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28: Cathy & Todd Adams discuss Respect and Parenting

By December 12, 2018 February 10th, 2020 No Comments

How do you engage with your kids – whether young or older adults? How are you present to and//or for them? Explore this conversation and more with the hosts of Zen Parenting Radio, Todd & Cathy Adams

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Cathy is a self-awareness expert, podcast host, & author focused on parenting and the personal empowerment of women and young girls. She’s a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified Parent Coach, Certified Elementary School Teacher, Certified Yoga Teacher, and she teaches in the Sociology Department at Dominican University and Elmhurst College.

Todd is the co-host of the Zen Parenting Radio podcast and a certified life coach who focuses on supporting guys in finding a healthy work/family balance. He focuses on marriage, parenting, career, overall self-awareness and life enjoyment.





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**IMPORTANT: This podcast episode was transcribed by a 3rd party service and so errors can occur throughout the following pages:

Mike Domitrz: Welcome to the Respect podcast. I’m your host, Mike Domitrz from where we help organizations of all sizes, educational institutions and the US military create a culture of respect. Respect is exactly what we discuss on this show, so let’s get started.

Mike Domitrz: Welcome to this episode. I’m excited to get right into it and for you to meet two good friends of mine. Our guests today have three daughters, teach self awareness, connect through pop culture, believe in humor, you’ll get a vibe for that right away, and mindfulness, and know people can be a force for good. They are Zen Parenting Radio. That’s right. It’s one of my favorite podcasts, one of my favorite groups of people to be around. It’s not just them, but also those who are involved with their show, that go to their conferences. Just incredible spirit and energy people. Let’s get right into you meeting my friends here. Todd and Cathy Adams, thanks for joining us.

Todd Adams: Thanks for having us.

Cathy Adams: thanks for having us, Mike.

Mike Domitrz: Absolutely. Now you two have the show Zen Parenting Radio. You have a conference, Zen Parenting Conference. What is zen parenting?

Todd Adams: Go ahead, sweetie.

Cathy Adams: I know. I always … It takes a while for me to explain, but I’ll try to do it very succinctly. Basically zen parenting is our desire to practice self awareness ourselves first and then to present that to the world in many different ways. Obviously, first through our podcasts and also through some classes we teach. Todd is a coach. I’m a therapist. Like you said, we have a conference that we hold every year, so we get to be with a big group of people annually. Our motto of our podcast is the best predictor of a child’s wellbeing is a parent’s self-understanding. We try to support people in having self understanding obviously to benefit their life or their own wellbeing, but also because then that’s how they present in their family, that’s how they presented the world, and it also helps them, us when we have self awareness, we then have more empathy and compassion for others. It’s this domino effect. Once you have self understanding and self awareness, it creates a whole different dynamic and energy with people.

Todd Adams: Inward instead of outward. It’s not a how to podcast, not whether or not you want to put your kid in a timeout or discipline your kid for drinking early. It’s about conversations with our kids and role modeling the behavior that we want to see. That’s the bottom line.

Mike Domitrz: Well, I’ve always loved that motto of yours. When you first said it, when I was being interviewed with you now several years back of being on your show, I was like, “Oh, I wish I was that intelligent when I was a younger parent. That I thought of it that way versus how do I do the right thing? How do I tell them to do the right thing? How do I give them …” Versus that self awareness. It’s such a beautiful concept. How does one’s own respect for themselves play into that? We’re the Respect podcast. How to respect play into that, first understanding the role of self-awareness parenting?

Cathy Adams: It actually takes a minute for us to even figure out what it means to be a parent. I think the way our society views parenting is that we’re somehow in constant teacher mode and that there’s a hierarchy of us looking down on our kids, telling them what to do, explaining to them how life works. The interesting thing is if we stepped back from that kind of role, I’m putting that in quotes, that thing that we’re told to do, we recognize that we all come into the world with a certain knowing already, that we actually come in with a lot of great instinct and intuitive thought and an understanding of who we are. As a parent, really our job is not to be telling our kids about who to be or telling them about who they are, what they should do, but it’s supporting them as they become who they are, because they already had that instinct, like a, a tree that’s a seed and then it knows to become a tree. It’s the same thing with our kids, but unless we understand in ourselves first and trust that we have this awareness and that we are a unique individual, that were special, no more special than anybody else, but special in our own right. If we trust in ourselves and know that about ourselves, then it’s a lot easier to allow our kids to grow up that way.

