7. We know that that causes a calcium influx into the cell. We know there can be some radiative DNA damage. Yeah, bodies aren't dropping dead right and left, but it is increasingly shown in research to be an issue.

Now, there are a lot of EMF protection solutions out there, but there's only one that I'm aware of that has pretty rigorous scientific proof and evidence behind it. Meaning, that they work with a neuroscientist to conduct EEG brain scans both with and without this particular product and they've actually shown some pretty impressive results. It's called Airestech, A-I-R-E-S-tech. You can check them out at Airestech.com/Ben. That's A-I-R-E-S-tech.com/Ben. But basically, these are simple products you can attach to a phone, to a tablet, to headphones. They cover about 19 feet out from your body when attached to those devices. They also have one called a Flex, which is a pendant that you can wear that covers about 42 feet around you. And then, they have their Zone Max, which is for large spaces in your home or your office to also offer an EMF protective effect. This uses a microprocessor, an antenna that's powered off the sources of surrounding radiation and that modulates the EMF kind of noise-canceling headphones for EMF. And again, they've got some very interesting research on their website and they've patented this technology for protecting biological objects from the negative influence of electromagnetic radiation in a pretty wide range of frequencies.

So again, it's proven with scientific and peer-reviewed research. They've done third-party testing on it. They've got global patents on this technology. And, it's a lot different than any of the other blockers or harmonizers out there because they're little using a microprocessor, an antenna to almost absorb EMF and change it. So anyways, Airestech is giving all my listeners a 30% discount. You go to airestech.com/Ben, A-I-R-E-S-tech, T-E-C-H.com/Ben and you can use code BEN30 to get 30% off.

Well, if you like me enjoy the occasional dose of good old nicotine to increase your focus, your creativity, your productivity, it's a very beneficial life hack, honestly, and you're looking for a way to do it without getting a bunch of toxins into your system, you should check out Lucy. They're a modern oral nicotine company that makes gum and lozenges and pouches, their cherry ice flavor, by the way, is amazing, for any adult who wants a really good responsible way to consume nicotine. So, if you want a nicotine product, you can actually feel good and guilt-free about, then Lucy is definitely for you.

Now, I have to warn you it does contain nicotine. Nicotine is addictive. So, proceed with responsibility, but if you enjoy nicotine or you want to feel what it really feels like to be supercharged on nicotine, check them out, lucy.co. That's L-U-C-Y.co and use promo code BEN20 at checkout.

Alright. You've been waiting for it. You've been asking for it after hours upon hours of editing and recording and bringing in some of the most amazing parents on the planet, the “Boundless Parenting Audiobook” is now available wherever you get audiobooks. So, this isn't any old audiobook. You've got me giving you my chapter with a lot of extra goodies that aren't even in the printed book; my wife doing the same thing. Nearly every parent featured within the book sat down and recorded their audio version of their chapter so you can hear this stuff straight from their mouths. And, the entire book just came together fantastically.

If you want to learn how to build legacy, if you want to learn education and disciplinary and wisdom-building principles from some of the most amazing parents on the planet who have proven models of successful parenting and you want it in a highly entertaining practical easy to understand, easy to apply format, you got to get this book. So, the printable book and the audiobook you can get either version or both at BoundlessParentingBook.com, BoundlessParentingBook.com. And again, the audiobook is out now so wherever fine audiobooks are found, you can grab this thing. I've gotten so much great feedback. It's changed the lives already of parents, grandparents, educators, families. And again, this is consolidated wisdom from entrepreneurs, billionaires, moms, dads, pastors, education experts, legacy builders, wealth managers, and other just absolute earth-shaking parents. They've all come together to show their tips, their tactics and their tools with you. So, it's the brand new Boundless Parenting Audiobook. Check it out at BoundlessParentingBook.com.

Female Speaker:  Please enjoy a sample of the Boundless Parenting Audiobook.

Ben:  As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man, so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them. They shall not be ashamed but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. Psalm 127, 4 through 5. You are the bows from which your children is living arrows are sent forth. “The Prophet” by Khalil Gibran. I am not typically a creature of angst. I don't tend to rise each day filled with apprehension, trepidation, or a disquieted spirit. I'm a relatively happy confident and fulfilled guy. Life is pretty good and I'm grateful for that. 

Yeah, if there's one element of my existence that threatens to keep me awake at night, one thing about me which I'm constantly examining myself about one component of my day-to-day routine of which I'm just a touch doubtful, it would be the constant nagging question hovering at the back of my mind: Am I a good parent? Am I a good father to my sons, my twin sons when it comes to their education, their daily interactions with me, the volume of my mindful presence in their lives, the wisdom I do or do not pass on to them, the activities I choose to do with them, the overall impact of my fathering and their becoming creative free thinking, resilient human beings who are equipped and empowered to make the most of the life they've been blessed with? Am I making the right choices? 

Perhaps you are already a parent and you've struggled with this same internal unease and doubt. Perhaps you're not yet a parent, but you know that at some point in the future, you will need to figure out this whole parenting game and you suspect you may eventually be asking yourself these same parenting questions. Perhaps your children have already come and gone and now you're asking these same questions to yourself about your own role as a grandparent or about how well your own children are parenting their kids. Or, maybe not, maybe you've got it all figured out, maybe you've thoroughly decoded the parenting puzzle, maybe you wake each day with complete confidence that your kids are fully prepared with everything they need for meaning success and fulfillment in life. 

If so, then congratulations, this book is probably not for you. And indeed, I probably should have interviewed you for this book. But, if not, then trust me, you're not alone. As a matter of fact in nearly every conversation I have with my fellow parenting peers, reveals to me that so many of us feel like we're staying just one step ahead of our kids. We're not quite sure that what we learned from our own parents about parenting encompasses all that there is to be learned. We're not quite sure the parenting model that we grew up with was absolutely perfect. Somewhere between adolescents and adulthood, our parents started to seem less perfect and less smart. That sound familiar? 

As a matter of fact, one recent survey revealed that over two-thirds of parents say they worry about how well they're raising their children, either very often or quite often. Even those of us who didn't grow up in a broken home still have the urge to somehow do better with our kids than our parents did with us.

As a matter of fact, another recent survey revealed that 78% of parents were quite certain they would not pass on aspects of their own childhood to their kids. This isn't necessarily because our parents did a bad job raising us, but rather because we're hardwired to want to raise the bar just a bit to avoid the all-too-common rags to riches to rag cycle of creating self-entitled silver spoon-fed children to provide our offspring with everything we can for their future success in life and to enable each subsequent generation after us to be a little bit better, a little more impactful, more legacy driven and more equipped to make and to leave this world a better place. 

So, we constantly wonder if we're there enough for paying attention when we are there and if we're then paying attention to the right things. Many of us, men more, it seems, have a constant desire to be a bigger part of our children's formative education years but frustratingly we often feel spread too thin when trying to marry that desire with work, with providing for the family, with self-care, with the other kids we might have and with life in general. As a result, we wind up outsourcing that education to others but then we constantly wonder if those people are teaching our kids the right things or teaching them the right way and facing what seems to be a mildly absurd paradox, those of us who do understand the truth that family and legacy are foundationally important to happiness and fulfillment in our lives. Sometimes feel painted into a corner because everything we are doing to provide for our family like a morning self-care routine for energy and productivity or a commute to work and a long day at the office or all those house chores after work often detracts from our time and energy resources from being present with our family.

Now, as a result, many parents scramble on the birth of their first child to hunt down some kind of road map or blueprint for being the perfect parent or at least for making as few failures as possible while raising a child; what should they eat, how should they exercise, how should they be educated, how should they be disciplined, how much time should we spend with them, how should we tackle the notorious first-world problem of screen time, what traditions, habits, rituals and routines are important, how do our children find purpose in life. We tell ourselves we'll be that parent who's got everything figured out. 

Then, over the next 18 years or so, we realize we've got next to nothing figured out and our perfect plan to be a perfect parent was an unattainable pipe dream that was quickly replaced by a mad scramble to wipe stuffy noses, sweep cereal off the floor, soothe teething tantrums, research, how to get sticky gum out of hair, find the number for poison control, fix car dents, negotiate bedtimes and try to protect a young flailing rapidly growing tiny member of our human species from injury, from death or at least from peeing in their zipped up snowsuit.

Heck, I was one of those parents who thought I had everything figured out. After all, I'm a prepper baby, I'm one of those guys who owns guns, ammo, gold, silver, crypto, a deep well buried propane tanks, canned food, pickled beans and even an emergency bug-out bag. Look that up if you don't know what it is. I'm also the guy on a camping trip or airplane with three extra phone chargers, two backup smartphones, dental floss, fingernail clippers, and inflatable pillow, earplugs, water filtration device, and an entire lightweight portable gym. I've always been hardwired to perform intensive research for any endeavor whether it'd be Iron Man triathlons or adventure races or angel investing or investment portfolio building or business creation or biohacking, I always aim to get my ducks in a row, making sure to cross the Ts, dot the Is and craft some kind of a bulletproof plan for anything life might throw at me.

Now, sometimes that habit is grading to Jessa, my relatively type B free-flowing relaxed wife of 20 years the time I'm telling you this at least, especially when we go on vacation and I supply each member of the family with extensive printed spreadsheets timelines, location maps, and precise itineraries detailing each hour, minute and second of every trip. See what I mean when I say prepper?

So, upon the birth of my twin sons, not only did I snatch up and read every available book on parenting, but I interviewed a host of parenting and educational experts for my podcast. I spent hours on consumer research websites looking up topics like safest stroller, low EMF baby monitor, best family car and mapped out comprehensive daily routines for my family's food, exercise, and schooling regimen. When those same twin sons were just six years old, I proudly wrote an entire little book on healthy parenting titled “Raising Tiny Superhumans,” which seemed to me at the time a pretty decent guide with tips on everything from optimizing nap times to biohacking a kid's immune system. And, as a bonus gift to you, by the way, I'll put a free download of that book if you go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/TinySuperhumans if you want to check it out.

But man, the hubris, this proud papa thought he had it all figured out. My kids were going to be happy, self-actualized, and hell a strong child prodigies who would achieve perfect grades, never get sick or injured and always flow through life with purpose and supremely satisfied ease. But then, life happened, my plan is to raise the perfect children were quickly derailed, the idealistic dream of homeschooling and spending every last minute of the next 18 years hanging out with mentoring playing with and educating my precious sons was disrupted by a job that required intensive travel time and a wife who didn't really want to be a full-time school teacher. The lofty goal of perfect childhood nourishment was replaced by pizza and cupcakes at birthday parties and vegetable oil and sugar at grandma's house and fast food 4A squeezed in between soccer games and tennis lessons, grand designs to raise boys who grow up to be strong barefoot wilderness savvy savages replaced by computers and comic books and Minecraft and Captain Underpants cartoons and “Diary of a Wimpy Kid's” books. The plan for optimized daily rituals and routines to create flawless formative years collided with a mad scramble to just get through one single bay without everything just well falling apart. So, I definitely didn't have it all figured out.

I realized quickly there is no perfect parenting blueprint. There's no step-by-step instructions that exist for how to raise an impeccable happy and fulfilled young human. Through slow and painful lessons, I began to slowly understand that parenting isn't anything like following a recipe to bake a cake or programming logical sequences to create software, or navigating some road map from point A to point B; instead, it's more like hacking your way with a machete to the top of a mountain following a meandering zigzagging path that's littered with confusing signs, sweating and crawling along the way while wondering whether you have sufficient food and water, whether you're anywhere near the right path or whether you're even on the right mountain. Yet, despite my constant self-questioning in fatherhood imposter syndrome, over the past years, my wife and I have been encouraged by many friends and followers and fans and listeners to write a parenting book. “Oh, you must write a book about your approach,” they say. “Have you ever written a book about your parenting philosophies?” they asked. “Ben and Jessa, your next book must be about raising children,” they advised.

