[E183] Nurturing Through the Ages and Stages: Young Adults with Michael and Amy Monroe

Episode 183 March 12, 2024 00:51:10
[E183] Nurturing Through the Ages and Stages: Young Adults with Michael and Amy Monroe
Empowered to Connect Podcast
[E183] Nurturing Through the Ages and Stages: Young Adults with Michael and Amy Monroe

Mar 12 2024 | 00:51:10


Show Notes

Today on the show we have VERY special guests - the founders of Empowered to Connect, Michael and Amy Monroe join us to tell the story of Empowered to Connect AND to talk with us about nurturing young adults. If you've never heard Michael and Amy share the ETC story or talk about parenting, you are in for a treat! We talk about the origins of ETC, early Dr. Purvis stories and the Ottingers' introduction into ETC during the early days.

We also talk to Michael and Amy about how to think through nurturing our kids into the young adult stage - this can be a wildly challenging and wildly rewarding time of parenting, but as Michael and Amy share with us, the difference between those two things is often a shift in mindset for parents. The Monroes share some incredible stories and give practical tips for you as you parent toward the young adult season - but if we're honest, a lot of the advice given today works in any season of parenting - you do not want to miss this episode!

You can learn more about Empowered to Connect on our website, by following us on social media or checking out the hundreds of video resources on our YouTube page!

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:17] Speaker A: Welcome to the Empowered to connect podcast, where we come together to discuss a healing centered approach to engagement and well being for ourselves, our families, and our communities. I'm JD Wilson, and I am your host. And today on the show, we've got the founders of Empower to connect, Amy and Michael Monroe. And they're going to share with us both the story of empower to connect, coming to be, and also share with us just how to walk through nurturing young adults in that season of life. What can be maybe the most all over the place season from a parenting standpoint? Michael and Amy have some amazing insight and really great, proactive, kind of practical tools and tips to help navigate that season of life in a way that maintains connection over control. And so just can't wait for you to hear that Mooninger is also with us, also parenting young adults these days. So he's jumping in as well and sharing his feedback. And just a great discussion overall with Michael and Amy, who, again, helped to found empower to connect. And there's some stories of early Dr. Purvis interactions and just how all these different connections and partnerships came to be. And so, just a fun, powerful episode today, and we're just so pumped for you to hear it. So, without any further ado, here they are now, Michael and Amy Monroe, Mo Audinker and myself. Well, as we said in the introduction, we do have Michael and Amy Monroe with us today. And Mo is with us as well. And so, guys, first, obviously, thank you for being here. I wonder if we could start with, for people who are unfamiliar with just the story of etc. For you guys to frame who you are. Who are you, and how did this whole thing start? [00:02:08] Speaker B: Okay, I'm Amy Monroe, and my husband Michael and I have four children. All of them are adopted. They're all grown now and young adults. And so we started empowered to connect after we had started an adoption ministry called Tapestry at Irving Bible Church. And our heart in all of that was to support adoptive and foster families in their journey. That's where it all started from, because we needed to support ourselves, and so we wanted to help to support others. And so that's where our journey started at our church. And what we realized was that the church was actually doing a pretty good job at the time of raising the banner of adoption, of foster care. But they were just basically telling people to go do it without any help or support at the church after that happened. And we had a heart and really believe that the church was who needed to support these families. And so for us, that is kind of where it started. And we knew that we didn't have all the answers. We knew that we didn't know everything that we needed to do. And because of that, we decided to reach out to Dr. Karen Purvis. She was at TCU, which is very close to where we live. And so since she's in the area, and she seemed to be the expert on this adoption foster care journey and helping families and helping children, we started by reaching out to her and had a meeting I remember is at Macaroni Grill, I'll never forget it. And basically sat down with her and said, we have a heart to help. But the problem is, we think the church is raising this banner without any help, coming alongside after these kids come home, and these families are having a really difficult time. And we basically said, do we want to do something together to try to help, because we needed her help and her expertise and learning from her, or do we want to step out? And it was either all or nothing for us. It was either we're going all in and we're going to do this, and she was going to do it with us to be able to really have something that could help families, or we weren't. And she said, I'm 100% in. I want to help. I want to help families. And that is really how the whole idea of empowered to connect got started. [00:04:50] Speaker A: Awesome. Michael, anything to add to that part of the story? What was your perspective in the beginning when all this was starting out? [00:04:57] Speaker C: So when we started our adoption journey back in 2000, I think like a lot of adoptive and foster families, we were focused on the adoption process, the foster process, the relatively