Aug. 17, 2020

36 A Christian “Arab Dad’s” perspective with Dr. Suhail Jouaneh from Jordan

36 A Christian “Arab Dad’s” perspective with Dr. Suhail Jouaneh from Jordan

“By profession I am a dental surgeon by profession I am a mental surgeon.” Suhail Jouaneh on

Dr. Suhail Jouaneh is a leader, coach and businessman from Amman in Jordan. He is a business facilitator and executive coach having organized thousands of workshops and trained more than 20,000 people from over forty countries. Suhail is well spoken, very witty and positive and the session is fun and very interesting.

Suhail is married to his wife Abeer and has two daughters Elisabeth 21, Christina 14. Suhail is Christian in a country where 98% of the population is muslim. He spent seven years in France during his studies and so I was very interested to hear his perspective as a “Arab Dad” with a Western understanding and mindset. Suhail did not disappoint.

In the session Suhail shares his own journey as a father; we discuss his family principles and values, Suhail contrasts Western family culture and Jordanian family customs, the role of daughters in Jordan and “Arab Dads” as Suhail coins it. Suhail explains how he empowers his daughters in a country where arranged marriage still exists and sons are often preferred over daughters. He also tells us how he applies his coaching techniques to family.

The most powerful takeaways for me as a dad were:

  1. Investing in the relationship early is so important.
  2. Where required, talk to your daughters in the role of a male, not just as a dad.
  3. Don’t be distant or harsh, especially with your wife and daughters.
  4. Always be watchful and amend mistakes instantly.

“Whenever our daughters lie, they admit that they lie. They don’t know how to lie.”  Suhail Jouaneh on

If you love this session, please share it. Thank you and enjoy this session with Suhail.

Suhail Jouaneh (guest):

Philipp Hartmann (host):



[00:06:27]SJ: [00:06:27] The best advice I can give myself as a dad is to be closer to my daughters. It's like more intimate and at an earlier age it's, you know, whenever they're aware of things, this is where I need to step in.

[00:06:41] And, and I'm not just spending time. It's more, you know, intimate kind of relationship with my daughters.

[00:06:57] PH: [00:06:57] Hey, I'm] super stoked to sit with you. We had a call before and it was very inspiring to me. And I'm looking forward to hearing about dads in your culture in Jordan and Jordan.

[00:07:10] Antioch has been looking forward to this call. So, I know you have some daughters, but you will give us an intro maybe about your safe as a businessperson. I know you're a leadership coach. And then we go, but I'll talk a bit about that very briefly. So, people have a context and then we go straight into the debt.

[00:07:29] SJ: [00:07:29] Sure. I'm very happy to be with you and to join you as a dad in this podcast. So yes, my name is Sohail Giovanni. I'm from Amman Jordan. By profession, I'm a dental surgeon. By passion, I'm a mental surgeon. So, I try to go into the mindsets of people and trying to help, you know enhance the growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset.

[00:07:55] And we work in consulting in training and coaching and all kinds of [00:08:00] human capacity building. That's our specialty. And of course, I do it by passion, as I said I'm married to My wife, a beer. She's also my business partner and we have two daughters. Elizabeth she's almost 21, and Christina, who is 14 and I'm trying to live, you know, a fulfilling life as much as possible.

[00:08:27] And I'm getting the best out of our time together as family. And even as individuals within this family.

[00:08:37] PH: [00:08:37] That's amazing. So, you have a tween and a tea.

[00:08:41] SJ: [00:08:41] Yes, exactly.

[00:08:47] PH: [00:08:47] I can imagine I'm in the advice to you safe. You said too, to have a more intimate understanding will be more intimate earlier. What do you mean by that? Can you elaborate on that?

[00:08:58] SJ: [00:08:58] Actually, when we had [00:09:00] our daughter Elizabeth and she was like at the age of three, even less two years and a half, I started volunteering at an international organization overseas.

[00:09:11] So I had to travel like. Almost six months a year. So, I was always on the go leaving and, you know not being around her all the time, not watching every single thing and not being completely involved. So, it was mainly my wife's. Jobs. So, whenever I'm in town, okay. I would spend enough time, but I think I was missing a lot of things.

[00:09:34] She was not really seeing me in the same aspect that I wanted to while with Christina, it's different. I was, I was at home. So actually now, when I look at the relationship between. Myself and it is a bit myself and Christina. It's a little bit different. It's stronger with Christina because I was able to be a little bit more intimate with her at an earlier [00:10:00] age.

[00:10:00] PH: [00:10:00] Yeah. Yeah. That's I think that counts for many men, right? Because you can work safely in absence. Very much. You don't have to go to divorce to be absent. You can just work a lot. Yeah.

[00:10:10] SJ: [00:10:10] Yeah. That work can take a big toll. The loss.

[00:10:14] PH: [00:10:14] Yeah. Tell me a little bit. Can you, you said I find this a very powerful metaphor.

[00:10:22] You said you are a mental surgeon or you work with mental capacity or building mental capacity. I know you do that for leaders, and I know you do it very successfully. Can you draw parallel notes? How you can do that in your family. Can you share some experiences or some learnings from your professional insights and how you might be able to draw paradigms into?

[00:10:47] SJ: [00:10:47] Yeah, I can do that. For example, you know when we sit with people, especially on one in one-on-one encounters, in coaching, and we talk about career path and career development and progression and how people should work [00:11:00] on themselves daily, et cetera. And this is. Honesty. We try to do it with our daughters.

[00:11:05] For example, for the four Elizabeth who's 21. Now she's in her third year at university. We always involve her in the business. You know, she comes as an intern. We talk about her career, what she wants to do. We don't enforce for example, that she needs to come and work in the family business. If we sit, we say, it's your choice.