Well, I'm not quite certain our raising sons or at least keeping them alive to the age of just 14, the current age of my twins: River and Terran would qualify someone to write an entire guide to parenting granted, who am I to judge? When they were just 6 years old, I thought myself to be highly qualified to write a book on raising healthy kids, even going so far as to quite proudly promise to reveal a sage father's secrets to raising tiny superhumans. Yeah, I do sense that my sons have turned out decent thus far and I realize I might be slightly biased, but I feel they're happy and content and joyful and well-behaved and stable boys. Maybe a little bit more so than their average peers. They're peaceful. They're easy going. They've rarely thrown a tantrum. They're obedient and trustworthy. They have yet to display a threat of teenage angst. They're intellectually studious yet hypercreative. And, most importantly, they exemplify a deep love for each other, for me and their mom, and for God.

And yeah, I know there goes the proud papa hopping on a soapbox to brag about his amazing kids. And look, I realize it can come across as high-handed haughtiness to describe my offspring in this manner, but I really, really do get it when adults meet and hang out with Terran and then suggest that their mom and I write a parenting book. But, you must also understand that I am not taking a massive amount of credit for how our sons have turned out, neither is Jessa. So, if there wasn't anything particularly special I did in the parenting department, and if River and Terran's splendid development thus far isn't due to the fact that I'm some kind of superman father possessed with deep parenting wisdom, why do I think that by the grace of God, my sons have turned out pretty good thus far?

Well, later in this book when you hear detailed answers to the questions I asked all the other parents I interviewed for this book, you'll get a comprehensive insider glimpse of our Greenfield parenting philosophies. So, you can borrow any interesting, compelling or potentially beneficial parenting approaches Jessa and I have implemented. When you hear those answers, you'll soon realize there's nothing amazing about what Jessa and I have done, no dedicated multi-hour eye gazing sessions on every day that ends in why, no bans on TV, video games, screen time, ice cream or pizza, no intensive immersion in some elitist mastermind group with genius kids from around the globe, no 4:00 a.m. burpees followed by a newspaper rude, a transcendental meditation session, an ice bath to finish things off before breakfast. You get the idea. 

Nothing so earth-shattering would put us on the front cover of Tiger Parenting magazine; instead, I believe the success of our approach is direct from simple yet critically foundational concepts that any parent can implement. And, I'll detail many of them in this book. Things like the following: A faith-based belief that our children are blessing from God, paired with constant gratefulness and acknowledgment to God for these tiny humans he loaned to us. A daily focus on pouring peace love and forgiveness over every problem, disagreement, stressor, anger, argument, or other problematic household situation paired with a constant mindfulness to identify and process and emotions of shame or fear, systematically planned and calendared family traditions, rituals, routines, habits like nightly family dinners, bedtime stories, regularly scheduled tiny small meditation sessions, prayer, scripture reading together. All with the focus on legacy and the idea of raising not just our children but our grandchildren. 

A diet that has real whole nutrients from as close to nature as possible in a healthy relationship with food, which actually is a powerful influence on a kid's mental and emotional state of well-being by cooking and eating together. A value placed on hard work, occasional discomfort, sacrifice, stamina, and self-discipline, things like yard chores, weight training, running up hills, hunting, jiu-jitsu, and even many triathlons and obstacle course races just within reason and not at 4:00 a.m. Development of a sacred intimate relationship with nature via wilderness immersion, plant foraging, hiking, sunshine, fresh air, and lots of time spent outdoors in all seasons. And, a largely self-directed education approach focused largely on real-life experiences outside the classroom with very little formal orthodox curriculum based upon outdated traditional methods of schooling that are largely no longer relevant in our modern era of automation, computing, and the opportunity for humans to engage in less factory work and more creative dynamic jobs.

While all these activities and many others I'm going to detail later in this book were habits that we simply wove into our son's lives from an early age, as a result, Bible before breakfast and Bible before bed, morning and evening meditations, liver and onions sometimes for lunch, plunging into an ice bath, signing up for mini-triathlon and preparing salad from common edible weeds found in the average backyard–haven't really been weird for our sons, but just a normal accepted part of their existence. 

Yet, although we've developed what I believe to be effective strategies in our own parenting, I still fully realize that there's absolutely no freaking way that we've done everything right with our sons. No chance we know everything about parenting and no promise that what worked well with our children will be guaranteed to work well with other people's children. Perhaps most awkward of all, there's no way I can say with certainty my sons won't drastically change in the future and say, God forbid, wind up in prison for years, fail collegiate entrance exam, or turn into some problematic troublemaking scourge on society that derides people for reading a parenting book written by the caretakers of such horrible human beings by even naming such dreadful possibilities. I hope I'm not manifesting any of those horrible events. I'm just trying to be realistic here. In other words, I tend to think that a parenting manual written by just one set of parents threatens to be a quite myopic, subjective, narrow-minded, and incomplete guide. Plus, who would ever want to read a book written by a parent who hadn't actually finished the job of parenting.

So, what's the solution? How could a parenting book be complete and comprehensive without the author being some brilliant omniscient unicorn of a parent? Well, as I got to thinking about this problem and as I'm prone to do slept on it, walked on it and prayed on it, I came to a simple and somewhat unique solution that I actually first discovered from my friend Tim Ferriss when he went through the process of writing his book, “The Tribe of Mentors” and “Tools of Titans.” Confronted with extreme anxiety and overwhelm in the process of writing both those books, Tim developed a questioning philosophy that he says led him to some very specific insights and answers to many of the problems he was confronting. In addition, this culminated in deep personal and professional growth formation of new connections with several mentors, and the ultimate publication of “Tribe of Mentors” and “Tools of Titans.” Basically, Tim decided one morning to spend a week test-driving a path of least resistance. So, I wrote down the question, “What would this look like if it were easy?”

Soon thereafter, an idea presented itself. Tim's idea as he describes in an article on his blog and an interview with James Altucher, and I'll link to all that if you go to BoundlessParentingBook.com/Resources, was to assemble a tribe of mentors to help him. More specifically, for his book, “Tribe of Mentors,” Tim decided to ask a hundred-plus brilliant people the very questions that he wanted to answer as a means of gaining their guidance and wisdom. And voila, the result of Tim's outside the box approached the problem from an easy angle question culminated in the ultimate Choose-Your-Own Adventure book, a compilation of tools, tactics, and habits from over 130 of the world's top performers from iconic entrepreneurs to elite athletes to famous artists to billionaire investors. And, Tim's decision to crowdsource two separate books chock full of short-life advice from billionaires, icons, and world-class performers was inspired by him asking that one simple question, “What if this were easy?”

Now, incidentally, another great literary example of collecting and curating advice from experts to exponentially scale the amount and depth of wisdom in a book is Marc Champagne‘s philosophy book, “Personal Socrates,” which is also well worth the read. So, why shouldn't I do the same thing for a parenting book? I thought, why not pick the brains of some of the most amazing parents I know and find out what they did with their children, then combine that knowledge with everything my wife and I have personally learned on our own parenting journey? Why not crowdsource, collect, curate, aggregate, edit, package, and publish an anthology of the parenting tools, tactics, and habits that have been proven to actually work for helping to raise creative, resilient, and impactful children? Why not create a list of all the questions that I'm often asked about parenting all the questions I personally have about parenting and all the questions that I think should be asked more about parenting and then get the answers to those questions from folks who I truly respect, admire or look up to in the parenting department? So, that's what I did, but not right away.

See, doing something like this isn't quite as simple as calling up a few of your friends who you think are great parents and ask them to jot down all their tips for you, No, things get a little bit more complex than that. First, I had to choose the parents that I really wanted to feature within the pages of this book. And, let's face it, I didn't want to interview a handful of uber-wealthy celebrity-esque perfect parents with unlimited disposable income for education and toys with flawless Instagram family photos featuring parents and children posing by some pristine lake while flashing their pearly white dental implants with a fleet of Tesla model Xs and Mercedes G-Wagons to drive the family to the Friday night high school football match where their son's the star quarterback and their daughter is the cheerleading captain. Look, I got nothing against wealthy successful seemingly perfect families, but A, they're hard for us average parents to relate to, and B, let's face it, they're not really that perfect. When you start hanging out with them, you discover they deal with the same poopy diapers and dinner table arguments and teenage angst, stressful schedules, and parenting insecurities as the rest of us.

So, what parents that I eventually choose to interview, well, I wanted to interview parents who I personally knew and whose children had impressed, intrigued, or enchanted me after I spent time with them. I also want to interview parents who had produced meaningful and impactful parenting and educational content in books, magazines, podcasts, and other forms of media, especially content I've found to be particularly beneficial in my own parenting journey. I wanted to choose parents who were real and relatable but also had displayed a concerted and unique or outside-the-box effort to prioritize good parenting as a cherished value in their household, parents who had an obvious passion, drive, intellect, skill, and patience for parenting, for education and for fostering the next generation, parents who prize legacy and had raised present impactful resilient and successful children. 

Now, I met some of these parents through my podcasts. Some are old family friends. Others wrote books that are heavily influenced by my own parenting and educational approach. Others are highly influential and impactful leaders who have been fortunate enough to connect with at conferences and churches and other events. And, I mean, you can review the table of contents for this book or go check out the index to see a list of all the parents who ultimately wound up being featured, but here's a few highlights to wet your whistle as you prepare to listen to this audiobook. 

We've got Rich and Gaye Christensen, the family branding and legacy expert couple who helped our family design our mission statement, logo, family crest, and literally an entire playbook for all our traditions, rituals, routines, comings, and goings.

We've got Chad Johnson, a successful entrepreneur, Ironman triathlete, men's fatherhood and family coach and father of 11 beautiful impactful children.

Virgil Knight. The fun and quirky co-inventor of the Christian cartoon VeggieTales who travels with an entire family of 10 in a giant psychedelic color painted Austin Powers van filled with plush bean bags often wearing footie pajamas and crazy costumes to their favorite restaurants. And, the same guy taught me how to incorporate more joy, laughter, and lighthearted silliness into my own family.

Doug and Nancy Wilson. Parents of three, grandparents of 17, founders of new St. Andrews College and Logos School, and prolific authors of dozens of Christian and family culture-building books that I've found to be formative for my own parent education and marriage.

Kelly and Juliet Starrett. Champions for popularizing concepts like barefoot and minimalist footwear for children, stand-up desks for kids and optimize childhood mobility movement and exercise who also inspired me to have my sons bear crawling, frog hopping and fence balancing from an early age.

Naveen Jain, the billionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist who raised three amazing and impactful children driven to solve the world's biggest challenges through cutting-edge innovation, including moon travel and microbiome research.

Joe and Courtney DeSena, the famous Spartan Race founder parents who specialize in raising gritty hard motivated boys and girls who do things like watch cartoons in Mandarin Chinese and wake at dawn for burpees in wrestling practice if that's your thing.

Jim and Jamie Shields. Often referred to as the crazy glue for families, the founders of family board meetings, an organization that teaches parents how to use all 18 summers of a child's upbringing to create lasting meaningful relationships and helps parents connect with their children in fun and experiential ways.

Dan and Merily Pompa. Dear family friends who successfully integrated their happy and fulfilled sons into a thriving family health business and who practice unique family dietary practices like fasting and seasonal eating from an early age for their children.

