[Transcript] – Fatherhood, Motherhood, Parenting, Home Schooling, Religion, Muscle Gain, Sourdough Bread & Much More With The Mind Pump Guys & Jessa Greenfield.

Affiliate Disclosure


From podcast: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/podcast/lifestyle-podcasts/mind-pump-guys/ 

[00:00:00] Introduction

[00:02:03] Podcast Sponsors

[00:05:41] Ben's Secret to Adding Several Pounds of Muscle

[00:14:50] How the dynamic between a father and mother affects their parenting style

[00:29:29] How Jessa's Childhood Brought Stability into Her and Ben's Family Dynamic

[00:33:18] New Book and Podcast Sponsors

[00:36:06] Why you should allow your children to embrace the world on their own terms

[00:48:19] How traditions and values are instilled in childhood

[00:58:16] Religion, the foundation that holds communities together

[01:01:59] The scientific value of having a strong spiritual practice and life

[01:09:13] Why science doesn’t work if you have morality attached to it

[01:13:58] Why more parents are choosing homeschooling/unschooling

[01:23:46] How Ben and Jessa are teaching their kids saving and investing

[01:27:49] The beginning of the end of education as we know it?

[01:29:23] Closing the Podcast

[01:30:01] End of Podcast

Ben:  On this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.

It's up to you whether or not you want to waste your life or squander your education versus applying yourself and doing what it is that's going to make you a better person in the moment, but my one request is that–

Sal:  I got my corvette, and I get to bang hot chicks all the time. That sucks that you have to do that kind of stuff. It's crazy that we don't prize that.

Ben:  It's very easy for me to let her wear the pants on the family, to let her be the leader, so I can be a little boy pulling on a Speedo to go swim in Hawaii in a triathlon.

Health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and much more. My name is Ben Greenfield. Welcome to the show.

Hey, today is a pretty fun podcast episode. My wife and I got a chance to travel down to San Jose. We sat down with the wonderful, wonderful fellas at Mind Pump, Sal, Adam, and Justin. If you haven't heard any of my previous podcasts with the guys at Mind Pump, you are missing out. I will link to them in the show notes to this episode. They've interviewed me multiple times. I've interviewed them multiple times. They're just some really cool cats. This time, though, my wife came along for the fun and we talked fatherhood, parenting, homeschooling, religion, muscle maintenance, her sourdough bread recipe, a whole lot more.

So, what I'm going to do is I've got pretty robust show notes for you that you can find at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/PumpParenting. That's BenGreenfieldFitness.com/PumpParenting, as in Mind Pump parenting. Although, we talked about a lot more than just parenting in this particular episode. The folks at Mind Pump also have put together some amazing fitness programs, including some that really help you to stay fit at home, perhaps, during a pandemic nudge-nudge, wink-wink. So, that also, I will all put over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/PumpParenting.

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Sal:  I ask you this, Ben, but I want to ask you again, because the last time I saw you, you were like a good 15 pounds of lean body mass smaller.

Justin:  Sal sizes everybody.

Sal:  At least, you look jacked right now.

Ben:   I think it's the shirt.

Sal:  No, it's not, dude.

Ben:   It's the shirt.

Sal:  It's not.

Justin:  You ain't sure, huh?

Sal:  I'm trying to get out of here. You put on some serious muscle recently. What are you doing differently? What's going on?

Ben:   I've been stuck at home for 90 days.

Justin:  MAPS anabolic?

Ben:   I did the Russian kettlebell cert. So, I spent the first half of COVID training for that. So, I did ton of kettlebells.

Justin:  How'd you like that?

Ben:   A ton of overhead farmer's walks and snatches, Turkish get-ups. And, I would just keep ordering heavier and heavier kettlebells. I love it. And, I want to do RKC, too, but they keep moving it with the pandemic farther in the future. So, every time I get excited about the snatch test again, it just gets thrown a little bit farther down the road.

And then, I did a lot of BFR training, like three times a week, two failure full-body BFR training.

Well, my kids, actually, got a lot of really good meat sponsors for their podcasts, like US Wellness Meats and ButcherBox. And then, this guy named Tai Lopez who partnered up with Joel Salatin, he's got a farm now. So, they're sending my podcast meat for that. And so, we have a ton of meat.

Jessa:  A lot of meat.

Ben:  We have a ton of organ meats. I started doing about 12 of those Ancestral Supplements organ capsules, like heart, liver, kidney. What else? They got lung. They got brain. So, a ton of liver, yeah, organ meats, kettlebells, BFR training. Then, I'm still doing a lot of BPC and TB-500.

Sal:  Tenable?

Ben:  Yeah. Tenable, exactly.

Sal:  Does it feel like your body was craving to grow? Because it seemed like you should put it on. Do you feel like you were holding it back? Do you feel better with more muscle mass?

Ben:  Yeah. Well, I was telling Adam, especially going into the winter, when you don't want to be cold and frail and weak, I don't want to be the first one that the wolves and the bears get. But, in all seriousness, I like to maintain a little bit of extra muscle, but all the guys in my family are so lean. It's hard. You do have to eat a lot.

Sal:  Really?

Ben:  And, for me, probably, with my one weak link, if I have one weak link, it's gut. I have to be careful when I'm eating a lot to really select my food, like we were talking about, I'm doing no FODMAPs, no legumes, no prebiotic fibers, very few probiotics. So, I'm pretty much doing meat, tubers, fish, bone broth, organ meats, some berries. Still doing a little bit of a good clean protein powder with some colostrum and things like that in the mornings. But, yeah, just a lot of nutrient-dense super clean food. But, it is hard to eat a lot.

Justin:  We have a similar bone structure, similar height. I would think that you have to be north of 4,500 calories to maintain.

Ben:  Yeah. I think 4,500 for me right now would be tough. So, I think I'm going 3,500 to 4,500.

Justin:  I found once they started getting over–

Ben:  This little lady next to me right here, she just keeps shoving food in my face. And, I eat it like a good boy.

Jessa:  [00:08:55] _____.

Sal:  Well, you're both obviously a picture of health. I think you guys represent what you talk about pretty darn well. So, that's pretty cool. Do you notice any changes in performance with more muscle mass? Most of the time, I've known you, you like to really do things like obstacle course racing, hanging off things. Does it make it more challenging because you're heavy, or does the strength offset that?

Ben:  Well, we were talking with the doctor this morning because we're going over to a clinic after this to get just some work done. And, the doctor asked me, “What hurts?” And, I paused and said, “Nothing. I feel great, because–” and you hit on something there–“I'm not racing anymore.” And, that's a big part of the weight gain, too, is I went from running, sometimes 20, 30 miles.

Sal:  Have you bought a brake?

Ben:  So, my running right now is when I go check the mail. I sometimes run up from the mailbox. So, I'm running a mile a week right now. And then, we play a little bit of family tennis. We do family tennis usually a couple of nights a week. And so, a lot less chronic cardio, a lot less running. I wasn't even trying out for triathlon last year. So a lot less swimming, a lot less cycling, and just basically a lot of kettlebell and a lot of BFR.

Sal:  The thing about resistance training that I like so much and one of the reasons why I think it's the perfect exercise prescription for the modern life is that it's pro-tissue. Whereas, lots of cardiovascular activity tends to be anti-tissue. As your body tries to become more efficient and become better at this kind of long-direction high-oxidative stress type of activity, resistance training done properly just for longevity, not saying you shouldn't do any cardiovascular activity, but resistance training just it's better for longevity. You just feel better. It's a totally different feeling.

Ben:  I think, honestly, as simple and non-complex as it sounds, I think lifting heavy weights, walking a shit ton, and then playing some sport that forces you to sprint every once in a while, that's the perfect passage patch. I think that's it, just about everything from a physiological standpoint.

Sal:  I would 100% agree. Back to the gut health thing, I've read studies that show that athletes and hard training individuals suffer from gut health issues at a much higher rate than the average person, which kind of sounds contradictory, if you're a hard training person, you work out a lot, you're probably very health conscious.

Justin:  Really, you think it is?

Sal:  This is what the show.

Ben:  I think it's I can tell you what I think it is. And, it's paradoxical because they have found, I believe it's the firmicute to bacteriode ratio in elite athletes tends to be more favorably oriented towards metabolic efficiency, towards harnessing energy from carbohydrates, more efficiently. And, there was even an outside magazine article, I think it was last year, about whether or not people would start getting fecal microbiota transplants from elite athletes, like get the same gut biota as an athlete. But, the biome aside, we know, and we've known for a long time in exercise physiology that gut permeability increases when blood flow is directed away from the gut, all the more so during high-intensity interval training or exercise in general in the heat.

And, this is why even back when I was racing Ironman years ago, I would always use colostrum. I would load with colostrum for a couple of weeks going into a race, just because of the research that also shows that that limits that amount of gut permeability onset.

Sal:  To seal those junctions.

Ben:  Furthermore, would not go near ibuprofen or Advil or any NSAID during a race or after, because when you combine that increased gut permeability with something that's mildly toxic to the liver and the kidneys, it's a recipe. You essentially simulate rhabdo with that [00:06:46] _____.

Justin:  And then, you combine that with, probably, different eating behaviors, too. When you're an athlete, you tend to get down on meals on a whole another level than somebody who's just a sedentary lifestyle.

Ben:  Sometimes, you're eating when you still have blood flow directed to your extremities.

Sal:  Always. You're encouraged to eat right after a workout. And, if you've got some systemic inflammation going on, which is going to happen, especially after an intense workout, and then on top of it you're consuming an “easily-digestible” food like a shake, it's probably even more likely to pass through your gut than solid foods. So, that combination, over time, I feel like is the perfect storm. I agree with your theory on that. But, I do notice that–because I'm sensitive to gut stuff. My gut issue is something I'm always kind of dealing with. When my training is through the roof is when I need to be the most careful. So, it makes perfect sense–

Ben:  I think nearly every athlete should be on something that's going to alter the opening of that Zonulin protein, the activity that Zonulin protein that makes the gut more permeable. So, whether that is colostrum or lignite or anything like that, it's going to help to keep that tight junction closed. I think that just about any athlete should be on a really good enzyme complex.

Justin:  I don't know that.

