Apple Podcasts Spotify Google Podcasts

Leading Your Family

Season 3 Episode 24

Leading Your Family with Lee Smith

Season 3 Episode 24


Welcome to the Insurance Leadership Podcast. The podcast designed to bring you perspectives and principles from leaders in the life and health insurance industry. We trust you'll enjoy today's episode.

Ryan Eaton: Welcome to another episode of Insurance Leadership Podcast. I'm Ryan Eaton, your host. Honored to have you listening in with us today. We have Lee Smith, who is a friend of. He is a counselor, he's been an associate pastor. He's got so many different roles from advice on leading your family, and that's what our topic is today.

We're gonna walk through what to do in managing expectations, tension in your family, parenting a lot of different topics because at the end of the day, for most of us in the insurance business or in the leadership roles we're in, we wanna make sure we're leading our families correctly. So today we've brought in an expert and let's go ahead and get.

Lee, welcome to the show, buddy.

Lee Smith: Thanks Ryan.

Ryan Eaton: Man. I'm so glad to have you here. As we talked about today, we want to go through leading our families, right? So as leaders, we gotta make sure we're leading our families to most people. That's the most important thing to 'em at the end of the day.

Lee Smith: Absolutely. Yeah.

Ryan Eaton: And you come from a background, you, you have a consulting business and a counseling business, and you've been an associate pastor and you've been a mentor to so many people and had mentors throughout your whole life. I really want to take some time with you today to kind of break down family dynamics, tension expectations, kids parenting, just all good stuff.

Lee Smith: The whole nine yards.

Ryan Eaton: Yeah. So we can kind of go through this, but before we get started, why don't you tell everyone about your business and kinda a little bit about your background, kinda your family so they can get a read.

Lee Smith: Yeah. Well, hey, since we're talking about families, let's start there. Jenny and I will celebrate 24 years in June this year, which is really, really hard to believe, but we're, we're fired up about that. And then we have three kids. We have a 16 year old son, 13 year old daughter. And a 10 year old son as well. And so our 16 year old just started driving recently, just like you have that too right now, which means we're man hovering around life 360 all the time watching him and what's going on with him.

But man, family life is great and good when it comes to my career. Ryan, you know, it's, it's been a very kind of diverse background for me outta college. I spent 10 years in sales and management. The wireless and pharmaceutical industries. And I remember in 2004 I walked through my door of my home and I looked at Jenny and I said, Hey, I think I know what I wanna do the rest of my life.

And she said, what? I said, I wanna go back to school and get a degree in psychology and I want to help people in this whole growth process and I love it. And I'll never forget what she said to me. She looked at me and she said, I haven't heard that message yet. (laughter) I said, alright, well that's fair. That's fair.

But man, a few weeks later she came to me and she said, you know what? You're wired for that. I think this is what we need to go do. And so, man, I was very blessed. I went back to school in '05, wrapped up in '07, and then spent about five years after that on staff at a church like you mentioned.

Ryan Eaton: Yep.

Lee Smith: But it was in 2011 where I just kind of said, you know what? I think it's time to take the plunge. I think it's time for me to step out on my own and, and really go and do this thing I feel like I'm wired to do, which is help people grow. Period. And so in 2011, did that, started Cornerstone Counseling and my, you know, my kind of small mind at the time, it'll just be me in a private practice.

Just a little solo practice on Main Street, Madison here in Mississippi. But you know, there were other plans, going on at that time. And so the practice began to grow and then therapists started coming and being a part of what we were doing. And today, Cornerstone in 2023 has grown to almost 25 providers now.

Ryan Eaton: That's awesome.

Lee Smith: Three locations with a fourth location opening up later this, this quarter. It's been a wild ride, man.

Ryan Eaton: Man. It's been awesome for you. Yeah, it, it's been cool to see it grow and you know, you've been a mentor to me and a friend and a counselor in so many different areas. Just to be able to call you with different things and studies we've had in small groups together. It's been a blessing to me.

Lee Smith: And same.

Ryan Eaton: And it's awesome to hear. I didn't know about Jenny on the support on that. That's pretty cool. That's awesome. Well look, kind of jumping in straight to the families. And one of the questions I want to talk about you, you've done a lot of marriage conferences. And I've heard you talk about tension before. Mm. and that we have to pay attention to the tension. Yeah, and I love that comment. I thought that was great, whether it's with our spouse or whether it's with our kids, or maybe it's kids and spouse, or maybe it's just kind of a little bit of an atmosphere in the house that's just tense when you get there.