short period of time from start to end to bring a child into your home. What we didn't understand and needed to understand and now see much more clearly 23 years into, is that we were quickly going to go through a process that led to a lifelong journey. And what we found over the time of those early weeks and months and years is that a lot of people are educated and supported and equipped and resourced and surrounded for the process, only to find themselves very alone, very isolated and ill equipped for the journey. And that really became, as Amy said, when we started our local church ministry, which we called tapestry, in 2005 at Irving Bible Church. That really became the heartbeat of, we want to be here for you during that process, but maybe more importantly, we want to be here with you for that journey, knowing that the process will start and it will conclude. And the vast majority of families who enter that process steeled and committed and resource finish it. It may take longer, it may have twists and turns, it may have unexpected ups and downs, but the journey when the process in has only begun, and we really wanted to be able to come alongside those families. And so starting in our local church in 2005 and then quickly turning into a partnership with Dr. Purvis several years later, it was focused as much, if not more so, on that journey and preparing families and equipping families and resourcing them and supporting them for that lifelong journey so that they had what they needed to be successful. We'll talk about what successful is, I'm sure, at some point, but they had what they needed to be successful for that period of time that extends well beyond the process. [00:07:13] Speaker A: Yeah, you mentioned a couple of times being ill equipped to actually walk the journey out. What were the tangibles of that, that you guys were seeing and that you were seeing amongst other families in the community? [00:07:25] Speaker C: So as we started this ministry at our local church, what we immediately began to see is families, all shapes and sizes and colors and backgrounds start to come to us once the process had ended, once the child was in their home, either permanently through adoption or temporarily through foster care, saying, hey, the party's over, everybody's gone home. Everybody stopped paying attention and bringing meals and ooing and eyeing and catering to us. And now we've got to be a family. A family just like anybody else, but a family not like anybody else, because all the other families don't have this added element and this challenge and this background and this trauma and this sense of abandonment and all these extras that went on top of just being a family. And what we found is that these families had all the needs of any other family that had an addition to their mix, but other needs, special needs, different needs, heightened needs. And in many cases, people only had well wishes. They didn't really have anything to give that could meet these families with these special needs at the point of their need. And that's where we really began to believe that, hey, look, if the church helped call you and get you into this, then the church ought to be able to help bring you through this. And that's really, I think, the heartbeat of the local church ministry we started and ultimately empowered to connect is we want to resource you for the journey, and we want to have something that really speaks to your point of need, your special needs that really derive from mixing mom and dad or a single parent with a kid from a hard place and a different background and putting them under a roof and calling them a family that takes some special equipping and some special resourcing, a unique perspective. And you've got to be intentional about that. And that's really the heartbeat was to take what Dr. Purvis had done and begun to research in her camps and all the things that she had done on a relatively small scale and give it a voice inside the local church and the communities that churches serve to reach these families at the point of the need. And what was amazing is we brought them together, is they thought, every one of them thought to some extent, we're the only ones. And really a lot of what they discovered is we're not the only ones. We're not alone. And it was in that coming together, that community we happened to house in a church, you could have housed it anywhere because it was really just the community reaching out to the community, saying, you're not alone, we have something for you. We want to walk this journey together. And it was really magical in many senses, because it was nothing more than seeing a need, having a resource, and linking the resource with a need in a way that really helped families and children move forward and connect and heal. [00:10:38] Speaker A: Amy, I wonder if you have any memories. Mo and tonic, I tell a story of, and I'm sure this is an overblown phrase, but busting their way into the early etc. Parenting classes, do you have memories the first time you're meeting Mo and Tana and kind of their interactions with you guys at etc. [00:10:58] Speaker B: Well, I remember when we did some of our beginning parent training things, and I know they were a part of some of those very first ones, which I'm sorry for them for that, because I think we learned a whole lot along the way, and they probably got the guinea pig version, but we're so kind to appreciate what we were trying to do and to take it on. But yeah, they were a huge part in a lot of ways, being trained and then turning around and wanting to train others. And there's something about certain people that you're like, okay, they get this and they are going to do something with this. And they had a heart for it. And our families connected. We went to