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How To Be the Dad Your Kids Need - Darren Lewis, Fathering Adventures.

How To Be the Dad Your Kids Need - Darren Lewis, Fathering Adventures.

How to be the Dad your kids need - Darren Lewis

In today's episode, we're joined by Darren Lewis, former winner of QLD Father of the Year Award.

We'll be discussing how men can be the Dads they want to be, and (perhaps more importantly) the Dads their kids need them to be.

Darren Lewis founded 'Fathering Adventures' in 2008 .

Fathering Adventures is a purpose driven organisation that helps Dads and their kids build stronger and healthier relationships.

Connect with Daren: www.fatheringadventures.com.au

Parenting in the Digital Age Podcast is sponsored by Skill Samurai - Coding & STEM Academy. www.skillsamurai.com.au

AI Automatic Video Transcript - 

Speaker 1 (00:00):

Parenting in the Digital Age podcast, many parents are concerned that their child might be falling behind. Others are just looking for ways to help their children thrive, not just in the classroom, but socially and well into their future careers. Each episode, we explore the challenges facing parents in the modern world, from behavior, education and nutrition, to device and gaming addiction. We interview a range of leaders in the area of childhood development to help you successfully navigate parenting. In the digital age, here is your host, Jamie Buttigieg.

Speaker 2 (00:34):

Hello parents. Welcome to another episode of parenting in the digital age, a podcast, helping parents help kids thrive in the modern world. Now we have a very special podcast guest today, and this one is for all of the dads out there joining us today is Darren Lewis from Townsville Australia and Darren founded Fathering Adventures in 2008. Fathering Adventures is a purpose driven organization that helps dads and their kids build stronger, healthier relationships. Darren is also the previous recipient of the Queensland Father of the Year award for his outstanding community contribution. And today we'll be discussing how men can be the dads they want to be, and perhaps more importantly, how they can be their dads that the kids need them to be. So, Darren, uh, please share with our listeners in your own words a little bit about yourself and, uh, what exactly Fathering Adventures does.

Speaker 3 (01:27):

Yeah, thanks Jamie. I, I love that question, you know, share about yourself rather than what you do necessarily because we are we're human beings, rather human doings. And I think, especially for men, we, we really, um, so much about identity is wrapped up in what we do. So it's, that's a brilliant question. Um, so who am I? Um, you know, I guess first and foremost, I'm a husband and a father. Um, I'm, uh, Melissa and I've been married now for, um, over 31 years. Um, we're still yet to celebrate that and that's, uh, like that's completely understanding sort of, we we've just come off an adventure where we celebrate it, where we, where we marked our 31st wedding anniversary, but we're still yet to celebrate it. Um, that's coming actually, uh, well, it, it, it should be happening now, but we've actually got our third son is getting married, uh, this Saturday actually.

Speaker 3 (02:16):

So congrats. So yes, so Melissa and I have four sons, um, uh, Brandon, Isaac, Joseph, and Theo, um, and they range in ages from 28 down to 19. And, um, we've got a couple of grandkids, um, a, a precious little granddaughter, a Peyton, and, uh, we also have a little grandson who's probably about 18 months now, Harvey. So, um, yeah, my granddad and I, I just, that's, that's, that's, what's most important as I've gotten older. What I've come to realize is what's most important is relationship, um, and who we are to other people who we are in that relationship. So, um, what do I do? Well, Fathering Adventures just, just allow me to step back and provide a little context, uh, in and around that if I may, um, you know, we, we live, we live in a world, um, today that is, is, you know, we're doing this right where we've got social media.

Speaker 3 (03:09):

And so we're, we're seemingly more connected than ever before. Um, yet we are, we are, so we are more, less connected than we've ever been before. There's so we're so busy, we've got so many distractions in our everyday lives and, and that has deeply affected our relationships with others. And, um, and so with father, Fathering Adventures, you know, what we do is, is we provide these, um, adventure experiences, these father, son, and father daughter adventure experiences to help, uh, fathers have, um, healthier relationships with their kids, stronger bonds, a deeper understanding of one another, you know, new direction, um, for their futures as, as a father and a son or a father and daughter or their relationships and so on. And so, um, so yeah, that's, that's kind of what we do. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (03:58):

A and any particular age, when you say father son, father, daughter, I mean, my daughter's, uh, my youngest is 14, uh, is at an appropriate age for these adventures. What, what is the age group, uh, that you see parents and kids?

Speaker 3 (04:10):

Yeah, so we, we initially like, um, we initially started, uh, 13 years and over that was what, how, where we initially started, um, that wasn't a really good place to start <laugh> and, um, so we kind of had to re uh, reinvent the wheel almost. Um, and, and so we actually added, uh, another age group to that. So ages seven to 13 in one age group. Um, and then ages 13 years. And over in fact, there's no maximum age limit to those we've even had, um, sons and daughters in their mid forties bring their dads along. So, uh, yeah, it's, it's, and that's important too, because no matter, I mean, at, at some point, I mean, what I wish Jamie, I, I wish that I could have experienced this with my dad. And even now, I mean, my dad passed away like 16 years ago. And so it's not possible for us to experience what we do, but in so many ways, there's, that's a, that's a background motivator for me, you know, what, what do, what I wish that I'd experienced with my dad?

Speaker 2 (05:12):

Yeah, absolutely. Now, if my memory serves me correctly, you were in building or, or drafting or something before Fathering Adventures. So why that's, like what led you to create Fathering Adventures? How did this all come about? I'm curious as to the catalyst.

Speaker 3 (05:25):

Yeah, well, there's a, there's a few, I mean, I'll answer that first question first. Um, uh, you're right. I was in the engineering sort of industry and, and, um, one of the reasons why I was in that industry I've come to learn. There's, there's actually a couple of reasons. Number one is, um, so I come from my dad was a, a, a workaholic and an alcoholic, and there are good reasons behind that. And, and I only found out those good reasons really later in his life, like before he passed away, um, which I'm so pleased that I did. Um, but what happened was, um, uh, so my dad really wasn't present. He was present physically in the home, but not he was absent in every other way. And, uh, he actually apologized to me, um, right before he died. He actually, he woke up out of a coma and he, he said, I'm, I'm so sorry for being, you know, a terrible father.

Speaker 3 (06:12):

And, and both he and I at this stage where, where we're in tears together. And, and I just said, dad, you did the best job that you could, you know, he, he didn't, he had a, he had a poor starting place. And so, you know, there was a lot of forgiveness there and, and, um, yeah, so anyway, um, so, but I never really had a man kind of speaking to my life saying, you are good at something, you know, you, you were good at this. And, and my, um, my graphics teacher at school, my year 10 graphics teacher, um, he was just like, Darren, you were that good. I could get you a job tomorrow. I know you want to go through to senior and go and, and go into university, but you were that good. I need you to know that. And I'm just like, wow, having a man, this, this man who, who saw something in me and spoke that out was massive to me.

Speaker 3 (06:58):

So I think having experienced that was a massive motivator for me. And the other thing was that my dad was actually in the construction industry. He, he he'd build, um, steel frame buildings. He was a rig and, and crane driver scrap. He ran his own business. And, and, um, uh, so I, I wanted us to have a connection point. I wanted us to, you know, and, and we did, my dad had phoned me up cuz a lot of times I would design and, and document, uh, projects that he would ultimately, um, install, you know, um, erect and, and, uh, yeah, it was, it was, it was wonderful to have. And that was one of the things that I really missed, um, was as, as silly as it sounds was that, you know, daily phone call, what are you working on? You know? And it was so surface level, but, um, but it was, it was a real hold that was left in my life was, was missing hearing from him, um, even in that context.

Speaker 3 (07:51):

So when he passed away though, some of the buildings, cause I have this young, when he started business, some of the buildings that he had had, um, had had constructed were actually being torn down. And, and I think, you know, so fast forward to 2007, 2008, um, I was, I was kind of, uh, you know, in that age, whereas I was asking those questions, what, what's my life count for? You know, what's my legacy gonna be? You know? And I think that one of the reasons why I was facing that was because I'd lost my dad, you know, a few years earlier. And so, um, and that's when I just began thinking. And, and, and, and so now if you, if you kind of, um, dovetail that alongside the fact that I was also my wife and I would counsel men and women from 1999, very intentionally, very full on really until 2007 when we founded Fathering Adventures.

Speaker 3 (08:42):

Um, and so the whole reason why I stopped that to ask the question, because we were so busy, we had six nights. So I was doing my engineering stuff through the day in the evening. We were having people in our, our living room, you know, a man or a woman, um, and, and helping them through the issues, relational issues, personal issues that they're facing from a counseling perspective and, um, six nights of six nights outta seven in a week. And so I didn't take me to be a rocket scientist to realize this is not good for our own marriage, you know, or our are in family. So I, I, I, I was slow to do this. I wish that I'd done it sooner, but I asked the question, what had I learned in the last seven, eight years? What had I learned? And what I discovered was that when I asked that question finally, was that 99%, 99.9% of every man and woman who graced our doors, had what we refer to as a father wound.

Speaker 3 (09:40):

So they'd actually been, and some had massive bazooka holes through them. Some just had little grazers, you know, but the reality is one of the biggest wounds that, that, that man or woman took, or those men and women took in their lifetimes actually came from dad first. Um, whether it be rejection of some or abandonment, um, just, you know, careless words, you know, something, something that they said that they've just never, I mean, and, and again, extreme, and, and, and what's amazing about that is that we've had people, um, and, and, and dad did something very small and it's left, left them deeply wounded. And we've had some where, you know, dad was, was, had really made massive mistakes. And yet, somehow they were still able to function. And, and that would amaze me, but the, the, the common thread in all of it was the fact that, um, fathers are so much more important than we've been led to belief.

Speaker 3 (10:41):

Yeah. And so prevention is better than cure. That's why, that's why I launched Fathering Adventures. When I began to look at, um, do my research, who out there is preventing father wounding. There were very few organizations doing anything in that space. It was all reactionary. Yeah. And, and, you know, you don't have to look far, you can, you can look in prisons and 85% of all inmates came from fatherless homes, you know, 75% of, of all people in, you know, drug and alcohol, um, substance abuse centers come from fatherless homes. And that's where fathers are physically absent. Um, let me tell you, the rest of that percentage came from, for the most part, there's always an exception to the rule, but for the most part, come from homes where dad might have been physically present, but, um, yeah, they, dad, dad, dad gave a, a lasting impact that wasn't a good one.

Speaker 3 (11:35):

Um, so how, you know, you know, doing what we do, you know, you receive, so any man listening to this podcast, you know, can go well, I'm, I'm really strong and powerful. I know that I'm a man in my workplace. Right. But, but in every other area, and, and you ask the question why, because he's received training and instruction, he's been to university or has gone through a trade, um, you receive training and instruction. There, you receive coaching, you receive education, you know, and, and equipping. And yet as fathers, as husbands, where do we receive that? And so, so, you know, that's really important and that's part of what Fathering Adventures does.