Todd Adams: Well, and I think we learn how to parent from our parents. Some of our parents did a brilliant job. Some lacks some skills. What we try to do is take what we learned, take the good stuff and discard the bad stuff. One thing that we did learn from our parents, most of us is the idea of discipline. Cathy and I are bigger fans of discussion instead of discipline. That doesn’t mean let your kids walk all over you. It’s all about conversation and what energy are you bringing to it. We’re big fans of having a conversation as opposed to punitive consequences because a kid made a mistake.

Cathy Adams: Actually, it’s just relearning what discipline means. Discipline actually means to teach. It comes from the word disciple. We’ve lost track of what discipline means, and that we can teach through role modeling. We can teach through allowing our kids to have experiences and feel pain and build resilience and fail occasionally and take risks. We can teach by allowing, but also supporting along the way. I think, sometimes it’s like the pendulum swings so far. Sometimes we’re either … We’re either authoritarian where we’re completely in charge or we’re completely permissive and our kids walk all over us. Like Todd said, it’s this place in between where we let them be who they are, but we also support them in the process of becoming who they are.

Mike Domitrz: Can you give me an example of … I can imagine a few people thinking, “Yeah, but if I’m just going to have a discussion, there’s going to be certain children that know how to push boundaries or know how to have the discussion in a way that they’re running the show, even though they appear to be agreeing with everything.” Can you give us an example of a real life situation where you’re having that discussion and parents are enforcing boundaries were both can take place together.

Cathy Adams: Absolutely, and I think they always do. It’s sometimes just our … When Todd and I focus a lot on conversation and discussion and one of our big pillars is communication. There’s always boundaries set up around that. There’s always expectations that … One example that I can give because we talk about it a lot is education, school. There’s a lot of pressure right now on kids around school. Our kids know, like Todd and I, our three daughters know that school is an expectation. It’s something that they need to show up for. It’s something that they, in their best of their ability, they bring their best self to. Now if they’re sick, then they don’t. They stay home, because that’s where they are in that moment. The expectation is if they are well, they go to school. The expectation is that they do homework. The expectation is that when there’s a test, they study. That’s our boundary. Now how they do that, when they do that, that is a discussion and negotiation and a communication. There were some things that just are. These are things that they’ve been raised on, things that they’ve heard since they were very little, and so it’s been integrated. Education is important. They also know that we understand that they’re doing their best is very different than what grade they bring home.

Todd Adams: Well, and it’s not a one size fits all. Some kids like to study right when they get home from school. Other kids like to blow off some steam, because they’ve spent the last seven hours, and then they like to study after dinner. It’s really meeting the kids where they are. The other thing that we focus on is not necessarily the grades, but the process. When I say the process, it means you show up for school, you get a good night’s sleep, you do your homework and whether or not you get a 60% on the test or a 95% on the test, as long as you did your best, then we’re happy with it. Now, if they’re failing out, then yeah, we probably need to look at some things and get the kid some more support. We have, I don’t want to call it a hands off approach, but it’s a different approach.

Cathy Adams: When Todd and I just had parent teacher conferences in the last couple of weeks for two of our girls and what we’re always hoping to hear is they’re a good team leader or they’re good on a team, they’re a good player, they’re good at listening, they respect authority, they have an understanding, they speak up for themselves. How do they effectively work in a system like that, because that’s really what life is. Once you get a job, nobody’s giving you an A or a B or a C. It’s how do you effectively work in a system. You can see how all of that necessitates discussion and communication for our kids to understand.

Mike Domitrz: I love the idea of setting this foundation. For parents who are listening and thinking, “Hey, I already have a 13 year old. I didn’t think of discipline this. I realize maybe it would’ve been more helpful.” How do you suddenly do that? Your daughters are raised in that environment. How do you suddenly shift and have the kids buy in?

Todd Adams: We hear that a lot. Like, “Oh, if I only knew this or adopted this type of philosophy.” My advice would be you want to lean into it. So If you make some significant shifts without any warning at all, like, “Oh, I’m going to start parenting this way instead of that way, “the kids probably going to be like, “Who are you? What have you done with my parents?” You do want to tend to lean into a making some changes. If you turn the kid’s world upside down and parenting philosophy, the kid’s probably not going to buy into it.

