Finley Robinson

Family Friday: Your Cruising Altitude of 30,000 feet

publishedabout 1 month ago
4 min read

Hi there, it's Finley 👋🏼 and Happy Friday.

Today's story takes 4 minutes to read.

In 6 days, on Thursday, Sept 8th, I'm offering a 1 hour workshop for parents to help prepare them for their child's first phone.

If your family is approaching that season or you are considering it, this workshop will prepare you for all the changes and challenges you will face.

Win, Coach, Release

I watched a few minutes of "Europe from Above" on Disney+ a couple nights ago as I was trying to unwind. I've officially entered whatever stage that qualifies me for as a dad.

Some people love talking about the 30,000 ft view of things. For others it induces an eye roll.

For a lot of parents, it's a MEGA 15yr old teenage girl eye roll.

What good is a big broad overview about life as a parent when you need help with the adult sized attitude coming out of your 6 year old's mouth?

The old adage "you can't see the forest for the trees" might not be a more perfect saying for your season of parenting.

No one knows your daily life and rhythms on an intimate level like you do. The highs and lows you feel are real and that's only before you get to lunchtime each day!

Having a North Star or Guiding Principles can help give clarity and calmness when you feel like you are on the verge of a death spiral.

It can also help you enjoy your season and not force yourself to endure it.

No one wants to "get through" whatever stage your family is in. It is special. It only happens once.

That being said, I want to introduce you to a set of guiding parenting principles that someone shared with me 15+ years ago.

Most likely, someone told it to them 15+ years before that.

It has helped our family along the way and gave us a great 30k view no matter where we found ourselves.

It was explained to me in 3 words:

  • Win
  • Coach
  • Release

The foundation for parenting isn't
behavior modification but heart formation.

As much as I love my kids and you love yours, they are all deeply flawed.

Despite this, we aren't trying to fix little broken people.

As parents we are given the raw materials of our kids minds, emotions, personalities and talents and we get to shape them into young adults to be sent out to put it all into practice.

To do that we must start somewhere. Many parents that I talk to think that the hard stuff begins when kids are 10, 12, or even 14.

Sure there is the early exhaustion, but the real difficulties begin later when stakes are higher, or so they think.

We have found that the shaping of the later years is directly related to the connection from the earliest ones.


I have written before that connecting with your child's heart is your most important job as a parent.

I know I'll say it again and again if you stick around long enough. It is that important.

Winning the heart of your child mean's two things:

First, that you know them personally. Not as a the oldest, middle or youngest, but what makes them unique, how they think, and what they love.

Second it means that your child has trust and affection for you. That doesn't mean they won't yell and scream or even say they hate you some day.

But are you a safe person for them? Do they know you love them unconditionally?

To "win your child's heart" makes it sound like you are in a competition.

The truth is, the competition isn't with your child's heart for you. Children want to be known and loved by their parents.

The competition is between you and everything else in your life that you could give your time to as a parent. Hobbies, careers, experiences, you name it.

To win the heart of a child, you have to be there. You need to know what makes them unique and their orientation.

Are they more task driven or do they want to walk and hold hands? Are they fast paced or connect at slower speeds?

I heard a story about a dad who was playing HORSE with his son. At first all the shots were close. A lay up followed by a free throw. Eventually, they moved behind the 3 point line and the dad made it while his son missed.

He pulled his son aside and said, "Don't ever forget son, error increases with distance."

The parenting principle clearly applies. Stay close to your kids. Don't worship them. Don't hover and over protect.

Know them individually. Win their heart to the mission of your family.


As your children age and gain more opportunities for independent experiences, your coaching voice will grow.

This takes countless forms. Manners. Work ethic. Respecting others.

It also looks like helping them discover their gifts, their passions, and how to build healthy friendships.

Kids in your season have an endless supply of questions. Some of them are external where they wonder how the world works.

For the case of coaching their heart, they have internal questions that they need a safe person in their life to confirm.

"Do I have what it takes?"

"Do I matter in this world?

"What makes me unique and valuable?"

If the earliest years are marked by winning the heart on your knees, the middle years are shaped coaching the heart with your ears and mouth.


This stage may seem extremely far off for you right now or it may be dawning on you how close it really is.

No matter whether you have a 1 and 3 year old or a 13 and 15 year old, one day, you are going to send them off.

They will go with all the connection and coaching that you provided.

Our family has been known to watch Bear Grylls from time to time over the years. (How do those adventure guys like Jeff Probst, Phil Keoghan, and Bear get those jobs anyway?)

Yes, the Bear Grylls show is planned out, but there are always situations that require improvisation and adaptability.

It is scary to release our kids, both for us and for them. But imagine the joy for both of you if it goes well.

When you release your kids they will be ready for a lot, but not everything.

Equipping them for self-sufficiency AND the safety of knowing they have parents in their corner is a privileged way for them to grow up.

The current vision I have for my family is that I want to raise kids who still love home once they leave.

The 30k view of Win, Coach, Release is how we are getting there.

Till next Friday 👊🏼 or Thursday if you want to join the workshop.

New Opportunity!

Have other parent friends with 3-13 yr olds who'd enjoy this
Family Friday Newsletter?

When you share your unique link 3 times, I'll follow up with an opportunity for us to talk & process your individual family life right now!


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