[Transcript] – Guys Who Are Crappy At Making Friends, Why Spanking Can Suck, The Pain & Lessons Of Divorce, Deer Hunting Camps With Boys & Much More With Seth Spears (Boundless Parenting Book Series).

Affiliate Disclosure


From podcast: https://bengreenfieldlife.com/podcast/sethspears/

[00:00:00] Introduction

[00:00:59] Podcast Sponsors

[00:04:19] Guest Introduction

[00:06:41] What's the deal with the Gasper knife?

[00:10:48] Do you involve your kids in the Rewild Gear business?

[00:11:38] Books, systems, models, and resources that you find indispensable as a parent?

[00:15:43] What is the John Demartini Method?

[00:18:40] The idea of taking radical responsibility and not blame-shifting

[00:22:36] Why guys get stuck in their “identity” and find it difficulty to release it all

[00:29:16] Would the Demartini Method fit in with this type of work?

[00:29:38] How did the kids deal with their divorce?

[00:31:38] Podcast Sponsors

[00:36:49] Ben on how the books “Radical Honesty” and “How to Be Free from Bitterness” carved out his relationship with his family

[00:40:51] Seth's annual deer camp and rifle season with his sons in Kentucky

[00:48:03] How do you connect with your daughters?

[00:53:00] How Seth evolved in terms of his disciplinary style and how it worked for him and his kids

[01:01:43] What one message for parents would you put on a billboard?

[01:05:35] Closing the Podcast

[01:08:31] End of Podcast

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

Seth:  Hurt people hurt people and the body keeps the score. And so, because of those things, we tend to carry a lot of things from childhood from our own wounds growing up. Our parents, they do the very best that they can. And, as parents, we do the very best we can with the tools that we have, but we're all flawed in some way and we all have issues that we're dealing with that put us on autopilot that we don't even know. And so, because of that, there's a lot of things that happen where we just go through the motions just because that's what we saw modeled for us.

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

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Alright, I'm pretty excited because today I get to interview one of my buddies. He's an entrepreneur. He's a product designer. He's in the health industry. He's a podcaster. He's an angel investor and he just has a lot of passions that overlap with some of mine like the great outdoors, and nature, and hunting, which we've had a chance to do together, in sports, and good food, and conversations and connections, and even family. 

This guy was actually featured or is featured in my upcoming parenting book, “Boundless Parenting.” He's got a chapter in there where he talks about his approach as a father and how he deals with screaming kids and raising kids in a healthy way and swimming upstream in the way that he does. He's the co-founder and CEO of a company that I actually really like. I like it so much. I actually invested in it when they launched. It's called Wellnesse. You know what, Seth, I still can't freaking pronounce the name of it, Wellnesse.

Seth:  Got it. Wellnesse.

Ben:  Wellnesse. Yeah, it's Wellnesse with an E, you guys, W-E-L-L-N-E-S-S-E. He is also the co-founder of WellnessMama.com, which is this big natural living blog and podcast for women and for moms, her mamas as the name implies. And then, he recently sent me this sweet knife. Well, we got to talk about the knife a little bit too, Seth, because he's got this company called Rewild Gear, which is doing knives and fire starters and cookware. It's actually pretty cool deal and we'll talk about that a little bit too.

So, anyway, Seth has six kids. He's a father of six. He's in outdoors. He's a hunter. He's a skier. And, of course, in the baseball and football and lives in Florida. After interviewing for my book, which features a whole bunch of parents who I just wanted to get inside their heads and pick their brains, and Seth, they've homeschooled their kids. There's six of them. I've hung around him and his kids and I'm impressed with what he does. And so, I wanted to talk about family, and parenting, and fatherhood, but also dig into some of other Seth's passions because I think you'll find them pretty intriguing. So, Seth, welcome to the show, dude.

Seth:  Thanks, Ben. Excited to be here.

Ben:  Yeah. Yeah. I think the most we ever hung out actually was when we're on Kona in Hawaii. Remember that?

Seth:  That was so much fun. I mean, that was a blast.

Ben:  Yeah.

I mean, we're going to jump into this away and get this out of the way. For example, you sent me this knife, this Gasper knife that's crazy. It's got this weird super steel in it that I hadn't heard of before and this grip, it's really interesting. What's the deal with this knife?

Seth:  Yeah. So, the concept for Rewild Gear, that is something that myself and my brothers conceptualized many years ago. Probably a decade ago just sitting around a campfire drinking Bourbon and comparing knives and just equipment in general. We've always been gearheads. And so, my motto is quality over quantity. And so, I'll buy multiple different items just to test out and see what works and what's the best and what works for me. So, we just had this idea of there wasn't really a great knife that we love that really met our criteria.

So, when COVID happened, we had this idea about starting a knife company or just an outdoor equipment company in general. Then, when COVID happened, it's like there's no time like the present. And, the one thing that people can still do with all the lockdowns and crap is get outside, go camping, backpacking, hunting.

Ben:  I thought you were going to say stab each other.

Seth:  Well, I mean, I guess you could do that too, but that wasn't really what we were thinking. So, we're like, “Why don't we push forward with this idea?” And so, we spent well over a year just designing the knife, both our own sketches and ideas and then working with an industrial designer to really get the specs down. And, we created what I think is one of the very best general all-around camping and hunting knives on the market. Not to get too nerdy about it, but we used the super steel called S35 VN, which really marries the best of all the different steel qualities; the hardness, the lack of corrosion like the corrosive resistance of it, how easy it is to sharpen, and how long it'll retain an edge. So, S35 VN really does a great job of that.

Ben:  And, this is probably a total surprise people who tune into a fatherhood podcast and a family podcast and now they'll learn about knives, but how often do you sharpen yours? Because you sent it to me, I've already field dressed one animal with it and I only had to — I've got this little, it's like a portable filled knife sharpener. I only sharpened it once, but how often do you sharpen yours?

Seth:  It really depends on how often you're using it? It should bone out and handle an elk without being sharpened. You might need to touch it up just a little bit. Since I primarily hunt on the east coast is with a lot of whitetail, and we'll go through a whole whitetail or two without needing to sharpen it. No problem.

Ben:  Oh, wow.

Seth:  Once you're getting into bigger animals, it's a lot more, and so you might need to touch it up here or there. But, if you're using it just like around camp for general camp tools; cutting food, vegetables, some meat, maybe whittling some sticks or creating tender or kindling, it's going to last a little longer than just repeated use, it's like skinning out an animal.

Ben:  Yeah. And obviously, you're an entrepreneur, you're a businessman, you've got this other company we can talk about as well, the Wellnesse. I notice you've got grills, utensils, firelight bellows, power balls. For you stepping back and maybe opening the kimono a little bit from a business standpoint, are you and your bros just finding really great products and then having them made for you and then just fulfilling?

Seth:  So, all of the designs are really our own with the exception of a couple of them. The knife was totally our design and we have those made in Michigan. The grill is our own design. Our utensil, the same thing. Because there's so many products on the market, and anytime I go into a market or just in business in general, I want to figure out how can we differentiate, what can we do that's better than what's already out there. Because if something is already on the market that I can purchase that they do a really good job, then why would I want to enter that if I don't have a differentiating factor? I want to create value and —

Ben:  Besides just your logo on it.

