How does our perception of life shape our sense of self? And how can we teach our children to examine the meaning they make of their feelings and experiences to help them learn to be intentional in their actions?

Prepare to expand your horizons, reconsider your perspective, and embark on a transformational journey with this week’s guest and the author of GROW UP: Becoming the Parents Your Kids Deserve, Gary John Bishop.

Join us as we uncover the secrets to nurturing secure attachments and fostering reflective functioning skills in our children. It’s time to empower the next generation with the tools they need to create meaningful lives. Don’t miss out on this episode that promises to reshape your understanding of self, parenting, and personal growth.

Gary (00:00):

You can understand yourself up the yin yang, but if it’s not making a difference, then it’s not enough. It’s not cracking the code for you. And so the things that I’ve learned about myself and the things that I’ve imparted to other people, yeah, that’s great to know that. But what does it change now? And if you can’t get to that question and maybe you haven’t dug enough yet,

Dr. Sarah (00:26):

How we make sense of the events and the emotions that we experience in life has a huge impact on how we move through the world and ultimately on our sense of self understanding. This allows us an opportunity to really examine that meaning that we are assigning these experiences to make it conscious. And with that conscious awareness comes the ability to make intentional changes and shifts in our perceptions, in our interpretations, which empowers us to break through protective or defensive barriers that we might have built up so that we have more say in our ability to show up in the world as the person that we genuinely wish to be. So here to talk about this idea with me is Gary John Bishop. Gary is one of the world’s leading personal development experts and a New York Times bestselling author in his new book, Grow Up: Becoming the Parents Your Kids Deserve. He asserts that all the parenting books that offer kid-oriented solutions aren’t helping. Instead, he says, we do not need more tips and tricks and techniques. Instead, we as parents need to unlearn what has been ingrained into us so that it doesn’t keep popping up in our parenting, outside of our awareness. So open your mind, rethink your perspective, and enjoy my conversation with Gary John Bishop.


Are you a new or expecting parent who’s wondering, is it normal to feel this way? Am I doing all this right? Or what should I be asking that I don’t even know that I should be asking? The reality is, becoming a parent is a huge transition and planning and support are two of the most effective tools in promoting your best postpartum self, which is why my group practice, Upshur Bren Psychology Group, has now opened enrollment for a six week group program to equip new parents with simple tools and supportive resources aimed to help ease every new parent’s life.


This group is run by the brilliant psychologist, Dr. Kate Cuno, who is our training director, and she’s an infant mental health specialist. She’s the perfect person to be running this amazing group. So whether you are a first time parent or you’ve done this a bunch of times before, you can definitely expect to walk away from this group feeling more prepared, confident, and armed with specific strategies for how to best support yourself and your family during this transition. This small group will meet virtually on Mondays at 1:00 PM Eastern starting October 30th. So make sure to sign up for your spot now. Go to upshurbren.com to schedule a free 15 minute assessment call to see if this group would be a good fit. That’s upshurbren.com to get our free recommendation of a customized plan that will work best for you.


Hi, I’m Dr. Sarah Bren, a clinical psychologist and mom of two. In this podcast, I’ve taken all of my clinical experience, current research on brain science and child psychology, and the insights I’ve gained on my own parenting journey and distilled everything down into easy to understand and actionable parenting insights so you can tune out the noise and tune into your own authentic parenting voice with confidence and calm. This is Securely Attached.


Hi, am super, super excited to welcome our guest today on the show, Gary John Bishop, thank you for being here.

Gary (04:01):

Thanks for having me. This is awesome.

Dr. Sarah (04:06):

I’m a really big fan of this book that you wrote, which is called Grow Up, but you have a lot of other books, and I was really curious when I was reading this book, can you share a little bit with us how you got to the books you wrote and then how you knew this was the next one? Because your books have a very specific style.