camp together. Our kids knew each other. We've come to Memphis and tried. They were one of those families that we tried to do life with as much as you can in different states. And we went through a lot of the same. They went through some things that we didn't, but we went through some things they did. We went through a lot of the same. And because of that, it draws you close to each other, and that's one of the reasons when we were passing, etc. On, we knew that Mark and Tana were great people to be able to take that on because we knew their heart. We knew they'd been there from the beginning and we knew that they understood the background and the why behind it. And it wasn't just, oh, this is another cool way to parent, or another conference went to or whatever, but they really understood it and they were using it in their home. And I can tell you a funny story one time at camp that I'll never forget, when I knew that they were making this thing work. And we laugh about it, but one of their kiddos was in the water. At the water. [00:12:50] Speaker D: Yeah, I remember this one. I was hanging out with Michael, sitting in the lawn. [00:12:57] Speaker B: That's right. And it started lightning. So they made the kids all get out of the pool. And one of their kids, along with several others, were not so excited about having to get out of the pool. And I remember they were doing all the things that had been taught to them and that they were supposed to do. And I'll never forget, Hana goes, if you don't get out of the pool, then in so much time, whatever, I'm going to send your dad in after you. He totally threw Mo under the bus and he ended up having to go in. [00:13:29] Speaker D: Get him out, that kid, he walked backwards. It was like. And I remember Michael, Michael. [00:13:38] Speaker C: I was. [00:13:38] Speaker D: In long and Michael looked over at me, said, take your shoes off, you're going in. [00:13:46] Speaker A: And. [00:13:50] Speaker B: We knew, and I think that they've walked this journey from really the very beginning, almost with us as we did that and as they continued to teach and do the things that they were doing as well and have done an amazing job. [00:14:08] Speaker A: Awesome. Mo, do you have early memories? [00:14:14] Speaker D: Mean, it was the very first etc. Conference and Michael in the lobby was talking about this parenting curriculum. They were about to beta test with four couples. And I said, make it five, we're coming. And Michael said, no, we've already got four. And I said, we're coming. You can either lock us out or mean we were just in a spot where we were in the place that Michael described as we had prepared and done all that we knew to do to get the child home. But then you're a dad, your mom, you're parenting, and you needed support. And so the Monroe's were gracious enough to let us spend five days in a room with no windows and go through this training. It obviously was a gift to our family and to us personally. And just not just in parenting, but in relationships in general, it's just about being a good human and how to connect to people. And so life changing. [00:15:27] Speaker A: Yeah. A couple more questions, and I want to transition to our actual topic today. But, Michael, I know that there was a moment where you guys have the conversation with Dr. Purvis about kind of teaming up for some content. And if you go to our YouTube page now, our YouTube channel now, there's hours of content with Dr. Purvis. And if you watch the raw footage, you can hear you asking questions in the background. What was your first impression, or those early impressions of working with Dr. Purvis and filming this content? And what can you share about that? [00:16:03] Speaker C: Know, I wish you were here to be able to answer from her perspective, but I always kind of felt like we were kind of mutton. Jeff, we were an OD couple. We had a lot in common, and yet we had very little in common other than a real shared desire to take the insights that she had developed in some ways been given. Because I think it's a misnomer when you think about Dr. Purvis and her work, to think that it was all research or all limited to adoption and foster care. Her work, in so many ways that we know in the adoption and foster world, is the culmination of her life going back to her childhood, going back to her early experiences in relationship, her successes and her failures, her joys and her hurts. And I think she probably felt sorry for me in some ways, saw me as a project, and maybe even pitied me a bit because I'm just wired very differently. And yet I do think that we worked quite well together because in many ways, she had the content and we had the outlet right? We had the distribution network, and we had the interface with just this inexhaustible supply of families in need. And it was a really productive and rewarding partnership from the sense of trying to accomplish what we were trying to accomplish. But I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge that in that partnership developing and unfolding, she really changed me as an individual, as a person, as a parent, as a friend, as a spouse, as a boss. There's not a day that goes by in the business world that I don't use and frankly, recognize that I'm using some of the things that she taught me in a parenting context. I often say to folks I work with, we're all just a bunch of grown up kids. And so it was a really od mix. And I think some people from the outside looking in just could not figure it out. I couldn't figure it out from the inside looking out. So we're all on the same boat on that. And yet I miss her, and I respect all that she brought to so many families through her writing, her research, her camps, her speaking, and certainly through the partnership with empowered