Ben:  Especially for any fat or protein-rich meals. And, finally, they should have a giant slice of your sourdough bread, Babe, every night with some grass-fed butter, salt, and honey on it. And, that would solve all the world's woes.

Sal:  Now, I'm assuming that that's real sourdough.

Jessa:  It is.

Sal:  The gluten is all, I guess, out. What happens with the process?

Ben:  It's somewhat out.

Jessa:  It basically pre-digests the gluten. So, gluten isn't gone. It's just gone through the starter, and it eats the gluten and digests it. So, when you eat it, your stomach doesn't do all the hard work of breaking gluten down. It's already partially broken down.

Sal:  How long of process–

Ben:  If you have celiac disease, you're still going to pay it to the back of the toilet seat, if you have sourdough bread.

Sal:  I appreciate that. So, how long does it take to make a real sourdough at home?

Jessa:  At least, 24 hours.

Sal:  Okay. So, it's a process.

Jessa:  Yeah, but it's mostly just waiting.

Sal:  Okay.

Ben:  Not a deal.

Jessa:  It's not that hard. I think the hardest thing is keeping it alive. Not bad.

Sal:  Now, what we talked about before you came on the show when you had told us you'd be in the area, you had suggested it would be a good idea to do a podcast on parenthood and raising children. And, I think you two–

Ben:  I thought I said guns, vaccines, and–

Justin:  Abortion?

Ben:  Abortion and the questionable gender of track and field athletes. Those are the main things.

Justin:  Let's tackle all of them.

Sal:  Yeah, let's just jump into each of those. Let's lose everybody.

Justin:  Political affiliations,  yeah. Let's get there.

Sal:  No, no, no, no. No, we're talking about parenthood. And, I think you both are two of the most interesting people on this particular topic. We've been to your house. Justin spent a night there.

Justin:  No, I didn't, but I definitely was there.

Sal:  Oh, you didn't? But, you were there?

Justin:  We had your delicious meals. It was great.

Sal:  You were both two of the most involved parents that I've ever met with your children. You're involved in almost every aspect of what's going on.

Ben:  You can call us helicopter parents.

Sal:  No, I was just going to say–

Ben:  We just don't want them to die, Sal.

Jessa:  Helicopter and involved are very different.

Justin:  You guys don't feel that way, do you? Really, no, you don't feel you're a helicopter parent.

Jessa:  No.

Ben:  When I see you, oh, my gosh, no.

Justin:  I was going to say I don't feel like you–

Ben:  If anything, anti-helicopter.

Justin:  Yeah, I don't think that that's like that, no.

Sal:  No, what I mean by involved is you're literally present and involved. Your kids aren't just–You're present. You're involved with the whole process. Definitely, not helicopter. I see your kids having a lot of freedom to fail and to succeed kind of on their own. So, I think you guys are great people to talk to. Plus, you guys homeschool, which I think is an interesting topic. I know, right now, homeschooling is exploding.

Ben:  It is.

Sal:  It's the fastest growth.

Justin:  It sounds like the best way to do it right now.

Jessa:  Yeah. And, Ben grew up when it wasn't cool.

Ben:  I grew up when homeschooling wasn't cool.

Jessa:  When it was like–

Justin:  So, you're ahead of your time, dude.

Ben:  I wish I could hit the rewind button because I would be so cool right now. And, I was homeschooled in the traditional manner. You buy curriculum. Back when I was homeschooled, it was the Saxon Math curriculum or the Osborne books, or any number of different–Abeka wasn't a very popular curriculum. And, you'd order, typically, in many cases, the same books from the same organization. So, you had your math, your reading, your writing, your logic, your grammar, your social studies, whatever, you ordered that all from Osborne or from Abeka or from Saxon or from any of these folks who would then send all the books to your house, kind of when you start a semester in college, and you go to the bookstore and get all your books. And then, you'd go through lesson plans with mom and sit around the kitchen table, and everybody meet at the kitchen table at 8:00, and we go through all the books, And, occasionally, there's some kind of a group activity with other homeschoolers in the afternoon. Very traditional dyed in the wool homeschooling scenario. And, that is not what we do with our kids at all.

Justin:  Really? I want to start there, actually. I feel like we've gotten to know each other really well in the last, well, it's been three, almost four years. Has it been four years?

Sal:  It's been four years.

Justin:  Four years. And, I consider you a good friend of ours. And, I'd say that the thing that I probably know the least amount is, really, your childhood and your upbringing. I feel like I've gotten pieces of it through the years, but I'd really like to dive into that. Your relationship with your parents, what it was like when you were a kid. And, that I think will–

Sal:  Well, that has such a strong influence on how you parent. I think that's a great place [00:18:02] ____.

Jessa:  Absolutely.

Ben:  [00:18:03] _____ influenced not only in the way you parent but also in the way you partner. Jessa and I have even been digging into this a little bit in terms of our relationship and the attachment theory in terms of whether you were given a lot of attention when you were young, in terms of whether you were left to fend for yourself, in terms of how much you have to.

Sal:  Explain the theory.

Ben:  So, I'm not very good at explaining attachment theory. I'm going to totally bastardize it. But, essentially, some people are born and grow up with anxious attachment, where they really look to other people for verification, for compliments, for words of affirmation, and for things that make them feel as though they're okay, they don't have to be anxious about everything.

Justin:  Approval.

Ben:  Mom and dad are giving them verbal approval and saying, “Good job.” And, they grow up really digging that kind of approval and almost needing it and still needing it from a partner when they're married or they're with a partner. And then, there's another one. It's almost the opposite of attachment. It's, do you remember what it's called, Babe? Or, the opposite of anxiety.

Jessa:  Avoidance.

Ben:  Avoidance, yes. So, avoidance would be, “I want to be left alone. I was, maybe, left to be very independent. And, I love my independence and I want my independence. And, I don't want a partner who's in my face all the time, and I'm very self-sufficient and independent.” And, that person would not necessarily be the person who needs as many words of affirmation. And, there's this whole idea of the five love languages: words of affirmation or quality time or gifts or certain things that really mean a lot to your partner when you express those to your partner.

And, for example, I kind of skew a little bit towards anxiety attachment, and Jessa kind of skews a little bit towards avoidance attachment. And so, in our relationship, one thing that I found myself doing for years was I worry if she was okay. When I'm making coffee in the kitchen and I look up and she's in the kitchen, and I can't quite tell if she's smiling or if she looks like she got up and she's in a good mood. I'll be like, “You okay, Babe?” And, she's like, “Yeah, I'm okay.” “You sure? You sure you're okay?”

Jessa:  And, my [00:20:00] _____  you.

Sal:  Give me a thumbs up.

Ben:   My Jessa's like, “I'm okay. Damn it.” And, for me, what we've realized is that because my love language is words of affirmation, if Jessa wakes up and she says something like, “Gosh, I'm still thinking about how great that steak was that you cooked last night,” or, “That coffee smells amazing. You make such good coffee,” or something like that, I feel zero need to ask her if she's okay. That's all me projecting me on her.

Sal:  Interesting.

Ben:  It's really interesting. And so, to kind of a rabbit hole from what you were saying about how the way that you are raised affects the way that you parents and it also affects the way you interact with your spouse to a certain extent.

Sal:  How do you think the way you were raised made you skew towards that type of attachment?

Ben:  I was kind of noodling on this. My mom, I really depended on her for approval. I really looked to her for “You're doing a good job. You're good. You're great. And, gosh, darn, people like you.” And, I think that I look to her a lot for compliments. And so, I still grew up looking to women in my life, such as my wife, for those same type of compliments. Yet, I married someone who's very like tomboyish, more of the avoidance there who wouldn't necessarily think of unless we had a conversation about it, like, “Compliment this person,” because, for her when we were talking about this, it almost feels like you–

Jessa:  It feels unauthentic.

Ben:  Unauthentic.

Jessa:  And, it sounds terrible, but I'm like, “Compliments do not come to my mind at all.” It's not that I don't think. It's just voicing it just feels weird to me.

Ben:  Yeah, and plus the fact that Jessa and I met–Well, we met in second grade Sunday school, but we really got to know each other well in college, and we're very competitive. We had triathlon. She's raced track and field. So, we've sand volleyball, everything. We've always been a very competitive couple. And so, part of it, too, is when she compliments me, it's almost like it rubs against our knight tendency to compete with one another and to try and one-up each other.

Sal:  Unless she beats you, and she's like, “You did a good job.”

Ben:  Yeah.

Jessa:  Like, “That was your best effort.”

Ben:  I'm wired up to be an achiever.

Jessa:  Here's your red button.

Ben:  If I take a personality profile, I'm achiever, perfectionist. And, Jessa is more people pleaser type B. And, one of the ways I'll compete with her is if I see her out on the porch drinking a glass of wine, just lounging at, whatever, 6:00 p.m., and I come up and it's an hour before dinner, whatever, and I see her out there. I will literally say, “Well, I've got about an hour of work still and about 30 emails I still got to finish. So, I'll be up from the office in about an hour. So, I'll see you, then. I'm going to go get some work done.” I'll literally find myself doing it like that, just because we're still competitive with each other.

Justin:  You guys are actually the reverse of Katrina and I, very, very similar. So, I could totally relate to the feeling unauthentic to just say compliments to say them. And, I love The Five Love Languages. I recommend that to anybody in a relationship. I think it brought so much insight to Katrina and I and how we navigate. We've been together for 10 years. So, of course, we've learned a ton about each other. And, I can never compliment enough for her. And so, I'm always trying to practice things that feel authentic and real that provides that for her.

Something that I've done that's helped out is I just make a point. I try and do this at least once a month, where I get her flowers and write a card. And, if I sit down–

Ben:  Is that her language, is receiving a gift?

Justin:  Actually, gifts aren't affirmation. It's the card that really matters. The flowers is–

Ben:  It's the message.

Jessa:  The flowers is a bonus.

Justin:  Yeah, the flowers is a bonus. She likes them in the house, and they're pretty. The card is what means everything to her. And, she would rather–and this was hard for me. When we first started dating, I was the shower with gifts because that's my thing. So, I buy her all these nice clothes all the time.