Gary (04:27):

Yeah, yeah. It’s kind of like courtesy Scottish style, I guess would be the best way to describe it. There’s not a lot of cursing in the books, but I tend to curse, so it’s kind of in the books there. But I get any personal development a long time ago, almost two decades ago now, and I’ve always kind of looked at the personal growth books. They’re a little too sweet. And look, I mean that works for some people, but it never worked for me. I always just thought, oh, and even the whole idea of personal growth and development seemed like ugh to me once upon a time in my life. And so I wrote, I’ve been in the industry, I’ve been a facilitator and worked tons of workshops and worked with people who change and transform the lives really down in the dirt with people with no eye on creating some kind of profile for myself and anything that wasn’t the game. The game was people. And then I thought, I would like to write a book that I would read, not in a self-indulgent way, but one that speaks to me and the way that I interact with life here. So it had to be some sophisticated ideas, but presented in a way that I could get my teeth into, which, that’s the biggest challenge with people when you’re presenting ’em with some pretty complex philosophical ideas. How do I say this to a guy who’s changing tires in Pennsylvania?


Or pointed to you like a single mom in Alabama? How does she get teeth into this idea of philosophy and how to use it in life? And so that’s when I wrote my first book Un-bleep Yourself, and that book sold millions of copies, became a New York Times bestseller. But again, that was never the aim. The aim was always how can I partner this information to people, which led me to the next book of self-sabotage and what self-sabotage is really a bit in my view from, again, from the perspective of the philosophy that I follow, which is ontology and phenomenology. It’s not a psychological examination of what, but there are echoes, you’ll hear echoes in phenomenology, in ontology. And so as I’m going from one book to the next, it’s, it seems very organic to me, seems very like, well, this is the obvious book to write.


And so the last book that I wrote was about being in a relationship was what is it to love another and how do we navigate that? And I’ve had lots of people asking me about parenting and my advice, which I would never give anybody. So this whole idea of there’s a lot of books out there and I’m guessing a bunch of ’em are really useful on tips and hacks and all kinds of stuff. I’m too busy as a parent for that. I’ve got three boys. I can’t be reading books on tips. I got stuff to do.


And so what I really thought would be really useful for people would be to see, to peel back this whole notion of what is a parent? What is it to be a parent? And I’m under no illusions. I don’t give a dang what you’ve done in your life. Being a parent will be the most challenging thing you’ve ever done in your life. And partly the reason why that is, is because you can’t, no matter how much you might try, you can’t unshackle yourself from the way you were parented and the way your parents were parented, which is not really a question we dig into too much other than just the story of it or whatever. But the implications of that, right? And the implications of who your parents are and who you are. And then the last thing that really I wanted the end of this book was, here’s what your kids are going through in their development. What is it? Because a lot of what young people are going through, it seems circumstantial, but I want people to get, it’s not, it’s evolutionary. It’s part of what they’re supposed to do. So that book just seemed obvious for me to write.

Dr. Sarah (09:20):

Yeah, and it’s amazing because you’re saying you’re not based in, your work isn’t rooted in psychology, but as a psychologist I’m like, okay, we’re touching on intergenerational transmission of trauma. We are touching on appropriate expectations for our kids that are based on their actual developmental stage. You’re looking at our intrinsic, sort of innate knowing and connection to our child, which I think our society has done an unfortunately wonderful job of disorienting us from and getting us to focus on outside motivators versus these sort of innate, intuitive connections and cues that we know how to read in our kids. We just have to remember, we know how to read them. It could be a book that parallels to many of the things that psychologists or some psychologists talk about when they talk about parents, the psychology of parenting. So I love it.

Gary (10:21):

I mean, it blows my mind. A lot of therapists, psychologists, I spoke to a group of psychoanalysts, actually a conference. And I have no idea what they’re talking about. I have no idea. But when you give somebody an So, I mean, simply put, ontology is the examination of being, and you’re always being something, right? You’re always being one way or another way. And most of your default ways of being are just there all the time. And so when you examine those with people, I mean, there are neurological explanations of that. There are psychological explanations of that. That’s all great. But when someone from say a psychological neurological background comes along, it’s amazing how the parallels are there. You can hear, like I said, the echoes in the work. And I’m always really flattered a lot of mental health professionals use my books. They give my books to patients and say, this guy’s kind of saying it in a way that I can’t say it to you, so you should probably read pages eight and nine or whatever.


But no, I mean it’s, look, it’s all about the greater good. It’s all about people taking a really healthy approach to themselves and their self-examination and understanding yourself in a way that makes a difference, because I think you can understand yourself of the yin yang, but if it’s not making a difference, then it’s not enough. It’s not cracking the code for you. And so the things that I’ve learned about myself and the things that I’ve been parted to other people have always been inside of that big commitment. Yeah, that’s great to know that. But what does it change? Now, if you can’t get to that question then maybe you haven’t dug enough yet.

