10 things Dads should teach their kids to love.

Over the past 16 years, I have learned a lot about what it takes to be a good Dad. Most of what I now know I have learned by making mistakes. Like the time I dropped my 6-month-old over a railing at the Zoo. I knew I had made a mistake when everyone around me started screaming. #truestory

One of the things I’ve learned is that to be a good father you should spend more time with your kids than writing blog posts on Father’s Day. So let’s get right to the list.

10 things Dads should teach their kids to love.

  1. Books

Collect Books. Read to your kids. Let them see you reading. Dads who read books keep getting smarter, more creative and more capable. It’s a great way to teach kids to fill their free time with something positive. I recommend the books with more words than pictures, but do what you have to do.

2. Alarm Clocks

Love your alarm clock. Set it every day. Let your kids know that the alarm clock helps you get the most out of every day. Let them see you get up and get productive in the morning. It will teach them to find gold in those golden morning hours.

3. Their Mom

The greatest gift a Dad can give his kids is to love their Mom. Treat her with respect and kindness, even if you are no longer together. If you are still together gross your kids out with how much you love their Mom. It’s like forcing them to eat really healthy food that they think is icky, but is really good for them.

4. Travel

Show your kids the world. Roadtrips. Camping trips. Trips to the store. Sunday drives. Overseas trips. They all count. Show your kids new places and it will spark new ideas, new understanding, and a new appetite to see even more.

5. Hard Work

Teach your kids how hard work leads to great results. Show them that there is no elevator to the top. You have to take the stairs. And if they see you taking the stairs 2 or 3 steps at a time they will too.

6. Encouragement

Kids who receive encouragement encourage others too. It’s one of the best ways you can improve the world through your children. You can do it. I know you can!

7. Saving Money

A kid doesn’t need a role model to know how to spend money. But as a Dad, you can teach them the critically important value of saving. Teach them to accumulate money by always saving part of what they earn. So like 50 Cent, they can watch the money pile up. And as the money piles up so do your options and your peace of mind.

Bonus: Read Rich Dad. Poor Dad. to your kids. I have read that book to each of my kids. It’s the best way to teach them about money.

8. Laughter

The world is full of funny stuff. Enjoy it. Laugh loud and often. Teach your kids to laugh at all that goes wrong. It is the best medicine. And while it may be addicting, it doesn’t cause constipation.

9. Donating

Teach your kids to love donating to causes they care about. Show them how to give without expectations of a return. There are endless ways to give. Share your time, talents and treasure. Or, if you are like my Dad, give blood as often as they will let you. That stuff is more valuable than gold to a fellow human in need.

10. Friendship

Be a good friend to your friends. Collect and maintain as many great friendships as you can. Let your kids see you connect and share love with others outside your family. It will teach them to connect and extend their love too.

Happy Father’s Day!

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my new book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media. It makes a great belated Father’s Day gift. Or a great be-earlied Father’s Day gift for next year.

What makes a couple last for the long haul.

Happy Valentine’s Day! As I drove to work this morning on our annual celebration of love I thought about my wife Dawn, our 21 Valentine’s Days together and the importance of finding the right partner to do life with.

Some people say that you should find someone like you, who shares your same likes, values and styles. You know these people when you see them. Because they are wearing the same clothes.

Other people believe that opposites attract. Like magnets. Or cops and robbers. These people think that it is our differences that make us interesting and holistically compatible.

These are both good theories. But neither one is quite right.

To be truly compatible over the long haul you have a Y-type relationship.

To understand this relationship, simply look at the letter Y. It will show you everything you need to know about creating a strong, long-lasting relationship.

The Y Relationship

To be a highly compatible couple you have to have strong, shared foundational beliefs. This is the base of the Y. It is made of your most important values, and ideals. They may include your views on money, religion, whoopie, parenting, and what home feels like to you. Including which way the toilet paper roll should be placed on the TP holder.

