Dad Posts: Your Empathy Will Always Serve You

 

Post 1 in Dad Posts series.

Galen,

As I watch you grow, I observe an endearing capacity to empathize.  Maybe we all have this as kids, maybe not, but watching as you interact with kids your age and even adults I can tell you have a natural ability to understand and share the feelings of those around you.

Stock photo. Neither child is Galen :)

This ability is what I believe draws the flocks of toddlers you call friends to your side and why other adults are so quick to comment on what a good kid you are.  It’s why you are able to consider the kids who might be mean to you your friends and gives you a rare capacity to quickly forgive those who may have hurt you.

My advice to you is never lose this.  As adults we tend to become hardened to others and in an attempt to protect our own feelings we start to diminish or lose the capacity to empathize.  Sure, this may protect us from short-term pain, but it closes us off from so many other benefits in life.  Being able to empathize allows us to understand (not necessarily agree with) sometimes opposing points of view.  Holding on to and cultivating your ability to empathize will allow you to be a better:

  • Problem solver – opening you up to other points of view and solutions
  • Friend – giving you the ability to relate to many different people and supporting them in the way they need most
  • Leader – building stronger relationships that will naturally position you to be someone others will listen to and follow
  • Spouse – allowing you to be open and emotionally available to the person who will likely be most important to you someday
  • Parent – making you a strong yet loving father who works to understand his children and leads by example in demonstrating what are important character traits.

You will almost certainly run into those who will treat your empathy as a weakness. These people are the ones who need your empathy the most.  They have been hurt in someway that has caused them to close off to those around them and in so doing caused others to close off from them.  Know that your capacity to empathize truly is a strength and a trait that will always serve you in being the best person you can be.

Love, Dad

What are ‘Dad Posts?’

Sprinkled throughout my blog posts you will now see a series of entries I call ‘dad posts.’  Being a father for just over 3 years now I have learned a tremendous amount about life in general from interacting with my son and watching his development.  It has truly made me realize that who we become later in life is enormously impacted by these first few years of development.  The posts are directed towards my son, Galen, but I feel can have an impact on a broader audience.  I hope you enjoy them.

Lessons In Culture Change from an Athletic Director

Those of you who follow college football may be familiar with with the University of Illinois’s recent hire of Lovie Smith to take over their football program.  Those of you who don’t follow college football hang with me as I think you will see the parallels of this story in dealing with organizational culture.

I have been an Illini fan since I was a kid and later I earned my MBA from Illinois.  So over the years I have witnessed the turmoil the athletic program has gone through.  But the most fascinating piece to me was its cultural descent.  It was clear, even from an outside perspective, the department didn’t have a clear vision forward or a culture to drive pride and success.  As losing seasons piled on along with coaching scandals of player mistreatment, the fanbase disengaged.  Ticket sales dropped, national media shifted away from central Illinois and athletics became the punching bag of other Big Ten (B1G) fan bases.  Few people wanted to be associated with the revenue generating programs (football and basketball).  It was clear that a culture change was sorely needed, but how would this happen if the same leaders that created this culture didn’t recognize it?  

After a major scandal in the football program both the Head Football Coach and later the Athletic Director (AD) who hired him were fired.  The University administration was already in turmoil with a Chancellor (the AD’s boss) in Interim status and now an athletic program with an Interim AD in charge of an Interim Head Football Coach.  The University needed an inspired hire for AD soon.  They found their hire on a slightly unproven former Illini football player who had been an AD at 2 previous Division III schools.

So what does this have to do with business and leadership?  It’s what this new AD did next.  His first day on the job he fired someone.

Now, firing someone isn’t really the key, it’s the fact that the new AD recognized that the organizational culture had grown stale, and in some cases toxic.  A bold clear vision and decisiveness were what was needed to turn things around.  The existing head coach had just been handed an unheard of 2 year contract (unheard of because it’s tough to recruit players for 4 years if their coach may be gone after 2) by the interim leadership. The new AD could take the safe route and stick with status quo and extend the contract of the coaching staff; or he could make a bold decision by cutting ties with some elements that helped create the current culture. Then bring in a hire that would inspire the stakeholders.  One that fit his clear vision for the future.

That hire came in the form of a former NFL Super Bowl coach, arguably the biggest sports hire in the University’s history.  A decisive, yet vision aligned, decision that immediately rejuvenated a stakeholder group that had been listless for the better part of a decade, all in less than 48 hours.

