“Kids are kind of on their own hero’s journey, and our job as parents is not to create little mini-me's, but to let them develop their own passions and desires in the world and follow their own path.”
Today, I’m bringing you a conversation with my dear friends, Mike & Lindsay McCarthy, who are also the co-authors for the two newest Miracle Morning books:
The first is the Updated & Expanded 2nd edition of The Miracle Morning for Parents & Families (available on Amazon).
And the second…
Is the brand new Miracle Morning for Parents & Families PLAYBOOK (also available on Amazon) which gives you seven (7) actionable Exercises & Worksheets to implement what you learn from the book, including:
- Exercise #1: Your Family Bedtime Ritual Worksheet
- Exercise #2: Your Family Miracle Morning Worksheet
- Exercise #3: Your Family Values Worksheet
- Exercise #4: Kids’ S.T.A.R.R. Chart Worksheet
- Exercise #5: Kids’ Screen Time Contract Worksheet
- Exercise #6: Your Family Goals Worksheet
- Exercise #7: Your Family Meeting Agenda Worksheet
We believe that strong, healthy families are crucial to a healthy society. Thus, we are committed to elevating the consciousness of humanity by sharing the life-changing power of the Miracle Morning with as many parents and families as possible!
In today’s conversation, we talk about what it means to parent with intention, what inspired their Family Playbook (and how to use it), and the systems, rhythms, and rituals that have helped them level up as parents.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
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Hal Elrod: Hello, and welcome to the Achieve Your Goals podcast. This is your host, Hal Elrod, and thank you so much for tuning in today. As always, I sincerely appreciate you being here. And today, you're going to get to meet two of my closest friends. In fact, my family and their family, Mike and Lindsay McCarthy, we vacation together. We were neighbors for many years. And they are also the coauthors of The Miracle Morning for Parents and Families.
And the reason that I brought them on today, they've been on a podcast, they were on probably three or four years ago when the initial Miracle Morning for Parents and Families book came out. And that book is highly rated on Amazon. It's helped a lot of parents and a lot of families to be better. And we have a new version of the book. Mike and Lindsay approached me a few months back, and they said, “Hal, we really want to update The Miracle Morning for Parents and Families. When we wrote it, it was a lot of theoretical strategic things that we had just been implementing in our lives, but now, that we've been doing it and living it for the last four or five years,” they said, “we've learned so much. And so, we want to share that with– we want to update the edition because it can be so much better.”
And so, The Miracle Morning for Parents and Families version 2 is available on Amazon right now. And then what's really cool is they created a playbook. It's called The Miracle Morning for Parents and Families Playbook, and it's all of the worksheets and rituals and systems and routines. They've got their family meeting in there, how to create your family values. It's actual, a workbook/playbook that enables you to take all the concepts from the book. And there's a lot of print-outs, there are things for the kids. They teach their STARR System, which stands for screen, time, awards, I forgot the rest of the acronym, and it's a really cool system.
So, I think that you'll see when you hear the interview today that I say at the beginning that Mike and Lindsay, I tell directly to them, they are literally the two most intentional parents I've ever met in my entire life. And then at the end of the episode, I am able to say, does everyone listening understand why I said that? I think you're going to be blown away, and even if you're not a parent, you can model, you can learn and model from the way that they systematically structured their week and their life so that they have growth and progress and gratitude and connection and all of these important things that are important for every human being, but especially for a family. So, I think you're going to get a lot out of today's episode. And if you want to check out The Miracle Morning for Parents and Families updated edition and the new playbook, head over to Amazon after the show.
And before we get started, I have just one shout-out and thank you to give, and that is to today's sponsor. The sponsor of today's podcast is Organifi. And you may be aware, as I am, that we all need to be healthy, right? It's one of the most important things. If we don't have our health, nothing else matters. And so, for me, I'm often– you can be too busy to prep everything and cook everything, and it's always something that I'm looking for is what are health hacks? What are convenient, simple, quick ways that I can uplevel my health, my energy, my mental clarity, regulate my hormones, adapt to stress, all of those things? And Organifi does all of those things extremely well. They've got superfood powders that you put into your cup of water or almond milk, or for me, it goes in my smoothie every day. My wife does it every night. She takes their Gold, which is a powder to rest and calm yourself so you have a great night's sleep.