to connect. [00:18:40] Speaker A: Amy, last question. Then we can transition into our topic. When you think about the time that you guys have with etc, is there one crowning memory, one crowning kind of thing you think about? That was what you learned or what you were most proud of being a part of while you were there? [00:18:56] Speaker B: Yeah, I think it was working with individual families, and, I mean, it was great to go and talk to lots and lots of families and get the information out to the big groups, but it was in those smaller times where you worked with individual families that you actually got the opportunity to see what the work was doing in a home. And I had a mom one time that she had a little girl in her home, and she was very difficult. And they came to training. We helped, went into their home some. We did that sort of thing. And during the middle of training, she had to move. And I was sad because I knew things were getting better and they were using these things in their home. And I was at an empowered to connect conference. We had just spoken, and we were out at our table, and this is probably four years later. And she walks up and she says, do you know who I am? And I look at her name tag and I'm like, oh, my goodness. And I said, how are you? And she said, this has changed our life. This has changed our life. She said, things are going well. It's not easy, but it has changed not only how I parent her, it was the only adopted child in their family, but how I parent all of my biological children, too. And now they're a foster family and how they're parenting those kids. And it was just one of those things where it kind of came full circle. And I'll tell you one other quick story. So my daughter and I, our twins, our youngest two, are adopted from Guatemala. And my daughter and I go every summer, and we serve with an organization called Orphan Outreach there in Guatemala. And during COVID they hired a psychologist because what they realized in this little community center that they had worked in for a long time was the family situations just were so broken and there was so much trauma that if they didn't work with the families, there was only so much you could do with the kids for the hours they had them there during the day. [00:20:58] Speaker C: Right? [00:20:58] Speaker B: And so we go upstairs through a translator, we're talking, and she's telling us about these situations she's dealing with and how she's going in and working with these families. And she said, and we're using this parenting curriculum called empowered to connect through somebody named Dr. Purvis. And I'm going to Columbia next week, and I'm going to be trained through trust based relational intervention through TCU. And I am not kidding you. Tears just start running down my face, and I'm like, I had no idea, none, no idea that that was happening there and that this curriculum had made it across the world. And it's amazing to see what the Lord's done through all of the efforts of so many people. It wasn't just us. It was so many people that came alongside us and helped us. Those are two of the things that just, when I think of empowered connection, what it has done to help families, those are two of the stories I think, of. [00:21:57] Speaker A: Incredible. Well, now let's transition into our topic for today. We've been talking in the last couple of weeks about nurture, and we did a series earlier in the year talking about discipline and structure. And so obviously, national counterbalance to that is we want to talk about nurture as well. And we talked about nurturing through the ages and stages of babies and toddler years and school age children, teens. And now we've made it to young adults. And we thought, and Mo and Tana thought, nobody better to bring on to talk about nurturing young adults than you two. And so the spotlight's on. Pressure's on for you guys to come old. [00:22:35] Speaker D: We come to the old folks, right? [00:22:39] Speaker B: Pick the old one. [00:22:41] Speaker A: So I want to maybe open the conversation with, do you guys find now in this season of parenting young adults, do you guys find that there's maybe some misnomers or some things that are stereotyped about parenting this season that you find to be wrong or things that you thought would be more difficult than they are or that you thought would be way easier than they are? Are there any of those misnomers around that you find parenting this season? So it's all going exactly according to the plan? [00:23:16] Speaker B: Yeah, well, not really. There are some things that I can see that through the way that we parented that has taught our kids to live life in a way that I think has been positive. I feel like I talked about being guinea pigs, about empowered connect earlier for Mo and Tana, but I still feel like we're guinea pigs in the young adult world because it's not as easy as I thought it was going to be. And it's not bad either. It's a journey. I've learned. Just because your kid turns 18 and goes to college or goes to work or moves out of the house, whatever they do, does not mean it's over. You're parenting, you're continuing to parent. And I've always said that it seems like, especially having four kids, multiple kids, that it would be like the game whack a mole. One problem or one thing would pop up and I'd take my hammer and we'd figure it out and we'd pop them back down. But for some reason, during young adulthood, sometimes it feels like all four of them are up and I just don't have enough hammers because one will be up, one will be down. I think the emotional roller coaster for me sometimes is hard because your kids are living far away or whatever and things are hard and they're sad or they're upset about something and they're frustrated. And you don't get