Scott Schimmel, Founder, and CEO of You School walks us through the process of identifying what success looks like and explains why it is different for everyone. "Where do you go to figure yourself out?"
What kind of person are you?
YOUR STORY ON A COLLEGE APP
College admissions have suffered an image problem over the past couple of years. Since the Varsity Blues scandal and the upheaval that the pandemic put on college campuses, there's plenty to be critical about.
But, ironically, there are still so many good opportunities when it comes to college admissions- mostly to shape how kids think about themselves.
Any college advisor worth their salt will tell you that college admissions officers are looking for well-rounded individuals for their schools. They don't just want high test scores, they want unique people with interesting stories. They want to see who you are, how engaged you are in your local community, and the ways in which you serve others.
Can you think of another time in life when you're asked to demonstrate your positive moral character?
In professional job interviews, we'll get asked about our work experience and how we understand teamwork, but we don't get grilled about how we serve our family or neighbors.
Most parents want their kids to go to four-year universities. Most students want to be accepted into good schools. Between here and there is an intense application process that can't be done last minute. You can't all of a sudden start acting like a good human while you're writing your application. It has to be an expression of who you actually are.
Most teenagers, though, aren't focused on their inner transformation. They're focused on finding acceptance from their peers, doing the work expected from them, and discovering new ways to express their freedom.
That's why it's such a critical opportunity for adults who work with kids- parents, teachers, counselors, and coaches. Since we know the college application will require them to tell an authentic story about their true selves, we can begin preparing them early to tell a story that's accurate and compelling. We can start asking them to respond to the common app essay questions way earlier than the fall of their senior year, prompts like this one: "Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?"
It's the questions that we ask that turn into expectations we have, signaling to them what's most important- that every kid becomes someone who is authoring a meaningful life.
What can you do to better prepare students to author and tell an authentically meaningful story with their lives?
A key foundational element for building a meaningful life is defining success for what a good human is and does.
All for the sake of kids,
President & Chief Guide |The YouSchool
We have a free, interactive digital course calledThe Real Mecourse you can go through which will guide you through three self-reflection exercises. Just go totheyouschool.com/storeto get started today.
This series of emails is designed to enrich your knowledge for working with kids, whether as an educator, a parent, a coach, or a mentor. We try to strike the balance of evidence-based research, storytelling, and uncommon sense practice through our content, training, speaking, and courses.
Scott Schimmel 0:07
You picked a roll you picked a path. And before you knew it you're like, I guess this is me. I guess this is it. And deep down you just have this sense that there's something else there's something else there's somebody else. Where do you go to figure yourself out?
Terri Novacek 0:28
Hello, and thank you for listening. I am Terry Novacek and this is the Element is Everything podcast, where we present thoughts research strategies and experiences around the magic of self determination and finding one's element. That place where interests and talents aligned to bring purpose to learning, work and life. The topics we discuss apply to everyone, parent, child, spouse, or other family member, neighbor, friend, co worker, and of course, you as an individual. Today we hear from Scott Schimmel, the founder and CEO of You School. He's going to walk us through our feelings of success. And he'll remind us to be mindful of what we project to others. As you've heard me say, one person's passion could be another person's nightmare. Well, the same goes for success. What one views as success could be misery for another. For example, one might associate fame with success, while another would see that as a huge cramp in their lifestyle. Some measure success with money, while others see a lot of money as nothing but a hassle. Some people like titles, while others see them as nothing more than a headache. A recent study revealed Americans now have very diverse definitions of personal success. Money, fame, power, those are so yesterday. Researchers revealing what Americans today are seeking for a more fulfilling life is something a lot more personal. A successful life is now being defined as being able to follow one's unique interests and talents to become the best they can at something they care about. So let's hear what Scott has to say. Scott, I, I really enjoy your story. So can we just start there on what you do and path led you to it.
