“My dad is a gentle giant.”
“My dad is always working, he is never around.”
My dad is a d#@k."
“My dad is very caring, he is always checking in on me.”
“My dad is always on his phone.”
When your child is asked, “What’s your dad like?” How will he/she respond?
In my 20 years of asking kids and teens this very question, I have heard it all.
Here are four things you want your kids to say about you.
Your children will learn lots of important stuff in school… math, history, science, writing… solid info.
But your kid’s school will not teach your children many of the most important life skills adults needs.
For example, there is no class called “Perseverance 101”, or “How To Have Grit”, or “Being Tough When Life Gets Horrible.”
It’s not a school teacher’s job to teach your children to be gritty. "Mental Toughness 101" is not in the curriculum.
So where will your kids learn to be a gritty, driven, strong, “bad-ass”? To mature into a person who can stand strong...when their world falls apart? This is a parent’s job.
Dads, when you live a life of grit, toughness and hard work – and when you stand strong when life gets crazy- your kids will notice. And they will say, “My dad is so tough - he's a bad ass.”
Allow me to remind you: You are one of a kind. There is no one like you.
You have quirks. Unique interests. Unusual ideas.
When a father understands and celebrates his unique weirdness, he makes a good dad choice. By example, he teaches his children that all humans are different from each other – and that it’s good to be different.
As they get older, our kids will better understand their own uniqueness, and how they are different from other kids. Yet your kids won’t be ashamed of this.
Unlike many of their peers, your kids will feel comfortable being unique.
Why? Well, because they learned to love and accept their unique selves from their weirdo dad!
Dad, you know how to have fun. Before you had kids, you probably had lots of fun.
But now that you are a dad, do you still have fun? Do you have hobbies, passions and interests outside of your kids – or a screen?
Or, have you fallen into the parent-trap? The trap where you now spend most of your free time playing on your phone, working, driving your kids around, watching a screen and living a fun-less, predictable, boring, #dadlife.
If you are living a boring #dadlife, there will be grave consequences.
Your kids (and spouse) will likely not enjoy your company…or look up to you.
You won’t make fun memories with your family.
Your kids will describe you as a boring, lame-o.
Live a balanced life full of passion, adventure...and have fun with, and without, your kids!
We are the first generation of dads who talk about feelings with our wives and kids. We are present. We are emotionally available. (Props to us.)
Most of us did not learn how to do this from our own fathers. We learned our emotions from books, social media, therapists, adult mentors...or relatable articles like this one.
Our generation is redefining masculinity.
The media didn’t do this. Gillette didn’t do this.
We did it. Everyday dads who are emotionally present, available and expressive.
Every time we practiced empathy.
Every time we cried.
Every time we said, “I feel…”
Every time we asked, “Tell me how you feel…”
Every time we said, “It’s OK to be emotional; I am here for you.”
Every time we live our life with grit, weirdness, fun and emotional awareness, we parent well… and we will like what we hear when our teen is asked, “What’s your dad like?”
...And...every time we live our best life we send our kids a message of the man that we are.
Family Coach & Founder