Seth:  Exactly, yeah. I have no desire to do that. So, all the products that we created and we currently have available, they're all ones that we were able to differentiate in some way. And, they all are very minimalistic and things you need to just get in the great outdoors and spend time with family, with friends, and just disconnecting from all the technology that we're inundated with every day.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. Do you have your kids involved with that one at all, with that business, the Rewild business?

Seth:  A little bit. I mean, they've helped with some of the photography, just some of the images, testing out the gear. So, not as much as I'd like, but they are doing some.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. Well, there's some tax implications as well. I mean, I have a financial team that seems to do a pretty good job with all these different loopholes. And, there's a certain extent to which your children can work for your business and be paid, like be on payroll. And, there's actually some pretty good tax and everything. Not that you want to just pop out kids. I'm sure that's not why you had six kids, Seth, set on taxes, but it is interesting like there's some advantages besides just the mentoring and the learning and the self-actualization aspect that having your kids work for you a pretty good idea.

I want to talk a little bit about your fatherhood. And really, we can just get painful and vulnerable and gritty from the get-go because one of the things that really stood out to me in your chapter on parenting was I had a question in there about books, and systems, and models, and resources that you found pretty indispensable or helpful in your own parenting. And, your reply was unique because you got into deep therapy work that you did on yourself to understand your childhood, and how you were raised, and all sorts of stuff like Demartini Method Collapses and Somatic Bodywork. So, stuff I didn't know about. So, we've got a little bit of time, but can you get into that what got you down that path and what some of those things are that you did?

Seth:  Yeah. So, currently finalizing divorce right now, and that's been the most painful and challenging thing that I've ever gone through.

Ben:  Yeah, with Katie?

Seth:  Yeah.

Ben:  Who's actually the Wellness Mama. And, it was interesting for me too. I mean, just to be vulnerable myself like when I reached out to you guys just because you're both amazing parents and your kids are standouts and you're juggling a lot of them but you're doing a good job, I actually didn't know that you guys were getting divorced. And then, both of you submitted your replies for the book. It was a little bit awkward for me at first, I'm like, “Wait, I was going to have them be like a couple,” and now they're two separate chapters in the book but it actually turned out to be interesting because none of us are perfect. And now, I've got these couple of chapters from people who are actually going through a breakup during the time that the submissions were coming in. And so, you each have your unique perspective but anyway, so people are probably familiar with Katie, the Wellness Mama, your previous wife. But, go ahead.

Seth:  Yeah. So, the past couple years have been the most challenging of my life just going through that breakup and that identity around marriage and the businesses that we built together and who we were as a couple and just the family unit. And so, as part of that and accepting my responsibility in the breakdown of the relationship, I did an extreme deep dive just on myself in all types of different therapies and modalities, everything from plant medicine to somatic bodywork, to breathwork, and sauna, and cold plunge, and ketamine-assisted therapy, and just so many different modalities. 

You mentioned the Dr. John Demartini Collapse, which was absolutely fascinating that got into a lot of rude things from childhood because hurt people hurt people and “The Body Keeps The Score.” And so, because of those things, we tend to carry a lot of things from childhood, from our own wounds growing up. Our parents, they do the very best that they can. And, as parents, we do the very best we can with the tools that we have. But, we're all flawed in some way and we all have issues that we're dealing with that put us on autopilot that we don't even know, we don't even realize that we're running a software program that we didn't create, that we didn't implement into the hardware of our brain into our entire operating system of our body. And so, because of that, there's a lot of things that happen where we just go through the motions just because that's what we saw modeled for us.

And so, throughout this breakup, I realized that there's a lot of things about myself that I needed to work on in order to become a better person, to become a better man, eventually, maybe a better husband again one day, and especially to become a better father because there were so many things that I was not doing that I needed to do, things that I was doing that I wanted to change. For example, just yelling too much not being as patient as I needed to. And, a lot of these things were just on autopilot from how I was raised as a kid. So, I had to go down this really deep self-journey, which I'm still on, but I'm coming out the other side of it and implementing and integrating all those things that I've learned.

Ben:  What is the John Demartini one, the method that you call the Collapse method, something like that?

Seth:  Yeah. So, I did a deep dive, like a two-day intensive with a practitioner in Denver for almost a year ago. And, what that is, Dr. John Demartini, I believe he's a psychologist and he has courses and events and all kinds of things like that. But, his method is you take something that causes you stress or that tends to trigger you, and it might be seen as a negative, so then you flip it on its head and look at the positive. And so, you go do this deep dive on what is the positive sides of it. So basically, it collapses down that negative association and then you do it the opposite, so you look at something that you see is a positive and you look at the flip side of that kind of the shadow side, what is the negative, and you collapse that as well. So, it reduces the charge, so you don't have this really high or this really low surrounding anything. So, it levels you out a lot and it helps you to work through some of those things that you either see as a positive or a negative because there's a yin and yang to everything that kind of masculine/feminine, good/bad. There's a lot of gray in so many areas and we tend to associate things as one extreme or another at times. So, it's really good to break those down so you're not so tied into that story.

Ben:  Is this the one that's also called the Quantum Collapse?

Seth:  I haven't heard that term but it's possible.

Ben:  Okay. Alright. And, do you do this as a daily practice or like you alluded to, you have to go somewhere for a couple days and go through this whole process?

Seth:  I did. I went through a practitioner. His name is Will Etheridge, and I met him doing some plant medicine ceremonies and he did a couple processes with me during that that was very helpful. And so, I began working with him almost a year ago and we did a two-day deep dive intensive on this and really delved into my own psyche and upbringing and just childhood how I was raised. And, it was really, really beneficial. I noticed a lot of results from that as far as just my own orientation surrounding just different areas of my life and how I would react to certain situations and things that were triggering me.

Ben:  I'll hunt down a link to it because I know Dr. Demartini has a website but, for anybody listening in, I'll just link to everything Seth and I talk about if you go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/SethSpears, BenGreenfieldLife.com/SethS-P-E-A-R-S because I think that's really interesting. I'm going to actually try to learn a little bit more about it. When somebody brings some up that I find intriguing, I'll go type it in the search box. I use a podcast player called Castbox and it lets you search not only the topic and the title and the keywords for each podcast, but it will go and actually search the audio itself, like it's an audio search engine so you can hear whenever certain phrase is brought up. And, that's often my method for researching, so I just go download a bunch of podcasts on it and take a deep dive when I'm going on walks and stuff.

Seth:  Nice.

Ben:  This Demartini thing sounds interesting, but it's something I've been thinking about a little bit recently, Seth. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. We seem to live in this era where men are for better or worse increasingly aware that the decisions that we make, the way that we parent, the way that we interact with our spouse, or the way that we don't interact with them is often influenced by our upbringing and by the way our father and mother parented us or perhaps trauma that we went through or the way that we were treated in school or what we were given an impression in terms of the way that the world might value us based on the way that we hold ourselves and who we are or not authentically or inauthentically. 

And so, this awareness seems to be something that a lot of men who are woke down the political sense of the word but woken of self-awareness sense the word are aware of, yet it also seems like sometimes guys use that as an excuse not to take radical responsibility. What I mean by that is like they'll blame their father wounds or their mother wounds or trauma and basically create this scenario where they're doing anything but saying, “Hey, I've just been a shitty person and I'm going to change” and instead they almost say, “Well, I'm this way, but I'm this way because my mom did this,” or “I'm this way because my dad did this.” How do you tackle the idea of taking radical responsibility, which I think a lot of guys will admit, is a good idea, and not blame-shifting but also recognizing the fact that the way you act is a little bit of a product of your upbringing or your nurturing?