[00:11:28] If you want to stay, even in Europe, after finishing your studies and work there and get the experience it's up to you. So, it's the same way I use my, you know, my advice and career progression for people. I do it for my daughter. For example, now it's, you know, it's the summer vacation and Christina who is at school, her mother, what she's doing Christina has to receive each day, two articles, one in Arabic and one in English.

[00:11:55] And she has to do the summary for her mom. It's a daily routine. [00:12:00] If this is not done, no other activities can be allowed. This is what we do with our clients. We give them things to, to incite their behavior, the change of behavior. We give them growth tools so that they can use and work on themselves.

[00:12:14] And that's what we're trying to do with our daughters, of course, would love to do much more than that, you know, would never, you know how usually parents are, are never satisfied completely with all the results from their children. We want to do more, but at least we're happy that we are on, on the right track and doing things and this with them and trying to, to get them involved in learning and, and having this, you know, as I said, the growth mindset where, you know,

[00:12:43] PH: [00:12:43] everything, it's a conscious effort.

[00:12:45] SJ: [00:12:45] Yeah. And everything is possible. You don't have to be good at anything. You can be, you don't have to be good naturally at anything. You can grow into that. So, we try to. Plant and see this in their minds.

[00:13:00] [00:13:00] PH: [00:13:00] And that's quite progressive. I mean, you, what you, what I picked up there and progressive in, I don't mean it in any judgmental way, just as an effect.

[00:13:08] What I picked up. What's that you said, ah, she can go to Europe or she can be here, or she can work there. So, whatever she wants from, from a male, female cultural point of view in Jo in Jordan, that is not the norm. Right. Can you talk a little bit about?

[00:13:25] SJ: [00:13:25] that? It's not a norm completely. You see, actually Jordan is we have, we, we, we have this class of people who are educated and Who are, you know completely you know, open to people and other cultures and, you know open-minded in terms of allowing our daughters to go out by themselves and just, unfortunately this is not the norm.

[00:13:55] This is not something that you can see everywhere in our country and our beloved [00:14:00] country. But Stan, we fight for that, you know, and for me, because I went to study abroad and went to France for my studies as a dental surgeon and I had this opportunity, and it was very fulfilling to me. You know, it changed my whole perspective on life.

[00:14:16] I did not know that by then, but I stepped out of my comfort zone. And when in a foreign country where I know nothing about and started my life. So, I wanted that for my daughter. Many of my family members, you know, the open-minded people told me, you're crazy. Why are you sending your daughter by herself to a foreign country?

[00:14:40] And it's good that me and my wife and myself, we were so cool about it. I mean, we did not really put that much of an effort. It was, it was something in my patterns, in my mindset that this is something that should be done and thank God that she was also willing to do. So. She even chose her, her [00:15:00] university by herself, we were not involved.

[00:15:02] We were only, you know we were asked to be solicited, but she did the whole thing, the whole you know homework of finding and Corresponding with the university. She even got a 25% scholarship by herself, just writing a good bio statement. So, so for me, for me as a dad, I know it's not easy, but you know, I'm, I'm so proud of myself having sent her abroad.

[00:15:28] And no regrets at all. No regrets at all, actually. Okay. I admit I worry sometimes, but not that much. It's, it's good. You know, it builds a lot of trust between me and her, you know, that kind of trust where, you know, Hollis, Hollis in Arabic means, you know, that's it, you go, you try to live your life.

[00:15:51] Be responsible. Take correct decisions. You have our ethics; you have our principles and our values as family. Just [00:16:00] try to use them as much as possible.

[00:16:02] PH: [00:16:02] Do you, have you formulated family values?

[00:16:05] SJ: [00:16:05] Yes, actually, what are they actually for? Oh, our family values are that we believe that God is the creator of this world and that we are part of his plan.

[00:16:17] So we have this Christian value at home we believe in there's one way to God, which is Jesus Christ. So, this is one aspect that we believe in, and this is what we planted in our daughter’s hearts. We believe that we should not lie. We should not. We should have a life, a life of integrity.

[00:16:37] We need to walk the talk. These were very clear, right? From the beginning. You know, and we, we try to live that her mother and myself, we try to live that as much as possible, you know, to, to our best in our best effort so that we could exemplify this. I'm not really trying to preach things out here.

[00:16:59] It's [00:17:00] just really something that we lived, and we know now works for you. Yeah. W we know that our daughters, you know, whenever they lie, they admit they lied because, yeah, and, and it's very clear that they even, they don't know how to lie. And that is something that is good. You know, it is something, for example, it's a small thing, you know, I don't know if it is a good example or not, but for Elizabeth, for example, since she was a very young child, no sodas, it was forbidden.

[00:17:35] We drink sodas. She does not, but it was okay for her. You know, now she's 21. She does not drink sodas by choice. And she's so happy. Actually, it was sweets once a week only. Now she's the fittest girl for me on the planet. Yeah. She, you know, all these small things, small decisions that we made for her [00:18:00] now she is doing that.

[00:18:02] PH: [00:18:02] Okay. And that's interesting because people often say, yeah, you know, if you eat sugar or if you drink sodas and she can't, you're a hypocrite, but I think it's, it's valuable to hear and to acknowledge that it's very possible. To try and implement a behavior that you might not be so good at yourself, but actually your children can still learn and become better at it after.

[00:18:28] All right. So, she has noticed self-discipline to not trigger. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:18:33] SJ: [00:18:33] It's a choice. And actually of course we were not that cruel to, you know, to eat in front of her. And she's just watching. No, we didn't, we never did that, but it is not something that was forbidden across home. No. She knows that when adults are there and maybe they are having a meal, they can have sodas.

