The ROI of fatherhood is elusive, but it can be more tangible than you might think; it affects many others, and pays out long after we are gone.
It’s another weekend and my son Matthew and I are on the golf course. He played football for Notre Dame Prep High for his first two years but switched this year to try his hand at golf; his power is uncanny but his accuracy needs some work. Golf has presented him with a unique challenge that will require a level of discipline and skill unmatched by other sports in order to achieve success.
But no matter the day as most Fathers and teenage sons do; we talk, we argue, we laugh but at the end of the 18 holes, we take our hats off and hug. There are good days and not so good days out on that golf course. But we have each other and always say “I love you” when we are done.
This summer I sent my son to the nirvana of golf camps in Monterey Peninsula. I flew up before his camp was over to surprise him and fly home with him. When I was there I took the chance to play a couple rounds of golf and when I was playing the Poppy Hills golf course, I was assigned a caddie named Kyle. When our round was done, I invited Kyle and my group for a beer. During our conversation after the round, he says I saw you hug that big young man. He is your son, isn’t he? I said yes. I wanted to tell you what a great young man you have. I watched him take care of the younger players in his camp every day and be so respectful and kind to all of us. He is years ahead of his age. I shook Kyle’s hand telling him it means so much to hear how good your kid is especially when you aren’t around to watch.
I have had the honor of dropping him off at his first day of school for many years; this year, his junior year, I experienced more emotion than usual as I watched him walk away that day as I know the sand in the hourglass is that much closer to when he will move on to the next evolution of his life.
But that day further fired me up to continue to build the young man who can best lead his himself, his future family, be of service to others and build a strong legacy through his positive actions.
A number of years ago I started the practice of sending him inspirational quotes every morning when he was enduring a difficult time in his life. There were times I wondered if it was going anywhere but found out over time how important these were to him and they did get through to him and made a difference in his outlook on life.
I am by no means a perfect father and some may say I am too tough, need to be less conventional and maybe they are right. However; there is one thing I know, the job of being a Father is the most challenging yet the greatest and most fulfilling job I have been given. It is the job that my performance will be most scrutinized for generations to come. My job as the CEO of MHA will be long forgotten when I go to the other side; but how I father my son will impact many, many lives long after I am gone.
I tell my son that his life may be less than perfect as he has endured divorced parents who don’t see anything the same way and has experienced other challenges at school but to thank the discomfort for what it makes of you. If you don’t experience discomfort, you can’t grow or as the adage goes, “if it doesn’t kill you, it will make you stronger.” It’s hard as a Father to not step in and fix their discomfort but as I learned from my Dad, there are things you just have to deal with so you can be hardened and grow up as a young man.
Building the framework of a young man that is strong, yet compassionate and kind is challenging in today’s environment. I thank him for teaching me to be more patient, understanding and to recognize that he has his own wants and desires that may not even be in the same solar system as what I desire for him. I told him that there should be one word to define me as a Dad and that’s “boring.” Boring because I am always there when am I supposed to be during the good and bad times.
In the end, what will be important is that I built a son with a sound framework who is loving, kind, compassionate, is of service to those less fortunate and a strong leader of his life and family.
The ROI of fatherhood can’t be measured; its the greatest honor in my life.
My podcast, Grind It Out, launches in October, 2017. My purpose for creating a podcast and this website is simple – share the word that success is out there for all of us; that there is a magnificent life for all of us no matter our definition of what a magnificent life is. But the secret to it all is GRINDING IT OUT each day, separating you from those who live their lives in quiet desperation; those who are not living their life fully. Join me by subscribing to my newsletter to be notified when we launch new episodes, or when I post a new blog post.