Cathy Adams: What are those shifts? Maybe you’ve been talking and lecturing and teaching a lot, and so you start listening more. Maybe when they come home and they say something that you would originally have thought of that was disrespectful, you become curious about it and you ask a question like, “Why would you say that? Or what are you feeling?” Maybe even apologizing if they really say, “You hurt my feelings this morning,” or “I’m angry at you.” I think the big shift that Todd is talking about is that you are seeing your child instead of as someone that you’re training or someone that you have to constantly teach. You’re starting to see them as an individual in their own right. How do we have relationship with people regardless of who their role is in our life? We listen, we respect, we honor, we respond with respect. It’s just starting to develop a new kind of communication. That shifts all the dynamics of the relationship.

Todd Adams: Well, one of my favorite quotes is one that I stole from my friend John Duffy. He wrote a book. What’s the name of his book?

Cathy Adams: The Available Parent.

Todd Adams: The Available Parent. Parent from a place that when your kids are adults, are they going to want to come home for Thanksgiving dinner? For me, that cuts through all the BS of school and sports and first place versus second place. It’s about relationships. That’s what Cathy and I tend to focus on more is is this relationship being taken care of and is this kid going to want to come home for Thanksgiving dinner or when they think about me, are they thinking about just me kind of dropping the hammer and disciplining them left and right.

Cathy Adams: Well, and what I’ll add to that is what that looks like on a daily basis. Do you have your kids back? A lot of times when I say that to parents, they’ll say, “Well, I can’t let them get away with things or then they’ll take advantage of me or then they’ll take advantage of other people.” That’s not really true. The way that people … When people change, it’s because they’re accepted and because they have space and room and a relationship that they feel really supported in. Then they have this ability to change. People do not change when we use shame and fear and guilt. That is not how people then change behaviors. It may change it in the moment, like you shamed them and maybe they do start studying. In the long run, they didn’t really learn anything. What they learned is to feel bad about themselves. It also damages the relationship between you and them. To Todd’s point about coming home at Thanksgiving, do they feel like you’re someone who has their back? You can have boundaries and expectations and also have your kid’s back. Theses are not … They are not opposing things. You can actually can do that together. It takes practice, constant practice.

Mike Domitrz: I love the do you have their back and do they feel that. Parents will say, “Yes, I know I have my kid’s back.” But the kid might not feel that, and so that’s an important discussion that is so powerful there. A lot of what you do with zen parenting is also self care. In your mind, what is self care for parents?

Todd Adams: If you are somebody who doesn’t get any sleep and doesn’t do any exercise and is watching the news on a constant basis and completely fear inducing, it’s no wonder that when your kid challenges you, because our kids challenges on a daily basis. If we’re on an empty tank, we’re probably not going to have a lot of capacity for empathy and compassion and connection. The kids are two, that means you probably sleep deprived. If your kids are 12, you could probably do something to make sure that you’re filling your own tank, whether it’d be self care, meditation, exercise, sleeping. For me, it’s just if I’m annoyed going into a conversation and I’m tired and I’m exhausted, it’s really tough for me to stay above the line. It’s very easy for me to drop below. It’s just about having as close to maybe a half or three quarter of a tank versus being empty.

Cathy Adams: Well, you can’t be patient if you’re feeling overwhelmed all the time. If you … You can’t have a conversation that is impactful. When I’m teaching this, I always talk about a glass of water. If you are a glass of water and you want to give to other people, you have to keep the glass full or like Todd said, at least half full. We’re not perfect. If you’re already empty, you have nothing to give. There’s no water to offer to the person next to you. I know that it can sound very cliche, but if we really live that, if we practice that I have to take care of myself to take care of you. The two things I say to moms all the time is that if you feel like you don’t have five minutes for either quiet time or meditation or stillness, whatever you want to call it, if you don’t have five minutes, then you need to take 30 minutes for it, because that’s how busy your life is become is that you have to start kind of breaking down that belief system that you don’t have time.

Todd Adams: What’s interesting about all this is because we’re parents and we brought these kids into this world, we think that they should always come first at the expense of everything and sometimes at the expense of ourselves and sometimes it’s at the expense of our relationship with our partner. When I’m coaching guys, I try to tell them to take care of yourself first then invest in your relationship with your partner second and your kids come third. There are so many people that have blow back on me because they think that’s upside down. There’s no way that you can give to your partner unless you’re first giving yourself. There’s no way that you’re going to teach your daughters how to have a good husband …

Cathy Adams: Or relationship.