Dr. Sarah (12:21):

So let’s talk about that because one of the things that you talk about right off the bat in the book is that you don’t need to know how to parent. You need to examine how you were parented. You need to examine how you think about how you were parented.

Gary (12:37):


Dr. Sarah (12:38):

And that really struck me because I agree with you. So can you talk more about not just why that’s important, but then what does that information, reflecting on how you’re parented and how you think about the meaning you make of the way you are parented? I think that’s critical.

Gary (12:58):


Dr. Sarah (12:58):

How does that impart change?

Gary (13:02):

I love hearing somebody with your background talk about meaning, because to me it’s everything. It’s everything you want to unlock about yourself to me is in whatever meaning of a potion to your past. So when people talk about their past, they don’t talk about what they made it mean. What they talk about is what they say happened.


And so I say, okay. And then if I offer them the idea that that’s a perspective, they lose their minds, right? They’re like, oh ugh, that’s not a perspective. That’s what happened. And I say it’s still a perspective that doesn’t diminish yet. That doesn’t diminish what you had to deal with or go through. But it is a perspective, and there are other ones there if you look and available to you. But to me anyway, to me that was kind of like in terms of my own development, that’s when the atoms split. When I first saw meaning when I was a kid, my father drunk alcohol excessively. What did I make that mean about myself? But what did I make it mean about him? Oh, well, I made it mean that he was this kind of person and that kind of person, some of which might’ve been accurate, but mostly wasn’t. But it started to fill up the space of my mind and my experience of myself. And so as you parent, it’s important for you to understand that you’re not a blank slate. And one of the things that I say in the book is it’s kind of arrogant to presume that this is the only generation that’s ever tried to break a generational chain. I mean, every generation’s tried it.

Dr. Sarah (14:54):


Gary (14:55):

They’ve all done it. I mean, what do you think people were doing in the twenties and in the thirties and in the forties and in the fifties and in the sixties, and they’re all trying to break generational chains, yet the chain persists


And the chain persists because it only deals with circumstances it never deals with. But what’s going on here? What’s happening is this young person is putting together some sense of what they are and some sense of what the world is. And all of that, by the way, again, in my work is all grounded in meaning who I am, what the world is, who other people are. And it’s like sweeping generalizations that just kind of drift into the background. And then you just start dealing with life and you can’t quite put your finger on it. And so in the book, I say mostly what we’ve arrived at is I’m going to do what my parents did or not do what my parents did. That’s it. That’s what we’ve got. Now I’m going to not do what my dad did, and this is where I tie any childhood, because that’s what your children will do. They’ll do what you did or not what you did, and sometimes not what you did is what your dad did. And so it continues. It just keeps flipping over generation to generation, and you might get a couple of generations in a row. So I’m really more about understanding the chain than breaking it to see what it does and why it does what it does and why. But I think probably the biggest thing that jumps out at me is the illusion of the say that we think we have with our children.


That’s always surprised. People think my child’s going be, and it’s not. Your child doesn’t turn out that way because you can’t access the meaning that they give life, and you can’t get them to even cognitively understand when that’s happening for them, what’s important for ’em to understand is that it’s happening. And I’ve done that with my own children. You have ’em understand, well, you’re going to make this mean something and only you’ll know what is.

Dr. Sarah (17:26):


Gary (17:26):

But, I can’t direct you. Don’t make it mean that the young people don’t worry that way. They don’t.

Dr. Sarah (17:34):

No, it’s interesting. You don’t control how the people in your life, especially in this context, your children make meaning of things.

Gary (17:46):


Dr. Sarah (17:48):

But can I would argue support their ability to reflect on the meaning that they make, which is I think your point, right? And I think if parents, like you said, we look at what our parents did or didn’t do, and we decide what we want to do or not do based on that, and that usually is the way it goes. But if we instead look at what does it mean to me that my parent did this or didn’t do this, what do I think it meant to them? We’re working on what I would call reflective functioning, your ability to put yourself into the internal world of another, and also to reflect on your own internal world. And we know from research on attachment that an ability to reflect on what our parents did or why they did what they did can impact how secure we are in the world. And then that can get passed down to our kids, our secure attachment, our ability to heal attachment ruptures with our parents can then get passed down to the next generation. But it’s not about changing how they make meaning, it’s about giving them the tools to reflect on the meaning that they’re making.

