PARENTING QUESTION: When Do My Kids Become Adults?

Jeff Snow

PARENTING QUESTION: When Do My Kids Become Adults?  I had breakfast with Jeff Snow yesterday.  Jeff is a long-standing OC Influencer for Good whose professional life is with Republic Services, one of OC’s waste disposal companies.  Additionally, Jeff sits as a volunteer on seventeen Boards and is an Adjunct Professor in business ethics at a private OC christian university.

So, let me tell you about the focus of our conversation…totally unexpected and most invigorating!  We talked about parenting.   Jeff and his wife are raising two children, a daughter who just graduated  from high school and a son who is in high school.   Jeff said something  fascinating to me when he stated, (paraphrasing) “I want my parenting responsibilities to go on for as long as they can. I’d love to have my active, direct parental influence to accompany their life all the way until they are 30!

That was a “Wow.”   We hear how the Millennials never leave home and never grow up.    Jeff sees it differently. The parenting game with Millennials requires more active time and attention.  “Bring it on.”  Jeff’s  clarity was apparent.  I asked him why he thought as he did.   He had a crisp response.  Again, let me capture the flow of Jeff’s thinking…not his actual words:

My kids are likely going to live to be well over 100.  This generation will totally transform the paradigm of life expectancy.  This younger generation is looking at life and work totally differently than we have.

The Millennial generation will work well into their 80’s and 90’s, not out of necessity but out of the health, vitality, productivity and lifestyle that will be different from our generation.   Anticipating their longer life, my children will  experience their professional years differently.  Changing cultural circumstances are in play.  We, parents, need not define our children’s entry into the adult world in the same way our generation and our parent’s generation did.  

The learning, discovering and maturation for what might be called professional life work is going to start later and last much longer.  As a parent, I see it my opportunity and desire to nurture my kids’ movement into adulthood with a distinctly different paradigm not defined by the one that guided me.

My narrative:   Jeff’s thoughtful exploration of what is happening in our culture with the development of children into adulthood is far more insightful and purposeful than the ongoing national lament we hear about Millennials that basically asks these question:  Why aren’t our kids doing what we did?  What’s the problem? Why aren’t they making things happen like we did at 25-30?

Jeff sparked my imagination because he sees the content of his parenting in the context of radically changing life expectancy.  The actuarial reality of ‘up and coming’ adulthood offers a new, unknown curve of learning, preparing, exploring, and discovering.  It’s different.   Jeff sees his parenting responsibilities and interests as vitally important to help his kids prepare for an adult world neither he nor they fully understands…but he knows he is 100% committed to be a force of influence for good in the changing cultural milieu of his kids becoming competent, caring, capable adults.

Jeff’s viewpoint: Welcome the extended years of practicing effective parenting at the side of young adult children.  Be their partner and join them on their road.  Don’t pursue an agenda that says, “Do it my way.”

Jeff was refreshing.  He knows his kids will live in a world that will be quite different than the one he understands.  He knows his Parenting Why:   Encourage. Guide. Accompany.

What say you, Inspiration Impulse Reader?  Would love to receive some input.


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HOW’S YOUR UBER RIDER RATING?     This Post is a bit of Friday Fun, on my part, with my Inspiration Impulse audience.  So, let me do just that with you while I possibly educate you about the world of UBER and its application to this Game called Life.

Did you know that UBER Driver’s rate their Riders?  Yes, it’s true! Only recently, Only in the last two months, have it had the opportunity to use UBER including this week as my wife and I used the transportation service for a ride to LAX to visit our daughter and family in Monterey.

Last evening as we were talking after dinner,  my daughter, Leah,  blurted out, “Do you know your UBER Rider Rating?  I said, ” What are you talking about?”   She replied.  “Yes, when you take a ride, the UBER Driver rates the quality of his/her passenger.  You can go into your UBER account to see how you have been rated by your Drivers.  Basically, in the simplest way to describe it,  if you are have a 5 rating, you are a top caliber rider; 4 rating is decent;  3 is sub-par.  UBER even provides a bit of on-line criteria!  Crazy, huh… but maybe not!

