“My best advice to myself as a dad is to realise how valuable I am to my children and how much my presence is needed in their lives and just be present and engaged.” Craig Wilkinson on DADicated.com
Craig Wilkinson from South Africa is a powerful dad who has truly applied himself to his cause of being a dad and empowering other fathers. Craig has two kids (24 and 26), is a bestselling author, award winning social entrepreneur, sought after inspirational speaker and calls himself and is the “Dad Coach”. He is passionate about equipping men to be great fathers and leaders. Craig is the founder of Father a Nation (FAN), an NPO which restores men to true masculinity and authentic fatherhood. He believes that if we can heal men we can heal the world.
Craig shares his own journey as a dad and his parenting views. We discuss his divorce, what is means to be a man in todays world and how we can empower our sons and daugthers. Craig explains how woundedness manifests in children when there is no father figure around, we talk about Craig’s work sibling-led families in the townships, what surrogate fathers are and our own impact as men on other men around us.
“It’s much easier to bring up a healthy child than to heal a broken adult.” Craig Wilkinson on DADicated.com
The most powerful takeaways for me as a dad were:
“Sometimes the poorest man leaves behind the most valuable legacy because it’s not what you leave behind for someone but all about what you leave in someone.” Craig Wilkinson on DADicated.com
Craig Wilkinson (guest):
Philipp Hartmann (host):
[00:01:16] CW: [00:01:16] Okay. Okay. The best advice I could give myself as a dad is to realize how valuable I am to my children and how much my presence is needed in their lives and to just be present and engaged.
[00:01:34] PH: [00:01:34] That's really powerful because people always externalize the advice to themselves. And this is a very uplifting and insightful. For fathers, I think to value yourself. That's really nice. I like that. Okay. So, if you're ready, I'll launch straight
[00:01:52] CW: [00:01:52] in. Go for it. I'm ready.
[00:01:54] PH: [00:01:54] Cool. Craig, I'm super stoked to have you on.
[00:01:57] Thank you so much.
[00:01:59] CW: [00:01:59] The last [00:02:00] time,
[00:02:02] PH: [00:02:02] last time we tried, and they were chainsaws and things, so it's good to speak a week later without time stress. I do know I've heard of you actually a few times before, and then we just discussed it now. Gareth cliff was kind enough to connect us. I think you speak on his show a little bit sometimes on, on being a dad and which is what we want to talk about today.
[00:02:21] I know you run a, you run, or you'd have the initiator of father, a nation which equips men or aims to equipment to be great men. Role models and fathers, right? And it's a lot around love and protections and standing against abuse and true masculinity, which we discussed the last time, which I found very, very interesting, but maybe you could give us, and you do a various other thing.
[00:02:45] So it would be great if you could give us a quick intro about yourself and your initiatives. And then we dive straight into crack the dead.
[00:02:52] CW: [00:02:52] Sure. Sure. Yeah. Thanks. It's yeah, we started father nation that's it's a nonprofit organization and we started running [00:03:00] programs in 2010. So that's 10 years ago.
[00:03:02] Just, I was doing a lot of work in communities, poor communities around economic development. And we just began to realize that, you know, poverty is a huge issue in our world. It's a very devastating issue, but probably even bigger issue is fatherlessness. We found such a huge difference in families where fathers were present and engaged and the statistics around the world say enormous, you know, that the link.
[00:03:24] Between fatherlessness or absent fathers or abusive fathers and almost every kind of social, your teenage pregnancies, prison, rape drug abuse, school dropout, you know, you name it. And so, I began to just look more and more into the whole issue of fatherhood. And that's how we started this project with father and nation.
[00:03:44] And the idea was if we can restore men. To be fathers and good men. We could probably restore society and by extension South Africa and the world. So, father nations and a nonprofit organization, all about equipping men to be good fathers and also looking at what it [00:04:00] means to be a man. And I think there's a lot of confusion around masculinity and what it means to be a man.
[00:04:04] So that's kind of what we did run a whole bunch of programs around that.
[00:04:09] PH: [00:04:09] I love that, but you also, if I get it right, you also go into the community and help. Families that are fatherless where often the eldest, especially in a South African context, where from the eldest in the family takes over the father role or the role of the father.
[00:04:27] And you equip men who are not necessarily fathers off that particular family to take over that role. Right. That's also what the organization we
[00:04:33] CW: [00:04:33] do that. I mean, the methodology we use is we is we when we first started running the program, we trained up what we call surrogate fathers. So, we recruited in one particular community.
[00:04:44] That's where we ran our pilot. About twenty-five minutes, we train them up in, in following and how to be surrogate fathers and each one of those men then kind of looked after, not, not physically stayed in the home, but looked after between six to 10, what we call [00:05:00] OVC orphans and vulnerable children.
[00:05:01] And we have so many things that African, as you say, sibling in hassles where there's just no father figure. And or the, the, the oldest person in the house is 18, 17, 19. So, yeah, we, we, we do work with them and equip them, and then we leave, you know, that the success of a program and a community is, is not so much what's happening when you're there.
[00:05:20] It's what happens when you leave. And so, we try and instill that, you know, it's a restoration process because a man has growing up without a father and often in a broken home, there's a tremendous amount of woundedness. So, there's a first matter of restoring their person. And then there's a matter of equipping them with the skills and the knowledge on what it means to be a man.
[00:05:40] And then what it means to be a father and then helping to let them loose to do that. And then also we find a very important thing is connecting them with a group of men, you know, so often as men, we stand alone. We try and do things on our own, but when we've surrounded with a band of brothers, with a group of men that are supporting us and holding each other accountable.
[00:05:59] So that's what we try [00:06:00] to leave behind a community is bands of brothers who play the role of mentors and fathers to two youngers
[00:06:05] PH: [00:06:05] children. Yeah. And I think intuitively everybody understands this and why it works, and does it work and, and can you talk around that? The results. And also, I would love to dive deeper into.
[00:06:20] Into the wounded. I should almost say generation because the fighter listeners are an epidemic globally. Right. We talked about it last time, also with the boy crisis, the book by Dr. Warren Farrell and he talks about it a lot.
[00:06:32] CW: [00:06:32] Yes.
[00:06:33] PH: [00:06:33] So, so the resides and, and, and maybe. How the woundedness manifests and what the difference is that we all know intuitively when there is no father around and what happened,
[00:06:48] CW: [00:06:48] a deep and big question and results.
[00:06:51] Yeah, we we've seen, so the one, the, the first program we did, it was an acute medical book alone. And you found a about park. And we, we the funding we [00:07:00] had for that fell away because the company that was financing, it actually went into liquidation. So, we had to withdraw the program and the success for me is that about eight years later, well, not quite eight years, about six years after we pulled out, I got some phone calls from the community.
[00:07:16] With the relationships that we established between men and younger children were still intact. So even without any funding there continue these relationships. And we had testimonies of you know, just some of the kids who had been in high school at the time we left were now out of school and just how their lives have absolutely changed the trajectory of their life.