What Were the Short Term Outcomes?

  • National and social media lit up with talk of the hire, raising the University brand
  • Revenue immediately impacted with an additional $400,000 in season ticket sales in one day
  • Fans running out to buy University merchandise (myself included) adding to revenue and stakeholder engagement
  • Athletic administration employees taking to social media communicating their excitement and enthusiasm for their organization
  • Rival fan bases lauding the move

All before the new coach steps on the field the existing culture has shifted from a decade of listlessness to an engaged organization generating immediate results.

Again, why is this significant?  Because it shows that sometimes to address a flagging culture leaders need to be bold and decisive.  They can’t follow the status quo and hope that minor tweaks will turn things around.  It takes…

  • …vision to know where things need to be
  • …the ability to articulate that vision in a simple yet inspiring way to encompass all audiences
  • …the guts to make and own the tough decisions rather than playing it safe
  • …the understanding that the bold decision needs to be in alignment with the vision for it have a chance at success
  • …a passion for your organization and its mission

I have worked for and with organizations where this sort of bold, visionary, courageous decision making was avoided out of fear.  Fear of the unknown or fear of failure, even in the face of a culture that wasn’t getting the results needed.  Its that very fear that forced leaders to embrace the status quo and yet wonder why the culture seemed the same.

If you are facing a culture that is dragging your organization down, understand where you need to be and don’t be afraid to be bold and decisive.

I – L – L!!!

Bring Your Passion to a Nonprofit Board

Just looking at my LinkedIn connections, I see a lot of people listing their desire to join a nonprofit board of directors. Serving on a nonprofit Board is a great way to give back to your community. I joined the Board for Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK) nearly 2 years ago and have loved every minute of it.

Man holding a red woolen heart concept for valentine's day, business customer care, charity, social and corporate responsibility
Each of us has personal and professional reasons for joining a Board. For some it’s a way to give back. For others it’s a great way to develop leadership skills in a way that supports a great cause. Understanding your motivations not only helps you find the right organization to support, but allows you to be a more effective Board leader.

My journey to ELK’s Board is rooted in an understanding of my personal values. I grew up in a rural area of the Midwest with very limited access to resources, both financial and educational. I did not have an extensive awareness of the myriad of opportunities available to me outside of my small community until I got to college. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity at a higher education that opened whole new worlds to me. Sadly, there are so many who do not get this opportunity. To this day, this drives my passion for education access, especially for those who face the most obstacles.

Growing up rural also allowed me to have a deep appreciation for the natural world. My parents were amazing at emphasizing a respect for the environment as the broader home in which we live. Much of this led to my undergraduate studies focusing on the sciences, specifically environmental studies.

Fast-forward to 3 years ago, my career has evolved to be more business focused, but I have never lost that connection with my passion for education and the environment. Furthermore, my personal success led me to a strong desire to give back to my community. This desire to give back got me exploring how I could best do this. I had spent time volunteering at food banks and working with Habitat for Humanity, which were great experiences, but something was missing. After some soul searching, I realized that I was looking for something that tied back to those passions of education and the natural world. I also realized that my success in the business world could be an asset to an organization focusing in these areas.

Enter Environmental Learning for Kids. ELK is an inclusive non-profit organization that develops inspired and responsible leaders through science education and outdoor experiences for underserved, urban youth ages 5-25. I knew immediately that their mission merged with my passions. Furthermore, they were looking for Board members to help advance that mission. This convergence of mission and passion makes my role on the Board more than just a job or resume builder. It allows me to put true personal energy into an organization that I love, which makes me a stronger Board member.

So, as you explore joining a nonprofit Board, I urge you to consider what you are most passionate about, and how that meshes with the organization you might be considering. It’s also a great way to feed a personal passion that may not be addressed in your 9 to 5 job.

Shameless plug: ELK is always looking for great people, with a common passion, to join our Board. If you are interested, please drop me a note. I would love to talk to you about an organization that I am passionate about.