So, if any of those health benefits sound appealing to you, I highly recommend checking out Organifi.com/Hal, that is O-R-G-A-N-I-F-I, Organifi.com/Hal. And then if you find something there that you like, you can try it out and use the code H-A-L at checkout, you'll get 15% off your entire order on top of their sale prices that are going on right now as well. So, that's it. I hope you find something there that you love. And I hope you love today's episode, and it is my great pleasure to introduce you to two of my best friends in the whole world, Mike and Lindsay McCarthy.
Hal Elrod: Mike and Linds, what's going on?
Mike McCarthy: What's up?
Lindsay McCarthy: Not much.
Hal Elrod: I don't think that people listening, I mean, they'll know this now that I'm going to say it, but they may not realize that like you are two of my best friends, not just my best friend, but my wife and I’s best friends in the whole world. So, this is just like a bonus time that we get, right?
Mike McCarthy: Absolutely. We love you guys, too.
Hal Elrod: Yeah.
Mike McCarthy: Also doing life together.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. Although you're giving me a little bit of a guilt trip before we started the recording about how I shouldn't have moved away out of the neighborhood, but we'll just squash that.
Mike McCarthy: You chose your lifelong dream to have a ranch over us.
Lindsay McCarthy: Over us.
Hal Elrod: I know, I know. Well, we know it's a tough choice. So, here's where I want to start. I actually want to start with– we were joking about this before we started recording, but I actually sincerely want to compliment you guys because you are two of the most intentional parents that I have ever encountered in my entire life. And in that, the fact that you co-authored The Miracle Morning for Parents and Families, right? And interestingly enough, you co-authored that before I live next to you and actually, got to fully witness how you guys parent and how you run your household. I mean, it's incredible. And yeah, so I'm excited because anybody listening, you're not just co-authors of the book, like, you live what we're about to talk about at the highest level, to where I will call you, Mike. Mike, how do I do a family meeting? How do you get your kids to want to do the Miracle Morning? Like, literally, I'm calling you for advice on how to get my family to the Miracle Morning. So, you are definitely the experts here.
So, with that, we're talking about The Miracle Morning for Parents and Families updated edition. The original book came out in 20– was it ‘16 or ’17?
Lindsay McCarthy: ’16.
Hal Elrod: 2016. So, it's five years later, and we're doing an updated edition. That's just where I want to start is why did– because it was you guys that reached out and said, “Hey, we want to update the book. We want to do this playbook to go with it.” Why did you decide to update the book and release a second edition?
Mike McCarthy: Yeah, great question. Well, I'll take this one. You know, Hal, the truth is that when we decided to write The Miracle Morning for Parents and Families, we had one great idea that we sort of built on. And I thank you for that opportunity because when you put out a parenting book, it forces you to uplevel your parenting skills.
Hal Elrod: Sure.
Mike McCarthy: And so, I feel like that book was like version one of our family operating system and not only how we do charms in the Miracle Morning, but how we do other things. And it sort of set the pace for us wanting to be more purposeful and to lead by example more. And so, over the last five years, we've just developed and come up with so many new tools and systems and ways to operate within our family that we thought it would just be a shame to act like that was the final version and that we're not going to keep evolving as parents. And who knows, we'll probably have to update it again in another five years because then we'll have gone through the teenage years with our kids as well, which will add a whole ‘nother layer of wisdom on us. So, we wanted to make sure we put out whatever the best ways to be for a family, for leading a family out there, and not just rest on our laurels of a successful book that we wrote five years ago when we were less experienced.
Hal Elrod: I was going to say that five years from now, we'd have to do version 3. And then when you mentioned the teenage years, I think that it's maybe the trauma, not just the wisdom that you will gain or the wisdom from the trauma, I don't know. And actually, that's a really good place that we haven't gone, which is real quick, tell everybody about how many kids you have, ages, all of that.
Lindsay McCarthy: Yeah, so we've been married 15 years now. We have two kids. Tyler is 12 and Ember is 8.
Hal Elrod: 12 and 8, so just pre-teen right there, okay. Alright, so that all makes a lot of sense. And again, I've watched you guys grow and evolve and implement new practices and strategies. I'm also part of FamBundance, which you co-run that program, that mastermind, if you will. And so, I've been part of the FamBundance, where you guys will run calls and workshops and webinars on, like, “Hey, here's this new thing we're doing for the family.” So, I've seen it firsthand.
