I’ve been thinking a lot about fathers and fatherhood, lately.
I’ve heard it my entire life, how a good father is so important for raising successful and healthy kids. I’m as blessed to be a good father to my daughters and grandchildren as I was to be a son to my parents. My heart goes out to people who haven’t had one or the other, or both.
In our mastermind groups online, we’re reading this book called “Leadership in Turbulent Times” by Doris Kearns Goodwin. It profiles four of the most influential presidents in our nation’s history. One of them was Lyndon Johnson, who was president when I was in elementary school.
Goodwin mentions that people who knew President Johnson as a young man said he was “his father’s shadow.” He looked, acted and talked like his dad. I’ve had the privilege of knowing many fathers and their children over the years, and it always makes me smile to catch glimpses of the father in the mannerisms or expressions of the child.
But Why Does It Matter?
You know how I feel about coincidences - they don’t exist. But we don’t live in a world where every child grows up with a loving daddy, either. That’s what led me to think about why God made us this way, so that we take after our dads, even if they’re not so good.
My friend Rabbi Daniel Lapin talks about this. He asked me one time if I’d ever noticed how many grown men in prison have the word “Mom” tattooed on their arms, versus how many have “Dad.” Obviously, we know the answer - it’s 100 to zero. But why?
The rabbi went on to point out our desire to connect with our dads is a human thing. He said, “Every creature on earth automatically connects with its mother. They all get fed and raised by female parents. But for people, that isn’t enough. We also want to know our identity.”
No wonder people continue to want a coach, mentor or mastermind group later on in life. We’re wired for an adult version of how little kids behave. Have you noticed how your kids look to you for strength, wisdom and love? That might look different when you’re grown up, but it’ll still be the same core desire.
But You Don’t Know My Dad …
Now, there might be some people reading this who want to put the brakes on and say, “Big A! You haven’t met my dad. If you did, you’d know why I don’t want to have anything to do with him.”
Well, for starters, that’s heartbreaking. I can’t fathom what it’s like to have a dad like that. I miss mine. I wish I could spend some more time with him, now that he’s passed away. But I know others who prefer to keep a safe distance from their dads. We sure have changed things for the worse by choosing sin.
What hasn’t changed is that God intended for us to learn things about ourselves by noticing them in our fathers, and in our children. As my daughters grew up, I noticed that Hollie, my youngest, was a social extrovert like me. But Brooke, my eldest, was more like me in business and professional settings.
Even if you didn’t have a great father, there’s a reason your identity comes from him. Did you know that? At conception, it’s the sperm from the father that carries the correct chromosome for either a boy or a girl. You might look and act more like your mom, but what determined whether you were male or female came from your dad.
The Takeaway From Your Family Line
I think a lot of what we see in our dads and our kids can help us understand our purpose. One of my friends said he struggled with whining and complaining through most of his life. “My dad was a real whiner,” he told me, “and I was too. Now my kids are making both of us look as strong and silent as Clint Eastwood.”
This man learned, in our online mastermind groups, that one of his biggest weaknesses could become one of his greatest strengths. He continued, “I did so much talking, arguing, whining and commenting as I grew up, that I’ve lost interest in it. But listening? Now that’s something new.”
The mastermind business is full of growth and change like this. It’s one reason we say we help ordinary men become extraordinary. Living in authentic communities, among groups of trusted advisors, you’ll soon have people point out your shortcomings and blind spots.
The Apple and The Tree
If masterminds online become part of your life, there’s one other outcome we should cover. If you learn to become a better listener, like my friend, you might just find the way to strengthen ties with your dad, or with your kids.
You’ll become more patient in listening to what they say. Even if it offends or goes against what you believe to be true, you’ll learn to sit quietly and not let pride or arrogance take over.
Moreover, if your kids see you doing life with mastermind friends, it’ll rub off on them. The day will come when they realize something similar about themselves they got from you. But they’ll have an incredible example for how to overcome it - join a mastermind group!
So, if this resonates with you, I want to encourage you to head over to our website and apply for one of our groups for men, young men or women.