Seth:  It's a great question. And, that goes back to the nature versus nurture debate, which has the biggest influence. And, I think there's a little bit of both. And, I've seen this even in my own life. I have definitely had that victim mentality over the years. Well, where it's like because I was homeschooled, I'm shorter than the average, just because of how I was raised or the way I was disciplined, and just a lot that I've thrown in life where I would use that as an excuse. And, part of that, it takes a lot of just deep work and digging into your own psyche and why. And, being self-aware is really important but it's not just being self-aware if you don't do anything with that. You first have to observe it, realize it, and then make a change because of it. And, that's hard, I mean that's really damn hard, Ben, just because you see these things and you don't like them and yet you feel controlled by them at times, so it's a process of just observing it and not trying to judge it, taking a look at it, and saying, “How can I change this?” Or, “This is what I'm triggered by.” Or, “This is how I'm reacting, and what can I do to maybe just tweak it a little bit?” So, it's not a 180-degree shift, but maybe it's just a 45-degree shift. So, it's just a slight change so that the next time something comes up that triggers you, you can just tweak your response. And then, from there, you can see that and tweak it a little bit more.

So, I don't think there is a perfect solution for people just because we're also different, and everyone acts, looks, works differently. What works for you may not work for me. But, I think it's versus just becoming aware of it and not letting that victim mentality take over and just taking ownership for it in the best we can. And, we're all going to fail at times, but it's getting back on your horse even though you've gotten thrown off and just continuing down. My formula for success over the years has been to do the things long enough consistently. And, that's been very helpful in business, and in a lot of different areas of life. And so, I've just been applying that to this self-discovery journey as well.

Ben:  Yeah.

And, by the way, you are pretty short. Same. I can only say that because I also am a fellow homeschooled nerd, full of my own failures and shortcomings both physically, mentally, emotionally, and beyond. But, I think that where guys get stuck, and I'm curious if you would agree or disagree with me on this is they'll identify that they have some kind of, whatever you want to call it, a personality disorder, or shortcoming, or a habit that isn't serving them as the saying goes, and they'll determine that there was a nurturing aspect of that or like something that happened in the way that they were parented or their education or the way they were disciplined or something along those lines. 

And then, they'll identify with that but not let it go, not change but basically say, “Hey, this is who I am, accept me as who I am, and I'm going to be working on this.” I'm going to be working on this with the 18 different self-help methods for the next 20 years and never actually change because, for some reason, there seems to be a stick at some point where the identity is not actually released where a guy doesn't just say, “Yeah, I'm not that person anymore and I moved on.” For me, this is very relevant to a recent Facebook post that I made that I guess nobody saw unless you're one of my friends on Facebook. And, maybe I'll share it publicly at some point on some of these spiritually-oriented blog posts that I do. But, it was basically like, “I am not that great at being a friend to other men.” I'm engaged in shallow conversations and I hide in a crowd and escape when the conversation starts the deep things and pretend to be busy with things that I make up that are supposed to be important that draw me away from a conversation but it's really just a form of escapism for me. I'm really good at being busy and escaping being a good friend, like being a deep friend and having long and meaningful conversations.

And, what I wrote on Facebook was, “Hey, I identified this about myself.” And, for me, it was recently I had a bunch of guys over my house for a mastermind, I'm like, “Dude, I didn't really get in deep with many of these guys,” instead I just like rushed around because I got to go make steaks for this or I got to go take care of this guy who's doing this. And, at the end of the Facebook post, I said, “But you know what, I could list all sorts of reasons like father wounds, mother wounds, the way that my dad treated me, or the way that I had friends growing up. But ultimately, none of that matters, I just made a commitment today to not be that person anymore. There, boom, I'm done, I'm moving on.” 

And, for some reason, it seems like it's difficult for guys to get to that point where they just release it all and move on and just say, “Hey, I'm not that person anymore. Deal with it. I'm new now.” And then, for me, I guess being a Christian, a big part of it for me is I'll just pray that God would turn me into a new person kind of like lay it all out the foot of the cross and move on. And, I realize that's perhaps maybe unfair for people who don't have faith-based practice or something. But, that's how I deal with it. And, I feel like a lot of guys just need to say, “Hey, that's not me anymore and that's behind. Let's move on and quit blaming or identifying with that particular tendency.”

Seth:  That's really interesting. And, I think for some people, that can work. Those that are extremely disciplined and they can make that radical choice and then that's it, they're done. You're probably one of those Ben where just because you're so rigorous and disciplined in your life and that can be great and amazing. But, for many, that doesn't work.

I've got a friend who basically self-identifies as a personality test. So, I had a conversation with him, this was many years ago, where he's like, “I'm an introvert.” So, I've got to go introvert now. I didn't even know that introverting was a verb, but whatever. And, my response to him was, “You're not a personality test.” So, just because that's the test you came out on whether that's human design, or Gene Keys, or Myers-Briggs, or whatever it is, it doesn't matter. Okay, that might be your predisposition based on that nature-nurture aspect, but we can all change. And, it's becoming self-aware in realizing those things and then making those changes over time because some of them that are so ingrained that we've done for so long, it takes a lot of work to overcome that. And, I'll give you an example.

So, for me, I grew up in a large family, I was the oldest of six kids and lower middle class. And, there was always enough food on the table, but there wasn't enough food on the table; a lot of carbs, a lot of not-so-healthy food. And, my parents did the best they could with the resources that they had. But, as far as the good stuff; the meat, the protein, whatever, there wasn't enough. So, I had this idea and mentality growing up that I don't have enough food, I have to eat everything that's on my plate because they're starving kids in Africa and you always have to clear your plate. And, if you don't eat it tonight, then you're going to eat it for breakfast tomorrow. 

And so, I've taken that attitude with me throughout my life. And, that's not actually healthy because of its food that you don't enjoy, it's not healthy for you, there's no need to clear a plate or to finish it. And, that's been a struggle and something that I still work on. And, I've overcome a lot of that, but it's still something that I continue to struggle with at times and have to work on just because I hate wasting, which I mean inevitably is a good thing. But, at times, it's okay not to finish it all.

Ben:  I have a similar tendency, Seth. But, for me, it all comes down to the freezer. I was like, “You know what, I'm just going to freeze it.” And, I have so many bags in the freezer just random crap. I don't even know what it is anymore because I threw it in the freezer.

Seth:  Yeah, exactly. And then, eventually, that's going to get freezer burn and go to waste as well.

Ben:  Yeah.

Seth:  The outcome is the same, but I mean, it is similar. The other thing I'd say there is just the example that you were talking about as far as connecting my quick two cents whatever it's worth is it sounds a little bit of a fear of intimacy with other men. And, where that comes from? Who knows.

Ben:  That or conflict avoidance disorder, which I think I heard a phrase once that went something like that and I'm like, “Oh, maybe, I just have conflict avoidance disorder.”

Seth:  Sure. And yeah, a lot of times that does go back to how we're raised and how our parents handle conflict, how our siblings and how we were taught to do that. And, a lot of people say I'm going to pray about it that's going to fix it but for me, I've seen that'd be an excuse and a crutch for so many people over the years where it's almost a cop-out instead of actually taking action on something because prayer is not really actual action, it's a passive thing. And yeah, that can help potentially can as far as increasing your faith and belief and such, but at the end of the day is what we do. We have to actually take action on something if we really want to change and not just hope that it's going to change based on a wish and a prayer.