Gary (19:11):

It’s about having them get that this is meaning.

Dr. Sarah (19:14):


Gary (19:15):

This is not reality. This is meaning. It’s your reality, which is not reality. And again, that doesn’t diminish it. You just need to understand this is a mechanism happening with you as a human being. And if you can see that, if you can see that even in retrospect, even looking back when you’re out like, oh my gosh. So one of the things that I often talk about this, but I’ll say one of the things that happened in my life is I laughed myself with this internal sentence that I’m not smart enough.


Now, I don’t know when that started, but I know that it started. I know it was life before that. And then there was just this creeping experience of myself that I was behind that wasn’t behind academically. It’s just like I just felt I didn’t know enough. So I wasn’t walking around saying myself, well, I’m not smart enough or I’m not going to do that because I’m not smart enough. No, it just sinks into the background. It becomes this kind of deeply fundamental belief. And that’s the thing with, you could say self-limiting belief, right? That’s the thing with self-limiting beliefs, you can’t see them. You don’t know yours. Why? Because you believe them. You can see other people see somebody else who’s like, oh, that’s just a self limitation, and that noise or that experience of myself hasn’t gone away. I just don’t treat it. I should believe it. I don’t always do what I feel like it wants me to do. And so again, that was part of that process of understanding what a young person’s going through. Because some things, I’ll use the word trauma, which is very common, would be a very common word for you to use, but in ontology would be less common. You use the word trauma. We would just say an incident. There was a moment where you saw something and you experienced something and it changed things for you. Something’s hard for people to get their head around the idea of trauma because they think every trauma is traumatic.


And they’re not all traumatic. Some of them are just like little turns you took because there was this moment in your young wife with interrupted the flow of how things were going, and you just adjusted permanently and then adjusted permanently. It’s not these little, and you can recollect some of the incidents. You can go like, oh yeah, that time. And I realized, and so sometimes in this book, I want people to see how to make the connection like, oh yeah, I made these adjustments when I was a kid. Wow, my mom must have made them. My dad must have made them, and my children are making them.


And if I could get people to get anything from this book, it would B to C. That’s the chain. It’s not circumstantial, it’s inevitable. But the more you understand what it’s trying to do and that it does what it does, the more freedom you’ll actually have to act independently from it. Because as you’re becoming an adult, you can actually observe it. You can create this kind of separation between yourself and because it becomes a thing like you would’ve said, you become conscious of, and it’s in that awareness, you can examine it and see it’s almost holographic in some ways. You get to see through it and the impact of life that way and the impact of maybe some of those very early ont logic, what I would call an ontologic decision you made.

Dr. Sarah (23:18):


Gary (23:18):

May not have been a conscious experience of a decision, but you made one, and then you start to see how the whole thing got built up. And I just think people get a lot of freedom from examining that to authentically parent, to just authentically parent with no strategy to try and make up for something that happened 20 years or 50 years ago or a hundred years ago. And those things are passed on that way.

Dr. Sarah (23:51):

So how do you suggest parents approach that first step of reflection? I like your point that not all traumas are traumatizing or traumatic. There are things we adapt to, but if we’re adapting permanently, they’re changing the trajectory or they’re interrupting what might’ve been our original trajectory. So how do we get back to the original trajectory?

Gary (24:16):

I wouldn’t say go back. I would start with something like, what if you could live with that being there or being a block for you or being some kind of barrier for you? What free you up to do? Or in other words, in my language, who could you be? If you get who you’ve become and you get the pathway and you saw how you ended up that way, who could you be? So one of the big things for me was it was about 15 years ago, and again, it should be ontologically. So one of the big discoveries I made that I’m kind of stuck with this way of being called being hardworking.


And I’m hardworking about everything. There’s no off switch. You can imagine going on vacation with us. There’s no vacate. Let’s go. We need stuff to do. And it becomes my default answer to be a wife. And so then the temptation is, well, how can I pivot away? And I couldn’t pivot away until I understood the damage that it was doing. What’s it like to live with it? What’s it for other people to live with it? Then it was the branches of a tree. Then I could look at it and start to get a bigger picture of this way of being and okay, it’s great for a career. Absolutely unbelievable, but imagine trying to love that.