[00:07:37] I mean, the one very extreme story was it was a grandmother led household. And she was old, you know, instinctly and the young, one of the young boys had been gotten totally out of control. He was you've been kicked out of a school for stealing and vandalizing and I mean, there's all kinds of allegations.
[00:07:53] And we had to, two of our mentor’s kind of adopt that hustle. They just make regular [00:08:00] trips to that. And this kid turned his life around. He went back into school. Finished his schooling. And so, we just saw that the, I mean, the evidence that we see when, when they are engaged and good men that are just there present and available to discipline, to counsel, to give advice, we've seen some amazing results.
[00:08:21] I mean, there's, of course there's no guaranteed. You know, they say it's much easier to raise a healthy child than to heal a broken adult. And I think when men have reached out to it what's a lot of broken or sometimes it's very difficult to turn them around. And, you know, when you asked about the woundedness and you know, for me, with men to, to clear things that they need from a father, one is to, to have a present and engaged father who emotionally.
[00:08:48] Validates them. And, and just gives them a sense of their own identity and sense of self-worth crucial for a boy. You know the book that was written in wild at heart, he says that the core question on every boy's [00:09:00] heart to his father is, is that do I have what it takes? Am I enough? And I think the father has to answer that question and you to answer that question effectively takes an entire childhood.
[00:09:10] It's not something you sweep in and you answer, and you got it. It's an entire journey of growing up with a present father. It says, son, you're my son. I love you. You're enough. You're the man, you know, throughout the different phases of his life. And the second thing that a man needs to do is to model to his son how to be a man.
[00:09:30] A boy is always going to look to his father to model what it means to be a man. His mom can model some beautiful things. His mom can model a compassionate, all kinds of lovely qualities, but what she cannot model. Two, a boy is hard to be a man. So, a boy looks to his father for validation and a sense of identity and self-esteem, and he looks to his father for a two model to show him what it means to be a man.
[00:09:54] And often if it's not a biological father, stepfather, or an uncle just older men in his [00:10:00] life and Philip, when, when that's not there, you see men very damaged and the damage is generally around. A lack of identity and a lack of self-esteem it's the question of, I'm not enough. I don't have what it takes.
[00:10:14] I'm not, I'm not enough to be the man that the world needs me to be, to be a good husband father. And so, there's this nagging sense of inadequacy. There's the imposter syndrome and that, that results in a whole, lots of different behaviors for men. You know what I mean? The broadly, they either become very passive where they don't step up and take responsibility as a man and use these strengths.
[00:10:36] Or they become aggressive with his need to prove myself and I need to dominate and always being controlled. So, the passive and the grace of which is really not masculinity, masculinity is, is a, is, is, is, is the opposite of passive. It's deeply engaged and involved using its strength and stepping up and taking responsibility.
[00:10:53] So you know, the wounded, this plays a massive role and the cycle often repeats itself. You know, wounded man, we often say [00:11:00] becomes a man who wounds. And he raises a wounded son who then in turn wounds and it's, it's up to us as men to, to, to break that cycle to say, you know, let me look at my past. Let me look at my own life and my own heart, my own mind, my own attitudes towards life and women and children.
[00:11:18] And let's, let's fix it here. Let's, let's go on a journey to, to fix it so that we can pass on to the next generation whatever's healthy and whole and good. So that's kind of the cycle.
[00:11:29] PH: [00:11:29] Yeah. Yeah, totally. For you it's absolutely. Correct. What you're saying? I intuitively I couldn't put it in such good words, but intuitively this is of course a hundred percent right.
[00:11:42] And passive aggressive with MB the worst. And I guess it's not always just aggression to the outset. It's also aggression to yourself. Right. So, you started using drugs or you're just unhealthy, so,
[00:11:54] CW: [00:11:54] yeah. Self-destruct you know, as you say yeah, addictions, [00:12:00] pornography, drinking. And, and, and sometimes suicide, you know, the stats around men and women committing suicide four times more men commit suicide than woman.
[00:12:08] So we see that a lot.
[00:12:11] PH: [00:12:11] And I know that statistic Warren Farrell ties to fatherlessness as well, by the way.
[00:12:18] CW: [00:12:18] Yeah. I agree with him.
[00:12:19] PH: [00:12:19] Totally. Yeah. I don't know if those numbers, but I definitely men were fathers or it's around boys. So, the boy crisis. So, boys were absent fathers have a higher rate. Of suicide.
[00:12:31] CW: [00:12:31] I think the statistic is five times more than the debt. That's the research that I've seen that there are five times more likely to commit suicide.
[00:12:41] PH: [00:12:41] So when you say, when you say it's a lifelong journey of, of showing your son that he is enough, I mean, we're not excluding girls who obviously you need to do the same for four daughters, but this particular topic is not around sons and bringing up men, boys to men.
[00:12:57] Can you share some concrete. [00:13:00] Examples of behaviors that, that enabled us, this feeling for our sons, because very abstract to say yes, you're enough. Okay. Well, you know, if you've five with your eight that's, that might not be true. Are there activities we can do? Are there. Rituals that you know of that you can share.
[00:13:18] Are they experienced that you've seen in other communities? I would be particularly interested also around, but that's probably a next question around initiation in black communities. I know cause us to that. I'm sure there's Zulus too as well, but that start with how we can enable our sons and.
[00:13:35] Let make them feel that they are enough, not just say this.
[00:13:40] CW: [00:13:40] Okay. Again, I keep going back to this as a father being present and being engaged throughout his life. So, I mean, young boys, well, you know, I mean, when they come out of with a mom, it's a different journey. I mean, they physically bonded to the mom in the wound.
[00:13:58] You can't get closer when they [00:14:00] come out of the wind for the first few months and years, there's a tremendous physical closeness and emotional closeness to the month. And then as I grow the need for the father kind of increases, so it starts with a young age, rough housing unit. And, you know, I think one of the biggest problems staff fatherhood today, the biggest, biggest is distraction and busy-ness and devices, you know?
[00:14:22] I mean these things. Yeah. I've got one right next to me. It's on silent, but you know, so many men are so deeply engrossed in. You know, watching YouTube clips or work or, you know, so even when they, with their sons, they're not really with it, you know, they're in the, in the hospital, they're not, there's not quality so that the issue of quality and quantity time.
[00:14:41] Just hanging out, just being present, you know, when you are present as a father, not just physically there, but you you're deeply engaged with your son or your daughter, and they're both equally need you, you, you give them such a beautiful message. The message is, Hey dad, kids, Hey, dad's listening to me. You know, he wants to spend [00:15:00] time with me, you know, there's that, there's that a very powerful poignant some cats in the cradle.
[00:15:06] You probably heard it, you know, it's about a son who was always busy, too busy. Dad is always too busy for his staff and the son kept wanting to play ball with him or be with him, you know, and then it goes through the course of his life. And finally, the son you know, and one of the courses I want to be like, you, dad, I want to be like you.