Scott Schimmel 2:37
Part of my life now is processing helping people process who they are and why they are the way they are. And I just look back to my life and think of a little kid that was trying to figure himself out early, and reading a lot trying to understand other people a lot trying to figure out how to fit in a lot. And I think with that orientation, I became hypersensitive to how people tick and how I tick and why I am the way I am. So I set out on this path to go into accounting for some reason. It made no sense except for the fact that when I said that out loud to my parents, when I was 13, like every adult that I told was so impressed that a young kid would want to go into finance or accounting. And that in hindsight, I just created this character in this role, and it worked. It was it was suitable from my family and my culture and my world, my neighborhood. And it did a lot for me. And it helped me organize who I am and what to do and where to go and what my life is going to be like. And it took away really so much of the stress that other teenagers deal with until it didn't work anymore. And at some point it wouldn't. I turned trying to make that role that character fit in it, and it didn't. And I think there's a lot of people are probably listening to this that can relate to that you picked a role. You picked a path. And before you knew it, you're like, I guess this is me, I guess this is it. And deep down, you just have this sense that there's something else there's something else there's somebody else, but how do you figure out? How do you figure that out? That's that's the very brief story of why I do what I do. I run this company called the US school and even embedded into the name it's where do you go to figure yourself out? And certainly there's tests you can take, there's apps for that. There's assessments, there's there's no shortage of self help books. But but a process that actually works particularly for young person to help them get clear about the most important parts of life. So I've been doing that now for almost 10 years working with schools partying with my favorite doesn't tell anybody in charter schools like you and I offering curriculum and training and education of parents. How do you raise healthy happy humans?
Terri Novacek 4:57
Right? Well, and so healthy happy, that makes me think that the word success, which we know gets used in many settings and has different meanings, you know, you can ask five different people, what does success mean? You get five different answers. And those same people can give you a different answer on different days. So you talk about redefining success, what do you mean by that?
Scott Schimmel 5:27
Yeah, I like the way you phrase that, I think working with with students with kids, what I hear them say a lot is, there's about half of them that no one understands from their parents, from their family, their expectations, their expectations towards success. And typically, in that formula, there's some clear things like graduate from high school, go to a four year university, get a well paying job. And they might deviate a little bit from that. But I think anchored in that definition is become self sufficient. Pay your own bills, and do something respectable with your life. So that's about half the kids. And that's, that's complicated. To live up to expectations like that. It's just stressful. It's not, it's not necessarily overly burdensome. But it's also not necessarily helpful as job markets change, as a lot of uncertainty and just into our worlds. Because there's, there's an element, and you mentioned this, using that word happy. There's also an element in there, I think kids get this message loud and clear that we don't want you to just be successful, we want you to also to be happy. And the problem is that's rarely defined, or demonstrated. So for a young person, it's already stressful enough to try to find out how to navigate through college, get into college, get into a good school, that's, I mean, that's extraordinarily hard. Doing well, they're finding a job. That's hard enough, but then if you also are going to put in that definition, and we want you to feel good about it, too. That's just I mean, that's almost too much, I think, for most kids. So I go back to like what I did, I don't know what happiness means I don't, but I can do the success. I can play that character, I think. So about half the kids I've worked with will say, Yeah, my parents don't give me any direction. They don't have any expectations. They just say they want me to be happy. And as a parent, I have three kids. I understand that sentiment, I also want my kids to be happy. But when I've asked kids, Is that helpful? Is that helpful for your parents to tell you I want you to be happy? It's a very clear, almost a touch of anger, like no, it's not helpful. It's not and I don't think they're quite able to understand or articulate why. But what I hear them saying is, it's you know, it's already hard enough, but but you haven't even shown me what happiness looks like most kids would say their parents in the path they've chosen in life isn't something they don't want to repeat. And parents often say that themselves to like, don't do what I did. It won't lead to your happiness or your fulfillment or joy. So many kids come from families like I mine as well, where there's a midlife crisis, they get to watch, they get to watch somebody implode in and try to take a completely different path. And there's typically a lot of pain that comes along with that. So I just think there's a whole different way to think and approach this whole thing.
Terri Novacek 8:30
You know, you mentioned the word respectable, we just just want you to do something respectable? Which, of course, like beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Right. With the folks that you have worked with. Do you have some examples of differences in that regard?
Scott Schimmel 8:54
Yeah, because I, I have had, I call it a privilege but to work with so many different kinds of populations of students, almost any that you can imagine, elite, high achieving public and private schools to not just inner city schools, but I've worked with schools that serve homeless students and immigrants are kind of all across the board and there definitely is a diff a different definition every time. On one hand, you have the traditional doctor, lawyer, business person, engineer, and that is a pretty narrow set of what respectable means. I think on the other side, it's it's steady work and or it's taking over the family business or walking into the family business. I think what's universal is we the parent generation, telling their kids, whatever it is, make sure you are self sufficient. You are taking care of and being responsible for yourself and others around you. I think that's maybe the most universal thing that we all want for our kids is to get off the payroll and appreciate The opportunity to work.