Lenore Skenazy. President of Let Grow, a non-profit promoting childhood independence and resilience, and founder of the Free-Range Kids movement, also dubbed as America's Worst Mom when she led her then 9-year-old son take the New York City subway home alone.

Tim and Jeannine Corcoran. Wilderness survival and nature immersion instructors who facilitate meaningful rites of passage into adolescence and adulthood and who have taught their children to speak bird language, forage for wild plants, and develop a deep and intimate connection with the planet.

Dan and Maura Vega. The Fat-Fueled Family who defy the status quo of everything from kids' fitness to high-fat diets for children to unconventional education concepts, Christian carnivorism, and beyond.

Angi Fletcher. The power mother who's pushed through depression, divorce, and death and transformed her life experiences into deep wisdom on sustainable living, biohacking, life optimization, holistic youth wellness and more.

Gary and Pat Greenfield. My own parents who homeschooled my four siblings and me from grades K through 12 designed an outside-the-box childhood and educational experience for us in a tiny town in North Idaho and who are, of course, significantly responsible for the fact that this book and any of my other books even exist.

And, while this may seem like an impressive list, this is really just a small glimpse of all the parents featured in this book. Let's face it, no parent is perfect. Any of us grown-ups may even remember the day when we realized our own parents had suddenly magically become less wise and perfect over the years like I mentioned earlier. So, I highly doubt you'll personally agree with every aspect of the parenting approaches that I'll describe. 

Nonetheless, each parent I interviewed produced many gold nuggets, little-known tips, sage pieces of advice, and valuable takeaways. Although I might be biased, the book that you're listening to now probably contains the most unique, helpful, and thorough literary collection of parenting wisdom I've ever encountered, and that to my knowledge currently exists. Unless you feel a touch of overwhelm about how to digest all the information in this book, in the how to read this book section of this introduction, I'll give you a few tips for waiting with wisdom and proceeding with discernment through the wealth of parenting advice you're about to discover.

Finally, I got to admit, I was pretty nervous about reaching out to all these busy important parents and proceeding to bug or bother them with a voluminous intimidating, and time-consuming list containing dozens of parenting questions, but as Matthew 7 through 8 in the Bible says, “Ask and it shall be given to you. Seek and you shall find. Knock and it shall be opened unto you.” As Matthew 17:20 says, “For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you'll say to this mountain, ‘move from here to there,' and it'll move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” And, as Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” 

So, I asked, I trusted, I believed, I manifested, I prayed, then I waited, I bugged, I nagged, I followed up, I chased, I kept asking, kept checking in, and kept proceeding with a general strategy based upon a piece of sage advice my own mother used to repeatedly tell me, “The squeaky wheel gets the oil.” Well, I definitely squeaked over and over again like a rusty annoying hinge. Some of the parents I contacted said yes, some said no, some never replied, and some required persistent and unrelenting follow-up. But ultimately, I got answers. Once I had answers, which was the equivalent of hundreds of pages of parenting advice to edit, I didn't lock myself away in my office for many days hours weeks, and months to filter through the massive amount of parenting content that spilled forth from my email inbox, my phone, my notebooks, my rough drafts, and my overflowing brain. But, thanks to the grace of God and my unrelenting stubbornness, it all came together.

And then, finally, take a deep dive into the additional resources I made for this book. One of my least favorite parts of writing a book is when the entire manuscript goes into the editing phase and subsequently plenty of content, much of it that's valuable but too voluminous for a print book winds up on the cutting room floor. I can't say I know any authors who relish that process of painstakingly selecting what materials actually wind up in the completed book as they kiss their precious babies goodbye so to speak. 

So, these days when I write a book, I save all the writing, the notes, the research, the drafts, the compelling extra bits that just didn't make the cut, and all the resources, studies, books, podcasts, videos, websites, and helpful learning materials I used to research the book or that I referenced within the book. In this case, I made all of that available on the official book resources webpage. You can scan the QR code if you have a physical version of this book at the end of the book for direct access to that or at the end of each parent's chapter or you can go to BoundlessParentingBook.com/Resources. That's BoundlessParentingBook.com/Resources where you'll find links to each parent's bios and books and websites and social media profiles too.

And, in the future, as I continue to produce podcasts and interviews, and other content with those parents, I'll put all that at BoundlessParentingBook.com/Resources. And, at the end of each chapter, I'll give you a link to a specific resource page for that particular parent's content. Due to the wonders of technology and the digital era in which we live, this promise to be evergreen and continually improved ever growing and quite juicy. So, bookmark those and make good use of them.

You've heard of carbs, you've heard of fats, you've heard of proteins, but there's a fourth macronutrient I never learned about in college in my nutrition classes that is kind of this secret weapon now. As a matter of fact, it was created through a $6 million contract from the U.S. Department of Defense and deep partnerships with some of the top three researchers in nutritional science. It's used by Tour de France cyclists, ultra-elite endurance athletes. And now, it's available for anybody. It's a highly efficient super fuel for the brain and the body. It's called Ketone IQ.

Now, you've probably heard of ketones before, but what HVMN, the company that makes Ketone IQ has done is they've taken the part of ketones that is most bioavailable and efficacious. They've separated that from all the expensive fancy stuff, found out the dose that automatically gives you the energy that you want without the insulin spikes, the caffeine jitters, or the mid-afternoon energy crashes, and you just take a dose and you feel a million bucks. And, the cool thing I like about it because I'm a total foodie and I can't stop thinking about food, is it crushes my appetite and I can go for hours and hours and hours without eating even if I'm exercising.

So, if you want to try this stuff, you go to hvmn.com/BenG and use code BENG20 for 20% off of any purchase of Ketone IQ. That's an exclusive offer for my podcast listeners hvmn.com/BenG and use code BENG20 for 20% off of any purchase. If you happen to be lucky enough to live in California, you can find HVMN, Ketone IQ products within Equinox at any of the California Earthbar locations as well as at Sprouts grocery store. So, hooray if you live in California. Ketone IQ, check it out. You have to try ketones, it'll change your life.

You guys know how I feel about fitness and nutrition and how your daily habits impact your health, your longevity, your productivity. What you may not know is that I have trained up a whole team of coaches. These are amazing individuals who have gone through a whole series of modules, and programs, and lessons from me. They meet with me every month and they are well, well-trained in all my methodologies. They can take all the guesswork out of planning solutions for your nutrition and your fitness. Whether you want to run a marathon, do a triathlon, or a Spartan Race. Whether you're just trying to sleep better. Whether you're looking for better brain performance. Whether you're looking for age reversal strategies, biohacking strategies, they know it all.

It's a huge waste of your time and energy to follow some random fitness plan or approach your nutrition without a thought-out personalized approach. But, you can take the guesswork out of it all and get the results that you really want by working with one of my coaches at BenGreenfieldCoaching.com. All the plans, totally customized to your lifestyle and your bio-individuality. We've got full levels of support from easy-to-follow plans all the way to constant support VIP status accountability from highly trained coaches. All the latest biohacking recommendations we dig deep.

It's more than just workout and here's what to eat. It's way more than that. You're going to be super-duper well cared for with any of our coaches. And, if you want to finally take the guesswork out of your training, out of your eating, out of your supplementation, out of everything you do and you want to implement a lot of the kind of stuff you hear about on this podcast that you read me writing about, then you definitely want to work with one of my coaches.

I can only coach so many people that's why I trained up these coaches to do the same type of stuff that I do using the same approach so they've all been vetted heavily. And, you can check them out at BenGreenfieldCoaching.com and reach your goals more quickly, more safely, and more effectively today.

So, I wrote a book last year that is my guide to dealing with personal struggle, spiritual growth, temptations and it's essentially a sequel to my original book, “Fit Soul,” in which I talk about as the name implies getting a “Fit Soul,” but this book called “Endure” is about tools, tactics, and habits for improving your spiritual stamina. As kind of a fun side project for that book, I commissioned an artist to create 13 really cool amazing limited edition covers of super inspirational figures like a bald eagle, and David fighting Goliath, and a rock climber, and an Archer, and stallions running through a wildfire, and somebody charging up a hill and a ship on the raging ocean. Really, really beautiful books. And then, I worked to get these books printed. I personally signed each one of them, and so I've got 13 books, literally, in my office all limited edition versions of my book, “Endure.” And, what I'm doing is I'm opening up all 13 as an NFT, meaning you can go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/EndureNFT. You can bid on any of the books. And, when you do, I send the book to your home, you also own the digital right and we're doing a VIP book signing party with me for the 13 people who each own one copy, only one copy will ever exist of this “Endure” book.

So, I'm super proud of the way these things turned out. They're really beautiful. They'd be great for a gift. They'd be great for a cool place on your bookshelf. You could get all 13 if you want to own the whole collection, beat everybody to the punch, that's up to you. But anyways, you go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/EndureNFT to bid on a book, to own it, get the signed version sent to you, own the digital version, and also have a private virtual book signing party with me. So, check it out, BenGreenfieldLife.com/EndureNFT.

Female Speaker:  Here's an excerpt from Ben's chapter.

Ben:  How many children do you have? How old are they? What is their profession or passion and why in particular? Are you proud of them?

Jessa and I currently have twin 14-year-old sons. We've found that twins, at least ours, still seem to care about who's oldest and who's youngest. So, in case they should ever read or listen to this book, I'll acknowledge our son River was delivered via C-section just a couple minutes before his younger brother Terran. So, he's technically older. And, in fact despite being older by just a few minutes displays the same type A organized logical tendencies that many firstborns tend to possess, relative to the somewhat more laid-back type B tendencies of his brother, Terran. Inevitably, as an author in the health space, I'm often asked why we didn't choose a natural birth and instead opted for a C-section since the latter is often associated with a less robust microbiome or immune system strength than a child. 

Now, it is true that by eating a wide variety of fermented foods and probiotics, the microbiome of a child born via C-section works out to be the same as that of a naturally birth child by about the age of 7. And, there's more on that in my response to a later question about a child's immune system.

In fact, we did opt for a natural birth, but unfortunately, after taking a series of fancy home-birthing breath classes and laboring for nearly 12 hours at home surrounded by doulas, a midwife, and a water birth station, we realize my petite wife Jessa's Tiny hips weren't going to allow a baby much less to out anytime soon. So, at 2:00 a.m. on March 19th, 2008, we drove to the Spokane Valley Hospital in Eastern Washington for emergency assistance in the magic of modern medicine. Then, to escape the artificial lights, dirty electricity's fake formulas, and sterile environment, we boogied out of that hospital just as fast as we could. Anyway, unless God decides to bless us with another child, our immediate family is smaller than the family Jessa and I grew up in. She has one brother and two sisters and I have two brothers and two sisters. But, despite me and admiring those parents with 8, 10, or 12 arrows in the quiver so to speak, we love the small family God's bless us with.

As I alluded to in the introduction of this book, River and Terran have always been somewhat remarkable boys. From the time they were babies, they radiated a peaceful contented joy that is made parenting at least up to this point a true delight. They seldomly grumble or complain. They've rarely needed forms of discipline like spanking or grounding or timeouts and they display the same type of studious intellect and hyper-creativity I had as a boy. See, I was homeschooled K-12, I was very self-driven. I often sped through my entire curriculum like Math logic or Latin via books my parents just handed to me and let me dive into on my own. 