Ben:  Yeah, interesting.

Do you think that Demartini Collapse Method would fit in with any of this type of work when it comes to leaving things like that behind?

Seth:  Yeah, I think it can, for sure. It definitely was helpful for me in a number of aspects just surrounding relationships and just both romantically and parent-child and in so many areas surrounding all that.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah.

As far as the divorce goes, is it still awkward with the kids or painful with the kids? What are the conversations like? I realize that's a big question, but I'm just curious.

Seth:  It's been very challenging. One of the things that broke up my relationship was the communication or the lack thereof. I'm an open book and want to talk about everything. And, I so value clear and open communication. And unfortunately, Katie is very different in how she communicates. And, it's not entirely her fault, it's how she was raised. She grew up in a home with two parents that had 80% hearing loss, so they communicated differently. And, her family was also conflict-avoidant and people pleasers. So, you mix all those together with how she was raised and then my family, which was this big loud Italian family where you don't go to bed if there's a fight, you're fighting it out until it's done with.

Ben:  Yeah.

Seth:  And so, there were so many things, resentment build up over the years that I didn't even know there were issues because she either was not able to communicate what I needed to know or just because she didn't know how to communicate to me or didn't want to until things just blew up and blew over. 

And so, for me, as far as the parenting side goes, unfortunately, my children, they tend to be a little bit more like her and not want to communicate as much. Like I want to talk about everything, let's get it out in the open and you have questions come and talk to me like if you're hurting and just ask them. And, it could also be the different dynamic of the father relationship versus the mother relationship where I probably do talk to her more than they do me. But, that has been tough. That really has been a challenge just to try to have these tough conversations with them and just ask them how they're feeling, what are they doing, what do they need for me. And so, it just takes time and more one-on-one attention to get them to open up and just feel comfortable. And, I see that when I have extended time with them where we're able to really drop in and just connect more.

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There are two books that I think me and my wife and I got lucky or blessed as the case may be that we read early on in our relationship or relatively early on in our relationship. And, one was “Radical Honesty.” I think Brad Blanton wrote that book. And then, this other one that kind of flies on the road I think is fantastic, it's a Christian book. I think it's applicable to anyone whether you're faith-based or not, it's an essay on relationships or essays on relationships. It's called “How to Be Free from Bitterness.” And, the book basically goes into what happens when you don't talk things out and how bitterness just festers in the soul. And, you know this, just having a little bit of a background in alternative health and the idea in Chinese traditional medicine about how bitterness and unsettled anger and things like that and an inability to be able to communicate your feelings especially with someone you love can result in stuff just building up inside the body, even like a bone cancer, for example, in traditional medicine, Chinese transitional medicine, something that's associated with anger or bitterness or just not having talked out things that you instead just let settle down inside you. 

I think in couples, that can really be an issue. I think it's pretty common. I mean, I'm no relationship expert but I feel couples who don't intentionally carve out the time to lay all the cards out on the table on a regular basis and share everything, they will end up fighting a little bit of an uphill battle. And, like in our house, it's our mission statement on the wall, we have the Greenfield family mission statement. A big, big part of that is radical honesty and radical transparency. Our family crest hanging above the fireplace. One part of it, there's roots from a tree that go down into this blue clearish glass that's on the bottom of the crest, and that glass represents radical honesty and transparency. And, our kids know they can come and talk to us about anything, anytime. My wife and I know we can approach each other about anything at any time. We're not going to be judged or embarrassed about talking about it. 

And then, of course, I'm sure you've become familiar with this type of practice, Seth, this idea of going off on quarterly retreats to just talk things out or with some couples. They'll do MDMA therapy, which is almost like truth serum where you sit and just talk with your spouse for hours and it's impossible to tell a lie or anything like that in that type of situation, or even just regularly scheduled date nights. My wife and I have one tomorrow night and we just show up and we're just staring at each other for an hour talking. And, a lot of times I'm more organized than she is, so I'll have a bunch of stuff written down on a notepad that I've built up over the week that I want to talk about and she's just more loosey-goosey with it. But yeah, this idea of radical honesty and transparency and just like nipping bitterness in the bud I think is crucial for relationships.

Seth:  Yeah, I 100% agree. And, it's really easy to look back in hindsight and say, “I should have done this” or “I should have done that” or “I wish this been differently or that would have.” But, at the end of the day, everything happens for a reason. And, where we're supposed to be just because there was a lesson to learn. And, while this whole process over the past couple years has been the most heart-wrenching and challenging experience of my life, I'm a completely different person. I've actually learned to love myself and trust myself in so many different capacities, which I'd never done before. And, I think that's a process and you're never fully, fully healed. You're never fully done probably until we're dead. And, if we don't learn all in this lifetime, then maybe we have to learn it in the next. Who knows. But, I think it's just all part of that journey that is life of just growing and evolving and spending time with those we love and care about and taking that time and making it a priority. And, I wish that I would have done more of that.

Ben:  Yeah. Well, it's something that I think a lot of people can learn from and they're learning lessons that you took away from in a podcast like this. So, at least it's helping people in some respect and I'm keeping you guys in my thoughts and prayers as well.

So, I want to talk about some other stuff too, though, that you feature in the chapter. There was a question about traditions and habits and routines and rituals that you formed with your children. All the parents in the book got this question. And, you had one about a yearly ritual that involves deer camp and rifle seasons back in Kentucky. Tell me about that and how you grew up with that and how you incorporate with your with your own sons.

Seth:  Yes, this is one of my favorite topics. Back in 2014, I purchased a piece of property back in Kentucky where I'm from and where we were living at the time. It was 55 acres and it was just beautiful piece of wooded property that backs onto a river that I had spent a lot of time on as a kid, as a teenager, and in college where me and my brothers and my sister, we would kayak and canoe and fish and just goof around on this river. 

And so, I had seen this property for sale many years before that when I was living in Tennessee at the time and it had gone up for sale but I didn't have the capital for it. And so, I just put it out of mind. And then, fast forward a few years, we'd moved back to Kentucky where I'm from, and saw this property, it wasn't for sale but it never actually sold. And so, I reached out to the owner and asked me if he was interested in selling it and he said yes. And, I had been hunting for a few years already, I didn't grow up hunting, there were guns in the house and weapons. And, I'm the oldest of six kids; five boys and one girl. So, we were always had weapons and playing around and just goofing off and stuff like that, but never actively hunting. So, I think it was after college when I first started and just hunting at some friend's property and things like that. And, I really enjoyed it. I love the concept of actually harvesting my own food.

And so, when this property came available, I purchased it, and then I built a cabin on it, just a small completely off-grid cabin with lofts and Korean War cots to sleep on and no electricity, no running water, an outhouse to use. And so, I told my brothers, I'm like, “Let's do a deer camp the opening of rifle season. Why don't we get together? We'll all go hunt, we'll bring our sons, we'll eat meat, and we'll just tell stories around the fire.” Because that's what we had done growing up like when we're camping or hiking or whatever. 

And so, it became this thing where every November, it's usually the second Saturday of November is the opening of rifle season for whitetail deer in Kentucky, and we all get together; my brothers, our sons, our father, and we have an amazing time. It's better than Christmas to me. I look forward to this all year round and it's just that anticipation and expectation of the opening day, opening morning where we're sitting in a deer stand or a blind. We're freezing our ass off and drinking hot coffee and just the opportunity to watch nature wake up and potentially see a huge bot come through or a large dough or whatever.