And so what I understood for myself was I was hard to love. It wasn’t easy to love. And then when I looked at my wife, I’m looking at like, well, what’s that for me? Well, I’m left with that experience. I’m left with that experience of love. Doesn’t matter. So I opened up this and it took a lot of vulnerability and a lot of real authenticity to come in terms with that. But I started to really examine, well, what if I was loving? What if I was that guy? And then I took it on expressing my love and being this loving, connected human being. And it was weird for people around me. My sisters were like, what’s going on? Are you high? Because I wasn’t that guy. I wasn’t the guy to come up and say, I love you.

Dr. Sarah (26:47):

Right? But it’s interesting because you were saying the first part of you that you highly identified with was, I’m a hard worker. And then in examining that and the meaning you gave that you were able to step back a little bit and objectively view the absence of the loving guy. I’m a hard worker, I’m a loving guy. Are they incompatible? How do you make space? Did you make space for both?

Gary (27:17):

Well, it starts to become more like we are all on automatic, don’t just being that will become automatic. You don’t have to go up in the morning and switch on. You are there all the nuances, all the biases, all the various view that you’ve become. And again, in my field, it’s not some massive spectrum of being you wake up in the morning pretty much you. You don’t wake up like, oh, somebody else today. You wake up, you, your very young children don’t wake up that way. They wake up with a lot of ways of being available and they go through ’em all in a day, right?

Dr. Sarah (28:03):

Yes. That’s a very accurate way of describing it.

Gary (28:07):

And it’s like over there. But over time it gets less and less and less and less and more defined and more ontologically narrow until there they are. They’re just that way. Now, and what I would say is as you’re going through those phases as a young person, those decisions that you’re making, you’re coming up with an answer. And the answer is, I’ll be X, I’ll be y. And at some point in my life, I came up with hardworking, we’ll solve this, whatever that was. And it was as I’m going through my teens and my twenties, it was solving a lot of stuff because you’re kind of motored and driving forward. And so you’ve got that kind of, and then you get into your thirties and it doesn’t ultimately solve the problem that you thought it would at some level. And that’s the problem of you. It doesn’t solve you. You’re just becoming more and more and more that.

Dr. Sarah (29:21):

Right. And I wonder, because you had said earlier, you recognized in the course of your personal self-reflection that thought, I’m not smart enough was there in the background and you weren’t sure when, but if you have the thought somewhere in the background, I’m not smart enough. It makes a whole lot of sense that your go-to defense against that would be, well, I’ll work hard. Well, I’ll be better than everybody else. I’ll put in the hours, I’ll work hard. So if you’re defending against that voice in the background, that’s where I see where your point is, that’s where the adjustment got made. That pivoted you off track of being this more whole person that could be lovable and hardworking and smart and connected and all the things in balance. And it went off to like, well, I have to turn this voice off that says I’m not smart. So the only thing I can really focus on is be the hard worker and let the rest atrophy.

Gary (30:20):

And it’s not just smart, it’s that I’ll never be smart enough, it’ll never be smart enough. It doesn’t matter what I do.

Dr. Sarah (30:29):

So, you can never stop working.

Gary (30:31):

So the drive is like it’s mechanical.

Dr. Sarah (30:34):


Gary (30:35):

That’s what I say to people. All human beings are driven to be the way they’ve become driven…

Dr. Sarah (30:43):

Protect, protect their sense of self.

Gary (30:46):

So if I’m laid back, for instance, if that’s one of my default ways of being, I’m laid back, I’m driven to be laid back. I’m not just, this is my answer, this is what I’ve realized in that life of growing up. This’ll get me what I want. That’s way of being. And it could be stuff like being kind. I could be stuck with that. Now if you actually ask somebody who has that as a default way of being kind, they’ll tell you it’s a pain in a butt. It’s not like they’ll always be nice to people and then end up with these resentments, but they can’t say it because they’re kind. It’s like it’s this kind of torture but torn between the two things. Ontologically I’ve being stuck with. That’s my default answer to everything. I get people or I get the world to respond more when I’m being kind or more when I’m being hardworking or more when I’m being competitive. And I find one of the great ways that you can actually get to the heart of your default ways of being is ask your friends. They’ll tell you, I know them.

