Fathers and Father Figures, “YOU GET TO!” (A reflection of your mindset)

My wife made a statement to me one day when she was in a bit of a funk, she was feeling a certain way about day to day life, parenting, and all together “adulting” pretty much!

We talked it out a bit, well, she talked, I listened…
During our conversation she began to re-frame her thinking and gave me the phrase “I get to.” Which sparked the inspiration for this blog. Enjoy!

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Often times we may work a full day, then we have to get the kids ready for practice or activities, sometimes at multiple locations! Then we have to cook dinner, then do homework, then we have to read to our kids. We must listen to them, feed their great ideas and not so great ideas. We have to end arguments between friends or sibling, in addition to keeping them occupied, engaged or busy, depending on the day and our energy level. After all of that, we have to make sure everything is ready for the next day, clean, etc. etc.

We used to always say, “I have to do this, I have to do that…” Stop! Take a deep breath, shut it down!
We had to begin to change our mindset. When we looked at those things, as tasks, they looked and felt tiring, exhausting even!

First things first, we don’t HAVE to do those things! I’ve learned doing these things has benefits, so we make the CHOICE to do them. In making the choice to do them, the joy and happiness in our kids lives, and in our families begins to grow. Our children learn, grow, and have life experiences that will have value later in their young adult lives. Because we realize these benefits, we should now re-frame our mind to think, “I GET TO.I get to” help my student with their homework. “I get” the chance to read to them at night. “I get” to redirect them when necessary. I get” to watch my children’s practice and/or games. “I get to” watch them grow, learn, develop, and so on…

My wife helped me realize my “I get to,” moments of being a great father. I take great pride in going above and beyond, to provide great experiences, and to be completely involved with my children and family while I can. After all, tomorrow is not promised!

This outlook provided true value to me. Sometimes our significant others have good ideas, I guess!

Let me leave you with something…                                                                               My advice, don’t grow weary! Take advantage of these moments. Remember, “You get” the opportunity to do these things for your family. Not everyone has the same opportunity, cherish, value, and hold on to every day that you “GET” the opportunity to be a great man.

Remember, You don’t have to, “YOU GET TO…
Begin to change and re-frame your mind starting now.

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Let me know, What’s one area where you can change the “I HAVE TO” to, an “I GET TO?

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-LineBackerDAD out

My 5, To Mental / Health Wellness & Caring for Ourselves

I began writing this after a DAD-SCUSSIONS session on Mental / Health Wellness and Caring for Yourself. I found there were some things that I needed to revisit regarding my own mental & health wellness. I’ll preface by saying I am a man of structure, discipline and regimen, even I need this topic! Every man does!

DAD-SCUSSIONS w/ Alameda Father Corp.

During DAD-SCUSSIONS, our panelist Floyd Burrell, and Dr. Tony Jackson, gave some solid nuggets and areas to personally unpack, regarding this topic. Initially, I wanted to give a synopsis, but I don’t want to mis-interpret their words. For that reason, I’m going to expand on their awesomeness with…

LineBackerDAD’s 5, to Mental or Health Wellness and Caring for Yourself

1. There is Something Greater Than You, a High Power…

2. Honest Self – Reflection

3. Peer Accountability

4. Be Adaptable

5. Center Yourself

It is my belief that men who know they are of strong value, but at the same time, a small part in the grander scheme of things, are mentally prepared for wellness. It’s also my belief that we must know there is a higher power. For me, That’s God!

Below are a few points, for your reference, to my 5 Keys to Wellness. I hope this adds value to your life!

#1 There is something greater than you!

  • A. You must know you’re not the end all, be all! (Some men actually think they are “everything!”)
  • B. Your values, morals and beliefs must be different than the world systems. What that governs you?
  • C. You should answer to a purpose greater than you (You must move, shake, and operate as if you are accountable to something)

#2 Honest Self – Reflection

  • A. You can’t have a false sense of reality. (Are you in tune with reality?)
  • B. You must self-talk and ask yourself honest questions (what is self talk?)
  • C. You respond, You make amends, You forgive, and You continue to intentionally move forward

#3 Find Peer Accountability

  • A. Don’t isolate yourself!
  • B. Find a circle or a group that mirrors the positivity and good you want in your life.
  • C. Who will keep it real with you? That’s likely the type of person you want as an accountability partner, we all need one. Build a better relationship with that person and let them know they are your accountability.