[00:18:52] She knows that. And she accepted that as part of, you know, this is an adulthood behavior and product, [00:19:00] and this is another behavior and product. And she

[00:19:03] PH: [00:19:03] used to,

[00:19:04] SJ: [00:19:04] and she used to enjoy Thursdays because it's a free day for sweets. And now it's, it's very beautiful to see that it's a choice that she is doing by herself.

[00:19:17] And she saw, and even she thanked us because we did not let go of that. Otherwise, she would have been now putting so much effort, trying to lose weight and become fit. So, you see sometimes these are some of the proud moments that we have. And of course, we have so many moments that we're not proud of. For example, some of the disciplining disciplinary actions, you know, things like you need to spend that much time on your book, in your books or, or studying, or she's not really, I don't know if I will say it correctly in English, Stu studious.

[00:19:53] We say that she does not love. Books very much yet. She's very well cultured. [00:20:00] She's smart. She's cultured. But she's not really that disciplined, you know, always studying is a last moment thing for her. And that's something that we fight with her each and every day. And we want her to, you know, to, to, to just no, please just plan your life a little bit better than that.

[00:20:20] But it's part, it's part of the, of the good fights actually that we're doing. Her sister is no, she's she, she can be undisciplined, but she is under control and

[00:20:33] PH: [00:20:33] yeah, it's a personality trait. I always did everything in the last second. I want to ask you something. Because we talked about it the last time, a little bit.

[00:20:43] First, first two questions. What is the split or do you know the split of Muslims and Christians in Jordan? In Jordan. And is there a distinct differentiation or, yeah. Okay. It's [00:21:00] generalizing, but can, can there be can you make a distinction of how dads behave maybe differently? In your country maybe more traditional for the Muslims, less traditional for the Christians.

[00:21:13] And how are these traditions and how are these relationships fostered in terms of a culture. Overarching theme. Is that possible to answer?

[00:21:24] SJ: [00:21:24] Yeah. Now we're very minimal. As Christians in Jordan would like to 2% maybe only and to be precise, I think we're one 70,000. But, you know, it's more cultural rather than religious in terms of it's like the Arab debts.

[00:21:43] Hallas, it's whether you're Christian or Muslim, maybe, maybe the Christians are a little bit more open-minded because we don't have, you know These do's and don’ts, and this is good and this is bad. It's more rounded, you know the way we, we look at things. [00:22:00] So for example, Christians, you know, they drink alcohol.

[00:22:03] They can go out with it, with the shirt that is not completely covering your body. So, these are the different cultural differences, but in terms of personality, we're still the same, you know that then the kind of bond with the children, you know, our Arab dads can be distant and attached at the same time to their children.

[00:22:23] It's very funny. They can talk

[00:22:25] PH: [00:22:25] about that.

[00:22:27] SJ: [00:22:27] You know, it means that we're attached. We love them so much, but yet we're distant. We don't, we don't want it's either we don't interfere or we, we are too controlling. So we are, we are attached to them emotionally, but we are distant. From them, is it, it means that we cannot be intimate that much?

[00:22:47] We don't want to be intimate. This is at least with the daughters, but with the sons, we can be sometimes friends, but at the same time we are controlling or supervisory. Let's see, [00:23:00] trying to have, you know, Arab dads. They like to give permissions or withhold permissions. That's how we are. We always believe that, you know, authority comes.

[00:23:12] Lies with us. So, we need to be, I think this is because we believe that we should be the caretakers of the family. I know it's very bad to say this, but we believe we believe in that yet, yet. It's not true because now, like, let's say 80% of the families, especially the families that are a little bit open-minded both husband and wife work.

[00:23:40] Sometimes a wife is paid more than her husband. So basically, on paper, she's the caretaker or the provider for the family. It's like the other thing because now that we're talking about it Arab that's can be emotional and can be not, not emotional at all. You know, we like [00:24:00] to, to appear that strong.

[00:24:01] We don't like to cry. You know, we don't like to show that we can have tears and we can be sad yet. If you look, if you look at weddings,

[00:24:12] PH: [00:24:12] iPads, cry,

[00:24:14] SJ: [00:24:14] amazing. It's amazing that that picture of the harsh dad is harsh, because we are very protective. Harsh because we believe that people are not good to our daughters or to our sons.

[00:24:28] So we need to be protective. And you know, the family bonds state forever, even if we're married, we still belong to those who still parents can have some kind of authority on their children. Even after marriage. There is no such thing as a cleavage, complete cleavage between, you know, the two families.

[00:24:49] This is. It can be bad sometimes, but it's very good on the other hand, because

[00:24:55] PH: [00:24:55] that's the daughter, that's the daughter. So, to speak in inverted commerce, [00:25:00] marry into her husband's family.

[00:25:03] SJ: [00:25:03] Exactly, exactly.

[00:25:04] PH: [00:25:04] That's how it works. So, she becomes

[00:25:06] SJ: [00:25:06] actually we consider in our part of the world, we consider that when, whenever, whenever there is a marriage it's marriage between two families, Yeah, it's, it's very strange.

[00:25:17] And some families, they get more connected to each other than other families, but usually this is how it is.

[00:25:25]PH: [00:25:25] Are there, are there a lot of arranged marriages instead? 

[00:25:31] SJ: [00:25:31] Not a lot of them are actually arranged. Yeah. Maybe areas. And sometimes it's between cousins, you know this is still happening, unfortunately, but there is more awareness to that.

[00:25:41] So, so, so many organizations and movements and initiatives in the country now in the Arab world in general, trying to promote, you know, early marriages, not a big difference in ages and, and, you know, it should be based on mutual [00:26:00] understanding. Maybe not promoting love that much. It's becoming better.

[00:26:04] It's becoming better. And the media of course has influenced whether we like it or

[00:26:08] PH: [00:26:08] not. Yeah. And from a dad's perspective again, is it, are you, a made a distinction between daughters and sons?

