Know who you are
Put yourself first, sometimes
Know your truth
Do not accept what’s not acceptable!
Change your thoughts
Unpack your baggage
Speak up for what you want
Accountability (Can you take the heat?)
(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”
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.