#4 Be adaptable

  • A. Don’t be so stuck in your ways you can’t see a good thing
  • B. Have a willingness to change. It first starts in your mind.
  • C. Sometimes you have to go with an audible!? Dont allow negative things to happen because you fail to switch it up/audible.

#5 Center yourself

  • A. Take time to meditate
  • B. What are you feeding your mind?
  • C. Release things that are out of your control and prepare for the things that are in your control
  • D. Psycho-cybernetics (The Book)

Number 5 is one of the most important elements I practice to properly caring for myself and remaining physically and mentally well. Consider 1-4 as me having an internal conversation with myself (Self-Talk). I share them with you in hopes that they add value to you! Number five will add definite value to your life! I want you to implement and practice these things. Over time, I am certain if you are consistently practicing, you will begin to see noticeable positive changes in every area of your life.

View my message on YouTube. I condensed almost two hours of self-talk to bring you what I hope is 12 minutes of true value to your wellness.

Do you currently see the true value of wellness & caring for yourself? What do you do to practice mental wellness & caring for yourself?     Let me know.

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What’s Your SUPERPOWER?

Of all the great things I have done in my life, I know, FATHERING IS MY SUPERPOWER!

Have you ever felt that out of everything you’ve ever done in life, that one “thing” just stands out better than the rest. Do you notice the feeling in you, of the “thing” you’re best at doing? Fathering is that one thing for me, I feel fatherhood was gifted to me for a very specific reason!

Gentlemen, fathering might be your super power too, it just might be!

Let me leave you with something, As cliche as it is, it’s fact! Even the greatest gifts, have greater responsibilities. I feel like Spider-man’s grandpa or something here!

When I look at my super power I compare it to “the greats” I’ve seen and admired. I must remind myself, the most talented whoever it is, must give a greater effort, they must practice, and they must perfect their craft to stay at the top of their game or maintain their God given gift!

I had to ask myself! Why would it be any different with fathering/fatherhood? It isn’t!!! It takes the same, if not more of a mastery approach.

#AwesomeFathers and father figures, what are we doing week in and week out to make sure we’re maintaining our fatherly superpowers!?

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THE KEY INGREDIENTS TO A WELL BALANCED CHILD

Full cup of Integrity

1 part Structure

2 parts Discipline

Whole dose of Respect

1/2 cup of Intellect

1/2 cup Perseverance

1/2 cup Grit

3/4 cup Character

And a pinch of Faith…

I’ve spent a lot of time with my children over the last 5 months as covid-19 has physically removed me from my work. It has been very revealing to the things I value most as a husband and father. I’ve learned during this time to listen attentively to my children and value them more as little people, who have deep dreams, little people aspirations, and a mind of their own. Our time together has given me another look at my family values, beliefs, mission, character and culture norms. There is still a lot we need to teach our children! But very once in a while our children do something that show us, we might be doing okay…

I’ve made a secret recipe for what I believe are key ingredients to a well balanced child.

Read. Reflect. Enjoy!

INTEGRITY

I take pride in this one! If anyone were to ask my kids what integrity means to them. I am 99.9% certain they will say, “who they are, when no one is watching.” I know, because I’ve intentionally taught them that! I’ve learned, teaching integrity is extremely important. More-so, modeling integrity is more important. In my speeches to fathers in schools across California, I do an activity to display to fathers and father figures, we are followed and modeled by not what we say, but, by what we do.

Be a model of your word #AwesomeFather.

STRUCTURE

” Practiced structure determines success.”

-Bobby Knight

Our children thrive off of structure and equally learn how to balance their life based on the practiced structures they see in their families. Especially their fathers!

DISCIPLINE

“Mental toughness is many things and rather difficult to explain. Its qualities are sacrifice and self-denial. Also, most importantly, it is combined with a perfectly disciplined will that refuses to give in. It’s a state of mind — you could call it character in action.”