Todd Adams: … or relationship if you’re not role modeling what it means to be in a good relationship with your partner. I like to flip things upside down in that way.

Mike Domitrz: The kids don’t exist without your relationship. That’s one thing that a lot of people forget. Even if somebody goes, “Well, what if I’m divorced?” Still they’re watching that relationship. In that divorce and separation, they’re still watching that relationship. They are watching how it’s being role modeled when people go apart. How does that work? How do you treat each other? Also, I think a lot of times we know this about kids, especially in divorce, they can feel the parent’s anger or frustration with each other. They can blame themselves, which is really unfair. If I’m creating a better healthy relationship, if I’m divorced or I have an ex, with that ex, there’s less possibility. My kids are blaming themselves for whatever tension could have been there otherwise. Yeah, I think that’s really important. You brought that up Todd, so I appreciate that. Thank you.

Todd Adams: Well, and our kids have a default setting of always taking the blame. I’m the product of a divorce. My parents got divorced when I was young person. I blamed myself for sure. Unless you’re explicitly and deliberately role modeling that this has nothing to do with them. Like they would say, “This has nothing to do with you.” You know what I got out of this? I got this has everything to do with me. That is a tricky little thing.

Cathy Adams: Well, and it’s that constant communication about it. I know the word constant sounds like, can sound daunting. Everything can be discussed. Sometimes I say to the girls everything is figure-outable. I don’t mean everything is going to be perfect or it’s going to be painless, but everything can be discussed. Everything is on the table. Like what you do for a living, Mike, talking about sex and sexuality and consent and healthy relationships. These should be things we’re talking about all the time, yet we tend to focus on things that are more surfacey, like getting the right grade or how much money are you going to make or are you the captain of this. Those things can be beautiful too, but what’s really going to help our children thrive is being able to talk about the difficult things and having people at home they can talk about that with. The reason that therapy works … As a therapist, people will say, “Why does therapy even work?” It’s very magical in that way, just being able to express something. Having that communication between the parents, like you said, regardless of the status of their relationship and then between parents and kids is essential.

Mike Domitrz: You two are friends. I’ve gotten to see you offstage, behind the scenes. I know that you’re very in touch with the world. You both feel the world. Some people don’t. They’re able to compartmentalize that world. You two both feel it. With everything that’s been happening over the last several years in our world, what are your grounding forces for you to be able to manage the negativity and be able to have that glass at least half full?

Todd Adams: To balance out the … What I always say is the news is not the news. I’m talking about when you turn on the 6 o’clock news, your local or whatever, one of the networks. The news is not the news. It’s the 10 worst stories of the day. I get my news based on … I check my phone once a day for about five or 10 minutes just to know what’s going on, so I’m not an idiot. Other than that … Sometimes I have guys that I coach and they have their Fox or their CNN or the MSNBC on for hours and hours a day. It’s no wonder that’s going to impact your character. There’s so many … All you’ve got to do is Google good news stories, and you could find it. It’s not going to be on the 6 o’clock news, so you have to take one extra step and simply Goo- … If you’re on Facebook, you can find so many pages that are uplifting. That doesn’t mean it’s just the good stuff and none of the bad stuff. Bad stuff is out [inaudible 00:18:41].

Cathy Adams: I agree with Todd. I actually curate my Instagram and my Facebook feed, so I see a lot of good things that are happening. There’s actually a lot of people making change every single day. It doesn’t even have to be grand change, in their own homes, in their own communities, with their partner. Also, you know, the truth of it is I cry a lot. I feel, like you said, I feel things that are happening. I struggled with it. I have an emotional response to it that I think is appropriate. I talk about it with Todd. I talk about it with professionals. I talk about it with friends. What I try and use that energy, that anger or that fear is to do what can we do, what can I do today to make an impact, how can I be kinder to myself first, to Todd, to my children, to people at the school, to my clients. How can I turn this experience that we’re all having in the world right now into something meaningful rather than taking it in and then projecting it out like blame? Then just the basic things. Both Todd and I need to move every day. I do yoga. He does yoga and plays basketball. I meditate. I write in a journal every single morning. I really do the whole mindfulness thing. I mind my mind.