[00:15:22] And then right at the end of this father's life, when you'd retired, and he found out his son. Due to God spend some time with him. The sunset I'd love to death, but you know, my kids are, they've got the flu and I'm in it. And you see the cycle continuing. So being emotionally available, physically available and giving time to your son and your daughter gives us incredible.
[00:15:44] I love you. And I love you enough to be present with you. And I love you enough to hang out with you. And I love you enough that the things that you're interested in, I'm interested in doing. So, if your son, and that's another aspect of father, every child is different. So, when your [00:16:00] son wants to if your son loves rough housing, be there to rough house.
[00:16:04] If your son loves playing chess, be there to play chess. If your son loves watching a motor sport, be there to watch it up. So, it's a matter of finding out from your son or your daughter, what is the love language and what is the thing that they love to do and doing it with them and caring for them and sort of saying, I'm going to dedicate time often say today, you don't have dates with your kids.
[00:16:24] So have that with your son, where you say to your son, what do you want to do this weekend? What do you want to do? How do you want to hang on? Let's do that and say to your daughter as well, you know, how do you want to hang out with this, hang up. And by doing that, you, you, you are affirming them all the time.
[00:16:38] You know, by being at a soccer match where your son is playing soccer, you know, you've often seen the movie, you know, where the sun is looking up, playing a soccer. They're looking up into the stands, trying to find his dad. His dad's not there, but when the dad is there, the messages son, you're the man. You mind that?
[00:16:52] I love you. The other aspects to, to this are you know, psychologists talk about two kinds of affirmation. [00:17:00] The one affirmation, which you and I are very familiar with is, is, is a doing affirmation. In other words, when you do something good, I praise you for it. So, you score a goal in the, in the, in a soccer match.
[00:17:11] I say, well then son, you scored a goal. That's easy. That's a performance oriented. But the being affirmation is where you affirm somebody simply for who they are. So, I discovered this by mistake with my son and I had my son on my lap one day. I don't know, he must've been five or six. I don't know. And I said, look, you're such an amazing kid.
[00:17:31] And he said, why that you asked her why. And I thought, and I said, you just are, you know, you just are, it's not anything you've particularly done you as a human being art. And the more we able to give those affirmations of being affirmation, as well as doing the more we build that self-esteem and the corollary to that is that and some parents make this mistake.
[00:17:53] You, you know, you, you praise your kids too much. You praise them so that they make a drawing. [00:18:00] And it's absolutely crap. You don't know what the heck it means, you know, beautiful drawing that doesn't help them either because it makes them think that it's not a realistic assessment. So being affirmation, performance, affirmation, but also worthwhile affirmation, you know, they've actually earned it in that.
[00:18:19] So these are the kinds of things that a dad can do to really build that self-esteem boys always want to rough us. There comes a stage in a boys' development were. It's I call it the cowboy stage or John elders in his book, calls it the cobbler stage, where they want to explore their boundaries. You know, they want to maybe climb that tree or do something that's a little risky.
[00:18:39] And as a dad, you know, remember they asking the question that, do I have what it takes? Am I enough? And you need to let them, you need to push them. You need to allow them to do that and not into wrestle you then other to explore the boundaries of it, because that's also giving them permission to, to be who they are.
[00:18:54] So many things, if we've asked you a question, but there are many things we can do as a debt. And it's, you know, [00:19:00] a lot of the moments you can't plan like a rite of passage, you can plan that. But a lot of the moments come about just because you're hanging out, you know I used to run an organization called outward bound and we used to do the whole principle was instructors would take a group of kids or adults into the, into the Bush.
[00:19:21] For, for an expedition and they would wait for learning experiences to teach, you know, so if it started raining, you know, and then suddenly you're getting all the way, if you know that you credit learning. So, the more you hang up with your son, the more these learning opportunities arise and the more.
[00:19:37] Experiences you crate go on camping trips and fishing trips, taken to museums and going to watch movies together. You know, the more experiences you get, the more he's going to ask questions. And then it's a learning, of course
[00:19:48] PH: [00:19:48] it's unrealistic to expect a high number of high-quality time occurrences with low quantity [00:20:00] time instances, the correlation doesn't do it.
[00:20:05] I kind of, I want to, I want to stop there for a second because I think while we've talked, but listeners haven't, so just give us a quick intro about yourself in terms of your own fatherhood. So, I mean, we talk very interesting. You had some key experiences and how many kids you have and talk about that.
[00:20:23] So just for context for people, and then we can maybe come back to initiation and I know you ought to do other things that coach, and we didn't go there. So just give us a quick.
[00:20:32] CW: [00:20:32] Yeah, overview now with pitcher. So, I'm a father of two kids. My son is now 26 years old. My daughter's 24. So, they're out of the house.
[00:20:39] They both live in New Zealand. I miss them terribly, but you know, my own journey. I mean, that's essentially where we learn to father, isn't it? I mean one of my early experiences was with my daughter. She had a small the doctors came to us and said, she's going to need an operation to her heart.
[00:20:56] She had a small hole in one of the walls of her height. And luckily [00:21:00] technology, this was, wow. This was 22 years ago, but technology had just come on the scene where they didn't have to do open heart surgery. They could do a catheter into the vein in the groin and they pop up as a little device into the heart.
[00:21:12] And so it was literally an overnight surgery and a couple of stitches, but I said to the doctor, Please, can I go into see it with, so, you know, I didn't want her to be wheeled into theater. It's a scary thing, but there's still two-and-a-half-year-old daughter. I think she was two and a half with all these doctors, you know, so they allowed me to come into the surgery with it.
[00:21:29] I had to put on the mask and the glut and the gloves and scrub up and they allowed me actually to hold her in my arms. As she, they put the gas mask over, they put her to sleep and then I handed her over. She had the operation. I was there when she came around. Operations was a great success. But one month later something happened that really blew my mind.
[00:21:45] I mean, we were at my house having a Briar, get together with some friends and we're standing around outside. And my daughter black was standing next to me holding onto my, onto my leg. His daughter's doing my one friend, looked at her and said, [00:22:00] blessed. I believe you were in hospital recently. And she looked up at him and she said gosh, these words just pissed my heart.
[00:22:06] She said, she said, yes. She said my heart was broken. Innocent man. And then she said, but my daddy fixed it. I mean, tears, I had to excuse myself, you know, this was her take, her heart was broken, but, but daddy fixed it, you know. And I realized then that, wow, you know, the gift I got from her was that I saw myself through her eyes and she saw me as this hero, this, this man who fixed her heart.
[00:22:32] And I, and I had to look in the mirror and say, you know, am I am I that man? You know,
[00:22:37] PH: [00:22:37] And then
[00:22:38] CW: [00:22:38] in many ways I did hold the hearts in my hands. And my sense is like, Whoa, am I that man? And the answer was yes and no. And then I realized that that was my first lesson in following. It's a parallel journey. You know, it's one thing, learning techniques on how to follow that, you know, how to discipline and how to whatever.