Now, my sons are currently on track to finish their high school education around 15 years old. At that point, they both plan to take a gap year for an adventure such as backpacking Europe or hiking the Pacific Crest Trail before they plan to enroll in a liberal arts institution to pursue a well-rounded classical education or start a book and gaming company. That's up in the air. At the moment, their desired vocation seemed to involve the creative arts since they're both interested in writing graphic novel design, art architecture, and cooking.

Now, surely at this point, you might be thinking that anything else that I will tell you should be taken with a very large grain of salt because I just happen to have gotten lucky and won the parenting lottery. But, while I do constantly scratch my head about why my sons seemed to be so well-behaved and level-headed, I do in humbleness believe that there are certain things we did as parents that have helped their childhood evolution along quite a bit. And, I'm going to address exactly what I think those things are in my responses to the upcoming questions.

Are there any elements of your parenting approach that you would consider to be particularly unique? 

Well, while it's not a parenting style, it's incredibly unique or unheard of. The very first thing that comes to mind is love and logic approach we've implemented from a very early age with our sons based on the book, “Parenting with Love and Logic.” The basic idea of love and logic is to thoroughly educate your children about the consequences of decisions than to step back and allow them to make the decisions, make the mistakes, and just as they'll eventually experience in the real world, live with the natural or logical consequences all while you observe them and monitor them with compassion and empathy. 

The concepts taught in love and logic plays a heavy emphasis on respect and dignity for the child paired with love, compassion, and empathy from the parent. I would consider this approach to be the polar opposite of the overprotected, strict, rigid, helicopter parenting approach. As a childhood education expert and author Jessica Lahey who's featured in chapter 22 of this book points out overparenting can negatively affect children's motivation and learning ability. And, he simply can't teach cause and effect if you're constantly rescuing your children from the consequences of their actions.

A recent BBC article titled “The secret of arctic survival parenting” discusses the independence-fostering parent techniques of the Sami tribes. In the summer during the bright arctic nights, it's normal for the Sami children of 12 years old or so to go fishing with their friends at night and come home in the early morning hours. This autonomy contrasts with the intensely time-intensive child-centered parenting style practice in many societies around the world. In Sami pedagogics, it's a central expectation that adults don't do everything for the children. While Western thinking presumes that adults are responsible for giving children tasks and assignments for the Sami, actions are based on freedom where the question involves changing sleeping cycles, choosing hobbies or finding food. The adults rarely set strict boundaries or tell children what to do. 

As a matter of fact, the common saying among Sami parents translates as, “You know it yourself.” Essentially, this means that the child will discover if their decision is smart or right through the consequences. Sound familiar? Sami parents may say this phrase when a child insists on going out into the cold wearing light clothing, the child will discover for themselves whether they made a good choice once they're freezing or uncomfortably cold. And, they can then use that learning to shape their future decision-making. Time is also an important part of the Sami philosophy based upon a belief that children must be given time to think and express their opinions. One common Sami parenting expression means he or she will learn when he or she grows up. 

Armed with these philosophies, we the Greenfields don't have many non-negotiable rules in our home. There's no limits on screen time. No bans on food. No strictly enforced bedtimes. No direct punishment for things like poor grades or procrastination. Instead, we educate our sons on the consequences of the decisions they might make in life, then step back and allow them to deal with those consequences. And, often the consequences themselves serve as adequate reward or punishments for their actions. 

So, for example, rather than telling our sons they can't eat cake at their friend's birthday party, we teach them about the potential inflammatory effects of sugar and gluten on their digestive system, the lifespan and health span benefits of modulating their consumption of sweets, carbohydrates, and gluten and the existence of supplements that could control blood sugar or pre-digest gluten in the gastrointestinal tract. So, when presented with a cornucopia say cupcakes at a birthday party, they'll often partake, yes, but in moderation. Usually paired with physical activity and chased with some kind of a gluten-digesting supplement like dipeptidyl peptidase. We actually use a brand called Gluten Guardian for this. It works fantastically. They're free to eat as much cake as they'd like. It's completely their decision and they can deal with any gut upset, eczema, acne, or other biological consequences that occur as a result of their choices.

Next, rather than issuing any strict rules on screen time, we educate them about issues like the effects of blue light from backlit screens on their circadian rhythm and the impact of too much electromagnetic energy and fertility or overall brain health. We then let them decide how much time they want to spend on their iTouches or MacBooks or whether they want to stay up late playing video games or watching television, these technologies are not off-limits in our home in any way whatsoever. And, they did just get their first smartphone at the age of 14 and we really made no big deal of it, we just got them a phone and put it in their bedroom. And, beginning age 16, they will pay the phone plan for that plan. And, I think some kind of financial obligation gives a child a stronger sense of ownership or responsibility, but they didn't expect a phone. It wasn't one of those things where there was a certain rite of passage or very special time in their life where they received their first phone with angels singing and lights emanating from Heaven, it was just this random thing we gave to them when we were going on a date once so they could contact us. And so, again, we didn't make a thing a thing if that makes sense. And then, if they experience headaches, brain fog, or poor academic performance after spending extended time on their devices, they know exactly what's happening and what to do about it.

Next, rather than enforcing exact bedtimes or wait times, we let them sleep and wake however they would like, at whatever times they choose. The same time we teach them not only about the biological importance of quality sleep and relatively consistent sleep and wake times but also the impact of poor sleep on academic, mental, and physical performance the next day. If they then decide to stay up until 2:00 a.m. reading some graphic novel that's completely their choice and also their problem to deal with if they feel tired or worn down or less mentally sharp the next day. After experiencing enough rough days resulting from late nights, they'll make notes, learn from their mistakes and adjust their future decision making often assisted by slight verbal nudges from us parents like, “I'm sorry you're having a rough day that must be really hard, perhaps you should prioritize sleep more this week.” Now, authenticity is key here. If your children hear you say one thing until you do another, they'll be far less likely to pay attention to your suggestions, insights, and teachings.

With any of the examples I just gave you or any other aspect of the love and logic approach, it's important to know that Jessa and I set examples. We don't stuff our face from the bread basket when our family goes out to a restaurant. We tend to favor reading books or playing musical instruments during down time at our house rather than turning to smartphones, computers, or televisions. And, we're old fuddy daddies who are usually in bed by 9:30 or 9:45 p.m. about the time our own sons go to sleep.

Now, besides teaching a child responsibility on autonomy, an added benefit of this approach is that as I hinted at with the phone aspect, it doesn't create a host of household forbidden fruits. For example, when I was growing up, alcohol was totally off limits and for adults only, and pornography was only spoken up with hush breath as if some kind of mysterious pandora's box. So, what were my first experiences with alcohol and porn? Well, you got sneaking a bottle of scotch from my dad's office and getting drunk in my bedroom and hiding dirty magazines under my bed. After all, my parents didn't teach me anything about the realities or consequences of alcohol or porn. As a result, I perceive these things to be mysterious, fun, and off-limits to me because they were considered to be “adult activities.” In contrast, my sons and I have had frank, honest, and open discussions about responsible use of substances like alcohol and cannabis, including the fact that these compounds can be damaging and deleterious, especially for a young human's liver and brain. We've engaged in deep and wide-ranging conversations about porn and sex, including how our modern culture has sucked much of the sacredness out of sex via objectification of women and rampant access to a host of both digital and physical sexual partners. You can see chapter three of my book “Endure” for more about that.

If they think looking at porn won't affect them, I encourage them to consider how they'd feel if it was their mom or their daughter or their sister posing nude for money. They really want to promote an industry that would place a woman in that career position. Finally, regarding sex, I generally operate with a philosophy that if I don't teach something to my sons, then someone else will. And frankly, I'm more comfortable with the teacher as me. Because of this by age 13, we've already had frank and open conversations about topics like male anatomy, female anatomy, erections, wet dreams, orgasms, sex techniques, heterosexual intercourse, homosexual intercourse, sex toys, pleasuring a woman, and all those other things that I hope will help give them a very happy wife someday while also keeping them from googling these type of topics to learn from sources that might be suspect or in my opinion amoral.

Now, because they've been thoroughly educated on issues like wine, weed, and porn, it's unlikely they're going to wander the pantry and sneak a bottle of wine into the room to try that mysterious alcohol when Mom and Dad aren't around or steal my vape pen from my office and get high underneath the back patio or turn to the internet to learn all about a woman's body or sex. I've already taken them through all of that via instructive conversations and my old college human anatomy books. Of course, you do need to draw the line somewhere, especially for a young child's physical protection. If your tiny toddler is waddling towards a hot stove that you told them was a sharp burning owie ouch experience, you shouldn't necessarily let them plant their face against the burning glass to teach them a lesson. But, if you've worn them three times, they continue to explore the stove, perhaps a little burn on their fingers just fine, just use your common sense and wisdom here. Furthermore, in the same way that we keep our family guns and a lot gun safe and have railings on the wooden stairs, we set up some amount of protection for our sons against other types of potential “accidents.” For example, we've installed the porn protection software Canopy on their iTouches and MacBooks. We don't stock the pantry full of Snickers bars and Cheetos and we don't give them a television or video game console in their bedroom even though if they wanted to move it in there. Well, based on what you just learned, we let them but we tell them about the potential consequences.

I think you get the idea. If you're going to educate your child about the potential hazards of riding in a car, give them a seat belt too. As professor and adolescence expert Dr. Laurence Steinberg says, “Protect when you must, permit when you can.”

What book, systems, models or resources do you rely heavily upon or considered to be indispensable in your own parenting?

One, in addition to “Parenting With Love And Logic,” as mentioned previously, here's a few other beneficial books that I've read some multiple times since our sons were born. I'm going to put a full list if you go to BoundlessParentingBook.com/Resources: “Unschooling to University,” “Free To Learn,” “Free-Range Kids,” “Let Them Play,” “The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn To Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed,” and “De-schooling Society.” Those would all be an educational topic.

For communication: “The Five Love Languages of Children,” “Shepherding A Child's Heart,” “Conversations You Need To Have With Your Children,” and “When Your Child Is Six To Twelve.”

For spiritual health: “Future Men,” “Father Hunger,” “Standing on the Promises,” “Why Children Matter,” “Praise Her in the Gates,” and “The Spiritual Disciplines Handbook.”

For general health: “The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Childcare,” “Nourishing Traditions,” “The Mama Natural Week by Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth,” and “Grow Wild: The Whole-Child, Whole-Family, Nature-Rich Guide to Moving More.”

And again, you probably didn't write all those down so I'll put them at BoundlessParentingBook.com/Resources.

Now, many ideas from these books have been integrated into our own family's routine and have played formative roles in our lives with the most important ones relating to spiritual health. We spent two years immersed in the “Spiritual Disciplines Handbook” by Adele Calhoun reading about one chapter a week. And, in that book, we discovered more common spiritual disciplines like prayer, scripture reading, silence, solitude, meditation, service, fasting, and worship, but also less common spiritual disciplines like labyrinth and liturgical prayers, forgiveness, stewardship, inner healing, iconography, pilgrimages, discipleship, mentorship.

In addition, the “Spiritual Disciplines Journal,” which I actually wrote has served as an integral part of our morning and evening family gatherings. And, I'll describe that in more detail later. Within the first hour upon waking, we all independently read devotionals or listen to devotionals that I've chosen for the family like “My Utmost For His Highest” or “New Morning Mercies” or a Plan from the You Bible app. And then, we share with each other with we've discovered in those readings usually before dinner.