[00:26:17] SJ: [00:26:17] Yeah, unfortunately, yeah, unfortunately. Yeah. Gotcha. I, I believe that we dads, we Arab dads also let me see, I don't consider myself being that in this area, we have double standards.

[00:26:35] Yeah, in a sense that sons are more preferred than daughters, not because of masculinity or, or you know male versus female. It's, it's only the difference. Maybe it has a religious aspect. I'm not sure, but basically the difference is because they think that the male, the son will be a better support to the family.

[00:27:00] [00:27:00] Financially, you know it's someone who can hold the family together. And, you know, in the family tree, in the Arab world, they don't put the daughters,

[00:27:11] PH: [00:27:11] they don't put the names,

[00:27:12] SJ: [00:27:12] put only the meals because this is the sustainability and the continuity of the family. Some now they started to add, but without their husbands’ example, I don't have brothers.

[00:27:24] I have only two sisters. So, our family tree stopped. Because I don't have a son also, I have only two daughters, so it is stopped for me.

[00:27:33] PH: [00:27:33] So she can't continue.

[00:27:35] SJ: [00:27:35] She can't continue your daughter. Yeah.

[00:27:37] PH: [00:27:37] I mean, you can make your own family tree. You can just continue

[00:27:40] with

[00:27:40] SJ: [00:27:40] that. I mean the bigger family let's say the bigger family.

[00:27:43] So this is, this is, this is what they have in their mindset. I know. Maybe, I don't know if the listeners, maybe I'm not happy to, to hear this, but it's part of our culture. I'm not really justifying it. But because they believe they can get a better support from the suns [00:28:00] and more for continuity, but in reality, the biggest support dads and moms get nowadays.

[00:28:08] It's from the daughters.

[00:28:10] PH: [00:28:10] Of course, after marriage, moms are running the world. I mean, that's, that's for sure.

[00:28:17] SJ: [00:28:17] I never exchanged my daughters with any sun in the world, you know, because I mean, I can see the attachment. I can see the love in their eyes. I, I can see how they take care of me. And so, when they look at home, your dad, I'm sorry, you're the only male at home.

[00:28:32] We got to take care of you. It's so fun. So much fun. And I know, I know that in the future I can be in, in, in good hands because I have daughters. This is what they see now. They, they want the look, something else. If, if, if you, if your wife is pregnant with a daughter the first son, the first pregnancy, and you say this to a grandma or, ah, okay.

[00:29:00] [00:28:59] Yeah. Good luck. It's okay. It's okay. Hopefully the next will be a son. It's like this. It's amazing. Wow. Yeah. So

[00:29:08] PH: [00:29:08] you said grant mothers, or even the older generation they have, yes.

[00:29:13] SJ: [00:29:13] Yes, yes, yes, yes. But now it is of course, with the new generation. Yeah, would it be losing that? Thank God we're losing that. We're more into, and especially now in Jordan, a lot of women movements, you know, and gender equality and in all aspects of life, it's becoming stronger and stronger.

[00:29:32] So people from childhood now in schools, in the educational system, we're trying to promote that there is no difference. There is a distinction. Very good distinction, but there is no difference in value. And

[00:29:47] PH: [00:29:47] so it's progressive in that sense. I mean like voting and 20 years ago, you couldn't drive a car, I guess.

[00:29:54] I don't know if in Jordan,

[00:29:55] SJ: [00:29:55] but no, it was not, it was not the case in Jordan. Actually, we were sometimes [00:30:00] even more open in the oldest times.

[00:30:04] PH: [00:30:04] Okay. Interesting. And can you share some more experience? Like did you as a dad. Can you recall instances where your views clashed with culture and what's that could that potentially lead to how do you say to disadvantages for your daughters?

[00:30:22] I don’t know, in school, or were you able to fight out? She needs to

[00:30:26] SJ: [00:30:26] not treat you because as I told you, the zone that we are in is more of an open-minded zone. Okay. Yeah. All our friends or family members, I told you the only thing that I received as a comment from my family members in the Y sending your daughter alone at this age, wait, let her have cottage in Jordan.

[00:30:48] And then. Postgraduate studies abroad. I said, thank you for the advice, but snow, because I've been there. And I know my choice is already made and I fought, we fought for it. And it was, [00:31:00] it was a given maybe that's the only thing that we receive it. Otherwise, we, we don't, we don't

[00:31:05] PH: [00:31:05] it's about, I mean, that you can receive in any Western culture as well.

[00:31:08] You know, people are just worried for a young person to go

[00:31:11] SJ: [00:31:11] abroad, nothing great. But if, if, if it was my son. They would not sit, say that

[00:31:17] PH: [00:31:17] they would not say,

[00:31:18] SJ: [00:31:18] yeah, that's the problem. It's because Dota cause for them, daughter is weak. She's the weakest or, or weaker than a son. And for me that's not acceptable because the opposite it's often the opposite.

[00:31:32] Exactly. Actually, maybe I would worry more if it was my son abroad, of course. And if he was a bit of a risky person, I was not a risky person. I was always a safe person in my life. Very cautious. And I took precautions in so many things. I assume that my daughter would do that, but then she turned out to be more of a risky person yet on a lighter scale, on a lighter skin, which is good.

[00:31:59] I want her to [00:32:00] be riskier than I was.

[00:32:03] PH: [00:32:03] Why were you too conservative?

[00:32:05] SJ: [00:32:05] I believe I was too conservative. I would, if, if, if life gets back if I get back to that time again, I would not be that conservative. Definitely.

[00:32:18] PH: [00:32:18] How long were you in France for?

[00:32:20] SJ: [00:32:20] I left, I lived there for seven years from the age of 17, till 24.

[00:32:28] And it really it imprinted so many things in, in, in, in me. It shaped my whole personality in the good sense, of course. Hmm. Okay.