– Vince Lombardi

“Think of athletics: discipline is the fundamental aspect on which sports have been created.” – Ashley Fern

Keep in mind, with strong discipline, high rewards are often awarded.

RESPECT

I treat my children with what some may see as an unusual amount of respect for a child. I try to consistently modeling to them, “this is how you should be treated!” In “respecting them,” I am showing them, how to treat others, in turn I hope they are learning how they should treat others, as well as setting the standard for others and how they are to treat my children. People who have high levels of respect for others, are confident in who they are, they are confident in the spaces they operate in, and they are confident in the value they bring to others and the world. Me personally! I want my kids and family to have that trait in them.

INTELLECT

Let me first say, there is a difference between being smart, I.Q., education, and what you’ve been taught. One could graduate from the most elite college and still be clueless about the world around them. A person’s emotional intelligence can be so low, they are completely oblivious to the disparities and inequalities of others suffering around them. I don’t want to foster that in my home.

Our children and families should be rich with, “Book smarts,” “Street smarts,” and “emotional intelligence.”

The ingredient Intelligence fosters the ability to be a self starter, a life long learner, and having a thirst for knowledge outside of what may be given in the normal construct of education.

PERSEVERANCE

It always seems impossible until it's done.” « Executive and Life ...
I want my children and family to have a cant stop wont stop mentality!

GRIT

What is Grit?

In the face of adversity a willingness to overcome all things.

– LineBackerDAD

The ingredient G.R.I.T, we must teach.

  • Give it your all, ALWAYS
  • Redo if necessary
  • Ignore the haters and spirit of giving up
  • Take the time to do it right

Studies show, those with high levels of grit, are able to overcome challenges which leads to positive outcomes.

CHARACTER

My days in youth development have taught me six character traits that every student should have. They are modeled through the six pillars of character. If you do not take the time to teach any other character traits, TEACH THESE!

Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship.

We’ll focus on two today. Learning to trust and being trustworthy is a life long principle and cornerstone to building quality and meaningful relationships.

The golden rule… Go ask your children what’s the golden rule. If they replied, “treat others as you want to be treated,” you’re doing something right #AwesomeFather. If not, take the time to expand on what this statement truly means.

FAITH

We’ve got to have faith!

My mother taught me to have faith, even if it was the size of a mustard seed.

Faith is the complete confidence in something, or someone. When our children know without a shadow of doubt, “worry ends when their faith begins,” they will become stronger in their own pursuits! Faith and believing in a higher power is necessary in this recipe. Believing in something greater and someone other than self gives an accountability measure that our children need. Walking by faith even when it is not seen will become a fruitful gift if our children learn to whole-fully practice this. I’m going to let you in on a family secret, Faith is the secret ingredient to the success of this recipe.

During this time when we may have more time with our families and children, and maybe we are practicing a balance of father/father figure and teacher. Take the time to ensure children have a well balance of these ingredients.

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A Father’s Journey…

My mind crept into a daydream about my sons playing football after I had a conversation with my brother the other day. We were discussing how our sons take the initiative to do push ups and other workouts on their own.Image result for kids doing push ups

I then began to think about football season and the journey of preparing for the season for each player and team.

The end game/goal for every football team is to get better each week and to win the Superbowl. Everything a player and team does in the off-season, pre-season, and post-season is to set themselves up to win each contest, and ultimately, “The Big Game.”

I began to think about last years Superbowl. I couldn’t remember plays, or stand out athletes, but I could remember this…

As I watched last years Super Bowl I couldn’t help but relive the mention of family, social justice, community involvement and more.

I remember glancing up from working/writing and noticing Tom Brady (The best QB ever) giving a post game interview, by his side… his daughter.
Later, commentators interviewed the McCourty brothers, by their side… their children, and their mom.

Image result for mccourty twins kids
Image result for tom brady kids

 

I thought to myself, how amazing is that, that their children get to share in that experience with their father, and have a passenger seat ride in one of their father’s greatest journeys.

So, that made me think of us…
How often do we give our children the opportunity to ride shotgun and experience our greatest and not so great moments?

