Stage 6 of Parenting: The Color Commentator

You are now in the final episode of a six part series on Stage Based Parenting. We talked about each of those previous stages: the comforter stage, the coach stage, the counselor stage, the consultant, the co-founder was what we just got done talking about. And now, we want to talk to you guys about the final stage: the color commentator. And it might sound like we’re trying to force the C’s here, but no, this is a really important stage. And I really like this title because when I watch a sporting event and there is usually a play by play commentator and then, a color commentator, I absolutely love to listen to great color commentary in sports. Basically, that person is there to really distill the meaning of what’s happening. Even the bigger story, oftentimes they’ll bring in like, “Oh, let me tell you where this kid started. He went to this high school and now, look at him.” And it just makes what could be just really bland facts on the field into a really rich story.

And that is your job during this stage. This is when your kids are like 45 years plus, and you might be in your 60s, 70s, 80s. Now, one of the things that blows my mind about this stage is that most of you guys listening to this right now will spend more time in this stage than in the stage of child rearing before your kids are 18. So most people, if you have three or four kids, you’ll spend about 20, maybe 25 years in the child rearing stage. You will spend 20 to 25 years in this stage where you’re older. Many of you are going to live into your 90s.

We continue to see that the lifespans are increasing. So a lot of you guys are going to have a lot of time invested in this stage. So it’s important that you guys prepare for what this is and looked forward to it. This is an amazing stage. The goal of this stage is to pass on wisdom and identity. This is when you take a step back and make sure that during family events or during conversations with your grandchildren and your children, you bring up the conversation into the bigger story, the bigger story of the family, the bigger story of the gospel. You’re constantly really helping people understand the meaning, the meaning of their identities. And so you want to get good at this stage.

And a big part of being good at this stage is simply by leaning into the previous stages and experiencing the depth of their meaning. And then, of course, will just pour out of you during this final stages. Just lots of family stories, lots of background, lots of distillation of the meaning of different events. And so this is really, really fun. We spend a lot of time in our family now really enjoying this stage.

For example, on our Sabbath Dinner, we had my great aunt, my parents, April’s mom, and we had an incredible conversation about just back to school, like what was that first week of back to school like? And so I shared some stories and my dad shared some stories. My mom shared some stories I’d never heard before and they were really talking-

That’s awesome.

The meaning of what does this season look like for you guys?


Even though I don’t know if anybody’s going back to school right now.

It is crazy, you can also be, this is just a little anecdote, but I was thinking that even when we had Alyssa’s parents over every Friday. You can’t run out of stories. It’s almost impossible to run out of stories of childhood or something that makes you think of something. And that’s exactly what this stage is, right? Of you’re trying to… If you’re listening and you’re wanting to be one of those parents, it’s kind of like, hopefully, shaping your life in a way where you’ll have wisdom to share with them. But I think a lot of us, we can almost hear this advice and now, think of our parents. And just, what I would say is just extract it from them. That’s the best phrase to say it.

For sure.

You should spend so much energy extracting all the advice, all the wisdom and everything you can from your parents. Now, me and Alyssa both have great relationships and love both sides of our family, but I know there’s some people listening to this that maybe there’s a lot more pain there, et cetera. The one thing that I heard some advice on a podcast the other day that I would give to people right here is, there’s always at least one redeemable extractable quality from your parents. Whether if they were the most vile, toxic, terrible family you’ve grown up in there. And sitting in that and holding that does something to your heart, does something to your legacy and the story, of just what can I redeem from our last name and our story?

And then that lets you put that into the color commentary. And so that’s what this is, is when you’re extracting your story from the people above you, it will profoundly impact how you become a color commentator later. Right? And so I just think coupling those, putting that together, and centering on story and wisdom, stop turning to Google for answers, turn to grandparents. That’s how it was for all of human history. And I think that’s really, really helpful.

That’s right. So the goal of this stage, you guys, is to pass on wisdom and identity and the four word sort of style of this stage is low selfishness, high nobility. You make your family feel like it’s epic and important by your very presence.

We had a Sabbath Dinner when my great grandmother was present and we realized as she was sitting there at our Sabbath Table, she was the bridge between seven generations because she knew three generations. Previously, her generation, and then she was seeing three generations of her descendants at the same table, somebody who’s spanning seven generations, your presence, you continuing to live longer and be present for your family into this stage makes your family into something that feels really heavy, really glorious, really important to your grandchildren and your great grandchildren. So, really encourage you guys to think about this.

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