And, what's been a really amazing experience for me, just those relationships that are solidified that are increased, but helping my father shoot his first deer, my son shoot his first deer, all my brothers them shooting their first, and one of my good friends. And, that was just incredibly meaningful for me because I've enjoyed hunting so much over the years, but I got to share that with people that I love and care about so much. And, that was just an amazing experience over the years doing that. So, that's a tradition that we've just developed for our son just as like a father-son thing because that happened throughout history where the hunter-gatherer mentality or really the hunter mentality where the elders of the tribe or the fathers, they would take their sons out of the young men and teach them the ways, teach them how to procure food for their tribe.

Ben:  Yeah, you're obviously preaching to the choir, but I have to emphasize that for guys out there with sons, and I realize like not every guy's a hunter and a lot of people listen to this podcast for ethical or other reasons. Some don't even eat meat. But, there's something about that primal act of hunting like the most bonding times I've ever had with my sons off the top of my head at least besides the fact that every morning, my sons and I gather in the living room at 6:00 a.m., and we put on really nice music and we burn incense and we read the Bible and we read a devotional and we pray together. And, those are enormously meaningful because I cry and I break down and I lay it all just total bare soul in front of God. My sons get to see that. And, I sometimes even question like, “Gosh, am I being too vulnerable in front of my sons, like showing too much weakness?” Dad's sitting here, I mean, four hours ago, like 6:00 a.m. this morning, I was crying because I was just super overloaded with stuff and I was overwhelmed. And, I'm on my knees asking God for help and my son's just sitting there wide-eyed watching dad happy and content because they've just got this nice little day where they wake up and do what they want. They don't have all the responsibilities, the home and the bills and the all the crap I have to deal with. Crap in a good way, it's all blessings, but it's good problems, but it's a lot of stuff just flying at me. 

And so, I'll sit there and I'll cry and they see that. It's very bonding for us. And, that's more of a daily checkpoint in addition to the little meditations that we do as a family in the morning and in the evening. But, as far as long bonding experiences and epic adventures, there's nothing that compares to going out in the woods and surviving, and being cold, and being hot, and being hungry, and walking for long distances, and having your backpack make your shoulders or your low back tire, and then sitting for eight hours totally bored out of your mind without a phone or a book just staring off into the woods. And then, occasionally, I'll just say something like, “Hey, are there any girls that you like?” And, there's just little things like that that pop up during those down times that I don't know, there's something about that process.

And then, of course, as you alluded to Seth, once you actually harvest an animal and you're field dressing it together and you're biting the meat together or a campfire bringing something home to mom and there's something about walking in the door even though mom could obviously just go to Costco and buy a steak, but you walk in there and you got meat for Mom to cook and prepare for the family, and it's a really cool experience, this idea of going hunting with your sons. I would challenge any dad is listening in who hasn't looked into that or even a wilderness survival camp. There's this organization called Twin Eagles that we work with up here in Idaho. And, I've had guys all over the country come in and do that after hearing about on the podcast. And, the father-son wilderness survival camps are absolutely amazing with this guy Tim Corcoran up in North Idaho. This idea of nature/hunting/survival/men and sons hanging out together, I don't think there's anything that compares.

Seth:  I totally agree. And, it's definitely the highlight of my year just spending time off grid like in the wilderness with my sons. And, it's just an amazing experience and they've really learned to love it and enjoy it, maybe as much as me. I don't know, maybe not quite, but yeah, but that's been great.

Ben:  Yeah. And obviously, we don't want to leave the girls behind. I don't have girls, you do.

So, tell me about how you connect with your girls.

Seth:  Great question. So, that's been a little bit more of a challenge for me over the years. And then, during COVID when all the lockdowns and everything happened, living in Florida, I'm about 5 miles from the beach. Being on the Gulf Coast, there's not great surf; however, we had quite a few storms and swells that would come through. So, me and my daughters, we actually picked up surfing here in the Florida Panhandle. And so, we would go out multiple times that summer. And, whenever there was a foot wave or higher, we go out and surf. And, for anybody that is a surfer, there's a lot of time spent just sitting on a board just waiting for a wave. 

And so, I just had some amazing conversations with my daughters during this time when we'd be out there just watching the swells come in and waiting for a set that we could actually ride. And, that brought us closer than anything that I've done with them. Very similar to what the boy is taking them hunting. And, the younger ones, they're too young to surf. So, that doesn't work quite so well for them, but the older ones, they love it, they really enjoy it, and it's an adrenaline rush and it's an activity. And, I think it's really important for fathers to have shared activities with their kids and not just being there. I mean, that's great. You need that support and someone just to be there, but to actually take the time and the initiative to go out and actually have those shared activities because those are bonding things.

When I looked over the years, my favorite times with my own father is when we had shared activities. And, I think that's the same for my kids. For the younger ones, usually, it's more like I'll take them to the trampoline park or we'll go just get a hot chocolate or something like a muffin or whatever and just sit there and let them open up and ask them questions and vice versa. With six kids, it's challenging just because trying to get everyone to do the same thing is incredibly hard. 

For example, the other night I was like, “Hey, you guys, you want to watch a movie?” And, they're like, “Yes.” And so, we put on a movie and three of them is out there and watched, the other ones didn't want to. And so, that's always the challenge to find the time or the activity that everyone wants to do. And, I'm still trying to figure out where that balance is and how to do it best.

Ben:  Yeah. Yeah. I mean, even as a much smaller family, two kids, it is tough sometimes to get everybody on the same page for activities. And, sometimes we'll just put options out there like I'll say, “Okay, you guys want to go to dinner tonight, you want to go play tennis, you want to go play pickleball or stay home and play dinner games,” for example. Or, we'll go pick out a bunch of games because a lot of times everybody's not on the same page but we'll take out three different games and flip coins or play Roshambo to see which game we're going to play at dinner. 

And yeah, there's creative ways to go about it. But, I think the other thing that a lot of parents who are exhausted at the end of the day should probably realize, because I didn't really think about this until I started doing it, sometimes you don't have to spend a ton of energy dragging out the Monopoly board or figuring out some fun activity. I'll sometimes grab my sons just be like, “Hey, it's the end of the day, I'm going to go read a book in the sauna. Anybody else want to go read a book in the sauna with me?” And, it's just doing what you want to do anyways for relaxation but you're taking your kids along. Sometimes I'll just like go for a walk, but I mean like a quiet walk or a walk where I just want to listen to his music and I'll just tell my son and be like, “Hey, I'm going to go for a walk, you want to come with me?” It's not like a walk and talk with dad, it's just come hang out and do what I'm doing anyways. And, I think some parents put pressure on themselves that it has to be some epic adventure with full time and presence. And yeah, especially full presence is important, but sometimes your kid can just be with you while you're doing what you'd be doing anyways.

Seth:  Yeah, for sure. And, that's something that I need to work on more and just to become better at that because like you said, I tend to put pressure on myself to want to do these epic things with them and then just finding the time to do that and just balancing it all with so many. That does make it challenging. But, I think it's also a leadership thing as far as just taking that initiative, like you said, to “Let's go for a walk” or “I'm going to go for a walk, you want to join me?” And, just putting the ball in their court, if they want to, they can. If they don't, rather play with friends or read a book by themselves or whatever, then that's possible too.

Ben:  Yeah.

