sunshine parenting podcast

In Episode 75, I’m starting a new parenting series with my friend, Sara Kuljis. We’re tentatively titling our series “Encouragements for Parents.” In this first episode, we talk about reframing how we view success for our children and the concept of “beginning with the end in mind.”

Sara & Audrey

Big Ideas:

  • There are many different paths to success.
  • It’s important to be clear about your end goal and about what success looks like for you and your family.
  • What success looks like for you will probably not match the messages that are coming in.
  • Our relationships and our social connections are most important.
  • We need to be able to be vulnerable and share with the people we’re getting close to, in order to develop deep relationships.
  • Having a faith of some kind is very meaningful and valuable for a flourishing life. And having core values that you stay consistent with is an essential part of faith.
  • It’s a good idea to build faith into the daily flow of family life.


Sara: “Sometimes with parenting, when I have felt overwhelmed or exhausted or at wit’s end, it’s hard to keep my eye on the end result and I sometimes operate out of anxiety or fear, or I’m reacting instead of really anticipating and laying out where I want to end up.”

Sara: “It’s such a wonderful feeling to know that we could be intentional about the process, rather than reactive.”

Sara: “The measure isn’t what’s out there in the world. The measure is so much more what’s inside of them.”

Sara: “Now I consider beginning with the end in mind. And that is ‘What is my definition of success for my children? What is my husband’s definition? Are we on the same page?’.”

Audrey: “Sometimes the information in the parenting world is giving people a list, or saying you must do this thing for your child to turn out okay. And that is just absurd to think that there is a list of classes or curricula or activities that are going to guarantee your child’s success. And I almost think it could do the opposite if you overwhelm yourself or your child with trying to keep up with all of these so-called things that we must do.”

Sara: “What would be the top three things that I would consider being a success for my children, as adults?”

Audrey: “What leads to a happy, healthy, flourishing life?”

Sara: “We have tried to stay committed to creating space and hang out times so our kids can deepen friendships on their own, in their own way, where parents are not meddling.”

Sara: “I think carving out time can feel unproductive, but it’s absolutely essential.”

Sara: “There’s a lot of friendship building at summer camps and those skills are absolutely essential to growing into adulthood, to the workplace, and certainly to family life and married life.”

Sara: “Creating space is huge, and I think also modeling- for us as parents to be role models.”

Audrey: “If you don’t have a family where you feel that connection, make one somewhere else.”

Audrey: “If we value healthy, deep, and enriching relationships, that might mean that we do things differently than our neighbors, or maybe some other people.”

Sara: “We can continue to choose to work out relationships and accept others for who they are and model forgiveness and model generosity and hospitality- even when it’s not easy.”

Audrey: “You’ve got to have a few people where you can be really real and kind of raw with.”

Sara: “Meaningful work doesn’t have to be a very glamorous, big deal. It could be something that’s very quiet but brings us joy. It could be something that’s even boring but produces something important and impactful. ”

Audrey: “To help our kids to start seeing those little sparks of time where they are fired up and they fire other people up, or they help in some way, that is just magical! That’s the big magic!”

Audrey: “A lot of research shows that having a faith of some kind is very meaningful and valuable for a flourishing life.”

Audrey: “We’re living in a time where people mostly are not connected with any faith and there’s a lot of negative press about religion.”


Why Summer Camp May be the Secret to a Longer Life (Susan Pinker’s TED Talk in this post)
Ep. 28: Focusing on Our Kids’ Strengths with Audrey & Sara
Ep. 63: Growing Gratitude with Sara Kuljis

Mentions in this Episode:

Margaret Feinberg’s The Joy Cast Podcast

Pam Roy Blog

Outer Order Inner Calm by Gretchen Rubin

The Village Effect by Susan Pinker

Brene Brown

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

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