But upon that solid foundation, you need healthy, divergent, balancing elements. This is the top of the Y. This is created by the areas where you differ in style, temperament, strengths, and biases. These differences enable you to take on anything that comes your way. It ensures that the relationship has what it needs to face all challenges. Through these balanced strengths, you can help each other navigate the great challenges and opportunities of life. Plus, it helps you crush at games of trivia.

Key Takeway

It is a combination of alignment and balance that makes a couple work. Celebrate your similarities. But appreciate your differences. Together, they help couples thrive through thick and thin. Thanks to your balanced approaches and perspective, you will both grow more capable, more intelligent and more understanding with each new year you celebrate together. Happy Valentines Day. May you enjoy many, many more.

+ Thank you Dawn Albrecht for completing my Y. Finding you was the luckiest thing that ever happened to me.

Dawn and I, celebrating the new glass we picked up when we were back home in Vermont last summer. The cover pic was from one of our first trips to Vermont in 2001.

100 Things I love.

Happy Valentine’s Day! I have been thinking a lot about love this weekend. Love is the most powerful and most positive emotion in our collection. To make the most of your time on Earth you should spend as much time as you can doing things you love, with people love, in places you love.

The first step is to know what you really love. Today, take an hour to write down 100 things you love. Not only will it force you to think about your favorite people, places, and things, it will serve as a guide, and show you how to live a life you love.

Here’s what I came up with. Surely there are many more things that should be on this list that I didn’t come up with in my limited time this morning. (And I’ll stop calling you Shirley.)

100 Things I Love (in no particular order, except the first ones.)

  1. My wife Dawn
  2. My kids Ava, Johann and Magnus
  3. My Mama, Dad and Sisters
  4. The rest of my ginormous family.
  5. My work
  6. Sweet Tea
  7. Hammocks
  8. Cliff jumping
  9. Road tripping
  10. Vermont
  11. Fishing
  12. Glacier National Park
  13. Boogie boarding
  14. Pizza
  15. Great puns
  16. Snowmobiling
  17. Laughing
  18. Making people laugh
  19. Mountain biking
  20. A great church service
  21. Great books
  22. Weddings
  23. Shawshank Redemption
  24. Lobster
  25. Hiking in the mountains
  26. Sunrises
  27. Black olives
  28. Elkton, Minnesota
  29. Thanksgiving
  30. Stompers
  31. Playing the card game Pit
  32. Throwing the discus
  33. Cheese curds (squeaky or fried)
  34. India
  35. Winning new business
  36. Running into people I know in random places
  37. Inside jokes
  38. My best friends from high school
  39. Outside voices
  40. The fresh tortilla chips from the Whole Foods in Dublin, Ohio
  41. Sabra Field art
  42. Wisconsin Badger football games
  43. Simon Pearce Glass
  44. Needing 4 wheel drive
  45. Montreal
  46. The Art Institute of Chicago
  47. Perfectly ripe pears
  48. Snowfall measured in feet
  49. My college track teammates
  50. Hilton Head Island
  51. ACDC
  52. Zucker Brother’s movies
  53. Canoeing
  54. Game night
  55. Roller coasters
  56. New York strip steaks
  57. Iceland
  58. My Madison Hall friends in ATL
  59. My funniest stories
  60. Investments that paid off
  61. Hearing that someone found value in something I wrote or said
  62. Energizing people
  63. Game of Thrones
  64. Real maple syrup
  65. Driving a tractor
  66. The smell of roses
  67. Handing out bonus checks
  68. A great quote
  69. The Patriots winning the Super Bowl (never gets old)
  70. Flip flops
  71. A great baseball cap
  72. Lifting weights
  73. My Dad’s Carmel Rolls
  74. A Red Sox World Series win
  75. Breaking Bad
  76. A military flyover
  77. Cheesecake
  78. The grand finale at a fireworks show
  79. A great performance by my kids
  80. My wife’s smile
  81. A great creative presentation
  82. Water parks
  83. Owning my own business (The Weaponry)
  84. Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk ice cream
  85. Discovering common friends (meaning finding out people we both know, not finding commoners and befriending them.)
  86. Raincoats
  87. Boots of all sorts. (Except the monkey from Dora the Explora)
  88. G-Shock watches
  89. Making my own t-shirts
  90. Making my sisters snarf
  91. The show Yellowstone (The park isn’t too shabby either.)
  92. The How I Built This Podcast
  93. Anything with Will Ferrell
  94. American Giant hoodies
  95. My Gerber tool
  96. My Kraken belt buckle
  97. Mount Ranier
  98. Manhattan
  99. Convertibles
  100. Overdelivering
  101. Campfires
  102. People who read my blog posts all the way to the end.