Seth:  In the past, I've gotten into this I don't want to call it a habit, but my default was I would suggest an activity they didn't want to, then I would get like, “Oh, well, what was me.” They don't want to hang out, so I guess there's no relationship whatever in cell phone, so I'm going to go do my thing and just leave them. But sometimes, instead of looking at it like that, they're happy where they are, they're content, they're playing with friends, they're playing with their siblings, or whatever. And so, as long as they just know that they're safe, they're secure, and that I'm around and just letting it be that, and that they want something, they'll come and ask and I'll offer. And then, if they don't accept, that's fine, and just not take it personally. I just realize that's where they're at.

Ben:  Discipline is something that comes up over and over again in the book. It's related to what we were talking about earlier like sometimes the way you discipline your children can stick with them for their whole lives as far as the way they discipline their own children or just the way that they feel about perhaps whether they were traumatized or listened to or whether there was love involved. And, in my question about discipline, again which all the parents in the book got, you were very raw and open and vulnerable in a lot of your questions. You admitted that you were overly authoritative and you were raised learning yelling and spanking were good methods of disciplines kind of similar to the way that I was raised to a certain extent. Not so much yelling, but definitely a lot of spanking. Tell me about how you evolved as far as your disciplinary style and what worked for you.

Seth:  It's evolved a lot over the years. I mean, I was raised in a very disciplined authoritarian house where if you disobeyed, you were getting spanked or if you talk back, you were getting soap in your mouth, or as I got older or grounded. And honestly, a lot of these things, it was way over the top. And, when I first started having kids, I adopted that same mentality where, “Okay, I turned out okay, so this is what you do.” And, I really, really regret that because every child is different and some are more sensitive than others. What works for one will not necessarily work for the other. And, while maybe a spanking will work for some children, the others will take it so personally that that's not good. And, my philosophy around it is I don't think that spanking is ever good anymore just because if the parent is the first — this is how children see love, love and acceptance, and it's their first world view of their ultimate caretaker. And so, if they're seeing this imbalance or this dichotomy of they love me but then they're physically hitting me, what does that teach them? What does that teach them about love? What does that teach them about acceptance? They love me unless I do this, then I actually get physically hit.

So, when you take a step back and look at it like that and completely take our ego out of it as parents, which is incredibly challenging, I mean, my daughter number five, she is incredibly strong-willed. I mean, she will cut off her nose to spite her face for no reason other than just to get away or just because a thought interests her head. And, as a parent, that is very hard who I'm also strong-willed and yet it takes all my willpower not to just lash out and just because I said so, you have to do this or that or spank her or whatever. And, that's something that I'm still learning. And, she's been an amazing teacher for that as hard as it is. Just because the kids are all so different in trying to discipline them and raise them differently based on their personality and what works for one and doesn't work for another. And, that's so hard. 

So, I think it's constantly growing and evolving and just trying to really sit with them where they are because all the children, they're incredibly good children. I mean, they're not bad kids by any stretch of the imagination. I mean, they're not crazy rebellious, not like I was as far as pushing the limits just because. And, I think it also goes back to the parenting if I don't set hard and fast rules on so many things like never lie. But, as far as like if they want to know something, I'll tell them. It wasn't how my parents were. This is the rules. This is why. But, they couldn't logically back up the reason for that.

And, with my personality, I'm okay with the rule if I understand it. But, if you can't back it up why that's there logically, then hell no, not going to follow it. So, for my own kids, it's like, “Look, if you can logically explain to me why you don't like that or why it's not a rule, why it's not good, then okay, pull over, we'll change it.” So, having that relationship with them and that honesty and transparency, I think, has been very helpful in raising them so that they follow guidelines that we've said.

Ben:  But, I never swore off spanking, and I will still not say that there's not a time and a place for as the Proverbs in the Bible would say like “Spare the rod, spoil the child.” I think that sometimes some elements of physical discomfort can send a pretty strong message especially if a child or a grown adult is engaged in something that's going to harm them a lot more than that corporate punishment is going to offer in terms of short-term discomfort of pain. 

That being said, when we adopted, which we pretty much did from a very early age with our children after reading the book “Love and Logic,” a consequential-based parenting style from a disciplinary standpoint, meaning it's very, very rare that we will ever give a flat no without tons of reasons, tons of education. “Here's what gluten does to your body. Here's what porn does to your brain. Here's what alcohol does to your liver. Here's what marijuana does to your memory.” Anything like that, we are very open and transparent, again, with our children about the consequences of any decision that they may make. 

And then, we've adopted the habit of simply stepping back and letting them deal with the consequences of their decision like yeah, crappy day of school, you didn't do well on a test, and you stayed up late last night and you were watching screens, or you ate the wrong meal before bed or whatever, deal with it. But, what I'm not going to do is hold your face down your dinner plate and threaten you with the spanking if you don't finish your asparagus. No, you get to deal with the biological blowback of inadequate nutrient availability for your body and how that affects your body the next day. But, it takes time to do that. It takes time to educate a child with love. And, a lot of parents I think often because they're raised this way, again not to blame but it's just the way they are and it's something that can totally be changed, they know that loud words and spankings or some pain affect some type of immediate reaction. And, it's fast and it doesn't take a lot of time and it doesn't take a lot of effort and doesn't take a lot of smoke coming out your ears trying to figure out how you're going to explain something to a six-year-old. Whereas, the consequential pace parenting from a disciplinary standpoint takes more time and effort and knowledge. But, man, the payoff is such that I think in our sons at least who are 14, I can count on one hand the number of times I've actually had to spank them and they're not shitty little kids. It's not like they're poorly behaved because they weren't spanked, it's just that I didn't really have to very much at all because of the way that we educated them.

Seth:  Yeah, exactly. I mean, I feel corporal punishment is lazy parenting because it's easy. I mean, yeah, you don't want to hit your kid and we can rationalize, “Oh, this hurts me more than it hurts you.” That's the line that I heard from my parents growing up, but it's like, come on, it really is lazy. And, a lot of people they'll use that line in Proverbs, but to me, that comes from an era that was very authoritarian. It's a different era, it's not where we are now. And, while there's things we can learn from that, I think we are in a higher state of consciousness now where we look at the long-term effects and what is this doing. We're not in that same patriarchal society where the rules were different based on the gender.

So, because of that, it's just been my philosophy to have those conversations with them and have those consequences. And, a lot of that, I picked up from you, Ben. When we stayed at your house many years ago, I think it was in 2017, and we had some really great —

Ben:  I forgot about that. That's right.

Seth:  Yeah, just about parenting and having those conversations whether that's about drugs or sex or whatever. And so, we actually adopted a lot of those ideas. And, that's been very beneficial. And, my kids have made really smart decisions, especially around food and what's healthy and what's not. And, while I always try to provide the healthiest food possible in our own home, when they're outside of the home, they have the opportunity to eat sugar and junk food and whatever, but they understand that they don't feel good. 

And, an example of this, so my oldest son, he's had some gut issues and stuff that he's been working through via diet. And so, he's had to be on a pretty strict diet for, I think, six months now. And, he knows that when he goes off of it, then he just doesn't feel as good, almost like irritable bowel-type stuff. But, his learning has been very disciplined with it with exception, but then that's a teaching moment as well and stuff. So, I don't have to step in and say why are you doing this, don't do that I need to make the decision. At the end of the day, we want to raise children to be amazing adults and not just to do what we say why we say it, but we're trying to raise adults, not children.

