Welcome to the final day of Family Leadership Week and part two of my interview with the author of Parenting the QBQ Way, John G. Miller. If you missed yesterday’s interview, you can listen to and/or read it here. You can listen to part two of the interview here. Warning: The audio quality is not great and I had the sniffles. Or you can read it below.
Matt: This is my question.
What suggestion do you have for parents who had bad models (i.e. their parents)? I know the first step is to take responsibility for my own parenting. What do you think are the next steps?
John G. Miller: Well, here is the key to everything in that question: self-awareness. Emotional maturity really comes from being aware of our own actions, our own thinking, and our own mindset. So here is the point. I am now 54. My dad was born in 1921. He learned to parent from a guy who was born in 1895, my grandfather, who I never really knew. He died when I was six. But if you really think about it, I am product of a product from 1895. 1895, Matt. That was a long time ago. That’s when that man was born.
He produced my dad and then my dad parented me. And, if I’m not aware of some of the wrong thinking in my head, I will go on and perpetuate that kind of parenting. I will say this, some of the old-fashioned parenting must be kept, because we have found that this pendulum has swung so far to the left. Liberal parenting, where again, we don’t time out our child, we’re not firm with our child, we’re afraid to swat our child on the back end when he’s wearing diapers. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t want any emails about child abuse, but if they’re about to injure themselves, sometimes you need that firm hand on the diapers, OK. Everybody hear me? On the diapers.
But we’ve gone so far one direction that we’re now trying to have conversations with kids and their brains aren’t ready for it. They need firmness. They need action. They need to see demonstrable love from their parents, but also black and white, yes and no.
So, there are some things to be learned from the past hundred years of parenting and there are some things that need to be dismissed. And so, here’s the key. I’m aware sometimes when I say something that sounds like my father, who was raised by a man born in the 1800’s, and I will say right then, “that’s not working. It is shame-based. I am shaming my child. That is not good for their core, their self-esteem, their self-image. I need to change that.” So, all this comes down to self-awareness.
And then, the other side, as we say in Parenting the QBQ Way, Matt, parenting is a learned skill. It is a learned skill. That’s why we didn’t put a whole bunch of how-tos in this book. There are a lot of good programs out there. There are ways to learn to parent. This is about principles of accountability and humility and service. And building children who can become adults at 18,19, and 20, not 30 and living on our couch.
So this book is about the strong principles of parenting, but the core message is that parenting is a learned skill, so get out there moms and dads and learn.
Matt: Two more questions. The second to last one is kind of a hard one that I formed from some other questions.
Describe how the QBQ form of personal accountability fits into the Christian worldview of reliance on God.
Then, after that, if you could tell us the meaning of life, that would be great, too.
John: Personal accountability, the message I’ve been teaching since 1995 as a keynote speaker, author, etc. is based on Matthew 7:1-5.
Judge not lest not you be judged.
Before I try to remove the speck from my wife’s eye, I probably should remove the beam from my own eye. So everything I teach is based pretty much on the New Testament. Though, as a corporate speaker, I don’t go out and proclaim that because you just can’t do that. At a public company, you have to be very careful. But all I can say is that when I teach personal accountability and I talk about service and humility and accountability, it is fascinating that the Christians in the audience hear the message.
So, I am going to answer the question just by saying that the QBQ is based on the Bible. But, even as you read it, what you’re going to hear if you are a non-Christian, if you are an atheist, or an agnostic, or a different faith, you are still going to get really good, practical, down to earth material. If you’re a Christian, you are going to be able to assign Bible verses to it to support it. It’s just good stuff overall.
Matt: Can you share one of your favorite stories that has come about as a result of Parenting the QBQ Way?
John G. Miller: Interestingly, my daughter, Kristin and I…Kristin works for me. If you are a Twitter person, you can follow her at @KristinLindeen. And I, @QBQGuy on Twitter, we went to a blogging conference a month ago in Florida and it turned out that a lot of the people there…I was one of the keynote speakers…and two-thirds of the audience were homeschoolers. Homeschooling parents have a real opportunity to shape character, because they are with their kids all of the time.
So, my favorite story is not a specific story, it’s a general impression from a couple of the parents that were there. They took the QBQ back home and it changed the way they teach. It changed the way they parent. It integrated the QBQ message into their homeschooling economics, their curriculum. Basically, they were doing a fantastic job of teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic, but they may not have been specifically been teaching personal accountability. So now we have homeschool parents around the nation integrating the QBQ into their curriculum, so we think that is pretty darn exciting.
Matt: How can we find out more about you and QBQ and the message you are spreading of personal accountability?
John G. Miller: Well Matt, they can call your cell phone at 2:00 am. (Matt’s note: please don’t). QBQ.com, it’s just that simple. Our home page is now our blog page. We’re blogging like crazy, so stop by and follow us. (Note: You can find all of John’s books here.)
Matt: I highly recommend that. For anyone who has read the books, the blog is a great supplement because, as you say, repetition is the motor of learning. You’re not post brand new concepts, but the stories that you share, your openness and willingness to open your family playbook to us and share stories from your life, is huge for me. I write about that in the review, that I am a story learner. Tell me a story and I will remember it for years. Give me facts and they will go in one ear and out the other. So, it’s great to read your blog and I highly suggest it.
Thank you very much for your time, John.
John G. Miller: Matt, thank you. It was fun.