Raise Confident, Independent, And Futureproof Kids

A practical guide for using casual and fun dinner conversations to prepare your children to live more successful, rewarding, and fulfilling lives.

Dinner Time University Book Cover
Dinner Time University book cover

Kids Are Growing Up Without Essential Life Skills

Much of what children learn today is directed by others. School assignments are provided by teachers. Extracurricular activities are often selected by parents and guided by coaches. And in some cases, even personal hobbies are chosen by parents who want to relive their passions or feel their kids will fall behind if they don’t participate.

The result is that children spend their formative years in highly structured environments, being told what to do and how to do it. While this helps children reach educational milestones faster — it also teaches kids that success in life is tied to their ability to listen carefully, follow instructions, and complete tasks assigned by others. After all, those are the actions that tend to be praised by parents and teachers alike.

Meanwhile, in the real world, the adults who live the most rewarding lives are those who take the initiative, make bold choices, and are highly-adaptable when things don’t go according to plan. Rather than simply following instructions or dutifully completing routine tasks — they’re eager to identify new ways to create value or new opportunities worth exploring, and they have the confidence to take action on their own and overcome obstacles along the way.

boy with teacher
girl at desk doing homework
kids in school at their desks

We Must Raise Kids To Be Curious Problem Solvers

Today, the greatest opportunities for personal fulfillment and financial success are available to those who are curious, independent, and confident. These are the traits that will best prepare children to thrive in an increasingly unpredictable world. One in which traditionally ‘safe’ and ‘predictable’ career paths are now being automated or outsourced away.

And, to be clear, the word ‘confidence’ is not referring to the false-confidence that a child gets as a result of being sheltered from challenges early in life. Instead, it refers to the confidence that can only be earned through pursuing difficult challenges, experiencing occasional failure, and — when the outcome really matters — discovering the power to push through, not because a parent or coach insisted, but because the child chose to stick with it.

The good news is that we don’t have to instill kids with a sense of curiosity, a desire to learn, or a willingness to persevere in the face of adversity. Fortunately, a child’s sense of curiosity and desire to learn begins almost immediately after birth. In fact, infants and toddlers are so curious they often get themselves into trouble and are willing to push through boundaries set by their parents — even at the risk of facing punishment or consequences.

The problem today is that kids have fewer opportunities to exercise their curiosity, explore their own interests, and pursue self-selected goals. Dinner Time University explains how, as parents, we can support our children in becoming more independent and confident without over-parenting or disrupting their sense of autonomy. It’s a practical and actionable guide for raising confident problem solvers who are excited to tackle the opportunities of the future.

You’ll Discover How To Better Prepare Kids To…

Take On Challenging
Hobbies & Objectives

Acquire Valuable Skills
& Knowledge Faster

Gain Practical Experience
Through Diverse Pursuits

Confidently Overcome
Obstacles & Setbacks

Come Up With Creative
Solutions To Problems

Adapt To Unexpected
Challenges Or Hardships

Ask Deep & Thought
Provoking Questions

Show Gratitude For The
Positive Things In Life

Model Useful Traits
For Siblings & Friends

Rick Kettner photo

About The Author

Rick Kettner dropped out of high school to pursue life as an entrepreneur during the ‘dot com boom’ of the late 1990s. While his early startup ideas found limited success — he persisted and went on to co-found three highly successful businesses in online music education, including Drumeo, Pianote, and Guitareo.

Now a father of three young children, he has become obsessed with understanding how parents can best prepare their kids to thrive in an increasingly unpredictable world. This has led him to not only reflect on the merits of his own unusual upbringing, but to also study the latest expert advice to gain a deeper understanding of how to best nurture critical life skills.

Dinner Time University is the result of that obsession. It covers practical, time-tested wisdom combined with cutting-edge insights on a range of relevant topics, including skill development, human psychology, and effective mentorship. The book covers nine key insights for helping children acquire the skills, experience, and confidence needed to live fulfilling lives.

The Simple Daily Ritual
You’ll Actually Use

There are countless books, articles, and podcasts offering up useful parenting advice. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority focus on what to do and sometimes why to do it, but what is often missing is a clear sense of how, when, and where to fit the insights into everyday life.

This book is different. It’s geared toward creating meaningful and lasting change. Rather than just leaving you with a collection of helpful tips — the insights are built around a simple daily ritual that makes it easy to guide your children’s development in a practical and actionable way.

Dinner Time University Book Cover
Dinner Time University book cover