“Value your time with your kids like you won’t get a second chance… because you won’t”, with Ben…

“Value your time with your kids like you won’t get a second chance… because you won’t”, with Ben Midgley and Dr. Ely Weinschneider

Kids need to know that they are loved. They need guidance and to know that you are interested and engaged in everything they do. It is part of our job as parents to know what their minds are focusing on, being excited by, puzzling over, etc. Not spending time with them or putting things like your phone first will have larger impacts when they are older and on the relationships they develop in the future. You only have so long to prepare them for the outside world so you need to value it like you won’t get a second chance, because you won’t.

Ben Midgley, CEO and Founding Partner of Crunch Franchising, is a 27 year veteran of the fitness industry and the only person in the industry to serve as the CEO and/or President of the 2 largest and fastest growing full size high value low price & low price fitness franchisees. Has lead the growth of Crunch Franchising from concept to one of the largest and fastest growing companies in the industry and is regularly featured in/on prominent business publications and programming. Co-Author with his father of Golden Circle Secrets (published by John Wiley & Sons) that on release reached the #1 ranking on Amazon.com for Sales Management and Customer Service books and is a contributing writer to Forbes.com.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us your “childhood backstory”?

I was born in Boston and our family stayed in Massachusetts until about 4th grade. After that, we moved to Maine, which was a blessing. We were a solid middle class family of four, comprised of my parents, my sister and myself. Maine was a great place to grow up. The people here accept and appreciate you for who you are and the communities are small, so everyone knows everyone and in a way looks out for each other. I could go on for a long time about how much Maine has shaped me as a person, but it would take up pages. It’s a wonderful place.

Can you share the story about what brought you to this specific point in your career?

Throughout my childhood, I always believed that nothing could stand in my way and that someday, somehow I could change the world. Basically, an ‘I can’t lose’ attitude. Then you lose, helping you determine the type of person you are and what are you made of. For example, I lost when I went off to college in California with only $500 and worked three jobs to pay the bills (one was cleaning machines at a local health club). I never graduated and had to get back home.

When I returned to Maine, I was working in the fitness industry part-time. I ended up on unemployment several times, even having to use food stamps along the way. That was when I knew that I had to make some changes to become more successful. Luckily, I was able to get into the fitness industry full-time. I started in the industry cleaning machines, moving up through every position the industry had, which helped me learn the business from the ground up. This opportunity allowed me to meet people to grow and learn from, helping me get to where I am today.

Can you tell us a bit more about what your day to day schedule looks like?

Every day I wake up between 4:30 and 5:00AM. I grab a fresh cup of coffee, read the Wall Street Journal, workout for an hour, and take my three kids — ages 9, 12 and 15 to school. Being able to take them to school every day allows me to spend extra time with them.

Depending on the day, I either head back home after I drop the kids off and grab breakfast, or I go straight to work. Every day is a little different — I could be spending the day in the Crunch Franchise corporate office in Portsmouth, NH, meeting with vendors, banks, and potential franchisees, or I could be out touring club locations.

My work day ends at 6:00 or 6:30 PM. I have a 45-minute commute each way. Once I get home, that time is spent with my family — I’m all about family time. Depending on everyone’s schedules and extracurricular activities, we eat dinner, spend time talking about how our days went or helping out with homework. At 8:00 PM, I turn my phone off and have story time with my two girls.

By 9:00 PM I am usually asleep.

Let’s jump to the core of our discussion. This is probably intuitive to many, but it would be beneficial to spell it out. Based on your experience or research, can you flesh out why not spending time with your children can be detrimental to their development?

Kids need to know that they are loved. They need guidance and to know that you are interested and engaged in everything they do. It is part of our job as parents to know what their minds are focusing on, being excited by, puzzling over, etc. Not spending time with them or putting things like your phone first will have larger impacts when they are older and on the relationships they develop in the future. You only have so long to prepare them for the outside world so you need to value it like you won’t get a second chance, because you won’t.

On the flip side, can you give a few reasons or examples about why it is important to make time to spend with your children?

With technology being so dominant in our current society, more than ever, it is hard to get children to simply run around and play pretend. And things like that are so important. As a parent, you can help them grow the confidence they need.

It was put well in the movie Tag: “We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.”

Plus, spending time with your children isn’t just beneficial for them: It’s probably the best thing you can do for yourself, too! Take time away from work and everyday life, if you are able to have that opportunity, to have fun and be a kid again with them. You’ll never regret it.

According to this study cited in the Washington Post, the quality of time spent with children is more important than the quantity of time. Can you give a 3–5 stories or examples from your own life about what you do to spend quality time with your children?

Actually, I believe in a combination of quality time and quantity — just being with them a bunch if you can — is very important.

A couple of nights a week, we try to have a board game night. Some of my family’s favorites include Yahtzee, Monopoly, Exploding Kittens, Sorry! and Life. You never know what you can learn from a board game.