Dr. Sarah (31:59):

But I think at the core of all these things you’re saying, what is the goal? What are you trying to get or what are you trying to protect yourself from when you have these default ways that start to develop these In psychology, we might call them defenses. I think it’s what are the drivers for everybody, for us, for our kids, for our parents, it’s to be seen, to be loved, to have connection, to get your needs met, your needs for love and protection from the world and being seen as lovable. And so if you are finding that my default mode moves into these rigid ways of being, fragmented ways of being, it’s probably because that works to get the feeling of, okay, people will take care of me, people will see me, people will love me if I’m this way. And so going back to parenting, I think it’s so critical that we pay attention to this because we might be shaping our kids’ sense of self, their sense of inner defenses or inner these stories that they tell, these pivots that they make, these adaptations that they make because their perception, their unconscious, probably perception is that our approval of them, our love of them, our support for them is dependent on them showing up in that way.


And that’s the way I show up. It gets the best results. And so I’ll stay there. We have to watch that as parents, we have to watch what we are reinforcing inadvertently, maybe even unconsciously on our end. It’s a lot of work.

Gary (33:40):

I would go back in a little bit. I would say to people, the best thing you can teach to your kid is that they will make meaning out of it. And what I want parents to get is, you are screwed. You’re screwed, and you’re screwed. Because no matter what you do, there’s no guarantee they’re going to take your intent. Don’t make their meaning out of that. Right? So I’ll give you a classic example for people is somebody might feel as if when they were a child, their parents were cold and they didn’t express the love in a way that landed for that child. And then they go on either adult life and they have a child and say, I’m going to shower my kid with love. I’m just going to give ’em all that love. They felt as if I ever, I’m going to make sure my kids get that. One of your kids is probably going to grow up feeling like you are just too much.


You were kind of overwhelming. It was just like the meaning they’ll take. They could take from that easily, but you suffocated them. So they’re going to have children, they’re going to say, I am not going to do that with my children. I’m going to let my children have the freedom and then their child might grow up with my father. Never really, or my mother never really, or they never expressed a love for me. So even though you might have intent, you have to always kind of, there’s way more power in saying your child. And I’ve had these conversations, particularly with my older son, but my middle son’s 11. So we’re can start to have those conversations a little more, not too in depth, just kind of throwing them in there, but you’re got to make meaning out of how I’m your dad and the kind of dad I am and the kind of dad I’m not. And you’re going to run with that. And I’ve had these conversations with my older son because he’s 18 now. So we can certainly have some of those more philosophical questions. And I really feel as if my job is to just, rather than towing around what he might do, put a big bright light on that he’ll do, there’s way more power in that for him than anything that I might offer him.

Dr. Sarah (36:05):


Gary (36:05):

For him to get like, oh yeah, I can see now that that’s something that I, a portion to that, not necessarily that it’s that, but that was what I ended up with out of that. And then coaching them into little things like, okay, and how’s that trailed out in your life and what’s been the impact of that on you and what’s been the impact of that on you and other people around you? What’s it like to live with that? And then living that way, what do you never get? And then when you get your eye on what you never get, then you start to get an understanding of what could be.

Dr. Sarah (36:46):

Yeah, and I’d argue you can have those conversations earlier than 11. I have conversations with my five-year-old son about, and I’ve been having these conversations to some degree since he was much younger than that and my daughter. But saying when something happens to them that they didn’t like to say, huh? Tell me more about what that meant to you. What do you think the other person was thinking when they did that thing? Helping them to try to practice putting their mind first into their own internal world. Identify that they are making meaning of something and then helping them to put their mind into the mind of the other to help them understand that they were probably making meaning of something. We have subjective experiences that are different from one another, that if you can help your kids do that, you can do that at a very young age. Obviously it’s not going to be as sophisticated as the conversations you’re having with your 18 year old, but simply that building that ability to reflect on the meaning that we make and the meaning that others make. That is, I think the base core skill that you’re talking about.

Gary (38:01):

I mean, what you’re speaking of as your superpower. So your superpower is your ability to shift context. All human beings have that ability. You can shift context. All of those things allow you to shift the context from I was here looking at this situation, and now I’m here looking at this situation, which makes it different. So now I have a different experience of this thing. It’s not the same experience. And so the kinds of conversations I will have with my younger kids is stuff like, okay, I get that. And what else could it be though? Well, it could be this. Okay, and what else? And then if you just let them think about it, they’ll come up with 10 different variations on that same situation. And I say, well, you just picked the one that empowers you the most.