Lee Smith: Yeah.

Ryan Eaton: What do you do looking at that, if you notice that, what's kind of the next steps there?

Lee Smith: Yeah, man. Well, first of all, let's just say this. Tension is never fun, right? Yeah. Tension's never fun. But tension is necessary, right? Tension's necessary for growth, and I'll illustrate that real quick.

So when we were kids, I remember a couple buddies of mine, we would do this silly game, right? Don't judge us. We would hold out an arm in front of us, and then one of our buddies would grab our wrists and slowly begin to twist our wrists until the pain was so intense. We'd just cry, uncle, and then they'd stop.

Silly game, right? Silly game. But that boy illustrates, hey, without that tension. That's right. Without that tension, without that pain, we would do permanent damage if we just kept twisting the arm, right? And I think a lot of times we have tension in our families with our marriages or with our kids. The tendency sometimes is to want to push back or to like just avoid it all together. Medicate it away or power up over the tension instead of really embracing it, walk through it with them and man, see the growth that comes from that. Here's the problem with tension though. Okay?

Ryan Eaton: Yeah.

Lee Smith: So Andy Stanley gave that comment one time, that quote, he said, pay attention to the tension. But the thing is this. The thing I don't like about tension is that not all tension can be resolved. Some tension has to be managed over time.

Ryan Eaton: Okay.

Lee Smith: If you've ever been a caregiver to a loved one, you understand this because you understand. Sometimes health issues just don't clear up. Sometimes things just don't change and so how do I manage helping this person and yet maintaining my own health? And so I've gotta manage that tension over time. It's not gonna be easily put into a box, which is what I love. I know. I love when tension's there, let's resolve it. It's not knocked out. Put it box out of the way. Let's move forward.

Ryan Eaton: Yep.

Lee Smith: Some can be resolved and other tension just has to be managed over time.

Ryan Eaton: Well, thinking about tension, one thing that can cause some tension can even be our expectations, right? Like expectation here, reality here. Gap in the middle equals disappointment, right?

Lee Smith: 100%.

Ryan Eaton: And so I've, I've even, we've talked about this before, but you know when sometimes we have unrealistic expectations, right? Like, I want a hot, healthy meal ready every night at 5:30 when I walk in, no matter what.

Lee Smith: Yeah, that's right.

Ryan Eaton: But then there's other times that there's expectations that, that are fair and like, Hey, do we address these? We bring these up? You don't wanna create more attention or you don't wanna do something along those lines. What do you suggest when expectations in reality aren't meeting? What do you hold onto? What do you address? What do you let go? What's your thoughts there?

Lee Smith: Man, it's a great question. You know, I think the first thing to realize is that we all have expectations just about everything in life, right?

Ryan Eaton: That's right. That's right.

Lee Smith: We have expectations about how this podcast is gonna go today. That's true. Very true. We have expectations about everything, and here's the thing, rarely does reality ever match expectations a hundred percent. And what you said is true. So disappointment is kinda that thing you feel in the gap between those two. And the larger the gap is the more disappointment that there is, right? And so I think it's really important to understand two things. When disappointment occurs when an expectation's not met, okay? It's really important to do one of two things, and you're only gonna do one, one of two things, things, okay?

You're either gonna assume the best or you're gonna assume the worst. Assuming the worst. Let's say for our sons real quick, they're driving. That's right. One rule we have right now with our son is, look, you cannot have anybody in your car for the first three to six months while you're driving.

Ryan Eaton: Yeah, all right.

Lee Smith: If I see him driving with somebody in the car with him, there's gonna be disappointment there.

Ryan Eaton: That's right.

Lee Smith: I can assume the worst than that. He doesn't care, he doesn't respect me. All those types of things. Or I could assume the best. He was trying to be a good friend. He made a bad call in that moment. And so you really have a choice here: am I gonna assume the best or am I gonna assume the worst? I always try to encourage myself and other people, look. Try to assume the best as long as you can until you can anymore. . , what does that mean? It means sometimes your expectation just is not going to be met by that person, and the only thing you can control in that is changing your expectation now. That feels like losing.

Ryan Eaton: It does. That's- That's what I was thinking in my head.