One of the things, you released a playbook with the 2nd Edition. In fact, that was actually kind of the inspiration for it. You guys thought, like, we really want to do this playbook where we teach all of the tools and give it in a way where people can do exercises and actually worksheets and implement it all. And so, that was the first idea that led us to updating the book, which you realized, well, we should update the book, too, to match the playbook. I want to ask you about the playbook because I have to say, I was blown. I knew you guys, you had talked about it, but until you sent me the first draft, I was blown away. I'm like, this is better than the book. Like, the playbook, to me, it's in a lot of ways better than the original book because this is like pure action, action, action, implementation. So, what inspired the playbook?
Lindsay McCarthy: Well, I think I know what you said is the first book, it was all kind of theory, right? It was us practicing like, this is why we want to parent the way we want to parent, but the playbook is really the how-to guide of, okay, now, we know why it's important. Here's how we do it. And you know the steps, the questions you actually ask the kids and the action items, if you will, to create all the systems that we have up and running at our house.
Mike McCarthy: Yeah. And you mentioned FamBundance, so the workbook is really like the body of work. We've led 20 or 30 family mastermind events with FamBundance, which is a part of GoBundance, the mastermind that we're part of. And that just became a place where we had all of this experience leading families through setting up these different systems, rhythms, traditions that would help them to not just have a great family, but to really lead a family, like, let's say a high functioning team to really bring the power and leadership of the exchange method and ways that we lead successful communities or businesses, and then apply that same knowledge to the family, which makes perfect sense, but it's sort of like this odd thing where entrepreneurs in general, they don't really bring home some of the best of what they know about leadership and teams to their family. And so, this is really hopefully going to inspire a lot of people to show up and be better leaders in their family. And we've kind of laid out how they can do that.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, I love that. It's so true that in business or any profession, if you're a teacher or an entrepreneur, you have these skill sets and these competencies that enable you to be really effective. And then we go home and we're just like, ah, you forget all of it. It's like, you don't realize that there's such a powerful parallel to running your household, similar to the way you'd run a really successful business or organization or team. You mentioned, Mike, systems, rhythms, and rituals. What are the systems, rhythms, and rituals that have been most effective in your family?
Mike McCarthy: Go ahead.
Lindsay McCarthy: Yeah. I think probably number 1 for us has been defining our family values. I think something we've really learned being a part of all these awesome communities is they all have this kind of shared language. So, you're in a room at one life. They're all talking about dreaming, planning, and living their best life, and we wanted to create that at home. Like, well, what does it mean to be a McCarthy? And so, we sat down and we looked through our history and thought about when our family was at its best, and then we pulled out different values from the stories we've already lived in order to create this shared family language where we can articulate what it means to be a McCarthy. And hopefully, if you ask our kids, they have some idea what that is.
Mike McCarthy: Yeah, and those values become guiding principles that you can look to, to help you through tough times or when a challenge is in front of you, or even how to get the most out of enjoying life and really living a fulfilling life, but those values become guideposts or guiding principles that help us to really stay on track as a family and know what it means to be a McCarthy.
Hal Elrod: Well, and that just echoes what I said about how intentional you guys are, right? And let me go a step further, you've not only defined your family values because it's one thing to write them out, like somebody that writes out their goals and put them on. You never look at them until the end of the year until it's time to reset the new goals. You guys define the family values, you create context around the family values. You have them where they're reviewed by your family at your weekly family meeting. They are printed on. Mike, I just saw that, I think for Christmas, you did these beautiful acrylics with the family values in these really cool fonts and graphics and colors. So, they're up where you guys see them every day. You've got them in each of the kid’s rooms, you've got them in the family room, right? So, again, the intention is amazing. What are some of the values, specifically? Like, what are these guiding principles?
Mike McCarthy: Yeah, so like being playful adventures is one. So, we really value being playful and having an adventure in life, so that's one of them. Another one would be servant leadership, so we believe in service to the world and giving back. We also believe in leadership and making things better where you can make them better, like taking a stand for the things that you want to see changed. Transformation seekers is another one where we are people who look to make things better both ourselves, our family, and our community. We're constantly looking for how we can evolve and become better. Another one is resilient warriors, which is we’re strong, courageous, and swift. And we follow our McCarthy family motto that nothing is difficult to the brave and faithful. And for that one, that's just like facing challenges with strength and belief in yourself.