Now, you'll see many other resources mentioned in my other replies to other questions or hear them, but I'd be remiss not to mention one of the most helpful resources in our home, live-in governess. A governess is technically defined–and by the way this is not for Uber, Uber rich people, we aren't, you can do this with a budget. But, a governess is technically defined as a woman employed to teach children in a private household and is also sometimes referred to as a nanny or an au pair. We rely on her for a wide variety of tasks and we simply pay her an hourly fee for these tasks. They include driving our sons to and from activities like tennis, jiu-jitsu, piano, museum visits, meet up with friends, and other school-related excursions, managing the implementation of unschooling curriculum and activities like monitoring, journaling and reporting school activities to Washington state, which requires detailed records of subject studied and completed curricula, carrying out critical activities like cleaning, meal prepping, receiving and shipping mail and packages, printing and organizing documents, caring for animals and maintaining the household.

A governess is just one example that beneficial help the parents can invest in. 20 years ago, I hired my first online virtual assistant to perform random tasks for me like research, shopping, emails, and the like. Since then, my own modus operandi has involved ruthlessly identifying and outsourcing any work or personal activities possible so I can focus on the most important tasks. As Gary Keller recommends in his book, “The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth About Extraordinary Results,” I focus on the one thing that I do best which ends up being the best use of my finite time.

In addition to relying upon a governess to manage the home, I also employ a handyman. And yeah, I do sometimes feel guilty when I'm in my office hunched over a computer and I glance outside to see a big sweaty man mowing my lawn or chopping my wood; along with a whole team of executive assistants, operation officers, and managers for both my home and business. 

So, what is all this so-called time hacking have to do with parenting? Well, it's really straightforward. The more time you free up by effectively outsourcing tasks to others, the more time you have available for your most important task at this point in your life as a parent, being with your children. Trust me, an extra 15 minutes here and 20 minutes there adds up fast. If somebody else is cleaning your garage, you can be inside reading a story or playing a game with your kids, or getting important work done so you can spend quality time with them later. This relates to my favorite definition of wealth, which does not concern financial resources per se but rather involves the ability to wake up in the morning and do what you want. In other words, rich people have money, wealthy people have time. That's why I tell my sons it doesn't matter how much money you make if you have no time left over for activities like experiences, self-care, and relationships.

What traditions, habits, routines or rituals are most important memorable or formative for your family? 

Well, when it comes to passing on important family values and beliefs to future generations, I firmly believe that family traditions are one of the most powerful legacy-building tools in a parent's toolbox. Traditions, habits, rituals, routines, and systematized or calendared comings and goings are the glue that sticks the threads that bind and the clasps that hold a family together through the best and worst of times. While the love and logic approach to parenting can often free a child to live a little more responsibly and even dangerously as they learn to deal with the consequences of their own decisions, tradition provides the safety, dependability, and predictability that I think too many parents attempt to achieve for their children via helicopter parenting.

Well, I'll share with you now a few of our most important routines and rituals with you, many of which we developed after working with the wonderful Rich Christiansen, co-founder of Legado Family who is also featured within this book. He specializes in helping families identify their core values and important beliefs and then create memorabilia, traditions, rituals, routines, logos, a core mission statement, comings and goings, even family spirit animals, all based upon on those values and beliefs. As a result, our family not only observes the traditions I'll share with you shortly, but we also have a Greenfield Family Playbook, which is kind of a guide that outlines these traditions and can be passed on to future generations, a family mission statement that's prominently displayed on our living room wall, a family crest hanging above our fireplace, family logo we can print on hats, shirts, mugs, and stickers, and even individual spirit animals and colors for each member of our family.

So, a few of our most important daily, weekly, and monthly Greenfield family rituals and routines you might find helpful to incorporate in your own family include morning meditation journaling. Meaning, every morning around 7:30, I gather the family next to the fireplace in the living room or under the sunshine or the back patio or in the backyard for a daily family huddle. For this, we use a variety of different devotionals or probably the one we've used most commonly is the Spiritual Disciplines Journal. And, that allows us to read scripture, pray, meditate, complete a gratitude practice, and set an intention to serve or help one person that day. And then, we finish and we sing a song or we recite the Lord's Prayer together and then we'll have a brief family chat about the planned activities for the day, all the way down to subtle details like who's cooking what for dinner or who might have the family vehicles at which hours. We always finish with a giant group hug before we scatter our separate ways to conquer the day.

On the resources webpage that I'll link to at the end of my chapter or at BoundlessParentingBook.com/Resources, I've got a link to an article in a video where I break down this journaling practice in more detail. Now, occasionally about once every two weeks especially if I sense the energy is low in our house or think we need an infusion of joy, I'll call in Audible and we skip journaling and meditation and I'll instead play some uplifting song while we dance and move and swing and sway and worship with our whole bodies. Evening meditation and journaling. Well, similar to morning practice we book end each day by returning to our Spiritual Disciplines Journal just before bedtime for an evening practice of breathwork, meditation, self-examination, and prayer. This is always the final ritual of the day which typically occurs after I play a song on the guitar and read the family bedtime story. Evening songs and stories. On as many weeknights as possible, we prioritize post-dinner songs and stories. Often gathered in the bedroom usually before meditation and journaling.

In addition to reading from short story collections and anthologies like “The Book of Virtues” by William Bennett or great stories of suspense and adventure or “Pilgrim's Progress” by John Bunyan, which is a really great choice. I often choose bedtime stories that are seasonally thematic. For example, in December, I might read a book called “A Boy Called Christmas” by Matt Haeg or his sequels to that or “The Christmas Pig” by JK Rowling. Sometimes I'll play a song on the guitar while the family sings along. And finally, we settle in for a story and finish with some breathwork and/or our Spiritual Disciplines Journal and/or any Bible verse or anything like that we might have been focusing on memorizing during that month.

Family dinners. Our family celebrates the day's end by gathering in the kitchen to prepare a meal together sing, pray, discuss what we read in our devotionals earlier that day. And finally, sit down to feast. We also play fun family card games and board games together. Every month, I take my sons to Barnes & Noble to buy a new board game or card game. And, that 20 to 30 bucks provides hours upon hours of family fun for a fraction of the cost of taking the families to the movies just once. And, we reserve at least one of these evenings to forgo dinner games and instead engage in family talk time to catch up on discussions about current events, school, and more in-depth topics that we may not dig into on the average day or game night. These discussions could involve everything from philosophy to careers, to politics, to sex, as well as the big questions about life that takes longer to address. Often, we'll spend a full month going chapter by chapter through a book I've chosen. Often, that's pre-dinner. My son's assignment is to read the book chapter by the end of the day and to be prepared by dinner time for my questions and discussion with them about that book. We'll then have a five- to ten-minute talk before dinner about that book often while we're tooling around the kitchen during dinner prep.

For example, to create fodder for discussions regarding current events or politics, I recently brought them through a book called “A Rebel's Manifesto,” which addresses topics that many parents might sometimes forget to have targeted discussions about with their children like navigating bullying and social media, handling loneliness, sex, pornography, approaching difficult conversations about controversial issues or articulating your world view of faith.

Dinner parties. Though every night at our house feels like a bit of an end-of-the-day celebration and dinner party, at least once a week our family prioritizes stewardship, service, love, fellowship, joy, and community building by inviting friends both old and new into our home for a celebratory gathering feast. Often these dinners are themed with concepts like crazy socks, funny hats, ugly sweaters, karaoke contests, sauna and hot tub with cold pool, cornhole, ping pong, or bocce ball competitions. You get the idea. Typically, each guest brings a dish to share and Jessa and my sons and I contribute additional dishes like grilled meat, fresh made sourdough bread, homemade desserts, or baked goodies or cocktails. These dinners usually schedule in advance, manage via Google Doc and Spreadsheet that lists all of our local friends and acquaintances. 

At each occasion, we usually include between three to five families from all walks of life along with any other lone stragglers that we decided to invite. When I arrange these parties, I think of it a bit like creating a recipe. Each family or individual I throw into the mix is a new ingredient that makes something new. It's actually quite rewarding to witness the unique conversations and activities that take place depending on which adults and children comprise the ingredient mix for that nice recipe.

Date nights. At least twice each month we skip our family home dinners and have date night. I intentionally scheduled dates with my wife Jessa as well as solo dates with each of my sons. We also do a family date which involves me taking one of our sons on a solo date while Jessa takes our other son on a solo date. Sometimes we go to the same restaurants but we sit at tables far enough apart so it's not awkward. Our dinner is usually followed by the whole family meeting up afterwards for dessert. These dates provide time for focused one-on-one husband-wife or parent-child conversations that seldom occur at the family dinner table along with much-needed opportunities for my wife and I to have private discussions that we normally wouldn't have with our sons with an earshot.

Prayer board. On our YouBible apps on the whiteboard in our kitchen pantry and on a separate notes app on my phone, we maintain a prayer list. That might include the names of people we committed to pray for or who God has placed upon our hearts to pray for. And, that's really helpful because our memories are fickle and it doesn't help that our prayer list is ever-expanding. Sometimes we meet for morning meditation the app and the board really come in handy. As part of our morning ritual, we identify one person we can pray for, help, or serve that day. And, these records help remind us exactly who we committed to bring before God for healing, salvation, peace, joy, or encouragement.

Sabbath Day. We commit a Sunday to rest relaxation and time together as a family and in God's creation. While we pride ourselves on hard work and productivity, we also recognize that having one protected day each week allows for a refreshment of the body and mind in addition to being crucial for long-term physical and mental health. Furthermore, dedicating that day to worship and spiritual matters is critical for long-term spiritual health. We often host our big dinner party gatherings on these same Sabbath Days.

Family tennis or pickleball. It's important to have a recreational activity the entire family can enjoy together. And, I think racket sports are great for that, especially a family of four. For the Greenfield family, especially in the spring and summer, it's a weekly excursion to play an hour of tennis at a nearby park before dinner or in the fall and winter up to the indoor pickleball course to hit some pickleballs. Usually, Jessa will partner with one son, I'll partner with the other, we'll do some round-robins. The winner gets dibs on anything from which family game we play to who gets the first bite of dessert. At home, we make sure to surround our sons with plenty of other recreational activities dictating that our yard is littered with cornhole boards and bocce ball sets, a ping pong table, and giant ropes and monkey bar playground-style obstacles.

My goal is to make our home a fun and enjoyable place where kids want to hang out, spend time with their friends and savor the outdoors on a property, especially as an alternative to indoor screen time or video gaming.

Escape rooms and cooking classes. Well, children absolutely thrive on the safety dependency and trust that they find in traditions or routines. This not only includes regularly scheduled family dinners or evening bedtime routines at home but also special reliable activities that are woven into vacations. When we travel together for family vacations, we seek out local escape rooms for example that we can tackle and cooking classes we can take. At this point, we've enjoyed solving puzzles and learning to cook local cuisine in over a dozen different states and countries.

Breathwork. To tap into the benefits of quiet time, meditation, oxygenation, and flow of carbon dioxide and nitric oxide through the body and a drug-free shift into an elevated state of consciousness, my sons and I do 10, all the way up to hour-long breath work sessions a few times a week often before dinner and sometimes before bed. We have this breath work program and an app, the ones we use are Soma and Othership and the Breath Source. I'll link to those on the resources webpage at BoundlessParentingBook.com/Resources. We often do these in the sauna in a quiet place in the house or outside concentrating not only on our breath but also our own emotions, the moon of energy up and down the body. In addition, at least once a month. On weekend, we'll do a long 50 to 70-minute breath work routine, very similar to holotropic breathwork.

As a result of this, my sons are learning skills that will serve them well in life, including how to consciously control their physiology, immune system, and energy levels, how to move energy to different areas of the body with great precision, how to decrease stress or increase motivation and energy in a short period of time without the use of any substances and how to just sit with their body much like meditation while focusing on one element, the breath, for a relatively long period of time.