Lee Smith: Yeah. Yeah. It feels like losing to us, but man, a real quick example of my marriage where this has played out. So Jenny. Love her. But my girl can't be anywhere on time. She just can't.

Ryan Eaton: Yeah.

Lee Smith: And where this would really play out would be Sunday mornings on our way to church. And so I'm sitting in the car, kids in tow, Jenny's still in the house, and I feel frustration growing. Disappointment's growing, right? And for the first several years, it really kind of wrecked our church experience going to church on Sunday mornings cause we were, everyone was sitting there just angry.

Yeah. And then I realized, you know what, I can continue to hold her to that expectation. . and be disappointed. or I can release that expectation. And I think when you honor someone well, you say, you know what? I'd rather have my relationship with you than have my expectation met by you. Yeah. And that's a big shift. That is big shift.

Ryan Eaton: Not to get personal or ask you an uncomfortable question with that, but when was finally that moment that you said, "Hey, I can continue to let this bother me For years and years and probably till till the day we died down the road..."

Lee Smith: Right.

Ryan Eaton: And what was that aha moment for you in that situation?

Lee Smith: I think I got tired of being frustrated. Disappointed, and frustrated. Yeah. Yeah. I really did. I got tired of walking to the church feeling like, oh my gosh, we're 10 minutes late again, or 15 minutes late again.

Ryan Eaton: That's right.

Lee Smith: And it just... I think you reach a point to where you just gotta say, I can either continue to hold onto this, or I can try something different. . and try something different again. It feels like losing. Yeah. But I'm telling you, I think it's one of the most honoring things you can do and it's been a game changer for us. We're actually on time for church now, but I released it.

Ryan Eaton: Isn't that funny?

Lee Smith: That's, that's crazy how it works.

Ryan Eaton: That's funny how that works?

Lee Smith: Yeah.

Ryan Eaton: That's awesome. So well look, thinking of kind of family staying on that family dynamic in the insurance business. Yeah. And I know initially probably when I called you and said, look, I want you to be on this Insurance Leadership Podcast. You were like, please don't make me talk about insurance, right? (laughter)

Lee Smith: Like, I know not your guy for that.

Ryan Eaton: Yeah. But I, I think about it. One of the things that probably a lot of, whether you're on the carrier side and you're traveling or the insurance side entertaining clients, out to dinners. You're gonna miss some things sometimes, right?

Lee Smith: That's correct.

Ryan Eaton: Whether it's the kids' game, the ballet labor recital, a date night or whatever the case may be. It sometimes just happens. What's something that, that we, as the people missing, the special event? How should we look at, try to look at it through their lens when we come back home, right? Like if I've been gone, I'm headed to Arizona for a few weeks for a conference and I'm gonna be gone for five days, which is a long time, obviously with a 16 year old and a 13 year old. There's a lot going on every day, and my wife's gonna have to actually pick up more of the load.

Lee Smith: Yeah.

Ryan Eaton: What's something in that situation that I should be looking at when I come home to make sure I'm the man they all need me to be and I don't create more tension, or I don't have expectations. Or they don't have expectations.

Lee Smith: Yeah. It's all good.

Ryan Eaton: How should I be looking at that?

Lee Smith: Yeah. I, I think the first thing, Ryan... make sure you're recognizing the value and what you are doing. While you're away, there's a value to that. The value there is that, you know, most likely what I am doing in my time away allows my family to be a part of all those things that they're getting to do. And so recognize the value that that brings to your family. Sometimes as men and women, we can feel shame about that. Yeah. I'm missing this, I'm missing that. And, and yet there's value in what you're doing. You know, I, I think it's, it's the best time really to live with technology and stuff too, because it really kind of bridges the gap sometimes and these things that we miss.

And so I would say let intentionality be your friend. So it could be that hey, when right before your, your child gets up to bat, get the FaceTime going if you can. Or if it's the last two minutes of the game or their peace and the the recitals about to be played, like step out of dinner for those three minutes and watch it live with them.

If that can't be possible, just about everything can be recorded these days, right?

Ryan Eaton: That's exactly right.

Lee Smith: I think it's just about coming back home. Sitting down, rewatching those special moments with your child or with your spouse.

Ryan Eaton: That's good.