Todd Adams: Well, and it’s a muscle you have to flex. You can’t just decide once a month, “Okay, I’m going to focus on the good,” or “I’m going to work out once a month.” This is just like anything else. If you want to see results, you have to build it into your day-to-day habits. It doesn’t mean you miss a day here or you miss a day there. Compassion, empathy, self understanding, it’s a muscle that you have to practice. You can’t just pick and choose the moments. You’ve got to do your best to build it into your daily practice.

Mike Domitrz: No, and I love that you brought up Cathy, that I cry. I think so often nowadays when people are feeling all this stress, they’re actually turning to numbing activities instead of acknowledgement activities. To cry is to acknowledge the pain. To say that this is okay, that, that I’m feeling this, because I’m human, right? It’s okay to own these emotions as long as there’s, like you said, there’s a healthy level of reaction, right? There can be unhealthy, right? If somebody is out of control sobbing and that’s controlling their day, that’s controlling their ability to operate as human being. That’s a different discussion. But to say that it’s okay to cry about this thing, this item, this news, this whatever’s happening is healthy because then I’m actually not running from it. I’m not numbing, which is what people often do. I also loved that you brought up, “Hey, and whether it’s I speak to someone professionally.” I think a lot of times people think, “Oh, well you’re a therapist, you’re a counselor. You don’t need a therapist or counselor.” What I find is my friends that are therapists and counselors all use therapists and counselors.

Cathy Adams: You bet.

Mike Domitrz: That’s respecting the understanding the role it plays in your life. Why would you expect people to come to you if you think you’re so perfect, you don’t need to come down to anyone else?

Cathy Adams: Well, and I actually, I teach at a few universities here around Chicago. My students or social work students. That’s always the first thing I tell them is if you are going to teach wellness and talk to people about wellness and you will be honored by hearing other people’s stories, you have to make sure you are taking care of yourself and using your own professionals in whatever way that shows up. It can be coaching. It can be a therapist or supervision. You have to be what you were asking other people to be. We can’t just go out in the world as professionals and be like, “I got it all together. All of you people have issues.” We all are having some kind of emotional expression. I hope that the world is making me cry right now. I don’t want to be indifferent to what’s going on. This is … Like you said, there is some limit. I have to take care of myself in that process. I’m not falling apart constantly, but it’s essential that I stay feeling in this world.

Todd Adams: Yeah, and you need to express that emotion. If you don’t, it’ll get stuck. Cathy and I were just listening to a Brene Brown interview. She talked about, “Hey, if we could just eliminate the bad and just have the good, that would be great, but that’s not the way human beings work.” If you numb out one side or compartmentalized one side, then you, by default, have to compartmentalize the other side. In other words, you have to feel those feelings.

Cathy Adams: If you want joy, you have to feel pain.

Todd Adams: If you want joy, you need to be brave enough to feel the pain. As a guy, and I work with a lot of guys, that’s not necessarily the easiest thing to do. I mean, what you and Cathy are talking about. In my opinion, everybody needs either a coach or a therapist or a good friend that’s going to challenge and support them and help them work things out with one another. A middle aged man, I know that that is the exception for a lot of the guys that I work with.

Mike Domitrz: Well, and Cathy, you brought up you are a therapist. You do work with individuals. A couple of times, Todd, you’ve brought up working with men. We didn’t dive into that. What is the men’s work you’re referring to?

Todd Adams: I am a life coach for men. I coach them in relationships with their spouses, with their kid. I came back from a golf weekend. Cathy asked me how it was. I said, “Great.” She said, “How are the guys?” I spent three days with these men. None of us knew anything that was going on in each other’s lives other than our golf swing, our fantasy football and how many beers we drank. I decided I wanted to change that and have authentic conversations with other men. I started that about seven or eight years ago. It’s something that … It’s one of my missions is to heal the masculine energy out there, because there’s a lot of negative masculine energy out there, and there’s a lot of wonderful, beautiful, vulnerable masculine energy there. I’m just trying to cultivate some of the latter.

