TOOL #8: Other Good Dads

There are no successful Lone Ranger dads—you need the support of friends and one or two older role models from whom you can learn.

“I thought I was the greatest. I didn’t have anyone in my life to tell me otherwise, in part because I wasn’t willing to hear the truth from my wife. Now I see what a jerk I was, but it’s too late.” Jack W, soon to be divorced lone ranger dad of two

“It’s great to have the help, the encouragement and the fellowship of other men who want to be the best dads they can be. It makes all the difference.” Jeff R., Stamford, Connecticut

Regardless of whether or not you agree on Tool #7, “Heaven’s Help,” I hope that you can heartily agree on the importance of Tool #8, “Other Good Dads.” If you do not, I can only assume that you have not been a father (or a husband) for very long. This is because all great fathers, the world over, need to have help from a variety of sources to be good fathers. Extended family, close friends, spiritual mentors, even business colleagues can all be sources of important help at critical times.

There are no great “Lone Ranger” dads. I’ve never met even one in any culture, and I don’t think they exist. Don’t get me wrong; I am not saying that we as dads need to all be extroverts who are always asking for help. Not at all. Good dads come in all shapes and sizes and in all temperaments and outlooks on life. But all of the good dads I have ever met—from the heat of Africa to the heart of Paris and from the beauty of Bermuda to the business centers of Beijing—have had the help of others. Do you agree with me on that point?

Just to be sure, let’s take a moment to look at why it might be true. Have you ever thought about why even the best baseball players coming out of college are sent to the minor leagues for at least a few years before they get to play in the Majors? It’s true. Less than 1 percent of college baseball players go straight to the Major League. One of the reasons for this is so they can get help perfecting their skills from those who have gone before. In fact, the process doesn’t end there. Even the best Major Leaguers continue to get coaching throughout their careers. They know that they can always refine their skills, so they seek out those who have gone before to help them do just that.

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