to sit there like you can when they're little and give them a hug and say, let's just take a deep breath and is it going to be okay? And all of the things, you don't get that opportunity, even though I have said a few times, you need to take a deep breath, like, let's calm down. But it can be a hard season. It really can. And even when you can see some beautiful things, you see maturity happen sometimes and you're just like, I never thought I'd see this from this child. And you see it and it feels good. And then there are times when you think, are we ever going to get there? Are they ever going to get to a point where they don't think like that anymore and they think in a better way? There have been challenges, for sure. I laugh and say sometimes. I'm not sure it is that different than parenting toddlers in a lot of ways, but they want to be independent and they have a lot of things to, to. You do have to do it differently. It's not exactly the same, but at the same time, they need you and they need that nurture, just like they did when they were toddlers. [00:26:01] Speaker C: Yeah. Amy often says that we're no longer parenting, we're adulting consultants. And I feel like that shift is appropriate to what we face. I remember from maybe one of the very first conversations on with Dr. Purvis, she really had a lot of warnings and even critical things to say about the control aspects that are infused in so many approaches to parenting. And intellectually, I quickly kind of came to understand what she's talking about. But it's only in this stage of being an adulting consultant with young adults and the needs that they have that I can look back and understand what she was really saying. And I think what she was saying, at least as I understand and apply it, is she was constantly challenging parents to trade in control as a motivation, control as an outcome, and the tactics that lead to control, controlling tactics for connection as your motivation, and connection as the outcome, and tactics, if you will, that lead to connection. And I remember her talking about how a lot of times parents will parent with this proverbial countdown kind of in the corner of their eye, and it's set to 18 years, t -18 years in counting, as if they're just overwhelmed with a compulsion to get everything they need to get into that child before 18. And I remember her just saying, I don't understand that perspective, because really, 18 is just a day, right? 19 is just a day. And she said, whatever you've built into the connection, you've established the foundation you've laid through connection, when that day comes, whether it's 18, 1914, or 24, or never, right will be what you build from. And the quality and the depth of the connection you have is what you have to work with. And I heard those words then, and now I think I understand them better in so many ways. For me, back then, I still. Because of not wanting to be embarrassed and because of wanting to be perceived as successful, especially if you're teaching parents about parenting, I really thought that success in parenting was avoiding problems. Avoiding issues whether that's your kid acting up at the mall, or whether that's your kid failing a class or getting in trouble at school or getting kicked off the team. Just successful parents don't have issues. Unsuccessful parents have issues. And that's the biggest bunch of, you know what? That anybody ever told anybody. Because successful parents, their kids win. Not if, to Amy's point about whack a mole, when all the whack a moles pop up and they have issues, successful parents get a call, they get a text, and maybe there's a period where you don't get a call and you don't get a text, and you think, oh, well, I guess I'm not successful. But you're still available, and you're still pouring into that connection, you're still praying about being connected, and you're still reaching out. Successful parents find a way to be connected, not avoid problems, not lie about them. And go on Facebook and look prettier than you really are. They find a way to stay connected and to get reconnected when the connection is broken. And I think in a lot of ways, I wish I'd have understood, not just intellectualized. I wish I'd have really taken that to heart when my kids were toddlers, because maybe we'd have an even stronger connection now than we do. [00:29:40] Speaker D: That's really good. [00:29:43] Speaker A: Maybe we can just stop there, actually. [00:29:47] Speaker C: Gosh, I think the other thing that I've learned is this. And I remember at a conference, so much of this parenting journey and the challenges we face, we want to reduce to questions and answers, and it's a little bit of a game of gotcha. Like some parents take a lot of pride in having the unanswerable question, right. Our scenario is so different, and let me prove it to you. And I encountered a dad after I had spoken at a conference, and I was literally going from talk to talk. So I had five minutes, and I felt terrible because he had some real challenges and he wanted to talk to me about. And I said, if you walk with me, I'll listen to you. And he talked my ear off for about four of the five minutes I had available. And we finally got outside the door of the next session. He kind of wrapped it up, and he said, so, basically, what are you going to do about that one? Almost as a challenge. And he and I were standing face to face across from each other, and I said, I'm going to challenge you to change your posture. And he's like, what are you talking about? And I said, I listen to you, and I think whether it's the situation you're talking about or the one you're going to face to tomorrow or the one that somebody's going to tell me about next, I think a lot of the solution lies not in answering the question about the