And that family motto, we actually pulled from the ancient, from Cork County, Ireland, the McCarthy’s, that is the McCarthy family motto. So, there is even a bit of history for multiple generations back to the beginning of the McCarthy family that we've pulled into that. Strong, courageous, and swift are actually the three words that are on the McCarthy coat of arms. So, we pulled that in. And then what’s the last one that we're missing?
Lindsay McCarthy: There are two more, actually. Sorry, but man, I wasn’t listening.
Hal Elrod: It's alright, I mean, I think people get the gist of it.
Mike McCarthy: Yeah, with those four of that.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, that's enough. If you can nail those four, I think you're pretty incredible as a parent and as a family. And what I love about that is, I personally am a big believer that, like, defining your values in life and then living in a line with your values is arguably one of, if not, the most important thing you can do in life, right? Like if you’re really to have a meaningful, fulfilling life, you get clear on what do I value above all else? And what do I need to think, say, and do to live in alignment with those values? And what I love the way I just heard you describe it, Mike, was it made me think about the identity that it's creating for your kids and for both of you, for both of you two, Mike and Linds, but also, especially the kids, is you're creating this identity. You said it, what does it mean to be a McCarthy? It means to be a resilient warrior. It means to be a servant leader.
And by reinforcing that, you think about when those kids turn 18 and they leave the nest, so to speak, when Tyler and Ember leave, like they have such a solid foundation. And I think about even me, when I left at 18, like I didn't know who the hell I was. I didn't know my values. I mean, like kind of vaguely, loosely, I went to church and I shouldn't lie or steal or kill anyone, like, okay, but I didn't have this really rock-solid, powerful identity. And I really want to, for anyone listening, just to emphasize how beneficial this is for us as individuals, to define your values, reinforce them, revisit them every day, and live in alignment with them, but then, if you're a parent, taking that and applying it to your family and to your kids, so really, really cool.
Mike McCarthy: Collaborators is another one, I just remember.
Hal Elrod: Good job. Gold star. So, let me ask you kind of a big picture esoteric question, how do you believe that a family can collectively reach its potential together, that a family can become all it can be?
Mike McCarthy: Yeah. Good question. Do you want to take that one, Linds? Or do you want me to, as the plane flies over?
Lindsay McCarthy: You got it.
Mike McCarthy: Okay. Well, I think it really just starts with gaining clarity on what's most important, not only for each individual but also collectively. So, you'll find woven throughout all of the exercises that we layout that it's important for the family to design these systems and rhythms together so that it's not just the parents saying, hey, here's our values, like our kids actually help shape those values that we just shared with you. They actually get to add to the weekly family meeting. If there are things that they want to talk about or they think we should be discussing, they're able to bring those in, but it's also just about the more practical aspects of like, once you know what's important, that's one step, but what are the family's goals together collectively? And have you taken the time to have a meeting once a year or twice a year where you set your yearly goals as a family, but then also does each family member know what the other family members goals are that they're working on because I think a family can be at its best when all members are supporting not only themselves and following their own passions and goals, but that they're also supporting the rest of the family members? So, that requires the awareness of knowing what is each family member's goals.
And in our weekly family meeting and what we teach in the workbook, too, is to come up with at least two goals for every family member that they're constantly working on, so they would be longer-term or yearly goals. And for our family, we stole this from Jay and Wendy Papasan at a FamBundance event, and Jay knows a thing or two about goal setting, but in their family, they have both a hard goal and a fun goal that they're always working on. So, there's something that's challenging and then something that's fun that they're working on. And then we also discuss, like what are our goals for the upcoming week? And I think if you can bond together in that way where you know the goals of each family member and then you're supporting it, it creates accountability. And I think that's one of the keys to helping anyone reach their potential is having goals and then having accountability around those goals through people that you care about who are applauding you, celebrating you when you do reach those goals, or maybe giving you a little nudge when you've fallen off track with that goal and helping you to get back on track so you can reach the goal.
Hal Elrod: Well said. I'm a huge fan of accountability, I think it's like the missing link in terms of us achieving our full potential because when nobody's looking, the majority of us will let ourselves off the hook, and we won't live to our full potential. Like, I know I shouldn't eat this, but nobody's here right now. So, I'm going to go and eat it. I know I just have to work, but I really want to just binge on Netflix. It's really easy to try to get away with stuff. And what I love about this is I just thought about how– think about this as a parent, when you're telling your kid what you're committed to do for the week, like, that's such a high level of accountability. Who wants to be the parent that's like, yeah, your dad's a total flake, right? I know I said for the last three weeks, I was going to do this thing, but yeah, I didn't feel like it. So, anyway, guys, like, no, you're going to have so much leverage over yourself to set the example for your kids and be like, “Hey, you say you're going to do something that you do it.” I love the accountability piece. You mentioned the weekly family meeting now a few times, and I know that that's covered in the book. I know there are worksheets in the playbook for that, but just a quick overview, like, what's your family meeting? When do you have it? How often is it? What does it look like? How long does it last, that kind of thing?