Immediately, I asked my daughter, “Is a rating based  on tipping?”   I simply guessed that tipping was the criteria for a good rating.  I had been told that the tip is included in the Fare.  “Oh no, a tip is not necessarily the reason for a GOOD rating,” my daughter replied.  Then she said, “Why don’t you go into your UBER account and find out your Rider Rating.”

So, I did.   Guess what? I have a 5.0 Rider Rating!   Yes, yours truly, Mr. Inspiration Impulse…  a Top Cabin Preferred UBER Rider.   I have never tipped once in the 8-10 times I have used the service.  So, if money is not the issue, what makes for a 5.0 Rider in a Driver’s mind?

That question is the reason for writing this Post.   Basically, I know that I have made an effort to take up conversation with a Driver when I ride.  I have learned a bit about the Driver’s  world; I have shown interest in their challenges.  I  purposefully  have found something fascinating or interesting to talk about with the Driver.

This week, as my Driver and I depart at the end of a ride, I again made it a point to express my appreciation for the Driver”s service.    That, my friends, is a 5.0 Rider!   At least I think it is.   Why?   People love to be appreciated, sought out for information, asked questions about their life and challenges.  When pursued sincerely, such  interactions are the fuel of offering perceived value and respect between individuals.

Now, does that mean that an extra tip is not appreciated?   Of course, money is always welcomed, don’t you agree?  But, 5.0 UBER Riders, I am surmising, don’t reach the mountaintop with money.  No, 5.0 Uber Riders reach those Lofty Heights….ha ha ha…with sincerity, kindness, respect, and regard for the worth and dignity of a Driver who feels a sense of value in their work that is not simply a monetary exchange.

What say you?  I’d like to think that this UBER tale has far more to say about human interaction than  aimless car conversation.  Do you think so?  Don’t we all want to know we are valued?  Can we all find ways to present ourselves to others with an open hand of Sacred Regard for the another?

It was fun sharing this with you. Have a great weekend.



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COMMENCEMENT: CROSSING THE THRESHOLD    It’s that time of year for Rite of Passage Celebrations.   Are you or have you…my Inspiration Impulse Reader…attended a high school or college graduation ceremony  celebrating the movement from the harbor of childhood and youth into the open seas of life’ s expansive journey?

I won’t be a proud parent or grandparent this year at such an event.  I am just a few years away from a string of Grandchildren who will leap over that first hurdle called High School Graduation.  As for my kids, that leap and the college leap is now long past as they are in their 30’s and 40’s.

So what’s it all about…this Rite of Passage?  Well, it has a common thread.    Let’s just call it…a moment to pause,  reflect, understand, consider…what’s the game we are pursuing as we move through the important gateways of childhood and young adult life?

I thought I would share some Snapshots of these commencement moments.   Below is a handful  of quotes from famous folks who were asked to pontificate as a Commencement Speaker on college campuses just a year ago with 2016 graduates.    These quotes were captured in an education article that appeared in  Business Insider.  As you read them, enter back into your story of commencement…see what you think and feel.

Sonia Sotomayor, Supreme Court Justice, “The uh-oh moments are worth cherishing as much as the a-ha moments.”

Jim Gaffigan, Comedian,   “Love what you do, love who you are and love those around you.”

Russell Wilson, NFL Football Player:  “The moments that really matter are the moments when life tells you ‘no‘ ”

Oprah Winfrey, Author, Actress, Media Mogul, Philanthropist, “Every stumble is not a fall and every fall does not mean failure.”

Steven Spielberg, Filmmaker, “Your job is to create a world that lasts forever.  You are the future innovators, motivators, leaders and caretakers.”

James Franco, Actor, “Life is better when it is in the company of others.”