[00:32:39] PH: [00:32:39] When did you convert from Christian? From Muslim to Christian or were you always. Okay. And can you draw parallels? I mean, you know, both, both thoughts, words, right? Can, what have you learned that might've shaped you as a dad in France and in Europe and how is it different in your country? [00:33:00]

[00:33:00]SJ: [00:33:00] Actually what I saw the family bonds in France are not strong. So, it is only in the closer family, you know, mom, dad, and children. The alter family is not that important. Most of the people, they don't even, they're not connected. They don't visit. It's only in, you know, Christmas and Easter, et cetera, et cetera.

[00:33:22] So, and even, you know, when you're 18, I know it is, it is, it is the West uni. You're 18. You have to go out or maybe you don't have to go out, but at least you go out, you're out, you're on your own. You have to work. You have to, which is very good. We can't have this. If even if you're 40. You're not married.

[00:33:41] You still live with your parents in Jordan. At least 90% of the families are the only 10% who are too open-minded they can have their own apartment and live by themselves. So that family bonds, I did not see in France and I was [00:34:00] always telling myself I would not be like this. I would not appreciate that.

[00:34:05] It is not something that I want to change in my culture. No, this is something, something that I want to stick to, and I want to plant it in my children. And that's why now when we do a family gathering or we travel sometimes as family, you know, my sisters and my, my, my, my, my, my wife's brother and sisters, when we are together, we traveled sometimes, you know, my children, they want to be with us.

[00:34:30] It's my choice. Because they believe in this family value. I like that, you know, I believe this is something again, we're proud of because you know, this is the support system. If you read in books in Western books, you read about a support system and support system is from people around you. But when it comes to reality and to family, I'm not criticizing any culture, don't get me wrong.

[00:34:53] But sometimes when I see it from my friends, even, you know, I travel around the world. And I see so many friends everywhere, [00:35:00] everywhere in the world, and I see how they live. We need that support system and the blood support system for me at least is stronger than the normal and genetic support system by friends and acquaintances only.

[00:35:17] You can't be intimate with a 100 people around you. So, it's good to have this support system. And that's my culture, you know the culture endorses, this kind of system.

[00:35:32] PH: [00:35:32] Yeah, the traditional relationship. If the relationship is a given

[00:35:38] SJ: [00:35:38] and a lot, a lot of events to celebrate. We're always there. We know that there's always something to celebrate and that's good because we use it as an opportunity to get together.

[00:35:48] My daughters are seeing that, and they are participant in that, and they want to live it. They want to enjoy it. And whenever we, sometimes we decline an invitation, they will not be happy. [00:36:00] Why let's go.

[00:36:04] PH: [00:36:04] Yeah, but there's also social pressure. You kind of have to go, right? Yeah. But I mean that again helps the fact that I know it's a little bit from my, my, my wife is half Italian. And Italy is more I don't know, Jordan, so I can't compare him with

[00:36:22] everybody yet together. Always.

[00:36:27] Yeah. If you, if you don't go and you don't eat that it's becomes political

[00:36:31] SJ: [00:36:31] and you know, we have some, one of the, the good habits. I don't know if it's good or bad, if you go, they will make sure that you will not get out hungry. Because we, we always overeat. You're overfed. The gatherings you have to, especially if you have an aunt or a grandma, she has to things, even if you're not hungry anymore, you have to eat.

[00:36:55] So you have to eat because it's family, it's part of family. It's part [00:37:00] of, you know, crying. No, no, I don't want to eat that. This is good. This is bad. You know, she, she made this dish in a better way than you, and that became become, you know, some kind of fun. Thing to do for an activity. Once again, we're talking in the context of dads, my daughters are participant in that and I'm sure they will, they will keep doing this.

[00:37:25] PH: [00:37:25] Yeah. And a different topic. Arab dads, daughters, and boyfriends. I'm sure that's a hot topic. What can you share about that?

[00:37:37] SJ: [00:37:37] Again, in our zone in our part it's okay. It's usually, as long as we know about it, as long as we see who the guy is, we have no problem. So, for example, my, my, my elder daughter, she brings her.

[00:37:52] Her boyfriends. She does not have a boyfriend currently, which is, I don’t know, I think it's good. You know, [00:38:00] deep inside, I'm happy

[00:38:04] in the future, but you know, I know, I know her boyfriends, she, she brings them in. So, so I know who they are. I know their families. For me, anything that is clear is reassuring. Whenever it's not clear, whenever it's been hitting hidden somewhere or in a way

[00:38:23] PH: [00:38:23] that's part of the lying. I mean, it's not lying.

[00:38:26] It gets close.

[00:38:27] SJ: [00:38:27] Yeah, exactly.

[00:38:28] PH: [00:38:28] So you just want to know what's going

[00:38:30] SJ: [00:38:30] on. Exactly.

[00:38:31] PH: [00:38:31] And did you, did you express that, did you, that you have that talk?

[00:38:35] SJ: [00:38:35] Yeah, actually we had a couple of talks with Elizabeth about boys in general and how men, the, how sometimes we can be you know, to, to exploiting and to misusing their relationship in a way or another.

[00:38:49] So I talk to her out of me being, not a dad, but being a male. It was good. It was good. She was 16, actually. She was 16.

[00:38:59] PH: [00:38:59] And what did [00:39:00] she say? No, no,

[00:39:02] SJ: [00:39:02] no, no, no, no. She was okay. Yeah, just okay. But I don't think she was that comfortable. That's why I told you in the beginning. My advice is to be more intimate at an earlier point.

[00:39:12] I was a little bit too late, maybe.

[00:39:16] PH: [00:39:16] So if

[00:39:18] SJ: [00:39:18] I want to summarize how just building on that. For me, the relationship with Elizabeth today is that I'm her dad that she can rely on. And whenever there is something serious and decisions, I am the one, you know, but the small things with her mom, I don't get involved that much with a small thing.