Ben:  You have a saying at the end. It's related to discipline, it's not the very end of your chapter but I did have the classic billboard statement on there like the one message for parents that you would put on a billboard. And, your message, I'll say it to you just in case you don't memorize, Seth, was, “Listen to your child more than you speak and ask your child what they need from you. Listen to your child more than you speak then ask your child what they need from you.”

Seth:  Yeah.

Ben:  What do you mean by that exactly? I mean, it is obvious what you mean by it, but I'm curious if you have an example or why you chose that specific phrase.

Seth:  I think this goes back to doing a lot of deep work on myself. And, my parents never asked me what I needed, they told me what they thought I needed. They raised me based on their own biases by religion, by how they were raised, but they never asked me if that was right for me. It was a one-size-fits-all-black-and-white approach. And, that doesn't work. And, while some of my success and my motivation and work ethic and internal drive comes from that, it comes from a place of hurt and of a place of not enough and trying to prove myself and not from a place of love and motivation based on how I was raised. And, I don't want to pass that on to my own children even though I've been guilty of following some of those same courses of action, some of those same habits. That's something that I'm constantly trying to work through and improve upon because I want to be a teacher for my children, but they're also a great teacher for me. I want to learn from them because children have so much wisdom. Because when they come out of the womb, they're a fresh set of eyes and soul that hasn't been corrupted by the world. They don't have these biases that we do based on culture and society and religion and parents and everything. So, they look at things from a different perspective. They're just intrinsically curious.

And, to be able to go back and see the world through a fresh set of eyes like that is just amazing. So, I want to ask them what they need and they can tell me so that I can help to give that to them and not just try to force my own ideas and beliefs on them. And, I've definitely been guilty of that over the years. As an example, I really wanted my sons to play team sports. I wanted them to just play baseball and football and basketball and everything. And, my oldest did for a couple of years and then he got tired of and didn't want to. And, this goes back to my own trauma —

Ben:  Which can make you feel guilty as a parent by the way because that's happened to me too. I'm like, “My kids aren't playing basketball and baseball and football like the other kids, what's going to happen here?”

Seth:  Yeah. And, for me, this is wild, because as a kid growing up, the only thing I ever wanted my father to do was play sports with me, and he wasn't that into sports and he didn't. So, I vowed when I was a father that I would play sports with my kids and be there for their teams and things like that and then they didn't want to. And so, that was really hard and that hit my ego is like, “Is there something wrong with me? What am I doing wrong? Or, what's wrong with them or something. And, what I've had to realize is that we're all so different, and I can't force my values on them. I have to love and accept them for who they are, where they are. And, if they have other interests, then that's fine and just be accepting of those and help them to evolve those and learn from it and they can do great things. 

As an example there, my oldest son, he started a chess club at the library. I mean, this was his own initiative. And, I was not something that I would ever do or I was ever even that interested in, but I was super proud of him taking that initiative to go and start that. It's all part of just listening to our children and trying to understand where they are, what makes them tick, what do they enjoy, and helping to foster a curiosity and a love of learning and just creative and critical thinking in all areas of life so that we can just be better parents and have a great relationship with them over the course of a lifetime.

Ben:  We kind of only scratched the surface of a ton of the stuff that you wrote in the chapter. Again, not to scratch an open wound, I think it'll be interesting for people to compare a lot of your replies to Katie's replies. And, you both brought a lot to the table when it came to what you shared in the book and both had your unique perspectives, which I think they're fantastic. I think, the one thing that I really, really appreciate about you, Seth, and in your chapter and the way that your parenting is just this idea of bringing your kids along on the adventure and educating them along the way and doing so fearlessly in a way that as you've just described might not involve team sports and what everybody else is doing, but involves really wanting the best for your kids and paying attention to them. And, as you say, listening to them more than you speak and ask them they need from you. And so, despite you being a very, very short man —

Seth:  5'7 is not that short. We call it vertically challenged.

Ben:  I'm just giving you a hard time. Yeah, you dwarf Viking you.

Seth:  [01:06:36] _____.

Ben:  So anyways, for folks listening in, obviously all of Seth's replies are going to be in the book when it comes out at BoundlessParentingBook.com. Everything that we've talked about today, I'll put at BenGreenfieldLife.com/SethSpears, S-P-E-A-R-S. I'm going link to Seth's Rewild Gear website. He gave me a 10% discount on that if you use my special link. And so, I'll put that in the shownotes. 

And then, also like I mentioned, I invested in the oral and hair and skin care natural products company that Seth and Katie founded. I eat my own dog food, you guys. If you walk into my shower, if you walk into my bathroom, it's all the Wellnesse stuff and the shampoos, the conditioners, the deodorant, new deodorant is pretty cool, there's all sorts of stuff. The toothpaste also is amazing. Anyways, I just use their whole suite of products because it just freaking works. So, I've got discounts on that Wellnesse stuff too and you can go to the shownotes at BenGreenfieldLife.com/SethSpears. And, I'll hook you up with that.

And then, if you have questions for Seth that they're just stuff that left out, if you disagree with stuff and you have your own things to add and you're like, “You guys should have been brought up spanking, you bastards” anything like that, just go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/SethSpears. And, I love to see the conversation continue on and see questions that you guys have. And occasionally, if you get lucky, I can even finagle the guests into jumping in and replying to a few of them. So again, it's at BenGreenfieldLife.com/SethSpears.

Seth, our conversation just now made me really wish we could go hunting again together. So, I'll have to get you in on one sometime.

Seth:  Definitely, definitely.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. Hidden Hawaii in March, man. Maybe I'll talk to you later on about it.

Seth:  Yeah, it'll be great.

Ben:  Alright, cool. Alright, folks. Well, I'm Ben Greenfield along with the great Seth Spears signing out from BenGreenfieldLife.com. Have an amazing week.

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



Seth Spears is an adventure-loving entrepreneur, business connector, product designer, podcaster, marketing strategist, and angel investor who loves the great outdoors, world travel, live music, sports, healthy food, strong drinks, intimate conversation, deep connections, and conscious self-improvement.

Also, he's a buddy of mine.

The co-founder and CEO of Wellnesse (use code BEN to save 10%), a B Corp Certified brand of oral, hair, and skincare products, Seth Spears is also the legacy co-founder of WellnessMama.com, the largest natural living blog, and podcast for women and moms.

Seth’s passion project and side hustle is Rewild Gear, an outdoor equipment company he started with his three brothers whose mission is to encourage men to spend more time in the great outdoors through the design and creation of top-quality knives, fire starters, and cookware while promoting conservation, sustainable product use, and ethical business practices. Rewild's Gasper knife is my favorite for hunting (and we talk more about it in this episode).

Seth is featured in a special chapter of my Boundless Parenting book, for which this podcast interview is part of a series leading up to the official book launch in early 2023. Outside work, Seth is a father of six, an avid outdoorsman, hunter, skier, lover of water activities, live music, Cincinnati Reds baseball, Cincinnati Bengals football, and Kentucky basketball, a perpetual optimizer, and a consummate business connector.