In the years since our sons were born, we've also built traditions around specific holidays. When I first met my wife, I thought it was strange that her family was always watching the same old black and white movies on Christmas Eve, always reading the same story every Christmas, always eating ham every Thanksgiving, and all he's doing in Easter egg hunt in Grandma's backyard on Easter. Having never been much of a Hallmark holiday enthusiast and having been raised in a family that often made plans for New Year's or Thanksgiving at the very last minute, I kind of found it cheesy or gimmicky to do the same old thing every holiday. But, over the years, I've come to deeply appreciate the special feeling and significant meaning of keeping specific holiday traditions. 

Similar to our daily, weekly, and monthly rituals and routines, these traditions offer our sons a safe loving and reliable environment that lends a feeling of stability and safety to their childhood. For example, to commemorate the countdown to the birth of Jesus, we keep an advent calendar for the 24 days leading up to Christmas. The calendar has a little piece of chocolate hidden behind a tiny door for each day. Throughout that month of December, we'll select one special Christmas story to read aloud before bedtime each night. We'll bring out Bob, our elf on a shelf, who gets placed in a special new location each night usually by my wife along with a handwritten note to our sons. For example, he might be found hiding on the top of the Christmas tree with a note bragging about his tree-climbing skills.

On Christmas Eve, we gather for a feast of hors d'oeuvres and then watch the movie “Elf” while decorating t-shirts with puff paint, are designs all inspired by a creative Christmas theme. On Christmas morning, I wear a Santa Claus hat and the whole family sports colorful Christmas pajamas. Jessa hides a special pickle ornament in the tree and whoever finds it gets to open the first gift. I always read the Christmas story from The Book of Luke in the Bible. There's many other holiday traditions we observe. We buy Chinese lanterns, write our intention for the year on them and light and release them into the night sky and New Year's Eve. We smoke a turkey on Thanksgiving and gather around our giant dining room table with friends and family to name what we're most grateful for that year. For a wedding anniversary, our sons create a pop-up restaurant somewhere in the house and cook us a fancy meal. And, perhaps most importantly, Dad gets homemade carrot cake and ribeye steak on Father's Day.

In our family, our children also experience important rites of passage that mark their maturation to adolescence or adulthood. This is a practice we learned from that Rich Christiansen guy I mentioned earlier. So, our defining events are as follows. Dedicated time calendared for the theme of open communication, specifically in a quieter private place like a camping trip or backpacking trip. That time set aside to answer questions and address topics that might not have formally arisen prior to their age like sex, masturbation, or a question that child might have about the more delicate or touchy subjects of life. It's not as though talking about these topics can't or won't occur prior to the age of 8, but it's important to formally identify an age at which these conversations will intentionally happen. After all as a parent, if you don't calendar it or plan on it, you might just forget about it.

Age 12, a trip focused on non-entitlement and serving others like going to help people who are underprivileged in the local community or even beyond in another city, country, or state. That can include a staycation during which we cancel school and all of the big activities and instead take a trip downtown each day to the soup kitchen, homeless shelter or pregnancy counseling center.

Age 13 to 14, a courage-based rite of passage into adolescence spending solo time, preferably in nature with the goal of developing self-sufficiency and being in a state of ego dissolution while facing one's fears and experiencing loneliness and isolations. For our sons, this five-day rite of passage was overseen by the Twin Eagles Wilderness School. You can see more on that with Tim Corcoran and Jeannine Tidwell in Chapter 9. You can learn more about these types of rites of passage in other podcast interviews I've done with Tim. I'll put them on the resources webpage for the book.

Age 15 to 16, a rite of passage like the one at age 13, 14, but focus on the transition from adolescence into adulthood with a greater degree of difficulty and self-provision woven into the experience. Now, our sons have not yet reached this age but their own journey into adulthood will likely involve a solo hike on the Pacific Crest trail, a backpacking trip in Europe, or a second longer wilderness rite of passage overseen by Twin Eagles Wilderness School.

Age 18, a rite of passage centered around independence. This is the age at which the boys will be required to move out of the house and take full financial responsibility for themselves, whether that'd be for the university education or business vocation. In other words, in a spirit of recognizing a child's full independence and respecting their ability to fly out of the nest, so to speak, they receive no more money from their parents at this point and no longer benefit from free provision of home and shelter.

Who did you look up to as parenting mentors? 

Well, I'll confess, I'd considered skipping this question since my life hasn't been rich with great mentoring examples and books have always been my greatest mentors reflected by my ever-expanding personal collection that spills into nearly every room of our house. Whenever I have a spare moment whether I'm standing in line at a grocery store waiting for a flight to depart or waiting for a meal at a restaurant, I read a book or listen to an audiobook it seems. So, since books have served my greatest mentors in the parenting department on the resources webpage for my section of this book, I'll include links to many of my favorite parenting books. And, you can also find those by going to BoundlessParentingBook.com/Resources

Admittedly, I've never really had any notable business, personal or family mentors, although I've certainly paid attention to most of the people interviewed within the pages of this book, gleaning helpful and sage advice from them. So, this book I suppose could serve as sort of a parenting mentor.

Well, like many people, my own parents provided my most intimate and close-up examples of parenting, but my own parenting style is far from just a replica of how I was raised and indeed many of my parenting techniques stand in stark contrast to those of my parents. I feel as though I can significantly improve upon my own childhood experience and do better for my own sons. This sentiment is echoed in many parenting polls that have revealed that it's a natural and common occurrence for parents to feel as though they can and should do a better job of raising their own children than their parents did with them.

Alright, next question. What have you taught your children about raising their own children? 

Well, this question makes me think of two quotes, both of which often remind my own sons about and both of which I think are relevant to how they'll raise their own children. I'm not quite sure where this first thing originates but go something like this. You're not raising your children you're raising your grandchildren. In other words, your children pay attention to just about everything you do as a parent and they're more likely to mimic, repeat and emulate those activities with their own future kids in their own parenting. When paired with the equally powerful quote, “How we live our days is how we live our lives” by Annie Dillard, this concept certainly provides motivation to make consistently good parenting decisions because everything you do as a parent is exponentially magnified in future generations in every daily habit you implement as a parent eventually stacks up to become your offspring's entire childhood experience. 

For example, let's say you have a habit of taking your phone out of the dinner table and checking for an important email or replying to a quick text message and maybe tell yourself you're just doing a good job of keeping your phone hidden away. But, at the end of the week, you realize you've done that quick phone check at dinner every single night. It's likely that if you maintain that habit someday, your children will do the same thing and then their children will do it too. The result of your foolish or bad habit at the dinner table could eventually erode your family dinners and your children's children's family dinners for years to come. It's kind of powerful to think about, huh?

The same could be said for skipping morning family meditation on those days when things are just a little too busy squeezing a few extra hours of work during family vacation or slacking off on my guitar piano practice I publicly committed to doing. My kids, your kids notice that stuff. You're one of the most powerful and consistent examples your kids will ever have if they see you skipping morning family time working overtime procrastinating or dropping the ball on important commitments. Those patterns will likely appear in the legacy you leave. Furthermore, they give a comment, just little things that occur once in a while but rather persistent features of your entire life. Now, the opposite holds true also, of course. If you commit to writing 200 words per day in a book you're working on or practicing guitar for 20 minutes a day and you follow through for a year, you're giving your kids a fine example to follow while also empowering yourself to produce 73,000 words of writing in 4,000 minutes of music practice.

Now, I suppose I've taught my own children about raising their own children is to recognize that they'll not just be raising their immediate children but raising generations to come. And therefore, the daily decisions that they make as parents will have exponential legacy-based impact. In addition, I've taught them that the tiny habits they do or do not make each day will stack up eventually to become their entire life for better or worse. And, that includes the future lives of their children.

Finally, I really believe that our family's evening practice of self-examination is one of the most powerful ways of ensuring we remain mindful of the impact and quality of how we live each day. During this time, we play back our entire day like a movie in our minds while asking ourselves three questions: What good have I done? What could I have done better? When was I most connected to my life's purpose? And, that enables us to live more intentionally and hopefully stack each consecutive day to make our entire lives better.

Do you have any philosophies or strategies for educating your children outside of traditional school like homeschooling, unschooling, self-directed education, or other alternative, creative, or outside-the-box forms of education?

Well, after having been homeschooled K-12 and experiencing the independent creativity and authenticity, that form of education instilled in me, we seriously considered homeschooling River and Terran, our sons. Ultimately, we decided not to homeschool, primarily because traditional homeschooling is kind of replicating the same type of education that a kid might get in the average public or private school but just in a different setting. So, a typical homeschooling scenario typically still involves some formal pre-packaged curriculum. That doesn't necessarily cater to a child's individual interests and passions, it involves sometimes rote memorization of often useless facts and relies upon oodles of books and test taking instead of experiential learning. 

Now, this type of educational approach like most public and private schools is an outdated industrial-era, schooling model designed to create good little factory workers who can follow orders line up in a row, put a square peg in a square hole, and a round peg in a round hole. And, that's not necessarily the best means of creating free-thinking independent creative resilient young human beings who can thrive in an unpredictable era in which many conventional careers of the past have been phased out as human workers have been replaced by computing automation and AI.

For more on this, you should read this book called “Deschooling Society” by Ivan Ilich. The author develops a fascinating argument based on the following premises. Modern education is essentially an indoctrination program that's been used to form a strangely legal international case system. Universities have become recruiting centers for the personnel of the consumer society. Basically, certifying citizens for service will simultaneously disposing of those judged unfit for the competitive rat race. And, schools have failed their individual needs, supporting faults and misleading notions of progress and development, fostered by the belief that ever-increasing production consumption and profit are appropriate yardsticks for measuring quality of human life.

Now, because of these issues with the modern education system, we've chosen to unschool our sons, River and Terran. Unschooling also known as self-directed education involves paying close attention to the passions, interests, and desires that a child expresses than surrounding that child with resources, tools, games, toys, books, friends, tutors, and perhaps most importantly real-life experiences that allow that child to pursue their passions in an immersive way. And sure, children don't know what they don't know, which means my sons don't necessarily wake up in the morning begging to be immersed in certain activities or to study certain subjects like say, I don't know, calculus or physics, but we give them resources to learn about those things, anyways. In the event that should they choose to pursue a career that requires a college degree, I want to be sure that they're equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to successfully pass an entrance exam or succeed in higher education.

And, although each day of their unschooling is pretty different, it typically involves some of the following elements: Several hours of flexible time for creative free play, home chores like milking the goats or gathering eggs from the chicken coop, two or three formerly scheduled activities like jiu jitsu or tennis lessons, time with a teacher or tutor like a trip to a Mexican restaurant with a Spanish teacher or a monopoly game with their math teacher. Some type of workout, breathwork session, or other physical discipline usually with me, and then family meditation, devotions, prayer, dinner and dinner prep, et cetera.

Now, we typically split the year into quarters and devote each quarter to blocks of learning centered around specific activities they've expressed interest in. For example, at the time I'm telling you this, the current themes of their unschooling block are investing, non-profits, finances, cryptocurrency, non-fungible tokens, real estate, fiction writing, permaculture, bees, gardening, hydroponics, and greenhouse building. Alright. So, those are the main things they're focusing on.