[00:22:56] But our greatest fathering tool is our lives. [00:23:00] I realized that, you know, a lot of its Moses's impartation. And what I have inside of me, I am going to impart to them and what I don't have, I can't give to them. And so, I realized that I put a grow as a man. I've got to be and become the man that I want my daughter to marry one day and be and become the man that I want my son to be one day to more than techniques and more than getting it right, was getting my own life.
[00:23:24] Right. And that was a profound early, early lesson for me as a dad.
[00:23:32] I mean, there've been many along the way. I am.
[00:23:34] PH: [00:23:34] You had another one. Can you say that one?
[00:23:37] CW: [00:23:37] two more? That I'd love to share? So yeah, the other one is I am when, when my daughter was about seven, we moved from Johannesburg tonight to a beautiful coastal time. And my family moved ahead. Two weeks ahead of me.
[00:23:51] I still had to finish up some business in Joburg. Can they move the, cross it into the house in one week into that period? Of separation. I was on the phone to my [00:24:00] daughter and I S I said, I remember my exact words. I said to her, I said, black, isn't it isn't life wonderful by the seat. Those are my words.
[00:24:09] And she said in the sweet of the voice, she said, she said that if this was my life, I would scream, strange thing to say. And I got quite a fright. I said, why, why, why would you scream? And then there's a little pause. And then this voice. Because you're not here, daddy, you know, because you're not having any, and again, tears, you know what I mean?
[00:24:27] And I realized that, you know, no matter what light she had, you know, how many toys she had and what a beautiful house, what she really wanted was me. She wanted me to be present, you know, and, and that was another powerful story. I realized the two most important words in a, in a father's dictionary art, be there, be there.
[00:24:46] So that was another very profound story. I think the, the other story comes from my son and it was the greatest gift I've ever received in my entire life was when my son turned 18. He [00:25:00] spontaneously wrote me this letter and he gave it to me and we both stopped, and it was a letter. And the letter started off by saying dear dad, I've decided to write you a letter of thanks to thank you for being my, my brother, my best friend, but most, most of all, and most importantly, my dad, and he went on to say that you said, he said, I consider myself the most father human on earth.
[00:25:26] And I, I fill up, I took me six or seven attempts to read this letter. I've still got it. In fact, I quote that letter in full in the book that I wrote. It's what inspired me to write the book, the most incredible gift that he gave me. And realizing, you know, just because I had been through a divorce when my kids were, I think you'd live in a nine one of the hardest things I've ever had to do in my life was sit and tell my children, mommy, mommy, and neon.
[00:25:54] Separating. We're not going to be together. I remember exactly where it was when it was, it was [00:26:00] dreadful.
[00:26:01] PH: [00:26:01] Were you able to keep the relationship the same? I mean, obviously you succeeded at how was that? That must have been difficult
[00:26:08] CW: [00:26:08] too very hard time. Very you know, there's such guilt. You feel like you've when you have let them do, whether you like it or not, you know?
[00:26:17] We did a lot of things to help them. We, we, we S our local church did this divorce recovery program. We took kids through a process, but it wasn't difficult, difficult, difficult time. And then there was a time when I was living in a different city and I would just spend, I mean, every second weekend I would fly to them or fly them up to me.
[00:26:37] I would phone them every single day. It was one of, it was a very, very high.
[00:26:41] PH: [00:26:41] So your wife had custody for the children.
[00:26:44] CW: [00:26:44] We, she decided
[00:26:46] PH: [00:26:46] that's how it's going to be.
[00:26:48] CW: [00:26:48] No. So, we had, we had she had custody initially and I would see them every Wednesday and every second weekend, but I'd find them every single day.
[00:26:57] And then about two years later, my son [00:27:00] decided to come and live with me. And then a couple of years after that, my daughter decided to come and live with me too. But for that period where we were apart, it was, it was a very hard time, you know, It's, it's a, it's a, I mean, you shatter their whole universe, you know?
[00:27:13] PH: [00:27:13] Yeah, yeah, yeah. I couldn't imagine. I wouldn't, I don't know how I would deal with it, to be honest. Yeah. It was
[00:27:20] CW: [00:27:20] tough. Yeah. But the key, the key was to maintain constant daily communication with it, whether it's a WhatsApp or SMS or whatever, you know, just to, to be there.
[00:27:31] PH: [00:27:31] Yep. I can't remember who told me, but some, one of the dads that I spoke to said something very profound and he said I'm trying to think who it was.
[00:27:39] It doesn't matter. He said we divorced. And then we had the skull that we had a joint goal that we would bring up an intrasite would be a 25-year-old headsy human. He was also a son. And because we had a common goal in mind together his ex-wife and him [00:28:00] safe. They could always fall back on that Cole and I, it was easy for them to put, put aside their differences emotionally because they had this.
[00:28:08] If you want to call it project together of, of bringing up the sun in a headsy kind of manner. So. That means that your conflict can become secondary because the primary explicit goal is bringing up this human two 25. And that was just the age. They say it, you know, 25 and then he is fine. And he can, he can be an adult.
[00:28:30] CW: [00:28:30] I wish more adults were that mature because often they are not, you know, absolutely. You can still be a great father and a great mother if you are divorced, but it helps so much if you both have that common goal.
[00:28:43] PH: [00:28:43] Yeah. Yeah, my parents did not my parents didn't do well in it at all. I really wasn't. That's great.
[00:28:51] What I want to ask you about is the masculinity. We talked about it, a lot of toxic masculinity. What is [00:29:00] Mexican masculinity actually like real masculinity? How can we help our sons? Especially around. Developing a healthy masculinity. You said it already, it's in your safe. And then maybe rites of passage.
[00:29:13] Maybe talk about
[00:29:14] CW: [00:29:14] that too. Cool. Yeah. Good question. I mean, the question of masculinity at the moment of very I guess it's become controversial. It shouldn't be, but it is. And, and there's a lot of confusion about what it means to be a man. You know, men and women are different, we equal but different.
[00:29:30] And, and, and there's a lot of pressure on men at the moment to, to, to not be different, you know to kind of almost to feminize men in a way. And I often say to men and women, you know, in a more, not equal of equal value should, should have equal opportunity and equal access to anything that we're able to do.
[00:29:50] There shouldn't be any artificial barriers on anybody because of the agenda, you know? And yet we need to celebrate and embrace the differences. And obviously [00:30:00] there's a spectrum, you know, you get very masculine men, and you get very feminine woman and then you get, you know, you get, you get a mix, you get amended off, you know, slightly more as I say, in touch with their female side.
[00:30:11] So there's, there's, there's, there is a bit of a continuum there, but the quality of masculinity is that, you know, we've got a lot of wrong ideas. You know, and it's quite interesting. You, wherever you go in the world, you get very similar concepts of masculinity. And it's generally around mask it's around macho ism.
