The Money Advantage Podcast

The Money Advantage Podcast

18 Summers, with Jim Sheils

February 20, 2023

You only have 18 summers with your kids. How will you make them count? Today, we’re talking with Jim Sheils of 18 Summers and author of The Family Boardroom. We're digging into how you—the entrepreneur, business owner, and busy parent—can deepen your relationship with your child.

So, if you want to create lifelong connections, trust, bonding, respect, and experiences in your family… tune in now!

Table of contentsThe Origins of 18 SummersThe Power of 18 SummersThe One-to-One PrincipleYou Must Be PresentSay the UnspokenAbout Jim Sheils Book A Strategy Call

The Origins of 18 Summers

[1:00] “Basically, there was a study done that the average person will spend… almost 85 percent of all the quality time they have with their children by the end of the 18th summer. Which starts to make sense, you know, because the time minimizes when they’re moving out and becoming adults and possibly not living near you. So it’s saying try to make the most of those 18, because [then] they’ll want to come back for more.”

This flies in the face of common entrepreneurial advice that you should put your head down and focus solely on your business for 5 years. Supposedly, after that, you should have all the time in the world. However, Jim feels that this is the wrong way to approach business and family culture. Because if you don’t make the most of those first 18 summers of your children’s lives, you’ll lose out on future opportunities to be with them. 

[13:35] “When you think about it, they turn 18 [and] they can go off to college, join the military, go out on their own. They’re out of high school. I don’t know about you, but my 19-year-old doesn’t hang out as much with me. Although we hang out, he doesn’t hang out with me as much as my 5-year-old.”

The Power of 18 Summers

[14:20] “It causes a positive urgency.”

This is the power of the “18 summers” mindset. Of course, you’re going to have more time with your kids than that. However, those first 18 years are pivotal to your relationship with your children. Those years are formative for them and are the foundation of your relationship. Despite the time you have after they turn 18, you’ll never have more time than you do while they’re still in the school system. 

Spending time with your children and making memories while they’re young will lay the groundwork for how the future goes. 

[14:38] “Here’s what I know [from] working in this over a decade: you do those first 18 years right… the odds of your child [wanting] you to be a part of their life as an adult go up dramatically. [If] you’re missing, you’re not there, you’ve just been kind of a distant, disciplinarian, ATM machine that wasn’t part of the family life, the odds go down.”

The One-to-One Principle

[17:05] “If you want to have a really strong family and those dynamics of deeper relationships, you have to separate the parts to strengthen the whole. And that is what we call the one-to-one principle. One-on-one time. One-on-one time puts the magnifying glass on that individual relationship, takes away sibling rivalry, gives full attention. It is an absolute potent, potent relationship builder that’s rarely practiced.”

This, Jim shares, is the secret to building strong relationships. Yet when you build a family, having one-on-one time can seem inefficient—you’ve got so many people to bond with and seemingly little time. But it doesn’t take much, it just has to be intentional. This is something you should do with your spouse, your siblings, your kids, and your in-laws. Your kids should have one-on-one time with each other. 

This can take work, and it is so worth it in the grand scheme of things. You have to schedule and plan this time and prioritize it to ensure that it happens. And there should be balance so that all children feel like there is equal attention and care. 

If you feel like things are disconnected, stale, or fraught in your household,