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It's NOT YOUR JOB to dictate your kid's life!


In Episode 021 of the Naked Proverbs podcast, Rich and Nik Scott discuss what it does and doesn't mean to plan your kid's future.



Nik:

Welcome back to the Naked Proverbs podcast where we unclothe the truth about Black love family and marriage. My name is Nik Scott, one of your hosts and I'm here with my husband,

Rich:

What's going on is your boy Rich, and today we are going to talk about planning your kids’ future.

Nik:

Right at the start of every episode, we have to remind you that we are not trained, licensed or professional therapists or counselors. We've been married a long time, and we use Naked Proverbs as our platform to share our experience, our stories, our advice, and of course, our opinions. If you haven't already, make sure you're following the Naked Proverbs on whatever platform you listen to your podcasts on. And if you like what you hear, make sure that you're giving us a five-star rating on iTunes or whatever platform you're listening on, to show us your love and support.

Rich:

As always, just like I did in 2019, just like I did in the first episode of 2020. That's right. Yeah, it is 2020 we want to say thank you to our listeners. Thank you for tuning in. Thank you for sharing. And thank you for just being a part of this journey.

Nik:

We didn't necessarily give our listeners a proper Happy New Year.

Rich:

We didn't?

Nik:

No.

Rich:

Why not?

Nik:

We just skipped it or missed it last week.

Rich:

I was thinking today was the first Sunday of the year. I don't know why.

Nik:

Because it went by so fast. Last year went by so fast so happy New Year.

Rich:

Happy New Year, y'all.

Nik:

Happy New Year and thanks for rolling with this through 2019

Rich:

Because it's twenty, twin-twin.

Nik:

2020 vision y'all.

Rich:

What is really being healthy, right? I mean in our community, we can sometimes get focused on the size of a person and determine that in our mind, someone is healthy or, not right?

Nik:

Mm hmm. Or not eating, or some of the other things. It's the new year. Let's be clear, it's the New Year. Everybody has a lot of weight loss goals and health goals and, and things like that. And I do think it's important that we touch on this just a little bit because there are some distorted descriptions or depictions of what we believe is healthy or sexy or attractive in the Black community.

Rich:

And really, what made us start thinking about this is I have decided, you know, I'm being transparent, I have decided that I am not as healthy as I should be. When it comes to my weight when it comes to my habits. So, I met with one of our friends, and this couple just totally inspires us. That's a side note but anyway, met with one of our friends. And she is a health coach. And so, she was, you know, sharing some information with me and I decided to start this program. So, I started this program last week. It wasn't quite on the first of the year, but I started this program last week. And I was telling Nik, you know, I could see me losing a lot of weight, like 20, 30 pounds. And if you watch us, you know, you probably look at me and be like, 20, 30 pounds? That's crazy. But reality is, that's probably really 20, 30 pounds is what I really need to lose to be at a healthy weight. And I think that that's something that we should really just think about.

Nik:

I remember years ago when we were active at a church and the church was going on a fast and I was reluctant to go on the fast because I've always been a thin person, right. And in my mind, I was not the weight that I wanted to be as a woman. Because I was just too skinny. And so, I didn't go on the fast. And I never fasted or engaged in those types of activities, exercise or anything, because I never wanted to get skinnier. When reality is just because you're skinny doesn't mean that you're in shape or that you're healthy. So, back then I probably wasn't as healthy as I should be. Because in my mind, I've been taught based on being a Black woman, you're supposed to have a certain shape and a certain size, and I didn't have it.

Rich:

In our community, we can really look down on people. I think about one of my family members, a couple of family members actually that we have that made life changing choices, lost a lot of weight and these are like adults, not teens, not 30s not 40s, I'm talking grown folks, right. And it took me a while to really accept the way they looked because they changed drastically one person she looked like a teenager like her size, you know. I mean, but she still had, you know, a mature face because well, she's mature. Then another gentleman my family, he lost like drastic weight as well. And the first time I saw him, I was like, oh my god, his hair don't fit his body. And, but then I think for me it was I started to realize that these people had chosen to live healthier lives. And especially as they were older, you know, family members, because they wanted to live better lives. So, now that I'm a little older and more aware of the impacts of bad health habits, on longevity and my ability to do things, I'm more focused on it, and I understand why they made those choices. And it's helped me understand that there isn't this one perfect look, or, as one of my friends says, a man weight, what does that even mean? If you get too small, you're not gonna look like a man. Really. I mean, Like, over 5'2", 5'3" you know, I'm pretty tall for me. And I, you know, I mean, I still dress like I'm mature. I mean, I feel like we get focused on the wrong thing sometimes, which leads to bad behaviors, which ultimately impacts our lives in our ability to do things we want to do.

