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7 Takeaways from "Parenting in a Time of Uncertainty & Challenge" by Dave Mochel


We appreciate Dave Mochel taking the time to share his insights with McGillis families during a recent Parent Association Coffee Klatch & Conversation.

Here are several takeaways from Dave's presentation on The Hearty Child - A peaceful and powerful approach to parenting in a time of uncertainty and challenge: 


Hearty Children vs. Happy Children 

“I just want my children to be happy” is a common mantra most parents share. It’s true, we all want our children to be happy, but when we think of happiness, we think of fleeting things such as pleasure and comfort, which are important, but biologically not meant to last. Our focus should be on the things that are lasting such as having a purpose and fulfillment of goals. These will not bring constant happiness but will provide a more consistent level of happiness.


A Hearty Mindset 

Every opportunity, no matter how challenging or uncomfortable, is an opportunity for insight, growth, connection, and fulfillment. There are things we can do in the darkest of days that will allow us to live well. It’s important to remember that well-being is not the result of feeling good all the time, it is a result of being willing to embrace and work through what we are feeling at any given moment.


If we work hard enough we will feel good all the time

As rational adults, we know this is not true. We’ve all had the experience of working hard on a project, spending hours studying for a test or training for an athletic event, and the outcome is exactly as we had hoped. The joy and feeling of accomplishment is real and intense, but it doesn’t last forever. We have to continue to chase our goals even though it may be challenging and not always work out exactly as we had hoped.


Constrained optimization

This is the practice of finding and accepting our constraints.”Constraints in life include external events and systems as well as internal thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and stories.” Constrained optimization is finding the way to work within our constraints instead of spending the time and energy wishing things we cannot change were different.


Struggle is different from purposeful effort

When we struggle, we’re putting energy into resisting and avoiding the way things are, spending time blaming and complaining about things without the possibility of a better outcome. Purposeful effort is when we direct our energy to things that further our goals, our values, our relationships and commitments, the things that truly matter and that we have the potential to change.


Life is practice

You will get good at things you do most, so make sure you’re behaving and recreating in the manner that best suits your goals.


You have the internal resources you need

This is the thought that you have always made it through the difficult times in your life. It may have been challenging and uncomfortable, but you were able to overcome them and there is no reason to think that you won’t make it through the challenges in front of you. We may not always know what will happen next, but we can handle it.


If you'd like to watch Dave's full presentation, please find the recording on our All Family Information Page on Canvas.