[00:30:27] It's about dominance. It's about strength. It's about being in control. It's about having woman money. Cause you know, there's a lot of common themes. I, I, for me, there are four big common themes and lives in society. Sex power, money and big boys don't cry. I mean, those are the, those are the categories that masculinity for you got it.
[00:30:47] You would have lots of women, lots of money, lots of power. And by the way, you can never be vulnerable. You know, this is kind of what society in its extreme form creates as, as the masculine image. And yet it's such a lie [00:31:00] because masculinity is around using your strength. Well, it’s around serving, you know, I mean, men, men on average, I mean the average woman is about 55% as strong as the average man in terms of upper body strength.
[00:31:15] So there's a huge differential in strength, but when strength is given, it's given as a responsibility, you know, what do I do with it? So, it's not how big my biceps are. What do I do with the strength that I've got? Not how big my bank balance is. It's what do I do with the resources and the money I have.
[00:31:30] And masculinity is defined, I think by service and by safety. So as a man, you, you, you need to be a safe space. So how do your, how does your wife feel around you emotionally? You know, someone said to me the other day, I love it. He says, you can judge a man success by the size of the smile on his wife's face, you know, and then, and that's so true, you know, how are we treating our wives?
[00:31:53] How do we make them feel an operation? How do we treat our kids? You know, how do, how do people, how do I employees, our [00:32:00] colleagues, the people we deal with, the people we meet on the street, how do they feel in our presence? Do they feel safe? Encouraged, uplifted looked after, you know, that's, these are the definitions of masculinity.
[00:32:11] There, there are also many archetypes, you know, if you look at the union, you know, the Swiss psychologist, he talks about the four archetypes, which he says are embedded in the DNA of masculinity. The one is the King. The one is the warrior. The one is the lover and the other one is the magician. Some people say the magician is the friend, but you know, I, I think a true he's able to wait all four of those faces, you know, when you and I, as men need to step up and stand up and be strong and just take it on the chin, you know, we're going through a tough time.
[00:32:41] We need to be able to wear that, that face, the warrior face. We're, you know, we have a household, we've got finances to run a business to run, and we got to, you know, we were able to be the King where we, our house is an audit and those around us feel safe. We were also able to be the lover.
[00:32:58] We were able to be tender and [00:33:00] caring and loving and vulnerable and, and, and cry when needed. And we're also able to be the magician. And that's the person is able to make things happen, you know, to become a master of IRA, to learn, to have knowledge and wisdom and understanding. So, you know, there's not one thing that we always have to be as men.
[00:33:17] The many faces that we need to work, we need to be strong. We need to be courageous. We need to be gain mastery in our lives and all the things we do; we need to be tender and loving and caring. We need to be, we need to give more than we take. You know, we need to be people who make the world a better place.
[00:33:34] Any relationship would've been any situation we find ourselves and we need to make sure that that is better off because we are here as men. So, I think these are some of the characteristics that make authentic and true masculinity. It's not, it's not a man becoming more like a woman. It's a man utilizing all of his strengths to love, to serve on a protect and provide it's a big subject I hope off able to,
[00:33:57] PH: [00:33:57] no, this is very valuable and [00:34:00] I agree with it.
[00:34:01] It, it sits really well. I think this is very true. And by the way, I don't think you, you know, you can still have money and power and that, but then you should be You should be a capitalist with a purpose. That's fine. And I think the problem is when, when society starts to eman success is then tied to an immense paycheck.
[00:34:22] Right. Or your social rank or men tie their self-worth to paychecks and, and to, to position. And that, that that's then toxic, that's problematic. That's not a healthy, a healthy way to look at masculinity. I think, you know, and I mean, one very easy or simple takeaway that goes along these lines is my wife explained to me once, you know, like if, if you could just fix this or if you could, it makes me feel, it makes me feel Yeah, safe or loved.
[00:34:51] CW: [00:34:51] I don't understand
[00:34:52] PH: [00:34:52] it. I quit. And she, I think she showed me in a movie and there was a guy and he just sit there, and something happens, and he says, I've got [00:35:00] this. And those, those words really stuck with me because I've got this means. Don't worry about it. I'll fix it. I'll, I'm honored. You don't have to worry about an, it can even be a, and I'm struggling with us.
[00:35:12] Of course, my safe, but at least I know it, it can even be taking off the mental load of your partner of your wife, right? Because that's extra pressure when she tries and she, you know, women, or at least my wife tries to fix things before they happen or prevent problems. And to take that mental load away.
[00:35:33] Well, she doesn't have to plan everything in a dudette, extra effort, like even asking what can I do to support adds more mentally? I didn't understand that concept until she expanded them to Sam incident. So, I've got this means, okay. Only to brief me, Roger, let's think for me and I just exit could be you actually take over the problem.
[00:35:53] And in that sense, I think that goes very much along what you said in a concrete way. You are serving you, protecting [00:36:00] you, using your strengths and your ability to make things happen. Two for a purpose in that sense, being masculine in the relationship. Yeah, it doesn't only have to be love relationships, obviously.
[00:36:12] Same goes for work. Same goes for children. Same goes for friends. Yeah. That's very true.
[00:36:17] CW: [00:36:17] Yeah. I love the concept of dangerous, but good. And I think if, if, if men can aspire to being dangerous, but good, dangerous means, you know, we are never dangerous to each other as men or to women or to children or to society, but we dangerous to whatever threatens them.
[00:36:33] You know, so, you know, I love that a lot. I like the words you said, I've got this, you know, dangerous coming. You say, I've got this. If something needs to be done, I've got this. So, you become a, you, you, you, you fully, and what you said is so true, there's nothing wrong with power. In fact, power is a very wonderful thing.
[00:36:50] If it's used, well, the more power you have, the more different you can make, the more money you have, the more different you can make. The more strengths you have, the healthier you have, the more education you have. I mean, [00:37:00] so assets, men being ambitious, and Greg is a fantastic thing. It's what do you do with that?
[00:37:04] You know that, so the more you have to give, the more you can give. So, becoming more powerful and more dangerous is very good, but good at the same time. So, you balance that with empathy, with care, with love, with, with the ability to listen. And, and those two combined are such a, such a wonderful thing.
[00:37:24] PH: [00:37:24] But you also have a daughter. So of course, your answer will be in order to, to bring up a healthy daughter who has, I mean, healthy in, I mean, in a, in a mental spirit, spiritual kind of way, it will also be to model, to model manhood and being a dad as, as you want them to marry. I want them to have partners as you want them to see manhood, that would be your same answer.
[00:37:47] Right? I'm anticipating
[00:37:49] CW: [00:37:49] well, very much so. I mean, I, I look, I think, I think the daughter. Ask slightly different questions of the debt, obviously for birth kids. Is that do you love me that am I, am [00:38:00] I worth you spending time with, you know what I mean? So those questions of just loving them and being with them crucial.
[00:38:06] I mean the son's question, dad, show me how to be a man. And do I have what it takes the daughter? The daughter also wants to know that she's got a text. Do you want to give a tremendous amount of self-esteem to pursue whatever she wants, but there's a, there's another, there's almost a romance element between a father and a daughter?