Lindsay McCarthy: So, we actually call it our weekly family dream session, and we usually set some time aside on the weekend, either Saturday or Sunday, depending on what we have going on. And there's kind of like five things we always hit, and that's gratitude. It's the schedule for the week, it's our family values, it's our goals for the week, and then it's kind of left open. What else?
Hal Elrod: Anything else do you want to talk about? Yeah, yeah.
Mike McCarthy: Yeah. And one other piece that we do as we celebrate high-point moments for the past week or since our last meeting because there's something beautiful about remembering moments collectively as a family where something happened that was meaningful or important. And I think when you share that, you get to sort of root that memory. And sometimes you can't even remember them all, but as a family, the collective remembering of that becomes really powerful, and it puts you back in those powerful moments. And so, it kind of sets the tone other than the gratitude which we do first. It gives this appreciative nature to what you're approaching so you're not looking for– because you could sit down for a family meeting. Some might think, hey, we have all of these problems or challenges that we need to address. And that's just in the long term. It's not going to create a space where the kids in the family want to keep coming back to it, but if you can make it really celebratory, where you're appreciating each other through gratitude because we do a gratitude shower where everyone's in the family says why they're grateful for Lindsay, then everyone in the family says why they're grateful for me, and each kid does that. We also say why we're grateful in general, but just having that, the roots laid down of appreciation being the foundation of the meeting, like it just helps you to create a space that everyone wants to be a part of.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. And the intentionality again, because a lot of families, I think, it's like there's bickering and there's like, you didn't do this and you didn't do that, you were supposed to do that, you know? And having that, I love the gratitude shower. It's so much appreciation for each person and even if you were having a conflict with one of the family members, but then they're forced to be like, well, I guess I am grateful for dad because he does do a lot for me and yada yada. Yeah, I love that. If in case anybody listening, and we try you to stay open with this, but if they're not familiar with the Miracle Morning, from your perspective, what is it and how can it improve the life of any family?
Mike McCarthy: I love being asked that question by you, Hal, what an honor. I think the Miracle Morning is the idea of putting your own oxygen mask on first and making sure that you spend time developing who you are as a person every single morning. And you've woven together the SAVERS as the six practices, so silence, affirmations, visualization, exercise, reading, and scribing, which are all powerful even by themselves, but when you put them all together and you spend time every morning doing those consistently, like you get this exponential growth through that. And what Lindsay did is such a great job of is when we went and saw you speak at an event, Hal, and got inspired to do our Miracle Morning, we started doing the Miracle Morning together, and it was great, except for our daughter, who was 2 at the time, would interrupt what was happening because there was an energy and an eagerness that she could sense.
And so, she would come and bind us and sort of interrupt. And Lindsay had the genius idea of letting them develop their own Miracle Morning so that as we were doing ours, they would have something they could do. And she actually worked with Tyler, our son, who was then 6 at the time, and he said, “Mom, why do I need to save my life?” And it was kind of like, “You're right, son, you haven't been ruined by the world yet, so you don't need to be saved.” And so, Lindsay and Tyler developed an acronym for the kids to follow, which is CHARMS, and that's creativity, health, affirmations, reading, meditation, and service.
And so, they get a chance to do those, and they're very similar to the SAVERS, but creativity is something that is not necessarily part of the SAVERS, but kids can really resonate with drawing a picture or playing a certain type of game with their siblings or with mom and dad. And then service is also something where we wanted to instill in our kids, like doing things for each other and for people in the world is important. So, they may not do that first thing in the morning, by the way, but some time during the day, we want them to do something to help serve someone else besides themselves. And it's worked really beautifully for us. Our kids, they know that they cannot do any electronics unless they've completed their CHARMS. So, I would say six out of seven days a week, they are Johnny-on-the-spot, getting their CHARMS done, if only so they can access what they want after that, but they seem to be motivated and enjoy it too.
