10 books that will help you become a better dad #4

#4

Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! by Robert T. Kiyosaki

Not having been brought up with a great understanding of finances, I have struggled through most of my adulthood to figure things out for myself. I’ve wondered at times how I’m ever going to teach my kids about money when I don’t have a firm grasp on the concept myself. I gave this book a chance and it gave me confidence to lead my kids by my example in finances, something I never had before.

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10 books that will help you become a better dad #3

#3

The Dad’s Edge: 9 Simple Ways to Have: Unlimited Patience, Improved Relationships, and Positive Lasting Memories by Larry Hagner

 Larry‘s book covers topics that real dads want to know more about. It’s not one of those books that just covers things that aren’t actual issues for most people. This isn’t written for a strawman. It’s by a real dad who’s in the middle of the struggle of parenting and shares in that journey with us.

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Having A Secure Family

Being The Secure Dad has its advantages. I note exits when I go into a restaurant. I make sure to keep my home well-lit at night to keep deter a robber. I’ve trained in self defense to be able to protect myself and my family from an attacker. That’s just fine for me. But what about when I’m not around? Who is going to protect my family. It’s an unsettling question, but there is an answer.

As a father, we must not only protect our families, we must teach them to defend themselves. This is a secure family.

After the attacks in Paris in November 2015, I wanted to quit my job and be my family’s full time body guard. Was this a viable option? Not really. I worried about my son at school and my wife at work. The best way for me to keep my family safe when I was absent was to empower them to protect themselves. How is this done? By enabling them to develop their own secure mindsets.

My wife, The Secure Mom, has always exercised good judgment when it comes to her safety. I’ve always appreciated that about her. I’ve never felt like I couldn’t trust her to be safe when she is on her own. Now that The Secure Dad is in full swing she frequently gives me ideas for articles. Once she proudly took a picture of a woman in a restaurant that placed her purse somewhere it could be easily stolen. She has a secure mindset.

My son is young. My wife and I find ourselves at this crossroads of wanting our son to understand the world around him, but keeping his innocence at the same time. Every parent struggles with this. But we have taken steps to build a foundation for building a secure mindset.

The Secure Mom has coached him on good touch and bad touch. Once in awhile the subject will come up and we review where it is okay to touch and be touched and where it is not. We have also developed and talked through fire escape plans, even going as far to practice getting out the fire escape ladders we keep for just such an emergency. I have taught him basic gun safety. For his age that means: Stop, Don’t Touch, Run Away and Tell a Grown-up. This is from a kid safety program called Eddie Eagle. I quiz him on it frequently and he gets it right.

Just recently I started playing a game with him called, “Count the Doors.” I’m teaching him the basics of situational awareness. I want him to get into the habit of seeing his environment and knowing where he can go to escape a fire or confrontation. Most people don’t look for a way out until it’s too late. My family won’t be those people.

While training to be safe is great and has it’s place, a true secure family has a firm foundation in knowing Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. I can train my family to do everything right, but at the end of the day it’s not my hand that keeps them safe, it’s God’s. I believe that a secure life resides in serving a loving God who will guide you and your family daily. Knowing my life is in the hands of a merciful God who loves me and gives me strength and security everyday. Without God, we would truly be insecure.

“It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my pathway secure.” Psalm 18:32 NIV.

Andy Murphy’s blog, www.thesecuredad.com is dedicated to family safety, home security and of course fatherhood. Visit weekly for tips on keeping yourself, and your family, safe.

10 books that will help you become a better dad #2

#2

The 5 Love Languages of Children: The Secret to Loving Children Effectively by Gary Chapman

Every one of our children is different and they all need to be shown love differently. Knowing each child and how they need to be loved is an important part of being a good dad. Knowing how our kids need to be loved is also helpful in knowing the best way to discipline each child.

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Tactical Dads are Intentional

As dads, we cannot merely stumble through raising our children hoping they will become well-adjusted and productive adults. We must not accept the easy path and take the flow of life as it comes — to live each day being physically present but not really engaging with our children. To assume that just because we come home each night and provide for the physical needs of our family that somehow, we are fulfilling our God-given responsibilities as a dad.

That is not what being a Tactical Dad is about. Tactical Dads are intentional when it comes to their parenting. Each moment spent with their children has a purpose. Whether it’s simply to bond, to learn about who they are and how they think or to impart a specific lesson or value — Tactical Dads never waste an opportunity.

So, what exactly does it mean to be an intentional dad?

First, an intentional dad looks at the big picture of how he wants to raise his children — he has a plan. Then he asks himself several questions, such as, what type of relationship does he want to have with his children? What values and morals does he want to instill in his children? Does he want his children to have a personal relationship with God? What truths and life lessons does he want to leave with his children? What kind of legacy does he want to leave?

Second, an intentional dad sets goals to better implement or meet his plan. These goals can be: developing your relationship with God so you can help guide your children to Christ, planning special “dad time” outings with each kid, or learning to limit distractions when you are with your family. These goals may seem simple but they have a big impact on the life of a child.