Image result for father in car with kids

A power comes over our children when they watch their father/father figure “Doing their thing!” Whatever your “thing” is, let them see you do it. Let them share with you, a part in your journey. Thinking with the end in mind, share and let them see what the process is, and what it takes to get “there.” Share the good, the bad, and the ugly. So when they see your trials or triumph, they fully understand “THE JOURNEY.”

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Pajama Party & Play Time!

Watch this video, then read below…

Every now and again we have to show our children we still have an inner kid inside of us. I like to show my children the crazy side of dad. “The human side of Dad!”

Dad you are human! So humanize yourself! Allow your children to see the fun, loving, energetic, creative side of you. It will in turn spark the fun, loving, energetic, and creative side in them!

It’s important to create these moments…

LinBackerDAD has just the thing for you!

1. Have a night in, break out the onesie pajamas, all of the families snack favorites, a bowl full of popcorn, some pop, and a great family movie. Enjoy a night full of laughter and fun.

Or…

2. Pajama Party Game Night (My Favorite!)
Break out the onesie pajamas and all of the old school classic games. Uno, Battle ship, connect four, Checkers, etc. engage in family play and tournament style friendly competition. This opportunity will surely be a night to remember. (Low on the dough? Break out the X’s & O’s!!!)

Visit our partner, www.ForeverLazy.com, enjoy an extra 10% off with the code LineBackerDAD.
For every purchase, forever lazy will donate proceeds to support our father engagement movement nationwide.

Don’t forget to use code: LineBackerDAD

 

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One thing EVERY father has, and should use…

READ UNTIL THE END…

I was with my family at my aunt’s house. She lived in a pretty nice area. She had an amazing back yard with a man made pond. The pond had koi fish and water turtles, with tiny tadpoles that you could see zooming from side to side.

To a child the pond would probably be huge! At this particular family gathering there was a lot of children. I usually play games with the kids and try to keep the children occupied.

My daughter didn’t have any cousins or friends her age to play with so she began to pick at me. Lucky me! She’d tag me and run. I didn’t respond, I was preoccupied with whatever I was doing, most likely on my phone. But she was very persistent. In her eyes we were going to play no matter what I was doing! After tapping me and running several times, she finally caught my attention.

In my mind, I thought, “Okay, if she does it one more time, I’m going to tag her back and then run away from her.” Of course, she did it again. I played as if I wasn’t paying attention again, and then sprung after her. I tagged her on her hand before she could run away. Startled, she jumped and let out a big yelling laugh. Her smile could’ve lit up the whole yard from her excitement. After her initial shock, still smiling, She began to chase me.

Allow me to pause. Envision her chasing me as I run in a big circle. 

In the back of my mind (A Father’s Intuition) I thought, I should probably stay away from the pond. In her excitement she’s not going to remember the pond on the other side of this sharp corner.  Instead, I imagined, oh, it’ll be fine, she’ll be okay.

So I bent around the turn and kept running. I stopped and turned around about ten steps after the pond.
I then saw her finally coming around the corner, smiling and laughing as she yelled, “Daddy, I’m gonna get you.” She suddenly disappeared out of sight…

She had fallen into the pond!

The joy and excitement in her eyes while we were playing, now turned to complete fear and shock under the water. I could tell she was trying to gasp for air, but in shock she wasn’t aware she was under water.

Now consider this, if she had remained calm, maybe she could have stood up, and just maybe her nose would have cleared the water of the pond, but she was scared, and daddy wasn’t close enough to reach out and save her.

As I was running as fast as I could towards her, it seemed like an eternity before I made it to her. She didn’t hear me yelling, “Stand up baby! Stand up!”
In that moment I jumped in, picking her up by one arm nearly pulling it out of place. I immediately jumped out of the water, squeezing her tight to my heart. She began spitting up from all of the water she ingested.

In that moment all I could think of were two things…

1) Lord, please let my princess be okay!
2) I wish I would have trusted my “Fatherly Intuition.”

