It is true children are resilient and can recover remarkably well from traumas or absences in their lives…but it is because this is now their foundation to build on and they quickly encapsulate the pain they have experienced. This becomes the first emotional scar tissue in their lives. On the outside children can appear alright…but that scar tissue foundation for life WILL present itself for the rest of their lives unless continual work is made to heal from it deeply.
As a part of my series about “How extremely busy executives make time to be great parents” I had the pleasure to interview Jason Collier.
Meet Jason Collier. A dental implant surgeon, single father of four, and now viral sensation with a simple mission: to spread goodness in the world, one cup of coffee at a time.
So how did this dentist find himself in the spotlight? Waking up one morning to texts, and comments from friends and family Jason found himself mistaken online for ANOTHER Jason Collier. In an effort to save his name, he created a post that soon went viral and brought thousands of others to have an interest in the “GOOD” Jason. After another video he posted went viral again, he figured he should use this leverage to give back, and “Good Guy Coffee” was born. Good Guy Coffee is a fair-trade, organic coffee company that gives back to organizations such as Children’s Hospital Women Against Abuse, and The Hoffman Process.
Tune in for “Coffee with Jason”, candid conversations with special guests on topics ranging from mindfulness, authenticity, presence, how to show up in relationships, entrepreneurship, wellness, health, meditation, and so much more. Jason is more than your average Joe spreading love through good conversation over a good cup of Joe.
Ride the wave with Jason, and follow him through his mission with his coffee, his dental implants, or tune into his new show, “Coffee with Jason.”
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us your “childhood backstory”?
So I grew up in Memphis, TN the son of a welder and a nurse. My father died when I was 11 years old. I played hard at sports but honestly didn’t work hard in school until college.
Can you share the story about what brought you to this specific point in your career? I had been practicing dentistry, implant dentistry particularly, for over 13 years. In 2009 I purchased Southern Dental Implant Center. Over the past few years I have been looking for a new business adventure that felt like an expression of myself and the energy I wanted to put out into the world but nothing had yet been a “hell yes”. Through a set of circumstances outside of my control, I accidentally went viral over social media, some people I did not know set up a fan page for me…and Good Guy Coffee was weirdly born out of that LOL…and has become a movement for positivity and kindness in the world since. We just started the concept in February. We got off the ground officially in early March…and we are continually expanding our concept depth and reach. A big commitment I made with Good Guy Coffee was that this needed to be used as a force for good. All of our proceeds are going to charities benefitting children in need and women experiencing abusive situations. We are all online at www.goodguy.coffee.
Can you tell us a bit more about what your day to day schedule looks like?
In general I still see dentistry patients from 9–3 or so. My schedule is a little different every day. I volunteer my time along with a number of other key people in developing Good Guy Coffee in my spare time throughout the day and weekends.
Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now 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?
This is a very interesting question to be asked at this time as I have recently begun writing a book. One of the things touched on in this book is particularly the presence or absence of fathers in the lives of children, whether as good or bad influences. My purpose in focussing on fathers was because of the affect on me personally in the loss of my own father in childhood.
It is true children are resilient and can recover remarkably well from traumas or absences in their lives…but it is because this is now their foundation to build on and they quickly encapsulate the pain they have experienced. This becomes the first emotional scar tissue in their lives. On the outside children can appear alright…but that scar tissue foundation for life WILL present itself for the rest of their lives unless continual work is made to heal from it deeply. When children experience pain, they are more likely to inflict pain, either physically or emotionally. This can lead to obvious social problems of all kinds. When a parent is missing from the equation a major stabilizing presence is also absent. A study was done years ago on elephants in Africa. Because of poachers or natural deaths, it was observed that young elephants who had lost parents would run rampant through the region needlessly destroying habitats, other animals, and people. When something as simple as introducing an adult male elephant into the group, the destruction immediately stopped. They calmed literally overnight. Children crave love. They need love. When they don’t have it, they become destructive to themselves and others around them. The presence of parents, or at the very least parental figures, is crucial for their own healthy development and the creation of a functioning social structures for society as a whole.
On the flip side, can you give a few reasons or examples about why it is so important to make time to spend with your children?
I personally love my children deeply. I enjoy spending time with them even when they act crazy like children do sometimes. I also have a tendency to think and feel things deeply. I want to make sure I am establishing deep bonds with my children. I think of the song Cats In The Cradle sometimes. On the selfish side, I want my children to make time for me when they are older. My investment in them will be equivalent to theirs in me later in life. For me it is more than that though. I also want to instill ways of thinking, feelings, work ethics, personal responsibility and vision into their lives that will serve them to become successful and happier for the rest of their lives…and make their world a better place to live.
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?