Nik:

We are definitely in full support of anyone who is going on a healthy journey, whether it's to lose weight, or to lower your blood pressure, or lower your cholesterol or whatever your motivation is, you want a better quality of life for you and your family. We're in full support of it, but just know the perfect size is not man weight or woman weight. If you're healthy, you're not too skinny. If you're healthy, you're not too skinny. I think that's the biggest thing that I want, especially for women, because I've always wanted to sista shape and I'm a sista and I have a shape, so I have a sista shape.

Rich:

Yeah, you do. I like it, too.

Nik:

Thank you.

Rich:

Yeah, cut this podcast short. Tombout your sista shape.

Nik:

I gotta sista shape.

Rich:

I like it, too.

You're listening to the Naked Proverbs podcast with Rich and Nik Scott. If you like what you're hearing, show your support by becoming a patron. All of our patrons receive exclusive benefits, like behind the scenes content, access to bonus audio, and Naked Proverbs merchandise. To learn more and to become a patron, visit the Naked Proverbs Patreon page www.patreon.com/nakedproverbs

Rich:

Is it our responsibility to plan our children's future?

Nik:

Yes, I think so. I think we do have some responsibility. And we should have a vested interest to make sure that our kids future is somewhat planned.

Rich:

So, you said yes. But then you said kind of.

Nik:

Nothing in life is a hard yes or no.

Rich:

It is.

Nik:

No, it's not.

Rich:

Will you marry me?

Nik:

You know what?

Rich:

Yes.

Nik:

Okay, so

Rich:

That was a hard yes. Wasn't no, no in it.

Nik:

Most things in life. They can't I mean, there has to be room for gray area, everything can't be black and white. And that's the same with this like, yes, we should have a responsibility and vested interest in planning our kids’ future somewhat. So yeah, that's what I said. I said what I said.

Rich:

And you know what, and I would have to say, I agree with you sort of. I agree that we as parents who have had experience who have lived some life, have a responsibility to the children that we bring into this world to make sure that they have a bright future. That we are setting them up for success. There's no reason for my children to have the same failures in life that I have had you know. I'm really, well we were we Naked Proverbs, right? We transparent.

Nik:

Yeah.

Rich:

We have struggled with credit in the past, right? My parents struggled with credit. There is no reason I honestly should have struggled with credit, because my parents should have taught me the importance of credit. I didn't know. So, I made some stupid choices. I went off to college, and I got that first free credit card because I wanted a t-shirt.

Nik:

It was a Discover card, y'all.

Rich:

I wanted a t-shirt, and ended up no job with a credit card with a decent balance for a college kid, right? So, I'm spending money that I can't even pay, on stuff that I don't need, which eventually led me to have credit issues. And it took me years to really figure that out. So, when we talk about planning for our kids’ future, there are so many aspects of that,

Nik:

Right.

Rich:

that I believe yes, we do have a responsibility to train them up so that they understand the things that are out there that could be pitfalls, or the things that will bring them great success.

Nik:

Absolutely. The hesitation for a firm concrete yes, is I don't believe that we should be planning our kids’ future to the extent that we're living vicariously through our children. For example, when I was in high school, I was a cheerleader. I was captain of the cheerleading squad I, you know, did all these great things through cheerleading. And I have two girls. So, for some women it would be natural to be like, ooh, my daughter is going to be a cheerleader because I had such a good experience in my life, and start to push their kids in that direction, when they're kids aren't even necessarily interested in that. So, in terms of living vicariously through your kids, I think that's dangerous. I think that doesn't set them up for success. It actually sets them up for failure. It's one thing when you have a son, and you're like, oh, yeah, I was a Morehouse man. He gonna be a Morehouse man. That's a little different.

Rich:

Creating a legacy.

Nik:

Yes.

Rich:

Right. With that, there's still some gray area with that. Because if I went into, let's say, engineering,

Nik:

Okay.

Rich:

and I believe, you know, hey, this is a great career path, I'm making great money I've been able to provide for my family. Now my child's going to be an engineer. But maybe that's not their talent, or maybe there's a calling.

