Fight off the trolls, slay the dragon, banish the tyrannical overlord and save the princess.
We’ve all done it hundreds, if not thousands of times. Think about it… for many of us these were the first kind of stories we heard. As soon as we were old enough to get imaginative we subsequently put ourselves in the centre of the drama.
Fairy tales, fables and nursery rhymes are littered with tales of bravery, over-coming adversary and triumphing over evil, reaching the prize. For guys, usually centred on a knight, prince or warrior-like figure, these stories are an early introduction to the concept of the hero, and with that, The Hero’s Journey’.
As we grew, the land once ‘Far far away’ became closer to home. Soon it was our favourite sporting heroes, characters in movies, maybe even our dads.
For a large chunk of today’s kids they don’t have this obvious hero at home. Not to shame the capability of parenting, more so, parents are increasingly absent in order to provide.
More than ever we are distant dads. The past hundred years has seen men play such a small roll in fathering their children and we are paying the price.
Traditionally you’d model more closely off your father and the men in your community, being given tasks appropriate to your age to help you mature through that process, and pass through a rite of passage into manhood.
There is much less healthy masculine modelling, and we’re missing this crucial transition. Subsequently, many adolescent males are lost, not really knowing who they are, or where they belong, and without this proper modelling they go looking for identity and belonging elsewhere. According to John Broadbent, author of Man… Unplugged, the most common theme he’s seen in young males is this “simmering rage.”
“The boys that we don’t induct into the tribe will burn down the village.” – African proverb
Steve Biddulph, author of Raising Boys and The New Manhood said, “If you don’t teach a boy how to find their compass, they’ll be drawn by other people’s magnetic fields and they’ll travel through life lost.”
Biddulph, says that if you get 100 men in a room, 30 of them don’t talk to their dads, ever — completely estranged. Thirty of them connect for Christmas and Birthdays, 30 of them have some sort of relationship, where they can go to footy and have a sort of conversation. But only 10 actually have what he would call a functional relationship with their dads.
The statistics in Australia paint a worrying picture – in physical and mental health, in violence, abuse, crime, and the costs of these are immense, and largely manageable.
Just look at the kind of “role models” we see everyday — Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong, Floyd Mayweather — all legends and successes in some way, but in terms of being appropriate role models for our kids, they’ve got massive flaws. The kind that will start being emulated by our kids if they don’t have their own hero at home.
It’s not the responsibility of public role models to parent your child, it’s yours.
If your kids lose the hero at home and don’t regain it they may lose that bond with you and miss their journey and rite of passage into adulthood, instead chasing what they see on their screens.
Here’s a typical scenario:
You’re so busy, providing is full on. Stress is high, time is low, and family time pays the price. Sleep and health suffer. It feels like scrambling up a landslide – how do you stop it?
The result: constantly fighting to keep your head above water.
It needn’t be that way. You can become the hero for your kids; a strong, robust, masculine leader.
Become the hero you admire
We’ve all got one. As we grew, fairy tales gave way to comics, books, cartoons and movies. We started paying a little more attention to the heroes that resonated more with us.
Whoever yours was/is, just think about the great qualities they possess, the ones your children unknowingly admire. The key here is pinpointing the key attributes and values that you need to start living and exhibiting on a daily basis that your kids can (and will) pay attention to. The other being that most hero’s have some kind fo dark side or past – this too is a crucial lesson; that we all have darker sides to us, and that’s ok, as long as we recognise it and understand it – not shame and judge it.
What you’ll find in an exercise like this is the elements you pull out of your hero are the ones you value most and therefore want your kids to value and emulate as they grow.
Set a plan to live out those values every day for the next 5 years.
If you can create a powerful goal and vision for your own life that sees you living out these values you will be in the position to start making the kind of changes in your life that will see you become the physical hero to your kids.
When you live with integrity and purpose, your kids will see this and mimic this.
It’s this element of selfishness – and self care – that every man must have in order to make himself better so that he can serve the people that matter closest to him to the best of his ability. In order to give your best, you need to be your best.
You can’t pour from an empty cup.
Dig into what drives you, from two angles; fear and avoiding pain, and purpose and reaching ‘pleasure’. Knowing what you’re avoiding vs. What you’re seeking will dramatically support your actions towards living and modelling a life to your kids of action that serves you and those around you.
How’s that going to look?
- Set time every day to do something positive for yourself. Be it training, sleep/nap, eating a healthy meal, making time to be alone with your thoughts and no distraction – DO IT. Nothing short of an emergency can prevent this taking place.
- Make a list (like some of the things above) of all the elements you need to succeed in your hero mission and create the life that entails; the things you MUST DO every day/week.
- Prioritise them in order, plan, seek accountability if you know you might struggle to get it done by yourself (bring people onto your team for support, e.g. coaches, peers)
- Execute with relentless consistency, including facing the challenges head on – “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.”
Your kids will take this all on board. In your journey to become the hero, you provide the lessons they need most in life – how to confront challenges and be your best.
If your situation was anything like mine, you might remember those days when you would try and out brag the other kids: “My dad is stronger than your dad”? Well, if you’ve got kids at home that need a hero, perhaps it’s time to show them one. Make sure your kids can say this and not only say it with a genuine pride in their voice but the proof in the man that hugs them each day – you.
Mike Campbell – Man Coach, author and creator of The School of Personal Mastery coaching program for men, Mike Campbell has a mission to reshape modern day masculinity.
Mike’s mission is to create a global movement supporting men in communicating effectively and navigating their lives with clarity and confidence.
This happens through his coaching program, online content, and chat show and live events for men – Beyond The Beers: Conversations With Men That break the Stereotype, a space to support men to go beyond the surface and embrace the conversations that matter.
Plus he loves to cook, eat and talk to his food. He loves his fiancée, stone fruit, cold beer, red wine, and to think of himself as a low level Batman. He also likes to lift heavy things, do handstands and play Goldeneye on his vintage Nintendo 64.
Find Mike and what he has to offer at:
Find Mike’s website at http://mikecampbell.com.au
Beyond The Beers at http://www.beyondthebeers.tv/
Mike’s major coaching program for men The School Of Personal Mastery: http://mikecampbell.com.au/coaching/
Mike’s book Unleash Your Alpha: http://unleashyouralphabook.com/