As I woke up from this horrible nightmare I jumped out of bed to go check on all five of my children. I thought to myself, trust your instincts man, trust your instincts. Instincts + Gut feeling = Father’s Intuition

Have you ever had a father’s intuition moment?  Was it a trusted feeling or a learned lesson? Share your father’s intuition moment with us.

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10 Tips To Awaken The Best Father You Can Be

  1. Know who you are

  2. Put yourself first, sometimes

  3. Know your truth

  4. Do not accept what’s not acceptable!

  5. Change your thoughts

  6. Unpack your baggage

  7. Speak up for what you want

  8. Trust yourself

  9. Accountability (Can you take the heat?)

  10. (SDR) Be Structured, Have Discipline, form a Regimen (They go hand in hand). For this to work effectively, not one can exist without the other.

1. Know who you are…

This is about your integrity, who are you when your kids, and no one else is watching?
Integrity, what does it mean to you? At the core of you, who are you and what do you stand for? For me, there are some things I just won’t do or stand for, because I know who I am.

2. Put yourself first sometimes…

To give your all, you have to be at your best. I best express this as an athlete. Before a true athlete goes into a contest they ensure their body is in tip top shape. Fathering is your contest. When you do not have a full cup, consider that as the less you can pour into your spouse and children, before your cup becomes empty. The more you have to give, the more your able to give, without becoming empty.

Your cup must remain full, giving you the ability to pour in when necessary,  but still full enough for yourself, for the times you’ll need it most.

3. Know your truth…

One part of your truth is, your value as a father! You are exponential! Exponential is simply an increase, becoming more and more rapid. The Exponent rule is a multiplier = Dad2. When you recognize who you are, as the multiplier in your family, you bring value and your exponential value increases, the higher the number (Dad3) the more value you begin to bring to your family.

The second part of knowing your truth is having a true sense of who you are, where you are, what you are doing and what you want to be doing. Avoid having a false sense of reality. Work within your means while striving to be and get better in all phases of your life.

4. Do not accept what’s not acceptable…

Stand strong in your father’s intuition. Know at the same time everyone has a different view and a different perspective. That does not make either side wrong or right, it’s just different. Your father’s intuition will often be correct if you have mastered the steps mentioned above. The best example of not accepting what’s not acceptable and standing firm to get it right is…
If you were to see a writing assignment that your child’s teacher put an “A” on but you noticed punctuation, spelling or bad penmanship, don’t be afraid to tell your student “good job!”, but you can do better, I want you to re-write this paper, let me help you.

You’re making a statement to your child that your family strives for excellence, despite what anyone else says or thinks.

5. Change your thoughts…

No Stinkin’ Thinkin’! Erase negative thought from your mind… Right now!

Realize your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions determine your character, and your character over time, outlines your fate! Leave an impact of positivity, it becomes infectious.

Do you have a fixed or Growth mindset? (If you don’t know what this is, this is a great book to begin)

Don’t forget… Thoughts> Words> Actions> Character> Fate…

6. Unpack your baggage…

The things you have been keeping in your suitcase with you all of these years must be unpacked. You have to get rid of it at some point. Sometimes your children, your spouse will need you to hold their baggage or store their luggage. First off, bee choosy. Their baggage is not for you to hold, Its for you to lighten the load. You cannot do that if your baggage is heavy, in both hands, on your back and or taking up all of the storage space. Learn to resolve what was in the past with the goal of creating a better now and a better future for you, your children and your family. When you release what you’ve been carrying that does not bring positivity and value to you and your families life, you free up the opportunity for the things that are of true importance to you and what you want for your family.

7. Speak up for what you want…

Never settle! Don’t settle for what you think may be the “only thing,” “the best available right now.” Speak up and ask for things that are going to level you up. You have to be able to notice and have the insight in seeing the things that are meaningful and add value to you or your children’s lives.

8. Trust yourself…

Your past is your past, Trust who you are and who you want to be right now! Know that you are the best thing for your family, or your children because they were uniquely placed in your grasp of fatherhood. It is your job to help them be the best they are supposed to be. Going back to father’s intuition… Trust it!

9. Accountability… (Can you take the heat?)

Who keeps you accountable other than you?

