Why being a father is the greatest and most important role a man can have in his life: Raising strong, brave and self sufficient kids

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I fail as a father a lot…

In fact most of the time, I have no clue what I’m doing, but I just keep trying to figure it out the best that I can.

No one gives a father a manual on exactly what to do, or what it’s going to be like when you hold your child in your arms for the first time. Or what to do when they cry for the first time.

However, as a man, I want to see other men raise strong, brave and confident kids, and it pains me so much when I see kids neglected, mistreated, ignored and unloved. It breaks my heart.

As men, we are to be the best things in our kids life, the heroes that they deserve to look up to. Sure, we might not have all the answers or be one hundred percent perfect one hundred percent of the time, but we do need to make our best effort.

I have been thinking about how to write this article for a long time, mainly because I;m not a perfect father, but I have gotten a few things right. Instead of giving you all of my advice, I have found a book that has really helped me gain perspective on being a father.

As a side-note, there are very few books or resources on raising boys or girls that are about helping them be strong and confident, but there are a million books on how to potty train your kid, or to get them to sleep in their own room, or how to give them a bottle.

I have found a few and I will list them at the end of this article, so if you want you can scroll down to the bottom now.

Let’s get started.


 

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You’re a new father, Now what?

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Congratulations, you are going to be a Dad.

I’m going to be real with you. It’s going to be hard for about one year. Unless of course you married a saint, then you will be fine.

For those of you who didn’t, here are some tips:

  • Start getting up early now and working out. Strength is confidence. Your family needs a strong Husband and Dad.

  • Start developing a habit of taking care of yourself and getting up way before your family does.

  • You are going to have to sacrifice some stuff (Video games, weekend golf outings)

  • Number one priority is your wife and children

Your family will follow your lead and develop the same habits that you have. If you like football, your kids will like football. If you sit around on your phone looking at YouTube all day, then so will your kids.

We don’t want to fail as parents, and we don’t want our kids to fail either. That is why it is so critical to build a foundation of success.

A few more tips:

  • Find one hobby, or creative outlet and pursue it like it’s your job. I’m not talking about a hobby that you dabble in, I’m talking something that is going to be a very good stress reliever but also challenging enough.

  • What happens, is you will feel like a cog in a wheel, every moment will feel scripted and your daily grind will be monotonous. The creative outlet and the exercise will help break this monotony up a little.

Start paying off your debt if you have any:

  • Don’t buy your kids a bunch of stuff when a couple of plastic bowls will keep them entertained for hours. Trust me, they don’t need a whole bunch of toys. Besides, the clutter of all the kids crap is going to be overwhelming enough. Most people fill up their garages with crap and render it useless for what it was intended for. Don’t do that.

  • Pay off your debt, you will be glad you did. You’re kids aren’t missing out on anything if they don’t go to the newest science center or play date. Seriously, the first couple years is the time to save money and pay off debt so that when your kids are a little older you can start taking the fun family vacations. Think long term.


In his book “Raising Men: Lessons Navy SEAL’s learned from their training and taught to their sons”, Eric Davis, says:

I’ve seen too many fathers experience high levels of shame, doubt, frustration, and failure for two main reasons.

  • They mistakenly adopt their father’s or family’s, cultural assumptions about manhood, choosing a firm, authoritarian style of parenting that relies on harsh discipline, coercive punishment, and the restriction of love.

  • Due to apathy, laziness or busyness, they crank the knob on their fathering scope so far in the other direction that they cripple their son’s or daughters ability to grow - either by giving him everything he wants or by insulating him from the natural and necessary consequences of his choices and behaviors, which denies him the opportunity to learn and grow. It’s like they lift their sons up and over every obstacle course that is meant to develop strength and skill they need to survive and thrive.



What it takes to be a good Parent

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I have studied warrior cultures, such as the Spartans, Vikings, Apache Scouts, Navy SEAL’s and have found that the same virtues that they have are the same virtues or characteristics make up a good parent.

  • Courage

  • Respect

  • Honor

  • Perseverance

  • Innovation

  • Communication

  • Responsibility

  • Consistency

  • Confidence

Perhaps the greatest key to being a good parent is to be a good team. Think about being a leader of a dynamic task unit. This is your job, to build this team to function at the highest level of effectiveness and efficiency.

Being right isn’t always being effective.


Have you seen those Fathers who are constantly yelling at their kids for not doing something right, or because they are struggling. Yeah, I don’t think that’s effective. On the other hand, if you constantly help your kids, you are hurting them too.