Speaker 2 (12:14):

That's, uh, such powerful and profound work that you guys do. Um, it's interesting, you've mentioned that you finding that point of connection with your father and for you, that was your career. Uh, for me and my father, uh, our common ground is classic cars. You know, so as a son, I was always searching for, you know, how do I connect yeah. With my father. And, uh, so we ended up, you know, buying these classic cars and, and, and that, that's our point of connection. And whenever we come together, that's, uh, you know, it's pretty much the only thing that we talk about Uhhuh. Uh, but you know, you talk about, you know, as kids and probably as fathers too now, as I reflect, you know, there are things that, uh, there's no manual, there's no rule book. And I think, uh, you know, my father is my role model, how he parented is kind of how I parent, and we're always trying to be better and to try and not make those same mistakes, but again, uh, we are just making it up as we go along. And that that's, that's hard for us as fathers, uh, in your work, you talk about, uh, four things that every child needs to receive from a father. Um, so what are those things? Can you elaborate on that?

Speaker 3 (13:21):

Yeah, sure. So, um, the first thing <laugh>, and I've kind of alluded to that already is, is they need their dad or, or in the absence of dad, cuz sometimes dad can't be around for whatever reason, a father figure, some, some other men like, like the influence that that year 10 graphics teacher had on me, you know? Yeah. There's something about, um, having a man in your life that just delights in you. Um, and so, so let me expand upon that first one being dad. So it's still point number one is, is you need his heart. You need to not, you need to know is a, a child needs to know that their father's heart is for them. And that the father is communicating that in, in every way he can, because I always say that, um, life is life is full of messages and, and where, and, and, and, and most of us aren't aware that we are putting messages out there.

Speaker 3 (14:16):

Um, but everything we say and everything we don't say and everything we do and everything we don't date, don't do, sends a message. It sends a message to our, to everybody, but to our children as fathers. And, and so we have to stop and ask ourselves what message are my, our kids receiving from me and, and even asking, you know, even just kind of, you know, building that relationship to explore that, um, just for our, a child to know that their dad's heart is for them. And, uh, you know, classic example of, of this just, you know, real time example. Um, my, my second son had some, some really quite awful news yesterday, uh, in regards to his health. And it really, uh, you know, if you've ever had health issues, um, uh, you know, serious health issues, uh, you, you, you know how this feels, it rocks your world.

Speaker 3 (15:06):

Um, and, uh, unfortunately I wasn't here. Um, my wife, he, my wife was here, my wife listened and she was able to, um, relay that to, to me and I wanted to save everything right. Cause I knew how sensitive he would be about it. And so I've sent out this text message and he phoned me and he just said that, thank you so much for that text message. And again, I was able to sort of share in that. Um, and, and, and that actually is a perfect segue to lead me into it's still point number one, but something else that he needs to receive from, um, the dad part of it is, is, um, uh, is their story, right? So I was able to share my story and explain Isaac, I know that you, you know, you're 25, you know, so I was 15 years older than you when I was diagnosed with this other issue, but it rocked my world then.

Speaker 3 (15:57):

And so you, you know, and, and you've just gotta, um, be careful, you don't just, you don't put it into a, a lesson, but you know, you don't, you don't dismiss it. I just said, you know, your feelings actually, are really important, you know, allow yourself to feel the, the disappointment, the discouragement, the, you know, allow yourself the space to do that, let this settle. It's not the end of the world. And, and you will be able to, you know, play sports, uh, not play sports, but, but still, you know, incorporate your love for sport in other ways like coaching kids, you know, and, and so on. And so, yeah, look, it's it's um, uh, so, so he needs to know that your heart is for them and they need to know your story, you know, that because their story is his story or her story.

Speaker 3 (16:42):

And, and so, um, you need to know where you've come from in order to help, you know, where you're really going. And so, um, and, and if you're going to relate, you know, if we're talking about relationship, if you're gonna relate to somebody, you've gotta know their story and too many dads, and again, the business of our worlds, we're not sharing stories anymore. You know, go down through all of human history stories would be shared and they would be shared from generation to generation. And, and these days in our business, we don't take the time to share our story. And by the time that we feel as though we, we want to share our story with somebody, um, then now our kids are too busy. It's the whole cats and the cradle sort of situation. Yeah. So, um, sharing your story is really important as well.

Speaker 3 (17:25):

And, and not to mention the modeling that, that you said, you know, kids learn what we live out in the home as dads, right? They, they, they like sponges. They're just learning from us. Um, it's important to speak, to say those things, but, but, but it's equally important for our actions to, to match our words. Um, the second thing is, um, the second thing is, is really, um, it's in regards to them becoming, um, young adults, um, and eventual adults. Um, and so it's, it's like, well, what, what does it mean to be a man? What does it mean to be a woman? What, what, you know, what, what's the difference between a child and an adult? So, so this is more in those teenage years where they're sort of, their bodies are beginning to change, but the reality is is that, you know, they could stay children if they, if they aren't aware, if they're not given a vision for what it means to be an adult or for what the differences are between children and adults. So we need to be able to help, um, provide them with that understanding of those two different identities. If we don't, what we end up with is we end up with kids in adult bodies. And so, you know, they're in their thirties and forties and they're still being kids. They're still acting like kids. They're still talking like kids and thinking like kids, and that is not good for our society as a whole.

Speaker 2 (18:49):

How, how do we help them build that identity or, or understand what that, um, you know, parent looks like sometimes I've got a son who's 18 years old and it almost feels like every time I'm, uh, with him and talking to him that I'm lecturing him, you know, like, you know, I'm trying to help him come out of childhood, into adulthood as a, as a father. That's what I'm desperately seeking to do. And every parent and every father wants to set up their, their kids for success, but it feels like, and I struggle a lot. It feels like that. Uh, I'm just constantly lecturing him as to, you know, what life needs to look like and, and how finances need to look and how this needs to look. And, uh, I know that's not the right way, but I Don know a better way. Um, so how would you respond to that?

Speaker 3 (19:30):

Well, first up, well done, you know, the fact that you're even attempting to impart those skills, that's really important. And he'll actually be grateful for you having even attempted to do that, uh, because there are too many adults out there today who have no idea. And so well done for that. Um, what I would say to that is that that's the beauty of having someone like me, right. Is, is just, and I know, you know, we, like, I don't want, this is not a sales pitch, but, um, the reality is, is one of the things that I hear from dads is, so I'm speaking to, and let's, let's take that specific, um, instance, if it was fathers and daughters, my wife would be speaking. But if, um, if it's fathers and sons, I'm speaking and it's, it's a father and a son together learning new things together.

Speaker 3 (20:23):

And I like to refer to it as learning a new language. And it's actually a language that you learn together and you continue to speak beyond the adventure. If I have so many dads who say, thank you, thank you. You know, like you have, um, you were saying exactly what I've, even if it's not what I've always said, it's what I've always, what, what, I've, what I've not been able to articulate. And he's listened to you, you know, he's listening. And, and the reality is, and one of the things I always say to dads is look out for mentors, look out for other men, other good men in your world to, because there's, there comes a time where, so, you know, it'd be right where your son is now, where he's actually like, he'll listen to you, or he'll at least hear you, whether he listens or not as it's another thing altogether.

Speaker 3 (21:12):

But, um, if, if, if you've set up some mentors around you for those teenage years, he's more likely to turn to, um, turn, turn to one of those men. And, uh, listen to those men. I mean, if I had a, do you know, this is, this is my job. This is what I do. But if I had, if I had a dollar for every time I had one of my kids come home and say, oh, I spoke to such and such about this particular topic. And, oh, it's amazing. You know, like it's just totally blown my mind. And I kind of look over and give my wife a bit of, a bit of a wake and a bit of a smile. And, and we'll sort of debrief later. And like how many times have we said that exact same thing, but it, sometimes it actually needs to come from other people.

Speaker 3 (21:56):

And when, and sometimes when dad's actually quiet and, and, and you can actually just sit down and, um, and actually, uh, you know, listen to somebody else and then debrief, which probably leads me onto another subset of that is, is there needs to be so that we know that the seasons of a year, right? We've got spring summer, autumn, winter. And I know that some of our cities like where I'm in, based in Townsville, um, uh, we, we, we really only have summer and summer in winter and in winter is very short, um, in place like Melbourne, you get four seasons in one day. Well, there's seasons of fathering too. And this isn't something that, that, that we were necessarily planning on speaking about. But, um, but I will speak about the first two seasons. The first, the first season is where dad is like a commander inchi, right?

Speaker 3 (22:46):

He he's, he's, he's, he's like a dictator really. And, and he, he tells the child what to do right now. If, if a dad continues to do that into those teenage years, then what you're gonna have is you're going, he's gonna rebel against that. And he's at the very least, he's gonna shut off. He's gonna shut down. And, and there's a, um, fellow by them is, uh, uh, James Dobson, um, psychologist and author. He said this, he said that, um, "rules without relationship leads to rebellion", which again is why. So there's nothing wrong with rules, but it's, but it's really all hanging off relationship. And, and so the, the second season of a father's life is during those teenage years, when your son turns 13, or your daughter turns 13, you do not dictate anymore. You don't tell them the things, you don't lecture, you, you, you, with hot, you with, you know, you've gotta learn it.

Speaker 3 (23:38):

And, and like with any season, sometimes you'll have some hiccups, right. You know, you'll sometimes moving into summer, there might be a cold snap, you know, all of a sudden, and so, you know, learn from those things, but ask questions. That's the thing you, what you do is you step out of the, the commander inchi role, the common dance kind of role into the coaching role and the best coaches ask questions. So instead of sort of launching into, you've gotta do this, you know, it's like, okay, have you considered, you know, what life might look like? Um, you know, you know, in the next 10 years, if you don't make these kinds of changes,

Speaker 2 (24:15):

Hey, Hey, that that's easy. Right? Like, but when I ask my son, uh, you know, have you considered what you'll do next? No.

Speaker 3 (24:22):

Yes. Like, and, and so, and so can I say, Jamie and you, you are really good at this actually is you have to be, I think as dad's, as parents full stop, we have to become really good at asking questions. Yeah. So you gotta become really, the word is "creative" in that space. And I'm actually not a creative person by, by nature. Like by it's something I've really had to work on to be creative. Um, but you, what you have to do is you be, you have to go, okay, well, that question was a poor question. It, it had the right motive behind it, but teenagers, when you ask questions, if, if they're not great questions, you get a, yeah, nah, some sort of grunt, right? You, you need to, you need to actually be able to ask really excellent questions that I'll draw out, answer their, their questions that you cannot respond to with a yes or an a, or a grant to.