Terri Novacek 10:02
So instead of being the parent that says, I just want you to be happy, what Yeah, what can I do differently? Yeah.
Scott Schimmel 10:10
That's a, I think it's a hard answer. So the first part is to be happy, be happy yourself. I think if if I were to try to do anything, as a parent, this is what I'm trying to do myself, it's to demonstrate a lifestyle and life, where I'm both content with my own choices. And that the way that I live, actually brings me more life than less I, you know, I don't want to come home at the end of the day, regularly expressed to my kids that going out into the world is draining, or whatever your vocation is, even if it's staying home, like, that's what I do. Now, I work in my little tiny office in my house. So going to my little tiny office of the house, I don't want them to get this picture that, oh, it is just a chore. To do this, I actually think work is a privilege, and I come alive while working, I think you can no matter what the work is. So number one, it's demonstrate a fulfilling life. And if it's not working for you currently, then have the courage or the gumption to make some changes make some shifts. So that's one and I think the other part more tactically, is to have a set of conversations with your kids over time that are different, different than the normal conversations with I, which I feel the burden to have with my kids to like, Hey, take, you know, make sure you do well in school, that's typically the conversation, I feel anxious about your life. Because it's a reflection of mine, and my value as a parent, therefore, I'm going to put my anxiety on you hopefully, that that supercharges you into being really responsible through school and wanting to work. So that's not necessarily helpful. As much as we wish it would be. I think what's more helpful is asking a different set of questions where kids over time, when we're not feeling anxious, and they're not feeling anxious.
Terri Novacek 12:12
Do you feel that it hurts or harms a child, when a parent shares their observations? Or their opinions? I know that you really enjoy playing soccer, you know, you're so good at soccer, or, or art or music or writing. Is that good? Is that good encouragement? Or is that like manipulating me into doing something you want me to do?
Scott Schimmel 12:46
Well, I think it could be definitely both, I think it's overwhelmingly positive to be I put it as the idea of being a mirror, being a mirror to your kids, I here's what I see in you. I see. I see you having a knack for that I see it coming easy to you, I also see that you seem to enjoy it, you seem to want to do that, without being prompted those sorts of neutral observations, I think are amazing. I also think for myself, as a parent, I'm put my money that 100% of parents like this, too, we only see a certain version of our kids. And we're not, I don't think the most accurate mirror. We're one piece of the mirror. And that's why as a parent, I think it's helpful to have other adults and peers that are a part of that reflection back to our kids helping them see themselves clearly. So I think it's incredibly helpful to have a village of adults around you, where we as parents, go to them and let them know, Hey, could you could you be mindful of what you seen my kids? And and would you? Would you take the opportunity when it arises to just say that back to them. And nowadays that can be as simple as a text message to our kids when they get phones or an email or could be an old fashioned letter. But I've I guess I found it's not until my friends have heard me ask for that give them permission that they do that. Just like me, I don't I see all these kids, my friends lives or my nieces and nephews, I just think they're great. But I don't think to myself necessarily. You don't actually I have a role to play. I'm a part of the mirroring effect to them. So adults are I think a huge huge part of it. In the best research I've seen and and wrapped my mind around is every kid needs about five adults to do that with them and for them and so that that becomes kind of a math issue. Parents, aunts and uncles, family, friends, teachers, educators, facilitators, and, and yet, as we know for teenagers appears become the primary source of mirroring. So Be mindful of who our kids spend time with helping them nurture, and develop friendships with good people, good humans, good kids. And we can't control that. But we can certainly, I think, encourage and steer things to the right direction.
Terri Novacek 15:18
With this last year and a half, and all the changes we've had in our schools, in our ability to be together our own experiences with maybe loss and illness in our own families. Yeah, parent parents working at home. I mean, it's really shifted everything. And in, in some ways, I think there's probably parents that feel they spend more time with their kids now that they're working from home, but because they're working from home, it might actually be less. How do you feel like COVID has impacted or or reshaped our role as parents and educators?