Both the plan and the implementation are equally important in being a successfully intentional dad. To have one without the other will lead to frustration and defeat.

As the Chinese general Sun Tzu said, “Strategy (the plan) without tactics (implementation) is the slowest route to victory. Tactics (implementation) without strategy (the plan) is the noise before defeat.”

The Bible gives us an extreme example of what happens when a father is not intentional in raising his children. The book of first Kings tells us the story of King David and the troubled relationship he had with his son, Adonijah. As David became advanced in years, Adonijah exalted himself in the belief that he should be king.

In I Kings 1:6 the scriptures states, “And his father had not displeased him at any time in saying, Why hast thou done so?

As King, David may have excelled but as a dad, he just went with the flow. He never questioned his son or took the time to engage and understand his son. He was not intentional with his guidance and instruction and it started to tear his kingdom apart.

David missed the very first step of being intentional, he never had a plan.

We learn from David’s example that a dad’s involvement in a child’s life will impact not only their relationship but the family as a unit.

Every day we must go to “battle” for our families. Fighting to be a more impactful influence in their lives than the negative things out in the world. In order to achieve “victory”, we must be intentional with a plan and implementation.

Being an intentional dad is not always easy. But a Tactical Dad knows nothing worth doing is every easy.

10 books that will help you become a better dad #1

#1

Extreme Ownership, by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

This book made me want to be a better man and helped me get on my way. Sometimes the thing stopping us from being a better man, or a better dad, or a better husband or employee is just the fact that we don’t take responsibility for our stuff. Sometimes the one thing that can improve us is just that one fact.

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Taking the first steps.

There’s something that just… I don’t know, it seems so hard to explain, and even more difficult to put into words.

You have this idea that your life is changing as you put together the crib or find yourself in the baby section of a store completely overwhelmed as you stare down at the different choices of wipes, thinking they look a lot alike but “This one you can use on the face and this one you can use on the face and bum… wait, face and bum? I guess they both have cheeks. Why not?”. You just don’t know. Then again, it is starting to dawn on you that there is so much you just don’t know as you wonder how people have done this for thousands of years and the human race survived, but you can’t figure out if you need a diaper bag with 10 or 12 pockets.

It’s hard, isn’t it? You want to make all the right decisions, all the right choices from the get go. Yet there is a nagging feeling in the back of your head that this is unlike anything you have ever done before. Even reading the books, you know something isn’t quite right. Maybe if you’re building a shelf or fixing the plumbing a book might be helpful but all this is doing is reminding you how completely unprepared you are. Oh yeah, and you need to build a shelf…

It’s probably right about this time that you realize that life, it has become a bit of a mystery to you. For as much as you may have figured out up to this point, it’s nothing. Oh, sure you were so cocky when you started out. Nobody was going to teach you anything you didn’t already know. Maybe somewhere along the line you realized you didn’t know what you thought you knew, or you weren’t as smart as you thought you were. Now though… well now it’s starting to hit you that you are about to take that to a whole other level.

When you look at that right, you come to realize it isn’t just that your world is changing, it’s that your changing with it. Your priorities, your outlook, they’re evolving and growing even as that life is. Things that once seemed so important seem so much smaller and insignificant. It’s when you think about it, a remarkable thing, as you realize you are moving past a sense of self. You are soon going to have this little life that is reliant on you, physically, mentally, spiritually and all you want to do is give him or her the best that you can offer and more.

That isn’t to say that it is all panic or fear or these sudden feelings of inadequacy as to the awesome task that is in front of you. There are moments of pure joy and happiness, of pure excitement that pales everything else in comparison. Staring down at that ultra-sound for the first or the second time, you wonder who is he or she going to look like? Is he going to have my nose? Is she going to have my eyes? Will he have my significant others hairline? (Though that might turn into a prayer) What will her smile be like? What will his laugh sound like? You just stand there, amazed, feeling that amazement move in you as you find the wonder building each step of the way, just so mesmerized by the miracle that is suddenly surrounding you.

All I can say is embrace it. All life changes with time, and you don’t know when it is going to change again, or what that change is going to bring. Sadness, hurt, heartbreak, struggle and adversity so often find there way into our lives. This though, as you prepare to take those first steps out into the world of fatherhood, give you the opportunity to see things differently, and bring a peace and clarity that you have never yet felt.  Let it encompass you and move you, realizing that nothing you have ever done or ever will do again is important as this journey that you are about to embark upon. It will, if you give it the chance, teach you what truly has value in life as you come to realize that you are a father now, and life has a new meaning to it. It won’t mean that you won’t ever be frustrated or overwhelmed or challenged. That’s part of life now. But you will also find hope, joy and this pure happiness in places you never knew they existed before.

Wyatt McIntyre (@wyattmcintyre) is a Market Researcher and Blogger. He is the host of the Fragile Freedom Podcast and the author of two books, including Coping Through Christianity:  Strengthening the Wounded Mind and the Broken Spirit Through God’s Love (Foreward by Matthew J. Cochran). You can find his work at www.fragilefreedom.com and www.freedinfaith.com.