Speaker 3 (25:13):

And, and one of the things that I did with Mike with each of my boys, when, when they turned 13 was I took them out to breakfast every Sunday morning would sit across from them. I remember the very, my oldest son when I first started doing that. So 15 years ago, now I remember, um, sitting there and I just felt like giving up the first time. Cause I was getting those. I was asking questions. Yep. Uh, um, I, I came home all discouraged. Um, and I, I wanted to quit. I wanted to drop well, that didn't work. Yep. You know, we, we are looking for in this instant gratification, but let me tell you, you know, if you go to the gym and you, you know, if I went to the gym and, and tried to lift what I was lifting, when I was 25 years of age, I'm not gonna be able to, you know, carry myself, you know, like my arms will feel like they've dropped off.

Speaker 3 (25:57):

Um, I probably wouldn't be able to lift it anyway, but I would do some real damage. And, and that would, that would set me up for discouragement. I would not be able to, um, continue lifting weights. I would stop going to gym. Gym is an evil place. Right. So if, for, if it made me feel that way, why would I go back? So, but if, but if I just went back and, and wasn't vain and just lifted the bar without any weights, just did some, some reps and, and then slowly added to the weights, then guess what? My muscles are gonna be begin to grow. I'm gonna be able to do, to lift these lifts. Um, and, and yeah. Be able to do that more, more easily. And, and then I'm gonna start to see results. And so six weeks in, um, I sat down, uh, across my, across from my son.

Speaker 3 (26:42):

And then all of a sudden he started launching into, he started telling me all about his life. And I'm just sitting there smiling, just thinking, I didn't even have to ask a question because in this over six week period, he gets why we are having breakfast. Now it's not about the breakfast. It's about me wanting to enter into his world once I've, I'm interested in your son, you know? And, and so now he's volunteering up all of this information. And so I I'm so pleased that I didn't give up, you know, and I, I got better at asking questions. So

Speaker 2 (27:15):

Yeah, that, that's really interesting. And, uh, cuz cause I often feel that way as a father asked questions, I'm sitting in the car, you know, the usual conversation, how was school good? What did you do? Nothing. And so I do acknowledge the fact I need to get better. And uh, I think many fathers listening to this will, uh, also acknowledge that we've gotta get better at asking questions, but one other, take another takeaway for myself. I've got my pen out. You've probably seen, uh, is, is also asking better questions of yourself. You know, when you started talking about what are four things, every child needs to receive from their father, you started to talk about, you know, ensuring they know that they have your heart. That's a bit of an abstract thing for a father to, to hear. Like I kind of think, well, how do I apply that?

Speaker 2 (27:56):

But what I took outta that is, you know, if I can ask this one question at the end of every week, you know, what did my child receive from me this week? You know, that's the question I'm gonna now ask myself, that's the takeaway for me outta this and say, what did they receive this week? And um, you know, that'll, you know, the quality of your questions determine the quality of your outcomes. That's one thing I've always believed. You know, if you ask yourself better questions and the right questions, it'll lead you as a father, as an entrepreneur, as a podcaster, whatever you're doing in life, it'll lead you to better outcomes. And so that's a great question. You know, what, what what's, you know, what did my child, or what did my children, what did my wife get from me receive from me this week? Uh, and then just reflect on that and then that'll shape my actions and guide me towards the next week. So there's a tangible outcome there. So thank you.

Speaker 3 (28:44):

Absolutely. And like my story with my, my son just last night, you know, like sending him that text message. Yeah. I could have, I could have simply gone. Well, my wife did a wonderful job and I did. I, I, I wanted to affirm her. You did a wonder... sounds like he did a wonderful job, honey. And, and just, um, and so, uh, but I didn't just stop it at that. He needed to hear from me too. And, and I had something to give and, and one of the things that we say when I talk about the four marks of a real man, so this is where we do help to define manhood. The first mark of a real man, is that a man, a real man rejects passivity. And so he can be a, a, a real, a go getter, you know, leader in, in the boardroom or on the footy field or wherever, but in the home that same man will often shrink back, will say nothing will do nothing.

Speaker 3 (29:30):

And, um, and, and, and if that's, and that's, that's every man, by the way, um, in, in social arenas. And so when, um, and in the family in the home. And so, so when, when you do that, when that natural tendency to be passive in that moment rises up, um, and, and to say nothing or do nothing, you know, that's the time where you go, oh, I'm rejecting that. And I'm actually gonna say something and do something. And, uh, obviously you gotta have the right spirit behind that. You don't want to just launch into a lecture and so on, but, um, yeah, just to, so what did my son receive from me this week? Well, you know, he would, he knows, and he received my heart because he knows I was there. That's not absent, dad's there, you know, he's, he's he's for me. And, um, so that's kind of that, yeah. All of those things are really great examples of, of what it means by his heart, but that's the message we're trying to send him this message. I am there for you son. I am there for you, sweetheart. You know, like that's yeah. That's, that's when, you know,

Speaker 2 (30:31):

Can, can we keep going down that path of, yeah. You know, the four, what did you say to the four marks of being a man of four characteristics of what it means to be a man? Because, you know, when I was doing some research prior to the podcast and talking about how you help dads and their kids build stronger and healthy relationships, it, it actually made me think of maybe not a silly question, I suppose, but what is the definition of a father? You know, like how can I be a father and, and, and, and blokes will say, oh yeah, well, you know, we all instinctively know what it means to be a dad. Well, we don't, I don't think we do, we're modeling and, and we're doing all these other things and getting our information from around us, but what, what is a father and, and what does it mean to be a man? Maybe just keep going down that path. Cause I I'm curious.

Speaker 3 (31:16):

Yeah. Well, uh, it's great. Again, great question. Um, oh, I, I, I've always said that, that a, that a father, um, a father is somebody again, who has, and I know you might say it's abstract, but somebody who has heart, so a father is sent about biology. Yep. You know, that's, that's, that's the problem is, is I think that we think that it's about biology, but the reality is there are so many fatherless boys and girls, um, young men and young women, older men and older women, you know, people who haven't had a really great dad in their lives. And guess what, that's what mentors are. You know, like I have my, my male mentors are father figures in my life. They they're males who, who delighted me. They see something in me. I was just, I had received an email who was doing a bit of email correspondence with my mentor in Arkansas.

Speaker 3 (32:06):

And, uh, he's now in his early seventies, you know? And, and, uh, interestingly enough, he has, we have the same surname. Wow. Um, so he was actually one of the reasons why I started Fathering Adventures back in 1999, again, another man who was just, he saw something in me, he delighted in me. He, he, he called that out of me. You know, he caught because of, because he believed in me, I then began to believe in myself. Yeah. And that's the big thing. And one of the things I, I, I say, um, uh, to men, it is a beautiful scene in the movie, The Matrix, this could go anywhere, but the movie, The Matrix, you know, there's this scene where, where Neo, um, Neo and Trinity are at this phone. And, uh, Trinity goes up through the phone line and, and, and Neo's there. And, um, agent Smith turns up, shoots out the phone and Neo doesn't run.

Speaker 3 (32:58):

Now everybody, you know, everybody knows you gotta, you cannot defeat an agent. You need to, you need to run, you need to get outta there and find another phone line to get back out of the matrix. And in that moment, Trinity and Morpheus are looking on and Trinity says, what isn't he running? And Morph says something so beautiful. He says, he's beginning to believe. And, and I just think if men can begin to believe that they have a purpose, that there is something good in them and, man, that could be unstoppable, and it's not just men, it's women as well. Um, it's, it's so important, um, for, for this whole idea of, of believing that you're more than that. So, so when an, when an older man believes in you and helps to helps to sharpen you and, and, and just sees things in you and calls those things out of you, it's, that's a father in my mind. Yeah. Um, so it's a great question. Um,

Speaker 2 (33:54):

And that, that's interesting too, because I think all men listening to this can relate to that. Uh, if, if not, if it wasn't their own father as that role model, I, I often think back to school and I, I found the subjects that I excelled in wasn't because I was naturally gifted in those subjects. It was cuz that teacher, male or female took, it, took an active interest in my development. They cared, they had heart to put it in your words. And, and then as a result, you thrive in that environment. And so as parents, we've just gotta, you know, ask those better questions to help our kids thrive. But that's a, a really interesting definition. So thanks for sharing. So I wanna try and get onto some other practical aspects of, uh, fathering and being a dad. And I've got a question here that I'd like to ask. It says, what are the three things every child needs to hear from their dad? So you talked about before, about what things we need to receive as a child from our father, or we need to give to our kids as fathers, but what are some, just a couple of things I can say to my kids, what do they need to hear?

Speaker 3 (34:56):

Yeah. So, um, but if, if you just, what I'll do, uh, Jamie is I'll just answer the other two. So there's other two things that I'm gonna just make dot points. So the, the four things, so we start, we only, we actually only covered two <laugh>. So the third thing that every, every son or daughter needs to receive from their father is like a rite of passage, actually, uh, um, a, a process and a moment where they actually cross the threshold where, where their, um, where their, uh, transition into young adulthood and eventual, um, authentic adulthood is actually acknowledged and marked and celebrated. Um, because if we, we, if we, if we say, if we expect our children to, to become adults, how can they, if they don't know that they've actually become adults? Like what, what process, you know, our society says, well, it's 18.

Speaker 3 (35:49):

Um, you know, that's when you can legally drink out, consume alcohol. I mean, my goodness, we don't have rights of passage today and, and we've gotta get those back. So, so that's something that, uh, um, we need to be giving to our kids. And the final thing that, that they need to receive from us is what, what I refer to as a transcendent cause, a cause that's bigger than themselves to see. So one of the things that we do as, as dads is we, because we never heard our dad say, I love you. Like so many of our generation didn't receive that. And, and, um, didn't hear their dad say that. And so what we actually do is we go, I love you. I love you. I love you. We don't stop. And, and, and, and the message that that sent. So they do need to hear that by the way, and act incidentally, that's the first thing that they need to hear again, another segue, however, um, the message that it can potentially send in the me and, and the, the really what helps to define childhood is it's all about me.

Speaker 3 (36:48):

I am the center of the universe and everything is revolves around me and my goodness life does not treat us like that. Yeah. Because it's not true. So we need to be really careful. Son, honey, there is a, there is a cause that that is yours and yours alone, a great mission, a great purpose for your life. And I want to help you discover what that is. If you would allow me, here's how I help to discover that in my life or, or, you know, what, if we haven't discovered that yet to take the steps to start so that we can be imparting that to our kids and help them stand on our shoulders. Um, so anyway, the three things that they need to hear, I love you, but here's the thing is dads do that? Like I say really well, and again, I think we do need to say it a little bit more sparingly.