It's important to note as is the case in many other states our home state of Washington requires record keeping and demonstration of core proficiency in a few key subjects. Namely what you'd expect to see on a standardized test or college entrance exam like reading, writing arithmetic, science, history, et cetera. It's very simple for us to satisfy these requirements though. For example, preparing sushi for a Japanese-themed dinner at home could incorporate history, social sciences, chemistry, math, reading, and writing, or building a tree fort in the backyard could be math and history and art. At the end of the day, they journal what they've done that day, then we scan those journals each week for easy electronic record keeping. 

And then, we have an online virtual assistant and they manage and track and schedule all these things. And then, like I mentioned earlier, we have an at-home governance who takes care of things like record keeping and chauffeuring our sons to their various activities, and monitoring their daily schedule to make sure everything is calendared and completed. And, this is not super expensive. We have one VA and one at-home governess. And really, our overall expenses for those two folks is not incredibly high. I mean, it's close to around a thousand dollars maximum a month, which is close to what they'd pay for a really good private school. And, from second to fifth grade, they actually did attend a local private school. And, I'm often asked what they first thought when they transitioned from a traditional education model to unschooling.

Now, frankly in the spirit of our overall parenting approach, I gave them the choice but whether or not they wanted to be unschooled. Now, noting the ever-increasing loads of homework and frequency of test taking at their private school and their growing stress levels about this seemingly unnecessary and uninteresting coursework, I took them out to dinner one evening and I told them, “Look, you guys don't have to enroll in sixth grade when it starts. If you want to stay at home, I'll just surround you with everything you need to direct your own education. I'll fully support you with learning at home through life experiences rather than formal schooling.” And, their primary concern was really whether or not they'd get to see their friends. Of course, they see their friends now nearly every day and they also get to engage in more creative free play and extracurricular social situations with the same or greater frequencies than they get at school with far less peer pressure and bullying.

Now, the best book for understanding this whole unschooling thing is a book called “Unschooling University” by Judy Arnall who's also featured in this book. While her book's title seems to imply that a university education or acceptance into a university is the core goal of the unschooling process, that's not really the case. I'm not convinced that college is actually the best way to prepare for life, it's sometimes a process of exchanging a shockingly large amount of cash for exposure to a robust social life, ample beer and drugs, and a host of overpriced or time-wasting classes that are neither relevant nor necessary for leading a successful life. Maybe it's not your cash you're paying for that, but it's somebody's. If someone desires to attain the worldly wisdom and social experiences that make college such an attractive option for many young people, they could probably just purchase a round-the-world plane ticket for a fraction of the cost and spend a year getting the same type of recreation, entertainment, amusement, and leisure they'd get at college, probably get more social exposure too. I take issue with the argument that college provides a bona fide highly necessary education especially since many students end up drowned in student loan debt for years while taking classes that don't really help them create maximum impact and meaning in their lives.

Now, as I mentioned, my answer to the first question, my sons are interested in pursuing a liberal arts education at a college. In my opinion, that's an entirely different matter. Well-constructed classical liberal arts education which means quite literally an education about what it means to live and think freely involves an understanding of human nature, theology, literature, languages, history, philosophy, rhetoric, logic, music, mathematics, and science, including an understanding of how these various disciplines interact, how they help us understand who we are and where we've been and how they apply to new situations or shed light on current events. So, I'm really happy they're interested in attaining a liberal arts degree, which promises to provide enduring value in the workplace and beyond and serve as an incredibly practical and flexible education as preparation for a wide range of careers.

Now, related to the idea of a liberal arts degree, I want to give a head nod to Naval Ravikant, a modern-day philosopher and pretty wise prolific author who's astutely noted that no matter what profession one decides to pursue, a human being will be adequately prepared for just about any career if they have an understanding of and proficiency in these five key areas. First, writing. The ability to be able to express one's thoughts, beliefs, arguments, et cetera, clearly and effectively both in short 140-character social media snippets and in long form. Two, reading. The ability to collect digest and understand the written word as well as other forms of media like audio and video at a relatively rapid pace. Three, arithmetic. The ability to apply the structure and organization of numbers to the life shortcuts and predictive power that mathematics can provide via multiplication, division, addition, subtraction, algebra, calculus, physics, and the like. Number four, logic or programming. Meaning, the ability to use logic and reason to understand other people in the world in general and to interact with human-machine interfaces or HMIs. Now, there's not a lot of human-machine interfaces at our dinner table, but I can tell you dinner time games are great for learning logic and reason sequences as they are also great for number five, rhetoric and persuasion. The ability to gracefully create and clearly communicate a compelling case for a thought, belief, or value.

So. this is why no matter what River and Terran happen to be studying in their unschooling curriculum blocks, I go out of my way to ensure that their curriculum does include some study and awareness of these five key skills of writing, reading, arithmetic, logic, and rhetoric. And, for more insights from Naval, I recommend you check out his book, “The Almanac of Naval Ravikant.”

Now, finally, I'd be remiss not to acknowledge our family's love for music. Jessa and I have intentionally woven music, sound healing, instruments and even singing-songwriting into our own family's routine. Our sons both play piano and guitar. When I'm working on my own side passion of singing and songwriting, they sometimes slip down to my office and join me as vocal backups kind of as my children's choir. And, when they were younger and able to hit high notes that were impossible for me, that came in quite handy.

Now, music shows up in our lives in a variety of ways. We play music and sing together nearly every night as a family usually before dinner. We host several karaoke parties each year. We own a sound healing mat that plays healing sounds that vibrate the whole body and target specific organs with specific frequencies. Kids love this. We use light sound self-hypnosis and meditation devices like the BrainTap and the NeuroVizr. And, kids can use those too. The BrainTap, for example, is wonderful. A light sound stimulation device that turns your kid into a tiny biohacker and can do things like increase their creativity, focus, attention span, learning, et cetera. It's a great device.

It's rare for River and Terran to be engaged in school work or reading without some kind of music playing in the background. For them, it's usually some kind of old-school Celtic music. I don't know where they got that. And sometimes, epic praise and worship music like Hillsong or Bethel Music or Elevation music, for example.

What has been your proudest moment as a parent and why?

Well, choosing my proudest moment seems as daunting as choosing my favorite child. If you're not yet a parent, you'll sometimes understand the constant feeling of your heart swelling with healthy pride from the initial moment of your child's birth, including the standard developmental occurrences such as the first time they say your name. Those first few shaky unbalanced steps, the first bites and nibbles of solid food, the first fumbling attempts to tie a shoe, the first words they form while independently reading a book, the first bus trip to school or camp, the first graduation ceremony, perhaps from kindergarten, the first sports game or tournament win, the first belt ranking and something like jiu-jitsu or martial arts, and also perhaps the less common elements like baptism, the first communion, harvesting the first animal, hunting, cooking their first fancy meal or selling their first piece of art. But, I guess of all the special remembrances thus far in their childhood, I have to say my proudest moment was when they emerge from their rite of passage into adolescence. See, Jessa and I dropped them off in the backwoods of North Idaho and seen them whisked away by a group of wilderness survival instructors for what promised to be a harrowing five-day experience that included surviving solo at night in the woods, Native American-style sweat lodge ceremonies, fire making, food harvesting and shelter building and healthy doses of facing their fears in the oft unpredictable setting of an isolated inland northwest forest.

Now, we didn't quite know what to expect when we returned to the initial location to pick them up. And, for the first hour, we sat nervously with the other parents and the rite of passage facilitators for a formal discussion about our own internal fears, doubts and emotions as parents. We became keenly aware that our boys were becoming young men and preparing to fly the nest for the first time. We laughed and we cried and we threw anticipatory glances towards the edge of the forest where our sons were supposed to emerge. And then, from far off in the distance, we heard chanting voices in the beat of a drum soon followed by a handful of tired, dirty, sleep-deprived but obviously proud young men emerging from the trees. They gathered in front of a giant ceremonial fire and one by one proceeded to give a special speech they'd prepared over the past several days about the fears they'd face, the shadow self they left behind, and the new young man they'd become.

During the entire cutting of the chord ceremony, I broke down crying multiple times and swallowed lump upon lump of pride as I witnessed the tiny babies who we raised for the previous 13 years display an epic demonstration and description of bravery, independence, and responsibility.

Female Speaker:  We hope you enjoyed this sample from the “Boundless Parenting Audiobook” available now at BoundlessParentingBook.com and wherever you get your audiobooks.

Ben:  Alright, folks. It is coming up, June 17th through the 18th, in London the big Health Optimisation Summit, one of the most fantastic biohacking events and expos I've ever been to in my life. You get to go experience a massive expo floor with the latest biohacking tech and gadgets, red light therapy, PEMF devices, supplements, brain-training wearables, you name it. You get to try it all out. And, you also get access to 35 different world-leading speakers, 100 different cutting-edge brands, massive swag bag entrance to this highly curated exhibitor village, which is amazing. There are breathwork workshops. There are movement workshops. You get complimentary recordings of the speaker talks afterwards. If you're professional, it is accredited towards your continuing education units. And, they've got everything from a VIP lounge, and VIP tickets, and VIP goodie bags, all the way down to just a normal entrance, and anybody is welcome. It is a fantastic event.

Here is how you can get in and get 10% off a regular or a VIP ticket. You go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/HOS23, Health Optimisation Summit 23, BenGreenfieldLife.com/HOS23. Discount code BENGREENFIELD will give you 10% off. And again, it's going to be June 17th and 18th in London.

More than ever these days, people like you and me need a fresh entertaining, well-informed, and often outside-the-box approach to discovering the health, and happiness, and hope that we all crave. So, I hope I've been able to do that for you on this episode today. And, if you liked it or if you love what I'm up to, then please leave me a review on your preferred podcast listening channel wherever that might be, and just find the Ben Greenfield Life episode. Say something nice. Thanks so much. It means a lot.



From the battlefields of Spartan races to global speaking engagements—there’s no adventure I haven't embraced.

Now, in my latest book, “Boundless Parenting,” I’m handing you a compass, a survival guide, and a field manual to the most rewarding expedition of all—raising self-actualized and flourishing children.

This isn't just your run-of-the-mill parenting guide—far from it. Over the past three years, I've journeyed through the myriad philosophies, styles, and strategies of some truly exceptional parents. The mission? To offer you a wellspring of wisdom and practical insights that can illuminate your own parenting path. Be it single parents, grandparents, celebrities, entrepreneurs, pastors, teachers, or survivalists, each chapter is a deep dive into the unique experiences and strategies of a different parenting archetype. I can assure you, whether you're a parent, grandparent, teacher, caretaker, or someone looking to make a positive impact on a child, Boundless Parenting is the treasure map you've been waiting for.

In today’s podcast, I'm inviting you to a special sneak peek of the audiobook version of Boundless Parenting. I'm going to delve into the origins of this grand project and the rigorous selection process behind the parents featured in the book. I’ll also be sharing my own parenting approach, gleaned from a myriad of books, models, and resources that have significantly influenced my journey as a father.

Of course, no parenting guide is complete without a discussion on education. As such, I'll share my insights into navigating the complex world of children's education outside traditional schooling models. You'll learn about the cherished traditions, habits, routines, and rituals that form the bedrock of the Greenfield family, and the strategies we use to ensure our legacy of love, presence, and discipline extends to future generations.

And, because parenting isn't just about the challenges, we'll celebrate the joys, too. I'll share one of my proudest moments as a parent—a memory that serves as a testament to the boundless love, commitment, and joy that this journey brings.