Ben:  Because the way that you thought was, “Well, of course, she's going to love to get gifts. I love to get gifts.” She's got to love it. It's really interesting. It's not the language your partner speaks.

Justin:  No. And, I actually think this is one of the biggest things where people miss in their relationship. And, no one is really guilty because you feel like you're trying. I remember when we had this first paradigm shouting moment in our relationship because she had felt like I wasn't giving her that love. And, I remember going, “Literally? Last week I just dropped $500 on new Lulu outfit.”

Jessa:  And, I can pull the receipts.

Justin:  Right. And, I'm thinking myself. I stopped in my day and I thought about her. I went and bought her all this stuff. And, I brought it home for no reason, no holiday. How is that not showing love? But, it took me a while to make that connection, that I could do that all day long and she's still not feel loved because I'm constantly speaking my language and not hers.

Sal:  I think–Go ahead.

Ben:  I realize I haven't even answered your question about my childhood yet, but one thing that comes to mind regarding that whole idea of gifts as being a language of love is I also think that that can lead to a certain form of lazy parenting, meaning that, in many cases, we feel as though we're doing a good job as parents if we take our kids to some expensive steakhouse, and then, the next day a trip to the zoo, an arcade, and a movie. And, we're just trying to make every moment epic or every moment extremely valuable with cash, with money, when, in fact, I think that time and traditions trump that big time.

Jessa:  Trump it.

Ben:  I can tell you, if you have breakfast or dinner on Tuesday night where dad makes eggs and waffles every Tuesday night for eight years of their childhood, they're going to remember that more than any random trip to Vegas where you blew $1,000 on the whole family at dinner at a Japanese restaurant. Or, if they've got every single Christmas, they're doing the 24-day advent calendar and getting a little chocolate and doing a little bit of reading each morning for those 24 days, building and building and building to Christmas every single year. When they grow up and you ask them about Christmas, they're probably going to talk about that tradition and that memorable habit that's a part of the family–

Justin:  Of course.

Ben: –than they will that, one year, they got the shiny Huffy bike that they'd always wanted.

Justin:  I found that, with my kids, just building things with them was everything. Taking them to–I knew my son was into tetherball. His gift for Christmas was all of us were going to put this together and make it from scratch and everything, and then, their bike ramp and all this. Just that vested time that everybody shares together. It makes that thing more valuable to them. It has some kind of relevance. And, we all had an experience we shared together.

Ben:  It does. And, if that time is repeated and regularly scheduled, I think that's where you start to build families and legacies, and even this concept that grandparents matter because they become part of passing on those stories and traditions.

Sal:  Totally.

Ben:  And, I think that having family rituals, and that's a huge part of our parenting. Our family dinners, the song we sing before Sunday dinner, the type of journaling we do in the morning, the type of journaling we do in the evening as a family, the bedtime music, the trips to the tennis courts, the six different card games that we play nearly every night of the week, our kids find dependency and trust and safety in that.

But, furthermore, we're not raising our children. We're raising our grandchildren. I'm raising our children who's raising our grandchildren. And, the type of traditions that we instill in our children now, those are the things that go on and become a special dependable part of family, no matter where. If I get uproot and I got to move to a new state and get a new job or whatever, we can still play our Sunday night times–

Sal:  They can count on that stuff.

Ben: –where I go. Did you both get that growing up?

Jessa:  I got a lot of that growing up.

Ben:  She did. She did. I've learned everything about the value of tradition from my wife because my family was, Christmas morning, “What do you guys want to do for dinner tonight? Should we get some Subway sandwiches or find a turkey that we forgot to pull out of the freezer?” or whatever.

Justin:  Now, because of that, was that just normal to you and it wasn't a big deal? Or, did you ever go through a phase where you had animosity towards your parents because of, maybe, how you were raised?

Ben:  Pleasantly agnostic. I didn't even know how [00:28:38] _____.

Sal:  You're normal.

Ben:  Until I met Jessa, and I thought it was super weird.

Jessa:  Yeah, most people think my–

Ben:  She's like, “Oh, we got our annual trip to the coast. We do it at this time every single year.” My annual trip? You actually do it and it's the same place? I've been there. Or, “This is the color of the plates that we use on Christmas, and these are what the name tags look like for Thanksgiving.”

Jessa:  Yeah, “These are the food that we eat.”

Ben:  And, “This is the exact Easter egg hunt that we do every east.” And, for me, it's super–

Sal:  Now, you push back against that?

Ben:  I didn't push back against it, but it was just super weird for me. And, oh, my goodness.

Jessa:  I think it's weird for a lot of people.

Ben:  Pinch me now. I got so lucky marrying a girl who actually knew about the importance of traditions, because our kids, they're so stable at home because there's so much they can depend on every day of the week. Predictable environments remove a lot of fear and anxiety.

Justin:  So, I want to hear from Jess, then, because when you have the difference like this, and I know Katrina and I have this, there's always some sort of resistance somewhere. What has been the greatest challenge for you with him because of the way he was raised, that you guys have had to work through together?

Jessa:  It wasn't doing the same thing at Christmas or Easter or whatever or having those traditions around certain holidays. It was, honestly, more of the tradition in the daily routines. Because I grew up in a family, my dad, he was a farmer. He raised cattle. He came home 5:00. Every night, we had dinner at 6:00. Everybody came together. And then, we enjoyed, maybe, a half-hour TV show with popcorn. There was always tradition built into the day. So, for a very, very long–

Ben:  And, she married me, where I'm on a plane to Abu Dhabi to race a triathlon. I'm back, working 10:00 to noon, 3:00 to 5:00, 8:00 to 11:00 p.m. at a gym, and then, coming home, trying to build an online business until 2:00 a.m. It is just all over the map, because I grew up with a dad who literally would hold the same job for a year, and then, go start a new company, and then sell that and buy a franchise and then go and buy some old ambulances and start to do ambulancing. My dad was all over the map.

So, she grew up in a very dependable, traditional–

Justin:  Consistent.

Jessa:  Yeah.

Ben: –farmer type of environment. Whereas, I grew up with a dad who was just all over the map in terms of entrepreneurship.

Sal:  So, that was a different–Because, I could see how the annual traditions, it's like where Ben–

Jessa:  That's understandable.

Sal:  Yeah, Ben can be like, “Yeah, okay, fine. We'll do this [00:31:11] _____.”

Justin:  The day-to-day, had it been far.

Sal:  Everyday, it's like, “This is what we do in the morning. This is what we do at night. This is what we do at–” I could see how that would be kind of challenging.

Ben:  It took me a long time. And now, the day does not feel right unless we have our family dinner with our card game, with me playing ukulele or guitar to the boys afterwards. We do self-examination and purpose at the end of the day. So, at the end of the day we say, in our journals, “What good have I done today? And, what could I have done better today?” So, we learn from both our successes and our failures. And, what is one way that I lived out my life's purpose? Because, I've taught my children from a very early age to have a strong purpose statement and to have their icky guide, have their plan de vida, the thing that rips them out of bed in the morning that gives them a lens through which they see a lot of the boxes that they might be checking during the day. In the end, ultimately how is this helping you to fulfill your purpose?

And then, in the morning, same thing. Right now, we meet as a family out in the sun on the deck. We've got a five-minute meditation app that we go through, called Abide, that walks us through a little verse from scripture and a prayer. Then, we all write down one thing we're grateful for and one person we can pray for or help that day.

And, all these little things, they rubbed me the wrong way at first. To me, it felt like being just an old fuddy-duddy TV show family from the '50s or early, “Leave It to Beaver.” And now, it is the most magical part of the day, these little tricks that you–

Justin:  They ever request any specific songs from you now, like some AC/DC or anything?

Ben:   Yeah, they know a little bit of the playlist. But, they're really into epic movie soundtracks, which I can't play.

Justin:  Wow, they're very Norton, too. Hee-hee-haa-hoo.

Ben:  I took them into a recording studio for a Christmas gift for mom, and they really like “The Greatest Showman,” which has a lot of really epic [00:32:58] _____. We recorded a whole album for mom in a recording studio.

Jessa:  Which is really nice.

Ben:  And then, they also really like super heartfelt praise and worship songs, because they're very into praise and worship. So, usually, that kind of stuff, or sometimes just an old-school hymn.

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Sal:  So, I'm listening to all of this.

Ben:  Nice.

Sal:  It sounds amazing. Speaking to these rituals or traditions, this is how cultures are created.

Jessa:  Absolutely.

Sal:  And, one thing about humans is, when you look at things that last for thousands and thousands of years, that's because we've found significant value in it. Otherwise, it wouldn't last. This is part of evolution. It's not people who are into science who understand evolution from a biological stance. You also need to understand evolution from a cultural and practical sense and behaviors and practices and cultures.

We often take them for granted because they've been around for thousands of years, and we tend to look at them like, “Well, that's stupid. Why do we have to do it that way? Everybody's been doing it so long.” Maybe, we even view it as oppressive or whatever, but the reality is it exist because humans have found it tremendously valuable, oftentimes, in ways that you don't even fully understand because it's been around for so long.

But, as I'm listening to this, and I think, again, what you guys are doing is extremely valuable, I also know that you have two 12-year-old boys. They're about to become teenagers. And, like all kids, I'm sure they give some pushback sometimes. I don't think there's any perfect person out there, let alone perfect kid. What do you do when your kid says, “I don't want to do this thing?”

Justin:  Or, what is it that they give pushback things?

Sal:  How do you handle that?

Ben:  First of all, I think, maybe, it was when we recorded in Tahoe, we talked a little bit about on one of the previous podcast that we recorded together about this idea of love and logic style parenting, educating your children on the consequences of their decision.
Then, as much as possible, allowing them to make the decision. Am I going to eat gluten? Am I going to look at pornography? Am I going to smoke a cigarette? Any of these things. You teach your children about the impact on the brain, the impact on the body, the potential suicidal implications. And then, you'll let them make the decision and deal with the consequences. Maybe, poor performance at school the next day because they punished three cupcakes at their friend's birthday party. I'd rather them learn that way, than we say, “No cupcakes,” and then feel like [00:38:18] _____.