Hal Elrod: So, I love the charms for a lot of reasons. I love that you got service in there and creativity obviously, for kids, instilling the value of service, giving them a space for their creativity is fantastic. What I love, though, especially as a parent, parenting is hard work that it's on autopilot where your kids, they don't have to come in, you don’t have to sit down together. You don’t have to walk them through and lead their Miracle Morning, which I think a lot of parents here are overwhelmed with that because they go, I just want to do my Miracle Morning and like, I don't have the energy to go then parent the kids through theirs. Your kids are self-accountable.
Again, your daughter's only 8, your son is 12, and they've been doing it for much longer, but it's like, hey, you get your CHARMS done, and they've got trackers, which again, those are in the workbook, but they do their tracker, and it's like, alright, here's what I did for each of the CHARMS, right? And then they earn the right to get on their electronics or whatever later in the day. And it's real simple for you guys, hey, if they want to do their electronics, do your CHARMS done. I still got to do service. What's something nice you can do for somebody in the family, right? I love that. Love that on so many levels.
In the book, I know, and this was in the original book, I'm sure it's in the updated version, but you describe the three Ps of exceptional parenting. And so, these are three to me, keys for– they're really simple for somebody to follow to be a better parent, to be an exceptional parent. So, what are the three keys or the three Ps? And how do they help parents?
Lindsay McCarthy: Yeah. So, the first one is playfulness, and then it's purposefulness, and the last one is perspective. And the playfulness chapter, that's actually where you will find the CHARMS kind of laid out in the book, and it's because that's the spirit we kind of want to bring to the CHARMS. We don't want the kids to think like, oh, this is another thing that mom and dad are having me do, but it should be playtime, like they get to be creative and they get to do these things, not that they have to do these things.
Mike McCarthy: And for the parenting side, just for the parent’s side of the playfulness, I think sometimes we can take ourselves too seriously and we can kind of even project on to our kids some of our pain or our trauma or what we didn't get as a kid. And we can sort of like helicopter parent or overcorrect, and I think a good way to avoid that is to just keep a spirit of playfulness, even as you’re parenting through something that might be very difficult. Being able to make light of it and keep it fun, we just think, is one of the secrets to parenting at a high level.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. And it's one of the most overlooked. It doesn't seem practical. It doesn't seem efficient or productive, but it's arguably, you got to meet your kids where they are, and kids want to play. Yeah, so I think that's big. I know for me, when I meditate on Saturday and Sunday, especially when it's like the weekend, I meditate in a state of playfulness. I go, how can I get in a really loving, playful, fun state so that when my kids wake up, I'm already in that state. And yeah, so really, really powerful. So, there's playfulness and the other two P's, Lindsay?
Lindsay McCarthy: So, purposefulness is the second one. And that's all about being in intention. So, these things that are in the playbook now, all these rhythms and systems that we've set up in our family, like, that's us being purposeful. I'm not very good at creating structure all this time. So, having the playbook for me, was really that he basically created it. I'm better at keeping the system going than he is, but he's great at creating the system. So, once it's kind of up and running, I kind of am the one that helps keep it in place, but I think we make a good team that way.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, I've seen that firsthand. That is true.
Mike McCarthy: And let's give him a couple of examples of purposefulness because we haven't exactly shared some of the other things that are in that playbook. So, we have in there a way to create a bedtime ritual for the family because we know that bedtimes can be some of the most challenging times for parents, especially if you have younger kids. And so, creating a ritual where the family designs it together helps to create a lot of buy-in from the kids of like, hey, this is what we do when we go to go to bed. Obviously, we have the morning practice. So, how will you get your Miracle Morning done each day? What will it look like? What are the things that you love to do that we can work in to the Miracle Morning so that you complete your CHARMS? And then what were some of the other ones?
Lindsay McCarthy: Creating the family values which you've already kind of talked about. We also have a system in our house called the STARR System, which is another acronym which stands for screen time, allowance, responsibilities, and rewards. So, we created a whole system with the kids like, what things do you want to be rewarded for when you do them? And they have little check marks that they make every day, and then, what rewards would you like to earn with those stars?