[00:38:21] Pure romance where you, so I'll give you an example. When, when I used to live in nicer my son, I said this big old white combi, and I used to drive home, and my son used to come running out of the driveway and jump on me. And, and often would wrestle, you know, this was in, is about, I don’t know, 12 ish and my daughter would also sometimes run out and grab me.
[00:38:44] And when I got over it, but sometimes she would stay in the house. And she would sit at the dining room table or in the lounge or whatever. And there was almost this little game. She didn't, there was never spoken game, but she wanted me to come and find it. And she wanted that [00:39:00] to seek her out and almost to almost like romance.
[00:39:03] And I've looked at, I said, where's my beautiful girl. And I'd see her. And as soon as I saw, I said, Oh, there she is. And I'd go to it. And it was almost like the question she was asking is dad, am I. Am I lovely. Am I worth pursuing? Am I worth fighting for, you know, and, and that kind of when you, when you do that as a father, when you, you take your daughter on a data where you, you, you seek out her heart?
[00:39:26] Because I think there's something in the heart of a woman that wants to be pursued and wants to be sought after. And she wants to know that I'm worth pursuing that. Then I'm lovely. And, and her dad is a first romance as a father pursue your daughter's height. And almost romancer in a very beautiful way.
[00:39:46] It gives us such a lovely message and that she's not going to then, you know, with that kind of stuff, esteem bullying. She's not going to need to go and run off with the first complete teenage boy that shows interest in it. Cause she, she knows the standard [00:40:00] and the certain, so there's a beautiful relationship.
[00:40:03] With my son and daughter, there's slightly different nuances, a lot of similarities, but slightly different nuances, which are, which are lovely.
[00:40:10] PH: [00:40:10] Yeah. Yeah. And they do that. That's very true. Right. They do get this, and I love your example on how she wants you to come to her. Because she feels like, okay, she actually, you know, it's almost like a test if you wanted him to, when he would walk to the kitchen.
[00:40:27] Okay. Obviously, you know, that's interesting is that another dad. I think it was last week. Our REL Murray, very interesting man, or to public speaker. I'm very much into the topic and he's thought about it a lot and applies them serve as a father. I think he said something valuable. However, don't always just check in with your children first, check in with your wife first.
[00:40:49] And then check in with your children because in the almost, I don't want to say rank, but in the rank of relationships, the mother comes first and then there's the [00:41:00] children, or you can set it on a parallel level, so to speak, but you know, if it's always just the children, eventually you are only parents.
[00:41:07] And do you not, you're not, you're not, you're just, co-parenting
[00:41:11] CW: [00:41:11] very good advice. Yeah.
[00:41:13] PH: [00:41:13] Yup. Yep. What I realized, you know, when you say you give, give affirmation and it's true, now that you talked about it, it's just, there's something that pops in my head. Like I tell my daughters, I'm proud of you. And I love you and these things.
[00:41:27] And like, when I said I'm proud of you at some stage, I think she was like four or just four. She actually said why? And I was like, wow, she gets this. Like, she understands this concept. And she says, why? Because you said earlier,
[00:41:42] CW: [00:41:42] just because you're you
[00:41:44] PH: [00:41:44] and they actually get it.
[00:41:45] CW: [00:41:45] That's so amazing. This is wonderful.
[00:41:47] She she's wanting more from you. She's wanting to hear exactly why. And you know, it's, it's, it's, it's asking for that affirmation. So that's a wonderful thing. Yeah.
[00:41:57] PH: [00:41:57] Yeah, but I do think you can then say, yeah, I [00:42:00] don't think you should use it should give a transactional answer in a sense that because you cleaned up the dishes today and that's, that's so great.
[00:42:08] You helped your mother, but you can put it on a level where you say because what you don't want to do is tie, tie an affirmation or a praise to an action. Right. That's very transactional in that sense, but I think you can say. Because your so kind to everybody, or you did something really nice and it made me feel so great.
[00:42:26] And that's more it, you know what I mean? More in a metaphysical
[00:42:32] CW: [00:42:32] in who they are. I think, I think both are very important. I mean, you, we, we want to, we want our kids to become realistically good performers in the world. And that, and therefore one has to correct them when they do wrong and also praise them when they did.
[00:42:49] Right. So, there's that element. But I think what you're saying is so crucial, it's more, you are affirming the beautiful qualities within them that it's not necessarily
[00:42:58] PH: [00:42:58] rather than just behavior. [00:43:00] Yeah. That's what I'm trying to say in less, better words than you. Can you talk around. Initiation boys to men initiation.
[00:43:08] We just scraped it the last time, but I know there will be more if, if I ask you what is there?
[00:43:14] CW: [00:43:14] Look, some, someone once said it was the feminist, what was her name? She said that masculinity is something that's imparted and learned. It's not just there. And if you look throughout the history of mankind, You, you, you find stories of, of rites of passage, where, where the boy reaches a certain age only around 13 can be slightly younger, slightly older.
[00:43:38] And there's a, there's a, a ceremony, a ritual where, where the elder’s father and the elders taken through a process of initiation into manhood. And I think it's absolutely invaluable and we've lost it to life's degree with my son, Luke, when he turned 13. I decided to do one, you know. And we, I took, I think, eight friends and we went [00:44:00] away for the weekend, kind of asked these guys, please bring a message that you'd love to share with my son about, you know, from an older mentor, younger man.
[00:44:07] And you know, younger boys looked to all the men to, to know what it means to be a man. And so, we went away, and every man shared their message. And I said, if you, if you do bring a gift, make sure this, please let the gift be symbolic of the message that you're sharing. So, we had a whole bunch of wonderful gifts.
[00:44:24] I bought him three gifts. I went to the older story, but one was a sword. It was a ceremonial sword. And I said, look, you're going to have to fight for what's. Right. I said, life is, can be brutal and it can be tough. And you know, not, everyone's going to agree with you. And, and I said to him as your father, I give you permission to fight for what's.
[00:44:41] Right. And I, and I believe that you, you can, you've got what it takes. You've got the strength and the system Bonnie. So, it was a beautiful kind of impartation and all the other guys that was. But you know what hit me the most about that weekend. It wasn't so much the impact it had on my son. It was impacted head on the other men, almost [00:45:00] every one of the men.
[00:45:00] Two of them would actually were quite tearful, cry. You know I, this, this made me realize what I never got growing up. I never got this. So, most of us as men. We grew up into adulthood and mentored and fathered, uninitiated. There's been no deliberate process of men, older men in our lives imparting to us the wisdom and the strength that we need to, to, to, to become adults.
[00:45:25] I'll give you, I mean, I had it in my own life, you know, we had a difficult relationship with my dad. He was like, was there, there was very much physically present, but emotionally, no. And the words of affirmation. And so, I had a brother who actually ended up taking his life. But he was, he tells, he told me the story, which kind of was very sad for me to hear.