Sal:  I actually took a whole course. They have a free course right now online, Love and Logic. And, one of the things that they say that's so powerful, so they give the example. Here's an example. You're going out somewhere. It's cold. And, you tell your kid, “Hey, make sure you grab your jacket.” “I don't want to wear jacket.” The old-school way we'd be like, “Get your jacket. Put it on.” The love and logic way would be like, “Okay. Don't worry.”

Then, when you go out and they're freezing and there's, “Oh, my God. It's cold,” you empathize with them, like, “Oh, I know.”

Jessa:  Gosh, it would be a bummer.

Sal:  Yeah, “That really sucks,” or whatever.

Justin:  It is cold.

Sal:  And, they learn from it. And, the way that they sell it, which I think is brilliant is, if they learn those lessons now, then they don't have to learn the hard way later on when it's like, getting drunk-driving or things that have really serious consequences. And, take the course. I really think it's valuable.

Ben:  It is. And, there are two other considerations here with this style of parenting. A, it only works if you're really good example. You can't tell your kids, “You can use the phone and the television and the videogame as much as you'd like. It might hurt your eyes a little bit. You may not sleep that well tonight.” But, if you say that, and then, every night after work, you're flopped in front of Netflix for two hours, then, that's where your kids are going to have it.

In the Greenfield house, there's downtime. Now, this is the time I'm holding musical instrument or have a book in my face. I am not on my phone. I'm not playing a videogame. I'm not in front of the screen. So, when my kids have downtime, their go-to thought pattern is not, “Where's my iTouch?” or, “I'm going to go hunt down some things in YouTube on my MacBook.”

And, the other thing, and this is new for me, is that, I think that sometimes, that style of parenting can lead almost too much to you wanting your kids to like you. As Jordan Peterson would say, “Don't do things that would make your kids dislike you, or don't do things that will make your kids hate you.” Sometimes, I think we can take that in too far of the opposite direction.

Sal:  Sure.

Ben:  I don't want my child to ever feel as though they were deprived or as though I told them they had to do something, because we use this whole love and logic “Don't ever make your kids angry” type of approach.

But, for example, I have decided that, even though for the longest time, I've been writing out little workouts for River and Terran to do, “So, you guys got to do 60-pound fitness sandbag one-time around the obstacle course three times this week. Or, your workout today is five goblet squats, five push-ups, dead hanging for max time. You're going to do five rounds of that,” I was not being good father. I was not being a good leader. I was not being a good king in terms of, basically, me almost parenting through checkboxes and giving my kids little assignments that they could or could not do, but great if you've done it, versus me literally bringing them out with me and sacrificing my podcast time or audiobook time or my favorite Spotify artist time to just go and set my own head for a workout and instead take them with me and have them suffer in a way that they kind of sort of don't want to suffer, that you can tell along with me because let's face it, I think at 5:00 a.m. paper route like I have when I was a kid. If my parents would've told me that, “You could or could not do that. It's up to you,” but because they said you need a job and you have a paper job, so go to work, make money, I think that's character-building. So, I think that you'd, sometimes, have to get to a point where you are telling, you're putting your foot down and you're saying, “This is going to be good for you. Let's go out to the garage. We're going to squat for half-hour.” It's not “Do you want to come with me?” It's “We're going now. We're going [00:41:43] _____.”

Jessa:  And, also, it's just coming alongside your kid and doing something with them.

Justin:  Yeah, versus telling.

Jessa:  Yeah, versus telling them, because you are sacrificing your time, which is a display of love towards that person. And so, really, I think, in all of this, love has to be seen at everything that you do for your child because they won't have trust for you if you aren't displaying that to them regularly. And, that's putting them to bed, and not just saying, “Good night. See you in the morning.” It's putting them in the bed, making sure they have everything they need. And, maybe, they need that prayer or that song or that ritual.

Ben:  Oh, my gosh. Bedtimes are so good. It's so good.

Jessa:  It's really just taking your time and giving to them.

Sal:  I 100% agree. So, what do you do–Do you have an example of a time when your boys is like, “I don't want to do that journaling today. I'm not going to do it?” Or, “I don't care about that right now,” or whatever?

Jessa:  I don't feel like I've ever–And, this sounds crazy. We don't receive a lot of pushback from our boys in that way. I haven't seen that.

Ben:  No, we don't. They're not perfect. Because they're unschooling, they each have their own little MacBook. They take one course called Mathnasium, where they have an online math tutor. And, sometimes, they've got little homework and assignments. And, I was finding this with increasing frequency, that I walk into them and you could tell, they are switching browser windows really fast.

Jessa:  Nothing is here.

Ben:  Show that they were on task. Where my mind goes is I can tell them, “Hey, your hiding something from dad. I'm taking your computer away from a week. You're grounded.” But, what I said to both of them in two separate conversations, because, sometimes, you want to be careful not to embarrass one kid from the other, like one feel like they're wrong and the other is right. I took them aside and said, “Look, I'm not stupid. I can tell when I walk into the room when you're on your computer and you're quickly switching browser windows, that you're doing something that you feel might not be the best use of your time, or that I might disapprove of.” I told them, “Look, I don't care. It's your time. It's your life. It's up to you whether or not you want to waste your life or squander your education or spend time on some silly cartoon website versus applying yourself and doing what it is that's going to make you a better person in a moment. But, my one request is that you not hide it from me. You don't have to be embarrassed. If you have a certain website you're visiting and you want to visit, go for it. Do it. Just don't feel like you have to hide it from me because you're not going to get in trouble. All you're doing is you're ruining your own life. And, that's up to you. Just, please, don't hide it from me.” So, those are the type of conversations that [00:44:13] ____.

Justin:  It's like Cartoon Network is really my life.

Sal:  So, here's the other thing, too, that sometimes I worry about. My son is about to turn 15. My daughter is 10. So, kind of close in age to your boys. And, obviously, I'm a fitness and health person. And, I've seen this before. I've seen this before where I had a family whose dad was an herbalist and super into health and whatnot, and the kids had to eat everything that's healthy. They didn't get all the processed foods that everybody got. When it was their birthday, didn't get the normal cake. They got the super crunchy whatever cake with no sugar. And, what ended up happening to both of them is, the second they got out of the house, they went–

Jessa:  They revolted.

Sal: –super far.

Ben:  Track it over. Sound like a ride cracker for their birthday.

Sal:  Yeah, they went super far in the opposite direction. Or, I've also seen where parents are super into fitness, to where the kid, maybe, feels like it's a bit tyrannical, and so, they have a bad relationship with fitness. And then, when they get out of house and do it on their own, I never want to work out type of deal. What do you do to ensure that doesn't happen? Or, if that does happen, that they end up coming back to the right thing?

Jessa:  Well, I don't know. Here's my feelings on that. My own personal journey myself is my parents didn't force fitness or food or anything on me, really. And, I was allowed to come to that in my own time. Now, I think my parents instilled in me an understanding of “This is good for you. This is not good for you. You should, maybe, be active and not sedentary.” They instill those virtues in me, but they didn't force them upon me. And so, I thought, we're not raising dogs. We're raising spiritual beings. You're not raising your kids to do this and obey, and this and that. You're raising them to have a spirit and be able to make a decision and have virtue. And so, to me, I really feel that if you are [00:46:20] _____ anything and it's not in the done in the heart of love and they don't understand that you love them and that's why you're teaching this to them, is because you care about them, then it's going to kind of hit in and just bounce off.

Ben:  Yeah, I think the independence that comes with adolescence, which we're, of course, increasingly going to experience as our kids grow into teenagerhood, dictates that a child will want to do the opposite of what their parents is doing to assert their own independence.

Jessa:  Sure.

Ben:  That's just the way that things are. And so, I fully expect, and I'm fully prepared for River and Terran to be the anti-gym rat or the person who prides himself upon, maybe, having a little bit of pooch and being a member of the chess club and playing a lot of pianos, just because “Dad is so on fitness, and that's not cool.” And, not that I'm saying that adolescence, I think sometimes, it's used as a crutch or an excuse to go into full rebellion. But, I think some amount of asserting one's independence and sometimes asserting one's independence by trying to do the opposite of what their parent may have done is understandable. But, for me, personally, I think that you always kind of experience that prodigal son-esque moment where you come back and you realize the value, like “My dad used to give me books that I absolutely did not want to read.” Christian apologetics and sermons by C.S Lewis, just all this stuff, I was just like, “Why do I want to read this?” The way I think about when I was a teenager was Jesus is freaking drivel and just this random religious philosophy like I want to be reading about–I loved fantasy fiction, and I loved space fiction. That's the kind of stuff I wanted to read. But now, coming full circle, when I've got downtime and I feel like I really want to feed my spirit and feed my soul and challenge myself intellectually, that's what I'm reading. I'm reading John Piper and C.S. Lewis and Doug Wilson and all these deep logical philosophical books on religion or on apologetics. And, all of a sudden, I'm like, “Geez, I'm doing exactly what my dad.”

Jessa:  My dad all of a sudden.

Ben:  It took me 30 years to see the value in that. But, all of a sudden, I'm like, “Actually, I'm growing my spiritual muscles now. I understand what that was about.”

Jessa:  You came to that place.

Ben:  Yeah, but I came to that place.

Jessa:  It was orchestrated for you.

Ben:  So, I think, you show your kids what's important. And then, a certain point you trust God that they're going to, if you've exposed them to the right type of things, eventually make the right decisions, even though they'll probably go in through that independence [00:48:41] _____.

Sal:  Got to be the hardest thing to do as a parent.

Justin:  It's the modeling.

Jessa:  I feel, yeah.

Sal:  That's got to be the hardest thing because you know what they're going to do, you see the pitfalls, and you just got to let them do it. That is really, really hard.

Jessa:  Yeah, but you know what's really cool is I've seen my parents go through that and see their daughter take really hard nosedives and do really stupid crap.

Sal:  How did you rebel?

Ben:  Did Jessa rebel?

Sal:  I can't say.

Jessa:  I'd like to teeter on the edge, but I never fully plunged.

Ben:  Honestly, she rebelled by marrying me.

Jessa:  I basically did.

Justin:  Did any of you guys have siblings that rebelled or went the complete opposite?

Ben:  Yeah, I think I would imagine everybody's got a little bit of a black sheep.

Jessa:  There's a black sheep in every family.