Speaker 3 (37:33):

Um, and, uh, because I think it's, it's kind of like, you know, they, we be, they become inoculate to it. They don't even hear it anymore. Yeah. They just, I love you. I love you. You know, these are just words, really, and words are really powerful. I don't wanna say that. They're not. So there's these. Um, so they, so I love you, but expand upon it. That's what we don't tend to do. Tell them what you love about them. Why, what makes them uniquely them? Because again, we don't love somebody for the things that they do. We love them for who they are, remember how this podcast started, right? We, you, you asked who, who are you, Darren? You know, before the what, what do you do? And so, you know, it's not about the things that they do, but it's who they are. Like if, if, if we are not seeing, I mean, you and I've spoken about some, some key people in our lives, who've spoken that out over us.

Speaker 3 (38:24):

Well, what if, what if it started with dad? What if, what if dad could have seen those things and then spoke those things out about us? I mean, that would've made the world a difference and then had others come in and confirm those things that they, that dad had seen, you know, and then mum had seen. So I love you and expand upon it. What are the things that you love about them? Um, secondly, number two, I'm proud of you. And again, these are the things that make me so proud of you and, and, and just a word of caution on that. You don't, you don't go in and say, I'm proud of you because you are the top of the class. I'm proud of you because you are the best person on the sporting field. You know, it's, it's, you, you then ask questions.

Speaker 3 (39:06):

We spoke about asking questions, right? So you ask questions. Why are they the top of their class? Why are they the best at their, you know, in, in their team? You know, it, it's usually because of something much deeper and something actually more important and that's their character, right. You know, you turn up, they, they, they do the hard work. They apply themselves, they do the drills, you know, they, they, they turn up to training, you know, um, every week, you know, it's, these are things that you can be really, really proud of. So, um, their character. So what are the things that are really important to you and the things that you really wanna impart to your kids? If when you see those things in them, you speak them out. I, that made me so proud when, when you did that, you know, so it could be, um, again are a character related.

Speaker 3 (39:53):

It could be, you know, you always tell the truth, no matter what, even if it means that you are gonna get into trouble, you always tell the truth. And that makes me so proud. You know, you get knocked down, but you get back up again. And that makes me so proud to be your dad. Um, uh, when, when you see your kids, you know, love others, treat others really well. You know, just, just, um, you know, practically just the things that they do, whether it be their mom or their kids that their siblings or, or, um, kids at school, you know, um, just, it makes me really proud. I mean, when Fathering Adventures first started, all of our kids used to come wherever adventure, obviously, because my wife and I were there and, and our kids would, would come up to us afterwards, almost like have a team meeting.

Speaker 3 (40:41):

And, but they would call it, they'd say, Hey, dad, they'd come in here for a second. Okay. So this child over here, um, they were feeling a little left out. So I became their friend and I helped bring them back into the group. And I was like, I am so proud of you buddy. Like you, you, you've done such a great job there, you know, like, uh, and so there's all of those little things that actually speak them out. Number three, number three, um, is, is different between boys and girls. Um, for boys, they wanna know they're good at something. So you are good at ...., especially when they're younger, when they're older, guess what, they want to know that he has what it takes, that they have what it takes, you know, you have what it takes to be an amazing man to be an amazing football or to be amazing, whatever it might be.

Speaker 3 (41:27):

Um, you have what it takes, you know, cuz there's that question that every man has do. I, I have what it takes, because a man's greatest fear is failure and, and, and, and, and that he's, he could be exposed as being inadequate in some way. And so to actually be able to speak those things out and provide opportunities where he can discover that he has what it takes really important daughters, the daughters, it's it's "I see you, sweetheart." And this is what I see. Um, if I had a dollar for every time in a counseling situation where I had was counseling a woman, and I always had my wife by my side when I'd counsel a woman. Um, but where, where she'd be sitting in front of me and she'd say, I, for the last 10 years, I've felt invisible. You know what she's saying is, so a part of a woman's core question is, is, do you see me?

Speaker 3 (42:25):

Do you notice me, am I beautiful? Do I have anything worth giving, you know, the world, you know, give anything worth giving you as a, as a wife, as a mom, you know, in our home. Um, am I valuable? Am I precious? You know, and, and, and to actually for, for a husband to speak those things out to his wife and for a, for a father to speak those things out to his daughter is just imperative. It's just, I see sweetheart. And again, expand upon it. These are the things that I see. And, and, and again, there's overlap and there's, um, you know, it's, it's like using those, those words, you, I love you. I'm proud of you. And, and, and I see you, but it's kind of, um, it's kind of just giving lots of explanations around those three things. And using those words specifically, they're just like guideposts really guide rails, but, um, um, sort of mapping out a path, but, but they're the, they're the three things that every child, every son needs to hear and every daughter needs to hear.

Speaker 2 (43:23):

That's brilliant. There's some good takeaways there for many dads listening. I'm sure. Particularly the bit about expanding and the why. Like, I, I, I'm good at the first part of that. And, and like you said before, I think as fathers, we overcompensate, or we carry guilt, or there, there are these other things going on in our own mind that we overcompensate, we say this thing all the time, and you're right. If you say it too often, it perhaps becomes meaningless or less meaningful perhaps. Um, so some really good takeaways there. So

Speaker 3 (43:53):

I think too, Jamie, the, the, I think there's the other, the other side of it is too, is I think one of the things, again, getting back into that passivity, um, that, that, that all men struggle with. It's like, well, that there's this battle that's going on in their own mind. It's like, well, I don't know that he really is interested in hearing from me anyway. Like I don't think it really matters like to him or to her what they really, what, what I really think about them. And so we again say nothing and do nothing when in fact they do want to hear those things, even if they're not, even if they're not, um, even if they're not saying they want to hear those things, and even if they roll their eyes, when you say them, one of the things that I, that I've, I always do is I make, I, I, I, I specifically say those things publicly at my big pivotal moments in their lives.

Speaker 3 (44:43):

Um, first time I did it for my wife was when she turned 30. Uh, first time I did it with my, um, Elvis son was when he turned seven. And so, you know, 13, um, 18,21 before he got married at the wedding, you know, that type of thing. Um, so, so make, make a, make it a real sort of moment. And, and, and, and I'll just give you an example. When my son was seven, my men, one of my mentors who lived in our city at the time, wasn't wasn't able to attend, but his wife and other kids were now, his son was eight. His elder son was eight, was 12 months older than my son. I got a phone call. I got a phone call later that day from my mentor saying, Hey, Darren, um, uh, can you just tell me what you said to Brandon at his birthday today?

Speaker 3 (45:29):

Because my son Daniel came home and he's just like, dad, you should have heard what Darren said to Brandon. And, and so I taught him these things, you know, it's like, um, it it's it. So it really matters. It matters not just to, to the person you're saying it to, but in that sort of instance, it matters to other people as well. And again, if you have people, if you, if, if, if you're, I, I always make sure there's lots of other dads and moms and everything in, in that space. And you know, what, if I can just impart something to one of those dads, if they might be able to do that with their son or daughter? Um, fantastic.

Speaker 2 (46:03):

Yeah, it's, uh, very impactful and, and, you know, it also creates a legacy, you know, your behavior, your actions, and how you raise your son or daughter, uh, will determine how that next generation is raised in part as well. So

Speaker 3 (46:17):

That's one of the things I always say Jamie, is, is, um, to dads is, you know, that, that son or that daughter, um, that, that you've brought along to one of our adventures, um, he or she is your grandchild's parent. Right. You know, so he's gonna be, this son is your grandchild's father. And, and if fathers are important, then guess what, we, we need to make this a priority that we're really investing richly into them.

Speaker 2 (46:45):

Yeah, that's brilliant. Okay. So absolutely

Speaker 3 (46:47):

It's general.

Speaker 2 (46:47):

Yeah. Yeah. You're right. Bit of a lighthearted question to, to round things off. Um, uh, we've gone well over time, but I've, uh, thoroughly enjoyed our discussion and, and, you know, it's not often in these podcasts, I write down a whole bunch of notes for myself to take away. So I know this is gonna be impactful and powerful for other men listening. So thank you for your time and your generosity on this, uh, podcast. Um, Darren, now the question we like to ask all of our guests, bit of a fun one is if you had a time machine, you could go back to your 10 year old self what's, one piece of advice that you'd give yourself.

Speaker 3 (47:21):

Yeah. That's a, that's a brilliant question. It really is. I love that question. Um, so I actually sort of took a little time to actually put myself there and, and where, cause how, how many of us do that? How many of us kind of transport ourselves back to 10 years of age or 13 years of age or 15 years of age and go, what do you wish that you'd known then? You know? And so, um, what I came up with is, and this may sound silly, but you're okay. You know, like, I, I, I, because I never, before the, these teachers sort of started speaking into my life, I mean, I had all of these doubts, you know, there must be something wrong with me and that's why dad doesn't wanna spend time with me, you know, like there's something wrong with me and, and kids will do that.

Speaker 3 (48:03):

Um, so, so you're okay. Um, life will be full, um, will be full of all kinds of challenges, but you will overcome them, um, dream, uh, don't be afraid to dream big and, uh, because dreams can absolutely come true and be adventurous and take risks. So I, I guess there was, you know, there's, there's probably a little bit there, but, but you know, all of those things, I think I needed to hear those things back then. And, uh, and, and all of those things have come to pass and all of those things have maybe who I am today.

Speaker 2 (48:34):

So, and the interesting thing from that is if we ask ourselves, this is a father, you know, what would you go back? And, you know, what piece of advice would you give yourself through our listeners, uh, you know, on the podcast now, uh, that is the same thing that we need to be giving to our child today. Exactly. So, uh, nice way, nice way to round things off. Um, uh, Darren, where can our listeners find you and fathering adventures online? How can they connect with you? How can they look at, um, some of these really purposeful, powerful, impactful programs that you offer are fathers?

Speaker 3 (49:06):

Uh, the, the, the best way, the first way to, to really find us is really just type into Google, I guess, Fordy browser sort of, um, fathering adventures.com.asu um, and, uh, it, on there, it has online forms, you know, like a contact us form. It also has my email address and my phone number, um, I'm available. I mean, part of Fathering Adventures for me is actually building relationships with, with people. Um, and, uh, you know, I, I have people say to me, um, usually business coach type people say, Darren, you need to automate a whole lot more than you currently automating. And I'm like, no, I, I hear you. And I, I agree from a strictly business point of view. However, um, part of the process for me is actually building relationships with these people before they come. Um, so, so yeah, that's, uh, all of the, all of my details really can be found. Um, you know, social media sort of links and stuff can all be found at the website, fathering adventures.com

Speaker 2 (50:02):

AU. Fantastic. Darren Lewis, thank you so much for your time today. Uh, thanks for generosity and so many powerful takeaways for all the dads out there. Thanks for joining us.