[00:39:39] Although she likes my taste in, you know, I buy her so many things when I traveled. So, she depends on my taste, which is very good. But for Christina is different. I'm totally involved in everything completely. So that's

[00:39:53] PH: [00:39:53] and she says more,

[00:39:55] SJ: [00:39:55] she, she doesn't want, and actually I want to share something. I don't know if it is embarrassing or not, but you know, when [00:40:00] she had her first period, she told me you made that she came and told me that did not happen with Elizabeth.

[00:40:08] But it happened with Christina. So, for me it means that she's so safe and she feels that her dad is someone that is close. This is how I look at it

[00:40:21] again. That's the difference between both daughters. We're good together. In terms of one family, we can do a lot of fun things together. You know, so many common activities, but when it comes to the individual relationship with each. It's completely different.

[00:40:37] PH: [00:40:37] And do you attribute that? I mean, it's, I'm just asking you the question to get the answer I want anyways, but do you attribute it too only being away?

[00:40:47] Probably not right. Way more. Probably not. Right.

[00:40:50] SJ: [00:40:50] Maybe it's a big factor. It was a big factor in, it was big

[00:40:53] PH: [00:40:53] factor, Baltimore

[00:40:53] SJ: [00:40:53] experience, more of experience. It's more of being more of a choice. Maybe I did not see it, that, that important. Or [00:41:00] maybe I did not think that I was a firsthand that, so you see, I don't know.

[00:41:06] I did not know that much. Also. I was not resistant honestly, to anything that comes from either my wife or from others, but I was not completely involved. I was busy with so many things and I told you whenever I was in town, we used to watch videos together, you know, and going out together, we did the normal thing.

[00:41:25] I was not that away. But I was not intimate,

[00:41:30] PH: [00:41:30] but you didn't know. I mean, you hadn't listened to my podcast. It's so I'm the boyfriend. Someone gave me very good advice. I can't remember who because I have three daughters. Right? I can't remember which dad it was, but he said. The most powerful lesson for him with his daughters.

[00:41:49] He had quite a few was sitting down the boyfriend when she brings him home, have a good chat. And then look him in the eye and ask him, what [00:42:00] are your intentions with my daughter? And that's an honest question. What are your intentions with my daughter? And he will feel very quickly if it's, if his intentions are genuine or if they are more, like you said exploiting or not genuine and not, not nice.

[00:42:16] I think that's a very powerful question. If you ask that to 14 or 16 or even 18-year-old, Men will boy, you will see, you know, you sit together the two of you and then it's fine.

[00:42:30] SJ: [00:42:30] I don't, I don't know. I'm not sure that we can apply that here because they will not even know how to answer that. The boys, I know that

[00:42:42] you don’t, and they think you are,

[00:42:44] PH: [00:42:44] you said, you know, the parents, right? So, does it work in a, in a, is there a structure? So, do you. Does she say, okay, I I'm, I'm S I'm dating this boy and I want you to meet the probably first you have to beat as the father, you have to meet [00:43:00] his father, I guess, the mothers. So

[00:43:02] SJ: [00:43:02] the actual weekend families can get together.

[00:43:06] You know, just family kind of either they go out to a restaurant together or they, you know, they visit homes. This is how it starts usually. But before that, the, the boy and the girl would be in a relationship. Before involving the family.

[00:43:23] PH: [00:43:23] I said they do have

[00:43:24] SJ: [00:43:24] they, do they go

[00:43:26] PH: [00:43:26] out in the progressive setting?

[00:43:29] Yeah. Cutting. What does coat stock? I mean,

[00:43:33] SJ: [00:43:33] just anytime. Okay. I mean, whenever the social interactions, whenever now she's a student and she, she does not even study she's she studies in, in Spain. So, she spends less time here. But since, because of COVID now she's been with us since March and she is in town.

[00:43:52] But she has her own, you know, acquaintances and friends either from school or from outside school. But they are people that [00:44:00] we know if we don't know the parents, we know of the parents. Okay. And currently there is no someone special because we know that it is a little bit premature to talk about things.

[00:44:10] And whenever we say, do you think of someone to that? No, no, no, no, no. It's too, too early for me. She says that. And do we believe her? Honestly, we know that there is not that kind of the girl that likes to be around guys all the time and get that attention. And you know, she's not that kind of a young lady.

[00:44:33] So I feel good about that. I know. But still whenever she wants to have a decision, I think she's very brave to tell us that, you know, I, I know someone and I want you to meet, or we can have that kind of relationship, but she would tell her mom not to me. I would be involved later.

[00:44:57] PH: [00:44:57] Yeah. Yeah. Okay. That's the same [00:45:00] dynamic.

[00:45:00] Yeah. Sharing, sharing on that level with the older one and the younger ones.

[00:45:05] SJ: [00:45:05] Yes.

[00:45:06] PH: [00:45:06] Are you sharing on that level with palace

[00:45:09] SJ: [00:45:09] equally? What do you mean sharing?

[00:45:14] PH: [00:45:14] sharing, sharing? Do you, do you share, do you share the same amount of information in terms of, do you have the same trust and, and. Can you, can you build the same kind of conversation or

[00:45:30] SJ: [00:45:30] level of sharing that you can as much as I want to actually, I want more.

[00:45:37] Because of so many factors in life, as I said, I want to get involved more. And this is something that I urge myself to do with daily. Honestly, I'm not at that level where I'm completely satisfied with that kind of interaction.

[00:45:50] PH: [00:45:50] So yeah. How do you do that? Do you schedule it or how do you?

[00:45:53] SJ: [00:45:53] active know that's the problem?