Ben:  Absolutely.

Jessa:  Absolutely. But, what I was saying is I'm like I got to witness my parents walk through that and go through the fire of that. I lived through that with them. And so, to see how they reacted to that and how they walked through that, it was just, honestly, with a lot of faith and a lot of prayer, and that's all you can do at that point because they are their own person. And, at some point, you got to let them go and just–

Ben:  Yeah, you got to let them go, but–

Jessa:  Rest in promises, basically.

Ben:  Here's what I think and here's why I think that idea like where they say 99% of the time you're going to spend with your child is done with by the time they're 18, so you better just make every minute count and live every moment with your kid as if you're going to be on your deathbed that night.

Jessa:  Sounds exhausting.

Ben:  And, everything has to be epic. I think that it's based on a flawed theory. If you have built-up traditions, if you have built-up rituals, if you have built up an environment where parents are honored and grandparents are honored and children are honored, then you create a scenario where when your kids are 18, they want to keep coming back for more. When they've flown the nest and they've started their own family, they still want to keep coming back to their original family or including their parents and their extended family and their rituals and routines and traditions because the entire family is built upon these deep-rooted traditions.

And so, I think that, even though a lot of kids are going to have times when they go their own way, our job as parents is to create this safe nest full of traditions and habits and rituals and routines and dependency and trust that just makes them want to keep coming back for more as they age, and then take you when you're old as a parent into their home because I think that's another big issue with parenting with the value of parents and with the honor of being a father and a mother right now in culture is, A, we hide away old people and we hide away old people because we don't want to care for them, we don't want to give them the time, we don't want to give the attention.

This probably delves into the politics that I know you guys love to talk about so much. We kill a whole bunch of little people, like about 40 million of them. And so, when we say, “Okay, we care about babies but there's several tens of millions that were willing to kill for convenience's sake each year,” and then we care about parents but when they get old and it's inconvenient you got to like change their diaper and they stink a little bit. We're going to hide them away. So, I think on both ends of the spectrum, there are some issues that cause us to, a certain extent, to devalue parents or devalue children.

Sal:  Well, there's one. I'll move away from the third rail there a little bit, but I'll move to one that's a little bit much less of a third rail, but sometimes is, also, I think is a big one, is that I think fatherhood has been totally devalued in modern societies.

Jessa:  Absolutely, yes. We just had this conversation.

Ben:  We did.

Sal:  Look, you watch TV shows and how they display the father.

Ben:  Gosh, modern family, right?

Sal:  He's an idiot. He's a bumbling whatever. He doesn't really do much. He has no value.

Ben:  He's like the jester. He's a clown. So, here's what I think the problem is, and we run into a lot of this in the health space, anti-aging, longevity, Peter Pan syndrome. I'm going to be a boy and have fun and go to–

Sal:  Never tire myself out.

Ben:  To me, I'm going to go to Spartan races and triathlons and get the stem cell injections in my dick and do all this like cowboy, Peter Pan, I'm going to be a boy forever type of shit, when, in fact, living like that, having all the biohacking toys, having the workouts, being the buddy because you really want your kids to like you and the clown and the jester, not that there can't be some light playful aspect to being a father, but I think too many dads are not freaking like kings, true leaders, fathers, strong rocks that the family can depend upon. And, another part of that, too, is just welfare parenting. So many single-parent households with mothers. Government steps in takes the role of the father. So, dads, a lot of times, they don't need to be a dad because somebody else is going to care for their family.

Jessa:  We got a lot of boys running around.

Sal:  And, a lot of the old cultures. I talked earlier about how things exist for thousands of years oftentimes because we find lots of value. When you go to a lot of these old cultures, it's almost like a way to brag when you're a father with a lot of kids, like when men talk to each other and say, “How many kids do you have?” “I have three kids.” “Well, I have four.” “Wow, that's awesome, whatever.” It's the opposite in our culture. If you tell a buddy of yours that you have three kids and they'll respond with like, “That sucks.”

Ben:  Oh, god.

Justin:  Bummer.

Jessa:  That's not [00:54:03] ____.

Ben:  Sorry, man.

Sal:  Well, well, I got my Corvette and I get to bang hot chicks all the time. And, that sucks that you have to do that kind of stuff,” and they laugh about whatever. It's crazy that we don't prize that anymore. And, by the way, you can disagree all you want. The statistics are clear. They're crystal clear. Children raised without fathers are many, many times more likely to end up in all the terrible situations, everything from prison to drug abuse to suicide. It's like a pandemic of fatherless societies. It's really, really sad.

Jessa:  It is. It's a crisis.

Ben:  And, this comes, because you were asking about my childhood, my father was somewhat absent, meaning he was not a very high-quality time lots of hugs type of dad. He was off running businesses, starting businesses. He's naturally quiet, naturally introspective, naturally good at being an introvert, and kind of off doing his own thing, like I tend to be pulled towards. His father was the same way, always locked away in the office, always working or using work as an escape.

So, coming down to me and this idea of you're not raising your children, you're raising your grandchildren, I have come to the realization a very strong way over the past year or so that, if I don't break that cycle, if I continue to parent through checkboxes, whatever, “River and Terran, here's your workout. Dad's headed out to LA for eight days. I'll be back and check in on you guys and make sure everything's going well.” And, if I am not a fully present father, if I am not a leader, if I'm not the king of my household, then it's going to show my children the example of the father that a Greenfield father is. And then, they go forth and do probably something very similar to what I did, marry a really strong woman because Jessa is an amazingly strong woman. She's super independent, self-sufficient, even a little bit of that avoidance syndrome versus the attachment syndrome that I have. So, she can operate on her own just fine. And, it's very easy for me to let her wear the pants in the family, to let her be the leader. So, I can be a little boy pulling on a Speedo to go swim in Hawaii in a triathlon while she's at home holding down the fort.

And, the question I've increasingly been asking myself is, is that what a Greenfield father should be known for? Should a Greenfield father be known for being a playful little boy off having great adventures married to a really strong woman, so the kids are taken care of at home? Or, should a Greenfield father be a leader, be a king, be someone who really takes their children under their wings and trains them and spends quality time with them, and sometimes has them suffer along with him and really, really teaches them how to be a man? And, I would say that I think the latter is far more valuable than your kids liking you because you're just like the clown around the house.

Justin:  That's a very powerful realization. Now, have you found moments recently where you were about to take off and go do something, and then you stopped yourself and you go canceled your flight or canceled your trip and said, “I'm staying home?” Have you had moments like that in this last year? You're right. When you have something so deep that it's generations, your father, your grandfather, that shit's so deeply rooted.

Sal:  Wired.

Justin:  That that's always going to be default for you.

Sal:  It's hard to be aware of it.

Justin:  And, I had the same similar type of thing, is to go bury myself into work. And so, I have to always kind of check back in like, is this me kind of running away without even realizing I'm running away? And, can I pass on this?

Ben:  I didn't have to cancel anything because God bless COVID did it all for me. But, one big change I have made is, and this has been really remarkable in ways, it just transformed my whole week, my approach to work, my approach to productivity, my approach to procrastination, my approach to prioritization, is Sundays are full-on family day. Meaning, no calls, no work, no “We missed a call on Monday. Let's just shove this one into Sunday. You got time this weekend. I'll ping you this week.” And, I would find myself sometimes on Sunday three or four phone calls, playing some catch-up work, just getting things done.

Sal:  Sure.

Ben:  Now, knowing that Sunday is coming and that's a full-on family day, it really gives me hyper-focus every other day of the week. And then, when Sundays roll around, not that I'm not spending quality time with my kids every day, but that's been transformative to have that one day where it is nothing but family and faith-focused.

Sal:  I love that. Now, you've mentioned spirituality and faith a few times. And, I've been on my own and I've been public about my own recent spiritual journey. I used to be very atheist. And then, I became agnostic. And, more recently now, I've been pulled to the Christian religion quite a bit, and I've learned quite a bit of it. And, there was a moment that Justin, Adam, myself, and Doug were invited to listen to Bishop Barron and Arthur Brooks speak. Arthur Brooks is a very– I don't know if you know who Arthur Brooks is.

Justin:  Yeah, [00:50:15] _____ speaker.

Sal:  Very, very powerful effects. He was actually one of the most genuine nice people I've ever met in my entire life. He's one of those people you meet every once in a while that you immediately feel their energy and you want to give them a hug, just a great guy. And, he said something so powerful that, literally, Justin, Adam, and myself, and Doug looked at each other and looked away quickly because all of us were on the —

Justin:  And, emotional.

Sal:  We were all on the verge of tears.

Jessa:  I love that.

Sal:  He said something very powerful, and he said about the power of going to church with your children as a father. And, he said something. I'll never forget he said, “Here you are. If you're a good father.” I'm paraphrasing. He says it much better but, “Here you are, a good father. Your children see you as the most powerful person in the world. If you do a good job and you're a good parent, your children look at you as the ultimate role model. And, it's totally not unusual for a kid, especially, young kid, to think that their dad– “

Justin:  You're the strongest person ever.

Sal:  –is the strongest, most powerful, most whatever, which is not a bad thing. You're the protector of the family. And, I remember thinking that about my dad. And, he says, “To go to church to see the most powerful man in your life bend a knee and praise and give to someone else, basically saying, ‘I am this one thing's servant or this God's servant.'” He said, “What a powerful message.” All of us sat there like, “What a powerful thing to show your child.”

Ben:  The perfect example of a father and a son is God and Jesus. And, a perfect example of something that fathers can aspire to is to be as great a father as God. And so, when you are a good father or you're a powerful father, you're a leader in your home, you're absolutely right, and you show your kids that you still get down on bended knee, that there's still something that you fear, there's still something you honor, there's still something you have a great deal of reverence around. And, it is this creator, this greater power, this absolute truth, I think that that also shows kids that there's even a greater rock, there's even a greater foundation.

And, honestly, I just think the whole idea that there is an absolute truth, that there is absolute morality, in my opinion, that's part of the strong fabric that knits cultures together and that keeps morality from unraveling.

Jessa:  Well, your foundation is solid. You're not shakable.