Speaker 3 (50:11):

Thank you, Jamie. It was a

Speaker 2 (50:13):

Pleasure. You're welcome. Cheers.

Speaker 1 (50:19):

If you enjoyed the show, please connect with Jamie on LinkedIn or Instagram. You'll find links in the podcast description parenting in the digital age is sponsored by skill samurai, coding and stem academy for kids skills, samurai offers after school coding classes and holiday programs to help kids thrive academically and socially while preparing them for the careers of the future visit skillsamurai.com.au

Speaker 1 (00:00):

Parenting in the digital age podcast, many parents are concerned that their child might be falling behind. Others are just looking for ways to help their children thrive, not just in the classroom, but socially and well into their future careers. Each episode, we explore the challenges facing parents in the modern world, from behavior, education and nutrition, to device and gaming addiction. We interview a range of leaders in the area of childhood development to help you successfully navigate parenting. In the digital age, here is your host, Jamie Buttigieg.

Speaker 2 (00:34):

Hello parents. Welcome to another episode of parenting in the digital age, a podcast, helping parents help kids thrive in the modern world. Now we have a very special podcast guest today, and this one is for all of the dads out there joining us today is Darren Lewis from Townsville Australia and Darren founded fathering adventures in 2008. Fathering adventures is a purpose driven organization that helps dads and their kids build stronger, healthier relationships. Darren is also the previous recipient of the Queensland father of the year award for his outstanding community contribution. And today we'll be discussing how men can be the dads they want to be, and perhaps more importantly, how they can be their dads that the kids need them to be. So, Darren, uh, please share with our listeners in your own words a little bit about yourself and, uh, what exactly fathering adventures does.

Speaker 3 (01:27):

Yeah, thanks Jamie. I, I love that question, you know, share about yourself rather than what you do necessarily because we are we're human beings, rather human doings. And I think, especially for men, we, we really, um, so much about identity is wrapped up in what we do. So it's, that's a brilliant question. Um, so who am I? Um, you know, I guess first and foremost, I'm a husband and a father. Um, I'm, uh, Melissa and I've been married now for, um, over 31 years. Um, we're still yet to celebrate that and that's, uh, like that's completely understanding sort of, we we've just come off an adventure where we celebrate it, where we, where we marked our 31st wedding anniversary, but we're still yet to celebrate it. Um, that's coming actually, uh, well, it, it, it should be happening now, but we've actually got our third son is getting married, uh, this Saturday actually.

Speaker 3 (02:16):

So congrats. So yes, so Melissa and I have four sons, um, uh, Brandon, Isaac, Joseph, and Theo, um, and they range in ages from 28 down to 19. And, um, we've got a couple of grandkids, um, a, a precious little granddaughter, a Peyton, and, uh, we also have a little grandson who's probably about 18 months now, Harvey. So, um, yeah, my granddad and I, I just, that's, that's, that's, what's most important as I've gotten older. What I've come to realize is what's most important is relationship, um, and who we are to other people who we are in that relationship. So, um, what do I do? Well, furthering adventures just, just allow me to step back and provide a little context, uh, in and around that if I may, um, you know, we, we live, we live in a world, um, today that is, is, you know, we're doing this right where we've got social media.

Speaker 3 (03:09):

And so we're, we're seemingly more connected than ever before. Um, yet we are, we are, so we are more, less connected than we've ever been before. There's so we're so busy, we've got so many distractions in our everyday lives and, and that has deeply affected our relationships with others. And, um, and so with father fathering adventures, you know, what we do is, is we provide these, um, adventure experiences, these father, son, and father daughter adventure experiences to help, uh, fathers have, um, healthier relationships with their kids, stronger bonds, a deeper understanding of one another, you know, new direction, um, for their futures as, as a father and a son or a father and daughter or their relationships and so on. And so, um, so yeah, that's, that's kind of what we do. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (03:58):

A and any particular age, when you say father son, father, daughter, I mean, my daughter's, uh, my youngest is 14, uh, is at an appropriate age for these adventures. What, what is the age group, uh, that you see parents and kids?

Speaker 3 (04:10):

Yeah, so we, we initially like, um, we initially started, uh, 13 years and over that was what, how, where we initially started, um, that wasn't a really good place to start <laugh> and, um, so we kind of had to re uh, reinvent the wheel almost. Um, and, and so we actually added, uh, another age group to that. So ages seven to 13 in one age group. Um, and then ages 13 years. And over in fact, there's no maximum age limit to those we've even had, um, sons and daughters in their mid forties bring their dads along. So, uh, yeah, it's, it's, and that's important too, because no matter, I mean, at, at some point, I mean, what I wish Jamie, I, I wish that I could have experienced this with my dad. And even now, I mean, my dad passed away like 16 years ago. And so it's not possible for us to experience what we do, but in so many ways, there's, that's a, that's a background motivator for me, you know, what, what do, what I wish that I'd experienced with my dad?

Speaker 2 (05:12):

Yeah, absolutely. Now, if my memory serves me correctly, you were in building or, or drafting or something before fathering adventures. So why that cha like what led you to create fathering adventures? How did this all come about? I'm curious as to the catalyst.

Speaker 3 (05:25):

Yeah, well, there's a, there's a few, I mean, I'll answer that first question first. Um, uh, you're right. I was in the engineering sort of industry and, and, um, one of the reasons why I was in that industry I've come to learn. There's, there's actually a couple of reasons. Number one is, um, so I come from my dad was a, a, a workaholic and an alcoholic, and there are good reasons behind that. And, and I only found out those good reasons really later in his life, like before he passed away, um, which I'm so pleased that I did. Um, but what happened was, um, uh, so my dad really wasn't present. He was present physically in the home, but not he was absent in every other way. And, uh, he actually apologized to me, um, right before he died. He actually, he woke up out of a coma and he, he said, I'm, I'm so sorry for being, you know, a terrible father.

Speaker 3 (06:12):

And, and both he and I at this stage where, where we're in tears together. And, and I just said, dad, you did the best job that you could, you know, he, he didn't, he had a, he had a poor starting place. And so, you know, there was a lot of forgiveness there and, and, um, yeah, so anyway, um, so, but I never really had a man kind of speaking to my life saying, you are good at something, you know, you, you were good at this. And, and my, um, my graphics teacher at school, my year 10 graphics teacher, um, he was just like, Darren, you were that good. I could get you a job tomorrow. I know you want to go through to senior and go and, and go into university, but you were that good. I need you to know that. And I'm just like, wow, having a man, this, this man who, who saw something in me and spoke that out was massive to me.

Speaker 3 (06:58):

So I think having experienced that was a massive motivator for me. And the other thing was that my dad was actually in the construction industry. He, he he'd build, um, steel frame buildings. He was a Rigg and, and crane driver scrap. He ran his own business. And, and, um, uh, so I, I wanted us to have a connection point. I wanted us to, you know, and, and we did, my dad had phoned me up cuz a lot of times I would design and, and document, uh, projects that he would ultimately, um, install, you know, um, erect and, and, uh, yeah, it was, it was, it was wonderful to have. And that was one of the things that I really missed, um, was as, as silly as it sounds was that, you know, daily phone call, what are you working on? You know? And it was so surface level, but, um, but it was, it was a real hold that was left in my life was, was missing hearing from him, um, even in that context.

Speaker 3 (07:51):

So when he passed away though, some of the buildings, cause I have this young, when he started business, some of the buildings that he had had, um, had had constructed were actually being torn down. And, and I think, you know, so fast forward to 2007, 2008, um, I was, I was kind of, uh, you know, in that age, whereas I was asking those questions, what, what's my life count for? You know, what's my legacy gonna be? You know? And I think that one of the reasons why I was facing that was because I'd lost my dad, you know, a few years earlier. And so, um, and that's when I just began thinking. And, and, and, and so now if you, if you kind of, um, dovetail that alongside the fact that I was also my wife and I would counsel men and women from 1999, very intentionally, very full on really until 2007 when we founded fathering adventures.

Speaker 3 (08:42):

Um, and so the whole reason why I stopped that to ask the question, because we were so busy, we had six nights. So I was doing my engineering stuff through the day in the evening. We were having people in our, our living room, you know, a man or a woman, um, and, and helping them through the issues, relational issues, personal issues that they're facing from a counseling perspective and, um, six nights of six nights outta seven in a week. And so I didn't take me to be a rocket scientist to realize this is not good for our own marriage, you know, or our are in family. So I, I, I, I was slow to do this. I wish that I'd done it sooner, but I asked the question, what had I learned in the last seven, eight years? What had I learned? And what I discovered was that when I asked that question finally, was that 99%, 99.9% of every man and woman who graced our doors, had what we refer to as a father wound.

Speaker 3 (09:40):

So they'd actually been, and some had massive bazooka holes through them. Some just had little grazers, you know, but the reality is one of the biggest wounds that, that, that man or woman took, or those men and women took in their lifetimes actually came from dad first. Um, whether it be rejection of some or abandonment, um, just, you know, careless words, you know, something, something that they said that they've just never, I mean, and, and again, extreme, and, and, and what's amazing about that is that we've had people, um, and, and, and dad did something very small and it's left, left them deeply wounded. And we've had some where, you know, dad was, was, had really made massive mistakes. And yet, somehow they were still able to function. And, and that would amaze me, but the, the, the common thread in all of it was the fact that, um, fathers are so much more important than we've been led to belief.

Speaker 3 (10:41):

Yeah. And so prevention is better than cure. That's why, that's why I launched fathering adventures. When I began to look at, um, do my research, who out there is preventing father wounding. There were very few organizations doing anything in that space. It was all reactionary. Yeah. And, and, you know, you don't have to look far, you can, you can look in prisons and 85% of all inmates came from fatherless homes, you know, 75% of, of all people in, you know, drug and alcohol, um, substance abuse centers come from fatherless homes. And that's where fathers are physically absent. Um, let me tell you, the rest of that percentage came from, for the most part, there's always an exception to the rule, but for the most part, come from homes where dad might have been physically present, but, um, yeah, they, dad, dad, dad gave a, a lasting impact that wasn't a good one.

Speaker 3 (11:35):

Um, so how, you know, you know, doing what we do, you know, you receive, so any man listening to this podcast, you know, can go well, I'm, I'm really strong and powerful. I know that I'm a man in my workplace. Right. But, but in every other area, and, and you ask the question why, because he's received training and instruction, he's been to university or has gone through a trade, um, you receive training and instruction. There, you receive coaching, you receive education, you know, and, and equipping. And yet as fathers, as husbands, where do we receive that? And so, so, you know, that's really important and that's part of what father and adventures does.