Let your kids feel the pain of failure or struggle. It’s good for them.


5 Ways to be a rock star Dad

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1) Show up, and be present

This is the way that you can be a huge mentor and influence in your kids life. Show up.

I can tell you that if you make your kids feel important to you, the influence that it creates is amazing. I love being with my girls, and going to see their gymnastics events, or going to a school event they might have.

My favorite thing is showing up when they don’t know I will be there and then watching them beam with excitement and joy.

When you are spending time with them, put the phone down, and just play with them or hang out with them and interact. Kids are natural BS detectors so they know if you are listening and paying attention or not.

2) Listen and Talk to them

Kids love to talk and tell you about their day, especially if you have girls like me. My oldest daughter told me that talking is her hobby, and she has no problem talking to anyone.

I have to make a mental choice to talk and listen, but when I do it’s so cool to really see your children and how they see the world. I love listening to the girls talk about their day, or their favorite LOL Doll.

I get that it’s not as exciting sometimes as going to the shooting range or lifting weights in the garage, but I assure you that if you spend time with them now, they will want to spend time with you later.

My daughters do CrossFit with me in the garage, and are now taking an interest in going to the gun range.

3) Don’t do what the other parents do. Be different. Be bold.

I remember one time when we went to a birthday party for a friend of my girls. It was in an air conditioned shelter by the river in the middle of July. It was hot and muggy and everyone just wanted to sit in the cool shelter and not enjoy the outdoors.

It was starting to get crazy with all the kids wound up eating ice cream and crying because they weren’t getting there way, and they were jacked up on sugar.

I grabbed the girls and took off down to the river, it was shallow enough we could walk all the way across to the other side, but instead we just went out to the middle and laid down in the water. We spent the entire party playing and splashing around.

people thought we were crazy but my girls loved it, and we make it a tradition every year to go several times. It was more of a memory for them than watching presents be opened. They think I’m the coolest dad because I take them on adventures.

When faced with a similar situation, do something different, make a memory for your kids, and don’t be afraid of what the other parents might think.

4) Let your kids fail and learn

I once heard Jocko Willink say something in his podcast that hit me. He said, the more you help your kids the more you are hurting them.

When I was a kid, my parents pretty much let my brother and I have free reign, in fact one time I left from home for about 4 hours with one of my buddies. We went to a canal in Idaho and were catching frogs and snakes, then we went to this old abandon farmhouse and jumped out of second story window onto a mattress that had been laid out below it.

I was 7 or 8 at the time, and I grew up in a rough trailer park neighborhood.

If I missed the bus at school, I would walk home, it was about 2 miles.

Nowadays, parents freak out if their kid skins their knee, or if they get made fun of at school.

Kids need to learn to problem solve, stand up for themselves, whether it’s with fists or with words. Unfortunately, our society is pushing for a “safe” environment, so that kids can really grow and be nurtured. The reality is, this kind of thinking stunts their growth and leaves them helpless and hopeless in the world. Which is exactly what society wants. Little Puppets.

When your kid hurts themselves or is struggling through something, it’s ok to show compassion and empathy, but let them work through it themselves no matter how big the urge is to jump in and do it.

In doing this, you will create strong, confident, self-sufficient kids.

Also, don’t just give them a iPad or a phone to pacify them, instead take them out in the backyard and kick the soccer ball around, play baseball, or go ride bikes.

It’s a sad thing when you go outside in your neighborhood and you don’t see kids racing up and down in the streets on their bikes, playing hockey in the street, or laughter echoing up and down the block.

5) Teach Your kids how to handle money correctly

It doesn’t grow on trees, and in order to earn it, you must work for it.

I see parents buying their kids whatever they want, especially if the kid throws a tantrum. Like somehow, rewarding your kid for bad behavior is OK.

WTF?

Teach your kids the meaning of hard work. Let them get sweaty and make a business. You will be surprised at the business ideas kids come up with. My daughters always have their wheels turning.

Kids need to understand the value of a dollar. If you spend like it’s your job, then your kids will follow suit. Then you will have fully indoctrinated them into the ways of the world. Spend more than you make, go into debt, and repeat that process for the rest of your life.

Have your kids start saving money, balance a checkbook, make grocery lists with prices, and then teach them about compound interest and investing. If you don’t know any of it, then learn it right along with them.

Your kids don’t have to work until they are 65, they could be millionaires by 30, if you teach them correctly.

Resources and Links to help you be a great Dad

Books:

Links:


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