Accountability Starts with the Organization Not the Individual

Organizations drive true accountability. I would argue that most people are accountable by nature. In the workplace, like other aspects of life, individuals typically look to adapt to their environment. If your organization doesn’t foster a culture of accountability, then chances are your employees aren’t going to display a whole lot of it on their own. Or at least appear to at a macro level. Likely they will feel they are now in a culture where the imperative is to watch out for themselves rather than the health of your company.AAEAAQAAAAAAAAW_AAAAJDFkOGUwOWFmLTRlNTQtNDU5Yy1iZWU0LTMwOGEwM2VjODc0OQ

I have heard leaders bemoan the lack of accountability in their employees, pointing to the lists of excuses they receive when a goal or outcome isn’t met. But is the problem really a lack of individual accountability? Could it be that the employee was handed a result to achieve that may run contrary to your organization’s incentive system or defined organizational vision? Part of the problem of assessing employee accountability is teasing out what may be causing this perception. You can’t really know if its the individual if you can’t effectively answer these questions first:

  • Have you (your organization) provided a clear vision of where the company needs to be heading?
  • Have you identified the skills your company will need to reach the aforementioned vision AND have you trained existing employees and/or aligned your hiring practices to meet this need?
  • Have you taken a close look at your incentive tools (e.g. bonuses, etc.) to ensure you are rewarding the behaviors and activities that will get you to your vision?
  • Have you ensured that your workforce has the resources they need to effectively get the right work done?
  • Have you ensured that the plans (e.g. strategic, action plans, projects, etc.) that are needed to reach the vision are identified and aligned with the common outcome?

If you can confidently answer each of the questions above then you can address individual accountability in a more direct way. If you can’t answer all of these questions confidently then some of your culture’s lack of accountability will fall on you.

When an employee has clear results they are expected to achieve and the organization has a system in place for aligning and supporting the individuals work then accountability is less of an obstacle. If you aren’t ensuring your culture is set up to foster and reward accountability then your employees will feel unsupported and accountable only to themselves.

For 2016: Inspire Your Employees!

As 2015 draws to a close, and I watch organizations scramble and toil to determine what 2016 holds, I found myself inspired by the #BigIdeas2016 topic on LinkedIn. But rather than predicting the next big trend or disruptive product that may arise, I find myself wondering what organizations could do to grow, be more competitive, add value to their communities and customers, and find greater success next year and beyond.

How about inspiring your employees? All too often we look to such metrics as the financials to drive decision maInpirationking. Rather than using them as the intended lagging indicator of the accuracy the organization’s plan. It’s not that measures focused on financial performance, operational efficiency, improved quality, etc. aren’t important, but those only go as far as the people producing them. How good can you expect these numbers to be with an uninspired and unengaged workforce? Human beings (you know, the people getting the work done) can produce some level of results in an uninspiring environment, mainly because they want to keep their jobs and collect their paychecks. That is inspiration derived in fear, which can be motivating, but has an expiration date. Those who are inspired through fear, like losing their job, will only perform so long before they just give up and expect to get fired or look elsewhere for a better environment.

Those inspired through a compelling vision and mission, with consistently defined priorities, and a clear line of site of how their work contributes to the organization’s outcomes, will be highly engaged and feel a vested interest in the success of the whole company. They will take pride in your organization and that pride will translate into a higher performing culture, full of loyal and engaged employees who are inspired to deliver their best performance every day. Why? Because they love working for you!

So when you review your past performance and think about what you can do in the coming year, consider how you can inspire your most important stakeholders to perform at their best.

Is Culture Intentional?

Culture is a fascinating subject for me. It may stem from my short stint toying with a degree in psychology (opted for the minor instead) or just my interest in understanding how things work or why people do the things they do. I spend way more time than I probably should reading articles, blog posts, books, etc. on the topic, but at the end of the day, I think it’s important for leaders, or leaders in training, to really try and grasp the concept of culture and how it drives or holds back an organization.

A recent post on LinkedIn, “Rewards and Risks of Leading an Effective Culture” by Fred Kofman got me thinking about a specific aspect of culture, can a culture be intentional? I have heard arguments on both ends of the spectrum. Some believe culture just ‘is’ and there isn’t much one can do to impact it and others believe, with the right level of focus and cultivation, you can create the culture you desire. I think, like many polar stances the answer probably lies somewhere in the middle. Ignoring cultural impact on the success of your organization is a bit defeatist. It implies a certain level of fate in your outcome or that it really has no impact on whether you fail or succeed. On the other hand, assuming you can 100% control its development is probably a tad optimistic. Especially for large diverse organizations.