issue you're dealing with. I think most of the solution lies in the posture you take and how you deal with it. And he said, I'm lost. And I said, look. Look at you. And I. We're standing face to face. We're standing against each other. And then I walked around with this man I didn't know, and I put my arm around him, and I said, this is the posture that you need to take with your kid, no matter what the issue is, whether it's they don't want to brush their teeth or they don't want to go to class at college or they don't want to get a job or they can't stay out of trouble with the law, whatever it is. And I put my arm around him and I said, you got to convince them some way. And it starts with you believing this, that it's you and me, kid, against the world, not me against you, over some issue, whatever issue, however big or small that issue is. And as our kids get older now they're in their 20s, they're in school, and even out of school, they're going on to grad school. They're making big decisions with big consequences. That is more true now for me than ever before. I want my kids to know, physically, metaphorically, literally, it's me and you, kid, against the world, against whatever challenge you have. And I think if I can keep that posture right, then there's a lot of things that are possible. And when I get that posture wrong, the world gets really small and the solution set and the possibilities get even smaller. And I think a lot of parenting, whether it's toddlers or young adults, comes down to the posture we take, not the positions we take. And I think we often, sometimes more often than we want to realize. Get that. [00:32:48] Speaker D: I'm just going to say, michael, that has been. I called you about 18 months ago with just lamenting the transition to young adulthood. And it's a transition for us as adults. It's just a different season. And we've often said it. We thought we were ready, and we thought all the things, and then it's just a new season, and you're parenting, man. I just visited my 84 and 83 year old parents, and my dad teared. [00:33:24] Speaker C: Up when we were leaving. [00:33:25] Speaker D: And he's like, man, you're still my boy. I'm still sad when you're leaving. All those things, you said that to me last year, regardless of how they're responding to you or regardless of their posture towards you, we are there, and we are there to connect. Yeah, it's a posture, and it is one that, as a dad, there are seasons where it's easier. It's easier to have my arms open or those times where you have your arms open, but they don't want your is this young adult is just something. And so. Yeah, but that has been something that Michael has said that I have just so appreciated. It is right relationship. It's not about being right. And I think so often we want to be right, or we want to prove something, and we want to be in right relationship, not at the right. [00:34:46] Speaker A: Amy, when you think about this season now, and as inevitably, I'm sure families that you guys have always been around. Might be coming back to you in young adult season, too, being like, okay, now what? Are there some starting out points we know the broad principles. Are there some starting out points that you always give to people when they're heading into young adult season? [00:35:09] Speaker B: Well, I think it's so important for them to know that in some ways it's not that different. There's still sometimes with our kids, there's correcting that has to be done, and you have to face it differently. People talk about parent child, but I feel like sometimes I've become more friends with my kids in some ways. And I know that's kind of a cliche thing to say. Friends, I know, but I truly enjoy hanging out with my kids, like doing things with them. And I think that not only those connections between parent and child is so important, and being available, all the things that have been said, but also trying to help your kids have that connection with each other. And I think that is very important, too. And that they feel like they can pick up the phone and talk to a sibling and tell them something they may not always tell you. And maybe I don't want to know some of the things that they're talking to their siblings about, but I do think it's really important that it's a family connection, too. And for us, I've seen some of that. And every now and then I look at Michael and I go, maybe we did something right if our kids are talking to each other when they're all out on their own, and then sometimes we get together and it's not that great. They don't all get along that well. But I do think that helping parents see that need for connection, the need for nurture with our kids never ends. And I'm thinking, mo, you're talking about your dad hugging you and getting sad because you were leaving, and he's 84 years old. But in some ways, that's what we want from our kids, right? We want our kids to know that no matter what, no matter how old you are, no matter what, that we're available, we're connected, and that we're going to be there for them, and they're going to go through hard things just like we do. And that it's not only an opportunity for us to be available to them, but for them to be available to us sometimes, too, and to each other. And I think those are important. [00:37:31] Speaker A: Awesome. Wrapping up with Michael and Amy, talking about nurturing in that young adult season of life, I think one of the things that we hear a lot about this season is kind of hemming and hawing about and hopefully it's not an offensive phrase, hemming and hawing, I don't mean that in a negative connotation, but talking a lot, let's say, about the debate of kids staying in the home versus leaving and launching out versus maybe staying home. I'm using air quotes here