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40 in 40: Lesson #7

Route 40

40 in 40: #7

I’ve been eating breakfast at the Towson Diner on Friday mornings since September 3, 2004.

That was the first week of middle school for Caleb. Since then I’ve had one child in middle school and we have breakfast together Friday mornings. Caleb has done it. Josh has done it and now Riley is doing it.

In about 1,100 days Seth will be doing it.

It’s not an elaborate event. We get there around 7:15 and are gone by 8:00 and I’m in the office by 8:10 (yes I have a terribly easy commute). While we are there we read together and we talk.

That’s it.

When I was a younger parent I spent a lot of time creating “strategic plans” for my family (Seriously…I’m exciting like that. Gotta love a spreadsheet!). Most of these were well intentioned but doomed. Too formulaic, structured and ambitious. They usually consisted of some kind of checklist about our mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical health and the “activities” that were going to keep things in top shape.

I wasn’t easy to live with back then. If you have something like that for your family and it works that’s awesome.

For me about 10 years ago I realized that heroic effort on my part was not going to achieve the results I was looking for.

Lesson #7

Long endurance in the same direction creates good results.

At the end of the day what I really want is to have a great relationship with my kids. And one way I can do that is by spending time with each of them during a critical period in their lives. It doesn’t take heroic effort on my part to take a kid to a diner once a week and spend time with them.

What it does take is making a simple commitment and habituating it. We do that in 100’s of other ways in our lives (you did brush your teeth today right?).

There is no magic formula for parenting. I tell people that you will probably know the quality of Elise and my parenting in about 40 years. Only time will tell.

I do know that time together to talk creates space for good things to happen. That I can make happen.

What things are you putting in your life consistently that over time will produce the results you are looking for?

Keep moving forward,

Greg

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I am the CEO of Blue Ocean Ideas, a creative agency in Baltimore, Maryland. My job is to clarify the strategy and take care of my team. I am married to the beautiful Elise Rittler and we have four great kids. When I’m not at Blue Ocean Ideas or with my family I am riding a bike, running, playing ultimate frisbee, eating, or sleeping. There is a little more about me here.

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