Key Takeaway

Fill your life with the things you love. The people, places, activities, feelings, food, and drink you love will lead you to a life you love. And life is too short to fill with anything else.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

Don’t lose sight of the WOW!

Do you remember the first time you ever flew in an airplane? It was crazy exciting, right? Remember how the plane began down the runway, slowly at first, then gaining speed until the plane’s nose levitated. Then the rear wheels left contact with the runway and things got quiet, and smooth, and it all blew your mind?

I remember that. Then I started flying so much for work that I would read, work, talk to my seatmate or rearrange my sock drawer during takeoff. I had become immune to the magic.

Then one day about 15 years ago I recognized just how crazy it was that I could yawn through an airplane takeoff. That day I decided to become a born again flying virgin. Every time I have launched to the sky since then, even as a Delta Gold or Platinum Medallion flier, I have stopped what I am doing at takeoff, and experienced the thrust, lift and other-worldliness of the experience as if it were the first time.

Holy David Copperfield!

Today I remind you that the entire world is mind-blowingly magical. Unbelievable things are happening all around you. Look outside. The sunrise, sunset, skies and storms are all sorts are phenomenal.

Watching your garden transform from dirt to sprouts to vegetables and fruit is awe-inspiring. The way the foliage transforms each fall from green to red or yellow or orange is no less miraculous than the caterpillar becoming a butterfly.

That mobile phone that is surely within arms reach of you right now provides access to every bit of information and entertainment ever known And yet it doesn’t have a cord, or pipe or conveyor belt to connect it to anything!  Somehow it all flows through the ether. WTF?

 

Do you realize that the automobile you drive is like a magic carpet that will take you anywhere on the continent that you want to go?!? Imagine time traveling back to any period in time before 150 years ago and seeing the look on people’s faces as you drove by in your car! Even if you drive a Yugo.

Those clothes you are wearing were somehow transformed from plants or animals or chemicals or all of the above into something soft and attractive and shaped just like you! Seriously!?!

Humans

Don’t even get me started on humans. Humans are the most amazing, beautiful and complicated of all machines. And somehow we all stack into a set of our relatives like Russian Nesting Dolls. Which means you were somehow inside both of your parents, and their parents and their parents, and on an on until the beginning of humans! Even if you are not Russian! Nyet. I can’t fathom that.

 

All businesses, teams, organizations, nations are created by humans. Somehow we have figured out how to collect, organize and activate groups of humans to do amazing things together.  From dancing to designing and operating the International Space Station, we have found millions of ways to work together to create things that are totally unnecessary to providing food, shelter and clothing. How cool are we!?!

Dawn

Today is my lovely wife Dawn’s birthday. I have been awed by her since I first saw her. I will never forget that moment. Today we have a wonderful life full of amazing everyday adventures. We have three little miracles named Ava, Johann and Magnus. And I am thankful everyday for the indescribable joy that fills our lives. And it’s all because, on this planet of billions, Dawn’s life-path crossed mine 17 years ago. Thank God.

 

 

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This is what Dawn looks like at dusk in Paris.

So as you go about your day, don’t miss the Wow. It is literally everywhere. Our entire world is full of magic. It is easy to overlook. Because there is just so much of it. Even right next to you, today, at home.