too long. Did you guys have thoughts on that? And I'll open that to all three of you guys. Are there thoughts on that and how you help a kid decide if it's time to launch out or if it's time to stay in? What are your thoughts about that? Want to ask you first, mo, since the Monroe just talked a second ago. [00:38:25] Speaker D: I think there's this negative connotation that if a child doesn't launch out, and I think each child has their own unique personalities, needs. Some kids can launch out and man, they're going to go off at 18 and thrive and work or school or whatever it is, and they're going and blowing and there's some that may take longer. And that's okay. And so I think you're parenting each child uniquely. Each child is unique and has their own needs. And so at the end of the day, we want to support the child that's in front of us and how can we support them best? And that may mean pushing them out if they need to be pushed out or supporting them at home a little bit longer. [00:39:22] Speaker A: Michael, thoughts on that from your perspective? [00:39:25] Speaker C: I think that's really good advice. When we four kids, two of our kids are biological twins, I saw a lot of parents growing up. I saw a lot of parents as we were growing as a family that would make kind of blanket decisions. Right. Education is a great example. Right? We do this, we do home school, we do public school, we do private christian school, we do everybody. That's how we do it. And it occurred to me with our four kids, even our bio twins, very different needs, very different personalities in the context of education, very different educational needs. And what we quickly came to is that wasn't going to work for us to say we do this. We decided that we were going to do what each child needed uniquely, as Mo said, and we were going to make that decision each and every year. And so we ended up with bio twins at two schools 30 miles apart from each other in different settings, in different types of schools based on those needs. And I think, frankly, the launch out, stay home, bring them back home, that so often can become a thing that we do because of preconceived ideas or because we want to conform or because everybody else is doing it. And I really think that much like so many of the things in the life and the evolution of an adoptive and foster family, they should be driven by the needs of the kids and what serves them best and what allows them to form the connections and the foundation that they need to be successful. Not this year, not next year, but for a lifetime. And for some in the same family, that may mean to go and to even resist them wanting to come back, and for some, that may mean to hold them close. As Dr. Purvis used to say, up under your wing, right? Not forgetting that the thing that has the most power to shape a human brain is another loving, connected human brain. And who do you want shaping that young adult human brain? You or someone out there that you don't know, that you don't trust and that may not have their best interest at heart. So I just think we have to really challenge ourselves and the preconceived ideas that inform a lot of these. This is how we do it, or this is the right way to do it. I got real comfortable early on. We're not a normal family. I'm not looking to be a normal family. I gave up that dream or that aspiration or that notion a long time ago. I want to be a different family, and that means being a different family. I got to get real comfortable real fast doing things differently. And that's one of them, just making decisions like that that are really focused on what is best for my child, not just today, but for the lifetime ahead. [00:42:14] Speaker A: Amy, your thoughts? [00:42:17] Speaker B: Well, I would say the same thing. I mean, you have to look at each kid individually, and you can't make a blanket statement about your family, about your kids. They each have needs, all their needs are different. And you have to look at each of those. And it's not a bad thing if they go off and have to come back and it wasn't the right thing. And it's okay to make mistakes like that. And it may or may not have even been a mistake. It may have just been. This is what we thought. We tried it. It didn't work the way we all wanted it to. And so let's come back, let's regroup, let's reconnect, and then we'll figure out what we do next. And always being there and being available to be able to do that. What our journey looks like for each of our kids is not what the journey is going to look like for everybody else's. It's going to be different for each child. And as a parent, you have to be in tune enough to know that and to figure that out. And that is where it sometimes gets a little tricky, because sometimes the kids want to be independent and they're like, I want to go. And you may or may not think that's the best option, and you have to work through that. But it is a very unique and individual decision, I believe, for each child. [00:43:35] Speaker A: It's really helpful. Last question before we wrap up here. I think when we talked about the notions of moving from being a parent of young adult to a young adult consultant, like a young adult life coach consultant, in those moments when you've got them near. For parents who might feel timid about reconnecting or feel like I've screwed this thing up too much to get back into a relationship here. I was always the drill sergeant growing up, and now I'm trying to be connected, and I don't know how to do that. Are there any pieces of advice for those first steps of repair with your young adult in that season? [00:44:18] Speaker C: Wow. Yeah. And I think this is where we all find ourselves, because I really don't think it's a dichotomy of some of us don't have that experience of being