Peter Thiel, Venture Capitalist, ” If we choose to believe that we are powerless to do anything that is not familiar, we will certainly be right.”

J.K. Rowling, Author Extraordinaire, ” We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.”

Well, are you pondering any common ground in this cluster of quotes?    Here’s an Inspiration Impulse  thought that may put a bow around this commentary on commencement.

Live a life boldly looking forward with others…even, in those times, when you are on your knees with your hand reaching up.

Enjoy your weekend.

CENTER STAGE: Jefferson-Madison-Monroe

3-2 Brk Prg #10

CENTER STAGE: Jefferson-Madison-Monroe      Move over Hamilton…just for a moment.  It is great that Mr. Hamilton is now getting his Just Due as a young generation of Americans, as well as a few oldsters, are receiving a dynamic American history lesson on Broadway that is forwarding the story of the grand American Experiment.

But, Professor Williams has the mic for this Inspiration Impulse Post to proclaim a simple tale to a class of Inspiration Impulse Readers about visiting the homes of three of America’s Founding Fathers… all close buddies in and out of national leadership.

I came away from the encounters of these three at their homes in the Virginia countryside with a renewed understanding of their unique roles.

So, let’s touch on Jefferson: America’s Visionary; Madison: America’s Implementor and Monroe: America’s Protector.

At Jefferson’s home, Monticello, I understood more deeply why he was asked to draft the Declaration of Independence, which in sweeping inspiring language, casts a vision that would forever shape the destiny of humanity.

The pursuit of life, liberty happiness was the birthright of all, not a luxury of the privileged.  The grand language of the Declaration of Independence was not simply a statement of inalienable freedom proclaimed for colonist, it was the sounding note of humanity’s innate urging.  Jefferson’s mind put words to pen nudging forward our Higher Calling. The visionary’s role is always to proclaim: THIS is where we are going…walk into your future.  Jefferson was America’s Founding Father who cast the vision for the birthing of a nation and sounding the inalienable right that would move history from that time to the present and into the future.

At Madison’s home, Montpelier, I learned more deeply about the man who was driven to understand ‘The How’ of life,liberty and the Pursuit of happiness. Madison was the Implementor, the pragmitist who studied and studied the story of the history of governance to attempt to create  a structure of government for a new nation that would be based upon a revolutionary idea…division of power among elected individuals with the goal of creating a structure that would purposefully limit the exercise of power.

It was Madison’s brilliant mind that defined the framework of a three-legged stool of shared and limited control: Legislative, Executive and Judicial.  At the 1787 Constitutional Convention, it was Madison’ thinking that led the adoption of a Constitutional government and it was his political savvy to meet with George Washington and request that he chair the convention to insure attendance by all of the state delegations.

At the Highlands, the home of James Monroe, we meet the Protector. Monroe crossed the Delaware to fight alongside Washington where he was injured at the Battle of Trent.  Monroe was the student and mentee of Jefferson.  It was Monroe who was Secretary of State to Jefferson.  Monroe was sent by Jefferson to France to negotiate the purchase of New Orleans and came back with a deal that was unbelievable both then and now…$15,000,000 to make The Louisiana Purchase.

Monroe brokered that deal to protect the Fledling country. Monroe got the financing to make the deal.  Monroe made sure the nation  paid its debt to France and other European nations that financed  the purchase.

It would be years later when  Monroe was President that he would send his State of the Union message to be read to Congress which included three paragraphs that would become known as the Monroe Doctrine.   In street language those three paragraphs sounded the note of a nation that would  protect itself and its allies and friend against threats to its national interest.  The Monroe Doctrine would weigh heavily on a young President, John Kennedy,  almost 150 years later in the Cuban Missle Crisis at the opening year of his presidency. I remember that treacherous time as a highschooler in 9th grade.

Three Presidents, three homes, three distinct stories of leadership. They came our way to help a young nation navigate into a beacon of worldwide influence for good.