Nik:

Yeah,

Rich:

That doesn't mean that I'm gonna let my child go out and become an artist, necessarily, because I think that planning for the future and helping your child understand, we should be having conversations about well, what does the life of an artist look like? There's a reason they call them starving artists. And I'm not saying that you can't support your child's dreams of being in the arts, but there needs to be some realistic conversations around that. Like, well, what does that look like? You know, if we're going to spend $80,000, $100,000, whatever it is for you to go to college to be an artist. Did you really need to go to college to be an artists? Did you really do we really need to do that? Were there other ways that we could have supported your dreams without you being in debt or you wasting money? And I think for me, that's the things I look at on the no side, is understanding that it's important to help them have a bright future. But really what you're trying to do is help them not have those same stupid pitfalls that you fell into. So, for me, I ended up with student debt when I probably didn't really need student debt.

Nik:

Right.

Rich:

So, how do I help my child not have student debt? If you're not in a position to pay for college all together, you know, or whatever that situation is. How do you help them not end up in the same position?

Nik:

You said a word during that dialogue that I think is very critical for this discussion, and that is conversation. There has to be conversation with your children. I was raised where there was no conversation with me at all my parents made decisions concerning me and never asked me how I felt about it. And I think a lot of us in our generation were raised that way. And I do believe that having a conversation with your children about what their future looks like, where do they see themselves, these types of conversations have to be happening. And they don't have to be 17 like our child,

Rich:

Right.

Nik:

for these conversations to happen, you can have these conversations with a toddler.

Rich:

And I think that's the thing though, is that you can't expect your 17, 25, 40 year old child to listen to you and to hear the advice that you're providing when you don't have a relationship. You don't get to dictate your child's life just because Well, hey, you were born and I'm your dad and I brought you in this world I'll take you out. Like that is not how you actually influence your child. You are able to influence your child because you have a relationship with them. You're able to provide them knowledge and avoid those obstacles because they trust you.

Nik:

Here's an example we have been saying in recent podcasts that we have a college bound student. And she chose this college that she wanted to go to. And she also started to choose the major that she wanted to go into. And the other day we're in the car, and she reveals to me that she's nervous or scared, or whatever it is. She has some anxiety about going into this major, because the major curriculum calls for things like physics, and calculus. Now, if you know anything about me and my daughters, we are not well, actually, that's not true. I'm the only right brained person in the house.

Rich:

That's true.

Nik:

But they don't have a lot of confidence, I don't have a lot of confidence in the math and sciences like physics. So, she's like, that doesn't sound fun. I'm not good at math, blah blah blah blah. And I basically had to explain to her, listen, if you want to go to college, what you're not going to do is what me and your dad did. And that's just go to college just to get a degree. You're going to go to college and you're going to get a degree that leads to financial opportunity, employment opportunity upon graduation. Now, in four years from now, if you decide, you know what, I when I got this degree, this is beautiful. I really want to be an entrepreneur, guess what? You still have your whole life ahead of you to be an entrepreneur. But if anything ever happens, you have this degree to fall back on, where we know you're going to walk into a six figure salary.

Rich:

And that conversation can only happen because you have a relationship with your child that even came to you with her concerns, right? Because I think that's the piece that I'm you know, really getting dug in on it because I think a lot of times even when I think of my own relationships, you can't just assume that your kids are going to listen to you especially when they’re going off to college, or they are living in a different state. Because let's be honest, as a parent, you should be helping your children as they plan their future. And indefinitely, there's no time limit on, well, I'm only helping them to they get to college, then after they get to college, they have to figure out how to negotiate a job offer. They've never done that. That's what I'm saying, when you are a parent that has experienced these things, then you should be there to help your child understand why should you start putting money in your 401k early on. Why should you not just take out student loans or waste, you know, to be wasteful or whatever, like you have to as a parent understand that the knowledge you've had, even if it was a stumble, even if it wasn't a great thing is invaluable to your children.

Nik:

Not only do you have to have conversations and a relationship, but you have to have demonstrated some evidence that you know what you're talking about. Your kids are not going to listen to you if everything that you say is opposite of what they think, and it ends up being that way. Our kids have had some successes, we've been fortunate that we've had some successes, where we said, this is the path, this is the plan that you need to go, they decided to do what they wanted to do. And then they're ending up in a worse situation, than if they would have taken the path that we told them to take in the first place. So, now they have to backtrack and still go down the path that we told them to. So, you have to have some evidence that you know what you're talking about, because that really builds trust in what you're saying. So, my daughter was able to come to me and talk to me about this major thing, right? And I keep reassuring her like, listen, you're not in this by yourself. Yes, you're the one that's gonna be doing the work. But you're not in this by yourself. And I think when we're talking about creating a future for our kids, who really has a vested interest, is it just the parents? Or is it the parents and the siblings and everyone who surrounds them in a whole network of people, right? It takes a village to raise that child and to make sure that that child is ultimately successful.