[00:45:45] I was, I was older than my brother. He told me a story of they went to add a holiday to a place called put off it. And he saw these guys fishing on the side of the river and he decided I want to do some fishing too. But there was no one there to teach [00:46:00] him how to fish. So, the next morning he got up early and he took a pen from my mother's sank it, and he bent that pen, and he tied a piece of line to the pin and he put a piece of bread on the pad and he went to the side of the river and he sat there.
[00:46:14] You know, you can just picture the story of this young boy is sitting on the side of the river. With a fishing line with a bent pin, no fish is ever going to be caught by a bit for you. And I know that, but he hadn't been taught you hadn't been inducted into. And so, this issue of all the men, teaching mentoring, imparting boys into Mandarin is such an incredibly cause how many men end up in, in life with the metaphorical clinic trying to be a husband or trying to be a father or trying to be, you know, whatever they're trying to get life.
[00:46:46] And they haven't had that process. So, it's invaluable when you have men that are intentional about imparting skills to young boys, about life wisdom, about how to be a man. And the other aspect of the rites of [00:47:00] passage is generally I mean, if you look historically there's, it can be quite difficult.
[00:47:05] There's something that the boy has to do to earn that back in Kenya. You know, I heard of one, we used to always have to you to go put a stone on the back of a rhino. And get away without being, you know and that there's been all sorts of detractors Beth
[00:47:21] PH: [00:47:21] without being trampled
[00:47:23] CW: [00:47:23] to death. So, it's, it's, it's also the, the self-esteem that comes with doing something difficult and succeeding and it's, and then being validated by dancing.
[00:47:36] Great. That's why gangs initiate. Do you know what I mean? The initiation into gangs often is terrible. They have to do terrible things. Sometimes they have to do things that they don't even want to do,
[00:47:47] PH: [00:47:47] but they have to kill someone or
[00:47:49] CW: [00:47:49] sometimes they do. But they do it, you know, and they've never been initiated into the family into, into manhood, but they do it for a gang because the, the desire to be validated as [00:48:00] a man is so powerful that they'll even compromise the morals and risk jail by killing someone, just to be validated by a group of men to be part of that gang.
[00:48:08] And that's, that's how important it is. That's how powerful it is.
[00:48:13] PH: [00:48:13] Well, I read I read. About male initiation or boys to men initiation. I think it was Steve widow's book. It's called raising boys. And it was a similar, it was a similar setup as what you described. They took a, he took, I don't know, 15 of his friends or 10.
[00:48:31] It doesn't matter, but they all took their sons, and they went to a hut somewhere in the wilderness. He lives in New Zealand and then they walked in the dark. To some fireplace. So, there was a ceremony, they made a big fire, and then they sat in a circle around the fire, which is an unsafe is already obviously powerful.
[00:48:51] And I talked, so each father talked to the whole group in a circle to all the men, the boys and the men about their son [00:49:00] and the sons also responded back to the fathers. And some very amazing stuff came out and then they walked back and slept in the, in the hut. Yup. Yep. And I think the eight together.
[00:49:15] CW: [00:49:15] Yep. Yeah, there's something so powerful about a group of men hanging out and validating each other. I run camps for men not anymore, not during COVID obviously the one, the first time I did this was about 12 years ago. And we had a group of men and we were just experimenting. We were exploring as a group of mostly friends.
[00:49:37] We didn't all know each other. And I was talking about how our masculinity's in pottery barn, all the men too, to a younger man to younger way. And one of the guys that said to me, Craig, I never had that done to me. Can you do it for me? And he was basically my age, you know, we were in our forties. So, we did this little ceremony where we each decided let's, let's call each other up and validate each other.
[00:49:59] So we [00:50:00] each, we each took turns of being validated by the other men. And when it came to my turn to validate another, man, I had to validate a guy whose name was Patrick. And he was 60 years old, much older than me. And it was the most unbelievable experience because we call them out and they were a group of us.
[00:50:18] There must have been, I think, 10 of us and I put my hands on his shoulders and I said, Patrick, I see you a man. As a man, I see a man and you stand here as a man, amongst men. And I validate you as a man. And, you know, as I was saying, these words, tears just started pouring down his cheeks, you know? And, and he started sobbing 60-year-old man.
[00:50:38] And he said afterwards, he said, you know, I realized that I never had this. I've never had men saying to you, you're the man. And you know, it was a wounded carried his whole life without even knowing it was there. But I think it's so powerful. And so many men haven't had this, so many men need this as part of a masculine woundedness.
[00:50:58] We talked about, you know, I need [00:51:00] vegetation if, if I'm, if I'm valid as a man, and I believe, I bet I don't have to prove myself. I didn't just do stupid things to prove myself. I know that I'm adequate to the task. So, it's a very important thing.
[00:51:16] PH: [00:51:16] Sorry, we have to edit this, this guy crushed screaming, screaming. He wants to send me a fish. I'll take this out. Sorry. Yes. And the problem is also that in society, I think especially young boys are unsure of how to be a man, because it's very dangerous because there's a lot of judgment around men or young boys becoming men, right in the media.
[00:51:39] Men are often depicted. Yeah. Like I said, you know, as, as violent or as, you know, asking a girl out, is that already inappropriate? You know, am I now a rapist kind of its, it's, it's really difficult. Like you have to be so politically correct. I guess. I mean, [00:52:00] I'm, I'm 41. So, I've, I wasn't in that age era, but if I see now how the media depicts men and young boys, I find it.
[00:52:10] It must be extremely difficult to navigate in, in, in those I knows what does, I mean, look at it. If you think about what was that ad? It was the Gillette, the Gillette
[00:52:21] CW: [00:52:21] ad.
[00:52:24] PH: [00:52:24] Wow. That was so toxic.
[00:52:27] CW: [00:52:27] Yeah. Yeah. It's he said what's happening to men, you know, I mean, there was some research done in the U you United Kingdom recently by a group called U gov, you know, very credible research and they asked men of various ages, is masculinity a good thing or a bad thing.
[00:52:43] And what was fascinating is the older men predominantly said, it's a good thing. The guys between 18 and 24, almost 50% said masculinity is a negative thing. And when I, my heart broke when I slipped, because it's a travesty, masculinity is a [00:53:00] beautiful, powerful, amazing thing. Men are designed to be hunters and predators, but in a, in a, in a beautiful way, you know, I mean, obviously a man.
[00:53:08]Who approaches a one, my student, a very respectful way, you know, and if she says, no, no, it's you know, and obviously, you know, it's gone wrong, but, but to take, to say to men that you've got to totally emasculate yourself and, and feminized yourself and not, not be it be that, you know, the person who's competitive and, and, and, and the shoe it's, it's very devastating to young man.
[00:53:32] So I think we need to, we need to, you know, we've thrown the baby out with the bath water, and again, we've got to go back to that dangerous, but good. Yeah. So, a young man who's single sees a young woman. Who's single, he's attracted to her. He needs to know how to pursue her. You can't just say, you know, I'm going to sit back because what happens to a lot of guys is, they start ending up in their computer.