[00:45:54] Because I don't schedule it. I use opportunities whenever I drive them. Whenever we're sitting [00:46:00] even as a family or we're doing something, sometimes we do, you know, we watch things together or so I, I try to use these opportunities. We have meals together. But you know, I, I find something that whenever I be used to travel and of course Elizabeth is in Spain.

[00:46:16] So I used to spend more time with Christina. She, she stays, you know, her mom is not here, so we're together more. So, I was more responsible doing more things with her. We used to have a lot of fun, you know, going out and having meals together, you know she takes her mom's bed and sleeping beside me.

[00:46:35] So, so many things, you know, it's like a tradition for us. Moms is dropping. Yeah. Now we're back to our tradition together daughter and that. Yeah, this is precious for me. This is actually how the relationship between me, and Christina has been, you know becoming solid and 45 because of that because of these times spending them together.

[00:46:59] So, so [00:47:00] now telling myself I could do more of that without having my wife traveling. Yeah. So that's my lesson learned that I need to always remember and to keep that momentum.

[00:47:16] PH: [00:47:16] Yeah. And maybe your wife can even help you with that. Tell her that's the guy.

[00:47:19] SJ: [00:47:19] Yeah, usually she is. She, she encourages me a lot to do that.

[00:47:22] Actually. She wants me to be more intimate with, with our daughters. She always, she always urges me and encouraged me to do so.

[00:47:30] PH: [00:47:30] Yeah. I, you know, I spoke to your wife. She's amazing. I mean, she's such a power woman. She's very highly of you.

[00:47:38] SJ: [00:47:38] She's an older lady at work.

[00:47:42] PH: [00:47:42] I'm sure she speaks very highly of you.

[00:47:46] I mean, in fact, she, she put us together. Yeah. She

[00:47:48] SJ: [00:47:48] couldn't get it done. She did. She did. She did

[00:47:52] PH: [00:47:52] as well. What are, what are. Thanks, where I didn't go, that you can share as a dad share with us [00:48:00] experiences from your world, from your life, things that were meaningful, that, that I important, maybe important lessons, you learned things that happened, maybe stuff that you didn't know.

[00:48:11] Just talk to us about that.

[00:48:13]SJ: [00:48:13] I mean, you know one of the things is that I was always careful about the image that I project to my daughters. Many times, I was not very careful about it. So, the image that you know, some reactions that I displayed in their presence some of the words that I said, some of the choices that I made.

[00:48:40] I would change that if I had the chance, because I know it did not add much to the relationship and it is not something that I would be proud of. So maybe it's just, it's like a, self-talk now going back into the time and, and seeing these kinds of interactions [00:49:00] that were not very, you know Beneficial to the relationship.

[00:49:04] I think we need, we as dads, we need to be a little bit more aware of that. W

[00:49:08] PH: [00:49:08] what's that were you too strict or what was what happened

[00:49:11] SJ: [00:49:11] necessarily strict, but maybe I was a little bit aggressive in my reaction. I was too, too harsh in my reactions without any need for that, or I was too distant. I was too, too shallow or too.

[00:49:24] Peaceful about, about, about choices. I was not really putting myself where I should be or these kinds of experiences. It made me just think that we need that kind of interaction with, with our daughters, with our children.

[00:49:45] PH: [00:49:45] I think, especially as men

[00:49:47] SJ: [00:49:47] that we are talking, you know, we have this

[00:49:49] PH: [00:49:49] idea of utilizing a lot.

[00:49:51] SJ: [00:49:51] And because we have this idea of, you know, we are the protectors of our family. We are the caretakers of the family as if this is [00:50:00] a job and we're leaving out so many other things. You know, I'm, I'm tired. I work all day. I have so many things to think of. I do this and I do that. I did this. So, you do that.

[00:50:11] And sometimes they watch some of the interactions that happened between I be on myself, my wife and myself, and some moments are not really that healthy to be shown to our daughters. So why I'm, I'm just sending you all this. You asked me this question. It's, it's like a self-reflection moment, you know that tells me maybe to use the opportunity to try to, to, to amend as much as possible and to do things better.

[00:50:42] I think God gave us our minds and this gift of knowledge, you know, to use knowledge to our benefit. So, the more we know, and this watchfulness, I like this idea of forcefulness as if we're having a camera on ourselves. As we move forward [00:51:00] and try to watch how we were doing, how, what we're saying, and then, you know, MN immediately.

[00:51:07] That's. I believe that as a dad, if I can really reach that kind of level of interaction with my daughters, I would be very proud of myself to be watchful and amending instantly so that you can make use of that. And I want them to see that in me. I want them to see that I'm not a perfect dad, but I'm not a completely disastrous that, but I'm a human being, trying to, you know, to grow into that.

[00:51:37] And we can do it together. This is my aim. This is, this is what I want to do or what I would, I would always try to do in order to reach that kind of interaction with my daughters.

[00:51:49] PH: [00:51:49] Yeah. So, if awareness is very powerful, if I also try and get better at that self-awareness and, and Less impulsive reactions [00:52:00] more like you said, instant awareness and then proactive, proactive,

[00:52:06]SJ: [00:52:06] Exactly.

[00:52:07] PH: [00:52:07] Reactions in that sense that you act how you want to, which is safe, guided where you can only do that if you are really self-aware. Yeah.

[00:52:16] SJ: [00:52:16] Yep.

[00:52:17] PH: [00:52:17] Yep. Have you, have you addressed us? What's your daughter’s? Have you told her that you're trying to do this?

[00:52:21] SJ: [00:52:21] No, but maybe it's a good thing that I will, I have to do.

[00:52:26] PH: [00:52:26] They can listen to the podcast and then

[00:52:29] SJ: [00:52:29] they can listen to that

[00:52:31] PH: [00:52:31] while it helps, you know,

[00:52:35] probably not. They would say you're very cute. Okay.