Happy weekend, my Inspiration Impulse Readers. It’s on to Washington DC.   Class dismissed!



REMEMBERING LIFE’S BIG LESSON ON A FRIDAY  Robert Frost has been a friend-of-powerful-thoughts to millions.   He became my friend in high school when I read, Stopping By Woods On a Snowy Evening.  He became an even more intimate friend when my dad told me he and others got to spend an evening listening to Robert Frost read poetry.

Frost  captures insights that matter and move the mind and heart;  He captures nuggets to savor.  Today’s Inspiration quote by Frost, In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on, is simultaneously the most comforting and most challenging statement to embrace as wisdom learning for uncovering your,my, our story.

Most challenging...when I think about what happened in Manchester, England this week…the fragile nature of life…the evil perpetrated on others that leaves a wake of chaos not to be forgotten by the families, friends, co-workers of those whose lives were lost or injured, I realize these three words, Life Goes On,  are extraordinarily tough to accept without demanding others words be added to Life goes on… never the same, lonely, fearful, angry, hurt.

Life goes on.  For many, that means pain.  Corrie Ten Boom is a famous survivor of the Holocaust.  She lost many loves ones and somehow for her, she found year’s later that she could recover the hopeful innocence of life going forward by forgiving those who killed her family members.  Her story is remarkable.  There are others like hers.  Such renewing, healing, Life goes on stories are the exception.

Life goes on. For many, these words are considered trivial sentiment  used to stoically package up the past and push forward.   Life goes on. Can’t stop it. Happy moments fade into sad moments and fade back into happy moments…momentary brightness and darkness.. The beat goes on. I have nothing to say about it. What is, is.

I am not fatalist with Life goes on. I am proactive with Life goes on.   Are you?  I view it as the Sounding Note for stepping forward…always.  As such,  Life goes on sees Friday knowing Monday is on its way.  Whatever were this week’s triumphs and disasters ( words Archibald McLeish wrote in his poem, IF)  are   imposters because they simply are the the flow of life in which I shape my life.

Life goes on.  It ‘s a delicious message of movement.  The breath that breathes one moment gives way to another and another and another.  You and I become powered with clarity and conviction as we say, Yes to Life goes on.

Life goes on. Embrace those 3 little words.  Let them speak to you this weekend. Feel them as wind in your sails.  And as you do,  hold a caring remembrance for anyone you may know, including those you know only from afar, like families in Manchester, England, who are loved in the midst of challenging experiences of life going on.



PRECIOUS PRIZE OF THE PLODDER    Wise men, like Lincoln, have commented about the fine art of the plodder.   Aesop made this theme famous with his timeless story of the Tortoise and the Hare.    What is the precious prize of the Plodder?  Simply stated, it’s forward motion linked to a precious insight.

I have been tutored by the examples of those who earned their Post Graduate Degrees in steady plodding forward.   Like water dripping from a faucet, the plodders simply refuse to go away.  The plodders are like an Energizer Bunny that never unwinds.

Have you found a hero to observe in your life who lived the fine art of keeping on while not carrying a long, disgruntled face even when walking forward ever-so-slowly, physically, emotionally, spiritually?  Let me tell you about a Plodding Hero who touched me.

I encountered him when I entered  high school   I never knew him well.  But I did watch him daily.   His name was Coach Ackerman, one of the high school PE Coaches.   Monday through Friday, as routinely as day follows night, I saw Coach Ackerman every weekday afternoon running laps around the track.   It was his regimen. He was consistent, meticulously purposeful.  Not until my Senior year would I learn Coach Ackerman’s Why for his daily plodding.   Yes, he did appear to be a jock.  And he was!   But, that was not why he ran.    Coach Ackerman knew he needed to run to maintain his health.  Plodding around the track was a primary tool to push him toward maintaining a healthy body in his adult life.  Coach Ackerman plodded daily to handle a basic life issue that he did not take for granted.

