The 5 Dad Friends You Need Most
The guys who not only shape who you are but how you parent.
When Jim Rohn, motivational speaker and mentor to self-help icon Tony Robbins, notably said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with,” what he meant was, “Beware of your friends’ dysfunction lest it become your problem, too.” Or perhaps his vision was more “glass-half-full,” seeking and cultivating friendships that spur on greatness or at least good habits.
Assuming the law of averages applies to the sum of our interactions, it’s not too far-fetched to believe the same reasoning applies to parenting. The five dads in your inner circle not only bend and mold your identity, but they shape how you parent.
That’s why adding these five dads to your roster can push you to a better self and parenting style.
1. The Eagle Scout
Maybe it shouldn’t need to be said, but alas: Not all men are armed with the innate (or learned) ability to change the oil, fix the faucet, or trim a hedge. Men should, according to the site Art of Manliness, know how to perform tasks from build a campfire to parallel park to treat burns to perform CPR. But when tinkering with the shower valve ends with water shooting out with the force of a fire hydrant, it may be time to surrender the flag of old-school masculinity.
The Eagle Scout of your group, however, embodies all skills under that ubiquitous umbrella of “being handy.” He can literally build anything with his bare hands — or his bare hands plus a roster of tools that exist for such specialty tasks that he creates projects just for them.
This dude’s mere presence inspires you to address the unfinished drywall project in the basement, if nothing less than loaning you the tools to complete it. And better yet, he lends a hand when things get inevitably, really stuck. After some time and under-the-radar mentorship, you won’t balk at your kids’ assemble-it-yourself toys and that swing-set just waiting to be put together in the garage.
2. The Wall Street Dad
Talk money with acquaintances and chances are things get a little tense, but this guy knows the over-under in real estate investing and drops lines from Rich Dad, Poor Dad like he’s preaching the Gospel. The Wall Street Dad weaves phrases like “diversify my portfolio,” “index funds” and “passive management” in everyday conversation while calculating the amount his son will be spared with his generous 529 College Savings Plan.
Not only does he exude confidence in pinpointing which tech and medical device company stocks will be the next big thing, but he backs it up with an ultra-comfortable lifestyle to boot. That’s not to say that he’s a spendthrift. This guy has money on the brain, going to heroic lengths to save and cut costs at every possible opportunity. Having him around forces some serious self-evaluation and reform of your lazy financial decisions and money habits.
3. The Mindful Dad
Perhaps more important than any other friend, this guy’s not one to join the bandwagon of negative and rage-filled voices in your life. Unexpected life-changing events like the loss of a job, or mundane, daily annoyances with overtired toddlers don’t hold sway over the Mindful Dad’s composure.
When modeling how to react to situations in front of kids, this dude models to you how to remove emotional worst-case thinking from the equation and respond in a way that prioritizes the big picture and logic. He doesn’t need to be a New Age yogi to find sanity. He’s most likely just a laid back guy who lets life happen in the moment.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed by the whole fatherhood gig, you ask yourself what this guy would do.
4. The Fun Dad
Fun is more a state of mind than an action, and in just the same way, the Fun Dad is more than just an oversized four-year-old. He balances the colossal responsibility of parenthood with healthy playfulness and risk. When this buddy heaves his five-year-old into the lake as far and as high as he can go, he toes the line between safety and danger, helping his kid assess his own limits and capacities.
The Fun Dad is the one teaching his kids to camp and fish. He’s the one coaching soccer or teaching his kids how to flip pancakes. He’s the one nurturing his kids’ self-confidence and self-esteem, even if he doesn’t know it.
In a parenting environment that repeats, ‘Don’t do that because it keeps you safe,’ the Fun Dad is the encouraging model of how to help kids learn the magical things that they can do.
5. The Listener
While this introverted friend prefers sidelined observations over the spotlight, chances are that the Listener possesses a magical ability — listening to understand rather than listening to respond. Because his opinions take a backseat — minus the occasional insight — he’s a natural at drawing out your deepest thoughts, worries, and fears.
When fathers are notoriously accused of lacking empathy, this guy makes it okay to not always be okay. Work-life balance, marriage and parenting aren’t always in line, which means this guy often doubles as an invaluable cost-free therapist.