Marriam-Webster defines culture in a few different ways:

“the beliefs, customs, arts, etc., of a particular society, group, place or time”

“a particular society that has its own beliefs, ways of life, art, etc.”

“a way of thinking, behaving, or working that exists in a place or organization (such as a business)”

The way I see organizational culture is really made up of the first and third descriptions above. I think most people agree that every organization has a culture, but when you think about these two definitions together it becomes clearer that there may be elements that can be levered to be more intentional in its cultivation. I will explain a little further.

Taking the third definition we get the macro view of an organizational culture, but when you couple this with the first definition you can see that each individual you hire brings their personal beliefs, customs, etc. to the job. You can’t ask them to check that at the door during the work day (well you can but it’s unrealistic). So if you take the stance that your culture can’t be impacted then it will likely be some conglomeration of the individuals you hire. If you take the view that culture can be intentionally formed then certain levers can be derived from these definitions to take some control:

  • Clear Mission, Vision and Values – this one is probably the keystone to the others on this list. Having an organizational mission, vision and values that are well defined and have consistent buy in from leadership are critical. They are the highest level of definition of who you are, how you live and where you want to be as an organization. Not only do these need to make sense to every employee, effort needs to be invested in helping individuals understand what it means behaviorally and outcome wise at their level and in their role.Cultural Nirvana
  • Hiring for Fit – this one is probably the key ingredient in what forms your culture. Getting people into your organization that are excited, bought in, and aligned with your mission, vision, and values is similar to making sure you are adding flour instead of sand to your cake recipe. So if you aren’t focusing your hiring (and firing) criteria around this, then you will be fighting an uphill battle in cultivating the desired culture.
  • Incenting Behaviors – probably the most overlooked lever in the equation. Not because we don’t incent, but because we don’t look at how we incent. What and how you are measuring, paying, rewarding and recognizing will drive the right or wrong behaviors faster than any other lever. At the end of the day, even those with the best intentions will ‘follow the money.’ So if you are expecting one outcome and incenting another then don’t be surprised if you end up in different places.
  • Clear and Consistent Communications – expecting people to just ‘get it’ is not a great way to keep consistency in your culture. There needs to be an ongoing dialog on what you are trying to build as a team. People get busy and sometimes fighting those day-to-day fires makes them lose sight of the goal. Keep it in front of them through clear and consistent communication.
  • Leaders Who ‘Walk the Talk’ – employees generally look to leadership to get a sense of where to ‘buy-in.’ If your organizational message is one thing but leaders are doing another or not being held accountable to that same message then employees get a message that tells them that cultural behaviors and norms are not important and will follow in kind.

Be sure that the elements above and as well as the processes, tools, systems, organizational structure you have in place is lined up with your intended culture. Misalignment bogs things down and frustrates employees and customers, which can damage engagement.

Does every organization realize they are cultivating some sort of culture? No, and the ones that do tend to have a leg up, because they understand that their culture needs to support their mission value and goals to be successful long-term. Companies that get this hire the people who feed their culture. They pay, reward, and recognize those that exemplify the aligned behaviors, and they quickly move those not aligned with the culture out. They consistently and clearly communicate the core elements and expectations. They align processes, messaging and structure to drive the desired culture and have leadership that embody these elements.

Is culture 100% controllable? No, as you will always have unknowns that may have an impact. For example, you can hire for fit, but no 2 individuals are alike and will bring a tweak to how they view or approach a similar concept. This will surely have some role in shaping your overall culture, but if the general values alignment is there the key components you want to cultivate will follow.

Peter Drucker famously said, “culture eats strategy for breakfast.” If you aren’t being, at least somewhat, intentional with this component of your organization then you are also letting fate or dumb luck drive your strategy and long term outcomes. Companies that tend to put some investment in their culture typically have highly engaged employees who get the purpose of the organization, how they fit in, and represent that to its stakeholders.

Does the Healthcare Industry Need to Learn to be Strategic?

Healthcare, as an industry, has historically been a tactical organism. This should be no surprise when you look at the evolution of medicine and care delivery. The primary model for centuries has been, someone gets sick then we figure out how to get them healthy again. The approach is reactionary by nature, which leads me to the question, ‘has this led to an industry that doesn’t know how to think strategically?’ Granted this is a broad generalization, and maybe it’s fairer to say the industry needs more deliberate practice at being strategic.

Who Knows the Way?