Sal:  You have to. You have to have that. The very idea of this country when it started, there was a period of time when anybody could come here. It didn't matter who you were, where you came from. You could come. You were welcome. And, you think to yourself, “How did that work? You got all these different people.” And, I've heard people say, “They're all Europeans. They're all the same.” The stupidest thing I've heard in my life because they've been at two world wars with each other. They were very different. Germans, Italians, Irish. They were all very, very, very different. They all came here. How did they all get along? They all had an underlying appreciation, respect, and belief in liberty and freedom. So, this is how they all got along.

So, when you say this absolute morality, the only way different people can ever work together and still be very different is if they have this common thread of something. And, that's what this absolute–that is why, when morality is subjective and not objective, you run into a lot of different problems. But, the question I want to ask you, Ben, you're very spiritual. You've mentioned Jesus and God. So, obviously, very strong Christian. But, you're also very analytical, objective, scientific-minded individual. So, aside from the specifics that you find in Christianity and in your religion, from an objective scientific standpoint, what are the values of having a spiritual practice or a belief system? Are there values? Because these days, it seems like that there's constantly people saying, “There's no value in that. It's silly. It's make-believe. Why do we even do it?” Obviously, it's existed in every culture.

Justin:  [01:02:59] _____ relative.

Sal:  Yeah, every culture forever has had some kind of a strong belief system. So, there's obviously value. But, from that standpoint, what are the value? Why is that important to have?

Ben:  Well, there's two things to consider here. The first is when you're talking about science and reducing everything to scientism, if you want to call it, everything must be proven. There must be a reason for everything, if you trace everything back to its ultimate origin, everything must be explainable, and it's very difficult to be a respected authority in a field of something like fitness or nutrition, as kind of like shallow sciences, as those fields might be considered to be, and to make statements that you want to be respected for when, at the same time, you have admitted that there comes a certain point where when you've traced

something back from tissue to cell to atom to molecule to quark to proton to electron and stripped everything down to its tiniest component, the tiniest little thread of existence, you will get to the point where you can either say, “Well, we're going to keep on digging because we're going to figure out what came before this and what came before this and what came before this. We could eventually explain away everything via science.” Or, you get to a certain point where you throw up your hands and you say, “I don't know. It's magic. Some higher power that I don't understand made this, and I'm just going to have the faith that that happened and resist even the mild arrogance that I might be able to explain away everything in the universe.”

And, that's tricky to be involved in a field that depends upon science, at the same time, essentially say the equivalent of, “I believe in unicorns and berries and fairy tales and magic, but I'd rather live in a world of magic where there's deep hope that there's a story written for your life, that there's a big guy upstairs watching out for a buddy, that this entire universe around us and all the wonder of it, from smoked clams and cannabis to sourdough bread and a good red wine to psilocybin and dumbbells. These are all wonderful, wonderful works of creation that we can simply enjoy and not necessarily feel that there's an extreme need to have to explain away via science. And so, that's one part of, really, the difficulty, is getting to the point where you just say, “Yeah, I believe in faith. I believe in magic.” So, judge me for it.

And then, the other part of it when it comes to the value of this, we know there's a lot of data out there about how people who are church goers tend to have reduced all cause risk of mortality. Maybe, that's the community. Maybe, it's the tiny thimble-full glass of hermetic-inducing red wine every Sunday. Who knows? But, we know that for a fact. We know that gratitude lowers blood pressure, improves sleep, increases empathy, increases self-control. We know this self-examination practice increases the amount of actual productivity and impact that you make with your life. We know that having a purpose statement actually is associated with higher profile of mood state scores and greater happiness. When you go down the list of all these spiritual disciplines and you read wonderful books by guys like Richard Foster and David Wallace on all the spiritual disciplines–gratitude, service, community, worship, solitude, purpose in life, silence —

Sal:  Abstinence. That's a big.

Ben:  Yeah, absence, everything, you wind up with this list of things that, ultimately, have deep physical and physiological and psychological benefits.

Jessa:  These people came from faith. It's not because they had a scientific book telling them [01:06:45] _____.

Ben:  Even fasting. Fasting did not originate from science it originated from religion and honoring God.

Sal:  And, it was for spiritual health, not for physical health. So, for me, what kind of got me to move in this direction was a few different things. Well, one of them were some of the ideas that seemed to work so well are not obvious. For example, the idea that this comes from religion, the idea that all people are born with inalienable rights. It's in our founding. What a weird, radical, crazy idea. Totally not obvious. For most of human history, there were kings and queens and peasants and slaves. Who would come up with such an insane thing? From a reasonable, logical standpoint, you can look around at people and observe. And, obviously, that's not true. We're all so different. Some people are born this way. So, where did that come from? And, it came from religion. So, that was one of the things that helped me move in that direction.

Ben:  That is the gospel. God sent His son to die so that the burden and all the shame and all the sin and all the shit that we are born with and that we create and that we live with every single day could be taken upon the back of the extreme suffering and pain. Literally, a God from the sky came down to take on. And, it says very clearly in the Bible, which I consider to be a source of absolute truth, that that was not just done for the Jews, not just done for the Gentiles, not just done for the Asians, not just done for the South Americans. Every single person.

Jessa:  Slave, free, women, men.

Ben:  The grosser, the slave, the free person, you name it. Everybody is on equal ground when it comes to all of us [01:08:35] _____.

Sal:  And, it's entirely not obvious and reasonable to think that anybody would come up with that, especially anybody with any kind of power. Why would you give away? So, it's very interesting to me.

Jessa:  [01:08:44] _____ an act of humility.

Sal:  Now, I understand that it doesn't prove that there's a supernatural God. I get that. But, boy, how pragmatic it is, how effective it is at helping create societies that we value. Boy, is that crazy? The other part is this, is that–First, let's talk about science for a second.

Justin:  Quantum physics is magic.

Sal:  Yeah, exactly.

Ben:  Let's talk about it. It kind of is the observer effects. It's unexplainable. It is kind of magical.

Sal:  It's there. But, let's talk about science for a second. Science, I can easily make the argument that it's one of the most valuable, powerful–The scientific method has got to be one of the most powerful tools that we've ever come up with. But, here's the problem with science. You mentioned scientism. It has no morality. It's not supposed to. Science doesn't work if you apply a morality to it. It's supposed to be purely objective. But, if you don't have people who have an idea of morality within themselves, here's what science turns into. It turns into not “should I” but “can I?”

Jessa:  Opportunistic.

Sal:  Is this possible? Like, “Let's hybrid humans with gorillas and see how strong they can get. Let's have children out of the womb because that's convenient. You know what? All these — “

Justin:  Human monkey embryos.

Sal:  Yeah, eugenics is an idea. It's such a terrible idea.

Sal:  That we need to get rid of the genetically bad people to have a pure, perfect race. From a scientific standpoint, an objective for the collective, it makes perfect sense.

Ben:  Once science becomes absolute truth, you are on a very slippery slope towards an absence of morality, because there is no consideration of whether something is right or wrong.

Jessa:  Well, that's what evolution is: opportunity.

Ben:  Just whether something is true or false. And, what's really interesting is a book that I recently read. Actually, it was when the boys and I were in Dubai. I think I was reading this book on the plane. And, I sent you this book, Justin, and I'm forgetting. It's about how every single culture has this one great God in the sky who, actually, is this source of truth and is this source of right and wrong. Many, many cultures have no idea who Jesus was, of gospel, sacrifice, any of that stuff, but they know there's this one god who has created a deep truth and morality that goes beyond. And, it's going to be nuts that I can't remember what the name of the book is. But, essentially what it comes down to is there is head-knowing and there is heart-knowing. Head knowing is science. I know whether something is true or false. I can use reasoning. I can use logic. I can explain away the observer effect by, maybe, talking about how light particles would interact with the photon. And, there's got to be a way to explain this. And then, heart knowing is basically just “I just know because I know. I know that I should not walk up on the street to the person holding a wonderful aromatic loaf of sourdough bread, hold a gun to their head, pull the trigger, and walk away with their bread because I wanted it and that felt right to me.” Everybody knows in their heart. That's the heart. You know. You may not be able to explain, but you know deep down inside because you could try to explain. You could say, “You did it because that makes you happy.” And, immorality comes from what makes you happy. But, did it make the other person happy? Probably, not.

Sal:  Here's an interesting thought experiment along those lines. It's like you asked somebody, if you could go back in time and kill Hitler when he was a baby, would you do it? And, some people might say, “Well, yeah, I would save lots of people.” If you really think about it, he's not Hitler yet. He's a baby. He hasn't done anything yet. So, your heart knows that would actually be wrong even though, theoretically, I could prevent all this other stuff from happening. It's wisdom.

Ben:  It's also very unrealistic scenario. Never actually [01:12:29] _____.

Sal:  So, fitness is my expertise. So, I like to take things to fitness because that's what I understand the most, I would say, and there's a lot of wisdom in fitness. And, I'll explain. Oftentimes, we do episodes called QUAHs, where people ask us questions and we answer those questions. And, there's a question that pops up all the time, which is, “If scientists invented a pill that made you fit, lean, and healthy, regardless of what you ate and what you did, would that be a good thing?” Now, for somebody who's took this seriously, understood this study, this work with people for well over two decades, I have developed a level of wisdom with fitness that is beyond the you get fit, you build muscle, you burn body fat.

And so, when I hear that, I understand that, yeah, you'll get people who are lean, more muscle mobile, and that kind of stuff, but they're not going to get the true value.

Jessa:  So, the value is the empty now.

Ben:  The character.

Sal:  But, the value is in the discipline and the abstinence and the journey.

Ben:  It's the journey, not the destination.

Sal:  It's always the journey. And so, that's something that's totally different from the reason and the logic, because the science would say the pill would solve everybody's problem. But, here's another example. You have people who seem to have everything that you think that you would want from a logical standpoint: money, power, sex, drugs, fame and their suicide rate is through the roof. What does that tell you?

Ben:  I would take that pill daily if it was on top of a mountain I had to climb up the mountain every morning to get the pill. I'll take it.

Sal:  Exactly. So, I want to take a left turn here or whatever turn here and ask you a little bit about homeschooling. I know you guys are big homeschoolers.

Justin:  First, let's talk about Jessa's shirt. Did you watch Tiger King?

Jessa:  I did.

