My name is Marc Gottlieb, I am a basketball coach, a baseball coach, a friend, a mentor, a Chiropractor, a disciplinarian, a chef, a bed maker, a laundry do’er, a referee, but most of all ‘a loving father.’ I have two young boys who have a thirst for life. Father’s day is every day as I chose to set an example for my children in how to be a man of balance. As a provider, many men lose focus on their kids and don’t spend the time necessary to create a bond that children usually only find with their mothers. I was once told that children spell the work Love T-I-M-E. Most children was time, most parents buy stuff. Kids like stuff but stuff gets old really quick and my kids value more the time I spend with them rather than stuff. I wanted to take some time to spell out some of the key habit and traits one dad does to make every day Father’s Day.
Balance is defined as a combination of the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of life. Each being given ample attention to thrive as part of any one person’s life. Think of being a parent as a balancing act, thus, the many hats i described above. Often times, we are playing many roles for our children, often switching roles minute by minute. All of these, however, are inclusive of our role as a father. Do you, as a dad, set an example of balance for your kids. My first example is one of health. Health and vitality play the most important role in my life. I am a Chiropractor in San Diego, so health and vitality is not something I do, it is something I eat, breathe, and live every day. I want my children to see an example of health, someone who eats well, exercises, takes care of their mind and body. One cannot pour from an empty cup. It is vital that we, as fathers, keep ourselves filled up with energy and well being to be able to be with our children. I awaken every day at 4 am to prepare my mind, my body, and my spirit for service. I serve people everyday and want to be in the same full capacity to serve as a father. Balance means setting time aside to do your every day chores, paperwork, emails, and busy work so when you are with your kids, you are 100% with them. Nothing is more frustrating to see than a dad hanging with their kids but on their phone the entire time or just sticking their kids in front of an I-pad. Habit number 1: create a space to allow yourself to be full first, then make sure you set up life to be present with your kids when you are with them.
Set aside time every week to be with your kids just as a dad. We set aside time every week to do dad and kids stuff. A Wiffleball game, breakfast on the beach, a hike, or just going to catch a ball game. Ask your kids what they would like to do with Dad alone this week. Take note of your children’s interests. Dig into them and find out what they love, what fires them up, and pour into that week after week. My kids love sports so living in San Diego makes playing outside easy.
My kids attend a school that has a media policy. It is well documented and researched that the more media a child has, the worse it is for their brains. In fact most kids that have attention difficulties are just lacking Nature in their lives. Take your kids to a park, the beach, a hike, or to the snow. Whatever you do in Nature is naturally calming to their minds and their nervous systems. It keeps anxiety low and allows more peaceful interaction leading to more connective time. Our kids have benefited greatly from staying away from video games and television. We allow them to watch an occasional show and sports but limit exposure overall. I truly believe it is easier to put a kid in front of an electronic babysitter vs. the effort it takes to be engaged. Habit number one above will allow you to create the balance needed to fully engage and spend connective time with your kids. Habit number two: spend time in nature and limit electronics.
Ask Why and What
When my kids ask a question, I always answer by saying ‘why do you think’ or ‘what do you think.’ This allows a child to think for themselves while most parents just answer their child’s question. Empower your children to be self thinkers, problem solvers, confident little people. The more you allow a child to do this, the stronger, more confident, and more empowered a child will feel. It will bring self security to the child and let them become more self directed in life. Allow them to make choices that have consequences. Teach them to make decisions based on possible outcomes allowing them to realize, in life, all choices lead to some outcome and it may not be the outcome they want. This will allow them to handle challenges in life and build character as they grow older. Habit number three: Answer a question with a question and give choices to your kids
We focus a lot on nutrition in our family. We teach our kids that every food either helps or hurts the body so they can make better choices. Almost every disease in this nation is caused by poor choices in nutrition, mindset, or physical lethargy. If we empower our children to eat well, they will have more energy, sleep better, stay off unnecessary medications, and live a more vital life. The contrary can be devastating to a child so I will take my kids out to eat at healthy restaurants, teach them to read labels, and recognize harmful foods. If a child learns how to eat well at an early age, their experience in life can be lived to the fullest. Habit number four: focus on nutrition and teach your kids about food
Be an Example
Be an example to your kids. If they see you exercise, they will want to. If they see you eat well, they will want to. You are your kids hero, you are their mentor, you are their example. Show your kids it is ok to show emotion, to feel hurt, to express love, to be present, to be engaged, and to good by others. They watch up, they admire us, they love us. Our job is not to give the answers but to be the example and create the space for our kids to grow into adults. Habit number five: lead by example.
I hope this one dad’s opinion on being a father leads all of us into a better place this Fathers Day. We have a huge job, lead our little people into adult hood with confidence, love, support, encouragement, courage, spirit. Let’s go out this Fathers Day and save the world one kid at a time. I couldn’t ask for a bigger blessing and better job than being a Father. Happy Fathers Day Men!
Marc Gottlieb D.C.
1452 University ave.
San Diego, Ca 92103