disconnected or kind of rupturing the connection or staying fully connected. If we're honest, we find ourselves in that state inside of each and every day they come home. You're well connected until they come home and disrupt your empty nesting for a whole month. And all of a sudden, it's like what happened here, right? One of the things I'm learning about that, especially with young adults, is the need to really become genuinely, and I emphasize the word genuinely curious about their world. And their world involves their inner world, their thoughts, their emotions, their opinions, their likes, their dislikes, their voting preferences, the news channel they watch, much of which is going to be different than ours, and not weighing it or valuing it or judging it or grading it, but being genuinely curious about it. One of the real blessings for us during COVID was that we were all trapped together, as many as most families were. And there were some big societal changes that were going on all around us, and we were forced to eat dinner together, and we were privileged to have conversations. And all of these thoughts and views and perspectives started spilling out onto the table. And it laid a foundation in a lot of ways that I think we're still benefiting from today. But I think parents need to, at this stage in particular, become genuinely curious. And then the other thing I would say is just learn how to be an encourager. And then you talked about in that, particularly middle school and high school, I was a bit of the enforcer in our family dynamic. And I've turned into this kind of odball coach, cheerleader, male cheerleader in my case. No backflips for me, just over on the sideline with a megaphone yelling encouragement. Not just encouragement when they get it right and succeed, but encouragement when they fall down and skin their knee, so to speak. I think maybe even more so. And the phrase I've developed with all my kids and they get this encouragement randomly is no matter what happens, good or bad, you got this. And that's simply a reminder that I believe in them and that I want them to believe in them and that together we got this. But you got this because they're at that stage where they need to know that I believe that they can do. And I think that's an important part of this launching stage. Whether they're at home, whether they're 3000 miles away, there's ways to say and to demonstrate that you believe that they got this. And I think for kids at this stage and for parents, as Moe said, at this stage, that's really important to establish that through that line of encouragement. [00:47:19] Speaker A: Amy, any last thoughts? Anything to add? [00:47:21] Speaker B: Well, I will say Michael is really good at that. And our kids appreciate it. And I appreciate it. And I think sometimes our kids laugh at us because they occasionally will get texts from us that sort of say the same thing. We work together when we and because we have tried. You're in a different position with young adults than you are with younger children because you want to come alongside them in a way that allows their independence, but parenting still at the same time, and I think encouragement is a huge way to do that. And sometimes it's not easy because. [00:48:02] Speaker A: It. [00:48:03] Speaker B: Can be hard, but it's a huge part in what will help them in their journey. And I also hope in all of this and all the things that you do as a parent, you hope that one day they're going to do the same thing with their kids. And that is one of those things that I think about a lot because we'll talk about, we'll joke with our kids about how we parented. They went through this thing with us. They know what it was like and that they were sometimes getting people, yeah, they have opinions, but I hope one day they see in a lot of ways the reason behind what we did and how we did it. And I hope that they'll use some of that with their own children one day and that this will be generational, that it will move from our family to their families and so on. So that some of the hard things that some kids, including all of us, have grown up with, maybe they won't be so hard for their kids and that they can see the value in connection and nurture when some people don't. So I think that's really important. [00:49:19] Speaker A: Awesome, guys. We appreciate you all so much. Thank you for joining us, for sharing all this with us and for the work that you guys began and is still going now. Well, again, a huge thank you to Michael and Amy. And I'll be thinking about that image Michael shared of just turning side by side with your kid instead of facing them in an oppositional way. And that just that phrase, Amy and you, kid against the world. We got this. That's something that I will hold on to for a while. And hopefully you took something away from that conversation as well. So I'm just really grateful to Michael and Amy for joining us today. Thankful to Mo for sharing his perspective, too. And we just have been blown away during this series on nurture. Just hearing from you guys, hearing from our guests, how it is we can build and maintain connection, all these different stages. And so hopefully, what you've heard, it is possible. Not that it's easy, not that it is a cakewalk, but that it's possible. It's possible for us to build those connections, to maintain those connections in a way that can last for a lifetime. And so for everybody here at empowered to connect, for Michael and Amy Monroe, for Mo and Tom Ottinger, for Kyle Wright, who Edison engineers all of our audio. For Tad Jewett, the creator of the music behind the empowered to connect podcast, I'm JD Wilson, and we'll see you next week on the Empowered to connect podcast.

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