Ep. 49: Changing the Odds with Michelle Kinder

Michelle Kinder, Executive Director of The Momentous Institute

In Episode 49, I’m chatting with Michelle Kinder, Executive Director of the Momentous Institute in Dallas, Texas.

Michelle has worked in the field of children’s mental health for more than 20 years and is a Licensed Professional Counselor. She graduated from Baylor University with a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre Arts and the University of Texas with a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology.

Michelle is a fellow of the OpEd Project and has articles featured in TIME, Washington Post, Dallas Morning News, Mindful Magazine, Huffington Post, PBS’ Next Avenue, and Scary Mommy.  She is a nationally recognized speaker on trauma, parenting, social-emotional health, and emotionally intelligent leadership.  Michelle is a member of the Stagen Leadership Academy, the North Texas Chapter of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and the Leadership Dallas Alumni Association.

Michelle grew up in Guatemala and is fluent in Spanish. She lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband, Patrick, and their two daughters, Maya and Sophia.

In our interview, Michelle and I talk about the Changing the Odds conference (September 27-28, 2018 in Dallas, Texas), children’s social-emotional health and well-being, and the resources available for parents through The Momentous Institute.

Social-Emotional Health is the capacity to understand and manage emotions, reactions, and relationships.

Three Things Kids Need for Social-Emotional Health

We talk about what Michelle believes are the three most important things we need to address in order to ensure children’s social-emotional health:

  1. Safe relationships.
  2. Capacity to self-regulate their emotions.
  3. Inspiring them for contribution over achievement.

Quotes from Michelle

“The materials that we put out really are meant to shift every single adult on the planet into a headspace where they can really see and feel and understand children and give them the experience that they are seen and felt and understood and capable and cherished.”

“We always tell parents and caregivers and teachers, if you do not know what to do if you’re in a situation with a kid and we all are at some point where it’s like, ‘Holy cow, There’s a possession taking place right now!’ Start with just regulating your own nervous system. Just get your own self in check.”

“There’s such a hyper-focus on individual achievement and that’s an empty place for most of the population. There’s a very small percentage of people who are filled because they achieve individually. They might be proud, but they’re not filled up by that. So we spend a lot of time talking to children about a contribution being the inspiration and that that will fuel achievement, that none of us are in it for ourselves.”

“We’re in it to be part of a community, safe relationships, helping kids learn how to self-regulate and then inspiring them for contribution over personal achievement.”

“In our education system and in our parenting, we’re all a little overly captured by fear.”

“Energetically we show up differently when we are guided by love instead of fear.”


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