Justin:  You did.

Sal:  That's a great shirt.

Justin:  I had to point that out.

Jessa:  I've only seen a couple.

Ben:  I don't know. It's very cute.

Justin:  Free Joe Exotic.

Jessa:  Yeah, it's Free Joe Exotic.

Justin:  Alright, let's get back to it.

Sal:  I'm glad you don't know. It's a total waste of your time.

Jessa:  It is.

Sal:  So, you mentioned unschooling, which is a form of homeschooling. I had friends who were big in the homeschooling world. And, when I started training them, that's how I met them. And, I was very skeptical when they would tell me about what they did. They were unschoolers. And, I thought, “Oh, boy, I hope their kid doesn't turn out whatever.” Anyway, he turned out to be one of the best young men I've ever met. I thought he would be lazy, and he'll just go play video games all day. Now, this kid is entrepreneur, started his own podcast. He's become a personal trainer. He's a go-getter, very balanced, well-adjusted young man.

Ben:  No friends. He's depressed [01:14:59] _____.

Sal:  None of that stuff. None of that stuff. Now, there's a lot of confusion and a lot of myth around, or just incorrect knowledge or information, around homeschooling. And, along those lines, homeschool has exploded, not just recently because of COVID, but over the last 10 years. It's exploded a lot. First off, why do you think that is? Why do you think more and more parents–? And, it's growing exponentially. This is real now. In fact, the public school system is actually quite worried about the fact that more and more people are homeschooling. Why do you think it's exploded so much? And then, I do want to get into unschooling, of what that means.

Justin:  Yeah, exactly.

Jessa:  Actually, I have posed this question to one of my girlfriends whose kids are in public school. During all of this stuff in recent laws that have been passed in Washington, I said, “Don't take this as offensive,” but I was like, “How do you feel dropping your kid off at the state every day and allowing them to pour themselves into your child, rather than you pouring yourself into your child?” That's a really honest question. And, I wasn't trying to be offensive or rude and say that you're doing it wrong. I just really want to pour my values into my child, rather than allowing the state to pour their values into all of our children, really.

Ben:  I think that it's good that a parent would want to be with their kids more and want more quality time.

Jessa:  It's not about being with your kids more. It's about your value system.

Ben:  Or, want to be able to instill more of their family's values into their children. But, I think the human psychology of someone else being able to educate a child and you could drop them off and go to work and fulfill your societal hierarchy while somebody else does the work, actually would make homeschooling a less popular notion. And so, I think the reason that homeschooling has become more popular is multi-factorial. But, a big one is technology. The ease of being able to find information, find teachers, find tutors–

Jessa:  Absolutely.

Ben:  –have that be scalable and affordable has made it so that you can homeschool anyone anywhere in the world. And, you can, compared to even what you could do 20 years ago, have an amazing, amazing education for your child.

Sal:  Great point.

Ben:  And then, I think that when you pair that with a little bit of social unrest, increasing school violence, increasing bullying, increasing amounts of depression and loneliness and suicidal tendencies among children who are simply in an f'ed-up social environment, in many cases, in public school or even, in some cases, in private school type of situation–

Jessa:  In private.

Ben:  –dictates that, I think, a lot of parents are aware that a school might not be the best place, a traditional school might not be the best place for their kids to be during the day. And, as that awareness grows, I've seen a growth of homeschooling but I've seen this real shift towards the notion of creative free-play, a.k.a. unschooling, a.k.a. find out what your kids' passions and interests are, find out what makes them truly excited, what they really want to study, what they're truly interested in, then surround them with as many arts and crafts and tutors and computer programs and games and activities and museum tickets and everything that they would need to be able to pursue that passion. And then, step back and just lightly guide them. Make sure you've got somebody to drive them to the place they want to be driven to when they've got some cooking class or make sure that they know how to log into the computer for some class they want to take online. So, lightly guide them. And then, just surround them.

And then, the other important part of unschooling, and this is very similar to that love and logic approach, use love and logic, but also discipline. So, unschool but also realize there are certain skills that your child is going to highly benefit from having experienced in life that they might not know about yet when they're six or eight or 10 years old.

Naval Ravikant, great modern-day thinker and philosopher, I love a lot of the work that he does, he says there's essentially five key tools that a child needs to be able to excel in no matter what career that they go into. And, those are reading, writing. So, being able to consume information at an efficient pace. Writing, being able to express thought clearly in written form, on paper or via keyboard. Arithmetic, being able to just do basic figuring, whether it's geometry or building or woodworking or anything that involves basic math skills. And then, finally, logic or computer programming, which are technically synonymous, logic/computer programming. And then, rhetoric/persuasion. If you can weave in–

Sal:  Sales.

Ben:  –reading, writing, math, logic/computer programming, and rhetoric/persuasion, then your child is really going to be set for life. And so, we have 12 core subjects that Washington state requires us to show that our child has checked the box. They did chemistry this week. Well, yeah, sure. They learned how to make a ravioli, and that counts as kitchen chemistry. So, we'll class with that as chemistry. But then, I'm also very careful to ensure that, because there are some weeks they don't want to take their online Mathnasium class. They probably would not be doing logic puzzles right now if dad wasn't paying him five bucks every time they successfully completed a really hard logic puzzle in this logic book that I got for them. So, there are certain little things I nudge them towards that I know they aren't super interested in but that are going to serve them well in life. And then, everything else is weekly family meeting. What are you guys passionate about? What do you want to learn? One local assistant who helps to drive them around, and you get them to different activities. One virtual assistant who kind of helps us keep track of all their different passions and interests and which block of the year are we going to kind of focus on, whatever, woodworking, and which block of the year we're going to focus on building the tree fort, and which block are we going to do more wilderness survival and plant foraging? And, we just keep a running list of all the things they're interested in, then weave those in throughout the year. And, it's scary because there is no model. There is no proven model. There is no one right way to do it.

Jessa:  You do doubt yourself here and there.

Ben:  And, you almost want a set pattern, habit, or routine because that's what we all grew up with schooling. Once you realize it doesn't have to be that way and that kids actually learn really well through this concept of free creative play, it works really well.

Sal:  So, essentially, unschooling is no real hard structure curriculum. Here's the thing. Here's my argument in support of what you're saying. I'm glad you explained that, and you did it so well. Modern society is a lot of specialization. You go to work, and you're probably really good at a couple things, and that's how modern society works. You don't need to know everything or lots of little things. You kind of need to be really good at one thing. And, for anybody who has kids, you know when your kid is into something. When my boy was four years old, he loved Thomas the train, the train set, the little trains. And, there's like, I don't know, 300 figurines, or maybe thousands. I saw that he was really into it and he built the trains.

So, I bought him. He had to have at least 100 and something trains. He knew every single name at four years old. There were two trains that were twins. I could not tell the difference. He could. It took me days to figure out how he was doing it. And, you know what it was? It was the direction of the eyebrows were slightly off on one or the other. And, it's because he was into it. They're like little, tiny sponges.

Justin:  So, what are you seeing unfolding with your kids right now? What are you noticing? Do you guys feel like you can kind of predict what they're going to be into or what they're going to do when they get older by now?

Jessa:  Well, they've been saying what they want to do since they were like three or four.

Ben:  They both love art and writing. They love cooking. They have a cooking podcast. And, even above cooking and food prep, they like to create art. Both of their purpose statements are based around inspiring people to joy and adventure with their art and with their writing. River does a little bit more of the writing. Terran does a little bit more of the art. And, they really want to do a lot more publishing of their own books. They want to live in Moscow, Idaho 90 minutes from our house where all their nieces and nephews reside. And, they want to live down there and make books and kind of have like a little coffee shop that they run during the day, and then write books in the evening or in their off time. And, that's what they want to do right now, is be authors and own a coffee shop. That might change. A year from now, they might want to be professional tennis players. You'll never know, but you sit back, and you just let them pursue their passions and resist the urge to push them towards this stuff that you really thought you were going to be good at, because living vicariously through your children is so easy to do.

Jessa:  It's cruel.

Justin:  How are you guys teaching them finances right now?

Ben:  They've got these books called the Tuttle Twin books that are a little bit more of kind of a libertarian conservative approach to the economy and the finances. They go through each month. Actually, they're they're once a week right now with their podcast producer and manager, the financials, what they're bringing in from each affiliate, what percentage the affiliates are–

Sal:  Great.

Ben:  They go grocery shopping with mom with our assistant to help manage things like finding deals and finding discounts. Same thing on Amazon. They leave the tip when we go to restaurants. Whenever we're playing card games, they're in charge of keeping track of the numbers and the digits.

Jessa:  And, it's great because it's all real life. This is all stuff they're going to have to deal with.

Justin:  So, do you guys allow them to buy whatever they want freely? How does that work for them saving and spending?

Jessa:  They're pretty big savers.

Ben:  Yeah, they're big into saving. But, again, we are, too. We drive a Toyota Highlander and Dodge pickup, and we don't live a very fancy —

Jessa:  Flashy life.

Ben:  — flashy lifestyle. This shirt cost me 10 bucks from the thrift store, and Jessa makes our furniture. And, we live pretty simple. And so, I think they've never really grown up being spent thrifts. We don't live with the spirit of scarcity, but also, we don't spend a lot of money on random items. But, the understanding in our house is that if it's related to education, especially, if in the book, no questions asked, I will buy it for them. I will provide them anything that really fuels something that they want to learn about, something that they're passionate about. If it's a Nerf gun, if it's a Lego toy, whatever, then what they do is they send to my assistant, Marge, who does a lot of our shopping, what they would like. And, we have their email addresses. So, she finds the best deal and she comes back and tells us how much it is. Then, they decide if they want to get it. If they do, she then transfers from their bank accounts where all their affiliate income from their podcast goes, where any money that they make, gifts that they get for their birthday or Christmas or whatever, and she'll do a transfer until they know that when they bought that, it gets transferred. It's purchased using our Amazon account, but then the transfer occurs from their account into ours. So, they're covering it.

Justin:  And, they have the freedom to–If they decide to go on a crazy addiction of Nerf guns and buy them every day, technically, could with their own money.

Ben:  Yeah, they could.

Jessa:  With their own money, yeah.