Scott Schimmel 15:57
Every family is different. That's one thing I've learned to not assume how a family is experienced this last year and a half. But I think, hopefully, what we're all coming to agreement on is the need to have thoughtful conversations with out kids. Because in such extreme times, you know, I think back to like the challenger exploding, or 911, I think those are such unique moments in our collective history that, that I think every parent knows, oh, we should have thoughtful conversations with our kids about these moments. But we've just come out of this end are still in this protracted, long moments. And so what I'm hopeful for, and I think people are, like connecting dots to themselves is we need to be having these kinds of conversations often about how the world's changing and what we seem to be perceived as dangerous, how we view other people, it's not just COVID that we've kind of overlaid election stuff, justice, around race and justice around race issues, there's a lot of stuff layered on that I think we're in such a unique time. So I come back to thoughtful conversations with our kids asking them even at five, six years old. So what do you think about that? What do you think about what's going on? What do you think about other families or handling things like masks or vaccines differently? Just what do you think, and I think kids know what we think. But the opportunity for them to share their thoughts without us jumping down their throat. Or without us telling them why they're wrong. Or their perspective is too limited. I just think we can we can learn to be reflective together and to value each other's opinion. And I think that'll go a long way. For Kids. it'll teach them, you need to be someone who's thoughtful and reflective about your world, your life, the world around us. And that doesn't also take much time doesn't have to be long family discussions, the dinner table, which I think we'll assume that's what good families do. I think it could be two or three minutes in the car a minute at bedtime. Anytime our kids are feeling connected and safe with us, and we've we're feeling good vibes with them, that we can ask them questions and even share our own thoughts about things we're seeing and observing.
Terri Novacek 18:23
I love that. And I know you well enough to know that that is easier and more natural for you than it would be for a lot of parents. So yeah, I'm apparently listening to this. And I'm saying, Okay, yeah, I'll have one of those thoughtful conversations. It starts with what do you think that's, that's great. Yeah. And then what? So I asked my child, what do you think I hear what they're saying. I don't like what they're saying. And even if I do, like, Where, where do I stop? What do I do? Now?
Scott Schimmel 19:00
You know, I is something I think about all the time. But as a parent, now I have two teenagers, the natural progression of things is that teenagers pull away from their parents, they, that's a nice way to say they don't like you anymore. They want to be around you. They don't want to hear what you have to say. So it happens in our house too. And I what I've noticed is my kids are whether they're drawn or are just spending more time with other adults and other people's homes, and other people's cars, they're bumming rides to the beach. They're getting rides to pool parties, they're hanging out of their houses. And I can't influence necessarily what happens in those cars or those houses or whatever. But we also get the chance to have their friends over quite a bit. That I'm the carpool dad a lot. So one thing I'm trying to do is is recognize that I can those kinds of conversations with my kids friends, sometimes easier than I can with my own because I'm not their dad. And almost they have to lay and they have to answer me. Right? I could have done it. Or they just give me the vibe, you know, but when they're friends around all of a sudden, it's kinda, it's it's just a slightly tangential environment that I've noticed. And I'm noticing that it goes a little bit better. And I'm hoping then to model for my kids and their friendships that we talk about these things. This is what friends do. This is what people in good relationships, do. We just we just talk about things that matter. And I think we can all agree, teenagers need that they need to be guided to focus and pay attention to things that matter not to think that don't matter.
Terri Novacek 20:43
Any of the students that you've been working with in the last year and a half, how have you seen the impact of those challenges?
Scott Schimmel 20:51
It's, it's almost too soon to say from my perspective, is that a lot of students are going back to school soon. And I just talking to principal today said, you know, took a vacation three, three weeks ago, coming back to to work. And three weeks ago, I assumed we'd be back to normal, we'll be back no mask or in person. And here I am, really two weeks later in the world is upside down again, and headed in that sort of direction. So what I assumed was a season that was ending, and we can take a deep breath and then start reflecting on it just seems like we're going through another wave. It's almost like, what are the close aftershocks? after an earthquake? You're not sure. Is this aftershock? Just a little 2.3? Or is this? Or have we not had the big one yet? So there are obviously some kids who've thrived as more introverted, or socially anxious. Kids or kids who like different kinds of structure, I think they've really thrived in an environment where they're all much more in charge of their own learning. And some kids obviously have not, and you will know what your school way more than I do about self directed self directed learning and how that manifests itself in kids. But I don't know, I don't know how this is going to the kids who are in an environment where the adults around them are constantly clenching out of fear. How is that I don't know how that's gonna impact and kind of be baked into how they go through life. Then on the flip side, the the kids are, are experiencing homes that are just so flipping in assuming there's no danger and people are all crazy, like, I don't know where that cynicism will lead someone over time. I just don't think it'd be helpful for them. So I don't know.
