Parenting Wholeheartedly – Learnings from Brené Brown

In 2011, I set out to read one book a week, while I started strong on my way to 52 books, I completed only 19 books on the year. Since that year, I have continued to set goals (although much more realistic). For 2016, my goal is to complete 15 books and I am happy to say I am well on my way there. As of the end of the first quarter, I have already finished eight.

One of those books was Daring Greatly by Brené Brown. If you are not familiar with Brené you need to watch this and this. I have had the privilege of seeing her in person as well and every time I read her books, watch her speak or hear something new she is up to I want to cry.


So anyway, back in January I read Daring Greatly and it changed me. I personally loved the beginning and the end so if you are super strapped for time, buy the book from the link above and read the first chapter and the chapter on parenting. Brené’s explanation about how vulnerability and living wholehearted can transform our lives is so moving.

In the chapter on parenting, she wrote a manifesto called The Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto. The genuineness that is set forth in that proclamation is something I aspire to live with my family. It holds parents accountable to lead their children through example and to guide through love.

Below is the full text from the manifesto but Brené has also made a free downloadable PDF on her site which you can get by clicking here.

Above all else, I want you to know that you are loved and lovable. You will learn this from my words and actions—the lessons on love are in how I treat you and how I treat myself.

I want you to engage with the world from a place of worthiness. You will learn that you are worthy of love, belonging, and joy every time you see me practice self-compassion and embrace my own imperfections.

We will practice courage in our family by showing up, letting ourselves be seen, and honoring vulnerability. We will share our stories of struggle and strength. There will always be room in our home for both.

We will teach you compassion by practicing compassion with ourselves first; then with each other. We will set and respect boundaries; we will honor hard work, hope, and perseverance. Rest and play will be family values, as well as family practices.

You will learn accountability and respect by watching me make mistakes and make amends, and by watching how I ask for what I need and talk about how I feel.

I want you to know joy, so together we will practice gratitude.

I want you to feel joy, so together we will learn how to be vulnerable.

When uncertainty and scarcity visit, you will be able to draw from the spirit that is a part of our everyday life.

Together we will cry and face fear and grief. I will want to take away your pain, but instead I will sit with you and teach you how to feel it.

We will laugh and sing and dance and create. We will always have permission to be ourselves with each other. No matter what, you will always belong here.

As you begin your Wholehearted journey, the greatest gift that I can give to you is to live and love with my whole heart and to dare greatly.

I will not teach or love or show you anything perfectly, but I will let you see me, and I will always hold sacred the gift of seeing you. Truly, deeply, seeing you.


  1. Reply

    Great post, Mike. I’m a big fan of Brené’s work as well, but I hadn’t come across this manifesto yet. Good stuff.

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