Dr. Sarah (38:58):


Gary (38:58):

They’re, okay, well I’ll pick this one. Okay, good, fine. And I just want ’em again that they picked that. That was the freedom you picked, that you could have picked any other one. The freedom is in the shifting of the context is in moving. And then a thin way to talk about it is perspective. But you have to remember when you are related to something from a certain vantage point, it’s not as thin as perspective. You’re in the world of that thing. It’s like you’re in the domain that all that is, and you’re interacting with it. So the German philosopher said, there is only being in the world and you are being in that world. And so you’ll have all the solutions and all of the kind of logic that that world will present you with when you shift context. You get to sit in another world with all of those options and all of that logic and everything that presents you with.


And in this book, if you said it, one of the things I say about my books, they’re never long, but the value isn’t what I’ve written. The value is in what it forces you to think about. The value is in the gaps between the paragraphs. Are you thinking, are you turning this over? Are you seeing the implications? That’s the use. It’s not my words. So when you shift and you have the ability to shift context and you practice shifting context like you’re talking about your children, you practice shifting contact, nothing sticks like you’re like Teflon. You can shift your way out of anything and be empowered and handle your life rather than getting locked down in these little vignettes that we kind of get stuck in. And then so what we end up looking for answers to help us deal with a vignette that we’re in. And I say, you’re just in a world of something right now, and if you could shift context, you would see a whole other way to interact with us.

Dr. Sarah (41:22):

Yeah, that is so empowering. It gives you choice and it gives you agency. I’m very, very excited about that. It’s so beautiful. If people want to learn more about your book, the Work you do, your other books, how can they connect with you? How can they get this book?

Gary (41:42):

I mean, everywhere. I’m lucky enough to have one of the Big Mac daddy publishers, so I’m just a little Scottish man with a big Mac daddy publisher. But everywhere you get books, Amazon, online, all the other places online. I also do the audio book and I always do my own audio book. So you get…

Dr. Sarah (42:07):

You get this awesome Scottish accent.

Gary (42:08):

You get Shrek telling you, you get your stuff together, it’s pretty good. And then obviously all the major bookstores and places like that. And then I’m online, garyjohnbishop.com. You can find me on Instagram. I’m doing the Threads thing now, which is good.

Dr. Sarah (42:23):

Oh yeah.

Gary (42:24):

Yeah, I’m into it.

Dr. Sarah (42:25):

Oh, I’m going to start following you on Threads. I’m going to start talking you on threads because I’ve been trying to play with it too. And it’s interesting.

Gary (42:32):

It’s fun. And then I’m also on TikTok and I’m still hanging around in X. Now we’re calling it, I’m not sure what we’re doing, whatever we’re calling it. I’ll put something up there occasionally. But I really like interacting with people and giving them little nuggets of thought. And sometimes it’s a little confrontational in terms of when you have to think of things in a new way, but I’m being boldly Scottish out there and doing it anyway.

Dr. Sarah (43:02):

Well that’s fantastic. We’ll put all the links to your contact info in the show notes and the show description too, so people can click and find you. And this was really fun talking with you. So congrats on the book. Go get Grow Up: Being the Parent Your Kids Deserve. Thank you so much for coming on the show.

Gary (43:19):

Alright, thanks for having me. It’s been great.

Dr. Sarah (43:27):Thanks so much for listening. If you enjoyed listening to my conversation with Gary, I want to hear about it. Let me know by leaving a review and giving a five star rating on Apple Podcasts. Your review not only helps me to know what topics you are interested in having me explore deeper, but it also helps in getting some amazing experts on the show. And to thank you for your review, which helps me spread this message of parenting support far and wide, and reach the ears of other parents just like you, I’m going to give anyone that leaves an Apple Podcasts review a free copy of my Banish Burnout Weekly Calendar. All you have to do is DM me the word review to @drsarahbren on Instagram, or you can send me an email with a screenshot of your review and I’ll send my calendars right to your inbox. Thanks so much for listening and don’t be a stranger.

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142. Becoming the parents your kids deserve with Gary John Bishop