Ben:  They could do whatever they want with their own money. But, again, because they see mom–and this is almost too much, they'll see me spending 10 minutes deliberating over which AA batteries to get on Amazon because one pack's $2 cheaper. So, we're pretty aware of spending in our home. So, I think they're pretty used to just the value of saving/investing. I haven't taken them through any investing courses or anything like that yet.

Sal:  That's awesome. One thing that I've heard from people–this one's actually quite a disturbing comment I'll get on homeschooling, is they'll say things like, “Well, there's a lot of parents out there that are really bad. A lot of parents shouldn't school their kids and they should go.” And, to me, this is always such a disturbing thing to hear because, of course, there's bad parents out there, but if you added it all up and you did the math and study, I would trust a parent raising their kid over the state raising your kid, mainly because parents usually care about their kids.

Ben:  Or, a co-op, or a collective.

Sal:  Sure.

Ben:  Or, a homeschooling group. There are ways that parents can be involved in their children's education. And, if they don't have the heart of a teacher or they're frankly a shitty teacher, there are ways that you can homeschool unschool and not be–

Jessa:  I'm not a great teacher. I'm not.

Ben:  Jess is a wonderful teacher for arts or crafts or gardening, but she's not going to teach the kids calculus or science because she doesn't learn that stuff in college. She doesn't have a passion for it. So, that's a big part, is whatever your kids are interested in, you find the person that's going to do the best job teaching that. It might not be you, and that's okay.

Sal:  So, a little speculation. What do you think's going to happen with the current education model now that formal education, the cost of it, it's been exploding for years far faster than inflation, schools are now, either shutting down, kids can't go there so kids are at home, or you have to go to school and you have to wear a mask and do this whole thing, which can be very anxiety-inducing, I'm sure in children, they don't know what's going on. Or, you have schools that are saying, “Hey.” Like, Harvard, for example, said, “Next year, all online. By the way, it's still $50,000 a year tuition. We're not changing the cost.” Speculating, moving forward, do you think that we're witnessing the beginning of the end of the way that school has been administered because of all these stresses now? And then, of course, technology making it so inexpensive to transmit and receive information? What do you see moving forward with that?

Ben:  I personally think, 100 years from now, we're going to look back and laugh at about the past 60 years or so of education, that we've tried to hang on to the threads of, that is all based off the agricultural revolution and the design of factory workers. And, it's laughable. I really don't anticipate that model sticking around much longer. And who knows? We might be in the time right now during the COVID pandemic where it's a full-on light bulb moment and people really do realize, “Oh, shit, I was paying $50,000 to go to Harvard, and they've just admitted that everything that I'm getting from there, I could literally be doing from a beach in Thailand– “

Sal:  For free.

Ben:  –while simultaneously running a surfing company.

Jessa:  Or, for significantly less.

Sal:  Yeah, crazy. Well, you're always a great guest, Ben. And, I love having you on, Jessa.

Jessa:  Thank you.

Sal:  This is great. You guys are both very, very good people. I love hearing about how you guys are at home and how everything's going on. And, I wish you guys continued blessings and success with everything.

Jessa:  Thank you.

Ben:  Thanks for letting us emerge from our little hole in that little state and see people.

Sal:  Well, you know you're always welcome.

Jessa:  All out from under our rock.

Justin:  That's right.

Sal:  You're always welcome on our podcast.

Ben:  Dude, it's like a direct flight [01:29:55] _____.

Sal:  Excellent, man.

Ben:  We've just got to get you guys up to Spokane some time.

Sal:  We're do. We're do.

Jessa:  You are do.

Sal:  We haven't been there in a while. So, alright guys, thanks.

Jessa:  Thank you.

Ben:  Alright, thanks guys.

Well, thanks for listening to today's show. You can grab all the show notes, the resources, pretty much everything that I mentioned over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com, along with plenty of other goodies from me, including the highly helpful “Ben Recommends” page, which is a list of pretty much everything that I've ever recommended for hormones, sleep, digestion, fat-loss, performance, and plenty more. Please, also, know that all the links, all the promo codes that I mentioned during this and every episode help to make this podcast happen and to generate income that enables me to keep bringing you this content every single week. So, when you listen in, be sure to use the links in the show notes, use the promo codes that I generate, because that helps to float this thing and keep it coming to you each and every week.



My friends Sal, Adam, Justin, and Doug at Mind Pump not only have some of the best training plans (called MAPS plans) out there for everything from muscle gain to fat loss to at-home training to athletic performance and beyond, but they're also chock-full of interesting and intriguing questions and topics that we always have a great time unpacking in our podcast episodes. Previous Ben Greenfield Fitness episodes with the Mind Pump guys include: 

I've also been a guest on the Mind Pump podcast a handful of times as well, including on the episodes:

But this episode with Mind Pump is different.

See, this time I traveled to the Mind Pump studios in San Jose with my wife Jessa Greenfield to discuss fatherhood, parenting, religion, homeschooling, unschooling, cooking, and much, much more. We had such a great time that I figured I'd bring you in on the conversation. Enjoy!

During this discussion, you'll discover:

-Ben's secret to adding several pounds of muscle in the last few months…05:48

-How the dynamic between a father and mother affects their parenting style…14:50

  • Ben and Jessa are highly involved in their children's lives, but are by no means “helicopter parents”
  • Attachment theory(anxiety and avoidance): your attachment to parents as a child influences your parenting style as an adult
  • The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lastsby Gary Chapman
  • Giving gifts to children can turn into “lazy parenting”
  • Time and traditions trump gifts every time
  • Consistency and routine builds families and legacies
  • You're not raising your children, you're raising your grandchildren

-How Jessa's childhood brought stability into her and Ben's family dynamic…28:15

  • Ben was “pleasantly agnostic” about traditions, stability, consistency in childhood
  • Predictable environments provide stability in the lives of children
  • Ben's father switched jobs, businesses often
  • Ben's spiritual disciplines journal (coming soon)
    • Purpose statement
    • Express gratitude
    • Show empathy for others
    • Abide app

-Why you should allow your children to embrace the world on their own terms…37:15

  • “Love and Logic” parenting (mentioned in a previous Mind Pump podcast)
  • Love and Logic Institutefree course
  • Allow children to suffer consequences, but not to excess or in a harmful way
  • A good example from the parent is essential
  • “Don't do things that would make your kids dislike you.” -Jordan Peterson
  • Also don't do things that will develop an improper “friendship” between parent and children
  • Mathnasium
  • Forcing certain activities today will breed resentment tomorrow

-How traditions and values are instilled in childhood…50:15

  • A child will want to do the opposite of their parents to assert their independence
  • However, they often go back to what's familiar when they have their own family
  • Take parents into the home when they are old and infirm (honor your father and mother)
  • Fatherhood is devalued in modern society (Modern Family)
  • “Peter Pan” syndrome in the Health and Fitness and biohacking community
  • Children raised without fathers are highly vulnerable to drug abuse, criminality, etc.
  • National Fatherhood Initiative Father Absence Statistics
  • Sundays are full-on family days in the Greenfield house
  • Bishop Barron Presents Arthur Brooks: Love Your Enemies

-Religion, the foundation that holds communities together…58:15

  • God the Father and the Son are the perfect father/son example
  • Showing children humility and reverence to God is a powerful example
  • Absolute truth and morality is what the foundation is made of

-The scientific value of having a strong spiritual practice and life…1:02:15

-Why science doesn’t work if you have morality attached to it…1:09:15

  • Rather than asking “should we,” asking “can we?”
  • Once science becomes absolute truth, slippery slope toward the absence of morality
  • Head knowing (science) vs. heart knowing (morality, personal convictions)
  • The real value is the journey, not the destination

-Why more parents are choosing homeschooling/unschooling…1:14:00

  • Parents taking a more active role in the development of children
  • Technology makes it more affordable and accessible
  • Children discover their passion, are surrounded by tools and resources to pursue
  • Light guidance from parents
  • 5 key tools a child needs:
    • Reading
    • Writing
    • Arithmetic
    • Logic (computer programming)
    • Rhetoric/persuasion

-How Ben and Jessa are teaching their kids saving and investing…1:23:45

  • Tuttle Twins book series
  • Be involved with finances related to their podcast
  • Buy anything that will fuel something they want to learn about
  • They can buy whatever they want (with their own money)

-The beginning of the end of education as we know it?…1:27:50

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

– Mind Pump:

– BGF podcasts with Mind Pump:

– Mind Pump podcasts with Ben Greenfield:

– Other podcasts:

– Jessa Greenfield:

– Books:

– Supplements:

– Other resources:

Episode sponsors:

The Kion Fasting Challenge: The Challenge starts January 6th, it's completely FREE to join, and when you do you'll get a bunch of exclusive content including access to a Q&A by yours truly answering all your burning fasting questions.

Fit Soul: Get Ben Greenfield's newest book for FREE. Fit Soul is filled with practical, easy-to-understand tips, tricks, strategies, and solutions to care for your soul, attain true spiritual fitness, and find the happiness you have always craved and deserve.

Organifi Red Juice: Enjoy all the benefits of the 11 superfoods and their micronutrients that help increase resting metabolism, support cardiovascular health, and remove toxins to turn back the hands of time! Receive a 20% discount on your entire order when you use discount code BENG20.

Joovv: After using the Joovv for close to 2 years, it's the only light therapy device I'd ever recommend. Give it a try: you won't be disappointed. For a limited time, Joovv wants to hook you up with an exclusive discount on your first order. Just apply code BEN to your qualifying order.

Clearlight Saunas: You can be sure that I researched all the saunas before I bought mine and Clearlight was the one that stood out from all the rest because of their EMF and ELF-shielding and their Lifetime Warranty. Mention BEN GREENFIELD and you’ll receive an extra discount on your purchase.

Paleovalley Beef Sticks: 100% grass-fed AND grass-finished. Keto friendly and higher levels of Omega 3 Fatty Acids. Receive a 15% discount off your order when you use my link.



Ask Ben a Podcast Question

One thought on “[Transcript] – Fatherhood, Motherhood, Parenting, Home Schooling, Religion, Muscle Gain, Sourdough Bread & Much More With The Mind Pump Guys & Jessa Greenfield.

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