Balancing Needs, Staying Open, and Letting them Fly | Craig Johnson


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Kids & Family

Today’s guest is Craig Johnson, an old camp buddy of Jonathan’s. Craig has an extremely busy and full life; he and his wife Liz have been married for 20 years and are both attorneys. Together they have three children — Ben, 16; Sam, 13; and Lucy, 8. Craig shares the lessons he has learned from coaching his own kids, how his career experience as an attorney, lobbyist, and State Senator has shaped his approach towards parenting, the challenge of balance and enjoyment of his kids’ success and the evolution of Craig’s own father as a grandfather. The guys also admit to being a little overeager when texting their kids, and why they can’t be too upset when there is empty ice cream in the fridge.   Key Takeaways: [1:24] Jonathan and Craig met at Camp Taconic. Here they learned a lot about independence (for both the children and the parents) and he now sends his own kids to camp. [3:20] He and his wife Liz have been married for 20 years and he is very grateful for their partnership both as husband and wife and as co-parents. They are both attorneys, with Craig in lobbying and public policy, and Liz in the courtroom as a defense attorney and former prosecutor. And yes, Craig loses all the arguments in the house. Craig was a former State Senator in New York from 2007-2010. [4:49] Craig and Jonathan both have sons named Ben who are teens learning to drive while terrifying their parents. [8:37] Craig finds coaching a rewarding experience and found a great way to bond with his kids while taking part in something they love. [19:16] Both Jonathan and Craig allow their kids to use phones and social media apps, but monitor them to make sure there isn’t any shady business going on. Craig’s wife Liz teaches a class for parents to help them understand and deal with their children using social technology. [27:35] Bar and Bat Mitzvah season is underway, and while it can get expensive and time-consuming, it’s an amazing accomplishment and Craig is extremely proud of how much his sons’ bar mitzvahs got their family together. [36:28] Craig’s dad lives in the very same house that he grew up in, only about a mile and a half away. He had the model attitude as a grandfather where he was there if Craig needed him but trusted him to make the right decisions and learn on his own. [43:31] Craig finds one of the biggest challenges is balancing his dedication to being a father, a husband, and to his career. [45:02] The best part of parenting for Craig is sharing in their successes, whether it’s something big, such as a sports team win or an everyday moment of them memorizing a vocabulary word. [51:29] Karma has come back around for all the years that Craig left an empty ice cream container in the fridge, as his kids to that to him now. [55:47] Both dads are puzzled why their sons don’t have the same rush of getting their driver's license as they did as teens. [58:52] Craig has a lot of interesting work in his pipeline, including Uber, AirBnB, and cryptocurrency. [59:42] Craig is extremely appreciative of his wife’s ability to be a stand out counselor, lawyer, and mother. She is a fantastic example of showing his children the importance of work and responsibility.   Links: Camp Taconic Dentons Law Firm Quotes: “I’m almost in tears when I drop off my kids at high school! I mean that’s good about us, but what’s wrong with us?!” “My son wrote a one-page essay on why he should watch Dexter and I read it and was like ‘okay you could watch it because that was so good.’” “We can’t always be there for them, and we have to let them make those mistakes.” “They each have different jealousies and different desires and it’s just a moving puzzle that changes every day.” “I’ve become a better listener as a parent. You have to listen to your kids and let them talk. They can educate you.”