Lee Smith: And then asking 'em questions. Hey, what did you like about the game? What did you enjoy most about this piece? What's something while I'm home this weekend you wanna work on that will prepare you for your next one? . . So it just kind of, again, bridges the gap. That's good. So recognize that value, man, that you're- while your away, you're blessing your family.

Ryan Eaton: It's so funny you say that. A guy who's a mentor to me owns a CAT dealership here. I was asking him, he, he'd raised some, some good kids I knew he traveled a lot and I asked him that same type question. I said, man, when you were traveling with work, he said, I let 'em know that each tractor or bulldozer that we sell allows our family to do this. He put value on it, talks about it when they home as along the same lines. So if you. And I know so many people have dealt with this, especially probably early in marriage, right? But you come, you're gone, you come back and it's like, it's your turn to take the kids. Right? I've been doing this for five days.

Lee Smith: Right, right.

Ryan Eaton: And you're kind of coming home more to kind of that tension Yeah. And expectations that, hey, you better step up because you've been gone and some of that, or maybe it's a in-law or a parent or a friend that's putting those expectations out there and, you know, create some of that. How do you recommend staying calm in that situation and not coming back with, oh yeah, well I've been working so I can pay for all the, you know, and saying something we don't need to. Right. And and making sure we keep calm, but it the same time, you know, try to understand from their perspective at the same time as well.

Lee Smith: Yeah, man. Yeah. I, I think it's really important anytime someone confronts you with something, right?

Ryan Eaton: Yep.

Lee Smith: Our first posture's always one of defensiveness.

Ryan Eaton: It is. It really is.

Lee Smith: We wanna explain away what's going on, right? So my challenge would be to that person, Hey, listen to understand, don't listen to respond. Listen to try to understand that person. Just because they're frustrated doesn't mean that they're right. But you do owe them the time to sit and under- understand what they're saying. Hey, tell me more about why you're frustrated, right? Listen, we have blind spots and sometimes even in work, we can get so bogged down in certain seasons of the year or deadlines.

Ryan Eaton: That's right.

Lee Smith: Big clients or big events coming up that we really can lose sight of what's important. It happens to all of us. And so sometimes it's really good to listen to the feedback just to go, Hey, I need to consider this. And so don't respond in the moment. Just thank the person. Say, I can tell you're frustrated. I'm really sorry you're. I want to go and consider what you're saying to me and see what I need to do to adjust my life around it.

Ryan Eaton: Okay. And they feel like they've been listened to.

Lee Smith: Absolutely.

Ryan Eaton: Man, it's gonna ease that. Ease that on that side of it, man. That's right.

Lee Smith: That's right.

Ryan Eaton: Great advice.

I do think too, this is a little added thing here. I think when we're away on trips and all, there's a certain exhaustion that takes place with that.

Lee Smith: It's more of a physical exhaustion that takes place. That's right. But back home it's a physical and an emotional because there's no investment. Like family investment. That's right. And so there is a difference in tired when you come back home and your spouse has been there and it's not that one's better than the other.

Ryan Eaton: That's right.

Lee Smith: It's just both need to recognize exhaustion exists in both people.

Ryan Eaton: Oh, so good. Yeah. So look, when I'm thinking about healthy families, and you've given us some great points on that. But if you had to say maybe, and there's probably a thousand right answers to this type of question. But if you had to say maybe two or three things that you see in families that have a positive atmosphere that have, when you come home, it's a good place to be.

The kids want to be with the parents. The right spouse can't wait for the husband to get home. It's kinda like, remember when the kids were real young? Oh yeah. I don't know why I don't do this anymore. But , you get home and you see 'em wobbling all the way till you do. That's right. You know it's right. It like brought you so much joy.

Yeah. You're so happy. Oh man. They don't run like that anymore when they, they don't come in. Right. They don't. So like, I'm trying to think about it as our kids get older. Yeah. You know, what are some different things we can do to kind of create, create that type atmosphere in our home?

Lee Smith: Yeah, man, listen, I, I think you're right.

There're probably a thousand answers and they would all be correct. I think just the things I notice in families that yeah, please work really, really well. If you're gonna lead your family well. You have to start by leading yourself well, this is really, really important. There's this great piece of scripture.

Jesus was asked one time, what's the greatest commandment? And he says, to love your God without your heart, mind, soul. We think, oh, that's the perfect answer, right? But he does a little Jesus juke in that moment. He throws 'em a curve ball next. He says, Hey, wait, time out. There's a second one that's just like it. And it's love your neighbor as you love your self. Ryan. I meet people every day that are trying to love their neighbors. They're trying to love their wives, they're trying to love their husbands. They're trying to love their kids, but they're not doing a good job of loving and taking care of themselves.