Terri Novacek 22:37
It Now, does You School have any plans for changing the way your curriculum based on learning experiences in the last year or so?
Scott Schimmel 22:47
Yes, I think about a year ago, just a few weeks. So more than a year ago, when all schools are shutting down, all schools are going virtual, there was a moment where I've been trying to push this message inside schools for at that point eight or nine years of Hey, we should create environments and opportunities inside school to talk about these things. Without much other a few people like you who just got it, but you were you were the very rare ones. And typically, you were off creating your own schools, your own worlds. So the moment when the shutdown happened was it seemed like every educator across every demographic was saying, holy cow, we got to we got to really take care of kids. Now. They're, they're humans, they're kids, we have to see how they're doing and reconnect with them. And because they don't just come here and show up. And we just need to know how they're doing. So it really seemed like the key moment for what we do with curriculum and training. But now over a year into that I've become a little bit realistic and cynical. I think, even now, no, there's there's budget for what we call social emotional curriculum and professional development. I haven't seen a big, significant enough shifts and how we do things. So I'm trying to shift our model. And the big focus that I'm putting all of our eggs into is something I didn't think we would ever do, which is college prep college application specifically. And I've almost over the years said, I don't really care if kids go to college now that I don't care. But I've just tried to shy away from that. I guess there's already plenty of counselors and independent consultants and programs. But what I've seen over the last year is number one that college admissions has changed, and it's become more mysterious people are think better consumers than ever really questioning. Is it worth it? What does it get you? People really not wanting to waste time when they go think that old idea of just go find yourself in college is a dying idea. I think for most people, it's too expensive. It's too much of a risk. It doesn't happen, actually, I think is what people discovered. doesn't really happen over those four or five years. But the biggest thing I I'm interested in is, there's never another moment, I think in somebody's life, besides a applying to University, where we we scrutinize what kind of human they are, what kind of person they are. Even in job interviews, we don't have to demonstrate how we serve our neighbors, or wear, we developed our values, I'm sure that we have to talk about our work experience and and have chemistry. But there's no, there's no mortgage application that makes this talk about our story. So I've just I've just seen now, there's something about that this scrutinizing college apps process in the mystery and other pressure, that there's just a unique opportunity to have the kinds of conversations with students that I want to in their families. And so we're just going full steam ahead and launching a college apps Crash Course with our flavor of social emotional reflection, and thinking about where you're going in life, providing mental health support as they do it. And then hopefully, helping them make way better choices about who they're turning into. So it's not about getting into school, it's about finding your path, find out who you are finding your element,
Terri Novacek 26:09
Making sure you're doing it for the right reasons. Yeah,
Scott Schimmel 26:12
One of the things I love about your model is the adults, the adults that are involved in students lives and how they do it. So I'm just so thankful, always, whenever I think about you and interact with you guys, it's just like, what a breath of fresh air. Because I work in other schools where that's not necessarily the vibe. This is really why we're all in this business together of school. So I just love your team.
Terri Novacek 26:38
Just from your perspective, is there something we can do to be more of a pioneer? You know, as a charter school, that's what we want to do is your innovation.