Mike McCarthy: So, we have a family currency called the McCarthy’s stars, and they can essentially trade that in for things that they want, like screen time, if they want to have a sweet snack, or if they want money, they actually trade-in. There's an exchange rate where they can turn in stars and get money for them, there's a lot of other things that they could. Originally, they thought they would want to trade for stars, but it just comes down to those three things for the kids. They want sugar and money, but it teaches them responsibility helping out around the house, but also there's something about a currency and the value of a star as it relates to money. So, I think that that's also teaching them some lessons, like our son Tyler right now really wants a gaming computer, and we have the resources to go buy that for him if we wanted to. And he even kind of questioned me a little bit, like you could buy this for me.
Hal Elrod: And I know you can afford this.
Mike McCarthy: Buy this for me, and I was like, buddy, because then, we're not going to be teaching you how to earn and get what you want on your own in life. Like, we want you to have the experience of going out and earning enough stars and money to where you can go and get what you want on your own. And so, he's been highly, highly motivated to up his level of earning stars and things like that, which has been awesome to watch it actually in play and motivating him to do that. And what are the last couple of things there?
Lindsay McCarthy: So, that was to help us control our kids’ screen time, and then we realized it wasn't 100% effective. So, we also created a screen time contract with them where they kind of helped us create the rules around electronics.
Mike McCarthy: For the whole household, not just the kids, but what our mom and dad committing to do or not do with screen. So, we obviously have a little more flexibility because we have adult things and responsibilities that we take care of with it, but we are trying to lead by example and also let them have input on what they think the agreement should be. And it keeps growing because kids are really good at finding loopholes. We keep adding to the contract to make sure we address all angles of this, but I think, I've learned this from you, and you turned us onto the bug glow kids and just understanding that we don't really know what screens are doing to our kids, but if we can accept the inevitability that they're going to be on screens, it really becomes about what are the boundaries that we want to set or the values that we hold around screens so that we keep them in check and we control the screens instead of the screens controlling us.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, beautiful. Yeah, we just did a screen-free summer. So, the kids just got there, got some video game time on the weekends back, like two weeks ago, so. But it worked, it worked out. Well, so…
Mike McCarthy: We’re at the third P. I’ll speak to that real quick because we got purposefulness, playfulness, and then perspective. Telling what that is a little bit.
Lindsay McCarthy: So, perspective is all kind of about how our kids are their own people. And we can kind of be the dictators of their lives. They're kind of on their own hero's journey, and our job as parents is kind of to be their allies and not create these little mini-mes, but let them develop their own passions and desires in the world and follow their own path.
Mike McCarthy: Follow their own bliss, yeah, absolutely.
Hal Elrod: I love that. And I think that I love that perspective of rather than us trying to shape our children into who we want them to be, create a space and the boundaries and the guidelines and the values that will allow them to thrive as they are as unique individuals. So, I love that. Probably, the last question, for anybody listening, and you can answer this from a kind of one or two ways, but what are the benefits that somebody listening can expect to gain from reading the Miracle Morning from Parents and Families and getting the workbook, applying the playbook as well? What are the benefits? And when I say answering it from two ways, you can just say, well, the benefits for us have been, even answer through that frame, but that way, somebody, kind of just an overall like, yeah, if I get these books, this can really help me and my family to blank. In what ways do you think the biggest benefits are available?
Lindsay McCarthy: Yeah. I mean, I think for me, in writing the book, Mike and I, it opened up all these conversations that I think are really important for parents to have about how do we want to parent our kids? And what are our beliefs around parenting? And so, that was the most helpful thing, I think, for me, personally, in writing, the book was having these conversations with Mike and getting this clarity about what is our family about? And what do we want to teach our kids that they're not going to learn anywhere outside of our home?
Mike McCarthy: Yeah. And I think some of the benefits are, I mean, number 1 is some of these systems, you have to have a bit of patience and persistence to really get them in place, and then you have to let the power of consistency do some of the heavy liftings. So, you might do some of these things, and then they slip away a little bit but keep coming back to them because I think the power that we've experienced in our family is that it keeps getting easier and easier to be more collaborative, more organized, and to really have each other's backs. Like, I feel like our family is a team and I feel like we're cohesive and I feel like we are all still a team that has many leaders. I feel like there's not one dominant force. I feel like we all take the responsibility for co-leading in our family. And so, it's instilled a lot of responsibility and ambition in our kids, and it's also empowered them to know that their voices matter and that they can contribute to meaningful adult conversations even as children. And I think, our children, if we allow them to be, can be our greatest teachers in life. And I think a lot of times, we think that we're supposed to be the teachers of the children, but if we enable them to have voices and things that relate to the family and how it's led and what our goals are, I think it really just helps them to value themselves and know that they can contribute to any situation and become leaders in any situation as well. And we've seen that blossom in our children.