Mike Domitrz: Well, and I think it’s an important discussion how authentic our friendships are and how mutual they are. That can play … I know we started this all off of parenting, but all of this plays into parenting, because the self awareness element you started us with, which is so important. One thing that Karen and I discuss more and more in life is, “Are we involving ourselves with mutual friendships? Is this where I’m the one always reaching out? I’m the one sharing, but I’m not getting sharing back.” You feel cheated. I don’t mean that they need to reach out as much as I do. Karen and I are both those gatherers. We’d like to bring people together and they’re not. I get that. We understand that. If I feel I’m giving and somebody’s not giving back, you feel like this is not a mutual relationship. So much in life we forget to evaluate our friendships and go, “Is this mutual?” We’re not really pushing each other. It’s just one lane venting, if it’s not mutual, potentially.

Todd Adams: Well, and I’ll even open up a can of worms. Even with family, we feel like we are obligated … Let’s say for example, that I would go to a family member’s house for four days for Christmas. We think that because we’re family members, we’ve got to spend four days, 24 hours, seven days a week. What can I talk about. There’s a lot of people that struggle with family and extended families setting up healthy boundaries. We’ve done multiple podcasts about how to set up healthy boundaries. That goes with whether it’s extended family or with friends and that’s …

Cathy Adams: Well, and it doesn’t mean that you cut people out of your life. It means that you’re thoughtful about the amount of energy that you offer to certain relationships. There are some people that you can spend maybe a weekend with. There’s some people that you can only do a couple hours. You have to really recognize the difference. Again, to your point, Mike, it really is all about self awareness. What Todd and I have found is the more that we’ve done this work in the world or the more that we’ve been able to find in ourselves a better sense of understanding, you start to find other people show up in your life who are similar. It doesn’t mean … It’s like a like attracts like thing. It doesn’t mean that our friendships from the past aren’t important. Todd and I have amazing friends from high school and college that we adore. You start to find relationships that maybe are more similar now to where our life is now than it was when we were 18.

Todd Adams: Find the people in your life that fill up your cup.

Mike Domitrz: I have a consultant that I worked with who became a friend. [inaudible 00:26:40] what he said, “What’s the energy before, during and after you’re with that person or that couple?” All three a matter, right? If you don’t, before you get there, you’re like, “Ugh,” but then it goes, well, there’s still something not right there. If when you’re with them, it doesn’t feel right, but you’re good after, somethings off. Especially when you’re done. When you leave, are you energized? You’re like, “Oh, you want to be with them? I can’t wait to speak to them again.” Is it that kind of energy that’s not … Time is limited, so why don’t just spend it somewhere else? It’s okay to say … What I love about you two is also you find the humor in moments and you value the human relationships. For you, why is humor so important?

Cathy Adams: Well, I think that that is how Todd and I connected initially is we met at the tail end of our college experience. We had a very similar sense of humor. We both also related to the world through movies and pop culture and quotes and lyrics. We just always used them in conversation. It was fun. My friends knew that about me, but they weren’t always like that. Then I met Todd and that’s how we would talk. We still do. We talk in movie quotes a lot around this house. We also, it’s the way that when he and I are having a discussion or we’re struggling, we can have a moment where he says something funny or I say something, not in a disrespectful way, but just to deflate. Is that the right word? Deflate?

Todd Adams: Yeah, yeah. [crosstalk 00:28:13].

Cathy Adams: Decrease the energy.

Todd Adams: … out of the energy of the situation. Parenting three daughters, there’s plenty of opportunities for us to fly off the handle. What we try to do is check in with ourselves, like maybe yelling isn’t the best idea. Instead maybe we can make a joke, a nice joke, but a joke. I don’t think anybody wants to fight. Usually when people want to fight, they’re lost in ego anyways. Most of us want to get along. Humor is such an underrated, understated way of taking a little bit of the air out of the balloon.

Cathy Adams: One thing that I want to be very clear about is Todd and I don’t make jokes about each other. We make jokes about a situation. A lot of people when they hear humor, they think, “Oh, I’m going to make fun of you,” or “I’m going to focus on your flaws and make light of them.” We don’t go after each other like that. It’s more about the situation. There’s a tension in the situation and if we can say something lighthearted to keep us awake. That’s really what you’re doing when you’re having a conversation is sometimes we fall almost, when I say fall asleep, I don’t mean literally, but I mean we go into auto pilot mode. We start to pull up things from our past or we start to respond like a 20 year old or a 13 year old. We almost fall asleep. We’re not our mature adult selves.

