It takes a village to raise a kid. There are a lot of dads out there seeking guidance and community, but there aren't necessarily a whole lot of places and resources for guys to build and learn to sharpen their swords as dads and family men.
If you want to learn how to bring your masculine gifts to your family in a way that raises well-adjusted, thoughtful kids, and that brightens up your household, look no further than the 5 Dad Commandments:
1. Take Care of Yourself First
Now, on the surface, that might seem selfish or antithetical to everything you've been taught about being a dad or a husband.
But think about it for a second.
When you're on an airplane, the spiel at the beginning always stresses that you need to put your oxygen mask on first before you help others. Long-standing wisdom also says that you need to love yourself before you love others.
By figuring out who you are as a man and a person, and filling your own cup first, you'll be in a position to show up for your family attentive, aware, and energized.
Determine what things in your life are deal-breakers. For instance, that workout and meditation session in the morning can supercharge you so that you're better able to be a dad for your kids each and every day. Take care of your health and your body so that you can focus and make great decisions.
Take care of yourself and the gifts and benefits will trickle down.
2. Have a Mission and Stick to It
A man should always be on his mission, and it should inform your thought process and actions when you wake up each day.
By sticking to your mission, you will not only put your family in a better financial position, but it also brings inspiration and direction. This will also bring more meaning to every bit of time that you spend with your children.
Years ago, Will Smith was in an interview talking about how he brought his young son at the time, Jaden, along with him on his movie shoots so that he can "teach him how to hunt".
If you've been a parent long enough, you know that your kids learn through your actions and not just by what you tell them. If you're legitimately living your life's purpose and on your mission, your kids will take notice and will learn through you.
3. Be Water, My Friend
Storms come and go any given day.
It could be a tough day at work, the kids could get sick, or maybe you and your spouse get into a bad argument. Either way, the day goes on and you need to be able to deal with whatever comes your way.
As such, you need to be able to roll with the punches as they come along.
Sometimes you need to go with the flow, and sometimes you need to be a solid block of ice staying put while chaos is going on in your household. A strong father brings balance to the household, so you need to make sure that you are always centered, calm and willing to adapt.
4. A Little Loving Playfulness Goes a Long Way
When kids grow into adults, some of their fondest memories are about dad letting his hair down and getting silly.
Society is evolving with each generation, and men are feeling more comfortable showing all sides of their personalities, rather than just being stoic breadwinners. You should embrace this to the fullest.
Take time out to play with your kids and bring plenty of imagination into these play sessions. What if you woke your kids up on Saturday morning or a three day weekend with an obstacle course or a Nerf gun and water balloon war already set up in the backyard? Maybe you follow it up with some pancakes and video games.
You're an authority figure in your home, but it always feels great when you can let your hair down and just play. Your kids will be tickled to death and will absolutely never forget it.
5. The Ego is the Enemy
Being a man is also about recognizing and owning your mistakes.
Ego is the biggest hindrance to this sort of progress. In fact, author Ryan Holiday talks about this in his book "Ego is the Enemy", and explains how these blind spots keep you away from living your fullest potential.
You're never going to be perfect, so put any visions of perfection out of your head. The more honest you can get with yourself, the better you'll be able to make sound decisions as a dad that will dictate how you parent your kids.
Let these commandments be your guide, good soldier, so you can be a better man and a better dad.