During this discussion, you'll discover:

-The Boundless Parenting audiobook…06:07

  • Ben and Jessa recorded chapters of the book
  • Boundless Parenting by Ben Greenfield
  • A lot of extra goodies that aren't in the printed book
  • Every parent featured in the book recorded the audio version of their respective chapter
  • Learning education, discipline, and wisdom-building principles from some of the most amazing parents on the planet
  • Entrepreneurs, billionaires, moms, dads, pastors, education experts, legacy builders, wealth managers, and other absolutely earth-shaking parents

 –How Boundless Parenting evolved…07:51

  • The Prophet by Khalil Gibran
  • Am I a good parent?
    • Constantly nagging question
  • The parenting model that we grew up with
  • How to be better?
  • Outsourcing education
    • Wondering if the education our kids get is good enough
  • Looking for a roadmap or blueprint to being a perfect parent
  • Realizing our perfect plan to be a perfect parent was an unattainable pipe dream
  • Ben is a prepper hard-wired to perform intensive research for any endeavor
    • Read every available book on parenting
    • Interviewed a host of parenting and educational experts
    • Researched every possible topic
    • Wrote a book
  • 10 Ways To Grow Tiny Superhumans Free Download by Ben Greenfield
  • Then life happened and everything fell apart
    • Realized there is no perfect parenting blueprint
  • Asked by many to write a book
  • Ben’s kids are to be proud of
    • He and Jessa don’t want to take credit for that
  • Simple yet critically foundational concepts that any parent can implement
    • Children are a gift from God
    • Daily focus on peace, love, and forgiveness
    • Systematically planned calendar family traditions, rituals, routines, habits
    • A diet that has real nutrients from as close to nature as possible
    • Value placed on hard work and occasional discomfort, sacrifice, stamina, and self-discipline
    • Development of a sacred intimate relationship with nature
    • Self-directed education approach focused largely on real-life experiences outside the classroom
  • No promise that what worked well with Ben’s children will work well with other people's children
  • How could a parenting book be complete and comprehensive without the author being some brilliant omniscient unicorn of a parent?
  • Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris
  • Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferris
    • Tim assembled a tribe of mentors
    • Asked 100+ brilliant people the very questions that he wanted to answer
  • James Altucher's podcast with Tim Ferris
  • Personal Socrates by Marc Champagne
  • Ben decided to do the same
  • Crowdsource, collect, curate, aggregate, edit, package, and publish an anthology of the parenting tools, tactics, and habits that have been proven to actually work for helping to raise creative, resilient, and impactful children
  • Additional resources available on book resources webpage

-How Ben chose the parents to feature in the book…24:45

  • Had to choose the parents that he really wanted to be featured
  • Wanted to interview parents who he personally knew and whose children had impressed intrigued or enchanted him
  • Parents who would produce meaningful and impactful parenting and educational content
  • Parents who are real and relatable, but also had displayed a unique or outside-the-box effort to prioritize good parenting
  • Parents who prize legacy and would raise impactful, resilient, and successful children
  • Rich Christiansen and Gaye Christiansen
  • Chad Johnson
    • Successful entrepreneur, Ironman triathlete, men's fatherhood and family coach, and father of 11
  • Virgil Knight
    • Fun and quirky co-inventor of the Christian cartoon Veggie Tales
  • Doug and Nancy Wilson
  • Kelly and Juliet Starrett
    • Champions for popularizing concepts like barefoot and minimalist footwear for children
  • Naveen Jain
    • The billionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist
  • Joe and Courtney De Sena
  • Jim and Jamie Sheils
    • The founders of family board meetings an organization that teaches parents how to use all 18 summers of a child's upbringing to create lasting meaningful relationships
  • Dan and Merily Pompa
    • They have successfully integrated their happy and fulfilled sons into a thriving family health business
  • Lenore Skenazy
    • Founders of Let Grow nonprofit promoting childhood independence and resilience and founder of the Free Range Kids movement
  • Tim Corcoran and Jeannine Tidwell
  • Danny and Maura Vega
    • The Fat Fueled Family who defy the status quo of everything from kids' fitness to high-fat diets for children
  • Angie Fletcher
    • The power mother who's pushed through depression, divorce, and death and transformed her life experiences into deep wisdom on sustainable living bio-hacking life optimization, holistic youth wellness, and more
  • Gary Greenfield and Pat Greenfield – Ben’s parents
  • Just a small glimpse of all the parents featured in this book
  • Additional resources available on book resources webpage

-Ben’s basic parenting approach…39:22

  • How many children do you have? How old are they? What is their professional passion and why in particular? Are you proud of them?
  • Ben and Jessa have twin 15-year-old sons
  • C-section vs. natural birth
    • Jessa gave birth in the hospital
  • What Ben and Jessa did as parents
  • Love and logic parenting approach
  • Parenting with Love and Logic by Foster Cline and Jim Fay
  • Heavy emphasis on respect and dignity for the child, paired with love, compassion, and empathy from the parent
    • The opposite of over-parenting and helicopter approach
  • BBC article about the Sami tribe – The secret of Arctic ‘survival parenting' 
  • The Greenfields don't have many non-negotiable rules
  • Educate their sons on the consequences of the decisions they might make in life, then step back and allow them to deal with the consequences
    • Eating carbohydrates
    • Phones and screen time
    • Bedtime and prioritizing sleep
  • Gluten Guardian (use code BEN10 to save 10%)
  • Setting examples
  • Authenticity is key
  • Honest and open discussions about the responsible use of substances like alcohol and cannabis, including the fact that these compounds can be damaging and deleterious
  • Deep and wide-ranging conversations about porn and sex
  • Endure by Ben Greenfield
  • Setting up some amount of protection
  • Canopy
  • Protect when you must, permit when you can

-Books, models, and resources Ben found beneficial for his parenting…51:57

-Traditions, habits, routines, or rituals that are most important for Ben’s family…56:25

-Who did Ben look up to as parenting mentors?…1:10:36

  • Never really had any notable business, personal, or family mentors
  • Ben’s parents and his parenting approach
  • Improving his childhood experience

-Teaching your children about how to raise their children…1:12:03

  • You are not raising your children, you are raising your grandchildren
  • “How we spend our days is how we live our lives” – The Writing Life by Annie Dillard
  • Giving a good example
  • Recognize that they'll not just be raising their immediate children but raising generations to come
  • Legacy based impact
  • Evening practice of self-examination
    • What good have I done?
    • What could I have done better?
    • When was I most connected to my life's purpose?

-Ben’s strategies for educating children outside of traditional school…1:15:00

  • Ben was homeschooled K through 12
  • Decided not to homeschool
  • Prepackaged curriculum doesn't necessarily cater to a child's individual interests and passions
  • Deschooling Society by Ivan Illich
    • Modern education is essentially an indoctrination program
    • Universities have become recruiting centers for the personnel of the consumer society
    • Schools have failed our individual needs, supporting false and misleading notions of progress and development
  • Ben and Jessa unschooled their sons
  • Scheduled activities
    • Flexible time for creative free play
    • Home chores like milking the goats or gathering eggs from the chicken coop
    • Jiu-jitsu or tennis lessons
    • Trip to a Mexican restaurant with a Spanish teacher
    • Monopoly game with their math teacher
    • Workout, breathwork session, or other physical disciplines
    • Family meditation, devotions, prayer, dinner
  • Blocks of learning centered around specific activities
    • Investing, nonprofits, finances, cryptocurrency, real estate, fiction writing, permaculture, bees, gardening, hydroponics, and greenhouse building
  • Required record keeping and demonstration of core proficiency
  • Online virtual assistant and nanny
  • From second to fifth grade, they attended a local private school
  • Unschooling to University by Judy Arnall
  • College education
    • Ben’s sons are interested in attaining a liberal arts degree
  • Essential skills
    • Writing
    • Reading
    • Arithmetic
    • Logic or programming
    • Rhetoric and persuasion
  • The Almanack of Naval Ravikant by Eric Jorgenson
  • Music family routine
    • Singing and playing guitar and piano
  • Light sound self-hypnosis and meditation devices

-Ben’s proudest moment as a parent…1:25:35

  • When they emerged from their rite of passage into adolescence after the 5-day survival course in the woods

-And much more…

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32 Questions For Boundless Parenting

The following questions were posed to Dan and Merily Pompa, and the rest of the wise parents interviewed for my upcoming book, Boundless Parenting.

  1. How many children do you have, how old are they, what is their profession or passion, and why, in particular, are you proud of them?
  2. Are there any elements of your parenting approach that you would consider to be particularly unique?
  3. What books, systems, models, or resources do you rely heavily upon or consider to be indispensable in your own parenting?
  4. What traditions, habits, routines, or rituals are most important, memorable, or formative for your family?
  5. What rites of passage or significant moments of maturation to adolescence or adulthood have your children experienced, if any?
  6. Who do you look up to as parenting mentors?
  7. What have you taught your children about raising their own children?
  8. Do you have any philosophies or strategies for educating your children outside of traditional school, such as homeschooling, unschooling, self-directed education, or other alternatives, creative, or “outside-the-box” forms of education?
  9. What has been your proudest moment as a parent, and why?
  10. What do you wish you had known before first becoming a parent?
  11. Have you ever experienced imposter syndrome as a parent? If so, how have you coped with that?
  12. How have you achieved a balance between mentoring and passing on wisdom without “living vicariously” through your children?
  13. Have you ever faced any big parenting decisions that kept you awake at night worrying or that you feared you would mess up?
  14. What do you regret, if anything, from your experience as a parent?
  15. What is the biggest mistake you have made as a parent?
  16. What, if anything, from your parenting experience would you go back and change or improve?
  17. If you had multiple children, what did you think was right at the time with one child that you then went back and changed with the next child or future children?
  18. Have you ever sensed or feared that your children would grow up too different or weird as a result of any “outside-the-box” parenting approaches you used? If so, how did you deal with that?
  19. Have you ever differed from your spouse on parenting principles, techniques, or approaches? If so, how did you manage that?
  20. Warning: This question is long but important: As a parent, have you ever felt conflicted about wanting to share a book, teaching, resource, or method with your children as a means of impacting their future success, but feared that it might “overload” them, especially at their age? If so, how did you balance bestowing this valuable knowledge to your child without causing them to worry too much about adult concerns? How did you decide when to just “let a kid be a kid” versus nudging them towards responsible adulthood and the attainment of valuable wisdom?
  21. How have you balanced being a present, engaged parent while preserving your own identity, taking time for your own self-care, tending to your career, or pursuing other interests that did not include your children?
  22. How have you engaged in one-on-one time or created space for dedicated time with your child, especially if you have more than one child?
  23. If your children have grown up and moved out of your house, what strategies have you found most helpful for maintaining and building your relationship with them?
  24. If your children have grown up and moved out of your house, do you often miss them, fear for them, or think of them? If so, how have you coped with any loneliness or desire for their presence?
  25. Do you have non-negotiable rules for your children?
  26. How have you disciplined your children, if at all?
  27. How have you helped your child to establish responsibly, moderated, or conscientious consumption or use of books, media, entertainment, screen time, and social media? This is not my favorite question because the focus on “limiting screen time” seems a bit blown out of proportion these days and I think causes kids to get obsessed with the “forbidden fruit” of screen time, but it seems to be on the minds of many parents today, so I’d be remiss not to include it.
  28. Have you emphasized or encouraged any health, fitness, or healthy eating principles with your children? If so, what has seemed to work well?
  29. If your child or children could inscribe anything on your gravestone, what would you hope that they would write? What would you most want them to remember about you?
  30. What do you most want to be remembered for as a parent?
  31. What do you think your child or children would say is their fondest memory of being raised by you?
  32. What message for parents would you put on a billboard?

Resources mentioned in this episode:

– Ben Greenfield:

– Books:

– Other Resources:

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