Scott Schimmel 26:49
There are a series of questions that I think every young person, every person in the world, but every young person should be given the opportunity to answer by the time they graduate from high school, and they're not typically questions that we ask. And yet they're the most common questions out there are timeless questions like, Who are you? And what's most important to you? And what problems do you want to solve? How are you going to use your talents to serve others? How do you resolve conflict? these are, these are questions that make up all of life, the most important foundational, critical questions, but you can graduate and do amazing, you're going to 4.9 GPA and never have come up to any answers to those questions. So I don't think that's something that just happens at home. I don't think that just happens later in life, I think we can ask young people expect them to have answers. And will they have the right answers? Probably not. And but can you imagine, I mean, if I can go back in time at 14 1618, if those were my assignments, and I had to, I had to, through an essay, or a video blog, or a presentation, or even making up a recipe for cooking class or kind of like, and just say, Hey, this is why this is important to me. If I had had that opportunity, I think it would be a different path that I'd be on. So I think that's looking at your model. That's certainly what if every single student, by the time they're 18, could show a portfolio of here are my answers to the life's most important questions. And here's how I've demonstrated my learning process to get there. And imagine if every single graduate could look in adult in the eye and say, yo, I'll tell you what's most important to me, and how I came to believe that to be true. Or I'll tell you what I believe in about the world. I'll tell you what my talents are. I think that isn't just a pipe dream. That's a very real reality. It's It's a simple thing to do. You just have to decide to do it.
Terri Novacek 28:50
Well, and I'll add to that, I think the other thing that's important is that it still needs to be understood at this point in time. You know, yes, I'm 18 I know who I am. I know what I want to do. I got all this. And right. I have the freedom to adjust that.
Scott Schimmel 29:11
I hold it loosely. Yeah, I'm still learning. This is my best answer today. I think that's that humility is foundational for learning for sure.
Terri Novacek 29:21
Right. Well, Scott, thank you so much. And I I'm glad to hear that you school is still going strong through all COVID if there wasn't a need before, which there was I'm sure it's quadrupled by now. So yeah, yeah. Congratulations on that. And thank you very much.
Scott Schimmel 29:39
Terri Novacek 29:41
This is my best answer today. I love that. How many times do we find ourselves not wanting to answer life's most important questions as Scott refers to them? Because we feel the answer will be written in big black sharpie. If we change our mind, it might look messy or be used against us later. What if we had permission to answer the questions in light pencil? Would we be willing to be more honest, maybe more bold? Well, not every person needs to develop as leaders and innovators. Everyone should have the skills and choice to lead their own lives and make good decisions. To have new experiences, meet new people, visit new places. Write your own story. You see it everywhere these days. I have two coffee mugs that say that. But creating your own life requires a lot of time and skill and responsibility. And as Scott alluded, it requires personal reflection, feedback and thoughtful conversations. And like everything, practice makes perfect. So let's practice. For this week's reflect and connect challenge. Identify a village for feedback. Now, Scott says every kid needs at least five adults, but you of course get to decide for yourself. First, who is the village for? Maybe it's for you to help yourself get grounded, knowing that you need to make yourself happy and know yourself first, before you can guide anyone else through the process. What type of feedback Are you seeking? Who will provide diverse perspective and objective feedback? Not just tell you what you want to hear, but give you meaningful and constructive feedback. You may already have a village in place. All you need to do now is ask. Let's have thoughtful conversations. As Epictetus, the Greek philosopher stated, We have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we talk. Do you spend more time talking than you do listening? Now is the time to relax the mouth. Open the ears and mind and take in the information. Who knows those thoughtful conversations just might lead to finding your element.
Joseph Porter 32:40
Thank you for listening to this episode of Elements Is Everything. If you found anything in this podcast worth knowing, please share it with a friend, a teacher, a business leader or other decision maker. If you haven't already done so be sure to subscribe wherever you are listening now to be notified of future episodes. We appreciate your suggestions and feedback, which you can provide through the Element is Everything website under contact. Or you can simply email element is everything at my element.org Our hope is to help listeners discover the path to their element who will then help others do the same. Live life to the fullest. Live life in your element.
President and Chief Guide
Scott Schimmel is a constant student of helping people grow.
As President & Chief Guide of The YouSchool, he is responsible for leading the charge with schools, athletes, and veterans, ensuring that everything they do delivers on the mission and vision.
After being rescued from a career path headed into corporate finance, and spending over ten years at a non-profit leadership development organization in higher education, helping develop college students into world changers, Scott is deeply aware of the challenges people face when transitioning into the ‘real’ world. This is why he’s invested his time guiding students, athletes, and veterans to discover and write their own stories.
Outside of the YouSchool, Scott is an avid reader, speaker, writer, and golf fiend. He serves on the board of UrbanLife in City Heights and is the co-host of Bob Goff’s Dream Big Podcast. His wife and three children keep him anchored.