[00:53:55] They play games all the time, but what's pornography the author as opposed to getting out there and living a [00:54:00] real life and a good life. So, what you're saying is it's a real danger to me.
[00:54:04] PH: [00:54:04] Yeah. But that goes in both directions. I mean, male and female. I mean, the, the, the, what's the generation, Y I think the first generation that has this, and then all the following instant gratification.
[00:54:15] Right. I mean, you don't have to go out and ask someone like, we, we had to, you have Tinder now. It's like instant, you just swipe left and right. I don't know which, which one's, which, but it's quite easy. Like everything you want. Can be, can be, can be done instantaneous almost like kind of, you know,
[00:54:37] CW: [00:54:37] there's no effort.
[00:54:39] There's a lot of problems with that. I mean, the Tinder left, and right thing raises such a painful reality because what happens is Most men don't have women swipe. I don't know what rights good or bad left. I don't know which one is good, but so many men, it's only a minority of men that have women swiping [00:55:00] yes.
[00:55:00] On it. So, you get, you get a lot of guys that are excluded and, and you get what they call the beta male emerging. The beta male is someone who's. And then, then you have this other movement called the men going. The runway,
[00:55:13] PH: [00:55:13] what's the beta male. What's a bit?
[00:55:15] CW: [00:55:15] amazed. is the guy who is kind of kind of, kind of lift out.
[00:55:20] So he's not the guy that, that women find particularly attractive. He's not particularly athletic, he's not, you know. And so, he ends up being a little bit feeling as though he's, he's really not. A real man that he's not enough that he's, you know, and I mean, so in Japan, you've got this massive movement of men who just have given up on women.
[00:55:42] They've given up a woman. They actually call them vegetarians. I don't know what the word is. Because they, they feel like they're never going to crack it. So, they just, they go their own way. They don't. So, there's a, there's a sense of, you know, the old chivalry way where you and I, you know, there wasn't even a cell phone when I was [00:56:00] dating, you know, you had to in the home and you normally got the father, you know Mr.
[00:56:05] Mr. Hartman, you know, I'd love to speak to your daughter. You know, it was, it was a process you that.
[00:56:11] PH: [00:56:11] What are your intentions with? My daughter, Kristen, that I already know, I will ask. That'll be fun. Hey before we run out of time, we still have like, I don’t know, five minutes, but I want to, I want to always ask us, is there something where I didn't go, that's very valuable to share that you want to share topics because I led this conversation so far.
[00:56:33] Is, is there stuff. That you haven't shared that you want to share.
[00:56:37] CW: [00:56:37] We've covered a lot of ground. I, you know, I think for dads for me, the, the issue of being there, those two most important just to be there, no matter how difficult that is, even if you're divorced, just be there. The other one is, and we've touched on it a lot as well, is that and it goes back to the whole masculinity thing.
[00:56:54] I, two years ago I had a very tough experience with a close friend of mine. [00:57:00] Took his own life. He was 57 years old. I've known him for many, many years and we were all completely and actually blown away. We, we just didn't see it coming. In fact, it was one of the, one of the last guys you'd ever expected from, and the message, the lessons that came out of that was that no one in his coast circle of friends knew what he was going through.
[00:57:22] No one. And so, so lesson number one is. As men, we need to stop carrying it ourselves. You know, we need to stop thinking that real men don't cry. We have to be able to share our burners, you know, the leading cause of death in the United Kingdom. Now I think it's under the age of 45 as suicide for men.
[00:57:43] A lot of man, we, we just carry it. We think we have to be Superman. We carried us off. So, lesson number one, there was, you know, we need to make sure as men that I'm not carrying my whole burden alone. And that if I do have friends in my circle that I actually know what they're going through because there [00:58:00] might be going through hell, but they're not telling me.
[00:58:02] And the second huge lesson that came out of it was his, his perception was that because he got an insurance payoff. And he lost money. And that's why he was in the States, but state, none of us knew that, but his perception was that the, the, the check, the payoff, the insurance pad was worth more to his family than he was.
[00:58:22] He honestly believed that. I mean, and, and the reality is as men, I don't think we often realize how incredibly valuable we are to our friends and the loved ones, particularly our loved ones and family. Just start to do with what we've got to, what we don't have. Just being there. So, I mean, I had long chats to his children after with him.
[00:58:42] They were teenagers, but they would much rather have a dad who was working there in a corner shop without much money, not even a car that they could hug, and he could be there for them. Walk them down the aisle one day. Then a huge money payout did it. So, I [00:59:00] think as men, we need to realize that we bring such immense value, just who we are, our presence, our words are powerful.
[00:59:07] You know, our touch, our hug. I love what the one what's the city said. He said sometimes the poorest man leaves behind the richest legacy. Because it's not what you leave for somebody that can say, once you leave in somebody. And I, I think as men, we need to really get to the point where we really know how valuable you are just being who we are.
[00:59:28] So I guess, I mean, those are two things I wanted to add, but I think we've covered a lot of good ground.
[00:59:33] PH: [00:59:33] That's amazing. And that that's a good end note what we're living in, because what that's, that's what it's all about. What we are leaving in. Somebody, our children are our legacy. It is not the house or the cash or the bank account or whatever.
[00:59:47] And that. That shows the conflict, I guess, as a father, you know, you, you do want to be the provider if you are in that role. And it's fine if you're not, by the way, that's also fine. But if [01:00:00] you are in that role, you do want it to be the provider, but you have to make sure you bridge the gap of time with the family and time away in a healthy way so that, that you can leave something in.
[01:00:13] Someone behind you being your children, that is of value. That is a healthy, happy human being.
[01:00:21] CW: [01:00:21] Yeah. Great stuff.
[01:00:25] PH: [01:00:25] Good. Thank you very, very much for talking to us. This was very, very valuable for me, at least. And I know for other people as well and thank you for sharing your own story.
[01:00:36] CW: [01:00:36] Well, that's what it's all about.
[01:00:38] Thanks for having me on.
Craig is passionate about the crucial role men play in the lives of their children and society.
He has two grown up children, Luke (26) and Blythe (24), and is the author of two books on fatherhood; the best-selling “DAD – How to be the father your children need” and “It’s a DAD! – Every man’s guide to pregnancy, birth and becoming a father”. His online course, “The Ultimate Dad Course” has helped many men grow as fathers. The course and Craig’s books can be found at www.thedadcoach.co.za.
Craig founded and runs the non-profit company Father A Nation (FAN) which restores, equips and inspires men to be great fathers, role models and mentors. To support his work with men in the fight against gender-based violence Craig has written a booklet called “NOEXCUSE for abuse” and another on authentic masculinity called “the 6 Pack of Champion virtues”. Free copies of these can be found at www.fatheranation.co.za
For his work with men in communities, Craig was awarded the GQ Humanitarian Man of the Year award in 2019.