I’ve heard it said that men do best when they’re challenged.
And not just challenged to do something possible, but something bigger and harder than they could ever imagine doing.
Case in point: I just saw a documentary where men voluntarily attended a week of grueling military boot camp, paying large sums of money to be pushed past their limits. Why did they do it? They said it was simply to prove that they could.
This lines up with the powerful words spoken by one of the greatest military figures in history, General George S. Patton (1885-1945), who said to his troops:
“Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.”
Patton decided during childhood that his goal in life was to become a hero, a reality that he lived out whether he was representing the US at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics or on battlefields in America or Europe during numerous wars.
His goal became his reality. He set his gaze early on and his subsequent life choices supported that goal.
Dad, the challenge before you is to engage your daughter’s heart...consistently and intentionally.
And in like fashion to the demands of boot camp, here’s the mindset that must be activated:
Over the long haul (throughout her whole life, not just until she goes off to college or gets married because sometimes girls need their dads even more as they mature)
Across the mountains and valleys (her emotional ups and downs)
Through sleet and snow and pouring rain (riding out the “short tear sets” to “full-court-press downpours” of emotion and irrationality with kindness, strength, and patience)
Under threat of night (staying up late to interact with her when you’d rather be in bed fast asleep because being a dialed-in dad means being inconvenienced)
Or at first morning light (when she wakes up on the wrong side of the bed or you figure out that this is her “time of the month”)
There it is: The Boot Camp 101 Template for a Dialed-in Dad. I know it’s a tough job, a rough job, and the hardest job you’ll ever love.
Your lifelong, consistent, and loving investment in your daughter is one that I believe is worthy of the highest honor that can be awarded for personal acts of valor above and beyond the call of duty, the Medal of Honor. Every dad in America who goes the distance to engage and keep embracing his daughter’s heart is a hero in my book.
With that, I’ll close by challenging you with the words of General Norman Schwarzkopf:
“The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do.
The hard part is doing it.”