"I love my kids so much," says motivational speaker Nicky Vujicic. "Even with four kids, you want to give every child everything they want but we [he and his wife Kanae] have a discipline where we have to change their thinking and not just give them everything they want, when they want it, how they want it."
Vujicic, who was born with tetra-amelia syndrome - a rare disorder characterized by the absence of arms and legs -is no stranger to working hard for what he wants, and insists that parents need to set healthy boundaries for their kids.
"There are goals that we make them set for responsibilities or earning their way to [getting] what they want because the world is not just going to give you whatever you want, how you want it, when you want it. You've got to take initiative, responsibility."
You don’t know what’s impossible until you know what’s possible. There were so many times in my life that I thought I could do things. GET OUT OF YOUR WAY. Stop beating yourself up. Start being your own cheerleader. @nickvujicic #PendulumSummit pic.twitter.com/VvtsxrR2G4— Pendulum Summit (@PendulumSummit) January 9, 2019
In addition to this, the Australian entrepreneur believes that these guidelines will give his children a sense of appreciation for what they have as well as a strong work ethic which he believes will be essential in the near future.
"Sadly, within ten years, 70-75% that all jobs that we know of today will actually not exist. There are some countries that are going to be fully automated to a point that the gap between the rich and poor - the only people who will have a middle class are those who do direct selling or small business entrepreneurship. We should be teaching these kinds of things at school."
If I wanted something, my parents told me to get it myself. I had to figure it out so I started vacuuming with my shoulder and chin for $2/week. It thought me patience. Don’t just give your kids something because they want it. Get them to set goals. @nickvujicic #PendulumSummit pic.twitter.com/Wg3FBMxNUm— Pendulum Summit (@PendulumSummit) January 9, 2019
Speaking further on parenting, the 36-year-old broached the topics of bullying and mental health which he believes families need to speak about more openly.
As a child, Vujicic struggled with depression and was bullied throughout his school years. He credits his family, friends, and faith with getting him through his most difficult years and, at the age of 19, he held his first speaking engagement. Since then, Nick has traveled around the world advising parents, students, and educators on the topic.
"It's very difficult to start that conversation, with transparency, with your children when it comes to bullying whether they're getting bullied or you discover that your child is a bully.
"First of all, my approach is talk to me about school, talk to me about your friends, talk to me about 'have you ever seen anybody punch someone' - parents don't ask that question."
"You don't put the spotlight on them, as a parent you need to change your position outside of the parent role and kind of be a friend. My dad did that for me. "
He continued: "It's not just about telling people to stop, it's about understanding what really happens when you don't stop."
To tackle bullying on a global scale, Vujicic launched a company in 2007 called Attitude Is Altitude to "ignite positive change all around the world" through live events, keynote speeches and motivational products and resources.
"We have an altitude education initiative. We are currently working with five governments, bringing in this six month, grade 9, curriculum to bring in these values and attitudes. In fact, I really believe that next year I'll be coming back to Ireland and trying to come on this front to the education system in Ireland.
"I really believe there is such a need here but I also believe - I want to change the world - I really believe in this whole region of the world, if there can be a spark that happens in Ireland, I feel like there could be a ripple effect in a wonderful way.
The morning after our interview, Vujicic shared a photo of himself on Instagram in which he is supposedly on the phone to the Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh, offering to speak to the youth of Ireland.
He captioned the photo: "Me on the phone at Aer Lingus lounge before my flight. Speaking to the Minister for Education and Skill of Ireland offering to come for free to do a speech to encourage the youth of Ireland to never give up, Dream big and stand against bullying at schools. Love you Ireland! Thank you for your welcome!"
We spoke with Nick Vujicic at the Pendulum Summit which ran in Dublin's Convention Centre on January 9th & 10th 2019.