Home > NewsRelease > Jessica Lahey on Parenting, Desirable Difficulties, The Gift of Failure, Self-Efficacy, and The Addiction Inoculation (#553)
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Jessica Lahey on Parenting, Desirable Difficulties, The Gift of Failure, Self-Efficacy, and The Addiction Inoculation (#553)
From:
Tim Ferriss - Productivity, Digital Lifestyles and Entrepreneurship Tim Ferriss - Productivity, Digital Lifestyles and Entrepreneurship
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: San Francisco, CA
Thursday, December 9, 2021

 
Artist's rendering of Jessica Lahey
Illustration via 99designs

Did you make someone feel seen or heard today?

— Jessica Lahey

Jessica Lahey (@jesslahey) is the author of the New York Times bestselling book The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed and The Addiction Inoculation: Raising Healthy Kids in a Culture of Dependence. Over twenty years, Jessica has taught every grade from sixth to twelfth in both public and private schools and spent five years teaching in a drug and alcohol rehab for adolescents in Vermont. She currently serves as a recovery coach at Sana at Stowe, a medical detox and recovery center in Stowe, Vermont, where 100 percent of her salary goes to a scholarship fund for young adults.

Jessica writes about education, parenting, and child welfare for The Washington Post, New York Times, and The Atlantic, is a book critic for Air Mail, and wrote the educational curriculum for Amazon Kids’ award-winning The Stinky and Dirty Show. She co-hosts the #AmWriting podcast with bestselling authors K.J. Dell’Antonia and Sarina Bowen from her house in Vermont, where she lives with her husband, two sons, and a lot of dogs.

Please enjoy!

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Podcast Addict, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Amazon Musicor on your favorite podcast platform.

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#553: Jessica Lahey on Parenting, Desirable Difficulties, The Gift of Failure, Self-Efficacy, and The Addiction Inoculation

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What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

SCROLL BELOW FOR LINKS AND SHOW NOTES…

Want to hear another episode with a writer Jessica and I both admire? Listen to my conversation with award-winning author Mary Karr, in which we discuss curiosity and presence as a solution to fear, the role spirituality plays in maintaining her sobriety as a former atheist, coping with and expressing the aftermath of trauma, what she wished she’d known about therapy when she was younger, and much more.

#479: Mary Karr — The Master of Memoir on Creative Process and Finding Gifts in the Suffering
  • Connect with Jessica Lahey:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

SHOW NOTES

  • Why is Jessica fond of Nobel Peace Prize winner Albert Schweitzer’s intention to make his life his argument? [05:21]
  • As someone who’s educated children from grades sixth to 12th, what does Jessica consider the most difficult cohort of students, and what would she change about the structure of when and how this group is commonly instructed? [07:50]
  • What do I like about this particular grade — to the point I once considered specializing in teaching it? [13:29]
  • What was “taking a nap” code for in Jessica’s extended family? [14:54]
  • Why is June 7th, 2013 an important date for Jessica? [17:10]
  • Why it’s important to understand the roots of an addiction if we want to gain control over it. [20:20]
  • Jessica acknowledges the practical application of psychedelics — provided the recipient has a fully-formed adult brain. [23:15]
  • Did Jessica’s commitment to writing a book influence how seriously she took the conversation with her father that changed her life? What most helped her adapt to the changes she knew she had to make in the aftermath? What has she found unhelpful? [24:37]
  • What was the catalyst for The Atlantic article that evolved into The Gift of Failure? What are the book’s main theses? [30:39]
  • Confidence vs. competence when trying to foster a child’s self-esteem. [36:43]
  • How did writing The Gift of Failure affect Jessica’s parenting style? [42:07]
  • Why instilling hope in a child is so crucial to their lifelong well-being. [46:05]
  • What books and activities keep Jessica aligned along the path of hope and optimism? [49:34]
  • What did Jessica find surprising in her research about preventing substance use and abuse in kids? [52:49]
  • What does it look like to be a recovery coach at Sana? What is the format? [55:34]
  • Why did Jessica decide to write Addiction Inoculation? [1:00:16]
  • If “Just say no” is an ineffective script, what are some better ways for parents to guide their children toward making better decisions when they’re exposed to drugs and alcohol? [1:01:18]
  • Advice for parents who get the dreaded phone call that their child has been caught up in non-ideal behavior. [1:06:19]
  • A favorite failure. [1:10:29]
  • Examples of what made Jessica’s “not-to-do” checklist when she was writing her second book, and how she audits her own work for clarity. [1:15:21]
  • Writers whose work Jessica finds deserving of extra attention. [1:21:20]
  • Best investments of time, money, or energy. [1:29:13]
  • What would Jessica’s billboard say (provided she were allowed to post one in her home state)? [1:33:57]
  • Visible quotations and objects on hand that serve to inspire Jessica on a daily basis. [1:35:27]
  • Parting thoughts on the challenges of releasing a book during a pandemic, having (rather than avoiding) difficult conversations, why Jessica thinks I’d be a fantastic ninth-grade teacher, and Jessica’s dream. [1:41:25]

MORE QUOTES FROM THE INTERVIEW

“I decided I would make my life my argument.”
— Albert Schweitzer

“Rigidity is the bane of my existence.”
— Jessica Lahey

“Recovery looks different for different people.”
— Jessica Lahey

“Did you make someone feel seen or heard today?”
— Jessica Lahey

“There is nothing worse than taking a kid who is just figuring the world out and then telling them, at every turn, that their perceptions are inaccurate.”
— Jessica Lahey

“Resourcefulness only comes from having tried something and screwed it up and tried it again and all that, and had support throughout that process with someone who actually believes in your ability to be resourceful.”
— Jessica Lahey

A lot of what I write about is, ‘We’re not doing this right. Oh, look, I’m not doing this right. How can I do better and learn from it?’ which is super fun and a little humiliating.”
— Jessica Lahey

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Podcast Addict, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Amazon Musicor on your favorite podcast platform.

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Name: Tim Ferriss
Title: Author, Princeton University Guest Lecturer
Group: Random House/Crown Publishing
Dateline: San Francisco, CA United States
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