My son is competitive swimmer, so on Sundays the whole family will go to the pool and spend an hour or so swimming. Not only are we getting out and exercising, but also spending time together as a family. Other weekends we will all go skiing, or sledding, or bowling something to get the whole family out together.

Every night I sit with my daughters on the couch just relaxing, one under each arm. Spending time with family doesn’t have to be fancy, it can be as simple as just hanging out and watching TV.

We all live in a world with many deadlines and incessant demands for our time and attention. That inevitably makes us feel rushed and we may feel that we can’t spare the time to be “fully present” with our children. Can you share with our readers 5 strategies about how we can create more space in our lives in order to give our children more quality attention?

  1. When a child comes over to you, immediately put down your phone and listen to what they are saying.
  2. Dedicate time before bed to spend with them without any interference. Reading a tory, talking about their day or just listening to whatever they want to talk about.
  3. Spend a little time doing what they want to do. Play stuffed animals or get involved with their hobby — kids are only young for so long.
  4. Just do it — family should be the most important.
  5. If you are in a leadership role professionally, work to foster a culture where family comes first. Your colleagues will respect your family time more that way — and they’ll be thankful they can put their family first too.

How do you define a “good parent”? Can you give an example or story?

Everyone’s situation in life is different, but a “good parent” shows up. Show up to the parent-teacher conference, recital, sporting events, etc. Parents need some time to do things for themselves and of course there is work, but all the rest of that time, you should dedicate to making your children a priority.

As a parent, it is okay to say “I’m Sorry” to your kids. If one of my kids gets in trouble, I wait 10 to 15 minutes to gather thoughts, then go back and sit down with them to explain why I reacted the way I did and explain the potential consequences of their actions. If I was wrong in anything I said, then I admit that I am sorry. For me I want them to grow up knowing that if someone does something wrong (including themselves) they should expect and apology or provide one, which is more about respecting others than being write or wrong. I tell my children to always tell the truth no matter what the situation may be; that if they always tell the truth, no matter what, they will never ever get in trouble. That way they know as parents we always have their back.

  1. How do you inspire your child to “dream big”? Can you give an example or story?

Before I drop my kids off at school, I tell them three things everyday:

  1. Make Good Decisions
  2. Think Big
  3. Don’t Give Up

Telling them these three things allows them to truly believe in it. Our family motto is “Never Give Up.” We teach our kids that they are going to fail, but it will be okay. It is the reaction to failure that matters. Teaching them to ask themselves, “why not me?” so they can be resilient, persistent and feel worthy of the things they want to achieve. Doing all of these things will help them feel strong, secure and confident to not only “dream big,” but achieve those dreams.

How do you, a person who masterfully straddles the worlds of career and family, define “success”?

Success for me is having a balance at home and work, having confident kids and a great relationship with my wonderful wife. In addition, being able to work for a purpose that you believe in and being recognized for that.

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a better parent? Can you explain why you like them?

I like to read leadership books, which I guess inspire me to be a better person and, by extension, a better parent. I can’t say that I have a favorite book or podcast that has directly inspired me to be a better parent. Plus, past experiences in my own life have made me internalize that being a good parent is my wife and mine most important job.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I guess the best quote for me is the one we have as our family motto — “Never give up!” I don’t know who said it first, but we have it painted on the overhang going down to our basement, so we all see it every day. There have been a lot of days when my mind is racing, then I see those words, and it all just straightens out. Not sure if it effects my kids in the same way, but I am sure it is pretty close.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

The movement I would want to inspire would be respecting each other’s opinion and getting back to normal, where people could just sit down and talk about differences. We live in a great country that affords us opportunities, so being able to inspire communication and people to be okay with compromising every once in a while would be a big win. At Crunch, we believe in “No Judgments” — it would be even better if we could inspire a world of “No Judgments.”

Thank you for sharing your inspirational thought with us!

About the author:

Dr. Ely Weinschneider is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist based in New Jersey. Dr. Ely specializes in adolescent and adult psychotherapy, parenting, couples therapy, geriatric therapy, and mood and anxiety disorders. He also has a strong clinical interest in Positive Psychology and Personal Growth and Achievement, and often makes that an integral focus of treatment. An authority on how to have successful relationships, Dr. Ely has written, lectured and presented nationally to audiences of parents, couples, educators, mental health professionals, clergy, businesses, physicians and healthcare policymakers on subjects such as: effective parenting, raising emotionally intelligent children, motivation, bullying prevention and education, managing loss and grief, spirituality, relationship building, stress management, and developing healthy living habits. Dr. Ely also writes a regular, nationally syndicated column about the importance of “being present with your children”. When not busy with all of the above, Dr. Ely works hard at practicing what he preaches, raising his adorable brood (which includes a set of twins and a set of triplets!) together with his wife in Toms River, New Jersey.