Rich:

When you are pouring into your children when you are helping them plan out their lives, this isn't a short term thing. This isn't just one day we woke up and decided, oh, we need to help our high school children figure out where they're going to go for college, what types of majors they want. This helping them plan out their lives has been going on for years. And it should continue even after they've left your house. But it's important to remember that your role changes. You are not here to dictate what your children do, or what that child does. But you're there to provide counsel to provide your own experiences and they may or may not listen to you. Just like now, I may or may not listen to my parents. But that doesn't mean that they shouldn't pour into me, or give me advice on retirement, or give me advice on health issues as you age, or investments or whatever that is, those experiences they've had. They're still helping me plan for my future.

Nik:

And that's the thing. It should be more of an advisory role. I think parents, and I hesitated because I don't really know much about other cultures and other communities. But I can go off of my experience, and my childhood and what I've seen in other families, Black parents, we do think we're dictators. We think that we are the be all end all of our kids’ lives. We think that whatever we say they're just supposed to fall in line and do and that's not true. That's not what a parent is. A parent is somebody who advises, a parent is somebody who counsels, a parent is somebody who guides, a parent is somebody who listens, right? It's just not someone who's talking to and at these children, and especially when it comes to their future. Another example is when our daughter was choosing which school to go to, there was a conversation between two schools, right? Both of these are great schools HBCUs, by the way, and she started to become focused on not her first choice, for whatever reason. We as parents were like she ain't going there. She's going to her first choice. And we had our rationale why. And we kept telling her and explaining to her why we thought what we thought, but at the end of the day, she felt like we were controlling,

Rich:

Right. But then she was able to come to us and explain well, this is why I'm thinking about my second choice becoming my first choice. And she had some legit, you know, reasons because she had really thought it out. You know, because we've trained our daughters to think for themselves. You know, you don't have to do this just because I'm saying, so I want you to think about why. So, ultimately, she made a decision. And she's confident in that decision because she had a voice in that decision. It wasn't us just saying, I'm paying so this is where you're going. You know, we had a legitimate conversation around it. And we steered her in the right direction, thank goodness. But if she had chosen her second choice, it was still a good choice. And I think sometimes as parents, we can get so stuck on my way or the highway, that we fail to realize that it is their life. And we are here to provide that guidance. But we're not here to force them into doing anything because as we all know, even as adults, if you force me to do it, I'm probably not going to do well at it or I'm not going to really be passionate about it. I'm just doing it because I have to.

Nik:

I keep giving examples of us and our kids because we are at that quote unquote, future side for our children, not the distant future. But when our kids were younger, it was hard for me at least, to imagine what our lives as parents would be like in terms of helping guide and advise and counsel our kids at this age. Our youngest daughter is an athlete, and she's a track athlete. And she's a gifted track athlete. At this stage in her life, she's 15 years old. track is not glamorous, it is work. It is work and all it is, is work. It ain't pretty, and she's tired. And every time we go to practice, and we practice y'all like, like a job. She always says, this is so wack, this is wack. And I constantly have to remind her, change your mind, change your focus. And she said to me recently, well, this is why I want to quit track, I said, you need to get your mind together because what you're not going to do is quit track. Because it would be a detriment to her. And a detriment to me as her mother to know that she's gifted at this sport, and to allow her to quit simply because it's getting hard and it's getting rough. So, for her future, this is an opportunity. We just said parents shouldn't be dictators. But listen, I know what the future holds for you. If you stay down this path. And as a mother, it would not be wise. That wouldn't be wisdom. If I said, okay, you can quit.

Rich:

You can quit. You don't have to do this anymore. And I think the bigger picture in this is, what type of standard are you setting for her life. when something gets hard, you just quit sweetheart, you don't push through to reap the reward. You just quit. Because it's too hard. Because let's be honest, there are a lot of things in life that are too hard. Going to college was not easy. You know, being in the military wasn't easy. Having jobs isn't easy. Paying the bills is not, like there's a lot of things that aren't easy but that doesn't mean that the alternative is just to quit. So, as you are planning for your child's future, you have to understand the lessons that are being taught in each of those moments.

Nik:

Thanks, so much for tuning in to this week's episode of the Naked Proverbs. We want you to truly have a happy marriage. We want you to continue to thrive in your marriages and indulge in your spouses on a regular basis. Don't forget to follow the Naked Proverbs on whatever platform you're listening on. And we will talk to y'all in the next one.

Rich:

Peace.

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