And so they're really given out of an empty bucket. And at some point that giving begins to get resentful and creates distance in relationships. And so it's really imperative that you lead yourself well, take care of yourself. And a lot of times as guys and and ladies too, they'll say things like, I feel guilty if I pull back and go to the gym, or go play around to golf or do whatever I need to do for me. But I try to help them reframe that. See, that's an investment you're making in yourself that's gonna pay dividends in your family, right?

Ryan Eaton: To be the best version of yourself. That's right. That's right.

Lee Smith: That's right. So I think that's, that's one thing I would say living with boundaries too. Men, have some clear separation between work and home life. My mentor challenged me years ago to find a drop off point on my drive home. He said, find a place that's about five to seven miles out from your home. Let it be a physical reminder to you that, hey, you're crossing the threshold in the family time, and tomorrow when you drive back, you're gonna cross the threshold back again and pick it right back up again.

It's having that mental break to say, Hey, what? I'm about to go do at home is the most important thing I'm gonna do all day. And so having some of those, those boundaries there are really, really good, I think too, as well.

Ryan Eaton: Man. So another question off that, it, it, it sounds like the same question, but it's a little bit different, you know, and that's phenomenal advice, but if you had to say, you know, Stephen Covey's book, right? Habits of Highly Effective People. We've all read it. What would you say that you've seen Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families, what would you say? And I'm not asking for seven.

Lee Smith: Yeah, yeah.

Ryan Eaton: But what would you say, one or two, those type habits that you see in those relationships?

Lee Smith: I think healthy families have a good balance between work and play. They really do. Yeah. There, there is a difference in both of those and there's value placed on both of those. I would say too, be aware of the type of relationships you're building in your home. . , so there's there a task-oriented type of relationship. And there's a relationally oriented relationship. Task-oriented. Can I just be honest? It's the easiest thing for us to do. Have you done your homework? Did you clean your room? Have you done this today? Have done, that's right. Those are all task-oriented things that really do not build deep. No, they don't.

Ryan Eaton: Yeah, they don't. No. And the kids even too in that situation is, Hey, did you clean your room? Did you get the skimmers? Did you go the yard? Did you do this? Yeah. It's, I feel like I've done that before personally, and I felt like I created an environment where it's like when I see Daddy's gonna ask me what I've done right. And it's a. It's the task, the chore, and it's like, I feel like it almost deteriorates your, your, your emotional support maybe to them.

Lee Smith: Yeah, it does. And yeah, no, well, I think they, they, they begin to go, Hey, I'm only gonna be as approved of and light to the degree that I can knock out all these things. And so my value is based on what I can produce for my parents. Right? That's right. And so I just think it's, You gotta have some task oriented conversations at times, but try to make the majority of 'em relationally oriented.

Ryan Eaton: Yeah. And pulling that in the insurance side. And I, it's really probably any business, but we have so many different things like, Hey, make sure this box is checked. Make sure this, they put check boxes on every application and all this. That means, so we're used to it, right? Yeah. And we can bring that home.

And I think that's a, that's a great, great point there. So to make sure we're. Too task oriented. That's what someone say. That's, that's good, man. So, you know, we've talked about this before raising good kids and that's kind of one of the main things we want to do, and, and building a legacy there. .

But the kids are seeing so much stuff different. You and I both have been in many of ditches and we can teach from those ditches. Yeah. We have, we, we have bumped our heads many of times and skin the knees, but, when we're looking at today's time, a lot of stuff has changed with technology. Right. And, you know, we see it all the time where they'll hand a iPad to kid to the three year old at the table. Just think "Neat." I'm saying that from a judgemental standpoint. Yep. Just say, I mean, it starts early. Yeah. Right. For sure. And you know, kids now it. We were one of those ones that we were, we were judging other parents for years and we were like, we're not gonna let our kids have cell phones till they start driving.

And that is, why would parents do that? Yeah. How's that work now? Yeah, that's right. And then in sixth grade when they had to be picked up from here and taken here, we were trying to figure out where everybody's going. It's like, we need a phone. Yeah. . So it's, it's funny how that kind of all spins

but I guess my question for you here is those relationships, those different things have have changed. Just like that's changed. There's different way to build relationships with our kids now than there used to be and you and I even were joking about it when Snapchat came out.