Cathy Adams: Todd and I use humor to make sure we’re present and to make sure that we, again, we remember who we’re talking to. I always say that Todd is my most important friend in the world. Even though he can also frustrate me the most, because I depend on him so much and that we have such an important relationship, so obviously we get most disappointed by the people we love the most too, right? We’re so emotionally connected to them. I never want to forget that he’s my most important person, so I want you to treat him that way and not make him be some kind of punching bag for me that he has to stand there and take negativity.

Todd Adams: You can take that same example. We’ve all been there at the amusement park or the department store of a parent just screaming at their kid. This is the person that you brought into this world.

Mike Domitrz: Speaking of humor moves, I know you two, because anybody that listens to your podcast also knows you two cite movies or mainstream entertainment lines. That’s just not uncommon at all that you’ll play a clip. It’s great. Star Wars or Wizard of Oz?

Todd Adams: That is such an interesting question.

Cathy Adams: Mike, you know my answer is of course Wizard of Oz. It’s the best hero’s journey ever. I know that …

Todd Adams: No, it’s not actually.

Cathy Adams: I know Luke’s is a hero’s journey too. Well, you know what? It’s almost not fair, because for me, seeing Dorothy’s experience, the Wizard of Oz, we didn’t get to see a lot of girl’s and women’s journeys, right? For me it woke me up to my own. I had to go through my whole childhood watching men and boys have experience, which I can relate to. It’s not that I felt completely detached, but to watch her experience as a young girl really woke me up.

Todd Adams: It’s a really great answer sweetie, but Star Wars is actually the correct answer.

Mike Domitrz: What a great example of husbandry showing who’s right.

Cathy Adams: That’s right. I win. I win, bottom line.

Mike Domitrz: There’s no right or wrong.

Cathy Adams: Correct.

Mike Domitrz: Are you going to explain now, Todd, why Star Wars is yours?

Todd Adams: No, I don’t need to have rationale for my arguments, Mike. I can just decide it.

Mike Domitrz: All right, and on that note, what a wonderful way to end. Thank you too both for an awesome, awesome discussion. On our show notes, we’re going to be providing people links to all your social media links and to the books you recommend, Untethered Soul, Made in Captivity, Before Happiness. We’re going to provide all those links. What’s the one website where they can get you? Is that

Todd Adams: Yep, that’s the one.

Mike Domitrz: That’s what I thought. Anybody listening it’s You’ve been listening to Todd and Cathy Adams, two amazing people and two wonderful friends. Thank you both for joining us.

Todd Adams: Thank you, Mike.

Cathy Adams: Thank you. Mike.

Mike Domitrz: This week’s question of the week is “Mike, how do I respond when someone shares very difficult or painful news with me?” In the past what people tended to do is they tend to go, “Oh, I’m so sorry.” It comes off as pity thing versus empathy and understanding, which is what we want to do in those moments, or we try to make it like, “Oh, it’s going to be okay,” Which almost ignores what they’re feeling. We don’t want to do either of those things. Here’s a simple thing you can do when somebody shares something difficult with you, simply respond with, “Thank you so much for sharing.” That’s it. Thank you so much for sharing. Now if this is a survivor share with me of sexual assault, sexual violence. I’m going to say, “Thank you for sharing. Clearly you are strong. You are courageous. What can I do to be of support of you?” Depending on what someone’s sharing with you, you might say, “Thank you for sharing. How can I best be of support?” That’s very powerful. Let them lead the conversation. You might start by just saying, “Thank you for sharing,” and see where that goes.

Mike Domitrz: Do you know what I would love? I would love to hear your answer to this week’s question of the week. Would you please answer what your answer would have been if you were asked that question today on the show? All you do is go to our Facebook page. We have a special group where we have these discussions called the Respect Podcast Discussion Group, so the Respect Podcast Discussion Group. Share with us what would your answer have been to this week’s question of the week and take a moment, post us a new question for future episodes. What question would you like to hear me answer on an upcoming episode? That’s all done on Facebook in our special group, which is the Respect Podcast Discussion Group. Can’t wait to see you there.

Mike Domitrz: Thank you for joining us for this episode of the Respect podcast, which was sponsored by The Date Safe Project at Remember, you can always find me at


Mike Domitrz, CSP

Mike Domitrz, CSP

Speaker, Author, and Authority on Respect Culture For almost 3 decades, leading institutions around the world and the US Military have been turning to Mike for helping them transform their culture. To have Mike help your organization ignite this vital and necessary conversation, call 833-801-0247 or email