Speaker 2 (12:14):

That's, uh, such powerful and profound work that you guys do. Um, it's interesting, you've mentioned that you finding that point of connection with your father and for you, that was your career. Uh, for me and my father, uh, our common ground is classic cars. You know, so as a son, I was always searching for, you know, how do I connect yeah. With my father. And, uh, so we ended up, you know, buying these classic cars and, and, and that, that's our point of connection. And whenever we come together, that's, uh, you know, it's pretty much the only thing that we talk about Uhhuh. Uh, but you know, you talk about, you know, as kids and probably as fathers too now, as I reflect, you know, there are things that, uh, there's no manual, there's no rule book. And I think, uh, you know, my father is my role model, how he parented is kind of how I parent, and we're always trying to be better and to try and not make those same mistakes, but again, uh, we are just making it up as we go along. And that that's, that's hard for us as fathers, uh, in your work, you talk about, uh, four things that every child needs to receive from a father. Um, so what are those things? Can you elaborate on that?

Speaker 3 (13:21):

Yeah, sure. So, um, the first thing <laugh>, and I've kind of alluded to that already is, is they need their dad or, or in the absence of dad, cuz sometimes dad can't be around for whatever reason, a father figure some, some other men like, like the influence that that year 10 graphics teacher had on me, you know? Yeah. There's something about, um, having a man in your life that just delights in you. Um, and so, so let me expand upon that first one being dad. So it's still point number one is, is you need his heart. You need to not, you need to know is a, a child needs to know that their father's heart is for them. And that the father is communicating that in, in every way he can, because I always say that, um, life is life is full of messages and, and where, and, and, and, and most of us aren't aware that we are putting messages out there.

Speaker 3 (14:16):

Um, but everything we say and everything we don't say and everything we do and everything we don't date don't do sends a message. It sends a message to our, to everybody, but to our children as fathers. And, and so we have to stop and ask ourselves what message are my, our kids receiving from me and, and even asking, you know, even just kind of, you know, building that relationship to explore that, um, just for our, a child to know that their dad's heart is for them. And, uh, you know, classic example of, of this just, you know, real time example. Um, my, my second son had some, some really quite awful news yesterday, uh, in regards to his health. And it really, uh, you know, if you've ever had health issues, um, uh, you know, serious health issues, uh, you, you, you know how this feels, it rocks your world.

Speaker 3 (15:06):

Um, and, uh, unfortunately I wasn't here. Um, my wife, he, my wife was here, my wife listened and she was able to, um, relay that to, to me and I wanted to save everything right. Cause I knew how sensitive he would be about it. And so I've sent out this text message and he phoned me and he just said that, thank you so much for that text message. And again, I was able to sort of share in that. Um, and, and, and that actually is a perfect segue to lead me into it's still point number one, but something else that he needs to receive from, um, the dad part of it is, is, um, uh, is their story, right? So I was able to share my story and explain Isaac, I know that you, you know, you're 25, you know, so I was 15 years older than you when I was diagnosed with this other issue, but it rocked my world then.

Speaker 3 (15:57):

And so you, you know, and, and you've just gotta, um, be careful, you don't just, you don't put it into a, a lesson, but you know, you don't, you don't dismiss it. I just said, you know, your feelings actually are really important, you know, allow yourself to feel the, the disappointment, the discouragement, the, you know, allow yourself the space to do that, let this settle. It's not the end of the world. And, and you will be able to, you know, play sports, uh, not play sports, but, but still, you know, incorporate your love for sport in other ways like coaching kids, you know, and, and so on. And so, yeah, look, it's it's um, uh, so, so he needs to know that your heart is for them and they need to know your story, you know, that because their story is his story or her story.

Speaker 3 (16:42):

And, and so, um, you need to know where you've come from in order to help, you know, where you're really going. And so, um, and, and if you're going to relate, you know, if we're talking about relationship, if you're gonna relate to somebody, you've gotta know their story and too many dads. And again, the business of our worlds, we're not sharing stories anymore. You know, go down through all of human history stories would be shared and they would be shared from generation to generation. And, and these days in our business, we don't take the time to share our story. And by the time that we feel as though we, we want to share our story with somebody, um, then now our kids are too busy. It's the whole cats and the cradle sort of situation. Yeah. So, um, sharing your story is really important as well.

Speaker 3 (17:25):

And, and not to mention the modeling that, that you said, you know, kids learn what we live out in the home as dads, right? They, they, they like sponges. They're just learning from us. Um, it's important to speak, to say those things, but, but, but it's equally important for our actions to, to match our words. Um, the second thing is, um, the second thing is, is really, um, it's in regards to them becoming, um, young adults, um, and eventual adults. Um, and so it's, it's like, well, what, what does it mean to be a man? What does it mean to be a woman? What, what, you know, what, what's the difference between a child and an adult? So, so this is more in those teenage years where they're sort of, their bodies are beginning to change, but the reality is is that, you know, they could stay children if they, if they aren't aware, if they're not given a vision for what it means to be an adult or for what the differences are between children and adults. So we need to be able to help, um, provide them with that understanding of those two different identities. If we don't, what we end up with is we end up with kids in adult bodies. And so, you know, they're in their thirties and forties and they're still being kids. They're still acting like kids. They're still talking like kids and thinking like kids, and that is not good for our society as a whole.

Speaker 2 (18:49):

How, how do we help them build that identity or, or understand what that, um, you know, parent looks like sometimes I've got a son who's 18 years old and it almost feels like every time I'm, uh, with him and talking to him that I'm lecturing him, you know, like, you know, I'm trying to help him come out of childhood, into adulthood as a, as a father. That's what I'm desperately seeking to do. And every parent and every father wants to set up their, their kids for success, but it feels like, and I struggle a lot. It feels like that. Uh, I'm just constantly lecturing him as to, you know, what life needs to look like and, and how finances need to look and how this needs to look. And, uh, I know that's not the right way, but I Don know a better way. Um, so how would you respond to that?

Speaker 3 (19:30):

Well, first up, well done, you know, the fact that you're even attempting to impart those skills, that's really important. And he'll actually be grateful for you having even attempted to do that, uh, because there are too many adults out there today who have no idea. And so well done for that. Um, what I would say to that is that that's the beauty of having someone like me, right. Is, is just, and I know, you know, we, like, I don't want, this is not a sales pitch, but, um, the reality is, is one of the things that I hear from dads is, so I'm speaking to, and let's, let's take that specific, um, instance, if it was fathers and daughters, my wife would be speaking. But if, um, if it's fathers and sons, I'm speaking and it's, it's a father and a son together learning new things together.

Speaker 3 (20:23):

And I like to refer to it as learning a new language. And it's actually a language that you learn together and you continue to speak beyond the adventure. If I have so many dads who say, thank you, thank you. You know, like you have, um, you were saying exactly what I've, even if it's not what I've always said, it's what I've always, what, what, I've, what I've not been able to articulate. And he's listened to you, you know, he's listening. And, and the reality is, and one of the things I always say to dads is look out for mentors, look out for other men, other good men in your world to, because there's, there comes a time where, so, you know, it'd be right where your son is now, where he's actually like, he'll listen to you, or he'll at least hear you, whether he listens or not as it's another thing altogether.

Speaker 3 (21:12):

But, um, if, if, if you've set up some mentors around you for those teenage years, he's more likely to turn to, um, turn, turn to one of those men. And, uh, listen to those men. I mean, if I had a, do you know, this is, this is my job. This is what I do. But if I had, if I had a dollar for every time I had one of my kids come home and say, oh, I spoke to such and such about this particular topic. And, oh, it's amazing. You know, like it's just totally blown my mind. And I kind of look over and give my wife a bit of, a bit of a wake and a bit of a smile. And, and we'll sort of debrief later. And like how many times have we said that exact same thing, but it, sometimes it actually needs to come from other people.

Speaker 3 (21:56):

And when, and sometimes when dad's actually quiet and, and, and you can actually just sit down and, um, and actually, uh, you know, listen to somebody else and then debrief, which probably leads me onto another subset of that is, is there needs to be so that we know that the seasons of a year, right? We've got spring summer, autumn, winter. And I know that some of our cities like where I'm in, based in Townsville, um, uh, we, we, we really only have summer and summer in winter and in winter is very short, um, in place like Melbourne, you get four seasons in one day. Well, there's seasons of fathering too. And this isn't something that, that, that we were necessarily planning on speaking about. But, um, but I will speak about the first two seasons. The first, the first season is where dad is like a commander inchi, right?

Speaker 3 (22:46):

He he's, he's, he's, he's like a dictator really. And, and he, he tells the child what to do right now. If, if a dad continues to do that into those teenage years, then what you're gonna have is you're going, he's gonna rebel against that. And he's at the very least, he's gonna shut off. He's gonna shut down. And, and there's a, um, fellow by them is, uh, uh, James Dobson, um, psychologist and author. He said this, he said that, um, rules without relationship leads to rebellion, which again is why. So there's nothing wrong with rules, but it's, but it's really all hanging off relationship. And, and so the, the second season of a father's life is during those teenage years, when your son turns 13, or your daughter turns 13, you do not dictate anymore. You don't tell them the things you don't lecture, you, you, you, with hot, you with, you know, you've gotta learn it.

Speaker 3 (23:38):

And, and like with any season, sometimes you'll have some hiccups, right. You know, you'll sometimes moving into summer, there might be a cold snap, you know, all of a sudden, and so, you know, learn from those things, but ask questions. That's the thing you, what you do is you step out of the, the commander inchi role, the common dance kind of role into the coaching role and the best coaches ask questions. So instead of sort of launching into, you've gotta do this, you know, it's like, okay, have you considered, you know, what life might look like? Um, you know, you know, in the next 10 years, if you don't make these kinds of changes,

Speaker 2 (24:15):

Hey, Hey, that that's easy. Right? Like, but when I ask my son, uh, you know, have you considered what you'll do next? No.

Speaker 3 (24:22):

Yes. Like, and, and so, and so can I say, Jamie and you, you are really good at this actually is you have to be, I think as dad's, as parents full stop, we have to become really good at asking questions. Yeah. So you gotta become really, the word is creative in that space. And I'm actually not a creative person by, by nature. Like by it's something I've really had to work on to be creative. Um, but you, what you have to do is you be, you have to go, okay, well, that question was a poor question. It, it had the right motive behind it, but teenagers, when you ask questions, if, if they're not great questions, you get a, yeah, nah, some sort of grunt, right? You, you need to, you need to actually be able to ask really excellent questions that I'll draw out, answer their, their questions that you cannot respond to with a yes or an a, or a grant to.

Speaker 3 (25:13):

And, and one of the things that I did with Mike with each of my boys, when, when they turned 13 was I took them out to breakfast every Sunday morning would sit across from them. I remember the very, my fir my oldest son when I first started doing that. So 15 years ago, now I remember, um, sitting there and I just felt like giving up the first time. Cause I was getting those, I was asking questions. Yep. Uh, um, I, I came home all discouraged. Um, and I, I wanted to quit. I wanted to drop well, that didn't work. Yep. You know, we, we are looking for in this instant gratification, but let me tell you, you know, if you go to the gym and you, you know, if I went to the gym and, and tried to lift what I was lifting, when I was 25 years of age, I'm not gonna be able to, you know, carry myself, you know, like my arms will feel like they've dropped off.