Lee Smith: Oh yeah.

Ryan Eaton: We were saying that I, we, you know, our initial thought was, oh my gosh, they send these pictures and it's automatically deleted. This could be like the worst thing in the world. Right. And then we saw our kids on it. That's how they started communicating instead of texts. Right. And you know, it was one of those things that you and I signed up for Snapchat.

Lee Smith: We did!

Ryan Eaton: We did. And I think to this day I have three friends. Yeah. And it's both of our boys and one more boy. There you go. And we were doing it from a communications job to speak in a manner in which they speak. Right? Yeah. Any other things that you would suggest in kind of that communication side with our kids?

Lee Smith: Yeah. I think again, man, some intentionality like that. Yeah. It's, it's, it's so hard for us to get. Our method of communication and try to adopt their way of communicating. But I think any attempts to do that really help bridge that gap and build deeper connection with them. And man, I would say the other thing too is, again, just back to like, when you're with your kids, really just try to be engaged with them. I gotta a buddy that he, he always says, "Hey man, be where your feet are."

Ryan Eaton: Yeah.

Lee Smith: If I'm with them, try to really be with them. Try to rid yourself. Abstract. It's easier said than done. I get it. Oh, so, but be where you are and just be engaged with them, you know? Be empathetic, ask open-ended. A little tip on some of this too. A lot of times kids today, you ask 'em questions and they'll even, they'll be like, why are you asking me that? Stop asking me questions. You know, if you can give a kid, a teenager, anybody, something to do and you're doing that with them, sometimes that lessens the wall a little bit and conversations in flow crazy. Okay? Over Christmas. One of my most favorite memories this Christmas was we put together a Will Ferrell Elf puzzle. Thousand piece puzzle around a table.

Ryan Eaton: I love it.

Lee Smith: And it would be something we'd work on for two weeks leading up to Christmas.

Ryan Eaton: I was about to ask, how long did it take?

Lee Smith: Yeah, about two weeks, thousand piece piece puzzle, about two weeks. And so, man, we did. We just worked on it. And what was interesting is that as I would go sit down, here we come a child with hot chocolate and sit down, and then as you're putting puzzle pieces together, you can talk. It's just naturally lowering their defenses down a little bit. Step into their world, invite them in, be available, and be where your feet are.

Ryan Eaton: Oh, I love it. That for me is playing basketball in the driveway. There you go. That's it. Breaks everybody's day. Everyone's laughing by the end of it and everything.

Lee Smith: Oh, yeah, man.

Ryan Eaton: So from looking at it from the counseling side, right? . and, and looking at it from a. What you've heard maybe directly from you, maybe from other counselors that work with you, what have you heard kids say? my parent's not listening to this. My parent doesn't understand that my, you know, they're, they don't understand or get this. What are you hearing from that side that we. . We may have heard someone else say, but of course it doesn't apply to us. Right, right. But Right, right, right. What are you hearing from that side of it that we can be co cognitive of

Lee Smith: aware of?

Yeah. Hey, I can make every parent who's listening to this podcast a promise. Okay. Your child has never woken up one day and said, I hope I disappoint them today. Mm. This is their worst fear. . It's disappointing their parents. And yet a lot of kids feel at times I'm disappointing them. I'm letting them down.

You know, I think as you work with kids and teenagers and you get to know them a little bit, they really struggle with a lot of the same things we do. Yeah. You know, I think most teens would tell you things like Hey man, I wanna be me. Yeah. I'm not you. That's right. I'm not, if they have siblings, I'm not my sibling.

I'm unique and I have different interests and desires. And as a parent, it's really hard trying to figure out what those things are and then not to shape them and mold them and what we want them to be or think they need to be, but really trying to embrace who they are, their giftings, and trying to speak life into that, right? That's hard for us. It's hard for me. .

Ryan Eaton: No, that is really hard for me. You know, that's the, the, I remember hearing one time Proverbs 20:26, talking about training up a child and the way she go when he is older is not apart from it. We've all taken that one way. And if you look back, and I think it's the Hebrew wording, they talk about training him up in their bent. The way they're supposed to go, the way God molded them. And that's a, that's a crucial deal. Well, I heard someone say this stuff today and it, he is not a counselor, but he sees people all the time. . . And I was like, man, what is the. Thinking for this podcast, trying to get some extra questions for the head, kinda what to do.

