TODAY | August 07, 2013
>>> so many wonderful kids today with such strong passion and talent.
>> as parents we often wonder what our children will grow up to be and do and what we can do to nurture those talents or help our kids find them.
>> how do you raise inspired kids? here with advice are michelle and mike. once named father of the year, by the way.
>> i was, actually. my kids don't respect it, but it did happen.
>> michelle, every parent, obviously, wants their kid to flourish and sometimes you see something your kid is good at. what should you do to sort of encourage him or her?
>> most important thing is we're going to tune into our kids and let them lead us. you're really looking to see where's that child's passion lie? because the new research is really showing us that the right conditions and the right parenting, we can really help stretch our kids to all of them, shine a little brighter and that's what it's about. not having them win the pulitzer.
>> not become celebrities, but the finest little people they can be.
>> what you're doing is you're going to look a little closer to look where his natural interests are, listen, i'm sure while they were watching a tv show said i'm really upset about what happened in oklahoma. tune into that. then you can always ask a teacher at a parent conference, what are his strengths, what are his talents, and then assess, because a passion becomes an obsession with a child who's really talented.
>> can't stop them from doing it. we are going to have a little girl on in a bit that can't stop singing and a boy that can't stop preaching.
>> you have to be careful about not pushing them. kids are funny, when you push them, they don't want to do the things you want them to do.
>> i'm so glad you mentioned that. first of all, you got to make sure your expectations are right and some fabulous new research is actually been tracking these kids to discover, first we have to be a champion. we've got to be a cheerleader and support our own children. second of all, the first teachers are absolutely critical terror a child that's really talented. they have to be one who's child oriented and also fun.
>> unfortunately, sometimes that's not the case.
>> you want a child that's well rounded, as well. not only a talented kid, but kid who's empathetic and can feel what's going on.
>> there are things parents can do. you mentioned my book, the secrets of happy families , and i spent time looking at families trying to figure out what i could learn. the single most surprising thing i learned is if you want to have inspiring children, tell inspiring stories about your own family. kids who know more about their family history have a higher belief that they can control the world.
>> just makes sense.
>> and a greater sense
of -- : what if you don't have a great family story?
>> even better. that's the point i want to make, don't just tell the positive stories, maybe an aunt had breast cancer , house burned down, maybe lost a job. by being open, this has changed how i parent, because i think my instincts were to only tell positive stories to protect. now when you talk about pain, they become -- they get out of themselves and they relate to it. as you all know, i spent a year fighting cancer in my leg and i was on crutches and i was worried it would traumatize my children. instead, they went running to the kid with the amputated leg on the playground or would look at the rabbit in the kids book that had crutches and would reach out. telling your own stories of your own struggles will actually help your children to become more empathetic.
>> that's so smart. meredith vieira once said her husband has m.s., how has that affected your family? i raised more caring children, that's what it gave me.
>> because it stretches their empathy. that's what you have, three children here who have such heart. heart is what opens it up.
>> otherwise we're sort of basically selfish, aren't we? we have to teach them, i'm sorry --
>> my bad.
>> we got to go, you guys. we could talk about it forever. got some great