One tradition I have started is taking the kids into the mountains for one full week for Father’s Day, where there is no cell phone reception and very limited wifi. We are forced to interact. We ride horses. We fish. We explore. We just play together through personal interaction. This is a special time for us. A second thing we do is family movie nights. Sometimes we will make a little fire outside, make s’mores while watching the movie. Other times we will make pop corn and curl up on the couch. It just draws us close together physically and enjoyably for an extended time. Not sure if this next one is a good example or bad LOL…but we like to do occasional escape room experiences. These are like elaborate puzzles that must be solved to in order to crack some fictional case of save the world in some way. Once the puzzle is solved together, the group moves to the next room to find more clues and solve more problems. It teaches us to work together in a functional way. As you can imagine, with four children of different ages…this can be challenging when arguments start on how to do things…but it is challenges that teach us most often times. We are currently learning to work together under pressure. :-). One other thing we regularly do is go for family bike rides or hikes around our neighborhood or the wooded area behind our house. It is just a time to spend together and get fresh air…and of course disconnect from screens. The last is working together as a family. I will often give two children a task to work on together, while we are all working as a team together and I go back and forth assisting or keeping the work moving along. Work is an important aspect of life. Doing this together, if done in the right way…with love, compassion for each other, helpful attitudes, and a common goal of improving something…can increase togetherness.
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? Please include examples or stories for each, if you can.
I think we should start with the big rocks first…and add in the smaller things around that. 1) A HUGE, but often times overlooked, aspect of prioritizing time to be full present is living within our means. I have always tried to live two year behind what I feel I can afford to do if that makes sense. Doing this relieves much of the pressure to constantly work, freeing up more time to invest in my children. 2) Naturally tied to the first, I chose to work less giving me more time to myself as well as to my children. Granted I have a decent paying job at this point in life, but I have friends in the same field who are workaholics. Also, it hasn’t always been this way for me. Living within my means (whatever they are) and structuring my work time around time with my kids is also one of those “big rocks”. 3) This one is super hard for me (and for my children)…but I try to require times of screens being completely off for certain periods of time to force actual interaction with each other. This helps us all to be more fully present with each other. 4) I really like to plan one on one “dates” with each of my kids when I can to be as present as possible with that one child. We get more personal interaction without the competition of the others. 5) Something someone told me years ago that always stuck with me was that money can’t buy happiness…but it can buy time. Buying time with our children in whatever aspect may be the most valuable investment we can possibly make. That can look so different for some many people in so many walks of life. The principle is universal though. Taking time away to do ANYTHING that allows interaction and hopefully deeper, more meaningful discussions is what our children will remember and reminisce on when our lives are over…and hopefully emulate for their children.
How do you define a “good parent”? Can you give an example or story?
A good parent in my opinion is one who is present, loving and authentic. For me showing my children that we are all human and we all make mistakes is an important lesson in life. When I make mistakes, and they are frequent, I go to them sometimes individually and sometimes as a group and apologize to them. This teaches them to do the same when they have done wrong and restores love and trust between us all. Something my children love and hate at the same time is that after an apology, by me or one of them, is that we hug. It kinda seals the deal! LOL Its our thing.
How do you inspire your child to “dream big”? Can you give an example or story?
Hopefully I inspire them to dream big…by dreaming big myself. I am also always expressing good business ideas for some skill or interest that they have and how they can do something great with it.
How do you, a person who masterfully straddles the worlds of career and family, define “success”?
Success can be defined differently obviously. My definition is to be viewed as a success by those closest to us, to love deeply, and make our extension of success simply an extension of that love and growth to the world around us.
What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a better parent? Can you explain why you like them?
I love anything by the Hoffman Process, especially the guided meditations…but I strongly recommend going through the process at some point in time. This was a paradigm shifting life changer for me! The book Awareness by Anthony De Mello is like my Bible currently. The audio version is best in my opinion as he is a wonderful story teller and speaker. None of it is specifically about “parenting”. These resources guide me to being a better person…which makes me a better parent…most of the time. LOL. An audiobook I have listened to personally and then with my kids is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It is well narrated and has great life lessons. Others are The Four Agreements, How To Think, The Energy Bus, Rich Dad Poor Dad, How To Win Friends And Influence People.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love” -Rumi. Taking time to love oneself, overflow that love onto others and then the work we do as an extension of that love doesn’t even feel like work or a risk. It is an expression of the heart…which leads us to great things.
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 focus toward deep self love and inner work…which started for me through Hoffman Process…and expanded further. This is the foundation in my opinion for all other truly great works. This is perhaps the biggest “rock” in my life…loving one’s self and the universal good that supports it all.
Jason Collier of Good Guy Coffee: “How Extremely Busy Executives Make Time To Be Great Parents” was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.