Speaker 3 (25:57):

Um, I probably wouldn't be able to lift it anyway, but I would do some real damage. And, and that would, that would set me up for discouragement. I would not be able to, um, continue lifting weights. I would stop going to gym. Gym is an evil place. Right. So if, for, if it made me feel that way, why would I go back? So, but if, but if I just went back and, and wasn't vain and just lifted the bar without any weights, just did some, some reps and, and then slowly added to the weights, then guess what? My muscles are gonna be begin to grow. I'm gonna be able to do, to lift these lifts. Um, and, and yeah. Be able to do that more, more easily. And, and then I'm gonna start to see results. And so six weeks in, um, I sat down, uh, across my, across from my son.

Speaker 3 (26:42):

And then all of a sudden he started launching into, he started telling me all about his life. And I'm just sitting there smiling, just thinking, I didn't even have to ask a question because in this over six week period, he gets why we are having breakfast. Now it's not about the breakfast. It's about me wanting to enter into his world once I've, I'm interested in your son, you know? And, and so now he's volunteering up all of this information. And so I I'm so pleased that I didn't give up, you know, and I, I got better at asking questions. So

Speaker 2 (27:15):

Yeah, that, that's really interesting. And, uh, cuz cause I often feel that way as a father asked questions, I'm sitting in the car, you know, the usual conversation, how was school good? What did you do? Nothing. And so I do acknowledge the fact I need to get better. And uh, I think many fathers listening to this will, uh, also acknowledge that we've gotta get better at asking questions, but one other, take another takeaway for myself. I've got my pen out. You've probably seen, uh, is, is also asking better questions of yourself. You know, when you started talking about what are four things, every child needs to receive from their father, you started to talk about, you know, ensuring they know that they have your heart. That's a bit of an abstract thing for a father to, to hear. Like I kind of think, well, how do I apply that?

Speaker 2 (27:56):

But what I took outta that is, you know, if I can ask this one question at the end of every week, you know, what did my child receive from me this week? You know, that's the question I'm gonna now ask myself, that's the takeaway for me outta this and say, what did they receive this week? And um, you know, that'll, you know, the quality of your questions determine the quality of your outcomes. That's one thing I've always believed. You know, if you ask yourself better questions and the right questions, it'll lead you as a father, as an entrepreneur, as a podcaster, whatever you're doing in life, it'll lead you to better outcomes. And so that's a great question. You know, what, what what's, you know, what did my child, or what did my children, what did my wife get from me receive from me this week? Uh, and then just reflect on that and then that'll shape my actions and guide me towards the next week. So there's a tangible outcome there. So thank you.

Speaker 3 (28:44):

Absolutely. And like my story with my, my son just last night, you know, like sending him that text message. Yeah. I could have, I could have simply gone. Well, my wife did a wonderful job and I did. I, I, I wanted to affirm her. You did a wonder, sounds like he did a wonderful job, honey. And, and just, um, and so, uh, but I didn't just stop it at that. He needed to hear from me too. And, and I had something to give and, and one of the things that we say when I talk about the four marks of a real man, so this is where we do help to define manhood. The first mark of a real man, is that a man, a real man rejects passivity. And so he can be a, a, a real, a go getter, you know, leader in, in the boardroom or on the footy field or wherever, but in the home that same man will often shrink back, will say nothing will do nothing.

Speaker 3 (29:30):

And, um, and, and, and if that's, and that's, that's every man, by the way, um, in, in social arenas. And so when, um, and in the family in the home. And so, so when, when you do that, when that natural tendency to be passive in that moment rises up, um, and, and to say nothing or do nothing, you know, that's the time where you go, oh, I'm rejecting that. And I'm actually gonna say something and do something. And, uh, obviously you gotta have the right spirit behind that. You don't want to just launch into a lecture and so on, but, um, yeah, just to, so what did my son receive from me this week? Well, you know, he would, he knows, and he received my heart because he knows I was there. That's not absent, dad's there, you know, he's, he's he's for me. And, um, so that's kind of that, yeah. All of those things are really great examples of, of what it means by his heart, but that's the message we're trying to send him this message. I am there for you son. I am there for you, sweetheart. You know, like that's yeah. That's, that's when, you know,

Speaker 2 (30:31):

Can, can we keep going down that path of, yeah. You know, the four, what did you say to the four marks of being a man of four characteristics of what it means to be a man? Because, you know, when I was doing some research prior to the podcast and talking about how you help dads and their kids build stronger and healthy relationships, it, it actually made me think of maybe not a silly question, I suppose, but what is the definition of a father? You know, like how can I be a father and, and, and, and blokes will say, oh yeah, well, you know, we all instinctively know what it means to be a dad. Well, we don't, I don't think we do we're modeling and, and we're doing all these other things and getting our information from around us, but what, what is a father and, and what does it mean to be a man? Maybe just keep going down that path. Cause I I'm curious.

Speaker 3 (31:16):

Yeah. Well, uh, it's great. Again, great question. Um, oh, I, I, I've always said that, that a, that a father, um, a father is somebody again, who has, and I know you might say it's abstract, but somebody who has heart, so a father is sent about biology. Yep. You know, that's, that's, that's the problem is, is I think that we think that it's about biology, but the reality is there are so many fatherless boys and girls, um, young men and young women, older men and older women, you know, people who haven't had a really great dad in their lives. And guess what, that's what mentors are. You know, like I have my, my male mentors are father figures in my life. They they're males who, who delighted me. They see something in me. I was just, I had received an email who was doing a bit of email correspondence with my mentor in Arkansas.

Speaker 3 (32:06):

And, uh, he's now in his early seventies, you know? And, and, uh, interestingly enough, he has, we have the same surname. Wow. Um, so he was actually one of the reasons why I started bothering adventures back in 1999, again, another man who was just, he saw something in me, he delighted in me. He, he, he called that out of me. You know, he caught because of, because he believed in me, I then began to believe in myself. Yeah. And that's the big thing. And one of the things I, I, I say, um, uh, to men, it is a beautiful scene in the movie, the matrix, this could go anywhere, but the movie, the matrix, you know, there's this scene where, where Neo, um, Neo and Trinity are at this phone. And, uh, Trinity goes up through the phone line and, and, and Neo's there. And, um, agent Smith turns up, shoots out the phone and Neo doesn't run.

Speaker 3 (32:58):

Now everybody, you know, everybody knows you gotta, you cannot defeat an agent. You need to, you need to run, you need to get outta there and find another phone line to get back out of the matrix. And in that moment, Trinity and Morpheus are looking on and Trinity says, what isn't he running? And morph says something so beautiful. He says, he's beginning to believe. And, and I just think if men can begin to believe that they have a purpose, that there is something good in them and men that could be unstoppable, and it's not just men, it's women as well. Um, it's, it's so important, um, for, for this whole idea of, of believing that you're more than that. So, so when an, when an older man believes in you and helps to helps to sharpen you and, and, and just sees things in you and calls those things out of you, it's, that's a father in my mind. Yeah. Um, so it's a great question. Um,

Speaker 2 (33:54):

And that, that's interesting too, because I think all men listening to this can relate to that. Uh, if, if not, if it wasn't their own father as that role model, I, I often think back to school and I, I found the subjects that I excelled in wasn't because I was naturally gifted in those subjects. It was cuz that teacher male or female took, it, took an active interest in my development. They cared, they had heart to put it in your words. And, and then as a result, you thrive in that environment. And so as parents, we've just gotta, you know, ask those better questions to help our kids thrive. But that's a, a really interesting definition. So thanks for sharing. So I wanna try and get onto some other practical aspects of, uh, fathering and being a dad. And I've got a question here that I'd like to ask. It says, what are the three things every child needs to hear from their dad? So you talked about before, about what things we need to receive as a child from our father, or we need to give to our kids as fathers, but what are some, just a couple of things I can say to my kids, what do they need to hear?

Speaker 3 (34:56):

Yeah. So, um, but if, if you just, what I'll do, uh, Jamie is I'll just answer the other two. So there's other two things that I'm gonna just make dot points. So the, the four things, so we start, we only, we actually only covered two <laugh>. So the third thing that every, every son or daughter needs to receive from their father is like a Rite of passage, actually, uh, um, a, a process and a moment where they actually cross the threshold where, where their, um, where their, uh, transition into young adulthood and eventual, um, authentic adulthood is actually acknowledged and marked and celebrated. Um, because if we, we, if we, if we say, if we expect our children to, to become adults, how can they, if they don't know that they've actually become adults? Like what, what process, you know, our society says, well, it's 18.

Speaker 3 (35:49):

Um, you know, that's when you can legally drink out, consume alcohol. I mean, my goodness, we don't have rights of passage today and, and we've gotta get those back. So, so that's something that, uh, um, we need to be giving to our kids. And the final thing that, that they need to receive from us is what, what I refer to as a transcendent, cause a cause that's bigger than themselves to see. So one of the things that we do as, as dads is we, because we never heard our dad say, I love you. Like so many of our generation didn't receive that. And, and, um, didn't hear their dad say that. And so what we actually do is we go, I love you. I love you. I love you. We don't stop. And, and, and, and the message that that sent. So they do need to hear that by the way, and act incidentally, that's the first thing that they need to hear again, another segue, however, um, the message that it can potentially send in the me and, and the, the really what helps to define childhood is it's all about me.

Speaker 3 (36:48):

I am the center of the universe and everything is revolves around me and my goodness life does not treat us like that. Yeah. Because it's not true. So we need to be really careful son, honey, there is a, there is a cause that that is yours and yours alone, a great mission, a great purpose for your life. And I want to help you discover what that is. If you would allow me, here's how I help to discover that in my life or, or, you know, what, if we haven't discovered that yet to take the steps to start so that we can be imparting that to our kids and help them stand on our shoulders. Um, so anyway, the three things that they need to hear, I love you, but here's the thing is dads do that? Like I say really well, and again, I think we do need to say it a little bit more sparingly.

Speaker 3 (37:33):

Um, and, uh, because I think it's, it's kind of like, you know, they, we be, they become inoculate to it. They don't even hear it anymore. Yeah. They just, I love you. I love you. You know, these are just words, really, and words are really powerful. I don't wanna say that. They're not. So there's these. Um, so they, so I love you, but expand upon it. That's what we don't tend to do. Tell them what you love about them. Why, what makes them uniquely them? Because again, we don't love somebody for the things that they do. We love them for who they are, remember how this podcast started, right? We, you, you asked who, who are you, Darren? You know, before the what, what do you do? And so, you know, it's not about the things that they do, but it's who they are. Like if, if, if we are not seeing, I mean, you and I've spoken about some, some key people in our lives, who've spoken that out over us.

