The Reconnection Project Podcast

Although I work with individual families, my wife, Miranda, and I, with much help from Windham, N.H., High School Principal Steve Sierpina, have started The Reconnection Project, a school program that works with students, school staff, and parents in order to increase confidence and connection, and thus reduce student anxiety, by teaching social-emotional skills kids used to learn by osmosis. Thankfully, kids are still hard-wired the same way they always have been, so they truly enjoy the process and feel so much better. This podcast will give you a flavor of our work, included many tips to help you as a parent, educator, and/or coach help the children in your life have more of what we call the Five Is: Imagination, Independence, Integrity, and Intestinal Fortitude, which all lead to Identity. Let’s “prepare the child for the road, not the road for the child.”

Episode 4: For Parents: Part 1

In this episode for parents, we are pleased to welcome retired Chief Justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court John Broderick, now Senior Director of External Affairs for Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health, to tell the story of his family’s journey as his son struggled with anxiety and depression. Now Justice Broderick speaks at schools all over New England about mental health awareness. To date, John has presented to about 88,000 students, and in our next parent episode, we’ll talk about what he is seeing in the kids he’s talked to — and hugged.

Here is more information about The Five Signs. Once again, if you have any concerns about your child’s mental health, please contact your child’s pediatrician.

Here is more information on Chief Justice John Broderick’s work for Dartmouth-Hitchcock:

From WBUR

From The Manchester Union Leader

From Dartmouth-Hitchcock

Episode 3: Coaching for Confidence: Part 2

The Confidence for Coaches series follows the Zoom curriculum Jeff and his colleagues have designed so teams can continue to connect and work on their mental game while everyone is home during the COVID pandemic. Jeff is doing this Zoom program with the Niagara University Men’s Hockey team (Division I), and the players, coaches, and parents have all graciously allowed the Reconnection Project Podcast to follow along. In this episode, Jeff and Jason Lammers, Head Coach, elaborate on some of the themes they covered in Episode 1 and then each discusses their models for giving players social-emotional skills to help them on game day and beyond: Jeff talks about the Five I’s and Jason his acronym SCALE. As Jason puts it, we want to give players “roots to grow and wings to fly.”

Episode 2: Coaching for Confidence: Part 1

This episode, especially for coaches, follows the Zoom curriculum Jeff and his colleagues have designed so teams can continue to connect and work on their mental game while everyone is home during the COVID pandemic. Jeff is doing this Zoom program with the Niagara University Men’s Hockey team (Division I), and the players, coaches, and parents have all graciously allowed the Reconnection Project Podcast to follow along. In this episode, Jeff talks with Jason Lammers, Head Coach, about the cultural challenges kids and parents face today, which changes the relationships coaches have with both. They discuss how these challenges are different from when we all were children and give some tips to coaches about how to help their players to improve their confidence and mental game on game day and beyond.

Here is more information on Jeff’s work with athletic teams.

Episode 1: Pivot Point

This COVID-19 tragedy also offers all of us—students, teachers, and parents—a huge and wonderful opportunity to permanently change our lives and relationships for the better. In this podcast, John Broderick, retired Chief Justice of the N.H. Supreme Court and now Senior Director of Public Affairs at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, who has presented to more than 80,000 students about mental health issues; Steve Sierpina, principal of Windham, N.H., High School; Jason Strniste, principal of Bishop Guertin High School in Nashua, N.H.; and Jeff Levin talk about how COVID can be a pivot point for parents and teachers so they can better work together to help their kids.

Here is more information on Chief Justice John Broderick’s work for Dartmouth-Hitchcock:

From WBUR

From The Manchester Union Leader

From Dartmouth-Hitchcock

A couple of Jeff Levin Coaching terms are mentioned in this podcast. The first is “Outcome Fever.”

The second is the “New Parenting Playbook.” 

Some background from Jeff Levin:

I am an ex-therapist and life coach who specializes in working with kids and families, both individually and in school settings. Over the past 20 years or so, I started to notice that kids were starting to change: they seemed more anxious and fragile, less resilient and confident. Less HAPPY. I also noticed a rise in some scary behaviors, from vaping to sexting to depression to online bullying to suicide and school shootings. I realized that all of these things were connected: it was like an iceberg: the scary behaviors are the part you can see, above the waterline. But the bigger underlying problem—the part you can’t see, which affects way more kids than those who act out—is the overwhelming fear and anxiety that so many students face today.

You can read more about all this here on jefflevincoaching.com, but the causes of this problem are a new set of cultural factors—what we call the Overwhelming Tragedy List—that are truly frightening to children: global warming, political rancor, school shootings, etc., and a news media that now sends this bad news to our devices 24/7. And we are more and more dependent—and, in the case of many adults and children, addicted—to these devices, which exponentially makes all of these problems worse. We call this combination of the anxiety caused by this new cultural bombardment and the huge dependence/addiction to devices “Digititis.”

And no one ever talks about these things, which are like elephants in the room that everyone ignores, which makes them even more frightening to kids.

This not only affects kids directly, but it causes parents to parent differently, often resulting in what we call “Outcome Fever” and use what we call “The New Parenting Playbook,” which has crept into our lives surreptitiously, even unconsciously. This “preparing the road for the child instead of the child for the road” flies in the face of what research has proven kids need in order to develop into mentally healthy and happy—and, therefore, successful—adults. Herein lies the rub. And here is where there are so many things we can do to make things better for our kids. That is the basis of Jeff Levin Coaching and The Reconnection Project.