7. Peace

One of the great disruptions of our lives is the arrival of our children. It’s glorious and fulfilling and all the wonderful things people say it is. But it’s a disruption. And for many fathers that disruption finds us horribly unprepared. Many of us pictured ourselves as fathers. We may have assumed that whatever journey we would be on, would include a family and children of our own. But few of us spent much energy picturing ourselves in the throes of fatherhood. No sleep. No free time. No control. The one great determinant on whether we make it through the…

6. Shame

My son has done embarrassing things in public. They’re so embarrassing, they’re not really worth bringing up. For the sake of the point I’d like to make, you can just imagine whatever cute but embarrassing thing any of your kids have done as toddlers, then project that to a seventh grader. It’s happened. And it will happen again. If you spend enough time around special needs families, you see the pattern. Out in public, someone’s kid or adult child, has a meltdown. The people around them react predictably. First they are startled. Then they’re concerned that something is wrong. Then…

5. Mindset

I sat down a little while back for a talk with friend and retired Navy SEAL Andy Stumpf on his podcast Cleared Hot. We talked a bit about the journey of parenting and our experiences in the service. Something he told me has rattled around a bit for a few years now. When he was an instructor at BUDS (Basic Underwater Demolition School) the legendary SEAL indoctrination training, his job was to make it as difficult for candidates to make it through the program as possible. And the most effective way he found was to get them to expand their…