I'll give you one example, which is so beautiful, is that we sent our daughter to a summer camp this summer. My son also goes, but he had been a couple of years before. This was her first week away from us as a family, and the first night, Lindsay and I were out, and we missed three phone calls from the camp and we both started to panic thinking like I thought they were hurt. They were homesick, like something. Mainly, we thought Ember was probably having challenges at camp, being it her first time. Well, when we finally got her on the phone the next day, it was like, “Nothing's wrong, mom and dad, everything's great here. I just wanted to tell you how excited I am about camp and how much fun I'm having.” And we said, “Oh, that's so great. We were a little worried. We thought, maybe you'd be homesick.” And she said, “I'm not homesick, but my roommate was homesick, and I helped her through it.”
Hal Elrod: Oh wow!
Mike McCarthy: Yeah. It was just this moment of like, “Wow, she is capable. She's independent,” and she's living one of our family values of being a servant leader and helping her roommate through this moment. So, it was just that moment where you realize, like these systems that you can apply and use in your own family, like they will help to develop better human beings for your family. And that's really our responsibility as parents just to make sure we develop in a purposeful way and guide our children to become great human beings. And if we can do that, like we can really face a lot of the challenges that the world has right now because if you've got your home team and you've got families that are thriving, they produce amazing individuals who are able to go out in the world and have more empathy, more compassion, more resilience, and really help make a difference in a world that right now really needs strong individuals. And I think strong individuals come from strong families. So, these methods, these systems, they're what we're using as a family to build a great family and great individuals through that family.
Hal Elrod: That was so beautifully said, brother, and yeah, you're doing exactly that, like I opened up by saying that you are two of the most intentional parents I've ever met. And I think that through the course of the last 30 or 40 minutes, everybody listening got to really see what that looks like. And I hope, I don't know about them, but for myself, every time I talk to you guys, I'm inspired to uplevel my game. You guys are at the highest level of systems and rituals and intentionality as parents or anybody that I know. So, where can people get the book? Where can they get the playbook?
Mike McCarthy: Awesome. Well, it'll be on Amazon starting October 25th. And also, it'll have its own site within the MiracleMorning.com. It'll have its own link within there that you can find under the book series. So, that's where it will be. And then Lindsay does have a blog where she puts a lot of resources that we find around parenting, and she writes blogs called GratefulParent.com. So, that's her blog and resource page as well.
Hal Elrod: Awesome. Lindsay, anything to add? I mean, Mike beautifully kind of summed everything up, but was there anything you want to add?
Lindsay McCarthy: He is much more well-spoken than I am.
Mike McCarthy: I have more practice, I talk more. I've been in trouble my whole life for talking too much.
Hal Elrod: But oddly enough, I enjoy talking to you probably more than this. So, I don't know what that is, but…
Mike McCarthy: She’s a good listener, that’s why.
Hal Elrod: That's what it is. I like talking. Yeah, that's it. Yeah, Mike, you like talking, I like talking, so none of us get a word in edgewise. Well, hey, I'm so grateful that– Lindsay, actually, I told you recently, I just said, thank you. Like, you worked so hard on updating this book and you worked so hard on the playbook. Not that Mike didn't work hard, but you took the lead on it. And I expressed to you recently how much I appreciate it because I do feel, Mike, everything that you just said and you said it so eloquently that right now, the world, we're struggling as a global society, and I do believe that families is one of, if not the answer, is that creating those strong families, and that's going to produce strong individuals and great citizens. So, I love you guys and gals. Everybody listening, go grab The Miracle Morning for Parents and Families. The new edition is on Amazon and the playbook, and by the way, I should know this, but is it called the Miracle Morning Parent Playbook or?
Lindsay McCarthy: Yeah, The Miracle Morning for Parents and Families Playbook.
Hal Elrod: Okay, alright. So, it's the same title, the book with Playbook. I should know that, alright. Awesome. Alright, goal achievers and members of the Miracle Morning community, I love you. Thank you for being here. Mike and Linds, love you guys. So great to talk to you as always.
Mike McCarthy: Thanks, Hal.
Lindsay McCarthy: Thanks.
Hal Elrod: And Ursula, my wife, just yelled in the background, “Love you, Mike and Lindsay!” Alright, I'll talk to you soon.
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