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Howard Behar on Leadership, Goals, and Parents Talking with Teens

howard_behar_lectureHoward Behar's journey from his teen years to his years as a senior executive at Starbucks was marked, in his view, by personal revelations about what's really important in life. He learned about leadership, vision and what kinds of dialogues parents should have with their kids.

These are a few of the topics Behar will discuss in his ParentMap Lecture Series talk, "Coffee Talk: A Conversation with Teens on Passions and Life Purpose," May 15 at the Village Theatre in Issaquah, from 7-9 p.m.

Behar wants teens to think about the "path" they are on. "It all begins with evaluating who you are — what are your goals, and how you want to live your life," Behar told me at a recent morning coffee at (guess?) Starbucks.

Behar feels these kinds of discussions — the kinds that kids have with their families about their thoughts, dreams and plans — rarely happen. But, he says, they should. And they can't begin too early. "Between the time your children are 3 or 4, start having talks about things like values and honesty," he says." Why? "Because it matters."

He'd like parents to help their kids develop a "picture of themselves" that will help them grow up. Maybe, he concedes, the kids will change their minds 30 times about their future plans. "But it's always better to have a plan...even if it's not THE plan."

How to accomplish this? Behar favors holding family meetings, where kids can step back and evaluate where they are and where they're going next. He calls this "listening to your board of directors." Translation: paying attention to your inner voice. "Kids should realize you can have a life that's flexible, but still have a plan."

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