Plodding.  Can be it be time consuming? Yes.  Can it be boring? Yes.  Can it be ridiculed by others? Yes.   But just how can you and I appreciate the magic of plodding?  Here’s how I have learned to appreciate its magic.

Does my heart purposefully plod?  Do my lungs expand and contract with predictable plodding? Does the breath that breathes life into my cells in every moment predictably plod?   Can my appreciation for the movement of my life  physically, emotionally, intellectually, relationally, on a daily basis, be nurtured by the  story of learning what it means to lean into the wind pushing back, at times, but to which we can respond knowing, I GRATEFULLY CHOOSE TO PLOD with the knowledge that you and I live in a continuous, timeless rhythm that is ALWAYS moving forward.

To the Plodders a Prize is revealed!  It is Life’s most cherished prize.  Plodders can learn to carry the prize of  gratitude.  Check out that big idea this weekend. Take yourself on a walk.  Breathe deeply and consciously.  Ask yourself:  Is it true that plodding and gratitude are kissing cousins awaiting your discovery that they walk in tandem…together.

Happy Weekend.                                                                                                                                                 Russ, The Inspiration Impulse



TAKING A MOMENT…REMEMBERING MOM  It’s been 40 years since my mom’s passing in the Spring, 1977.  Her name was Virginia.  Her closest friends called her Gina.  She and dad were married in 1937 during the Great Depression.  They had three children…my older sister, Sue, and my younger brother, Doug.

Like most moms of the Babyboomer Generation, Virginia was a stay-at-home mother who was the anchor of home life for the Williams kids.   Everything that brought warmth and nurturing in the Williams household traveled through her attentive influence.

I had some tough early years as an asthmatic.  Mom was understandably protective of me.  Managing asthma in the 50’s was a bit different than today.   But, that did not keep her from offering me a long leash to do the things a youngster wants to do with friends and with sports activities.

Sometime in the late 1950’s, mom experienced what years later we would understand was a mild nervous breakdown.  While I do remember the occasion of her leaving for a few days to go to Palm Spring, I really didn’t know that anything significant was happening.   I wouldn’t know until many years later when my sister, brother and I began to piece together the somewhat hidden story of my mom’s fragile emotional health of our growing up years that periodically surfaced.

I do know that by the time I was 10, I felt I was my mom’s protector.   I really didn’t comprehend why; it just seemed  this was my ‘responsible role to play’ for mom.  Fast forward to the mid-70’s when I am now married. Mom was diagnosed with cancer and the protector story was magnified by my closeness to her during her long illness.  I was with her just an hour before she passed on.

Last summer, my brother, sister and I had the opportunity to visit my mom’s brother who lives with his wife in Utah.  The three hours we spent together as a family was extraordinarily revealing as ‘Uncle George’ helped the three Williams Kids…now in their late 60’s and early 70’s…understand the veiled family story of mental health issues that had surrounded my mom’s side of the family.   This experience brought valued clarity and peace to the  three of us as we pieced together a confusing family puzzle in which each of us, including my mom’s brother, held different pieces to reveal.

I share this family story with you, My Inspiration Impulse Reader, to offer a profound point, I hope: I now fully appreciate that my mom was quite the courageous woman.  I  get it.   Mom gave her kids her best while making every effort to  protect them from life issues that impacted her emotionally periodically, all rooted in her family’s mental health history.  All three of her children now know we were blessed by our mother’s care, affection and attentive love that was never put aside.  She delivered the story of love to her children.

Mom gave us a gift of family stability that positively shaped her children’s lives in positive ways that has been richly demonstrated in the parenting attention all three of them have practiced in their adult lives.

Virginia Huffine Williams was her name.  I hold her in my heart with great affection and love on this Mother’s Day, 2017.

Whether you share Mother’s Day with your mom present or with memories, let it sing with love’s expression.