Speaker 3 (38:24):

Well, what if, what if it started with dad? What if, what if dad could have seen those things and then spoke those things out about us? I mean, that would've made the world a difference and then had others come in and confirm those things that they, that dad had seen, you know, and then mum had seen. So I love you and expand upon it. What are the things that you love about them? Um, secondly, number two, I'm proud of you. And again, these are the things that make me so proud of you and, and, and just a word of caution on that. You don't, you don't go in and say, I'm proud of you because you are the top of the class. I'm proud of you because you are the best person on the sporting field. You know, it's, it's, you, you then ask questions.

Speaker 3 (39:06):

We spoke about asking questions, right? So you ask questions. Why are they the top of their class? Why are they the best at their, you know, in, in their team? You know, it, it's usually because of something much deeper and something actually more important and that's their character, right. You know, you turn up, they, they, they do the hard work. They apply themselves, they do the drills, you know, they, they, they turn up to training, you know, um, every week, you know, it's, these are things that you can be really, really proud of. So, um, their character. So what are the things that are really important to you and the things that you really wanna impart to your kids? If when you see those things in them, you speak them out. I, that made me so proud when, when you did that, you know, so it could be, um, again are a character related.

Speaker 3 (39:53):

It could be, you know, you always tell the truth, no matter what, even if it means that you are gonna get into trouble, you always tell the truth. And that makes me so proud. You know, you get knocked down, but you get back up again. And that makes me so proud to be your dad. Um, uh, when, when you see your kids, you know, love others, treat others really well. You know, just, just, um, you know, practically just the things that they do, whether it be their mom or their kids that their siblings or, or, um, kids at school, you know, um, just, it makes me really PR I mean, when fathering adventures first started, all of our kids used to come wherever adventure, obviously, because my wife and I were there and, and our kids would, would come up to us afterwards, almost like have a team meeting.

Speaker 3 (40:41):

And, but they would call it, they'd say, Hey, dad, they'd come in here for a second. Okay. So this child over here, um, they were feeling a little left out. So I became their friend and I helped bring them back into the group. And I was like, I am so proud of you buddy. Like you, you, you've done such a great job there, you know, like, uh, and so there's all of those little things that actually speak them out. Number three, number three, um, is, is different between boys and girls. Um, for boys, they wanna know they're good at something. So you areGood@dot.dot, especially when they're younger, when they're older, guess what they want to know that it has what it takes that they have, what it takes, you know, you have what it takes to be an amazing man to be an amazing football or to be amazing, whatever it might be.

Speaker 3 (41:27):

Um, you have what it takes, you know, cuz there's that question that every man has do. I, I have what it takes because a man's greatest fear is failure and, and, and, and, and that he's, he could be exposed as being inadequate in some way. And so to actually be able to speak those things out and provide opportunities where he can discover that he has what it takes really important daughters, the daughters it's it's I see you, sweetheart. And this is what I see. Um, if I had a dollar for every time in a counseling situation where I had was counseling a woman, and I always had my wife by my side when I'd counsel a woman. Um, but where, where she'd be sitting in front of me and she'd say, I, for the last 10 years, I've felt invisible. You know what she's saying is, so a part of a woman's core question is, is, do you see me?

Speaker 3 (42:25):

Do you notice me, am I beautiful? Do I have anything worth giving, you know, the world, you know, give anything worth giving you as a, as a wife, as a mom, you know, in our home. Um, am I valuable? Am I precious? You know, and, and, and to actually for, for a husband to speak those things out to his wife and for a, for a father to speak those things out to his daughter is just imperative. It's just, I see sweetheart. And again, expand upon it. These are the things that I see. And, and, and again, there's overlap and there's, um, you know, it's, it's like using those, those words, you, I love you. I'm proud of you. And, and, and I see you, but it's kind of, um, it's kind of just giving lots of explanations around those three things. And using those words specifically, they're just like guideposts really guide rails, but, um, um, sort of mapping out a path, but, but they're the, they're the three things that every child, every son needs to hear and every daughter needs to hear.

Speaker 2 (43:23):

That's brilliant. There's some good takeaways there for many dads listening. I'm sure. Particularly the bit about expanding and the why. Like, I, I, I'm good at the first part of that. And, and like you said before, I think as fathers, we overcompensate, or we carry guilt, or there, there are these other things going on in our own mind that we overcompensate, we say this thing all the time, and you're right. If you say it too often, it perhaps becomes meaningless or less meaningful perhaps. Um, so some really good takeaways there. So

Speaker 3 (43:53):

I think too, Jamie, the, the, I think there's the other, the other side of it is too, is I think one of the things, again, getting back into that passivity, um, that, that, that all men struggle with. It's like, well, that there's this battle that's going on in their own mind. It's like, well, I don't know that he really is interested in hearing from me anyway. Like I don't think it really matters like to him or to her what they really, what, what I really think about them. And so we again say nothing and do nothing when in fact they do want to hear those things, even if they're not, even if they're not, um, even if they're not saying they want to hear those things, and even if they roll their eyes, when you say them, one of the things that I, that I've, I always do is I make, I, I, I, I specifically say those things publicly at my big pivotal moments in their lives.

Speaker 3 (44:43):

Um, first time I did it for my wife was when she turned 30. Uh, first time I did it with my, um, Elvis son was when he turned seven. And so, you know, 13, um, 1821 before he got married at the wedding, you know, that type of thing. Um, so, so make, make a, make it a real sort of moment. And, and, and, and I'll just give you an example. When my son was seven, my men, one of my mentors who lived in our city at the time, wasn't wasn't able to attend, but his wife and other kids were now, his son was eight. His elder son was eight, was 12 months older than my son. I got a phone call. I got a phone call later that day from my mentor saying, Hey, Darren, um, uh, can you just tell me what you said to Brandon at his birthday today?

Speaker 3 (45:29):

Because my son Daniel came home and he's just like, dad, you should have heard what Darren said to Brandon. And, and so I taught him these things, you know, it's like, um, it it's it. So it really matters. It matters not just to, to the person you're saying it to, but in that sort of instance, it matters to other people as well. And again, if you have people, if you, if, if, if you're, I, I always make sure there's lots of other dads and moms and everything in, in that space. And you know, what, if I can just impart something to one of those dads, if they might be able to do that with their son or daughter? Um, fantastic.

Speaker 2 (46:03):

Yeah, it's, uh, very impactful and, and, you know, it also creates a legacy, you know, your behavior, your actions, and how you raise your son or daughter, uh, will determine how that next generation is raised in part as well. So

Speaker 3 (46:17):

That's one of the things I always say Jamie, is, is, um, to dads is, you know, that, that son or that daughter, um, that, that you've brought along to one of our adventures, um, he or she is your grandchild's parent. Right. You know, so he's gonna be, this son is your grandchild's father. And, and if fathers are important, then guess what, we, we need to make this a priority that we're really investing richly into them.

Speaker 2 (46:45):

Yeah, that's brilliant. Okay. So absolutely

Speaker 3 (46:47):

It's general.

Speaker 2 (46:47):

Yeah. Yeah. You're right. Bit of a lighthearted question to, to round things off. Um, uh, we've gone well over time, but I've, uh, thoroughly enjoyed our discussion and, and, you know, it's not often in these podcasts, I write down a whole bunch of notes for myself to take away. So I know this is gonna be impactful and powerful for other men listening. So thank you for your time and your generosity on this, uh, podcast. Um, Darren, now the question we like to ask all of our guests, bit of a fun one is if you had a time machine, you could go back to your 10 year old self what's, one piece of advice that you'd give yourself.

Speaker 3 (47:21):

Yeah. That's a, that's a brilliant question. It really is. I love that question. Um, so I actually sort of took a little time to actually put myself there and, and where, cause how, how many of us do that? How many of us kind of transport ourselves back to 10 years of age or 13 years of age or 15 years of age and go, what do you wish that you'd known then? You know? And so, um, what I came up with is, and this may sound silly, but you're okay. You know, like, I, I, I, because I never, before the, these teachers sort of started speaking into my life, I mean, I had all of these doubts, you know, there must be something wrong with me and that's why dad doesn't wanna spend time with me, you know, like there's something wrong with me and, and kids will do that.

Speaker 3 (48:03):

Um, so, so you're okay. Um, life will be full, um, will be full of all kinds of challenges, but you will overcome them, um, dream, uh, don't be afraid to dream big and, uh, because dreams can absolutely come true and be adventurous and take risks. So I, I guess there was, you know, there's, there's probably a little bit there, but, but you know, all of those things, I think I needed to hear those things back then. And, uh, and, and all of those things have come to pass and all of those things have maybe who I am today.

Speaker 2 (48:34):

So, and the interesting thing from that is if we ask ourselves, this is a father, you know, what would you go back? And, you know, what piece of advice would you give yourself through our listeners, uh, you know, on the podcast now, uh, that is the same thing that we need to be giving to our child today. Exactly. So, uh, nice way, nice way to round things off. Um, uh, Darren, where can our listeners find you and fathering adventures online? How can they connect with you? How can they look at, um, some of these really purposeful, powerful, impactful programs that you offer are fathers?

Speaker 3 (49:06):

Uh, the, the, the best way, the first way to, to really find us is really just type into Google, I guess, Fordy browser sort of, um, fathering adventures.com AU, um, and, uh, it, on there, it has online forms, you know, like a contact us form. It also has my email address and my phone number, um, I'm available. I mean, part of fathering adventures for me is actually building relationships with, with people. Um, and, uh, you know, I, I have people say to me, um, usually business coach type people say, Darren, you need to automate a whole lot more than you currently automating. And I'm like, no, I, I hear you. And I, I agree from a strictly business point of view. However, um, part of the process for me is actually building relationships with these people before they come. Um, so, so yeah, that's, uh, all of the, all of my details really can be found. Um, you know, social media sort of links and stuff can all be found at the website, fathering adventures.com

Speaker 2 (50:02):

AU. Fantastic. Darren Lewis, thank you so much for your time today. Uh, thanks for generosity and so many powerful takeaways for all the dads out there. Thanks for joining us.

Speaker 3 (50:11):

Thank you, Jamie. It was a

Speaker 2 (50:13):

Pleasure. You're welcome. Cheers.

Speaker 1 (50:19):

If you enjoyed the show, please connect with Jamie on LinkedIn or Instagram. You'll find links in the podcast description Parenting in the Digital Age is sponsored by Skill Samurai, coding and stem academy for kids. Skill Samurai offers after school coding classes and holiday programs to help kids thrive academically and socially while preparing them for the careers of the future visit skillsamurai.com.au

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