[00:52:40] SJ: [00:52:40] Actually, she says in that tone, whenever she says something. Yeah, I would see, I would see it.

[00:52:51] PH: [00:52:51] And how's the, the principal relationship in Jordan or in your Eric, you talk, you say Arabic dad's [00:53:00] okay. And I'm I, yes, we are generalizing, and we do this in order to make a point.

[00:53:06] Right. So not everybody has the same. Of course. It's, there's something like an Arabic mum. Can your other common traits that we would put on the same level and describe in such manner. Okay.

[00:53:17] SJ: [00:53:17] For moms.

[00:53:19] PH: [00:53:19] Yeah.

[00:53:20] SJ: [00:53:20] Yeah. Yeah, I mean in also Arabic Arab moms, they, they overwork themselves trying to be for the family, always.

[00:53:28] And you know they think that they are you know The, the ministers of emotions, you know, they are the state of emotions at home and they have to take care of the, the tiny things of, of, of the children. And in a way it's, it's very good, honestly. We like moms here in the Arab world.

[00:53:45] There is a, you know, a Mother’s Day is a sacred day. For example, in Jordan, it is something that everybody celebrates. So maybe, I don't know maybe not that specific like the Arab dads, [00:54:00] but they have their trends. They have their own trends.

[00:54:04] PH: [00:54:04] That does sound very much like Italy, Spain,

[00:54:09] SJ: [00:54:09] it's more than the

[00:54:09] PH: [00:54:09] Mediterranean mothers that are like the family is, and

[00:54:14] SJ: [00:54:14] they are involved.

[00:54:16] They are much involved in, in the children's life, you know?  Automatically. Yeah, it is, it is, it is much more than that. Definitely much more than that.

[00:54:28] PH: [00:54:28] Yeah, you said this the last time. It was very powerful for me. You said that again, generalizing, but there is a trend where. That's and you, you hinted to it now, again, that in your keto can be, can be more.

[00:54:42] And I'm not saying that's not in other coaches, too. Yeah. We're just talking about this country can be more controlling and can be like distant but want to make decisions on behalf of the kids. And, you know, I think you made the example kids play outside the whole day. Come back in the [00:55:00] evening, kind of, you didn't use those words, but kind of report back, maybe get some cash or not, and out again, and the dad does his thing and it's very parallel.

[00:55:08] That's the feeling I got was. Yeah. Okay. Very parotid words in that sense, big distinction between that or children and adults. So, there's two words in, so to speak,

[00:55:22] SJ: [00:55:22] maybe one last thing is that Arab dads, they always say no. The first answer is no. And then they shouldn't have to negotiate the way to get a yes from them.

[00:55:34] But the first

[00:55:35] PH: [00:55:35] reaction of course, part of the game.

[00:55:37] SJ: [00:55:37] No. Can I ask you something that no, just don't ask me, but this is very trendy by the way? Very trendy.

[00:55:46] PH: [00:55:46] But that's how you learn negotiation.

[00:55:48] SJ: [00:55:48] Exactly. Exactly. Let's, let's assume that we have this intention to teach them negotiation.

[00:56:00] [00:55:59] PH: [00:55:59] So, Hey, we're about, we're about time. Is there anything that you still want to share where you say This is really an important lesson that I learned that people could benefit from. Otherwise, we wrap it up.

[00:56:11] SJ: [00:56:11] Yeah. It's as I said to you see again, investing in the relationship with the children is something that is very important.

[00:56:19] Just let's do it at an early age, the earlier the better and, you know It's so great to have this, at least as far as I'm concerned, this father daughter relationship, it is something that is very sacred. And I think it can bring a lot of good fruits in both in each other's lives and even to the family in general.

[00:56:43] This is for me, I think, and I talk to myself first of course, it's the right investment today.

[00:56:50] PH: [00:56:50] Yeah. And it's an investment that keeps on giving rights because the earlier you do it the longer you have a more intimate and close relationship [00:57:00] with your children

[00:57:00] SJ: [00:57:00] and you keep preaching, you keep preaching and results

[00:57:05] PH: [00:57:05] and it's harder to do.

[00:57:07] Try and make relationship later. Yeah,

[00:57:10] SJ: [00:57:10] definitely because sometimes it's too late

[00:57:12] PH: [00:57:12] because when they're 15, 16, 18, they have their own lives. They want to do that on staff. For sure. It's when they're young that they want to spend time with you.

[00:57:21] SJ: [00:57:21] This is where you build, and you establish it for

[00:57:23] PH: [00:57:23] life. Yeah.

[00:57:27] That was very, very fun and powerful for me. Thank you. Thank you.

[00:57:31] SJ: [00:57:31] Thank you. I enjoyed the conversing with you and on the topic. It's good. You, you, you, thank you. Motivated me.

[00:57:41] PH: [00:57:41] I hope you give your daughters to link.

[00:57:42] SJ: [00:57:42] Yes, I will.

[00:57:43] PH: [00:57:43] And report back what they say if they found it cute, because they're know.

[00:57:47] Anyway, we'll see about that. Thank you.

[00:57:53] SJ: [00:57:53] Thank you. You're welcome. Thank you for having me and wish you all the best, the

[00:57:57] PH: [00:57:57] same to you, my friend, and say hi to your wife.

[00:58:00] [00:58:00] SJ: [00:58:00] Thank you very much. Take care. Bye-bye.

Dr. Suhail JouanehProfile Photo

Dr. Suhail Jouaneh

Dr. Suhail Jouaneh is a leader, coach and businessman from Amman in Jordan. He is a business facilitator and executive coach having organized thousands of workshops and trained more than 20,000 people from over forty countries.

Suhail is married to his wife Abeer and has two daughters Elisabeth 21, Christina 14.