I was like, what's the biggest thing you hear right now from families? And he kind of put it a little bit different. He said, you know, I hear that. I don't know how to get them to listen to me. Yeah. I don't know how to get them to understand me. And he said, I'm not just hearing this from the parent kids standpoint, but I'm hearing this from the parent, adult parent.

Lee Smith: Yeah.

Ryan Eaton: Like, You need to let me go to this doctor's appointment with you. Yeah. Or we need to hear this. And I was like, man, I, I'm not that season yet where that, that's really happening, but I know a lot of people are in it in the thick of it right now. Oh, you even brought up kind of an example on that earlier.

Lee Smith: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Ryan Eaton: But what would you say there if you, you feel like you're. having problems getting through to somebody and getting them to maybe start listening to you, is there something you're doing wrong? Is there something you can do better? What? I don't know.

Lee Smith: Yeah, man.

Ryan Eaton: Just throwing that out.

Lee Smith: Just try to make that connection.

Ryan Eaton: Right.

Lee Smith: How do you connect?

Ryan Eaton: Right. That's it. How do you get it?

Lee Smith: I would say consider... what is it that allows you to feel connected with your spouse? Think about the ingredients that go into that. Well, I feel loved by them. I feel safe by them. Yeah. I feel I can trust them. That's right. So there's certain ingredients that go along with connection and this kind of relationship you're talking about. . between parent and. . So more than likely, it's one of two things, Ryan, if you're having a hard time connecting with one of your children or even your spouse for that matter, it could be that one of those ingredients is missing. And it would be really important just to check in to try to figure out what that is. Maybe they don't feel very safe because they think that you're not going to approve of them or you're not gonna lie. So they, they pull back. Remember, they don't wanna disappoint you. Right? That's right. That's right. I think the other thing that's really important here too is to remember that I think sometimes we misinterpret communication for our connection as I want to download my agenda.

And there's one thing about kids that's always been true. They're keen observers, but they are poor interpreters, . So they know, they can sense something's going on here. Oh yeah. They can almost sense like, Hey, I think you got a motive here, which is gonna shut a child down. So drop the agenda. Just make connection your goal. Make safety, make love your goal. Ask lots of questions. And then time will be your friend with that usually.

Ryan Eaton: That's great. I love that quote on the kids. Yeah. Yeah. That's good. So I know we're getting close to time here. Yeah. I would ask you kind of last, what is one thing that you would suggest for.

Leaders, whether it's man or woman, you know, husband, wife, whatever the case may be leading, what would you say we should do from an intentionality standpoint? . One thing that you would recommend? Yeah. To not just be able to create our Our house. Good home. And maybe it's maybe specific on listening, but one thing to kind of pull all that together that we just went over. If you had to encourage some- everyone to do one thing.

Lee Smith: One thing, yeah.

Ryan Eaton: What would that one thing be?

Lee Smith: So one thing would be this, I want it to be customized to their family. So every spouse needs to go to their. and say, Hey, what's it been like to be married to me for the last six months? And listen to understand. Don't listen to respond. Gather that feedback and then go to your kids and say, Hey, what's one thing that dad can do or mom can do over the next year to really grow our relationship? Mm. And just gather feedback from them. They're the experts on what needs to happen in your home. And so just listen to understand, don't listen to respond.

And if I could add one extra thing to that-

Ryan Eaton: Yeah, please, please!

Lee Smith: Find somebody in your life who's down the road from you. Find somebody that you look at who's not perfect. Cause there's no such thing as as that, right. That's right. There's no such thing as that. Find somebody that you can go and emulate. Find somebody you can go learn from and just share successes, share struggles with, and let them encourage you and challenge you and share their best practices with you too.

Ryan Eaton: Oh dude. Love it. Love you, brother.

Lee Smith: Appreciate it.

Ryan Eaton: Well, that wraps up another episode of the Insurance Leadership Podcast in this. So great having Lee on the show today to be able to talk about leading our families before we close out. Remember that a good plan today is better than a great plan months from now.

Thank you so much.

Lee Smith: Thanks for listening to today's episode of The Insurance Leadership Podcast. Make sure you subscribe on your favorite podcast app so you'll be notified of future episodes or stream online at