Do you have folks in your circle that “keep it real with you?” You need people in your circle that let you know when you are wrong. Build strong relationships with folks that give you honest and open feedback. Learn to accept what you don’t like to hear and the answers you may not like, allow it to help you grow and learn. It will feel critical and take you to a defensive place. Reject that initial feeling, take what you are supposed to get out of others communication/feedback with you.

10. (SDR) Be Structured, Have Discipline, and form a Regimen…

The last tip in this process must work as one. You cannot have one without the other. My encouragement to you would be to implement;

Structure: Live by a core set of policies (Unwavering Values) and procedure (The way you live) yet be willing to compromise your procedure based on your values and knowing your family. Develop things in your house that are “must do’s,” that set the tone and create an environment in your home of getting things done, being productive, teaching valuable lessons and life skills.

For Example: Mostly every Sunday at 6:30pm we begin cleaning for the week and getting the house ready. Our kids pick out their clothes for the entire week, including practice, games, etc. this ensures a smooth transition of each day and makes morning routines easier to manage. As a result, our children are never late to school. They are mostly always prepared and its setting a greater tone for them to live by later in life.

Discipline: Be disciplined! You have to model discipline for your children so they know it’s a true way of life.
The “Do as I say, not as I do,” rule is long gone and no longer applies in this day and age. We must live by the same set of standards we are giving our children.
Set schedules and live by them, with willing to compromise if necessary.
If bedtime is 8:30pm, your younger children need to be in the bed by 8:30pm!
If your children need to read every night. Make sure reading time is set aside every day/night!
In our house our children cannot play games Monday-Thursday. If they watch TV during the week which is rare, they must watch educational television or shows that encourage learning. As a result we encourage work hard, play harder! We give them the freedom during the weekends to fully enjoy their space and time doing what they love and enjoy.

Regimen: Develop a consistent pattern of tasks or activities that you and your children know to follow every day.
We have a several! Here’s two I’ll share with you. “The Morning 5”

I. Pray
II. Wash Your Face
III. Brush Your Teeth
IV. Make Your Bed
V. Get Dressed
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        (Actual photo above our children’s closet; #4 slightly modified)

We developed this to curve the laziness that was beginning to happen within our children. It worked! It also set a stage in our household for personal accountability and self-sufficiency.

Consider developing an evening and morning routine.
In the evening, (Infant to 16) set bedtime, have them brush their teeth and floss at least 30min-1 hour before bedtime. Double check backpacks and/or prepare for the day ahead.
Lastly, try to always end your day in prayer as a family. I put my children to bed almost every night. I affirm to them I love them and I have unique soft touches with each one of them that make them feel special. It also lets them know, BE QUIET AND GO TO SLEEP!

Side note, I encourage (16-18) “in your room time, and time you want your growing teen to be sleep) Your teens phone should be turned in with you nightly, our house rule was at 10pm on all weekdays. Because our teen showed responsibility his senior year, we allowed him to govern himself. He attended college away from home over the summer before his senior year at Hampton University and gained an independence, we didn’t want to strip him of that. Our trust was rewarded by him attaining a 4.2 GPA with all honors courses.

In the morning make a morning routine similar to the morning 5 that works for you and your children/family. Additionally:

  • Fathers & Father figures; Make your morning routine about you, wake up early. If you meditate, mediate. If you medicate, medicate, whatever you choose to do, practice moderation. Center yourself, choose to get your mind and body 100% in line for the day. Erase all stinking thinking, worries, and doubt out of your mind so you can be complete not only for what the day will bring you, but also for your children and the unknown. (Make sure your cup is full. wink!)
  • Make your evening routine about your children and your spouse/significant other. My motto is 6-9, family time. 9-10 me and the wife again. I vary the hour, more or less depending on her needs, remembering she too may need her alone time and/or she may need more time from me, or away from me. It takes being emotionally intelligent to vary the time she needs. Often times just being a great listener, which can sometimes be hard. Anytime thereafter is yours, use it wisely! I like to check & connect, and/or get much needed rest.

I hope this provides value to you as an #AwesomeFather.

LinebackerDad out!