During our discussion, you'll discover:

-What’s the deal with the Gasper knife?…06:46

  • Rewild Gear was conceptualized a decade ago around a campfire, comparing hunting gear (10% discount auto-applied at checkout)
  • Spent well over a year designing the knife
  • The result is probably one of the very best general all-around camping and hunting knives on the market
  • The Gasper 4 knife (10% discount auto-applied at checkout)
  • Uses super steel called S35 VN, marries the best steel qualities of hardness, corrosive resistance, how easy it is to sharpen, and how long it'll retain an etch
  • Usually bones out an elk without sharpening
  • Other products like the grill and utensils are their own design
  • The products are greatly differentiated from what is available in the market
  • The designs are minimalistic and great for outdoors

-Do you involve your kids in the Rewild Gear business?…10:48

  • The kids help with the photography and images, and testing of the gear

-Books, systems, models, and resources that you find indispensable as a parent?…11:38

  • Currently finalizing divorce
  • The past couple of years have been particularly challenging; that identity around marriage, as a couple and a family unit
  • Accepting responsibility for the breakdown of the relationship, did a deep dive with therapies and modalities like:
  • Dr. John Demartini
  • Root things from childhood;  hurt people hurt people
  • The Body Keeps the Score by Sean Pratt
  • Seth realized there was a lot about himself that he needed to work on

-What is the John Demartini Method?…15:43

  • Took a 2-day intensive course
  • The Dr. John Demartini Method
    • Take something that causes you to stress, or that triggers you, something that you see as a negative, then flip it on its head and look at the positive; collapse down the negative
    • Look at something you consider positive, and you look at the flip side of that, kind of the shadow side, what is the negative, and you collapse that as well
  • You don't have this big high or low surrounding anything, so it levels you out a lot
  • We tend to associate things with one extreme or another
  • Will Etheridge  
    • Delved into Seth's own psyche
    • Into his upbringing and childhood, how he was raised

-The idea of taking radical responsibility and not blame-shifting…18:42

  • This goes back to the nature versus nurture debate and what has the biggest influence
  • Seth had a victim mentality over the years
  • Doing the deep work and digging into your own psyche for the why 
  • Being self-aware is important
  • You have to observe it first, realize it, and then make a change because of it, which is hard
  • You see these things, you don't like them, and yet you feel controlled by them at times
  • There is no perfect solution for people just because we're all so different; what works for you may not work for me 
  • Do not let that victim mentality – take over and just take ownership of it
  • Seth's formula over the years has been to do the right things long enough, consistently

-Why guys get stuck in their “identity” and find it difficult to release it all…22:36

  • Some people self-identify as a “personality test”
  • Personality test results are just predispositions based on the nature versus nurture aspect
  • Takes a lot of work to overcome those things that we have done for so long that but we can all change
  • By becoming self-aware and realizing those things, we can change them over time
  • Fear of intimacy with other men
    • How we were raised
    • How our parents handled conflict
    • How our siblings did
    • How we were taught 
  • Conflict avoidance disorder
  • Some people would say, “pray about it, that's gonna fix it,” but Seth thinks it's just an excuse
  • Prayer is not an action, it's a passive thing
  • But if we want to change, we have to take action

-Would the Demartini Method fit in with this type of work?…29:16

  • The method was helpful for Seth in several aspects of his relationships

-How did the kids deal with their divorce?…29:36

  • One of the things that broke up the relationship was communication or lack thereof
  • Different communication styles and other issues led to resentment over the years
  • Children need one-on-one time just to get them to feel comfortable

-Ben on how the books Radical Honesty and How to Be Free from Bitterness carved out his relationship with his family…36:49

  • Radical Honesty by Brad Blanton
  • How to Be Free from Bitterness by Jim Wilson
    • What happens when you don't talk things out and how it bitterness festers in the soul
    • In Chinese traditional medicine, bitterness and unsettled anger, and an inability to communicate your feelings, especially with someone you love, can result in things that just build up inside the body
    • Couples who don't intentionally carve out the time to lay all the cards out on the table regularly and share everything ends up fighting an uphill battle
    • Greenfield family mission statement is a big part of radical honesty and transparency
  • Going on quarterly retreats
  • Easy to look in hindsight; Seth wishes this or that would have been different at the end of the day, everything happens for a reason, and we are where we are supposed to be just because there is a lesson to be learned
  • The experience has transformed Seth into a different person
  • The experience is a process, and you never fully heal, you're never fully done
  • All that is just a part of the journey that is life

-Seth’s annual deer camp and rifle season with his sons in Kentucky…40:53

  • In 2014, he bought a 55-acre property in Kentucky where he grew up, built a small cabin with no electricity and running water just to be off the grid and to disconnect
  • He and his brothers turned it into a deer camp for the opening of rifle season
  • Brought their sons to get together, go hunting, eat meat, and tell stories around the fire
  • This became a tradition every November, the opening of deer season – fathers and sons 
  • Looks forward to this the whole year round – anticipation and expectation of opening day
  • Hunter and gatherer where elders or fathers of the tribe would take their sons out and teach them the ways;  teach them how to procure food for their family and their tribe
  • Twin Eagles Wilderness School
  • Podcast with Tim Corcoran:

-How do you connect with your daughters?…48:04

  • Picked up surfing in Florida
  • Amazing conversation while waiting for the waves
  • Fathers need to have shared activities with their kids
  • Seth's favorite times growing up were when there were shared activities with his father 
  • The younger kids are happy where they are, content with playing with their friends and siblings
  • As long as they know that they're safe, they're secure, and I'm around and just letting it be that, and that if they want something, they'll come and ask, and sometimes I'll offer, and then if they don't accept, that's fine 

-How Seth evolved in terms of his disciplinary style and how it worked for him and his kids…52:59

  • Seth was raised in a very disciplined, authoritarian house, where, if you disobey, you are getting spanked, or if you talk back, you are getting soap in your mouth
  • At first, Seth adopted that same mentality but now regrets that because every child is different
  • He does not think that spanking is ever good anymore
  • Love and acceptance of children
  • Constantly growing and evolving, and just trying to sit with them where they are
  • Rules are okay if they are understood
  • For Ben, some elements of physical discomfort can send a pretty strong message
  • Parenting With Love And Logic by Foster Cline
  • For Seth, corporal punishment is lazy parenting
  • We should try to raise children to be amazing adults

What one message for parents would you put on a billboard?…1:01:43

  • Listen to your child more than you speak, and ask your child what they need from you
  • Seth's parents never asked him what he needed; they told him what he thought he needed, raised him based on their own biases, by religion, and by how they were raised, but they never asked him if that was right
  • One size fits all black and white approach
  • Some of his success and motivation come from a place of hurt and a place of not enough
  • Children are great teachers; they have so much wisdom; they are born with a set of fresh eyes and soul that has not been corrupted by the world
  • Listen to children
  • Try to understand where they are, what makes them tick, what they enjoy
  • Help foster curiosity and a love of learning, creativity, and how to be critical thinkers in all areas of life

-And much more…

Upcoming Events:


32 Questions For Boundless Parenting

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

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

Resources mentioned in this episode:

– Seth Spears:

– Podcasts And Articles:

– Other Resources:

Episode sponsors:

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Lucy Nicotine Gum: If you are looking for a cleaner and tastier alternative to other nicotine products, Lucy is for you. To save 20% on any order, just use discount code BEN20.

Kion Aminos: Aminos are building blocks for muscle recovery, reduced cravings, better cognition, immunity, and more. Go to getkion.com/bengreenfield to receive 20% off monthly deliveries and 10% on one-time purchases.

Ben Greenfield Coaching: Personally vetted and trained by Ben Greenfield, these coaches will personalize your diet and lifestyle, and get you looking and feeling your best. 

Do you have questions, thoughts, or feedback for Seth Spears or me? Leave your comments below, and one of us will reply!

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