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We want you to have access to as much quality parenting materials as possible. On this page we will share with you valuable external resources as well as parenting tips and videos straight from The 10 Greatest Gifts Project research. We want you armed with the necessary tools to inspire upstream living for your family and for thousands of others around the world.


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What are the 5 Tools?

These 5 tools will help you build those gifts of confidence, self-reliance, integrity and critical thinking in your children and grandchildren. You can also view the accompanying 5 Tools Videos.

Message    Our goal is to give our children and grandchildren love messages that help them learn and succeed versus hurt messages that diminish their confidence and momentum. We all miss the mark with this tool sometimes. Fortunately, we can change the hurt messages we send them simply by changing our words and tone and by asking genuine, wise questions to guide them to their own decisions. Our love messages remind them they are capable and trusted.

Focus    We all go toward our focus. If we’re driving along a nice, pristine road, but then focus on big pothole near the shoulder, we inevitably start to veer toward that pothole. It is no different with children. When parents focus on their children’s mistakes and shortcomings — since we go toward our focus — their  children will make more of those same mistakes, and their shortcomings will be amplified. Thankfully, it works on the positive end as well. When our 1-year-old is learning to walk, do we chastise them when they fall and can’t walk perfectly three feet to where we’re waiting? Of course not. We celebrate the two steps they got right. Wise parents and grandparents celebrate their children’s good decisions and actions.

Model     “Do what I say, not what I do.” Does that command ever work with children? They can’t help but copy what we do, so watch out because their little brains are recording what you do and gleaning their blueprint for life from your example. Experts say that 80% of their qualities, values and behaviors are developed just from watching our lives. If we are a living text book for them, consider what kind of guide you have written for your children: are you proud of it, or would you like to rewrite a few parts?

Listen     Listening? It seems so insignificant and small. How can listening impact our children’s qualities, values, behaviors, and future? Is there any better way to communicate to our children, “I believe in you. I like your ideas. You’re clever and smart” than to just stop everything, get down on their level, and listen deeply to what they have to say? Listening without jumping in with our better ideas or mini-lectures gives our children priceless gifts like confidence, critical thinking, and communication skills. No wonder research shows that we have a greater positive impact on our children by how we listen than by anything we say.

Teach     “If I’ve told them once, I’ve told them a thousand times.” Let’s be honest, does telling ever really work? No. After you tell them once, you have to tell them again and again and again. Smart parents and grandparents know that the best way to teach is to ask wise questions, such as “What do you think is the best way to handle things when we come back with muddy boots? How did you learn to do that so well?” We can’t possibly control the experiences our kids will come up against, but we can arm them in advance with the gift of learning to think for themselves and having confidence in their decision-making.

Recommended Books

We would like to recommend several wonderful book resources both from the 10 Greatest Gifts and other respected parenting organizations.

  • The 10 Greatest Gifts I Give My Children by Steven W. Vannoy
  • The 10 Greatest Gifts My Children Give to Me by Steven W. Vannoy
  • Stomp the Elephant in the Office by Steven W. Vannoy and Craig Ross
  • Degrees of Strength by Steven W. Vannoy and Craig Ross
  • Being a Pro-Active Grandfather by Richard Eyre
  • Grandmothering by Linda Eyre

Visit Amazon to find these popular books

Parenting Tips

“Wise parents and grandparents know that we can’t make our kids do anything, unless they’re still very young. What we can do is help them develop their own internal character and compass, and strong qualities and values like responsibility, honesty, compassion, and self-esteem.”

Steven Vannoy, author of The 10 Greatest Gifts I Give My Children

“Messages that I received from my father when I was younger was that he cared more about our relationship than authoritarian discipline. Yes, there were times he was very angry with my actions, but he always sent me to my room and then sent himself to his room to cool off before he came to talk to me. I believe that taking time to let his anger subside and consider how he could lovingly discipline me made the difference between me being a child/teenager who wanted to please my parents and the child/teenager who just wanted to cause trouble.”

Janell Kennedy, The 10 Greatest Gifts Project