Who Knows the Way?

When you look at the issues the industry faces, from care models, to tools designed to enable care delivery, complaints abound about gaps being created and solutions quickly losing viability, or worse inhibiting the industry from evolving forward. A good example is looking at the current state of Electronic Health Records (EHRs). The intent behind these tools was good, get providers off paper and help reduce errors involved with paper based care. The problem is they are now being blamed for prohibiting healthcare organizations from taking the next step in care delivery, especially the interoperability needs to conduct useful analysis and population health management across the continuum of care for a patient.

As the industry attempts to move to a pay-for-value model success is going to be more dependent on the ability to easily share data and empower the patient with easy access and portability of their health data (or what is supposed to be their data).

Some may argue that some of these barriers may have been intentional by solution creators to maintain proprietary control, but I would argue that another part of the issue was probably less intentional. Many of the solutions on the market, or being developed, are to automate current processes and structures that are still focused on a fee-for-service model. Yet the discussion is how the industry needs to move away from this, not just around reimbursement models but in care pathways as well. In essence, what we are talking about is the industry becoming more strategic. Rather than reacting, think ahead (strategically planning) and keep invest resources to that common destination.

This is not limited to vendors and device makers, it can also be seen in the general confusion on what care pathway models should look like for the future.

So given the industry needs to make this shift, can we confidently say that there is a clear vision of what that looks like? Not how it looks today, but what it needs to look like in the near-to-distant future. Basically a common strategic vision for an entire industry that care givers, device manufactures, digital health companies, pharma companies, payers, patients, consumers, etc. can work towards and align their efforts to help move the industry there. Having that common vision would then allow all the players to back into what needs to get done from each of their unique perspectives. Rather than building well-meaning solutions or processes that only create barriers shortly after adopted. Look ahead and design to scale and evolve as the industry moves along its strategic trajectory. You could say that maybe the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) was an attempt at this visioning, but even that was designed to go after specific problems it saw in the system rather than tackling the whole issue.

So to oversimplify this further, I go back to the well-known quote by Stephen Covey, ‘begin with the end in mind.’ To do this stakeholders in the healthcare industry may need to find a way to balance tactical execution with strategic planning to evolve the industry to where it needs to be. What are your thoughts? Do you feel the industry has a clear and common vision of the future?

Share and Don’t Sweat the Trolls

Taking the leap to blogging publicly can be a ‘scary’ thing. I remember when I first started feeling like blogging could be a great way to share and learn new ideas I was initially frozen by the thought of others not liking the content I was creating. It’s a natural reaction to be apprehensive about potential criticism. To be clear, it wasn’t the feedback that I was afraid of it was criticism. Some think of these things as one in the same, but really they aren’t. Feedback comes with the intended outcome of adding to or enhancing while criticism is typically an attempt to tear down. All you have to do is look at any comment section on a news article and it won’t take long to find someone’s diatribe on the merits of what the author created. In the world of the ‘interwebs’ these folks are generally known as trolls. They are usually commenting under anonymous accounts or aliases (this should tell you something about their motives right there) and come in a few different flavors:

The Know-it-all – This person presents themselves as the ‘end-all/be-all’ on the content that was just presented and proceeds to pick apart point-by-point the post. They aren’t interested in a discussion on the topic because in their mind they already have all the answers.

The Argument Baiter – This person typically resorts to generalizing and inflammatory name calling whether it be about race, religion, political orientation, etc. to light a fire in the comment section. They are similar to The Hijacker but they may actually relate their comments, at least vaguely, back to your original content.

The Hijacker – Based on this person’s comments you find yourself wondering if they even read the content. The reality is their motives were set by an internal bone to pick and they decided to use your unfortunate comment section as their personal battle ground.

The Sadist – This is probably the worst of the pack. It’s usually someone who quickly resorts to personal attacks on the author and has very little to directly say about the content presented. They are in it to purely hurt someone and derive pleasure when you or another reader gets defensive with them.

Anyone who has taken the leap of putting themselves out there has likely run into one or more of these characters. I know I have found myself trying to rein in my emotions when encountering one but the key is to never take the bait. The internet is like the wild west and we all have to realize that these types of people are out there. The best way to combat it is to keep carrying on and not play into their hands. The best learning and thought leadership is rooted in a collaborative spirit that doesn’t hesitate to share ideas and solicit constructive feedback. The more we do this as a whole the wiser we become collectively. So if you are on the sidelines wondering if you should venture into this medium of public thought sharing I encourage you to take the leap and don’t sweat the trolls. They will always be out there, but we can’t let them be a barrier to some potential great points of views being shared!

