Families across the country are celebrating Father’s Day this weekend. We wanted to join in the celebration with a special episode. Today we discuss why fathers are important, how young men can navigate manhood on their own, and some words of wisdom for new fathers.
Tony Rezac is a men’s coach and author. His books cover topics like healthy masculinity, finding your life’s purpose, and how to create happiness. He recently launched a new podcast called Basecamp for Men.
Why Fathers Matter
Why are fathers so important?
Tony Rezac: I’m stereotyping a little bit, but I think men bring this kind of slower rhythm into the house. It’s kind of like almost a simple one or two things at a time. Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. I think men can bring a groundedness and a clarity into an environment that is welcome.
Are there things that fathers do differently than mothers?
Tony Rezac: I think men can give a little bit of an edge sometimes to the feedback that helps the boy or the daughter. I think that it depends on the dynamic. As a man, you’ve got to find where the sweet spot is in terms of what is required of you. It’s not always cookie cutter. I think the father needs to assess what the boy or girl’s needs are relative to what he sees happening in the dynamic of the house.
Dr. Michael Reichert gave this great piece of advice. He said that the best thing he did for his boys was, he said, “Once a week for an hour and a half or two hours, I gave them my undivided attention. And I said, we can do whatever you want to do, and I’m not going to instruct. I’m just following you.” And so I was like, wow. I go, so did you end up playing a lot of video games? He goes, I did end up playing a lot of video games, and I hate video games. — Tony Rezac
The Effect of Missing Fathers
According to the 2017 census, over one in four children live without a father in the home. What affect does that have on children?
Tony Rezac: I see the men that grew up not knowing their dads and there’s a missing piece. How do men do this? How do men transition from boyhood to manhood? There’s this question mark that’s there with them. The men I know that had that as their circumstance, they became really solid men. So they had to overcome that missing piece.
I have so much respect for the mothers that have to be both mom and dad. And for them I would say, even though maybe you’ve been sort of burned by a man, like the man left, there was a child and the man didn’t stick around, or there was a nasty divorce and the man let her down. They weren’t able to work it out. And maybe you don’t have such a high opinion of how men show up for you. The one piece of advice is, for the boy’s sake, I would say don’t give up on seeking out positive male influences. — Tony Rezac
Advice to Young Men
Many young men who have grown up without fathers are now trying to navigate being a man on their own. What advice would you give to them?
Tony Rezac: As a starting point, you could go look at the Mankind Project’s website and where they’re doing trainings. That’s a rite of passage taken right out of ancient tradition where the young men were brought into the wilderness or the jungle for the trials and tribulations of manhood. And when you came back you were altered. And I can attest, as a participant and somebody that staffs that weekend, it works like a charm. You come out of there very, very clear that you’ve now entered into a different phase of your masculinity and your manhood. And it doesn’t matter if you’re 20, 40, 60. We’ve had 80-year-old men on the training. It’s never too late to get in conversations around healthy masculinity.
Words of Wisdom to New Fathers
Do you have any words of wisdom for new fathers about parenting?
Tony Rezac: My advice is you’re going to do fantastic, you know. Be in your heart, delight in the child. It’s a huge blessing to become a father. It is such a blessing. Anybody that’s on the fence or you’re not sure, man, what a journey and what a wonder. It just brings so much love and light and joy and laughter in a house.
I used to live in New York City, and my landlord was this Egyptian man who had two grown children. And when my wife got pregnant with my son, we made a plan to move back to the West Coast to be close to our parents. He said, “I want to have some coffee with you and talk to you.” He wanted to reassure me that it was natural to be nervous. And he goes, “One thing I want to tell you, Tony, that my father told me.” And he said, “There’s this magical quality when they’re born, they come with their own money. So you don’t have to do it. It just is provided by the divine. And you’ll see.” And it’s been true. — Tony Rezac
Press play to listen. Do you have any advice for new fathers? Please let us know in the comments below.