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.

My daughter thinks I am lucky to have such a cool job. But she is wrong.

Yesterday my daughter Ava had a basketball tournament 90 minutes from home. Ava and I enjoyed some daddy-daughter time as we drove to and from the tournament together. We always talk a lot on our drives. Our conversation yesterday included such random topics as:

  • Top 3 cities in the US you would want to live in someday
  • How to become a songwriter
  • How old you have to be to join the CIA
  • Elbows to the throat
  • Billy Eilish
  • Basketball moves that work
  • How Silicon Valley became a thing
  • Hair tossing and checking my nails
  • Honors Geometry terms (we studied for her quiz together)
  • How the championship medals they won glow in the dark
  • What is the 3rd Jonas Brother’s name (It’s Kevin)

Entrepreneurship

We also talked about my work. When I started The Weaponry, my advertising and ideas agency, I also started this blog to share what I learned on my entrepreneurial journey. This is the 382nd post. So I must be learning something. But I don’t just blog about what I am learning. I try to teach my children as much as they can absorb. And maybe just a little more.

Recent Updates

I told Ava about some of the projects I am working on. I told her about work travel that I have coming up to Los Angeles, Las Vegas and potentially Orlando. I gave her an update on some of the things I just did on trips to Dallas and San Antonio.

Then she said something that really struck me. She said,

‘Dad, you are so lucky. You have the coolest job.’ -Ava Albrecht (14)

I smiled, and told Ava that my entire advertising career has been filled with cool opportunities and experiences. But the thing worth noting now is that I created my own job. I started my own business. All of the cool things I get to do now were not offered to me by an employer. I didn’t find this job like you find a 4-leaf clover. I created the opportunity to do cool things myself.

How Long Does It Take?

I knew that when I launched my own business I would be walking away from a number of amazing opportunities to do fun and interesting work. I wondered how long it would take before I got to do those same kinds of projects for The Weaponry.

It didn’t take long. Today I get to work on rewarding projects for many of my clients. I get to travel all over the country. I get to work with interesting and well known people. And so do my teammates.

Go Luck Yourself

Ava was right, I do have a cool job. But I am not lucky to have this job. I made this job. I knew the kind of work I wanted to do. And I created a job where I would get to do it. I told Ava that I want to make sure she knows that she has the ability to create her own dream job. And I want you to know that you do too.

Key Takeaway

The best way to land your dream job is to create it yourself. Know what you want. And realize you have the potential to make it happen. Today, I am busy creating my dream job. I am certainly not done yet. And neither are you.

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

The exciting first time my parents visited my office.

Starting your own business brings on a parade of exciting firsts. Each one marks an important milestone in the realization of your dream. There is your first client. Your first employee. Your first office. And your first lawsuit (I assume).

When I first launched my advertising and idea agency, The Weaponry, I created a human-like set of life stages that I expected the business to go through. I listed key developments that would happen at Rolling Over, Crawling and Running. That way I would have some sense of where the business I birthed was on its maturing process from newborn to Olympic athlete.

An Especially Special Day.  

On February 7th I had a uniquely proud first. My parents came to see my office for the first time. As an entrepreneur, your business is like a child. So that day I got to introduce my parents to their Grandbusiness.

My Parents’ Influence

My parents were responsible for planting the seeds that led to The Weaponry. Since I was a small child they taught me how to develop meaningful relationships. They taught me to think about the needs of others. They built my confidence to believe I could do whatever I set my mind to. They taught me how to be financially responsible. My mom taught me writing and public speaking. My dad taught me how to work hard.

They made several important decisions that put me into great schools in my childhood. Their Big 10 educations at the University of Minnesota influenced my Big 10 education at the University of Wisconsin. They helped support me through college. After graduation, when I was offered my first job as an advertising copywriter at Cramer Krasselt, they gave me the $500 I needed to move to Milwaukee, put a security deposit on my first apartment, and stock my pantry with ramen noodles. If it weren’t for my parents I probably wouldn’t be here.

The Tour

Showing off the office was really fun. Kind of like the first time I brought my wife, Dawn, home to meet my parents. I gave Bob and Jill the grandest tour our space would allow. I pointed out all the changes we had made. I shared plans for what’s next. And I got to introduced my Mom and Dad to my team.

My parents brought an office warming gift. It was my favorite celebratory beverage: a bottle of nonalcoholic sparking cider (I still haven’t matured to the hard stuff). It was a meaningful gesture from the people who have helped shape me through meaningful gestures.

Business and Family

This week more of The Weaponry’s broader family have visited the office. We’ve had one Weapon’s husband and another Weapon’s brother spend time with us. It’s important to me to have siblings, parents, children and spouses come to our office.  I want them to understand our culture. And I want them to feel part of it too. The more we can integrate our at-work family with our at-home family the more we are able to understand and support each other.

Conclusion

Thanks Mom and Dad for taking time to come see The Weaponry. Thanks for taking the time to meet my teammates. Thanks for the little boy bottle of bubbly. But most importantly, thanks for giving this little birdie a great nest to grow up in. And thanks for teaching me how to fly.

*If you would like to follow The Weaponry’s maturation process please subscribe to this blog.

Are you really playing catch or are you just throwing?

People regularly ask me if I am a full-time blogger. This always makes me laugh. I assume that would mean that I blog 24-hours a day. Which would make it really hard to shower. Or trim my fingernails. I actually have several other responsibilities. I am the Founder of the advertising and idea agency, The Weaponry. And when I am not blogging or foundering I spend my time husbanding and fathering.

Fathering

I got my fist job as a father in 2005. Since then I have tripled my responsibilities. My youngest son is a 7-year old viking named Magnus who inherited my love for football.  In fact we toss a football around every morning while waiting for the school bus.

Yesterday Magnus must have eaten his Wheaties (which is a reference that you’ll only understand if you were born before 1980). Because every time Magnus tossed the ball he threw it way over my head. So I jogged to pick up the ball, and tossed it back. But after several of these Wheaties-fueled throws I stopped and asked Magnus,

‘Are we playing catch, or are you just playing throw?’

 

 

IMG_8260
Magnus always wants me to go long.

As I asked the question I recognized that Magnus’ approach was emblematic of a common problem that occurs every day in communications. Both personal and professional.

Tossing Marketing Messages

In the most basic form, marketing communications are a simple game of catch. The game starts with a marketer throwing a message to a prospective buyer. The prospective buyer catches the message and throws his or her message back. That message could be, I’m interested, I’m not interested, I’m confused, or Tell me more. As long as you are communicating there is an opportunity to get to a mutually beneficial transaction.

But far too often marketers throw their messages the way Magnus threw the football. Hard. Fast. High. Marketers are focused on their own perspective. In their eagerness to drive results (ROI) they shout what they think is important. They don’t think enough about the person at the other end of the message. Thus, their message sails way over the head of the intended recipient. And there is no reply at all.

Before you throw your next message: 

  1. Know who you are throwing to.
  2. Understand how they like to catch.
  3. Account for the distance.
  4. Throw something catchable.
  5. Observe what happens when you throw your message, and recalibrate accordingly.
  6. Prepare to receive the message that gets tossed back to you.

Remember, communication is a two-way interaction. Account for your audience in everything you do. Make it an enjoyable experience for everyone involved. When you do you’ll be surprised how many people will happily play catch with you.

If you found anything I threw your way useful, or think I am off target, please share a comment or subsrcibe to this blog so we can keep playing catch.