Maybe it’s Low Effort Rather than Screen Time That’s the Enemy

I recently came across an article (ironically enough, through social media) about being a Gen X parent. It points out that our generation is the last to have one foot in growing up in the pre-internet era and now raising kids in a fully connected era.   The article is here, ‘Parenting as a Gen Xer: We’er the First Generation of Parents in the Age of iEverything’, check it out if you have a chance.

Prior to reading this article I had been chewing on this topic. My wife and I welcomed our first-born, Galen, into the world a little over a year ago and in the past few months he has gotten more curious and taken more of an interest in our smartphones, laptops, etc., but it fades pretty quickly once he has flicked and swiped at them for a minute or two. At first, I was caught up in the cries to unplug our kids and get their faces out of the screens or we risk the downfall of society. But as I took a step back and looked more objectively at this reaction it was clear that every generation has had some similar ‘alarm’ to sound about the next generation. Whether it be about how they interact socially or the music they listen to, etc. It’s a natural response as each generation wants to believe that the way they grew up and experienced the world is the best way. I am not immune, I catch myself doing the same thing when I consider approaches for our son. It makes sense, we are working with what we know and are comfortable with, but many times this is built on the experiences of a world that no longer exists. Change is constant and social norms tend to shift as we advance as a society and not taking these changes into consideration risks holding the next generation back on some level.

This current debate over screen time is a tough balance to tease out because on one hand you want them to develop in the tech reality of today’s world but it’s also on us as parents to teach them balance and other channels of learning and stimulation. The latter part I would debate we don’t put enough effort into. The author of the article uses an example of how she points out a river to the kids as they drive over it and they don’t even take notice. This is a simplified example, but it’s an easy trap to fall into. Is pointing something out really an optimal way to engage highly distractible kiddos? Let’s face it, our lives are very busy and don’t seem to lack ‘things’ for us to focus on. Sometimes this digs into our effort level as parents. Asking a kid to pay attention to something we think is important is very different than taking them out to ‘experience’ it. People get sucked into devices and technology for the stimulation and a big part of engaging in that stimulation is doing. As parents, myself included, sometimes I think we don’t take the time to be purposeful in helping kids experience these other outlets and channels. There is great benefit in carving out the time as a family to getting out and doing things together, whether that’s going on a hike, going camping, going to a cultural event, etc. Not only is this an opportunity to bond as a family but it puts our kids in a mode to interact with the non-screen world. My wife and I recently invested in a used camper, because we knew we had fallen into a rut of just kicking back at home and not getting out into the world with Galen. We wanted to set ourselves up to be sure we would break away from the trappings of home, internet, etc. and experience what is out there with Galen. Longer-term we hope to invest in a cabin where we can get away from the data grid for a few days each month.

Is screen time a bad thing? No, it’s the reality of the world today and that doesn’t have to be a negative aspect. But if that screen time has become a substitute for engaging our kids then yes, Houston we have a problem. Just like so many things we just need to be engaged and not lose sight of the fact that these little humans we brought into the world rely on us to help them understand what is out there and the many ways they can experience these things. Is there any guarantee they won’t bury themselves in technology as teenagers? Nope, but if we introduce them to other parts of the world, especially in their formative years, you can bet that will stick with them later in life.

So from my perspective, let them have their screen time and yes monitor how they use it, but if we are balancing that with other experiences then we are more likely to raise a more well-rounded member of society, equipped to thrive in an ever-changing world.

We, as parents, teach them the art of exploring, but the paths they choose become their own, we are just equipping them for that journey.

Confession Time: In recent weeks, my one year old many times points to our sliding door pleading to go outside and explore, and more times than I like to admit we redirect him because we are too tired or stressed or busy to take him outside. I am realizing more and more that this new desire he has developed is one I should be fostering more rather than looking to avoid. I have made a pledge to myself to put more effort into his non-screen curiosity now while he is young and developing. Heck he is already growing into a good influence on his old man by getting me outside more!

What do you say Gen Xer’s? Do you find yourself in this conundrum? How do you tangle with technology use with your kids?